§ The PRIME MINISTER and FIRST LORD OF the TREASURY (Sir H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN, Stirling Burghs),
in moving, "That, for the remainder of the session, Government business be not interrupted under the provisions of any Standing Order regulating the sittings of the House, and may be entered upon at. 245 any hour, though opposed; that, at the conclusion of Government business each day, Mr. Speaker do adjourn the House without Question put; and that no Motions be made to bring in Bills under Standing Order No. 11," said—I have to make this Motion, which is the usual one as the close of the session approaches, and to offer such excuses as I can for the length and prolongation of the session to the late time of the year to which it is necessary to ask the House to sit. The truth is, a large portion of our time was occupied, and fruitfully occupied, at the early period of the session, first, by discussions upon rules of procedure, upon which opinions will differ, and are bound to differ, but which embodied a well-considered design for increasing the efficiency of the House in its legislative capacity. These discussions occupied, as the House will remember, a number of Government days at a lime when the Government has but a small share of the public time allotted to it. The same remarks apply to the proposals of my right hon. friend the Secretary of State for War for regulating the military service of the country. That Bill, I think, took up thirteen days of the time of the House, which, again I would remind the House, at that period of the session made a large inroad on the time usually allotted to us. Therefore, we are obliged to ask the House to sit well into August—beyond the middle of August. This is not a pleasant duty for one who has always advocated an early rising of the House, but there are circumstances, and I have mentioned some of them, which are more powerful than our own inclinations and desire; therefore I will make a general statement as to the amount of legislative work we shall have to call on the House to undertake during these last weeks of the session. First of all I will name the Bills we think should not be proceeded with. The Naval Lands Bill must suffer that fate; the Statute Law Revision Bill is a largo measure which we cannot hope to proceed with: the Poisons and Pharmacy Bill, which is opposed in certain quarters; the Lunacy (Ireland) Bill, which, however much it may be required, must be abandoned.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
I leave the observation to be adjusted as may be thought fit. There is the Local Registration of Title (Ireland) Bill, to which there is strong opposition; the Municipal Milk Depots Bill again meets with strong opposition; the Telegraphs Construction Bill can wait; and the Companies Consolidation Bill is a large measure for which clearly the House has not time. These are Bills that must be parted with. The next list is a list of Bills which are of a non-Party and non-controversial kind, and of a Departmental character, which we hope to be able to pass. But they are Bills which it will be impossible to proceed with if they are keenly opposed by any considerable section of Members of the House. They are important and useful Bills, but unless they are agreed Bills we cannot attempt to carry them. The first of these is the Companies Bill, which has passed through the other House, and which, I believe, is strongly demanded in the public interest. I trust that any outstanding points of controversy in it may be adjusted; unless that is so we cannot hope to pass it into law. The Employers' Liability (Insurance Companies) Bill, to protect the public from insurance companies of a mushroom kind in respect of workmen's compensation, we should be glad to pass if it; can be arranged. The Factory and Workshop Bill, to amend the law relating to the inspection of laundries, is of the same character; and so also is the Cab Fares Bill, to enable the Home Secretary to fix a limit for cab fares in London. There are next the Prisons (Ireland) Bill, to assimilate the law in Ireland to the English law in certain respects, and the Education (Scotland) Bill. Scotland has had an Education Bill dangled before it for the last few years, but from one cause or another it has always been disappointed. This is a Bill that is ardently desired in almost all its particulars, but there are one or two points in it upon which opposition will be offered, and therefore I put it in this category. If, as I hope, we can come to one mind on the subject, we shall be greatly pleased if it can be passed into law. The Sea Fisheries (Scotland) Bill is a Bill of to same sort; and also the Whale Fisheries (Scotland) Bill. The Vaccination (Scotland) Bill assimilates the law as to vaccination in Scotland to the law in England, and I hope that will be agreed to. The Public Health (Scotland) 247 Bill is a Departmental Bill; and there is a Bill dealing with salmon and freshwater fisheries. These comprise the category of Bills which can be passed, and we hope may be passed, if they are admitted to be more or less agreed Bills. I now come to the Bills with which we are resolved to proceed. I need not mention the Appropriation Bill; and there is, of course, the Army Bill, which will return to us from another place in a day or two. There are the Small Holdings and Allotments Bill, which is nearly through Committee; the Evicted Tenants (Ireland) Bill, of which we mean to take the Report on Monday; the Small Landowners (Scotland) Bill, which we hope will be through Committee next week, where it has been very largely criticised and examined; the Land Values (Scotland) Bill, which is awaiting its Committee stage; and the Patents and Designs Bill, which is awaiting Report, and to which I hope there will not be much objection. Then there are two agreed Bills—the Patents and Designs (Consolidation) Bill and the Merchant Shipping (Tonnage) Bill. There are also the Butter and Margarine Bill, the Report of which we shall take today; the Criminal Appeal Bill, which passed the House of Lords last year and which I know has strong support there. We hope to finish the Report stage on Monday, and I hope this Bill will not be very keenly opposed. The Matrimonial Causes Bill is an agreed measure; and the Australian States Constitution Bill and the Evidence (Colonial Statutes) Bill are also, of course, agreed Bills. The Employment of Women Bill, to carry out certain international agreements, is also an agreed Bill. The Probation of Offenders Bill is, I think, generally welcomed in this House, and it is awaiting Report. The Education (Administrative Provisions) Bill embodies the non-contentious portions of the Education Bill of last year, and I hope it is agreed to. I think there is also general agreement upon the Released Persons (Poor Law Relief) Bill. The Judicature (Ireland) Bill was introduced by the late Government to reduce the number of Judges in Ireland, and I hope it may be passed. The Navigation Works (Ireland) Bill is a small Bill which will be useful to the fishing industry. The Irish Land (No. 2) Bill affects mineral rights. Then there are two Bills, one for England and one for Scotland, 248 dealing with the qualification of women for sitting on local authorities. The English Bill is still before the Committee of the other House, but it will, I hope, be sent down here very shortly. The Vaccination Bill, which awaits the Report stage; the Public Health (Regulations as to Food) Bill, for the protection of the public health from what is called prepared food, as to which there is much need for protection; the Telegraphs (Money) Bill, which is awaiting Third Reading; the Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Bill, which has passed its Second Reading and is awaiting Committee. Of these, I am entitled to say that there are only three which seem to be seriously opposed. I exclude the English Small Holdings and Allotment Bill for the reason that it was passed unanimously in both the principal stages, and although there may be controversy as to details, the main object and purpose of the Bill appears not to be contentious or controversial. The Evicted Tenants Bill and apparently the Small Landholders (Scotland) Bill, and the Land Valuation (Scotland) Bill appear to be of the contentious kind. I think that is a very modest proportion of absolutely controversial measures. That is the programme I have to put before the House. There is one Bill which I seem to have omitted. That is the Bill which my right hon. friend the Secretary of State for India introduced yesterday dealing with the Council of India. Of course, at this time of the session that Bill can hardly be proceeded with if there is much opposition to it, but although it is important, it is a very short and concise Bill. There will also be the Transvaal Loan Bill, which will be introduced very shortly.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
That question is still before the law officers on the point, as I understand, whether it is necessary to have a Bill at all. I do not think a decision has yet been arrived at. These are the measures which we hope to pass with the good-will of the House. We cannot ask for much good-will as to the contentious Bills, except the ordinary courtesy that we have always received from the Opposition in all parts of the House, but I think we 249 may expect the active and energetic good-will of the House in regard to the category of measures to which I have referred which merely require the adjustment of some difficulties they contain in order that they may become agreed Bills. With that good-will, after having looked carefully into it, we think it possible that Parliament should be prorogued on 24th August. But I need hardly point out that, without saying that is a sanguine view, it is a view which can only be brought to fruition if the House addresses itself, as I have no doubt it will, to the future work of legislation with a desire to occupy as little time as is consistent with the proper consideration of the measures before it. I do not think I have anything to add, Sir, and I hope the House will not think we have made a too exorbitant demand upon its patience. I beg to move the Resolution standing in my name.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That, for the remainder of the session, Government Business be not interrupted under the provisions of any Standing Order regulating the Sittings of the House, and may be entered upon at any hour, though opposed; that, at the conclusion of Government Business each day, Mr. Speaker do adjourn the House without Question put; and that no Motions be made to bring in Bills under Standing Order No. 11."—(Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman.)
