HC Deb 27 November 1908 vol 197 cc944-1020

The House is aware that it is never to me a congenial task to submit one of these procedure Resolutions, and on the present occasion, for obvious reasons, I approach that duty with exceptional reluctance. The peculiar and, indeed, unique circumstances in which this Bill originated are familiar to all of us, and obviously it could not pass through all its stages in this House without these facilities being given to it. I had at one time hoped it would be possible; but further inquiry has shown me that, in view of the time of year which we have reached, and the necessity of the Bill becoming law promptly, some moderate curtailment of time, and some proper allocation of time, is indispensably necessary. I am quite sure there is not a man on either side in this House who does not know as well as I do that if no such Resolution were adopted there is not the remotest chance of this Bill ever reaching the House of Lords in time for passing into law in the present year. It may be said—Why did we not introduce it earlier? But this Bill, as hon. Gentlemen on both sides know, is the result of prolonged communications and negotiations carried on for months on a subject of very exceptional difficulty, and between parties whose interests for a long time appeared irreconcilable. At the very first moment that those negotiations approached, I will not say a conclusion, but within measurable distance of a conclusion, this Bill was drafted and presented to the House without delay. Therefore, the Government cannot charge themselves with any neglect in this matter. If that be so, and I think I am stating facts which, whatever dialectical arguments we may resort to, are facts familiar to us all and indisputable, the substantial question is whether in the Resolution which I have put down adequate time is given to the discussion of the subject as a whole, and, next, whether a reasonable proportion of time has been given to different branches of the subject. Upon the first point I may remind the House of two things. The subject-matter with which we are dealing is in no sense novel. There is not a single argument relative or material to it which has not done duty on previous Bills on the platform and in the House of Commons. But quite apart from that, as I ventured to remind the House yesterday, the real question which arises in this case is not so much what can be said on the matter of principle for or against these particular provisions, but whether the various provisions, taken together, after proper scrutiny, do or do not constitute a reasonable and satisfactory view of the situation. I think one illustration will show the House what I mean by a perfectly reasonable view of the situation. Take the case which is provided for by the second clause. The proposed right of entry is given for the first time to denominational teachers in provided schools. In our view, whether we are right or wrong, that is an essential part of this compromise. You might discuss for months whether the right of entry is right; but in our view it is an essential and integral part of the arrangement. Therefore, I would submit that any discussion on what I may call the abstract merits at this stage is not a relevant discussion. On the other hand, whether or not the apprehension which I find is expressed in some quarters deserving of the highest respect as to whether the right of entry is or is not clearly defined and adequately safeguarded against possible suppression is well-grounded, is a most material point, and is a matter upon which the Committee might reasonably spend its time. I give that only as an illustration to show what is the true function of the Committee on a Bill presented in such circumstances and with such a peculiar origin as that now before the House. That being so, it appears to us that, large and far-reaching as are the questions of principle raised by these five or six clauses, having regard to their interdependence as part of one scheme, an adequate amount of time will be given in the six days to make perfectly clear anything that is doubtful, to fill up any gaps that may exist, and to strengthen any safeguards that appear insufficiently secure, in order to see that the arrangement as a whole is carried through. I come now to the allocation of time as between the different subjects in the Bill. We propose to give the whole of the first day to the discussion of the first clause, the one that sets up what I may call the general national system, under which all schools assisted by rate aid will require to be under the control of the public authority, with the teachers to be appointed by that authority, and so forth. That is what I may call, using rough and popular language, the great concession to Nonconformist opinion, and no doubt it requires a whole day for its discussion. I am assuming what is to be the proper function of Committee in relation to a Bill of this kind. Nobody would cheer more loudly than I if a solution of the education question could be embodied in a Bill containing only that one clause. On the second day I propose to deal with the second clause, giving what is known as the right of entry. This, to use again popular language, is the granting of the countervailing concession to the denominationalists. On the third day we put forward—and this is most important— the Report stage of the Financial Resolutions. On that can be raised the whole question, dealt with in the Bill and the Schedules, of the present principle and general effect of the proposed financial arrangements, as to whether or not this is a fair bargain with regard to contracting-out schools. This is relative to Clause 3, which is grouped with it, and provides for contracting out. On the fourth day we come to matters that are not unimportant though of subordinate importance. Clauses 4 and 5 provide for the transfer of the existing voluntary schools to the public authority. Clause 6, to be taken in the first part of the next day, deals with the same subject matter and the remainder of that day is given to the three following clauses about which I do not think there is any controversy. Clauses 11 and 12 are formal and will be taken on the last day with Clause 10, which is an important one because it deals with the unification of grants to the local authority. The Schedules will also be taken on that day.

LORD E. CECIL (Marylebone, E.)

And the new clauses?


If there be any.


There are some on the Paper now.


I was not aware of that. If there are any new clauses they will be discussed then. I think that is a fair allocation as between the different subject matters of the clauses. If, for the reasons that I have stated, the House agrees, however reluctantly, with the Government that if the Bill is to pass into law some compulsory allocation of time must be made, then I hope that they will further agree that after a good deal of thought we have placed on the Table a reasonable and practicable scheme which they will be disposed to accept. I beg to move.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Committee Stage, Report stage, and Third Reading of the Elementary Education (England and Wales) (No. 2) Bill, and the necessary stages of the Financial Resolution relating thereto, shall be proceeded with as follows:—I. Committee stage. Six allotted days shall be given to the Committee stage of the Bill, including the necessary stages of the Financial Resolution relating to the Bill, and the proceedings on each of those allotted days shall be those shown in the second column of the table annexed to this Order, and those proceedings shall, if not previously brought to a conclusion, be brought to a conclusion at the time shown in the third column of that table. 2. Report stage. Two allotted days shall be given to the Report stage of the Bill, and the proceedings for each of those allotted days shall be such as may be hereafter determined in manner provided by this Order, and those proceedings, if not previously brought to a conclusion, shall be brought to a conclusion at 10.30 p.m. on each such allotted day. 3. Third Reading. One allotted day shall be given to the Third Reading of the Bill, and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously brought to a conclusion, be brought to a conclusion at 10.30 p.m. on that day. On the conclusion of the Committee stage the Chairman shall report the Bill to the House without Question put, and the House shall on a subsequent day, consider the proposals made by the Government for the allocation of the proceedings on the Report stage of the Bill. The proceedings on the consideration of those proposals may be entered on at any hour, though opposed, and shall not be interrupted under the provisions of any Standing Order relating to the sittings of the House, but if they are not brought to a conclusion before the expiration of one hour after they have been commenced, Mr. Speaker shall, at the expiration of that time, bring them to a conclusion by putting the Question on the Motion proposed by the Government, after having put the Question, if necessary, on any Amendment or other Motion which has been already proposed from the Chair and not disposed of. After this Order comes into operation, any day shall be considered an allotted day for the purposes of this Order on which the Bill is put down as the first Order of the Day, or on which any stage of the Financial Resolution relating thereto is put down as the first Order of the Day, followed by the Bill. Provided that 5 p.m. shall be substituted for 10.30 p.m., and 2 p.m. for 7.30 p.m. as respects any allotted day which is a Friday, and 3 p.m. shall be substituted for 10.30 p.m. and 12 noon for 7.30 p.m. as respects any allotted day which is a Saturday, as the time at which proceedings are to be brought to a conclusion under the foregoing provisions. A Motion may be made by a Minister of the Crown at the commencement of business on any day that the House sit on the following Saturday at 10 a.m. for the purpose of the consideration of the Bill, and the Question on any Motion so made shall be put forthwith by the Speaker without Amendment or debate. Notice of any Question requiring an oral answer for a Friday or Saturday shall, if that day is an allotted day under this Order, be treated as a notice for the following Monday. For the purpose of bringing to a conclusion any proceedings which are to be brought to a conclusion on an allotted day, and have not previously been brought to a conclusion, Mr. Speaker or the Chairman shall, at the time appointed under this Order for the conclusion of those proceedings, put forthwith the Question on any Amendment or Motion already proposed from the Chair, and shall next proceed successively to put forthwith the Question on any Amendments, new Clauses, or Schedules moved by the Government of which notice has been given, but no other Amendments, Clause, or Schedules, and on any Question necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded, and in the case of Government Amendments or of Government new Clauses or Schedules he shall put only the Question that the Amendment be made or that the Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill, as the case may be. A Motion may be made by the Government to leave out any Clause or consecutive Clauses of the Bill before the consideration of any Amendments to the Clause or Clauses in Committee. The Question on a Motion made by the Government to leave out any Clause or Clauses of the Bill shall be put forthwith by the Chairman or Speaker without debate. Any Private Business which is set down for consideration at 8.15 p.m. on any allotted day shall, instead of being taken on that day as provided by the Standing Order 'Time for taking Private Business,' be taken after the conclusion of the proceedings on the Bill or under this Order for that day, and any Private Business so taken may be proceeded with, though

Committee Stage.
Allotted Day. Proceedings. Time for Proceedings to be brought to a Conclusion.
First Clause 1 10.30
Second Clause 2, and Committee stage of Financial Resolution 10.30
Third Report stage of Financial Resolution, and Clause 3 10.30
Fourth Clause 4 7.30
Clause 5 10.30
Fifth Clause 6 7.30
Clauses 7, 8, and 9 10.30
Sixth Clauses 10, 11, 12, and new Clauses 7.30
Schedules, and any other matter necessary to bring the Committee stage to a conclusion 10.30

opposed, notwithstanding any Standing Order relating to the Sittings of the House. On any day on which any proceedings are to be brought to a conclusion under this Order, proceedings for that purpose under this Order shall not be interrupted under the provisions of any Standing Order relating to the Sittings of the House. On an allotted day no dilatory Motion on the Bill, nor Motion to re-commit the Bill, nor Motion for Adjournment under Standing Order 10, nor Motion to postpone a Clause, shall be received unless moved by the Government, and the Question on such Motion shall be put forthwith without any debate. Nothing in this Order shall—(a) prevent any business which under this Order is to be concluded on an allotted day being proceeded with on any other day, or necessitate any allotted day or part of an allotted day being given to any such business if the business to be concluded has been otherwise disposed of; or (b) prevent any other business being proceeded with on any allotted day or part of an allotted day in accordance with the Standing Orders of the House after the business to be proceeded with or concluded under this Order on the allotted day or part of the allotted day has been disposed of."

MR. FORSTER (Kent, Sevenoaks)

The right hon. Gentleman has made what I am sure is to him an unpalatable statement with all the urbanity and lucidity that we are accustomed to expect from him. He is indeed a past master in the art of persuasion. If it ever falls to my unhappy lot to suffer a severe and drastic surgical operation, there is no one in whom I would have greater confidence or to whom I would rather submit myself than the right hon. Gentleman. He told the House that the proposal is no novelty. It certainly is not. So accustomed are we to this drastic procedure that under ordinary circumstances and with an ordinary Bill we might not have thought it necessary to put the Amendment on the Paper. But the position is not ordinary. The circumstances of the situation clothe the dry bones of this proposition with an aspect which is wholly foreign to the traditions of the House. The right hon. Gentleman does not really fully understand what it is that we complain of in the Resolution he now submits and his treatment or proposed treatment of the remaining stages of the Bill. Let us consider for a moment what the circumstances are. The Bill was introduced less than a week ago, almost surreptitiously ["Oh"] at any rate sub silentio, possibly not implying thereby that the Government were ashamed of it, but perhaps implying that they were parting with something they treasured so dearly that they could hardly entrust it to the light of day. Under ordinary circumstances some little interval would have been allowed to elapse between the introduction and the Second Reading of an important measure of this kind. We are allowed two days. Under ordinary circumstances some decent interval would have been allowed between the conclusion of the Second Reading and the commencement of the Committee stage. What is the decent interval allowed now? One day. One Parliamentary day which is occupied by settling the further fate of the Bill. These are not all the circumstances which make our position somewhat singular today. The Bill itself is peculiar owing to the fact that it is the outcome of negotiations which have been pursued between the two parties to the long controversy which this Bill proposes to settle. They were negotiations in which we had no opportunity of making ourselves heard at all, and of which we were in ignorance until the very moment the Bill was introduced. It is true that there were various rumours and suggestions in the newspapers from time to time. It is true that those of us, and there are many of us, who are most anxious to take this opportunity of settling this question, watched those negotiations with all the interest of which we were capable, in the hope that some good might proceed from them; but neither we, nor, I think, some of those who actually took part in those negotiations, were quite prepared for the provisions of the Bill as it has been introduced. I think there is reason to believe that the Archbishop himself was somewhat uneasy at the very moment the Bill was introduced. Let us remember that the Archbishop has acted throughout these negotiations on his own responsibility. Let it be remembered that he is Lead of the English Church. He is in a position of great power. Without his cordial and active co-operation, his future co-operation, it is evident that it is impossible for this Bill to effect a real solution of the difficulty which lies before us. ["Hear, hear."] Yes; if his co-operation with the Government is necessary, our support of him is also necessary. But neither his co operation with you nor our support of him will suffice unless you give us time to discuss this matter with one another. There can be no hope of a lasting settlement unless we can bring into line to co-operate with us, the whole weight of that public opinion, religious and political, which has supported the voluntary school movement for the last thirty years. There is no time under this closure proposal to collect or to focus that opinion. And, if I may say so, it is not only the friends of the Church who are concerned in this matter. I saw, and was happy to see, that at the very moment, or even before this Bill was introduced, a committee was being formed —a committee which has grown with a rapidity which I should say has astonished those who were responsible for its initiation—a committee friendly to a possible settlement, and even that committee were in ignorance of what the Bill really contained. I see in the newspapers of to-day a letter from the Bishop of London about which I will not say more than that it leads me to think at the time he joined this committee he was not familiar with all the provisions which the Bill contains. There never was a Bill which demanded time so much. Here is a Bill which is designed to reconcile old differences, a Bill which professes to come as a message of conciliation and of peace. You propose to force this measure through the House of Commons as if it was the most hotly debated and contentious Bill with which you have been concerned. What a strange method of conciliation! It is not so much a question of conciliating political opponents as it is a question of conciliating those who aim at the same objects at which you are aiming, and who are willing to support you if they can convince themselves that by supporting you they will effect a real and lasting settlement. It seems to me that it is conciliation not of those who differ from you in their aim, but of those who differ from you in their estimate whether a settlement is likely to be reached. A settlement is only possible if those who set their hands to it do so knowing fully and accurately what it is to which they subscribe. Agreements may be reached, I think often are reached, in private conversation and in correspondence which yet leave loopholes for misunderstanding when the terms which seem so easy to comprehend in private conversation and correspondence find expression in the dry language of Parliamentary draftsmen. It seems to me that that is the kind of situation in which we find ourselves today. If I am right, then I say again that time is essential for an interchange of opinions, which can only find full and accurate expression in an atmosphere which is free from the dust of party politics. I cannot help thinking that hasty and precipitate action on the part of the Government will now go far to wreck the whole scheme which is embodied in their proposals. Speaking for myself, I say that it would be a thousand pities if such a thing were to happen. Never have the two parties been so close together. What a pity it would be if the hands that are now outstretched across the dormant embers of this long and bitter struggle, failed to close in friendly grasp. I think that if failure be the result, the responsibility would rest largely with the Government. We are divided not by the desire of obtaining a settlement, as I said just now; quite the reverse; we are, in fact, divided by our estimate of the chances of a settlement—a settlement, the fabric of which may be erected on the basis of this Bill. Some have hope that a settlement may be arrived at, some apparently have none. I have hope. I still hope, though I confess that the proceedings of the last few days have caused the flame of hope that burned so brightly a week ago, to dwindle down to the merest spark. Hope dies hard. I voted for the Second Reading of the Bill last night because I would not abandon the faint hope that is left to me that Amendments may be made which will convert this Bill into a real treaty of peace, and until I learn from the lips of the Government themselves that they refuse to meet us on points which we consider vital, I shall continue to keep that spark of hope alive. We cannot make peace by merely shifting the scene of hostilities from one part of the field to another. We cannot make a treaty of peace by simply shifting the scene of hostilities from the political platform and the House of Commons, to the election and the council chamber of the local education authority. I say once again that if you really want peace, you must give us time. Why not? The Prime Minister in his opening remarks referred to the fact that we are now coming towards the close of the session. He said unless we are able to carry this Bill through the House of Commons in time for it to go to another place we should arrive at the end of the session, and this Bill would not be carried at all. Yes; we are nearing the end of the session, and as the right hon. Gentleman reminded us yesterday, the session has been full of hard work, and no one knows better than hon. Gentlemen who sit on these benches how hard that work has been. Although we are near the close of this session, we are within measurable distance of the beginning of another session which will begin all too soon. Supposing in the interests of a settlement the Government were to postpone the further consideration of this measure until then, what loss would there be? Can the loss of a few weeks of Parliamentary time weigh against the solution of that problem which has baffled both parties for so long? Is it not worth while to allow of some little delay in the hope of effecting a permanent peace? Why not? Can it be that the Government are afraid of their own supporters who sit behind them? The division of last night should reassure them on that point. Can it be that they are afraid that further consideration would alienate the sympathies of those of us who sit on this side of the House, and who are at present friendly to their proposals? Time and time alone can bring together the whole of the parties who sit here to support the Bill. What time is given? The right hon. Gentleman yesterday referred to the fact that after the twenty years of comparative peace that ensued upon the Act of 1870, we have been engaged during the last twelve or thirteen years in an almost ceaseless conflict upon the education question. The right hon. Gentleman proposes to end the struggle that has been going on for twelve years by forcing through this Bill in twelve days. Twelve Parliamentary days are sufficient, in his view, to close in peace a struggle which has lasted twelve years. The proposal is almost grotesque. I think the right hon. Gentleman would have recognised how grotesque it is if his finer feelings were not blunted by the constant and incessant use of the weapon which he now employs. It has become a part of the settled system of this Government to subject each of their important proposals to a Resolution of this character. Some Resolutions seem to be a little more drastic than others; some of them seem to be a little longer than others, but the process is always invariably the same, and the object is to stifle debate in the present House of Commons. It has become their stereotyped method of conducting business. Let me remind the House that this is the growth of only three years. Any Member who has sat in Parliaments previous to this one must know that this method of closure was only employed when it became perfectly evident that there was grave and insuperable obstruction on the part of those in opposition.


