HC Deb 26 June 1907 vol 176 cc1408-523

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment [25th June]to Question [24th June], "That, in order to give effect to the will of the people as expressed by their elected representatives, it is necessary that the power of the other j House to alter or reject Bills passed by j this House should be so restricted by Law as to secure that within the limits of a single Parliament the final decision of the Commons shall prevail "—(Sir H. camp-bell-Bannerman);

Which Amendment was, In line I, to leave out from the word 'That,' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words 'the Upper House, being an irresponsible part of the Legislature, and of necessity representative only of interests opposed to the general well-being, is a hindrance to national progress and ought to be abolished.''—(Mr. Arthur Henderson)

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

MR. JAMES CAMPBELL (Dublin University)

The discussion upon the Resolution and Amendment before the House was closed last night by a speech by the right hon. Gentleman the Undersecretary for the Colonies which was remarkable in many ways. I do not think anyone who listened to that speech would entertain for a moment the slightest doubt that the right hon. Gentleman had come to the conclusion that the sluggish appetite of the followers of the Government in this House and in the country required something more stimulating than the half-hearted, lukewarm utterances of his colleagues who had preceded him in the debate—the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General. Those right hon. Gentlemen professed to find in the Resolution nothing that was unfriendly or hostile towards the House of Lords, and they stated as their belief that were this Resolution to have the effect of law, there still would be a useful and honourable role for the House of Lords to fill in the Constitution of the country, and there still would remain for them very many responsible and difficult duties to perform. Now, the right hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary for the Colonies had plainly thought that such poor stuff as that was not sufficient to arouse the-popular enthusiasm in favour of this crusade, und that, if it were necessary, as he believed it to be, to play up a little more to the gallery in the matter, the situation demanded much more lurid and blood curdling language than that indulged in by his colleagues. Accordingly the right hon. Gentleman proceeded to deliver a harangue which, for the wealth of its vehemence, violence, and vituperation, has seldom, I think, been exceeded in the annals of Parliamentary history. It was the sort of speech everybody is accustomed to in other arenas. We have heard something like it at the hustings, on the pavement, and in our parks, but I venture to say it is a new experience coming from a responsible Minister of State speaking with the responsibility and authority supposed to attach to occupants on the Front Bench. What were the terms in which the right hon. Gentleman thought it becoming and consistent with his dignity and position to describe the institution which, in the opinion of the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General has a dignified and important role to fill in the legislation of this country, and has many difficult and responsible duties to discharge? He charged that House with being animated solely by the meanest partisan motives; he described that institution as nothing but a Party dodge,, and, warming to his subject as he proceeded, he reached a climax when he declared that the House of Lords used its veto for the grossest and basest purposes of political partisanship. Now I observe hon. Members opposite, with few exceptions, have not cheered that. My anxiety has been to elicit cheers from them for that reference to the right hon. Gentleman's speech, and if they had cheered it I think some of them would find themselves in a position which would render it difficult for them to follow the Government in the division lobby, because if they believe it is a true-description of the House of Lords it will be difficult for them to reconcile their action in supporting a Resolution which the Prime Minister, who is responsible for it, has declared will still leave that House of Lords, described in such language by the right hon. Gentleman, an important factor in the legislation of the country. But the speech had other advantages. It unmasked for the first time in this debate the true inwardness of the Government proposal, and it also disclosed in part the methods by which it is proposed to accomplish their purpose. Now, the most cursory examination of this proposal will, I think, satisfy any Member of the House who has taken the trouble to examine it that, if followed up by legislation, it must necessarily annihilate the effectiveness and power of the House of Lords for legislation. I do not stop to criticise the extraordinary machinery by which they propose to adopt three separate and distinct occasions, at distinct intervals, on which four Members from either House will meet in secret conclave and, like the witches in "Macbeth," stir up the political cauldron; I do not propose to waste time in discussing this fantastic proposal, because it is perfectly plain to anyone who has followed the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies that these proposals, in their present form, are the merest and veriest sham, and are the subterfuge of a weak-minded and divided Government which is marking time upon this question and wishes by this performance to leave it, open, so that when they have watched the course of politics they may be able to say either that their proposals meant everything or, on the other hand, nothing. But the right hon. Gentleman was also good enough to reveal something of the methods of the plan of campaign, and for this purpose he had recourse to the language of military strategy. He told us the Government were opening the first line for a great siege; they had to sap up to the first parallel. I hardly think it was a happy inspiration for the right hon. Gentleman to refer to sapping and mining. It is not the first time in the history of this short-lived Parliament that we have heard of this policy of sap and mine, and I think the result of its first application, in the case of the Irish Council Bill, was hardly of such a character as to encourage its repetition. I would like to dwell for a few moments on the history and incidents of that Irish Council Bill, because it is invaluable, to my mind, in this discussion, owing to the fact that it demonstrates clearly how unreal and artificial is the nature of the effort that is being made to manufacture a case against the House of Lords. Will any Member on this side or on the other side of the House stand up in his place and say now that he believes the Government ever intended or desired to pass the Irish Council Bill?


I do.


I am glad to see this indication of courage on the part of the right hon. Gentleman, and I hope that that quality will soon be displayed more actively in connection with Irish administration. But while I have not the slightest desire nor idea of understating the sincerity of the right hon. Gentleman's declaration, I should like to refer for a moment to the position in which we stand in regard to the Irish Council Bill. In the first place it was introduced for the purpose of enabling hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite to reconcile, to themselves and to the electors, the various conflicting and inconsistent pledges which they had given on the subject of Home Rule, and it was supposed that this could be best done by a sort of mongrel measure which enabled some of them to point to it as an instalment of the larger policy, while others could regard it as merely an innocuous contribution to local government. But the real and main purpose of the Irish Council Bill was this: it was deliberately framed in the expectation and belief that the House of Lords would reject it, and certainly it demonstrates this lesson—the futility of this talk that we have listened to about the will of the people. The will of the people when clearly and definitely expressed is one thing, but the form in which the Government of the day chooses to clothe that expression of its opinion is a wholly different matter. We must assume that the Government either had, or believed they had, the sympathy and support of the Members for Ireland below the gangway in the introduction of their Irish Council Bill. That is not a violent assumption, because their subsequent action showed that that was so. If they had not the implied sanction or express sanction and support of hon. Members for Ireland below the gangway, then that would make it absolutely plain and clear that they never meant business with the Bill; but if they had that sanction and support then an object lesson is afforded on this question of the people's will. If hon. Members for Ireland had given any such promise, and if they proceeded loyally to carry out that promise, that Bill, with their assistance, would have gone from this House and would have been sent up to the House of Lords to meet its doom. Just imagine the outcry against the House of Lords here if they had set their voice once more against the clear and expressed will of the people, not merely the will of a small section of English electors, but of the entire Nationalist people of Ireland, whom we are so anxious to govern according to Irish ideas. That would have been the cry. That was the main purpose and object of this abortive Bill, and had it not been for the accident that, instead of hon. Members for Ireland supporting the Bill in this House and helping it on its way to the Upper House—had it not been for the accident that they took the course of a referendum to an Irish Convention, that Bill would have passed from this House with the assistance of the Government and its legions, and the cup to be filled up against the House of Lords would have received a very substantial addition. Had that Bill gone to the House of Lords and been rejected, that House and not the Government or this House would have been interpreting the will of the people. If that Bill accomplished nothing else, it has accomplished one result which I think is almost without parallel in the history of Irish administration, certainly for the past century. All classes, creeds, and sections throughout the length and breadth of Ireland were united in their condemnation of that Bill, which went to its grave without a single individual in that country to mourn or regret it. The Amendment moved by the hon. Member below the gangway has certainly one merit which distinguishes it from the Resolution of the Prime Minister. That Amendment, which was so well proposed and seconded, raises a courageous straightforward issue. At the same time I confess to a certain difficulty in following the argument which was addressed to the House in its support by the hon. Member for Barnard Castle, because, as I understood him, it seemed to me that the ground upon which he advocated the adoption of the straight and square course proposed was that the House of Lords were out of sympathy with the schemes of social and industrial reform which are believed in by the Party sitting below the gangway. It struck me as rather an audacious assumption, because the hon. Member went on to say that their Party numbered thirty in this House. It would be, I think, rather a novel and dangerous constitutional principle to say that where an expression of public opinion has only reached the concrete shape of re-burning to this House thirty representatives of particular views, those views were therefore to prevail and to be taken as the mandate of the country, and that hon. Gentlemen below the gangway were here with authority to dictate to the other sections and Parties to the Constitution.

MR. SHACKLETON (Lancashire, Clitheroe)

I think my hon. friend never made any such statement of his position. What he said was that the House of Lords was against reforms which the people wanted, and not merely of what we wanted.


I accept that explanation, but who are the people in the opinion of the hon. Member for Barnard Castle? I would be the last to misrepresent any hon. Gentleman, but I certainly understood, and I think the House understood, that the main line he took was that the views and ideas of the House of Lords were in direct conflict with the views of the people as he understood them. Of course, it is perfectly obvious when speaking of the people he was speaking for those whom he represents, and for whom he is entitled to speak. I doubt whether any hon. Member would care to attempt to explain the views of those whom he has no claim to represent. It is not a violent assumption that the hon. Member in speaking of the views of the people was speaking of that class of the community who sent himself and his colleagues to this House. The hon. Member based his case for the adoption of the Amendment upon the allegation that the House of Lords had often delayed legislation. Well, strange to say, it is that fact which in the opinion of many people in this House, and certainly of very many people outside the House, commends the retention of the House of Lords. This delay or retarding of legislation is essential in the system of Party government. Every man in this House knows that the Party opposite, as well as the Party on this side of the House, has frequently brought in measures embodying principles and intended to carry out objects which, when in Opposition, they have themselves for years opposed. That is common to both Parties in this House, and the explanation is obvious. The Party, whichever it may be, has come to the conclusion that there has been during some years of discussion and controversy material provided to satisfy them that the people of the country, taken as a whole, have come to a deliberate conclusion on the matter. But there is another benefit in this retarding of legislation. We all know that the English people are very sympathetic at times; they are, like other people, on some occasions inclined to run away with questions, and it may so happen that under the influence of popular excitement, popular prejudice, or popular sympathy, the Government of the day bring in a scheme which, in many of its essentials, involves a course of injustice to the rights of minorities. It is well that such a measure, after being fully debated and purged of those inequalities, should perhaps get another chance, and that is what actually happens in practice, because I think there is hardly a case on record in the history of Parliament in which a Bill, which after discussion in this House and the House of Lords has been ultimately rejected, has ever again been reintroduced in its old form. It has always been made the subject of amendment, and it has also received the benefit of the criticism which it has undergone in the previous session, or in the session before that. That criticism and those changes have been for the inevitable good of the general community, and those measures have been purged of very many clauses which, if not noticed, and passed unchallenged, would have worked undoubted hardship on individuals and minorities. This cry for the abolition of the House of Lords is no new one. With hon. Members below the gangway and hon. Members opposite it is entirely different, and I think the country will ask and wait with some impatience for an answer to the question why it is, or what it is, that to-day for the first time has opened the eyes of hon. Members to the necessity for destroying one of the integral parts of our Constitution, which has survived for centuries and been the envy and admiration of every civilised country in the world, an envy and admiration, I may say, which has taken a form which we know to be the sincerest form of flattery, that of imitation.




Many authorities have been quoted. I will satisfy the impatience of my hon. friend the Member for South Donegal if he will only restrain himself. Many authorities have been quoted in favour of the excellence of our constitutional arrangements, but the right hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies quoted one who was somewhat disparaging. I am sorry that he is not in his place, for I would have liked to refer him to one authority, and in his absence I will refer the House to an authority whom, I am sure, he will value much more than those who have been quoted, and that is himself. The right hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies published an election address in 1899. I presume that one may say that an election address is prepared with some little care. It is not a mere collection of random thoughts. Here is an abstract from the right hon. Gentleman's election address— I believe that the present Constitution of the United Kingdom is upon tin- whole the best and most practical arrangement for the purposes of government which exists in the world, or is recorded in history. I am quite aware that right hon. Gentlemen opposite feel the onus which is cast upon them of explaining to the electors of the country why it is at this late hour of the day they have become so keenly alive to the pressing importance of this question, and, so far as I can follow their suggestion, it is that the action of the House of Lords for the last two years is a sufficient justification for attacking an institution which for so many centuries has been an integral and vital part of our Constitution. Three measures have been referred to—the Education Bill, the Plural Voting Bill, and the Trade Disputes Bill. Certainly it is a case of hit high or low you cannot miss, because one of the three measures selected was passed by the Lords with Amendments, another was rejected, and the third was passed, that is to say, that so far as the Lords could do it, they did not reject the Education Bill, but they amended it. Let me say a word with regard to the Education Bill, because I think it is a very happy illustration of the real meaning of the political maxim as to the will of the people. It is not desired that the will of the people should be contravened if it is clearly and definitely expressed, but it is a matter for the determination of this House and the House of Lords, whether the form in which the Government have thought fit to express and to clothe their views and ideas as to the will of the people in every case is to be accepted, and whether that is to be taken as consonant with the wishes of the people, without their having an opportunity of saying "Yes" or "No" on the subject. I quite admit that this question of the grievances under which many people believe they suffer in the matter of education was a burning topic at the last election. There can be no doubt about that. This much I am confident of, that the electors of this country never contemplated by any expression of their will to set aside; one form of clerical tyranny and set up in its place another, and to place the children of the poor belonging to the Church of England and the Catholic Church at the mercy of that somewhat elastic and indefinite element, the Nonconformist conscience. Then, with regard to the Plural Voting Bill which is also included as one of the counts in the indictment against the House of Lords; there is a great deal to be said in favour of such a Bill. But to my mind it is a crude and ridiculous proposition to say that in the case of a representative system like ours, which is full of anomalies, which makes no provision for proportional representation, or for redistribution, nor has regard to any logical principle which anyone can understand or see, and when the consensus of opinion is that the whole system requires to be overhauled and remodelled —I say it is idle to think that the House of Lords or any other legislative body was acting unwisely in saying, "We will not allow this thing to be done piece-meal. You must bring in a comprehensive scheme to deal with all those anomalies and give every Party fair play." The criticism of the right hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary for the Colonies with reference to the action of the House of Lords on the Trade Disputes Bill was most extraordinary, and showed what amount of freedom and latitude of expression of opinion he is prepared to concede to the House of Lords. The gravamen of the right hon. Gentleman's attack on that institution in connection with the Trade Disputes Bill was simply that Lord Halsbury in the course of one of the debates had expressed views in reference to it which, if my recollection serves me, coincided with the views expressed in this House by the Attorney-General. Why is it that the right hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary for the Colonies did not select for his criticism one of the Members of the Upper House who sits by hereditary right? On the contrary, he went out of his way to make an attack on a man who by exceptional ability, his distinguished and brilliant professional and political career, was an honour to this House for many years and who took his place in the Upper House because he had attained to the highest legal position in the land.


What I said was that Lord Halsbury had had the candour to express the true reason for passing the Bill and that he did not hide himself behind the hypocrisy of saying that it was passed in the interest of the public.


The hon. and learned Gentleman is under a complete mistake. I was not referring to him, but to the right hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary for the Colonies, who selected for attack a distinguished Member of the Upper House solely on the ground that Lord Halsbury upon occasion had made certain references to one of the principles of the Bill. All I said in connection with the hon. and learned Member for South Leeds was that Lord Halsbury's criticism coincided to a large extent with the views expressed by the hon. and learned Gentleman in this House. In the course of the debate hon. Gentlemen opposite have been challenged to quote one single instance in which the Ho use of Lords has set themselves in open defiance of the people's will. We wait with anxiety and interest to know what is that case.

MR. J. M. ROBERTSON (Northumberland, Tyneside)

The tramways over Westminster Bridge.


I am very grateful for that interruption, and I hope that in the remote ages when the House of Lords is to be destroyed, if that time ever arrives, the worst epitaph that can be written upon the House of Lords will be that in one case it voted against tramways going over the bridges in London. That is the solitary exception. On the other hand, there are many instances in which they have rejected measures which subsequent experience showed had not the approval of the country. When the Under-Secretary for the Colonies was interrupted by cries of "What about the Home Rule Bill?" he said, "I anticipate that and I will explain it." What was his explanation? It was, "Home Rule is not yet a settled Controversy." I do not quite follow the lucidity of that explanation, but I take it for what it is worth. It enables me to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman upon the second effort he has made as a prophet with regard to the future of the Home Rule question. What were the views of the right hon. Gentleman as expressed in his election address of 1900, some time ago it is true, but not a long time in the history of an aspiring statesman? I commend this language to hon. Gentlemen opposite. It has two points; it demonstrates the useful position which the House of Lords has occupied, and I hope will continue to occupy for many years to come; and in the second place, it demonstrates what the views of the right hon. Gentleman are as to the future of the Party with which he is now associated. What will happen, the right hon. Gentleman wrote— if a Radical Government comes into power? They enjoy the support of the Irish Vote, and on the understanding that they will introduce a Home Rule Bill—either they will break their pledges or the dreary farce of their last administration will be repeated. The Conservative Party, he goes on to say— in the House of Commons will vigorously oppose and the House of Lords will most certainly reject that pernicious plan which the electors of England have twice condemned. In the matter of politics as well as in other matters, I believe that the English people like to do business. [OPPOSITION cheers and MINISTERIAL counter cheers.] I am glad to hear those Ministerial cheers, and I hope that the Gentlemen who have cheered will bring pressure to bear upon their Government to do business in this matter, and come out into the open, take their courage in their hands, and adopt and support the abolition Amendment moved by the Labour Party. Let them do this and thus give an opportunity to the people of the country, which I believe they are impatiently waiting for, of pronouncing their verdict upon the Government and the Party who have wasted two whole years of Parliamentary life in the weary wilderness of drifting and drivelling. I believe that if they do submit this issue in a clear and definite form to the electors of the country the result will not be for a moment in doubt.


The right hon. and learned Member for Dublin University began his speech on the Resolution submitted by the Prime Minister by firing off another speech which he had prepared for the Second Reading of the Irish Council Bill; and therefore he struck the wrong note. I feel sonic sympathy with him, for many a time I have had experience of the same trouble myself, in common with most Members of this House. I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on the success with which he has got off that speech at last; but I do not quite see what his grievance is about the Irish Council Bill. His complaint is that the House of Commons does not represent the will of the people. I should have thought that the action of the House of Commons on the Irish Council Bill serves to demonstrate how sympathetic the House of Commons is in regard to the wishes of the people. The moment the House of Commons discovered that all sections of the people in Ireland repudiated, through their Convention, the Irish Council Bill, they responded to the will of the people and dropped the measure. The right hon. Gentleman complained that this Resolution was so vague that the Prime Minister and the Government, if they discovered that their plan did not commend itself to the country, would propose something else. My recollection is, however, that the Prime Minister was very definite and laid before the House a very clear scheme. If the right hon. Gentleman can persuade his Leader to be as definite in his plans in regard to other important matters, such as tariff reform, and to lay before the country as clear and definite and consecutive a scheme as the Prime Minister has put forward—if he no longer waited, I will not say for the jumping cat, but for the jumping preferential kangaroo in order to see how it leaped in the country—then we should know pretty well where we are. The right hon. Gentleman naturally is a very ardent advocate of the position of the House of Lords. He represents a privileged minority in Ireland—a minority which has associated British rule in Ireland with its one disastrous failure; a minority which has induced the British Parliament to initiate legislation, and, what is more important, to fail to initiate legislation, which has had the effect of driving millions of his countrymen for shelter and sustenance to foreign shores; a minority which has made the Protestant religion, which stands in every other land for faith, freedom, and progress, in that country synonymous with oppression and cruel rapacity. No wonder that the right hon. Gentleman has no confidence that the democracy will finally sanction a system of that sort, and that he looks for strength and refuge to the House of Lords. His criticism upon this plan is this. He first of all says he prefers the Amendment of the hon. Member for Barnard Castle. Of course, that is always what critics of any plan say. They attempt to divide the forces of those who propose any reform. It is a very natural system of tactics, and I do not blame them for attempting to do so, but I should blame very much those who on this side of the House listened to them. It is an obvious attempt to produce a schism, but I am perfectly certain that in this instance it will not succeed. The right hon. Gentleman has referred within the last few minutes to the Home Rule Bill of 1893, and I observe that one thing he said in the course of his speech was that there were many cases in which the House of Lords rejected Bills passed by this House where they had been amply justified by the sequel. I waited to hear the instances, but the right hon. Gentleman never mentioned them. He only mentioned one in the course of a century, namely, the Home Rule Bill. Does the right hon. Gentleman consider what would have been the effect of this Resolution if it had been in force in 1893 in the case of Home Rule? It is perfectly true that the Government sent up to the House of Lords a Bill which was afterwards rejected by the country; but, supposing the Bill had been sent up under this Resolution in 1893 and rejected by the House of Lords, assuming that the Ministry of the day persisted in 1894, there would have been a second Bill. When a Government re-introduces a Bill they naturally profit by the criticism passed upon the first Bill, and probably in 1894 they would have had an amended Bill. That, I presume, would have been rejected. The first opportunity there would have been of sending up the Bill a third time would have been in 1895, or during a special session of 1894, and if the Lords had not accepted it, it would have passed on to the Sovereign and received the Royal signature in the winter of 1894. It could not have come into operation until six months after that Parliament had been dissolved and an anti-Home Rule majority was present in the House of Commons.

MR. BONAR LAW (Camberwell, Dulwich)

The date of the dissolution could have been altered.