§ Mr. A. J. BALFOUR (City of London)
The right hon. Gentleman has addressed himself to his task, which is never a very agreeable one for the Leader of the House, with great good humour and in a spirit of the most sanguine hope—always a useful and sometimes a necessary preparation for dealing with the practical affairs of life. I should have thought, if he had made this speech in February last, that he was asking us to find more time than it was likely the House would provide in order to get through the programme which he has cheerfully sketched out on 26th July. I really think he has forgotten the occasion of his speech, and that he has made a mistake of about six months in its application. Although I am ready, not perhaps willingly, to sit as long as the right hon. Gentleman requires me to do so. I confess when I remember that 250 last year there were only two months—January and September—inwhich this House was not sitting, and in this year there has been only one month—namely, January—in which the House has not sat, I am bound to say that I think the right hon. Gentleman is throwing a heavy burden on those who think it their duty to deal to the best of their ability with the schemes the Government brings forward. Now what does the right hon. Gentleman propose? I have not put down all the Bills he mentioned, but my right hon. friend near me tells me he enumerated forty-three Bills which he hopes to pass. [Cheers.] I daresay it is very desirable to pass them. I am not dealing with the merits of the Bills, I am dealing with the number, and it will hardly be denied by hon. Gentlemen who cheered that enumeration that, on July 26th, the prospect of having to deal with forty three more Bills is not exhilarating to those who, like the right hon. Gentleman, desire to spend their time in July, or, at all events, in August, September, and October, in a more cheerful atmosphere than they can expect this House to provide. The right hon. Gentleman is no doubt justified in saying that of these forty-three Bills there are a certain number which everybody desires to see passed, and which will provoke very little discussion; but with regard to a largo number even of those which he rightly describes as being non-Party Bills, he must expect that, unless the House is to be exhausted by late hours and long sittings, there will be a legitimate desire on the part of Members on both sides of the House to offer some criticism and comment. I suppose he means to pass these Bills at three or four o'clock in the morning, when no doubt, the ardour of criticism greatly diminishes, unless there is to be one of those fights which none of us like, but which from time to time on both sides of the House it appears necessary to indulge in. When the right hon. Gentleman came to the category of Bills which may properly be called contentious, and which he admits to be contentious, I was surprised to find him omitting the English Land Bill. It is quite true that the object of that Bill commends itself to Members on both sides of the House, and that no division was taken on the Second Reading; but I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not assume that that Bill either can or ought 251 to leave this House without receiving a full measure of comment and criticism in the whole House. It deals not only with a great object, but with great interests—the interests of local authorities, the interests of those who desire land, the interests of those who possess land, and the interests of those who cultivate the land—all interests that require and demand from this House fair discussion and fair comment. If you add, therefore, the English Land Bill to the Bills which the right hon. Gentleman admits to be contentious, the Scottish Small Holders Bill, the Scottish Valuation Bill, and the remaining stages of the Evicted Tenants Bill, I think the right hon. Gentleman will feel that the idea of our getting up on 24th August is really quite ludicrous, unless he takes such steps as I will refer to directly, and even, I think, after he does take those steps. The English Land Bill, I understand, cannot be down here for discussion on the Report Stage until the week after next, and I believe the same is the case with the Scottish Small Holders Bill; therefore it cannot be before 5th August that, for the first time, this House, as a whole, will be permitted to deal with these two great measures. And as for the Scottish Valuation Bill, a Bill which may have every merit in the world, but it is undoubtedly revolutionary in the magnitude of its scope, and which, from the nature of the case, demands an opportunity for discussion, seeing that it involves a principle which, if accepted for Scotland, cannot be confined to Scotland—that Bill has not-even gone upstairs for discussion in Committee, still less has it had effective discussion in the House. I suppose the Scottish Valuation Bill cannot go to the Scottish Grand Committee until that Committee has finished dealing with the Scottish Small Holders Bill; that is to say, it cannot begin to discuss that Bill until the week after next. This immense revolutionary change in the whole system on which it is proposed to value rateable property will not be discussed, even upstairs, and still less in this House, until 7th August. And yet the right hon. Gentleman expects to get up by 24th August! Is that really his sanguine hope? Can he really expect to get up even by 1st October? [Cries of "September."] Well, I am not sure it will not be 1st October. Whether we like it or not, we are to sit here, patiently or impatiently, up to some 252 unknown date in the month or months succeeding August. I have forgotten to mention the Transvaal Loan Bill. The right hon. Gentleman must be perfectly well aware that that Bill, in the opinion of hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House, is a Bill which raises most formidable issues in connection with our policy in the Transvaal. It raises most formidable issues in connection with the general position of British finance. It is a Bill with a double aspect, each aspect requiring and demanding that full discussion in this House which I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give us an opportunity of having. I do not ask that he should put every stage of that Bill down at a convenient time, but I am sure it would be an absolute outrage on such liberties as are still left to us if we have not a full and fair opportunity of discussing the character of that Bill—the ground which has induced the Government to adopt the Bill, the views which the Transvaal population hold with regard to it, its effect on the credit of the Transvaal, how the credit of the Transvaal affects the security of the loans we have already made to that country, and the effect upon our money market. It is not a long measure, but it raises points of enormous importance, and it has to be squeezed in after next week between all these Scottish and English Land Bills and Valuation Bills, and all the rest of the controversial measures. Then they all have to go to the Lords, and will probably be amended by the Lords, and have to be rediscussed here. How the right hon. Gentleman can without a smile on his face and with the impressive gravity of the practised prophet come down and talk about 24th August I really cannot imagine. I do not think it would be in accordance with usage or precedent, and I do not think it would be expedient on the present occasion, to allow this Motion to pass without some comment on the past as well as a, forecast of the future. The right hon. Gentleman has not, I think, shown himself very successful in his forecast of the future, and he has been wisely reticent as to what has gone on in the past. But I think if he will cast his eye back over the session he will feel probably that the responsibility for the want of progress is certainly in no small degree owing to the methods he has adopted, and the Motions he has brought before us. We have really expended time on other matters than 253 legislation which make this huge legislative programme, be its merits what you like, absolutely out of place. When I go back to the King's Speech at the beginning of the session, I remember various incidents which I am sure will give some disquiet to the right hon. Gentleman if he makes the same survey as I do. Ho promised us a great measure about the House of Lords. [Ministerial cries of "No."] He promised to deal with the House of Lords. How has he dealt with it? He brought forward an abstract Resolution which took a whole week of our Parliamentary time—three complete days which could have been given to legislation—and which, as far as I can see, from the right hon. Gentleman's point of view, has not advanced matters at all. Let us grant for the sake of argument that the House of Lords requires all the coercive measures the right hon. Gentleman desires to apply to it, how is that object furthered by an abstract Resolution which wastes the most valuable period of the session in perfectly barren controversies which do not help matters so far as the Government are concerned, which compel us to give up our rights of free debate and to sit in months when we would much rather be doing something else, and give whatever excuse there may be for that persistent interference with liberty of discussion which is becoming more and more a fatal habit with the right hon. Gentleman? I remember when the King's Speech was under discussion, the hon. Gentleman the Member for Westmoreland got up and said he was delighted with the intentions of the Government on temperance reform. He was good enough to say I had twitted the Government with a passion for constitutional changes which were thrusting into a remote and indefinite future the projects of social reform about which people talked so much in the country. The hon. Gentleman, with less experience, perhaps, than some other Members of the House, took the amiable observations of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House on the subject of temperance reform as a proof that my criticism of his words was an unfounded criticism, and that the Government for once really did mean business. How soon were the sanguine hopes of the hon. Gentleman dashed to the ground! Not only have the Government not found time for that particular instalment of 254 social reform, but they have admitted that they were never in a position, even had they had the time, to bring forward a measure. They have been talking about temperance, not merely since they came into office, but for months, for years—well, for a Parliamentary generation; and yet they not only could not find time for a measure, but they have not got a measure even if they could find the time. The hon. Gentleman will do well on the occasion of the next King's Speech to moderate the sanguineness of his expectations. He is not the only gentleman, nor does he belong to the only Party, who cherished, and thought they had a right to cherish, the strongest views as to the amount of time the Government were going to devote to carrying out their particular desires. I remember the Leader of the Irish Party got up on the King's Speech and told the House there was a distinct understanding that there was to be an Irish session; and that the Government were pledged to carry great reforms for Ireland leading on to the full policy of Home Rule. I have not quoted the exact words which were used, but that is practically their substance. We know what has happened to these expectations; we do not know what would have happened if the hon. Gentleman and his friends had not summarily put down their foot upon the abortive legislative efforts of the Secretary for Ireland. Why, we should be now discussing, not only the English and the Scottish Land Bills, the subject of the Irish evicted tenants, Transvaal loans, and the other thirty-six measures we have to deal with, but we should be involved in the Serbonian bog of Irish quasi-Home Rule legislation. Whatever disappointment the Leader of the Irish Party may feel on this question, and however painful may be the disappointment of the parental hopes of the Chief Secretary for Ireland, if either of these two Gentlemen has the smallest affection for a holiday, he must rejoice at the unhappy blight, the untimely frost, which earlier in the session destroyed this budding legislation. The time the right hon. Gentleman has spent upon the new Rules of the House is time which has been equally misspent with that bestowed on the abstract discussion about the House of Lords. I do not wish too early to prophesy as to what the fate of this new scheme of sending up the biggest 255 measures to Grand Committee may be, but I think nobody can watch the working of that system without feeling the deepest disquiet as to its effect upon the general deliberations of this House. It has been shown to throw quite undue labours on these new Members of the House in the Grand Committee. Any number of Gentlemen in this House can testify how heavy and intolerable is this burden of anxiously dealing with the details of a Bill from eleven o'clock in the morning till four in the afternoon, and then attending the sittings of this House. I cannot help thinking the emptiness of our benches during important debates is, in part at least, due to this cause. There is yet a more important point than the labour thrown upon individual Members. This session shows a really alarming advance in the methods by which the Administration of the day are dealing with free speech. It was after we had been in Committee a good deal over thirty days on the Education Bill of 1902, when the House had been sitting nine or ten months, that, as Leader of the House, I moved closure by compartments on that measure. The present Chancellor of the Exchequer got up and said—no doubt with truth—that these were great invasions upon the liberty of debate, and that what was done by the Government would, of course, be done by their successors. But the present Government has gone on to what is far worse. The glory of this House used to be that in Committee or on Report it was able to deal with the details of a Bill. Now you send your important Bills to Committee upstairs; upstairs you closure them; they come downstairs, and, instead of giving the House on Report some pale reflection, at all events, of the powers it had on the Committee stage, you immediately proceed to gag the Report stage by compartments. The result is that this House has really no power of discussing the details of the Bill. If the right hon. Gentleman was correct in 1902, when he said that what the then Government did threw an excess of power into the hands of the Executive, and made them, not merely arbiters of the policy of the country, but uncontrolled arbiters of the legislation of the country, what must he think of his own colleagues who have carried that process to a degree never before dreamed of? Every think- 256 ing man will have the gravest doubts as to whether, unless we find some wholly new solution of our difficulties this House can be in the future anything like what it has been—the glory of our institutions. I remember the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Rushcliffe once saying that the amount of closure put on by any Government was the measure of their incompetence. If that be a true canon of criticism, how unplumbed must be the depths of incompetence of those who at present control the destinies of the House! No past Government has approached the present holders of office in the manner in which they have dealt with our debates. It is evident from what fell from the Prime Minister that he looks forward cheerfully to increasing the stringency of methods which most people, I believe, think sufficiently stringent already. Whatever he does, I do not think he will be able to getaway by 24th August; but that he should dream of it clearly indicates that he is not going to allow the House to discuss on the Report stage either the Scottish Landholders Bill, the Scottish Valuation Bill, or the English Bill, or the Transvaal Loan Bill. In the calculations he and his friends have made they must have openly admitted to each other that if this programme was possible at all, it was only possible at the price of preventing this House discussing fully any single one of these measures. [Ministerial cries of "No."] I think that is a deplorable practice. It must be borne in mind that the Government of the day is sometimes beaten in Grand Committee. In such a case, when the Bill comes back to this House, shall we have an opportunity of discussing the views of the Grand Committee if the Government desire to restore the measure to its original state? Not at all. These Amendments introduced in Grand Committee will be dealt with mechanically at half-past ten some evening in the middle of August, and even the very members of the Grand Committee who defeated the Government will, I dare say, march into the lobby to support them in this silent and un-criticised reversal of the policy adopted upstairs. I think that is a very unhappy state of things and deserves the most earnest attention of the Government. I quite recognise the difficulty which any Government has in dealing with this matter, but this Government 257 has been absolutely reckless in regard to the amount of legislation. They have so trusted to the machinery of the closure that they do not think it worth while to think over Bills before introducing them, conscious that their worst blunders can be put right in another place. I see no signs whatever that the right hon. Gentleman has learned in this respect by experience. May I remind him of the solemn pledge which he has already given, as I understand, for next session? He is then going to deal with the licensing question, and to deal in an avowedly controversial spirit with education, and I believe we are to have a great Budget. The sugar duties and the old-age pension scheme will come up in a more serious fashion than they have done in the present session. Then there are the questions of English land valuation, Irish University education, Welsh Disestablishment, and the abolition of the House of Lords. That is not what is commonly called a modest programme. Even that programme includes nothing for Ireland. I do not know whether we are to have a Home Rule Bill in addition. I do not know if he is going to try his prentice hand on another instalment of Home Rule. If not, I do not know what hon. Gentlemen below the gangway will say; but, if he does, I think that by this time next year, when the right hon. Gentleman comes down to slaughter the innocents, he will probably find himself immersed in the details of the measure. I think each one of the Bills I have mentioned has been promised priority in turn.