What I said was that it was a very bad plan to wait for obstruction and then to introduce a Resolution.


The right hon. Gentleman does not quarrel with my original proposition that this method of conducting business has grown up in the last three years, and this is the stereotyped method by which the Government intend to carry on their business. They are supported by the greatest majority of modern times. They are faced by the weakest Opposition numerically that the House has seen for generations.


What about the House of Lords?


I did not know the right hon. Gentleman was able to pass any Resolution of this kind in this House which was able to stifle the debate in the House of Lords. But while the right hon. Gentleman has stereotyped this method of preventing full discussion, the Government have invariably allowed some decent interval—some breathing space, between the Second Reading and the Committee stage, and here we have that small right, which we have come to regard as our own, taken from us. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Islington claimed that in this matter private Members ought to have the right of full freedom of debate. The right hon. Gentleman speaks with that freedom from restraint which is probably less refreshing to his former colleagues, than it evidently is to himself. At any rate, I can claim the sympathy and respect of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Islington, and I trust before the debate closes he will give full expression to his passionate desire for full and unfettered freedom of debate. I know quite well no representations that we can make, however earnest and sincere, will avail with the Government for a single moment. They have made up their minds. They intend to force this Bill through the House of Commons, and I am afraid—I speak with honest disappointment— nothing I can say will move them to change their course. Let us look the facts full in the face and see where it is that we are going, if we persist in conducting business in this fashion. It is but a step from the present method to a plan by which some future Government may introduce a Resolution of this kind allocating the whole time of the session to measures which they intend to lay before it. That is a danger which we need not apprehend from the present Government, because they change their plans and their policy so constantly that it would be a method of conducting business which would obviously not be agreeable to them. But some future Government may adopt such a plan, and if and when they do, those hon. Gentlemen opposite, who will then have an opportunity of considering such a proposal, will find that their acquiescence and support of the drastic and violent methods of the Government will render their future protestations completely ineffectual. By the action that they take now they will shut themselves off from the opportunity of making full and effective protest in Parliaments to come. I really would ask the Government to reconsider this matter before it is too late. If they are sincere, and we believe them to be sincere, in the efforts they are making to still the clamour that has rung in our ears for the last ten or twelve years; if they are anxious, as we are, to end this long and bitter struggle; if they want to secure the co-operation of that great volume of common sense which can only make itself heard when party strife is silent, I would ask them to give the House and the country time to think. The Government has a great and golden opportunity, and if by hasty and precipitate action they waste it, the responsibility for their failure will be theirs alone.

Amendment proposed— In line 1, to leave out all the words after 'That,' and to add the words 'this House, being of opinion that a settlement of the education question by general agreement is urgently required, and that such agreement can only be secured if the views of all parties interested are fully discussed by this House, regrets that exceptional means of curtailing debate should be used to force precipitately through its remaining stages a measure touching complicated interests and rousing vehement feelings.'"—(Mr. Forster.)

Question proposed, "That the words 'the Committee stage, Report stage,' stand part of the Resolution.

MR. BELLOC (Salford, S.)

said he wished to say with as little acerbity or violence as possible that the Catholic body demanded, particularly under the special circumstances, a full discussion of the clauses as they affected them. He neither affirmed nor denied the necessity in general of longer discussions than the Government had granted, but he advised it on that particular point. If there was one thing in the Bill in regard to which 2,000,000 people were asking what the issue would be without any reference to whether they voted Liberal or Conservative, it was that part which related to the Roman Catholic schools. The Catholic body was united in protesting against certain elements contained in the Bill, but it was not yet united with regard to the alternative proposals which it desired to make. How would it be possible within the limits of one day to debate that vital subject? It could not be debated. He had just come from a Catholic meeting at Liverpool, where he had seen a quarter of the population of the town, and feeling on this subject was more intense there than on any other subject of political thought. They were, if the House could conceive such a thing, feeling it more than they would feel the fall of Consols which would occur when the first Tariff Commission sat. They were feeling it more than they would feel some physical disaster, or loss of employment and wages. He regretted his attitude should be in opposition to the point of view of the Government. He recognised that the Bill must go through soon, and he recognised that this was an attempt for the greater part of the population at a compromise. He sympathised with that attempt, but the Catholics demanded fuller discussion of the clauses affecting them than they would get under the Government Resolution.

MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN (Worcestershire, E.)

If I take the rather unusual course of rising so soon after my hon. friend, with every word of whose speech I am in sympathy, it is because I have had no opportunity of saying a word on this Bill. I take the very deepest interest in it, and unless I rise now I should be prevented from making any appeal to the Government. It is the misfortune of many of us during an autumn session, a misfortune which has a bearing on the question which we are now discussing, that that is the time which is usually devoted by hon. Members to meeting the electorate, and many of us have engagements, made a long time ago, concerning a great number of other people, which we are unable to break, and which themselves limit our opportunities of taking part in the discussions, In a short time I have to leave the House to fulfil one of those engagements, and that is the reason I speak now. I think I occupy in some respects a rather peculiar position in reference to this education question. I was brought up as a Nonconformist in the midst of Nonconformist surroundings. I remain a member of the body in which I was born, and I think from those associations I have perhaps a greater appreciation of the point of view of Nonconformists and perhaps a greater kindness for them which cannot always be shared by those who have not my opportunities of knowing them intimately and well. On the other hand, my present associations for a long time have brought me into close touch with Churchmen. I can appreciate their views even where I do not share them. I am not one of the militant section of Nonconformists which thinks the great aims of Nonconformity can only be prosecuted at the expense of the Established Church. I am therefore from this middle position earnestly and anxiously desirous of finding some common ground of agreement on a controversy which has lasted so long and which has had such deplorable results for all the great interests which are involved. That being my position I voted for the Second Reading of the Bill last night and hope to be able to vote for the Third Reading. It would not be reasonable to ask a pledge of any man at this stage, but I desire to support the Bill through all its stages, and I believe there is still an opportunity to find, within the principles which it lays down and without calling upon either of the parties to the dispute for any sacrifice of their principles, an enduring settlement of this long-standing and bitter controversy. That, I know, is the object of the Government, but that is a tremendous undertaking. The Government have introduced into this House many large measures, but this is by far the biggest thing the Government have yet attempted. To produce a one-sided solution of this or of any question is a comparatively easy matter. To produce a solution which shall secure so great a body of agreement on all sides as to render it an enduring settlement is the heaviest, the most difficult task that any Government could undertake. It is the most responsible task upon which this House can employ its energies. If that be so, surely when we think we see an agreement within the bounds of possibility it is folly to abandon any chance of success or to do anything which lessens the prospects of a satisfactory result. On what does the chance of our providing a permanent settlement depend? It depends not on the views of extremists on one side or the other, but upon the extent to which we are successful—I use the word "we" because we are anxious to co-operate with the Government in the matter—in securing the great body of moderate opinion which lies between these two extremes. It depends upon whether, when the Bill passes, it has the support of a sufficiently large body of central opinion, and whether it is launched with the prospect that that body of central opinion will tend to grow and the body of extremist opinion to diminish. The right hon. Gentleman alluded to the settlement which was secured for so many years by the Act of 1870. I have lived among those who took a very active part in that controversy, who were not at all satisfied with the solution which was reached, but who nevertheless submitted to it, and by doing their best to work it, made it the success it has been for so long. But does the right hon. Gentleman think that that result would have been secured if those who objected to the settlement of 1870, whether they were Nonconformists or Churchmen, had not felt that their case had been fully laid before Parliament, and their views fully discussed, and that if at the end Parliament decided against them, at any rate Parliament had given the fullest consideration to that which they had to urge? I do not see how we can hope to gather in that great body of moderate public opinion which I think it is still within possibility that we may secure for the settlement of this question, unless every man feels that his case has been fairly heard, and that this great tribunal of the nation has not stopped the case while important arguments which he wished to urge were unheard. I feel this so strongly—I feel that upon the resolution which the Government takes now depends so largely the prospects of the future success of their measure—that I most earnestly beg them to reconsider the attitude which they have taken up. I do not say this in criticism or in blame of the Government, who, I understand, have been in a position of extraordinary difficulty, but I think we see already the danger and the evil of too great haste. The Government—the Prime Minister and the Minister for Education —entered into negotiations with the Archbishop and the Bishops on the one hand, and the Nonconformists on the other. They brought them within measurable distance of one another. That is common ground. I wish they had given a little more time to bridge, by way of negotiation, the small gulf that still divides them. In order to put the House in possession of their views at the earliest possible moment, in order to get on with the Bill, they produced it before the negotiations were complete, and I cannot but feel from what we have seen since, and the divergences of opinion now disclosed amongst the negotiators themselves as to the result of their negotiations, that the few days gained by presenting the Bill before the negotiations were complete were so many days actually lost in the prospect of the settlement of the question. I am anxious that that mistake, made with the best intentions, should not be repeated while the Bill is on its passage through the House. What Is it that we desire — I should hope every man in the House, whatever his view as to the provisions of the Bill, and still more those of us who think we see in it a possible solution. We desire that the greatest possible number of schools should come within the system, that there should be the smallest number of schools desiring to take advantage of the provisions which relate to contracting-out. For the educational success of the measure apart from its religious side it is of the utmost importance that the scheme which the Government designate the normal national schema, should embrace as many of the schools of the country as possible. Is time wasted that is spent in assuring, by discussion, by consideration, by Amendment if necessary, those whom you invited into your scheme that when they come into it they should be certain of fair treatment? Surely no time that we ask for in reason, in order to satisfy those whom we wish to rally to the support of the solution, will be wasted if it helps to bring in more people voluntarily and gladly to accept the provisions of the Bill, and to convince them that what the Government have expressed to be their intentions will in fact be the result of their measure. On the other hand, we all have to recognise, whatever personal view we take, that you cannot bring into the national system as contemplated by the Government all the schools of the country—that the Roman Catholic schools, that a certain section of the Church schools and possibly some other denominational schools, will have to stand outside that system. You are asking those whom you put outside the normal national system to make a great sacrifice. You are asking them to give up their share in what you declare to be the national education of the nation to which they belong and of which they are as loyal and patriotic citizens as any others. Is not a little time well spent in trying to reconcile them to their position, in trying to meet their difficulties, and in assuring them that at any rate the House of Commons is willing to listen to all they have to say, anxious if it can to make their position more tolerable and less burdensome? You cannot deal with matters like these in a single afternoon. We do not know until we begin to discuss the Bill what shades of opinion will develop—what points will be raised. All we know is that we have entered on the most difficult task that any House of Commons can set itself, that upon the skill, the patience, the consideration which we give to this measure, and which we show in our relations to one another, depends our prospect of success, and under these circumstances, to ask us to be tied down to a few short days, at a time of year when it is exceedingly difficult for any of us to promise constant day to day attendance in consequence of our other public engagements, when many of us would probably get no opportunity of speaking, particularly those who represent the middle and central opinion, because it would be the extremists who would claim, and reasonably, the first right to be heard, on either side, and it will be the moderate men, who are most desirous of finding in the Bill a settlement, who will be crowded out—if you do that you handicap yourselves so heavily at the start that with all our anxious desire to find a settlement in the Bill, I should almost despair of arriving at a satisfactory conclusion. The House I hope will recognise the depth of my conviction and the earnestness of my wish for a settlement, and I most anxiously beg the Prime Minister to give the House latitude on this, because I believe it is only by allowing them latitude that a settlement can be arrived at. Much as I dislike autumn sessions, much as I dislike sessions which are carried over Christmas, bad as I know it to be for Parliament, and bad as it is for each one of us, I will grudge no labour that the Government exacts from us in order that we may have full time to discuss this measure. I will support them, if they think it necessary to adjourn over Christmas, I would try to meet them in whatever way of that kind they like, but I believe time is essential to a satisfactory solution, and if you do not give us time this great opportunity will be lost, and to lose the opportunity now that we have come so near to an agreement would be a calamity we should all regret for the rest of our lives.


joined in the appeals made from the front Opposition bench to the Government to reconsider this measure of closure. He had not yet made up his mind whether to go into the division lobby. He certainly did not like the wording of the Amendment. It did not express his feelings in opposition to the scheme which had been proposed. He wanted to ask the Government if it were quite impossible to add two extra days to this closure scheme. If they could add two days they would receive a great amount of willing support, which would now be given unwillingly, and a great amount of support which would not be given at all if they forced the scheme through in its present form.