How could it have been altered when the Government had been beaten? It would have been perfectly impossible for that Government to go on for another fortnight. Thus that Home Rule Act under this plan would not have come into operation until a Unionist Parliament had been summoned, and if they were not prepared to accept that Act, and the country was overwhelmingly against it, all they had to do was to pass a Bill of two lines declaring that it should never come into operation. The precedent of 1893 is a justification of the Prime Minister's plan. Let me take another point. The noble Lord the Member for East Marylebone said that a good many Bills were passed through this House about which those who supported them had a good many misgivings. They may pass Bills in that way once; they cannot do it twice, and I am perfectly certain they cannot do it three times. I do not know any great controversial measure which has ever been carried through this House which did not to a certain extent shed some of the support of the Ministers who brought it forward. I remember specially the Act of 1902 and the Act of 1904. There was then considerable cleavage among the right hon. Gentleman's own friends: there were about fifty or sixty Members, his very loyal supporters, who never went into the division lobby, and many of them voted constantly against the Government. With a great agitation going on in the country against that Bill, and with by-elections going against the Government, could the right hon. Gentleman even have attempted to force his Bill through in 1903, if there had been a perfectly impartial House of Lords to throw it out? No Minister can possibly face the electorate with an attempt to press through a measure against all that gigantic agitation which can be got up against an unpopular Bill. I agree that the Government plan is a medium course between the two extremes which say, on the one hand, that there shall be no Second Chamber at all, and, on the other, that there ought to be a revising Chamber with practically co-ordinate powers. It is a medium course, but a real one. An indefensible Bill that cannot stand criticism cannot be carried in face of a procedure of this kind. It is rather remarkable that there has been no out-and-out defence of the House of Lords during the whole of this discussion. The noble Lord did not defend it, and the Amendment put down by the hon. Member for the Walton division of Liverpool clearly indicates that a considerable body of opinion on the Unionist side of the House recognises that the present system is absolutely indefensible. They are very subservient in the House of Lords, and the right hon. Gentleman, I think, is the first to recognise that they would stand from him that which they would not stand from any other living man. I remember the speech of Lord Lansdowne when he complained that they had great Bills sent up to them at the end of the session when they had not sufficient time to consider them. But they passed them nevertheless; so things are made easy for the right hon. Gentleman, though I doubt whether in his heart he really thinks that it is the most effective revising Chamber that could be set up. I do not say we ought not to have a body for that purpose, or that in a scheme of this kind, you might not under certain circumstances have better legislation; but I am certain that the present system has made Party Government, as we understand it, absolutely impossible. Let us consider some of the arguments that have been used. I forget by whom, but by one hon. Gentleman in the course of this debate we were challenged to produce cases where the House of Lords had so materially altered Bills as to make them worthless, or rejected them altogether, and where the House of Lords had been wrong. I put it the other way. The Irish Home Rule Bill is the one solitary case that is claimed throughout the century, the single case in which hon. Members opposite claim that the House of Lords has been right. They have rejected or mutilated a good many Bills. They have so mutilated Bills as to take the life out of them. The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down said they did not reject the Education Bill. On the contrary, they passed it, but they amended it. It is not always necessary to kill a man; you may simply deprive him of his limbs. And that is what was done with the Education Bill. If you guillotine a man, you do not kill him; you only remove a part of him. That was what was what was done with the Education Bill. They so mutilated it as to take the life out of it. That process has been going on for three-quarters of a century. Several instances have been given in the course of the debate. I will add one or two cases which are relevant to the discussion. The argument of the Leader of the Opposition is this, and the argument was put not only in his speech here but in his speech elsewhere last night. He says—I do not use his exact words, but their substance—What safeguard have you against rash legislation which may destroy beneficent institutions, overthrow property, and generally imperil the security of the rights and interests of the people? Does that criticism apply to the legislation rejected by the House of Lords during the last fifty or seventy years? Let us take the treatment of Nonconformists, and that is a good case, for the reason that the House of Lords contains no Nonconformists. There is no substantial representation of Nonconformity in the House of Lords in the same sense as the Anglican and even the Roman Catholic Church are represented. There is no body of opinion that can make itself felt in which the Nonconformists are represented. That is an important feature. I am not making any personal attack on the House of Lords. I believe that the Members of the House of Lords are imbued with the same sense of duty as other Britishers are when they are placed in a position of responsibility. What I say is that they are ill-informed; that they have not the experience which is essential, they are not in touch with the interests in regard to which they have to legislate, and they are really not competent to deal with questions of this kind. And it is just on questions of this kind, about which they know nothing, that they go wrong. Their training is not of the standard which enables them to understand them and more than that it gives them a prejudice. I have no doubt we suffer from it ourselves, but at any rate when we get into this House we do come into contact with every shade of opinion and have to consider it. The House of Lords do not come into contact with this great body of opinion. How have they treated the great body of Nonconformists? I think Nonconformists are as well-behaved, as well-conducted, as industrious, as sober a body of men as you can find in any community in the country, and they have sacrificed more for what they conceive to be the cause of religion, especially amongst the young, than probably any other community of the country. How have the House in Lords treated them with regard to universities, schools, and training colleges? They have always treated the proposition to allow Nonconformists to sit in a university, to get inside a training college with Anglicans and Roman Catholics, and to teach in the village school, as if it were a real danger to the moral standard of society. I ask any fair-minded man whether a Chamber which is so completely out of touch with a body of men who, after all, have done great things in some of the noblest passages of the history of England is fit to sit in judgment upon their claims, demands, and grievances. Speaking as a Nonconformist, that is my case against the House of Lords. They have themselves admitted that they were wrong in most cases. The Universities Bill was sent up from this House time after time, to allow Nonconformists to take degrees, and it was thrown out—for the sake of religion. It is true that after twenty, thirty, or forty years they allowed the Bill to go through. But does anybody say that there was anything gained by the delay except bitterness, exasperation, and rancour—rancour in religion, the last place where we want it? After this long delay of forty or fifty years they grudgingly let Nonconformists into the universities; but they had to make declarations which had never been made before lest they should contaminate their associates. The only Nonconformist Bill that was allowed to get through the first time was the Burials Bill. They did not mind how Dissenters were buried, so long as they were out of the way. Then there was the case of Church rates, which is another case in point. The Quakers are the best citizens in the whole country, and in proportion to their numbers they have done more for the cause of humanity than any other community. What was gained by putting these excellent citizens in prison for the cause of true religion? The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down said the Education Bill was a Bill to place the schools of the kingdom at the mercy of the Nonconformist conscience. He could not have read the Bill. It was a Bill to give control of the schools to the citizens of the land. It handed over the schools of England to county councils. Where the Nonconformists were in a majority they might get their man in; where the Anglican Church was in a majority, as it is in most cases in England, they could get their man in. What it really did was to hand over the control of education to the Anglican county councils. Still, it gave fair play to Nonconformists. It allowed an Anglican county council, or any other county council, to choose a Nonconformist teacher if he was the best man. That was all. I now pause to consider the means by which the Bill was thrown out. It was done, the right hon. Gentleman knows best how, but I am not sure that the history of the tactics whereby that Bill was thrown out was not one of the severest criticisms on the House of Lords. The conference was not a conference of the House of Lords. From that conference the weightiest and most sagacious leaders of the House of Lords were left out; the Duke of Devonshire and Lord St. Aldwyn, men of the greatest weight, were excluded. Why? In order to enable the Bill to be thrown out. Does the right hon. Gentleman deny that?

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

was understood to say that he denied everything the right hon. Gentleman had said.


I observe that what the right hon. Gentleman says does not cover what I said about Tariff Reform. Let me take a case the right hon. Gentleman denies. Does anyone who knows him believe that he negotiated the rejection of the Education Bill because he thought that the substitution of the Bible for the Catechism in the schools would lower the standard of morality, or that the admittance of Methodist, Baptist, or Congregationalist teachers to give lessons in a parish school would make infidels? No; there are relatives of the right hon. Gentleman who believe that, but whatever the right hon. Gentleman is, he is not a bigot. Therefore, he was without excuse, for bigotry was the only excuse. It was done simply with a view to the general situation, and the consciences of Anglicans and Nonconformists alike were purely pawns in a political game. And this is the great impartial Assembly, which, without Party bias, sat in judgment on the action of the turbulent, partisan Commons! The right hon. Gentleman knows better than that. But it is not merely with regard to Nonconformists that they have treated democratic legislation in this way. There is Ireland. We have heard a good deal about Home Rule; what about Irish land? There was the Bill of 1870. The Lords mutilated that Bill by cutting out a provision that would have prevented capricious evictions; it was re-introduced in 1881, when the Lords admitted they were wrong. What happened? In the meantime scores of thousands of men, women, and children were driven from Ireland, and whole tracts of country laid waste. That is what was done by this revising Chamber. Then take the question of artisans' dwellings. A Bill was introduced in 1868 to enable the local authorities to pull down insanitary dwellings, and the Lords cut out the effective provisions. In 1875 Sir Richard Cross introduced a Bill which incorporated the whole of the rejected provisions, and a Tory Government admitted after seven years that the House of Lords had been wrong. What did they do? Nothing. They will take a good deal from a Tory Government. Legislation which affects mines and factories, even although it involved heavy burdens, is accepted, but the Lords draw the line at anything which affects land, even when proposed by a Tory Government, and out went the provisions that could be so described. That measure has been practically inoperative ever since, owing to their action; and slums which ought to have been removed, with all their degradation, all their misery, all the damage they do to the vitality of the race, stand to-day as a monument to the revising Chamber. Talk about guarding against danger to institutions! During the time I have known politics the only institutions that have been wiped out were wiped out by Tory Governments. As to one of them I agree they were right. It was an old institution, I am not sure that it was as old as the House of Lords, and that was quarter sessions. They destroyed it in a day. The House of Lords in that instance were right. But there was another institution, a beneficent one, fairly long established, doing a great work—the school boards of this country, which for over thirty years did more for education, so essential not only to our national greatness but to our commercial supremacy, than any organisation this land has ever seen. They drew some of the best citizens into the work and they were a triumph of British self-government. But there was an extreme clerical faction which did not like them, and they had to go. Where was this defender of national institutions then? Then there is property. You must defend property! The only Bill that I can recall which deprived anybody of property without compensation was passed by the Leader of the Opposition. It was a valuable public property, the reversion to the public of the licences, recognised by law as a vested interest. True, it was only a vested interest for the benefit of the public, not of a class. That property the right hon. Gentleman wiped out, nay, he handed it over as a political bribe to a powerful section of the community. It was the greatest act of plunder and confiscation since the days of Henry VIII. The House of Lords consented. This is the defender of property! This is the leal and trusty mastiff which is to watch over our interests, but which runs away at the first snarl of the trade unions.

VISCOUNT TURNOUR (Sussex, Horsham)

What about your Party?


We did what we promised at the last election. A mastiff? It is the right hon. Gentleman's poodle. It fetches and carries for him. It barks for him. It bites anybody that he sets it on to. And we are told that this is a great revising Chamber, the safeguard of liberty in the country. Talk about mockeries and shams. Was there ever such a sham as that? No wonder the right hon. Gentleman scolds the naughty boys who throw stones at it. The House of Lords, it seems, defends capital. Of a kind, yes. But generally against whom does it defend capital? Against the House of Commons? Why should this House destroy capital?


interposed an observation which did not reach the gallery.


The noble Lord represents land, but it is not the only form of capital, though it is the only form you cannot scare away. The noble Lord finds some comfort in that. We are told, too, that the House of Lords defends capital. Why should the House of Commons be supposed to be in a conspiracy against capital? The Times the other day talked about the danger to property of an absolute House of Commons. Has it ever occurred to The Times that practically every profession, every great trade, every great industry, no matter what Party is in power, sends its very best men to the House of Commons? I can say without hesitation about the House of Commons that this is true. All the great industries, the land, shipping, mining, textile trades, the iron trade and every great industry and interest in this country, are represented by men who have devoted their lives to those particular industries before they were elected to the House of Commons. The other Chamber represents substantially only one form of capital. Yet it claims that it has to watch in the interest of property the House of Commons, which is composed of men engaged in every form of industry and commerce, to which they devote their services, and out of which they make their livelihoods. That being so, is it not folly and nonsense to talk of the House of Lords being necessary to protect property? I know of only one Bill passed in the last few years which represents a great inroad upon the profits of capital. That is the Workmen's Compensation Act. I do not say it is unjust, save in one particular; but the exception is important. Suppose there is an accident in a colliery. The man who has put his capital into its development may lose every penny. But the man who derives his income out of royalties from the same colliery has not to risk a farthing. Is not that unfair? Yet it is that injustice—the absence of a provision to make royalties pay their fair contribution towards these accidents—which enables the Bill to pass through the Assembly which is supposed to be the special protection of capital. It is also well-known that the House of Lords has plundered the railways to a huge extent. Railways have cost twice more in this country than in any other country in the world. Why? Because the House of Lords has piled the cost on to the railways when they came to acquire land; and now the trade and industry and capital of the country have to pay heavily on account of the action of this Chamber which is supposed to be our appointed guardian. The Leader of the Opposition is in favour of checks upon legislation, but deprecates checks upon administration. The right hon. Gentleman insists that there should be a check upon a revolutionary House of Commons which may seek to destroy the country. As if it were possible to conceive of any House of Commons, representative of the people, desiring to ruin their means of livelihood! Forty millions of people suddenly gone mad! But why should we wait for legislation? Legislation is a most roundabout way of destroying the country. Administration, upon which the right hon. Gentleman would put no check, would be more rapid and effective. If a statesman wants to destroy the country, all he needs to do is to pick a quarrel with some part of the world and spend £250,000,000 on a war. That was done not long ago without the slightest check; without a debate in the House of Commons even.

MR. LYTTELTON (St. George's, Hanover Square)

With the approval of some of your colleagues.


Possibly, my colleagues had done so on false statements as to the facts. [MINISTERIAL cheers and OPPOSITION cries of "Oh,"

MR. T. L. CORBETT (Down, N.)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. Is the right hon. Gentleman entitled to make the charge that false statements have been made by right hon. Gentlemen sitting on this side of the House? [MINISTERIAL cries of "He did not say so."]


There was such a tremendous shout that from whatever was said by the right hon. Gentleman I was unable to gather who was alleged to have made false statements. It is not in order to say that Members of this House made false statements. I do not say for a moment that the right hon. Gentleman said that.


What I said about these statements was—


That they were false.


Yes; and I still say it. [MINISTERIAL cheers and OPPOSITION cries of "Oh, oh."]

MR. STUART WORTLEY (Sheffield, Hallam)

I ask you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, whether you heard the right hon. Gentleman that time.


I did not hear who it was that made the statements.


I made these statements when I had to face much more dangerous persons than hon. Gentlemen opposite, and I am not going to withdraw them now.


again rose; and Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE refusing to give way was greeted with OPPOSITION cries of "Sit down."


Order, order! Does the hon. Gentleman rise to a point of order?


Yes. Sir.


then sat down.


I rise to appeal to you, Sir. [MINISTERIAL cries "An appeal is not a point of order."] I ask you, Sir, whether the right hon. Gentleman is in order in deliberately stating that false statements have been made by right hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House? The right hon. Gentleman has admitted he made that accusation.


On account of the constant interruption I am unable to gather who it was that made these statements. But it is well known that it is out of order to say of any Members of this House that they made statements which they knew to be false.


I need hardly say that I do not want to charge any hon. Member or right hon. Member with having made false statements. What I meant to say, and what I said before, and still say, is that there were statements which were inaccurate—


That's better.


And if we are not to say of statements that they are inaccurate, then there is an end of all criticism in this House.


You insulted us.


I can assure the hon. Gentleman that he was far removed from my mind. The Leader of the Opposition declared that he was not in favour of checks upon administration, because it detracted from a Minister's sense of his responsibility. Is not that true also of legislation? As a matter of fact there is nothing more disastrous to the effective criticism of measures in the House of Commons than the knowledge that, though a Bill may pass through this House, it is likely to be mangled or rejected elsewhere. The argument which the right hon. Gentleman has used in regard to administration is doubly important when it comes to legislation. The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well what the object is—no revision, no check, when a Tory Government is in power, but every cheek when there is a Liberal Government in power. He is afraid of a revolution. If there is a revolution it is not the House of Lords that will arrest it. It will be the first institution that will vanish without a struggle. In the English revolution it was the House of Commons that made the last fight. The House of Lords was abolished by a Resolution. The House of Commons made the fight, and when the time for a revolution comes—if it ever does come—the only share which the House of Lords will have in the revolution will be in creating it. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham has pointed this out in one of his most powerful passages—and this is the answer to his followers who now ask when the House of Lords have done any harm— We know for our part that in the course of the last hundred years they have more than once brought the country to the verge of revolution; and that they have again and again mutilated, delayed, or rejected Bills of the first importance which are now universally accepted to be salutary and expedient. But the people are slow to embark on revolutions, and the fact that it has taken fifty or sixty years to curtail the powers of the House of Lords is the best proof of that. They are tolerant of longstanding grievances. No one can doubt their wrongs. But I know the people; I was brought up amongst them. It is only when they are driven by a long course of injustice and of denial of justice that they are ever exasperated into a revolution, and the surest and greatest security against that is, not the House of Lords, but some machinery which will deal effectively, promptly, and justly with their requirements. It is very remarkable that every great Liberal statesman who has ruled this Empire for fifty years has always come to the same conclusion about the House of Lords. I have quoted the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham. Lord Rosebery, in language no less strong, came to the same conclusion, and the two greatest names of all—John Bright and Mr. Gladstone—who had given long service to the State and who were no revolutionaries, were of the same opinion. John Bright, although he has been denounced in language stronger than even the present Prime Minister, was a prudent, cautious, and temperate man in action, and always essentially anti-revolutionary. Mr. Gladstone had an almost exaggerated reverence for existing institutions, especially hereditary institutions. He was the last man to lift his powerful arm against them, and yet after the longest and most distinguished public career that this country probably has known, when he had no further personal interest in the matter, and when he had no responsibility for the leadership of the Party, he said that practically progress was impossible until you had dealt with this barrier. The present Prime Minister, who after all has had a longer experience of Parliamentary life than any man here, comes and deliberately asks the House of Commons, and from the Commons appeals to the country, to accept the counsel given at the end of a great career by a statesman who stands to-day not merely in the British Empire but throughout the world as the man who embodies the noblest and the most exalted traditions of British statesmanship.

MR. F. E. SMITH (Liverpool, Walton)

The right hon. Gentleman has delivered a speech which was throughout impressive and in many passages eloquent, and which certainly was in refreshing contrast to many of his utterances in the country. He has had the privilege of making himself the mouthpiece of a statement of the greatest possible importance. Apparently he has been authorised to inform the House on behalf of his colleagues that they have changed their opinion. He has apparently been authorised to inform the House on behalf of the Members of that section of the Cabinet who are commonly described as belonging to the Liberal League that they have changed their views on the subject of the justice or injustice of the war. As I understood it, the statement of the right hon. Gentleman was of great historical interest, because he implied that in consequence of "false statements" made to them, or "inaccurate statements" if they were made by Members of this House, they have now changed their view. Does the right hon. Gentleman represent to the House that he has been authorised on behalf of his colleagues who previously said that the war was just, to say that they now hold the view that it was unjust? Let him at least, out of consideration for the Attorney-General who sits near him, and who was a frequent and welcome guest at the celebrations at which Lord Rosebery presided, say whether that is so or not. The Attorney-General told the country in explicit language, which I will quote if necessary, that the war was necessary. Will the President of the Board of Trade tell us whether the Attorney-General or the Chancellor of the Exchequer authorised him to come forward in the House of Commons and say that they have now discovered that this war was not a just and necessary war? I notice that next to the right hon. Gentleman is the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. He spoke in eloquent language which will long live in the memory of those who sit on this side of the House, because he spoke at a time when support from hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who now sit on the benches opposite was welcome—and he also said that the war was just. Will the President of the Board of Trade put it that the right hon. Gentleman was misled by false statements? Has he changed his mind? If he has not changed his mind, will he get up in this House and say that he and his colleagues have not changed their minds, or that the President of the Board of Trade has inaccurately claimed to speak for them in this House?

Now I pass with pleasure from the subject on which I was led to embark by the argument imported into this debate by the right hon. Gentleman. The President of the Board of Trade informed the House with eloquence, and in tones which quivered with emotion, of the suffering of people who are living in slums, and his remarks were received with generous warmth on that side of the House. What kind of prelude is that to a constitutional agitation which will convulse this House for ten years, and make social reform difficult if not impossible? Does it not mean revolution? Is not that what the Attorney-General has told us? Are you going to establish a revolution, even when reporters are not present, and are you going to postpone all your schemes for social reform? We were told by the right hon. Gentleman in the speech just concluded that the House of Lords had destroyed the school boards. The statement was received with great cheers on that side of the House. I make one observation on that. The right hon. Gentleman had not even considered the tenor and the effect of the Prime Minister's Resolution. It was not the House of Lords who destroyed the school boards; it was the voice of the people. [Laughter.] Is that statement received with incredulity? [An HON MEMBER: Yes.] Is it not amazing that persons can be found to vote for Resolutions which they are intellectually incapable of understanding? An hon. Member says with great warmth that they were not destroyed by the people. That is not my position. It is the position of this Resolution. "In order to give effect to the will of the people it is necessary that the opinion of the House of Commons shall be by law established in one session of Parliament." Even a Conservative House of Commons is a House of Commons, and if your criterion of the representation of the people and of their decision is right, the House of Commons which decided that it would destroy the school boards was just as entitled to claim to represent the people of this country as a House of Commons like the present which would, possibly, if it could, recreate them. Then we are told in the same way that there was confiscation by the House of Lords of the reversionary property in public houses. I should like to make the observation that just in the same way as school boards were abolished, so have licences, for good or bad, been dealt with through the House of Commons. I am not saying that there ought not to have been a revising Chamber of such a character as might have interfered with either or both of these proposals. That is not the controversy at present, because you are not proposing to establish such a revising Chamber. You are proposing to say that no matter which Party is in a majority in the House of Commons the decision of the House shall be taken at all times and on all measures as representing the voice of the people. Many of us have for some time wondered what was the reason why the President of the Board of Trade had thrown himself with so great warmth into this constitutional question. Representing a constituency very near to Wales, I am not without opportunity of forming an opinion as to complaints with regard to the position of the right hon. Gentleman on other questions which may have led to this new enthusiasm for a prolonged constitutional dispute. I notice that the right hon. Gentleman has taken the opportunity of allaying some of the suspicions of the faithful. Inquiry was made as to when the long-looked for Pisgah—Welsh Disestablishment—was to be reached, and the right hon. Gentleman wrote a letter in reply in which he said— You ask me whether, if this Parliament runs its normal course, it is the intention of the Government to press a measure for the disestablishment and disendowment of the Church in Wales through all stages in the House of Commons. To this I can give an unqualified answer in the affirmative. Over the probable action of the Lords when the Bill is sent up—or, shall I say, down?—to that Chamber, the Cabinet have, unfortunately, no control. As to your second question, whether in the event of an appeal to the country being precipitated owing to the action of the Lords, Welsh Disestablishment will hold a prominent position in the official programme upon which the decision of the constituencies will be taken. Of course, in that contingency, all questions must necessarily be subordinated to the one great issue of whether the Peers or the people are to govern the land. But Welsh disestablishment will undoubtedly stand in the forefront amongst the matters which Parliament, under the new conditions which I hope to see established as a result of the conflict, will be called upon to deal with. I have just seen the Prime Minister, and he fully sanctions the above as an accurate interpretation of his views and intentions. Unity now on the eve of the great battle against the grand foe of liberty, Nonconformity, and Wales—the House of Lords.—Yours truly. What is the privileged position which this overdue promissory note holds at the present moment? It is that after the Government has dealt with licensing, the land system, and a new Education Bill, a Bill for the disestablishment of the Church in Wales may be brought in; but is it not possible that the zeal and enthusiasm which the right hon. Gentleman has thrown into the campaign against the House of Lords is, to some extent, due to a desire to escape the effect of his promises to the electors of Wales? The right hon. Gentleman was the leader of the Liberal revolt in Wales, and it is not surprising that men who thought they were to receive through him the measure on which they had fixed their heart should quote the case of the tyrant of ancient history, of whom it is written that his policy secured for his followers the gaol and for himself the throne. The right hon. Gentleman, consistent even in details, has bought his countrymen in the cheapest market, and sold them in the dearest. We were told in the brilliant but rancorous speech of the Under-secretary for the Colonies of the many respects in which the House of Lords to-day has ceased to be entitled to the respect and admiration of his country-men. The right hon. Gentleman repeated that charge with so much variety and richness of invective that we might ask him, Are these the men to whom the Government are prepared in the future to continue to entrust the functions which the Prime Minister has told us are so responsible and so important? We were told by the Under-Secretary for the Colonies that the House of Lords will still have functions to discharge which are of the greatest possible use; but at the same time we have been told, in a spontaneous sentence, that the House of Lords is one-sided, hereditary, unpurged, unrepresentative, irresponsible, absentee. [MINISTERIAL Cheers.] Let that be cheered from below the gangway on both sides of the House. Every man is entitled to cheer that statement who has come into the open with an honest proposition that the House of Lords ought to be abolished. No man is entitled to cheer that statement, or to make it, who is going in the centuries which are in front of us to commit to an Assembly so constituted what the Prime Minister describes as important and responsible functions. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade told us that Nonconformity is not represented in the House of Lords; and that the House of Lords has plundered the country. Then end them. That is what you cannot persuade your Government to do. This incessant conflict between principle and practice is due to the constantly vitiating influence of the Liberal League in the Cabinet! As they destroyed the Irish Council Bill, as they destroyed the Education Bill, so they are equally destroying the proposals for dealing with the House of Lords! The proposals made by the Labour Party below the gangway I consider to be odious, ignorant, and detestable, but they are at least logical, coherent and consistent. What we object to, and what Ministerialists, if they were men, would resent, is that moderating tendency which in the smoking room is so loudly denounced, without that denunciation being reflected in the division lobby. The Under-Secretary for the Colonies referred to the rejection of the Education Bill as an incitement to violence by the House of Lords. What are we to say in adequate praise of the moderation of the men of Lancashire in restraining the riotous impulses springing up in their bosoms in consequence of that rejection? Is there any language which can do justice to the men of Liverpool, Manchester, Preston, and St. Helens who, while smarting under a sense of wrong occasioned by the destruction of that Bill, have nevertheless behaved in such a way that time after time in the lobbies they have compelled the nominal followers of the Government to vote with the Opposition in their efforts to destroy that Bill? The Under-Secretary for the Colonies is extremely versatile in dealing with this and other questions—I will not quote his speeches of five years ago, and thus apply the quinquennial alternative—but will quote from an article of his in the recent columns of a periodical. Let us pause for a moment to notice the hard fate which has compelled the right hon. Gentleman, when he wished to press his views on the Cabinet, to select the medium of a newspaper, having had the misfortune to see colleague after colleague, far inferior to himself in the arts of swashbuckling, pass over his body into the Cabinet. It throws some reflection upon the indignation with which Manchester is seething at the loss of the Education Bill. What is the scheme which the right hon. Gentleman only a few weeks ago commended in the columns of the Nation? We do not ask for permanency from you, or constancy from Ministers, but we might have some degree of consistency as the fleeting weeks pass. For three weeks a man may hold the same view. Did the right hon. Gentleman think, at the time he contributed that article to the Nation, that the best method of dealing with the House of Lords was to hold occasional sterile conferences with them? On the contrary, the right hon. Gentleman then thought that Privy Councillors as well as Peers should be capable of exercising the full legislative privileges of the Second Chamber as they exist to-day. The Crown, said he, should summon not less than a hundred, nor more than 250 such persons for each Parliament. Writs of summons were to issue from the Crown on the advice of Ministers, might be declined, and persons declining might sit in the Commons. Peers or Privy Councillors who have held Ministerial office should receive ex-officio writs. Is that still the right hon. Gentleman's view?


