§ 1. "That a sum, not exceeding £602,700, be granted to His Majesty, to 1499 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 the Salaries and Expenses of the Customs Department."
§ Resolution agreed to.
§ 2. "That a sum, not exceeding £1,429,500, 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, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Inland Revenue Department."
§ Resolution read a second time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."
§ MR. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD (Liverpool, West Derby)
said upon this Vote, which amounted altogether to a sum of £3,212,000, there was one item to which he desired to call attention. If the House would turn to pages 10 and 11 of the Estimates they would see that there were a considerable number of items with regard to the salaries of the preventive officers in the Customs.
§ SIR A. ACLAND-HOOD (Somerset, Wellington)
said he intended to conclude his observations by moving the reduction of the Vote by £1,000. Many members of the Opposition were very much interested in questions that arose out of the Votes for the Revenue Departments which had just been passed in Committee sub silentio without a word of discussion. This Government boasted that they were returned for the purposes of retrenchment. The best way of securing retrenchment was by full discussion in the House of Commons. The Government came down and told the House it was going to take the Naval Votes. Not a word was said about the Votes for the Revenue Departments of the Civil Service and all 1500 his friends believed like himself that nothing but Naval Votes would be taken. The arrangement had been broken over and over again this session. Having got the Votes they wanted for the Navy, and then without a word of notice to take the Votes for the Revenue Departments, to discuss which there was a desire on both sides, was a breach of courtesy and faith between the two sides of the House. He moved.
§ MR. SPEAKER
said he could not put the proposed reduction, because he had already put the Question that the House agree with the Committee in the Resolution.
§ MR. MCKENNA
said they could quite understand that the right hon. Gentleman felt that a certain duty fell upon him. The right hon. Gentleman represented the Opposition on this occasion and they did not complain of what he had said except in so far as he had charged them with a breach of faith. What were the facts? A certain number of Navy Votes were put down, and had all been taken but one, which had been withdrawn at the request of a colleague of the right hon. Gentleman. There was no justification for the charge of a breach of faith, and nobody was more familiar with the business of the House than the right hon. Gentleman.
§ SIR A. ACLAND-HOOD
During the whole time I was Patronage Secretary I made arrangements invariably with the Opposition, and never broke a pledge or tried to spring a trap upon them.
§ MR. MCKENNA
said the whole House would readily agree with that statement of the right hon. Gentleman. But he had not charged the right hon. Gentleman with breach of faith. The right hon. Gentleman had charged the present Government with it, and he was endeavouring to show that the charge was not well founded. He had endeavoured to show the right hon. Gentleman that the discussion on the Navy Votes had been under discussion the whole afternoon, and the only Vote withdrawn had been withdrawn at the request of a colleague of the right hon. Gentleman.
§ LORD BALCARRES (Lancashire, Chorley)
said all that his right hon. friend asked was that the Vote should not be taken to-night, in order that at a later stage of the session further opportunity should be given of discussing Naval questions. He quite understood that there was to be a discussion to-night on Vote 12 of the Navy Estimates, and he himself was anxious to speak.
§ MR. MCKENNA
said the noble Lord could have had it; there was nothing to prevent the Vote being discussed. It was withdrawn in order to reserve it for a later stage of the session. That Vote and other subsequent Votes would have been passed sub silentio. They would now be discussing the Report of the Inland Revenue Vote, as to which nothing had been said, and as to which the Government had nothing to defend. The right hon. Gentleman asked for discussion. He could have had it on the Committee stage, but neither he nor his friends thought there was any ground for discussion, and he did not think there was any reason for delaying the business of the House any longer with these somewhat idle recriminations.
§ Question put, and agreed to.