§ Considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ [Mr. EMMOTT (Oldham) in the Chair.]
§ Clause 2—
§ MR. ASHLEY (Lancashire, Blackpool), moved to omit the clause in order to draw attention to the extremely complex and intricate form in which the Bill was submitted to the House, and in consequence of the great difficulty which a private soldier had in knowing exactly what penalties he was liable to when he enlisted and also during the time that he was serving. This question had been raised before in the House several times, and he thought in 1905 it was raised in a concrete form by the hon. Gentleman who now occupied the position of Under-Secretary for India, who pointed out how hard it was for a private soldier to know what he might or might not do, and what the penalties were, and he had the support of many hon. Members then on the Opposition side of the House. In fact, he had the support of two present Cabinet Ministers, the President of the Board of Education and the President of the Board of Trade. The Under-Secretary for the Colonies also joined his colleagues in impressing upon the then Secretary for War that something should be done. It was impossible in the Army regulations to find out exactly what had to be done. He had spent some hours that morning in wading through the Army regulations, and he could find no mention in them of 1435 any rules laid down by the War Office to the effect that copies of the Army Act should be available for private soldiers. It was known that copies were kept in the orderly room, but that was the last place a private soldier was likely to go to voluntarily. He was not asking the War Office to do anything but what other Government Departments did. In the Coal Mines Regulation Act they had it laid down that the scale of fines and things of that sort should be readily accessible to the workers, and he therefore asked the right hon. Gentleman to tell them how the private soldier could easily find out what the penalties were, and if no advance had been made on the position in 1907, whether he would see his way, as he was sure he would, to make things as easy as possible.
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE WAR FOR (Mr. HALDANE,) Haddington
said he had great sympathy with the wishes of the hon. Member, and it was a question which had also boon raised in Questions put down by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean. The difficulty was that the Army Act consisted of 190 sections, and covered an immense ground. To condense the Army Act as such would be impossible, and it would be no good to the private soldier to give the whole of it. It was desirable, therefore, if they could, to put him in possession of it in a form which he could understand, and they had got a plan for so doing. He did not know whether the hon. Member, who took so close an interest in these things, had seen "The Soldiers' Small Book," which was given to every soldier on his joining his corps. The purpose of the book was two-fold. It was a sort of pocket book, in which he put certain entries relating to his name, place and date of enlistment, and so on, but there was something more to the point. The principal object for which the soldier was required to be in possession of this book was that he should be provided, among other things, with certain information which he would find useful to him during his service. One of the first things in it was this, "Notes from the Army Act," which set out in popular language a summary of the first fortyfour sections, which closely concerned the private soldier, and it gave him a good deal of information besides. 1436 For instance, he thought the whole of the penalties were explained in clear and popular language, and that was more convenient to the soldier than supplying him with a copy of the 190 clauses of the Act. But that did not touch the point as to the inconvenience of the form of the Army Act. It was quite true that it was inconvenient. The Army Act had no right to be enforced for more than a year, and therefore every year they had to bring in this very peculiar Bill, and the Act was given vitality every year by a short clause and the necessary amendments desired to be made. In the Army Act dating back eighteen years, it enacted that it should be reprinted every year with emendations. The Act was not put in the Statute Book, because that was already a fat book—during the life of this Parliament it had been a very fat book—and it would be very inconvenient to put in the whole Act, but what they did was that the King's printer, acting under the provisions of the section, reprinted the Army Act as it had been altered, and the result was the big volume which he had in his hand, and which could be got for a few pence. It was a cheap form which anybody? could get. They were preparing a convenient volume for the Territorial Force which would contain all the regulations put together. They were also preparing regulations in the same form for the Special Reserve, and he would see what could be done in the way of preparing the other regulations in a handy form. The King's Regulations had actually been reprinted, and he thought that the new edition of them would be completely distributed in a fortnight or three weeks. The new edition would have to supersede the old editions. It was so long since the last edition came out that they thought it worth while to meet the reasonable complaints that had been made and prepare a special edition.
§ MR. McCRAE (Edinburgh, E.)
thought the Secretary of State for War might very well see whether some method other than that of the soldiers' pocket book might not be adopted of bringing penalties and fines incurred more closely into the purview of the private soldier. He congratulated the right hon. Gentleman 1437 on his proposition that a similar pocket book ought to be issued for the Territorial Army, as he thought that something of the kind was very necessary. They had been so alarmed and so disorganised recently, that what they wanted was to lot the men know exactly what they had to do, and he was sure there was nothing which would tend more to that desirable end than the proposition which the right hon. Gentleman had made. He hoped the new pocket book would be issued without any undue delay.
§ MR. COURTHOPE (Sussex, Eye)
said he wanted to draw the attention of the Secretary of State for War to a point which he thought would cause a great deal of difficulty in future unless the Army Annual Act of the year was made a little more extensive, for as far as he could make out, from a legal point of view, the Act would not apply in any shape or form to the Territorial Force. Running all through the Act was found the expression "Auxiliary Forces," which was defined as meaning the Militia, Yeomanry, and Volunteers.
§ MR. HALDANE
said that that was being altered. The Militia were still under training in their old form, and so they could not alter it in the Bill, but they would see that later on the words were put right. If the hon. Member would look at Section 175 he would see that the Territorial Force was referred to, and as they got the whole thing complete the wording of the Act would be brought up to date.
§ LORD BALCARRES (Lancashire, Chorley)
said he wanted to refer to an important statement made by the right hon. Gentleman about the Territorial Army. He had announced that he was going to bring out a pocket book dealing with functions and duties and so on. There had been a good deal of anxiety in the last few weeks about the attestation form for the now Territorial Army, and he hoped the now pocket book would be an exact, precise, and authentic account of what the liabilities and engagements of the Territorial soldier were. Six weeks ago hon. Members interested in Volunteer questions were caused great anxiety by the Territorial attestation form, but that 1438 form was withdrawn and a new one substituted, and there were certain differences in those two forms. Instead of saying "You are required to attend at such and such a place," the revised form said "Please attend," and so on, but what he wanted to point out was that in the original attestation form there was nothing inconsistent with the Territorial Act as passed last year; it might be said to be the logical and mathematical deduction of the Act of last year. But that had been revised, and all sort of things had been cut out of the new form. He thought that was very wrong indeed. It did not set forth upon the face of it the full liabilities and responsibilities of the Volunteers. If it was necessary from the provisions of the Act of last year to state that a certain series of questions, if untruly answered, involved imprisonment with hard labour, he considered that the War Office was unjustified in having suppressed that fact in the now form.
§ LORD BALCARRES
said that that was not the same thing as imprisonment with hard labour, and if that was the penalty—and there could be no question about it—then it ought to be clearly stated on the attestation form. The attestation form which was being handed to the Volunteers did not state the material facts. He himself strongly disapproved of the old attestation form, but it was perfectly accurate. He would not dream of blaming the right hon. Gentleman nor the officials, who had followed the Act with meticulous accuracy, and it was not the fault of the War Office if the attestation form was impossible. It was the fault of that House, and the hasty and hurried way in which they had rushed the Bill through last year, under the guillotine.
§ MR. HALDANE
said the attestation form followed exactly the form which was adopted by the late Government for the Yeomanry Force.
§ LORD BALCARRES
said the matter would not be passed over by a reference to predecessors. The fault, if it lay anywhere, lay with the House. He did not wish to labour the point beyond 1439 drawing attention to the fact that the attestation form did not accurately and fully set out the state of affairs. He sincerely trusted that the pocket-book would contain things which would be stated completely and with legal accuracy.
§ COLONEL SEELY (Liverpool, Abercromby)
said that what the noble Lord had stated might cause alarm and dismay in connection with the Territorial system which they were now considering. Might he be permitted to say that he was closely familiar with all the different forms, as he knew the noble Lord was also; but speaking with all respect to him, he really thought that the noble Lord was in error in supposing that any material fact was passed over in the new attestation form. It followed in every respect, as his right hon. friend had stated, what was called the Yeomanry form, which had been used by the Yeomanry for the last two or three years. He had never heard of any man, and he supposed there were 100,000 men in that force, who thought that insufficient information was given to him in the attestation form. The difference between the old and new forms was this. Whereas under the old one it was said: "Do you wish to join the Territorial Force? If you do it will be at your peril," under the new form, the words were more civil and more accurate, owing to the fact that it was drawn up by persons more conversant with the Territorial Army. He could not sec how the noble Lord could say that the new form was deceptive. The liabilities of the Volunteer were most clearly stated, and with the solitary exception that "heavy punishment" had been substitute for "hard labour," he did not know of any alteration. Whereas under the old form they said to a man: "If you want to become a Territorial soldier, look out," under the new form they invited people if they could spare the time to become members of the Territorial Army, and they knew plainly what their liabilities were.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Clause 3:
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the clause stand part of the Bill."
