§ 1. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum not exceeding £31,800 be granted to His Majesty to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which wil come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1907, for Houses of Parliament Buildings."
§ MR. HAROLD COX (Preston)
asked whether arrangements could be made to allow the public to utilise more largely than at present Westminster Hall. He thought it a great pity that that magnificient hall should be kept in such seclusion and that the public should not have reasonable access to it.
§ THE FIRST COMMISSIONER OF WORKS (Mr. HARCOURT, Lancashire, Rossendale)
said that he thought the time had come when the regulations which were in operation owing to the unfortunate occurrences of the period between 1881 and 1885 might be moderately relaxed. He had been in communication with the autherities—and they were many—who claimed control over various parts of the building, and he had come to an arrangement with them which would come into operation in a few days. The arrangement was that Westminster Hall should be open from ton till half-past two to all persons who were bona fide sightseers. From half-past two until eleven o'clock p.m. the Hall would be open to all persons with gallery orders, all Parliamentary agents, counsel and their clerks, and to all persons generally who were known to the police. He hoped that arrangement would he satisfactory to the public and not inconvenient to Members. Ho hoped the Committee would allow him to take.as many sub-heads of the Votes of his Department as was possible in the day. There were a number of new buildings which he desired authority to begin; and if the authority were delayed, the most valuable building time of the year would be lost, and he would be unable to expend all the money voted, with the result that he would have at the end of the financial year to surrender a considerable sum which would only go to swell the realised surplus of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Delay would not damage the Government or give the Opposition any advantage; but it would inconvenience these towns that were waiting for new post-offices and county courts. The Vote for his own salary would be delayed to the end, so that no opportunity for subsequent criticism would be lost.
§ *MR. CROMBIE (Kincardineshire) moved to reduce the Vote by £100 as a protest against the proposal to establish smoking in the library. Although he spoke as a non-smoker, he did not wish to pose as a particularly virtuous person. His relations to smoking were simple, like these of the man who said "honesty was the best policy, because he had tried both." He had been a smoker—and for reasons with which he need not trouble the Committee he had given it up. After all, there was 670 something to be said for non-smokers. Non-smoking was the natural state of man. They were all born sinners, but none of them were born smokers. Smoking was generally learned by a painful process in early youth. He was sorry to say that smokers in the House had been a very aggressive race. When ho first came to the House smoking was confined to the smoking-room. Then the smokers annexed in turn the ladies' dining-room downstairs and part of the dining-room upstairs; and these unfortunate Members who did not smoke almost felt that it was an act of generosity on the part of the smokers to allow them to dine there. There was, however, one place which they had always found a harbour of refuge, and that was the library of the House. [An HON. MEMBER: And the bar.] Very much as the original Welsh wore driven before the English invasion, the non-smokers had been driven to take refuge in the caves and hills, and it Seemed that now they were to be smoked out from these. Where were the non-smokers to go to? There was only one place left where they could take refuge, and that was the debating Chamber itself. He appealed to the First Commissioner of Works, who, ho knew, was not a cruel man. Was he going to put a respectable class who had done nothing, except that they did not smoke, into the horrible dilemma that either they must be forced to consume the smoke of their colleagues in the library or consume the speeches generated by that smoke in the House itself. They might depend upon it that the wave which had swept over the dining-rooms and the library could not be kept out of the Chamber. Once the practice was established in the library they would very soon see smoking in the Chamber. He had often heard it mooted that it would be an excellent thing to do, and that there were other Parliaments that did it. He believed it was done in America. ["No, no."] Well, in Tibet and Siam. Was the Committee willing to face the horrible contingency of smoking in the House? Let them think what it would be. From every corner of the room would emanate tobacco smoke, and very often, he feared, bad tobacco smoke. If Members were allowed to smoke whilst they were speaking, strangers in the gallery would insist on smoking too. The gentlemen of the Press would likewise insist on smoking whilst they 671 reported Members' speeches. Even the formidable grille in front of the Ladies' Gallery, which had proved such a valuable protection to hon. Members in the House, would pour forth tobacco smoke. They had the authority of the late Prime Minister on this point. Two nights ago the right hon. Gentleman had told them that if "a man's a man for a' that," a woman's a woman for a' that. He did not quite know what it meant—but he was perfectly certain it was a philosophic manner of expressing that women who were equal to men were equal to anything. Even in the present pellucid atmosphere of the House it was difficult enough to catch the Speaker's eye. What would it be when that atmosphere was as thick as the atmosphere of a non-provided school under Clause 4? So far as he could understand, the only argument for allowing this thin end of the wedge to be inserted was that certain right hon. and hon. Members could not compose their speeches except under the influence of tobacco—and that as they went to the library to compose their speeches, a portion of it must be set apart for smoking. There were other things besides tobacco that afforded inspiration. Nothing was more curious than to remember some of the things that afforded inspiration to authors. Schiller could not compose a line unless he was eating rotten apples. One of the poets of last century who delighted England and America with his charming verse and his thrilling tales, could never write anything unless he was thoroughly intoxicated. Of course, he knew there was nobody in this House who composed his speeches under the influence of alcohol. Having listened to them he could assure the House that they were marked by great sobriety. But suppose in some future Parliament there should be hon. Gentlemen who required alcoholic inspiration, was the First Commissioner going to set aside part of the library for the consumption of alcoholic liquors, or was he going to establish a library in the bar? Why should they five facilities to hon. Gentlemen to compose speeches? Long speeches were the curse of the House. Conscious as hon. Members were of the inordinate length of one another's speeches, why should they provide a stick for their own backs by giving further facilities to hon. Gentlemen to compose still longer speeches? 672 This was, he knew, a Vote for only £120. He was a Scotsman, with all the hereditary economy of his race, but he should be willing to vote £2,000—of the taxpayers' money—for the extension of the smoking accommodation of the House, if it was only to be confined to smoking. He did not know if, as was generally proposed, some of the rooms used by the House of Lords could be annexed; but, without wishing to speak disrepectfully of the other Chamber, he should not oppose the annexation of the whole of "another place" for smoking—provided only that when hon. Gentlemen got it they would confine themselves to these regal premises and not cast an envious ova upon the only little vineyard that remained to these Naboths who did not smoke—the library of the House. He begged to move.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item A. be reduced by £100."— (Mr. Crombie.)
§ MR. HARCOURT
said that until he listened to the speech of the hon. Member he had no idea what a revolutionary proposal ho had made. Let him give the House the history of the matter. Two years ago a private Member got up a memorial to the late Speaker for the extension of smoking to one of the libraries. That was signed by a majority of the House, and the private Member having secured the majority came to the conclusion that he had sufficient signatures. Mr. Speaker Gully, when approached, was not quite sure that he had power to give the permission, to which the private Member replied that in that case he, perhaps, had no power to forbid it. The then Speaker thereupon took up a stronger position and said he did not feel justified in granting permission without a vote of the House, and as that Parliament was nearing its end it was decided to leave the decision of the matter to the new Parliament. In that new Parliament the private Member who had got up the requisition found himself unexpectedly First Commissioner of Works, and he felt bound to try to carry out the wishes of the people whose signatures he had secured. He was met with the old difficulty of getting an expression of opinion except by the ancient method of reducing his own salary, so, setting his wits to work, he 673 resorted to the alternative of placing a sum of £120 on the Votes. The matter would be left absolutely to the decision of the: House. There would be no Government; tellers. The only result of passing this vote would be that smoking would be permitted in one out of five libraries. He did not think the non-smokers could complain of having four out of five. The position of the non-smoker in the House was one of absolute power and monopoly of nearly all the accommodation. He did not say that the time might not come when the House in its charity might decide to reserve one or two rooms for non-smokers. This was not a proposal to turn the library into a smoking room. He intended that it should still continue a silent room. There would be no refreshments served, there would be no newspapers, and no change except that whilst I reading or writing in that particular room Members would be allowed to smoke.
§ MR. F. E. SMITH (Liverpool, Walton)
said he rose to give the Government a little support; and to remind the hon. Member for Kincardineshire that minorities after all must suffer; it was the badge of their tribe. He would venture to tell the hon. Gentleman with the greatest possible respect that he shared the intolerance that was associated with total abstainers against anything agreeable. He would only say, speaking on behalf of these who did smoke and found the present accommodation intolerably restricted, that they, for their part, wished to set the hon. Gentleman an example of toleration in which the hon. Gentleman's speech was conspicuously lacking. If it would in any way contribute to the hon. Gentleman's comfort and leisure in which he could prepare his speeches, he, for one, would offer no opposition to setting apart a room in which he could eat rotten apples as a stimulant before he addressed the House. ["Order."] He was entirely at a loss to conceive why it should be supposed to be insulting or derogatory to the hon. Gentleman's intelligence to suggest that he would need a stimulant which, on his own showing, was frequently resorted to.
§ MR. HARWOOD (Bolton)
said he was not going to plead for minorities, 674 but for majorities, and that was in regard to the reading-room.
§ MR. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD (Liverpool, West Derby)
On a point of order, ought not the subject under discussion to be disposed of first?
I am in the hands of the Committee; but I do think it would be more convenient to dispose of one subject at a time.
§ MR. HARWOOD
said he wanted to know whether he would be able to make the proposal later that the room in question should be turned into a reading-room as well as a smoking-room.
I do not think the hon. Gentleman will be precluded from making that suggestion afterwards.
§ MR. AKERS-DOUGLAS (Kent, St. Augustine's)
said he had the honour of being First Commissioner of Works at one time, and this question was very constantly before him. He fully sympathised with the wish of the majority of the House that there should be more accommodation for smokers, and Although he supported this proposal, he wanted to make a caveat that it was only a make-shift and that smokers were not satisfied with this as a final conclusion. He thought some such scheme as that suggested as a result of the Committee which sat three or four years ago should be carried out, and the Government of which he was then a member would have gone on with the proposal had it not been for the lean years in which they lived.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND (Clare, E.)
said while he was to some extent moved by the speech of the hon. Gentleman who proposed the reduction, he was obliged to oppose his motion. When the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down was in office a House of Commons Committee came to the conclusion that it was necessary in the interests of Members' health that there should be a very considerable extension of the accommodation of the House. Then, unfortunately, there came the South African War and the 675 distress which, followed, with the result that Members had had to continue to suffer from the lack of accommodation which years ago was admitted. They who were supposed, commonly and erroneously, to be members of the best club in the world, had only one smoking-room capable of holding forty Members. The smoking-room accommodation was inadequate, unhealthy, and altogether unsatisfactory according to the Committee on which he served as a member. There was not nearly sufficient accommodation for these who desired to smoke, or for these who desired to dine, and there was absolutely no alternative for Members except to continually sit in this chamber, which was fatal to the health of any Member. Therefore he supported the suggestion of the First Commissioner of Works that temporary requirements should be met by allowing smoking in one of the libraries, but he warned the right hon. Gentleman that he would find upon inquiry that this would not meet the case. There was pressing need for a large extension of accommodation throughout the House, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would not take approval of his proposal as a sign that Members were generally satisfied with the accommodation which they merely accepted as an instalment.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
admitted that the smoking accommodation was perfectly inadequate, and that the present proposal was a totally inadequate remedy for it. He did not smoke himself, but he spent a great deal of time in the smoking-room. No doubt adequate smoking accommodation would facilitate the transaction of business in the chamber itself, and upon that ground he should be inclined to support proper accommodation for smokers. He thought that smokers as a whole were the most selfish people imaginable. But if he were a smoker he should object to this proposal, because newspapers were to be excluded from the room. This was a new Parliament, and the attendance was very much larger than ever before. If they were going to cut down library accommodation in the interests of smokers they must take into account the large attendance of Members who now frequented the library. If this 676 attendance endured, as he hoped it would, probably they would have to make other arrangements over the entire House. There were rooms which were practically unused that ought to be annexed if this room was to be given up to smoking. The library accommodation ought not to be curtailed, and he should vote against his right hon. friend's proposal because he believed that he was moving in the wrong direction.
§ COLONEL LEGGE (St. George's, Hanover Square)
said that as one who signed the memorial in the last Parliament asking for additional smoking accommodation he should support the proposal before the Committee.
§ MR. CREMER (Shoreditch, Haggerston)
called attention to the remarkable report issued by a Committee which sat for several weeks inquiring into this very subject—he alluded to the Committee of 1894. The conclusions which that Committee arrived at were of such a startling nature that when the Vote for the Houses of Parliament came before the Committee of Supply a reduction of £500 was moved and carried as a, protest against the state of things which had been brought to light. The question had been asked whether it was not possible to find rooms in some other part of the building than the one referred to by the First Commissioner of Works. He thought there was plenty of other accommodation to be found. Some changes had been made since the date to which he had referred, and rooms which were formerly occupied by officials were now used by Ministers. Among the facts brought to light by the Committee were that 315 rooms in this building were then occupied by officials, and that seven officials occupied between them seventy-two bedrooms. The Speaker of the House had sixty rooms at his disposal, the Sergeant-at-Arms thirty-five (seven of them being prison rooms), the Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms twenty-two, the chief clerk of the House of Commons thirty, the assistant clerk twenty-three, Black 677 Rod thirty-five (twelve of them bedrooms, the librarian of the House of Lords twenty-four (ten of them bedrooms), but what the librarian of the House of Lords, who was a bachelor, wanted with ten bedrooms nobody could understand. The Lord Great Chamberlain had twenty-five rooms. Such was the extraordinary state of things brought to light by the Committee. It was quite clear, therefore, that there were plenty of rooms in this building available for smoking or other purposes. The question was being put to them in a very unpleasant way, and this was placing some Members in an awkward fix. They did not wish to vote for the reduction or to evince dissatisfaction with the proposal of the First Commissioner. He believed they all had perfect confidence in the right hon. Gentleman, and they were delighted at having such a sympathetic Minister, but his proposal had placed them in an awkward position. He was going to oppose the use of this room for smoking, not because he did not think that more smoking accommodation was required, but because it was clear from the evidence that there were other rooms in this building that could be utilised, and he suggested whether it was not worth while on the part of the First Commissioner to take a little more time for consideration and, if necessary, reappoint the Committee of Inquiry to which he had referred. [Cries of "No, no."] He believed such a Committee would even now bring to light a very extraordinary state of things with regard to the number of rooms which were at present unused and which could be utilised. If the Motion was pressed to a division he should vote for it, Although he was in favour of giving more smoking accommodation. There was one other point. Hon. Members must have noticed that there was no room in the building where they could invite a deputation who wished to confer with them on any subject.
