§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
said the Bill of which he rose to move the Second Reading had been before the House for a great number of years. It had, indeed, been before both Houses, for although never introduced in the House of Lords, it was the subject of prolonged inquiry in which a great number of witnesses from all parts of the country gave evidence before a Committee of that House. During the last three years he had been anxious that his hon. friend the Member for St. Helens should take charge of the Bill, inasmuch as he was the direct representative in the House of the body which was principally concerned with him originally in drawing the Bill, the National Union of 1535 Shop Assistants. That Bill was no doubt the joint work of some connected with the Parliamentary Committee of the Trades Congress and the National Union of Shop Assistants and of some representatives of the shopkeepers in certain trades who were favourable to the Bill, although many of their colleagues were opposed to it on detail. It had been the wish of the National Union of Shop Assistants, against his own, that he should continue to be in charge of the fortunes of the Bill in the House of Commons. It had certain advantages over other forms of labour legislation and certain special difficulties in its way. It was usual to object to almost all forms of drastic or stringent labour legislation, arguments which were those of the old Ricardo religion and mainly on two heads, the head which concerned cheapness for export trades and the question, therefore, of protection and free trade, and the head of individual personal liberty. As regarded the export trade, that did not arise in shops legislation. It was a purely domestic and internal question, and they were entirely free from that difficulty. As regarded the personal liberty side, the restriction of the hours of grown persons in shops was already law. The Act of 1904 of the late Conservative Government gave the most stringent powers of compulsorily shortening the hours of the opening of shops, and although it did not contain a clause directly dealing with the hours of shop assistants, the dealing with the hours of shops themselves constituted that interference with what was called the individual liberty of the shopkeeper to open as long as he pleased to which objection was now raised. That law had been operative in only a few places as regarded all trades and most of the orders under it were concerned only with single trades, but the principle was there and in Glasgow and in its neighbourhood there was a general order concerning almost all trades. The history of this subject he would only touch so far as was necessary in order to make the position clear. In former days the scheme of this Bill and that of Lord Avebury's original Bill were rival schemes. When Lord Avebury became a peer he raised his Bill again in another place and a Committee was appointed on which the late Lord Salisbury, who up to that time had opposed all legislation of this kind, had a seat. Lord Salisbury 1536 took a more active part in the proceedings of that Committee than he was ever known to take on any Committee in the House of Lords. He examined all the witnesses and became curiously friendly to the principle of this Bill as compared with that of the more optional Bill of Lord Avebury. If Members would look back at the evidence before the House of Lords Committee they would find that Lord Salisbury when he opposed Lord Avebury's Report and carried his own paragraphs, which were adopted unanimously, based himself upon their argument and for their Bill, preferring it on the whole to the other plans. As regarded that House, in 1903 the Member for East Norfolk carried unanimously a Resolution, for which the Bill had been withdrawn. The Resolution was opposed by the then Government. It was accepted as regarded what might be called the first part of the Bill, the closing of shops, but it was fiercely opposed as regarded the hours clause. In spite of the very strong opposition by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the St. Augustine Division of Kent, the House at the last unanimously adopted that Resolution, the Government not venturing to divide. In the following year they brought in their Government Bill, which he opposed on the same grounds as those on which lie was proceeding now and on which the Resolution of 1903 was carried. They allowed the Government Bill to pass. It came at the end of the session to a question whether they should stop it, as they were in a position to do, or whether they should encourage the Government to pass it, although they had opposed it on the grounds which he was about to offer in support of this Bill. They decided to let it pass, and it did pass, because they thought the experiment would be valuable in both directions, both because its failure to obtain a general shortening of hours would help their case, and, on the other hand, the experience gained in certain places by the shortening of hours under the scheme of that Bill might be useful as a guide. The House of Commons had unanimously resolved last year that it had been a failure—they were the words contained in their unanimous Resolution last year. They therefore came straight to the question of what ought to be the remedy for universally admitted evils. It would be a waste of 1537 time for the House of Commons to discuss the nature of those evils. There was no contest with regard to the evils of long hours and the advantage of shortening them. The whole question was one of detailed plan, and of the objections offered to any particular scheme. That being so, they had to consider generally what their line of action ought to be. There was one exception last year to the universal admission of failure everywhere. The Home Secretary admitted the general failure, and accepted that word in the Resolution, but said he thought in Glasgow there had been a success. He (Sir Charles Dilke) had therefore very carefully examined since that time the nature of the Glasgow experiment and the working of the Glasow Order. He had not at all confined himself to the representatives of the shop assistants or, indeed, of the traders concerned, but he had taken opinions from Glasgow, as impartial as he could possibly obtain, from men of strong common sense, and men who, by their avocations, were not likely to be prejudiced on one side or the other. Generally speaking, he thought it was the opinion of the Scottish Government that the Act was a failure in Scotland as in England. If Glasgow was an exception, it was only Glasgow. The Lord-Advocate had issued a circular-letter and he (Sir Charles Dilke) had a note of the replies, and the burghs by ten to one reported the Act to be a failure. There was also a general Return before the House, which included Scotland. There were 117 burghs on the Roll, and of those Orders had only been made in fourteen at the time of the circular and in fifteen now. Most of these Orders were not general or even extensive Orders m regarded the number of trades included, but were mostly Orders only for one class of shop, and in very many cases, like the vast majority of the English Orders, only for hairdressers' shops. That was no general or even large application of the Act. In reply to the circular, ten burghs had expressed their satisfaction with the present Act, and a large majority of the others had said they wished for more drastic legislation. In Glasgow, to which he therefore returned as the one alleged success—and he did not wish to dispute the success, but only to examine the facts as to Glasgow—there was a very large 1538 number of trades included in the Order, the list of which revealed at once the greatest difficulty with which, since the Orders had been proposed, Glasgow had had to contend, and that was the composite shop. A great number of shops in the list had names which showed they were on the border line of several trades, and the result was that the poll, where they had to poll trade by trade and get a majority in every trade, was extraordinarily complicated in its nature. That was one of the complications which it was the wish of the promoters of his Bill to remove. If they had a poll at all, which was put in as a safeguard, though he did not wish for it, it should be a general poll and not a poll trade by trade. They ought to avoid this complication of trades on the border line. At the time of the proposal of the large Order in Glasgow there was the same objection raised on behalf of the small shopkeepers in the suburbs which was alleged now, and of which he had no doubt they would hear from opponents of the Bill. They had received many circulars in which that difficulty was alleged. That was the main objection taken in advance to the Glasgow Orders. The difficulty which had arisen since the Orders had been made was the difficulty of the composite shops. The Corporation had gone to litigation and had been supported by decisions of the Courts, so that they had had their way, and the Act had worked, although with friction. As regarded the small shops the most impartial authorities in Glasgow to whom he had been able to appeal and from whom he had had private opinions for his own guidance, stated that the hardship alleged in Glasgow in advance had not in practice been considerable. One informant to whose opinion he attached the very greatest weight, and whose name he could not give because he got his opinion on the strict condition that it was for his own guidance only, told him that the small shopkeepers in the suburbs opposed the Orders of the Corporation on the very ground which was now alleged, that they did all their trade in the evening, and many of them did not employ any shop assistants, and ought not, they thought, to come under any legislation. Of course, he regarded as a Committee point the point of whether there should be any exception of shops by reason of their not employing assistants. 1539 It was not a vital principle of the Bill, and in every one of our Colonies, and in all foreign countries where there had been legislation of this nature, there had always been Committee discussion on that question, and in some of the most successful Colonial laws that exception existed. Nevertheless, although there was no exception made in Glasgow, and the law was general, "grumbling has now ceased," and the hardship alleged had not been found practically to exist. But recently in Glasgow there had been a strike on hours, and the revelations of that strike, in a town which possessed a drastic Order affecting most trades, and affecting the trade in which the strike had taken place, were curious, and deserving of some attention. One allegation had been made in the Glasgow Press, and another had been made on the authority of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Council of the National Union of Shop Assistants. The two were not exactly the same, but he would frankly state the difference. It was alleged in the Press that the usual number of hours in the great grocer's shop where the strike occurred was seventy-nine per week—long hours, of course, but not the longest known of—and that they ran up to 100 during the busy periods of the year, which was, of course, very long hours indeed. The Glasgow and West of Scotland Council of the National Union of Shop Assistants said that the minimum number of hours was seventy-nine and that the exceptional hours were over 100 per week. He had carefully inquired how it was possible that hours so long should be worked in the case of a city where a general Order of a drastic nature under the Act of 1904 existed, and the result was very curious, because it bore upon a portion of this Bill to which the promoters attached extreme importance and was specifically mentioned in the Resolution of the House in 1903 and was the ground of the opposition which the then Government offered, not being able to take their objection to the division lobby. The Order in Glasgow he was told, and it seemed paradoxical, had not caused a reduction of hours. It had caused a redistribution but not a reduction, and the reason was because in the present law there was no clause limiting the hours of shop assistants. It only limited the hours of the opening of shops, and the re- 1540 distribution alluded to, which had caused some shop assistants hours in Glasgow to be increased, meant that the letter orders were attended to after the shop was shut instead of during the hours the shop was open, and of course in addition there was all the preparation of the shop for the next day's work. These facts showed that it was necessary in dealing with this subject to include a clause restricting the hours of shop assistants, and he asked his Glasgow adviser how he thought the working of the local Order, and the strike bore upon this point, and he said—The long hours caused by keeping men working, making up letter orders and preparing goods for the following day's sale, after the shop is closed to the public.That was a point to which they attached vital importance. In 1904 the hon. Baronet the Member fur the City of London got into some trouble because he had always opposed their proposal on general grounds, and they thought those genera grounds of opposition were equally applicable to the Bill of the then Government. After some hesitation the hon. Baronet finally came down on the Government side and supported the measure.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
It is quite true there was a considerable difficulty. What took place was that I first said I should vote for the Amendment of my right hon. friend. Then when it came to be explained it seemed to me to be so bad that I voted for the Bill of my own Party, which though very bad was not quite as bad.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE
said that if he could conceive that for a moment he could hold the hon. Baronet's views, he would have acted as he did upon that occasion. The form of the present Act, if hon. Members would look at it, contrasted with the form of this Bill, really told the whole story. The Resolution of last year set forth that in the unanimous opinion of this House more drastic legislation was required. The Glasgow Order, which was a drastic one, had shown the strength of the administration of the Corporation of Glasgow, because it had been most efficiently enforced, and yet the weakness of the law had been clearly shown and exactly the difficulties had arisen which were foreseen. It was agreed on all hands that the existing law had broken down and was a dead letter. When 1541 Parliament was unanimously convinced of the need for dealing with this question, it passed a law so hedged about with numerous and unnecessary securities that even Lord Avebury himself prophesied its failure. Almost everybody agreed that more drastic legislation was required. He was aware that there was a good deal of difference of opinion in regard to the hours clause. He was prepared to assert that all opponents of this Bill who had shown their hands by resolutions were favourable to the general principle, which was the main issue at stake upon the Second Reading of the Bill. The objections which had been raised to this measure were really Committee matters, and not questions of principle. One of the most authorised of the representatives of those hostile to the Bill was the gentleman representing the National Chamber of Trade at the annual conference of that body held at Derby. The incoming president delivered an address upon this subject, in which he said that "the Shops Bill like the Shop Hours Act was to be condemned because the powers were to be enforced and controlled by the local authority instead of by Parliament." That argument was only partly true of this Bill. In the same speech was a proposal for the adoption of one of the most drastic forms of colonial law upon this question. The same speaker said—What was needed was a national Bill, nationally controlled, and applicable to every retail shop in the Kingdom. Many of the difficulties of this Bill would arise when it was applied locally, but would disappear if the Bill was made national.The speech concluded with a request for "a national Bill like that of New South Wales." That was a very curious demand coming from this great body of shopkeepers. If he thought there was any chance of the New South Wales Act being accepted he would be quite ready to join with them. That measure, however, was not consistent with the administrative methods of the old country, but he would at once close with that offer if he thought there was any chance of its being accepted and being carried into law. The New South Wales law was under a statute of 1899, and an amending law of 1900. It was not quite true that the New South Wales law was 1542 absolutely national or uniform. The local authority in New South Wales had the same power as this Bill proposed of settling which should be the day. There was also the further local power that upon a memorial from one-third of the shop-keepers of any of the municipalities of New South Wales there could be a poll. That poll would have to be held under conditions which would be regarded as unduly democratic in this country by those who opposed this Bill. In that poll every shopkeeper had only one vote, but every shop assistant over eighteen years of ago also had a vote, and so it was really the shop assistants who decided the question. In this colonial measure, apart from the usual exceptions, there was a sixty hours clause, and besides that, there was a further limitation that the assistants could not be employed more than half-all-hour after the doors of the shop were closed to the public on any one day. He wished to deal with one or two other suggestions made by their opponents in regard to the difficulties raised by this Bill and he would only take the most important resolutions. The Leeds Chamber of Trade had passed a resolution against this Bill, but in moving that resolution the chairman said—Some shopkeepers in Leeds kept open late every night, making eighty hours in the week [Shame]. He had tried to set an example by closing early, hut without fresh legislation he feared there would be no agreement.Even that body agreed with thorn that fresh legislation was necessary, and that view was endorsed by the House of Commons. The resolution carried by the Leeds Chamber of Trade was in favour of a universal voluntary closing. A sub-committee was appointed to consider the question of days and hours, but the meeting "could not come to any agreement." He did not think they could have a better proof than that of the need for legislation of the kind he was proposing. One great London association, the Hackney Traders' Association, had resolved that this measure was a nefarious Bill. The president of that body, who moved the resolution and who used the word "nefarious," said that this Bill was "too drastic," although "personally he would like to see much earlier closing." Even among the members of that body there was a certain amount of uneasiness 1543 as to the hours. He thought, however, that the opinion of London was better expressed by the resolution passed in March last at the special conference of the London Municipal Authorities held at St. Pancras, over which the Mayor of St. Pancras presided, and which represented the City of London, the City of Westminster, and nearly all the Metropolitan boroughs. The conference was called in order "to arrive at a definite conclusion upon" this subject which they had been discussing "on and off for the last twelve years." The conveners of the conference had sent round the official resolution which declared that "with the usual exceptions, all shops should be limited to seventy hours per week." The chairman of the conference in moving the resolution said "There was no reason why people should shop all night; many people would do so, but that was pure selfishness." Subsequently, an amendment was moved. The amendment declared that the Shop Hours Act was never likely to be of any practical use, and "should be amended to embrace the area of the Metropolitan Police district and made compulsory for all trades." That amendment was carried by a proportion of three to two. Ho claimed, therefore that the whole of the representation at that meeting was practically in favour of this Bill. Both the resolution and the amendment were to that effect. In conclusion, he stated that it was impossible to accept the "alternatives" of either the first part of the Bill, providing for general shorter hours, or of a sixty-hours week for shop assistants. Amendments in detail might be made, but they must have both parts of the Bill.
§ Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Sir Charles Dilke.)
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. GLADSTONE,) Leeds, W.
I apologise to the House for intervening so early in this debate, but I have during the present week attended the House so closely that the necessary work of my Department is getting into arrears. I entirely agree with my hon. friend that there is no necessity to examine into the mischiefs which are inseparable from the long hours of work which are customary in perhaps the great majority of shops throughout the country, and, especially, the condi- 1544 tions under which these hours have to be worked. To my mind there is nothing that comes before the House of higher importance than any question affecting directly the health of the people. I know what are the views of the hon. Baronet opposite as to State interference with the conditions of labour, but probably he would say that where you can show long hours are worked under conditions detrimental to the health of a very considerable portion of the population then it is essential that the State should interfere to remedy the evil.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
He shakes his head. He is inexorable. He seems to think that the State is to stand idle, although it sees hundreds of thousands of people degenerating every year because of the unsatisfactory conditions of their employment. I respectfully demur from the hon. Baronet. I will say this: at any rate we are practically all agreed that, whether or not this measure be the correct remedy, the hours worked in shops are unduly long. Therefore, so far as I am concerned, I look with great sympathy upon the objects and intentions of the Bill. The Bill imposes a maximum per week of sixty hours. It may be said that that is another direct interference to control the hours of labour. Well, that is so. Personally I have long ceased to be terrified at the old argument that we ought to do nothing which might by any chance interfere with the free discretion, as it is called, of adult people to wear themselves to death by working at their employment, and I am not going to address myself now to the hon. Baronet, because my argument in his ease would, I believe, be of no use. It would be perfectly useless to think that there is any hope of my being able to convert him to my views. I would rather address myself to my hon. friend on the front bench who was responsible for the Act of 1904, and it is not necessary to remind him that, although that Act proceeds on very different lines from those of the Bill we are now discussing, yet in point of fact it does involve an interference with adult labour.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
I have no doubt that my hon. friend the Member for North Ayrshire will subsequently answer the hon. baronet. I wish to restate the views of the Government on this subject. Last year on May 1st the hon. Member for the Clitheroe division brought forward a motion on the subject, on which I spoke, and I may perhaps quote to the House what I said in regard to the views of the Government on this question. I said:There are a variety of methods of dealing with this question. There is the suggested Bill of my right hon. friend the Member for the Forest of Dean, but I think that he will admit that it would undoubtedly take a great deal of time to pass. There are the alternative methods of a compulsory clause or a limitation of hours. There is a further alternative, that of a combination of the principle of the compulsory clauses with the principle of this Bill to amend the present Act. I am not asked to state our intention with regard to a Government Bill at the present time, and I do not commit myself on that point; but I frankly admit that the case for an amending Bill has been made out.So far as I am concerned I entirely adhere to what I said on that occasion. It must be admitted that the Bill which we are now considering is not in the nature of an amending measure. It seeks to effect the same object as the 1904 Act, but by more direct and drastic methods. I do not think my right hon. friend who moved the Second Reading of the Bill quoted the late Lord Salisbury, but I understood him to say that Lord Salisbury was rather in favour of the principle——
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE
Half of the witnesses called by Lord Avebury in favour of his Bill spoke in favour of this one and against his, and then unexpectedly Lord Salisbury, on the day of the Report, came down and opposed the principal clause of the Report, and the clauses which he put in will, if looked at, he seen to favour this scheme rather than that ultimately adopted.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
I am obliged to my right hon. friend for stating exactly what he understood to have been the action of the late Lord Salisbury on that matter, and it is undoubtedly a very interesting reference of which, no doubt, more will be heard. I also noted the remark made by my right hon. friend that he himself was not absolutely wedded to this Bill as it stands. He quoted the 1546 view, as I understood him, of the National Chamber of Trade, being rather in favour of the New South Wales Bill. My right hon. friend said that he had no objection to consider the substitution of that Bill for the present one.
§ SIR CHARLES DILKE
I observed that it is very much on the lines of our Bill, because it contains two parts.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
Quite so. That only means that we have not arrived exactly at finality in regard to this matter, even from the right hon. Gentleman's point of view. Then, of course, this Bill goes very much further than the Act at present in force, and its various clauses affect in numberless ways the whole shop life of the country. I only wish to bring to the notice of the. House that this Bill is not to be measured by the number of its clauses, but that it is a Bill I think I might almost say of first-class importance, and, therefore, it is a matter which requires and demands the very close and careful, and even the prolonged, consideration of the House. That being so, I wish to indicate to the House some of the points which I have in my mind as requiring very great consideration, and in offering certain criticisms of the Bill I wish the House to understand that I do not do it in any hostile manner, but in order to show that it is absolutely essential on the part of the Government that proposals of this kind should be subjected to close and careful scrutiny. The Bill, as I understand it, is to apply to all shops throughout the country, from the great establishments in London down to the humble place occupied by an old woman who sells sweets in a country village. That is a tolerably wide range. How is it to be enforced? The existing powers of local authorities to appoint inspectors in regard to shop hours are to be repealed, and the whole of the work is to be put upon the factory inspectors.
§ MR. GLADSTONE:
So far as the Government inspectors are concerned the whole of the work is to be put on the factory inspectors. No doubt we shall have explanations of this clause from hon. Members who are fully cognisant of the work of the factory inspectors, but I would 1547 say that if you took away every single inspector or inspector's assistant from his present work of inspecting the factories and workshops of the country and put him to the task of enforcing the hours in shops under this Bill, they would be wholly inadequate to the purpose. I repeat, how do you propose to enforce the Act? Every authority throughout the country, whether it be a city council, a town council, an urban or a district council, is at once to issue an Order affecting all shops with the exception of those mentioned in the Schedule. If any objection is raised in any Particular area, what is to happen, and how are the objections to be considered? The only method suggested by the Bill is that the local authority may call a meeting of the ratepayers, who may rescind or modify the Order at a public meeting. Now, in London, the area is to be the area of the London County Council.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE
said that the precedent for that clause of the Bill was the procedure adopted in the Borough Funds Act.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
From the point of view of the Government the machinery proposed is open to the greatest disadvantages. I would ask the House to imagine that strong objection was taken by the shop assistants to an Order issued by the London County Council, and that the London County Council summoned a meeting of the whole of the London ratepayers. They must meet somewhere under regulations for which the Home Secretary would be responsible.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
But this Bill is of a very different nature in what it does from the Borough Funds Act. In any case the ratepayers may be very strongly and immediately affected by this measure, and they may wish to exercise the powers under the Act. And if they insisted, what arrangement can be made for adequate consideration of the details of the Order issued by the London County Council? Then I understand that if at some meeting the Order is rescinded, there is no power in the Bill for reviving it. It is dead for 1548 ever. Apart from that question, suppose an objection is made to a particular Order in a particular area, I understand there is no particular provision in the Bill to provide that the local authority shall consider the objection to the Order. In several respects this Bill may be founded on principle, but it must be considered as a Bill of special importance in regard to particular details. For instance, in regard to Sunday closing there is no provision in the Bill for the exceptional treatment of Jews. That is a serious matter.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE
said he would be quite prepared to consider the provisions in regard to that contained in the Factory Acts.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
There is another point. Clause 9 provides for the prohibition of the employment of children in or about a shop. I think on general principles there is a great deal to be said for that, but I call attention to the fact that in a number of places there are bye-laws which after careful consideration provide for the employment of child labour in a particular area in order to meet the public interests involved. I understand that in such places there may be very much objection to the clause in the Bill which actually says that no child under the age of fourteen shall be employed in or about a shop. There are many other points to be considered. For instance, by Clause 2 the hours fixed by the Closing Order are on one day in each week at or before one o'clock in the afternoon; three other days in each week at or before seven o'clock in the evening; on one other day in each week at or before nine o'clock in the evening; and on one other day in each week at or before ten o'clock in the evening. But who is to fix these hours? Is the local authority to have power to fix any hour before one o'clock, and if once the hour is fixed has it the power to alter that hour? That seems to me to be giving the local authority a very drastic and dangerous power of interfering unduly and unnecessarily, without having the fullest consideration of all the objections which may be raised, with the hours of the various shops in particular areas. Sub-section (2) refers to "such exemptions and conditions as may be contained in the Order." But what are these objections and these 1549 conditions? The Bill says nothing as to their nature or their extent; so that there we are again brought up by the fact that the Bill does not tell us what it really means or what is really intended. Again, Clause 4, Sub-section (4) provides that—A person shall not be deemed to be exempted from the operation of this section on the ground that he is an apprentice or an improver, or a member of the occupier's family.How are you to prevent the child of a shopkeeper from doing odd jobs in the shop either during the hours of labour or after closing hours? The thing is absolutely impossible, even if you appointed thousands of inspectors.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
It is impossible to meet by legislation the case of the small shopkeeper who does in fact use the members of his family for the purposes of his shopkeeping either before or after closing hours. Clause 7 says that—The provisions of this Act relating to the closing of shops shall not apply to a shop kept open solely for the sale of one or more of the articles specified in the Schedule.That would have a very curious effect. If a man has a fresh fruit shop he would be exempt from and independent of the provisions of the Bill, but if he sold dry figs he would come under its provisions. I am quite aware that with regard to exemptions provided for in the Schedule, many and great difficulties would arise in connection with those shops which combine the sale of different goods. For instance, a news agent who sold newspapers only would be exempt, but if he sold a book or a magazine also he would be included under the Bill. These are all important matters to consider, but I will not occupy the House further in considering details. I refer to these points, not for the purpose of being unfriendly to the Bill, but to show the difficulties as to some of the details of a measure which the House is asked to deal with at this period of the session. As to the position of the Government, hon. Members are entirely free to take their own course; but if I vote for the Second Beading I must dissociate myself from some of its clauses, 1550 and reserve to myself an absolutely free hand with regard to its proceeding. I repeat what I said last year in the debate Ion the subject, and reaffirm my opinion that the existing legislation has perfectly broken down and requires to be strengthened. But, having regard to the state of the business of the House, I am certain it is not possible for this Bill to make progress this session. It will require in Committee many days of hard work. (An HON. MEMBER: "No.") That is a matter of opinion. I have been twenty-eight years in the House, and I am afraid the lion. Gentleman has not had the sad experience I have had in regard to three matters. With all that experience in my mind, and with all the goodwill on my part and that of my colleagues towards this particular case, it is in my opinion practically impossible for the Bill to make progress this session. My hon. colleague and myself are burdened with the near prospect of the Licensing Bill in Committee of this House, we have on our shoulders the Mines (Eight Hours) Bill, and the Children Bill, and we have in addition important administrative work to attend to. I must tell my right hon friend that it is absolutely impossible to deal with more than one case at one time, and with the load of work which is on our shoulders this session, I must honestly tell him that neither my Department nor I have any time to spare for the detailed consideration of this Bill at the present time. But while that is the ease, if this Bill is referred to a Committee of the whole House to-day I will undertake to prepare a Bill and introduce it next year, and I hope that that will be satisfactory to my right hon. friend. A promise in the hand is worth two Bills next session. At all events it is well to have a certain promise, and I hope in view of the assurance that the Government are friendly and actively friendly to the purposes of this Bill, if we undertake to bring in a Bill next year to strengthen the existing defective law, that course will commend itself to the House.
§ *MR. H. H. MARKS (Kent, Thanet)
said that in moving the rejection of this Bill he hoped he would not adopt an attitude less friendly than that which the right hon. Gentleman had taken in supporting the measure. Ho fully 1551 recognised that the fact that it involved an interference with individual liberty was one which would have little force with the authors of the measure, nor did he think that it was likely to have much weight with the majority of the Members of this present House. He had, however, some hopes and some reasons for believing that public opinion would only accept this interference with individual liberty on grounds and under circumstances of the plainest necessity, and that to make it an offence in a private trader to attempt to earn his livelihood after a certain hour was to carry interference to an extreme for which opinion was not yet ripe. The effect of such proposals as those contained in the Bill must be unfavourable to employment. As to that they would probably be told that trade must be done if not by the small shopkeeper then by the large one, so that the destruction of the small shopkeeper would merely import the transfer of his employees to other employment and under better conditions. There was, however, this to consider, and it was a point to which he would direct the attention of the House, whether much of this recent legislation of theirs did not by incessant imposition of new conditions, new restrictions, and new inspection affect the total of employment by restricting the enterprise of the country. The conditions might not always he intolerable, but they were unfamiliar and vexatious. In the present instance the increase required in the number of inspectors under Clause 16, as the Home Secretary had pointed out, was so great that if all the inspectors in the country at present, even supplemented by the police, were to attempt the work of inspection required by the Bill they could not perform it.
