HC Deb 20 May 1908 vol 189 cc306-11

asked leave to bring in a Bill to provide for the due display of the national flag on certain occasions in Great Britain and Ireland, more particularly on Empire Day. He said that in consequence of replies which had been given to a number of Questions put to various Members of the Cabinet during the past few days, he had taken the only step he could think of in order to impress upon the Government the importance of flying the flag on Empire Day. Hon. Members below the gangway took very good care to fly a certain flag in Dublin on a certain day and they might extend the courtesy and gratify the desire of probably the largest section of the loyal people of the Empire to see the flag flying on public buildings in London. The Prime Minister had said yesterday at Question time that he saw no reason to depart from the precedent of those who were in office before him. But no one would deny that during the past few years there had been a growing desire throughout the country to celebrate Empire Day. In the Senate House in Canada a few days ago, when the question was raised about the flying of the flag in Canada, the reply of the Prime Minister, if he had been correctly reported, was very apt. He said that if the Government here had no desire to fly the flag, they in Canada at any rate would fly it all the oftener. This short Bill would make it obligatory on Ministers of the Crown to fly the British flag over their offices on Empire Day and would also give permission to fly the flag over the national schools in Ireland where the majority of the parents, the pupils, and the managers, acquiesced in so doing. He would remind the House of the words used by the Prime Minister on the Motion for the adjournment the previous night. He said— If the noble Lord would from time to time give him such information as was at his disposal as to the growth of a general desire for this particular form of manifestation on the part of the children of the Empire it would receive his most respectful consideration. They thanked the Prime Minister for the courteous way in which he met the request addressed to the Front Bench. The right hon. Gentleman said that he was following the precedent of those who went before him, but there could be no question that Empire Day was more generally celebrated now than in the days of his predecessors. A very interesting function was taking place even that day at Croydon where the school children were unfurling a flag presented by the Agent-General for New South Wales. After all, the taxpayers of the country paid for the erection of the War Office, the Admiralty, and the other great buildings in which right hon. Gentlemen opposite exercised their offices, and the great bulk of those taxpayers would undoubtedly rather see the flag flying over those buildings on these occasions than see the bare flag-staff. The flying

of the flag would also be a great gratification to the many Colonial visitors who came to this country. It would show them that we, at home, were anxious to assist the Empire movement in other parts of the world. Then again this particular part of the Empire was often visited by foreigners, and it was desirable that we should impress upon them that this little bit of country was not all we had to show them—that outside the United Kingdom we had an Empire. We ought to emphasise that fact on every possible occasion. The Bill had the cordial approval of the loyal section in Ireland where it was proposed to give permission to hoist the national flag over the national schools.


Fly them over the breweries.


said the Bill would inflict no hardship on hon. Members below the gangway, because it was especially stipulated that where the majority of parents did not desire to fly the flag they need not do so. He would only say in conclusion it would be a graceful act on the part of the Prime Minister and his colleagues to grant the request of the people of this country. It took a long time to obtain the privilege of flying the national flag over the Houses of Parliament, and a certain number of hon. Members did not think it a waste of time to keep on, as long as they had the privilege of sitting in that House, asking that the flag should also fly over the chief Government offices in London.

Motion made, and Question put, "That leave be given to bring in a Bill to pro vide for the due display of the National Flag on certain occasions in Great Britain and Ireland, more particularly on Empire Day."—(Captain Craig.)

The House divided:—Ayes, 88; Noes, 156. (Division List No. 99.)