§ Mr. A. J. BALFOUR
I would, in all good feeling, advise the hon. Member not to be too sanguine that in the legislative programme next year his cherished project will find first place. Whether he will like it when he see sit is another question. Is it not a serious thing for those who care for the interests of the House that the Government have been forced by the programme of this year and their management of it in into these intolerable measures of closure by compartments? Is it not a serious thing that they are going to try a programme next year 258 which I do not think can be carried through, even with a double measure of severity? I think it is the duty of every man who cares for this House—and I have spent too much of my life in it not to care for it with an almost passionate interest—it is our bounden duty to see if there cannot be found some solution for the difficulties which press upon us. I have no hope that we shall ever be able to go back to the halcyon days of twenty or thirty years ago. I quite agree that there will always be, and must be, limitations upon our debates, which we have to regret, but the limitations are reaching a point which makes free discussion an absolute impossibility. Nobody will deny that measures are leaving this House more and more undebated, undisclosed, un-dealt with, and with a majority of Members knowing but little more than the general scope of the Bill and the general machinery for carrying it out. Nobody can deny that, if there is to be discussion and examination, we are more and more being driven to rely on the work of the other House, which is here the object of so much unjust criticism. Whatever we may think of the House of Lords, whether it is good or bad, I am too proud of being a Member of the House of Commons to wish to see the House of Lords surpass it in its great function as a deliberative Assembly. I do most earnestly hope that the Prime Minister will do two things—that he will, in the first place, try to moderate the magnitude of the programme he is henceforth going to ask the House to get through in the course of a session, and that he will, in the second place, set his mind to the far more difficult and important problem of how even a moderately modest programme is to be got through without unduly curtailing the immemorial rights of this House.
§ *The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Asquith, Fifeshire, E.)
said this was an annual demonstration, to which old Members were well accustomed. He congratulated the right hon. Gentleman on the admirable good humour with which he had performed his part. He was not going to follow the right hon. Gentleman into his imaginative forecast of what lay before them in the immediate future, except to enter a caveat against 259 the assumption that the list of Bills which he read out represented the measures which the Government had pledged themselves to introduce in the next session of Parliament. Nor was he going to discuss whether the Prime Minister and his colleagues had been too optimistic as regards the future. The sole point for which he rose was to deal with what the right hon. Gentleman had said by way of criticism of the Government in their management of the business of the session. He entirely dissented from the view that the three days occupied in debating the question of the House of Lords was time wasted. On the contrary, he thought they had advanced a step, and a very long step, in the practical dealing with this most urgent question. For, in the first place, the House, by an enormous majority, affirmed its view of the relative position of the two Chambers in the Constitution, and further there was a general and almost complete acquiescence on the Ministerial side in the main principles of the practical scheme for dealing with the matter which the Prime Minister adumbrated.
A much more vulnerable point for the right hon. Gentleman's attack would have been if he had asked them what possible justification they had for devoting a whole day of Parliamentary lime to the discussion of Colonial preference—a question which was decided at the General Election. That, of course, was in deference to constitutional Parliamentary tradition, which compelled the Government to place a day at the disposal of the Leaders of the Opposition for a vote of censure. The plan for extending the reference of Bills to Committees upstairs, which the right hon. Gentleman thought was a retrogade step, was put forward as an experiment, and, as far as he was able to form an opinion, it was an experiment which was absolutely necessary if this House was to perform even a tithe of the business of the country. The right, hon. Gentleman had bemoaned the sad fate of Members of the Opposition in having to attend all the morning at those Committees, and all the evening in the House. Looking at the right hon. Member for South Dublin and the hon. baronet the Member for the City of London, he did not think there were any two Members in the House who bore less sign of wear and tear, or more capacity for continuous 260 and strenuous labour. As long as they had men sent here by the constituencies endowed with their physical and intellectual powers, there need be no fear of a breakdown of the Parliamentary machine. The Scottish Land Bill had been in the Grand Committee ten hours a week throughout the whole of May, June and July, and that it should require an inordinate amount of Parliamentary time when it came back to the House on Report was perfectly preposterous. As regarded the English Bill, it had had happier treatment, a great deal of time had been most fruitfully occupied in the discussion of details, which could be handled in a much more practical spirit in the Committee than in the House, and there again the claim that they should spend a large amount of time in doing the work over again was not in accordance with the real requirements of the case or the best Parliamentary tradition.
There was nobody on either side who regarded the guillotine, and the manner in which it had been applied, with anything like unqualified satisfaction. The right hon. Gentleman had truly said that he did not apply the guillotine to the Education Bill in 1902 until after the measure had been for some time in Committee. He himself, however, pointed out then, and subsequent experience had shown, that if they once began the use of an instrument like the guillotine it would be used with increasing vigour and severity year by year. The right hon. Gentleman had wisely confined his references to the Bill of 1902, but his own recollection was that only a few lines of the Aliens Bill were discussed before the closure was applied. [An Hon. Member: After three days.] And what about the Licensing Bill?
§ Mr. ASQUITH
Yes, and then it was compulsorily closured. These cases, when they came to be examined, showed that anything which this Government had done would bear not unfavourable comparison with the action of their predecessors. However, he was not anxious to engage in a game of battledore and shuttlecock, or reciprocal recrimination. He quite agreed that the state of things was unsatisfactory. One of the most urgent needs in their procedure was the devising 261 of some machinery by which wholesale closure would be taken out of the hands of the Government and the majority of the day, and by which there would be something like a regulation, by some more or less impartial tribunal, of the amount of time to be given to different subjects. In the absence of that machinery, they must go on in the present rough-and-ready and unsatisfactory way unless the House of Commons and its work were to be reduced to impotence and become a laughing-stock both to itself and the nation.
He wished to make one remark in regard to the Transvaal Loan which had been referred to by the right hon. Gentleman. Under the procedure of this House they had first of all a Resolution in Committee previous to the introduction of a Bill involving public expenditure, then Report on the Resolution; then Committee on the Bill, and Report. As regarded the rules and machinery of the House, ample opportunity was afforded for discussion; and ho could not see any necessity for the extension of those proceedings into minute Committee details. Ho submitted to the House that they had made a not improvident and not wasteful use of the opportunities the House had placed at their disposal, and that their legislative programme would redeem this session from the charge of legislative barrenness.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
said that in the few words he wished to address to the House he had no desire to continue what the Chancellor of the Exchequer had called the annual demonstration towards the end of the session. No Radical could believe that the present position of things in the House was satisfactory. It was, he believed, by devolution alone that the House could be relieved of this yearly wrangle and of the constant increase of pressure on Members not to express their opinion on the matters that came before them. But apart from devolution those who were anxious for progress could not be satisfied with the present condition of affairs. He condemned the manner in which the new Army scheme had been placed before the House so as to consume thirteen days, during which the new Members had to vote in troops and legions for a 262 Bill which they did not profess to understand and which competent men declared to be, except for one or two clauses, unnecessary, because the changes could have been accomplished without coming to the House. If the House was slow in adopting devolution, if there was not to be an autumn session, it was evident that they would have to employ the guillotine more and more every year. It would not be in order to discuss in detail any of the Bills which the Government had resolved to pass. The Prime Minister had said it was his intention to pass a Scottish Valuation Bill upon grounds which, if sound, would apply with tenfold force to the English Bill; but he did not think they were sound. He thought, however, that the changes foreshadowed in the Bill in regard to valuation were not greater than those made by right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite in regard to agricultural rates without a special Valuation Bill. They had to ask now whether they were being called upon to support the right Bills. Labour legislation was beginning to fall into arrear. Not one of the eighteen Bills already prepared had been brought forward. He appealed to hon. Members to turn their minds to devolution and the necessity for sitting for a greater portion of the year. As to the time alleged to be required for drafting measures, he reminded the House that in 1870 the Irish Land Bill, drafted entirely by Mr. Gladstone himself, the Education Bill and the Ballot Bill, all first-class measures, were drafted under circumstances at least as difficult as those of the present year. The Ballot Bill did not pass that year because of the action of the House of Lords, though it passed the following year. In fact, Ministers who were the most hard worked in the House found time to draft their Bills. They wore now face to face with the English Land Bill, which was only drafted during the present session.