§ *SIR. H. H. MARKS
said that what he was referring to related to the general policy of the Bill, and if they went on as they were doing one half of the community would soon be getting its living by inspecting the other half. He objected to the principle of the Bill, moreover, because it was an attack upon the small shopkeeper for the benefit of the large one. That was its essence. He knew it was the theory of some Socialists 1552 that if they substituted the large employer for the small, and then the single combination for the large employers, the way might be made easy for the substitution of the State for the combination. If the Bill had been introduced with the object of giving effect to some such scheme as that, he would have thought it admirably adapted to the purpose. It was the first step in the direction of the destruction of the small employer which involved the most cruelty and was the most important. The community might or might not be moving towards Socialism, but the clear aim of this Bill was to give more power to the large capitalist in the hope no doubt, or in the hope probably that the result would tend to Socialism, and even those who did not shrink from the ultimate object aimed at might see that the method was a dangerous one. The essence of the Bill was compulsion. At present local authorities might make Orders under certain conditions, but this Bill said that the authorities must make Orders. The authors of the Bill did not appear to have contemplated the possibility that a local body which had not yet moved might continue do remain at rest, for there was no machinery proposed in case of default. Presumably, where a local authority had not made an Order it had been because there had been no pressure of local public opinion in favour of one. The Bill insisted that the local authority should act in advance of public opinion, that it should, according to Clause 1, as soon as possible make an Order which the local community had not demanded, and with regard to which no considered opinion had been arrived at. And finally, the Bill, having insisted that the local authority should legislate in haste, only allowed it to repent at leisure, for so far as he could gather under its provisions there was no effective machinery for altering an Order once made, and once it came into force it was final, no matter how injurious it might have proved in the working,. With regard to the salient, features of the Bill, Clause 1 provided that every local authority must make a closing Order fixing the hours at which all shops in its area were to be closed, but no consideration appeared to have been given to the interests of the poor who were bound to do their shopping late at night. Moreover, the definition as to shop was quite inconclusive, and they were left in doubt as to whether this 1553 early closing was to affect the vendors who had barrows or portable trays. Under Clause 4, again, a person who was ordinarily employed at a shop must not continue his or her employment more than half-an-hour after the closing hours except on twenty-four days during the year, but to secure even this privilege the shopkeeper must give seven days notice to the factory inspector and post up a notice in his shop. No exception was made and no exemption granted for caretakers, night watchmen, or domestic servants. Clause 6, which dealt with Sunday closing, would, as the Home Secretary had pointed out, cause grave inconvenience to Jewish traders by a complete Sunday closing. This inconvenience would develop into hardship in cases where Saturday might be selected as the day for early closing. In reference to the exemptions from total Sunday closing, the institutions which were offered the advantage of remaining open on Sunday were seven in number, and they must be open solely for the sale of one or more of the articles named in the schedule. "Medicines or medical or surgical appliances" could possibly be solely supplied. But what about "refreshments for consumption on the premises?" That would not assist the working man to get his Sunday dinner cooked in a baker's shop and enjoy it at home. Then they had the exemption of intoxicating liquors, although everybody knew that no shop was open solely for the sale of intoxicating liquors. These exemptions were delusive and absurd, Then let them take Clause 9 by which it was provided that a child under the age of fourteen must not be employed in or about a shop. Under that, grave hardship was bound to be done to the parents of boys who did odd jobs in the morning before they went to school or in the evening after their return. The boys who carried newspapers and even the shopkeeper's own children did not appear to be exempt from the operations of the clause. If such a clause as that was to be adopted, if such an enactment as that was to pass Parliament, no parent could rely upon the help of any of his children even under the most trifling circumstances, and the House was well aware that among the 300,000 shops in the country there were a large number occupied by people of the poorest class who could not 1554 afford to engage a shop assistant and had to rely upon the casual, but the no less welcome, assistance of any members of their own families. This Bill, professedly and ostensibly in the interests of shop assistants, was applicable to anyone whether a shop assistant or not. Ho could not help thinking that this was the sort of legislation which made it necessary for the education authority to supply school children with free meals. Then under Clause 10 there were provisions and obligations put upon shopkeepers of the most harassing character. It was laid down that a person must not be employed in or about a shop for more than sixty hours, including meal times, in any one week. The words used were "a person" so that not even the proprietor or his wife or children could be so employed. It was not provided that the person must be an assistant or a salaried servant. Moreover it was provided that a person employed in or about a shop must be allowed not less than one hour between twelve o'clock (noon) and two o'clock p.m. for dinner. How that would suit the proprietor of a luncheon bar or the proprietor of a ham and beef shop everyone knew. A similar vexatious condition was imposed in regard to the afternoon meal. A person employed, not necessarily a salaried assistant, even though a member of the employer's family, must have half-an-hour between four and seven o'clock in the afternoon for tea. The effect of that would be the closing of half the tea shops in London or a duplication of their staffs. Legislation of this kind might be all very well for factories and workshops, but it was unsuitable for ordinary shops. Clause 11 provided that a person under the age of eighteen years, or a woman, who was employed in a factory or workshop, must not, subsequently on the same day, be employed in or about a shop for such a period as would make the total period of employment exceed the number of hours permitted by the Factory Acts. What could be more vexatious? Under that no member of the shopkeeper's family would be permitted after the shop had been closed to go down even to "tidy up" and prepare for the work of next day. One of the most oppressive regulations required that in shops where persons of both sexes were employed, or were intended to be employed to-morrow, or next 1555 month, or next year, or at any time, proper separate sanitary conveniences must be provided for persons of each sex. [An HON. MEMBER: Why not?] If a small shopkeeper employed his sons and his daughters lie must provide two separate w.c's., although if they resided in a house which was not a shop one w.c. would be regarded as sufficient. If a man employed one female assistant and one male assistant he was to be compelled to provide a separate w.c. for each, although if that person employed in his house six female servants, and a butler, and other male servants, he need only provide one. A man who employed six female assistants in his shop would have to provide one w.c., but, if in addition he employed an errand boy, then he must send for the plumber and go to the further expense of providing a further w.c. for him. In many cases it would be impossible for small shopkeepers to carry out these requirements, and the employment of one or the other sex would have to be abandoned, and when that alternative arose, as everyone knew, it was invariably the weaker that went to the wall. He thought that this Bill, however good might lie the objects of those who introduced it, would be mischievous in its operation, and do no more to promote the objects they had at heart than the present Act, which was admitted on all hands to be a failure. With regard to the principles of the Bill itself he could have wished that the Government had taken a plainer, and, if he might say so, a franker attitude in the matter. He would have liked to have heard from the Government benches an assurance somewhat on the lines of the old traditions of the Liberal Party in some such words as those spoken by a great Liberal statesman—If there be any party which is more pledged than another to resist a policy of restrictive legislation, having for its object social coercion, that party is the Liberal Party. The proud title which it has assumed proclaims the principle on which it is founded to be that of liberty. Liberty does not consist in making others do what you think right. The difference between a free Government and a Government which is not free is principally this, that a Government which is not free interferes with everything it can, and a free Government interferes with nothing except what it must. A despotic Government tries to make everybody do what it wishes. It is this practice of allowing one set of people to dictate to another set of people what they shall do, what they shall think, what they shall drink, when they shall go to 1556 bed, what they shall buy and whether they shall buy it, what wages they shall get and how they shall spend them, against which the Liberal Party have always protested. We have limited the Crown, we have limited the aristocracy, and depend upon it, if liberty is to be secured a democratic House of Commons must know how to limit itself.Those words wore spoken by the late Sir William Harcourt, and he commended them to the consideration of hon. Gentlemen opposite. He hoped—or rather he wished—that they would give heed to them. He begged to move the Motion standing in his name.
§ SIR FRANCIS LOWE (Birmingham, Edgbaston)
called attention to the fact that forty Members were not present.
House counted; and forty Members being found present,
§ *SIR FRANCIS POWELL
said that, in seconding this Motion, he hoped he might be allowed to occupy the attention of the House for a few moments because of the interest he had taken in this subject ever since 1892, when a similar measure was referred to a Committee of this House. Ho felt some regret that the Act of 1904 should have been condemned as a failure. Its condemnation in the course of that debate had been of a most wholesale and indiscriminate character. It did not follow because an Act as a whole was a failure that every part of it was a failure. Of one thing he was quite sure, and that was that when future legislation took place upon thin subject a great part of the Act of 1901 would be rehabilitated, and still remain the law of the land. The great difficulty of that Act appeared to be the provision of justification. That provision was strongly insisted upon by the late Sir Blundell Maple, a well-known Member of the House for many years. It was to be regretted that he was not still a Member of the House, and still able to defend his proposal, which he would no doubt have been able to do with the same great ability and full knowledge which he displayed in 1904. Coming to the Bill itself he greatly regretted the change in the structure of the Bill from that of the Act of 1904, inasmuch as the form of 1557 that Act was optional, while that of the Bill as printed was compulsory. He himself had a very great belief in optional legislation, in adoptive Acts. With regard to some questions he thought they had been very successful. Let them take, for instance, the Act for the notification of infectious diseases. The proposal was made first of all in local Acts, and was adopted by local authorities. Then came an optional adoptive Act, which was the effort of the Conservative Government of the day. Then, finally, when it was found that the country was so universally in favour of its provisions that there were only comparatively few outstanding local authorities who did not adopt it, a Bill was introduced which Parliament, had the honour of carrying through Parliament, making the notification of infectious diseases universally compulsory. At first it would have been impossible to pass such an Act, but as that Act was put into operation its popularity increased until he believed there was nobody who objected to have the law extended over the whole of the country. He himself believed that local option in one form or another was the true mode of procedure in tins case. The conditions of different districts varied so much, the circumstances were so diverse, the temperament of the people so widely separated in one county as compared as with another, that he believed the optional course was the only true one. It was the only one which would succeed, and he believed that the policy of universal compulsion would prove to be a failure. It would be a failure because it was so unpopular in some districts, or because in order to save the Act from unpopularity its framers would be compelled to draw it on so limited a scale as to make it absolutely useless. There was another contrast between the Act of 1904 and the present Bill, which he thought proved that at any rate in that detail the Act was far bettor than the Bill. The Act of 1904 recognised the difference which existed in different parts of the same area, and the provision of that Act was that restrictions might be in operation in one part of the district only and not in another, that they might not be the same over the whole area, and when they considered how large some areas were it would, he thought, be found quite necessary to break them up into districts so far as regarded the details of 1558 administration. How could they have the same regulation as regarded shops in a country district, thinly populated, as prevailed in a large town? One recommendation of the Bill was that the areas were large, but ho found, comparing the Act of 1904 with the Bill, that the area of the Act was 20,000 and that under the Bill was 5,000, and that surely proved that the suggestion of having a wide area had been shrunk from by the promoters, and did not form part of their legislation. There was a great distinction, which had not yet been mentioned, in the definition of shops. The shop under the Act of 1904 was a retail shop, but the shop under the present Bill was also a wholesale shop. A shop in which retail business was done and an enterprise for carrying out wholesale business were entirely different. The whole scheme of operations was different. Then he would refer to the question of hours. Ho believed the hours proposed by the Bill would prove annoying and vexatious. He was in favour of a half-day holiday; he believed it was essential to the shopkeeping community, and that when they secured to thorn a long half-day holiday the same severity as to the closing hours was not necessary. There was one provision in the Bill to which he thought public attention should be directed, and that was the latest hour at which a shop could remain open—viz., ten o'clock in the evening. He was not quite sure whether the working-classes, who had their weekly marketing to do, would be satisfied by the closing of shops at ten. He would rather some member of the Labour Party expressed their opinion on that subject, because it seemed to him from his observation and knowledge that closing a shop at ten o'clock would be a very real hardship to ordinary prudent members of the wage-earning class. Some reference had been made by the Home Secretary to children under fourteen years; he (Sir Francis Powell) confessed that he held a very strong opinion on that subject, and he thought that fourteen years was too late a year. In the Act of 1904 they might by regulation allow a young person to be employed at the age of fourteen years, but in the Bill they did not allow it, and he believed that would inflict a very great hardship. Many young people, particularly boys, were employed in useful avocations of an easy and simple character before they 1559 were fourteen years of age. He believed that employment of that character, which was not injurious to health, and conducted under favourable conditions, was a benefit to the boy and not an evil. It occupied some of his time, which would otherwise be wasted, and gave him discipline, which he possibly greatly needed. It gave him a sense of responsibility. And he thought there was another reason. It gave him a sense of pride at doing something to assist his father and mother in the hard battle of life. As regarded the age between twelve and fourteen, in many cases boys and girls left school at twelve, and they were not to be allowed under the Bill to be employed in or about a shop till fourteen. He believed that educationists were of opinion that the age between twelve and fourteen was one of the most difficult ages in the period of youth. He remembered many years ago when in America he was in a large school, and the master pointed to boys of the age from twelve to fourteen and said they were his difficulty; they were old enough to know that he could not hurt them by any punishment which he could inflict; but they were not old enough to have acquired a sense of manly responsibility. He thought that that was a wise saying on the part of the schoolmaster. He knew that in this country there was anxiety as regarded children of that age, and lie felt it to be a very great wrong and a great harm to them to expose them, particularly the girls, to the perils and dangers of city life at that time. Some allusion had been made to small shops, and he would not say much on that subject, because he thought it had been sufficiently dealt with. He would, however, just say that many of those small shops only differed very slightly from ordinary dwellings. In his own borough there was often one room devoted to some little simple retail trade, and the rest of the house was occupied by the family in the ordinary course. He thought, himself, that to bring to bear the whole legislation of the State on a simple trade of that kind was really unnecessary and vexatious. Then there were one or two points in the Bill which appeared to him—he did not know whether hon. Members would agree with him or not—to show a certain carelessness in drafting. The law as it now stood exempted from the legislation sales 1560 for charitable purposes, but this Bill, so far as he could understand it, brought all its machinery to bear on sales conducted for that purpose. There was a provision in the Act of 1904, or in preceding Acts incorporated with it, which exempted an employer who had done his best to secure obedience to the law, but there was no such provisions in the Bill, and there was another provision where a tradesman might exempt himself when he had taken proper care as regarded the actual offender. The regulations as to meals had been dealt with by a preceding speaker, and he thought anyone who considered the question, having regard to the small shop, would agree that the regulations affecting meals, which were good for factories and workshops, were inconvenient as regarded shops. The factory or workshop was, as they knew, deserted and silent during meal hours, but the work in a shop was continuous, and many difficulties must arise in connection with the meal hours, which he was sure had not been sufficiently considered by the promoters of the Bill. He did not wish to say more than a word with regard to restrictions on freedom, but he believed they had advanced very near the point where liberty was imperilled. He heard Mr. Gladstone on several occasions speaking in the House and warning them against interference with liberty. He quite agreed—as his action during many years had shown—that there were cases where liberty must be interfered with, either for the good of the community or the benefit of the individual, but he ventured to say, and he thought the assertion could not be too strongly made, that the burden of proof when liberty was interfered with should rest with those who made the interference. There was a feeling which he regretted, perhaps owing to the undue extension of sympathy with the weak, that any words of caution, any word's advising care, any words in favour of liberty, came from, he would not say any evil motive, but that they placed the person who made those remarks under suspicion. Those suspicions were in many cases most unworthy, and he hoped he would not be deemed to be taking an undue liberty with the House if in his concluding words he uttered one word on behalf of liberty and made an exhortation to the House to take heed what steps they were taking. He thought 1561 it was only due to himself to say that he did not oppose the principle of the Bill. He supported the Act of 1904 and took some part in those debates, and he did not shrink to-day from the part which ho then played, but he did say that the machinery for a Bill of this kind required the greatest care and most minute thought, and they must take heed lest in a reckless endeavour to benefit the community they hampered and inconvenienced the operations of commerce or interfered in a way which they could not forsee with the industries of the country. He seconded the Motion.