§ MR. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD (Liverpool, West Derby)
On a point of order I desire to ask whether the hon. Member is in order in discussing the general question of accommodation.
I expressed the opinion whilst the hon. Member for Bolton was speaking, that it would be better to take a decision upon this question and not go into such questions as the hon. Member for Haggerston is now dealing with.
§ MR. CREMER
said he only mentioned this point to show the necessity of further consideration being given to the question.
§ MR. HARCOURT
thought that some hon. Members rather misunderstood the position. He had made this proposal in order that hon. Members might express their opinion on the proposal to take one room for smoking which at the present time was occupied by non-smokers. He had never suggested that what he proposed was sufficient accommodation or that it would provide for the great congestion and do away with the necessity for more accommodation. Earlier in the session the hon. Member for East Clare had requested him to approach the House of Lords upon this question, and he had done so. He was pleased to add that they had very nearly come to a conclusion which he thought would be satisfactory to the House as a whole, and which would enable him to give considerably more accommodation by various re-arrangements both for dining and smoking. This was a question simply of taking one small library as a silent room where Members were to be allowed to smoke whilst they were at work. The Government had no views upon this question at all, and they asked the Committee to come to a perfectly free and unfettered decision as to whether they should allow the map-room, smallest of the libraries, to be set apart for this purpose.
§ MR. MORTON (Sutherland)
entirely objected to the taking of one of the library rooms for this purpose, but before they settled this matter they ought to know what had become of the recommendations of the Committee to which the hon. Member for Haggerston had referred.
§ Question put.680
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 119; Noes, 244. (Division List No. 80.)681
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Ginnell, L.||Renton, Major Leslie|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Gladstone, Rt.Hon.HerbertJn.||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Balcarres, Lord||Glendinning, R. G.||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|Baring, Hon. Guy (Winchester)||Gulland, John W.||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry,N.)||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Robertson,SirG.Scott(Bradf'rd|
|Beale, W. P.||Hammond, John||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Bethell, J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Herbert, T, Arnold (Wycombe)||Runciman, Walter|
|Black, Arthur W.(Bedfordshire||Hervey.F. W. F. (BuryS. Edm'ds||Russell, T. W.|
|Blake, Edward||Higham, John Sharp||Shackleton, David James|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Hill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Holland, Sir William Henry||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Bryce, Rt.Hn.James(Aberdeen||Hutton, Alfred Eddison||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Jardine, Sir J.||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim. S.|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Caldwell, James||Jordan, Jeremiah||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Cawley, Frederick||Kearley, Hudson E.||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Laidlow, Robert||Thomas, David Alfred(Merthyr|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Lambert, George||Thernton, Percy M.|
|Clough, W.||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid||Tillett, Louis John|
|Cobbold, Felix Thernley||Lough, Thomas||Tomkinson, James|
|Collins,SirWm.J.(S.Pancras.W||M'Cullum, John M.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Corbett A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Ward,W.Dudley (Southamptn|
|Cory, Clifford John||Massie, J.||Watt, H. Anderson|
|Cox, Harold||Menzies, Walter||Weir, James Galloway|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim.S||Molteno, Percy Alport||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Crean Eugene||Money, L. G. Chiozza||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Cremer, William Randal||Morrell, Philip.||Whiteley, George (York, W.R.)|
|Crooks, William||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Murnaghan, George||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Dolan, Charles Joseph||Nicholls, George||Wilson,Hon.C.H.W. (Hull.W.)|
|Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Nolan, Joseph||Wilson.Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Duncan, Robert(Lanark,Govan||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Wilson. John (Durham, Mid)|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||O'Brien, William (Cork)||Wilson', P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Young, Samuel|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Paul, Herbert||Younger, George|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Perks, Robert William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Crombie and Mr. Lamont.|
|Findlay, Alexander||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Fletcher, J. S.||Rees, J. D.|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.||Boland, John||Churchill, Winston Spencer|
|Acland Francis Dyke||Bowles, G. Stewart||Clancy, John Joseph|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Branch, James||Clarke, C. Goddard (Peckham)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Bridgeman, W. Clive||Clynes, J. R.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Brigg, John||Coats, Sir T. Glen (Renfrew, W.|
|Armitage, R.||Brocklehurst, W. D.||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E|
|Ashley, W. W.||Brooke, Stopford||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)|
|Baring Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Brunner, J.F.L.(Lancs., Leigh)||Condon, Thomas Joseph|
|Barker John||Brunner, Sir John T. (Cheshire)||Cooper, G. J.|
|Barlow Percy (Bedford)||Bryce, J.A.(Inverness Burghs)||Corbett,C.H(Sussex, E.Grins'd|
|Barnes G. N.||Bull, Sir William James||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Burke, E. Haviland-||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Burnyeat, J. D. W.||Cowan, W. H.|
|Beaumont, W. C. B. (Hexham)||Byles", William Pollard||Craig, Captain James(Down, E.)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Cairns, Thomas||Crossley, William J.|
|Bell, Richard||Cameron, Robert||Dalziel, James Henry|
|Benn W.(T'wr Hamlets,S.Geo.||Carlile, E. Hildred||Devlin,CharlesRamsay(Galway|
|Bennett, E. N.||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Dewar Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)|
|Bertram, Julius||Castlereagh, Viscount||Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Cavendish,Rt.Hon.VictorC.W.||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Dillon, John|
|Billson, Alfred||Chance, Frederick William||Dixon, Sir Daniel|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhmpt'n|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Lea, Hugh Cecil (St.Pancras,E.||Richardson, A.|
|Doughty, Sir George||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Roberts, S. (Sheffield.Ecclesall)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lewis, John Herbert||Robertson,Rt.Hn. E. (Dundee)|
|Duckworth, James||Liddell, Henry||Robinson, S.|
|Du Cros, Harvey||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Duffy, William. J.||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||Lundon, W.||Rowlands, J.|
|Dunne, Major E. M. (Walsall)||Lupton, Arnold||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Samuel, Herbert L.(Cleveland)|
|Elibank, Master of||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Erskine, Davide C.||Macpherson, J. T.||Scarisbrick, T. T. L.|
|Essex, R. W.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down.S.||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||MacVeigh,Charles(Donegal, E.)||Scott, A.H. (Ashton underLyne|
|Fenwick, Charles||M'Crae, George||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Finch, Rt. Hon. George II.||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Sears, J. E.|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||M'Killop, W.||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Flynn, James Christopher||M'Micking, Major G.||Seddon, J.|
|Forster, Henry William||Marks.G. Croydon(Launceston)||Seely, Major. J. B.|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Marks, H. H. (Kent)||Sheehy, David|
|Gill, A. H.||Marnham, F. J.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Glover, Thomas||Meehan, Patrick, A.||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Micklem, Nathaniel||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Grant, Corrie||Montagu, E. S.||Smith F.E.(Liverpool, Walton)|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Mooney, J. J.||Snowden, P.|
|Haddock, George R.||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Morpeth, Vicount||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Halpin, J.||Morse, L. L.||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Hamilton, Marquess of||Murphy, John||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph(Chesh.)|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis||Myer, Horatio||Starkey, John R.|
|Hardie,J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil||Nicholson,CharlesN. (Doncast'r||Steadman, W. C.|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r||Norman, Henry||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Harwood, George||O'Brien,Kendal(TipperaryMid)||Sullivan, Donal|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Suramerbell, T.|
|Hayden, John Patrick||O'Connor, James (Wicklow,W.)||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Hazelton, Richard||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Hedges, A. Paget||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Thomson, W. Mitchell (Lanark.|
|Helme, Norval Watson||O'Dowd, John||Torrance, A. M.|
|Helmsley, Vicount||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Tuke, Sir John Batty-|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||O' Kelly, James(Roscommon, N.||Vivian, Henry|
|Herbert, Colonel Ivor (Mon.,S.)||O'Malley, Wiliam||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Hodge, John||O'Mara, James||Wallace, Robert|
|Hogan, Michael||O'Shee, James John||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Hooper, A. G.||Parker, James (Half ax)||Walsh, Stephen|
|Horninian, Emslie John||Parkes, Ebenezer||Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Paulton, James Mellor||Wardle, George J.|
|Hudson, Walter||Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Hunt, Rowland||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan|
|Jacoby, James Alfred||Power, Patrick Joseph||Wason, John Cathcart(Orkney)|
|Tones, DavidBrynmor(Swansea||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh,Central)||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Price,RobertJohn (Norfolk.E.)||Whitbread, Howard|
|Jones, William(Carnarvonshire||Priestley, W. E.B.(Bradford,E.||White, Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Jowett, F. W.||Radford, G. H.||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Joyce, Michael||Rainy, A. Rolland||Williamson,A.(Elgin and Nairn|
|Kekewich, Sir George||Raphael, Herbert H.||Winfrey, R.|
|Kelley, George D.||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Reddy, M.|
|Kilbride, Denis||Redmond,John E.(Waterford)||TELLERS FOE THE NOES—Mr. William Redmond and Mr. Lehmann.|
|Lamb, Edmund G.(Leominster||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Lane-Fox, G. R.||Richards,Thomas (W.Monm'th|
Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. HARWOOD
said that some years ago he called attention to the bad accommodation for the reading of newspapers. He was told then that as the result of some negotiations certain rooms were to be made available to Members 682 who desired to read newspapers. They never got the rooms which were promised, and he ventured to say that the condition of the present reading-room was simply scandalous. It was not a room at all. It was nothing but a lobby where they had to choose between the devil of a fire and the deep sea of 683 a draught. Passing through there, what did they find? They found half a dozen Members generally asleep on account of the state of the atmosphere. On the other side of the room Members were subject to terrible draughts. It was said that they might go to the other reading-room which was a sepulchral chamber downstairs; and that there was the smoking-room. But the latter room was too small. The newspaper reading-room was only 50 feet by 20 in the passage to the tea-room. He thought that the Government, for their own sakes, should make a radical improvement in the accommodation for Members. There were two things which went to make a good Member of Parliament. One was that he should be always on the premises; and the other that he should not be always in the House. Many men came into the House because they could not be anywhere else. What was wanted was that they should be at hand when a division was called. He himself was frequently driven to come in and sit on these miserable bandies listening to miserable speeches, because he did not know where else to go. He did not want to undermine the superstition that the House of Commons was the best club in the world; but at any right they had a right to decent accommodation. He did not want luxury—only simple decency. Let Hon. Members make the round even of working men's clubs and they would find that there was not one but which had better accommodation in proportion to the number of its members. And these were clubs of which the members were not compelled to attend; they might drop in for only half-an-hour or so and then go away. But Members of the House of Commons were brought there in the middle of the afternoon and kept till close on midnight, and they ought to have, as an antidote, I some decent accommodation. Then it was said, "What did our fathers do? When this House was built sixty years ago our fathers did not complain." No, they did not complain, because when Burke made his great speeches the Members were not present. They knew better. Now Members were compelled I to hang about all the afternoon and 684 evening. They were torn from their home and loving wives, and they did not know where to go. There was another point. Hon. Members ought to have reasonable accommodation where they could read the reports of their own speeches. He suggested that the newspaper room in the lobby should be thrown into the tea-room. He had mentioned this to one of the officials, who told him that he should come at the proper time; but they all came at the same time. The tea-room was ridiculous, and the reading-room was beneath contempt. What was wanted was a large room on the river from where they could read their newspapers comfortably with a good light, and so keep up their general information. They were told about the power of the Press; but he thought that one reason why the Press was not better than it was, was that Members of the House of Commons had not a fair opportunity of studying their productions. He put his case to his right hon. friend from a catholic point of view. The experience of the past did not now apply. Let them not talk about luxury. Let anyone go into the reading-room and ask himself whether that was fit for the accommodation of 670 Members for eleven hours of the day. He had shown friends over the House, and when they looked through the window of the reading-room they only saw hon. Members fast asleep. That was not because the newspapers were dull, but because the atmosphere was deadly, and there was no decent ventilation. He insisted that the time had come when in a new Parliament with many new Members anxious to do their duty, the officials should face this problem of providing better accommodation.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
said that this was a matter of serious importance. Whatever difference of opinion might exist among hon. Members as to the sensible accommodation that should be provided, all were cheered very much by the announcement of the right hon. Gentleman as to the result of the negotiations he had made with the officials of the House of Lords. He had no doubt that the further accommodation which the right hon. Gentleman had 685 secured would do a great deal to remove the grievances they had had to complain of. Apart from minor complaints, there was another subject of vital importance. It was a fact that this House was an extremely unhealthy place. He had no doubt in his own mind that many valuable lives—Ministers', and ordinary Members'—had been shortened or lost owing to the atmosphere of the House, where they were compelled to spend so many hours of the day in session. Some years ago he raised the question especially in regard to the Committee rooms upstairs. A Committee was appointed to consider the matter, and the evidence given was of the most startling and amazing description. It was shown that the atmosphere of the Committee rooms was absolutely poisonous, and that counsel engaged, as well as hon. Members sitting on the Committee, were being continually laid up because of the poisonous atmosphere. No doubt a great improvement had been made with the expenditure of a great deal of money. But he still maintained that the system of ventilation of the House was exceedingly imperfect. He agreed with the Committee that the volume of fresh air for the use of Members which came into the House was sufficient. But he had sat on all these Committees and he had always objected to the system of ventilation which prevailed. All the air they breathed came up through the floor and underneath the benches on which they sat. He maintained that that was a bad system; and he had put to the expert witnesses whether they knew of any public building in Great Britain or in the world which was ventilated through the floor on which the Members continually walked; and all these experts had said that they knew of no modern building which was ventilated on that system. Certainly schools, hospitals, and other buildings were not ventilated in that fashion; but it was a curious fact that experts were not agreed as to what was the most scientific system of ventilation. They all agreed that the present methods were bad, and the only defence of it was that it would cost a good deal of money to alter it. During the time of the South African war that was no doubt a conclusive answer, but he was bound to say that he did not 686 think that now the mere question of expense ought to stand in the way s of more perfect ventilation. He agreed that the supply of air since the system had been started on the terrace was sufficient, but he thought that being pumped up through the floor, it was fouled by the feet of Members who came in from the street. In winter time the air came in a great deal cooler than it ought to be. It came in at a temperature of 65° and as it was introduced from the floor it played upon the feet and legs of Members. Everyone knew that it was perfectly pleasant to sit in a temperature of 65°, but if they were exposed to a draught at that temperature it extracted heat from the system and made them very cold. The consequence was that hon. Members had constantly to get up and go out in the lobby to warm themselves by a fire. The feet of Members became like lumps of ice, and he believed that in the whole world there was not such an uncomfortable system of ventilation as that which prevailed in the House of Commons. In that House they laid down sanitary principles of sanitary science which applied to the whole country, and yet they allowed a condition of things to prevail there which made hon. Members subject to these colds for which the building was celebrated. There was no doctor who would not tell them that the worst place for these who were subject to colds was the House of Commons. The First Commissioner was going to spend £2,000 upon ventilation this year. It was a large sum, and he would invite the right hon. Gentleman to seek the opinion of experts as to the best manner in which it could be expended.