§ *Mr. J. RAMSAY MACDONALD (Leicester)
said he intervened in the debate chiefly to put one or two questions in regard to the details of the business of the Government. It would ill become new Members when the House was in controversy as to its proceedings to express too dogmatically their views upon Standing Orders and Procedure. For, he confessed that the more they 263 considered the rules of debate in the House, the more difficult it was to understand them. He wished to emphasise that the Labour Members came to the House full of a desire to do honour to its traditions, and they associated themselves with the tribute paid to the House of Commons by the right hon. Member for the City of London. They came there to do work, and they believed the House would allow them to do this work. But there was no good in trying to disguise that they had been disillusioned; for somehow or other the House of Commons did not do work and did not allow others who wanted work to be done to carry out their intentions. Some of them had been carefully studying the evidence given upstairs by some older Members who were entitled to speak on its machinery; and he was struck in listening to the speech of the Leader of the Opposition with its omissions of points he had brought out in his evidence. Would it not be well that some of the more authoritative Members should say on the floor of the House what they had said before this Committee? The right hon. Gentleman had said in his evidence that measures which might be considered non-controversial became controversial if discussing them was likely to embarrass the Government. Would not the honest recognition of that truth on the floor of the House by those who had influence over private Members assist the House in getting out of their difficulties? It was no good talking about the guillotine limiting the right of private Members to express their opinions. That right must be limited if it was abused. However much they might object to it—and personally he objected to it very much—what was the use of trying to hide it from themselves like an ostrich hiding its head in the sand? The remedy rested not upon the guillotine, or Resolutions, or Standing Orders, but on the individual Members themselves. If hon. Members cared to do certain things no Standing Order could prevent them. No Standing Order that could be devised could prevent certain hon. Members from abusing the privileges of debate in the House. He spoke with a good deal of feeling on this matter, because he felt deeply. Here they were practically at the end of the session with a most formidable list of measures which they wanted to discuss reasonably and fairly. 264 How could any one say in his heart that they could rise on 24th August and yet give all these Bills adequate discussion? The Prime Minister himself would not say that. And what was left out of the list? Although they did not want to be unreasonable, those interested in social reform could not but be impatient when they saw that at the present rate of progress twenty years would be required to redeem pledges given not two years ago. If they were impatient of the progress made, the Government could see why it was so. One did not wish to use offensive language, but after his experience of last session and of this, what he had to say was that there was too much purposed and deliberate killing of lime. They in that portion of the House were perfectly amazed at the extent to which this was carried on. Hon. Members said in the course of the evening when there were three or four Bills that the Government expected to get through that they could only give them one. That was the reverse process to what the country expected of the House. The country did not expect the House to give them hurried legislation, but they did expect the House not to waste its time so as to prevent a Government, whether it was Liberal or Conservative, getting measures through. He felt bound to say these things, and he ventured to express the opinion that the vast majority of earnest politicians outside the House, not on one side but on all sides, would associate themselves with him in what he said. As to the business which had been laid before them, they were exceedingly sorry that the Laundries Bill was not to be proceeded with. It was in the doubtful list, as there were some objections to it. Those objections must be debated and voted upon, for they could not be negotiated. The right hon. Gentleman knew that there were certain clauses in that Bill which must be retained if it was to be satisfactory to those interested in the proper inspection of laundries. No round table conference could get rid of the difficulties: it was a question of a fight on the floor of the House and a division between the "Ayes" and the "Noes." Therefore he regretted that the Bill should be on the doubtful list, because it meant that it was doomed to death. Then there was the Scottish Education Bill, which also might be put in the list of Bills which were dead, because it could not be carried through 265 with the other Scottish business before the middle of August. It had to follow the Scottish Valuation Bill on the Scottish Committee and would not be reached until within a few days of Members going for their holidays. Although the Scottish Education Bill was dead he would venture to appeal to the right hon. Gentleman about one section of it. The Bill was a composite one and dealt with twenty or thirty subjects, but one subject which it dealt with, that of the feeding of underfed children, he had greatly at heart, and the Secretary for Scotland had pledged himself to see it carried. When the Bill dealing with this question came from the House or Lords last year, the Premier made strong reflections on the Upper Chamber in regard to their action. He himself had a little Bill on that subject which was still alive and had reached the Committee stage. It did not propose anything which the House had not already decided should be done. The House passed the Second Reading of this Scottish Feeding Bill by an overwhelming majority. The Bill went upstairs and the Secretary for Scotland came there and said they intended to push their measure through. The Secretary for Scotland gave a pledge upon that, and having given it the Committee adopted a certain procedure. He had warned the Committee at the time of what might happen, but he kept his Bill alive. It was a small Bill which dealt with this feeding question and it could be "starred" and settled in half away. He urged that it would be desirable to make the law of Scotland conform to the law of England, and for that purpose he hoped the Government would give that half day. They would have liked to have seen a Housing Bill this session, if only for the sake of its being printed and discussed in the autumn. He presumed they were going to have a Miners' Eight Hour Bill printed for the purposes of discussion. Then there was another question, that of Supply. It was felt in all quarters of the House and even amongst the supporters of the Government that there should be one more day for Supply in order that they might have a discussion on the Vote for the Local Government Board. There were most important questions of local administration involved in the Vote, which dealt with such matters as the unemployed and other municipal points, in which the country took keen 266 interest, and he hoped the extra day woud be given.
§ MR. S. T. EVANS (Glamorganshire, Mid.)
said he wished to call the attention of the House to the conditions under which it did its work. He also desired to congratulate and bear testimony to the excellent manner in which the Labour Members had endeavoured to get work done in the House of Commons. The mischief was that in their debates there was a great deal of absolutely irrelevant talk. He made bold to say that if they examined Hansard, pretty nearly half of the hundreds of pages would be found to contain observations which could not be said to have a business quality in any sense. All this must lead ultimately to each Member of the House asking himself whether he was doing his duty in presenting observations of that character. It had been hoped that the establishment of Standing Committees would have expedited the business of the House, but that could only be if the House accepted the spirit in which those Committees were set up. After the House had passed the principles of a measure and read it a second time, the Committee upstairs ought to be simply a business assembly with a desire to carry out principles already acceded to in the House. He himself thought that the Prime Minister should have had an autumn session this year. There was a great desire for it on both sides. At present the length of the session depended entirely upon the state of the weather. If the weather got hot Members became tired, and legislation went through. Was it really sensible that the first legislative assembly in the world should have its business conducted on those lines? If the Government had adjourned the House in the middle of July, Members could have come back fresh in October, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean had exposed the hollowness of the argument that Ministers could not prepare their Bills if there was an autumn session. He implored the Government not to repeat in the next session of Parliament, or the session after, the great error of not adjourning in July and meeting again in October. He would suggest that the rules of the House should be so altered that Bills could be carried over to the next session and their consideration then resumed at the stage 267 they had reached in the previous session. The present system of dropping measures with the session was an unjustifiable waste of time and energy on the part of men who should aim at doing their Parliamentary work on business lines.
§ Mr. CHAPLIN (Wimbledon)
welcomed the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, because he thought it pointed to a desire to return to the better traditions of the House. There could be no doubt that in recent years there had been a decadence in the general tone and procedure of the House, and it would be well if those who had the best interests of the House at heart were to consider whether some remedy could be devised. The reason at the root of the present state of affairs was that which a great and distinguished man who was long the Leader of the Liberal Party (Mr. Gladstone) had expressed to him privately, namely, the want of deference to the general sense and feeling of the House of Commons which in former days prevailed. Would it not be possible to restore, in some degree at all events, that position of affairs? He agreed with his right hon. friend the Leader of the Opposition that to go back to the former state of things which prevailed in the House of Commons for so many years would be impossible, but if that was impossible, at least they could do something. In those days there were old habits and practices in this House, and a system which was very effective, of individual closure, which enforced the general sense and feeling of the House. He did not say that was a remedy which he should recommend, because when the House expressed its feelings by shouting, "Divide, divide!" although it showed that somebody was doing something against its freedom, such proceedings did not add to the elevation of its debates. He thought that rules for the closure of individuals might, however, be devised which would do something in the direction of restoring the state of things that used to prevail. He had been provoked into making his observations more or less by the speech of the hon. Member for Leicester, whose observations throughout he had heard with the greatest pleasure. Returning to the observations of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the right hon. Gentleman had referred to the Scottish Land Bill and expressed astonishment because that 268 Bill had been in Committee since 7th May, had not been returned to the House, and would not be returned to the House before the middle of August. What did that mean? That Scottish Land Bill was the greatest revolution which had ever been put forward in this country. It was a Bill of the very highest importance, which was not only entitled to receive but demanded the must careful consideration in Committee. What did that long consideration mean? The Bill had been before the Committee for twenty-two days, but that only meant eleven Parliamentary days in the House. The Prime Minister would recollect the great discussions on the Irish Land Bills of Mr. Gladstone in 1870 and 1881, and it was impossible to conceive that there should have been only eleven days in Committee in reference to either of those Bills. He had made no reference to find out the time those Bills did occupy in Committee, but he was certain, speaking from memory, that he should not be very far wrong if he were to say, especially with regard to the larger measure of 1881 which was the more revolutionary that it occupied at least eleven days in Committee. The Bill which was now before the Committee upstairs in regard to Scotland was not one whit less important than the great measure passed by Mr. Gladstone to which he had alluded.