§ MR. ASHLEY moved to omit the clause for the purpose of calling attention to the prices for billeting put in the schedule. The prices agreed upon last year were not excessive or generous, but since then another state of things had arisen, and they might have to alter altogether the scale of taxation which was to be placed upon the licence holder, and also the scale of compensation which he was to be paid if his house was taken away. If the House chose to alter the amount of money a licence holder had to pay to carry on his business, then surely they ought to raise the scale under the Schedule. Therefore, he moved to leave out the clause in order to hear what the right hon. Gentleman had to say.
§ MR. HALDANE
said the hon. Member had raised a very great question which they would be debating, he had no doubt, at very great length in a very short time from now. The question was whether the holder of the licence would be worse off than he was at present. The licence holder was not the owner of the premises, and whether he would be worse off was a question about which hon. Members would hear a great deal from that side of the House. He was afraid he would not be in order if he were to express his sentiments on the subject of the Amendment. He would only say that the Schedule was considered the year before last, and the alterations embodied last year, it was substantially agreed, were as right and just as they could make them.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 208; Noes, 64. (Division List, No. 51.)1443
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Ainsworth, John Stirling||Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Astbury, John Meir|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Ashton, Thomas Gair||Atherley-Jones, L.|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Gulland, John AV.||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Richards, T F. (Wolverh'mpt'n|
|Barker, John||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis||Richardson, A.|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Hart-Davies. T.||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Barnes, G. N.||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Harwood, George||Robertson, Rt. Hn. E. (Dundee|
|Beauchamp, E.||Hedges, A. Paget||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Bell, Richard||Helme, Norval Watson||Robinson, S.|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Bennett, E. N.||Henry, Charles S.||Runciman, Walter|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Russell, T. W.|
|Bertram, Julius||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Higham, John Sharp||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Branch, James||Hobart, Sir Robert||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Brigg, John||Hodge, John||Scott, A. H. (Ashton under Lyne|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Holland, Sir William Henry||Sears, J. E.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Holt, Richard Durning||Seddon, J.|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Seely, Colonel|
|Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles||Horniman, Emslie John||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Hudson, Walter||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight||Hutton, Alfred Eddison||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Idris, T. H. W.||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Illingworth, Percy H.||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Clough, William||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)|
|Clynes, J. R.||Jardine, Sir J.||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Jenkins, T.||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Corbett, C H (Sussex, B. Grinst'd||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Stuart, James (Sunderland)|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Jowett, F. W.||Summerbell, T.|
|Cox, Harold||Kearley, Hudson E.||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Cremer, Sir William Randal||Lambert, George||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Crooks, William||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Crosfield, A. H.||Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.||Thomas, David Alfred (M'rthyr|
|Crossley, William J.||Lehmann, R. C.||Thomasson, Franklin|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Levy, Sir Maurice||Toulmin, George|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Lewis, John Herbert||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan)||Lough, Thomas||Ure, Alexander|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Lyell, Charles Henry||Verney, F. W.|
|Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Villiers, Ernest Amherst|
|Dewar, Arthur-(Edinburgh, S.)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs||Vivian, Henry|
|Dickinson, W. H.(St. Pancras, N.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Walsh, Stephen|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||M'Callum, John M.||Waring, Walter|
|Duckworth, James||M'Crae, George||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||M'Micking, Major G.||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall||Maddison, Frederick||Watt, Henry A.|
|Elibank, Master of||Mallet, Charles E.||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Whitbread, Howard|
|Erskine, David C.||Marnham, F. J.||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Evans, Sic Samuel T.||Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Menzies Walter||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Fenwick, Charles||Montagu, E. S.||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Morse, L. L.||Whittaker, Sir Thomas Palmer|
|Findlay, Alexander||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Wiles, Thomas|
|Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Myer, Horatio||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Nicholls, George||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||Nicholson, Charles N.(Doncast'r||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Gill, A. H.||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Glen-Coats, Sir T. (Renfrew).||Nuttall, Harry||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Glendinning, R. G.||Parker, James (Halifax)||Winfrey, R.|
|Glover, Thomas||Partington, Oswald|
|Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Pease.|
|Grant, Corrie||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hn. Sir Alex. F||Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. Hugh O||Baldwin, Stanley|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Balcarres, Lord||Banbury, Sir Frederick George|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Baring, Capt. Hn. G (Winchester||Fardell, Sir T. George||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.||Fell, Arthur||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Forster, Henry William||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Batcher, Samuel Henry||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Smith, Abel H.(Hertford, East|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Guinness, Walter Edward||Starkey, John R.|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Haddock, George B.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hill, Sir Clement||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hunt, Rowland||Thornton, Percy M|
|Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (Birmingh'm||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Kimber, Sir Henry||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent. Mid)|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Winterton, Earl|
|Cross, Alexander||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Younger, George|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Doughty, Sir George||Lowe, Sir Francis William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Ashley and Captain Craig.|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan||Nield, Herbert|
§ Clauses 4 and 5 agreed to.
§ MR. ASHLEY
said he wished to move a new clause dealing with specialenlistments. He was very strongly of opinion and he thought most hon. Members would be so too, that it was not advisable, certainly in our Regular forces, that any man should be enlisted except under very special circumstances, who was less than eighteen years of age. The regulations laid down that no man might be sent to India who was less than twenty years of age, and it was not likely in case of invasion that men between eighteen and twenty would have had sufficient training or be of sufficient physique to repel an invasion. Therefore it came to this, that if they enlisted a man under eighteen years of age, unless he was exceptionally strong they might have him on their hands for two years at least. They had had it laid down by the Secretary of State for War that he proposed in the Special Reserve to enlist men at seventeen. His Amendment aimed at putting an end to such a state of things as that. It aimed at compelling the War Office authorities not to enlist any man of seventeen for the Special Reserve, but to put that force on exactly the same footing as the Regular Army. Because sifter all men who were enlisted in the Special Reserve were to be used, according to the right hon. Gentleman's statement, for exactly the same purpose as the Regular Army. They were going to be used in case of war to expand the ranks of the Regular battalions 1444 which were depleted through men having been left behind owing to sickness or insufficient physique, to expand battalions which might be decimated or brought down very considerably in their strength owing to losses at the front, through disease or casualties, and they might also be sent abroad in their units. Therefore, it seemed to him that it was a waste of public money to enlist men of seventeen for the Special Reserves, when it was considered that eighteen was a sufficiently low age for the enlistment of men for the Regular Army. He had, therefore, two objects in introducing the clause, first of all to ensure that a man should under no circumstances be enlisted for the infantry of the Line or for the Guards, unless he was eighteen years of age, or unless there were some very special circumstances coming within the provisions in the clause, and secondly, that the Special Reserve should not consist in the future as it had in the past—because the Special Reserve was the old Militia—to a considerable extent of boys even less than seventeen years of age, who, by the very terms of the War Office regulations, could not be sent to India for at least three years and would therefore be costing the country money when they could not possibly be of any use in case of a serious war in India or any of the Colonies. As to the difficulty of carrying this clause into effect if it was enacted, he would draw the attention of the House to a question put by the hon. Member for Aberdeen in 1903 1445 to Lord Stanley. The hon. Member asked—Whether, with a view to securing that no man shall now be enlisted under the age of eighteen years he will consider the advisability of amending the attestation paper by placing before the recruit his liability to punishment for a false answer as to ages, of carrying into practice Sections 33, 34, and 99 of the Army Act and of the addition of a question asking for an opinion as to age, to Army Forms B. 64 and 97, as well as forwarding these forms whenever practicable to the school board under whom the recruit was schooled.Lord Stanley answered—I am desired by my right hon. friend to say that as regards the liability to punishment his legal advisers inform him that conviction for making a false statement as to age cannot be held good unless the man pleads guilty, or the prosecution proves that he knew his correct age, a man's actual age not being a matter within his personal knowledge.That went to support his belief that it was no use asking a man what his age was, because, if he gave a false answer, he could not be punished for it. But this new clause would place his age practically beyond doubt, because he would produce a birth certificate, or the officer would take such stringent measures that there would be no reasonable doubt about it.
§ New Clause—
- "(1) Subject to the provisions of this section no recruit shall, after the passing of this Act, be enlisted in the Regular Forces unless he can produce a certificate of his birth to the recruiter, nor unless he is eighteen years of age.
- "(2) A recruit may be enlisted without the previous production of his birth certificate if the approving officer shall be satisfied that every reasonable effort had been made to obtain such certificate, and that it is not practicable to obtain it, but in that case such officer shall state in writing what steps have been taken to obtain such certificate, and why he is of opinion that it is impracticable to obtain it.
- "(3) A recruit may be enlisted who is known or believed by the approving officer to be more than seventeen, but less than eighteen years of age, if such approving officer shall be of opinion that, by reason of exceptional physical health and development, such recruit will make an efficient soldier; but in that case such officer shall state in writing the height, weight, and chest measurement of such recruit, and any other circumstance which shall appear to such officer to justify the enlistment of such recruit. Every written statement made by an approving officer in pursuance of this section shall be transmitted to the Secretary of State, and a return of all such statements made in any year shall be laid before Parliament not later than
1446 the presentation of the annual Army Estimates to the House of Commons in the year following."—(Mr. Ashley).