§ MR. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD
sympathised with the last two speakers but only regretted that they did not conclude with some practical suggestion. He was very much struck with the fact that for the ten minutes preceding the division on the Education Bill, fourteen Members, including himself, could not get into the House. He thought it was a disgraceful state of things that these who were carrying on the business of the country should do so in a chamber which could not acccommodate all the Members. Another point which struck 687 him was that hon. Members who resided hundreds of miles away wanted more accommodation than hon. Members who had residences in town. They had frequently to meet constituents who come to see them on business, and in consequence of one of three gentlemen who came to see him the other day not being able to bear the atmosphere of the smoking room, he had to converse with them in a draughty corridor. If they were to conduct business in a businesslike way, they ought to have the opportunity of pursuing businesslike habits with decent accommodation. Each session twelve hon. Members became hors de combat and had to retire from the business of the country or died, because of the condition of things which prevailed in that chamber and its precincts. The chamber was inadequate, and had no historic associations, and it should be made possible for them to conduct their business properly, in a proper building, with suitable accommodation.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
said he was glad that they had in charge of this Vote a man with the spirit of his right hon. friend, who could, he thought, make his name historic by initiating a few radical changes in the accommodation afforded to hon. Members. He agreed that the state of things was not so bad as it used to be, because he remembered one historic night when Lord Randolph Churchill moved and carried the adjournment of the House on account of the bad smells which prevailed in it. As to the ventilation of the House he had found an hon. friend of his with a newspaper upon his knees, and he was told that a newspaper was a very good thing to keep oneself warm with, protecting himself from the Arctic blasts by which the atmosphere of the House was tempered, but not entirely destroyed. On another occasion he was in the tea-room talking with a friend who had been to see a doctor, who had stated that the most unhealthy place in London was the House of Commons, and that he owed his income more to that fact than to any other circumstance. He remembered a remarkable rule which appeared to have been laid down by a remarkable man in order to preserve health in the House. 688 Lord Tweedmouth, who was then Mr. Majoribanks, the chief Ministerial Whip, took him from the Strangers' dining-room to the Ministers' dining-room, and told him that he had better look into it, because he would there see a historic sight, it being the first recorded time that Mr. Gladstone took dinner in the precincts of the House, Everyone knew that the one place in which Mr. Gladstone could never be induced to stay between 7.30 or 8.30 and 11 o'clock was the House of Commons. He always left the House and had dinner elsewhere, and the last thing he could be induced to talk about during dinner was the affairs of the House. Mr. Gladstone was a master of the art of living soundly, mentally as well as physically, and he took it that the reason why the deceased statesman went away for a period of the evening was that he realised that anybody who stopped throughout the sitting was bound to suffer. He confessed that if he came to the House-regularly and remained there during the whole of the sitting he found at the end of the week that he required a small vacation to recover his health. He would not say anything about the abolition of the dinner hour; he thought it was a change for the worse, but it had been agreed to and there was an end to the matter. But he had noticed that if a man went away only for an hour into a purer atmosphere he came back much fresher. A change ought to be made in the House. The ventilation was very bad. It was also a ridiculous thing that a gentleman who came up from the country to consult his Member upon some important matter affecting his constituency should have no place to wait in, but had to sit about in draughty passages. The right hon. Gentleman would not have to go far to see the necessity for change. He himself would be ashamed to put a junior sub-editor into the semi-underground cellar occupied by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Where was the remedy to be found? It was not that there was not enough accommodation in the building, when there were ten bedrooms for an official of the House who was a bachelor, but that it was not properly used. He did not wish to say anything disrespectful of 689 another place, but he would say that to keep up the present establishment, reading rooms, libraries, smoke rooms, and all the other accommodation for a Chamber that rarely sat after five o'clock, and very often did not meet at all, and took long vacations, was one of the greatest follies and absurdities he had ever heard of. He hoped his right hon. friend would not be annoyed if he suggested that instead of changing a portion of the Library into what he would regard as something between a smoke-room and a tap-room, he should seek a remedy by boldly annexing a large number of the rooms at present wasted on the officials of the House of Lords.
§ SIR WILLIAM BULL (Hammersmith)
called attention to the size of the Union Jack flown from the Victoria Tower, the size of which he said was out of all proportion to the size of the flagstaff and the building. He could not help thinking that, at all events in calm weather, a much larger flag should be flown; and that such a flag would be more in keeping with the size of the flagstaff and of the building. Another thing which he thought was required was a small hand guide to the House for the use of visitors. Many visitors came to the House and went away without having seen or known any of the beauties of the House. He thought a small book might be got out.
said he had no objection to the hon. Member asking a Question upon this subject, but he could not allow the hon. Member to discuss it.
§ MR. HARCOURT
said it might perhaps be convenient if he now dealt with some of the Questions which had been put to him. He was inclined to think with the hon. Member for Hammersmith that the flag that had been flown from the Victoria Tower lately was too small. The full-sized flag which was flown from the Victoria Tower in fair weather was one of the largest flags in the world, being 36 feet by 24, but owing to the great height of the Tower an effect of smallness was produced. It was quite right that a small and light flag should be flown when there was any great wind pressure, 690 otherwise the pressure would be so great that the flagstaff would not bear the strain. He also agreed with the suggestion of the hon. Member as to a guide. He had never heard of it before, but he thought it was a good one, and he would suggest that the hon. Member should write it himself. Whether, after it was written, he could afford any facilities for its sale in the building was another matter. Of that he was doubtful, because nothing was allowed to be sold in the building.
§ SIR WILLIAM BULL
said that was the point he was coming to when he was interrupted. There was no permission now for issuing such a work.
§ MR. HARCOURT
said he would see what could be done in that regard, but he welcomed the idea of such a guide being published. Other Members had complained, and not unnaturally, of the state of the newspaper room. He, unfortunately, had been put in possession of a Gothic building constructed of stone and inelastic, and it was quite impossible to enlarge the accommodation. Hon. Members had quoted the Report of a Committee in which a great deal was said of rooms being uselessly given up to officials. But hon. Members forgot that that Committee was twelve years old, and that since it reported most of that accommodation had been given up. It had been said for many years that it was absolutely impossible to construct any more lockers for hon. Members. No one could find any other place in which to put them, but by a careful study of the plans of the House he had found that he could take away the police room and throw it into the corridor, and upon the walls of that new part of the corridor he would be able to put up seventy new lockers. The hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool and the hon. Member for East Mayo both took up the attitude that the ventilation of the House was very bad, and that it was one of the most unhealthy places in the world. He thought that both were drawing on their recollection of many years ago. The change that had taken place in the ventilation and comfort of the Chamber in the last year or two was very remarkable and was greatly appreciated by many Members who 691 remembered the old state of affairs. But there was more to be done, and more was being done. In the Easter Recess he took steps by which, during a division, he was able to remove 45,000 cubic feet of bad air from the Division Lobby in one minute, and he hoped when the hot weather arrived hon. Members would appreciate the benefit of that. Of course the problem of the ventilation of the House was a very difficult one. Associated with Dr. Haldane in these inquiries was another distinguished gentleman, Dr. Gordon. The inquiries had gone on continuously, and he had ready for presentation to Parliament a most interesting bacteriolorical Report by Dr. Gordon on experiments he had made in the House and Reports on suggestions by experts for further improving ventilation, with plans and diagrams.
§ MR. DILLON
asked whether the inquiry included the question of the ventilation through the floor of the Chamber.
§ MR. HARCOURT
said that that matter had been constantly inquired into, but all the experts said that it was the only practical system in a building constructed as this one was, and it was an admirably working system in its way. It was quite true that a certain amount of dirt fell through the mat from hon. Members' boots and almost every form of bacillus was brought in on their boots; but the amount which came through the exhaust after passing through the Chamber was extraordinarily small. Dr. Gordon and other experts said that samples of air taken during the debate as regarded carbon dioxide was remarkably pure for air taken from an inhabited room. It was said that the air coming into the House was too cool in cold weather. It was not really a question of the temperature of the air. It came in between 62 and 63 degrees. He had given instructions, however, for the temperature of the air after midnight to be raised. The vitality of hon. Members fell rapidly after midnight and very rapidly after 3 a.m., and that produced a feeling of chill, which would be overcome in future by the rise in the temperature. Of course what was wanted was a supply of air which should be large in volume but low in 692 velocity. It was the velocity which caused chill. He was in an extremely difficult position in trying to provide the temperature which hon. Members desired, because, while one man complained that the Chamber was too cold, another asserted that it was too hot—quot homines tot ventilations. Then again it was very difficult to choose varying temperatures for different parts of the House. He had endeavoured during the early spring to reduce the velocity of the air by driving it through the cotton-wool filter, and he was doing what he could in the distributing chamber underneath the floor to get more equal distribution. Most scientific people considered that the requisite quantity of air for the human being to enjoy good health was fifty cubic feet per man per minute. That was the full requirement. Taking the maximum accommodation of this chamber, including strangers' and reporters' galleries, at 900, it would be necessary to drive 45,000 cubic feet of air per minute through to meet the maximum requirements. The fans that had been put in were capable of driving at a medium speed of 47,000 cubic feet of air per minute, or, at their maximum speed, 58,000 cubic feet. The whole contents of the Chamber were 165,000 cubic feet, and the entire air could be changed in three minutes. Until these exhaust fans were put in it took ten and a half minutes to change the air under the previous system. The supply of oxygen had been tested. The oxygen in the best air should vary from about 20.8 to 21 per cent. In no single sample taken had it been possible to get less than 21 per cent, of oxygen from the air which had passed through this chamber. It was true that there was no ozone in the House, but he believed scientists had given up the idea that that was valuable. If it were wanted he could produce it very rapidly by an electrical discharge. The question had been raised as to the humidity of the air. That, he was inclined to believe, was low, but he should be glad to have the opinion of hon. Members on the subject. It could be easily remedied. He thought he could claim that what had been done and was being done was satisfactory. It had never been a question of expense; the House had never hesitated 693 to spend money on its own comfort. There was one part of the building which was seriously deficient in good air, and that was the Strangers' Gallery. He was arranging for a supply of fresh air to be taken from the Terrace direct to the Strangers' Gallery which, would, he hoped, meet that deficiently. Also as soon as it could be structurally arranged, there would be another air shaft leading to the Ladies' Gallery, which would then be properly ventilated. These changes would, he hoped, be carried out during the next recess. He wished to offer one word of warning against a demand which was certain to be made, namely, that the side windows in this chamber should be thrown open during hot weather. It was obvious that, as a rule, the more the windows of an ordinary building were thrown open the better it was for the people inside, but in this House the opening of the windows was absolutely fatal to the whole system of ventilation. The effect of opening the windows was that practically there remained a deadlock of bad air on the floor of the Chamber so long as the exhaust was sucking the air from those open windows. That was why he should ask the House to allow him to keep the windows closed during the warm weather. Even if the air from those windows got down to them, it would be heated and dust laden, and would not be so pure, as if it had passed through the ordinary channel. The hon. Member for West Derby had asked about the accommodation for seeing I strangers. He agreed that such accommodation was not good, but there were always two conference rooms set apart for that purpose.
§ MR. H. H. MARKS (Kent, Thanet)
wished to direct the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to a matter which, although it was not of such importance as the questions which had been discussed in the debate, was nevertheless of considerable interest to a good many hon. Members. He alluded to the extreme inconvenience caused by the insufficient number of writing tables in the Members" Smoking Room. The time was when Members found plenty of accommodation for writing letters, but a custom had now grown up of using the tables for chess and draughts, 694 and those who went to write notes for their speeches, or to indulge in the pleasure; of correspondence with their constituents found that there was no accommodation. The remedy which he would venture to suggest was one which did not call for any revolutionary procedure, or for any considerable expenditure of money. It could be accomplished by a simple expedient of re-arranging the tables in the room and giving instructions that those placed there for writing purposes should not be utilised for chess and draughts when Members desired to use them for writing purposes.
