HC Deb 04 June 1909 vol 5 cc1561-628

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read a second time."—[Mr. Harcourt.]


I desire to move the Amendment standing in my name, to leave out all from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add instead thereof the words "this House will not entertain a Bill dealing with, and restricting, the exercise of the voting franchise, which, besides its own defects and injustice, is not accompanied by provisions for a redistribution of seats, and gives no remedy for existing glaring anomalies in the representation of the people." The right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill (Mr. Harcourt) has not favoured us with Any speech upon this occasion, and therefore we are driven back to the only speech he has made on this question, in which he save the reasons for bringing in the Bill at all. We have no information as to the objects of this Bill except the short speech which the right hon. Gentleman made when lie introduced it under the Ten Minutes Rule. If I have to say hard things about this measure I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not think that my remarks Are directed in any way against him personally, but against the Bill itself. As set forth in the introductory speech, the object of this measure is to remove certain disabilities which Parliamentary London labours under, but they are, unfortunately, disabilities which the speech of the right hon. Gentleman did not proceed to describe. After having stated that this measure was introduced for the purpose of removing disabilities, the right hon. Gentleman dropped the subject and omitted to state what they were, and we were left to conjecture what they were. The First Commissioner of Works claimed that the Bill would have four results, but those results do not remove disabilities; on the contrary, they create new ones and take away rights which His Majesty's subjects now possess instead of conferring upon them any new rights. It was asserted that this Bill, by relieving Parliamentary London of these disabilities, would place the metropolis on a par with Birmingham and other towns. I will show presently how London compares with Birmingham in this respect.

First of all, I should like to refer to the supposed disabilities which we were told would be removed by this Bill. In the first place, it was claimed that this measure would establish successive occupation and would confer the right of voting notwithstanding removal from one part of London to another. No objection can be taken to that, but why it is to be limited to London and not to be given to other similar areas in the country I cannot understand. This Bill, whilst creating London one borough with a circumference of 50 miles, at the same time creates new difficulties in regard to successive occupation. A man living inside this enormous periphery who wishes to change his residence and poll outside will be placed under the same difficulty Londoners are now in, and, therefore, this Bill is only dealing piecemeal with even this little subject. Another of the results claimed for this Bill is that the whole of the constituencies in London will poll on the same day. I do not think that is a very great boon. I do not know what good it will do, and I know it will do a great deal of harm by preventing voters in one constituency from helping those who live in another constituency. [Ministerial cheers.] Those cheers prove my case. Hon. Members opposite are delighted with this proposal, because they know that London is Unionist.. [Cries of "No, no."] It is all very well to cry out "No," but it is so, and the only object to be attained by having all the polls on the same day would be to prevent the agents and the machinery of one constituency from being used to help another. Look at the inconvenience that would arise. There are in London about two-thirds of a million electors, and if there happens to be a contest on the same day in each constituency in London, each side will probably wish to send every elector a polling card the day before the poll. That means that no less than 1,300,000 polling cards will have to be sent out in one day. We experience many difficulties now when the polls are not on the same day. Even now a good many polling cards go wrong, and what an enormous congestion there would be if all these cards had to be posted on the same day. [Cries of Oh, oh."] That is not a small matter when you are going to tinker with the machinery of the representation of the people. The third of these Resolutions is, I suppose, to remove some disabilities with regard to residential qualification. That is a very pseudo-scientific phrase in regard to what is going to happen. I will take my own case. My Constituents would be outside the boundary of this Bill. I have lived for 40 years in my present house. I have employed a good many men. I should be deprived of my vote and they would be deprived of their votes. In order to retain my residential vote I should have to remove inside the borough.




