HC Deb 22 July 1908 vol 193 cc228-41

Considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clause 1:

CAPTAIN CRAIG moved an Amendment to insert at the beginning the words, "Subject to the provisions of this Act." He explained that this Amendment was necessary, so that a subsequent Amendment which he intended to move on Clause 2 might be in order. The Amendment he intended to move on subsection (2) of Clause 2 was to insert the words, "not I exceeding one-half of the whole." The effect of that would be to prevent a county council from having to defray more than half of the expenditure involved in works which it might be decided to carry out. He simply wished to ask the Chief Secretary or the Vice-President of the Board of Agriculture whether he was willing to insert the words, "not exceeding one-half of the whole." He brought the Amendment forward because everyone knew that on the seaboard the local representatives on the county council had not the same voice as those who represented inland districts in matters of expenditure. Everyone knew the difficulty of getting anything spent out of the rates for the fishing industry or for piers and harbours in Ireland. His Amendment would be in favour of those who are carrying on the fishing industry. When the Bill got its Second Reading on the previous night the Chief Secretary would not say a word in explanation, and the reason why he had put down his Amendment was to try and elicit from him why the Bill was introduced at all. Clause 1 was right enough, because it carried out the wishes of Parliament; but Clause 2 seemed to have been introduced under the influence of a single follower of the Government. He begged to move.

Amendment proposed—

"In page 1, at the beginning of line 5, to insert the words Subject to the provisions of this Act.'"—(Captain Craig.)

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


thought the hon. and gallant Member did not exactly realise what was intended to be done by the Bill. At the present time the expenditure of a county council on a pier or similar work was limited to £300. The Department was willing to contribute a certain sum in aid of what the counties were entitled to spend, but there were some works they could not afford to assist unless the county councils were prepared to give more money than that authorised by the Grand Juries Act. It was to meet this difficulty that the Bill had been introduced. Quite recently the Count) Council of Antrim desired to do some work at Ballintoy. They were bound not to go beyond £300, but the Department had agreed to give £1,000, and the work would be carried out. It was proposed by the Bill that £1,500 should take the place of £300. The remainder of the clause merely dealt with procedure. Under the Grand Juries Act the money had to be paid into the hands of the county treasurer. The clause declared that in the case of the Department giving the money that would not be necessary. The Bill was desired by every maritime county in Ireland.


said that last night the Vice-President had stated that the reason £300 was increased to £1,500 was that in the reign of King William IV. £300 meant more than it did now.


That was a point I put forward.


The only point.


Oh, no. It was quite true, however, that the cost of labour and material had increased since those days, but the real reason of the Bill was that works were being delayed, and he hoped the House would see its way to rid the county councils of the impediment. He did not see that Members from the North of Ireland or elsewhere had anything to gain by stopping the county councils from spending the rates as they desired.

MR. MOORE (Armagh, N.)

said that from force of habit the right hon. Gentleman had only stated half the case. He had mentioned the case of Ballintoy in which he had interested himself, but had been unable to get a money grant. Now that the right hon. Gentleman's solitary follower was Member for the division in which Ballintoy was situated it was possible to get a grant. The existing law was that the county council could give £300 and no more, and the Department accordingly had to give £1,000. He thought that was very satisfactory. What would be the position if the Bill passed? The right hon. Gentleman would say that the Department would put down £300 if the county council paid £1,000. There would be few seaboard members on a county council, and would they be able to persuade the other members to give £1,000? It could not be done in the North of Ireland. The real object of the Bill was to allow the Department to put the screw on the county councils, and say: "If you do not find £1,500 as the Bill authorises you, we will not put down £50," knowing perfectly well that it was almost impossible in Ireland to get a county council to make a charge over the whole county for the purpose. The only proper way out of this was what the right hon. Gentleman was trying to avoid. If there was to be a contribution, half should come from the county and the other half from the Department, instead of which the right hon. Gentleman was trying to get the Department a free hand to bleed the county councils for the full £1,500 a year, and if they did not agree the Department would do nothing. In the interests of the fishermen, in whom the right hon. Gentleman had never interested himself until very recently, and of the sea-works along the North Coast of Ireland of which he spoke so sneeringly it was necessary that these piers should be provided, and that the condition should not be imposed on the county councils of providing more than half the whole sum which meant that the Department should provide the other half.