The hon. Member will understand that I was only recommending one way, which I deemed a smooth way, of dealing with the House of Lords. There may be other methods ess smooth.


Am I to understand that the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies has so much leisure that it is his habit to put forward in the Press smooth proposals which he is not prepared or wishful to see carried into law? Surely the right hon. Gentleman will not suggest that at the time he wrote that article he did not think that that was the most convenient method of dealing with the House of Lords? It is sufficient to point out that it is a method to which he gave his name, but it is not the method on behalf of which he spoke last night. The right hon. Gentleman in another place has observed that there are more ways of killing cats than by choking them with cream. I may be allowed to add that there are more ways of addling a political egg than giving it to an Under-Secretary to sit upon. I do not gather that there is any serious dissent from the view that in essentials, though not in form, it is not possible to distinguish the proposal put forward by the Government from the proposal put forward by hon. Members below the gangway for ending the House of Lords altogether. I do not suppose that anyone can seriously contend that the solemn mummery of three conferences is likely to keep the House of Lords as an effective and permanent part of the Constitution. Let me test the value of these conferences by a question. Is there a single Member of the House who would say that had conferences been held on the last Education Bill, and the Government had had the power to say to the House of Lords, "You shall take this Bill without a line changed," they would not have said it? If that is a fact as regards measures of first class importance, what is the use of suggesting that there would be a power in the House of Lords to alter by a conference Bills on which the House of Commons felt strongly? At such conferences I suppose the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies and the President of the Board of Trade would be two of the representatives of the Commons; and conciliatory representa- tives they would be. The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies would begin with a pleasant reference to the particular artificial methods by which the House of Lords representative might deal with his defective eyesight; the President of the Board of Trade would suggest with polished levity that it was time that the House of Lords was committed to the scrap heap. Does the hon. Member seriously believe that men of first class political ability, as many Members of the House of Lords are, are going to make themselves parties to a political farce of this kind? They are condemned to perpetual sterilisation as far as membership of this House is concerned, and they are it is suggested, to be powerless in their own Chamber. Take Lord Lansdowne, or Lord Crewe, or any other able representative of the House of Lords: is it to be the measure of the services they are to render to the State that they are to be unwilling and powerless members of a conference which is to receive and register on three separate occasions the decisions of the House of Commons? The proposal is an idle one. At the end of the third conference we are told the Bill is to be passed over the head of the House of Lords. This is, I suppose, "The way that must be found, and shall be found;" but speaking for myself, if I were a Member of the House of Lords I would never accept such a Bill—never, never. You might if you choose have one general election upon the subject combined with other topics—I suppose, Welsh disestablishment, to keep faithful Wales sound on the question of the House of Lords, and land proposals in order that the predatory classes generally may take sound views of the question. But every one of the measures which the Government are going to bring forward will be put to the country, in the hope that by accumulating every cause out of which you may draw some discreditable dregs of popularity you may be able to strengthen and add weight to the campaign against the House of Lords. Do you suppose that if you were Members of the House of Lords and the Government of the day came and said, "Here is our mandate to end you"—do you suppose that there is a man of spirit who would not send it back? If I were a Member of the House of Lords I would send the Bill back, and, to be perfectly frank with the House, I would continue to do so until I thought my personal safety was in danger. The total destruction of the House of Lords would be better than its fall under the proposal before the House, for then, at any rate, its Members could sit in the House of Commons. So Members of the House of Lords will be absolutely better off if they fight, and still fight to the bitter end, even if this preposterous proposal succeeds, than they will be if they acquiesce in it. Supposing the Liberal Party come back and ask the House to pass the Bill, there will be three or four more years of convulsion. What is to happen to the right hon. Gentleman's slums; what is to become of the quaver in his voice in the meantime? Will they deliberately squander eight useful years that might be utilised for the purpose of dealing with unemployment and providing old-age pensions? These schemes were never honestly put forward, and to-day they are revived in order that the Liberal Party may carry forward this spurious constitutional strife. Let them desert if they chose their schemes for social reform. Let them dissipate if they would the most powerful instrument for good ever given to the Government of this country by the people of this country. For himself he placed on record his conviction that in the decade of convulsion which the Government invited the Liberal Party would find its permanent sepulchre.

MR. SIMON (Essex, Walthamstow)

In the indignant oration to which we have been listening, many things have been said by my hon. and learned friend. But there are one or two other things about which we should like to hear from the other side of the House, and although this debate has proceeded for some time I do not find any considerable attention given to the matters which I have in my mind. One of them is this: What, according to right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite, is the function of the House of Lords, and what is the function of the House of Commons? The noble Lord the Member for East Marylebone said that he recognised the democratic principle, but I did not catch any observations from the last speaker which show that he recog- nised the democratic principle, and certainly it could not be inferred from anything that he said; but confining my remarks to those persons who think that the Constitution of this country must have a democratic basis, I think we are entitled to ask how in the present condition of things they say that this democratic basis is to be secured? The hon. Member for Oxford University referred to the constitutional position, and I am sure he will not deny that there is provided under the Constitution a means, I do not say of determining definitely, but of attemping to find out what is the will of people, and that is a general election. That is the constitutional method of ascertaining the will of the people. What do hon. Gentlemen opposite suppose happened at the last general election? Were the people of England at the last election deciding nothing? Is it not reasonable and proper to say that a general election being the instrument by which we endeavour to ascertain the popular feeling, a general election should be the means and machinery by which we arrive at the proposals which ought to become law? I understand that according to hon. Gentlemen opposite the election of 1900 was a magnificient exhibition of the common sense of the people of this country, and where is the force of now taking up the position that the election of 1906 is an exhibition in a contrary direction? You cannot at the same time assert that you hold by the democratic basis and also that you believe in the House of Lords as at present constituted. You may believe in one or the other, but it is impossible that you can believe in both. As I understand it, the proposition appears to be that when the Conservative Party is fortunate at the polls, then we have a House of Commons which expresses the will of the people. But if that Party is unsuccessful and is defeated, then according to the present theory the Liberal House of Commons does not express popular opinion, and you have to turn to the House of Lords in order to ascertain what popular opinion really is. Is the purpose of the House of Lords in the Constitution to determine what the people do want, or what they ought to want? It is perfectly plain that that House now exists in order to determine that Conservative opinion shall prevail. Here is the extraordinary position of the Leader of the Conservative Party. He does not know whether the result of an election is going to be favourable to him or not. If it is, he comes back into this House and says that he is carrying out the wishes of the great mass of the people by passing the measures which he proposes. But supposing that the Leader of the Conservative Party finds himself in a minority in the new House, it does not matter; he calls in the old House to redress the balance of the new. Consequently it does not matter to a Conservative statesman what the result of a general election may be and perhaps that is the explanation of the assertion that the result of a general election is comparatively unimportant. There is high authority for this, that if one has to choose between serving in one place and reigning in another, it may be better to reign in the other. I distinguish carefully between the theological and the political meaning of the phrase "another place." Using the phrase in its political sense, as meaning the place to which good Conservatives hope to go before they die, is it not fair to say that the Leader of the Conservative Party is never under the embarrassing necessity of having to choose between serving in this House and reigning in the other? He does both: and even if the result of a general election is adverse to him, and he has to sit there in opposition as a critic of the Government, over the way he exercises the power of a political Zancig, and is able to put into operation the machinery of the House of Lords to prevent the people being so foolish as not to follow Conservative traditions. If that is the position, does it really seem so absurd, so unreasonable and outrageous, that the mass of the people who do not happen to be Conservatives do not acquiesce in your view? Does anybody suggest that an intelligent foreigner who was brought to look at the British Constitution as a new thing, if it was propounded to him in the terms of the speech to which we have just listened, would not be absolutely aghast at our calling ourselves a democracy? Is there any second Chamber on the Continent that can exhibit such an amazing and astounding constitution as the House of Lords? It is for that reason that the vast mass of the people of this country can see no justification in theory or in practice for the House of Lords. Anybody would think from the line of argument adopted on the other side that if the check which that House exercises over this House was removed, we should go headlong to destruction. I presume the Ministers who now sit on the Treasury Bench have some consideration for their political futures, and I presume that the Liberal Party is not going to run headlong to destruction if the check which now exists and prevents that calamity is removed. The Parliament of 1900, satisfied as it was with its performance, certain as it was that it was following pure Conservative traditions, found there was no House of Lords to check it. When the general election came there was a check, and that is the real constitutional check. It cannot be said that the House of Lords exercises a calm and unbiassed criticism on the legislation of this House. If that could be said, much that is best in the House of Lords might be allowed to remain. But can anybody get up and say that the House of Lords in the past has not been swayed by a certain bias and by certain prejudices in a certain direction? My complaint is that they have acted with this bias and prejudice and did not know how biassed and prejudiced they were. How is it possible for an institution which contains representatives of only one kind of interest to recognise the real claims that can be made by another Party for concessions by proposals they have made peculiarly their own? It never has, never will, and never can be so under the present constitution of the House of Lords. That being so, I feel that if the Government had not taken up the challenge that was thrown down (for it was no quarrel of theirs) they would in truth and in fact have failed to interpret the real feeling in the country. Whether we are right or wrong the general election which is to come will determine. But for the time being there is a great majority in this House that was elected after a great struggle and a great amount of discussion, and it is its bounden duty to carry out what it conceives to be the wishes of the electorate. I do not claim that the question of the House of Lords was in terms put before the electors, but if you consider what has taken place since the election you must believe that the great mass of the people who put this Government into power call now and call earnestly for this reform.

MR. BARRIE (Londonderry, N.)

"We have been told this afternoon by the President of the Board of Trade that Unionists sitting in the House of Commons are representatives of a class largely responsible for the driving of thousands of people from residence in Ireland. This is altogether a new charge to be levelled against Irish Unionists. I have in my short time in this Parliament heard many charges levelled against Irish Unionists, but this is the latest, and I think I may fearlessly claim is the one with the least foundation which could possibly be levelled against us. I can recall it opposition to that suggestion than in an important speech the real ruler of Ireland, the Roman Catholic Archbishop, dealing with the continued decline in the population of Ireland, said that if only Irishmen would remain in Ireland, and work as they had to work in America, it would be better for Ireland and better for themselves. I fear this is to a large extent true. I am free to admit that even in the part of Ireland from which the Unionist Members come there is a continued and much regretted decline in the population. We regret it on many grounds, but we have to admit that it is a result of the continued decline of agriture, even under the best possible conditions. We are here to claim, and I think the House will be largely in sympathy with us, that the present fiscal policy of this country has a great deal to do with it. I only make this reference in answer to the taunt thrown across the floor of the House this afternoon. I prefer to deal with the debate on very different grounds. This is the third day of a debate which will do nothing, and was never meant to do anything tangible as regards the House of Lords, and is nothing more nor less than what may be termed a diversion. It has been finally brought on because of the growing restiveness of many hon. Members opposite. We have had this afternoon reference to the question of temperance, and as one who was returned pledged in favour of temperance legislation I have, not for the first time, to express my regret that the Government has not fulfilled its pledges to its temperance supporters on the other side of the House to press forward the important Bill to which they gave great prominence in the King's Speech. Many measures of first-class importance were mentioned in the King's Speech, and we know that the session is now so far advanced that few are likely to be placed on the Statute-book. We have the Prime Minister's Resolution before us, and an important Amendment upon it from the Labour Benches, and I am bound to admit at once and frankly that I infinitely prefer the Labour Amendment. Its blunt straight-forwardness is a quality which I most highly appreciate, while the obscurity of the Prime Minister's Resolution is such as we must conclude is not altogether without purpose. While listening to the speech of the President of the Board of Trade I thought the Labour Members had a right to claim his support in the division lobby. It was a speech not for altering the House of Lords, or for rearranging the terms on which Bills are negotiated between the two Houses, but a speech out and out for abolishing the House of Lords. Now Irish Unionists have every reason to feel grateful to the House of Lords for their action in times past. A good deal has been said this afternoon, and with great ability, to minimise the action of the House of Commons in reference to the Home Rule Bill of 1893. What was the condition of Parties in the House of Commons at that time? The Government, with Mr. Gladstone at its head, had a precarious majority of only forty members, and its supporters included eighty Nationalists. Irish Nationalists in those days were men who took up a very extreme position. In later years the Party has been composed of men who have made very modest speeches in this House, though recent circumstances have caused the nominal leader to make some very extraordinary speeches on the other side of the Channel—I refer particularly to the speech delivered in Wexford last Sunday, in which the hon. and learned Member for Waterford said they were still as much rebels to English rule as they were in 1798. I desire to recall the attention of the House to this advanced movement, and to point out the real danger which it constitutes to the loyal minority in Ireland. We are abundantly satisfied with English rule, we want no better treatment than the people of England and Scotland get, and we are contented with it; but we do look to the predominant partner to see that we continue to have all the rights and privileges which the people of England and Scotland enjoy. If, after the lapse of time, we have again the two great rival Parties in numbers almost equal, as they were in 1893, when the Nationalist Party held the key of the position, and practically dictated the policy of the Liberal Party, then a real danger at once evolves, so far as the Loyalists of Ireland are concerned. What happened in 1893? We know that, in spite of their precarious majority, a Bill, far reaching in its provisions, was then forced through this House, and was very promptly rejected by the House of Lords. We felt grateful to them for that action. We doubt not that under similar circumstances they would follow the same course again; but what I want to emphasise is that the passing of the Bill through this House was attained by the help of the Nationalist, or the disloyal Party. I ask the House to remember that the Nationalist Party was keenly interested in shaking off the rule of Great Britain, but in this House at that time there were a majority of English and Scottish Members who voted against any such legislation. I desire to show that in regard to the Bill to which I am referring it was not the decision of England and Scotland, the predominant partner, which led to effective legislation; it was the opinion of a minority, supported by the Nationalist Party which rendered that result possible. I have said that such a position may again evolve, and I hope that if ever that day comes, we shall have exactly the same step taken by the House of Lords. We do not for a moment, however, wish to leave the impression that we should not gladly welcome some changes in the constitution of the House of Lords. We have had some references made this afternoon to the Nonconformist conscience. I am myself a Nonconformist. I came here prepared to vote for a modification of the Education Bill—I refer to the clauses dealing with popular control and tests for teachers. But I found when that Bill was introduced that it was absolutely impossible for me to vote for the measure in its entirety, and in the shape in which it finally left this House it became still more impossible. I for one did not come here as an enemy of the Church of England to support the Bill in any shape or form. I remember well the speech of the present Chief Secretary for Ireland when he introduced that Bill, which he said meant equality for all. But in its passage through this House it was shaped more and more in favour of a small class in England, a class which I maintain have no right to any special privileges on either side of the Channel. The Government seemed determined to place the Roman Catholic Church and those belonging to it in a special and privileged position, and that was also manifest I think, in more recent legislation by the same right hon. Gentleman, the present Chief Secretary for Ireland. Passing from that, we had a brief reference this afternoon to the Irish Council Bill. I was glad to hear the Chief Secretary for Ireland so promptly accept the challenge thrown down by the ex-Attorney-General for Ireland, because his admission leads me to say—and I think there is very general curiosity on the subject—that if he did introduce that Bill, anxiously wishing to see it placed upon the Statute-book, he has been very badly treated by those from whom he had a right to receive the most cordial support. Indeed, it is a matter of common knowledge that the terms of that Bill were placed before the Leaders of the Nationalist Party, and practically accepted by them. They voted for the First Reading. We know that public sentiment in Ireland was against the action of the Parliamentary Party on that important matter; and when the Convention was held at Dublin, a very few days later, we had a remarkable development by the present Leader of the Nationalist Party—I do not know how long he is going to continue to be its Leader, because there are many evidences that his power has been largely diminished by his action.


Order, order. The subject on which the hon. Gentleman is now speaking has nothing to do with the question before the House.


The matter has been so freely referred to that I thought it was permissible to speak upon it. At the Convention on the initiative of the Nationalist Leader the Bill was rejected. When we find Members of the Nationalist Party breaking away and setting up a platform of their own, it clearly shows how important is the House of Lords as a Second Chamber, with a right to review what has been done here, and we hope the day is far distant when it will cease to have that power. Every time there has been an opportunity to test the feeling of the country it has become increasingly clear that the Government has already lost a great deal of the support with which it came into office, and the electorate are only waiting for an opportunity of altering the decision arrived at only eighteen months ago.

MAJOR RENTON (Leicestershire, Gainsborough)

I do not propose on this occasion to deal with the subject historically, nor with the question of heredity. I deeply regret that on this subject I am entirely out of harmony with those with whom I usually act. I see no practical difference between the carrying of the Amendment and the carrying of the Resolution. The Resolution is one of hostility against the House of Lords without a declaration of war. I personally prefer the Amendment, which is precise, clear cut, courageous, lucid, and which is a declaration of war, pure and simple, against the Lords. I prefer the Amendment to the Resolution which the Prime Minister has proposed. We have heard a great deal about the Members of the House of Lords in this debate. Having been a careful listener throughout, the only thing I wonder now at is why they are to be tolerated for another three or four or five years. They have, it would appear, committed every crime in the calendar. [MINIS- TERIAL cheers.] My hon. friends cheer that. But if that be true their proper place is at the Old Bailey and not Westminster Palace. I am a great believer in a second Chamber, and that is one reason why at the present moment I am addressing the House, but I do not believe in a second Chamber which is too strong, nor in a second Chamber which is simply a mere farce, and of no practical utility whatever. The Prime Minister spoke as to what should be the predominance of the House of Commons. Nobody can deny that it has been brought home by many speakers that the House of Commons is predominant. What the Prime Minister ought to have said was not "predominance," but "omnipotence," and that, with all due deference to the House of Commons, is a doctrine which I cannot subscribe to. I have ventured myself to put down an Amendment which would not have caused much greater delay than the plan of the Government, and it would at least have had this advantage, that it would have enabled the people of this country to be consulted. In days gone by I myself have spoken in the country about the "standing menace" of the House of Lords, the "gross anomaly," and all the rest of it, of which we have heard so much in the last few days. But I have seen during the very short period I have been in Parliament what convinces me of the fact that a second Chamber is absolutely necessary. The hon. Member for Wandsworth last night said that he had analysed many of the divisions, and found that most frequently about half the Members of the House voted. He might have added that on those occasions not half of the Member voting knew what they were voting about. Now the House of Commons cannot, in the very nature of things, represent the will of the people. It only represents a small majority of the people of this country. It is absurd that under the present arrangements one Member should represent 30,000 electors, while another should represent only 1,600. Surely that is a thing which should be put right. After all, we must, also and always remember that we are not elected so much on our own merits as upon the demerits of our opponents. If you are so anxious to trust the people, why is it that the Government in power has always such a horror of any by-election? Two reasons have been given for the course the Government are taking, one of which is the wrecking of the Education Bill of last session. As regards that Bill I am in great doubt how I stand. I am the elected representative of the will of the people in my constituency, one half of which is Church of England and Roman Catholic, and they are all most bitterly opposed to the Education Bill. The other half of my constituency, as represented by the Free Church Council, passed a resolution rejoicing in the action of the House of Lords in destroying the Education Bill. I am, therefore, in great doubt in what way I represent the will of the people. I believe the Government are making the same mistake on this question as they made recently in regard to Ireland, and there they had far better opportunities of gauging the feeling of the people than they have on this question. The Prime Minister reminds the House how in 1649 the House of Commons abolished the House of Lords, but he did not say what the House of Commons did on the following day. I will not dwell on that, but we know that there followed ten years of the greatest tyranny, and in Ireland the troubles of the present day may be dated back to that time. Domestic peace is as essential as external peace. The country has a horror of violent changes, not required and not submitted to it, and I shall, therefore, give my vote against this Resolution and against the Amendment.