§ Mr. BRACE (Glamorganshire, S.)
said he was very much impressed with the arguments as to the unnecessary speeches which were made in the House, and therefore he did not propose to make any speech but to observe the very good rule which had been laid down. He simply rose to make an appeal to the Prime Minister. He noticed that the Merchant Shipping (Tonnage Deduction for Propelling Power) Bill was upon the orders of the day for Committee. That was a Bill in which he was deeply interested, as were also a number of other Members. The Bill had been referred to a Select Committee, but the Report of that Committee had not been placed upon the Table of the House, and he simply suggested that the consideration of the Bill should be put off until the Report was before the House, so that Members might know where they were. 269 He hoped the Prime Minister would not put the Bill on the Paper for a week.
§ Mb. LAURENCE HARDY (Kent, Ashford)
protested against the observations of the Chancellor of the Exchequer as to the amount of discussion which should take place in that House on the Bills which had been before a Grand Committee. He pointed out that, when the new Standing Orders were discussed, it was stated by the Government that full opportunity would be given to the House to discuss these Bills, and for this purpose the Government enlarged the powers of debate on the Report stage. A very important discussion took place upon that point and those who sat in Opposition only agreed to the alteration on the condition that the Government intended to conduct the debate on Report On the same lines as debate in Committee. If these Bills were to be taken under the extreme limits of the guillotine the only effect of the concession made in the Standing Order would be to give more time to the Government and less to the House. He thought some protest ought to be made.
§ Mr. PIRIE (Aberdeen, N.)
said this discussion was an annual one and this year there was exceptional interest taken in it. There was a unanimous feeling in the House that for some reason or other the Parliamentary machinery for carrying on the business of the country had broken down. That at the end of July forty measures were mentioned as having to be passed into law during the last three weeks of the session was clear evidence of the machinery having broken down. Two remedies for this condition of things had been mentioned. One of those might be carried out with very little trouble, namely, that Bills should be carried over from one session to another. There was one Bill that might be dealt with in that way, namely, the Deceased Wife's Sister Bill, which had been before the House for many years. It was simply a scandal that year after year that Bill should go through its various stages and then not be passed into law. But the great remedy for the present state of affairs was that suggested by the right hon. Baronet the Member for, the Forest of Dean—a system of national 270 assemblies in the different countries of Great Britain. An hon. Member had alluded to Scotland, and he had waited before rising for a more authoritative voice than his to reply to the hon. Member. But as no one had risen he rose to protest as strongly as he could against the dropping of the Education Bill for Scotland this year. That the education of Scotland should be paralysed in this way was a scandal. In seven years they had had five Education Bills dangled before their eyes, and there was no man more convinced than the Prime Minister of the gravity of the educational situation in Scotland. Scotsmen had every reason for feeling aggrieved in this matter, Six Scottish Bills had been put into the doubtful list. Why he did not know. But it meant that those Bills for all practical purposes were dead for this year. [Cries of "No."] He hoped that was not so, but so far as the Scottish Valuation Bill and the Sheriff Courts Bill were concerned he believed they were dead. There was yet another Bill, introduced it was true by a private Member, for which there was prime need in Scotland, a Local Option Bill, which had no chance of passing this year. He had now entered his protest with regard to these matters, and he trusted the result of this year's debate would be to convince hon. Members that there was no other remedy for the breakdown of the Parliamentary machine than the scheme of devolution suggested by the right hon. Member for the Forest of Dean.
§ MR. SEDDON (Lancashire, Newton)
said he came with many of the other new Members to this House with a great zeal for social reform. He came believing that this Assembly had in itself the power to improve the condition of the great mass of the people of this country, and he believed the Prime Minister had much sympathy with a good man of the social problems which were pressing for solution at the present time. But during the eighteen months which he had been a Member he had been disillusioned. No one knew better than the Members of the Scottish Grand Committee that this House had not that power. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had called attention 271 to the fact that the Scottish Small Holdings Bill had been under discussion for three months. The Committee had met twice a week and the spectacle of a small knot of men working together and farming out carefully framed Amendments with the avowed intention of embarrassing the Government and preventing them from passing the Bill was viewed by the public with disgust. The right hon. Member for South Dublin had a great crowd of men behind the bar where the public were allowed, and he was informed that most of them were legal and other gentlemen interested who were cudgelling their brains to bring about Amendments. Some hon. Members who believed that land reform in Scotland was pressing had been discouraged by the tactics that were brought into operation in that Grand Committee, and considered that they were making Parliament a by-word. He had a strong suspicion that within a short space of time, unless constitutional measures were brought into operation, unconstitutional methods would be adopted by certain Members of the House. So far as the Scottish Bill was concerned he had come to the conclusion that there ought to be a time limit. The hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London said when he was a candidate for this House that he could talk for any length of time on any subject, and so far as the Scottish Grand Committee was concerned he had justified the character which he then gave himself. Not only so, but the hon. Member was always in the House at eleven o'clock to utter the words "I object" when any private Member's Bill was put to the House. He knew nothing about the contents of them and came down to the House for the purpose of pure obstruction.
§ Mr. SEDDON
said there was one Bill in particular to which he referred which the hon. Gentleman knew nothing about. He thought the present House of Commons, generally speaking, had come with a determination that something should be done, and he was not filled with awe for old traditions. What was good might be retained, but let them 272 destroy what was antiquated and worthless. With some reorganisation much might be done to redeem the pledges given by Members to their constituents who had made up their minds as to the legislation they required by which the lot of the unfortunate should be made better than it was at the present time.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
said that the hon. Member who had just spoken had stated that the public would view with disgust the proceedings in the Scottish Committee. With that he quite agreed, but he thought the disgust would arise because of the attempt of hon. Members opposite to force through revolutionary measures without adequate or proper discussion. With regard to the personal attack which had been made upon him he might say that he had not taken a prominent part in the proceedings after eleven o'clock. He was always present, and had always felt, and always should feel, that the House was not doing its duty as a House of Commons in passing Bills without discussion simply because one or two Members were interested in them. During the time he took a prominent part, if ever he did, he always read the Bill, and with regard to the particular Bill referred to by the hon. Member he might tell him that it was a Bill to prevent an employer making an agreement with one of his clerks or workmen in the shop that that man should not set up for himself when he left.
§ Mr. SEDDON
said the chief clause of that Bill was to restrict the area in which an employer should prevent a man earning his livelihood.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
said that was just what he had said. It would be out of order to refer further to the matter, and he only referred to it to show that he was cognisant of the Bill. With regard to the proceedings in the Scottish Committee, the right hon. Member for Wimbledon had pointed out that the proceedings in that Committee on the Small Holdings Bill had lasted twenty-two days, which was equivalent to eleven Parliamentary days. The Education Bill brought in by the Party to which he belonged occupied thirty days before the closure was adopted, whereas 273 in the Scottish Committee up to the last two or three days he did not think there had been a day in which the closure had not been moved. He had endeavoured to find out how many contentious clauses had been passed on the question that "this clause stand part," and out of twenty only two had been passed in that way. As hon. Members knew, the question gave rise to most important discussions, and out of twenty of the contentious clauses eighteen had been passed under the closure without any discussion whatever. The Chancellor of the Exchequer was only present on one of those twenty-two days. Ministers did not attend at the House. The Prime Minister came to Questions and then left. He hoped if the House was to be kept sitting until the middle of October the right hon. Gentleman would give them the pleasure of his company. With regard to the crowds of men in the public part of the Scottish Committee-room, he did not understand the hon. Gentleman's reference. Not only did the Government have the assistance of clerks and officials who sat by the side of the Chairman, but also the assistance of the Lord-Advocate and the Attorney-General for Scotland, whilst the Opposition had not a single official to assist them. With regard to the congestion of business, his proceedings in the Grand Committee had been conducted not with the object of killing the Bill, as had been stated, but with the view of amending it and making it more workable. That was the only feeling by which he had been actuated. The real reason why the House was in its present position was the action of the Government, who had endeavoured to put too many measures through all at once. Hon. Members prepared themselves for coming into the House by giving all sorts of pledges, and then they were astonished that they were not able to get all things dealt with in two sessions of Parliament. They would not return to the old conditions of Parliament until they recognised that they could not pass every Bill that was brought in because one or two people were interested in it. The measures passed should be those that were supported by a great part of the House and should be measures of 274 an important character, and nothing could be worse than that they should be passed in the early hours of the morning. The only reason for the present condition of things was the endeavour to force upon the House a greater number of Bills than it was capable of receiving. He mentioned the matter recently to the Patronage Secretary, and he would quote the hon. Gentleman's own statement to him—The Bills brought in by this Parliament are enough for three ordinary sessions.He deprecated the idea that the House of Commons, which for 600 or 700 years had occupied the most prominent position of any deliberative assembly in the world, was going to stultify itself by allowing every little vestry to pass what Bills it required. If they once allowed Scotland, Ireland, and Wales to do this and adopted the scheme of devolution suggested, they would very soon have to have devolution for north, south, east, and west, and every county in England. If a Bill was a very important one it required to be considered with great care and deliberation. A few measures passed in that way would do more good than a great number passed in a hurry in order to carry out pledges that had been given. He himself did not want to stay here till October, and the Bills putdown by the Patronage Secretary could not be got through before; but, whatever the hon. Member who last spoke might say of him, nobody could say he was afraid of work.
§ Mr. FINDLAY (Lanarkshire, N. E.)
said it had been the desire of Scottish Members that more attention should be given to Scottish legislation, and they had hoped that progress would be made by means of the Grand Committee. Their hopes, however, had been disappointed, and he thought there must be devolution if Scottish legislation was to have any chance.
§ *SIR FRANCIS POWELL (Wigan)
said he desired to put in a word on behalf of the Education Act (Amendment) Bill. He ventured to make an appeal to the Prime Minister, as he had done on a former occasion. The Bill now stood for Third Reading. It was a Bill affecting public health as well as education, and was a most important measure. He 275 thought that there never was a Bill which contained more valuable matter, and he believed that if it passed the House of Commons it would receive the sanction of the other House.