§ MAJOR SEELY (Liverpool, Abercromby)
said he was an advocate of the policy of the open window. An ounce of practice was worth a pound of theory. On more than one occasion when he had urged that the windows should be opened the hon. Member for East Mayo had protested on the ground that the draught was very inconvenient to himself and other hon. Members. But his hon. friend could not have it both ways. Any scheme of ventilation which involved taking the air through a dark passage and passing it through various processes and then through the floor of the House, which was not very clean, could not be so good as fresh air from an open window. He would ask his right hon. friend before finally deciding against the open window to consult other experts, who had assured him that fresh air through an open window was better than any artificial supply.
§ MR. MORTON
said it was well understood that the whole difficulty in regard to the bad atmosphere in the House arose from the fact that the air was taken directly off the top of the Thames river, and the impurity arose in consequence of the sewage. He thought it would be better to take the air at a higher level. With regard to the want of accommodation in the Chamber, that question had often been discussed, and it was a matter which ought to be considered, especially in view of the fact that they had now a new House of Commons with hon. Members anxious to attend and do their duty. If they came to the House of Commons at 2.45, they ought to be able to find a seat somewhere. If in a full 695 House they stood at the Bar they were called to order and asked to find a seat, which they could not possibly do. He hoped that his right hon. friend in his spare moments would devote his attention to the problem of providing more accommodation in the Chamber. Then there was the question of the lighting of the Terrace. He thought hon. Members had reason to thank the First Commissioner for having improved the lighting in the streets immediately outside the House by the use of incandescent lights. He thought he might also improve the lighting of the terrace if he changed those old fashioned burners into incandescent lights, which would cost no more, except the initial cost, and would give four or five times as much light. His right hon. friend had said that hon. Members were only too glad to spend money on themselves. They might have been extravagant in the past, and he believed much of the expenditure had been wasted. He hoped his right hon. friend would not rely entirely on experts, but bring to bear on the subject his own great intelligence. Then he would be successful.
§ MR. SAMUEL EVANS (Glamorganshire, Mid.)
said no one who was not a faddist could complain of the ventilation of the Chamber. He hoped it would not go out that they were anxious to spend money on their own comfort. What his right hon. friend said was that they were willing to give the money required for necessary purposes. Nobody would object to the House of Commons expending the money necessary not simply for their comfort, but for their health as well as their comfort. There was one matter to which his right hon. friend ought to direct his immediate attention, namely, the accommodation in the "Aye" and the "No" Lobbies. How far had the right hon. Gentleman gone in the investigation of the matter? He had never found himself nearly asphyxiated in the House, but he had in the division lobbies. It was of the utmost importance that something should be done to provide a different arrangement in the division lobbies from that which existed at the present moment. More ventilation could be got by passing 696 the air through the lobbies at greater velocity, by opening windows, by more fans, and such like appliances, but the real question to which his right hon. friend must direct his attention was whether some other method could not be devised. A division in the ordinary course of things occupied about twenty minutes. The divisions took a long time, because the majorities, as a rule, were large in one lobby. In the old times the Members voting were fairly evenly divided in the two lobbies, but now they were absolutely huddled together in one lobby, and they were kept there an unconscionable time until the House was cleared. The reason for that was to be found in the fact that Members did not clear out of the House as rapidly as possible. That was a matter to which the Speaker and the Chairman might, direct their attention. While some Members were filing slowly out of the House others were huddled together in the lobby, and the influence on their health must be most deleterious. It was quite true that the Committee on Procedure would have their attention directed to the matter, but as a Member of that Committee he could hold out no hope whatever that anything would be done with respect to it in the course of this session. He was anxious that something should be done before the dog days in regard to the lobbies. Supposing that when the Education Bill was in Committee they had on one day ten divisions, the time occupied in walking through the lobbies would be over three hours. When in the lobbies they should not be subjected to conditions which affected their bodily health, and he hoped his right hon. friend would not allow the matter to lie in abeyance until he had a recommendation from the Committee on Procedure, but that he would be able to announce that some plan would be devised to relieve Members from the pestilential state of things from which they now suffered in passing through the lobbies.
§ MR. HARCOURT
said an hon. Member had complained that players of chess and draughts occupied the writing tables in the Smoking-room. That was not a matter which came under his control, but he quite agreed that the writing tables 697 should not be used in the way described. He hoped that hon. Members when playing chess and draughts would use some of the smaller tables. His hon. friend the Member for the Abercromby Division of Liverpool had spoken of the draughts from open windows. The draughts came when the wind was in a particular quarter, and blowing at a particular velocity. The hon. Member threw rather a reflection on the purity of the floor of the House. Though not pretty to look at, the floor in every part of the Chamber was cleansed every morning by a vacuum cleaner, and the matting was removed every Saturday and passed through a formalin process which absolutely sterilised it. As to the question asked by the hon. Member for Sutherland in regard to the height at which air was drawn from the Terrace into the building, he had to say that the point had been considered whether it would be better to take in air at a much I higher level. The tendency in all great towns was for bad air to rise, and for the fresh air from the country and the river to come in at a low level. He had had bacteriological tests made as to the condition of the air at the top of the Tower and on the Terrace, and it had been found that on the Terrace the air was infinitely superior in every respect to that at the top of the Tower. The question of having a Chamber of increased size was not one for him to deal with. It was a matter of policy for the Government as a whole. He hoped personally that hon. Members would have a little patience in regard to this matter. Debates of the kind now going on were easy in the present Chamber. If they had to provide a seat for every Member returned they would require; a House more than double the size of the present, and he did not like to contemplate the difficulty which an hon. Member would experience in trying to make himself heard by Members scattered about such an enormous building. There had always been a demand for a larger House at the beginning of a new Parliament. He might call it a hardy septennial. At the beginning of the 1880 Parliament a Question was put from the Gallery in order to direct the attention of Members to the state of the accommodation. Mr. Gladstone at that time discouraged the House from going in for a new building, and 698 stated that after the first session there was generally sufficient accommodation. Of course he did not pretend for a moment that it was not possible to build a new House, or to enlarge the existing one. This House could be enlarged at great expense by taking down the side walls and adding the present division lobbies to the area. Acoustics were an indeterminate science, and what would happen in a House double the size he could not say. Whether we could ever obtain a House so perfect in its acoustics as the present was also doubtful. He would be very loth to touch a building which in many ways was perfectly suitable for its purpose. An hon. Member had suggested that the Terrace should be illuminated with incandescent lights. His own opinion was that there was some charm about the dimness of the light on the Terrace. He, however, was quite willing to take the opinion of hon. Members on the subject: and he had given instructions that three or four lamps should be fitted merely as an experiment, and in the next few weeks he would be able to to give effect to the general expression of opinion. He warned the Committee that these alterations for the comfort of hon. Members involved the expenditure of money which must receive Parliamentary authority and next February he would have to introduce a Supplementary Estimate to sanction them so as to free himself from responsibility. His hon. friend had drawn his attention to the condition of the division lobbies. He had now received from the Cabinet power to deal with the matter officially, and to spend what money was necessary in order to make experiments in that regard. He had a plan in his mind in respect to the alteration which might be made; and when the proper time came he would provide a large diagram in the Tea-room showing the alterations he proposed, and he might even deliver a lecture upon it himself.
§ LORD BALCARRES (Lancashire, Chorley)
Does it involve structural alterations of any important character?
§ MR. HARCOURT
said that it-might involve certain structural alterations on woodwork, as to doors, etc. He was going 699 to submit himself as a witness to the Committee on Procedure immediately after Whitsuntide, and he believed that the Committee would go into that question and consider his suggestions. If his suggestions were approved of, they would be made in a temporary form until it could be seen whether they were approved by the House generally. He would like to point out that the great inconvenience of the present system was due largely to the great disparity of the numbers of hon. Members on the two sides. He would be extremely slow to depart from the old system under which there were occasional meetings in the division lobbies between Members from different parts of the House. The association in the lobbies with Ministers was also extremely useful to hon. Members, and nothing in his plan would interfere with the present system of passing through the lobbies. It would only make the passage through the lobbies much more rapid than at present.
ME. POWEE (Waterford, E.)
drew attention to the great inconvenience which hon. Members suffered in the Tea-room between half-past five and seven o'clock. It would be a great advantage if the right hon. Gentleman would provide an additional room where Members could get their tea in comfort. Eight or ten years ago he drew the attention of the then Commissioner of Works to the wretched light in the Library; and movable electric lamps were placed on the tables, which was a great improvement. What he complained of was that some Members came down early to the Library, put a few papers on the table, and turned up a chair and then went away so that other Members were prevented from getting access to the table to carry on their correspondence. He thought that if more lamps were put in the lobby it would be a great improvement.
§ MR. CREMER
said he wanted to return to the subject of the ventilation of the House. A very important Report was made by a Committee appointed to inquire into this matter three years ago. Experiments were made by that Committee, pipes were laid all along the 700 House; air was collected from these pipes and subjected to analysis by expert chemists. That Report could be studied in the Library. He ventured to say from his experience of nearly every Legislative Chamber in Europe and in the United States, that the atmosphere of this House was about the purest in the world; and the Report of that Committee bore out that statement. If the hon. Member for East Mayo consulted that Report he would have his fears somewhat dissipated, because it had been proved that the atmosphere in this House was as pure as it was possible to get in any building of the kind. He would suggest to hon. Members who complained of the bad air that they should go down below and inspect the marvellous apparatus for securing ventilation. He was very glad to hear what the First Commissioner of Works had said as to publishing a guide for the use of strangers visiting the Houses of Parliament. He had on previous occasions brought the subject Before the House some years ago, and the then First Commissioner of Works promised to consider the matter. There was already a guide sold within the precincts of the House. He held in his hand a copy of that guide book. It was a poor wee thing; and he thought that a better one should be prepared so that thousands of strangers who visited the building might be able to take away with them an illustrated and instructive memorial. A Committee was appointed twelve years ago to take into consideration the best possible means of providing for the better accommodation of Members, One of their recommendations was that strangers who had seats under the Gallery should not be compelled to leave the House when a division was called. To obviate that, it was suggested by the Committee that a railing should be placed between the House and the seats under the Gallery. That railing was erected, but from that day to this the occupants of the seats had been compelled to withdraw when a division was called. The result often was that when a division was called they had hon. Members trying to get in and gentlemen who occupied the Strangers' seats under the Gallery trying to get out. To obviate this difficulty he would suggest that the First 701 Commissioner, who had, he understood, he power to do it to-morrow if he liked, should allow the gentlemen who occupied the Strangers' seats under the Gallery to remain there so as to prevent the collision to which he had alluded taking place. With regard to the police about the building he urged that they should not be called upon to stand for eight or nine hours continuously. For some reason which he was not acquainted with it was more fatiguing to stand upon tiles for three or four hours than upon a wooden floor for eight or nine hours. He did not know whether this subject came within the First Commissioner's Department, but if it did he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would consider it and allow the policemen about the House to have an occasional rest for an hour or two. He sat upon a Committee some twelve years ago which considered the subject of enlarging or rebuilding the House of Commons, and but for an extraordinary trick or something approaching one they would have decided in favour of the enlargement of the present House of Commons or of a new building. The proposal was lost by only one vote. It was a strong Committee, and a plan was proposed for altering the chamber into a semi-circular one and increasing it in size by quite a simple method. He thought that, with the exception of the House of Representatives at Washington, this was the only square or longitudinal legislative chamber in the world: as all the others were constructed upon the semi-circular plan or horseshoe fashion. He thought the House ought to have been constructed upon that plan, and the sooner it was seen about the better.
§ *MR. J. WARD (Stoke-on-Trent) moved to reduce the vote by £700, the item for providing a lift for the House of Lords. He wished to ask the Commissioner of Works whether under all the circumstances and in view of the history of the doings of that Assembly in the past as well as recently it was necessary to provide any better accommodation than it enjoyed at present. He thought that, considering the attitude of the House of Lords in regard to measures proposed in this House, especially in dealing with very important labour problems, 702 and its evident determination to oppose everything that was moved by the Labour Members, it would be the duty of the Labour men to oppose any proposal for saddling the country with further expenditure upon that body. He hoped the First Commissioner of Works would not consider his Motion for reduction as hostile to the present Administration in any shape or form, but merely as being moved for the purpose of giving an immediate expression of opinion as to the conduct of the other Assembly. He was going to put this Motion to the vote in view of the way in which decisions of this House were treated by the Upper Chamber. The Aliens Bill was not in his view a Party question in any shape or form, but a proposal which had been unanimously accepted by this House and had now been rejected with scorn by the other Chamber.
The hon. member cannot discuss the matter in this way. He can move the reduction, but he cannot criticise the action of the House of Lords upon any measure.
§ MR. J. WARD
said he was a new Member, and he apologised if he had transgressed the rules of order. He had no doubt that there would be many hon. Members, however, who would be able to deal with the policy of the House of Lords without getting out of order. He would content himself with moving the reduction.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That item A be reduced by £700."— (Mr. John Ward.)
§ MR. HARCOURT
said the question of the tea-room had already been dealt with, and as to the question in reference to papers and books in the library it was one for the officials of the House and not for him. He should be most happy to give hon. Members who had questioned him facilities for viewing plans of what it was proposed to do. He was not sure whether strangers ought not to be allowed to remain under the gallery during a division, so as to avoid crowding; that was a matter which might well come before the Procedure Committee, who might perhaps make a recommendation to the House on the subject. He was 703 considering the question of affording seats for officials at the Speaker's end of the House, and he thought it possible by making alterations at the clock end of the chamber and removing the short staircase, to give an extra bench for the Members who might be displaced at the Chair end. He believed that there would be no serious objection to that proposal, and the House would not object to giving up one row of seats if it was replaced two elsewhere. He had nothing to do with the policing of the House, and the force were under the Home Secretary. They had already discussed the enlargement of the House, but he would enter his caveatagainst any countenance being given to a semi-circular chamber. He quite understood the natural sense of seriousness in which the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent desired to reduce the expenditure on the House of Lords in view of the action which had taken place that day, but he did not think this was a convenient method of raising the question, nor did he think it would be very effective. There was no lift in the House of Lords at all, whereas there were three in the House of Commons. A very distinguished and active peer who suffered from an infirmity which prevented him ascending stairs, but who took a great part in public work, had to go to the lift leading to the Ladies Gallery in the House of Commons and walk to the scene of his duties. There were many other Members of the House of Peers, who did not retire from their work because they were infirm, as Members of the Lower House did, to whom a lift would be useful. Hon. Members must remember that if they had no consideration for the House of Peers there were others who had occasion to go to the House of Lords who had to be considered. He hoped, therefore, the hon. Member would not press his Amendment to a division, and that the Committee would now allow this vote to pass.
