HC Deb 05 August 1907 vol 179 cc1563-629

moved the Resolution of which he had given notice for the purpose of bringing the Report stage of the Small Landholders (Scotland) Bill to a conclusion in three allotted days. He said that this Bill had been about three months before the Standing Committee. Twenty-two days had been absorbed in its discussion by the Committee, the Committee sitting from 11.30 a.m. to 4 p.m. It could not be said, therefore, that the measure had been otherwise than thoroughly considered, if it was presumed that the Committee had applied itself to the honest and straightforward consideration of its provisions. The Committee was composed of the Scottish Members, and, being a Bill relating to Scotland, it ought not to need a very protracted consideration on Report. Of course, he was aware that a prolonged discussion in the Committee was maintained by the English Members, and it was urged in justification of the exercise of their right that the principles involved in the Bill might be extended to England. On the proverbial principle, therefore, they thought that it was desirable to oppose the Bill on its first introduction to Scotland. But, as far as that argument had any force, it ought not to be allowed to override the plain rights of the Scottish Members to have their own law. In addition to that, the Government had introduced another Bill dealing almost with the same subject in England, and the Government were showing that there was a considerable difference between the two countries. It had never been the desire of the Government to restrict the fullest opportunity for the discussion of notable and important points. The group of Clauses 1 to 6 had occupied twelve sittings of the Standing Committee. The first clause occupied four and a half sittings, and he believed that the closure was moved at the end of the fourth sitting. The second clause also took four sittings. Undoubtedly, the first three clauses were the most important in the Bill, for they established the general principles of statutory tenure under which the small holdings were to be held. But the Government thought that so long a discussion, and after such a riddling and sifting in Committee, ought to enable the Report stage to be passed without great difficulty. Clause 4 was also important, in view of the proposals it contained, but the other clauses were comparatively uncontroversial. On the second day the Government proposed to take Clauses 7 to 15. Of these, Clause 7 would be the most contentious, as it dealt with the procedure of breaking up land into small holdings, whether by agreement or compulsion. Nearly three sittings of the Standing Committee were given to the consideration of this clause. He did not know that Clauses 8 and 9 would give rise to much discussion, or, indeed, that there were any points in the group that were especially contentious, unless it were Clause 15, which was certainly important, as it amended the provisions of the Crofters Act in regard to the taking of land for the enlargement of holdings. On the third day it was proposed to take Clauses 16 to 31. This was a large group, no doubt, but it was one which had been threshed out elsewhere. His right hon. friend had taken steps in Clause 16 to carry out the undertaking that had been given on the Second Reading of the Bill, that the landlord should not suffer if, owing to the operations of the authorities set up by the Bill, the small holdings established or compulsorily taken proved a failure. By this clause the Government thought that they had fulfilled their engagement, and he hoped that it would not need much discussion.

Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Report stage of the Small Landholders (Scotland) Bill be brought to a conclusion in three allotted days; and (a) That the new Clauses and Clauses 1 to 6 of the Bill be proceeded with and the proceedings thereon brought to a conclusion on the first allotted day; and (b) That Clauses 7 to 15 of the Bill (if and so far as not previously disposed of) be proceeded with and the proceedings thereon brought to a conclusion on the second allotted day; and (c) That the remaining Clauses of the Bill and the Schedules, and any other matter necessary to bring the Report stage of the Bill to a conclusion (if and so far as not previously disposed of), be proceeded with on the third allotted day and the proceedings thereon brought to a conclusion on that day. Any day on which the Small Landholders (Scotland) Bill is put down as the first Order of the Day shall be considered an allotted day for the purposes of this Order. At 10.30 p.m. on any allotted day on which proceedings on any business allotted to that day are to be brought to a conclusion, or if that day is a Friday, at 5 p.m., Mr. Speaker shall, if those proceedings have not already been brought to a conclusion, put forthwith the Question or Questions on any Amendment or Motion already proposed from the Chair, and shall next proceed successively to put forthwith the Question on any now Clauses or Amendments moved by the Government of which notice has been given (but no other Clauses or Amendments), and on any Question necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded, and in the case of Government Amendments or of Government new Clauses or Schedules he shall put only the Question that the Amendment be made or that the Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill, as the ease may be. Any Private Business which is set down for consideration at 8.15 p.m. on any allotted day shall, instead of being taken on that day as provided by the Standing Order "Time for taking Private Business," be taken immediately after the conclusion of the proceedings on the Bill for that day, and any Private Business so taken may be proceeded with, though opposed, notwithstanding the Standing Order "Sittings of the House." At 11 p.m. on the day on which the Third Reading of the Bill is put down as first order of the day, or if that day is a Friday or Saturday at 5 p.m., Mr. Speaker shall put forthwith any Question necessary to complete the proceedings on that stage of the Bill. After the passing of this order, on any day on which any proceedings on the Small Landholders (Scotland) Bill stand as first order of the day, no dilatory Motion on the Bill, nor Motion to re-commit the Bill, nor Motion for Adjournment under Standing Order 10, shall be received unless moved by a Minister of the Crown, and the Question on any such Motion shall be put forthwith without debate. — (Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman.)

MR. A. J. BALFOUR (City of London)

said that the right hon. Gentleman, he remembered, made an observation a few years ago to the effect that guillotine Motions reduced the proceedings of the House to a farce. That was in the days when guillotine Motions were few and far between, and when they were only moved in respect of one Bill, or, at the most, two Bills in the course of a session. The right hon. Gentleman, who thought that this method reduced proceedings to a farce—he did not know what was lower than a farce in stage terminology— had greatly improved on his predecessors, and he had reduced, or was in the process of reducing, their proceedings, if not to a farce, at all events to a burlesque. Not content with reducing the proceedings to a burlesque once in a session, he thought that the right hon. Gentleman had moved this closure by compartments resolution already three times this session—a larger Parliamentary offspring of the right hon. Gentleman's brain than any of his predecessors were able to produce in the same length of time Even that family did not content the right hon. Gentleman, and it appeared that the House was not to be allowed to retire to bed that night until it had left the right hon. Gentleman the proud and happy father of twins. The magnitude of the proposals that the right hon. Gentleman proposed to debate that evening were in inverse proportion to the defence which he had thought fit to make of them in what he would not call a speech, but in the few observations which he had condescended to make to the House. The right hon. Gentleman was great on records, and he had made a record this session. Though the right hon. Gentleman had not done much in the way of defending his Motion, he had said one or two things which deserved some slight commentary. In the first place he said that the Bill to be dealt with was a purely Scottish Bill. According to his opinions—and he was the most distinguished of Scottish Members—the Bill was purely Scottish; and a Scottish Bill was, in his opinion, a Bill to which any treatment might be meted out. But it was not a purely Scottish Bill. In the first place it affected the position of the Agricultural Department for the whole of England and Scotland, and it must have a great effect upon the future administrative work of the Department. His right hon. friend the Member for South Dublin had told him that it would have been impossible for him to carry out the reforms he effected in connection with rabies and other forms of disease attacking flocks had the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture not had the universality which the Bill proposed to destroy. Then, if they were not dealing, as they certainly were not, with Scotland alone what was this new doctrine that the Prime Minister had developed? He had announced in so many words that in I legislating for Scotland it was nonsense to take into account those broad general principles which the Opposition considered, or which the House might consider, and had the right to consider, as applicable to all parts of the United Kingdom. Parliament was not only to legislate, but to think, in water-tight compartments. They were to have different principles when they were discussing the same problem. The same problem was to be discussed on one set of principles north of the Tweed, and on another set of principles south of the Tweed. That was— the right hon. Gentleman would forgive him for saying so—the most inept defence of the most foolish measure which so far as he knew had ever been presented to that House by a responsible Government. When the right hon. Gentleman declared that this strange and fantastic scheme of legislation was only to apply to Scotland, and that, therefore, English Members were travelling outside their proper function when they attempted to criticise it at all, he was no doubt doing a very good service to the colleague sitting next to him, than whom no man more needed shelter from unkind criticism, but a very great injustice to the legislative duties of that House. But the next argument of the right hon. Gentleman was even more absurd than the one he had just dealt with.


Hear, hear!


What was the argument? He was sure he could convince the right hon. Gentleman of the appropriateness of the epithet. The right hon. Gentleman told them that the first six clauses were the most important in the Bill, but that they had been discussed so long in Grand Committee that he thought one night was sufficient for discussing them and the new clauses as well on Report by half-past ten o'clock. Had the right hon. Gentleman reflected on the duties that he was attempting to throw on the Grand Committees? The right hon. Gentleman was a Member of the Scottish Grand Committee, but, of course, it was impossible for him to attend, or for the Chancellor of the Exchequer who was also a member to attend. [Mr. ASQUITH was understood to dissent.] The right hon. Gentleman attended once for twenty minutes in the course of twenty-two days that the Bill was before the Grand Committee. That was an exception which most happily and conclusively proved the rule. There were members of the Front Opposition Bench who found it equally impossible to attend from twelve to three as was the earlier practice, or from eleven to four o'clock as was the later practice. How on earth was a Committee of that kind in any true sense to be regarded as representative of the House? None of those who were not members of the Committee knew anything of the procedure of the Committee except by hearsay. But he had heard strange things—as, for instance, that the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill had only two arguments. One of them was that never had there been so excellent a piece of legislation as the Scotch Crofters Bill; and the other argument, even more pertinent and effective, was the Motion that "the Question be now put." He was informed that the right hon. Gentleman asked for the closure on fifty-three occasions, and got it on fifty, so that he just made his "half-century." He was sure that the right hon. Gentleman had been well advised to move the closure. It got him out of a great many embarrassments. He did not criticise the right hon. Gentleman's action. No doubt it was dictated by motives of most carefully thought out prudence. But he must point out that a Committee, on which the average attendance was not more than forty or fifty, which the most important members of the Treasury Bench could not attend any more than a large number of Members on the Opposition side of the House, and in which the closure was moved fifty times, could in no sense be a reflection of the will, intelligence, and argumentative powers of that House. Therefore, to say, as the Prime Minister said, that, because the important clauses of this Bill took so many days in that Committee, it was not necessary to devote more than six hours and a half to them on Report, was an argument worthy of a Motion which, in the words of the Prime Minister himself, turned the proceedings of the House into a farce. The right hon. Gentleman was not content with merely maiming debate on the Report Stage of the Bill by using the guillotine, but he was deter- mined to make ineffective such discussion as he chose to allow by carrying on, at the same time, consideration of the Scottish Bill in that House and another Scottish Bill in Committee upstairs. It was impossible to ignore the deliberate statement of policy which the right hon. Gentleman made last Thursday when he said that he proposed to ask Scottish Members to sit all the morning discussing the second most foolish Bill of the Session and all the afternoon and evening discussing the most foolish Bill. However foolish a Bill might be. it was impossible to throw such a burden on those who had properly the right to debate it. When the right hon. Gentleman was bringing forward his Grand Committee Resolution he declared that there was to be no undue strain thrown on Members of the House. ["No."] Did anybody doubt that the Prime Minister said that? Let them contradict him if he was wrong, but nobody who heard the Prime Minister's speech on that occasion was likely to deny it. To ask the same persons to devote all their time and attention to so novel and revolutionary a proposal as I the Scottish Land Values Bill in the morning and then to discuss the Scottish Small Landholders Bill in the afternoon was deliberately to violate the implied understanding which the right hon. Gentleman gave to the House when he moved his Grand Committee Resolution. He was utterly at a loss to understand how the right hon. Gentleman could so far forget what was due to the House as to make proposals of that kind. No doubt they would save some trouble to the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Small Landholders Bill. The right hon. Gentleman reminded him of a timid and inexpert rider, who insisted on his groom's exercising his steed severely in the morning so as to reduce it to the level of his powers of equitation by the time he mounted it himself in the afternoon. That might be very convenient for the right hon. Gentleman, but he ventured to say that it was excessively unfair on those English Members—and there were English Members on the Grand Committee—who ought, and he hoped would, devote their most careful attention to the work. So that here they had a Bill of the utmost importance not discussed, so far as the proceedings of that House were concerned, except on three truncated days which the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister proposed to allow them, and on which they had already exhausted those people who were best qualified to take part in the discussion in the evening by throwing upon them the perfectly absurd burden of having to sit in the morning. He wondered whether the right hon. Gentleman remembered the statement he made earlier in the session, in which he promised that he would not send upstairs to Grand Committees any important controversial measures. What had become of that Parliamentary pledge? Either the right hon. Gentleman thought that a Bill which applied to Scotland must, because it applied to Scotland, be necessarily insignificant, or else he really could not have read the provisions of the measure in respect of which he was now proposing the guillotine. It would be out of order and quite unnecessary to discuss the merits of the Bill now, but was there a single human being who had read the measure who doubted in the first place its importance, and in the second place the fact that it ran directly in the teeth of every sound principle of land legislation ever held, so far as he knew, by any serious school of political thinkers in this country? [Cries of "Oh, oh !"] It could not be acceptable to those who favoured land nationalisation, because when it was compared with that school of thought this measure was hopelessly illogical and foolish, and did not fit in with the views of extremists. Let them that take the ordinary Liberal and Radical as he was only a few years ago. Such men held, and Mr. Gladstone undoubtedly believed, that dual ownership was in itself an evil, that it ought only to be brought into legislation where it existed ethically and morally already, and that far better than dual ownership was that single ownership which could be proposed by way of purchase, a system which had been adopted in Ireland with the consent of every hon. Member on both sides of the House. Was it not a very big matter to revolutionise these fixed traditions of policy which were common to every school of thought in the House—Radicals, Liberals, Irish Nationalists, Unionists, Conservatives, and Tories? And now, in a light-hearted fashion, after three days of debate carried on under the guillotine, which destroyed and had always destroyed good debate in the House, the Secre- tary for Scotland came down as a great revolutionist and asked them to adopt, with regard to parts of Scotland, which, as everybody knew, were absolutely identical in their land system with England, a system which would have horrified every single Member of the Party to which the right hon. Gentleman belonged who had expressed his views on the land question in the last two or three generations. That was a very serious matter. Not only was this legislation bad, but the method of dealing with it was worse, and it was absolutely inconsistent with every pledge which the Prime Minister gave them as to the class of Bills which he was prepared to send upstairs in order to relieve congestion in the House. And if anything could add to the absurdity of a procedure which, in itself, was, he thought, sufficiently open to comment and criticism, it was that on the same night they were being asked to bring to a premature end two Bills both dealing with land of the same kind, held on the same tenure, worked in the same way, but dealing with that land on entirely different principles. At four o'clock the Prime Minister had moved a resolution that they should, under the guillotine, declare next Thursday or Friday that so far as Scottish land was concerned two and two made five. The Prime Minister was also going to move a second Resolution which would come on at some unknown hour that evening in which he was going to cut down the discussion on the English Land Bill to the same, limits under the-guillotine, and in that case they were going to declare that two and two made three. He could not understand how anybody with a serious countenance could propose these two Resolutions to prevent the House from discussing two quite inconsistent and different methods of dealing with one great problem. The real secret of the whole thing was let out in a moment of unfortunate candour by the President of the Irish Board of Agriculture last week when he explained to an interested and amused House that he belonged to a Government which worked in water tight compartments. The natural result was that the head of each of those water-tight compartments looked with disgust and indignation at his colleagues who happened to preside over other water-tight compartments. The President of the Irish Board of Agricul- ture did not think much of the President of the Board of Education in England in the matter of dealing with the law of the land, because he told them he was going to preserve the law, although he implied that it was his misfortune and not his fault that he was the colleague of a right hon. Gentleman who did not intend to maintain the law. The same with regard to the relations between the Minister in charge of the English Agricultural Bill and the right, hon. Gentleman who was in charge of the Scottish Agricultural Bill. They required Resolutions passed on the same night, but they would be shocked at being lumped together in the same Resolution. The right hon. Gentleman in charge of the English Land Bill was not, he thought, in his place; but he was sure he would look with deepest indignation at any suggestion that he should be thought to be trafficking with any of the schemes of the Secretary for Scotland, and, if they were hastily or rashly to confuse him and his procedure with his Scottish colleague and his procedure, he would have the same feeling of indignation which, he understood, was felt by a West Indian mulatto when he was described as a black. He wondered whether the right hon. Gentleman who was responsible for their procedure had reflected on the point to which he had now succeeded in bringing debates in the House. He had made them shorter, but he had not made them to the point. He had deprived the House absolutely of the power of discussing the details of any of the measures he brought forward. He wisely protected his colleagues from any of the disagreeables which naturally ensued when criticism affected the careless drafting or the weak logic of any measure which the Government brought forward, and, so far from occupying his time as he understood he proposed to do, with filling up the cup with regard to another place, it seemed to him that the right hon. Gentleman was occupied in giving a great practical demonstration of the absolute necessity of some legislative Chamber where discussion and revision were still possible. As far as the House of Commons was concerned, they had got far beyond the stage of farce to which the right hon. Gentleman had so eloquently referred a few months ago, and nobody now expected, and some people were ceasing even to desire, an opportunity for discus- sing proposals, however important, however far-reaching, however novel might be the principles on which they were founded. He did not believe that hon. Gentlemen opposite would reconcile themselves to this method of dealing with great social problems if it were not that they knew, as well as those on that side of the House know, that there was another Chamber. He did not believe that they would tolerate the careless drafting, the hasty legislation, the crude and even foolish proposals with which the Government now, without hesitation or a blush, inundated that House, or that they would stoop to defend them if it was not that they said—"After all, it does not matter much what the Government do. We can always trust to the grosser absurdities being removed from the legislation which this House sanctions by another place. "And if, in the process of making legislation reasonable and tolerable, they could get material for a few perorations about a hereditary Chamber, why, so much the better. He did not know that that was a very noble policy, but he thought it was a very ingenious one. He was far from desiring not to give full credit where credit was due, and, while he was unable to compliment the right hon. Gentleman on the wisdom of his measures, or on the care with which they had been drafted, or on the success with which they had been defended either in the House or upstairs, at all events he could and did compliment him from his heart on the ingenuity of the general scheme of procedure with which he had entertained the House, shortened its proceedings, and destroyed its efficiency during this and the preceding sessions.