Does the hon. Gentleman mean two days to the Committee stage?


replied that he did. Some of them had hoped to put down Amendments to that effect, but owing to the severe pressure and to having work outside, many of them had been absolutely prevented from putting down any Amendments. He suggested that the time allotted to Clauses 1 and 2 and to the section including the Schedules was altogether inadequate. Another half day to Clause 1, another half day to Clause 2, and another day devoted to the Schedules, so far as he was concerned, would at any rate make the scheme of closure much more acceptable. He quite agreed with the position taken up by the Government fundamentally. The Bill was open to improvement. He opposed the Bill in some of its essential characteristics, but he was not going to press it in a factious way. He quite admitted that after due discussion and adequate consideration the Government were entitled to ask the House to pass the Bill. He also agreed that it was very much better to let the House nor consider what the scheme of closure was going to be, rather than wait two or three days and then in a hurry and after perhaps inadequate consideration produce the scheme. He could not admit for a single moment from the constitutional point of view that the Government had any business to come to the House and say "We have arranged certain terms with outside parties, and you have to take these terms or reject them." As the representative of a constituency he could not recognise that doctrine. He might be wrong, but that was how the position of the Government struck him at the present time. They were told that there was no use discussing certain terms of this Bill. He was sorry to hear the statement made by the Leader of the Opposition yesterday that the only question which the House had to consider was whether the Bill would effect peace. It all depended on what was meant by peace. Whether the Bill was going to effect peace was a matter to be determined by the terms of peace which it contained, and therefore the House must insist upon, and the Government must give, an opportunity for discussing the terms of peace as well as the desirability or the efficacy of peace itself. The Prime Minister had said that there was nothing novel in the Bill. Practically everything in the Bill was novel. The fundamental novelty of the Bill was the position of the Government. He was perfectly certain that the Government had a very good reason for changing their opinion, but he did not know what the reason was. He was strongly opposed to the change, according to his present lights. The table indicating the time to be allotted to the Committee stage showed that Clause 2 with reference to the right of entry was to be dealt with in one day. He submitted that one day was not sufficient even to give adequate explanations of the clause. Even extremists—he did not object to that term being applied to himself in this matter— approached this question with the idea of having an adequate chance of putting their views before the House, of having them examined and discussed, and, more particularly, of having a statement from the Government why they had changed so fundamentally the position they had taken up during the last two years of the controversy. Clause 1 was to be dealt with in one day. First of all they must make up their minds as to whether the wording of subsection (a) was at all adequate to carry out what was intended. Then subsection (b) was a novel rendering of the Cowper-Temple clause. It changed its basis fundamentally and in such a way as surely to necessitate adequate discussion. Then there was the question whether fees should be imposed or not. He did not think the wording of the third subsection of the clause would effectively secure free places to all children who desired them. Surely the Government would admit that these four points wore important and ought to be adequately discussed. At any rate, three of them were major points, and even if the House approached them without any intention of discussing them fundamentally and on principle, but simply for the purpose of rending out what the position of the Government was, whether they were essential to the compromise, and what their exact meaning was—surely the time allotted to them was not adequate for the purpose. The House should surely have an opportunity of discussing a Motion to delete Clause 2 in order that the principle embodied in the clause might be adequately explained. There was the question as to the time to be given to religious instruction, there was also the question of the position of the teachers, both headmasters and assistants, in regard to the giving of religious instruction. The financial provisions embodied in the fourth subsection of the clause seemed exceedingly pettifogging, but the Government had no doubt some good reason for what was proposed. Subsections 5 and 6 also involved important details. It was proposed that all those matters should be discussed in the short space of six hours. He was not going to approach this matter in an irreconcilable manner. He voted against the Second Reading of the Bill with a large amount of regret. If, as the result of the discussions in Committee, he could bring himself to vote for the Third Reading, he would be only too glad to do so. That was conditional on fair and adequate discussion, and he did not think that was provided for in the scheme of closure how before the House.


I rise now merely out of courtesy to the right hon. Gentleman opposite and my hon. friend who has just sat down. I listened with very great sympathy to the appeal made to me both by the hon. Member for Seven oaks, who in an admirable speech moved the Amendment, and by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Worcestershire, because I know that both are genuine friends of a settlement of this matter. I am not quite so sure of the hon. Member for Leicester. He put forward certain Parliamentary considerations which are perfectly fair matters for discussion. As I have said, it is with great reluctance I make the Motion and I only make it in this form because it is the only chance of getting the Bill through on this side of Christmas, which I believe is generally desired. But I would make this suggestion in response to the appeal of the right hon. Gentleman. If it will facilitate progress, I propose—it is a very great sacrifice of Government time, but I am prepared to face it—to add two days to the Committee stage, thus giving eight instead of six. The effect of that will be to postpone from Saturday till Tuesday week the day on which the Schedules would be taken. That is rather important, because I am satisfied it will turn out the more this matter is discussed in Committee that the really open point, upon which the success of the chances of a settlement mainly depends, is as to the terms on which contracting-out is to be allowed. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about Clause 2?"] As regards Clause 2, I do not think we will have much trouble. If anybody can show that the right of entry is not sufficiently safeguarded, I am quite prepared to put in language that will make it abundantly clear. It is merely a point of draftmanship; the intention is absolutely clear. But as regards the scale of grants to contracted-out schools, and to some extent the rent or other consideration to be paid to transferred schools, there is at this moment—I speak frankly—an outstanding difference. I do not pretend to say that we absolutely see eye to eye on these points, but I have the strongest hope that these differences will be composed and a settlement arrived at. There is, however, solid ground for what the right hon. Gentleman said that that matter should be kept open as long as possible in order that the various persons concerned should have an opportunity of inter-communication and negotiation. They understand the point, and I am pretty sure that in the course of the next seven or eight days, after the discussions in the House and outside, they will be better able to come to an understanding; but it is desirable to put off as long as we can the necessity of coming to a final decision. If that proposal meets with general acceptance, if it cases the situation in the view of those who are genuinely anxious that the Bill should go through, I shall be prepared to make modifications in the Resolution, which will extend the Committee stage from six to eight days, and which will provide for that additional discussion, certainly upon Clause 2, and upon the financial parts, and particularly the Schedules, which, I think, in the opinion of the House and of those who desire a settlement, are the parts to which Committee discussion might be most profitably directed.

MR. ASHLEY (Lancashire, Blackpool)

asked what the right hon. Gentleman proposed to do in regard to Clause 2.


I propose to extend the time for Clause 2. At present it is confined to one day in the Committee stage. I propose to give another half-day at any rate. If the hon. Gentleman will wait a moment, we will have the exact details put before the House.

MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)

asked whether some better opportunity would be given for the discussion of the new clauses. Under the present table the new clauses would be absolutely ruled out.


If we take the Schedules and the new clauses, and give them a day to themselves, the new clauses will have a better opportunity of being discussed.


Will the new clauses come after the Schedules?


No, before.


If the new clauses come after Clauses 10, 11, and 12 on the same day as proposed in the table, the new clauses will have no chance whatever of being discussed. Could not the new clauses be taken at the beginning of the day on which the Schedules are taken?


If the new clauses are taken on the same day as Clauses 10, 11, and 12, we can divide the day in half.

MR. LAURENCE HARDY (Kent, Ashford)

, said the announcement made by the Prime Minister met to some extent the views of hon. Members. He urged that in re-arranging the time-table provision should be made to ensure some opportunity of discussing the third clause of the Bill. At present it was proposed to take it on the third day after the financial Resolution. If Clause 2 took a day and a half, it was possible that discussion on Clause 3 might be squeezed out altogether. He would most earnestly appeal to the right hon. Gentleman, notwithstanding the solid concession which he had made, still further to consider the view put forward by his hon. friend on the front bench. Personally, he was just as much as the right hon. Gentleman in favour of arriving at once at some compromise on this question. If he had been in the House the previous evening, as unfortunately he was not, he would have voted in favour of the Second Reading of the Bill, because he believed that the principles in it were founded on the only possible settlement of the question. But it seemed to him that the guillotine and a Bill to be taken by consent of the House were incompatable. It had been almost impossible during the Second Reading debate to get beyond the different matters dealt with in the various clauses. He agreed with the Prime Minister that they did not want so much these Second Reading discussions in Committee, but they could not avoid it. What was wanted was discussion in detail in order to discover how far the clauses of the Bill, as presented to the House, would carry out the understanding or any desire which they had for the purpose of bringing about peace. It did not seem to him that even with the concession which had been made, the House was likely to obtain the opportunity for a detailed discussion of all the points which might be hereafter arranged. Certainly, as far as the Schedules were concerned, they were assured that they were to have further time; but it must be remembered, and nobody knew it better than the Government, that when these negotiations were spoken of as concluded, they were not concluded. The Archbishop of Canterbury, so far as he was acting for the Church of England, was never satisfied with regard to the financial provisions, more especially on the question of contracting out and rent. Then there was the difficult question of expenditure during the last few years, which was in no way dealt with in the two Schedules, and which would have to be dealt with before the Bill became law. It was because he felt strongly that the hopes of peace were being shattered by the Bill being conducted under the guillotine that he urged the Government to give further time for the consideration of the points to which he had referred. It had been hinted that the hurried discussions of these clauses were to be taken not only in the Parliamentary time of next week, but were to be continued into the Saturday, when it would be impossible for all Members to be present. It seemed to him that there was every reason to ask the Government to hestitate before they laid this new stumbling stone on procedure. Hitherto, closure procedure had always been confined to controversial measures. But the Government put forward this Bill as a measure of compromise and concession, to be passed by consent, but with the know ledge that there would be outside opposition to it; and it seemed to him that to introduce into the procedure of the House this controversial method acting in regard to this Bill, was not only to introduce a new and dangerous precedent, but was likely to shatter the hopes of the Government and himself, that they had at last found a settlement of this extremely difficult question. The earliest date upon which it would be possible for the views of the Representative Council of the Church of England as a whole to be heard was 3rd December, when that council would meet; but by that date the Bill would be more than half-way through the Committee stage. That was the earliest meeting at which the opinion of the Church of England as a whole could be voiced, and yet they were asked to pass the first three clauses of the Bill before that date. The whole matter had been hurried on in order, apparently, that the House might adjourn before Christmas. That, however, was only a matter of the convenience of the followers of the Government and of Ministers. It was not a matter which affected a question that went to the root of the most difficult problem ever brought before Parliament. Surely time should be given for consideration, in order that, if possible, they might round off all the difficulties surrounding the situation felt by different sections of the religious life of the community. They could not effect a settlement unless the Roman Catholic Church was satisfied. The Government had allowed that in the negotiations they gave too little time to that particular part of the problem, and surely that was a proof of the necessity of giving more time in order that the House might deal in Committee with those questions which would have to be dealt with before a final settlement was attained. He believed that the only chance of obtaining the consent of all sections of the community and of smoothing out all the points of difficulty so as to reach a settlement which would be acceptable on all hands, would be to give a little more time for the fair consideration of the details of the measure. He appealed to the Government, with no party motive, but in their own interest, to give further consideration to the plea put forward by the hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment.

MR. J. W. WILSON (Worcestershire, N.)

said he would be inclined to ask the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken whether he believed that there was any other course of procedure than that proposed by the Government by which this Bill could be passed during the present session in view of the exhibition of hostility with which it had been received in certain quarters. He did not mean party quarters.


said that if the hon. Member appealed to him he thought it would be quite possible to have a limited period after there had been time to consider whether the present difficulties could be smoothed over and rounded off.


said he was going to suggest that there might be another alternative. Before the system of closure by compartments was adopted, the suspension of the eleven o'clock or the twelve o'clock rule was resorted to. During his experience of the House, which extended through three Parliaments, he could not put his finger on any Bill which had been opposed by any substantial section of the House which had been got through without a measure of closure by compartments. As far as he could remember the late Sir W. Harcourt's great Budget dealing with the death duties had passed through without the closure; and why? It was because, in his opinion, it was not subject to the twelve o'clock rule by the nature of the case. Since then, he repeated, there had no first class measures passed by either party in the House without the use of the closure by compartments.

SIR F. BANBURY (City of London)

During the ten years from 1895 to 1905, only three guillotine Motions were proposed, and I presume that in these years some important, some principal measures were passed.


There were not many principal measures in those years. [OPPOSITION cries of "Oh, oh."] Well, there was a great measure of Compensation in 1897, but that was in no sense controversial.