§ *MR. GULLAND (Dumfries Burghs)
said he rose to ask the Government whether they could not see their way to putting the Scottish Education Bill into the list of those that should pass. The subject of feeding school children was in the Bill of last session and was cut out at the last moment in order to save the English Bill. Parliament must have some regard to making provision for feeding school children in Scotland. There were many other points with regard to education in which Scotland had to be considered. As had been said, five Education Bills had been brought in in seven years for Scotland, and not one had been passed. As one who was intimately connected with the educational problem of Scotland he could testify to the way in which education had been paralysed by the non-passing of those measures. He asked the Patronage Secretary to make an exception of the Education Bill. It would be very difficult for the ad hoc school boards of Scotland to continue their work satisfactorily unless that Bill was passed this session.
§ *SIR HENRY CRAIK (Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities)
said that frequently in the Scottish Grand Committee the numbers of those who spoke on the Government side had exceeded those on the Opposition side. On one occasion seventeen Members supporting the Government spoke against seven of the Opposition. The Solicitor-General for Scotland would not, he was sure, accuse the Scottish Committee of having unduly prolonged the proceedings or taken more time than was necessary shortly to express their views on the difficulties that arose. The block of business had been caused by the Government's sending to that Committee a measure so highly controversial in character. In regard to the Scottish Education Bill it must be remembered that in regard to one pro-vision in that Bill—the Provision of Meals—the Government had been trying to run two measures together—a Bill of a private Member, 276 and one of their own which dealt with the same subject matter. He himself was reproached by the Prime Minister in November last for having influenced the decision on that Bill in another place. The right hon. Gentleman said that that Bill ought to have passed, and would have passed but for the action he (Sir Henry Craik) had taken, and said that he had been guilty of an unparliamentary and improper action. But nevertheless the Government themselves this session introduced a Bill of their own, on the same subject, but on entirely different lines. They had resolved to allow the Bill of the hon. Member below the gangway to go on, with the possibility that it might be taken as a starred measure. They had been running these two measures together, and now they must know before the Scottish Education Bill came on what procedure the Government were going to adopt—whether they were going to adopt the measure on which they lavished time last session, but which they did not adopt as their own this session, or whether they determined to push their own very different measure. He must point out that although this Education Bill was one which, in Scotland, it was desired to see passed, and on which it was thought that they might arrive at a satisfactory decision, common prudence and foresight should have led the Government to infer that there were elements of opposition to the measure on their own side of the House. They would find no obstructive opposition on his side. He was as anxious as anyone could be to help what was so urgently needed in Scotland in order to put an end to the suspense which had been experienced in regard to Scottish education for the last five or six years. He was ready to do what he could, but he was not going to accept an emasculated Bill, and with important provisions regarding the teachers' pensions cut out because of the opposition of hon. Members behind the right hon. Gentleman and on the benches below the gangway. He would not undertake the responsibility for Scotland of obstructing the Bill, but neither would he take responsibility for Scotland in passing the Bill in the shape which he could see would not do good to Scotland and would not meet her 277 educational necessities. He thought the measure might have been more satisfactorily dealt with if the Government, instead of sending the most controversial Small Landholders Bill to the Grand Committee, had left it—as any sensible men would have done—to be dealt with by the House, and sent the Education Bill as an uncontroversial measure to the Grand Committee to be dealt with by the Scottish Members acting in concert with one another. Had they done so, the Education Bill might easily have passed into law.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN (Worcestershire, E.)
said that before the discussion closed there was one question to which he thought they ought to have an answer from the Government. Was it their intention to star any private Member's Bills? During the fifteen years he had been in the House he did not think there had ever been a Motion of this kind made by the Prime Minister without clear indications either that the business would be confined to Government Bills or of any particular Bill which it was proposed to star. It was conceivable—though he did not know whether it was so or not—that there might be private Member's Bills of an entirely non-contentious character which it might be desirable to star by common consent of the House. The hon. Baronet the Member for Wigan had spoken of a Bill of which he knew nothing, though it was quite clear that before the Government received powers to keep them day and night they ought to have some assurance that they were not going to use those powers to star contentious private Member's Bills. If they were to use their powers at all, then the Bill suggested by his hon. friend behind him might be a proper one, though he did not know whether it was or not; but it was only in cases where the Bill would go through nemine contradicente, with the good will and free sanction of the House, that the powers should be exercised. He trusted that they would have an answer from someone on the Government Bench. He wanted to add a word or two as to the condition of business and the position in which they found themselves; he did not think that position had yet been fully stated to the House. He never recollected an 278 occasion where the Finance Bill had not been passed and sent to another place before this period of the session. And it was now proposed that the Third Reading of that Bill should be put down, not as the first order of the day, as had been the invariable practice ever since there had been a Finance Bill, but after a Motion as to another matter which he should heartily support, but which he had reason to believe was likely to give rise to a contentious and angry discussion in other quarters of the House. He suggested that the Prime Minister might find another occasion for the Third Reading of the Finance Bill when it could be the first order of the day. He thought that was not unreasonable, and he urged that the Third Reading of the Bill should not be taken towards the dinner time, still less after dinner. The Prime Minister had made no allusion to the allotted days for Supply. If there was one subject in which hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite professed a special interest, and in regard to which they announced tithe country that they were going to effect great reforms when they came into office, it was the conduct of the financial business of the House. They had repeatedly stated that insufficient time had been given to the control of the financial business of the House, and that they intended to pursue a policy of economy and to restore the control of the House of Commons over finance. What was the case this year? If the Prime Minister did not alter his programme they were going to have less time for Supply this year than they had in any year in recent times. The Party who were the champions of financial purity and control of the House of Commons were content to smuggle through Supply with less control than the House had ever had. The Government had just tabled a Supplementary Estimate for £560,000. He could not help overhearing what the Financial Secretary had said to his colleague, that £200,000 of that Supplementary Estimate was provided for in the Budget, but there still remained of the £560,000 sufficient to wipe out the Chancellor of the Exchequer's surplus. And the hon. Gentleman who voluntarily thrust himself forward to defend this Supplementary Estimate 279 had been one of the foremost to condemn such a procedure. Was it not a remarkable thing that when the legislative programme was so notoriously in arrear the Government had not been able to make satisfactory arrangements for the discussion of the financial business of the House? Among the Bills announced as being necessary to be carried was one which was obviously indispensable, and one which the right hon. Gentleman considered as hardly calling for comment.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
said he wanted to remind the Prime Minister that the Appropriation Bill was more contentious this year owing to the action of the Government than it had ever been before, because the Minister for Education and the Prime Minister deliberately asked the House of Commons to break the law by means of it. That did not make the Appropriation Bill less arguable or likely to pass more smoothly than hitherto. The Appropriation Bill was this year to contain a clause which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had promised in order to carry out certain requirements of the Controller and Auditor-General and certain recommendations of the Public Accounts Committee. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had promised the hon. Member for Norwood, unless he was much mistaken, that he should have an opportunity for discussion which he was prevented from obtaining in the ordinary way at an earlier period of the session by the interposition of a blocking notice in the name of an hon. Member opposite, between the time when his question was put down and the time the Chancellor of the Exchequer was able to answer him. The Appropriation Bill, therefore, became more important than in ordinary years. Then there was the Transvaal Loan Bill. He agreed that the Committee stage of that Bill would not give rise to prolonged discussion like a large and complicated legislative proposal, but he could conceive of no more amazing measure. There had been various explanations of it from the Government. It was a measure of preference in its worst and most invidious form. It was not preference between a 280 British community as against foreigners; it was preference of one British community against other British communities, with a detrimental effect to the position of the others in the money market of the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
asked what inference the hon. Member drew from that? Was his interruption relevant? They gave the grant to a Crown Colony; they had often given grants to Crown Colonies before and might have to do so again; but they had to go back more than thirty years to find a precedent for giving guarantee of the loan of a self-governing Colony, and they had to justify themselves for doing it at a time when they knew that it was difficult for every other Colony that wanted money to raise their loans. And they had to justify themselves for doing it, also, by raising a new loan on a Government guarantee at home, though, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer had stated, his first duty was to raise the credit of this country by stopping its borrowings. It was certainly not a measure which ought to be discussed late at night or in the early hours of the morning; it was one on which the House, if it cared at all about its duty as guardian of the public purse and the public credit, ought to insist upon having full, free, and fair opportunity for discussion. Having said so much, might he say one word about the situation generally? They had begun the session with an amendment of the Rules of Procedure. The Prime Minister in explaining the backward state of legislation said it was because they had occupied a good deal of time in dealing with the Rules of Procedure; but the Chancellor of the Exchequer following his right hon. friend behind him, had said that they had occupied very little time upon them. If the latter statement were correct it afforded no explanation of the position in which they found themselves. But what he wished to call the attention of the House to was that the new scheme of procedure by which Bills were referred to Grand Committees had wholly broken down, and one after another on both 281 sides of the House, had expressed disappointment and almost dismay at the result of the new rules, which excluded the bulk of Members from taking any share in the proceedings on the most important measures of the session, and, in spite of having done that. In spite of having used the guillotine, the Government were more behindhand with their legislation; they had reduced the House to greater impotency and ineffectiveness than he had ever known during all the years he had been a Member of that Assembly. They might deduce from the statements of Ministers that they were going to apply the guillotine with added stringency when the Bills came downstairs. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said it could not be that the Scottish Bills would take long on Report, because they had been fully discussed upstairs. By whom? By eighty Members. Were the other 590 Members to have no voice in any of these questions? The position was seen to be preposterous the moment it was stated. What the Government had done was to proceed on the wrong lines when they reformed procedure. They had an opportunity of dealing with procedure with general acceptance and agreement between both sides of the House. If they had begun with such a proposal as the Chancellor of the Exchequer had mentioned that day, the Government had reason to know from past declarations of many on his side of the House that such a proposal would have received not merely fair, but friendly consideration. But they determined not to act on any suggestion which their predecessors or their opponents had made, nor to avail themselves of any offers of assistance. The new rules had completely broken down. Experience showed that the Opposition were right in regard to them. Let the House look at the list of Bills which the Prime Minister had read out; it was inconceivable that the Government intended to allow the House a fair opportunity of discussing those Bills on Report, and yet expected their proceedings to end on the 24th August or the 24th of the following month.