said the right hon. Gentleman had shown more than his usual command of denigratory rhetoric. He had represented this Measure as one of the most inept and one of the most revolutionary ever introduced into Parliament, except the Scottish Valuation Bill, which he found to be still more inept and still more revolutionary. [Several HON. MEMBERS: The other way about. The other way about. It did not matter much; it was all the same to the right hon. Gentleman. Both fell within the same category, and which got the place of pre-eminence was a matter of complete indifference to him. Then there was the English Land Bill also, and the right hon. Gentleman told them that whereas this Bill was like a legislative enactment of a proposition that two and two made five, the English Bill was an enactment of the other proposition that two and two made three. It was a very odd thing that the Bill which said that two and two made three was not divided on upon the Second Reading, and that the revolutionary Valuation Bill now upstairs received recognition in the late Parliament by a majority of something like 200. The less said about inept and revolutionary Bills the better.

The real point was the objection of the right hon. Gentleman to the procedure of sending Bills to Committees upstairs for their Committee stage. The whole gist of the argument, in so far as it was relevant, was that this Bill ought never to have been sent to a Standing Committee. It was so sent, however, and was anyone going to say that it did not receive in Committee ample, detailed, and, if he might use the expression, meticulous consideration? It was true of himself that he did not attend the deliberations of the Committee with much regularity, but he heard a good deal of the enormities which were said to be carried on in secret there, so he thought he would visit that chamber of horrors; and the half-hour he spent there was occupied almost entirely by English Members. [Cries of "Half-an-hour."] It might have been an exceptional occasion, but his impression appeared to tally with that of many of his hon. friends that English and Irish Members took their full share in the deliberations on the Bill. The Committee sat twenty-two days, ten hours a week, during three months of Parliamentary time.

He said frankly that the object of the new procedure was to get rid of Committee stage in the House, and the Government believed that was to the advantage of careful legislation. Complicated details of measures of this kind could be much more freely, thoroughly, and effectively handled under the comparatively informal conditions of the Standing Committee than in the House. [An HON. MEMBER: Closure.] An hon. Member said the Bill was closured. Was he horrified at that? A closure on the; average after two and a half hours of discussion compared favourably with procedure in Committee of the Whole House. No one could deny that the Committee sat long and sat often, and had every opportunity of considering the measure with fulness and care. If it was otherwise, then he said legislation had become impossible. He was not enamoured of the closure. He regarded it as a temporary palliative for the evils of our present Parliamentary system. The right hon. Gentleman opposite developed the use of the guillotine to a degree previously unknown. He did not say they were not bettering his example. He should be sorry to regard it as part of the permanent machinery of the House of Commons, but until there was some business-like arrangement for allocating time between different Bills and different stages of Bills this was the only way by which the majority could, after giving full opportunity for discussion, make its voice effective. On that ground, and that ground only, the Government submitted this Motion to the House.

MR. LAURENCE HARDY (Kent, Ashford)

said the Chancellor of the Exchequer laid stress on the words "careful legislation" in reference to the discussions upstairs. If that was the desire to be attained by the Government, they might have been expected in using the closure to apply it only to particular questions and not to whole portions of clauses. Those members of the Standing Committee who attended the sittings were perfectly aware that some portions of clauses were passed entirely undiscussed, and certainly no one could say that there had been that carefulness in legislation which the Chancellor of the Exchequer said was the great object of having the Bill discussed upstairs. Another matter which had not been alluded to was that the Members of the House generally had had no means of ascertaining the points which really had been discussed, the lines laid down on points of order, or the statements made by Ministers in connection with the Bill. When he asked a question in regard to that matter the Prime Minister told him that he ought to read the Scottish papers. That was the manner in which they were to discover what was going on in the Standing Committee. Surely that was hardly a dignified way of carrying on legislation! They were to get their information in the highways and byways, and they had even to go to the Scottish papers for reports of what was going on. If that was the case, surely there could be no objection to asking questions on the floor of the House, especially when they remembered the statements which were made by light hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench when the new procedure rules were discussed. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton stated that under the proposal for referring Bills to Standing Committees there would be reserved to the House the fullest opportunity for discussion on the Report stage. The right hon. Gentleman stated that the Government proposed no limitation of discussion on the Report stage. What had been the actual condition of things, especially with reference to this Bill? There was the fact that of 588 Members only fifteen representing Ireland, Wales, and England who were added to the Committee had an opportunity of saying a word upon this extremely complicated measure. There was every ground, therefore, for suggesting that this was a novel procedure, that it was one contrary to the pledges of the Government, and one which ought to be resisted, however small the minority might be. Having got the whole time of the House, the Government now suggested that on the Report stage the Bill should be discussed between a quarter to four and half-past ten o'clock. Let the Government give the House the whole of the time allotted to them. At all events they asked that some concession should be made. The actual allocation of time suggested was based on the most extraordinary principle. As to the new clauses, even the Government must allow that out of 588 hon. Members there might be some who had suggestions to make when they were changing the entire land system of Scotland. After the new clauses there were six clauses which the Prime Minister admitted were the most important in the Bill, and all these were to be discussed between 4.30 and 10.30 p.m. As had been pointed out by the right hon. Member for the City of London, there was a clause which broke up the present Board of Agricul- ture. He believed that the members of that Board and all interested in agriculture would view with the greatest regret the severance of Scotland from the Board of Agriculture. The Board had been gradually built up; it had attained a status and a position of a very substantial character, and that was only because it had under its control the agriculture of England, Wales, and Scotland. He himself had been connected with a Departmental Committee on Sheep Scab, and the only possible way of dealing with that disease was by united action in Scotland and Wales and that had diminished its effect in England. The same thing might be said in regard to many other important subjects. Again, they did not know whether this Bill included fisheries, and under the operation of the guillotine there could be no particular discussion on that point. However they looked at the matter—in view of the pledges given by the Government, the Opposition had been treated in a way no minority had ever been treated before. Therefore they were bound to make the strongest possible protest against the action of the Government. The Prime Minister had said in setting up these Grand Committees that the great measures of the session would still be retained under the control of the House. What were the great measures of the session? Let them clear one thing away. Would the Government claim that the two land measures were the great measures of the session, although they said that they had always intended to send these measures to Grand Committee? It had been said that if they looked at the Order Book they would see what were the main measures of the Government. He did not think it necessary to read them through, but at all events they knew from the position that was given to the two Land Bills and the arguments that were used about them that they were going to be used by the Government as their great effort at legislation. If that were the case, and if they were to be used as the means of piling up the agony against the other House, then opportunity should be given to the House of Commons to discuss them so that the arguments that could be brought to bear against them might be reported, printed, and considered by the public. Such opportunity had not vet been given. The whole information which the vast majority of the Members of the House and of the public had in regard to these Bills had been gleaned from the public newspapers or conversations with members of the Committee. He trusted that a very strong protest would be made against the action taken by the Government.


said he agreed very much with the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the use of the guillotine was not an ordinary procedure that they would like to think had become inevitable. The time allowance made for discussion before the guillotine fell was too short, especially when they compared the time allowance given to the Scottish Bill with that given to the English Bill. He was one of those who had been grateful to the Prime Minister for having established the Grand Committee system, because that was the only way by which work could be done without a very large devolution of powers which he conceived the Opposition would oppose more than Grand Committees. If the Grand Committees were to provide for thorough discussion, there should be an adequate report of the proceedings; there should be the usual guidance from the Chair as in the House, and the closure should not be applied too freely. He had a marked copy of the Bill showing what portions had been carried under closure; and it revealed a very remarkable result. He doubted whether the discussion in Committee had been satisfactory, considering the extent to which closure had been used upstairs. It might be said that legislation under present conditions would be impossible without closure. It was not, but the objection was not so much to procedure as to the Bill itself. He did not object, of course, to the guillotine, but if three days were wanted for the English Bill then five times as many would not be too many for the Scottish Bill. Assuming that six days were to be given to the English Bill, he would, as a practical proposal, suggest that one day should be given to the English Bill on Report and five days to the Scottish Bill on Report. The English Bill was a very plain measure. It followed full inquiry. It utilised existing machinery and the local authorities. It was no bar to individual initiative, but provided a stimulus to it. It provided coercion both to the individual and to the local authorities It secured flexibility of tenure, disorganised nothing, and provided for experimental Work which was so particularly recommended by the Select Committee. The English Bill was a practical, not a political, Bill; it was accepted very generally by public opinion, and received a very large measure of support, not from one side of politics, but from both, which was fully justified during the Second Reading. It was carried through the Committee without the use of the closure, and was amended fairly. He could only say that if a similar Bill had been applied to Scotland, only one day would have been necessary for the Report stage of both Bills. He agreed with those who had spoken on the other side; for, after all, the difference between the conditions of Scotland and those of England was that in Scotland the equipment of farms was more costly, farm-servants were better paid, farming was of a higher character, and therefore there was less need to interfere so far as economic farming was concerned than in England. The Scottish Bill had been declared by the Prime Minister himself to be entirely different from the English Bill. That was so, but in the differences it was exactly opposite to the English Bill. Its origin had never been disclosed; it was the result of no inquiry; there was no precedent for its main provisions; no cause had been shown for it. Scotland was keen enough for land reform, but he had seen no keenness amongst practical men for the Bill. There had been a great division of Parliamentary opinion in respect to some of its clauses. In many of them it was destructive and not constructive. All these considerations afforded solid ground for asking for some time for its discussion. There was no practical defence of the Bill on the Second Reading. When certain points were discussed by the Opposition they were told that these were Committee points, and in Committee they were told that they were Second Reading points. Another objection taken by some hon. Members on the Ministerial side of the House was that within the scope of the Bill there was the principle of divided ownership and divided management. And in Committee there was rather a stalwart minority instead of a stalwart majority in favour of the Bill. The stalwart minorities who were out-and-out supporters of all its provisions were not representative of agriculture. The Bill in respect of certain of its provisions ought to be considered on Report in the House as a whole, and that could not be done unless more time was allowed. It was said there was obstruction in the Committee upstairs. He denied that. No doubt the Bill took a long time, but, after all, it provided material for half-a-dozen Bills. He never recollected a Bill with so many different and contentious subjects embodied in it. It effected a revolution of tenure in the law of property and rating, and in agricultural organisation. The Opposition Amendments were moved upstairs on clear lines, and he thought they ought to be moved again. The Amendments which ought to be considered by the House were to omit these provisions which were unjustifiable, to recast other provisions upon practicable working lines, to remove those hampering restrictions which were said to check the real object of the Bill, which was to increase the population upon the soil, and to make adequate provisions for silviculture and intense cultivation. They were told that the land system had broken down. It certainly had not broken down so far as agricultural efficiency in Scotland was concerned The Bill only dealt with small farms, upon which there was the greatest possible expenditure by way of equipment. He had great sympathy with a restrictive provision as applied to bad owners, but the Bill hit the best owners. They were told that ownership was left untouched, but the Government really destroyed ownership. They were told also that the Bill was the considered policy of an enlightened Government, but Ministers who he should have thought knew most about the practical management of land exercised great restraint in their expressions of opinion. With their feet on mother earth, they had to face visionaries in the clouds. He admired the way in which the Secretary for Scotland tried to introduce some measure of supernatural law into the economies of agricultural law, but it was not business. The evils of divided ownership and the absence of responsible management which would be inflicted by the Bill would be irreparable. They would be driven on the rocks of litigation. It would end in wholesale expropriation by land purchase. That would be the consequence of the Bill. The results should be made plain to the House, and these points therefore ought to receive further and adequate consideration. He remembered that last year one of the Whips of the Liberal Party demonstrated that the people were against Socialism. He had never demonstrated that he was against Socialism, because so far as they could work collectively with equal efficiency to working individually he was a Socialist. He would, however, ask those who were so afraid of Socialism why—if it was equitable to appropriate capital invested in the equipment of land, and if it was equitable to transfer that to the occupiers, as the hon. Baronet the Member for Invernessshire frankly acknowledged was the consequence of the Bill—it would not be equitable to divide up largo houses into suitable smaller dwellings and thus solve the housing problem? If they could take the control and appropriate all the capital that was invested in the equipment of land in Scotland, to the extent of £100,000,000, and was still being invested at the rate of £2,000,000 a year, it seemed to him they could do that. The nationalisation of the land was a mild measure compared to the proposals of the Bill. No Socialist had ever proposed anything so destructive to individual initiative and to industrial efficiency.