§ Brought up, and read a first time.
§ Motion made and Question proposed, "That the clause be read a second time."
§ MR. T. L. CORBETT (Down, N.)
said the clause, though highly technical, struck one as being very reasonable. The whole policy of the Government and the Secretary of State for War was to go in for a small Army, but he trusted a very efficient one. He was not sufficiently expert himself, but he would listen with interest to his colleagues who knew far more about the subject than he did, though it seemed to him that anyone under the age of eighteen could hardly be a very efficient soldier. Hon. Members opposite were all in favour of a time limit upon other questions, and he thought an age limit of eighteen in this case was a very fair proposal indeed. The subject was one of such importance that he was almost disposed to appeal to the Secretary of State for War as to whether he would not adjourn the further discussion. The Government had a number of measures they intended to bring before the House, but they did not seem in any pressing hurry to urge them on. The House had adjourned again and again at a very early hour during the past few weeks, and night after night had been wasted, and he thought it would be better, in view of the vital effect this new clause might have on the constitution of the ideal Army which the Secretary for War was bent upon constituting, if he would agree to adjourn the further discussion of the clause until a later date when they might have the advantage of expert opinion upon it.
§ MR. WATT (Glasgow, College)
Does the hon. Member object to the limit in the new clause of seventeen years in exceptional cases?
§ MR. T. L. CORBETT
said the hon. Member had evidently grasped the clause in a way he could hardly profess to have done. He understood this was to prevent any young man under the age of eighteen from being recruited. 1447 He moved to report progress, and ask leave to sit again.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER (Staffordshire, Lichfield)
said the clause was a very good one when it was originally moved. There had been an immense change in recruiting for the Army during the last few years and what was contained in the clause had been practically carried out. When a great change was going on in the Army they should be careful to make as little difference in the conditions of recruiting as possible, and they wished the recruits to understand that they would be expected to do practically what they did before. They wanted to make the recruits who came up for enlistment feel that there had been no alteration from the old conditions. He was aware there had been some very slight alterations, but that was the feeling they wanted to maintain. If they inserted fresh clauses of this kind the men would think they were enlisting for quite a different purpose, and that was exactly what they wished to avoid. An alteration like the one suggested in the clause was bad both for recruiting and for the very objects it was brought forward to support.
§ MR. COURTHOPE (Sussex, Rye)
did not think altering the age would have the effect contemplated by the hon. Member for Lichfield. He did not, however, think the clause was a desirable one, because if they limited the recruits to those over eighteen they would be striking a serious blow at recruiting in general without gaining anything whatever. By insisting upon a birth certificate they would be imposing an irksome and difficult condition in regard to which it would be very difficult to get accurate information. He did not sec that the certificate was at all necessary, because there was no special virtue in the exact age of eighteen or seventeen years. That age was adopted as the age at which the average young man was considered fit to begin soldiering. Some of them were fit a year earlier and some a year later than others. There were to-day many young fellows of sixteen years of age fit to start life as soldiers whilst others at eighteen or nineteen years of age might be quite unfit. Therefore there was no special virtue in an exact age, and 1448 he did not think anything would be gained by insisting upon the production of the birth certificates except in the case of service in tropical climates, in places such as India. He would be sorry if the House adopted this clause because he believed it would strike a really severe blow at recruiting.
§ SIR F. BANBURY (City of London)
said he had listened with surprise to the arguments of the hon. Member opposite, because they seemed to him to have nothing whatever to do with the question before the House. The new clause provided that "No recruit shall be enlisted in the Regular Forces." Therefore, the great change referred to by the hon. Member for Lichfield could not be in the Regular Army at all, but in the Territorial Forces. [Cries of "No."] He always understood that Regular Forces meant Regular Forces and those forces were not altered. Therefore there was no change going on in the Regular Army to which this clause applied. His hon. friend had said that the clause might have a bad effect on recruiting because the age limit would be no advantage. Did the Secretary of State for War agree that a recruit at eighteen did not do better than one at seventeen?
§ MR. HALDANE
said he would have been disposed to agree with that, but the hon. Baronet voted against that clause last year and that had shaken his judgment.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
Surely the right hon. Gentleman did not think that he ought to be obstinate in his opinions when the conditions changed. Because he had once done a thing it did not follow that he should adhere to it. The right hon. Gentleman had not answered his question. His view was that a young man of eighteen was for the purposes of soldiering better than the same young man at seventeen. His hon. friend had said there would be a difficulty about getting the birth certificate, but that condition appeared to be modified, because further on in the clause it was provided that a recruit might be enlisted if the recruiting officer was of opinion that physically such recruit would make an efficient 1449 soldier. They did not care whether the recruit was seventeen, eighteen, or nineteen, if he was well developed and strong physically. Therefore subsection 3 of the new clause met the objection raised by his hon. friend. The Secretary of State for War not long ago stated in reply to a question by the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean that recruiting was never better than it was now. If so, there could not be any objection to this clause. In 1905 the Unionist Government were desirous of having a large and efficient Army, and it was found necessary to get as many recruits as possible. In order to accomplish that it was considered advisable not to have the age too high. At the present moment, however, they had a smaller Army because they had reduced the Regulars by 20,000 men. If the Army had been reduced they ought not to have the same difficulty in regard to recruiting as with a large Army. It was claimed that by making the Army smaller they made it more efficient. That being so, he intended to vote for the clause proposed by his hon. friend. He would be very glad if any hon. Gentleman opposite would show him where he was wrong. His own contention was that if the Army was reduced, it was not necessary to take such a large number of recruits. He hoped his hon. friend would go to a division.
§ MR. MITCHELL-THOMSON (Lanarkshire, N.W.)
said the arguments of his hon. friend had not converted him to the support of this clause. It was not the first occasion on which the clause had been moved. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean and the hon. and gallant Member for the Abercromby Division of Liverpool in past years had been amongst its strongest supporters. He himself was still open to conviction on the subject, and if those hon. Gentlemen could adduce arguments to convince him he would be prepared to reconsider his opinion. He rose to put a specific point to the Secretary of State for War. It arose out of some remarks of his hon. friend, in regard to the age at which men were sent to India. The practice was not to send them to India under the age of twenty. That was true 1450 in regard to men, but boys were sent to India under that age. Whether or not there was a physical disadvantage in that was an open question. There was evidence both for and against the practice. There was a strong body of evidence that boys sent out did not suffer the same physical disadvantages as young recruits did. There had recently been brought to his notice a case of considerable hardship which had arisen under the existing state of affairs—the case of boys enlisting from the Duke of York's School or the Royal Hibernian Academy who happened to enlist in a regiment at the time in India. They discovered that in spite of the existing regulations in regard to boys not being sent under twenty they were liable to be sent at once. What had been put to him was that, at all events, the War Office should take some steps to warn the parents or guardians that if the boys did enlist in a regiment which was in India they would incur this liability. At present no such warning was given.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
said the point raised by the hon. Gentleman was a very exceptional one for the reason that the Government of India would not receive the boys. They held strong views on the subject. He wanted to know when the House would be in possession of the Recruiting Report.
§ *MR. HALDANE
said the Recruiting Report would be ready in a few days. Comparatively few boys were sent out to India. The officers were instructed to tell the parents that the regiment was going to India, and if there was any objection that was the time to state it. The Government had considered the matter with the medical authorities and with the Government of India. He would inquire as to whether anything further could be done. He thought this debate had been conducted on a misapprehension. He agreed with the hon. Baronet opposite that the new clause had nothing to do with the Special Reserve. If the Committee had seen the clause, somebody would have drawn attention to section 190, sub-section 8 of the Army Act. In that sub-section the expression "Regular Forces" was defined as including only those who are "presently under obligation to proceed abroad." 1451 The Special Reserve was not presently under that obligation; it only came under that obligation on mobilisation. Therefore the Special Reserve was excluded by the Army Act from forming part of the Regular Forces of the Crown. When they came to that conclusion the controversy assumed a different complexion, because the motion of the hon. Member, which ought to be carefully considered, was to allow under certain circumstances recruiting for the Regular Forces at an age less than eighteen. They might encourage enlistment at a lower age than eighteen in the case of the Militia and the Special Reserve for the reason that it was a good thing for a young man of seventeen to get six months training; but they did not allow it in the case of Regulars. Moreover, they had instructed the recruiting officers to use their discretion in asking for birth certificates. In many cases they could not get the birth certificates, and if they tried to enforce their production they would lose the recruit. In those cases the officers were asked to use their own judgment, as to the age of the recruit. He was in sympathy with the hon. Baronet's old view on this matter, and he doubted whether he had good reasons for altering his attitude. He was certainly entitled to show that as things had improved, and as the number of soldiers became less, fewer recruits were required. But it was not the case necessarily that because the number of men was smaller a smaller number of recruits was required. They might have the three years system still in operation. In that case the men passed away from the establishment of the battalion into the Reserve more rapidly than they would under a longer system, and they might require more recruits, although there were fewer men. They had still the three years' system in operation. It was not even at its worst; it would be at its worst this year, and then there would be a gradual improvement. Fortunately, recruiting at this moment was very good. The step proposed in this clause should not be taken without careful consideration, and he thought that if it had been realised that the clause did not touch the Special Reserve it would not have received so much support.