MR. NIELD (Middlesex, Ealing)

I have listened with interest to the views expressed by the hon. Member opposite, views which I much appreciate as the expression of an independent opinion, which one must at all times respect. I could wish that it were more frequently given expression to on that side of the House. In taking part in this debate I desire first of all to call attention to a speech delivered by the hon. Member for South Hackney when he addressed his constituents for the first time upon the conclusion of his first Parliamentary year. The hon. Member for South Hackney is recognised as a thorough-going Radical, but nevertheless he stated that he at any rate was a Second Chamber man. The reason he gave for that opinion was that nine times out of ten when called to a division in this House he had not the faintest conception of what he was voting for, and he declared that he entered this House simply to obey the direction of the Whip who pointed out the lobby into which he was to go, and that was the sum and substance of what he knew as to what he was voting for. Now that is a courageous statement; and I should like to hear the hon. Member deliver himself of such sentiments in this House. I have hopes after all that the hon. Member will carry out his views in the division lobby upon this question, and I have no doubt there will be others who, like the last speaker, will carry out their determination to preserve a Constitution under which we have flourished for so many generations. I wish to say a few words about the Amendment, which at any rate is honest, that is put forward by the Labour Party, which seeks to destroy the Second Chamber altogether. There was a phrase in the speech of the hon. Member for Barnard Castle which I think shows conclusively whither the Labour Party would take us, although it shows the absence of any generous feelings towards the Lords for passing the Trade Disputes Bill. The Member for Barnard Castle said he spoke as the representative of organised labour. I think the term "Labour Party" in this House and "organised labour" are much the same, and organised labour desires to put a final termination to the life of any Chamber which is not directly responsible to the electorate. The Labour Party claim that they should dominate the whole of the legislation because of the votes they already command and the votes which in the immediate future they hope to command in greater quantities. We have to test how far that is likely to be beneficial either to hon. Members on this side or the other who are not directly dependent upon the Labour vote. If we accept the principles which the Labour Party (with consistency I admit) are putting forward in this Amendment, we must remember that the tribunals of the Labour Party are very much akin to a Junta, for they sit with closed doors, they decide matters by those who are in command for the time being, and I can see precious little difference between the methods of the much-abused Star Chamber and the methods of the organised Labour Party acting through its executive officers. If the victory for organised labour is going to compel a man to join their union and make a man come down "on the knee" to accept their doctrines and organisations, then we are going to have a powerful body which is to control in future the destinies, not merely of social legislation, but of everything else that concerns the administration of this House. I will give an instance of what I mean. It is an experience of Sir William Hart-Dyke, who was a respected Member of this House for many years. A very large number of supporters, members of a local trade union, who had been his staunch friends, were working for Sir William Hart-Dyke at the election of 1906. A week had elapsed, and then those men who in all previous contests had not only supported but actively helped him as members of his organisation, came in and confessed that, much as they desired to see Sir William successful, and anxious as they were to take their old place in his political organisation, they had had the word from the trade unions that they were to support not him but his opponent. Is that the expression of the free will of the people indicated in this Resolution which is going to govern the constitution of this House? When we have got rid of the Lords, what is going to happen to the Crown? I dare say hon. Members opposite would suggest that nothing is likely to happen. Without desiring to appear vindictive I cannot refrain from telling the House what already is the expressed opinion of one of the prominent Members of the Labour Party. Speaking in my own division on 12th November last the Member for South West Ham delivered himself at a meeting of trade unions in this way: "He expected nothing from the present Government." That, I think, is very satisfactory. Then he went on to say, "The Lords would have to go, but with the Lords the Church and the Crown would have to go together." That is an indication of the way the wind is blowing in that quarter. I may say that those remarks were commented upon by the editor of a paper with the view of drawing from the hon. Member a disclaimer, but such a disclaimer has never yet been sent. That being the condition of things, what security have we that the Constitution of this country will be maintained if we allow the Second Chamber, the revising Chamber, to be set aside? Anybody would think that the House of Lords had never done any good. An hon. Member opposite said they had committed every crime in the calendar, but he forgets for the moment that they have placed upon the Statute Book many statutes relating to factories and workshops, the public health, employers' liability, and other matters affecting the working classes. I venture to say that the Public Health Act of 1875 is one of the great charters under which the homes of the poorer classes have been made sanitary and kept sweet. That measure, introduced by Lord Cross, was passed by the Assembly which, according to some hon. Gentlemen opposite, can do no good at all. Anybody would think from the utterances of the hon. Member for the Barnard Castle division that the one great and heinous crime of the Lords was committed in 1893 when they altered the Employers' Liability Bill of that year. What was the alteration in that Bill which caused the Government of the day to abandon it? It was because they inserted a clause to enable men to agree with their employers that the compensation to be paid should at least be equal to, or greater than, the compensation provided by the scheme under the Bill. It was owing to the petulance of the Government of the day that the Bill was not proceeded with. The provision which was rejected then has been embodied in the Act which has since been passed, and it is of immense benefit to men who do not desire to get into the hands of lawyers or to take their cases into the Courts. They are able to get compensation awarded to them on terms approved by the registrar, so that there can be no question of dealing unfairly with them. And yet that is put forward to-day as one of the reasons why the House of Lords should be abolished. Then there was the Aliens Bill, which had for one of its objects the protection of British workmen against the unfair competition of foreigners who come to this country. One would have supposed that that measure would have been endorsed by hon. Gentlemen opposite, but while they appear to be most keenly attached to free trade in goods, they objected to our doctrine when applied to labour in times of strikes. Looking at the position of the House of Lords historically, who is there in this House who will not say that it has been in the past a bulwark of the people's liberties? In the early days, when over-reaching claims were made by the monarchy, the House of Lords interfered again and again to the great benefit of the community against the prerogative of the Crown. From what has been said by hon. Gentlemen opposite one would think that the House of Lords was an absolutely irresponsible Chamber, composed only of men claiming to act by right of primogeniture. But it is too often forgotten that the House of Lords is recruited largely from this House. I should like to call attention to the fact that no fewer than sixteen new peers have been created on the recommendation of the present Prime Minister, and of these fourteen have served in the House of Commons. In fact, of the 166 new peers created by successive Governments since 1880, no less than eighty-nine have been Members of the House of Commons, and presumably, therefore, capable legislators. The House of Lords includes in its membership eminent men like Lord Kelvin, Lord Roberts, Lord Kitchener, and men who have served the State well in the capacity of judges and administrators. I should like to call attention to the experiment which was tried in the seventeenth century with regard to the abolition of the House of Lords. You cannot too often remind the country that this is not a new question. The attempt was made before to work with a single Chamber, and it was found to be a lamentable mistake, as the authors themselves were the first to admit. A Resolution of the House in 1649 purported to abolish the House of Lords. It was then that an expression was used for the first time which has been familiar ever since in Radical clubs and in debating societies, viz: that "the House of Lords is useless, dangerous, and ought to be abolished. "The curious thing is that those who attempted to govern first by one Chamber, and afterwards by the Lord Protector, came and humbly petitioned the Lord Protector in 1657 to have the country governed by the aid of two Houses. They suggested that the method of appointing the second Chamber should be by nomination at the personal will of the Lord Protector himself. I have here a copy of the writ which was addressed by the Lord Protector to his own son summoning him as a Peer of the Realm. I think that is a chapter in English history which ought to be remembered when hon. Members opposite are dealing in this flippant way with the Second Chamber. In his book on the life of Cromwell the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for India says:— The Independents, though so inferior in numbers, were more important than either Presbyterians or Episcopalians for the reason that their power was concentrated in an omnipotent army. The movement named generically after them comprised a hundred heterogeneous shades, from the grand humanism of Milton down to the fancies of whimsical mystics who held that it was a sin to wear garments and believed that heaven is only six miles off. The old quarrel about Church polity was almost overbalanced by turbid tides of theological enthusiasm. This developed strange theocracies, nihilism, anarchies, and it soon became one of the most pressing tasks of the new republic, as afterwards of Cromwell himself, to grapple with the political danger that overflowed from the heaving of spiritual confusion. Relating his experiences after a short period as Lord Protector, Cromwell said— I can say in the presence of God, in comparison with whom we are but like poor creeping ants, that I would have been glad to have lived under my wood side, to have kept a flock of sheep rather than undertake such a Government as this. Imagine what the condition of things would be if we had but a single Chamber now. Imagine if we had but a single Chamber, and that Chamber as susceptible to pressure as the present Treasury Bench is to the claims put forward by various classes in the House. Imagine Dr. Clifford going periodically to Hyde Park, with banners flying and drums beating, and demanding measures in regard to matters of theology and undenominational teaching. Supposing that the single Chamber were the only body to enact the law, what happened in the seventeenth century might happen again in the twentieth, with very great detriment to the welfare of the country. Now to sum up the historical part of the argument. [Laughter.] I have no doubt that it does not commend itself to some hon. Members, but experience is a test which in these matters should not be overlooked. I turn for a moment to an expression used by the Prime Minister on Monday. He referred to a saying of Burke that "the virtue, the spirit, the essence of the House of Commons consists in its being the express image of the nation." Can the right hon. Gentleman say that the House of Commons elected in 1906 is the express image of the nation? If he does he might legislate for the purification of the electoral law; he might bring in such drastic legislation as to deal with candidates and others who promulgate falsehoods or half truths as was done at the last general election both in cartoons and in prints. If this be truly and honestly carried out, the National Liberal Publication Department must be suppressed or reformed out of existence and never again allowed to pollute the stream of facts. [An HON. MEMBER: What about the Municipal Reform Party?] I do not think it permissible for me to deal with that now, but it is only after what I have said in regard to influencing the public mind by placards and by carefully edited half-truth pamphlets that we will be able to say that the will of the people, as expressed at a general election, is the true spirit of the nation. If we are ever to get the true nature and character of the national will we should make it impossible, either by the speeches of excitable politicians or by cartoons, to mislead the unthinking masses who will not take the trouble to read and form a judgment for themselves. I agree with the hon. Member for the Walton Division of Liverpool that the electoral majority gained by the Liberals at the last general election was "got by Chinese labour out of passive resistance." If the House reflects the opinion of the country, why did not the Under-secretary for the Colonies give a proof by resigning and testing at a by-election at Manchester whether that is so or not? The right hon. Gentleman, in the course of what has been described in the newspapers as "his ferocious speech," referred to the position of the Bishops in the House of Lords, but the right hon. Gentleman should remember that these men could teach him something in the way of meeting opponents. At any rate, they are men whose lives are open to no reproach at all. I have one quarrel with the right hon. Gentleman the Under-secretary for the Colonies, who took care, in quoting from Bagehot's "English Constitution," to read the context of the passage without reading the passage which preceded it. [Ironical MINISTERIAL laughter.] I mean without giving the passage itself. [More ironical laughter.] Mr. Bagehot says that— The danger of the House of Commons is, perhaps, that it will be reformed too rashly; the danger of the House of Lords certainly is that it may never be reformed. Nobody asks that it should be so; it is quite safe against rough destruction, but it is not safe from inward decay. It may lose its veto as the Crown has lost its veto. If the ingenuity of the right hon. Gentleman was to discover constitutional support for his argument he might have found another and earlier passage in the same book which stated that— The most dangerous of all sinister interests is that of the Executive Government, because it is the most powerful. It is perfectly possible—it has happened, and will happen again—that the Cabinet, being very powerful in the Commons, may inflict minor measures on the nation. which the nation did not like, but which it did not understand enough to forbid. If, therefore, a tribunal of revision can be formed in which the Executive, though powerful, is less powerful, the Government will be the better; the retarding Chamber will impede minor instances of Parliamentary tyranny, though it will not prevent or much impede revolution. I warn hon. Members opposite that in their zeal for legislation they may remove the only check which preserves the well-being of the nation and cause a tide to rise in certain quarters which will sweep them off their feet and irrevocably wreck the Empire which has taken so long to build up.

MR. MOND (Chester)

The hon. Gentleman opposite said that we must be guided by experience; but I would remind him that in order to apply experience favourably it is necessary to have regard to the time in which that experience was gained. A reference was made to the experience of the Common-wealth; but that does not apply to the circumstances of to-day. I have been waiting to hear some defence from hon. Gentlemen opposite of that noble institution the House of Lords. I have listened to the wild divagations of the hon. Member for the Walton Division of Liverpool, which struck me as more violent than anything which had been said by the Under-Secretary for the Colonies. The hon. Gentleman could not defend the House of Lords, but only turn to abuse the President of the Board of Trade. When the hon. Member for the Walton Division, with his ability, cannot undertake the task of defending the House of Lords, it may well be supposed that a good defence of the House of Lords is not possible. The only interesting speech I have listened to was that of the noble Lord the Member for Marylebone, who is not satisfied with either the House of Lords, the House of Commons, or the Party system. I am afraid that the ideal world which he wants will only be realised by him on his reincarnation. By the criticism of hon. Gentlemen opposite we are placed between two fires. On the one hand we are told that we propose the abolition of the House of Lords, and, on the other hand, that our plan is unworkable. Hon. Gentlemen opposite ought to make up their minds as to which horse they are going to win on. The discussion as to the will of the people has been more psychological than political. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition said that we never knew what the next majority in this House will do; if we are to wait for that we shall never do anything at all. The logical conclusion of that would be the abolition of both Chambers. I do not see how the House of Lords can possibly have the occult powers which they are assumed to have of stating what the will of the people is. If they could they might be called thought-readers. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition complains of a Bill and, standing up before the Front Bench, he holds it up. The query comes back from the other House "What is this?" The right hon. Gentleman says, "This is a Liberal Bill." Then the Lords say at once, "This is a hasty, ill-considered piece of legislation." But when the right hon. Gentleman holds up another Bill, and says, "This is a Tory Bill," the House of Lords says, "This is an excellent and well-considered measure and must be passed." The real differences between us and right hon. Gentlemen opposite are of a much more fundamental nature. We believe that the people ought to rule themselves and rectify their own mistakes when they make them, but they believe that a number of superior persons called the House of Lords ought to rule and protect us against our own representatives. We do not claim that the people or that their representatives will not make mistakes, but what we claim is to make our own mistakes and put them right, and that these people who represent nobody shall not interfere, because they also make mistakes. If we make mistakes we are accountable to the electors, but if we are told that when we elect representatives some third person whom the electors never heard of and do not want to hear of is going to come forward and say, "I am here to protect you against the man you have sent," I say that is ridiculous. I will argue that question on any platform and even in the right hon. Gentleman's own constituency. I should like to know what he would say if some noble duke were to come and declare that he would protect his constituency against him. We are elected by the people who sent us here, and yet it is said that once in this House we want some irresponsible people to look after us in order to see that we shall not make some mistake. We are not so frightened or so terrified that we may not make a mistake. As Nelson said, "the man who has not made a mistake has not made anything at all." Why is it that this question only arises when a Liberal Government is in power? It is not the first time that the question has been raised. It has been raised not only on the Education Bill of last year, but on the Plural Voting Bill. It was brought forward in 1831 and 1832, and at intervals it has been raised ever since. It is a permanent question. The right hon. Gentleman opposite accused us of being anxious to tinker with the Constitution; but if his motor car was out of order and would not do its work would he not send it to the garage for repairs before he trusted himself in it? It is nonsense for the Lords to sleep well and then wake up and talk about hasty legislation. What the people in this country want is not a check on legislation, but faster legislation to accord with modern social conditions. If you study our social conditions, our legislation, thanks to the House of Lords, is fifty years behind the times. There is no country more conservative than this, in which there is less need to guard against hasty legislation. That is why we are so opposed by some hon. Members below the Gangway and above the Gangway opposite who would like us to be extreme. I do not agree that these proposed conferences will be the foolish, sterile things represented on the other side. There have been effective conferences in the past, as, for example, on the Irish Church and the Franchise and Redistribution Bill; and on last year's Education Bill the conference nearly led to an agreement. The scheme of the Government will leave both sides with a strong motive to endeavour to arrive at an agreement, for the Lords will know that they cannot ultimately stop a Bill, and the Government will not be desirous to mortgage time for further legislation by repeated reintroductions of the same measure. There will be every inducement to them to compromise, not on principle, but on matters of detail. I will give you a business instance. Two parties have a quarrel, but they do not want to go into litigation. The counsel on both sides suggest that there is a little doubt, and this leads to negotiation. Then with regard to the Education Bill: we do not know, and few people can tell, how far concessions were made by the other side and how far the Bill would have been a success if it was passed. Was there ever a more hopeless position? We should consider what the proposals of the Government are. Both sides are agreed. Both sides agree that the will of the people should prevail. They only differ as to the machinery by which the will should be expressed. The hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford University in his work on the British Constitution says— The will of the electorate can only be expressed through its representatives. We may not be the exact image and mirror of the individual opinion of each of our supporters, but we are a mirror of the average opinion. That is the best we can say, and the country will have to take it for what it is worth and be satisfied with it. The majority in the House for the time being represents the will of the majority of the country. I do not put it higher than that, and the question is not whether the Upper House shall compel us to go to the electorate, but how far the cheek of the Upper House is to work. You say that if we do not agree we ought to send the majority back to the people who sent them here. But we came here in 1906. The election turned largely on the education question. We introduced a Bill which we believed satisfied the electorate. What are we to do? The noble Lord suggested a referendum. How could we put the points of difference between Clauses 3 and 4—a mere matter of machinery? The noble Lord might be able to explain it to the aristocratic division he represents, but most of us would break down absolutely. Most of us never understood it, and most Members never would understand it. I should have gone down to my constituents and said, "You wanted an Education Bill and we have passed an Education Bill, but the House of Lords have refused it. Do you still want it?" If my constituents had any spirit at all they would have said, "We told you what we wanted, and if you are so stupid as to think we change our minds in twelve months you are not the proper person to represent us." The one point that has not been considered up to the present is that, although it may have been necessary to have long delays when means of communication were few and worked slowly, and the people had no power of expressing their opinion; but every Government ought to know the general feeling of the Party in the country in a much shorter time now owing to the introduction of the telegraph and other means of disseminating news. If some Governments are blind enough to run their heads against a brick wall that is not my fault, and it does not affect my argument. My argument is that with the quicker methods of disseminating news and the quicker and freer access to constituencies, no Government could undertake to pass a measure to which the people of the country really have a rooted objection. You can overdo it very much, but I believe that if the country had eighteen months or two years, as they would have under our check, to consider a measure, the constituencies would be glad to tell us their opinion. We come back here, and after all we are not a mere Party machine, as the noble Lord says. No Member of this House is going to vote in such a way that his constituents will turn him out. That would be against our conscience, and we are not going to commit political suicide. None of you have proposed that the veto of the House of Lords should be restricted to one session. Up to now you have offered no alternative whatever. After all, take the famous Home Rule incident. In 1886 Mr. Gladstone was defeated on Home Rule, in 1892 we were returned on Home Rule. The Lords throw it out. It is no argument to say that the country did not want it in 1895. They wanted it in 1892, but they did not want it in 1895. They wanted Local Veto then. But I think they were as anxious to have Home Rule in 1892 as they are now. I believe they are increasingly anxious for it, and I am perfectly convinced that one of the greatest mistakes the Lords ever made was their rejection of the Home Rule Bill in 1893. If that question had been settled we should not have had millions of Irish people driven away from Ireland. Do you want the people to be extinct before you give them self-government? The House of Lords delayed national education for forty years. They threw out every attempt to obtain national education, and the first attempt was made in 1808. Ever since then the Lords have struggled against it, and they are struggling against it now. Nothing appears important to the other side of the House. Social equality, religious equality, education, giving the Irish what they have asked for for the last century, nothing is important; let it wait. We are not content to wait. English democracy must have what it wants. Our leaders have called us to the fight, and we are willing to fight, but there must be no slackening or faltering on the part of our leaders. However bad or extreme their proposals may be, we will uphold them and back them up; we cannot afford to be beaten, and we will not be beaten. If our leaders will keep the path of courage which they have pursued in the past the people of the country will follow their lead. The people are sick and tired of the question. When you go on to a platform you are told, "We do not want to be told of the House of Lords and of the past. What are you going to do? When are you going to end it?" And if we do end it we shall earn the gratitude of the country. Now I want to say a word to Members who represent Labour. Are they going to split the division? Are they going to deliver us into the hands of the enemy on this question? We think together on the question, and we ought to work together on it if we never work together again. If they do not work with us now the heaviest responsibility will rest upon them. This and similar questions must be put out of the way if the Liberal Government is to do any good. We are not going into a small battle which is to be won by one slight charge. Although Members opposite are few in this House they are strong in the country. They have behind them wealth and social privilege. They can exercise the power of the House of Lords as it has been used in the past. All these weapons, the blows of which have fallen heavily in the past, can be brought up again. There must be no blacklegs in this matter, no holding back, no sectional jealousy. There must be but the onward march of the army of democracy. We have a right to demand a decision, and I for one am not afraid of what the result will be, for it will be a great and glorious victory for democracy. Those who toil laborious days and nights have a right to demand the liberty of the people, and that men shall be free to exercise their rights, their votes, and their opinions, without hindrance.

MR. PIKE PEASE (Darlington)

I congratulate the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down on his honest speech, which was particularly refreshing to listen to, not only because of its characteristics, but also because of the fact that it is one of the few definite expressions from those benches in favour of the proposal of His Majesty's Government. Anyone who has listened to the speeches delivered during the last few days, including those of the Members for the Gainsborough division, Stratford-on-Avon, and the Leith district, will realise that there are great numbers of Members on the Liberal benches who are not in full accord with the great speech made by the Prime Minister two or three days ago. It seems to me that there are a considerable number of Members in this House, anxious to support the Government, who at the same time are not in full accord with the Prime Minister's speech. I think hon. Members on the other side will agree with me when I say that the main question has been to a great extent over-shadowed. The real question before the House is whether or not we shall at the present time abolish the veto of the House of Lords; and when the division is taken to-night there will be a considerable number of Members who will vote for its abolition without meaning to do so. It has been said by the hon. Member for Chester that this question of the conference is a very important one, and he cited instances of conferences in the past, including that with regard to the Education Bill. But those conferences were of a totally different character from that proposed in this instance. In reference to the Education Bill conference, each Member who spoke knew that his words would have some effect. But if a conference takes place in the future on the lines suggested by the Prime Minister, the members of the conference on one side will know that whatever is said will make no difference, because it will be only a matter of time before the Bill is passed over their heads. I think there is a great deal of exaggeration in politics on both sides, and that a great many statements are made in political warfare which hon. Members deeply regret. What is the use of going into a conference if in the end you are expected to acquiesce in proposals of which you do not approve? I ask the House, do they rightly represent the will of the people or do they not? The right hon. Gentleman the present Secretary for India, in regard to political spirit, said— The political spirit is the great force in throwing love of truth and accuracy into a secondary place. This achievement has indirectly countenanced the postponement of intellectual motives. The hon. Member for Chester referred to the Education Bill as expressing the will of the people. I would say that it did not represent the will of the people. Does any hon. Member believe that, if the question had been put to the people as to religious instruction being given in school hours, they would not have said that they were opposed to the action of the right hon. Gentleman who is now Chief Secretary for Ireland? There is no Member of the House who does not think that if the question had been put before the people they would have said that it was essential that religious education should be within school hours. Take another question, that of the Agricultural Rating Bill. Some years ago many speakers all over the country said that that Bill meant doles to the landlords. If the question had been put to the people: "Are you in favour of doles to landlords?" it is perfectly plain that the answer would have been: "No; we are not in favour of doles to landlords." And everyone knows that the Liberal Party have acquiesced in the continuance of that Rating Act. Take the question of the sugar and tea taxes. Supposing this question were put to the nation: "Are you in favour of a tax on sugar and tea, or do you believe that it is better to raise the same amount of revenue by a tax on manufactured goods?" Does any one doubt what the answer would be? The answer would certainly be by a very large majority in favour of a tax on manufactured goods to maintain the revenue. ["Question."] Hon. Members say, "Question"; I can give them the names of 138 Members of the Liberal Party who spoke at the general election against a tax on sugar under any circumstances at all. Take the question of the Transvaal loan; it is quite an arguable point whether the people of this country would or would not be in favour of granting a loan to the Transvaal. It is not a question of whether the money can be raised or not. The right hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary for the Colonies the other day said plainly that the money could be raised, and that it was only a question of interest. Take the question of the Plural Voting Bill; I suppose hon. Gentlemen opposite will at once say that there was no doubt with regard to that measure that the people of the country were in favour of it. My answer is: "If that is so, why do not the Liberal Party go to the country in regard to it?" The question might be fairly put from the platform: "Is it right that a constituency like the City of Durham should be ten times as important, as far as electoral power is concerned, as the constituency of Romford in Essex?" Do you think that, if asked the question, the people would reply that such a state of things ought to be allowed? Do you not think they would say that that was a greater wrong than that a man should have a vote for his own place in which he lived, and for the place in which he has his business? I think I said before that it depends entirely on how the question is put. Take the question of the administrative acts of His Majesty's Ministers. Take, for example, the Edjaldi case. Does any one believe, if the question were asked whether he should have compensation, or further compensation, the people would not say: "Certainly, give him compensation." There cannot be the slightest doubt with regard to it. And if you go through the various administrative acts of the Government, you will certainly come to the conclusion that this House does not represent the will of the people. I doubt very much whether it represents entirely the will of the Liberal Party. Take the question of temperance reform. If the Liberal Party were asked in the country: "Are you in favour of two years elapsing before the Temperance Reform Bill is drafted?" the reply would be, "No." I say, if hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite really think that we, on this side of the House, are acting against the will of the people, why do they not ask what the will of the people is? The Attorney-General the other day spoke of a revolution. Where is the revolution? We see no signs, at by-election after by-election, of anything like a revolution; and I sincerely trust that the good sense of the people will show that we must follow the example of every other nation in the world by having a strong Second Chamber. I will not for a moment attempt to justify our present system; I do not think for a moment that it is possible to justify the present position of the House of Lords; at the same time it is essential that there should be a Second Chamber, with the power of vetoing any Bill which goes up from this Chamber. I think hon. Gentlemen opposite will agree with me that there is no great feeling in the country in regard to the Resolution now before the House. But if the Liberal Party think that the nation do feel strongly in regard to this question, if they think that there is a large body of wicked men standing in opposition to the will of the people, why do they not go to the nation, and then, if they ask the question, they will get their answer.