To leave out the word 'now,' and at the end of the Question to add the words upon this day six months.'"—(Mr. H. H. Marks.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ MR. SUMMERBELL (Sunderland)
said that, like the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, he agreed with the principle of the Bill, but he was not going to take up the same attitude. He thought there was sufficient in the Bill, at all events, to warrant the assertion that it ought to go to a Committee, where any defects in it could be put right. To talk about the liberty of the subject was to his mind altogether foreign to the question. If they took up that attitude, they would arrive at the conclusion that every Act of Parliament interfered with the liberty of the subject. It was because of the want of liberty of shop assistants that he rose to say a few words in support of the Bill. He had deputationised large numbers of shopkeepers with a view to getting shorter hours, and directly they got a number of shopkeepers to agree to early closing, one or two held out, and their attitude was given as the reason for not falling into line and giving shop assistants shorter hours. That was the experience of everyone who had taken an interest in the question. If there were to be shorter hours for shop assistants, they would have to make it compulsory for all shops to close at a certain time on each day of the week. A short time ago a large number of female employees in an arcade in his town pointed out the number of hours they worked in a week, and that they went home in the early 1562 hours on a Sunday morning. It was certainly not creditable to the nation that girls and young people should be employed such long hours, and something ought to be done to put a stop to it. This Bill made that attempt. It said that shop assistants should not work longer than sixty hours a week. Ho thought that that was quite long enough, and that the Bill ought to have the support of every Memberw ho believed in fair play, so far as these employees were concerned. The Bill said that there should be a half-day's holiday each week. Attempts had been made for years, and had in some towns failed, to get a half-day's holiday for employees in shops. In nine cases out of ten probably it was just because one or two shopkeepers refused to comply that the whole thing fell through. Attempts had been made under the Act of 1904 to get a half day's holiday each week for certain sections of employees. The Bill was optional, and when it came for the council to issue an Order to close the shops, they found that the number agreeing had fallen below the requsite limit. This Bill was going to make it compulsory. Unless they took up that attitude, it would be utterly impossible to get early closing of shops. With regard to the restriction of hours of purchase, he pointed out that, if they opened shops on Sundays, they would find people would do their purchasing on Sundays instead of on Saturdays or some other day in the week. That was no argument why this Bill should not receive the consideration of the House, and be allowed to go to a Committee. He hoped the House would not, because the Bill had sundry defects, reject it, but that they would allow it to go to a Committee, because he felt sure they would get sufficient material out of it to make a good measure and be able to give shop assistants shorter hours, particularly on Saturdays, and half a day's holiday in each week. People often asked why employees did not go to church. If they asked a shop assistant, he would tell them that it was simply because he did not get home when his employer did. He therefore hoped the House would give better consideration to the measure than that indicated by the Home Secretary.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
said the hon. Member for Sunderland was apparently 1563 not very much enamoured of the details of the Bill, though he was in favour of its principle because it contained the two words "compulsory" and "shall." It was very extraordinary that the party of progress—the Radical Party—should attach no importance to an Act of Parliament unless those two words were in it. He called that the very reverse of freedom. He objected to the Bill because it had those two words in it. He held that every adult Englishman should have the right to do what he liked with his labour, and it should not be regulated by anyone else, however well meaning. The hon. Member for Sunderland had laid great stress upon the failure of the Act of 1904, and had given them his experience in the Trades Council in the city ho represented, stating that the attempt to gain a half-day's holiday was always frustrated by the fact that one shopkeeper objected. He thought the hon. Gentleman could not have read the Act of 1904, because it provided that there must be a three-fourths majority. Therefore one shopkeeper could not frustrate such an attempt. There must be a considerable number objecting. He did not think, therefore, that that was a very valid argument to have brought forward. He quite appreciated the reason why the Home Secretary was unable to be present. The right hon. Gentleman had addressed a few remarks to him and it would be discourteous if he did not say a few words in answer. The Home Secretary had said that this Bill would require prolonged discussion, and that he did not wish to say anything unfavourable to it, after which, however, he had proceeded to make a very eloquent attack on the measure, driving a coach and horses through it. The right hon. Gentleman completely smashed every clause in the Bill, and then wound up by saying that he was going to vote for it, not that he approved of it—because he could hardly say so after such a damaging speech against it—but for the reason that it affirmed in principle what he said last year. They all knew perfectly well that the right hon. Gentleman had never changed his view of that principle. What was the use of re-affirming what the right hon. Gentleman said last year? They, on that side of the House, were quite willing to take what the right hon. Gentleman had said last year as being what he meant to say, and as a statement to which he now 1564 adhered. Therefore, he saw no reason why the right hon. Gentleman should put this strain upon his conscience by voting for a Bill with which he did not agree, merely to re-affirm something he said last year. The right hon. Gentleman had put the question to him—Did he object to legislation dealing with long hours if it was proved that hundreds of thousands of people were suffering ill-health in consequence? That was a very large and vague proposition. He would like to know whether hon. Members contended that the populations of the cities and towns were not as healthy as they were formerly. ["And the villages"] He did not know whether the Under-Secretary implied that the populations of the villages were not as healthy as they were years ago. Perhaps he ought to include villages, but the Bill dealt mainly with the populations of cities and towns. The general statement was made that the health of the community was not so good in the cities and towns, and that was the reason why he had left out the villages. Would it be contended, then, that the health of the people in cities and towns was not what it was fifty years ago, when the hours worked were much longer than they were now?
§ SIR F. BANBURY
said that That was a very strong argument against sanitary legislation, because fifty years ago there was comparatively little of it. If the shops were healthier then than now, it only showed that all these regulations, these "compulsories" and "shalls," not only achieved the object of not making the shops so healthy as they were formerly, but of conferring salaries upon a large number of inspectors. He had rather thought that was the answer he would get. As a matter of fact long hours did not hurt anybody. Who were the most healthy people in the world? The Judges, who had worked the hardest and the longest hours during their life. He was not at all sure that Members of the House of Commons were not altogether fairly healthy. The question which the Home Secretary had asked him was therefore answered by the statement that he did not think there were any grounds for saying that long hours had caused any deterioration in the 1565 health of the population. He would go further and say that he attached so great importance to individual liberty and to the right of a man "to do what he liked" as long as he did not injure anybody else, that even if he was to go so far as to injure himself he would leave him the right to do what he liked with his own life. The right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean had stated that the London boroughs had had a meeting and passed what practically was a resolution in favour of his Bill.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE
That is putting it rather more strongly than I put it. I quoted the resolution and the amendment, and said that both the resolution and the amendment really asked for what I ask for on the second reading of the Bill. Of course they did not ask for details of this, or indeed of any Bill. They were against it, many of them.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
quite agreed that to all interests and purposes the amendments really did ask for some alteration in the existing law which was more or less in the direction of this particular Bill. But he wanted to know what business it was of the London boroughs. They were composed of a certain number of people who were elected by the ratepayers. The ratepayers represented all classes. He would say that the proportion of votes given to each councillor by the shopkeepers was as large as the number of votes given by the customers of the shopkeepers, and therefore what it really came to was that the customers and employees of the shopkeeper were, through their representatives on the borough council, telling the shopkeeper how he ought to conduct his business. It was no business of the borough councils to interfere in other people's business.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE
It is under the Act which was supported by my hon. friend. The borough councils of the Metropolis are to make Orders.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
said he begged to correct that statement. He did not support the Act. What he did was to vote against the Amendment of his right 1566 hon. friend, because it was so bad that, though it meant passing the Act, the Act itself was nothing like as bad as his right hon. friend's Amendment. He told the Under-Secretary for the Home Department he was surprised that a Conservative Government should introduce such a Bill. He could not go further than that. In regard to the fact that the London boroughs were asked to do such things, they were not asked to say whether the Act should be extended. As long as they were given a certain Act to administer, they had to administer it, but they had no business to go outside their province, which was to perform the work given them, and not point out to other people how they should carry on their private affairs. In addition to that he did not know what experience the ordinary borough councillor had of carrying on a shop. He might be a shopkeeper or he might not, but the majority of them could have no experience of how that business should be carried on. In fact it was an exemplification of the mania which was unfortunately spreading all over the country, that instead of minding their own business, they were to interfere with other people's, and, worse than that, to appoint State officials to meddle with other people's business. To his mind that was a subversion of all the principles that used to animate Englishmen, and was going back to the old bureaucratic principle which used to obtain in foreign countries and which they, as Englishmen, were so proud to say, thirty or forty years ago, did not apply to England. The right hon. Baronet had said that he was quite certain the Bill would not pass through both Houses without Amendments. He agreed. He did not think it would. There was no doubt about that. The right hon. Baronet went on to say that because it would not pass through without amendment, there was no reason why they should vote against the Second Reading. He thought there was very good reason. He quite understood the right hon. Baronet's position. He had brought in a Bill which he did not expect to carry and had asked for a great deal more than he really wanted.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
said that that was not an unusual thing. If a man had something to sell he asked more than he was prepared to take because he thought a compromise might be made. The right hon. Baronet was very clever in Parliamentary procedure: he brought in a Bill which a great many people would think was bad and said the details could be altered so that when it came out of Committee it would not be half as bad as it was now. That was all very well, but he had had a good deal of experience of the House, and he was afraid that when a Bill got into Committee it was very difficult to alter the details. If it was committed to a Committee upstairs it was difficult to get an attendance, and things went through in a some what slipshod and haphazard manner, and when the Bill returned to the House it was very difficult to get it altered. He did not think it was an argument in favour of the Bill that there were so many details in it which required amendment that they should pass the Second Reading. If ever he had to bring in a Bill he would rather advance the argument that it was so good and required so little amendment that it would be impossible for anyone to object to it on the Second Reading. With regard to the Act of 1904, he thought that was a bad Act because it did, he admitted, interfere to a certain extent, with the freedom of the subject. It was a very different measure from this, because it gave shopkeepers the right to settle amongst themselves by a majority what should be done. This Bill did nothing of the sort. It gave local authorities the power, irrespective of the wishes and feelings of the shopkeepers, to do certain things, and, as he had already stated, the local authority was elected by all sorts of people, and the influence of the shopkeepers on the election of local authorities could not be of very great weight. He had always opposed this legislation, ever since he came into the House sixteen years ago, and he opposed it to the best of his ability in 1904 when introduced by the Government of which he was a supporter. They were then told that it was only one or two amongst the shopkeepers who objected to the Bill, and that the majority were in favour of it, When he went down to Peckham at his last election he found a certain number of small shopkeepers who were going to vote against him. He was told that 1568 he had better go and see a certain small shopkeeper who was the leader of the movement. He found he was out, and his wife was very uncivil. She would hardly speak to him. He got her to say what the reason was, and it was that he was in favour of a Bill of this sort, and nothing would induce her to believe that he had not been all through his Parliamentary career a strong supporter of the right lion. Baronet, and though he endeavoured to send her papers and various other things to prove that he was correct and she was wrong, she had seen it somewhere in the newspaper and would not change her opinion. That was an illustration that a very large number of shopkeepers were against the Bill. Where the right hon. Baronet had made a mistake was that he had classified all shops in the same way. He did not doubt that a big shop might very well get on if it did not employ all its assistants more than sixty hours a week. He wanted to show the great difference there was between classes of shops. There was the big prosperous shop with fifty or one hundred assistants carrying on a large business probably between reasonable hours, and then there was the small shopkeeper, and in the part of London which he used to represent there was a large number of them, and all round London, in all the outlying boroughs—Camberwell, Newington, and Islington—there was a large number of these people who practically lived upon the crumbs that fell from the table of the rich shopkeeper. These people only sold their goods at a time when the big shop was closed. It could not be said that long hours injured them. They had a small house, and the ground floor was turned into a shop. There was a parlour at the back with a glass door, and a bell rang when a customer went in. If they liked to pass their lives in that kind of way it could not be contended that there was any injury to their health in their doing so. At the time they were making their money and selling their goods there came this Bill which said, "You are to be closed too, and you are not to carry on your business." He held that that would mean the ruin of a very large number of these people. He could not conceive how any Member who had represented the class of constituency that he used to represent could give a vote in favour of this Bill. It was all very well to say it could be 1569 amended in Committee. He would sooner see the Bill brought back next year or re-introduced in a different form so that on the Second Reading they really knew what they were voting for, and not vote for something which had in it extremely mischievous provisions which might or might not be deleted during Committee. The London County Council were to be the authority. He did not want to say anything against the County Council. It was a most excellent body, especially at the present moment. But he wanted to know what experience the London County Council had, say, of Islington or Peckham. The member for Islington on the London County Council might have some experience of Islington, and the member for Peckham might have some experience of Peckham, but the member for St. George's, Hanover Square, had no experience of either, and yet his vote was to be as good as the vote of the member for Peckham or Islington. It was absurd to suppose that the London County Council could in any way exercise a proper control or carry out the proper administration of the Bill. Of course, it might be answered that the London County Council had not really a large option in the matter, because the Bill compelled them to close all shops on certain days and at certain hours, and to say that no shop assistant was to work more than sixty hours a week. There was one good provision in the Bill which enabled the London County Council or any other local authority to call a meeting if it thought fit, although he gathered there was an obligation to do so. It was said that they might call a meeting of ratepayers, but it would be difficult to call a meeting of the whole of the ratepayers of London, for instance, and in the case of London somebody had suggested a meeting in Hyde Park. If the ratepayers once negatived the proposal then the whole thing dropped. That, as far as he could see, was the only good point in the Bill. They had been told that sixty hours was long enough time to work. He would remind the House that they had another Bill limiting the working hours to eight per day. How would hon. Members like it if it was proposed that the consumers of coal should have the power of regulating the hours of miners. Under this Bill the customers of shops were to be allowed to dictate to the 1570 shopkeepers how long they were to keep their shops open. He had received a letter from the Shopkeepers and Small Traders Protection Association who were strongly opposed to the Bill. One or two other trade associations had also approached him expressing their opposition to the Bill. There was a provision dealing with Sunday closing, but that was a question which had nothing to do with the hours, and ought not to be introduced in a measure of this kind. In the schedule amongst the exemptions there appeared "refreshments for consumption on the premises." What did that mean? Was the local authority going to be allowed to make an Order saying that all shops were to be closed on a certain day at a certain time? Were such traders as grocers, provision dealers, dressmakers, and tailors all going to be put in a bag and shaken up together, and made to close at a fixed time? What was the difference between buying an apple and eating it in the shop or outside? If it was wrong and unhealthy for an assistant to sell hardware, why was it not wrong and unhealthy for a person to sell matches and tobacco, for more than sixty hours per week? Why was a person to be allowed to sell a newspaper and not a book during certain hours? He hoped the Press would not take it amiss if he ventured to say that they could get equally valuable information sometimes from a book as from a newspaper. For what reason was a fresh fig to be sold at hours when a dried fig could not be obtained? Strangest of all, in view of the debate during the week, was the exemption of intoxicating liquors. The Party opposite claimed to be animated by the highest possible motives, and a desire to remove all the harrowing evils of the drink. They wished the wicked brewer to perish, although sometimes he was a member of the Government. And yet, when the opportunity occurred, when one would have thought they would have come forward and suggested that public-houses should not be open more than thirty hours per week, they actually provided in this Bill that the sale of intoxicating liquors should be exempted. How could hon. Members opposite consistently vote for this measure and the Licensing Bill? In one of these measures they were proposing to put a stop to the sale of intoxicating liquors, and in the other they were doing 1571 all they could to encourage it. That fact ought to cause serious reflection upon the part of hon. Members opposite. They had heard a great deal about opportunities being given to people to rise in life. Small shopkeepers had often risen to be great and successful tradesmen and men of large fortune, but they had only done this by working hard, and for long hours. These hard-working men were the backbone of the country. They did far more good for the country than the people who said, "I cannot work more than so many hours," and were always tired. All those privileges were now to be taken away. He thought that, in the interests of the nation, those classes should be protected. Then there was a curious provision about sanitary appliances. Many small shops were simply small houses with the front parlour turned into a shop.