§ MR. CLAUDE HAY (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
said that the debate was very 1452 interesting, not only on account of the speech of the Secretary of State for War, but also because of the speeches of other hon. Gentlemen. Those who cared to look into what had passed in Parliament in recent years would find that they had reached an interesting juncture. He gathered that the Secretary of State opposed the clause. He would like to get an explanation why a number of the members of the Government had made a complete volte face on the subject. The first right hon. Gentleman who had changed his opinion and had given no reason for doing so was no less a personage than the Chancellor of the Exchequer. On 2nd April, 1903, the right hon. Gentleman supported this very clause when it was moved by the hon. and gallant Member for the Abercromby Division of Liverpool. Other Members of the present Government who supported the clause were the Patronage Secretary to the Treasury and the hon. Member for Halifax. He thought that not only the House of Commons but the country was entitled to know why, when our Army organisation was more or less being put in the melting pot, members of the Government had given no explanation of so complete a change of opinion on so vital a matter. He thought the Secretary for War should tell the Committee whether during the time he was responsible for the Army he had been unable to obtain sufficient recruits. Everybody inside and outside the House of Commons had heard for years reproaches that many of the recruits for the Army were immature youths, and that the Government should not enlist such youths to undertake the arduous work of a soldier. He did not think it proper that responsible Ministers of the Crown should completely change their opinion without offering a word of explanation to the House of Commons; and nothing had fallen from the Secretary for War which could be held to be a good excuse for this extraordinary change in their action.
§ COLONEL SEELY
said he was still very much of the same opinon as he was in 1903, viz., that no man should be enlisted in the Regular Army under the age of eighteen years; and that in all reasonable and 1453 practical circumstances a birth certificate should be obtained. The hon. Member would remember that, in conjunction with Lord Hugh Cecil, a long and arduous fight was engaged in on this matter, and that they finally compromised with the then Secretary for War, to put in certain words in the clause enabling the Government to enlist youths under particular circumstances at the age of seventeen. They understood that that would be accepted, but unfortunately, there was a misunderstanding and Lord Hugh Cecil was very angry because the words were not inserted. The clause now contained a provision that under regulation the recruiting officers should under certain circumstances enlist youths at the age of seventeen; but that the men were not to be enlisted as a rule for the Regular Army under the age of eighteen and that a birth certificate was to be obtained if possible. He thought he was right in saying that by passing the clause proposed by the hon. and gallant Member they would lose part of the ground which they already occupied, because they would open the door for recruiting men at a lower ago than now. If that were so, he would unhesitatingly vote against the clause which would undo part of the work in which he had taken a humble part in getting rid of the possibility of enlisting boys of sixteen and seventeen years of age.
CAPTAIN FABER (Hampshire, And over)
said he associated himself with what had fallen from his hon. and gallant friend near him, but not quite on the same grounds. He did not disapprove of recruits being taken at the age of seventeen, for he would like to see every boy in the country have military training, and the earlier they came into the Army the sooner they would learn their exercises, and the sooner would their physique be improved. He would be very glad to hear from the Secretary for War whether he thought the part of the clause referring to the production of a birth certificate would or would not be a dead letter. He thought that that part of the clause should be left out, because he could not see how men of that class who joined the Army could at the age of eighteen produce a birth certifi- 1454 cate; and to insist upon it he believed would hurt recruiting.
§ CAPTAIN CRAIG (Down, E.)
said that the Secretary for War ought to have made an effort to circulate the Reports on recruiting before this Bill came on for discussion. The hon. and gallant Member for Abercromby had that day performed one of the somersaults with which they were getting familiar on the Radical benches. He thought the hon. and gallant Member ought to have stood up manfully for an Amendment which he himself had proposed in an impassioned speech in 1903, when Member for the Isle of Wight. Now the hon. and gallant Gentleman, when Member for Abercromby Division of Liverpool, confessed his error and said that he was formerly entirely wrong. He did not think that the hon. and gallant Gentleman's remarks could bear any great weight. The Mover of the Amendment had made a statement in its support which fell something short of what should have been said in order to impress on the Secretary for War the importance of putting into actual words which the right hon. Gentleman admitted should be in the Army Annual Act. Nobody for a moment believed that the clause as it stood would carry out to the letter what his hon. and gallant friend wanted. What objection had the Secretary for War to put into the Army Annual Act that which would give great satisfaction on that side of the House and would not hurt recruiting? Hon. Members opposite did not take any interest in the Army except to move a reduction of 10,000 men on economical grounds. But surely it would be economising to adopt this Resolution. Instead of having recruiting under the age which the Secretary for War and his advisers thought was the proper age for recruits for service abroad, it would secure that only good men were put on the strength of the Army. The Secretary for War had shown very good grounds for accepting the Amendment, and during nine-tenths of his speech he thought the right hon. Gentleman intended to accept the clause moved by his hon. and gallant friend 1455 and embody it in the Bill. But at the last moment the right hon. Gentleman jumped the traces and went the other way. A very valuable column had been added to the recruiting Returns, which said that the Secretary for War would have to lay on the Table of the House a return of the number of men recruited under the age of eighteen. At present the returns did not show how many of that age were recruited to the strength of the Regular Army, and the information would be invaluable. The fact remained that they were living in a fool's paradise so far [as the young recruits were concerned, because up till now no returns had been presented to the House showing how many young men under the prescribed age had been actually recruited. If the clause now suggested were passed that information would be readily obtainable by every Member of the House, and he thought they were discussing the matter very much in the dark in not knowing definitely what the number of these men was. He would therefore ask the Secretary of State for War if he had any information to give them, or could let them have an approximate idea of how many men were affected by matters standing as they were. Surely when a new clause of this sort was moved it would be worth the while of some of the numerous advisers which the right hon. Gentleman had at his command to give him a rough estimate of how many men were recorded as being enlisted under the ago of eighteen under special circumstances. His hon. and gallant friend had suggested that it would be very interesting to know in how many cases, during the past year, birth certificates were available for those under the age of eighteen. If they had some statistics of that sort he thought those who differed from them would, like themselves, be put into a more advantageous position for approaching this thorny subject. Both those who were opposed to having a limit of eighteen years imposed upon recruits and those who would like to see a rigid limit drawn would, under this clause have the whole position before them. The whole point which they raised and which had escaped the right hon. Gentleman's attention was the fact that where young men were 1456 not taken for the Regular Army they could be taken for the Militia and other Forces, so that really deserving young men of proper military spirit who were desirous of serving their country were not in any way shut out. He was sure that it was not the intention in any degree of his hon. and gallant friend to prevent any recruit from serving his country in any branch of the Service he might choose. If that had been the idea of the Amendment, he would have been the first to oppose it, but he knew that the hon. and gallant Gentleman took a great interest in the recruiting of the Army; his idea was that the country feared that the Army was not composed exactly of the class of men they should get, and that consequently proper precautions should be taken that boys were not sent abroad before they were fit for duty. He really thought that as the question affected the very foundations of the Army, they might have had a little more interest displayed in it upon the Radical benches. They were talking now not in the middle of the night, but in the middle of the day when every one was fresh. But it was the old story. Hon. Members opposite were never present when it was a question of strengthening the Forces of the Crown but only when it was desired to reduce them. When, however, they were seeking to maintain the Army at its highest level it was interesting to observe that there were only five Members of the Radical Party who wished to take part in the debate.
§ MR. ASHLEY
thought there was some misapprehension as to the reason why he moved this new clause. He did not attach any great or lasting importance to the exact age of eighteen or nineteen, but his object was to endeavour to ensure that every recruit enlisted in His Majesty's forces should be of efficient physique and likely to pay for his training and to be able to defend his country. The right hon. Gentleman had said that he had made great efforts in devising practical improvements, and he was quite willing to admit that certain improvements had been made. The right hon. Gentleman had indeed told every recruiting officer that he should, if possible, get a birth certificate from 1457 every man to prove that he was eighteen years of age. So far so good, but they were no better off. Supposing a mm said he had not his certificate with him, he might be sixteen or seventeen or any age. They had no opportunity of pinning him down, but under this new clause a man would be obliged, if possible, to bring forward his birth certificate. If he could not do so, that was where the new clause would come in over the present system, because the recruiting officer would have to satisfy himself that in weight, height, and measurement the recruit was of sufficient physique for His Majesty's forces. It would not be sufficient that a recruit should state he was eighteen years of age; he would have to satisfy these medical requirements, and what was of more importance a report would have to be made by this officer; the War Office would have to put on the Table a Return showing the number of men who were enlisted of this type, and whether an undue number of them were entering the Army.