And this measure is not controversial.


said he would grant that it might not be controversial between the two front benches, but nobody could deny that there were strong minority sections in the House who felt conscientiously obliged to oppose it. Therefore he must contend that it should rank as one of the controversial measures brought before Parliament. However, what he rose for was to appeal to hon. Members on both sides of the House, not only to the Leaders who sat on the front benches, but particularly to the Leaders who sat on the back benches, to exercise their influence to pass a Bill which, to a large extent, had been brought in by consent, this session, even with the assistance of closure by guillotine. Anyone who looked back on the action of the closure by guillotine during the last few years, whether it was the Licensing Bill, which had just left the House, or the Licensing Bill of 1904, or the Education Bill of 1902, or the Education Bill of 1906, could see that the opportunities afforded for discussion by the House had not been made proper use of by either party. Whatever party was in Opposition had felt it incumbent on them to show how easily they could waste the time of the House. In his opinion that was a degradation of debate and the procedure of the House, and he appealed to Members on both sides, whether on this Bill, or measures like it, they should not make the most of their debating power, instead of indulging, as had recently been the case, in increasing discursiveness which turned out not better but worse legislation. The result was that either another place was invited to throw the Bill out, or it was not so creditable and workmanlike a piece of legislation as many of them, quite apart from party or temporary motives, would like to feel that the House was capable of turning out. Therefore, he appealed to the House that whatever system of compartments was decided upon—and he was glad to hear that the Prime Minister had indicated some extension of the compartments on the Paper—or whether the House determined to suspend the eleven o'clock rule occasionally for the sake of extending the debate on most important subjects, they should try to make the best of their Parliamentary machinery and not the worst of it.


hoped he might be allowed to say a few words as he had not intervened in the debate hitherto. He had not had the honour of taking part in the former negotiations which it appeared had taken place, but he had taken a most active and energetic part in inducing his friends of the Church of England, in various assemblies and in private society, to uphold what some persons called the compromise, but what he preferred to designate by the less invidious term of the agreement. He also voted for the Second Reading of this Bill the evening before, and he was gratified that many of his hon. associates on that side of the House were to be found in the same lobby. It would be a great disappointment to them if the Bill did not become law. He did not say the Bill as it now stood, but he trusted it would be altered in the course of their discussion. There was, however, much to be said in favour of delay. The first argument that he thought an important one in a constitutional country was that from precedent. The custom of Parliament and of this House had never been to hurry forward measures contrary to the wishes and sentiments of those who desired to criticise and oppose, and when they looked beyond the shores of this country to foreign countries they found that in regard to those revolutionary periods when legislation or enactment, not of the character of legislation, were carried through in haste and with precipitation, those decisions had never become permanent, but were doomed to death from the day on which they became the law of those unfortunate countries. He would greatly regret if there was a tendency in that direction in this country, but he feared that there were symptoms of it, and he believed that if that movement was extended much further, it would bring great evils to this country, and it was quite possible that it might impair the authority even of this ancient, most venerable and honourable Assembly. When Prince Albert came to this country he made a remarkable observation—showing an acute mind—which was much challenged at the time. He said the institutions of this country—his adopted country—were on their trial; and his opinion was that if these modes of procedure were carried out, it might fairly be said that the House of Commons was on its trial. He was perfectly sure that whatever might be the votes of Parliament passed in this precipitate and hasty way, the authority of Parliament would be weakened by that mode of action and the representative institution damaged. He ventured to say that this haste and rapidity of movement was inconsistent with that confidence and intercourse which ought to exist between Members of the House themselves and between Members and their constituents. The relations of Members and their constituents ought to continue as they had been for generations, and they necessarily must do so if those relations were to be of a satisfactory, and, he might say, constitutional character. Then they came to the present situation. What was it? There had been great hopes of an agreement. He had shared in those hopes and they were not extinguished now, but he believed that all persons who had experience in negotiations would agree with him when he said that when there were acute differences and opposition, and possibly heated feeling on one side or the other, still more when those conditions occurred on both sides the real healer of these differences was not so much argument as time and patience and deliberation. It was wonderful, if both parties desired to come together, if one gave them an opportunity for deliberation and allowed their feelings to cool down, how in the course of a short time an agreement, apparently hopeless, became accomplished and became a reality. He believed there never was a time when the condition of educational affairs showed more improvement than on the present occasion. They had passed from a period of heat to a time when there was a prospect of agreement. At the present moment there were some grits in the machinery, and there was friction and impediment. What they wanted was, in his opinion, an opportunity of removing that friction and putting an end to those conditions. He asked that they should have an opportunity of so doing and taking some step, at any rate, to secure the solution of these difficult problems. According to the old saying of an experienced draftsman, as Lord Raring said to him time after time, the real plan was to make the first clause their Bill. The first clause had been the Bill in regard to these measures. It was the case with the Bill of the present Chief Secretary, and the Bill of the First Lord of the Admiralty, and with this Bill. He thought if they examined this Bill and read the first clause, they found there was considerable difficulty in making such alterations as would make it consistent with the real feelings and wishes of hon. Members on that side, and also of the Roman Catholics and other sections of the House. He himself was bound to have some regard to the feelings of the Roman Catholics, because, although he did not possess the confidence of the Irish Roman Catholics in the borough of Wigan, he did possess the confidence of the English Roman Catholics, in saying a word for them on this occasion. He doubted whether the Government had really fully appreciated the vast importance of their own Bill. They desired, and he shared their desire, that this should be the occasion of a settlement, but except they had full appreciation of the difficulties of the situation, except they fully understood the enormous magnitude of the issues depending upon their deliberations, and if in forgetfulness or ignorance they were driven to rash and hasty and precipitate conclusions, they might depend upon it that the settlement would not be of a permanent character. It would be condemned to destruction from the very day when the new statute became law. Controversies would not cease and all feelings would not abate, but they would have from the moment the Bill was placed upon the Statute-book, new antagonisms, new controversies, and new bitternesses, and they would find themselves not nearer to an ultimate settlement, but much further from that happy conclusion than they were at present.

MR. ADKINS (Lancashire, Middleton)

said he felt very strongly both the appeal of the hon. Member for the Sevenoaks division of Kent and of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire, and was sure that with himself many hon. Members on that side of the House regretted that it was not possible to give more time to the discussion of many important details which arose on the Bill. In regard to what the hon. Member had just said he would only say that delay sometimes gave opportunities for faction as well as for promoting conciliation. If, however, they found that any further extension of time was really likely to bring about a settle-men he was sure that many hon. Members would not allow personal considerations in regard to the assembling of Parliament to stand in the way. He wanted on another point to make an appeal to the Government. As the time-table stood in the White Paper it appeared that Clauses 10, 11, and 12, and the new clauses, were to be disposed of in half a day, and as adumbrated in the Resolution before the House that half a day would be next Saturday, so that all these would have to be disposed of in a short time. The Prime Minister had indicated his willingness to meet an appeal with regard to the new clauses, but he would like to put in a word as to the extreme importance of there being some appreciable time for discussing Clause 10. This was the only clause which dealt with financial supervision other than those which dealt with the contracting-out schools. A considerable number of persons, although interested in the religious controversy, were yet sufficiently mundane to realise that a great deal depended upon the financial provision made for local authority schools. The provisions of the Bill which he cordially supported, would involve greater expenditure upon local authorities, and they had no provisions in the Bill, but were referred instead to financial provisions which his right hon. friend the First Lord of the Admiralty issued as long ago as last spring. It was only on Clause 10 that the financial question could be raised and they attached supreme importance to obtaining certain modifications and were anxious when this clause came up for discussion to put before the House and the Government as practical administrators of the Act their case for the modification they asked and the financial provisions as a whole. He therefore, appealed to the President of the Board of Education to secure that in the enlarged time-table there was at least half one Parliamentary day given to Clauses 10, 11 and 12. Clauses 11 and 12 were comparatively unimportant, but Clause 10 was a clause of great importance.

MR. JESSE COLLINGS (Birmingham, Bordesley)

The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has treated this question as if an extra half a day one way or the other will settle the question. But the matter is far too serious for anything of that sort, and therefore, although an extra half day will give room for half a day's extra speaking, we are in this strange position—a position such as in thirty years Parliamentary experience I have never known. It is a constitutional question which we are discussing. For 700 years this House has gone on. Its first object often has not been legislation, but to require for the Commons of this country full, free, and unfettered discussion. There has always been free, full, and unfettered discussion up to the last three years or so. So jealous has Parliament been of this privilege that it has refused to deal with the abuse of it, refused to deal with limitations or anything that has even a chance of limiting our discussions. It has been always held that it is better to put up with the abuses than to do anything that would impair the right of discussion itself. For the past three years that has been altered. Instead of legislating by discussion we have legislated by the machinery of closure and the guillotine. It is said that that existed before three years ago, but before three years ago the closure and guillotine were rare incidents in our discussions, used as a last resource to put an end to obstruction and undue opposition. Now it has become the rule. Why do not the Government meet Parliament with a programme, and say: "We in the Cabinet have decided what is to be passed, and we will take each of the measures without any discussion at all, and pass them into law, so far as this House is concerned, by the closure." That would be legislation by the Cabinet. The result would be practically the same as this smothering of discussion. There will, however, be no time saved. The right hon. Gentleman has brought forward this measure after settling and arranging with certain parties outside, one of whom, the Archbishop, is non-representative of the people. But did the right hon. Gentleman consult hon. Members who sat in Opposition and in other parts of the House, who represent large constituencies whose interests are to be dealt with in the manner proposed by the Bill? I believe not. They are to be faced with the pre-concerted plan settled by arrangements with others outside. These arrangements are not completed, and from that point of view the Bill itself is introduced prematurely, and so we had this enormous question forced through its Second Reading with what I might call a burlesque of discussion—a proceeding which it was a farce to call a discussion. Now it is proposed to pass it through its Committee stage, and having regard to the number of points, clauses and questions which have to be settled, with practically no discussion at all. I do not value the two extra days that have been given in order that there might be a little more discussion. Judging by what is due to the country and to the House, and judging by the traditions of this House, I say that to talk about eight days for the Committee stage of this Bill is an insult to the Constitution and to the constituencies of the country, and instead of this Bill achieving the peace which we are told it will, it will bring war. We should have had time to thrash out this question thoroughly in Committee—not taking eight days, but such time as was necessary thoroughly to thrash it out—there might then have been some prospect of a settlement. But though we may be denied the opportunity of thrashing it out here no one can prevent the question being well discussed in the country, and that is what will be done. If the Government force this Bill through without debate here, then the discussion will be taken up in the constituencies and then it will be too late There is another important view which I would like to bring to the notice of my right hon. friend opposite and of the House. That which has distinguished this House of Commons and honourably distinguished its proceedings from the proceedings of every other legislative assembly in the world is that in this country there has always been continuity of legislation. What is passed by one Government is not upset by another, although that other Government may have been of different complexion. That continuity of legislation is due to the fact that hitherto every important measure that has been passed in this House has been thoroughly discussed to its extreme limits and was the deliberate outcome of prolonged discussion and argument, and once settled, it was settled for ever. That continuity has been destroyed by the action of the Government in forcing legislation through this House by means not of discussion but of machinery. It is a fact that you are destroying this great constitutional practice and this most beneficent result of full, free, and unfettered discussion. I am not going to discuss the rights or wrongs of the various demands of the different sections in the House, either of the Church, Roman Catholics, or Nonconformists. Their demands may be right or they may be wrong, but in any case they have a Tight to place them before the House and to discuss them to their fullest extent. I am not personally concerned in the claims of the various churches, but I will take this opportunity of saying that I and many others have good cause to be thankful for the action of the churches before 1870, without which many of us would have had no education at all. When we talk of these matters and of the work done for our fathers and forefathers, I would ask hon. Gentlemen representing the Labour Party where they would have been but for the voluntary schools, which opened their doors for the education of the poor? Why should you destroy those voluntary schools without letting them have a full chance of pleading their cause, and giving them full recognition of the debt of gratitude which is due to them as institutions which were the means of education to the poor at a time when there was no other provision for them? The Prime Minister has agreed to give other two days, but if you give other four, six, or any number of days, I for one shall not be satisfied with anything less than a full discussion of every grievance from whatever quarter it comes, in connection with this Bill. Those who call themselves democrats and claim to represent Labour, when they join in a vote which disposes of the liberties of the people as represented in this House, do not in reality represent the real democracy, This country is imbued with a love of full and free discussion, whether inside or outside of the House, and it will resent any attempt to interfere with it, especially in an assembly where free discussion has always been regarded as the greatest privilege and the greatest safeguard of the liberties of the people. My hon. friend the Member for Worcestershire who spoke just now advanced a plea. What was it? What was his reason for voting for this curtailment of free discussion? He said it was the only way to silence the minority. That was the keynote of his speech.


said that what he had contended was that the only way open to them was either to apply the closure or suspend the eleven o'clock rule and sit on. But many objected to sitting into late hours, though personally he was quite ready to sit up all night instead of having the closure.


I misunderstood the position of the hon. Gentleman. I thought his position was that the only way to deal with the matter was to silence the majority. In that it appears I was mistaken. But I want to add another reason in support of the claim that we ought to have a wider discussion. I am one of the founders of the old National Education League, which was established in the sixties. Our programme was for compulsory education, and what was called the secular school. The secularists have got a bad name since those days. The case with which we were dealing then was different from that which we are now considering. We held that the secular school was the only solution. But full discussion reveals other possible alternatives, and I must confess that when we stood on the secular platform in Birmingham we were absolutely defeated by the people who, rightly or wrongly, decided that they would have some form of religious teaching in the public elementary schools. So, in this instance, if you could continue to discuss matters long enough—and the end would justify any length of discussion— they would then find whether there was any alternative to this co-called secular school; they would then see public opinion coming nearer or going further away from the principle, for it is a principle, that in our schools the State should have nothing to do with religious teaching. But that discussion is denied to us here, and the question will have to be thrashed out in the constituencies. If this Bill becomes law through lack of discussion it will be the beginning of a theological strife of such bitterness and of such wide extent as to make the strife experienced in past years quite small in comparison. Bear in mind that there has never been any difficulty with the parents, and there never has been any difficulty with the children anywhere. The difficulty lies with the militant religious sections. You tender them this agreement and when this Bill becomes law they will make their churches and chapels and meeting-places arenas of an opposition so vigorous that it will out-do all that has gone before. I know that it is useless to appeal to the right hon. Gentleman, and therefore we must trust to getting a discussion in the only place we have left in the Parliamentary institution of this country. Discussion in this House is denied to us, and we must trust to getting it in another place. I for one, like many others around me and in the country, never thought that the day would come when we would have to say: "Thank God we have a House of Lords."