said the hon. Member was really now discussing the Bill, and not the Motion before the House.


said he was advancing these arguments to prove the need for giving a much larger proportion of time to the Scottish Bill than to the English Bill under the provisions of the guillotine. He submitted that a fair division of time would be one day to the Report stage of the English Bill and five days to the Scottish Bill.

MR. LAMBTON (Durham, S.E.)

said the speech of the hon. Member who had just sat down would convince the Prime Minister that all the opposition to the Bill did not come from the English Members. The Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer had made a somewhat savage attack on the English Members who had sat on the Committee upstairs. The Prime Minister told them they had no right to over-ride the right of Scotland to make her own laws, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer asked what right they had to speak on the Committee. The Chancellor of the Exchequer forgot that they had to pay some of the taxation under the Bill. This was the first time he had heard two Members of the Liberal Party say that those who were going to be taxed should have no right to enter into the discussions. The Chancellor of the Exchequer told them that he objected to guillotine methods and that he thought some better arrangements might be made upstairs. He seemed to have forgotten that the very question of the procedure upstairs was guillotined by the Government. There were Amendments put down to regulate the proceedings upstairs and to simplify them, and they would have avoided some of the deplorable scenes which had taken place. He did not think anything occurred on the Scottish Grand Committee of which any English Member at all events need be ashamed. The Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer had admitted that their opinion was formed on hearsay evidence. Discussions on the merits of the Bill were hand capped, and in his opinion most of them were unworthy of being handicapped at all. He did not wish to say anything offensive to the Scottish Members of the Committee, but he would like to point out some of the reasons why the Committee took so much time. It was not because there was too much talk, but because there was too little information. One of the characteristics of Scottish people was that they were niggardly in giving information amongst other things. It was a characteristic of Scottish people of old standing. Since he had been on the Scottish Grand Committee he had become imbued with Scottish, so that he could hardly read anything but Scottish literature. One day, however, he had to take up an English author of some repute who wrote a Scottish play called "Macbeth." When Macbeth visited the three old maids on the Scottish heath, he said:— Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more. That was the complaint he had to make of the hon. Gentleman who conducted the Bill for the Government. They were always met by the Solicitor-General for Scotland with a stony silence. Throughout the whole proceedings he was treated as a. Sphinx. Every now and then the Lord Advocate treated them with appeals of eloquence, and the Secretary for Scotland on every possible occasion moved the closure. The hon. Members for Sutherland and Ross and Cromarty frequently objected to the closure, and, as for all the opposition coming from the English Members, he would like to ask the hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty what he thought of the Bill. He continually told them— My heart's in the Highlands, My heart's in the Highlands, My heart is not here; My heart's in the Highlands A 'chasing the deer. Why should these measures be passed by sixty-two Scottish Members without any discussion by the English Members? They did not always get a quorum. Out of sixty-two Scottish Members they could only muster sixteen. He merely mentioned that to show the estimation in which this Bill was held by Scottish Members. It was said that the Bill had taken twenty-two days in Committee. What occurred? On the twenty-first day when they were dealing with the land in the burghs the right hon. Gentleman had to confess that he had not the slightest idea of the numbers of acres in the burghs or of the number of people living on them. On the twenty-second day he put a question to the Solicitor-General as to whether the Bill if it passed would prevent an owner selling land to an occupier, and the hon. and learned Gentleman could give no answer, and the Secretary for Scotland said himself that that was a matter which would have to be dealt with in the House. Thirty-three promises were made by the Government, and were all to be carried out by the Government by way of new clauses. It was now proposed to discuss the Bill in three short sittings. It had been said by the Prime Minister that twenty-two days in Committee was too much time for the Bill, which violated every principle of the land laws. He noticed that a small private water Bill, the Renfrew Water Bill, had taken eight days in Committee, and if eight days were required to consider a small private water Bill twenty-two days were not half enough time for the consideration of this. It was not that he had so much fault to find with the closure being applied as the manner in which it was applied. Comparatively unimportant Amendments were moved and a great deal of time was wasted in discussing them. If the closure had been put upon such debates as those he would not have objected But debates were allowed to run for a long time on unimportant Amendments, and then whole pages of the Bill were closured without any discussion at all. The fact was that these guillotine Motions were prearranged. The difficulties were foreseen, and when the Committee were discussing one clause they were referred to another. When on Clause 5 they were referred to Clause 10, and when on Clause 7 to a new sub-clause, and when they got on to that clause they were closured. He moved an Amendment in the first line of Clause 7, but it was closured with half the page that followed. An Amendment was raised in regard to the question of compensation, which was one of the most important parts of the Bill. But the Secretary for Scotland never responded, and the law officers for Scotland were most discreetly silent when important questions were raised. Then there were no lawyers in the Opposition, and when the lay Members applied as they often did to the Solicitor-General for Scotland for assistance to understand these abstruse points they were mot with a stony silence. It was under these circumstances that they now required more than three days to consider the Bill. The three days given under the Resolution destroyed all freedom of discussion. He thought the process of devolution under which English Members were told they were not to discuss Scottish Land Bills and that the English Land Bill was good enough for them was worse than any form of Home Rule over contemplated. It set class against class and country against country, and he most emphatically protested against the tyranny of the Resolution.

MR. MILDMAY (Devonshire, Totnes)

said the House was now accustomed to the annual comedy by which the Government of the day had to come down and with the greatest reluctance, as they said, muzzle the House of Commons. It could not be gainsaid that this procedure had been more and more drastic, until at last every sensible man in the House was subconsciously crying out for some less clumsy, more fair and more businesslike method of curtailing the debates. The Government were making a more wholesale use of the guillotine than any previous Government, and this was due to the fact that so much important legislation had been introduced so late in the House of Commons. He put it to the House that there was no precedent for the procedure by which the whole House had no opportunity to consider the details of an important measure before the 5th of August. He held that the Government had stifled liberty of speech in the House as no previous Government had done, and he thought all dispassionate Members of the House were convinced that the present method of obtaining measures by means of the guillotine was indefensible. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said it was a temporary palliative that had lasted too long. But under those circumstances it was the duty of the Government to tackle the question and provide another method. The hon. Member for Salford, an extreme Radical, only the other day in a letter to the public Press said that he was extremely anxious to carry advanced legislation, but that there was something more important than that, viz., freedom of speech in the House of Commons. The Chief Secretary for Ireland had also spoken against this method. It could not be denied that the most important parts of Bills from the point of view of efficient legislation went through without discussion, and that in itself proved the absolute necessity for the House of Lords. They saw that necessity in connection with the Education Bill brought in by the present Government last year, when the Amendments moved in another place on behalf of the Government bulked more largely than all the other Amendments moved in that House. The author of a Bill was not immaculate, and when he introduced a Bill he expected to have Amendments made and would welcome criticism directed to points which had escaped him. A strong Government should welcome a strong Opposition so that every clause of a Bill should be dealt with from both points of view. That was the only way to get legislation to work smoothly. He had no hesitation in saying that in their hearts the whole House unanimously wished that some other method could be found than that now proposed for dealing with surplus talk. Was it not the positive duty of the Prime Minister and members of the Government, with their enormous majority, and as guardians of the efficiency of the House, to take their courage in both hands, not to make difficulties, but to tackle this question in a manner which would restore efficiency to the House of Commons?

MR. MITCHELL THOMSON (Lanarkshire, N.W.)

said he really thought that the aim of the Government was somewhat curious and topsy-turvy. He would recall to hon. Members opposite an opinion expressed by Sir George Trevelyan, that no Government composed of anything short of lunatics would propose to send highly contentious Bills to Grand Committees. The Prime Minister had expatiated at greater length on the same theme, and had assured himself and other hon. Members, in the discussion of procedure, that there was no necessity for their moving a large number of exceptions to the rule for sending Bills to Grand Committees, because highly contentious measures would not be sent upstairs. It followed from that statement that measures which were sent upstairs were, in the view of the Government, not highly contentious. He found that of the measures applicable to Scotland the Government had seen fit to retain two in the House, one the Sea Fisheries (Scotland) (Application of Penalties) Bill, and the other the Whale Fisheries (Scotland) Bill. He assumed that if the definition of the Government was to be taken as correct, those two Bills were regarded as the Bills of the session, as highly contentious, and consequently were not sent upstairs. The other observation he had to make on the general question was this. In the earlier portion of the debate they had heard a reference by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the occasion on which he visited the Scottish Committee. The right hon. Gentleman was present for something like half an hour, and from his reference to it, one might be led to believe that the Scottish Grand Committee was a happy place where everything went smoothly. The Chancellor of the Exchequer told them that the closure had been used sparingly; but what were the facts? Over one third of the Bill had been passed under the operation of the guillotine. The Bill consisted of 790 lines, and of these 268 were framed under the operations of the guillotine Were the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his place he would ask him, as he now asked any other member of the Government present, whether he considered that a reasonable and natural use of the guillotine, and whether, in the view of the Government, that was the sort of guillotine operation which they had to look forward to in the future. Regrettable charges had been made against Members of the Opposition of having obstructed the progress of the Bill in Committee. But he could reply to those charges on figures which he had taken the trouble to get out. One thousand two hundred and eighty-nine speeches were made in Grand Committee on the Scottish Small Landholders Bill, and of that number 636 were made by Unionist Members, and 653 by supporters of the Government. He thought these figures, which he was prepared to substantiate if required, effectively disposed, once and for all, of the charge of obstruction which had been made against Members on the Opposition side of the House.

MR. PIKE PEASE (Darlington)

said that the question was one of very great importance. The Prime Minister had brought forward the proposition in a very half-hearted way, and his supporters did not take the trouble to reply to the very solid arguments advanced against it. It was one of the most drastic proposals ever suggested to a legislative assembly anywhere, and he could imagine what hon. Members opposite would have said had the late Government brought in such a Motion as that with which they had now to deal. He had listened with interest and also with amazement to the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, made on 11th November, 1902, when after the Education Bill had been in Committee for thirty-eight days, the Closure Motion was moved by his right hon. friend the Leader of the Opposition. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said— I venture to say that until this debate, whether you look back to the precedents of the past or to the reason of the thing, both the theory and the practice of the House of Commons have been that this procedure which we all regret, which none of us like, which we admit to be inconsistent with the elementary rights and privileges of a debating assembly—this procedure has never been, and ought not to be resorted to except in one or two cases in a case of extreme emergency, in the interests of public order or in the case where a Bill, having been carefully considered both by the country and by Parliamentary discussion, is ripe for a final decision. What are you doing here? You are violating those traditions: yon are flying in the face of experience; you are establishing a precedent which, I venture to say, once established will be repeated and applied in cases which will be extremely unwelcome to the large majority of those who are going to vote for this motion. Was there any reason if they quickened their deliberations and their legislation in the manner that was now being adopted, why in the future the whole fiscal system of the country should not be changed entirely in perhaps two or three days, or why some future Budget should not be passed in a similar time? The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer went on to add— You are going to apply this procedure, which has hitherto been confined within limited and rational bounds, to a measure which is at once complex and revolutionary, which is neither urgent in its occasion, nor temporary in its operation, as to which the country has never been consulted"— he thought they might apply those observations to the present Motion, as to which the country had never been consulted— against the hasty and ill-considered passage of which a second Chamber affords us no effectual safeguard. He would like to refer to one very important point in the Prime Minister's observations, where he told them, that if the Scottish Members were satisfied with any Scottish measure, it ought to be passed into law. He wondered whether the right hon. Gentleman would apply the same law to Ireland or England. If he considered that the Scottish Members ought to have their will, as representing the Scottish people, in regard to any measure relating to Scotland, why should not the Irish Members have an opportunity of bringing in a measure somewhat different from the Irish Council Bill? They were told that the measure to which this Closure Resolution applied was not important. But that was said only in the House of Commons. When the right hon. Gentleman went to make a speech in the country or any of his followers made speeches in the Recess, they would say that this Scottish measure was one of the most important ever passed for Scotland. He thought the day would come when right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite would regret the decision at which they were going to arrive that day. He believed they would come to agree that the words of the Chancellor of the Exchequer were correct, when he said that proceedings such as this were a most dangerous example.