§ MR. HUNT (Shropshire, Ludlow)
asked whether it was the fact or not that if recruiting was difficult youths could be recruited at seventeen years of age. It appeared to him that our Army was very small and particularly smaller than it was formerly, and at all events we ought to have recruits who were up to a proper standard. They walked about in towns and saw very youthful and small people dressed up in His Majesty's uniform. He did not say they were absolutely infants, but they ought to be at school. But these youths would be of no use at
§ all in case of war; they would not be able to stand the hard work of campaigning. Unquestionably they wanted "an old dog for a hard road," and these young men could not until they reached a certain age endure the hardships of war. The country, therefore, would only waste money upon them if they were of this very youthful age. For the purpose for which they were wanted they were of no use, as even at twenty years of age a man could not stand a campaign. It was shown in the South African War that a man of far greater age could do harder work and was much less liable to go sick than were the younger men, and even at forty the men had stood it better than the "young'uns." He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would tell them whether he was going to keep up the rule that recruiting officers, to the best of their ability, should not take men under eighteen years of age.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
said he quite agreed that they should not take young men in the Army, because they were limited to a certain number. If the right hon. Gentleman would extend the numbers and say 450,000 he would certainly vote for sixteen instead of eighteen. As it was he supposed he should have to vote with his hon. and gallant friend for his new clause.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided;—Ayes, 67; Noes, 241. (Division List No. 52.)1461
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hn. Sir Alex. F||Coates, E. Feetham (Lewisham)||Forster, Henry William|
|Ashley, W. W.||Collings, Rt. Hn. J.(Birmingh'm||Gardner, Ernest|
|Balcarres, Lord||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Gretton, John|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Courthope, G. Loyd||Guinness, Walter Edward|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.||Haddock, George B.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Craik, Sir Henry||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Cross, Alexander||Hay, Hon. Claude George|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Helmsley, Viscount|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon||Hill, Sir Clement|
|Bull, Sir William James||Doughty, Sir George||Hunt, Rowland|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Kimber, Sir Henry|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Fell, Arthur||Lane-Fox, G. R.|
|Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Remnant, James Farquharson||Winterton, Earl|
|Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Lowe, Sir Francis William||Sloan, Thomas Henry||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Smith, Abel H.(Hertford, East)||Younger, George|
|Morpeth, Viscount||Starkey, John R.|
|Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||Stone, Sir Benjamin||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir Frederick Banbury and Captain Craig.|
|Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Randles, Sir John Scurrah||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Ratcliff, Major R. F.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Kekewich, Sir George|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall||Lambert, George|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Elibank, Master of||Lamont, Norman|
|Alden, Percy||Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Layland-Barratt, Francis|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Erskine, David C.||Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Essex, R. W.||Lehmann, R. C.|
|Armstrong, W. C. Heaton||Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Everett, R. Lacey||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Astbury, John Meir||Faber, G. H. (Boston)||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Lough, Thomas|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Fenwick, Chares||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Lyell, Charles Henry|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Lynch, H. B.|
|Barker, John||Findlay, Alexander||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Macdonald, J. M.(Falkirk Bg'hs|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Maclean, Donald|
|Barnes, G. N.||Furness, Sir Christopher||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Gibb, James (Harrow)||Macpherson, J. T.|
|Bell, Richard||Gill, A. H.||M'Callum, John M.|
|Bennett, E. N.||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John||M'Crae, George|
|Bertram, Julius||Glen-Coats, Sir I. (Renfrew, W||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)|
|Bethell, Sir J. H.(Essex, Romf'rd||Glover, Thomas||M'Micking, Major G|
|Black, Arthur W.||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Maddison, Frederick|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Grant, Corrie||Mallet, diaries E|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Manfield, Harry (Northants)|
|Branch, James||Griffith, Ellis J.||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Brigg, John||Gulland, John W.||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Marnham, F. J.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis||Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Masterman, C. F. G.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles||Hart-Davies, T.||Menzies, Walter|
|Byles, William Pollard||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Micklem, Nathaniel|
|Cameron, Robert||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E||Middlebrook, William|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Harwood, George||Mond, A.|
|Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight||Helme, Norval Watson||Money, L. G. Chiozza|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Montagu, E. S.|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Henry, Charles S.||Morse, L. L.|
|Clynes, J. R.||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Murray, James|
|Collins, Stephens (Lambeth)||Higham, John Sharp||Myer, Horatio|
|Cooper, G. J.||Hobart, Sir Robert||Napier, I. B.|
|Corbett, C. H (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Hodge, John||Nicholls, George|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Holland, Sir William Henry||Nicholson, Charles N.(Doncast'r|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Cowan, W. H.||Horniman, Emslie John||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Cox, Harold||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Nuttall, Harry|
|Cremer, Sir William Randal||Hudson, Walter||O'Grady, J.|
|Crooks, William||Hutton, Alfred Eddison||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Crosfield, A. H.||Idris, T. H. W.||Partington, Oswald|
|Crossley, William J.||Illingworth, Percy H.||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Jackson, R. S.||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred||Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Jardine, Sir J.||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Jenkins, J.||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Price, C. Edinb'gh, (Central)|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Radford, G. H.|
|Dickinson, W. H.(St. Pancras, N.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Rees, J. D.|
|Duckworth, James||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||Jowett, F. W.||Richards, T. F.(Wolverh'mpt'n)|
|Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Kearley, Hudson E.||Richardson, A.|
|Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)||Soares, Ernest J.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Robertson, Rt. Hn. E.(Dundee)||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)||Whitbread, Howard|
|Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Robinson, S.||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Roe, Sir Thomas||Summerbell, T.||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Rogers, F. E. Newman||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliff||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax|
|Rowlands, J.||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)||Whittaker, Sir Thomas Palmer|
|Runciman, Walter||Thomas, Sir A. Glamorgan, E.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Russell, T. W.||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)||Thomasson, Franklin||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland||Tomkinson, James||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull. W.)|
|Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester||Torrance, Sir A. M.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Scott, A. H.(Ashton under Lyne||Toulmin, George||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Sears, J. E.||Villiers, Ernest Amherst||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Seaverns, J. H.||Vivian, Henry||Winfrey, R.|
|Seddon, J.||Walsh, Stephen|
|Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)||Walters, John Tudor||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Pease.|
|Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick, B.)||Walton, Joseph|
|Silcock, Thomas Ball||Waring, Walter|
|Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
§ *MR. ASHLEY moved a new clause amending Section 42 by substituting the words "Chief of the General Staff" for the words "Commander-in-Chief." The officer who unhappily had reason to make a complaint against his commanding officer was in the clause told to make it to the Commander-in-Chief, a person who had been abolished for some years. Therefore they had to consider what authority should be substituted. Two authorities could be substituted, the Army Council who in practice did deal with these complaints or an individual member of that Council. So long as the right hon. Gentleman held his office he would be pleased to move that he should be the proper official to whom complaint should be made, but he could quite see that it might be impossible for the right hon. Gentleman or any other Minister to take that duty upon himself. They had, therefore, to consider what authority should take the place of the defunct Commander-in-Chief so as to receive complaints. He himself preferred that complaint should be made to an individual rather than to a body like the Army Council, because he would be able in all probability to give more attention to it. It was under these circumstances that he begged to move.
§ Brought up, and read the first time.1462
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be read a second time."
§ VISCOUNT CASTLEREAGH (Maidstone)
thought that as the Amendment was of an important character the right hon. Gentleman would do well to consider it. He certainly hoped the right hon. Gentleman would see the way to accept it, because since the article was framed the Commander-in-Chief had ceased to exist. His hon. friend had left the matter rather open in his Amendment as to whether complaint should be made to the Army Council or an individual member of the Council. He himself was in favour of sending the complaint to the Army Council rather than to one officer. He supported the Amendment.
§ MR. HALDANE
said it was quite right that this question should be raised in order that the mind of the House might be set at rest. His objections to accepting the Amendment were two, first, that it was not necessary, and secondly, that the case had already been provided for. The position of Commander-in-Chief having been abolished, provision had been made for this very case. An Order in Council was passed in 1904, which provided that all the powers of the Commander-in-Chief other than statutory powers should rest in the Army Council. This was a statutory power, but that did not matter, because 1463 the Commander-in-Chief being abolished, the statutory powers lapsed, and it was the duty of the Army Council to deal with these matters. It was a mere formality, because, as he had said, the Commander-in-Chief was no longer existing, and automatically, by the mere fact of the Order in Council, the Secretary of State would be guided in the exercise of his prerogative by the Army Council.
§ VISCOUNT CASTLEREAGH
asked whether it was advisable to have a term of an obsolete character—"Commander-in-Chief"—in an Act of Parliament which was brought up every year.