§ MR. DILLON
said he did not agree with the right hon. Gentleman that this Vote should be taken without a division. It was the only means the Committee had of showing its feeling upon these matters. He remembered that some years ago the Committee cut out a Vote on the Paper in respect to the other House, and that had a 704 considerable effect upon the minds of those who sat in that House. What on earth did the House of Lords want with a lift? They had almost nothing to do and as almost religiously did it. They only sat for about one hour a week, and he could not for the life of him see the reason for putting this expense on the tax-payers. He hoped the hon. member would go to a division and give those who felt very keenly on the conduct of those who occupied one portion of the building an opportunity of expressing their views in the division lobby. If the right hon. Gentleman would give the Committee a more suitable opportunity within a short date, he would await that opportunity.
MR. A. L. STANLEY (Cheshire. Eddisbury)
said he was entirely in sympathy with those who moved and supported this Amendment, but he wished to point out that the House of Lords, besides being a legislature, was a judicial body, and that as such they earned fees which were handed over to the Exchequer. It was quite possible that if this Committee refused to concede this lift the House of Lords would cease to hand over the fees that they received as a judicial body and apply them to the purpose of constructing one, or it might be twenty, lifts. By such a transaction the Committee would not gain anything, and that being so he hoped the hon. Gentleman would withdraw his. Amendment.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
said that if it came to a conflict between the House of Lords and the House of Commons, there was very little doubt as to who would win.
§ MR. WEIR (Ross and Cromarty)
said he could not agree with the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner. He admired his sympathy for the feeble peer, but that was no reason why they should vote £700 for this one Gentleman's convenience when there were thousands of poor landless cottars in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. He would be a traitor to his country if he allowed this sum to be vetted for the comfort of one feeble nobleman, however amiable he might be. He came to the House pledged up to the hilt to reform and economy. Where did the economy 705 come in in this Vote? They had far better have a couple of porters to carry this poor Gentleman—say, a couple of Chinamen, who were well used to that kind of work. He would be no party to this expenditure, and he hoped there were many present pledged to economy who would vote against this extravagance.
§ MR. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD
wished to give his views upon this extremely unseemly Amendment, and the objectionable manner in which it had been supported. He took it that if there was any reasonable ground for calling into question the conduct of those who sat in another place they had at least the right of being treated with courtesy and consideration. If there was reasonable ground for calling attention to their conduct the opportunity of doing so ought to be taken in a constitutional and regular way. Hon. Gentlemen below the gangway must have misinterpreted the meaning of the word "lift" in this Vote. It did not mean that this House was giving a support to the House of Lords, but an elevator. The intention was to spend £700 on a structural improvement in another part of the building. As had been pointed out, this House had three lifts for the accommodation of Members, while the House of Lords had none. The First Commissioner of Works had intimated that he was engaged in delicate negotiations with the representatives of the Upper Chamber, and was obtaining from them some addition to the comforts of this House. Was this the right way to bring about a good result of those negotiations? He hoped the Committee would not allow the Amendment to be withdrawn, so that hon. Members might have an opportunity of expressing their opinion upon it.
§ MR. KEIR HARDIE (Merthyr Tydvil)
said that he wanted to explain the circumstances connected with this reduction. The House probably knew that in the House of Lords the Aliens Bill——
That subject cannot be discussed; it is out of order. The question of the rejection of the Aliens 706 Bill by the House of Lords has nothing whatever to do with this Vote.
§ MR. KEIR HARDIE
said that in that case the only course loft was to make a protest against what had happened in the Upper House, for which the Government as much as the Opposition in the House of Lords were responsible, by voting for the proposed reduction.
MR. STANLEY WILSON (Yorkshire, E.R, Holderness)
hoped that the First Commissioner of Works would not listen to the plea of hon. Members below the gangway, that he would show some grit over this subject, and that he intended for once to put his back against the wall. He assured the right hon. Gentleman that he would receive the support of the Opposition.
§ MR. HARCOURT
said it appeared to him that hon. Gentlemen did not exactly understand the position. It was arranged to put the lift in the House of Lords because of the convenience of the arrangement to the Members and also to individuals suffering from physical disability. He appealed to hon. Members not to press the reduction, on account of the negotiations in which he was now engaged to secure further accommodation for their benefit. Everything was still in the air, and if this reduction wore carried, all his plans would vanish into thin air. He therefore implored hon. Members not to make their protest—with which he fully and warmly sympathised—in any form that would hamper him in the negotiations that he was carrying on for the general convenience of the House.
§ MR. J. WARD
said that, after consultation with his colleagues, and especially after the expression of sympathy from the right hon. Gentleman, he would ask leave to withdraw his Amendment, hoping to obtain a more favourable opportunity of discussing the merits of the question.
§ Leave to withdraw refused.
§ Question put and negatived.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD moved the reduction of the Vote by £100, because, although he thought 707 the Committee ought to be very grateful to the First Commissioner of Works for the exceedingly interesting particulars he had given tending to reassure them as to the cleanliness and the atmosphere of the Chamber, and as to the removal from it of bacteriological and other matter injurious to health, the right hon. Gentleman had not seen his way to include in the Vote any item for improving the accommodation in the House. The accommodation was hopelessly inadequate, the Benches for seating were most uncomfortable, and generally the House was the worst-provided Legislature in Europe, and he could speak from knowledge, having visited and carefully examined the Houses of Legislature in practically every European capital Members of the House had none of the facilities for discharging their legislative duties enjoyed by the representatives in foreign Legislatures, such as a convenient seat and desk, with pen and ink. To secure a seat, members had to come to the House at an early and inconvenient hour of the morning. As a matter of fact, there was not seating accommodation in the House for more than two-thirds of the people's representatives. It had also been admitted that the smoking room accommodation was exceedingly inadequate, and the room was perhaps the most draughty in London. It was admitted, too, that the tea-room accommodation was inadequate, and was rendered unpleasant by the fumes of the boiling tea and coffee in preparation. He had visited that evening the two rooms referred to as being excellent for the purpose of a Member interviewing anyone, and found that they were apparently fully occupied by secretaries or other people. There was no place in the House where a Member could have a few minutes' conversation with a constituent or anyone else on business except in the smoking room or the draughty corridor on a stone bench. He very much regretted to hear the First Commissioner practically tell the Committee that it was not the intention to add to the accommodation of Members, and certainly not to do anything to enlarge the accommodation in the Chamber itself. He saw by the Vote that they were asked to spend £1,800 in providing additional rooms for Ministers. He presumed they had the rooms which 708 the late Ministers had, and he failed to see why they should not be good enough. The ventilation of the lavatories also called for some comment. It was most necessary that the lavatories should be thoroughly ventilated. He noticed that for this purpose £250 was spent last year, and there was a similar amount put down for next year. Could the First Commissioner tell them when this expenditure began, and when it was intended to cease? He did not think they were properly ventilated even now. There was also an item of £2,000 for improvements in the ventilation of the Chamber. He was told that at present the arrangements were about as perfect as they could be made, and that the experts were quite satisfied with the manner in which the air was taken from the Terrace, washed of its impurities, warmed, and sent along by means of powerful fans of great size at the rate of 45,000 cubic feet a minute. If the arrangement by which the air came through the dirty floor subjecting Members' legs to draughts, as had been so graphically described, was perfect, why should they spend another £2,000 upon it? This was not the cost of upkeep, but simply the cost of alterations and improvements. He noticed that £550 was going to be spent upon the heating of Ministers' rooms and corridors in the House of Commons in addition to the sum spent last year. The Members' tea room and reading room were in a vile condition; in fact they were only pieces of an old passage, and they were going to spend another £250 upon them in improving the ventilation. There were a number of other items, but he did not want to waste the time of the House. On page 19, £13,630 was going to be spent upon works and services connected with the engineering arrangements and the wages of the men in connection with the ventilation. That was an enormous sum, but in addition there was £7,300 for lighting and £3,300 for fuel, which would represent about 7,000 tons. If the Government were really desirous of practising that economy which was talked so much about during the election, they could not do better than give their attention to some of these items. He was very dissatisfied with the way in which this Vote had been brought forward, and he did not think that the arrangements 709 for the comfort, convenience, and health of Members had been fully taken into consideration by the Government. They were entitled to better accommodation and better facilities for visitors, and as a protest against the refusal of the First Commissioner to listen sympathetically to the suggestions made to him, he would move the reduction of the Vote by £100. He understood that the right hon. Gentleman intended to give evidence before the procedure Committee. If so, he hoped he would suggest that, when a division was taking place, the door at the top of the stairs should be open. There was no earthly reason, as far us he was aware, why Members should not be able to get out down the steps after the Members had gone into the lobbies.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £31,700, be granted for the said service."—(Mr. Watson Rutherford.)
§ MR. HARCOURT
said he had not yet been able to make all the arrangements he desired so as to get a better supply of air in the division lobbies. The sum to be spent on the engineering department would only exceed the sum spent last year by £450. The men employed in this department were very numerous. It appeared from the Estimates that there was a falling off in the salary of the resident engineer, but he wished the Committee to understand that the present resident engineer was going to be promoted, and that the new engineer would be appointed at a lower salary. The opening of the door of the Members' staircase entrance during divisions would be an admirable reform, but he did not know that it fell within his province to deal with that matter.
§ CAPTAIN CRAIG (Down, E.)
said it was difficult for Members to deal with the books and papers which they kept in the lockers in the passages on account of there being no shelves on which to place them. He asked whether it would not be possible to provide a small lifting shelf inside each locker. He believed this could.be done at trifling cost.
MR. STANLEY WILSON
inquired if there was any intention of changing the colour of the face of Big Ben. Last 710 year Big Ben's face had a greenish appearance; now it was very white.
§ MR. WEIR
said there was an item of £700 for water supply. He wished to know whether the water supplied in the dining-room was of good quality. Was the water obtained from the Water Board, or was it artesian well water mixed with Thames water? The sum of £2,550 for repairing furniture seemed to him extravagant. When the late profligate Government was in office it was absolutely useless to call attention to this matter, but the sum should be more modest under a Liberal Administration. He did not know whether the right hon. Gentleman was aware of the fact that it was the practice in the workshop of his department if a castor was broken off a chair not to be satisfied simply with putting on a new castor, but to break the leg off the chair and put on a new leg.
§ MR. FORSTER (Kent, Sevonoaks)
expressed the hope that, while suitable accommodation would be provided for officials who had to attend during the debates in order that Ministers might be able to get into communication with them, nothing would be done to lessen the accommodation available for strangers in view of the enormous demand with which they wore confronted for the admission of strangers. He found from a footnote that some of the men in the engineer's department were pensioners. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would tell the Committee how many out of the total number were pensioners, and whether he would consider the advisability of utilising the services of pensioners as far as possible. He thought the House should set a good example to other employers of labour by giving a preference where possible to Army and Navy pensioners.
§ MR. JOHN O'CONNOR (Kildare, N.)
said that anything which affected the House must be interesting to Irishmen. [Some OPPOSITION laughter.] Some hon. Members laughed; but it should be remembered that the House was built by an Irishman, Sir Charles Barry, whose statue was on the staircase. Again, the House was decorated by an Irishman. The most beautiful pictures in the House were painted by Daniel Maclise. He knew many of the pupils of that eminent 711 artist. Two great panels in the Royal Gallery were painted by Daniel Maclise, one illustrating the meeting of Wellington and Blucher on the field of Waterloo, and the other representing the death of Nelson on board the "Victory" at Trafalgar. These frescoes had been engraved and sold all over the world in hundreds of thousands; but those who purchased them did not know that the original pictures in the House of Parliament were in a most dilapidated condition and that they were fast fading away. Why should those glorious works of an artist, who was first in his generation, be neglected and allowed to perish for want of ordinary care? He knew a friend and disciple of Daniel Maclise, Mr. Henry O'Shea, of Limerick, an artist of eminence himself, who sometimes came over to London on a visit, and that gentlemen often told him that he had wept over those pictures and their neglected condition. Many years ago Mr. O'Shea asked him to draw the attention of the House to the state of those pictures, and he had never had an opportunity of doing so until now. Some of the very finest works of art in the building, which was a work of art in itself, were the product of Irish genius. He wanted to know from the First Commissioner of Works whether he would not consult the President of the Royal Academy, and Sir William Richmond, who had done such noble work in the decoration of St. Paul's Cathedral, so that something might be done for the preservation of the frescoes in the Royal Gallery. He knew that they were under very unfavourable conditions; that the atmosphere which prevailed about the Houses of Parliament was not at all favourable for the preservation of works of that kind. Indeed, the atmosphere was most unfavourable to the House itself, because the chemicals from the works not very far away were crumbling the stone work of the river front, as anyone could see who took the trouble to look.
§ MR. T. L. CORBETT (Down, K)
trusted that the right, hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works would respond to the eloquent and touching appeal made by his hon. friend. Some hon. Members "had interrupted his friend with ribald laughter and unseemly levity, but he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would treat this matter of the threatened destruction of works of art 712 due to Irish genius in a very different spirit. He desired to call attention to Item B, for maintenance and repair of the clock tower. It was startling to think that the charges for these had risen from £6,600 to £8,000. For such a large increase as £1,400 they were entitled to a much fuller explanation than had yet been given. His old friend, the Member for Scotland——
§ MR. T. L. CORBETT
Well, his old friend the Member for Ross and Cromarty had already called attention to the very remarkable item of £3,550 for the supply and repair of furniture, floorcloth, and mats. That was a remarkable increase of £2,500. More details should be furnished to the Committee as to how this large sum had been expended. They all wanted to assist the right hon. Gentleman in getting through his Estimates, because he had shown the greatest courtesy throughout these discussions.