§ Mr. MARKHAM
rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put"; but Mr. Speaker withheld 282 his assent, and declined then to put that Question.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
joined in the expression of regret which his right hon. friend had used earlier in the debate at the position in which they found themselves. He agreed that reform of procedure was necessary in the altered circumstances of the case, but surely that should be proposed by those who were responsible, and such a proposal would meet with support from all quarters where they valued the dignity of the House. If it was necessary to curtail their liberties in matters of procedure at least for great and contentious measures, there should be a fair opportunity for the whole House to consider them, and express its opinion upon them. There was nothing more wholly untrue than the idea that speeches in the House never changed votes. Again and again he had known votes changed in that way. What often happened was that the effect of speeches was that no vote was necessary, because those in charge of the question under discussion felt bound by the force of the arguments to modify and alter their proposals. The value of discussion in modifying and improving measures had been large in the past and might be so in the future; but if they treated discussion as a mere work of supererogation and an obstacle interposed to delay the registration of the will of a Ministry they would be doing their best to confirm the false impression that Members did not listen to argument, or speeches influence votes, and they would be striking a most serious blow at Parliament as a representative institution.
§ LORD R. CECIL (, Marylebone, E.)
who was received with cries of "Divide divide," said that hon. Members were mistaken if they imagined that he was going to be put down by clamour. He thought the remarks of his right hon. friend deserved a reply from the Government. The House would do well to give attention to the candid criticism of the hon. Member for Leicester upon the present position. He had listened with interest to the speech of the hon. Member, and they all felt that it was a very candid criticism. The hon. Member 283 for Leicester had said that the reputation and the position of the House were suffering, that the machinery of legislation had broken down, and that those who came to the House with high hopes of carrying through great measures of social reform had been disillusioned. That was a very serious matter, and the House might well spare some time discussing a question of that magnitude. He thought the position of the House had become very serious. It was suffering in popular estimation, and they had nothing to take its place from a constitutional point of view. He did not believe in devolution; it was an absurdity. Hon. Members below the gangway hoped to get Home Rule, but even they must realise that they could not get it from the present Ministry. But even Home Rule would be a miserable remedy for the present state of things, for it would only remove one or two Bills from this Parliament. The inevitable result of Home Rule would be that they would have to grant devolution to Scotland, and everybody knew that that would be impracticable. He agreed with the hon. Member that the House had suffered in the popular estimation, and rules would be ineffective until there was a different spirit in Members of the House. ["Hear, hear."] He was glad to hear the Prime Minister cheer that, for the right hon. Gentleman was, not personally but officially, the root and front of the evil. ["Oh."] It was the Cabinet system, the rigidity of the Party system, which was at the bottom of the trouble. No speech was given the chance of influencing opinion in the House. Within the last few days they had seen the whole Party machinery set in motion, at the bidding of the Ministry, against Members who had ventured to vote against their Party, and that had been done in the past by either Party. So long as that system prevailed there would be no inducement to direct argument to the merits of a subject, and recourse could only be had to indirect methods of opposition, methods he disliked and condemned, but which were the only methods until the spirit by which the House was governed and the country directed was altered. Unless Members of the House and the people of the country were prepared to take a sounder 284 view there would be no hope of the House being restored to anything like its former position. Although he thought something might be done with reference to non-controversial measures he did not think that any alteration of the position of that House would free them from the incompetence and chaos which they found themselves in this year. He trusted that the Government would answer the Questions which had been put by his right hon. friend.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
recognised the clearness and calmness of the noble Lord in his wish for abolition of the Party system.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
said it was surprising, seeing that the noble Lord not long since voted for a Motion he said he did not agree with.
§ LORD R. CECIL
said he was sorry to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, but he was sure that the Prime Minister would search his Parliamentary career in vain for any such instance. He had never voted for a Motion which he had said he did not agree with.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
said he had some difficulty in reconciling that explanation with what the noble Lord said in regard to his vote upon the Colonial preference Resolution, when he stated that he voted for the Motion not because he liked it, but because the Government favoured another proposal.
§ LORD R. CECIL
said the right hon. Gentleman must have been misled by an imperfect report, for he had said nothing in the least resembling what had been attributed to him or anything which would bear the interpretation which had been placed upon his words.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
said there had been a useful discussion, which had included an instructive speech from the hon. Member for Leicester and a violent diatribe from the right hon. Member for East Worcestershire, and there seemed to be an idea that the whole Parliamentary machine 285 was out of joint. He was at one with the hon. Member for Leicester, and in introducing his proposals for altering the rules of procedure stated his belief that the House devoted far too much time to the discussion of small matters, and that the forms of the House were not calculated to secure the passage of well-considered legislation approved by the House. There was a debate on the Second Reading of a Bill in which considerable difference of opinion was shown, and then the House came to a decision by an overwhelming vote. But then the difficulties began, because those who were opposed to the main purpose of the Bill had opportunities under the forms of the House for preventing a measure passing, by discussing, criticising, and analysing the minutest details, and the process was intended to prevent the Bill passing into law. Unless the House devolved some of the details of its duty in the discussion of Bills, it was impossible for it to transact the business which its duty to the public required. He had put aside the question of devolution in his first speech. He was in favour of it. That, no doubt, was the radical cure; but, accepting the situation as it was, and admitting that devolution on an effective scale could not be accomplished without great difficulty and expenditure of time, he maintained that sending Bills to be considered in their details by Committees and then allowing them to be reconsidered by the House when they had gone through that process was the way to get through the business they were expected to effect for the country. He was, however, entirely at one with the hon. Member for Leicester in the view that even any such plan as that must fail if it was not loyally carried out, and if hon. Members took part in the proceedings with a view of doing that which it was not intended to do—namely, to destroy the measure they were dealing with. What they ought to do, of course, was to set themselves, as strenuously as they could, to improve the measure, acknowledging and admitting the purpose for which it was intended. He had been told that a number of Members on the Scottish Committee devoted themselves to minute and elaborate discussion of small details, with the result that an inordinate time had been 286 devoted to the Small Landholders Bill, to which reference had been made. A case like that proved nothing against the system of sending Bills to a Committee; because the system had not been rightly tried in that case. He did not say it was not natural for Members, finding themselves in a very small minority on a Committee, and holding strong opinions on what, he supposed, they would say was the iniquity of a Bill, to endeavour to kill the Bill in this manner; but it was not carrying out the intentions of the House when it passed the new rules and regulations. He hoped that as Members became more accustomed to this mode of dealing with business, there would be less tendency to adopt these unhealthy methods, and that they would come more nearly back to the old relations between hon. Members when they happened to differ on legislative measures.
§ Mr. LAMBTON (Durham, S. E.)
as a member of the minority on the Scottish Committee, challenged the Prime Minister to give some specific instance in support of his charge.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
said the fact that the Bill had been all these weeks in Committee was in itself conclusive evidence that some Members of the Committee departed from the intention of the new procedure. [Cries of "No."]
§ COLONEL KENYON-SLANEY (Shropshire, Newport)
rose amid cries of "Order," but the Prime Minister did not give way.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
did not himself see the decadence observed by the right hon. Member for Wimbledon since their own early Parliamentary days. There used to be a closure adopted by Members themselves crying "'Vide, 'vide," when one of their number talked against the general feeling. They did not wish to restore that method of dealing with long and unnecessary speeches; and the House, so far from showing any signs of decadence, had immensely improved in the zeal, knowledge, and intelligence of its members. Their difficulty had been largely created by the 287 fact that there were so many Members well-informed on the subjects in hand, and capable of speaking with effect upon them. That was one of the reasons why this process of sending measures to a Committee was an experiment deserving of trial. He had always been an opponent of long speeches and lengthy debate, and he was sorry to miss his old friend the Member for Chelmsford, who had kept before them the ideal of short speeches. If they were to preserve for the House the respect of the country, they must, as had been said in the debate, put restraint upon themselves, and remember that it was not loyal to the House to spin out one debate to prevent another coming on. He did not speak of embarrassing the Government. It was a question more serious—the restriction of measures that could be passed. He trusted that what had been said that day would be valuable as showing, not only to the House, but to the country, where the mischief really lay, and in what way, by giving the new rules and conditions a fair trial, they might find relief from a state of things which was not creditable to the House. With regard to the particular question as to facilities for a private Member's Bill he was not going to say anything about that now. At this time of the session a private Member's Bill ought to be either unanimously supported or to be recommended by some special circumstances in order to justify facilities being now given to it. Until they had proceeded a little further with their own business they had better not take up other people's. As to Tuesday night and the danger of the Finance Bill not coming on until an unduly late hour because of the prolongation of the discussion on Lord Cromer's Grant, he admitted that, in view of the immense dignity and importance of the Finance Bill, it ought not to be brought forward at the fag end of a sitting, and if he found that, according to past practice, the Cromer Grant could be taken after the Finance Bill, that measure would be taken as the first Order and the Cromer Grant next. As to the request for an extra day for Supply in order to discuss the Local Government Board Vote, it was quite impossible to grant that. There had been sporadic discussions during the session of questions of local government, and 288 there were, of course, other opportunities to which he need not allude for the discussion of particular points.