§ MR. DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Mr. CALDWELL,) Lanarkshire, Mid.
I must point out to the hon. Baronet that the details he is now raising are points for the Committee stage and not for the Second Reading.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
said that it was the custom to pass so many details without adequate consideration that he had deemed it necessary to allude to some of them. He did not think there was a ghost of a chance of the Bill passing into law this session, although it might pass the Second Reading and go to a Committee. He opposed the Second Reading because he thought the principle of the Bill was wrong. They ought not to lead people to believe that it was the duty of Parliament to interfere in any way with their businesses, and by pursuing such a policy they would be sure to lose the respect of the country to a very great degree. He thought that was one of the reasons why hon. Members opposite had not been so successful at the by-elections recently as they were a few years ago. Of course they would all like to work less hours. Those employed in all trades were ready to agree to work shorter hours if they could only get the same wages. That, however, was no argument for passing legislation which would prevent legitimate trading, and prevent those who desired to work more than sixty hours per week from doing so. The principle was a wrong one, and nothing whatever 1572 had been adduced in its favour except the statement that some assistants would like to work shorter hours. How were we to compete with foreign countries if the House curtailed the hours of labour in this way? To accept a Bill of this sort would be a retrograde step, for it would not only do harm to the shopkeeper, but would affect injuriously the industry of the country.
§ MR. SCOTT (Ashton-under-Lyne)
said that to listen to the hon. Baronet one would think that he had forgotten all the factory legislation that had been passed. The factor of foreign competition did not enter into this question at all, and yet in shops the longest possible hours were worked. This Bill was not brought forward entirely in the interests of the shopkeepers, but it was intended to have due regard for those who were employed long hours and who worked under conditions which were not always the best. They had been told that this measure would be looked upon as the forerunner of further legislation in the direction of interfering with businesses. He wished to point out that if this Bill became law, and it did not receive the sympathy and support of the country generally it would never be put into operation. It had to be put into force with the consent of the local authorities and the local representatives. He did not think there was any other hon. Member in the House than the hon. Baronet opposite who did not think that a sixty hours week was quite long enough for anybody to work. This measure did not affect in any way foreign competition; it was a matter entirely confined to the home country. Whenever legislation of this kind had been suggested in other directions they had always been told that they were subject to foreign competition, and that if they reduced the hours of labour by giving miners eight hours they would be unfairly handicapping the colliery owners in competition with Germany and France. Here was an industry which was carried on among ourselves, and into which foreign competition did not enter as it did in many other industries. It was absolutely free from foreign competition, and yet in this industry of all others they had the longest possible hours. The hon. Baronet had referred to those trades which were included in the 1573 Schedule. He himself was not altogether in favour of those exemptions, but they were already in other Acts, and, that being so, those responsible for the drafting of this measure had simply adopted what had gone before. He hoped that the Under-Secretary for the Home Department would give to those who were looking for some amelioration in the conditions of shop assistants a definite promise that the Government, if they could not support this Bill, would bring forward one of their own next year dealing with the hours of labour in shops. Those who desired a curtailment of the hours of labour in connection with railway employment recognised that there were certain isolated signal-boxes where only one or two trains a day passed, and they did not expect that the same restrictions should be applied in those cases as where the traffic was great. Those were questions of detail and arrangement which did not affect the real principle at issue. Those who voted for the Bill would not be committed to every line in it; they would merely vote for the general principle that it was desirable to do something to improve the conditions of shop assistants. He believed that the vast majority of the House would readily go into the lobby and vote for the principle of the Bill.
§ SIR F. CAWLEY (Lancashire, Prestwich)
said he was rather in favour of giving considerable powers to municipalities old not taking those powers away as the Bill proposed and placing them in the hands of a central authority. His hon. friend wanted the Government to promise to do more than they had done. His own opinion was that the Government had promised quite enough. He was not in favour of the Government of which he was a supporter always promising everything to everyone who asked for it, because it was conceivable that it might get them into considerable trouble. If anything, he rather deprecated their being asked to promise to bring in a Bill next year. His hon. friend represented Ashton-under-Lyne. He himself represented a constituency which lay north of Manchester, between that city and Ashton-under-Lyne and Stalybridge. There were no municipalities in that 1574 constituency, but they were all populous urban districts and the people possessed great intelligence. Large industries were carried on, but there were no large shops; they were all small businesses. A great many of his constituents kept those small shops, and had been very much injured by the system of tramways running to the large towns and taking the people away from the small shops. He quite understood his hon. friend wishing his constituents to go and shop in his constituency. He would rather see his constituents do their shopping in their own districts. If the Bill were passed it would practically ruin half the small shopkeepers in his and other constituencies. He was not against many clauses in the Bill, but he was against it as it stood. The incongruities it contained were so great that he could not support it. The House ought to reject it because it would impose too great a tax upon the small shopkeeper.
§ MR. FELL (Great Yarmouth)
said they had been told that the life of shop assistants was an extremely unhealthy one, and that the percentage of pulmonary diseases among them was larger than among those engaged in any other occupation. Those who used this argument had not gone far enough into figures. They had not shown in what particular trades those diseases were most prevalent. In many of the large emporiums in this country where hundreds of assistants were employed the provisions proposed to be enacted by this Bill already obtained. The hours in those places were not longer than those prescribed by the Bill, and yet the pulmonary diseases were larger there than in very small country shops where only one or two assistants were employed. If that was so, what would be the tendency of the Bill if it became law? There was no doubt that it would strike a blow at the small country shops which, he supposed, were ten times greater in number than those of large companies which had shops in various places. It was on behalf of the small shopkeepers that he objected to the provisions of the Bill, for he believed that there was no more healthy occupation than that of attending to small 1575 shops. No one could say that it was hard work, and, although the hours might be long, the assistants during a great part of the time were not working. In village shops they might sometimes find a child attending to customers while the mother was in a back room performing other duties, and he did not think the provisions of the Bill should be applied in such cases. He believed that young men who were confined in shops did suffer from want of air and exercise, but the Bill was not going to touch the places where they were employed. It would touch coffee stalls and stalls in market places, and it would touch the little shops where cobblers and barbers carried on their businesses. He could not see why such shops should come within the scope of the Bill. Was it really intended that the Bill should apply to the tens of thousands of small shops in villages all over the country? He believed that if they analysed the trades in which pulmonary and other diseases prevailed they would get some valuable information. He believed that it would be found that anæmic girls and those who suffered from complaints resulting from their occupations were employed in large drapery shops which this Bill would not touch because the owners had already the proposed provisions in force. The ill-health of the assistants was due to the particles which got into the atmosphere through the tearing of the materials amongst which they worked. If they could have legislation to stop the tearing of materials which gave off deleterious particles, it might have a beneficial effect on the health of the assistants, but he deprecated the placing of restrictions of the kind proposed on young people who wanted to get on in the world. Where were they to get their Edisons, and people of that sort, if they passed such a Bill as this? Was Edison brought up in a place where he could not serve more than a certain number of hours? Let them read the life of any great man and see whether he was restricted to sixty hours per week with a dinner hour in the middle of the day provided for by Act of Parliament. The Bill if passed would interfere with the rights of people who wished to do the best they could for themselves. How could poor widows who kept shops 1576 be brought within the provisions of the Bill? He represented a good many country shopkeepers and he was perfectly sure that he had their authority when he said that they did not want this Bill.
§ MR. SEDDON (Lancashire, Newton)
said that after listening to the speech of the hon. Member for Great Yarmouth he thought that never in the history of Parliament were truer words used than those which were uttered by the late Lord Salisbury, when, on 26th February, 1901, he said—This is one of the cases in which the two Houses of Parliament occupy a somewhat difficult position. They are asked to legislate as to matters affecting the personal happiness and well-being of a very large number of persons—a very large class—to which, with scarcely an exception, the Members of the two Houses do not themselves belong.It had been said that in small grocers' shops the assistants did not work long hours. Having himself had the opportunity of working in a small grocer's shop he would like to put this question: What were long hours? As a boy of thirteen, in the shop where he was employed, he commenced to work at 7 o'clock in the morning and finished at 9 o'clock at night except on Saturday when he worked until 11 o'clock, and he would have been kept longer if his employer had not had a licence, but the shop could not be kept open longer by law. It was the hours he stole front sleep that helped him to furnish his mind, which certainly was not sufficiently furnished at an age when many hon. Gentleman were thinking of going to college instead of going to work. All the comments made on this Bill had been made on hypothetical cases and chiefly with respect to the poor widow. He was getting about tired of the poor widow. He remembered that the poor widow was dragged in after the South African War when they were seeking for Chinese serfs. It was said that if they did not get these Chinese serfs the poor widows who had invested in South African mining shares would be ruined. There had been discussions in the newspapers about the Licensing Bill and he found that the brewers had taken the poor widow under their care. It was only their consideration for the poor widow investor in 1577 brewery shares that induced them to oppose the Bill! The poor widow had played a part too lone. He had met a great many employers, some of them most generous, but he had never found one who closed or kept open his shop because some widow lived in that particular neighbourhood. A, case had been made out, by evidence which had not been given by interested persons, before five Royal Commissions and Committees that had sat upon this question, and all medical evidence proved that the long hours worked by shop assistants were most injurious to health, especially to the health of women, and the health of future generations, because the women were the potential mothers of our race. The experience of his own trade union in the City of Lincoln, which claimed to be a healthy city, and which contained a larger proportion of union members than any other town in the kingdom, was that during the last fifteen years every death among the members of the Society was due to consumption. That was a startling fact. The Home Secretary had made a speech out of harmony with the one he delivered last year. He admitted that towards the end of his speech the right hon. Gentleman manufactured a good many objections to some details in the Bill, that were more imagined than real. He agreed that the Bill was not perfect. There were many details in it that could be amended. Attending only last week an influential deputation representing every trade in the North of England he found that many of the members had taken their view of the Bill from the same source as the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London. Some individual had been working up a case against the Bill in the interest of the small shopkeeper. But when he explained to them that the principle of the Bill was simply the limitation of the hours of shop assistants it was unanimously agreed that, if they could come together in conference round a table, they would be able to settle all differences in four or five hours. The right hon. Gentleman had promised a Bill for next year. Was he to understand that that Bill would provide for a limitation of hours and that sixty hours would be the maximum? And were 1578 they also to understand that with the limitation of hours for assistants there would be compulsory closing in various trades? He admitted that in seasonal trades the time of closing might be altered, but the union to which he belonged, and which represented 46,000 organised workers, insisted on the sixty hours' maximum as a principle from which they would not recede one iota. He had visited the House of Keys in the Isle of Man while it was discussing a Bill containing forty-six clauses for the inspection of workshops. There were some sharp divisions of opinion in regard to it, yet that Bill went through in six hours; and the reason was that the representatives went there to do things and not to waste time. He suggested that the Home Secretary might help the cause of the shop assistants, on whose behalf he spoke, by allowing a Second Reading of the Bill and sending it up to a Grand Committee, instead of their having to wait until next year for the Government measure. If the right hon. Gentleman did so he was sure that to his surprise all the difficulties would be overcome, and his time next session spared. He knew that there were some people who still supported Lord Avebur's Bill. He gave all credit to them for good intentions. They did not believe in compulsion but thought that a permissive measure would appeal to the generous instincts of the employers in the distributive trades and that they would all be willing to allow the measure to come into operation. All experience, however, proved that where Provisional Orders had been applied for, there had been no diminution of the hours of labour, and in many towns there had been no applications for an Order. Last year the Home Secretary admitted that there was only one city where the Act had been a success in any degree, the City of Glasgow. And yet only last week they had the assistants, male and female, not members of a union, coming out on strike, not for an increase of wages, but because their minimum hours of labour were seventy-nine per week, extending during the busy season to 100 hours, and in many cases to more when the shops were open on Sunday. That took place in the City of Glasgow, the Eldorado of short hours in shops! He asked hon. Gentlemen 1579 above the Gangway whether they did not think that seventy-nine hours was not too long for anyone to work in a shop? Surely they had arrived at a period when this House should step in and put a check on unscrupulous employers. He knew that there were good employers, but they were often made the victims of unscrupulous employers, who, forsooth, stood out for the great principle of individual liberty as advocated by the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London. He looked upon the hon. Baronet as an amiable humourist, but he did not think that any vote would be influenced by anything which he said. They all knew how genial he was, although sometimes they wished him elsewhere. There seemed to be in the minds of some Gentlemen an idea that the public would suffer from the hours of shop assistants being curtailed, and that the shopkeepers themselves also would suffer. In New Zealand shop hours had been regulated by Acts of Parliament for years. In 1902 he wrote to the Labour Department in New Zealand asking if the curtailment of Shop hours had been a hardship to the poorer classes, and whether any complaints had been made by the employers against the Act, and on what ground. The reply he received was that—When the first Bill was introduced into New Zealand there were all sorts of prophecies of the ruin it would cause to shopkeepers, and the large shopkeepers threatened to cut down wages. Those threats had not been carried out, and the Act was now as much appreciated by the employers as it was by the employees.That was the experience of all the Colonies which had tried the limitation of hours of shop assistants, especially in the case of women, whose hours were limited to fifty-five and a half per week, which were quite long enough. The hon. Member for Yarmouth had said that only in certain trades were shop assistants subject to influences which might injure health and he had referred to the drapery trade where certain goods were sold which were dressed by poisonous preparations, the particles of which floated in the air and were absorbed by the assistants handling the goods. That was true. But he was inclined to disagree with the hon. Gentleman on another point. The hon. Gentleman seemed to think that that only occurred in the large shopsin the West 1580 End of London, where the assistants worked less than sixty hours a week, because the people who dealt there only shopped in the forenoon or in the early afternoon. He would refer the hon. Gentleman to the co-operative movement which catered almost exclusively for the working classes, and in the North of England, where the co-operative movement had its greatest extension, the assistants in their shops only did forty-eight hours work per week. It was only through a bad custom that long hours were tolerated. The hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London had the happy knack of promoting thought by some of his remarks. He had said that the health of shop assistants in the distributive trades was worse now than fifty years ago. Certainly it was; and if the hon. Baronet had been more familiar with the distributive trades, he would have known that fifty years ago the great bulk of the shop assistants were boarded with the employer's family. They sat at the same table with them, and the employers became their guardians. That day was practically gone. Instead of there being individual employers with three to half a dozen assistants, there were now huge emporiums with 1,500 male and female assistants living in, and perhaps 5,000 altogether. It was in these large emporiums that there was the rush of business which caused the great deterioration in the health of the assistants. Let the hon. Gentleman listen to these hours, as detailed by an assistant only the other day—I work from 7 a.m. till 9 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday; from 7 a.m. till 10 p.m. on Thursday; from 7 a.m. till 12 midnight on Friday; and from 7 a.m. on Saturday till one or two on Sunday morning.