§ MR. HARCOURT
said that the cost of lighting Big Ben was, roughly speaking, £240 a year. The green light was cheaper than the present light by about £80, but he was not prepared to revert to the experiment of last year unless he was assured that hon. Members thought it desirable, and that the public would ultimately become accustomed to it in the interests of economy. An hon. Member had asked where the water consumed in the House came from. It was not drawn from artesian wells: it was a supply from the Chelsea Water Works. He had been asked questions about furniture and castors. He would investigate and report to the hon. Member who raised the question, whose eagle eye nothing seemed to escape. He had thrown out a suggestion that the position of officials in this House might be changed, and it was only made subject to certain alterations being found possible He did not suggest that the space for strangers should be decreased, but he thought that if they could increase the seating accommodation by another bench to hold ten, the change would be for the manifest convenience of the House. He was sorry to say that he could not give the number of pensioners employed 713 in the House and he could not promise to employ any considerable number of these men in such work as that of engineers, in which special fitness was necessary. In all other departments connected with buildings under his control it was his desire to give places to pensioners whenever it was possible. As to the frescoes and other decorations, he had found upon inspection that no serious deterioration or perishing was taking place. Undoubtedly there was some fading, owing largely to the particular medium which had been employed. To attempt anything like colour restoration would be hopelessly to destroy the merit of the artist's achievement, but every effort was being made to preserve the work in accordance with the advice of the best exports. No pains, he could assure hon. Members, would be neglected to preserve these works, which in addition to their own merits had become historic. The hon. Member for North Down had asked a question as to an item of £1,400 for maintenance and repairs. Nearly £1,000 was for the removal of the paint in the innermost lobby which had been vandalised and vulgarised by painting. He proposed to take off the paint and restore the lobby to its original appearance. Another £300 was for the laying of water mains and the removal and renewal of the cisterns, which were in a very dirty state. All the cisterns would now be put in a sanitary condition. He was asked how £3,500 for the supply of furniture last year had been spent, but he of course was not responsible for that expenditure. He believed that the particulars which the hon. Member wanted would be found in the details of expenditure laid before the Public Accounts Committee. He had put his estimate at the same figure as last year, acting upon the information he had received from expert officials of long experience.
§ Question put, and negatived.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum not exceeding £48,000, be granted to His Majesty to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will conic in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1907, for expenses in respect of Diplomatic and Consular Buildings."714
§ MR. WEIR
called attention to expenditure upon certain Embassies. £20,000 had been spent upon the purchase of a Legation House at Christiania, whilst at Nagasaki, an important port in Japan, only £5,700 had been required for rebuilding the Consulate. A large sum, £46,600, had been spent on a new Embassy at Madrid, and in his opinion the expenditure under this head was excessive.
§ House counted, and forty Members being present,
MR. STANLEY WILSON
referred to the cost of the old Legation at Madrid, and to the cost of the Consular buildings at Nagasaki, the Estimate in regard to which, he claimed, had been largely increased. He was referring to the rebuilding of the Consulate at Nagasaki. He did not hear what the hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty, who, he believed, referred to this subject, had said, owing to the great amount of conversation that was going on in the House, and therefore if he had referred to anything to which the hon. Member had called attention he hoped the Committee would excuse him. He trusted the right hon. Gentleman would give the Committee a satisfactory reply as to these revised and increased Estimates.
§ MR. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD
said he noticed that these items had been much increased in the revised Estimates. The proportion of increase under "A" was no loss than £13,000 over the Estimate of last year. As against that increase there was on one item a paltry and, in his opinion, an entirely uncalled-for economy. He referred to Vote 7, Item A.—for the maintenance of Crimean cemeteries. Last year £700 was voted for the purpose of keeping in decent and honourable condition the graves of those who fought and fell for their country. Many hon. Members had received communication from friends who had been to these places, saying how badly these graves 715 were kept, but the fact remained that last year £700 was spent upon them. In the item for the coming year, however, there was only £300 for that purpose. It seemed to him that while the department did not hesitate to add £13,000 to this particular Vote they were going to be guilty of a paltry economy in the item required for keeping in decent order the graves of our illustrious dead in the Crimea.
§ MR. MORTON
said he quite agreed that we ought to look after the graves of those who fought and died in the service of the country. But in this country it was the practice, having got all they could out of their soldiers, to let them, if they were not killed, do the best they could for themselves, and to let their wives and children go to the workhouse. Wherever he found revised and increased Estimates, he always viewed them with suspicion, because they were entitled to regard the original Estimates as showing the total cost. Efficient persons were employed to prepare these Estimates, and they were therefore entitled to regard them as accurate. But some of them knew that Estimates, not only public, but private, were sometimes purposely made low to get them adopted, and that they were increased afterwards. He therefore asked for a full and satisfactory explanation of these increases. He quite agreed with the hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty that they ought to look with suspicion on the expenditure on these old places in Spain, and on the sum proposed to be expended on some place in Japan. No doubt large sums of money were wasted in this way. The reason that economy must be practised in these matters was that the money was wanted for other purposes. While this sort of thing went on how was it possible for him to get the few hundreds he wanted for improvements in Sutherlandshire? His objection to voting for these increased Estimates was that the present Government, like the previous Government, were neglecting Sutherlandshire. He wanted; to follow up the suggestion of the Prime Minister and colonise our own country, and that could not be done without money.
§ MR. T. L. CORBETT
called attention to the item under the head of 716 Appendix: "List of buildings the maintenance of which is provided for under Sub-head B." He said the right hon. Member, if he looked at page 29, would find items such as the Embassy houses at Berlin, Constantinople, Paris, Petersburg and Tokio mentioned, and Legation and Consular buildings in China, Japan, Corea, Egypt, Siam and Zanzibar. What he desired to know was under what heading the Committee could find provision made for the Legations at Berne, Bucharest, the Hague and other not mentioned in that list in the "Appendix." With regard to page 27 he thought they ought to have some explanation of the amount of £7,476, which was proposed td be voted for the erection of a now Consulate at Dakar, and some further explanation of the enormous amount to be voted for the new Embassy at Madrid.
§ MR. HARCOURT
said the item of £26,000 for Christiania would explain itself. A new monarchy had arisen in Europe; with that monarchy this country naturally had great sympathy. It was a monarchy allied to us by marriage, and it was eminently desirable that the British Crown and the British people should be well represented. For that £26,000 we had been able to make a satisfactory purchase of an-extremely desirable house. With regard to the buildings in Japan, they had not been kept up quite to the mark of late years, when the development of British commerce and industry in Japan, which was the result of the alliance, was considered. In the matter of Embassy buildings they were pursuing a policy which he believed to be the right one, of gradually securing freeholds. In Madrid a new property had been bought, the old one being unsuitable in situation and accommodation. The old Embassy house would be sold, and the amount realised would be at all events an asset against the expenditure in securing and equipping the new Embassy. He thought if hon. Members inquired next year they would find the bargain not a bad one. Generally, it was a case of improving an Embassy in a manner befitting the representative of the Crown in a country which was going to be closely allied to us by marriage.
said he was sorry he could not carry in his head exactly what the increase was for. He would be delighted to supply the hon. Member with the information later if that would satisfy him. With regard to the increase of £13,000 on the total Vote, that was duo to the necessity of providing a new Legation in Christiania. As to the expenditure on the Crimean cemeteries, they had always had the liability of keeping those cemeteries in order.
§ MR. MORTON
It has been declared by travellers over and over again that these cemeteries are not kept in good repair.
§ Mr. HARCOURT
said if the hon. Gentleman could bring any proof of that he would take steps in the matter.
§ LORD BALCARRES
said that the charge of extravagance brought against the Department was in his opinion entirely unfounded, His hon. friend had drawn attention to the difference between the original and revised Estimates for various public buildings. If any Department was to blame it was the Treasury, and not the Office of Works, which made the original Estimate, submitted it to the Treasury, and, for reasons which no doubt seemed good to the Treasury, the Estimate was sometimes deferred for as long as four years. In the meantime naturally the price at which the site could be acquired had risen and the Estimate had to be revised accordingly. It might he wrong that these delays should take place, but he did not think the hon. Member was justified in placing the whole responsibility on the Office of Works. The Office of Works was thy one Department of the service of the State of which it could properly be said that it exercised economy. On the one hand the Office of Works was charged with extravagance and on the other with parsimony. For the Crimean cemeteries last year £700 was voted; this year £300 was voted, an economy of £400. Somebody had said this was disrespectful to our dead soldiers who now lie in the cemeteries in the Crimea. There again the hon. Member did the Office of Works an 718 injustice. If he examined the Estimates with a little more precision he would observe that this particular sum was for new works, alterations, and additions. The ordinary maintenance of the Crimean cemeteries did not come under this Vote at all. That item, together with the salaries of custodians and others, came under another sub-head. It was no doubt right, and certainly it was fashionable to attack public Departments, and, incidentally, the Ministers responsible for them as being highly extravagant. He thought the more carefully these estimates were examined, especially in the case of the Office of Works, the more it would be found that the responsible Minister and the permanent officials had studied the interests of economy.
§ MR. MORTON
said they did not charge the right hon. Gentleman with extravagance. What they said was that as there was an increase in the estimates they were entitled to a full explanation, because in many cases it was the fault of the officials in making the original estimates.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum not exceeding £8,400 be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on March 31st, 1907, for Osborne."
§ MR. MORTON
asked why the convalescent home at Osborne was used only for officers, lie thought Tommy Atkins ought to have the benefit of it as well as the officers.
MR. STANLEY WILSON
said the whole of this Vote showed a considerable increase, and some explanation was necessary. He thought it was the right hon. Gentleman's duty to give the Committee some explanation of the various increases in the expenditure upon the different items of this Vote.
§ MR. HARCOURT
in reply to the hon. Member for Sutherland said that Osborne was not available for private soldiers. The estate was presented to the nation for specified purposes set out in the Act of 1902 for the benefit of officers of the 719 naval and military services and others. An item of £850 for work incident to the discontinuance of the generation of electric current and the transfer to a supply from the local company's mains would ultimately effect a saving of £150 a year. He thought that was a good bargain for the taxpayer.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ 4. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum not exceeding £426,000, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on March 31st, 1907, for the Customs, Inland Revenue, Post Office, and Post Office Telegraph Buildings in Great Britain, and certain Post Offices abroad, including Furniture, Fuel, and sundry Miscellaneous Services."
MR. STANLEY WILSON
said that this Vote showed a decrease in one item; there were also several increases. With regard to the Post Office buildings he found that whilst the expenditure upon alterations had fallen, maintenance had increased from £57,850 to £62,650. He thought that was an item which required the careful attention of the right hon. Gentleman. There were several other items in which increases had occurred and to which he desired to call the attention of the First Commissioner.
§ MR. HARCOURT
said the increases wore mainly due to variations from original estimates in the course of extensions and adaptations of old Post Office buildings.
§ MR. MORTON
drew attention to several increases in expenditure and asked for some information about the new power station at Blackfriars.
§ MR. HARCOURT
said the increase were due to alterations from the original estimates, which was not an unusual thing in connection with the erection of new buildings.
hoped attention would be given to the post office at Canterbury, now quite inadequate in its accommodation. He had frequently directed the attention of the Government to this matter.