§ *MR. HALDANE
said the Bill which he had stated he would bring in, dealt not only with that, but with a good many of these statutory powers; it would be purely a drafting Bill. He had not yet had an opportunity of bringing forward the Army Council Powers Bill, but he hoped to introduce it later in the session. He wanted to pass it as soon as he got an opportunity, but until that Bill became law it was impossible to deal with these mere formalities. Questions of discipline, and this was one, could not go to the Chief of the General Staff. All these important appeals ought not to go to a single individual; they would go to the King, and the King, who would be advised by the Secretary of State, whether by virtue of the Order in Council, or the directions contained in it, consulted the Army Council. It was the Army Council which, under the provisions of the Order in Council, took the place of the Commander-in-Chief. Several cases happened to which this section applied. They went to the Army Council, which directed the proper procedure and made exhaustive inquiry. The result of that inquiry went to the Secretary of State, who himself took part in the Army Council administration. The military and civil members would sit together at the inquiry, and then the Secretary of State gave advice to the Sovereign, whose directions would be issued. In other words, they had got the most complete tribunal just now which it was possible to have. The object of the hon. Member in moving his Amendment was precisely that which 1464 was served by the state of things now existing. The Chief of the General Staff could not possibly cope with it, and therefore the Army Council had been selected under the Order in Council to discharge these duties.
§ MR. LAMBTON (Durham, S.E.)
said he could not understand why the right hon. Gentleman would not accept the drafting Amendment in this case.
§ MR. LAMBTON
understood from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman that the matter was provided for, and that it was not necessary to alter the wording of the Bill. But they wanted words which officers would understand.
§ MR. HALDANE
said it was very difficult to consider this as a drafting Amendment. He was in this position: he had never seen the Amendment until five minutes ago. It had not been put upon the Paper, and it was impossible for him to drive a steel ram rod into a delicate piece of mechanism. He must consider what he was doing; he must consider the words before he could possibly assent to them; it was much better that the matter should be dealt with in the Bill which he had promised to introduce before long, and which would deal with all these subjects.
§ MR. LAMBTON
said the right hon. Gentleman's explanation was not sufficient. He talked of driving a steel ram rod into a delicate piece of mechanism, but he was employing words which were utterly unintelligible to any officer. If no Commander-in-Chief existed now, how on earth was application to be made to him to obtain justice? It was a really important matter. He was sure that the right hon. Gentleman in five minutes—if he were assisted by the Attorney-General for Ireland near him—could easily find words to convey to the House and the Army his position. They really must press the Amendment.
§ MR. MITCHELL-THOMSON
was sure the House would think absurd the retention of the term "Commander-in-Chief." 1465 The right hon. Gentleman said with truth that the punishments which were inflicted by the Commander-in-Chief had been transferred to the Army Council. They had one definition of the word "Commander-in-Chief" for the purposes of this section; but later in the Act there was another section which defined it as meaning: "The Field-Marshal or other officer, or the Commander-in-Chief of the forces for the time being." Why put in the Act the description of a person who had no existence, and why in another part of the Act give a different definition, which under the existing state of things could have no meaning? From the point of view of drafting he thought that the Amendment was well worth consideration.
EARL WINTEETON (Sussex, Horsham)
said it seemed to him most important that the Bill in which was contained the whole of the regulations for the governance of the Army those regulations should be set out clearly, so that every soldier could read and understand them. This clause was one of the most important of the whole Bill, and where it was a question of complaints by officers of their treatment, or with regard to the conduct of their commanding officers, it was really important that the law should be quite clear, so that an officer who was anxious to make a complaint should know to whom he was to address it. The specific point on which he wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman a question, was whether the commanding officer would be given instructions that the Act should be read or placed in a position where it could easily be read by the regiment, and where it would be seen that the authority to whom power was delegated was the Army Council and not the Commander-in-Chief. It was important that that should be made clear: otherwise, a man who wished to make a complaint would not know to whom he was to make it. The House might be aware of the different alterations that have been made in the Army during the last three years, but they were not so obvious to the men or the officers of the Army. Having 1466 regard to the importance of the matter and to the very large amount of dirty linen which had been recently washed in public, it should be clearly laid down who was the authority to whom the powers of the Commander-in-Chief had been delegated.
§ MR. CLAUDE HAY
said it should be made clear to the Secretary of State, first of all, that things were in a desperately muddled condition so far as the wording of the clause was concerned. Secondly, they were asked to spend a part of that afternoon to turn that muddle into law. Personally, he objected to that process. When the right hon. Gentleman complained that he had not had time to see the Amendment his complaint would not hold water, because if he had chosen he could have given adequate notice of the later stage of the Bill and his hon. friend would have put down a new clause. If there was any difficulty in dealing with the matter, the right hon. Gentleman had only himself to thank. Why could not the right hon. Gentleman at this stage of the Bill undertake to provide words which any man who read them could understand? The difficulty appeared to be that the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues had not thought it worth while to put their proposals before the House in a straightforward or businesslike manner.
§ CAPTAIN CRAIG
said the Government proposed to make the alteration by a Bill which was to be brought in, but the alteration would not appear in the Army Act, and it was that point which they were endeavouring to impress upon the right hon. Gentleman. He would venture to make a suggestion which he thought would meet with the approval of the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. friend opposite, and would give time for this matter to be more fully considered, while it would render more clear the Army Act, which was in the hands of every soldier of His Majesty's forces. He suggested that it would meet the right hon. Gentleman's objection and also that of his hon. friend opposite, if he were to insert in Subsection 3 of Clause 190 words explaining that the expression "Commander-in-Chief" meant "Army Council" 1467 instead of the present "Field-Marshal or other officer of His Majesty commanding the forces for the time being." He would suggest the withdrawal of the Amendment on an undertaking by the Secretary of State to that effect. It would simplify matters very much and allow them to get on with the work of the Committee. Otherwise he thought a great wrong would be done to those who were desirous of having the Army Act in their hands. Any Bill that might be passed later on would never reach the hands of officers, let alone the men, to all intents and purposes for a whole year, and the Army Act would become obsolete on the very day they put it into point.
The question is whether the clause shall be read a second time, and the hon. Member is not speaking to that.
§ *MR. ASHLEY
said he would be willing to withdraw with a view to substituting the Army Council for the Chief of the General Staff. But he could see no valid reason why the Amendment should not be accepted.
§ LORD BALCARRES
said one wondered why the right hon. Gentleman should not amend the Bill rather than propose to introduce fresh legislation. The right hon. Gentleman said it had to be introduced. The matter had been hanging for two years at least, perhaps three. He was not certain that the Party to which he belonged had not delayed it for at least twelve months. The proposal to transfer by Bill the statutory powers vested in the Commander-in-Chief to the Secretary of State for War involved questions of the constitution of the Army Council. With all respect to the right hon. Gentleman he must tell him that the Army Council and its constitution was not a matter which was in the ordinary sense of the term non-controversial. Very large questions were raised, and he thought the events of the last week or two in which the Army Council as an entity had been split up into two, three, or four individual subordinate entities, where the opinion of one member of 1468 the Army Council was quoted against the opinions of others, made the whole question of its constitution one of very considerable importance, and no Bill amending it could pass the House sub silentio. The right hon. Gentleman in a purely incidental phrase had said that in addition to transferring the powers of the Army Council, which had hitherto been vested in the Commander-in-Chief, another object was to be served by that Bill. He did not want to anticipate discussion on the new Bill, but he thought it was probably material to this point, as the Bill had to deal with the Act they were now discussing, that they should know what that other point was. It might also, like the amendment of the Commander - in - Chief's functions and privileges, deal with something under the Army Act. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would tell them when the Bill was going to be introduced. He did not wish to labour the point further, but anything further dealing with the constitution of the Army Council was of considerable importance, and would, he thought, require some scrutiny by Members of the House if it was allowed to pass at all.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
said that if the intention was to re-introduce the Army Council Bill which was prepared at the time of the creation of the Army Council by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Croydon, he should offer strong opposition to it. They would be out of order in discussing the details of the Bill on this occasion, but it raised constitutional issues.
§ *MR. CARLILE (Hertfordshire, St. Albans)
said the right hon. Gentleman had told them that all this was going to be put in order in a subsequent Bill, but he could not tell them when the Bill was going to be introduced.
We have really nothing to do with the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman has mentioned that he is going to introduce a Bill to deal with this question, but we cannot go on discussing it. The only question before us is whether this clause is to be read a second time.