§ MR. SEDDON
said that that was a man. Surely the House ought to do something to protect the shop assistants from such hours of labour. He knew that in many large towns the hours would be reduced with the consent of the employers themselves. In the town in which he resided they had decent hours, and the best employers would be willing to, reduce them further if it were not for 1581 the unscrupulous employers who would keep their assistants through all hours on Sunday morning, but for the church and chapel people to whom they were looking for orders. He maintained that in the interest of the public, of the employers, and of the employees alike a case had been made out for the Bill; and he appealed to the Home Secretary to give the Bill a Second Reading, and allow it to go to a Grand Committee. He promised the right hon. Gentleman that he would do all he possibly could to facilitate its progress by a give-and-take policy, so that when it came to Third Reading it would not take up too much of the time of the Government. That would be a message of hope from the House to those who could not help themselves, but who were now the unfortunate victims of oppression.
§ MR. HAROLD COX (Preston)
said that the hon. Member who had just spoken supported a few weeks ago a Bill demanding the right to work. Now, he was supporting a Bill denying to people the right to work.
§ MR. HAROLD COX
said that the hon. Member had told them that the principle of this Bill was that no one was to work for more than sixty hours a week. On looking at the Bill he found that the sixty hours included one-and-a-half hours each day for meals, but in the Factory Acts the sixty hours excluded the meal time. That was to say, a man might not engage in the light work, as it often was, of serving in a shop for more than sixty hours a week, including meal times, but he might engage in the heavy work of boiler-making or in a factory for sixty hours a week excluding meal times, a difference of about seven or eight hours a week.
§ MR. HAROLD COX
said that that was not so, and as a matter of fact he was under-stating his case, because there was no legal, or rather explicit, limit whatever upon a man's work in a factory. He 1582 quite recognised that in a textile factory, where they had a large number of women and children employed, if they made regulations limiting their hours, they did in fact limit the hours of men's work, but that was why he ventured some weeks ago, he was afraid permanently, to offend his friend the lion. Baronet the Member for the City of London, by saying that he did not dispute absolutely the power of Parliament to interfere even with the labour of adult males. He said that partly because he thought there would be a certain amount of hypocrisy in taking up that attitude. Let them take the ease of what was known in Lancashire as the "Football Hour." Some years ago the Lancashire operatives wanted to close an hour earlier so as to be able to watch the football matches.
§ MR. HAROLD COX
said that at any rate they wanted to close early. They did not ask Parliament to pass an Act limiting the hours of their labour, hut to alter the provisions of the law affecting the hours of women and children, which indirectly benefited them, therefore it would be straining language to say that Parliament never did interfere with the hours of men. The point, however, was that hon. Members opposite were denying to their fellows the right to work sixty hours a week, whereas the vast majority of the people of this country worked for more than sixty hours a week.
§ MR. HAROLD COX
said that that raised a very interesting economic fallacy, and he would point out that if it were true that they could make more work for other people by working less time themselves, they could make more work still by not working at all. He might add that there would be work for all of them if none of 1583 them did any work. This Bill was inspired, he believed, by a desire to help the assistants in large shops. He believed that that was the only argument put forward in defence of it, but the hon. Members who prepared the Bill had forgotten that all shops were not large shops, that there was an enormous number of small shops, and that there was an increasing number of small shops. Although it was true, as the Socialists were fond of saying, that those small shopkeepers often lost their money, it was also true that a large number of them did earn an honest living year by year, maintaining themselves and their families, and those were the people that the authors of the Bill had absolutely for gotten. The effect of the Bill would be to destroy altogether a very large proportion of those shops, and thus to do what the Socialists always professed they did not want to do, viz., to drive industry into the hands of the big capitalists, because they would crush out the little man, which was the general effect of legislation such as that. With regard to the Act of 1904, it was very different. He agreed with the hon. Baronet opposite that the late Government did sometimes make mistakes, but the Act of 1904 was certainly a very different measure from the Bill now before the House. It required the local authority to be satisfied that two-thirds of the people concerned wished for the regulations, but there was nothing of that sort in the present Bill. The local authority was to have absolute power to impose regulations on the trade of the town, and he would like to point out the extraordinary manner in which the Bill was drafted. In the second clause the local authority was given power to fix the hour of closing on the early closing day at or before one o'clock, and there was nothing to prevent them fixing it at ten o'clock in the morning. Clause 4 said that under no circumstances was a shop assistant to be employed for more than half-an-hour from the closing hour unless notice was given (to the factory inspector, he presumed) seven days in advance. Let them take the case of an ordinary village shop where a man had two assistants and his family helping him. Supposing a barrel of sugar was upset on the floor 1584 late in the evening, and it took an hour to clear it up, he would be liable to a fine of £5. Many small shops were engaged in what he might call manufacturing as well as selling. They often had a plumber's shop where people were engaged in working at the back of the shop making things, and they were under no restrictions whatever. They could work all night long, but if one of those men was brought into the front shop, where he would probably sit on a stool doing nothing all day long, waiting for a customer, then he must not work more than sixty hours per week.
*SIR CHARLES DUKE
The man working in or for the shop, at "making, or preparing for sale," was in a workshop under the Factory Acts, and already got the benefit of the sanitary regulations.
§ MR. HAROLD COX
said that that was perhaps one of the most humorous portions of the Bill. It would not escape the notice of the House that these sanitary regulations applied to any shop, small or great, and that any shopkeeper employing his own children was subjected to the provisions of the Bill. It required that wherever males and females were employed separate sanitary accommodation must be supplied for the two sexes, so that if a shopkeeper had a son and a daughter, both occasionally assisting him in the shop, he was to go to the expense of setting up separate sanitary accommodation for them. Then, with regard to children, the Bill said that no child under fourteen years of age was ever to be employed in a shop. But what did the Factory Act say? It allowed any child over twelve years of age to be employed as a half-timer in a factory. More than that, a child thirteen years of age who had passed the proper standard, could be employed full time. Did anybody pretend that the severity of the work in a factory was in any way comparable to the light work in a shop? The hon. Member who had just spoken had talked about people standing so many hours a day, and there were cases, he admitted, where that might occur, but there was also an enormous number of shops where the assistants were not standing all day long. Hon. Members themselves must often have been in shops where they found 1585 the woman in charge sitting comfortably in a chair, knitting or sewing. Were they to contend that that woman was in any way subject to the same kind of strain as she would be if she were working in a cotton mill? Then there was a curious point with regard to the meal-times. This highly ingenious Bill said that at least an hour was to be set aside between noon and two o'clock for meals, and the Bill applied to eating-houses as well as to other shops. That meant that an eating-house, which necessarily did its whole business in the middle of the day, was to send out its assistants for an hour at a time when they were doing their biggest business, and they would consequently lose their customers. He could not imagine a more absurd proposal. If people catered for other people's meals, they must arrange their meal-times so that they did not clash with the duty they had undertaken. If their servants formed a union and insisted in having their meals just at the time when they had contracted to supply meals to other people, they would be breaking their contract. People who took service in eating-houses did so with the distinct knowledge that they were going to supply meals in the middle of the day, and having made that undertaking, it was their business to take their own meals at some other time. It would be as reasonable for the soldier to say he wanted his holiday just when he was called to the front. The Bill, by the way, expressly applied to barbers, who were always busiest at meal-times, because all the people came out from their work at meal-times, had their food, and then went to get their hair cut, and then the barber and his assistants were all to go off and have their meals according to statute. There was another very interesting clause, viz., Clause 20, and he did not think that even the Members who were responsible for the Bill could possibly have read it themselves, for he could not believe that any Member of the House of Commons would put his name to the back of such a Bill if he had known what was in it. Clause 20 said that any person found in a shop, other than a customer, should, until the contrary was proved, be deemed to have been employed in the shop. If a woman had her niece to stay with her, and she was playing about in the 1586 shop, unless the aunt went to the expense of proving that she was not employed she would be liable under the Act.
§ MR. HAROLD COX
said he could only express his surprise that his right hon. friend, with his great ingenuity, did not exercise a little more discretion in copying other Acts.
§ MR. HAROLD COX
said that if anything would condemn the Bill that clause alone would do it. There was a schedule of exceptions, but it only applied to the closing hours. It did not apply to the provisions about sanitary accommodation, or to children, or to meal-times. Let them look at the exceptions. There were medicines and surgical appliances, and establishments for consumption on the premises. That was all very well, but how were they to guarantee that the person who came ostensibly to eat on the premises did not take away food with him? There was another curious exception, and perhaps his right hon. friend defended that. One of the set of establishments which were not to be subject to the law so far as regarded hours were those for the supply of tobacco, pipes, matches, and smokers' necessaries. He knew his right hon. friend had a foolish precedent for every part of the Bill.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE
said that his precedent was unanimously agreed to in the Shop Hours Act of 1904.
§ MR. HAROLD COX
said that when it was unanimous it was often the most foolish. Not being a smoker, he could not see why this preferential treatment should be given. They were invited to pass a Bill which made it a penal offence for a child to smoke tobacco, and yet they were to give preferential treatment to the people who supplied the tobacco. Then, as to newspapers. Newspapers, and, so far as concerned railway bookstalls, annual magazines and books, 1587 were excepted. Hon. Members would know that recently there was a dispute between a well-known firm of newspaper suppliers and the London and North-Western Railway Company, with the result that that firm had set up shops outside the railway stations. Under this Bill, that firm would be restricted as to its hours, but its competitor just inside the station would have freedom to sell all day and all night.
§ MR. HAROLD COX
said he called it preferentialism, and that was one of the reasons why he objected to protection.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE
said these words were taken from the present law. The case had arisen in Glasgow.
§ MR. HAROLD COX
said he had always thought they had a great many foolish statutes in the Statute-Book, but until his right hon. friend interrupted him so frequently he did not know how many there were.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE
said the hon. Member was quoting words as his words but they were the words of the existing law, and the point had arisen and was discussed by him that day in the composite shop case, when the hon. Member was not present.
§ MR. HAROLD COX
said he was present. With regard to Sunday closing, the Home Secretary had properly pointed out that the Bill made no provision for Jews. It permitted them to sell on Saturdays, but forbade them to sell on Sundays, whereupon the right hon. Member for the Forest of Dean said he was willing to waive the question of the Jews.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE
There is an exception in favour of Jews in the Factory Acts, and I said I would be willing to consider similar exceptions.
§ R. HAROLD COX
said that as regarded the Factory and Workshops Act the thing did not matter very much, because a Jew could seldom get enough Jewish assistants to set up a rival factory, but in the case of shops it mattered a great deal. In the case of two shops working side by side, under this law, with the exception in favour of Jews, they would have a Jew permitted to trade on Sunday while the Christian was debarred from doing so. These were just a series of the futilities and absurdities of which the Bill was full, without troubling to consider the principle of the Bill—and he thought the House should remember that the principle as laid down by the hon. Member opposite was that no shop assistant had ever to work more than sixty hours a week, meal hours included, which meant considerably less than sixty hours a week. That was the principle they were to accept, that whereas men might work in factories and workshops as long as they liked, and women in non-textile factories sixty full hours a week, neither man nor woman was to work in a shop as much as sixty hours a week, their meal times having to be taken out of the sixty. That was the proposition they were asked to vote upon, and quite apart from that they had a Bill full of such grotesque anomalies that the House should not consider it for a minute.
§ MR. JOHN WARD (Stoke-on-Trent)
thought it interesting that he should refer to a little book he had in his hand published a few years ago by the hon. Member who last addressed the House. He supposed that of all the men sitting in that House, the present movement to reduce the hours of labour could be laid more upon the shoulders of the hon. Member for Preston than upon any other Member. He held in his hand a book published in 1888 entitled "The Eight Hours' Working Day," written by the hon. Member for Preston. At that time the Labour leaders were discussing whether it was right to enforce by personal arrangement, by means of strikes or otherwise, between their employers and themselves a shortening of the hours of labour in factories, mines, workshops, etc., and, in fact, in all classes of industrial work. They were debating among 1589 themselves as to whether it was possible to come to Parliament and seek a reduction of hours by legal enactment or whether they ought to settle the question personally between themselves and their employers. In the midst of their discussions came the memorable tract dealing with the situation, written by the hon. Member for Preston. In that he conclusively proved that it was a waste of energy on the part of labour combinations to attempt by means of strikes to shorten the hours of labour, but that it was their duty to come to the House of Commons, and to insist upon its being done by Parliament. One would scarcely believe that it was possible that that book could have been written a few short years ago by the hon. Member whose views met with such approval to-day from the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London. But, while the hon. Member for Preston was quite entitled, as a justification for his present opinion, to point out that he wrote that pamphlet twenty years ago, that was no reason why the Labour leaders should alter their opinion. Having been convinced twenty years ago that this was the proper procedure they were not going to change their opinions now. In that book he could point to the case of the cab driver. The hon. Member to-day had referred to the case of the cab driver and had pointed out to those who had been pressing for an eight-hours day how ridiculous it would be to apply that system to cab drivers. He had suggested that a man in his cab might for half the day be looking for a fare and that when he got one he would not be allowed to drive him a mile or so because the legal limit of time during which he was allowed to work had expired. But in his book the hon. Member had dealt with that objection in a very scientific and practical way, and from that pamphlet they were able to take every point of his speech and answer every objection he now suggested. In fact, if the hon. Member read again his own book, he would find that no reply to his speech to-day was required from any Member on the Labour Benches.