Acland-Hood. Rt. Hn. Sir Alex. F. Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (City Lond.) Beckett, Hon. Gervase
Anstruther-Gray, Major Banbury, Sir Frederick George Brodie, H. C.
Ashley, W. W. Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Burnyeat, W. J. D.
Ashton, Thomas Gair Baring, Capt. Hn. G. (Winchester Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M
Balcarres, Lord Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.) Carlile, E. Hildred
Baldwin, Stanley Beck, A. Cecil Castlereagh, Viscount
Cave, George Holland, Sir William Henry Randles, Sir John Scurrah
Chamberlain, Rt Hn. J. A. (Worc. Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield Rees, J. D.
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H. Ridsdale, E. A.
Cleland, J. W. Kerry, Earl of Ronaldshay, Earl of
Clive, Percy Archer Kimber, Sir Henry Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert
Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (Birmingh'm Lamont, Norman Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Lane-Fox, G. R. Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.
Courthope, G. Loyd Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich) Silcock, Thomas Ball
Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.) Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie
Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)
Craik, Sir Henry Lonsdale, John Brownlee Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)
Crossley, William J. Lyell, Charles Henry Stone, Sir Benjamin
Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon Lynch, H. B. Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury
Doughty, Sir George Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Magnus, Sir Philip Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Du Cros, Arthur Philip Marks, H. H. (Kent) Watt, Henry A.
Edwards, Clement (Denbigh) Morpeth, Viscount Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W. Morrison-Bell, Captain Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)
Fardell, Sir T. George O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth) Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Fell, Arthur Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend) Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Freeman-Thomas, Freeman Parkes, Ebenezer
Gordon, J. Paulton, James Mellor TELLERS FOB THE AYES—Mr. Forster and Viscount Valentia.
Greenwood, Hamar (York) Pirie, Duncan V.
Hardy, George A. (Suffolk) Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Hill, Sir Clement Radford, G. H.
Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.) Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford Maddison, Frederick
Atherley-Jones, L. Gooch, George Peabody (Bath) Mallet, Charles E.
Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth) Grant, Corrie Manfield, Harry (Northants)
Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset) Gulland, John W. Meagher, Michael
Barry, E. (Cork, S.) Hall, Frederick Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N)
Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R. Halpin, J. Mooney, J. J.
Bennett, E. N. Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E. Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)
Boland, John Haslam, James (Derbyshire) Morse, L. L.
Bowerman, C. W. Hayden, John Patrick Muldoon, John
Bryce, J. Annan Hazel, Dr. A. E. Murnaghan, George
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Hazleton, Richard Murray, Capt. Hn A. C. (Kincard)
Byles, William Pollard Healy, Timothy Michael Nicholls, George
Cameron, Robert Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Nolan, Joseph
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Higham, John Sharp Nugent, Sir Walter Richard
Channing, Sir Francis Allston Hobart, Sir Robert Nuttall, Harry
Clancy, John Joseph Hodge, John O'Brien, William (Cork)
Clough, William Hogan, Michael O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)
Clynes, J. R. Holt, Richard Durning O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Cobbold, Felix Thornley Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Hudson, Walter O'Dowd, John
Corbett, C H (Sussex, E. Grinst'd Idris, T. H. D. O'Grady, J.
Cotton, Sir H. J. S. Illingworth, Percy H. O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Johnson, W. (Nuneaton) O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Crean, Eugene Jones, Leif (Appleby) Parker, James (Halifax)
Cullinan, J. Jowett, F. W. Partington, Oswald
Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) Joyce, Michael Phillips, John (Longford, S.)
Delany, William Kekewich, Sir George Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Devlin, Joseph Kennedy, Vincent Paul Pollard, Dr.
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Kettle, Thomas Michael Power, Patrick Joseph
Dillon, John Kilbride, Denis Pri stley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)
Donelan, Captain A. Kincaid-Smith, Captain Reddy, M.
Duckworth, James Laidlaw, Robert Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster Redmond, William (Clare)
Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley) Lardner, James Carrige Rushe Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th
Edwards, Enoch (Hanley) Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.) Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n
Esmonde, Sir Thomas Levy, Sir Maurice Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Esslemont, George Birnie Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Roche, Augustine (Cork)
Fenwick, Charles Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'gh Roche, John (Galway, East)
Ferens, T. R. MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Roe, Sir Thomas
Ffrench, Peter Mac Veagh, Jeremiah (Down, S). Rowlands, J.
Flavin, Michael Joseph Mac Veigh, Charles (Donegal, E). Seddon, J.
Flynn, James Christopher M'Crae, George Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Fullerton, Hugh M'Hugh, Patrick A. Sheehy, David
Glover, Thomas M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester) Shipman, Dr. John G.
Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.) Wadsworth, J. Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Snowden, P. Walsh, Stephen Williamson, A.
Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.) Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent) Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)
Stewart, Halley (Greenock) Ward, W. Dudley (Southampt'n Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Straus, B. S. (Mile End) Wardle, George J.
Summerbell, T. Waring, Walter TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. George Roberts and Mr. Patrick O'Brien.
Taylor, John W. (Durham) Waterlow, D. S.
Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe) Weir, James Galloway
Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr White, Sir George (Norfolk)
Toulmin, George White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)