said his experience of seven or eight years of local government was that county councils took a very broad view of all these questions which were brought before them. He remembered that some four or five years ago the county council of his own county unanimously agreed to a liability which represented a large sum in connection with maritime works in the county, although the great majority of the constituencies, owing to their distance from the sea, did not benefit in the least from the proposed maritime works. This Bill was, in his opinion, a very useful measure. On many occasions in his own county they had been considerably hampered by reason of the fact that they could not exceed the limit imposed by the law, and he congratulated the Vice-President of the Agricultural Department upon bringing in this Bill.

Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 26; Noes, 147. (Division List No. 211.)

Acland-Hood, Rt. Hn Sir Alex. F Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Moore, William
Anson, Sir William Reynell Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Percy, Earl
Balcarres, Lord Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S) Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Dalrymple, Viscount Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.) Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West) Thomson, W. Mitchell. (Lanark)
Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks Gretton, John Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Carlile, E. Hildred Hamilton, Marquess of
Cave, George Hills, J. W. TELLERS FOR THE AYES— Captain Craig and Mr. Lonsdale.
Clark, George Smith Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S)
Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham) MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh
Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.) Bryce, J. Annan Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness
Acland, Francis Dyke Byles, William Pollard Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)
Adkins, W. Ryland D. Carr-Gomm, H. W. Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight Esslemont, George Birnie
Ainsworth, John Stirling Channing, Sir Francis Allston Evans, Sir Samuel T.
Alden, Percy Cheetham, John Frederick Everett, R. Lacey
Armitage, R. Clough, William Ferens, T. R.
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Cobbold, Felix Thornley Fuller, John Michael F.
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Condon, Thomas Joseph Gladstone, Rt. Hn. HerbertJohn
Barnes, G. N. Corbett, C H (Sussex, E. Grinst'd Glendinning, R. G.
Beaumont, Hon. Hubert Crean, Eugene Glover, Thomas
Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R. Crossley, William J. Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford
Benn, W. (T'w'r Hamlets, S. Geo) Cullinan, J. Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Devlin, Joseph Griffith, Ellis J.
Boland, John Donelan, Captain A. Gulland, John W.
Bowerman, C. W. Duckworth, James Gurdon. Rt Hn Sir W. Brampton
Brunuer, J. F. L.(Lancs., Leigh Duffy, William J. Gwynn, Stephen Lucius
Harcourt, Robert V.(Montrose) Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N) Robson, Sir William Snowdon
Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) Middlebrook, William Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Mond, A. Roche, John (Galway, East)
Haworth, Arthur A. Mooney, J. J. Roe, Sir Thomas
Hazel, Dr. A. E. Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall) Rogers, F. E. Newman
Hazleton, Richard Morrell, Philip Russell, T. W.
Healy, Timothy Michael Morse, L. L. Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)
Hemmerde, Edward George Murphy, John (Kerry, East) Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne
Henry, Charles S. Nannetti, Joseph P. Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)
Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon.,S.) Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw) Strachey, Sir Edward
Higham, John Sharp Nicholls, George Summerbell, T.
Hobhouse, Charles E. H. Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Hodge, John Nolan, Joseph Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Holt, Richard Durning O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary, Mid Tennant Sir Edward (Salisbury
Horniman, Emslie John O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Tennant H. J. (Berwickshire)
Howard, Hon. Geoffrey O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton
Jones, Leif (Appleby) O'Dowd, John Tomkinson, James
Joyce, Michael O'Grady, J. Toulmin, George
Kelley, George D. O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.) Verney, F. W.
Kettle, Thomas Michael O'Malley, William Ward, W.Dudley (Southampt'n
Kilbride, Denis O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Wason, Rt. Hn. E (Clackmannan
Levy, Sir Maurice Parker, James (Halifax) Whitbread, Howard
Lewis, John Herbert Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek) White, Sir George (Norfolk)
Lundon, W. Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H. White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)
Lupton, Arnold Power, Patrick Joseph White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central) Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)
Maclean, Donald Radford, G. H. Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)
Macpherson, J. T. Redmond, John E.(Waterford) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E. Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th
M'Hugh, Patrick A. Ridsdale, E. A. TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Joseph Pease and Master of Elibank.
M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.) Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)
Manfield, Harry (Northants) Roberts, Sir John H.(Denbighs)
Markham, Arthur Basil Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Meagher, Michael Robinson, S.