SIR PHILIP MAGNUS (London University)

said that most Members on that side of the House would agree with what had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down. He thought that those who were genuinely desirous that a settlement of this so-called difficulty should take place must feel that such a settlement was absolutely impossible unless sufficient time was given to Members of the House to discuss thoroughly and fully the new and somewhat complicated measure which had only recently been placed in their hands. There could be no doubt whatever that there was a consensus of opinion among all parties in that House that a settlement of this question was eminently desirable, and personally he had shown that he fell in with those who held this view, as he thought nearly all did, by the vote he gave last night. At the same time he felt that it would be impossible for him and others who felt with him, to vote for the Third Reading of this Bill unless certain alterations were made in some of its clauses and unless sufficient time was given to enable the Horse thoroughly and properly to discuss it. In some of the rather lachrymose speeches which had been delivered in the course of the debate that day they had heard a great deal about the strife and contention that had been going on for the last twelve years in connection with Religious teaching. The hon. Member opposite representing a Welsh constituency in the very eloquent speech which he delivered last night referred to the fact, or the alleged fact, that, in consequence of this strife and contention, no educational progress had been made during those twelve years. That statement was almost similar to one which fell from the Prime Minister when he was speaking on this subject. From his own experience he wanted emphatically to deny that statement. It was quite true that on the platforms and in the House of Commons there had been shown great differences of opinion, which had led people to think that there was strife going on all through the country on this religious question, but he must emphatically state that these differences had not been experienced in the schools, and the agitation was fortunately outside our educational institutions. Perhaps it was partly for that reason that the country had made during the last twelve years enormous progress in, he believed, every branch of education. That being the case, of course, this settlement did not appear to him to be so urgent as it might seem to other Members, and he should have very much have preferred it if the adequate discussion of the subject and the further consideration of the Bill could have been left over to the commencement of another session. He could not, for his own part, see the need for this great hurry and haste in the settlement of the question, and he believed that they would come to the discussion very much better prepared to make compromises and to arrive at a conclusion which would be generally acceptable if they had time carefully to think over what the Bill really meant, not only from the religious but from the educational standpoint. He believed that very few persons could have had time sufficiently to consider the Bill, or to know what its effect might be upon other schools, and he should have welcomed the opportunity which would have been open to them, if the Bill had stood over until the commencement of next session, for giving it thorough and careful consideration. He could quite understand the desire on the part of the Government to accelerate the passage of the Bill. They had been told over and over again that everybody was tired of the controversy. It was pointed out by his hon. friend the Member for Glasgow University that, although some people might be tired of the discussion, that was no reason why, when the matter had to be considered, they should arrive at a conclusion hastily. Further than that, it seemed to him very dangerous indeed to endeavour to settle an important question in that House not only when those who were most capable of giving an opinion on the subject were tired of the whole question at the fag-end of the session, but when they were nearly all worn out and he believed incapable of putting into its consideration that amount of intelligence which an important question of this kind really required. Not only was the Bill not to be carried over to the beginning of another session, for he understood that to be the decision, but the time to be given to the discussion of its various clauses was so limited that it was almost impossible to deal with them in the manner in which they ought to be dealt with. It was very desirable indeed that they should have an opportunity of hearing what the teachers of the different kinds of schools had to say as to the practicability of many of the clauses and of their bearing on the general arrangements of the schools. No opportunity of that kind was given. They had no opportunity, as many of them would like to have had, of discussing these questions with the various associations of teachers, which were constituted for the very purpose of considering questions of this character. On the contrary, they were called upon hastily and hurriedly to put down ill-digested Amendments which possibly ought not to be put down because they had not had time properly to consider what Amendments ought to be put down to a measure of this kind. He was sure that no one attached greater importance to a careful consideration of this kind than the President of the Board of Education, and he would appeal to him even at that late hour to confer with his colleagues as to the possibility of postponing the consideration of the measure until the beginning of next year. He believed that the Government would lose nothing by it. He was quite certain that education would gain by it. He believed that if such a postponement were possible, there would be more chance not only of a compromise but of a permanent settlement of this important question, which would prevent its being raised in any form for at least some twenty or thirty years to come.


I wish to explain in a very few words my reason for opposing the Motion of the Government. I feel the more bound to do since, whilst I duly recognise the concession of two days to be made by the Prime Minister, that concession does not affect or modify either of the two grounds upon which my opposition to the Motion is based. I understand that the Government have taken the course of moving this closure by compartments Resolution, on the morrow of the Second Reading of the Bill, in order that Parliament may be prorogued before Christmas instead of adjourning over Christmas. I recognise that that would be a matter of convenience to Members in whatever quarter of the House they sit, but we should purchase that convenience at too dear a price. It will involve the loss of two things which we shall live to deplore. The first thing that we shall lose, by hurrying this Bill through, is the chance of a lasting settlement based upon a mutual understanding of our respective positions. I am talking to the Members of this House. I am well aware that outside of this House there are many persons of the greatest eminence who are deservedly revered and who have come, or very nearly come to something approaching, though not reaching, an understanding. But that will prove of no avail to procure a lasting settlement unless the various sections in this House are also allowed to arrive at a mutual understanding of their respective positions. Anyone who has listened to the debate, whatever his personal view may be, must see that a different interpretation is placed in three or four quarters of the House on the approximate understanding which has been reached outside. Not a single Member has touched upon what we call contracting out without expressing regret at seeing it in the scheme of the Government Bill. It does not touch the religious question at all. It is a question of school efficiency. Everyone will admit that it goes back to the principle of conduct, and from the point of view of school efficiency ought not to take effect until every section, of the House has weighed in the balance whether or not we ought to incur that loss. As for what action we ought to take, it is not a question only for our Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen—and in this connection I may point out the irony of the situation in which we find ourselves. Only a few days ago, the House, by a great majority, expressed its wish to relieve our Roman Catholic fellow-citizens from certain disabilities which were largely sentimental in their character. Within three days of our expressing our goodwill towards our Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen we are going to relegate them to a position far worse than that from which we wished to relieve them. There are religious difficulties in connection with the Navy and the Army. You cannot always have a captain of a ship who is able to minister to all the spiritual needs of the whole ship's company, but what you are saying here is: "We are sorry that that is so, but that being so all the Roman Catholics are to go on board a cheaper class of ironclad, and in addition pay something towards its cost. We cannot decide in one week on the question of contracting-out, apart from its religious aspect, and thus we are compelled by the Government to reinsert contracting out." The financial burdens of the local authorities will be enormously increased and the taxpayer will have to find the money for a large Parliamentary grant. I hear from the Prime Minister that the Schedule is to be revised for the purpose of giving a larger grant. That will place one large burden on the taxpayer and at the same time you have to provide for another burden which will be placed upon the ratepayer, because where there are contracting-out schools parents may demand that an undenominational school shall be erected at the cost of the ratepayer. In view of the present financial situation we ought not to rush through a measure which is going to put a further burden on the ratepayers and taxpayers of the country. How perfectly futile these precautions become when a few lines in italics, including so many matters of great educational and religious importance, are rushed through undebated at the com- pletion of one day. Both these disabilities, namely, that we get a worse secular form of education under this Bill and put an unnecessary burden on the taxpayer and the ratepayer, arise from the fact that there has been no attempt at uniformity. It is because the Government have chosen to build their plans on a principle which is theoretically unfair that they are driven as the necessary corollary, both to contracting out and these extra financial burdens. How can we deal with these clauses under compartment Resolutions? How can we deal with the relation of the religious part of the Bill to the other parts of the Bill on this basis of theoretical unfairness? Any man who has a grievance can easily raise popular feeling; he can point to such and such a thing as unfair and appeal to an audience of his countrymen. Englishmen greatly believe in the principles of fairness, and every audience he appeals to will support him if he can show that the thing of which he complains is unfair. The result of rushing this Bill through will not be to get a lasting settlement. It will merely be to set up a sorry target for all those who are not in agreement with it to fire at. By insisting on proroguing Parliament before Christmas we shall lose the chance of settling this question. If we pass this Motion of the Government we shall lose the right of the House of Commons to the place it ought to enjoy in the counsels of the State. All we have to do then is to see that the Bill is carried. Our place in the counsels of the nation will be less than that of those many eminent persons previously consulted by the Cabinet on this matter. We recognise in these days, when the State is taking to itself many functions previously left to the general public, that power is thrown more and more on the Cabinet and Committees of the Cabinet. But if the Cabinet are to decide questions after consultations with people who are not Members of Parliament at all, then they ought to extend that consultation to those who, after all, are the elected representatives of the people. It is not so long ago that no such Motion as a closure Resolution formed part of our practice, and it was only very rarely that such a Motion was accepted. It has grown, however, to be the normal procedure of the present Government, but still we may say that, though it is the normal procedure, some exceptions should be made to it, and if any exceptions should be made surely it is in regard to a Bill that is utterly valueless unless it is an agreed Bill, agreed between all parties of the House.

MR. JAMES HOPE (Sheffield, Central)

did not think that the Prime Minister quite appreciated the nature of the complaint they made. It was not so much that the time allotted was insufficient, but that neither they nor those they represented or were associated with had breathing space to understand what the provisions of the Bill were or whether it provided a basis of settlement. Their contention was—and no extension of time allotted would remove it—that if they took a Bill like this and stuck to it de die in diem no good result could be obtained. The Act of 1902 was brought in in March after negotiations with all sorts of persons had been going on since the October previous. The Second Reading took place in May and the Committee in the following July, and thirty days were taken on that Bill before the closure was moved. Altogether seventy days were taken on that Bill, and his right hon. friend the Leader of the Opposition got through all the really contentious portions of the Bill without any other than the closure possible under the ordinary rules. He was speaking from memory. He had also tried to find out in the short time at his disposal what was the time taken in passing the Act of 1870, which had achieved a settlement for thirty years. The preparation for that Bill began in 1869. The memorandum was submitted on 21st October, 1869, to the Cabinet which discussed the lines on which the Bill should go. The Cabinet decided that a Bill on those lines should be printed on 24th November. It did not pass through the Cabinet until 4th February, 1870, and was introduced on 8th February. On its introduction there were only two opponents to it, yet five weeks were allowed to elapse before the Second Reading. Its Second Reading passed without a division, which clearly showed it to be an agreed Bill. A good three months elapsed before the Bill went to the Committee stage, and all parties had full opportunity of looking at its chief points. At that time the Liberal Government was all powerful. It had come in on a new franchise, was possessed of greater moral power than any Parliament of the last century. The Bill came on for Committee in June, and many drastic changes took place. The Committee stage lasted fifteen days and there were five days on Report. There were two days on the Third Reading, which was passed on 22nd July, 1870. When they considered that the Bill now before the House was just as important as the Act of 1870 and aroused passions probably far greater than those aroused in 1870, he submitted that it was perfectly impossible either to describe this Bill in any sense as an agreed Bill or to discuss the details in the time given so as to ensure a permanent and lasting settlement. After noting some of the problems involved in the first three clauses of the Bill, he said he did not profess to say that no settlement was possible, either on these or on other lines, which would meet the wishes of those who admittedly could not conform to the normal type of school. But if they had to engage in the discussion of these matters without previous deliberation, an agreement would not be possible, and the whole settlement proposed by the Bill would be defeated at the start. If the Government had devoted their attention to a Bill of this sort earlier in the year there might have been a better chance of an accommodation. But this time last year they announced their intention to bring in a measure that should be short, sharp, and drastic, and that intention was entirely fulfilled by the Bill they subsequently introduced. That Bill vitiated all educational progress down to the moment, less than ten days ago, when its withdrawal was announced. If it were the intention of the Government to arrive at a settlement, he implored them not to press this Motion, but to allow ample breathing space to all those parties whose dearest interests were involved, and to give them time to consider their position. If the Prime Minister went on, not only could there be no settlement, but a new wrong would be created far exceeding in bitterness and intensity any grievances which they could have felt under the provisions of the present law.

MR. HART-DAVIES (Hackney, N.)

said there seemed to be a universal feeling on the part of the House that rather more time than the Prime Minister had allowed ought to be given to this measure. His right hon. friend had so far admitted that complaint that he had extended the time for the Committee stage by a couple of days. That could hardly be regarded as quite satisfactory. This was an enormously important matter, and could hardly be discussed in a proper fashion in the time allotted. He had never been able to make out why Bills were not carried over to the following session. He felt that if this Bill went through its primary stages before Christmas it was a Bill which might be very well carried over to next session. Of course, the big difficulty was the Christmas holidays. They were entitled to a certain amount of holidays. For two years hon. Members had been sitting in the House all the year round, and they were not so much in touch with their constituencies as they ought to be. The Education Bill was a measure in regard to which hon. Members ought to go to their constituents and try to find out the views of Churchmen and Nonconformists alike. He thought it would be disastrous if Members had to tell their constituents that the Bill had been forced through at a rapid rate. He hoped the Government would give more time to the measure, and suggested that they could do so by carrying it forward to next session, as he understood they intended to do in the case of the Irish Land Bill.

LORD R. CECIL (Marylebone, E.)

congratulated the Government on the great skill with which the Prime Minister conducted his Resolution. The right hon. Gentleman made use of a familiar device by naming a time which was obviously and patently absurd, and then, with a great show of moderation and fairness, extending it. It was really absurd to compel the House to discuss the Bill in Committee, even in the period so extended. The Prime Minister's assertion that there was nothing new in the Bill was not borne out by the facts. There were at least three propositions in it which were entirely novel—universal compulsory Cowper-Temple teaching, the right of entry to all schools, and contracting-out on a large scale—which, though they had received some discussion, had never been fully discussed, and had never before been proposed by a responsible Government as a solution of the problem. The House, therefore, had to deal with a Bill which was really novel in many respects and was far-reaching in its consequences. Ministerial supporters said that it was practically an agreed measure; but he would remind them that 157 Members went into the lobby against it on the Motion for its Second Reading. That was a very much larger number than usually voted in this Parliament against the Government, and an enormous majority of those who so voted were actuated by the strongest possible feeling, compared with which ordinary political convictions were trifles light as air. It was absurd, ridiculous, and even untrue to say that this was almost an agreed Bill. What reason was there for saying that it must be got through this session? Why should not the Bill be brought forward next session, its First and Second Readings taken on one day as there was precedent for doing, and then its consideration in Committee calmly proceeded with? He asked hon. Members on the Ministerial side to consider carefully the nature of the precedent which they were setting up. Here was a Bill, novel, complicated, bitterly opposed on the strength of the most conscientious and profound convictions, and it was to be carried through the House within three weeks, at the outside, from the time of its First Reading. He would probably have no opportunity of sitting on the Treasury bench, and, therefore, would not have the gloomy satisfaction of treating hon. Gentlemen opposite as badly as they were now treating the present Opposition, but some of his friends might have that melancholy satisfaction. He could conceive a novel Budget imposing a fiscal revolution on the country, a Budget which would be open to great misconstruction in the country. What a valuable precedent there would be for that in this Bill. What was to prevent, such a Budget being passed through all its stages in three weeks? And in that case there would be no opportunity of revision by the other House, so that hon. Members opposite would be in an even worse case than was the present Opposition. Were they going by their votes to make such a thing possible?