MR. STANLEY WILSON (Yorkshire, E.R., Holderness)

said he had listened with considerable interest to the speeches of the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer and he entirely failed to see that they had advanced the slightest reason for passing this Resolution or pressing it on the House. While the people of the country were spending a peaceful holiday, the House of Commons was called upon to discuss two Resolutions which would have been absolutely unnecessary but for the incompetence of the Government. The Prime Minister reminded him of the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland. Whenever he found himself in difficulties about his legislative proposals, he at once shouted, "Off with their heads!" At the present time he was guillotining Bill after Bill, Members were gradually becoming accustomed to the process, and now they found themselves in the unprecedented position of having two Resolutions before the House to deal with two most important Bills. Still, after a year and a half's experience of the present Government, one was hardly surprised at what they were doing. At the last election, right hon. and hon. Members opposite pledged themselves in favour of free speech, which in the House of Commons at the present moment they had absolutely destroyed. Every Bill was now forced through by means of the closure, and the only place where there was discussion was in the House of Lords, which also the Government had determined, if possible, to destroy. The Prime Minister had not made any case against the members of the Opposition, and he ventured to think that hon. Members on that side of the House would agree that it was not through any fault of the Opposition that the Government found themselves in their present predicament. The Opposition had not obstructed any of the Government's measures; in fact, had they wished to do so they would have been deprived of the opportunity by the closure. The Government had themselves alone to thank for the position in which they found themselves. They had endeavoured in the course of the session to do far too much. The majority of Members on the Government Benches admitted that. Only the other day, an hon. Gentleman, a supporter of the Government, said he earnestly trusted that the present session would be a lesson to the Government for the future not to pass a tremendous number of measures in one session as they were now trying to do. The oldest Member of the House could not remember a Government which had got themselves into such a muddle with regard to their legislative proposals as had the present Government. They had introduced important Bills right up towards the end of the session, and now they were endeavouring to do in a few short weeks what should take as many months or more. The Resolution dealt with the Scottish Bill, which was one of the most contentious measure ever discussed in the House. Later on they had to discuss the closure Resolution on the English Bill which the Prime Minister had said was a non-contentious measure. Although the Opposition did not object to the principle of small holdings they objected to many of the details of the measure. That measure was fairly considered by the Committee upstairs, but the same could not be said of the Scottish Bill; member after member of the Scottish Committee had told the House that whole pages of the Bill were closured without any discussion whatever. He had nothing to say against the Chairman of the Committee, because he was esteemed and respected on all sides of the House, but he could not help saying that it was most remarkable that whenever the Secretary for Scotland requested that the closure should be applied, the right hon. Gentleman invariably acceded to the request. The Bill introduced a new system of land tenure in Scotland. It introduced dual ownership and he failed to see why the Government should make this experiment upon poor unfortunate Scotsmen. He protested against such a Bill being forced through without adequate discussion. How could hon. Members who were not members of the Scottish Committee adequately dismiss the proposals of this Bill on Report without the assistance of any official report of the proceedings? He wished to record his emphatic protest against this Resolution.

MR. WALTER LONG (Dublin, S.)

protested against the way in which these fundamental changes in the rules which governed their procedure were being carried through. It was in no sense the fault of hon. Gentlemen opposite that they had had very short experience of Parliamentary work, having only been recently elected, and it was only natural that forming as they did a large majority of the House their desire should be to legislate as rapidly as possible, without due regard to the quality of their legislation or for the rights of the minority who were entitled by constitutional practice and usage to the fullest consideration in the discussion of measures brought forward. On the Grand Committee the voice of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was never heard, although he had interposed on this occasion for a short time and had been called away by the urgent demands of his office. But if the right hon. Gentleman was going to make a practice of intervening in these debates, and charging the Opposition with an undue prolongation of their criticisms, the least he could do was to listen to the defence hon. Members made, and their repudiation of the charges he had thought fit to make again t them. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had been singularly unfortunate to-day. He had told them that he had a vivid recollection of the visit he paid to the Scottish Committee, but he appeared to have stopped short at a most important point. He desired to refer to it because it touched immediately upon the point he ventured to raise during the debate on the new rules, and which he was sorry to say he pressed upon the Prime Minister without success. By a curious coincidence when the Chancellor of the Exchequer visited the Scottish Committee they happened to be discussing a question which the Prime Minister thought English Members had no right to discuss, namely, the share they would have to find out of their own pockets towards the working of this particular Bill in Scotland. When they asked for more information on the subject they were met by the closure. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer was present at the Committee, one of his hon. friends spied him and referred to the fact that he was present. He himself had contemplated putting two definite Questions to the right hon. Gentleman on the Committee, but the moment he found his presence was detected he fled from the scene never to return. He knew it would be idle to expect Ministers of the Crown not immediately connected with the Department concerned to be present at the Committee, but could there be a greater condemnation of the system than that fact? If the Secretary for Scotland was in charge of a measure it was probable that his colleagues would be on the bench beside him, but when questions arose which were outside the immediate purview of the Minister in charge of the Bill, and when the Opposition made an effective point, what had been the invariable practice? The practice had been immediately to send a messenger to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's room or to the Prime Minister or some other Minister of the Crown to come and give an answer to the question and meet the argument if he could. The Prime Minister had insinuated that the debates had been too much addressed to small points and that sufficient attention had not been paid to matters of principle. That was the inevitable result of the practice which the Government had adopted. He would like to know where the demand for this Bill in Scotland came from? What single authority entitled to speak for agriculture in Scotland could be quoted in its support? Hon. Members opposite were divided in regard to the Bill; in fact the closure was the only thing they were united upon, because they knew its application would get rid of a subject which had caused them many searchings of heart, and because they found it extremely difficult to answer the arguments put forward by the Opposition. With regard to the question of finance, the Prime Minister had criticised the interference of English Members. He wished to say that a great deal of the information upon which the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer had based their speeches was not accurate. [MINISTERIAL cries of "Oh, oh!"] He did not believe the Prime Minister was accurate when he said the great bulk of the criticism on the Committee was carried on by English Members. Let him remind the House who some of those English Members were. Some of them were men interested in agricultural land, who had spent their money in developing and improving it. Were they to be told that because a man did not sit for a Scottish constituency, although he was largely interested in Scottish land, he was not a proper person to take part in the debates upstairs? The number of Members not connected with Scotland either by representation or ownership, or by a large occupation of land, was very small upon the Committee. They were told that the Bill had been adequately discussed. He did not think that any Bill dealing with three principles so great as the three great principles affected by this measure had ever received so little discussion. The Chancellor of the Exchequer made the most of the fact that eleven days of Parliamentary time had been given to the Bill. It should be remembered that the Bill introduced into Scotland for the first time principles of legislation which had been followed in Ireland. The only result would be in Scotland as in Ireland that it would be found necessary to buy out the second party to the transaction. That was an entire revolution. It was a drastic amendment of the Crofters' Act which in itself, in the opinion of many hon. Members opposite, and especially those who represented the crofting counties, was a sufficient subject for legislation, and ought to have been the sole subject of legislation. The Government had in the case of England dealt with the question of small owners in one Bill, whereas in the case of Scotland that question had been lumped together with two or three other questions of almost equal importance. The Prime Minister had criticised somewhat adversely the action of English Members. If this Bill, which conferred autocratic power on the Secretary for Scotland, were put into force it would be impossible for anybody who sat on the Board of Agriculture of Great Britain to deal, as they had been able to deal hitherto, with some of those appalling diseases which had ravaged the country and destroyed so many of the cattle of the people. One case in his own experience was that of rabies. He ventured to say that if this change had been made, it would have been absolutely impossible to deal with that question in the way it was dealt with. The English Members were as much interested in these questions as Scottish Members. The justification given by the Secretary for Scotland for dealing with these matters in this Bill was that there was no such legislation with reference to Ireland. That was true; but Ireland was an island, and the subject of cattle diseases could be dealt with there in a way that was not practicable where, as in the case of Scotland, there was a land boundary. The hon. Member for the Leith Burghs had dealt with the effect of the Bill on Scottish land. He was not going to deal with that, but he would give one small bit of information which in itself was an answer to every argument used by the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The House would not believe that the Opposition had wasted time in the Grand Committee by discussing this measure in what was equal to twelve Parliamentary days. The Government were absolutely pledged on the Report stage to deal with, or at all events to reconsider, thirty different points, some of which were small, while others were of first-class importance. It was the action of the Opposition which led to this result. In the first place it led to the insertion in the Bill in Committee of several Amendments of first-rate importance. And yet they were told that the measure had been adequately discussed. [Cries of "Hear, hear!"] He understood that the hon. Gentlemen who cheered were anxious to get legislation through and would prefer bad legislation if they could get it through quickly. That did not happen to be the view of the Opposition, and he doubted very much whether it was ever likely to be their view. He did not believe it was necessary to move the closure fifty-three times, and there was proof of that to some extent. The tactics of the Minister in charge of the Bill were materially altered during the last four or five days the Bill was before the Committee. Curiously enough during those days the closure was never moved, although the debates were just as continuous and the interposition of Members of the Opposition just as frequent and determined as before. What was the result? Progress was two or three times more rapid than in the earlier stages of the Bill. He did not object to the closure in itself; it was part of our system and it would be ridiculous to object to it now. What he objected to was the method in which it was moved in Committee. During the debates on the new rules of procedure which provided for the application of the closure on the Grand Committees there was power reserved to the House for discussion on the Report stage. But if only a Bill was drawn with long enough sections the Minister in charge had only to move that the words down to the middle of the clause should stand part of the clause in order to prevent the discussion of a number of Amendments. In this case the Minister in charge introduced one Amendment of his own in a clause in order to place an extra charge on the Imperial revenue, and when he got that, he moved the closure down to the end of the clause. If that was not closure by compartments, it was first cousin to it. That appeared to be a use of the closure which was never contemplated by the House of Commons when the new rules were framed. Some portions of this Bill to which the Opposition attached the greatest importance were excluded from debate altogether by that method. He and his friends, and he believed many hon. Gentlemen opposite, were opposed to any alteration in the laws dealing with the Diseases of Animals Act which would weaken the hands of the British Government. That was a matter which affected our own trade with foreign countries. The only Amendment upon which they would have been able to discuss that question was closured by taking one half of a clause at one fell swoop. On more than one occasion there was doubt and difficulty on the Committee in regard to matters under discussion. If the Bill had been before Committee of the Whole House the Prime Minister would have been called in more than once, and he would have seen the necessity for some concession. It was absolutely idle and futile to blame the Opposition for what they did upstairs. However strong the majority behind a Government might be, no majority was so strong that it had not from time to time to make concessions.


Hear, hear!


said the right hon. Gentleman cheered that sentiment In regard to nine-tenths of the Bill, not only was there no concession, but no attempt at concession. The Government presented a determined front, and argument after argument was met by pointing to the virtue of the Crofters Act, and it was held that this legislation was going to produce happiness and prosperity in Scotland.


The right hon. Gentleman stated that there were thirty concessions made.


said he was sorry if he did not make himself clear. What he said was that the Government during the Committee stage had pledged themselves to reconsider thirty different points. That was a very different thing. The Prime Minister knew that a Government very often promised to consider a question in the most friendly way, that they did their best to meet the views of the Opposition, but not unnaturally the Government and the Opposition did not see the thing in the same light. Differences of opinion might arise as to what the Government had done in regard to the points they had promised to reconsider, and what chance was there that the reserved points would be properly dealt with? They were told by Ministers that closure by compartments was hateful to them. And yet they had made use of it more often than their predecessors. Even if they had a conference between the two sides of the House with the view of arranging the debates on the Report stage so as to bring them within three days, he doubted whether such an arrangement could be made with a Bill of this magnitude. The Government would say to the Opposition that they could select their own subjects and arrange the time for themselves. Fifteen new clauses were on the Paper, eight of them in the name of Scottish Members, and one by a supporter of the Government, while other Amendments dealt with totally different branches of the subject, such as the amendment of the Crofters Act, the Small Holdings Bill, the setting up of a Land Court, and the creation of a new Agricultural Department to the destruction of the English Agricultural Department. He did not think it was possible adequately to discuss these in three days. And let it be remembered that when the Government sought to justify their action by criticising the action of the Opposition, and by saying that the Opposition had been unreasonable in their demand, they were dealing with the Lowlands of Scotland and that the Opposition had on their side a man who had unique experience in regard to every branch of agriculture in that country. Nobody would say that that hon. Member had gone out of his way to oppose the Government except in this case. The Opposition had had throughout these discussions in Committee the sympathy and support of the hon. Member for Leith Burghs; and in regard to the crofting part of the Bill they had had the unfavourable and outspoken criticism of those who represented the crofting areas. Was there ever a case in which the Opposition had shown a cleaner record? The Bill was of the greatest importance and proposed to bring into Scotland a change in its land system which had proved disastrous in Ireland. The most representative men in Scotland who did not usually vote on the Opposition side, and the great bulk of the farmers, opposed the Bill in its general outlines. If that was the case it could not be said that the Opposition, had acted in a way in which they ought not to have acted. He regarded the great change proposed by the Resolution as a most insidious invasion of Parliamentary procedure and one which instead of curing an evil was likely to aggravate it. It would send legislation out of the House ill-digested, without the stamp of adequate discussion, and some of it never debated at all. Whatever effect that might have on another place, it would have a most disastrous effect on public opinion outside, and it was not likely to redound to the credit of the House or add to its usefulness as a legislative body.