§ *MR. STEADMAN (Finsbury, Central)
said that he would not have intervened 1590 in the debate but for the fact that he had had some special experience in dealing with the hours of labour of shop assistants. The hon. Member for Preston was careful to analyse the Bill and to point out what were its defects, but he had not taken the trouble to inform the House of the good principles embodied in the Bill. Its good principles far outweighed its defects. For some years there had been in existence in London a combination known as the Voluntary Early Closing Association. That Voluntary Early Closing Association had in its way done some good in various parts of London to secure a half-holiday or an early closing afternoon in a great many shops. Working on behalf of that association in the East of London he had personally canvassed every drapery establishment in the Commercial, the Mile End, and White-chapel Roads, and had succeeded in persuading the proprietors of some of those establishments to agree to close their premises a little earlier on one or two nights a week. In two or three instances he found that the proprietors had gone back on their agreements and were working the old hours. Upon his interviewing them they told him that other people (giving the names) were doing it and that, therefore, they were obliged to do it too, otherwise they would lose their custom. He did not hold the working classes entirely blameless in the matter and had often said that if the people refused to shop at night the shops would not keep open, and he formed a ladies' association and distributed handbills asking the working classes not to shop late. He interviewed during that period one of the largest firms in London and asked the head to close the establishment at two o'clock on Thursday afternoons. That gentleman admitted to him in the course of conversation that the present long hours of shop assistants meant slow murder, but as an argument against himself closing at two o'clock on Thursdays, he said that other large establishments in different parts of London did not close till five, and that if he closed at two the customers whom he was then getting in the afternoon would go to these other shops, and he would lose them. The 1591 only solution to the problem, he said, was a universal compulsory legal enactment by Parliament. The hon. Member for Preston had taunted his hon. friend because he was now supporting this Bill while a few weeks back he was supporting another Bill which claimed for every man out of work a right to work. But that was the position of the Labour Party. As trade unionists they believed that if they could secure a legal eight-hours working day for all those industries which were now working twelve or fourteen hours a day, they would be able to put into employment every working man who to-day was unemployed. Their efforts to-day were as much in the direction of securing equal employment for all as anything else. He himself had four daughters, and men occupying his position were not able to keep their daughters at home; they had to find some honest employment for them, and everyone must admit that the hours to-day in the shops were far too long for any female to engage in, and the wages were far too small. Before he was ten years old he went as an errand-boy, between his school hours, and at twelve years of age he had to leave school and devote his whole time and attention to his work. His hours were from seven in the morning till ten at night five nights a week, and till twelve on Saturday. One year after that he served behind the bar in the house of a relative. His hours there were from six in the morning till ten o'clock at night every day and on Saturday till twelve. How could they expect to educate people and make good citizens out of them if they were to work all those hours? He would like to see an Act of Parliament that would not permit a boy to go to work until he was fourteen years of age, but compelled his parents to keep him at school until he reached that age. He believed that if that were done a far better class of citizens would be brought up. He admitted that the Bill attacked the 1592 small shopkeepers. In the back streets of our poorer districts there were thousands of what were called chandlers' shops, which found it very difficult to make both ends meet, but which were very useful to the poor. Then there were the refreshment places, which he supposed would include fried fish shops. In East London, in which great interest was taken in this Bill, there were a great number of fried fish shops. Their business did not commence until after eight o'clock at night—their work did not commence till then. He could take hon. Members down to East London after that hour, and show them many of these shops crowded with people waiting to get served with fish for their suppers. These shops also would be hardly hit by this Bill. He would, in conclusion, point out that no Bill introduced in the House was perfect in the form in which it was first brought forward, and that being so he hoped the Government would agree to this Bill going to a Committee, so that in the Committee stage all those defects that had been pointed out could be remedied, and a great deal of good done by its passage into law.
§ *THE UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL,) Yorkshire, Cleveland
The House has heard many speeches from hon. Members opposite devoted not merely to the criticism of the details of this measure, but aimed against its very essence and principles. I shall be very much interested to see whether they will carry their objections and resistance to the Bill as far as the division lobby. On past occasions I have often noticed that the hon. Member for the City of London has not done so, but that when it came to voting his courage ran out of the heels of his boots. I hope he will on this occasion carry his opposition into the lobby in order that we may see what is really the position of this proposal in the House. That there is need of reform 1593 will hardly be denied by anybody. There was a Committee of the House of Lords in 1901 which considered this matter. That Committee, of which the late Lord Salisbury was a member, reported that the evidence had satisfied them that the subject was one of urgent importance and that—The existing evils show no signs of immediate improvement. In many cases the hours during which these shops are open range as high as eighty or ninety a week.This is not a statement of a trade union leader, but the considered Report of a Select Committee of the House of Lords—In addition to these hours some time is occupied in cleaning up and putting away the goods not purchased. In many cases the hours amount to fourteen a day, and it is almost self-evident that such long hours of work are often ruinous to health, especially in the case of women.There is little reason to believe that the conditions have been ameliorated to any appreciable degree during the seven years that have passed since that Committee reported. But even if these long hours did not involve a danger to health, there would be still a case for shortening them. The injury to physical health is not the only evil that results from these long hours. People tied to the counter for so many hours in the day have no opportunities for recreation, for self-improvement, for the duties of citizenship, or for any of the wider activities of life. This Parliament comes pledged, more than any other Parliament of recent years has done, to carry out measures of social reform, and we who are its Members have all of us told our constituents that we will do what in us lies to help to increase the happiness of the people. I do not think we can pass any legislation which is more consistent with those pledges than the giving to nearly a million of our people the inestimable boon of larger leisure, and for my part I shall be most bitterly dis- 1594 appointed if this Parliament comes to an end without an effective measure limiting the hours of labour in shops being placed on the Statute-book.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
The main objection urged against this Bill has been stated in interesting language by the hon. Baronet opposite, the Member for the City of London, who puts it on the ground that it interferes with the liberty of the subject. I always listen to the hon. Baronet with the greatest possible attention. He told us in an interesting autobiographical statement that he was born in the middle of the nineteenth century, but, politically speaking, he belongs, of course, to the eighteenth. As I listened to his address my imagination clothed him with the costume of the period, with a wig upon his head, and I could almost imagine myself sitting in the small and crowded chamber which once stood upon this site. The hon. Baronet is a most interesting personality to the archæologists, and he is infinitely precious as a relic, but I do not think he is safe to be taken as a political guide. The essence of the hon. Baronet's objection to this Bill is based on the theory that "a man is entitled to do what he likes with his own life." Does he imagine that the shop assistants of our country are doing what they like with their own lives as it is? Does he imagine that they work eighty or ninety hours a week, as a Committee of the House of Lords reported they did, because they wish to do so? No, they work these long hours because they have to obey the conditions imposed on them by their employers. The employers themselves cannot wish that the hours should be so long as they are; often they themselves are subject to the same condition. Employers and assistants work these long 1595 hours, not because they desire to do so, but because they are in the grip of economic forces against which they are wholly powerless to cope. What is liberty? It is that men should be allowed to do what they want to do. We assert that often the law must step in precisely in order that men should have this opportunity of doing what they want and that legislation of this character gives more liberty than it forfeits, and gets rid of far more compulsion than it imposes. The late Government, by the Act of 1904, have already endorsed this principle. It is remarkable that whenever we come to discuss a question, whether licensing or shop hours, we seem obliged to discuss the action of the late Government in 1904. We claim that in principle, although we complain of the inadequacy of their action, the Act of 1904, which prevents men from keeping open their shops after the hours fixed by the closing order in force in their districts, does limit the hours of labour of adult males in their business, and does form a real precedent for the legislation which is proposed by this Bill. I would point out another consideration to the House, that long hours of labour in shops, injurious as they are, hostile as we believe them to be really to liberty, are wholly unnecessary for any economic purpose. There is no question here of the danger of foreign competition. No man, because the shops in his town are closed early, will go to France for a tie, or to Germany for a pair of boots, and the question of foreign competition does not in any degree affect this question. There is another consideration to be borne in mind. As the hon. Member for Great Yarmouth has pointed out, these shop assistants very frequently are in the shop for long hours but they are not actually working throughout. In other words, the business done in the shop can be compressed into shorter boors and there will be in such cases no loss of trade in any direction. The inconvenience caused 1596 to the public, if the hours are altered with due consideration of the public needs, will be infinitely small compared to the greatness of the boon conferred upon those engaged in the trade. The results of the Act of 1904, although we may put that forward as a precedent on the point of principle, have been profoundly disappointing. I was in the House at the time and did what I could to support that Bill and improve its details, and I expected sonic good results would follow from it, but its effect has been very inadequate indeed. Take for instance the great trade of drapers—the drapers' shops are very numerous throughout the whole country and employ tens of thousands of persons. In only ten towns in the whole of the United Kingdom, however, has any draper's assistant got the benefit of that Act. Take the case of the grocers, even more numerous: in only three towns in the whole of this country have the grocers derived any benefit from that Act; and altogether, apart from hairdressers, who appear to have been somewhat successful in putting the Act into operation, only thirty-two-Orders have been made in the whole of the country under the Act in three years. For my part if this Bill goes to a division I shall unhesitatingly vote for the Second Reading, not that that vote should be taken as implying that the Government necessarily favour the fifty-one hours week which may be proposed in the Bill or any of the other details of this measure, but merely that the Government accept its principle. We are cordially in accord with those who desire to have some more general and effective regulation of labour in shops. I do not propose to say a word on the details of this Bill; it has been the subject of much criticism in the House to-day, and I think that everyone of those who have spoken in its support admits that it needs amendment in very many details. And when the Report is published, in a very few days, of the Commissioner whom the Home Secretary 1597 has sent to Australia and New Zealand to investigate this subject in addition to the question of home work, it will be found that there are a very considerable number of other details, apart from those touched in this Bill, which will have to be dealt with if the Act is to be made successful and effective, and that in scores of points the minutest attention must be given to the working out of the principle. Still less is this the occasion for discussing the details of the Government Bill of next year. Whether the closing should be effected by the limiting of the hours of labour alone, or by fixing closing hours alone, or by a combination of the two, is not for the moment the matter to be decided.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE
It may make a difference in regard to the second division, but we shall be forced to divide against the Government on the Bill going to the Committee of the Whole House unless it is made clear that there is to be an hours clause—both in the first as well as the second part of the Bill. There must be some sort of hours clause.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
I do not see how the consideration of an hours clause relates to the question of the Bill going to a Grand Committee or not. In the New South Wales Act, of which the right hon. Baronet spoke, I think there is no limitation of hours of labour.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE
Yes, it is a sixty hours' week, and a concurrent limitation to half an hour beyond the hours of the day.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
Then my observation falls to the ground, but it is impossible for the Government at the present time, without having given detailed attention to the method of enforcement, in a question which affects very large interests and hundreds of thousands of persons, and which touches very closely the customs of the whole population—it 1598 is impossible for the Government now in May, 1908, to pledge themselves to what I insist is a detail, and a question only of the method of enforcing the law.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE
I am most anxious to avoid a division on this question if we are all agreed. Will the Government favourably consider their own statements—for instance, those of the present Prime Minister in the debate in the last Parliament, where the whole matter turned upon these words in the second clause of the Resolution. The late Government offered the first half but they rejected the second half limiting the hours of shop assistants.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
There is no intention of going back in any degree upon pledges which have been given, and the Government is not opposed in any degree in principle to the limitation of the hours of labour as such, as is shown by the fact that we have before the House a Government Bill limiting the hours of labour in mines. We have not formed any hostile opinion to the method proposed by the right hon. Baronet, and will give the most careful and full consideration to the arguments which are advanced in favour of this plan. To-day I can go this far, that the Government in the next session of Parliament will present to the House an effective measure for securing a larger portion of leisure for those engaged in the industry of shops. With regard to committing the Bill to a Grand Committee as distinguished from a Committee of the Whole House, I would ask the House to consider what good purpose would be served by committing this Bill to a Standing Committee upstairs. The hon. Member for St. Helens opposite said they desired it to be advanced a further stage beyond Second Reading in order that a message of hope might be given to the very large number of people who are interested in the passing of this Bill. 1599 A message of hope will be given by passing the Second Reading of this measure, and to impose upon a Standing Committee the burden of spending what would necessarily be many weeks in the consideration of the details of this Bill, without any prospect of its passing into law this session, would, I think, be an unwise procedure on the part of this House.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
No Sir, not at all. We have never undertaken that the present Bill should pass into law in the present session, and nothing has been stated to that effect. I would point out that this Bill cannot pass without Government facilities, supposing it were to go upstairs to a Standing Committee, and that Committee spent weeks and weeks on its details and it came back to this House. There is no day either for the Report stage or for the Third Reading, and it would be dead, unless the Government gave it facilities, as far as this session is concerned. The House is also aware that in the state of public business at present, with a crowded Order Paper, it is quite impossible for the Government to promise facilities for a measure so wide in its scope, and so intricate in its details, as this. The hon. Member opposite, I think, will hardly challenge that statement. In these circumstances it is clear that under no conditions, no matter what this House decided to-day as to the Bill going upstairs, would it reach the Statute-book this year. This being so, I ask the House whether it is just to impose upon the Members of the Standing Committee and the Members of the Government the burden of carrying this Bill through its Committee stage? The Home Office, as my right hon. friend has said, is this session very heavily 1600 overworked. He and I have to assist the Prime Minister in the detail management of the Licensing Bill; we shall be busy in carrying forward the Mines (Eight Hours) Bill, and that heavy measure, the Children Bill, besides other Departmental measures, and it is physically impossible for us to assist the Committee in redrafting the Bill and seeing it through its Committee stage this year. Under these circumstances I ask the House, and I ask it with confidence, on the one hand to pass the Second Reading of this Bill as an affirmation of its underlying principle, and then to support the Motion which I shall make that it be referred to a Committee of the Whole House.
§ MR. SEDDON
Is the House to understand that one or both of the principles of the Bill are to be part of the promised measure of the Government?
§ MR. COCHRANE (Ayrshire, N.)