§ MR. CARLILE
hoped it would not be read a second time in its present condition. It was a very undesirable thing that officers in His Majesty's service should be referred by the Army Bill, if they wanted any of their wrongs righted, not merely to a nebulous person not having such substance even as a nebulous body had, but to a person who had no existence at all. They could not understand why the right hon. Gentleman hesitated to accept this or some other Amendment which would really embody in flesh and blood some individual to whom these persons suffering wrong might have the opportunity of appealing. If he would put the Adjutant-General in he had no doubt that his hon. friend would accept that Amendment, or the Army Council if the right hon. Gentleman did not wish to fix the matter any nearer. But it was an inconceivable thing that they should be asked at that hour of the day to pass a Bill containing such a provision as that; it was ridiculous on the very face of it. What other Department of the State would submit to such a thing? Since it had been his privilege to be in Parliament he never remembered any Secretary of State coming to the House and telling them to pass such a ridiculous provision on the ground that in the distant future some other legislation was to take place. They were there to deal with business. Why they should not deal with it in a businesslike way while they had their hand to it, passed the wit of man to conceive. He therefore hoped the right hon. Gentleman would make the matter definite and clear, so that those to whom they were much beholden for their devotion to their service on behalf of their King and country might at any rate feel that there was a Court of Appeal to whom they could go, and not to a supposed individual having no existence, and placed in this Bill merely because the right hon. Gentleman would not accept a most practical Amendment. If he would accept the Adjutant-General perhaps that would meet the difficulty. Anyhow it seemed a preposterous thing that they should be called upon to pass the measure in its present form and he hoped his hon. friend would go to a division un-less he got some satisfactory assurance 1470 that this manifest abuse of the position of officers in the Army was not to be allowed to obtain.
§ MR. T. L. CORBETT
said it had been pointed out that they had a long and laborious task before them, and it was very much better that he should confine himself as briefly as possible to one or two points instead of enlarging upon a number of questions which had been raised. They had an enormous number of clauses to get through. He wanted to ask the Minister for War whether it was a fair thing to put them off what he admitted to be on the whole a reasonable and fair Amendment by the promise of future legislation, when he had already been warned that the very Bill he proposed to introduce would be strenuously opposed by the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean. What after all was the proposal made? There either was to be a real appeal or there was to be no appeal. At present there was absolutely no appeal except to this unembodied nebulosity. There was no Commander-in-Chief, therefore the appeal must either be made to the Army Council or to the Chief of the Staff. Did the right hon. Gentleman say he had not read the Bill, that he had not considered where the appeal was to be made, that he did not know perfectly well that there was now no Commander-in-Chief except himself—a very able one? His hon. friend was prepared to accept him as an arbiter, to accept the Chief of the Staff or the Army Council, and to yield to any fair arrangement in the wording of his Amendment which would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman. But the right hon. Gentleman like the Chief Secretary for Ireland was prepared to bang the box and say he would do nothing until he introduced a little later on some unknown Bill which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean had warned him he would oppose tooth and nail. That was a very unfair condition of things, and he thought it warranted the noble Lord the Member for Maidstone in saying that the Government treated every Amendment moved from that side of the House with absolute contempt. Even although the right hon. 1471 Gentleman admitted that a grave defect in the present Act was pointed out, apparently unknown to him before, and that the Amendment was a reasonable and fair one he would not accept it.
§ MR. T. L. CORBETT
said the only answer given to them in opposition to this Amendment was that in future legislation would be introduced.
§ MR. COURTHOPE
thought they ought to press the right hon. Gentleman on this point. They had made it quite clear that the clause required amending, and the right hon. Gentleman said it was going to be amended by future legislation. But the right hon. Gentleman had no right to assume that the legislation to which he referred would be passed. They had pointed out an anomaly which, by the right hon. Gentleman's own admission, was to be redressed and removed, and they must therefore press him to give them some more definite reason for rejecting this very modest Amendment.
§ MR. HALDANE
thought he had made the point clear. The appeal would come through the Secretary to the Army Council. The only use of the Act of Parliament was to put right what was in substance right, and what was constantly working. That would have to be done by a Bill outside this Act, and that would be the proper time to amend the Army Annual Act.
§ EARL WINTERTON
asked what steps had been taken to make clear to those who would come under the Act the alterations which had been made. Many of them did not know that this office had been abolished, and it should be 1472 made clear that that alteration had been made.
§ MR. HALDANE
said it was made clear, because the Order in Council said that the right the Commander-in-Chief had now passed to the Army Council.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
said the right hon. Gentleman had met the point to a certain extent, but the officers would find it difficult to understand to whom the appeal was to be made unless some alteration was made. This clause seemed very complicated because it referred to an officer who no longer existed. With that love for symmetry which all legal minds possessed, he should have thought that the first thing the right hon. Gentleman would have done would have been to have found out that those words in the section meant nonsense, or nothing at all. The right hon. Gentleman admitted that they had no meaning. He said the Order in Council was well known and appeared in certain documents. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to alter this matter now and put it right. It was no use saying that he was going to alter it. The Secretary for War was a great apostle of the doctrine of efficiency, and that doctrine laid down that they should never put on until to-morrow what they could do to-day. Why could not the right hon. Gentleman accept the simple words which had been proposed and make this clause run the same as the Order in Council. [Cries of "Divide, divide."]
§ MR. LAMBTON
pointed out that Clause 190 defined the term "Commander-in-Chief." Was he going to make the alteration when that clause was reached? If so, why not make the alteration now?
§ MR. HALDANE
said that if he put it in now he would not be touching Clause 190. He could not change the drafting without changing it right through the Act. Not only the Army Act, but other Acts were involved. When the change was made he should correct the draft of the Army Act.
§ Question put.1474
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 71 Noes, 243. (Division List No. 53.)1475
|Acland-Hood. Rt. Hn. Sir Alex. F||Doughty, Sir George||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Nield, Herbert|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.||Fell, Arthur||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Forster, Henry William||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Gretton, John||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Guinness, Walter Edward||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Haddock, George B.||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Starkey, John R.|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Helmsley, Viscount||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hill, Sir Clement||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (Birmingh'm||Hills, J. W.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Hunt, Rowland||Valentia, Viscount|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Winterton, Earl|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Kimber, Sir Henry||Wortley Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Younger, George|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Lowe, Sir Francis William||TELLERS FOE THE AYES—Mr. Ashley land Mr. Lambton.|
|Cross, Alexander||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Cawley, Sir Frederick||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Findlay, Alexander|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Clynes, J. R.||Freeman-Thomas, Freeman|
|Armstrong, W. C. Heaton||Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Gibb, James (Harrow)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Gill, A. H.|
|Astbury, John Meir||Cooper, G. J.||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Corbett, C H (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Glen-Coats, Sir T. (Renfrew, W.)|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Glendinning, R. G.|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Glover, Thomas|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Cowan, W. H.||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)|
|Barker, John||Cox, Harold||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Cremer, Sir William Randal||Griffith, Ellis J.|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Crooks, William||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill|
|Barnes, G. N.||Crosfield, A. H.||Gulland, John W.|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Crossley, William J.||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.|
|Bell, Richard||Curran, Peter Francis||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Davies, David (Montgomery Co.||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)|
|Benn, W.(T'wr Hamlets, S. Geo.||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Hart-Davies, T.|
|Bennett, E. N.||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)|
|Bethell, Sir J. H (Essex. Romf'rd||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Harwood, George|
|Black, Arthur W.||Duckworth, James||Helme, Norval Watson|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Duncan, C.(Barrow-in-Furness||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Branch, James||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Henry, Charles S.|
|Brigg, John||Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Elibank, Master of||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Higham, John Sharp|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Erskine, David C.||Hobart, Sir Robert|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Essex, R. W.||Hodge, John|
|Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles||Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Holland, Sir William Henry|
|Byles, William Pollard||Everett, R. Lacey||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)|
|Cameron, Robert||Faber, G. H. (Boston)||Horniman, Emslie John|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Fenwick, Charles||Horridge, Thomas Gardner|
|Causton, Rt. Hn Richard Knight||Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Hudson, Walter||Montagu, E. S.||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Hutton, Alfred Eddison||Morse, L. L.||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Idris, T. H. W.||Murray, James||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||Napier, T. B.||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Jackson, R. S.||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Jacoby, Sir James Alfred||Nicholls, George||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Jardine, Sir J.||Nicholson, Charles N.(Doncast'r||Summerbell, T.|
|Jenkins, J.||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Nuttall, Harry||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||O'Grady, J.||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Parker, James (Halifax)||Thomasson, Franklin|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||Partington, Oswald||Thompson, J. W. H (Somerset, E|
|Kekewich, Sir George||Pearce, Robert (Staff's. Leek)||Tomkinson, James|
|Laidlaw, Robert||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Torrance, Sir A. M.|
|Lambert, George||Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye)||Toulmin, George|
|Lamont, Norman||Philipps, Col. Ivor (S'thampton||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Layland-Barratt, Francis||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Villiers, Ernest Amherst|
|Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras. E.||Pirie, Duncan V.||Walsh, Stephen|
|Lehmann, R. C.||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)||Walters, John Tudor|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Radfond, G. H.||Waring, Walter|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Lough, Thomas||Rees, J. D.||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Rendall, Athelstan||Watt, Henry A.|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n||Weir, James Galloway|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Richardson, A.||Whitbread, Howard|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs||Ridsdale, E. A.||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Maclean, Donald||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Macpherson, J. T.||Robertson, Rt. Hn. E. (Dundee||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|M'Callum, John M.||Robinson, S.||Whittaker, Sir Thomas Palmer|
|M'Crae, George||Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Wiles, Thomas|
|M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford W.)||Rogers, F. E. Newman||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|M'Micking, Major G.||Rowlands, J.||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Maddison, Frederick||Runciman, Waller||Williamson, A.|
|Mallet, Charles E.||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Markham, Arthur Basil||Schwann, Sir C. E.(Manchester)||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Scott, A. H. (Ashton under Lyne||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Marnham, F. J.||Sears, J. E.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||Seaverns, J. H.||Winfrey, R.|
|Masterman, C. F. G.||Seddon, J.|
|Menzies, Walter||Seely, Colonel||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Pease.|
|Micklem, Nathaniel||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Middlebrook, William||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T (Hawick, B.|
|Mond, A.||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Money, L. G. Chiozza||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ MR. ASHLEY moved a new clause having for its object the omission from Clause 136 of the Army Act of the words "or by any Royal Warrant for the time being." He pointed out that Clause 138 laid it down that penal deductions might be made from the pay of the ordinary soldier in eight specific cases. His contention was that there should be embodied in this Bill the specific instances where it was allowable for the military authorities to deduct a certain amount from the pay of the soldier, and that these should be the only instances in which deductions might be made. Why give the Secretary of State power under a Royal Warrant to make deductions for any offence or cause he liked? If the right hon. Gentleman could not be 1476 trusted in respect of one clause, why give him such extensive powers under another. He begged to move.