MR. MALLET (Plymouth)

asked if the noble Lord really suggested that that was a course which his political friends were likely to pursue.


replied that he was not sufficiently in their confidence to know, but he would find it exceedingly difficult to condemn them if they took it. He saw no distinction in principle between the proceedings that afternoon and the hypothetical case which he had laid before the House. There was more than a chance, there was a practical certainty, that any ordinary Government Bill would be opposed, and that the Opposition would use all the forms of the House to defeat it; but was there any probability of that in this case? Opposition to the measure came from all quarters of the House. It was essential that a proposition of this kind should be carried out without anything approaching obstruction, as the feelings of all the various sections of the Opposition had to be considered, and the old wholesome rule that used to exist in the House when there was a genuine, corporate self-respect would for a time be restored. Therefore, so far as what was called obstruction was concerned there was not the slightest need for the guillotine. The real reason was that the Government were afraid that if the measure was properly considered and discussed it would be rejected. What possible opportunity had this democratic Parliament given to the people of the country to consider the provisions of the Bill? Not a thousandth part of them realised what they were. By the time the Bill was through the House they would begin for the first time to understand what it was proposed to enact. To hope that procedure of that kind would lead to conciliation was simply insanity. He remembered that Newman reproached Dr. Pusey for discharging an olive branch as if from a catapult. The Government were discharging their olive branch from a 4.7 cannon. It was grotesque to imagine that anyone would accept an olive branch so tendered. So far from closing the controversy, it would merely open up a new and far more bitter chapter in the future.


agreed with the main argument of the hon. Member for Sevenoaks that the Government should do everything possible to convince those with whom it was entering; into alliance and give them as much time as was necessary to break down opposition. He hoped to rope in a good many of those Members who, as the noble Lord reminded the House, had voted against the Second Reading last night. The argument with regard to the length of time given to the discussion of this controversy in 1870 and 1902 did not impress him. This Bill was put forward as practically agreed upon by both sides—[Cries of "No"]— and should be regarded as one on which much opposition would not arise. Therefore much time would not be needed for the ratification of the agreement that had been come to. If the proposal to leave this matter over to next session were conceded by the Government, he would be very glad to agree to it. He would vote for the Amendment put forward by the hon. Member for Sevenoaks in order to express his intense desire that both parties should acquiesce in this general agreement. He maintained further that these repeated guillotine Motions were having the effect of destroying the virtue of Parliament. They were impairing the authority and sanction of its decisions and public respect for its enactments. He did not believe that it was the only way, as they were continually told, of getting measures through the House of Commons. This method was increasing the power of the Executive. That was a very dangerous power. If one of the new Members of the House could go back twenty years he would realise the liberties he had lost, what an unimportant item the private Member had become, and how much less powerful and influential were his remaining duties and privileges in the House than they were in those days. The Executive was one thing and the House of Commons was another, and he believed the House of Commons would one day, and he hoped it would not be long, reassert itself and determine to put an end for ever to this machine-like method of getting though great measures presented by the Government.

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

The observations of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down fell naturally and appropriately into two parts. He dealt with the special circumstances under which this Bill is brought forward. He was not unmindful of the general question that lies behind it—namely, the method in which this House has in the past conducted and is in the future to conduct its deliberations. Perhaps the House will permit me to say something on both those aspects of the question, partly in reply to the hon. Gentleman, and partly because I have a statement to make with regard to the more general question on my own behalf, and on behalf of those who sit on this Bench, which has a bearing upon our future proceedings. I begin with the particular aspect of this problem that relates to this Bill. The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has repeated, not as a mere unusual statement, but with emphasis and with obvious conviction, that this is an agreed Bill.


I said that it was intended to be an agreed Bill, that it was put forward as an agreed Bill.


The hon. Member said that it was put forward as an agreed Bill. I will do the Government justice; I do not think that they have ever said the Bill is an agreed Bill. They could not have said that with the smallest regard to the plain and obvious verities of the situation. It is a Bill on which all of us hope, and some of us think, that you may ultimately get agreement, but it is not an agreed Bill, nor has it any of the characteristics which justify that epithet. It is certainly not an agreed Bill with any political party. It is certainly not an agreed Bill, as I understand it, with the great bulk of any religious community. It certainly is not even an agreed Bill unless I am greatly mistaken, with the Archbishop of Canterbury and those Members of the episcopal bench who have been most closely associated with him in these negotiations. It the hon. Gentleman will read the letter of the Bishop of London in this morning's paper, which was referred to by my hon. friend the Member for Sevenoaks when he proposed on behalf of the Opposition his Amendment, he will see how very far from the truth, even with regard to those who are working most closely with the Archbishop, is the statement that in their view it is an agreed Bill. As for the Archbishop himself, we know authentically nothing subsequent to the last letter which appeared in the truncated correspondence which is all that we have as passing between him and the Government; and unless rumours are quite beside the mark—and very likely they are—even now the Archbishop is far from thinking that this is a Bill on which he and the Government are agreed. Perhaps, if I am wrong in that statement, the Minister for Education, who is alleged by his followers, though not by me, to have presented this Bill as an agreed Bill, will put me right when he rises to reply. This is a Bill which all of us hope, and some of us think, may be made the basis of agreement, but it is in no sense an agreed Bill, nor are the canons with regard to Parliamentary time, properly applicable to an agreed Bill, appropriate on this occasion. It is quite true, and it has constantly happened in the memory of old Parliamentary hands, that an agreement has been come to between the two sides of the House with regard to some measure, and the whole thing has been hurried through with extraordinary speed and with less than the amount of discussion which everybody would regard as proper, simply because it was an agreed Bill and everybody wanted to get to the end of it. That was a perfectly familiar Parliamentary proceeding. That is not the procedure appropriate to this occasion, nor the procedure the Government ought to pursue, if they want this Bill, when it gets to the Third Reading, to be a really agreed basis of a permanent compromise. The Government themselves have almost admitted that. The Prime Minister has made a concession, for which, as it is a concession, I am grateful of course, in the way of adding two days to the time to be given to the compartments. It is a concession, but the Government will not think me ungracious if I say that it seems to me to be utterly inadequate to the real necessities of the situation, not merely the necessities of the discussion within the walls of this House, but the necessities of the discussion within the walls of this House in their relation to the public opinion of the country. After all I never desired or asked that this House should reflect from day to day the changing moods of the constituencies outside. I quite think that this House should have an opinion of its own, reflecting no doubt, so far as it can, the ultimate views of the people, but based upon that knowledge which we have and which the community outside cannot have in the same measure or degree, and the mere fact that there may be a feeling against a measure in the country is not an adequate reason for our entirely changing our policy on any particular question. But, while granting that as a fundamental axiom of Parliamentary government, have not I got every man who is listening to me in agreement with me when I say that we cannot have adequate discussion of a complicated measure touching closely interests, prejudices if you will, convictions of every class in every part of the community, unless we know how our proposals and the proposals of the Government strike those who are most nearly and immediately affected? Does anybody doubt that? If they do not doubt that proposition, may I ask whether anybody can put his hand on his heart and say that in his opinion, the Nonconformist opinion, the Church opinion, the educational layman's opinion in all parts of the country, is so seised of the details of this measure and is so adequately informed as to the effect that it will have in his particular district and on his particular interests, that we can come to the discussion of the Government proposals adequately equipped to deal with the complex problems which are brought before us? Several Gentlemen on the other side have expressed the same views as I do. My hon. friend near me speaking for the Opposition bench and my two right hon. friends the Member for Dover and the Member for Worcestershire, who have also spoken, while holding different views as to the possibility of making this Bill into the desired compromise, are absolutely at one in their view that the only shadow or glimmer of hope which exists for obtaining that most desirable end is to give not merely this House, but the country, on which this House ultimately depends, some opportunity of forming a considered judgment on the Government proposals. There is one more point, before leaving that branch of the subject which I think has not been touched upon. I do not think it is possible for any Government or any draftsmen to cook up with sufficient rapidity a really watertight Bill in the time which has been given to this Government to do it. Remember the Parliamentary strain under which we have been living these last two years. I have some knowledge of the inside working of Governmental business. I know the pressure upon all Ministers of the Crown, not merely the Prime Minister, who is, I understand, largely responsible for this work. The body of draftsmen at the command of the Government have been engaged in I do not know how many measures, all complicated, and all difficult to prepare in a hurry. I do not believe it is possible for the Government to have produced in this measure their own scheme in the best shape in which it ought to be presented to the House, and when we come to examine it, in order to carry out the very scheme of the Government, we shall not be able to avoid important Amendments. That is an additional reason for giving the House of Commons time to do that which I am sure the Government have not had time to do.

Now I have something to say to the House on a point touched upon by the last speaker—namely, the relationship which closure by compartment Resolutions have had in the past, are now having, and will have in the future upon the practice of this legislative body. I suppose during the last three years I have made speeches upon every one of the guillotine Resolutions which the present Government have brought forward, and in the course of those speeches I have, no doubt, wearied the House with some descriptions of the history of these Motions. But, as this is very likely the last speech which I shall ever make upon this subject, may I recapitulate that history? The history of closure by compartments goes back twenty-one years. The first closure by compartment Resolution was made on the Criminal Law (Ireland) Amendment Bill—generally called the Crimes Act—of which I was in charge. That Bill was fought in a manner to which this present Parliament is an absolute stranger. We fought night after night, sitting continuously from four in the afternoon till four the next morning. We were sixteen days in Committee before the Government was driven, rightly or wrongly, to resort to the expedient which we now so light-heartedly and so frequently adopt. That Crimes Act was, in the opinion of the Government, an absolute and pressing necessity from the point of view of public safety. We endured sixteen days of discussion— not ending at 11 o'clock, but going on until mere physical exhaustion reduced us all to silence—before resorting to closure by compartment. We had to follow the example in regard to the appointment of the Parnell Special Commission, which created great controversy. The next case of closure by compartment was the Home Rule Bill of 1893. The Government of 1893 allowed the Opposition to discuss that Bill for twenty-eight days before they thought the position had become intolerable, from their point of view. There were these three cases between 1887 and 1893. The same Government brought forward in 1894 the Evicted Tenants (Ireland) Bill, which they regarded as a matter dealing with the immediate safety of law and order in Ireland. Up to the general election of 1895 there were only four cases of closure by compartment, two of them under the Unionist Government, two of them under the Radical Government. Then came the long term of office of the Unionist Party, beginning in 1895 and 1896, and ending in the last weeks of 1905. In those ten years closure by compartment was applied only three times. First there was the Education Act of 1902. That measure lasted forty-five days altogether, and thirty-eight days were spent in Committee before the closure was applied. All great controversial points in that Bill were discussed over and over again in Committee before the closure by compartment was applied. The other two occasions were the Licensing Bill of 1904 and the Aliens Bill of 1905. On the slender basis of these three cases in ten years we have been denounced in this House and in the country as a Government and a party grossly neglectful of the liberties of Parliament, anxious on all occasions to "gag" legitimate debate, and as desirous of accumulating in our own administrative hands all the powers which ought to have been shared with this deliberate Assembly. Then, on the strength of that charge, in language which it is not worth while reviving, although it was admirable from the point of view of eloquence by hon. Gentlemen now sitting on the Treasury benches, the party opposite, vowed to Parliamentary liberties, the party who, by their criticisms, committed themselves to the view that resorting to closure by compartment three times in ten years was "gross neglect of the liberties of Parliament," cams into power with an absolutely overwhelming majority. How have they given evidence to the country of their practical belief in these theoretical professions? Since they met in the plenitude of their power, and all the early enthusiasms of a young Parliament, with their large majority at their back, they have adopted closure by compartment no less than eleven times. This is the eleventh occasion within three years on which the leader of the House has asked the House to divest itself of all its traditional liberties, and that before any proof had been given that those liberties were going to be abused. If hon. Gentleman desire me to give these eleven cases I will tell them. [Cries of "No," "Agreed," and an HON. MEMBER: You have said you want time.] The eleven occasions are — The Education Bill, the Plural Voting Bill, the Territorial Forces Bill, the Evicted Tenants Bill, the Small Landowners Bill, the Small Holdings Bill, the Small Landowners (No. 2) Bill, the Land Values Bill, the Old-Age Pensions Bill, the Licensing Bill, and now this Education Bill. I have given the House this brief history because I want them to understand what is absolutely undeniable on the face of the facts, that what was an occasional expedient of the previous Administrations has now become an habitual method of conducting Parliamentary proceedings. I have, I believe, on every one of the preceding ten occasions on which this closure by compartment has been moved, explained that this constant practice was undermining and, indeed, destroying all our ancient rights and liberties. Unfortunately a minority small as we are are absolutely helpless, and all that we can do is to make an appeal as to what is the common interests of all sides. I have not made the appeal in any unreasonable form. I have not asked hon. Members to do what, of course, a party never will do, which is to go on each occasion into the lobby in great bodies against the Government which they are supporting. There may be occasional sporadic desertions by this or that hon. Gentleman, but even he would not vote against the Government if he thought it would lead to their defeat. And, therefore, I do not ask, and I have never asked anything so unreasonable as that hon. Gentlemen opposite should show their objection to a policy by clearing out the Government which they support. But there are perfectly well-known methods by which a party can clearly indicate to those whom it loyally follows that this or that course is one which they cannot long tolerate. It is not done openly by any public exhibition of disloyalty; it is done by that quiet impression of a view widely held (I do not care what the normal majority of that Government may be), and of which no Government can be either ignorant or neglectful. Everybody knows that these appeals have fallen upon deaf ears. I have consulted with my friends on this bench, and, speaking for them, I have to say that their deliberate decision is that these appeals can no longer be made. The time has come when it is really a farce for anybody on this bench to get up and in any reasoned speech to tell the House what is the inevitable goal towards which it is proceeding. My colleagues and I on this bench think that, after this experience, we have now, however reluctantly and however sorrowfully, to regard this closure by compartments as part of the settled practical procedure of the House. We have to look at facts as we find them, and I do not propose to make any further protest on this point. I shall henceforth regard closure by compartments as a thing to be voted against, like the suspension of the eleven o'clock rule, and shall simply walk into the lobby against them, but a reasoned argument on an appeal I shall no longer make from these benches. I shall regard it as a settled practice of this Government, and I shall, of course, preserve the rights of the successors of this Government, so far as I can speak for them, if they ever have successors; but in so far as we on these benches can lay down a statement in regard to the future of the party to which we belong, I say after three years bitter experience that this closuring is the settled policy of the House of Commons; we will no longer pretend that guillotining is an exceptional measure, and whenever by the turn of fortune anybody who sits on this bench or behind me shall ultimately sit on that bench, if they find themselves in a position which makes it more convenient to use the weapon against which we have protested, but, alas! protested in vain, then, of course—and I say so quite openly, and who is going to say that I am wrong?—


The right hon. Gentleman himself has been arguing all along that it is wrong.