said that the House had listened to what the right hon. Gentleman had said in regard to the proceedings in the Grand Committee. He acknowledged the fairness with which the right hon. Gentleman had treated the subject, although he differed from the right hon. Gentleman strongly as to what he had stated was the opinion of Scotland in regard to the Bill. He was not going to enter into the merits of their proceeding's upstairs, except on one or two points in which his own conduct had been impugned. He ventured to assert that they approached the work of the Committee much more in the temper of the right hon. Member for South Dublin than in that of the Leader of the Opposition who had characterised the Bill as "carelessly drafted," as "Party legislation," as "a crude proposal," as "a strange fantastical measure," as "a most hopelessly foolish and illogical measure." He would ask hon. Gentlemen if they were to approach the debates on a Bill animated by the spirit of those words, would it not be absolutely impossible to come to any reasonable conclusion in regard to it? He submitted that in this country we were governed by discussion. The right hon. Gentleman's whole speech amounted to nothing else than abuse of the Bill. He had never condescended to treat the measure with the least respect or as one worthy of any reasonable consideration. He asked hon. Members to put themselves in the position of the Committee which had been appointed by the House to consider the measure and to amend it where desirable. They had to meet difficulties on the merits of the Bill. There was an avowed hostility to the methods of procedure in the Committee upstairs which was something not very far short of an intention to wreck the procedure on the Bill.


said that he entirely denied that the right hon. Gentle- man had any right to assert that there was an avowed intention to wreck procedure.


said he would substitute for "avowed" the phrase "scarcely veiled. "There was a, further objection taken largely by Members of the Opposition, and that was to the institution of a Scottish Grand Committee, and not on a count of the merits of the Bill. On those two grounds they had to meet the most violent and bitter hostility during the discussions on the Bill. Speaking for himself, he thought the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Dublin, who had always been fair, would admit that the earlier clauses of the Bill contained the principles of the measure on which there could be no substantial concession whatever made. The first four clauses contained the framework of the Bill, and there was no room for any substantial concessions in regard to them. He knew that the right hon. Gentleman and his friends took great exception to them. On the other hand, they received throughout the, proceedings the hearty and enthusiastic support of a very large body of Scottish Members. It was proper that he should acknowledge now the gratitude that he himself felt and the Government owed to the great body of the Scottish Members who were acquainted with the facts and circumstances of Scottish life and opinion, who had exercised the greatest self-restraint and patience throughout all the proceedings carried on upstairs. Of course, the closure, whether by guillotine or by compartments, was always regretted both in the House or in Committee. It was not regretted more by the Opposition than by the Government. Everybody knew that the guillotine was a double-edged weapon and that its use must necessarily arouse embittered antagonism and that it protanto delayed the proceedings in legislation. With regard to the criticism which had been passed on himself that afternoon, he admitted that this was the first occasion on which it had fallen on him to pilot a Bill of this kind, or any other Bill, through Committee and that he had not as much experience as the right hon. Member for South Dublin. But he maintained that, such was the hostility of the Opposition, if the closure had not been used they would have been discussing the Bill in Committee now. He would say further in regard to the closure that it was so used that with the exception of the point alluded to by the right hon. Gentleman, he challenged any Member of the Committee to point to a single important clause which was not discussed or the discussion of which was prevented by the use of the closure. In regard to the other point brought forward by the right hon. Gentleman, he would recollect the great length at which he went into the subject at the beginning of the clause and his reasons for rejecting it. He did not wish to prolong the discussion, and he saw no good reason for recrimination of any kind on these matters. For his part he had nothing to withdraw and nothing to apologise for in regard to what had fallen to him to do in the discharge of his duty. He only hoped that on future occasions in Committee the proceedings would be conducted with less friction than it had been his unhappy lot to experience on this occasion. He wished to take the opportunity of saying that he would be glad on the Report stage to confer with the right hon. Gentleman and his friends so as to facilitate the bringing forward of the subject on which he wished the House to come to a decision. It had been said that the closure had been used in order to prevent awkward questions and discussions. That was, he thought, an unworthy suggestion for which there was no foundation. He wished it could have been possible to have arranged for more discussion on the further stages of the Bill. He would only say one word more on the subject. The people affected by that afternoon's proceedings lived in a part of the United Kingdom for which the House was finding it increasingly difficult to provide time to legislate. The Scottish Grand Committee had been set up by the Government as a palliative for that evil condition of things. No adverse criticism on the conduct of the Scottish members in the Committee was valid, for, as a whole, they did everything they could to make it a working committee and to use it as an efficient and useful instrument for Scottish legislation. It was a serious and dangerous thing for the Opposition to paralyse this useful experiment in regard to Scotland. They might depend upon it that whilst Scotland was patient and forbearing and tolerant to a degree which he thought was not exceeded in any part of the United Kingdom, she had a right to her share of the time of Parliament. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Dublin was under a total misapprehension if he imagined that there was not a very considerable and a very important body of opinion solidly in favour of this measure.


Not agricultural opinion.


Yes, agricultural opinion. There was a large body of opinion—ploughmen, farm servants, small holders, small farmers, and even a considerable number of large farmers—solidly in favour of the measure. The authentic voice of Scotland was to be found, not in resolutions of farmers' clubs and associations, but in the attitude of his hon. friends in that House. The measure was not a hasty proposal. It had been before the country now for more than twelve months, and there had been an opportunity for its discussion in every village in every county in Scotland. These being the facts, he contended that those who would dam up this channel of legislation and prevent the will of Scotland being realised in this and other measures were laying up for themselves a reckoning which would involve consequences much more serious than those which they feared.


said he had not had the advantage of being a member of the Committee, but in some ways that was not a disadvantage, because he happened to represent a very large proportion of Members who were in the same position. They had heard from members of the Committee their views and recollections of what took place, and that was their only source of opinion. He confessed, if he were compelled to choose between the not always harmonious views given he would certainly be inclined to accept the view of his right hon. friend. They had learned something during the course of the discussion, and particularly from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down. He had made one remark which must have struck the House as curious in view of the Motion they were discussing, when he told them that the country was governed by discussion. The whole gravamen of their charge was that no discussion was allowed. The right hon. Gentleman's remark was scarcely discreet. He had made it quite clear that his (the speaker's) right hon. friend was justified in saying that the discussions in the Committee were not carried out with that judicial regularity which they enjoyed in that House and which they would like to see in the Committees. He had made it perfectly evident that there was a vindictive spirit in the application of the closure. He had told them that he entered into the discussions believing that there was on the part of his right hon. friend and those who supported him a deliberate intention to wreck the Committee. That was a very easy charge to make, but was it not rather curious—to outsiders at any rate it seemed curious—that, if that was the case, no signs of that intention were to be found in another Committee—the Committee which considered the English Land Bill? He did not understand the compliment the right hon. Gentleman paid to the Member for South Dublin when he spoke of his moderation and courtesy on the Committee if there was this malignant purpose. They had heard and seen nothing of it on the Committee of the English Land Bill. He was compelled from from what the right hon. Gentleman himself had said and from his right hon. friend's remarks to the conclusion that the Secretary for Scotland went into the Committee with the deliberate intention of carrying matters through with a high hand. He had done that. They had already had evidence that before the Committee came to an end the force of public opinion which penetrated even to that dark recess produced an alteration in the procedure. There were some considerations which to him were important; and he thought they were absolutely justified in pressing the matter. The right hon. Gentleman made some remarks of a general character and spoke about the dangers that were likely to ensue from the conduct which he attributed to hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House. It struck him that there were other dangers not less certain, not less formidable. There were some 550 Members who, practically speaking, knew nothing of what had taken place in the Committee. He was astonished, in view of the speech of the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, that the Bill should ever have been referred to a Committee at all, because it was perfectly idle to pretend that it was not a matter of the most vital importance. His right hon. friend had enumerated several points which, he believed, were all made more or less the subject of closure in Committee and all of which were of vital importance, not merely to Scottish Members interested in Scottish agriculture, but to every British citizen. There was the question of introducing that lamentable failure of the Irish land system into Scotland. In the second place, there was the question of substituting other legislation for the crofter legislation. In the third place there was the question of altering the whole agricultural arrangements of the country. His right hon. friend knew, nobody better, what was the advantage of the uniform authority of the Board of Agriculture, and he had given examples of what seemed to him the immense mischief which might be done by divorcing the two sections of that common body. What did any of them know with regard to any of these subjects? This debate was going to come to an end as a triumph of that policy of concealment by which alone legislation of this kind could be carried. They were supposed to be living in democratic times, and they were always having speeches made about the great body of public opinion. That, after all, was the tribunal to which they must all go, and by which they must be judged so far as their political short-comings or successes were concerned. But what were the Government doing? They were pledging the country, under a process absolutely novel, to a series of principles which so far as they were known at all, were condemned, not by the adherents of that Party, but by five-sixths of the people of England and Scotland. If they could make it perfectly clear to every Scottish and English elector that the lamentable history of the Irish land question was to be written on the Statute Book of Scotland, he ventured to say they would have a different class of support to that which the Secretary for Scotland had declared he possessed. They did not, however, know at all, and they could not know. The one and only legitimate way in which that knowledge could be brought before the public was by debates in that House. The debates had been going on in Committee for twenty-two Parliamentary days. Who was the wiser? They were told that fifteen English and Irish Members were allowed to participate in the discussions. He was glad they were there; they had at any rate some evidence of what took place. Otherwise it was a sealed book, and the book was to remain sealed. No one was to know what had taken place. There was another danger to which the Secretary for Scotland had not alluded, and which he thought was intensified by what had been said by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who had talked about this cosmopolitan Committee. He thought the word cosmopolitan indicated citizens of the world, whereas the Committee was composed of citizens of the United Kingdom. He thought it was unfortunate that the right hon. Gentleman should have treated the three sections of the United Kingdom as three separate powers. They had the argument used by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and enforced by the Secretary for Scotland that the English Members had no business in this galère at all.


said the right hon. Gentleman misunderstood him. He did not say anything of the kind.


said he accepted the disclaimer of the right hon. Gentleman, but, if he did not mean that, they misunderstood a great deal of what he said. He wished to protest against any doctrine of that kind finding acceptance. The Secretary for Scotland had talked of the need for Scottish legislation, and had said that claims were made by Scotland upon Parliament for the fulfilment of her just demands. That was a very dangerous doctrine if carried too far. He had never heard it suggested, and he hoped at would be long before anyone did suggest, that Scottish Members should hold their tongues when English measures were discussed. Neither Scottish nor Irish Members ever observed that rule. It was most unfortunate that such a suggestion should have received support from the speech of the Secretary for Scotland. He protested, as a Member of the House who had never had, and never would have, any means of knowing what had taken place in Committee, against the doctrine of legislating in this hole-and-corner fashion. The Government were forcing the House to acquiesce in the registering of decrees, not in matters of technical detail, but in three or four grave matters of principle. It might be said that this was a Scottish question, but who would have thought a few years ago that it would be proposed to introduce the Irish system into Scotland? Having been introduced into Scotland, it was inevitable that it should come across the border, and he could hardly imagine any subject of greater importance to every class of the community than that such a question should be settled only with the fullest publicity and after the fullest discussion, and with the assent of the people generally concerned. The opportunity for a general discussion was now either to be taken away or curtailed.


said he desired to move an Amendment to leave out "three" and insert "five" as the number of days to be allotted to the Report stage. Everybody who had listened to the debate would admit that that proposal was only reasonable. It was distinctly stated by a Member below the gangway who was a great authority upon Scottish land questions, that the clauses of this Bill contained greater principles than any Bill which had come before the House save the Home Rule Bill. Every Member who had spoken agreed that whether there had been a long discussion in Committee or not there was a necessity for a great deal more discussion before the Bill passed into law, and all the pledges given by the Government in Committee were in favour of full and free discussion in the House. He therefore thought they were right to claim full time when time was allotted as it was by the Government on this occasion. He quite admitted that if the Government would meet the Opposition in this way the time-table would have to be reconsidered, and he proposed that on the first day they should take the new clauses and Clause 1, which dealt with a very important principle. Then he thought anybody would admit that the definition of landowner and the establishment of the Land Court were sufficient to occupy another day, and a third day could be devoted to the question of the Agricultural Commission and the important matter raised by his right hon. friend the Member for South Dublin. They would in that way have these great principles discussed in the House. He begged to move.

MR. YOUNGER (Ayr Burghs)

said he seconded the Amendment in order to take up the challenge of the Lord Advocate, who had said there was nothing whatever of importance to discuss.


said that would be going back upon the main discussion and would not be in order.


said he would endeavour to keep to the rules of order, Under this Resolution they had six clauses to discuss on the first day together with the new clauses, and it would be absolutely impossible to give adequate discussion even to Clauses 3 and 4, which were closured in Committee, and the new clauses in the time given. It was not, therefore, unreasonable to ask for further time to discuss the important question arising in those clauses, namely, the appointment of a Land Court, and he did not think the two extra days asked for was too much. It should not be forgotten that although there might be a body of opinion behind the Bill that body of opinion did not go the whole way in backing it up, and, having regard to the fact that the closure was moved on such huge blocks, he thought the Government had no right to allocate so short a time for Report.

Amendment proposed— In line 2, to leave out 'three' and insert 'five.' "—(Mr. Laurence Hardy.)