MR. MADDISON (Bromley)

I think the hon. Member who has just sat down has aptly illustrated the poverty of the defence which has been made of the House of Lords. Really no one has made a defence of that Assembly. The hon. Member for Darlington has given it up completely; he admits there is no defence for the House of Lords. The noble Lord the Member for Marylebone in his able speech also gave it up entirely, and proposed what the Prime Minister called a foreign device, namely, the referendum, to meet the peculiar and anomalous conditions which he knows exist in the Upper House. The absence of defence of the House of Lords has been a common feature of this debate. There has also been an entire absence of alternatives to the Government plan. Just imagine an opposition led by so resourceful a man as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London, and yet with all his ability, his charm of speech, and his marvellous use of words, he has not even made an attempt to offer any alternative whatever to the present proposal. As I read the history of my country it is in the main one of gradual reform. It has been a step-by-step policy, whilst in other countries they have attempted to get reforms by huge strides. I know it is more heroic and picturesque. I confess that I have a little of the pugnacious in me occasionally, and the big strides attract me more than the step-by-step policy. But when I reflect, I realise that in this land of ours—which we all love—this land of freedom where there is more liberty than in any republic on the face of God's earth—we have reached, achieved, all this by the step-by-step process. Therefore it is strictly in accordance with our traditions; it is in our blood, and we reach the end quicker by this method. The Government's plan appears to me to be on the royal road of this evolutionary process. We have been told by many hon. and right hon. Gentlemen of the gradual change in the position of the House of Lords; how at one time the House of Lords really led the nation, and rightly so, because it contained the brains of the country at that time. We know how gradually before the onward march of the newer spirit and the newer conditions it has receded further and further. The stages in our civilisation are marked by the backward movement of the House of Lords, until at last we have the Leader of the Opposition admitting that, broadly speaking, nothing remains in the functions of the House of Lords but to interpret the will of the people. It is that function which we are considering, and throughout this agitation the question is, How does the House of Lords fulfil its single function of being the interpreter of the will of the nation? If we can show that it has failed to exercise this function, then there is nothing left to justify its existence in its present position and with its present uncontrolled powers. One has only to ask that question to answer it. How does the function of the national interpreter work? We all know it works in this way: whenever a Tory Government is in power, every Bill they send up, whether it is an Education Bill, a Licensing Bill, or any measure of a different nature, is accepted at once by the House of Lords as interpreting the will of the nation. That means that the Tory Party are always regarded as the embodiment of the national will. No one can deny this. For the last twenty years, save three, the Tory Government were in power, and not one single Government Bill during that period was rejected by the House of Lords or mutilated or even seriously changed by them. Therefore the interpreter of the national will always takes the Tory Party and the Tory Government as embodying that will. But when a Liberal Government comes into power they begin to discriminate. In the case of the Trade Disputes Bill, which was an exception, they held that it represented the will of a large section of the nation and they let it go through. But they decided that the Education Bill and the Plural Voting Bill did not represent the will of the nation, consequently in the first session of the most democratic Parliament that has ever gathered within these walls the House of Lords declared that that Parliament, fresh from the enthusiasm of a general election, did not represent the national will. The ordinary man in the street that we talk so much about and know so little of, although he does not care much about constitutional history, and is not very much concerned with our procedure, knows when a thing is fair and when it is unfair, and I venture to say that he will regard the position of the House of Lords as unfair. The Leader of the Opposition, in one of those pretty discourses of his, set himself to elaborate what I should have thought was a self-evident proposition, that democracy or popular opinion makes mistakes. Of course popular opinion makes mistakes. I call myself a democrat, although I know I am often vigorously assailed by some of my hon. friends, but I am quite indifferent as to that. I am a democrat, and I accept the majority whether right or wrong; I do not quarrel with the Leader of the Opposition when he says public opinion is quite fallible; but the right hon. Gentleman, having made that statement and laid down that proposition, goes on to contend that aristocratic judgment in the other House is infallible. What a strange mixture of reasoning that is. I make this statement at once, that after some little thought in my own way I have concluded that it would be a disadvantage to be ruled by a single Chamber. I know that in that I probably differ from a good many hon. Members of this House with whom I generally associate. I confess that to me it does seem desirable that there should be a Chamber of review or revision—call it what you like—although I think that the final word, when a final word has to be given in case of fundamental differences, must always rest with this House. I have seen in my short career in this House Bills approved of in principle, but owing to the exigencies of the Parliamentary situation the Government or the promoters of such Bills have absolutely refused Amendments which they admitted were required because they knew that by accepting them they would lose their Bill. I want all legislation to go through two atmospheres. I want an opportunity to be given for such Amendments to be made where there is more time and under more favourable conditions. For that and other reasons I do stand, and very resolutely stand, for two Chambers. I am surprised that hon. Members opposite who believe in two Chambers do not see that their resistance to such a proposal as that of the Government is fatal to their position. If they on the one hand assert the need of a Second Chamber, and on the other hand are prepared to stand by a Chamber which they know lacks every condition which is needed for a just Second Chamber, then they give their whole case away. If instead of the Education Bill being sent to the other place you had taken it by consent to a general meeting of the Carlton Club, I do not think its fate would have been any worse than it was in the House of Lords. I am prepared to defend that statement, not as a mere exaggeration of speech, but as being literally correct. The truth is that the House of Lords in our time has never rid itself of its Tory character, which still clings to it, and it must cling to it under present conditions. I have always been against the hereditary principle. In my first election address I was bold enough to write, some fifteen years ago, that I was against the hereditary principle in any form and everywhere. To that declaration I still adhere. For the life of me, judged by the democratic test or any other I can think of, I can find no justification for the hereditary principle in legislation. To-night we have to decide whether we will or will not support the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for the Barnard Castle Division. I am going to vote against that Amendment, not, as I have already said, because I am against the declaration it contains with respect to the hereditary principle, but because I regard it as a mere abstract and pious opinion. What does it do? The Resolution of the Government says that in order to give effect to the will of the people you shall do so-and-so, and it lays down a distinct plan. But what does the Amendment do? It proposes to leave out from the word "That," and to add the words, "the Upper House, being an irresponsible part of the legislature, and of necessity representative only of interests opposed to the general well-being, is a hindrance to national progress and ought to be abolished." But it says nothing else. If that is carried you will be doing nothing, and all you will have done is what you might have done on a Wednesday or a Tuesday in the early part of the session, namely, declare your opinion about the hereditary principle. This Amendment does nothing more than that. I cannot conceive how you can have the practical proposal of the Government and the mere theoretical expression of the opinion of hon. Members opposite put in more violent contrast than it is by the Amendment and the Resolution. Surely we are not going to pedal away saying that we do not like Lords and hereditary legislators. We want something that will curtail their power; something that makes this House in practical affairs predominant. That is all we want. We have here a plan which is the beginning of a scheme which will put the other Chamber more in subjection to the will of the people. We are not here to-day simply to declare that we are against the hereditary principle, which may be useful for platform purposes and of which I appreciate the value in that sense, but which for business purposes is of no value at all. You are face to face now with a practical proposal. I know that hon. Members opposite are in favour of the Government Resolution. The hon. Member for Clitheroe made a speech which left no doubt in my mind as to his intention, and of his assessment of the value of his own Amendment, because he knew it would have no practical effect; but he knew also that it would be the medium for a declaration of opinion. I shall vote against this Amendment because it does not take the line of least resistance. It is wonderful what agreement there is between Socialism and Toryism in some respects. The Leader of the Opposition and several hon. Members on the other side of the House have distinctly stated that this agitation against the Lords is dishonest, and that its object is to divert the attention of the country from the failure of the Government to redeem the promises on which the Liberal Party were returned. It has been said that the Government, instead of going on with the social reforms they are pledged to deal with, prefer to go out into the wilderness on a question of constitutional reform. The hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil, whose enforced retirement from the House no one regrets more than I do, has declared on several platforms that the Government have got up this agitation in order to get out of the task of dealing with social reforms. I remember that a speech was made of a similar character by the hon. Member for Blackburn. I agree with the declaration made by the Members of the Labour Party against the hereditary principle, but I regard the Amendment as having no practical value. If it were carried it would have no effect, and to carry it into effect you would have to surrender practically everything else. You would have to go out into the wilderness for nobody knows how long, in order to fight the matter right through. But with the plan of the Government it is different. I will not say that I perfectly understand the plan of the Government.

MR. CROOKS (Woolwich)

Hear, hear!


Of course the hon. Member for Woolwich does. I followed the Prime Minister's speech very carefully, and I have tried to think about it since, and, after all, both the hon. Member for Woolwich and myself do understand the main outlines of the proposal. My difficulty is as to whether everything cannot be done in two sessions. If it is to take three sessions, that will be a huge mistake. I think the hon. Member for the Barnard Castle division went somewhat out of his way to attack the Government plan. I think he has hardly got a right conception of its nature. One illustration will suffice for me. The hon. Member tried to set up a parallel between the conferences last year on the Education Bill and the conferences which will take place under the scheme of the Government. But he is comparing like with unlike, and when you do that you never get an accurate result. What is the fact in regard to the conferences held last year? Representatives from this House went to their masters to beg them to give something, and so eager were they for the Bill that they nearly gave it all away, because they knew that the House of Lords had the whip hand. But will that be the case under the Government scheme? The representatives of the House of Commons will have exactly the reverse position. They will go with the knowledge behind them that they have the ultimate power to compel the acceptance of a Bill. On this question the Government could not be better represented, from my point of view, than by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Battersea, and I would say this last word to Ministers, that, having started on this journey, you have got to go through with it. Even if you fall you will have the consolation that you have made a landmark in the history of political reform, that you have reduced the great Tory Party to helplessness in the defence of the House of Lords, and that you have brought the democracy of the country within sight of the promised land, and of the time when they will be supreme in their own House.

MR. MIDDLEMORE (Birmingham, N.)

There is only one remark in the speech of the hon. Member for Burnley to which I will refer. He spoke of the absence of any alternative proposal to that which the Government themselves have proposed. There is, in the first instance, the proposal of the hon. Members who sit below the gangway. There is also the proposal of the House of Lords, which is not yet before us. A Committee of that House is now sitting to consider how to reform itself. I think, perhaps, we might well afford to wait for that suggestion. Perhaps when it comes it will meet the views of some hon. Members opposite. At any rate, we can afford to wait for it. The hon. Member opposite can wait, for he said in the course of his speech that this is the freest country in the world, freer even than countries which are more democratic, and this great freedom has grown up under the House of Lords. I think if you wait for a few weeks for their proposal it will not be time thrown away. I should like to preface the two or three remarks I have to make by saying that it will be quite impossible for me to vote against the proposal of the hon. Gentlemen below the gangway for the complete abolition of the House of Lords. It seems to me, however, a more manly, more straightforward, and far simpler course than that proposed by the Government. There is one thing to be said in favour of the proposal of the Government, that is that it is very English indeed. You are to retain the form, but you are to destroy for all intents and purposes the function of the House of Lords. You are to kill the body, but from sheer love of imposture in the matter of procedure you are to leave the corpse unburied. It almost reminds me of one of those animals that we read of in Darwin, who have long since lost their eyes, but retain the eye sockets with which their ancestors once looked out on life. By whom is the House of Lords to be suppressed? It is to be suppressed by a House of Commons—and I shall try to justify that statement—by a House of Commons that cannot get through its own business. By a House of Commons which has been trying to pass a Deceased Wife's Sister Bill for forty years and which has not been able to do it. [Cries of "Why?"] By a House of Commons which carries on its business by a process of log-rolling. By a House of Commons which has twice tried to force upon the country a proposal to break up the Union contrary to the wishes of the country. In my opinion, the House of Commons is decadent. May I illustrate what I mean? I remember that I first began to take an interest in politics on my return from America in 1870. I then for the first time began to read the English Press. In that year a great Education Bill was passed. It was brought in by Mr. Forster. It was an enormous Bill, compared with which the Bill of last session was a trifle. It was bitterly and constantly opposed by the Dissenters, but it was passed. Again, in the same year Mr. Gladstone proposed an equally enormous Land Bill. That was obstructed by the Irish to such an extent that I remember reading how Mr. Gladstone, when he entered the House, threw himself back in his seat and gave a loud shout of despair at the severity of the obstruction. But both of those enormous Bills were passed without the aid of the closure in any form. We could not do so now. See how we have degenerated. The steps seem to have been, first, the introduction of the simple closure, then the closure by compartments, and finally the reference of the business of the House to Committees upstairs, where they are closured, unreported, and almost held in secret. That is the position we have arrived at. Half of the clauses of our great Bills are utterly undiscussed in the House of Commons, and the proposal now is that they should be undiscussed in the House of Lords also. [AN HON. MEMBER: "No."] "No," says an hon. Member, but if you deprive the Lords of the authority to veto they will certainly not respect themselves if they discuss the Bills, and if our great Bills are to be undiscussed both in the Lords and the Commons, the only remaining factor in legislation is the Cabinet itself, which is frequently elected—I suppose most Cabinets are elected—on a basis of outrageous misrepresentation. The suppression of discussion seems to me to be a very curious ending indeed to the system of Government by discussion. It has been asked: For what purpose does the House of Lords exist? I think it exists to discuss those large parts of vital Bills that are undiscussed by this House. I think, too, it exists to refer Bills of vital and fundamental importance on which this House has expressed an opinion, but on which the country has not given a clear verdict—to refer such Bills back to the people. I think it exists to ask a verdict from the country upon them. In my opinion the Resolution of the Government deprives the country of its right, and in the present state of things the House of Lords is standing for the rights of the people, and not the House of Commons. It stood for the rights of the people in the matter of Home Rule, and I shall uphold the very limited rights which it still possesses.

DR. POLLARD (Lancashire, Eccles)

It think I am right in saying that the House is unanimous on one point, namely, that the will of the people must prevail, but a sharp difference of opinion arises as to who shall interpret that will. The assertion put forward by hon. Members opposite that the House of Lords is in a position to know the will of the people far better than this Houre is, to my mind, supremely ludicrous. The Peers may be the lords of the land, but they are not the lords of the people. It cannot be denied that the House of Lords is the submissive instrument of the Tory Party, so that it comes to this, that whether that Party is in office or out of office, or in a helpless minority as at present, they claim to represent the will of the people. Such a position is intolerable, and I, for one, am delighted that the Prime Minister has brought forward this Resolution. The proposal is further to limit the powers of the House of Lords by placing the two great Parties in the State on an equal footing so that neither Party has an unfair advantage over the other, and to give the people the choice of policy. Now the Government has not sought a quarrel with the House of Lords. The Leader of the Opposition said that the Government had picked a quarrel before the House of Lords had done anything, and that the Liberal Party preferred to spend the time of Parliament in altering the legislative machine to dealing with the important questions of social reform. It is quite the opposite—and it is because we desire to carry land reform and social reform that we are determined to improve the legislative machine, in rejecting the Education Bill and the Plural Voting Bill at the instigation of the Leader of the Tory Party the Lords themselves have thrown down the challenge, and the Government could not do otherwise than take up that challenge. The issue is clear and straightforward, and cannot be evaded. The issue is the supremacy of the people. What is the situation? At the General Election the Liberals gained a decisive victory, the Government was returned to power with an unexampled majority, and yet that Party is robbed of the fruits of their victory by the action of the House of Lords. The country will not be satisfied, and ought not to be satisfied, that its representatives should go on ploughing the sands. The right hon. Gentleman opposite admits that this House is the predominant House, and has pointed out that on the all important matters of finance, peace and war, administration, and the rise and fall of Governments, this House is supreme; and that the House of Lords has no right to intervene. What remains—over what is it that the House of Lords claim controlling voice? Broadly speaking, it is the Amendment of the land and liquor laws, and any measures affecting the social well-being of the people. My opinion is, and there has been nothing stated in this debate to alter my opinion, that the House of Commons, the direct representatives of the people, is by far the most competent assembly to deal with these questions. Now the attitude of the House of Lords towards social questions is well known and well understood. The Liberal Party is severely handicapped in their attempts to carry out their pledges in the direction of social and land reform, their Bills have to be drafted not in the interests of the nation as a whole, but fashioned so that they will meet with the acceptance in the House of Lords. Our own convictions are disregarded, the prejudices of the Peers considered, the result is that valuable Parliamentary time is spent and little useful accomplished. In the present, controversy it has been, for the most part, tacitly assumed that our attitude towards the House of Lords is to be determined by our views of its efficiency as a regulating or revising Chamber. What I desire to say is that there is a considerable body of opinion, by no means extreme, whose attitude is not determined primarily by the consideration I have mentioned. The attitude of hostility towards the House of Lords maintained by those who think as I do, and which, as I have said, is independent of the question of the efficiency of the upper Chamber, is based upon the conviction that an assembly constituted as is this House by the popular will upon an elective basis, ought not to be called upon to submit its conduct to any assembly not constituted in a similar manner. You may regard this as merely sentiment. Perhaps it is only a sentiment. But it is one which springs from a profound sense of the dignity of this House as the instrument through which the British nation exercises the highest function of citizenship, viz., self-government. I do not care how excellent the other Chamber may be, how excellent in its working, how unerring in its judgment. I do not care how foolish or inefficient we may be; the fact remains that we are here as the representatives of the free electors of a country, and it is for them, and for them alone, to sit in judgment upon us. There is to me something inexpressibly humiliating in the thought that we who are assembled here by the favour of millions to give effect to the policy, whether that policy be good or bad, which is approved by the majority of our citizens, should have to submit our resolutions for criticism, amendment, or even reversal, to a body of men who owe their position of power not to any national force which is behind them, but to the accident of a peculiar historical development. At the moment, no doubt, the feeling I have indicated is confined mainly to this side. But I venture to say that were it not for one fact, it would be largely shared by the opposite side. The fact that the House of Lords has been the effective Party hack of the opposite side is the only thing that has prevented them from sharing our resentment, and I firmly believe that even as it is they must occasionally be dimly conscious of such a feeling. I have heard Members say that if the House of Lords always acted impartially and treated both the great Parties in the State in the same, manner, those who are now opposed to that House would not have been so. It may seem paradoxical, but I venture to say that if the House of Lords always acted impartially, so far from enjoying the regard of both Parties, it would now be sharing the hostility of both. Both Parties would have felt the same humiliation in submitting their decrees to an assembly not deriving its authority direct from the people. It is the partiality, the unfair discrimination shown by the House of Lords that has preserved it for so long. It has allied itself with one of the permanent Parties in the State, and by so doing has become invested with some portion of that permanence. Had it acted independently of either Party, it would have received the support of neither, and both would have felt the loss of dignity involved in having to submit to its judgment. To one great Party in the State the House of Lords is an object of hostility unmingled with respect; to the other it is an object of contempt tempered with a recognition of its utility for Party purposes. This is not the proper sentiment that a second Chamber should evoke. Whether there ought to be a second Chamber at all is a question apart from the one I have raised. For my own part, whether I personally think it necessary or not, I am willing to defer my opinion to the views or fears of those who think that it is so. But what I say is, that if there is to be a second Chamber it should be one to which all Parties can defer without loss of self respect, and that can only be to a Chamber of an elective nature, and, like ourselves, deriving its authority directly from the nation.

MR. MEYSEY-THOMPSON (Staffordshire, Handsworth)

I intervene at this late stage of the debate with all diffidence. The eloquent and able speech of the noble Lord the Member for Marylebone East was so convincing and so carefully reasoned that it must have brought conviction to many whose minds are not altogether closed to logical argument, and even to those who, from some mental or intellectual deficiency, fail to attain to the full height of absolute conviction, it must have afforded pleasure to have listened to it, and, I hope, some considerable profit which will be more apparent at a later stage of their political development. We range from that speech to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, delivered with that vehemence, misdirected energy, and absolute lack of logic which are so characteristic of his utterances, which frequently amuse the House, and always fail to bring conviction to a single Member of it. Last night the right hon. Gentleman made a quotation from Bagehot's "English Constitution." I will, with the leave of the House, take the liberty of quoting from the authority which he has chosen. I find on page 109 it is stated that— Our House of Commons is, as all such Chambers must be, subject to sudden turns and bursts of feeling, because the Members who compose it change from time to time. Again quoting from the same authority selected by the hon. Member himself I find— While the House of Commons is what it is, a good revising, regulating and retarding House would be a benefit of great magnitude. While I think the House of Lords is a most useful institution as it is, there is an improvement which I have long thought would be a most useful change, viz., the introduction of Colonial representation. How that is to be done I do not say. It may be by some system of life Peerages, or Peerages by virtue of and during the tenure of certain offices. We are not without precedent for that. We have the Lords of Appeal, and the Scottish and Irish representative Peers. It would be improper for me to say more on this subject at this time. I only throw out the suggestion, which I hope is not without some value. In concluding my remarks I will only add one word of warning. You can easily do away with such a body as the House of Lords, but you cannot easily replace it. It is the growth of generations, and it has great traditions of honour and integrity behind it. Alter all that has been said about the House of Lords, no one has questioned its uprightness. In the House of Lords you have a body of intelligent, thoughtful men, many of them already distinguished in the House of Commons or in public positions of great responsibility, eminently able men, who are accustomed to affairs through having to manage their own estates, by means of which they are brought into connection with every kind of business, and with experience of every phase of life. Above all, you have a body which is absolutely incorruptible, loyal, honest, and patriotic, who do their best for their country and look ahead in order to secure its welfare, not only for the immediate present, but in the future. I say that such a body of men is an asset which no country can afford rightly to dispense with. It is a heritage which has come down to us, for which we ought to be thankful, and which we on this side of the House will do our utmost to support and to preserve.

MR. CROSFIELD (Warrington)

As Lord Byron said, there is one subject upon which most people are eloquent and very few agreeable, and that is themselves; but on the first occasion of rising to address this important House a few preliminary observations may be pardoned. I should like therefore to explain why I venture to make a few remarks and why I intend to vote in support of this Motion. I can claim no title to rush in where constitutional authorities have evidently trod with circumspection and caution. I would be content simply to subscribe to the course which the Prime Minister has taken, because one sees Tin the Resolution the courage, sincerity, sagacity, and caution which have endeared the Leader of the Party to all who follow him, including humble Members of the Party like myself, who regard our chief not merely with respect but with affection. And so I told my friends in my constituency that while we have on these Benches such an abundant flow of oratory, the Whips were quite content if they had my vote without too much of my voice. At the same time I would not have my constituents think I was shirking a tight place. I have made the acquaintance of a crevasse on one occasion and stood under an avalanche on another, and have been in other tight places. I am, therefore, not going to shrink from my duty and privilege of addressing this venerable assembly. I am glad to have the opportunity of speaking to-night, because this is an occasion which affect; not a single section of one's constituency, but the whole. I know the views of the large Liberal and Labour element which I have the honour chiefly to represent: I know the views of the large contingent of Irish friends who live in Warrington; I feel sure they will approve of my vote on this occasion. So far as argument may be necessary, I feel inclined to address myself to the free trade Unionists who supported me at the last election. So far as I have any grip of the fundamental issue, the pith and essence of what the Government are proposing amounts to this, that after due precautions against hasty legislation and without undue and dangerous delay, the will of the people shall prevail. We have been told in this very interesting debate that distinguished Members of another Chamber profess to know that will as if they were a Chamber of Zancigs. I am afraid that does not hold water at all, and we have proof to the contrary of the most overwhelming kind. One of the best summaries of that proof we listened to in the speech of the hon. Member for Clitheroe, who gave us a lucid and convincing summary of the measures which the Lords have rejected which were wanted urgently for the benefit of the people. The case against them is, I fear, equally strong, whether we consider what they have done or what they have left undone. For when prejudice and passion and race hatred have run high have the Lords ever tried to use their undoubted influence in the country to allay those mischievous sentiments? May I refer for a moment or two to the speech of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford University, and his contention that when the time came to translate this Motion into a Bill we should have a single Chamber, and consequently bad and hasty work. I am sure the great majority here feel that quite the contrary is the danger—that we run the risk of too much delay, a point that was made very clear in the frank, powerful, and brilliant speech we hoard this afternoon from the President of the Board of Trade. He—and last night the Undersecretary for the Colonies said the same thing—pointed out that we could not legislate for the ease of a mad people returning a mad Parliament. Neither can we, nor are we, going to waste time in anticipating the impossible. The Secretary of State for India wrote, a good many years ago, that he had no great love for Second Chambers, and although I dare say there are plenty of people in this country who think the consequences would be- disastrous if we had no Second Chamber, I, for one, should be able to sleep in my bed quite comfortably. I believe in the prudence and sense of fairness of the English people, and I believe in the advantage of full responsibility being placed upon the representative Chamber. But I believe, at the same time, that it is better to have a Second Chamber, if only because, for my part, I would not like to see the Crown dragged into the dusty turmoil of Party politics. That is not the only reason; there are other reasons why it is better to have a Second Chamber. But I am truly thankful that the Government mean business on this question, and that in future we are not going to have the interminable delays and the emasculation and cutting town of our measures—delays which have told against the real interests of the nation for so long. The allusion has been made in this debate—and indeed the Prime Minister, laid emphasis on the fact—that in their graver issues politics are something much more serious than a game. Yes, that is true, and so is life, but as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose has reminded us, laughter has a forepart in it. It would indeed be hard luck to deprive the poor politician of his little bit of humour. I am told that one day Dan Leno came down to the House, and the hon. Gentleman the Member for Woolwich—whose wit and genius are not second even to Leno's—met him when he was leaving, and said, "Well, Dan, what do you think of it all?" "Not bad," said Leno. "Not bad; but I think it would go better to the piano." Poor Leno; we all miss him, and all appreciate his little joke at our expense. If there is humour in the House, there is also good humour, and I venture to think that any foreigner who has been present this week would consider this great debate with its far reaching issues a striking example of it. And a new Member making his maiden speech must of all others be most sensible of the kindness, and the generous courtesy of the House, for which I sincerely beg to thank hon. Members. It was to me the greatest honour of my life to be elected to represent the old Roman town of Warrington, where the first beginnings of some of the most important industries of England were started by those ancient pioneers of civilisation and trade, and it is also one of the greatest privileges I shall ever enjoy to speak for the first time in this time honoured assembly, so potent for good, not merely by helping people, but rather by giving to them the best opportunities for helping themselves, and capable, therefore, of exerting so beneficent an influence even in the humblest cottage in the land.