I beg the hon. Gentleman's pardon. I have not. If the hon. Gentleman would do me the honour to listen to an argument not very obscure he would see that what I have said is that, so long as this was not plainly a settled practice of the House, it was right and proper that I should do my best to make the House feel that if they allowed it to become a settled practice their ancient liberties were gone. When it is a settled practice of the House, let me tell the hon. Gentleman, it must not be a settled practice for one side of the House and not for the other. If that be admitted, I suppose we must regard this afternoon's debate as, if not a turning point, at all events a moment in our Parliamentary history at which a process which perhaps has gradually been coming on is finally settled and admitted. None of us can look such an event in the face without a feeling of deep regret. Old things have passed away. I do not now ask who is to blame for it. Whoever is to blame for it, if there is blame anywhere, it is with those who proposed the eleven closures in three years, and not with those who proposed it three times in ten years. All of us who have been in the House of Commons for the whole of our working lives must feel that when the events which have been moving slowly and at the last rapidly in this direction have finally reached a crisis in which the most strenuous advocate of Parliamentary liberties feels that the force of circumstances is too strong, that the new order has begun, and the old order has departed—we cannot come to such a moment without feelings of the profoundest regret and the deepest emotion. I do not deny that I am weary of making these perpetual protestations, or that I individually regard the future relief from the task as so far a personal alleviation of the duties of the position I hold, but as a Member of Parliament, as one of this Assembly who, in Opposition and in the Government, has regarded the debates between the two sides as the most important, the most interesting as well as the most exacting part of a not easy life—as a Member of the House of Commons with these long memories behind me, I confess that I have made this speech with feelings of profoundest regret and with a feeling of the deepest disquietude for the future.


The House must be well aware that nothing would be more easy than to elaborate a tu quoque argument on this subject. I have no intention of quoting the right hon. Gentleman against himself, but the right hon. Gentleman himself, when he was responsible for the business of the House, resorted to the closure as a method of conducting business.


Three times in ten years.

MR. CLAUDE HAY (Shoreditch, Hoxton)

After twenty-six days in Committee.


I can only remark that if the application of the closure is an invasion of the rights and liberties of the House the right hon. Gentleman has himself been guilty of that invasion, and it, therefore, becomes a matter of arithmetical calculation as to which is the more guilty party. [An hon. Member on the OPPOSITION benches: Not a very difficult calculation.] I cannot imagine what use there is, throughout the whole of a Parliamentary afternoon, in throwing to and fro such accusations. Everyone admits that if opposition is organised against any great Bill in the House, it is almost impossible to get it through without an allocation of time at some stage or another of the proceedings. A small opposition of even twenty men can keep the whole business of Parliament delayed. But it is quite unnecessary for me to go into discussion on that subject now. I do not believe that this is a turning point in the history of the closure. Everybody knows that if the right hon. Gentleman returned to office he would return to closure; and I doubt whether any successors of the present Government would be able to get business through the House without some artificial allocation of time. I hope after the discussion we have had this afternoon that the House will be able to come to a conclusion on the Amendment. My right hon. friend beside me has suggested a concession to extend the time for consideration of the Bill in Committee by two days. I hope, Sir, the House will now come to a decision on the Amendment and allow us to carry out in accordance with Parliamentary usage the form which the Prime Minister has intimated that we are prepared to accept.

MR. CLEMENT EDWARDS (Denbigh District)

said he rose to support the Amendment on several grounds connected with the Bill. They had heard a good deal about negotiations, but, as he said a few days ago, there would not probably be a single Liberal Member who would have put these proposals before his constituency at the last election. At the last election the five or six millions of working-class parents of the children who went to elementary schools had an opportunity of making a pronouncement as to what they required done with regard to the education settlement. Something perfectly new and absolutely irreconcilable with what was then proposed was now submitted in the form of a compromise, and there had not been a single person communicated with who was the father of a child who would be affected by this legislation. The Government beyond question, when there was any special reference to questions affecting the Labour party usually communicated with that party, but: on this question which affected the working classes of the country, for which that party preeminently stood, they had not called into negotiation a single representative. He said that for the Government to attempt to rush through these proposals, having an absolutely vital effect upon the future child life of the working classes of the country, without those working classes, either through their representatives or directly, having a real opportunity of examining into, or considering, or ascertaining precisely what would be the effect of those proposals, was an attempt to ignore the democratic principle upon which the Government professed to be elected. But there was another consideration. Unfortunately in connection with this proposal there had been such an unseemly scramble, not only on the part of members of the Government, but on the part of the Liberal Press, to get rid of the question that the criticisms which were really damaging to the character of the measure were not being fully put before the electors. Further than that, the measure came at a particularly unfortunate time. This was an attempt to rush perfectly new proposals—absolutely and perfectly new proposals—[Cries of "No."] Hon. Members might say "No," but he said they were absolutely new proposals, and they came at a time not only when the Press was desirous of getting the question out of the way and were rendering magnificently loyal service to the Government in their attempt to secure that, but when unfortunately the public were not allowed to come into the Strangers Gallery and see what was being done. He therefore said, and he said it advisedly, that at this moment it was unfair to the great working-class population of the country, and to the great bulk of those people who had put the Government in power, that these proposals should be rushed, and he begged the Government for the sake of the future of Liberalism, of the people's schools, and of a real and permanent settlement, that an opportunity might be given for delay, to take the people of the country into their confidence, and to let Members of the House have an opportunity over the Christmas vacation of consulting their constituents, so that they might know exactly what was required. If that was not done, he should to support the Amendment against the attempt of the Government to rush the Bill.


thought the Minister for Education entirely missed the point of his right hon. friend's argument. The right hon. Gentleman implied and admitted that there were undoubtedly occasions, there must be occasions, owing to the perfection to which obstruction had been brought on both sides of the House, on which the closure was necessary and justified; but it was a very different thing to apply the closure three times in ten years, as the late Government did after prolonged discussion in Committee, after every one of the main principles of the Bills had been discussed ad nauseam, and to propose to closure eleven Bills in two and a half years, and practically not to leave a single Bill without the application of the closure before any opportunity for obstruction, had it been intended, had occurred. He asked the House to cast its mind back to the Army Bill of last year. How could the Government have expected that there would be any organised obstruction to that Bill? It was a measure brought in by the Government to perfect our auxiliary forces, and although some Members on that side did not see eye to eye with the Government in the proposals they had made, yet the criticism was quite friendly and no organised opposition could have been anticipated and effected. And yet what did the Government do before they had opened their mouths to say one word about the Army Bill? A closure Motion was put down, and several of the most important parts of the provisions regard- ing our land forces were cut off from discussion. In this case similarly there were a great number of Members who disagreed with many provisions of the Bill, but he did not think there were a great number or indeed any, who did not wish for a compromise on this burning question, if that compromise could be obtained on fair terms. He was sure that the Catholic community, who were a very strong and numerous body in his constituency, were perfectly willing to remain in the national system, they heartily desired to remain in it, if the Government would allow them, but if they were cast out adequate money should be given to them. There would be no opposition from below the gangway, nor upon his part, as representing a large number of Catholics, if the Government would give them full time to discuss the question of single-school areas and the legitimate grievance of the Nonconformists when they only had a Church school in their area. But let the House consider—the right hon. Member for Sheffield had expatiated on it before —the ridiculously small amount of time given to discuss these important proposals. One day was to be given to the extinction of thousands of elementary schools all over the country. On the same day they had to decide what should be the State religion in those schools and the endowment of that State religion. Surely, however anxious they were to get this matter out of the way, they could not, with any sense of responsibility to those, who sent them there, go and dispose of these things which vitally affected the interests of the country, in the short space of a Parliamentary day. Then, taking Clause 2, they were to have a day and a half to consider questions of vital importance. The whole question of the right of entry, which had been fought about for years, was to be discussed in, a day and a half. They would have to discuss, how many mornings a week and what time in the mornings were to be taken up, and whether the teacher was to be the religious teacher or not. Surely these things ought to be given a great deal of discussion as they affected an enormous body of teachers. Then they were to discuss the most important question of the grounds on which the local education authority might refuse to give facilities at all. He said without fear of contradiction that none of the most important provisions would be discussed. It was proposed to take on the last day but one, subsection (5) of Clause 10. If they put aside for a moment the religious question, this was by far and away the most important clause that had been discussed in the present Parliament. It solemnly asked the House to put the Minister for Education above the law, and if it were passed the right hon. Gentleman would be able to do anything he liked. He was placed by it in a superior position to His Majesty, because, although the King was above the law, he was, through his Ministers, responsible to the law; but by this subsection the House was going to say that the Minister for Education could do anything he liked and not be called to account by anyone. It might be said that the Minister for Education would observe the law, but in reply to that suggestion he would only say that his predecessors in office had not. It was the Secretary to the Admiralty who had aided and abetted the school authorities in the West Riding to abolish the voluntary schools, which they did until the voluntary schools managers appealed to Mr. Justice Channell, who decided that the law must be obeyed, and that the Courts of Justice were the proper tribunals to enforce it. If the House were not to be able to discuss whether a

Government Department should be placed above the law, then their discussion had become a perfect farce. On behalf of his constituents, he emphatically protested against only eight working days in Committee and two on Report being given to a measure which, in his opinion, was more important than any that had been discussed by this Parliament. In the two days on Report they had to put right all the mistakes in the Bill, and only one day was given to the Third Reading. He emphatically protested against the action of the Government.

MR. REES (Montgomery Boroughs)

said the hon. Member for Denbigh Boroughs was alone among the Members for Wales in the line which he had taken. There was no Member for Wales who did not know that the right of entry was odious to his constituents, and it was with a full sense of responsibility that they had decided to support the Bill. He hoped therefore that the Government would give as much time as they could to the discussion of the right of entry clause which must be fully considered if it was to meet with acceptance. He believed the Catholics had a strong claim and hoped that time would be given for consideration of the contracting out clauses. If the Government would give more time for the consideration of the Schedules and would increase the grant, they would improve the chance of effecting the compromise which he was anxious to see carried out.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 194; Noes, 71. (Div. List No. 418.)

Acland, Francis Dyke Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Bell, Richard
Adkins, W. Ryland D. Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Bellairs, Carlyon
Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch) Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Benn, W. (T'w'r Hamlets, S. Geo)
Allen, Charles P. (Stroud) Barnard, E. B. Berridge, T. H. D.
Armstrong, W. C. Heaton Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.) Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romf'rd
Ashton, Thomas Gair Beale, W. P. Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine
Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry Beauchamp, E. Black, Arthur W.
Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E) Beaumont, Hon. Hubert Branch, James
Brigg, John Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)
Bright, J. A. Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe) Radford, G. H.
Brooke, Stopford Higham, John Sharp Rainy, A. Rolland
Brunner, J. F. L. (Lanes, Leigh) Hobart, Sir Robert Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro')
Bryce, J. Annan Hodge, John Rees, J. D.
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Horniman, Emslie John Richards, T. F.(Wolverh'mpt'n
Buckmaster, Stanley O. Hyde, Clarendon Ridsdale, E. A.
Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles Idris, T. H. W. Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Cameron, Robert Illingworth, Percy H. Robertson, Sir G Scott (Bradf'rd
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Jackson, R. S. Robson, Sir William Snowdon
Chance, Frederick William Jacoby, Sir James Alfred Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Johnson, W. (Nuneaton) Rose, Charles Day
Clough, William Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea) Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)
Cooper, G. J. Kekewich, Sir George Samuel, Rt. Hn. H. L. (Cleveland)
Corbett, C. H (Sussex, E. Grinst'd Kincaid-Smith, Captain Schwann, Sir C E. (Manchester)
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Laidlaw, Robert Scott, A. H. (Ashton under Lyne
Cotton, Sir H. J. S. Lamont, Norman Sears, J. E.
Cowan, W. H. Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington) Seaverns, J. H.
Cox, Harold Lewis, John Herbert Shaw, Rt. Hn. T. (Hawick B.)
Crooks, William Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David Sherwell, Arthur James
Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan) Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Shipman, Dr. John G.
Davies, Timothy (Fulham) Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs) Silcock, Thomas Ball
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S) Mackarness, Frederic C. Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John
Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Maclean, Donald Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie
Duckworth, Sir James M'Callum, John M. Spicer, Sir Albert
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) M'Crae, Sir George Stanger, H. Y.
Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley) M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Stewart, Halley (Greenock)
Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor) M'Laren, Rt Hn. Sir C. B. (Leices.) Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)
Essex, R. W. M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.) Strachey, Sir Edward
Everett, R. Lacey M'Micking, Major G. Straus, B. S. (Mile End)
Faber, G. H. (Boston) Maddison, Frederick Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)
Fenwick, Charles Mallet, Charles E. Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E
Ferguson, R. C. Munro Marnham, F. J. Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton
Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry) Toulmin, George
Findlay, Alexander Massie, J. Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Fuller, John Michael F. Menzies, Walter Ure, Alexander
Gibb, James (Harrow) Micklem, Nathaniel Verney, F. W.
Gladstone, Rt. Hn Herbert John Molteno, Percy Alport Vivian, Henry
Glen-Coats, Sir T. (Renfrew, W.) Montgomery, H. G. Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)
Glendinning, R. G. Morrell, Philip Walton, Joseph
Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford Morse, L. L. Wason, Rt. Hn. E (Clackmannan
Gooch, George Peabody (Bath) Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Grant, Corrie Murray, Capt. Hn A. C. (Kincard) Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Greenwood, Hamar (York) Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.) White, J. Dundas (Dumbart'nsh.
Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill Myer, Horatio White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)
Gulland, John W. Napier, T. B. Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)
Gurdon, Rt Hn. Sir W. Brampton Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw) Whittaker, Rt Hn. Sir Thomas P.
Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Nicholls, George Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen
Harcourt, Robert V.(Montrose) Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)
Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil Norman, Sir Henry Wills, Arthur Walters
Hardy, George A. (Suffolk) Nussey, Thomas Willans Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)
Harmsworth, R L.(Caithn'ss-sh Nuttall, Harry Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) O'Grady, J. Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Haworth, Arthur A. Parker, James (Halifax)
Hazel, Dr. A. E. Paul, Herbert TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.
Hedges, A. Paget Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)
Helme, Norval Watson Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)
Arkwright, John Stanhope Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Du Cros, Arthur Philip
Ashley, W. W. Castlereagh, Viscount Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)
Balcarres, Lord Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Faber, George Denison (York)
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (City Lond) Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey- Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.) Fletcher, J. S.
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Gordon, J.
Bowles, G. Stewart Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (Birmingh'm) Gretton, John
Bull, Sir William James Craik, Sir Henry Guinness, Hn. R. (Haggerston)
Butcher, Samuel Henry Cross, Alexander Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford
Byles, William Pollard Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon Harrison-Broadley, H. B.
Carlile, E. Hildred Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Hay, Hon. Claude George
Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Nicholson, Wm. G.(Petersfield) Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk)
Houston, Robert Paterson Paulton, James Mellor Starkey, John R.
Hunt, Rowland Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington) Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Joynson-Hicks, William Percy, Earl Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.
Kerry, Earl of Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr
Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham) Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel Thornton, Percy M.
Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A. R. Remnant, James Farquharson Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Lonsdale, John Brownlee Renton, Leslie Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Lowe, Sir Francis William Ronaldshay, Earl of Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh Salter, Arthur Clavell Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Macpherson, J. T. Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles
M'Arthur, Charles Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Viscount Valentia and Mr. Forster.
Magnus. Sir Philip Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.
Mildmay, Francis Bingham Stanier, Beville

Question put, "That the word 'eight' be there inserted," put, and agreed to.