Question proposed, "That the word proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

said there was nothing to be said by him beyond a repetition of what the Government thought. They thought three-days were enough. On the first day they had rather a formidable list of new clauses, which, at first sight, was somewhat alarming. Of the fifteen new clauses only one was put down by a sup porter of the Bill and all the others by its opponents. On that ground, he thought he was justified in believing that they were not prepared with the simple desire to further the progress of the Bill. If the time at the disposal of the House for the discussion of the clauses of the Bill was shortened, the hon. Members who put these clauses down created that position.


thought the right hon. Gentleman might have devoted a little more attention to the appeal made by his hon. friend. His hon. friend had not protested against applying the closure at all, but had simply limited himself to the proposition that the time given by the Government was wholly inadequate. Let the right hon. Gentleman consider the first day's debate. He would not go into the importance of the six new clauses upon the Paper, two of which stood in the name of a supporter of the Government's policy in general, and in particular of this Bill; he would merely point out that whatever speed was shown in making progress, no Government had ever yet expected to get rid of the new clauses in a Bill without some hours discussion. Supposing the new clauses were disposed of in two and a half hours—there were fifteen of them, and it was sufficient to state that to show that two and a half hours was an absurd amount of time to give to the discussion of those clauses.—the six clauses were to be discussed from seven in the evening, and at a time when, ever since the alteration of the dinner hour rule, hon. Members, however ardent politicians they might be, and right hon. Gentlemen could not always be expected to be present; that was the time chosen for discussing, the three most important clauses of the Bill. He said nothing about Clauses 1 or 2; but they had to consider Clause 3, which was a sixth part of the six clauses which were to be got through before half-past ten o'clock to-morrow night. Clause 3 established a Land Court for Scotland on the model of that which existed for Ireland. He could not imagine a question of greater importance from the point of view of general legislative principles, the future of agriculture in Scotland, or the interests of Great Britain than the establishment of a Land Court, and handing over to irresponsible Commissioners or Judges the whole industry of the country. It was the most tremendous thing they could do, and however bad it was, it was not a measure whose consequences could be limited to the particular area to which they chose to apply it. The establishment of Land Courts in Ireland had boon followed by a tax on British credit of £150,000,000 sterling to do away with the effects of the system. If we adopted this policy in Scotland, the same results would follow for the taxpayer. Although the Bill related to Scotland, nobody supposed that such a precedent could be started in the northern portion of Great Britain without inevitable consequences in the southern portion of the island, if not as regarded land tenure, at least as regarded financial credit. Was it not ludicrous and preposterous that the House should be asked to discuss this matter in two or three hours as a sixth part of those clauses of the Bill which they were expected to get through on the first day before the fall of the guillotine at half-past ten o'clock? The Bill had never been discussed, except as to generalities on the Second Reading. Let them compare the demands made on previous occasions when the guillotine had been applied. The Education Bill of 1902 and the Licensing Bill of 1903, or any Bills they liked to choose in the ten years of the late Government, were measures in regard to which every opportunity was given to the House to consider the details. They had not as yet had five minutes to discuss in Committee or on the Report Stage the proposals of the present Bill; if they consulted Parliamentary history or precedents, if they considered that the real merits of the case might properly take weeks of discussion before the House accepted it, and if they compared what they might well ask for and what the Government proposed to give, he was utterly unable to believe that any man, who had a recollection of the traditions of that House even with the use of the guillotine by compartments, would not think that there never had been an outrage on the Members of the House comparable to the outrage which the Prime Minister was now perpetrating. He would not go through the other five clauses, though perhaps he ought to do so; but really the case was so overwhelming with regard to Clause 3, that he was not sure that he would materially strengthen it. There it stood, plainly and flagrantly, as the proposal which the Government intended to adopt. They were preparing to introduce for the first time into this island the greatest of all possible changes in land tenure, a change which no other country had ever been foolish enough to adopt, and which we had been foolish enough to adopt once and once only, with the result that we had ever since heartily repented of it. This was to be done without giving opportunity for anything more than a paltry debate, which would probably take place at the inconvenient hour of dinner. That meant, and could only mean, that in the view of the Government, the existence of a large majority was an excuse for carrying any measure, however preposterous, strange and revolutionary, not only without giving the opportunity of reversing or modifying their proposals, but without giving the exposition a chance even of saying what they thought of them. He deeply regretted that the appeal of his hon. friend asking for the smallest possible concession to a most reasonable demand should have met with an un argued denial—an unsupported refusal—from the Minister in whose keeping the credit, honour, and freedom of that House properly resided.

SIR F. BANBURY (City of London)

said that as he understood the argument of the Prime Minister it was that fourteen out of the fifteen new clauses were hostile to the Bill, and had been, therefore, conceived in a spirit antagonistic to the measure. He did not know how the right hon. Gentleman arrived at that conclusion. He understood him to mean, if his words had any meaning, that because opponents of the Bill brought forward new clauses for the purpose of amending the Bill, and those clauses were hostile, then they were necessarily wrong and must not be discussed. That was exactly the attitude taken up in Committee by the Secretary for Scotland. He had always met their arguments by saying that the Bill was a good Bill, that the Opposition were hostile to it, and that, therefore, nothing further could be done except move the closure. He was sorry the Prime Minister was meeting their arguments in this manner, because it was not the way in which to accelerate progress. The question was whether five days were sufficient, and he thought they were not, and that more like ten days were required; but if the Prime Minister would accept five days, no doubt they, on that side of the House, would do their best to meet him and discuss those parts of the measure which were not discussed in Grand Committee. Might he point out that the first clause

consisted of eighteen subsections, which in the course of ordinary drafting would make five or six clauses, while, the clause dealing with the Land Court contained twelve subsections—or thirty subsections between two clauses. He was astonished at the moderation of his hon. friend in asking for only five days, and he was sure that on further consideration the Prime Minister and the Secretary for Scotland would accept the Amendment to insert "five" days instead of "three."

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 175; Noes, 59. (Division List No. 372.)

Abraham,William (Cork,N.E.) Everett, R. Lacey Mackarness, Frederic C.
Asquith,Rt.Hon.HerbertHenry Ferens, T. R. Macpherson, J. T.
Astbury, John Meir Ffrench, Peter MacVeagh,,Jeremiah(Down,S.)
Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth) Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Mac Veigh,Charles)Donegal, E.)
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Fuller, John Michael F. M'Callum, John M.
Baring,Godfrey(Isle of Wight) Fullerton, Hugh M'Crae, George
Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Gill, A. H. M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald
Barnes, G. N. Gladstone,Rt.Hn. Herbert John M'Killop, W.
Barry, RedmondJ.(Tyrone,N.) Glover, Thomas M'Micking, Major G.
Beale, W. P. Grant, Corrie Mallet, Charles E.
Bell, Richard Greenwood, G. (Peterborough) Manfield, Harry (Northants)
Benn, W.(T'w'rHamlets,S.Geo. Gulland, John W. Marnham, F. J.
Berridge, T. H. D. Gurdon,RtHn.SirW. Brampton Masterman, C. F. G.
Bowerman, C. W. Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Micklem, Nathaniel
Bramsdon, T. A. Hardy, George A. (Suffolk) Molteno, Percy Alport
Branch, James Harmsworth,R.L.(Caithn'ss-sh. Mooney, J. J.
Brigg, John Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Morley, Rt. Hon. John
Bright, J. A. Haworth, Arthur A. Morton, Alpheus Cleophas
Brocklehurst, W. B. Hayden, John Patrick Murphy, John (Kerry, East)
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Henderson. Arthur (Durham) Myer, Horatio
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Henderson,J.M. (Aberdeen,W.) Nicholls, George
Byles, William Pollard Hodge, John Nolan, Joseph
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Holland, Sir William Henry O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Horniman, Emslie John O'Donnell. C. J. (Walworth)
Cawley, Sir Frederick Hudson, Walter O'Grady, J.
Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Idris, T. H. W. Parker, James (Halifax)
Churchill. Rt. Hon. Winston S. Illingworth, Percy H. Partington, Oswald
Cleland, J. W. Jardine, Sir J. Pollard, Dr.
Clough, William Jenkins, J. Price,C.E. (Edinburgh,Central)
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Johnson, W. (Nuneaton) Pullar, Sir Robert
Collins,SirWm.J.(S.Pancras,W. Jones, Leif (Appleby) Radford, G. H.
Cooper, G. J. Jones,William (Carnarvonshire Rainy, A. Rolland
Corbett,CH(Sussex,E.Grinst'd) Jowett, F. W. Redmond,John E.(Waterford)
Cornwall. Sir Edwin A. Kekewich, Sir George Ridsdale, E. A.
Cotton, Sir H. J. S. King, Alfred John (Knutsford) Roberts,Charles H. (Lincoln)
Cremer, Sir William Randal Laidlaw, Robert Robertson,SirG.Scott(Bradf'rd
Dalziel, James Henry Lamont, Norman Robertson. J. M. (Tyneside)
Dewar,Arthur(Edinburgh, S.) Lardner, James Carrige Rushe Rowlands, J.
Dickinson, W.H.(St.Pancras,N. Leese,SirJosephF.(Accrington) Runciman, Walter
Duckworth, James Lehmann, R. C. Samuel. Herbert L.(Cleveland)
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness Lever, A.Levy(Essex,Harwich) Sears, J. E.
Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Levy, Sir Maurice Seely, Major J. B.
Dunne,MajorE.Martin)Walsall Lewis, John Herbert Shackleton, David James
Elibank, Master of Lough, Thomas Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)
Erskine, David C. Lupton, Arnold Sherwell, Arthur James
Essex, R. W. Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Shipman, Dr. John G.
Esslemont, George Birnie Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Silcock, Thomas Ball
Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John Walker. H. De R. (Leicester) White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie Walsh, Stephen Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)
Snowden, P. Walters, John Tudor Williams, Llewelyn(Carmarth'n
Spicer. Sir Albert Walton, Sir John L. (Leeds,S.) Wilson, HenryJ.(York, W.R.)
Stanger, H. Y. Walton, Joseph (Barnsley) Wilson, P.W.(St. Pancras, S.)
Steadman, W. C. Wardle, George J. Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Stewart, Halley (Greenock) Waring, Walter Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Strachey, Sir Edward Wason,JohnCatheart (Orkney) Yoxall, James Henry
Thorne, William Waterlow, D. S.
Torrance. Sir A. M. Watt, Henry A. TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Trevelvan, Charles Philips Wedgwood, Josiah C. MR.Whiteley AND Mr. J. A.Pease.
Ure, Alexander White, J.D. (Dumbartonshire)
Vivian, Henry White, Luke (York, E.R.)
Anson, Sir William Reynell Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Moore, William
Anstruther-Gray, Major Craik, Sir Henry Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)
Arnol-Forster, Rt.Hn.HughO. Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers. Nield, Herbert
Ashley. W. W. Faber, George Denison (York) Pease,HerbertPike(Darlington)
Balcarres, Lord Fell, Arthur Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Balfour,RtHn.A.J.(CityLond.) Ferguson, R. C. Munro Randles, Sir John Scurrah
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey Roberts,S.(Sheffield,Ecclesall)
Banner, John S. Harmood. Forster, Henry William Rutherford, John (Lancashire)
Bowles. G. Stewart Gordon, J. Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Boyle, Sir Edward Hardy,Laurence(Kent,Ashford Sloan, Thomas Henry
Butcher, Samuel Henry Harris, Frederick Leverton Smith,AbelH.(Hertford,East)
Carlile, E. Hildred Hills, J. W. Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Cave, George Hunt, Rowland Tennant,SirEdward (Salisbury)
Cavendish,Rt,Hon.Victor C.W. Kennaway,RtHon.SirJohnH. Thomson,W.Mitchell- (Lanark)
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm. Whitbread, Howard
Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey. Lane-Fox, G. R. Wilson,A.Stanley(York,E.R.)
Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.) Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich) Younger, George
Chamberlain,RtHn. J. A.)Wore. Long,Rt.Hn.Walter (Dublin.S)
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Lonsdale, John Brownlee TELLERS FOB THE NOES—
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia.
Corbett, A. Cameron(Glasgow) Mildmay, Francis Bingham

moved an Amendment providing that none of the allotted days should be a Friday or a Saturday. He could not believe that the Government proposed to take any one of the three allotted days either on a Friday or a Saturday which would only give them five hours. He begged to move.


seconded. When this Bill was before the Committee they were deprived of the services of hon. Members who were lawyers, and if the Report stage was taken on a Friday those hon. Members would still be engaged in the Courts. [An HON. MEMBER: It is the Long Vacation.] He was glad that on the Report stage they would be favoured with the presence of lawyers. Many hon. Members wished to go away at five o'clock on Fridays.

Amendment proposed— In line 2, after the word 'day,' to insert the words 'none of which shall be a Friday or a Saturday.' "—(Lord R. Cecil.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."


said he had already informed the House that the intention of the Government was to take the Report stage of this Bill on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. It was therefore unnecessary to provide that none of those days should be a Friday or Saturday, and there was no necessity for the Amendment. He quite agreed that Friday should not be one of the allotted days for the Report stage.


said the only reason why this Amendment was necessary was that the Government might find themselves unable to take the Report stage on the days mentioned. The Prime Minister or the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill might be ill.


said the noble Lord had given a very unpleasant reason. He had already stated that the Report stage would be taken on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Question put, and negatived.

MR. ABEL SMITH (Hertfordshire, Hertford)

moved an Amendment to provide that only the new clauses, and Clauses 1 and 2 of the Bill, should be disposed of on the first allotted day. What had been said to-day on behalf of the Government was all based on the assumption that the clauses were thoroughly discussed in Committee. He would remind the Prime Minister that Clauses 2 and 3 were passed without any discussion at all. It was too much to ask the House to dispose of the new clauses, and also the first six clauses of the Bill, on one day. The first clause was most difficult to understand, and they had never been able to get an explanation of it. It extended the provisions of the Crofters Act and must have a far-reaching effect. The second clause laid down who were to be landholders. The third clause establishing a Land Court for Scotland was most revolutionary. The fourth clause proposed to establish Agricultural Commissioners for Scotland who were to carry on the work under the direction of the Land Court. He thought the Prime Minister and the Secretary for Scotland would admit that it was too much to ask the House to deal with these matters on one day. He submitted also that the new clauses were of a varied character and raised points of importance which would necessarily occupy some time.