§ MR. LAMBTON
said he had no intention of taking part in the debate but for the attack of the Prime Minister on the minority of the Scottish Standing Committee. The right hon. Gentleman acknowledged, himself, that he spoke without any personal knowledge of the subject. He did not know whence the right hon. Gentleman got his information. He had said that the proceedings of the Committee that considered the Scottish Small Landholders Bill showed it had been subjected to undue obstruction or discussion and, in fact, that discussion had been improperly conducted on the part of the minority of the Committee. When the Bill went into Committee some of the newspapers stated that five days were wasted over four lines. That might seem to some to be obstruction, and as he saw the Solicitor-General in his place he would ask him whether he would not acknowledge that the discussion on those four lines was absolutely justified. If the right hon. Gentleman would refer to the Decalogue he would find that many of the most important commands were contained in one line, and he challenged any hon. Member to get up and say that five days would have been wasted in discussing the four words of the eighth Commandment. He maintained that the discussion which had taken place in the Scottish Standing Committee on this particular Bill had not been a waste of time. Small details were discussed by the hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty and others, but when information was asked upon really serious questions the closure was put on. The discussions in the Committee had not been of greater length than they ought to have been. Members never knew when the closure was going to be sprung upon them. Clause 14 was put to the Committee without any discussion at all. The Prime Minister had made a most unfounded charge.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."290
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 236; Noes 57. (Division List No. 325.)291
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||M'Micking, Major G.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Fuller, John Michael F.||Maddison, Frederick|
|Alden, Percy||Gilhooly, James||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Glendinning, R. G.||Marnham, F. J.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Massie, J.|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth||Grant, Corrie||Masterman, C. F. G.|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Meagher, Michael|
|Barker, John||Greenwood, Hamar (York)||Meehan, Patrick A.|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Gulland, John W.||Menzies, Walter|
|Barnes, G. N.||Gurdon, Rt. Hn. Sir W. Brampton||Micklem, Nathaniel|
|Bell, Richard||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Bellairs, Carlyon.||Halpin, J.||Mond, A.|
|Bennett, E. N.||Hammond, John||Montgomery, H. G.|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis||Mooney, J. J.|
|Bertram, Julius||Hart-Davies, T.||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romf'rd)||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Harwood, George||Morrell, Philip|
|Boland, John||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Morse, L. L.|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Haworth, Arthur A.||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Branch, James||Hayden, John Patrick||Murnaghan, George|
|Brigg, John||Hazleton, Richard||Murphy, John|
|Brunner, Rt. Hn. Sir J. T. (Cheshire)||Healy, Timothy Michael||Myer, Horatio|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Hedges, A. Paget||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Helme, Norval Watson||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Higham, John Sharp||Nolan, Joseph|
|Cameron, Robert||Hobart, Sir Robert||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Hogan, Michael||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Horniman, Emslie John||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Malley, William|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Hudson, Walter||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Clancy, John Joseph.||Illingworth, Percy H.||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Cleland, J. W.||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Clough, William||Jenkins, J.||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Clynes, J. R.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Cooper, G. J.||Joyce, Michael||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Kearley, Hudson E.||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Cory, Clifford John||Kettle, Thomas Michael||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Kincaid-Smith, Captain||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro)|
|Cox, Harold||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Laidlaw, Robert||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Crean, Eugene||Lambert, George||Rees, J. D.|
|Crombie, John William||Lamont, Norman||Richards, T. F.(Wolverh'mpt'n)|
|Cullinan, J.||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Delany, William||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradf 'd)|
|Dewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness-sh.)||Lehmann, R. C.||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Lewis, John Herbert||Roche, John (Galway, East)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Lough, Thomas||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Duckworth, James||Lundon, W.||Rose, Charles Day|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Russell, T. W.|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Lyell, Charles Henry||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Elibank, Master of||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)|
|Evans, Samuel T.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Bg'hs)||Scott, A. H. (Ashton under Lyne)|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Sears, J. E.|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Maclean, Donald||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Field, William||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Seddon, J.|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Seely, Major J. B.|
|Findlay, Alexander||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Flynn, James Christopher||M'Callum, John M.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie||Toulmin, George||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Ure, Alexander||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Spicer, Sir Albert||Verney, F. W.||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Steadman, W. C.||Vivian, Henry||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthn)|
|Stewart, Halley (Greenock)||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Strachey, Sir Edward||Walton, Sir John L. (Leeds, S.)||Williamson, A.|
|Straus, B. S. (Mile End)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)||Wardle, George J.||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Sutherland, J. E.||Wason, Rt. Hn. E (Clackmannan)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Thompson, J. W. H. (S'mers't,E.)||Waterlow, D. S.||Tellers for the Ayes—Mr.|
|Thorne, William||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)||Whiteley and Mr. J. A.|
|Torrance, Sir A. M.||White, Luke (York, E. R.)||Pease.|
|Ashley, W. W.||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H.||Craik, Sir Henry||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darling'n)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Dalrymple, Viscount||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Balfour. Rt. Hn. A. J.(City Lond.)||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Faber, George Denison (York)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Baring, Capt. Hn. G. (Winchest'r)||Fell, Arthur||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Forster, Henry William||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks||Gardner, Ernest (Berks, East)||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'rd)||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hervey, F. W. F. (Bury S. Edm'ds)||Starkey, John R.|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury)||Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. Howard|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Hills, J. W.||Wards, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hornby, Sir William Henry||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Cavendish, Rt. Hon. Victor C. W.||Kenyon-Slaney, Rt. Hon. Col. W.||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey||Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A. R.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Alexander Acland, Hood and|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Wore).||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Viscount Valentia,|
|Clark, George Smith (Belfast, N.)||Muntz, Sir Philip A.|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
§ Question put accordingly.292
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 233; Noes, 58. (Division List No. 326.)295
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Evans, Samuel T.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Everett, R. Lacey|
|Alden, Percy||Cheetham, John Frederick||Ferguson, R. C. Munro|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Field, William|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Clancy, John Joseph||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Cleland, J. W.||Findlay, Alexander|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Clough, William||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Clynes, J. R.||Flynn, James Christopher|
|Barker, John||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Cooper, G. J.||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry|
|Barnes, G. N.||Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E Grinst'd)||Fuller, John Michael F.|
|Bell, Richard||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Gibb, James (Harrow)|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Cory, Clifford John||Gilhooly, James|
|Bennett, E. N.||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Cox, Harold||Glendinning, R. G.|
|Bertram, Julius||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Goddard, Daniel Ford|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romf'rd)||Crean, Eugene||Grant, Corrie|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Crombie, John William||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)|
|Boland, John||Cullinan, J.||Greenwood, Hamar (York)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Curran, Peter Francis||Gulland, John W.|
|Branch, James||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Gurdon, Rt. Hn. Sir W. Brampton|
|Brigg, John||Delany, William||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.|
|Brunner, Rt. Hn. Sir J. T. (Cheshire)||Dewar, Sir J. A.(Inverness-sh.)||Halpin, J.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Donelan, Captain A.||Hammond, John|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Duckworth, James||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis|
|Byles, William Pollard||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Hart-Davies, T.|
|Cameron, Robert||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Elibank, Master of||Harwood, George|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Rose, Charles Day|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Marnham, F. J.||Russell, T. W.|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Massie, J.||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Hazleton, Richard||Masterman, C. F. G.||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)|
|Healy, Timothy Michael||Meagher, Michael||Scott, A. H. (Ashton under Lyne)|
|Hedges, A. Paget||Meehan, Patrick A.||Sears, J. E.|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Menzies, Walter||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Micklem, Nathaniel||Seddon, J.|
|Higham, John Sharp||Molteno, Percy Alport||Seely, Major J. B.|
|Hobart, Sir Robert||Mond, A.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)|
|Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Montgomery, H. G.||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Hogan, Michael||Mooney, J. J.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Horniman, Emslie John||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Hudson, Walter||Morse, L. L.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Jacoby, Sir James Alfred||Murnaghan, George||Steadman, W. C.|
|Jardine, Sir J.||Murphy, John||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Jenkins, J.||Myer, Horatio||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Jones, William(Carnarvonshire)||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r)||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Joyce, Michael||Nolan, Joseph||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury)|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid)||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E)|
|Kincaid-Smith, Captain||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Thorne, William|
|King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Torrance, Sir A. M.|
|Laidlaw, Robert||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Toulmin, George|
|Lambert, George||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Ure, Alexander|
|Lamout, Norman||O'Malley, William||Verney, F. W.|
|Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Walton, Sir John L. (Leeds, S.)|
|Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.)||Paulton, James Mellor||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Wardle, George J.|
|Lehmann, R. C.||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Wason, Rt. Hn. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Pirie, Duncan V.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Lough, Thomas||Power, Patrick Joseph||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Lundon, W.||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Raphael, Herbert H.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Rea, Walter Russell (Searboro')||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Mackarness, Frederic C.||Redmond, William (Clare)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Maclean, Donald||Rees, J. D.||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarth'n)|
|Macnamara, D. Thomas J.||Richards, T. L. (Wolverhampton)||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|MacNeill John Gordon Swift||Ridsdale, E. A.||Williamson, A.|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|M'Callum, John M.||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradf'rd)|
|M'Micking, Major G.||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Tellers for the Ayes—Mr.|
|Maddison, Frederick||Roche, John (Galway, East)||Whiteley and Mr. J. A.|
|Markham, Arthur Basil||Rogers, F. E. Newman||Pease.|
|Ashley, W. W.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Wore)||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir H.||Clark, George Smith (Belfast, N.)||Liddell, Henry|
|Balcarres, Lord||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (CityLond.)||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Craik, Sir Henry||Lowe, Sir Francis William|
|Baring, Capt. Hn. G (Winchester)||Dalrymple, Viscount||Muntz, Sir Philip A.|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Doulgas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks||Faber, George Denison (York)||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Fell, Arthur||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Forster, Henry William||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Gardner, Ernest (Berks, East)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Hervey, F. W. F. (Bury S. Ed'mds)||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury)||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Cavendish, Rt. Hon. Victor C. W.||Hills, J. W.||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hornby, Sir William Henry||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey||Kenyon-Slaney, Rt. Hon. Col. W.||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)|
|Starkey, John R.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir|
|Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. Howard||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)||Alexander Acland-Hood|
|Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-||and Viscount Valentia.|
§ Ordered, That, for the remainder of the session, Government Business be not interrupted under the provisions of any Standing Order regulating the Sittings of the House, and may be entered upon at any hour, though opposed; that, at the conclusion of Government Business each day, Mr. Speaker do adjourn the House without Question put; and that no Motions be made to bring in Bills under Standing Order No. 11.