, who was indistinctly heard in the Gallery, was understood to say: I fear that a certain amount of pressure has been put upon the right hon. and hon. Gentlemen representing the Home Office to give pledges in order to secure a certain number of votes, and the proceedings of this afternoon must have been watched by hon. Gentlemen opposite and impressed their minds with something like the feeling with which they observed negotiations with a certain Cabinet Minister in North-West Manchester. I am glad to see that the Under-Secretary for the Home Department is more courageous than the Cabinet Minister, for while he encouraged the promoters of this Bill by giving lukewarm praise he gave it its death-blow in the same breath. Therefore the right hon. Baronet may understand that the Government through their representatives here do not intend to allow this Bill to pass into law. My hon. friend twitted the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London and said 1601 he was a relic of the eighteenth century; but nobody has ever heard him speak except in the boldest and most courageous manner, and there is no man who speaks with more conviction and presses his arguments with greater force than my hon. friend. I do not believe that the qualities of courage and consistency are wholly confined to the eighteenth century. I think they have only been less conspicuous of recent years—say, for instance, since the invention of Chinese slavery. I would like to say that in this and many other instances we are entitled to hold strong opinions. He and I differed as to my duty to advocate in this House the Bill which is now the Act of Parliament of 904, and I can have some sympathy with the Under-Secretary because he and I both agree that that Act will do good work in alleviating some of the long hours which were and still are required to be worked by shop assistants, but to quote that Act as any precedent for this Bill is really a most extraordinary proceeding. That Act at any rate recognised a Liberal and Radical principle, that of local option. When the Act of 1904 is put in force it is necessary that two-thirds of the shops affected should be in favour of the change. Under the Bill now before us the local authority might issue an order that shops be closed before one o'clock in the day, but not fixing any definite hour. I venture to say that the words of the Act of 1904 "not earlier than one O'clock" are better, for the local authority can then order that the shops shall close not earlier than one o'clock in the day. That is a very great difference. Whom does this affect It affects not only employers in large shops but those in small shops. It affects, according to the Home Secretary, something like a million of persons. Before you deal in this drastic way with the interests of nearly a million of persons, the hard-working people of this country, some further inquiry should be made into the subject. There was a Committee of Inquiry in 1901 which 1602 resulted in the Act of 1904. The hon. Member said the Act of 1904 has not done all it might have done; but it has done a very great deal. No loss than 140 Orders have been issued in the three years it has been in force; and, in the cases of large cities like Glasgow, not the number, but the importance of the Orders, must be taken into consideration. I do not minimise the evils of long hours; I could not do so. I feel myself that shops are kept open far longer than they need be, and that those who are employed in shops which are unnecessarily kept open must suffer. But however you may desire to improve their condition you must be careful you do not deprive many useful citizens of their means of living. The question has been very thoroughly dealt with. The Home Secretary himself said he thought the Bill required very careful and prolonged consideration; and I think it would be wise that the hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary before he pledges himself to support this Bill, or any similar Bill next session, should pledge himself rather to have a further inquiry into the subject. Enormous interests are involved, and they at least demand some consideration. I would remind the hon. Member of the speech made only two days ago by the hon. Member for Northwich at a large meeting of the Liberal Party. He pointed out to those around him that the Liberal Party had the credit, or rather discredit, of not taking interest in the trade of the country, and he said—Let us have a sane interest in trade.I would submit to him that amongst those who do the largest bulk of the trade of the country are our small shopkeeper. The hon. Members for Sunderland, Finsbury, Preston, South East Lancaster, and others who have spoken to-day in this debate have everyone of them in a greater or lesser degree said that this proposal spells ruin to the small shopkeepers. Under these circumstances I am glad that the Under-Secretary has had more courage than the Home Secretary, who delivered a speech strongly 1603 antagonistic to the details of the Bill, pointing out that the whole of the staff of factory inspectors which the Home Office have at the present time would not be sufficient to put this Bill in force if it became law. He also pointed out how in shops they would not be able to employ persons under fourteen years of age, and said that in almost every line of the Bill there were glaring anomalies. I expected that at the end of his criticisms the Home Secretary was going to say that the Government, having read the Bill, recognised that while the intention might be good yet the details were perfectly unworkable, and that therefore he, as responsible for legislation of this character in this House, refused to assent to the Second Reading. That would have been the courageous and manly course to pursue. Instead of that, the hon. Member opposite is left in charge of the Bill, and he has the unpleasant duty of trying to conciliate the supporters of the Government in carrying out the duty of squelching it. I think the last words of the hon. Gentleman were that "almost every line of the Bill would require to be amended if it were proceeded with." He said—We cannot give time to this Bill.Not a single line in the Bill does the hon. Gentleman support, yet he is going to vote for the Second Reading. Could anything be more fraudulent or misleading to the country, the House, and to sup-
§ porters of the Government than this mere support of a title, and something in the air? The hon. Gentleman says that the Government is too full of business in connection with the various Bills they are pledged to carry through, to be able to give more time to the Bill in the House and in Committee upstairs; yet they are going to allow the Second Reading of a measure to every line of which they are opposed. That seems to me to be a typical example of the way in which members of the great Liberal Party are dragged through the mazes of legislation in this House. The right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean is quite wide enough awake to know that if this Bill is not sent to a Committee upstairs it will be perfectly dead, and he will think, I venture to say, that it would have been far more courageous on the part of those of whom he is a follower, if they had said straight out that they would vote against the Second Reading.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 197; Noes, 48. (Division List No. 73).1607
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.||Bellairs, Carlyon||Byles, William Pollard|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Berridge, T. H. D.||Carr-Gomm. H. W.|
|Ambrose, Robert||Bethell, Sir J. H.(Essex, Romf'rd||Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight|
|Armstrong, W. C. Heaton||Bramsdon, T. A.||Cawley, Sir Frederick|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Branch, James||Channing, Sir Francis Allston|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Brigg, John||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Cleland, J. W.|
|Barker, John||Brunner, Rt. Hn. Sir J.T (Cheshire||Clough, William|
|Barnes, G. N.||Bryce, J. Annan||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)|
|Beale, W. P.||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Compton-Rickett, Sir J.|
|Cooper, G. J.||Lehmann, R. C.||Richardson, A.|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradf'rd|
|Cremer, Sir William Randal||Lewis, John Herbert||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan||Lyell, Charles Henry||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Lynch, H. B.||Rowlands, J.|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Macdonald, J. M.(Falkirk B'ghs||Russell, T. W.|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Rutherford, V. H. (Brantford)|
|Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Macpherson, J. T.||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Mac Veigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Evans, Sir Samuel T.||M'Arthur, Charles||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Ferens, T. R.||M'Callum, John M.||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Ffrench, Peter||M'Crae, George||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Gill, A. H.||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Glendinning, R. G.||Mallet, Charles E.||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Markham, Arthur Basil||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)|
|Grant, Corrie||Marnham, F. J.||Steadman, W. C.|
|Grayson, Albert Victor||Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Menzies, Walter||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Middlebrook, William||Summerbell, T.|
|Gulland, John W.||Molteno, Percy Alport||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Hedges, A. Paget||Morrell, Philip||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Thorne, William|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Muldoon, John||Torrance, Sir A. M.|
|Henry. Charles S.||Myer, Horatio||Ure, Alexander|
|Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Verney, F. W.|
|Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Higham, John Sharp||Nolan, Joseph||Walsh, Stephen|
|Hobart, Sir Robert||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Walton, Joseph|
|Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Hogan, Michael||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampt'n|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||O'Brien, William (Cork)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Horniman, Emslie John||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Wason, Rt. Hn. E (Clackmannan|
|Hudson, Walter||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Idris, T. H. W.||O'Grady, J.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Jackson, R. S.||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Jacoby, Sir James Alfred||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Jenkins, J.||Philipps, Col. Ivor (S'thampton||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Jowett, F. W.||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Joyce, Michael||Price, Robert John (Norfolk, E.)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Kekewich, Sir George||Radford, G. H.||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Kincaid-Smith, Captain||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Laidlaw, Robert||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Seddon and Mr. Scott.|
|Lamont, Norman||Rees, J. D.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt Hn. Sir Alex. F.||Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Gardner, Ernest|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Corbett. T. L. (Down, North)||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Craig, Charles Curtis(Antrim, S.||Hay, Hon. Claude George|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Craig, Capt. James (Down, E.)||Kerry, Earl of|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Craik, Sir Henry||Kimber, Sir Henry|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Dalrymple, Viscount||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon||Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Bull, Sir William James||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S.|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Fell, Arthur||Lowe, Sir Francis William|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Forster, Henry William||Lupton, Arnold|
|Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Starkey. John R.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfie1d)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||H. H. Marks and Sir Francis|
|Pease, Herbert Pike(Darlington||Take, Sir John Batty||Powell.|
|Rawlinson, JohnFrederickPeel||Valentia, Viscount|
|Ridsdale, E. A.||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."1608
§ "The House divided:—Ayes, 190; Noes, 45. (Division List No. 74).1609
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Middlebrook, William|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch||Haworth, Arthur A.||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Armstrong, W. C. Heaton||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Money, L. G. Chiozza|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Morrell, Philip|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth||Hedges, A. Paget||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Helme, Norval Watson||Muldoon, John|
|Barker, John||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Myer, Horatio|
|Barnes, G. N.||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Beale, W. P.||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Nicholson, Charles N.(Doncast'r|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Higham, John Sharp||Nolan, Joseph|
|Bethell, Sir J. H (Essex, Romf'rd||Hobart, Sir Robert||Norton, Capt. Ceil William|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Hogan, Michael||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Branch, James||Holland, Sir William Henry||O'Brien, William (Cork)|
|Brigg, John||Horniman, Emslie John||O'Connor. John (Kildare, N.)|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lanes., Leigh||Hudson, Walter||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)|
|Brunner, Rt Hn. Sir J T (Cheshire||Idris, T. H. W.||O'Grady, J.|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Illingworth, Percy H.||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Jackson, R. S.||O'Shaughnessv, P. J.|
|Byles, William Pollard||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Jenkins, J.||Philipps, Col. Ivor (S'thampton|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Cleland, J. W.||Jowett, F. W.||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)|
|Clough, William||Joyce, Michael||Price, Robert John (Norfolk, E.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Kearley, Hudson E.||Radford, G. H.|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Kekewich, Sir George||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Cooper G. J.||Kincaid-Smith, Captain||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'|
|Corbett, C H (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Laidlaw, Robert||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Lamp, Ernest H. (Rochester||Richardson, A.|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Lamont, Norman||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Cremer, Sir William Randal||Lehmann, R. C.||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich||Robertson. J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan)||Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Levy, Sir Maurice||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||Lewis, John Herbert||Rowlands, J.|
|Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Lyell, Charles Henry||Russell, T. W.|
|Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||Lynch, H. B.||Rutherford, V. H. (Brantford)|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)|
|Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Ferens, T. R.||Macpherson, J. T.||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Ffreneh, Peter||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Gardner, Ernest||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||M'Arthur, Charles||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Gill, A. H.||M'Callum, John M.||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Glendinning, R. G.||M'Crae, George||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Steadman, W. C.|
|Grant, Corrie||Mallet, Charles E.||Summerbell, T.|
|Grayson, Albert Victor||Markham, Arthur Basil||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Marnham, F. J.||Taylor. Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Griffith, Fllis J.||Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Gulland, John W.||Menzies, Walter||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthur)|
|Thorne, William||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Torrance, Sir A. M.||Wason, Rt. Hn. E (Clackmannan||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Ure, Alexander||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Verney, F. W.||Watt, Henry A.||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Walsh, Stephen||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|Walton, Joseph||White, Juke (York, E. R.)||Seddon and Mr. Scott.|
|Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Ward, w. Dudley (Southampton||Wiles, Thomas|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hn. Sir Alex. F||Dalrymple, Viscount||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Fell, Arthur||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Forster, Henry William||Starkey, John R.|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Harrison-Broadiey, H. B.||Strauss. E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Kimber, Sir Henry||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Bull, Sir William James||Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S.||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylehone, E.)||Lupton, Arnold||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||TELLERS FOR THE NOES-Mr.|
|Cox, Harold||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||H. H. Marks and Sir Francis|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Powell.|
|Craig, Captain James(Down, E.)||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
§ Main Question put, and agreed to. Bill read a second time.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That the Bill be committed to a Committee1610
§ of the whole House."—(Mr. Herbert Samuel).
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 139; Noes, 23. (Division List No. 75).1611
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch||Craik, Sir Henry||Hobart, Sir Robert|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Curran, Peter Francis||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Hudson, Walter|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Idris, T. H. W.|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Illingworth, Percy H.|
|Beale, W. P.||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Jackson, R. S.|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Jones, Leif (Appleby)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Esslemont, George Birnie||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Fell, Arthur||Jowett, F. W.|
|Branch, James||Forster, Henry William||Joyce, Michael|
|Brigg, John||Gibb, James (Harrow)||Kekewich, Sir George|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Glendinning, R. G.||Kincaid-Smith, Captain|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Laidlaw, Robert|
|Byles, William Pollard||Grant, Corrie||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Lamont, Norman|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Gulland, John W.||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Haworth, Arthur A.||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Cleland, J. W.||Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David|
|Clough, William||Hedges, A. Paget||Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Helme, Norval Watson||Lowe, Sir Francis William|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Lupton, Arnold|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Henry, Charles S.||Lyell, Charles Henry|
|Cooper, J. G.||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Lynch, H. B.|
|Corbett, C H (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Higham, John Sharp||Mackarness, Frederic C.|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Richardson, A.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Macpherson, J. T.||Ridsdale, E. A.||Verney, F. W.|
|M'Arthur, Charles||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Walton, Joseph|
|M'Callum, John M.||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)||Ward, W Dudley (Southampton|
|M'Crae, George||Rowlands, J.||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Russell, T. W.||Wason, Rt. Hn. E (Clackmannan|
|Middlebrook, William||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Molteno, Percy Alport||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Seaverns, J. H.||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Myer, Horatio||Seddon, J.||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Silcock, Thomas Ball||Wiles, Thomas|
|Nicholson, Charles N.(Doncast'r||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.|
|Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||Spicer, Sir Albert||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Nussey, Thomas Willans||Stanger, H. Y.||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Steadman, W. C.||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)||Sutherland, J. E.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|Price, Robert John (Norfolk, E.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||J. A. Pease and Captain|
|Raphael, Herbert H.||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)||Norton.|
|Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Rees, J. D.||Torrance, Sir A. M.|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Gardner, Ernest||O'Grady, J.|
|Barnes, G. N.||Grayson, Albert Victor||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Kimber, Sir Henry||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Bull, Sir William James||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Thorne, William|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)|
|Cremer, Sir William Randal||Markham, Arthur Basil||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Marks, H. H. (Kent)||Claude Hay and Mr. Goulding.|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
§ Bill committed to a Committee of the whole House for Monday next.