MR. CREAMER (Shoreditch, Haggerston)

We have heard a great deal during the debate concerning the will of the people, and we heard from the hon. Member for the Walton Division of Liverpool that the will of the people had been rightly regarded by the House of Lords when the school boards were abolished by the last Government. I remember very well the debates which took place on that question, and I then stated that which I repeat to-night, that there was no mandate from the constituencies upon the subject; that there was not a single petition presented to this House in favour of the abolition of school boards; that there was not a single public meeting in the country asking for their abolition, and that they were abolished at the instigation of the Bishops in the House of Lords. And that is the instance cited by the hon. Member to show that the House of Lords does the bidding of the country. A more unfortunate illustration he could not have offered. My justification for intervening in this debate is that I have an Amendment to the Resolution on the Paper—an Amendment which is in the form of a Motion which has been on the Order Book for seventeen years. I essayed from time to time to get an opportunity to propose it as a Motion, but was not successful until four years ago in submitting it to the judgment of this House. The House will therefore perhaps excuse me if I read it— The power now possessed and frequently exercised by the House of Lords to veto measures adopted by the House of Commons should be limited to one session of Parliament. There is no ambiguity about that. It is brief and comprehensive, and if I may judge by the opinion which has been expressed concerning it by many hon. Members, it is a Motion that would if moved and if not subjected to official pressure on the part of the Government Whips but left to the free decision of the House, be carried by a very large majority. In considering this question of the House of Lords, I have always felt that whenever the time came for it to be dealt with, it would have to be dealt with by limiting its power of veto as proposed by the Prime Minister, or better still, if I may be permitted without being egotistical to say so, by the Motion I have read. I regret, however, that by the ruling of Mr. Speaker I am precluded from moving it as an Amendment. The Resolution and my Amendment both propose to restrict the vetoing power of the House of Lords, and I am delighted to think that now the question i is submitted to the judgment of this House there can be no doubt as to what the verdict will be. Hon. Members who have been as long in this House as I have been will be cautious how they accept the advice of hon. Members opposite sitting above the gangway. The Labour Members who propose to abolish the House of Lords have been congratulated by Tory Members on the straightforward character and manliness of their Amendment as against the somewhat ambiguous Motion of the Prime Minister, but I would advise Labour Members to look with suspicion on such congratulations. My experience is that there is a mass of the people in the country who favour the continuance of the House of Lords, not as at present constituted, but because they believe in a Second Chamber. If, however, you ask them whether they do not think that the House of Lords has too much power and that that power should be limited, they agree with you. From that experience I have arrived at the conclusion that the Motion of the Prime-Minister is a practical one, which the country will ratify, when it is asked to do so. Being satisfied that the country would object to the Motion to abolish the House of Lords, but that it will agree to the Motion of the Prime Minister, I prefer to vote for what is practicable rather than that which is desirable. We have had some extraordinary speeches delivered in this debate, and I have listened with attention to all of them. The hon. Gentleman the Member for the Oxford University stated that every civilised State in the world had a Second Chamber, but he omitted to state how they are constituted. When I moved my Resolution four years ago, and eight members of the present Government voted for it, I gave to the House a brief epitome of the way in which Second Chambers were constituted in every country of Europe and in the United States, and I brought to light the extraordinary fact that there was not a Second Chamber in the world established on the hereditary principle like the House of Lords, that possessed the power of perpetual veto. On that occasion I cited the little State of Norway as a model upon which a Constitution should be based. I believe that in Norway they have solved the problem of a Second Chamber. There there is one suffrage, every man is entitled to a vote; 150 Members have to be elected to constitute a Parliament. At their first meeting they elect one-fourth of their body to constitute a Second Chamber, or a Chamber of Revision. They have separate Houses, and separate officers. The lesser body possesses limited powers, and by no means the powers possessed by our Second Chamber. When a Bill is sent up to the lesser body they have a right to amend or reject it. That may be done for two sessions, but if they do so in the third session the lesser body and the larger body meet as they did when they were originally elected, and a two-thirds majority of the combined Houses suffices to pass the Bill. That is essentially democratic, it is the most simple form of a Second Chamber in the world and, I commend its study to Members of this House. As I stated, I intend to vote for the Motion of the Prime Minister, as a practical proposal, in preference to the impracticable Amendment moved from the opposite side of the House. It is said that all things come to those who wait, and I do not regret having waited seventeen years to get what was then regarded by many Members as a theory brought forward as a substantive motion by the Prime Minister, and I sincerely hope that the proposal of the Government will be passed into law. Speaking in regard to a Second Chamber four years ago, I said— If no Second Chamber existed in this country and it was proposed to establish one in which the qualification for a seat was that the occupier should be the eldest son in certain families, and that these eldest sons should possess a power of perpetual veto—if such a proposal were made, then the author of such a proposal would be speedily incarcerated in an asylum for idiots. To that opinion, expressed four years ago, I adhere now. I regret that the Amendment which has been moved will not enable me to vote for it, and I am sorry that it has been moved, because the country will be misled by the division to-night. I know many Members of the House who are not going to vote for the Amendment, but who are going to do the more practical thing of voting for the Motion of the Primo Minister. You are placing many Members of the House in a false position. Suppose that you get 100 votes in favour of your Amendment, the country will be justified in coming to the conclusion that there are only 100 Members of the House of Commons who are in favour of the abolition of the House of Lords, whereas there are double or treble that number, as would be proved if a clear issue was raised upon the subject. I therefore regret deeply that the Amendment has been moved, and I shall not be able to record my vote for it.


The hon. Member for Gainsborough in the earlier portion of the debate spoke with the courage of his convictions, and remarked that there was no difference between the Amendment and the Resolution. But the hon. Member who has just sat down seems perfectly satisfied with the wisdom of the course embodied in the Resolution, which resolves itself into this, that this House is asked to emasculate and to cripple an essential portion of the Constitution which has withstood the storm and stress of political strife for centuries past. The hon. Member for Brighton, speaking a few days ago, said it was perfectly conceivable that the majority in the country might be the minority in this House, and he asked whether the Government were going to place this unbridled power in the hands of a single Chamber. The hon. Member for Elland made an onslaught on what he was pleased to call the indefensible and untenable position. I think that the hon. Member entirely misappreciates the situation, because there is more statesmanlike capacity in the Upper Chamber than the hon. Member seems to dream of in his philosophy. The hon. Member for the Hyde Division of Cheshire, who made an able speech yesterday, said there was only one thing more difficult than making a maiden speech, and that was matrimony. But there is one thing far more trying than that, and that is the disagreeable stages which are preliminary to the dissolution of marriage. And when we see an hon. Member with a promising political career before him, ruthlessly entering upon a path of disruption and distrust instead of harmonious adjustment, one cannot help thinking that evil communications corrupt good manners. Then he went on to say that this House drew its vigour and vitality from frequent contact with the people. Might I suggest to him that the House of Lords is not altogether bereft of similar sources from which to draw its life blood, being constantly replenished by a fresh infusion from among the most powerful minds and intellects in the country. It is for this reason that the country has come to regard the House of Lords, with all its faults and all its deficiencies—and what human institution can boast of being perfect—as a useful and valuable institution, representing the country at large with its law-abiding will and convictions, as compared with the fluctuating and transient views so often observable in popular assemblies. The Party opposite seem altogether obsessed by the notion that the country is under the despotic heel of an irresponsible and oppressive Second Chamber. Whence do they derive that impression? Is it from the people? If so, when? We know that at the last election if there was one thing brought out more strongly than another it was that hon. Gentlemen opposite were determined to maintain at all hazards the present fiscal system of the country, which, whether it is obsolete or not, has certainly not borne out the prospects which its authors predicted to the people. We are told that the House of Lords rejected the Education Bill. I should like to know what section of the people really approved of that Bill. I know that the Chief Secretary for Ireland stated that he was prepared to make very special concessions to denominations other than the Church of England. But that was not within the four corners of the Bill. There was not one single line which bore upon it, though I have no doubt they were honestly determined to carry out their intentions. The hon. Member the Undersecretary of State for the Home Department, while rather wearing his heart upon his sleeve, at the same time showed the cloven hoof when he told us that a reformed House of Lords meant a weakened House of Commons. So far as I can gather from his idea of the case, the upper Chamber is to be deprived of all authority so that we may invite the country to enjoy a period of uninterrupted enjoyment of a reign of terror interspersed with occasional interludes of dictatorships! The President of the Board of Trade, in drawing up his black list of iniquities charged against the Lords, told us of their action on the Franchise Bill in 1884. What happened then? The Conservative Party in the House of Lords insisted that it would be most proper that the Bill should be accompanied by a scheme of redistribution. After a good deal of demur the suggestion was acquiesced in, with the result that there was harmony and concord, and the passage of the Bill was facilitated. Instead of beating the air as the Prime Minister and the Government are attempting to do, let me make a suggestion to them. Let the Prime Minister await the Report of Lord Newton's Committee, of which an ex-Prime Minister has been appointed Chairman. ["No."| If you will not accept that suggestion, then accept the suggestion of the noble Lord the Member for Marylebone, of the referendum. I know that it involves considerable expense, but I think that no expense or trouble is too great to ascertain the minds and convictions of the people of the country, when you propound measures which go deep down to the roots and to the strength of the Constitution. If the Prime Minister refuses that solution, why should he not appoint a hybrid Committee to consider the difficulties which have arisen I would respectfully remind hon. Gentlemen opposite that past experience conveys a wholesome lesson which the Government would do well to take to heart, and it is that if you tamper with the Constitution of this country, if you destroy the well-balanced and harmonious symmetry which has been evolved in the course of several centuries, you will be laying up for yourselves a storm of social and political trouble compared to which the eternal Irish problem with all its hideous intensity and perennial recrudescence will be as but a mere dust in the balance.

Mk. RUFUS ISAACS (Reading)

It is a most remarkable feature of the debate that none of the able speakers of the Conservative Party have advanced any real defence of the House of Lords as it at present exists, or, what is more important, of the continuance of the veto as now exercised. For seventeen of the twenty years preceding the beginning of the present Parliament that veto was not put into operation. It is because during the seventeen years of Conservative Administration the House of Lords has never exercised the right which we are told it is its power and function to exercise; and because when a Liberal Government is in power and measures are sent up from this House the House of Lords for the first time for a long period, wakes up from its slumbers to exercise its veto, that we are forced against our will to consider how a Constitution which is supposed to act fairly to both sides can be amended so as to place the two great political parties in positions or greater equality. The Marquess of Lansdowne claims that nobody would venture to say that the House of Lords did not give an impartial hearing to any measure which came up from the House of Commons. [OPPOSITION cheers.] Those cheers are somewhat faint, and I am not surprised. They suggest a question which I should have thought it would not have been necessary to put. Is there anyone on the Opposition side of the House who thinks that an impartial hearing is given to any Liberal measure sent from this House to the House of Lords? [OPPOSITION cries of "Yes."] Is the hearing given to a Conservative measure an impartial hearing? [Cries of "No."] Is it really necessary to discuss the impartiality of the House of Lords? [OPPOSITION cries of "No."] I am glad that hon. Members opposite agree with me—it is useless to consider any such suggestion of impartiality—If the veto was exercised impartially why did the House of Lords pass the Education Act in 1902, a constructive measure of first-class importance put forward by the Conservative Party after it had been elected on a totally different issue? We are told that our constitutional system is bi-cameral; in theory that is correct, but in practice it is not. In reality the right of veto in the House of Lords is exercised at the expense of one Party in the House of Commons and for the benefit of the other Party. That is the true position of affairs. The Leader of the Opposition is the last who has a right to complain of the Prime Minister's Resolution, for he was mainly responsible for the use of the House of Lords as a weapon against the Liberal Government. It is said the House of Lords delays certain legislation in order that the will of the people in regard to it may be ascertained. Is that a true view of the situation? How do you ascertain the will of the people? I agree, as we all must agree, with what fell from the noble Lord the Member for Marylebone in that extremely interesting speech he made when he said that what is meant by the will of the people is the will of the majority. There is only one constitutional means for ascertaining the will of the majority of the people, and that is at the general election, and it might be expected of a Party which prides itself on being the Constitutional Party that they should defer to this method of expression of popular opinion. What is suggested by our opponents as the true test in order to enable the House of Lords to ascertain the will of the people? One or two speakers have suggested the use of the referendum. It is too late for me to discuss that question to-night, and I will content myself with saying that it is an impractical measure which would not work under the system by which we are now governed. "What is more, it would be quite useless and very much to the detriment of the poorer Members. [Cries of "Why?"] Because it entails expense. [An HON. MEMBER: "But the poor would not have to pay for it."] It would involve a kind of miniature general election. Does anyone who knows the mind of the people imagine for a moment that there could be a referendum to the people without the introduction of a number of other matters totally unconnected with the question before them? [An HON. MEMBER: "Chinese labour, for instance."] Yes, Chinese labour if you like. That is a good argument against the referendum. It the answer given to the referendum was in favour of those who sit on this side of the House, what would be said on the other side? Why, exactly what was said about the general election. They would at once say the answer had been given not upon this particular question but upon a number of other questions. You have only one constitutional means of ascertaining the will of the majority of the people. When a Parliament has become old and stale, when a number of by-elections have gone against the Government, it is possible to argue-that the will of the people is changing. It has been said that the House of Commons cannot claim to represent the persistent and continuous will of the majority as expressed at the general election. I am not sure whether anyone in this House quite understood what the Leader of the Opposition meant by the persistent and continuous expression of the will of the majority. How long must it be persistent? For what period? Does it become a persistent and continuous will when it is expressed in favour of the opposite Party, and are we not entitled to say that it is a persistent and continuous will of the people when it has been expressing itself in a. series of by-elections for some two or three years, and when it culminates in the crushing defeat of the Government with the large majority which now sits on these Benches? The Government have produced a scheme which appeals to me for the very reason which apparently arouses the opposition of some of my hon. friends below the gangway. The hon. Member for Barnard Castle, who moved this Amendment, said that the scheme of the Prime Minister was too cautious, too moderate, and too considerate. It is for that reason that I support it. I am myself unable to understand the view of the hon. Member for the Gainsborough Division of Lincolnshire who has come to the conclusion that by supporting the Prime Minister's Resolution he would be voting for abolishing the Second Chamber. There are a number who have put forward that view, but it seems difficult to follow. It appears to me—and I submit this for the earnest consideration of the House—that the scheme of the Prime Minister is devised, not to abolish the Upper House, but to consolidate and strengthen it, and to preserve it so long as it acts in the true spirit of democracy. That is the Prime Minister's Resolution. It seems to me to be perfectly reasonable, and to carry out the expressed views of many Members of the Liberal Party. It professes to be a moderate scheme with the idea of bringing the relations of the two Houses more into harmony. It is intended after discussion in this House, not once or twice, but three times, to have conferences, two at least and probably a third. It is only intended then that the Upper House should no longer have a voice in regard to a measure and that it should be passed independently of them. I submit to the House that that is a proposal for the protection of the House of Lords, because if the House of Lords continues in the path it has marked out for itself the votes given for the proposal in the Amendment of the hon. Member for Barnard Castle will be very much more numerous. There are many in the House who feel strongly the anomalous position in which the representatives of the people are placed by reason of the action of the House of Lords; but, notwithstanding that, we do desire in dealing with any constitutional question to walk warily and cautiously, to take care that any proposal which is to be put before the House, and which is to be carried into execution, should be prudeut and moderate. It is not usual for the people of this country to rush headlong into some great change. They would prefer this change to that in the Amendment, and it is because I am convinced that this view is the one which will commend itself as the right and just manner of dealing with the House of Lords that I appeal to hon. Members on this side of the House, and below the gangway to give the best support to the Prime Minister's Resolution, so that it will have full driving force in the country. Those who are in favour of the abolition of the House of Lords should vote for the Prime Minister's Resolution, in order that we may be able to put before the country the views, I will not say of the Liberal Party, but of all progressives in the House of Commons, to prove to the people that they are the views, not merely of those who are pledged to follow the Prime Minister but of all who think that the time has come when stops should be taken to ensure that the will of the people shall prevail.

EARL PERCY (Kensington, S.)