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2 agreed to.

Clause 3 agreed to.

MR. T. W. RUSSELL moved a new clause providing that nothing in the Bill should prejudicially affect any right of the Crown, or of Government Departments.

New clause (Saving of rights of the Crown and Government Departments)— (Mr. T. W. Russell)—brought up, and read the first time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the clause be read a second time."


thought that when; they had the Second Reading of the Bill on Tuesday night, and the Committee stage rushed through at the end of the session on Wednesday night, it was at least the duty of the Government, if there was a new clause, to put it on the Paper in order that the House might see it. Failing that course, the Government might at least have the courtesy to say what the new clause was. He moved to report progress in order that the House might see the new clause on the Paper. The House ought to have the opportunity of considering the new clause, and if the Bill stood over for a day it could do so. He objected on principle to a new clause, which was not on the Paper, being rushed through at that time of night.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report progress; and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. Moore.)


said the clause simply read: "Nothing in this Act shall affect prejudicially any right, power, or privilege invested in or exercisable by the Crown or any Government Department. "He wished to explain that the clause was not put down because he had not thought it was necessary and inasmuch—


Order, order. I must first put the Motion to report progress unless the hon. Member withdraws.


said there had been a recent decision in Ireland in connection with which he would like to consider the

new clause, and he could not withdraw his Motion to report progress.

Question put.

The Committee divided:£Ayes, 26;Noes, 144. (Division List No. 212.

Acland-Hood, Rt. Hn Sir Alex. F Cochrane, Hon. Thos, H. A. E. Percy, Earl
Anson, Sir William Reynell Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S. Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Balcarres, Lord Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Dalrymple, Viscount Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry,N.) Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West) Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)
Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks Gretton, John Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Carlile, E. Hildred Hamilton, Marquess of
Cave, George Hills, J. W. TELLERS FOR THE AYES— Mr.
Clark, George Smith Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S.
Coates, Major E. F.(Lewisham) MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh Moore and Mr. Lonsdale.
Abraham William (Cork N. E.) Griffith, Ellis J. Nicholls, George
Acland Francis Dyke Gulland, John W. Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r
Adkins, W. Ryland D. Gurdon, Rt Hn Sir W. Brampton Nolan, Joseph
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Gwynn, Stephen Lucius O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary, Mid
Ainsworth, John Stirling Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Armitage, R. Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) O'Dowd, John
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Haworth, Arthur A. O'Grady, J.
Barnes, G. N. Hazel, Dr. A. E. O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)
Beaumont, Hon. Hubert Hazleton, Richard O'Malley, William
Benn, W. (T'w'r Hamlets, S. Geo) Healy, Timothy Michael O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Hemmerde, Edward George Parker, James (Halifax)
Boland, John Henry, Charles S. Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)
Bowerman, C. W. Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.) Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh) Higham, John Sharp Power, Patrick Joseph
Bryce, J. Annan Hobhouse, Charles E. H. Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)
Byles, William Pollard Hodge, John Radford, G. H.
Carr-Gomm. H. W. Holt, Richard Durning Reddy, M.
Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight Horniman, Emslie John Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Channing, Sir Francis Allston Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th
Cheetham, John Frederick Jones, Lief (Appleby) Ridsdale, E. A.
Clough, William Joyce, Michael Roberts. G. H. (Norwich)
Cobbold, Felix Thornley Kelley, George D. Roberts, Sir John H. (Denbighs)
Condon, Thomas Joseph Kettle, Thomas Michael Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Kilbride, Denis Robinson, S.
Corbett, C H (Sussex, E. Grinst'd Levy, Sir Maurice Robson, Sir William Snowdon
Crean, Eugene Lewis, John Herbert Roch, Waller F. (Pembroke)
Crossley, William J. Lundon, W. Roche, John (Galway, East)
Cullinan, J. Lupton, Arnold Roe, Sir Thomas
Devlin, Joseph Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Rogers, F. E. Newman
Donelan, Captain A. Maclean, Donald Russell, T. W.
Duckworth, James Macpherson, J. T. Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)
Duffy, William J. MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.) Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness M'Hugh, Patrick A. Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)
Edwards, Clement (Denbigh) M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.) Strachey, Sir Edward
Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor) Manfield, Harry (Northants) Summerbell, T.
Esslemont, George Birnie Markham, Arthur Basil Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Evans, Sir Samuel T. Meagher, Michael Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Everett, R. Lacey Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N. Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury
Ferens, T. R. Middlebrook, William Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)
Fuller, John Michael F. Mond, A. Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Gladstone, Rt. Hn. HerbertJohn Mooney, J. J. Tomkinson, James
Glendinning, R. G. Morse, L. L. Toulmin, George
Glover, Thomas Murphy, John (Kerry, East) Ward, W. Dudley (Southampt'n
Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford Nannatti, Joseph P. Wason, Rt. Hn. E (Clackmannan
Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw) Whitbread, Howard
White, Sir George (Norfolk) Whitley, John Henry (Halifax) TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Joseph Pease and Master of Elibank.
White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire) Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)
White, Patrick (Meath, North) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)