§ MR. HARCOURT
said he would make inquiry and inform the right hon. Gentleman of the result. Certainly the city should be well provided, if only as a testimonial to its Member, from whom had emanated so many suggestions for postal reform.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 234; Noes, 26. (Division List No. 81.)721
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.||Bramsdon, T. A.||Cremer, William Randal|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Brigg, John||Crooks, William|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Bright, J. A.||Devlin, Charles Ramsay(Galwy|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Brocklehurst, W. D.||Dickinson, W.H.(St, Pancras, N|
|Alden, Percy||Brodie, H. C.||Dobson, Thomas W.|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Brooke, Stopford||Dolan, Charles Joseph|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Burke, E. Haviland.||Duckworth, James|
|Armstrong, W. C. Heaton||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness|
|Astbury, John Meir||Burnyeat, J. D. W.||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Byles, William Pollard||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Cairns, Thomas||Elibank, Master of|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Cameron, Robert||Erskine, David C.|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Causton,Rt.Hn.RichardKnight||Esmonde, Sir Thomas|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Cawley, Frederick||Eve, Harry Trelawney|
|Barnes, G. N.||Chance, Frederick William||Fenwick, Charles|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Cheetham, John Frederick||Findlay, Alexander|
|Barry, B. (Cork, S.)||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Beaumont, W. C. B. (Hexham)||Clancy, John Joseph||Flynn, James Christopher|
|Bell, Richard||Clarke, C. Goddard (Peckham)||Fullerton, Hugh|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Cleland, J. W.||Gibb, James (Harrow)|
|Benn, W. (T'w'r Hamlets.S.Geo||Clough, W.||Gill, A. H.|
|Bennett, E. N.||Clynes, J. R.||Ginnell, L.|
|Bertram, Julius||Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Glendinning, R. G.|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Goddard, Daniel Ford|
|Billson, Alfred||Collins, Sir Wm.J.(S.PancrasW||Grant, Corrie|
|Bolton,T.D.(Derbyshire, N.E.)||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Greenwood, Hamar (York)|
|Gulland, John W.||M'Kean, John||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||M'Kenna, Reginald||Robinson, S.|
|Halpin, J.||K'Killop, W.||Rowlands, J.|
|Hammond, John||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Runciman, Walter|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis||M'Micking, Major G.||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Hardie.J. Keir(Merthyr Tydvil)||Maddison, Frederick||Scott,A.H.(Ashton underLyne|
|Hart-Davies, T.||Manfield, Harry (Northant)||Sears, J. E.|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Marks,G.Croydon (Launceston)||Seddon, J.|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Masterman, C. F. G.||Shackleton, David James|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Meagher, Michael||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Meehan, Patrick A.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Hazelton, Richard||Menzies, Walter||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham||Micklem, Nathaniel||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Henderson,J.M.(Aberdeen, W.)||Molteno, Percy Alport||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Henry, Charles S.||Money, L G. Chiozza||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph(Chesh.|
|Higham, John Sharp||Morse, L. L.||Steadman, W. C.|
|Hobart, Sir Robert||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Hodge, John||Murnaghan, George||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Hogan, Michael||Murphy, John||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Horniman, Emslie John||Myer, Horatio||Sullivan, Donal|
|Hudson, Walter||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw||Summerbell, T.|
|Jackson, R. S.||Nicholls, George||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Jacoby, James Alfred||Nicholson,CharlesN.(Doncast'r||Thompson, J.W. H.(Somerset,E|
|Jardine, Sir J.||Nolan, Joseph||Tillett, Louis John|
|Jenkins, J.||Nuttall Harry||Torrance, A. M.|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||O'Brien.Kendal (TipperaryMid||Vivian, Henry|
|Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||O'Connor,James (Wicklow,W.)||Ward,John(Stoke upon Trent)|
|Jordan, Jeremiah||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton|
|Jowett, F. W.||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Wardle, George J.|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Dowd, John||Wason,John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Kekewich, Sir George||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Kelley, George D.||O'Kelly,James (Roscommon,N||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||O'Malley, William||White, Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Kilbride, Denis||O'Mara, James||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Laidlaw, Robert||O'Shee, James John||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Lamont, Norman||Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Leese,Sir Joseph F.(Accrington||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Williams, W. L. (Carmarthen)|
|Lever, A. Levy(Essex,Harwich||Power, Patrick Joseph||Williamson,A.(Elgin and Nairn|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh.Central)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Radford, G. H.||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Lundon, W.||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Reddy, M.||Winfrey, R.|
|Macdonald, J. M. (FalkirkB'ghs||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Maclean, Donald||Redmond, William (Clare)||Young, Samuel|
|Macpherson, J. T.||Rees, J. D.|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down,S.||Richards, Thomas(W.Monm'th||TELLERS FOB THE AYES—Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Pease.|
|MacVeigh,Charles(Donegal, E.||Richardson, A.|
|M'Callum, John M.||Rickett, J. Compton|
|M'Crae, George||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Ashley, W. W.||Cross, Alexander||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Balcarres, Lord||Duncan,Robert(Lanar,Govan||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry,N.||Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.||Smith, F.E. (Liverpool,Walton|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Valentia, Viscount|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Forster, Henry William||Wilson, A.Stanley(York, E.R.)|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Hill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury)||Wolff, Gustay Wilhelm|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Houston, Robert Paterson|
|Cave, George||Hunt, Rowland||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Watson Rutherford and Captain Craig.|
|Coates.E.Feeam (Lewisham)||Parket,Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington|
Motion made, and Question, "That the Chairman do report Progress; and ask leave to sit again,"—(Mr. Harcourt),— put and agreed to.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £61,500, be granted to His Majesty, to complete 722 the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day 723 of March, 1907, for the Royal Parks and Pleasure Gardens."
§ MR. MORTON
said that he had intended to call attention to the condition of Linlithgow Palace or Peel, but he would defer that until he could raise on the salary of the right hon. Gentleman the whole question of the proper maintenance of the royal castles and palaces in Scotland.
§ SIR W. J. COLLINS (St. Pancras, W.)
said he wished to call attention to an act of vandalism which had been committed on Primrose Hill. Something like a quarter of an acre had been railed off for the erection of a private studio for Mr. Brock, wherein the memorial to Her late Majesty was being prepared. It was a huge unsightly building forty feet high, and there were many persons in the district of Primrose Hill who felt that the amenities of that neighbourhood had been seriously interfered with. A much more suitable and sequestered site for the building might have been selected. His criticism, of course, was not directed to the object of the building, but his constituents strongly objected to being deprived of access to that part of Primrose Hill. Their resentment was not to be appeased by his right hon. friend's humorous offer the other day to paint the building any colour desired. His right hon. friend had shown him a plan of the building, but the building there shown bore about the same relation to the real thing as St. Margaret's Church bore to Westminster Abbey. What he wanted to know was who was to pay for the building, and how long it was to remain there?
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
said he had had representations made by many persons who wished to visit Kew Gardens on Sunday that the gardens were not open to the public before 1 o'clock. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would see to it that the gardens were open the whole day on Sunday.
§ MR. CAVE (Surrey, Kingston)
hoped that Richmond Park would be opened at 6.30 a.m. during the summer months to riders and cyclists. His constituents were very early risers, and could not get their proper exercise when the gates, except the foot gate, were kept closed until 7 or 8 o'clock. The alteration could be 724 made at very little expense. In any case he thought the foot-gates might be altered so as to admit cyclists.
§ MB. T. L. CORBETT
asked how many unemployed labourers had been taken on and given work in Hyde Park, St. James' Park, and the Green Park during the last three months, and what these men were paid.
§ THE DEPUTY-CHATRMAN (M CALDWELL, Lanarkshire, Mid.)
We are not discussing the unemployed question just now.
§ LORD BALCARRES
said surely his hon. friend was entitled to ask the responsible Minister if he had given any employment to the unemployed.
said that the hon. Member was quite in order in asking what employment was being given to the unemployed; but he was going further and discussing, with considerable reiteration, the general question of the unemployed, and the Unemployed Workmen's Act.
§ MR. T. L. CORBETT
said he only wished to know how many labourers had been employed in, say, Hyde Park during the winter, and what wages had been paid to them.
§ MR. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD
said the parks cost a large sum of money, but they could not be kept in good order unless that sum was expended. His attention had been particularly called to this matter, and a serious question arose as to whether the parks were being properly safeguarded against the evils with which they were threatened. There was before a Committee a proposal for the erection of an electrical generating station by the London County Council at Battersea. That would involve the burning of additional coal in London to the extent of 400,000 tons a year, and this quantity in five or six years would be doubled, so that there would be 800,000 tons more coal consumed in the centre of London than heretofore. The smoke from these works would have a very evil effect on vegetation in the public parks and gardens of the Metropolis. The Committee dealing with the proposal had had 725 before them that very day throe gentlemen of great scientific attainments, who had given their evidence in a very satisfactory manner. The evidence in regard to parks was that this 400,000 tons of coal per annum, which was to be burned in connection with this electrical scheme, would involve the creation of a large amount of carbonic acid gas, because every ton of coal consisted of about 80 per cent of pure carbon.
Order, order! That is not a question which can be discussed on the Estimates. It is a scientific question. Besides, it is not in order to discuss the evidence of a witness given before a Committee of the House; which has not reported.
§ SIR GILBERT PARKER (Gravesend)
said he wished to raise a question which he thought might be answered with the other questions that had been put. He wished to ask about riding in Hyde Park. There were a great many people who; rode in the Park, as he did, every day of their lives, and he would suggest that the present space for their accommodation should be extended. He thought it desirable that the present road should be extended beyond the Albert Memorial towards Kensington Palace. He did not know how much it would cost, but no doubt the right hon. Gentleman would consider that question. He had brought the matter before the notice of the permanent officials, but he now wished to bring it under the notice of the First Commissioner. The road in question would run through a place which was very little used by pedestrians. Indeed it was only used by: people proceeding to their houses in the vicinity of Kensington Palace. He was quite sure that the right hon. Gentleman would consider the question on its merits, and he could assure him that it was of very great interest to a great many people.
§ MR. CAWLEY (Lancashire, Prestwich)
said he had often ridden in the Park and his experience was that riders there were decreasing rather than increasing, more attention being now given to golf. Considering the small number of people who availed themselves of the existing riding facilities he thought quite enough money was being spent for their accommodation.
§ *DR. COOPER(Southwark, Bermondsey) moved to reduce the Vote by £100 for the purpose of raising the question of the rate of wages which the Government paid to their gardeners in the royal parks. These gardeners in London alone numbered more than 300 and their wages were only 24s. a week. He thought that was very low and considerably below the standard rate of wages. The men worked during the three winter months forty-eight hours a week and during the other nine months of the year fifty-four hours a week. They could not, on account of the excessive rents, live in the immediate vicinity of the parks, and even when they went to live at a distance they had out of their scanty earnings to pay 7s. or 8s. a week in the way of rent for two or three rooms. On such a wage it was impossible for a man properly to support a wife and bring up a family. Some of them lived as far away as Hammersmith and in addition to their rent they had to pay a considerable sum in travelling expenses. He was only asking the right hon. Gentleman to put these men on the trade union scale of 27s. a week. Under the London County Council gardeners received 27s. and they rose to 30s. a week, but the London County Council, before it paid 28s., asked that the gardeners should pass an examination by the Royal Horticultural Society. The Government ought to be the model employers of labour in the kingdom and should not pay below the trade union rate of wages for this class of work, and he hoped he had advanced very good reasons why they should increase it. He was informed also that there were bricklayers, plumbers, carpenters, and painters in the employ of this Department who did not receive the trade union rate of pay. If this were so these workmen ought to receive their trade union rate, as he maintained the Government should set a good example in this matter and always pay its workmen the rate paid by the best employers. In the case of the gardeners they had no uniforms given thorn, whereas the constables in the parks had uniforms and received 27s. a week. It was true that the constables worked seven days a week, but it should be remembered that they were Army pensioners already in receipt of money from the State. They at all events were better off in respect of a weekly income than the men who did the work of the parks.727
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £61,400, be granted for the said service."—(Mr. Cooper.)
§ MR. HARCOURT
regretted that the temporary building which was now being erected for the purpose of protecting the plans and work of the architect engaged on the Queen Victoria Memorial should have caused so much annoyance in the district. It was a temporary building, and directly the work of the memorial was completed it would be removed. He would, however, try and have the building painted some quiet and decorative colour and endeavour to have some creepers planted round it to make it less of an eyesore in the summer at all events. He could not say when it would be removed. It was put up by the direction of the late Government for the convenience of Mr. Brock and had to be where he could do his work for the Queen Victoria Memorial. He reminded the Committee of the great advantage the public gained from the Committee of the Queen Victoria Memorial and suggested that they owed them some temporary accommodation in return. The cost of the erection of the building would be paid for by Mr. Brock out of the fees paid to him for the memorial. With regard to the opening of Kew Gardens at an earlier hour on Sundays, the hon. Member for East Clare perhaps did not appreciate that the services in the Protestant churches commenced later than the services in Catholic churches. If he were to open the gates of Kew Gardens before one o'clock they would be opened only for people who did not attend the Protestant churches, and the gardeners and attendants would be deprived of the opportunity of attending church. He did not see his way to opening the gardens earlier than one o'clock on Sundays. Nor could he see his way to open the gates of Richmond Park earlier than 7 a.m. No doubt it inflicted a great hardship on the hon. Member for Kingston, who as an early riser desired to go into the park at an earlier hour, but to open the gates earlier than 7 a.m. would inflict a greater hardship on the park keepers whose hours were quite long enough already. He would consider the question of adapting some of the park gates for the admission of cycles. With regard to the wages paid to the unemployed in Hyde Park he could give 728 no information on the point. They were not employed by him. All he did was to approach the Central Committee of the unemployed and point out a field in which they might employ some of these men if they chose to pay them. He further said in order that the Central Committee should not be put to any greater expense than the payment of the men, he would find sufficient out of the margin of some Vote or other to pay for the persons employed to supervise and overlook the men while at their work. They were employed in digging gravel and in removing railings, the removal of which had greatly added to the beauty of the park, and as he had been able to utilise those railings in railing off a spot near Kingston Gate, in Richmond Park, where there had been a certain amount of danger from swerving carriages to the foot passengers the expenditure had not been an unremunerative one. He had issued a memorandum on the subject of electric generating stations, and had asked the Select Committees to receive two or three witnesses as being suitable to assist in their inquiry, and he had also suggested a clause for insertion in private Bills. He regretted the tone assumed by the hon. Member for the West Derby Division: of Liverpool about one of these witnesses who, at his request, had tendered himself to give evidence. The hon. Member thought that this witness might have read the Bill. There was no compulsion on the witness to read the Bill. He appeared before, the Committee merely to give information as to the effects of combustion, and had no concern with the particular clause of the Bill. It was not encouraging either to a Minister or to experts asked to give information to the House and to its Committees if they were to be treated with such scant consideration by the members before whom they appeared. The hon. Member for Gravesend had asked for an extension of facilities for riding beyond Hyde Park. Personally he was hostile to the idea of extending Rotten Row through Kensington Gardens, and he would never consent. If it were extended he believed that the ancient and historic calm of Kensington Gardens; would be destroyed. If riders were allowed to go there, carriage and motorcar traffic would follow, and he saw no, reason why the riders should have any 729 special facilities. At the present time this beautiful old-world park and gardens were devoted mainly to the pleasure and happiness of the children who were, except perhaps from a few decayed trees, subject to no danger whatever. He should be very sorry to see riders and carriages going through Kensington Gardens, and certainly would not be inclined to ask the Committee to authorise an extension for that purpose. As to the bricklayers and other workmen not being paid the current rate of wages, he could not believe from the inquiries he had made that the case had been fairly represented, and he would like to receive further information from the hon. Member. The "trade union rate of wages" was not a phrase he was permitted to use by the Resolution of the House, and he could only act on the strict phraseology of the fair wages Resolution. He had received memorials from the park labourers and gardeners as to their wages, and he had considered them very carefully. He had been released from the pressure of the Committee upon the subject, for which he was very glad, because the Department wished the park labourers to understand and to know that these questions affecting them were considered without reference to political considerations. He proposed to raise the wages of the park labourers of London on and after July 1st, from 24s. to 27s. a week, which was the rate of the London County Council and of the best employers. In the country the rise would be from 21s. to 23s. a week. For gangers and foremen there would be a similar increase. The wages of park-keepers in the country would be raised from 24s. to 25s., and of sergeant-keepers from 27s. to 28s. a week. These two classes were pensionable men, it should be remembered. He hoped this extension of wages to what he believed to be a fair and reasonable scale, and which put the Government in the position of the best employer, would satisfy not only the Committee, but the men themselves, and that the men would reciprocate by giving their best work.