We have now come to the end of this three days debate, during the greater part of which the emptiness of the Benches in all parts of the House has very accurately reflected the total indifference with which the country regards this Resolution. We are asked to give our verdict upon two separate issues. The first is that raised by the Amendment of the hon. Member for Barnard Castle, and wholly ignored by the President, of the Board of Trade in his reply. The second is that raised by the Resolution itself. I entirely agree with the hon. Member for Cambridge University, who spoke earlier in the debate, that if it were necessary that we should vote in favour of one or other of these proposals I should greatly prefer the Amendment of the hon. Member for Barnard Castle. I prefer the Amendment which says what it means to the Resolution which means something which it does not say. It is quite true that the Amendment is in one respect not quite candid. It does not say, if the House of Lords is to be abolished, whether anything, and, if so, what, is to be put in its place. Most people would imagine that was the first question to be considered before commencing the work of destruction. But I do not quarrel with the omission, the reason for which is obvious. It is, as everyone knows, that the hon. Member, wishes to rally to his support in the lobby as many as possible who are against the House of Lords, and as many as possible who are against the predominance of a single Chamber. It would be quixotic to expect that he would forego that Parliamentary advantage, and it is only another illustration of the utterly unrepresentative character of many of the decisions which are given in this House. But the hon. Member for Barnard Castle is quite explicit as to what he wants the House to do, and as to the grounds on which he asks us to do it. He wishes us to abolish the House of Lords, in the first place, because it is an irresponsible Chamber; in the second place, because it is representative entirely and exclusively of interests which are necessarily opposed to the public welfare; and in the third place, because, as a matter of fact, he says, it has been an obstacle and a hindrance to national progress. Well, I traverse every one of these counts in his indictment. It may be true, and I think it is true, that the House of Lords has certain defects which ought to be remedied, and which both the House of Lords and hon. Members on this side of the House have declared that they are willing to remedy. But I wholly deny that it is in any sense irresponsible. The hon. Member for Barnard Castle explained that he meant that it is not directly elected; but is he going to lay down that direct election is an indispensable qualification for the discharge of public duties and responsibilities? That would be fatal to the principle of hereditary monarchy, to the theory on which we base our judiciary, to the system of the franchise under which the suffrage is in many cases inseparably connected with the hereditary transmission of property. There are thousands of people whose right to vote depends on the property they have inherited. Do you wish to disfranchise every poor man who inherits property? And what are the "interests" which the House of Lords exclusively represents? [MINISTERIAL cries of "Land."] And which are necessarily hostile to the public welfare My right hon. friend the Member for St. George's has pointed out that a large proportion of its Members are men who have filled responsible and distinguished positions in the Colonies, in the Army and Navy, in the House of Commons itself, and in many other professions. They represent, if anything, the quality of experience. Is that a quality which disqualifies for the discharge of legislative functions? The phrase really means nothing else than that a certain number of Peers happen to own landed property. Is that necessarily a disqualification for the exercise of legislative functions, and, if so, is the possession of any property a disqualification? [An HON. MEMBER: It should not be the only qualification.] There is no single Member of the House of Lords who sits merely by virtue of the fact that he holds landed property any more than Members sit in this House because they happen to be millionaires. If we are to compare different kinds of property it is indisputable that land has the advantage, from this point of view, over almost any other form of wealth. As the President of the Board of Trade has himself pointed out, it is irremovable, and therefore its own interests must share in the decay or in the prosperity of national interests, and suffer or prosper according to the wisdom or unwisdom of legislation. It differs, too, from many other kinds of property in that a large portion of the interest on capital must necessarily be spent on the property and on those to whom it gives employment. And, in the third place, from time immemorial the possession of great landed estates has been held by public opinion to demand from the owner, who in the large majority of cases has responded to the call, the discharge of many and varied public duties. As for the final count of the hon. Member's indictment, that the House of Lords has proved an impediment and hindrance to national progress, I am content to rest my case for the time being on the statement made by the Attorney-General in this debate, that the political history of this country has been a history of concessions by the aristocracy which have ended by making us the freest democracy in the world. But if the House of Lords were irresponsible and representative of interests necessarily antagonistic to the national welfare, the conclusion would be not that the House should be abolished, but that it should be reformed. But reform has been ruled out, both in the Resolution and in the Amendment A few months ago I moved a vote of censure on the Government on the ground that they were postponing social reforms in favour of revolutionary change, I do not now think the prospects of social reform more roseate than they were, because I do not think the Front Bench is in earnest about social reform. The President of the Board of Trade referred to defects in the Artisans Dwellings Act, and said that all the misery of the slums is a monument to the incapacity of the Revising Chamber. Then what are the Government about? Why are they fiddling while Rome is burning? Two sessions have passed, and there has not been even a proposal to bring in a Bill to amend that Act. But while I do not take a more cheerful view of the prospects of social reform, I do not think that constitutional revolution is likely to occupy as much of our attention as at one time seemed probable. The proposal to revolutionise the Government of Ireland has already ended almost before it had begun; and I doubt whether the attack on the British Constitution is ever likely seriously to begin at all. The Prime Minister called the Resolution a preface, and I imagined it might turn out to be the preface to a pirated edition. No one, however, will credit Lord Rosebery with having had the slightest hand in drawing up this Resolution. But a preface is not a beginning. It is either an explanation or an apology. This preface is not meant for an apology, and if it is an explanation, all I can say is that a poorer literary effort it has never been my lot to peruse. Even with the assistance of the Prime Minister's explanation we are still in doubt as to the number of years it will take under his scheme before a Bill can be passed through Parliament. The ambiguity of the Resolution is not due to any lack of literary ability on the part of a Cabinet which comprises the Secretary of State for India, and the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland; and it is not due to any lack of time, because they have given so much time to drawing up the Resolution that they have not been able even to frame the Licensing Bill that was promised in the King's Speech. It must be due to the inherent impossibility of the task of trying to invest with an appearance of seriousness a policy which consists in abolishing something which never existed—the veto which the Lords have never possessed. We pressed some time ago for a Report of the Colonial Conference. I wish we could have a Report of the Cabinet deliberations on this subject, because nothing quite so funny can have happened in history since the famous discussion in '' Alice in Wonder- land" as to bow the Cheshire cat was to be beheaded, when the executioner said you could not cut off a head which has no body, the king said that if there was a head you could cut it off, and the queen's argument was that you were not to talk nonsense, and that if something was not done in less than no time she would have everybody's head cut off all round. This Resolution expresses the same sentiments in a somewhat less felicitous form. For many months past we have heard the House of Lords assailed on the ground that it was hereditary, that it was partisan, that it rejected measure, and that it passed them. We naturally expected, therefore, to be asked to affirm a Resolution which would declare that an hereditary Chamber had no title to be consulted as to the form in which effect should be given to the wishes of the people. But it turns out now that all these denunciations were mere conjurors tricks intended to mystify and mislead the audience. The Government have refused to take part in the deliberations of the Select Committee on the reform of the House of Lords on the ground that they have a plan of their own, and now it appears that this plan has no relevance whatever to the criticisms which they have made on the existing system. What we are asked to do is not to declare our hostility to the hereditary principle, but to place upon record our belief in the futility of representative institutions. In plain English it means nothing less than that, in order to give effect to the wishes of Members of the House of Commons, it is absolutely necessary that the people of this country shall have no opportunity of saying whether those wishes correspond to their own. That is not an attack on the House of Lords; it is an indictment of the House of Commons. The President of the Board of Trade said that a great many powers of the House of Lords would remain. I agree. They would still retain the power which Ministers most dislike of asking inconvenient questions, such as whether, when right hon. Gentlemen talk of liberty in Ireland, they mean liberty to drive off other people's cattle. They would still have power to amend and to reject Bills as often as they came before them. What this Resolution really does is to empower a temporary majority in the House of Commons just before a dissolution to suspend the whole legislative machinery in respect to any measure which they thought would not be accepted it' put before their constituents. For this Resolution as it stands, and even as it was explained by the speech of the Prime Minister, would apparently abolish altogether the veto of the Crown. It is not intended to do so, but that only shows how carelessly the Resolution has boon drawn. If we put in "subject to the veto of the Crown," what becomes of the Resolution? The Resolution says the will of the House of Commons is to prevail. It cannot mean that it is to be final, otherwise the veto of the Crown would be nugatory. It cannot be seriously suggested that we are to lay down for the first time the proposition that the opinion of the House of Commons ought to carry weight and influence with the Crown. So that the proposal really is that in future where there is a conflict between the two Houses as to what the people want, the decision should be taken away from the people themselves and transferred to the Crown. But this new function of the Crown is not to be exercised at any given moment, but only after several years of conflict, and the Government proposes to shorten the duration of Parliaments. Therefore in practice it would never come into operation except on the eve of a dissolution. And then, when the presumption is that Ministers have lost the confidence of the people, the Crown is to be invested with a special prerogative, which enables it to give effect to their wishes. Is it possible to imagine a more absolutely futile proposal, or one which in practice would be more certain to remain a dead letter? I now pass on to my second proposition, that the plan of the Government is not only unworkable in practice, but that so far from removing, it would perpetuate in an aggravated form the very evils which hon. Gentlemen opposite allege as a justification for their attack on the present system. Their complaint is that the present system operates to the disadvantage of the Liberal Party, and that it gives the Conservative Party an advantage which is unfair to them and detrimental to the public interest. I take first the disadvantage to the Liberal Party. It is not pretended that any measure brought in by Liberals, which the people want, has been permanently defeated, or even that it has been delayed for more than a few years. The utmost that has and can be alleged is that there has been some delay, and that that delay was caused by an irresponsible body. But how would this Resolution alter that state of things? The delay will be as great as ever. [MINISTERIAL cries of "Oh!"] It might be even greater, for the President of the Board of Trade argued that the Home Rule Bill of 1892 could not have become law before the end of the Parliament in 1895, and that the new Government would have had to call a special session in order to delete it from the Statute-book. The delay will be as great as ever it was, but the power to cause delay would be exercised in a more irresponsible manner than it is now, because manifestly the House of Lords would know that delay could not of itself occasion the loss of the measure, and that if it was lost, the responsibility for its loss would rest not with them, but with the Crown. Then I come to the alleged advantage which the existing system gives to the Conservative Party. That is the main grievance, and it was never more picturesquely described than by Lord I Crewe when he said the Liberal Party were playing a game with the dice loaded against them. The Prime Minister apologised for using the same metaphor. Why should he apologise? It shows exactly what the grievance is really worth. For once abandon the metaphor of a game—a game, by the way, in which the stakes are not the money of the players but the rights and interests of other people—and substitute for it the true analogy of the administration of a public trust by a changing board of directors, each of them bound by rigorous rules which prevent them from investing the shareholders' money in speculative securities without reference to the shareholders, and the grievance disappears altogether. If in that case the rules press more hardly against one set of directors than the other, that is not a proof that the rules are in themselves unfair; it is only a proof that one set of directors is more speculatively inclined than the other. But if the grievance were a genuine one how would the scheme of the Government remove it? Hon. Gentlemen opposite think the House of Lords ought to have rejected the Education Bill of the last Government although it had been passed by the House of Commons, and the President of the Board of Trade said, in a speech outside this House, that the Party opposite were afraid that if the people returned a tariff reform Government the House of Lords would not throw out a Tariff Reform Bill. That is the most cheering news for the cause of tariff reform I have yet heard. I thought it was already dead, but it now appears that we must abolish the House of Lords in order to prevent its adoption. But would it prevent it? On the contrary, it would make it inevitable, for, if a tariff' reform Government came into office under the system proposed in this Resolution, they would only have to suspend the Constitution and their proposals would become law automatically. Therefore neither of the grievances which are contemplated by hon. Gentlemen opposite would be removed, but would be intensified if the Resolution were carried. But the real motive of the Resolution is, under a specious pretext of giving the House of Commons greater control over legislation, to give to the Ministry of the day greater control over the House of Commons by investing it with powers and authority which it was the express design of the Constitution to withhold from it. The whole assumption is that Ministers represent the people and that their legislative proposals will be in accordance with their interests. I say the theory of the Constitution is precisely the reverse. Ministers are not the representatives of the people, but the servants of the Crown; they need not have a seat in this House, if they accept office they cannot sit here without re-election, and, so far from the presumption being that they will act in accordance with the public interests, it is that at any moment they may become a menace to popular liberty, and that it is necessary to surround them with the most elaborate safeguards against an abuse either of their executive or of their legislative authority. To the House of Commons whose function it is to voice public grievances is assigned the only effective check against executive tyranny, the power of refusing supplies; and to the House of Lords which in its judicial capacity is the supreme interpreter of the laws as they exist, is given a co-ordinate legislative responsibility with the Commons of insisting that no subject of the King is deprived by law of the rights which he enjoys by law without the express and deliberate assent of the people. If we are to be asked to change this constitutional machinery the first proposition that must be established by the Government is that it has failed in its purpose. But the charge against the House of Lords is not that it has failed to answer its purpose—but that it answers it too well; not that it has ceased to be a check on Ministers, but that it is what it was intended to be, inconvenient to them. I do not believe it is possible to point to a single measure introduced by the Liberals in the last thirty years which the Lords have rejected, that would not have taken away rights of the kind I have referred to, or a single measure introduced by Conservatives of the same description which the House of Lords has assented to. Can anyone say that the House of Commons has equally well fulfilled its constitutional duty? Every one knows that it has largely lost the effective control of Supply, that it has almost abandoned its initiative in legislation and that even the discussion of legislation introduced by the Government is smuggled upstairs and stifled by the closure. The fact is the House of Commons has already parted with its independence. It becomes every day less and less a check upon Ministers and more and more a passive instrument for registering their decrees. And while the House has become the servants of the Ministry, the Ministry has become the slave of political organisation and the party caucus. Why, in the last two sessions we have seen a labour Bill passed in a form denounced by its own authors in obedience to the dictates of the Trade Unions, and the Irish Council Bill, which obtained a majority of 300 in this House on its First Reading, withdrawn at the bidding of the Irish Nationalist Convention. Two processes have gone on side by side. By the skilful way in which the votes of minorities are organised in the country the caucus has been enabled to establish its power over the Ministry, and the Ministry terrorises the House of Commons by the threat of a dissolution. Nothing is more remarkable than the emphasis which hon. Gentlemen put on the power of the House of Lords to force a dissolution. The great hold which a Government have over their followers is the fear that a dissolution may follow if they do not do as they are told, and the threat loses half its force when there is an equal possibility that a dissolution will follow if they do. Ministers object to the House of Lords not because it affects the control of the House of Commons over legislation, but because it is an obstacle to their own control over the House of Commons. You will pass this Resolution with your accustomed majority, a majority perhaps as great as that which passed the Irish Council Bill. And the result will be the same but with this difference, that it will draw the attention of the country to the paramount need of a reform of the House of Commons itself which will make it a truer reflex of the real balance of opinion in the country and restore something of the independence which it has lost. Does anybody deny that that is a view which is widespread and growing? There is nothing more remarkable than the complete indifference with which the public tolerates what in this House is regarded as a public scandal. Few Governments lose anything by applying the closure; no Opposition loses anything by resorting to obstruction. Why this indifference of public opinion, unless it be that the people are not hankering for controversial legislation, that they are essentially a people of compromise and keenly alive to the great danger which may attend the unchecked despotism of a temporary majority. I was reading the other day the classic work of Mr. Bryce on the American Constitution, and I was struck by his observation that "it is becoming an increasing belief among competent observers in the United States that the day is not far distant when in England some veto power or other constitutional safeguard must be interposed to protect the people against a hasty decision of their representatives." But the danger now is not merely that the decision may be a hasty one, but that it may be the result of a chance combination of minorities. Against that danger, I believe the country will insist upon being guarded. But the whole policy of the Government tends in the opposite direction. They wish to give prominence to controversial legislation, to cripple still further the influence of the minority, to strengthen the power of the Government inside the House, and to remove all checks upon its despotism from without. The feeling outside this House is people is that the power of the Executive has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished, and I say that so long as there is that divergence of view, the only effect of your policy will be—that Governments will increasingly lack that which more than anything else determines the success of their legislative proposals—the driving force of public opinion; and obstruction, instead of being regarded as discreditable, will be looked upon as the only effective strategy by which a minority, otherwise impotent, can rescue the most vital interests of the nation from destruction, and, like the Roman general of old, cunctando restituere rem.


It is always a pleasure to hear and a difficult task to follow the noble Lord in debate, and he will not, I am sure, take it amiss when I say that if we could regard him as a typical instance of the normal operation of the hereditary principle, some of our objections to the House of Lords would be substantially mitigated. But unfortunately experience shows us that the case of the noble Lord cannot be relied upon as the outcome of the settled purpose of Providence, but rather as a happy and unforeseeable episode in the chapter of accidents. Much as I admire, and as the House must admire, his dialectical and debating ability, I must say, having carefully listened to him to-night with that attention his speeches always deserve, it is with surprise I find that the noble Lord has contributed—at least so far as I have been able to discover—only two new arguments to our debate. The first is, that he discerns in the Resolution a covert and disguised attack—upon what? The veto of the Crown. Well, I was under the impression that the veto of the Crown was one of the obsolete powers in the British Constitution. I do not know precisely how long it is since the power was exercised. I think not since the reign of William III.


Two hundred and three years.


I have it on the authority of one of our greatest experts in these matters that it is more than 200 years since it was exercised, and if it should ever be exercised again, upon whose advice would it be exercised? Of the very Ministers of the Crown whom the noble Lord regards and denounces as amongst the most dangerous enemies of popular freedom, and who, after all, are the creatures of the House of Commons, whose supremacy this Resolution affirms The other novel argument contributed by the noble Lord is this, that if the resolution were brought into operation the House of Lords, which he admits does now by the exercise of its powers substantially delay legislation, would be able to do it as much in the future as it has done in the past. He has omitted to notice a most important phrase in the Resolution, which in the view of the Government is a phrase of the highest moment—that it is in the lifetime of a single Parliament that the House of Commons is to be supreme. It would take a great deal more than the somewhat superficial review the noble Lord has given us of the acts of the Lords during the present century to convince any student of history and politics that the restriction of their veto to the lifetime of a single Parliament would not have had an enormous effect in adding beneficial measures to the Statute book. I want clearly to state what is the position as it emerges at the end of our debate. I begin with an acknowledgment that personally I have been a slow and, to some degree, even a reluctant convert to the necessity of this particular method of dealing with the problem. I have cast about—as which of us has not?— during all these years of opposition in this House to try and discover some way of escape from the situation, which almost every speaker in this debate, on whichever side of the House he sits, has acknowledged to be indefensible, that would at one and the same time give effect to the democratic principle that the will of the people must prevail and do the least practical violence to our constitutional usages. I have even—scandalous as I am sure the avowal will seem to some hon. friends behind me—at one time coquetted with the referendum. But hoping, as many of us have hoped, that a solution could be found in the shape of what I may call a constitutional modus vivendi—a convention similar to the conventions of which both our common law and our Parliamentary law are full, not written on paper, not defined in the exact language of an Act of Parlia- ment—hoping for the establishment of such a modus vivendi (a re-establishment, let me remind the House, of a practice which actually prevailed sixty or even fifty years ago, when the House of Lords submitted to the sagacious guidance of the Duke of Wellington, Lord Aberdeen, and other statesmen of the past), the experiences of recent years have convinced us that that is an unattainable hope. Yes; but why? Because it would be the essence of such an understanding that the House of Lords—admittedly in the language of the Leader of the Opposition a subordinate partner, admittedly powerless to control executive action or financial policy—should, in the sphere of legislation also, be content with the functions of revision and consultation, and, if need arose, of reasonable delay. But has the House of Lords shown any disposition to accept such an understanding] It has fallen, unfortunately, in those latter days into the hands of guides and leaders—not necessarily and not always sitting within its own walls—who have degraded it from the position of a revising Chamber, and in some sense an arbitral authority, and who have converted it, as everybody knows, into the docile and subservient instrument of a single Party in the State. That is the crux of the whole problem. It is that fact clearly brought home and burned in upon the minds, at any rate of the progressive electorate of this country, which accounts for the indignation and resentment which is felt outside these walls. What is it they see? I am enunciating a proposition which has not been seriously controverted by any speaker in any quarter of the House during the whole of this debate when I say that what the people see is a partisan Assembly, worked in a partisan spirit, and yet assuming to hold the position and to exercise the functions of an unprejudiced umpire. In my opinion it is a moot point whether the House of Lords is more dangerous to the State when it abdicates or when it abuses its proper functions, for that is the vicious alternation to which, under the unhappy guidance to which it now submits, it is in practice reduced. I take once again the hackneyed but most instructive case of education. Whatever else may be said about the election of 1900, no one can pretend that the education question was at that election a live issue. Yet within two years a Bill was passed through the House of Commons which, it is not an exaggeration to say, effected a complete revolution from top to bottom in our educational system, a Bill which was assented to by the House of Lords without delay and without demur, although not only had it never been submitted to the people, but as we now know from what has since happened if it had been submitted to the people it would have been by an enormous majority repudiated. This is an illustration which cannot be too frequently repeated and pressed home. Then we come to the general election of 1906. In England and Wales education was one of the predominant controversies of the hour. A new Parliament, fresh from the polls, with the instructions of the electors freshly written as it were upon their electoral tablets, passes through this House—what shall I call it? I believe it was a very good Bill, but at any rate it was reduced, it was diluted, it was the attenuated minimum as compared with the popular demand, and that Bill, as we know, was first mutilated and then strangled out of existence by this impartial, dispassionate, revisory body. The truth is that, whatever the noble Lord's theory may suggest, in practice the House of Lords gives effect to the will of the House of Commons when you have a Tory majority; the House of Lords frustrates the will of the House of Commons when you have a Liberal majority; and neither in the one case nor in the other does it consider—what, indeed, it has no means of ascertaining—the will of the people. We have heard in the course of this debate put forward by various speakers what I believe to be an entirely new-fangled constitutional doctrine—the doctrine, I mean, that the House of Lords has by prerogative the power, and by some mysterious form of intuition the means, of determining at what precise moment the House of Commons ceases to represent the will of the people. I am not going to argue that question. I have nothing, I think, to add to what was so lucidly stated by my hon. and learned friend the Attorney- General, but I should like, since quotations are the order of the day, to make one quotation, and it shall be the only one with which I shall trouble the House It bears on this very point directly and gives the opinion of, perhaps, the greatest Conservative statesman who ever led the Party opposite. I am going to read the language used by Sir Robert Peel in 1831, on the day after the Second Reading of the first Reform Bill. He was arguing, of course, against the democratic constitution which now prevails. This is what he said to the House— When once you have established the overwhelming influence of the people over this House, when you have this House the express organ of the public voice, what other authority in the State can, nay, what other authority in the State ought, to control its will or reject its decisions? The people are the judges of their own interests; the people are enlightened and well affected to the Throne; the House of Commons is the organ of the people; who will presume to check its patriotic course? You could not have more concisely or more admirably stated than in the prophetic language of that great Conservative statesman the principles for which we, as the Liberal Party, in this Resolution are to-day contending. I have stated the problem, and I come to the question with which I will deal very shortly—How are you going to solve it? Nobody disputes its existence. The noble Lord himself does not. You may put something else in the place of the House of Lords; you may call it by the same name if you please; but that will not really alter the situation which I have described. Our plan is entirely without prejudice to any changes of that kind which may ultimately be decided upon. I am not going to prejudge the deliberations of the Committee to which the noble Lord has referred, although, perhaps, after a good many years study of this subject, I may say that I am inclined to be sceptical of the possibility of creating in this country a new Second Chamber which can be relied upon to perform the functions, and only the functions, which are appropriate to such a body in a democratic constitution. However that may be, and I do not wish to prejudge the issue, in any such scheme two things are certain. The first is that it would be far more revolutionary, in the true sense of the word, than the proposal which is now being made by the Government, and in the next place it will take time, years it may be, or a life-time of a whole generation, to bring it into effective use. But the question for this House of Commons is—How are we to deal with a practical and urgent situation which cannot afford to wait until the womb of the future has conceived and brought forth a new Second Chamber up to date? That is the reason why the Government now put forward the plan which my right hon. friend the Prime Minister has described to the House. That plan has been attacked from two entirely different points of view. On the one hand, we have been told by what I may call the regular Opposition that it would annihilate the legislative existence of the House of Lords, and in fact establish a system of government by a single Chamber. On the other hand, we have been told by the hon. Gentlemen who sit below the gangway, and who have brought forward the Amendment, that it is a half-hearted and imperfect measure, that it would stimulate an irresponsible body to interpose arbitrary delays between the declaration of the popular will and its legislative expression and embodiment, and that, therefore, we ought to go in for the simpler and more drastic plan of abolishing the House of Lords. These contradictory attacks may be left, to some extent, to answer one another. But let me say, speaking for myself—I do not know how far I express the views of my hon. friends around me—I must confess that the prospect of government by a single Chamber does not fill my mind with quite those apprehensions which it seems to engender in many bosoms on the other side of the House. "[An HON. MEMBER: Why not accept the Amendment?] I am going to deal with that. When I look around the world at the constitutional systems which are in actual operation, apart from those countries where federal government prevails, I do not see many Second Chambers—I doubt whether I see any—which are really justifying their existence. But I must add a personal admission of my own view, and in my hot political youth, in answer to the question put in those days by my right hon. friend the Secretary of State for India whether I would mend or end the House of Lords, I used to answer with the shorter of these two words. I must say that when I heard all the lip homage which was paid by the orators on the other side of the House to the virtues of our bi-cameral system I felt that such language came with singularly little force from gentlemen who admit on the one hand, as the Leader of the Opposition has told us, that, so far as administration and finance are concerned, we have long lived under the uncontrolled rule of a single Chamber and who, on the other hand, so soon as they have secured what they consider a safe majority here in the House of Commons, consign the Second Chamber to a term of hibernation which, for all legislative purposes, might just as well be the long sleep of death. Although I am not myself in a state of apprehension as to government by a single Chamber, in dealing with our constitutional system we have to proceed cautiously and to take into account the opinion of the nation. In my view the opinion of the nation is not in favour of the establishment of a single Chamber. That is not a mere blind adherence to ancient tradition. It is only fair to remember that every year adds to the magnitude and complexity of our duties, and that an inevitable curtailment of debate on many points. It may well be thought that there ought to be an opportunity for the reconsideration of measures which have been discussed in this House before they are embodied in the Statute Book. I wish to make a strong plea to those who favour this particular solution of our constitutional difficulties to remember that, whilst voting against the Prime Minister's Motion in the hope of substituting an Amendment of their own in this sense, it has no hope of adoption. By doing so they will be dividing at a critical moment the forces of progress, and will be creating the perfectly false impression to the world outside that all sections of the Liberal and Progressive Party are not united in their determination to adopt the most simple, the most practicable, and the most easily-attainable means of putting an end to a system which has become both dangerous and intolerable. The Government's plan has these two advantages: that, without touching the question of the composition and character of the House of Lords, it deprives it of the partisan veto it at present possesses, and leaves it only with those powers of revision and deliberation which are the proper functions of a Second Chamber under a democratic Constitution; and secondly, it does all this without derogating in any way from the supreme authority of the House of Commons. I agree with the Prime Minister that this scheme must be accompanied by an abridgment of the duration of Parliament. The scheme will deal effectually with all the difficulties of the case. The situation which confronts us is at once intolerable and dangerous, and the remedy proposed by the Government is at once simple and effectual. Let the House of Commons by a decisive voice to-night adopt with emphasis the principle of the Resolution, and I venture to say that it will have

taken the first and the longest step on the road to the final emancipation of the people.

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

The House divided:— Ayes, 315, Noes, 100. (Division List No. 251.)