§ Brought up, and read a first time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be read a second time."
§ MR. HALDANE
said the sections which distinguished between the two kinds of deductions—those made under the Act as distinguished from those 1477 made by Royal Warrant—were Sections 137 and 138. The deductions made under the Act were penal deductions, and it was right that they should be set out. The other deductions made by Royal Warrant were not penal deductions. The amount due by an officer who left his mess bill unpaid, and certain other charges, might be deducted from his pay, and such debts were dealt with under the power conferred by Royal Warrant. That was why the offences to be treated as penal were put in the Act, and the matters to be dealt with under Royal Warrant were not.
§ Question put, and negatived.
§ MR. ASHLEY moved a new clause to amend Clause 137 of the Army Act, which permits the stoppage of the ordinary pay of an officer who absents himself without leave unless a satisfactory explanation is given. He pointed out that under Clause 137 as it stood, if an officer had six months' pay due to him and he absented himself for a few days he might forfeit the whole of his arrears of pay. He thought the intention was that he should only forfeit the pay for the days on which he was absent, as was the rule in the case of a private soldier.
§ Brought up, and read a first time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be read a second time."
§ MR. HALDANE
said the deduction under this section was a penal deduction. If an officer absented himself without leave, it might be a small matter, simply measurable by the stopping of his pay during the time he was away. But it might be a matter very grave indeed which would make it right that all arrears due to him should be stopped. In order that justice should be done as between a simple case and an extreme case the qualifying words as to a satisfactory 1478 explanation being given were contained in the Act. That was a matter which the commander-in-chief would determine; he would consider the circumstances and order such deduction as might seem necessary—it might be a few days' pay or six months' pay.
§ MR. ASHLEY
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman laid it down that an officer should be put in a worse position than a private soldier. A private soldier could only be fined for the number of days he was absent.
§ MR. HALDANE
said the position of an officer who absented himself might be very grave indeed, and it might be necessary not only to stop his pay, but to try him by court martial.
§ Question put, and negatived.
§ MR. CLAUDE HAY
said he understood that there was a considerable feeling of dissatisfaction among the non-commissioned officers and men in regard allowances. He moved a new clause, explaining that he did not bring it forward in a hostile spirit, but rather with the view of extracting from the Secretary of State for War, a statement as to what he proposed to do in the way of revising the King's Regulations. Under the operation of the present regulations many inequalities arose, and he would ask the right hon. Gentleman seriously to consider the subject at a time when the whole of these Army matters were receiving drastic treatment. He begged to move.
Having heard the hon. Member, I think before I can put this I roust ask the Secretary of State for War whether there is any public charge involved in it.
§ MR. HALDANE
said there were difficulties in the way of accepting the new clause because it involved the raising of the rates for allowances for which he had taken no money on the Estimates. Perhaps he might be allowed to say that he recognised the decrepancies to which 1479 attention had been called, and he would give the matter his consideration.
The proposed new clause was ruled to be out of order.
§ CAPTAIN CRAIG moved to omit Clause 44 of the Army Act. He said his desire was to call attention to the question of field punishment. Last year he and others on that side of the House made an earnest appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to amend the regulations with respect to held punishment. A sympathetic reply was given, and he wished to know whether anything had been done. There was a very strong feeling against the punishment of British soldiers in presence of natives abroad. He was sure that anyone who had had any experience in the infliction of field punishment would recognise how important it was for the credit of the British Army in the field that punishments should not be carried out in the presence of the natives of the country with which we happened to be at war. Last year the Secretary for War admitted that something should be done to soften these punishments. He moved to omit the clause in order to draw attention to the fact that the new Rules were laid on the Table of the House on 30th January this year, and to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he would arrange in future for a clause which would enjoin officers in carrying out the punishments under Section 6 and at page 99 of the Appendix to do so as humanely as possible, and to see that they were not carried out in presence of natives. Such a clause would give great satisfaction to hon. Members sitting on those benches. A sympathetic answer from the right hon. Gentleman would satisfy him.
§ Brought up, and read a first time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this Clause be read a second time."
§ MR. HALDANE
said that as a result of the discussion last year a special 1480 Expert Committee was appointed to go into this matter and that Committee revised the whole of the rules as to punishments. There was a certain class of persons—he was glad to say they were very few in number—who, when hostilities were about to break out, and they were at the front, incurred punishment deliberately in order to be sent to the rear. The punishment referred to by the hon. and gallant Member would reach that class. The men would be subject to discipline which was sufficiently severe but much more gentle than was formerly the case. As to the other point raised by the hon. and gallant Member, no British officer would expose a white man to anything which would seem to lower the dignity of the white race in the eyes of the natives, and, therefore, very special care was taken that in those cases nothing was done which would encourage such indignity.
§ CAPTAIN CRAIG
said that in view of the very sympathetic reply of the right hon. Gentleman he begged leave to withdraw his proposal.
§ New clause, by leave, withdrawn.
§ VISOUNT HELMSLEY (Yorkshire, N. R., Thirsk)
said he wished to ask a question with regard to the allowance of forage for Army horses. The matter was raised last year, and no satisfactory answer was then given by the Secretary of State for War. The right hon. Gentleman would see that the allowance ration was only 10lbs., but it was recognised that that was too small for cavalry horses. Many cavalry officers considered that the ration was insufficient for a horse in full work, and that they would not limit their own horses to that slender ration when doing the same kind and amount of work if the horses were to be kept in good condition.
§ MR. HALDANE
said that the hon. Member took such an interest in this matter that he would consider any point raised by him. The Schedule of rations had been considered by an expert Committee, and the point raised by the hon. Member had been adequately 1481 considered, but he would make quite sure of it.
Schedule agreed to.
Bill reported without Amendment.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a third time."—(Mr Haldane.)
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE
thought the House might consent to the Third Reading if they were quite certain that the right hon. Gentleman would perform all his promises with regard to making the law clear in the future on the point which had been raised.
§ MR. CLAUDE HAY
said that they must have some assurance on the subject, for he was aware that the right hon. Gentleman was not always able to carry out his promises afterwards. They had, been told that the right hon. Gentleman would deal with certain matters which had been raised that afternoon in another measure which he would possibly introuce this session. But the Member for the Forest of Dean had stated that if the new Bill was anything like the measure adumbrated by the right hon. Gentleman or the measure suggested a year or two ago, it would receive the most violent opposition, they had been debarred from discussing certain subjects that afternoon, and they had had proof that they would be out of order in discussing them on an Army Council Bill. Therefore, they were in a cleft stick. The Third Reading of the Army (Annual) Bill was the only opportunity they had of discussing questions of the highest importance. On that account he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would meet the wishes of a considerable body of opinion by deferring the Third Reading to another occasion.
§ MR. HALDANE
said that if there was any general demand for it he would willingly accede to the hon. Gentleman's request. But when the Bill to which 1482 reference was made was introduced, there would be full discussion not only of form but of substance. He, therefore, asked that the Army (Annual) Bill should be given a Third Reading.
§ MR. CARLILE
said that this Bill, which contained a great deal of controversial matter, had been allowed to go through Committee very easily. There was no immediate pressure for the passing of the Bill and bethought that they should have another opportunity of considering its details.
§ VISCOUNT CASTLEREAGH (Maidstone)
asked when the right hon. Gentleman intended to bring in the Bill referred to.