Question put, and agreed to.

Original Question again proposed.


wished to know from some Member of the Government as the Attorney-General for Ireland was not present to help the House on points of law, whether, under the Grand Jury Acts, the Crown was bound. Perhaps the Minister in charge of the Bill could tell them. If he could not, then they had better wait for the further consideration of the Bill till he could. When they had a new Bill like that they were entitled to know whether it went beyond the Acts which it proposed to amend. He hoped he would receive a reply.

MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)

asked if he might suggest that the Government should restore to the Orange Party the right to kick the King's Crown into the Boyne.


said the Orange Party never had that right.


said he had already explained that the draughtsman of the Bill considered that the Crown was protected by the Grand Jury Acts, and that all that was done by the Bill was to enlarge the expenditure. It was in order to keep all the security and protection necessary that the clause had been inserted to guard against any mistake.


said that surely if the Crown was bound by the Grand Jury Acts it was not necessary to move that Amendment. He put it to the good sense of the Committee that, if the Parliamentary draughtsman was of opinion that the ground had already been covered by the Grand Jury Act and if it was not the intention of those in charge of the Bill to extend the Grand Jury Act, they should be very careful of the mere ipse dixit of the Treasury. The House ought to have an opportunity to consider the matter, and he would like to know whether advice had been given by any law officer that the Amendment was necessary. It might lead to very far- reaching results. He was as anxious as any other Member of the House to protect the rights of the Crown—but by the new clause so far as they had had an opportunity of considering it (which meant having it read by the Clerk at the Table) not only the rights of the Crown were protected but the rights of any and every Department. He supposed even the Estates Commissioners came into it. The House ought to have had an opportunity to consider the terms of a proposal which might be so very large in its operation. He asked once more, had any legal man of reputation, apart from the Treasury, said the Amendment was necessary? If not, he did not think the Amendment was necessary and the House ought not to proceed with it.


asked whether the right hon. Gentleman had taken into his confidence and consulted the Member for North Antrim on the subject.

Clause read a second time, and added to the Bill.

MR. T. W. RUSSELL moved a further new clause, the words of which, he said, were taken from the Grand Jury Act and it was desirable that they should be repeated.