Acland, Francis Dyke Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.
Adkins, W. Ryland D. Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)
Agnew, George William Clarke, C. Goddard (Peckham) Harmsworth,CecilB.(Worc'r)
Ainsworth, John Stirling Cleland, J. W. Harmsworth,R.L.(Caithn'ss-sh
Allen,A.Acland (Christchurch) Cobbold, Felix Thornley Hart-Davies, T.
Allen, Charles P. (Stroud) Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)
Armitage, R. Collins,SirWm.J.(S.Pancras,W. Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)
Armstrong, W. C. Heaton Corbett,CH(Sussex,E.Grinst'd Haworth, Arthur A.
Ashton, Thomas Gair Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Hedges, A. Paget
Asquith,Rt.Hn. Herbert Henry Cory, Clifford John Helme, Norval Watson
Astbury, John Meir Cotton, Sir H. J. S. Hemmerde, Edward George
Atherley,Jones, L. Cowan, W. H. Henderson, J.M.(Aberdeen,W.)
Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth) Cox, Harold Herbert.Colonel Ivor(Mon.S.)
Baker,Joseph A.(Finsbury,E.) Cremer, William Randal Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Crombie, John William Hobart, Sir Robert
Baring,Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Crosfield, A. H. Hobhouse, Charles E. H.
Barker, John Crossley, William J. Holden, E. Hopkinson
Barlow, Jn. Emmott (Somerset) Dalmeny, Lord Holland, Sir William Henry
Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Davies,David(Montgomery Co. Holt, Richard Durning
Barnard, E. B. Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan Hope, W. Bateman(Somerset,N.
Barran, Rowland Hirst Davies, Timothy (Fulham) Horniman, Emslie John
Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone.N.) Davies, W. Howell (Bristol.S.) Horridge, Thomas Gardner
Beale, W. P. Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.) Howard, Hon. Geoffrey
Beauchamp), E. Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh. Hutton, Alfred Eddison
Beck, A. Cecil Dickinson,W.H. (St.Pancras.N Hyde, Clarendon
Bellairs, Carlyon Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Idris, T. H. W.
Benn,SirJ. Williams (Dev'np'rt Duckworth, James Isaacs, Rufus Daniel
Benn,W(Tower Hamlets.S.Geo Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley) Jackson, R. S.
Bennett, E. N. Dunne,Major E. Martin(Wals'll Jardine, Sir J.
Berridge, T. H. D. Edwards, Frank (Radnor) Jones,SirD.Brynmor(Swansea
Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon) Elibank, Master of Jones, Leif (Appleby)
Billson, Alfred Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward Jones,William (Carnarvonshire
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Erskine, David C. Kearley, Hudson E.
Boulton, A. C. F. Essex, R. W. Kekewich, Sir George
Bramsdon, T. A. Esslemont, George Birnie King, Alfred John (Knutsford)
Branch, James Eve, Harry Trelawney Kitson, Rt. Hon. Sir James
Brigg, John Everett, R. Lacey Laidlaw, Robert
Bright, J. A. Faber, G. H. (Boston) Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)
Brocklehurst, W. B. Ferens, T. R. Lambert, George
Brodie, H. C. Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter Lamont, Norman
Brooke, Stopford Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Layland-Barratt, Francis
Brunner,J.F.L.(Lanes.,Leigh) Freeman-Thomas, Freeman Leese,Sir Joseph F.(Accrington)
BrunnerRtHnSir JT(Cheshire) Fuller, John Michael F. Lever, A. Levy( Essex,Harwich)
Bryce, J. Annan Fullerton, Hugh Lever, W.H.(Cheshire,Wirral)
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Furness, Sir Christopher Levy, Maurice
Buckmaster, Stanley O. Gardner.Col. Alan(Hereford,S.) Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Gladstone.Rt.Hn.HerbertJohn Lough, Thomas
Burnyeat, W. J. D. Glendinning, R. G. Lupton, Arnold
Buxton.Rt.Hn.Sydney Charles Goddard, Daniel Ford Luttrell, Hugh Fownes
Cairns, Thomas Gooch, George Peabody Lyell, Charles Henry
Cameron, Robert Grant, Corrie Macdonald,J.M.(Falkirk B'ghs
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Greenwood, G. (Peterborough) Maclean, Donald
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Greenwood, Hamar (York) Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.
Causton,Rt.Hn.RichardKnight Grey,Rt.Hon. Sir Edward M'Callum, John M.
Cawley, Sir Frederick Griffith, Ellis J. M'Crae, George
Chance, Frederick William Grove, Arohilbald M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald
Channing, Sir Francis Allston Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)
Cheetham, John Frederick Gulland, John W. M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)
M'Micking, Major G. Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro' Thomasson, Franklin
Maddison, Frederick Bees, J. D. Thompson,J.W.H.(Somerset,E
Mallet, Charles E. Rendall, Athelstan Tillett, Louis John
Manfield, Harry (Northants) Renton, Major Leslie Tomkinson, James
Marks,G.Croydon(Launceston) Rickett, J. Compton Torrance, Sir A. M.
Marnham, F. J. Ridsdale, E. A. Toulmin, George
Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry) Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.) Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Massie, J. Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside) Ure, Alexander
Menzies, Walter Robinson, S. Verney, F. W.
Micklem, Nathaniel Robson, Sir William Snowdon Vivian, Henry
Molteno, Percy Alport Roe, Sir Thomas Walker, H. Do R. (Leicester)
Mond, A. Rogers, F. E. Newman Walters, John Tudor
Montagu, E. S. Rose, Charles Day Walton, Sir John L. (Leeds.S.)
Montgomery, H. G. Runciman, Walter Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall) Russell, T. W. Ward, W.Dudley (Southampton
Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Samuel,Herbert L. (Cleveland)! Waring, Walter
Morley, Rt. Hon. John Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel) Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Morrell, Philip Scarisbrick, T. T. L. Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)
Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde) Wason,JohnCathcart(O rkney)
Murray, James Schwann,SirC.E.(Manchester) Waterlow, D. S.
Myer, Horatio Sears, J. E. Watt, Henry A.
Napier, T. B. Seaverns, J. H. Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw) Seely, Major J. B. Weir, James Galloway
Nicholson,CharlesN(Doncast'r Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford) White, George (Norfolk)
Norman, Sir Henry Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.) White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire
Norton, Capt. Cecil William Sherwell, Arthur James White, Luke (York, E.R.)
Nussey, Thomas Willans Shipman, Dr. John G. Whitehead, Rowland
Nuttall, Harry Silcock, Thomas Ball Whitley,JohnHenry(Halifax)
Partington, Oswald Simon, John Allsebrook Whittaker,SirThomas Palmer
Paulton, James Mellor Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John Wiles, Thomas
Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek) Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarth')
Pearce, William (Limehouse) Smith,F. E. (Liverpool.Walton) Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)
Pearson, Sir W. D. (Colchester Soames, Arthur Wellesley J. Williamson, A.
Pearson,W.H.M. (Suffolk.Eye) Soares, Ernest J. Wills, Arthur Walters
Philipps,Col.Ivor (S'thampton) Spicer, Sir Albert Wilson,Hon.C.H.W.(Hull,W.)
Philipps, J. Wynford (Pembroke Stanger, H. Y. Wilson,Henry J. (York, W.R.)
Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke) Stanley,Hn. A Lyulph(Chesh.) Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.).
Pickersgill, Edward Hare Stewart, Halley (Greenock) Wilson, J.W.( Worcestersh. N.
Pirie, Duncan V. Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal) Wilson, P. W (St. Pancras, S.
Pollard, Dr. Strachey, Sir Edward Winfrey, R.
Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central) Straus, B.S. (Mile End) Wodehousr, Lord
Price,RobertJohn (Norfolk, E.) E. A. (Abingdon) Wood, T. M Kinnon
Priestley, Arthur (Grantham) Stuart, James (Sunderland) j Yoxall, James Henry
Priestley,W. E. B. (Bradford.E.) Sutherland, J. E.;
Pullar, Sir Robert Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Pease.
Radford, G. H. Tennant,SirEdward(Salisbury
Rainy, A. Rolland Tennant,H. J. (Berwickshire)
Raphael, Herbert H. Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.
Rea, Russell (Gloucester) Thomas,SirA.(Glamorgan, E.)
Abraham, William (Cork,N.E. Dobson, Thomas W. Hudson, Walter
Abraham, William (Rhondda) Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Jacoby, Sir dames Alfred
Alden, Percy Edwards, Enoch (Hanley) Jenkins, J.
Ambrose, Robert Farrell, James Patrick Johnson. John (Gateshead)
Barnes, G. N. Fenwick, Charles Johnson, W. (Nuncaton)
Beaumont, Hon. Hubert Ffrench, Peter Jowett, F. W.
Bell, Richard Flynn, James Christopher Joyce, Michael
Bertram, Julius Gibb, James (Harrow) Kelley, George D.
Black, Arthur W. Gill, A. H. Kennedy, Vincent Paul
Boland, John Glover, Thomas Lamb,EdmundG. (Leominster)
Bowerman, C. W. Gwynn, Stephen Lucius Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)
Brace, William Hall, Frederick Lea,HughCecil (St.Pancras.E.)
Burke, E. Haviland- Halpin, J. Lundon, W.
Clough, William Harvey,W.E. (Derbyshire.N.E. Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)
Clynes, J. R. Hayden, John Patrick Mackarness, Frederic C.
Cooper, G. J. Hazleton, Richard MacNeill, John Gordon Swift
Crooks, William Henry, Charles S. Macpherson. J. T.
Dalziel, James Henry Higham, John Sharp MaeVeigh,Charles(Donegal,E.)
Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) Hodge, John M'Kean, John
Delany, William Hogan, Michael M'Killop, W.
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Hope, John Deans (Fife, West) Markham, Arthur Basil
Masterman, C. F. G. Redmond, Join E (Waterford) Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent)
Meagher, Michael Redmond, William (Clare) Wardle, George J.
Mooney, J. J. Richards,Thomas (W.Monm'th White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Nicholls, George Richards, T.F.(Wolverh'pt'n Wilkie, Alexander
Nolan, Joseph Richardson, A. Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Nugent, Sir Walter Richard Rowlands, J. Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)
O'Brien, Kendal (TipperaryMid Scott,A.H.(Ashton under Lyne Wilson, W. T. (Weshoughton)
O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Seddon, J. Young, Samuel
O'Grady, J. Shackleton, David James TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Arthur Henderson and Mr.George Roberts.
O'Kelly,James (Roscommon,N Smyth,Thomas F.(Leitrim,S.)
O'Malley, William Snowden, P.
O'Shauglinessy, P. J. Steadman, W. C.
Parker, James (Halifax) Thomas,DavidAlfred(Merthyr
Power, Patrick Joseph Walsh, Stephen

Main Question put.

The House divided:— Ayes, 432, Noes, 147. (Division List No. 252.)

Abraham,William (Cork.N.E.). Brocklehurst, W. B. Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)
Abraham, William (Rhondda) Brodie, H. C. Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)
Acland, Francis Dyke Brooke, Stopford Dickinson, W.H.(St.Pancras,N.
Adkins, W. Ryland D. Brunner,J.F.L. (Lanes.,Leigh) Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.
Agnew, George William Brunner,RtHnSirJT (Cheshire) Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles
Ainsworth, John Stirling Bryce, J. Annan Dobson, Thomas W.
Alden, Percy Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Duckworth, James
Allen,A.Acland (Christchurch) Buckmaster, Stanley O. Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)
Allen, Charles P. (Stroud) Burke, E. Haviland- Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)
Ambrose, Robert Burns, Rt. Hon. John Dunne,MajorE.Martin( Walsall
Armitage, R. Burnyeat, W. J. D. Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)
Armstrong, W. C Heaton Hurt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)
Ashton, Thomas Gair Buxton,RtHn.Sydney Charles Edwards, Frank (Radnor)
Asquith,Rt. Hon.HerbertHenry Byles, William Pollard Elibank, Master of
Astbury, John Meir Cairns, Thomas Erskine, David C.
Atherley-Jones, L. Cameron, Robert Essex, R. W.
Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth) Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Esslemont, George Birnie
Baker,Joseph A. (Finsbury.E.) Carr-Gomm, H. W. Eve, Harry Trelawney
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Causton,RtHnRichard Knight Everett, R. Lacey
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Cawley, Sir Frederick Faber, G. H. (Boston)
Barker, John Chance, Frederick William Farrell, James Patrick
Barlow,Jn. Emmott (Somerset) Channing,Sir Francis Allston Fenwick, Charles
Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Cheetham, John Frederick Ferens, T. R.
Barnard, E. B. Cherry, Rt. Hon. R.R. Ffrench, Peter
Barnes, G. N. Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Fiennes, Hon. Eustace
Barran, Rowland Hirst Clarke, C. Goddard (Peckham) Flynn, James Christopher
Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone,N.) Cleland, J. W. Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter
Beale, W. P. Clough, William Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry
Beauchamp, E. Clynes, J. R. Freeman-Thomas, Freeman
Beaumont, Hon. Hubert Cobbold, Felix Thornley Fuller, John Michael F.
Beck, A. Cecil Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Fullerton, Hugh
Bell, Richard Collins,SirWmJ(S. Pancras.W.) Furness, Sir Christopher
Bellairs, Carlyon Cooper, G. J. Gardner,Col.Alan (Hereford.S.)
Benn,SirJWilliams(Devonp'rt) Corbett,CH(Sussex,E.Grinst'd) Gibb, James (Harrow)
Benn,W.(T'W'rHamlets,S.Geo. Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Gill, A. H.
Bennett, E. N. Cory, Clifford John Gladstone,Rt.Hn. Herbert John
Berridge, T. H. D. Cotton, Sir H. J. S. Glendinning, R. G.
Bertram, Julius Cowan, W. H. Glover, Thomas
Bethell,SirJ.H.(Essex.Romf'rd Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Goddard, Daniel Ford
Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon) Cremer, William Randal Gooch, George Peabody
Billson, Alfred Crombie, John William Grant, Corrie
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Crooks, William Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)
Black, Arthur W. Crosfield,A. H. Greenwood, Hamar (York)
Boland, John Crossley, William J. Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward
Bottomley, Horatio Dalmeny, Lord Griffith, Ellis J.
Boulton, A. C. F. Dalziel, James Henry ( Grove, Archibald
Bowerman, C. W. Davies,David (MontgomeryCo. Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill
Brace, William Davies,Ellis William (Eifion) Gulland, John W.
Bramadon, T. A. Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton
Branch, James Davies, Timothy (Fulham) Gwynn, Stephen Lucius
Brigg, John Davies, W.Howell (Bristol, S.) Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.
Bright, J. A. Delany, William Hail, Frederick
Halpin, J. Lundon, W. Philipps, Col.Ivor (S'thampton
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis Lupton, Arnold Philipps,J. Wynford (Pembroke
Hardy, George A. (Suffolk) Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)
Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r) Lyell, Charles Henry Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Harmsworth,R.L. (Caithn ss-sh Lynch, H. B. Pirie, Duncan V.
Hart-Davies, T. Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Pollard, Dr.
Harvey, A. G. C.(Rochdale) Macdonald,J.M.(Falkirk B'ghs) Power, Patrick Joseph
Harvey,W.E. (Derbyshire.N.E. Mackarness, Frederic C. Price, C. K. (Edinb'gh,Central)
Harwood, George Maclean, Donald Price,Robert John (Norfolk.E.
Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)
Haworth, Arthur A. MacNiell, John Gordon Swift Priestley,W.E.B. (Bradford, E.
Hayden, John Patrick Macpherson, J. T. Pullar, Sir Robert
Hazel, Dr. A. E. MacVeigh,Charles (Donegal, E. Radford, G. H.
Hazleton, Richard M'Callum, John M. Rainy, A. Rolland
Hedges, A. Paget M'Crae, George Raphael, Herbert H.
Helme, Norval Watson M'Kean, John Rea, Russell (Gloucester)
Hemmerde, Edward George M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'
Henderson, Arthur (Durham) M'Killop, W. Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen,W. M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester) Redmond, William (Clare)
Henry, Charles S. M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester) Rees, J. I).
Herbert,Colonel Ivor (Mon.,S.) M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.) Rendall, Athelstan
Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe) M'Micking, Major G. Richards,Thomas (W.Monm'th
Higham, John Sharp Maddison, Frederick Richards,T.F. (Wolverh'mpt'n
Hobart, Sir Robert Mallet, Charles E. Richardson, A.
Hobhouse, Charles E. H. Manfield, Harry (Northants) Rickett, J. Compton
Hodge, John Mansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln) Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Hogan, Michael Markham, Arthur Basil Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)
Holden, E. Hopkinson Marks,G.Croydon (Launceston) Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Holland, Sir William Henry Marnham, F. J. Robertson,Sir G.Scott (Bradf'd
Holt, Richard Durning Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry) Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Hope, John Deans (Fife, West) Massie, J. Robinson, S.
Hope,W.Bateman (Somerset, N Masterman, C. F. G. Robson,.Sir William Snowdon
Horniman, Emslie John Meagher, Michael Roe, Sir Thomas
Horridge, Thomas Gardner Menzies, Walter Rogers, F. E. Newman
Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Micklem, Nathaniel Rose, Charles Day
Hudson, Walter Molteno, Percy Alport Rowlands,.J.
Hutton, Alfred Eddison Moral, A. Runciman, Walter
Hyde, Clarendon Money, L. G. Chiozza Russell, T. W.
Idris, T. H. W. Montagu, E. S. Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)
Illingworth, Percy H. Montgomery, H. G. Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)
Isaacs, Rufus Daniel Mooney, J. J. Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)
Jackson, R, S. Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall) Scarisbrick, T. T. L.
Jacoby, Sir James Alfred Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)
Jardine, Sir J. Morley, Rt. Hon. John Schwann, Sir C.E.(Manchester)
Johnson, John (Gateshead) Morrell Philip Scott,A.H.(Ashton under Lyne
Johnson, W. (Nuneaton) Morse, L. L. Sears, J. E.
Jones,Sir D.Brynmor (Swansea Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Seaverns, J. H.
Jones, Leif (Appleby) Murray, James Seddon, J.
Jones,William (Carnarvonshire Myer, Horatio Seely, Major J. B.
Jowett, F. W. Napier, T. B. Shackleton, David James
Joyce, Michael Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw) Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)
Kearley, Hudson E. Nicholls, George Shaw, Rt, Hon. T. (Hawick B.)
Kekewich, Sir George Nicholson,Charles N.(Doncast'r Sherwell, Arthur James
Kelley, George D. Nolan, Joseph Shipman, Dr. John G.
Kennedy, Vincent Paul Norman, Sir Henry Silcock, Thomas Ball
King, Alfred John (Knutsford Norton, Capt. Cecil William Simon,.John Allsebrook
Kitson, Rt. Hon. Sir James Nugent, Sir Walter Richard Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John
Laidlaw, Robert Nussey, Thomas Willans Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie
Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster Nuttall, Harry Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.
Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester) O'Brien,Kendal (TipperaryMid Snowden, P.
Lambert, George O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Lamont, Norman O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth) Soares, Ernest J.
Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.) O'Grady, J. Spicer, Sir Albert
Layland-Barratt, Francis O'Kelly,James (Roscommon,N. Stanger, H. V.
Lea,Hugh Cecil (St.Pancras, E O'Malley, William Stanley Hn. A.Lyulph (Chesh.)
Leese,Sir Joseph F.(Accrington O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Steadman, W. C.
Lehmann, R. C. Parker, James (Halifax) Stewart, Halley (Greenock)
Lever,A.Levy (Essex,Harwich Partington, Oswald Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)
Lever, W. H. (Cheshire,Wirral Paulton, James Mellor Strachey, Sir Edward
Levy, Maurice Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek) Straus, B. S. (Mile End)
Lewis, John Herbert Pearce, William (Limehouse) Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)
Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David Pearson, Sir W. D. (Colchester) Stuart, James (Sunderland)
Lough, Thomas Pearson, W.H.M. (Suffolk, Eye Summerbell, T.
Sutherland, L. E. Walton, Joseph (Barnsley) Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth) Ward,John (Stoke upon Trent) Williams,Llewelyn (Carmarth'n
Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe) Ward, W. Dudley (South'pton) Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)
Tennant,Sir Edward (Salisbury Wardle, George J. Williamson, A.
Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire) Waring, Walter Wills, Arthur Walters
Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E. Warner, Thomas Courtenay T. Wilson, Hon. C.H.W. (Hull,W.
Thomas,Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.) Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan) Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)
Thomasson, Franklin Wason,John Cathcart (Orkney) Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)
Thompson,J.W.H. (Somerset,E Waterlow, D. S. Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)
Tillett, Louis John Watt, Henry A. Wilson, J.W. (Worcestersh., N.)
Tomkinson, James Wedgwood, Josiah C. Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Torrance, Sir A. M. Weir, James Galloway Winfrey, R.
Toulmin, George White, George (Norfolk) Wodehouse, Lord
Trevelyan, Charles Philips Whte, J. D. (Dumbartonshire) Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Ure, Alexander White, Luke (York, E. R.) Young, Samuel
Verney, F. W. White, Patrick (Meath, North) Yoxall, James Henry
Vivian, Henry Whitehead, Rowland TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Pease.
Walker, H. De R. (Leicester) Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)
Walsh, Stephen Whittaker, Sir Thomas Palmer
Walters, John Tudor Wiles, Thomas
Walton, Sir John L. (Leeds, S.) Wilke, Alexander
Alison, Sir William Reynell Duncan,Robert (Lanark, Gov'n Meysey-Thompson, E. C.
Anstruther-Gray, Major Faber, George Denison (York) Middlemore, John Throgmorton
Arkwright, John Stanhope Faber, Capt, W. V. (Hants, W.) Mildmay, Francis Bingham
Arnold- Forster,Rt.Hn.Hugh O. Fardell, Sir T. George Moore, William
Ashley, W. W. Fell, Arthur Morpeth, Viscount
Aubrey,Fletcher,Rt.Hn. Sir H. Fetherstonhugh, Godfrey Muntz, Sir Philip A.
Balcarres, Lord Fletcher, J. S. Nicholson, Wm.G. (Petersfield)
Baldwin, Alfred Forster, Henry William Nield, Herbert
Balfour, Rt.Hn.A.J. (City Lond Gardner, Ernest (Berks, East) O'Niell, Hon. Robert Torrens
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West) Parker, Sir Gilbert(Gravesend)
Banner, John S. Harmood- Gordon, J. Parkes, Ebenezer
Baring, Capt. Hn. G.(Winchester Gretton, John Pease,HerbertPike (Darlington
Barrie, H. T.( Londonderry, N.) Haddock, George R. Percy, Earl
Beach,Hn.Michael Hugh Hicks Hamilton, Marquess of Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Hardy,Laurence (Kent, Ashf'd Randles, Sir John Scurrah
Bignold, Sir Arthur Harris, Frederick Leverton Ratcliff, Major R. F.
Bowles, G. Stewart Harrison-Broadley, H. B. Rawlinson,John Frederick Peel
Boyle, Sir Edward Hay, Hon. Claude George Remnant, James Farquharson
Bridgeman, W. Clive Heaton, John Henniker Renton, Major Leslie
Brotherton, Edward Allen Helmsley, Viscount Roberts,S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Bull, Sir William James Hervey,F.W.F. (Bury S.Ed'm's Ronaldshay, Earl of
Burdett Coutts, W. Hill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury) Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter
Butcher, Samuel Henry Hills, J. W. Rutherford, John (Lancashire)
Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M. Hornby, Sir William Henry Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Houston, Robert Paterson Salter, Arthur Clavell
Castlereagh, Viscount Kennaway,Rt.Hn.Sir John H. Sandys, Lieut,-Col. Thos.Myles
Cave, George Kenyon-Slaney,Rt.Hn. Col. W Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert
Cavendish,Rt.Hn. Victor C.W. Keswick, William Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Kimber, Sir Henry Sheffield,SirBerkeley George D.
Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey- King,Sir Henry Seymour (Hull Smith,Abel H.(Hertford, East)
Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.) Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm. Smith,F.E. (Liverpool, Walton
Chamberlain,Rt.Hn.J. A.(Wor. Lane-Fox, G. R. Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich) Stanley,Hon.Arthur (Ormskirk
Clark,George Smith (Belfast,N. Lee, Arthur H. (Hants.,Fareham Starkey, John R.
Coates,E. Feetham (Lewisham) Liddell, Henry Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.)
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Lockwood,Rt.Hn. Lt.-Col.A.R. Stone, Sir Benjamin
Collings, Rt.Hn.J. (Birmingh'm Long,Col. Charles W.(Evesham Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Long,Rt.Hn. Walter (Dublin, S. Talbot,Rt.Hn.J.G.(Oxf'dUniv.
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Lonsdale, John Brownlee Thomson,W.Mitchell- (Lanark)
Courthope, G. Loyd Lowe, Sir Francis William Thornton, Percy M.
Craig,Charles Curtis (Antrim,S. Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Tuke, Sir John Batty
Craig,Captain James Down,E. MacIver, David (Liverpool) Tumour, Viscount
Craik, Sir Henry M'Calmont, Colonel James Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. Howard
Dalrymple, Viscount M'Iver,SirLewis( Edinburgh, W. Walker, Col.W. H. (Lancashire)
Dixon-Hartland,SirFred Dixon Magnus, Sir Philip Walrond, Hon. Lionel
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Marks, H. H. (Kent) Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)
Du Cross, Harvey Mason, James F. (Windsor) Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Willoughby de Eresby, Lord Wortley, Rt. Hon. C.B. Stuart TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir
Wilson, A.Stanley (York, E.R.) Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George Alexander Acland-Hood and
Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm Younger, George Viscount Valentia.

Resolved, That, in order to give effect to the will of the people as expressed by their elected representatives, it is necessary that the power of the other House to alter or reject Bills passed by this House should be so restricted by Law as to secure that within the limits of a single Parliament the final decision of the Commons shall prevail—(Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman.)