Amendment proposed— In line 3, to leave out the words" 1 to 6,' and to insert the words '1 and 2.' "—(Mr. Abel Smith.)

Question proposed, "That the words 'to 6' stand part of the Question."


said that the Government considered the apportionment of time proposed in the Resolution as the fairest that could be made, but they would agree to the Amendment if the Opposition would consent to the consequential Amendments. Not more than three days could be given altogether, and if one were unloaded the others must be overloaded.


said he entirely approved of the proposal of his hon. friend. He gathered from what the Prime Minister said that if only the new clauses and Clauses 1 and 2 of the Bill were taken on the first day, it would be necessary to put Clause 3 into the next group, which contained matters of very great controversy. It was difficult to see how the Opposition could accept in full the suggestion of the Prime Minister that, if the Amendment were agreed to, the consequential Amendments should also be agreed to. That would mean that, besides the new clauses, eleven clauses of the Bill would have to be dealt with on the second day. That seemed to be a very large demand to make as the result of accepting the Amendment of his hon. friend. While Clause 2 was very important, Clauses 3 and 5 were also important, and he could not agree to the suggestion that they should form part of a group of eleven to be discussed on the second day.


said he was anxious that the two sides of the House should not work at cross purposes. He wished it to be understood that the apportionment of the time which the Government proposed in the Motion was, in their opinion, the fairest in the circumstances. He only suggested that, if it was agreeable to the right hon. Gentleman and his friends, the Government were willing to accept the Amendment if Clauses 3 to 6 were included in the second day's group.

Amendment negatived.


moved an Amendment to provide that on the first day the new clauses should be disposed of by six o'clock, Clause 1 by seven o'clock, Clause 2 by eight o'clock, Clause 3 by nine o'clock, Clause 4 by ten o'clock, Clause 5 by eleven o'clock, and Clause 6 by midnight. He said one of the great objections to proceeding by the guillotine was the enormous addition it gave to the powers of the Government of the day It enabled them, consciously or unconsciously, so to arrange their business. that practically they could avoid discussion on any particular portion of a Bill. It seemed to him a serious matter in connection with the present position of political affairs that there was a tendency for more and more power to drift into the hands of the Cabinet. If that went on, the House of Commons would become a less and less important assembly, and it would be more difficult to get men of independence to enter the House. This was not a mere whim in this particular case. It was shown in the debate the other day which took place at a very unseasonable hour on the Lords' Amendments to the Army Bill. The hon. Member for Leicester in that case pointed out that the provision in the Bill which enabled the County Associations to assist rifle clubs had never been really submitted for discussion in the House. That clause fell under the guillotine, and, therefore, the Labour Members were unable to express and enforce their views. He did not think that could be altogether avoided by any arrangement once the guillotine was established. They must modify it to some extent by splitting up a Bill in the smallest number of sections, so that there would be power to submit the Amendments on each particular section to the decision of the House. His proposal was that instead of dividing the Bill into groups of one day it should be divided into groups of one hour—two hours for new clauses and an hour each for other clauses. The only difference as to time would be that the House would require to sit till midnight on this Bill instead of to half-past ten o'clock, which surely would not be an undue demand on hon. Members. The effect of his Amendment would be that in each particular group if objection was strongly felt to one clause it could be forced upon the attention of the Government and command the consideration of the House. His scheme was designed to make the closure procedure a little less oppressive than it admittedly was to private Members.


said he had much pleasure in seconding the Motion. He thought there was considerable force in the noble Lord's argument, that the Government by the methods now adopted were enabled to remove awkward ques- tions from the consideration of the House. At the same time he would point out to his noble friend that although his Amendment was a step in the right direction it would not altogether carry out his object. An hour was not a very long time to discuss an important Amendment. The House took different views as to what was an important Amendment. For instance, what he-might consider an important Amendment the Prime Minister would not Therefore, to start with, it would be rather difficult in one hour to pick out the Amendment round which the principal discussion should be taken. The proposal of his noble friend was, however, better than that of the Government.

Amendment proposed— In line 5, after the word 'day,' to insert, the words, 'Provided that the new clauses shall be proceeded with and brought to a conclusion by 6 p.m., Clause 1 by 7 p.m., Clause 2 by 8 p.m., Clause 3 by 9 p.m., Clause 4 by 10 p.m., Clause 5 by 11 p.m., and Clause 6 by midnight.' "—(Lord Robert Cecil.)

Question proposed, "That those words, be there inserted."


said that the noble Lord had drawn a picture, fortunately a short one, of the decay of Parliament, and had gone on in; a characteristic way to say that we should discourage men of independent mind and public spirit from coming into the House-under the new rules. But the noble Lord's cure was to make debate even more mechanical than would be the case under the Government arrangement. It would be to make closure by compartment within a compartment. The noble Lord had contended that there should be an opportunity of discussing important Amendments, but as the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London admitted, they all differed as to what might constitute an important Amendment. The noble Lord's proposal would be carrying guillotine by compartment rules almost to an absurd extreme. He did not think a remedy for the evils from which they suffered was to be found in making more mechanical rules, but rather in the other direction.


said that this was a choice of evils. There was one aspect of the question which had not been touched upon, and that was that the Government plan did not secure full consideration of any single line: whereas, his noble friend's proposal had at least this merit, that it secured some consideration for each of the clauses.

MR. CHAPLIN (Surrey, Wimbledon)

pointed out that it might happen that a most important clause would be at the end of one of the compartments. Under the proposal of the Government there would be no discussion whatever on that clause. If the Amendment of the noble Lord were agreed to, however, it would at least ensure that such a clause would not be passed over without some discussion, though he admitted that it could not be adequate or satisfactory.

SIR HENRY CRAIK (Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities)

said that Clause 1, although short, brought in an enormous amount of legislation by reference, and that was a calamity which had to be discussed at full length. As to Clause 2, a very important Amendment had been placed upon the Paper by a Ministerialist, and it would be a very serious thing if that Amendment were not considered. Clause 3 had practically not been discussed at all, while of Clause 4, which consisted of two whole pages of the Bill, only twelve or fourteen lines had been discussed in Committee. A shorter time might be taken to Clauses 5 and 6, in order to secure some time to discuss Clauses 3 and 4. That was absolutely essential.


said that they had only to look at his noble friend's Amendment to see how ludicrous it made the whole Resolution. When they came to Clause 3 they would have to begin the discussion of the new Land Court, and the Irish system of divided ownership. Was it not ludicrous that sixteen new

clauses and six clauses of the Bill should be discussed between four o'clock and half-past ten? Could the Government suggest a better arrangement than that of his noble friend?


It is in your power to use the time if you like.


said he begged the right hon. Gentleman's pardon. The right hon. Gentleman knew perfectly well that no Party in the House was in that perfect drill which he imagined, or that every Member was going to regulate his speech to suit some general scheme which had not yet been passed. The proposal of his noble friend ensured that something, it might be only one speech, or part of a speech, but still something, would be said about each one of the clauses. Everybody knew that that would not happen otherwise. He thought it would be well that the House should face the real truth, find see in its naked actuality the plan which the Government were forcing upon them It was for that reason that he would support the Amendment of his noble friend.

*MR. LEIF JONES (Westmoreland, Appleby)

said he had never yet voted, and, to far as he could see he never would vote, for a closure by compartment Resolution for the reason that such Resolution always failed to secure the discussion of important points. He admitted that the noble Lord's Amendment was too mechanical, but it secured that no clause should be passed through the House wholly undiscussed, and for that reason it was his intention to go into the lobby with the noble Lord.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 65; Noes, 173. (Division List No. 373.)

Acland-Hood,RtHn.Sir Alex. F. Bowles, G. Stewart Cave, George
Anson, Sir William Reynell Boyle, Sir Edward Cavendish,Rt.Hn. Victor C. W.
Ashley, W. W. Bull, Sir William James Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey.
Balcarres, Lord Butcher, Samuel Henry Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone E.)
Balfour,RtHn. A. J.(CityLond.) Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M. Chamberlain, RtHn. J.A.(Worc.
Banner, John S. Harmood- Carlile, E. Hildred Chaplin, Rt. Hon Henry
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Kennaway,Rt.Hn. Sir John H. Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Courthope, G. Loyd Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm. Rutherford, John (Lancashire)
Craik, Sir Henry Lane-Fox, G. R. Scott, Sir S. (.Marylebone, W.)
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich) Sloan, Thomas Henry
Faber, George Denison (York) Long,RtHn.Walter (Dublin, S. Stewart, Halley (Greenock)
Fell, Arthur Lonsdale, John Brownlee Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Ferguson, R.C. Munro Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Thomson, W.Mitehell-(Lanark)
Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey Macpherson. J. T. Thorne, William
Forster, Henry William Mason, James F. (Windsor) Valentia, Viscount
Glover, Thomas Mildmay, Francis Bingham Wilson,A.Stanley (York, E.R.)
Gordon, J. Moore, William Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Hardy,Laurence(Kent,Ashford Nicholson, Wm. G.(Petersfield) Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Harris, Frederick Leverton O'Grady, J. Younger, George
Hills, J. W. Pease,Herbert Pike(Darlington
Hunt, Rowland Powell, Sir Francis Sharp TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Jones, Leif (Appleby) Randles, SirJohn Scurrah Sir Frederick Banbury and Mr. Abel Smith.
Jowett, F. W. Rawlinson,JohnFrederick Peel
Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.) Gill, A. H Molteno, Percy Alport
Astbury, John Meir Gladstone,RtHn.Herbert John Mooney, J. J.
Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth) Goddard, Daniel Ford Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Grant, Corrie Morgan, J.Lloyd(Carmarthen)
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight Greenwood. G. (Peterborough) Morley, Rt. Hon. John
Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Gulland, John W. Morton, Alpheus Cleophas
Barnes, G. N. Gurdon.Rt.Hn.SirW.Brampton Murphy, John (Kerry, East
Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.) Hardy, George A. (Suffolk) Myer, Horatio
Beale, W. P. Harmsworth.R. L.(Caithness-sh Nicholls, George
Bell, Richard Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Nolan, Joseph
Benn,W.(T'w'rHamlets,S.Geo. Haworth, Arthur A. Norton, Capt. Cecil William
Berridge, T. H. D. Henderson,Arthur (Durham) O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Bowerman, C. W. Henderson, J.M.)Aberdeen, W.) O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)
Bramsdon, T. A. Hodge, John O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)
Branch, James Holland, Sir William Henry Parker, James (Halifax.)
Brigg, John Holt, Richard Durning Partington, Oswald
Bright, J. A. Horniman, Emslie John Pollard, Dr.
Brocklehurst, W. B. Hudson, Walter Price,C.E. (Edinburgh,Central)
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Hyde, Clarendon Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Idris, T. H. W. Pullar, Sir Robert
Byles, William Pollard Illingworth, Perry H. Radford, G. H.
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Jardine, Sir J. Rainy, A. Rolland
Cair-Gomm, H. W. Jenkins, J. Redmond,John E.(Waterford)
Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Johnson. W. (Nuneaton) Rees, J. D.
Churchill, Rt, Hon. Winston S.] Jones, William)Carnarvonshire) Ridsdale, E. A.
Cleland, J. W. Kekewich, Sir George Roberts,CharlesH.(Lincoln)
Clough, William King,Alfred John (Knutsford) Robertson,SirG.Scott(Bradford
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Laidlaw, Robert Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Collins,SirWm.J.(S.Pancras,W. Lamb,Edmumd G.(Leominster) Rogers, F. E. Newman
Cooper, G. J. Lamont, Norman Rowlands, J.
Corbett,C.H.(Susaex,E.Grinst'd Lardner, James Carrige Rushe Runciman, Walter
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Leese,SirJosephF.(Accrington) Sears, J. E.
Cotton, Sir H. J. S. Lehmann, R. C. Seely, Major J. B.
Cox, Harold Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich) Shackleton, David James
Cremer, Sir William Randal Levy, Sir Maurice Shaw, Rt, Hon. T. (Hawick B.)
Dalziel, James Henry Lewis, John Herbert Sherwell, Arthur James
Davies, Timothy (Fulham) Lough, Thomas Shipman, Dr. John G.
Dewar,Arthur(Edinburgh,S.) Lupton, Arnold Silcock, Thomas Ball
Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras,N. Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John
Duckworth, James Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie
Duncan, C.(Barrow-in-Furness MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S. Snowden, P.
Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) MacVeigh,Charles)Donegal,E.) Stanger, H. Y.
Dunne, MajorE.Martin(Walsall M'Callum, John M. Steadman, W. C.
Elibank, Master of M'Crae, George Strachey, Sir Edward
Erskine, David C. M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Torrance, Sir A. M.
Essex, R. W. M'Killop, W. Ure, Alexander
Esslemont, George Birnie M'Micking, Major G. Vivian, Henry
Everett, R. Lacey Mallet, Charles E. Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)
Ferens, T. R. Manfield, Harry (Northants) Walsh, Stephen
Ffrench, Peter Marnham, F. J. Walters, John Tudor
Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Massie, J Walton, Sir John L. (Leeds,S.,
Fuller, John Michael F Masterman, C. F. G Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Fullerton, Hugh Micklem, Nathaniel Waring, Walter
Wason,JohnCatheart (Orkney) White, Patrick (Meath, North) Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Waterlow, D. S. Whitley,JohnHenry)Halifax) Yoxall, James Henry
Watt, Henry A. Williams,Llewelyn(Carmarth'n
Wedgwood, Josiah C. Wilson, Henry J.(York, W.R.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
White, J.D. (Dumbartonshire) Wilson,J.W.(Worcestersh.,N.) Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A.Pease.
White, Luke (York, E.R.) Wilson,P.W.(St. Pancras, S.)

Main Question again proposed.


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

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

The House divided:—Ayes, 177; Noes, 57. (Division List No. 374.)