§ DR. COOPER
said he desired to withdraw his Motion after the right hon.; Gentleman's satisfactory statement.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.730
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD
said they could compliment the right hon. Gentlemen not only on his courteous replies to most of the queries, but also on the immense amount of knowledge and minute care which he had evidently given to every branch of his Department. But he thought the right hon. Gentlemen was scarcely fair to him just now with reference to the maintenance of the royal parks. His point was that there was a certain Department in charge of these parks, and the evidence they had was that these parks had been suffering very severely of late years, and that it was almost impossible now to grow some trees which used to be grown with great facility. The sycamore could not now be grown in Hyde Park with a reasonable chance of success. That was not the case some ten or fifteen years ago. There was a number of other instances of the kind. The evidence they had as to the condition of the parks was exceedingly valuable, and the right hon. Gentleman was to be congratulated upon having sent three gentlemen to-day to a Committee to give scientific evidence of great importance. A counsel, however, before the Committee was unfortunately able to take away a very large portion of the weight of these gentlemen's evidence by asking whether they had read the Bill, and the witnesses were obliged to say they had not.
§ MR. MADDISON
On a point of order; Mr. Caldwell, when in the chair, distinctly ruled out of order the course the hon. Gentleman is now pursuing.
§ MR. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD
said he had no intention of referring to the proceedings of the Committee with a view of commenting on thorn in any way, but the salary of one of the witnesses to whom he was referring was in this Vote, and all he was saying was that it was a good thing these officials were watching projects and were prepared to go before a Committee of this House to look after the interest of the parks.
§ MR. MADDISON
I rise to a point of order. You, Sir, ruled it was irregular to refer to a Committee's proceedings, and the very matter the hon. Gentleman is now pursuing has been distinctly ruled out of order by your predecessor in the Chair, and I ask whether you are going to uphold that ruling or not.
said he must make it perfectly clear that it was not in order to ask him about the ruling of the Deputy-Chairman; but he had told the hon. Gentleman it was not usual to refer to the proceedings of a Committee, and he must ask him to desist.
§ MR. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD
said his anxiety was to see that these parks were preserved in the best manner possible, and his object was to compliment the right hon. Gentleman upon having taken the course he had in sending these scientific witnesses before the Committee.
§ LORD R. CECIL (Marylebone, E.)
appealed for an assurance that Mr. Brock's, studio would be removed at the very earliest moment. He would also like to know if the Government contemplated taking any steps to reduce the amount of black smoke which was so seriously affecting the shrubs and plants.
replied that Mr. Brock's temporary studio would be, removed so soon as the great work was finished upon which Mr. Brock was now engaged. As to the destruction of trees and shrubs in the park by smoke, he had prepared a clause, which he hoped would be inserted in the Bill now before the Committee, so as to provide that only the best coal should be used and treated so as to reduce the amount of smoke.
§ MR. T. L. CORBETT
said he observed that the First Commissioner of Works had promised to raise gardeners' wages from 24s. to 27s. a week, What would that cost? He thought they ought to know exactly what they were doing before they I consented to this new arrangement.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
thought it was time for somebody to call attention 732 to the tactics being pursued by the Opposition. About ten months ago there was the strongest possible complaint made of the treatment of the gardeners, and when the right hon. Gentleman, in one of the most satisfactory statements they had heard for a long time, told the Committee that he was about to bring these wages up to the rate paid by the London County Council and other employers, the hon. Member for North Down at once found fault on the ground that it would make a considerable increase in the cost. He hoped that those who were in favour of the payment of a fair and reasonable wage for Government employees in the parks and elsewhere would take note of the fact that directly the statement was made that a fair and reasonable rate of wages would be paid to the gardeners in future a quibbling point, was raised by the hon. Member for North Down. He did not mind hon. Members making a fair amount of criticism, because he had done the same thing himself, but when they secured a satisfactory reply in the interests of the work-people, even in days when obstruction was fashionable, they were always satisfied with such concessions. He thought the First Commissioner had met the points raised in a conciliatory spirit, and in a way which during his twenty-three years experience in the House of Commons he had never before seen equalled. The right hon. Gentleman was kind enough, in reply to a question, to state that a certain arrangement had been made in regard to the opening of Kew Gardens out of consideration for the religious susceptibilities of certain people. He accepted that statement and withdrew his objection, because there was no member of the Committee who had greater respect for the religious susceptibilities of all denominations than he had himself. He hoped that during the whole of the present session the utmost consideration would be shown to religious susceptibilities, not only in this matter, but also in reference to other more important matters.
§ SIR GILBERT PARKER
desired information as to the number of Volunteer corps that had availed themselves of the permission to drill in Richmond Park. Three years ago, under the pressure of a good many Volunteer corps he urged the then First Commissioner of Works to 733 open Richmond Park under certain restrictions to Volunteer corps to carry out their evolutions on certain days in the week. That permission was granted, but doubts were presented then as to the advisability of this course. Had this action been justified by the results?
§ COLONEL LEGGE
asked what was to be done with what used to be the deputy-ranger's house in Hyde Park. He also asked the First Commissioner to do what he could to prevent demonstrations taking place when the grass was growing. Hyde Park was a favourite place for demonstrations, and he gathered from what he read occasionally that the demonstrations wore intended to overawe the dwellers in Park Lane whom he had the honour of representing. He could assure the Committe that those demonstrations did not overawe them. On the contrary they welcomed their friends there. He suggested that the First Commissioner of Works should ask the organisers of the demonstrations not to hold them just at the time when the grass was growing. He hoped the hon. Member for Woolwich and his friends would boar in mind that that was not the best time to go there. He wished to know why Storey's Gate had been removed.
§ MR. T. L. CORBETT
said the hon. Member for East Clare had for obvious reasons attacked him as if he were in favour of keeping the wages of the gardeners at 24s. instead of their being increased to 27s. He believed the announcement of the First Commissioner would be welcomed in every part of the Committee, and he simply asked whether he could state what the annual cost of that increase would be. He thought that was a fair and legitimate question to ask, and it was a most unfair inference from his question that he was opposed to the wages being raised.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
I admit I was mistaken. I see now that the hon. Gentleman's object all this evening— although I have been so stupid that I could not recognise it—has been to help the Government.
§ MR. T. L. CORBETT
I am glad it has at last dawned on the hon. 734 Member for East Clare that I, in common with himself and all true patriots, am desirous of helping the Government in every legitimate good work.
§ MR. HARCOURT
said that for nine months from July 1st the cost of the increased wages would be £2,000. For a full year it would be about £2,600.
§ MR. HARCOURT
said that with regard to the question of the hon. Member for Gravesend, he could not say how many Volunteers had used Richmond Park, but as far as he knew there had been no interference with the enjoyment by the public. No suggestion had been made to him that it was necessary to limit the permission extended to the Volunteers. The deputy-ranger's house in Hyde Park had ceased to be an official residence and was now a grace and favour residence. It had been granted to General Sir Stanley Clarke. The repairs were being done by the Office of Works, but an annual amount would be paid by the tenant during a period of eleven or thirteen years which would pay off the cost. The question of preventing demonstrations in the park when the grass was growing he could not deal with. Public necessity and Education Bills and other things did not know the seasons of the grass. They could not arrest the ordinary courses of nature in order that the grass might be free from the excitement that arose from time to time under our present system of government. He gave instructions some time ago for the removal of Storey's Gate, but what had been done did not prevent the possibility of the gate being closed, for there was an arrangement by which the side gates could be extended. Every one of these questions could be raised on the Vote for his salary.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £46,000, be granted to His Majesty to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment 735 during the year ending 31st day of March, 1907, in respect of Royal Palaces.
§ MR. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD
thought that some explanation ought to be made by the right hon. Gentleman of the increase of over £5,000 in the Vote for the upkeep of the Royal Palaces.
§ MR. HARCOURT
said that it was discovered that during last winter that it was necessary to repair the roof of the picture gallery at Buckingham Palace, and expenditure had to be incurred in completing the external drainage as well as in carrying on considerable improvement works on Marlborough House.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ 7. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £317, 000, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1907, in respect of sundry Public Buildings in Great Britain, not provided for on other Votes."
MR. STANLEY WILSON (Yorkshire, E.R., Holderness)
said he noticed that there was an increase on this Vote of £53,000, which he thought required a certain amount of explanation from the right hon. Gentleman. There was a sum of over £13,000 for the new residences of the First Lord of the Admiralty and the Senior Naval Lord. He believed that these residences were to be built at the east end of the Mall. When were they to be commenced, and when would the road from the Mall be opened into Trafalgar Square? Where was Mr. Watts' statue "Physical Energy" to be erected? There was an item for a Mercantile Marine Office at Newcastle-on-Tyne. The original estimate was £4,200, the revised estimate was £5,200. What was the reason for this increase? Then he wanted very much to know when the new War Office was to be opened, and why there should be such a difference in the original and the revised estimates for the Magnetic Observatory.
§ MR. C. E. PRICE (Edinburgh, Central)
desired to call attention to the condition 736 of the Scottish Law Courts which a. Departmental Committee had been appointed to inquire into in 1903.
inquired if there was any money for the Scottish Law Courts in the Vote before the Committee.
§ MR. C. E. PRICE
said that on page 50 there was a reference to the Scottish Law Courts, and at page 48 it referred to new buildings. He complained there were no new buildings.
said he would hear what the hon. Member had to say, as he saw there was an item for furniture-with regard to the Law Courts.
§ MR. C. E. PRICE
said that in 1903 a Departmental Committee was appointed to inquire into the condition of the Scottish Law Courts. They made a report which the Commissioner of Works had not seen his way to carry out. In the Outer Courts they had four Courts for five Judges, and the consequence was that the Judges had to move from one Court to another. The Courts were moreover in a disgraceful condition. They were only twenty feet by thirty feet.
said he was sorry he could not allow the hon. Member to go on. What he was saying was clearly not in order.
§ MR. ALEXANDER CROSS (Glasgow, Camlachie)
inquired whether it would be in order to move the reduction of the Vote in order to call attention to the condition of the Scottish Courts. If so he would move it.
said clearly that was not in order. There was no expenditure on the Vote for this purpose, and therefore the hon. Member could not move a reduction.
§ MR. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD
asked as a point of order whether the hon. 737 Member could not call attention to the condition of the Scottish Law Courts under an item on page 48—Ordinary repairs and maintenance of public and ecclesiastical buildings, £4,600.
§ MR. HARCOURT
said if he for a moment might be disorderly he thought he could satisfy hon. Members, as he was acquainted with the circumstances to which they referred, the special needs of the Scottish Courts and the fact that the late Government were willing to consider this matter. He had promised several hon. Members that he would go down to Edinburgh during the summer and inspect the Scottish Courts and see what could be done. He should then be in a position to make recommendations to the House. It had been, suggested to him unofficially that the remedy might be to reduce the number of Scottish Judges rather than to increase the number of Courts. One reason for the increase of the Vote had regard to the Vaccine Station at Hendon and another was the increased cost of a Mercantile Marine office at Newcastle-on-Tyne. The new Admiralty buildings at the east end of the Mall had been "begun. He hoped the roadway leading into Trafalgar-square would be opened early in 1909. As to the situation for the statue "Physical Energy," left to the nation by Mr. Watts, he was inclined to think it would look best at the end of the Serpentine, above the dell. If the difficulty of getting a bronze casting into that position could be overcome, he thought it would be the finest place in London for the statue. He hoped that the new buildings of the War Office would be opened for occupation early next year.
§ MR. ALEXANDER CROSS
wished to express his high appreciation of the exceedingly courteous way in which the right hon. Gentleman had met the members of the Committee. He wished, however, to call attention to the small amount spent upon the maintenance and protection of ancient monuments and historic buildings in Scotland. In 738 England £10,966 was spent on this purpose and only £1,544 in Scotland, where many ancient buildings had been allowed to fall into disrepair and ruin when at a small expense they could be maintained.
MR. STANLEY WILSON
said the right hon. Gentleman had not explained why in regard to the Vaccine Station at Hendon the estimate had increased from £28,100 to £30,000.
§ MR. WEIR
said the First Commissioner of Works had not answered the Question of his friend with regard to the Vaccination Station at Hendon. He wanted to know whether when it was finished it would provide all the calf lymph for this country. He rose to call the right hon. Gentleman's attention to the fact that he would have to keep his eye on these expenditures and see that they did not increase. There was an increase of £2,000 in the revised Estimate for the purposes of this Vaccination Station at Hendon, and he thought the right hon. Gentleman should give an explanation as to why that £2,000 should be added to the £28,000 already set down in the original Estimate for this purpose. The Gentlemen who prepared the plans and specifications and got out the quantities ought to have furnished a correct Estimate. If they could not do that they were not fit for their position. He further desired to call attention to the way in which Scotland was treated. If the right hon. Gentleman turned to the Estimate for "ordinary repairs of public and ecclesiastical buildings" he would find that while £83,900 was provided for England and Wales for that purpose all that was allotted to Scotland was £4,600. The a again, in the matter of caretakers, whilst England and Wales took £11,250, Scotland was allowed.£40 only. He desired to press the right hon. Gentleman for some explanation as to the reason why Scotland was given such a contemptible sum.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £34,800 be 739 granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1907, for expenses in respect of Miscellaneous Legal Buildings."
§ Resolutions to be reported upon Monday next; Committee also report progress; to sit again upon Monday next.