Clause read a first time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the clause be read a second time."


said there was obviously no objection to the principle of the clause which the right hon. Gentleman had moved, but he was bound to say that it was unreasonable for hon. Gentlemen opposite who desired as he desired to go to bed, but who having no interest in this legislation expressed their desire to go to bed by shouting "Divide." It was unreasonable and improper to do that when the Government in this legislation were adopting a course which he believed to be without precedent. He ventured to say that when the Unionists were responsible for government, if they had brought in a Bill, read it a second time on Tuesday, moved it in Committee on the following night, and had then on the second night asked the Committee to insert two new clauses, one after the other, neither being on the paper, hon. Gentlemen who were impatient at the attitude taken up by his hon. friends behind him, would, whether they came from below the gangway or from the other side of the House, have offered strenuous resistance to the passage of the Bill and would have criticised the action of the Government in unmistakable terms. He was sure that hon. Gentlemen opposite, if they expressed the views in their minds, would agree with the view he put forward that that was not the way in which public business should be conducted. He did not desire to offer, nor did he suggest his hon. friends would offer, opposition to the passage of a clause which was necessary, but he said that the Government draughtsmen were public servants, paid to do certain duties, and among them to know the work they had got to do and accordingly prepare their Bills. To ask the House in Committee at half-past twelve o'clock in the morning to deal with legislation proposed and brought forward in this slovenly fashion was to insult the House of Commons. He desired to make this protest, not because he wanted to make any personal attack on the Government, but because he felt he was voicing the opinions which would have been expressed by every Member of the House if the Unionists had been responsible and had brought their legislation forward in this way. He never remembered a case like it, and he desired to make the strongest protest against it and to say that if the Government repeated these tactics they would have themselves to thank if proceedings were prolonged far beyond an hour that was reasonable.


quite agreed that it was not unnatural in the cirumstance, to want to know what these two new clauses were about. When they were examined they would be found to be simply clauses saving the interests of the Crown and the purchase of titles under Charter. It very often happened that clauses and considerations of that kind were omitted by the draughtsman because he assumed the rights of the Crown required no special protection or were already protected under the legislation of which the Act was an Amendment. The draughtsmen were not absolutely arbitrary in these matters. Various other persons were entitled to be considered. There were those who advised the Crown, those who advised the Woods and Forests, those concerned with persons, acting under charters, and the words had been put in to secure that no injustice should be done. He quite agreed that it was not desirable to move new clauses in Committee in that way, but these new clauses were of a most innocuous kind. With the general principle which the right hon. Gentleman enunciated, he agreed.


said he had nothing to complain of in the general principle which had been enunciated by the right hon. Gentleman on the front Opposition bench and very fairly accepted by the Chief Secretary. But the argument between the front benches went on the assumption that these new clauses were necessary. He said that when it came to that hour of the night the Committee was entitled to see whether they were necessary or not. The law officers were elsewhere, but he presumed the Minister was posted with their advice, especially in a matter where the draughtsmen were of opinion that these clauses were unnecessary. He pointed out that they had not had any definite answer as to-whether the old Grand Jury Act protected the Crown or not, but at any rate the first new clause protected the Crown, and he wanted to know what was the object of the second new clause which protected the right of people holding by Charter under the Crown. If the Crown was protected all persons claiming under the Crown were equally so. What, therefore, was the necessity of the second new clause? He must protest against the introduction of a clause they had never seen. The other object was to prevent the public general statute which the Bill corrected, interfering with local and personal rights under local and personal statutes. He did not think there was a lawyer in the land who thought that such a Bill as that would interfere with local and personal rights already given by Parliament. It seemed to him quite superfluous, and if it were not introduced by the particular Minister who introduced it at that hour of the night, he would be inclined to let it pass, but knowing the reputation of that Minister, he could not but think there was something behind it.

Agreed to.

Clause read a second time, and added to the Bill.

Bill reported; as amended, to be considered this day, and to be printed. [Bill 340.]