Amendment proposed— In line 6, to leave out the word 'six,' and insert the word 'eight.'"—(Mr. Runciman.)

Question, "That the word 'six' stand part of the Question"—put and negatived.

Question proposed, "That the word 'eight' be there inserted."


asked the Government whether they would not agree to insert the word "ten" in place of "eight." He did not wish to take up the time of the House because he knew that the concession made by the Government was better than nothing, but as they had now agreed to make a concession, he appealed to them to carry it a little further and make it ten instead of eight days. In event of the Government accepting the Amendment he had drawn up a time-table which was much the same as that drawn up by the right hon. Gentleman, so that there would be no need to waste time in drawing up a new one. He begged to move.

Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment— To leave out the word 'eight,' and to insert the word 'ten.'"—(Sir F. Banbury.)

Question proposed, "That the word 'eight' stand part of the proposed Amendment."


The hon. Baronet has been so moderate and persuasive that I certainly would have accepted his Amendment if I could have done so, but I cannot. I have made a considerable concession, and have with some difficulty readjusted the time-table so as to meet the allocation of eight days for Committee. I may point out that it is absolutely necessary that we should get our time-table before five o'clock, otherwise the alteration to eight instead of six days will be of no value.


said he had not opposed the Amendment to leave out the word "six," but he would be compelled to vote against the insertion of the word "eight" because he had an Amendment on the Paper to insert the word "twelve."

Amendment to proposed Amendment negatived.

New Table substituted.

Main Question, as amended, again proposed.


pointed out that the House would be interested to know what the new table was. He thought that at least they should be told how the time was to be allocated before they were asked to decide the question.


said that a copy of it had been supplied to the right hon. Gentleman opposite, but he would read it. The first day they would take Clause 1 and the Committee's discussion on the financial Resolutions; the second, Clause 2; the third, Clause 2 up to 7.30 and the report of the financial Resolutions till 10.30; the fourth, Clause 3; the fifth, Clause 4 till 7.30 and Clause 5 till 10.30; the sixth, Clauses 6 and 7 till 7.30 and Clauses 8 and 9 till 10.30; the seventh, Clauses 10, 11, and 12 and the new clauses; and the eighth, the first schedule till 7.30 and the remaining schedules and any other matters till 10.30.

SIR WILLIAM BULL (Hammersmith)

Will it be taken de die in diem?




Has any attempt been made to divide Clause 2?


No, Sir, but we have the whole of one day for it and till 7.30 on the next.

MR. BOWLES (Lambeth, Norwood)

Will there be a Saturday sitting?


Yes, Sir, that is provided for.


Will there be a separate Saturday sitting for the Third Reading?


I do not wish to prejudge that unless the noble Lord wishes it.

Main Question, as amended, put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 192; Noes, 58. (Division List No. 419.)

Acland, Francis Dyke Cox, Harold Hodge, John
Adkins, W. Ryland D. Crooks, William Horniman, Emslie John
Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch) Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan) Hyde, Clarendon
Allen, Charles P. (Stroud) Davies, Timothy (Fulham) Idris, T. H. W.
Armstrong, W. C. Heaton Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S. Illingworth, Percy H.
Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Jackson, R. S.
Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.) Duckworth, Sir James Jacoby, Sir James Alfred
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley) Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea
Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor) Jones, William (Carnarvonshire
Barnard, E. B. Essex, R. W. Kekewich, Sir George
Barrie, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N. Everett, R. Lacey Kincaid-Smith, Captain
Beale, W. P. Faber, G. H. (Boston) Laldlaw, Robert
Beau champ, E. Fenwick, Charles Lamont, Norman
Beaumont, Hon. Hubert Ferguson, R. C. Munro Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington
Bell, Richard Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David
Bellairs, Carlyon Findlay, Alexander Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)
Benn, W.(T'w'r Hamlets, S. Geo. Fuller, John Michael F. Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs
Berridge, T. H. D. Gibb, James (Harrow) Mackarness, Frederic C
Bethell, Sir J. H (Eessx, Romf'rd Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John Maclean, Donald
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Glen-Coats, Sir T. (Renfrew, W.) M'Callum, John M.
Black, Arthur W. Glendinning, R. G. M'Crae, Sir George
Branch, James Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald
Brigg, John Gooch, George Peabody (Bath) M'Laren, Rt Hn. Sir C. B. (Leices.
Brooke, Stopford Grant, Corrie M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)
Brunner, J. F. L.(Lancs., Leigh) Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill M'Micking, Major G.
Bryce, J. Annan Gulland, John W. Mallet, Charles E.
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Gurdon, Rt Hn. Sir W. Brampton Marnham, F. J.
Buckmaster, Stanley O. Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)
Byles, William Pollard Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Massie, J.
Cameron, Robert Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil) Menzies, Walter
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Hardy, George A. (Suffolk) Micklem, Nathaniel
Chance, Frederick William Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithn'ss-sh Molteno, Percy Alport
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Montgomery, H. G.
Clough, William Haworth, Arthur A. Morse, L. L.
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Hazel, D. A. E. Morton, Alpheus Cleophas
Cooper, G. J. Hedges, A. Paget Murray, Capt. Hn. A. C (Kincard
Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstd Helme, Norval Watson Murray, James, (Aberdeen, E.)
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Myer, Horatio
Cotton, Sir H. J. S. Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe) Napier, T. B.
Cowan, W. H. Higham, John Sharp Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)
Nicholls, George Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter Ure, Alexander
Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford) Verney, F. W.
Norman, Sir Henry Samuel, Rt. Hn. H. L. (Cleveland Vivian, Henry
Norton, Captain Cecil William Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester) Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)
Nussey, Thomas Willans Scott, A. H. (Ashton under Lyne Walton, Joseph
Nuttall, Harry Sears, J. E. Wason, Rt. Hn. E. (Clackmannan
O'Grady, J. Seaverns, J. H. Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Parker, James (Halifax) Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick, B. Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Paul, Herbert Sherwell, Arthur James White, J. Dundas (Dumbart'nsh
Paulton, James Mellor Shipman, Dr. John G. White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)
Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek) Silcock, Thomas Ball Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)
Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh Central) Simon, John Allsebrook Whittaker, Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas P.
Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.) Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarth'n
Pullar, Sir Robert Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)
Radford, G. H. Spicer, Sir Albert Wills, Arthur Walters
Rainy, A, Rolland Stanger, H. Y. Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)
Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro') Stewart, Halley (Greenock) Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Rees, J. D. Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal) Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n Strachey, Sir Edward Yoxall, James Henry
Ridsdale, E. A. Straus, B. S. (Mile End)
Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Joseph Pease and Mr. Herbert Lewis.
Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradf'rd Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E
Robson, Sir William Snowdon Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke) Toulmin, George
Rose, Charles Day Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Arkwright, John Stanhope Fletcher, J. S. Remnant, James Farquharson
Ashley, W. W. Forster, Henry William Renton, Leslie
Balcarres, Lord Gordon, J. Ronaldshay, Earl of
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Gretton, John Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles
Bowles, G. Stewart Guiness, Hon. R. (Haggerston) Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert
Bull, Sir William James Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.
Butcher, Samuel Henry Harrison-Broadley, H. B. Stanier, Beville
Carlile, E. Hildred Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk)
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Hunt, Rowland Starkey, John R.
Castlereagh, Viscount Joynson-Hicks, William Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Keswick, William Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.
Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey- Lee, Arthur H.(Hants, Fareham Thornton, Percy M.
Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.) Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A. R. Valentia, Viscount
Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (Birmingham Lonsdale, John Brownlee Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Craik, Sir Henry Lowe, Sir Francis William Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Cross, Alexander MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Macpherson, J. T.
Du Cros, Arthur Philip M'Arthur, Charles TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Frederick Banbury and Mr. Claude Hay.
Edwards, Clement (Denbigh) Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington
Faber, George Denison (York) Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel

Ordered, That the Committee stage, Report stage, and Third Reading of the Elementary Education (England and Wales) (No. 2) Bill, and the necessary stages of the Financial Resolution relating thereto, shall be proceeded with as follows:—1. Committee stage—Eight allotted days shall be given to the Committee stage of the Bill, including the necessary stages of the Financial Resolution relating to the Bill, and the proceedings on each of those allotted day shall be those shown in the second column of the table annexed to this Order, and those proceedings shall, if not previously brought to a conclusion, be brought to a conclusion at the time shown in the third column of that table. 2. Report stage—Two allotted days shall be given to the Report stage of the Bill, and the proceedings for each of those allotted days shall be such as may be hereafter determined in manner provided by this Order, and those proceedings, if not previously brought to a conclusion, shall be brought to a conclusion at 10.30 p.m. on each such allotted day. 3. Third Reading—One allotted day shall be given to the Third Reading of the Bill, and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously brought to a conclusion, be brought to a conclusion at 10.30 p.m. on that day. On the conclusion of the Committee stage the Chairman shall report the Bill to the House without Question put, and the House shall on a subsequent day consider the proposals made by the Government for the allocation of the proceedings on the Report stage of the Bill. The proceedings on the consideration of those proposals may be entered on at any hour, though opposed, and shall not be interrupted under the provisions of any Standing Order relating to the Sittings of the House, but if they are not brought to a conclusion before the expiration of one hour after they have been commenced, Mr. Speaker shall, at the expiration of that time, bring them to a conclusion by putting the Question on the Motion proposed by the Government, after having put the Question, if necessary, on any Amendment or other Motion which has been already proposed from the Chair and not disposed of. After this Order comes into operation, any day shall be considered an allotted day for the purposes of this Order on which the Bill is put down as the first Order of the day, or on which any stage of the Financial Resolution relating thereto is put down as the first Order of the day, followed by the Bill. Provided that 5 p.m. shall be substituted for 10.30 p.m., and 2 p.m. for 7.30 p.m. as respects any allotted day which is a Friday, and 3 p.m. shall be substituted for 10.30 p.m. and 12 noon for 7.30 p.m. as respects any allotted day which is a Saturday, as the time at which proceedings are to be brought to a conclusion under the foregoing provisions. A Motion may be made by a Minister of the Crown at the commencement of business on any day that the House sit on the following Saturday at 10 a.m. for the purpose of the consideration of the Bill, and the Question on any Motion so made shall be put forthwith by the Speaker without Amendment or debate. Notice of any Question requiring an oral answer for a Friday or Saturday shall, if that day is an allotted day under this Order, be treated as a notice for the following Monday.

For the purpose of bringing to a conclusion any proceedings which are to be brought to a conclusion on an allotted day, and have not previously been brought to a conclusion, Mr. Speaker or the Chairman shall, at the time appointed under this Order for the conclusion of those proceedings, put forthwith the Question on any Amendment or Motion already proposed from the Chair, and shall next proceed successively to put forthwith the Question on any Amendments, new Clauses, or Schedules moved by the Government of which notice has been given, but no other Amendments, Clauses, or Schedules, and on any Question necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded, and in the case of Government Amendments or of Government new Clauses or Schedules he shall put only the Question that the Amendment be made or that the Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill as the case may be. A Motion may be made by the Government to leave out any Clause or consecutive Clauses of the Bill before the consideration of any Amendments to the Clause or Clauses in Committee. The Question on a Motion made by the Government to leave out any Clause or Clauses of the Bill shall be put forthwith by the Chairman or Speaker without debate. Any Private Business which is set down for consideration at 8.15 p.m. on any allotted day shall, instead of being taken on that day, as provided by the Standing Order "Time for taking Private Business," be taken after the conclusion of the proceedings on the Bill or under this Order for that day, and any Private Business so taken may be proceeded with, though opposed, notwithstanding any Standing Order relating to the Sittings of the House. On any day on which any proceedings are to be brought to a conclusion under this Order, proceedings for that purpose under this Order shall not be interrupted under the provisions of any Standing Order relating to the Sittings of the House. On an allotted day no dilatory Motion on the Bill, nor Motion to re-commit the Bill, nor Motion for adjournment under Standing Order 10, nor Motion to postpone a clause, shall be received unless moved by the Government, and the Question on such Motion shall be put forthwith without any debate. Nothing in this Order shall—(a) prevent any business which under this Order is to be concluded on an allotted day being proceeded with on any other day, or necessitate any allotted day or part of

Committee Stage.
Allotted Day. Proceedings. Time for Proceedings to be brought to a Conclusion.
First Clause 1, the Committee stage of Financial Resolution 10.30
Second Clause 2
Third Clause 2 7.30
Report stage of Financial Resolution 10.30
Fourth Clause 3 10.30
Fifth Clause 4 7.30
Clause 5 10.30
Sixth Clauses 6 and 7 7.30
Clauses 8 and 9 10.30
Seventh Clauses 10, 11, and 12 7.30
New Clauses 10.30
Eighth First Schedule 7.30
Remaining Schedules, and any other matter required to bring the Committee stage to a conclusion 10.30

Whereupon Mr. SPEAKER, in pursuance of the Order of the House of 31st July,

an allotted day being given to any such business if the business to be concluded has been otherwise disposed of; or (b) prevent any other business being proceeded with on any allotted day or part of an allotted day in accordance with the Standing Orders of the House after the business to be proceeded with or concluded under this Order on the allotted day or part of the allotted day has been disposed of.

adjourned the House without Question put.

Adjourned at three minutes after Five o'clock till Monday next.