Abraham,William(Cork, N. E.) Goddard, Daniel Ford Molteno, Percy Alport
Astbury, John Meir Grant, Corrie Mooney. J. J.
Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth) Greenwood, G. (Peterborough) Morgan. G. Hay (Cornwall)
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Gulland, John W. Morgan, J. Lloyd(Carmarthen)
Baring,Godfrey(Isle of Wight) Gurdon,RtHn.SirW.Brampton Morley, Rt. Hon. John
Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Hardy, George A. (Suffolk) Morton. Alpheus Cleophas
Barnes, G. N. Harmsworth,R. L. (Caithn'ss-sh Murphy, John (Kerry, East)
Barry,Redmond J.(Tyrone,N.) Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Myer, Horatio
Beale, W. P. Haworth, Arthur A. Nicholls. George
Bell, Richard Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Nolan, Joseph
Benn,W.(T'w'rHamlets,S.Geo. Henderson,J.M. (Aberdeen, W.) Norton, Capt. Cecil William
Berridge, T. H. D. Hodge, John O'Brien. Patrick (Kilkenny)
Bowerman, C. W. Holland, Sir William Henry O'Connor. John (Kildare, N.)
Bramsdon, T. A. Holt, Richard Durning O'Donnell. C. J. (Walworth)
Branch, James Horniman, Emslie John O'Grady, J.
Brigg, John Hudson, Walter Parker, James (Halifax)
Bright, J. A. Hyde, Clarendon Partington, Oswald
Brocklehurst. W. B. Idris, T. H. W. Pollard, Dr.
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Illingworth, Percy H. Price,C. E. (Edinb'gh.Central)
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Jardine, Sir J. Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)
Byles, William Pollard Jenkins, J. Pullar, Sir Robert
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Johnson, W. (Nnueaton) Radford, G. H.
Carr-Gomm. H. W. Jones, Leif (Appleby) Rainy, A. Rolland
Cherry, Rt. Hon. R, R. Jones,William (Carnarvonshire Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Churchill. Rt. Hon. Winston S. Jowett, F. W. Rees, J. D.
Cleland, J. W. Kekewich, Sir George Ridsdale. E. A.
Clough, William King,AlfredJohn(Knutsford) Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Laidlaw, Robert Robertson,SirG.Scott(Bradf'rd
Collins,SirWm. J. (S. Pancras.W. Lamb, Edmund G.(Leominster Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Cooper, G. J. Lamont, Norman Rogers, F. E. Newman
Corbett,C.H(Sussex,EGrinst'd) Lardner, James Carrige Rushe Rowlands, J.
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Leese,Sir Joseph F.(Accrington) Runciman, Walter
Cotton, Sir H. J. S. Lehmann, R. C. Sears, J. E.
Cox, Harold Lever,A.Levy (Essex,Harwich) Seely, Major J. B.
Cremer, Sir William Randal Levy, Sir Maurice Shackleton. David James
Dalziel, James Henry Lewis, John Herbert Shaw, Rt.Hon. T. (Hawick B.)
Davies, Timothy (Fulham) Lough, Thomas Sherwell. Arthur James
Dewar,Arthur(Edinburgh, S.) Lupton, Arnold Shipman, Dr. John G.
Dickinson,W.H.(St.Pancras,N. Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Silcock, Thomas Ball
Duckworth, James Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Sinclair. Rt. Hon. John
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furnes) Macpherson, J. T. Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie
Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Mac Veagh, Jeremiah (Down,S.) Snowden, P.
Dunne. MajorE. Martin)Walsall MacVeigh,Charles (Donegal,E.) Stanger. H. Y.
Elibank. Master of M'Callum, John M. Steadman. W. C.
Essex, R. W. M'Crae, George Stewart, Halley (Greenock)
Esslemont, George Birnie M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Strachey, Sir Edward
Everett, R. Lacey M'Killop, W. Thorne, William
Ferens, T. R, M'Micking, Major G. Torrance, Sir A. M.
Ffrench, Peter Mallet, Charles E. Ure, Alexander
Fuller, John Michael F. Manfield, Harry (Northants) Vivian, Henry
Fullerton, Hugh Marnham, F. J. Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)
Gill, A. H. Massie, J. Walsh, Stephen
Gladstone, Rt.Hn.HerbertJohn Masterman, C. F. G. Walters, John Tudor
Glover, Thomas Micklem, Nathaniel Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Waring, Walter Whitley, John Henry (Halifax) Yoxall, James Henry
Wason,JohnCatheart (Orkney) Williams,Llewelyn(Carmarthen
Waterlow, D. S. Wilson, Henry J.(York, W.R.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Watt, Henry A. Wilson, J.W. (Worcestersh,N.) Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A.Pease.
White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire) Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
White, Luke (York, E.R.) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
White, Patrick (Meath, North Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Anson, Sir William Reynell Craik; Sir Henry Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)
Ashley, W. W. Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Pease, Herbert Pike(Darlingon
Balcarres, Lord Fell, Arthur Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Balfour,RtHn.A.J.(City Lond.) Ferguson, R. C. Munro Randles, Sir John Scurrah
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey Rawlinson,John Frederick Peel
Banner. John S. Harmood- Forster, Henry William Roberts,S.(Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Bowles, G. Stewart Gordon, J. Rutherford, John (Lancashire)
Boyle, Sir Edward Hardy,Laurence(Kent,Ashford Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Bull, Sir William James Harris, Frederick Leverton Sloan, Thomas Henry
Butcher, Samuel Henry Hills, J. W. Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, E.)
Campbell. Rt. Hon. J. H. M. Hunt, Rowland Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Carlile, E. Hildred Kennaway,Rt.Hn.Sir John H. Thomson, W. Mitchell. (Lanark)
Cave, George Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm. Wilson,A.Stanley (York, E.R.)
Cavendish, Rt.Hon. Victor C.W. Lane-Fox, G. R. Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey- Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich) Younger, George
Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E. Long, Rt. Hn. Walter(Dublin.S.
Chamberlain,RtHn.J.A.(Wore. Lonsdale, John Brownlee TELLERS FOR THE NOES,—
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia.
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Mason, James F. (Windsor)
Corbett. T. L. (Down, North) Mildmay, Francis Bingham
Courthope, G. Loyd Moore, William

Question put accordingly.

The House divided:—Ayes, 176; Noes, 53. (Division List No. 375.)

Abraham, William (Cork, N.E. Dalziel, James Henry Hudson, Walter
Astbury, John Meir Davies, Timothy (Fulham) Hyde, Clarendon
Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth) Dewar, Arthur I Edinburgh, S.) Idris, T. H. W.
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Dickinson,W.H.(St. Pancras.N. Illingworth, Percy H.
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Duckworth, James Jardine, Sir J.
Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Duncan, C.(Barrow-in-Furness) Jenkins, J.
Barnes, G. N. Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)
Barry, Redmond J.(Tyrone,N.) Dunne,Major E.Martin(Walsall Jones, William (Carnarvonshire
Beale, W. P. Elibank, Master of Jowett, F. W.
Bell, Richard Essex, R. W. Kekewich, Sir George
Benn,W.(T'w'r Hamlets,S. Geo Esslemont, George Birnie King, Alfred John (Knutsford)
Berridge, T. H. D. Everett, R. Lacey Laidlaw, Robert
Bowerman, C. W. Ferens, T. R. Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster)
Bramsdon, T. A. Ffrench, Peter Lamont, Norman
Branch. James Fuller, John Michael F. Lardner, James Carrige Rushe
Brigg, John Fullerton, Hugh Leese, Sir JosephF.(Accrington
Bright. J. A. Gill, A. H. Lehmann, R. C.
Brocklehurst, W. B. Gladstone,Rt Hn.HerbertJohn Lever,A.Levy (Essex, Harwich
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Glover, Thomas Levy, Sir Maurice
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Goddard, Daniel Ford Lewis, John Herbert
Byles, William Pollard Grant, Corrie Lough, Thomas
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Greenwood, G. (Peterborough) Lupton, Arnold
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Gulland, John W. Luttrell, Hugh Fownes
Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Gurdon,RtHnSir W. Brampton Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Hardy, George A. (Suffolk) Macpherson, J. T.
Cleland, J. W. Harmsworth.R. L. (Caithn'ss-sh MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.
Clough, William Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) MacVeigh,Charles(Donegal, E.)
Collins. Stephen (Lambeth) Haworth, Arthur A. M'Callum, John M.
Collins,SirWm.,J.(S. Pancras, W. Henderson, Arthur (Durham) M'Crae, George
Cooper, G.J. Henderson,J.M.)Aberdeen, W. M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald
Corbett,C.H.(Sussex,E.Grinst'd Hodge, John M'Killop, W.
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Holland, Sir William Henry- M'Micking, Major G.
Cotton, Sir H. J. S. Holt, Richard Durning Mullet, Charles E.
Cremer, Sir William) Randal Horniman, Emslie John Manfield, Harry (Northants)
Marnham, F. J. Rainy, A. Rolland Ure, Alexander
Massie, J. Redmond, John E. (Waterford Vivian, Henry
Masterman, C. F. G. Rees, J. D. Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)
Micklem, Nathaniel Ridsdale, E. A. Walsh, Stephen
Molteno, Percy Alport Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Walters, John Tudor
Mooney, J. J. Robertson,SirGScott (Bradf'rd Walton,SirJohnL. (Leeds,S.)
Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall) Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside) Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Rogers, F. E. Newman Waring, Walter
Morley, Rt. Hon. John Rowlands, J. Wason,John Cathcart (Orkney)
Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Runciman, Walter Waterlow. D. S.
Murphy, John (Kerry, East) Sears, J. E. Watt, Henry A.
Myer, Horatio Seely, Major J. B. White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire
Nicholls, George Shackleton, David James White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Nolan, Joseph Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.) White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Norton, Capt. Cecil William Sherwell, Arthur James Whitley,JohnHenry (Halifax)
O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Shipman, Dr. John G. Williams. Llewelyn(Carmarth'n
O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Silcock, Thomas Ball Wilson, Henry J.(York,W.R.)
O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth) Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John Wilson, J.W.(Worcestersh.N.)
O'Grady, J. Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Parker, James (Halifax) Snowden, P. Wilson. W. T. (Westhoughton)
Partington, Oswald Stanger, H. Y. Wood, T. M.Kinnon
Pollard, Dr. Steadman, W. C. Yoxall, James Henry
Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh,Central) Stewart, Halley (Greenock)
Priestley, Arthur (Grantham) Strachey, Sir Edward TELLERS FOB THE AYES—
Pullar, Sir Robert Thorne, William Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Pease.
Radford, G. H. Torrance, Sir A. M.
Anson, Sir William Reynell Courthope. G. Loyd Mason, James F. (Windsor)
Ashley, W. W. Craik, Sir Henry Mildmay, Francis Bingham
Balcarres, Lord Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Moore, William
Balfour,RtHn. A. J. (CityLond.) Fell, Arthur Nicholson. Wm. G. (Petersfield
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Ferguson, R. C. Munro Pease. Herbert Pike(Darlington)
Banner, John S. Harmood- Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Bowles, G. Stewart Forster, Henry William Randles, Sir John Scurrah
Boyle. Sir Edward Gordon. J. Roberts. S. (Sheffield,Ecclesall).
Bull, Sir William James Hardy,Laurence (Kent,Ashford Rutherford. John (Lancashire)
Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M. Harris, Frederick Leverton Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone. W.)
Carlile, E. Hildred Hills, J. W. Smith,AbelH.(Hertford,East)
Cave, George Hunt, Rowland Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester.)
Cavendish,Rt.Hon. VictorC.W. Kennaway,Rt.Hon.SirJohnH. Thomson,W.Mitchell- (Lanark)
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor). Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm. Wilson, A. Stanley(York,E.R.)
Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E. Lane-Fox, G. R. Younger, George
Chamberlain,RtHn.J. A. (Wore. Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Long,Rt.Hn. Walter(Dublin,S. TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Lonsdale, John Brownlee Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia.
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred

Ordered, That the "Report Stage of the Small Landholders (Scotland) Bill be brought to a conclusion in three allotted days; and—

  1. (a) That the new clauses and Clauses 1 to 6 of the Bill be proceeded with and the proceedings thereon brought to a conclusion on the first allotted day; and
  2. (b) That Clauses 7 to 15 of the Bill (if and so far as not previously disposed of) be proceeded with and the proceedings thereon brought to a conclusion on the second allotted day; and
  3. (c) That the remaining clauses of the Bill and the schedules, and any

other matter necessary to bring the Report stage of the Bill to a conclusion (if and so far as not previously disposed of), be proceeded with on the third allotted day and the proceedings thereon brought to a conclusion on that day.

Any day on which the Small Landholders (Scotland) Bill is put down as the first Order of the Day shall be considered an allotted day for the purposes of this order.

At 10.30 p.m. on any allotted day on which proceedings on any business allotted to that day are to be brought to a conclusion, or if that day is a Friday at 5 p.m., Mr. Speaker shall, if those proceedings have not already been brought to a conclusion, put forthwith the Question or Questions on any Amendment or Motion already proposed from the Chair, and shall next proceed successively to put forthwith the Question on any new clauses or Amendments moved by the Government of which notice has been given (but no other clauses or Amendments), and on any Question necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded, and in the case of Government Amendments or of Government new clauses or schedules he shall put only the Question that the Amendment be made or that the clause or schedule be added to the Bill, as the case may be.

Any Private Business which is set down for consideration at 8.15 p.m. on any allotted day shall, instead of being taken on that day as provided by the Standing Order "Time for taking Private Business," be taken immediately after the conclusion of the proceedings on the Bill for that day, and any Private Business so taken may be proceeded with, though opposed, notwithstanding the Standing Order "Sittings of the House."

At 11 p.m. on the day on which the Third Reading of the Bill is put down as first Order of the Day, or if that day is a Friday or Saturday at 5 p.m., Mr. Speaker shall put forthwith any Question necessary to complete the proceedings on that stage of the Bill.

After the passing of this order, on any day on which any proceedings on the Small Landholders (Scotland) Bill stand as first Order of the Day, no dilatory Motion on the Bill, nor Motion to recommit the Bill, nor Motion for Adjournment under Standing Order 10, shall be received unless moved by a Minister of the Crown, and the Question on any such Motion shall be put forthwith without debate.