In order to retain the vote which I have now and have had for the last 40 years. Therefore, so far from removing a disability the Bill will really create one. The Bill is brought forward under false pretences. It is brought forward, we are told, for the purpose of removing disabilities, while it really creates disabilities. The Bill is a partisan Bill. It is an electioneering card of the first order. It will limit dual voting. What that means is this. There are thousands of residents in the outer parts of London who are qualified to vote in the City of London. They are well known by the Government and the party opposite to be mainly Unionists, and this Bill would deprive them of their votes. Therefore the conclusion is that the Bill is a disfranchising Bill. How can it be called a Bill for the removal of disabilities in the face of these four Resolutions? The right hon. Gentleman admitted that there were some omissions from the Bill which were contained in the Bill introduced by the Member for North St. Pancras, such as those which related to the hours of polling and the altering of the boundaries. The explanation given was that the proposals for altering the boundaries were omitted to avoid the charge of jerrymandering in the interests of the Liberal party. I would ask whether the present proposals are not open to the charge of jerrymandering in the interests of the Liberal party '? I will directly quote figures to prove that it is so. This Bill deals with parts of a huge machine—a machine by which this House governs the nation. Mr. Gladstone nearly 20 years ago in this House stated that the machinery of our representation was the machinery by which we exercise the extreme right of governing ourselves, and if the machinery got out of order everything would go wrong. If you deal with parts of the machinery of a ship and alter them the whole ship is thrown out of gear, and so it will be if you tamper with an area like London. I shall come directly to those provisions which are germane to this Bill. I should like again to ask why London is to be dealt with as if it were Birmingham—" as in Birmingham" was the phrase. Let me call the attention of the House to a few points of comparison between the two. London is composed of 27 boroughs, many of which are distinct towns. The borough which I have the honour of representing is composed of five towns, some of them with very ancient historical reminiscences. I refer to Wandsworth, Wimbledon, Balham, Tooting, and Streatham. They are all rolled into one. London consists of 27 boroughs; and why they are all to be rolled into one I do not know. Birmingham always was a borough. It was never composed of two or three boroughs; but if Birmingham is to be treated as you propose to treat London, you ought to bring into the City of Birmingham, Aston Manor, Wolverhampton, and all the other adjacent boroughs. They are all within a radius not larger than that within which you propose to roll into one and amalgamate all the boroughs of London. London is not a borough, it is a county, and you cannot alter it by simply dubbing it a borough by an Act of Parliament. There are 27 boroughs and 59 seats. Birmingham is one borough, and has been divided into seven constituencies. The reason of that voting arrangement is so that a person in one part of the borough should not vote in another part. The same reason does not apply to a man who lives in one of the 27 boroughs of London who has a vote and is taxed there for his residence; and who also carries on business in the city. The population of London is nearly 5½ millions, and the electorate proposed to be dealt with is two-thirds of a million. The population of Birmingham is just one-tenth of that of the County of London, and the electorate is only 107,000 against 670,000 in London. London has an area of 118 square miles, and Greater London, which is not taken into this Bill, has 690 square miles. Why is it that this successive occupation, this polling on one day, and this increased residential radius which is to apply to the County of London, is not also to apply to Greater London? There will still be the same difficulties between Wandsworth and Wimbledon. When the London Government Bill was brought in and the administrative County of London was created, London was described not as one city but as a conglomeration of a large number of cities; and so it is. The disadvantages to constituents will be seen by simply contemplating the diameter of London. It is 14 miles one way and 11 another. A man living half a mile outside Birmingham can get to that city in 10 or 15 minutes, but it would take a man living outside London threequarters of an hour to get to the centre of that city. Why is it the Bill treats the County of London one way whilst the counties of York and Lancaster are treated another? There happen to be just 27 boroughs in those two counties. You might take those counties separately. There are in York 38 divisions and boroughs. They are not made one unit for the purpose of voting. The Bill does not take away votes there. It does in London, hut, London is more Unionist, and it is nearer home of the seat of the Government. It is very natural from a party point of view, but it is not in accordance with good principle and right doing that, when a party gets into power and their leaders are the members of the Government of the day, they should lend themselves to a partisan object by bringing in a Bill dealing with the interior organisation of the representation of the people. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman has not compared five other large towns—Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, and Sheffield—with London. The electorate of those towns together amount to half that of London, and yet we are to be "as in Birmingham," one of them. London, in the matter of representation and elections, is to be like one of them. I might give a number of cases in which there are boroughs next door to great towns with which they might more reasonably be made one unit than London with its enormous area. I have mentioned Birmingham and its surrounding towns. I might take Manchester. Why not make Manchester one unit with Salford, Bury, Stockport, Rochdale, Oldham, Ashton and Stalybridge? They would not together amount to 27. Southwark is amalgamated with London for this purpose, although divided by the Thames, Why should the Mersey make any difference between Liverpool and Birkenhead? The Thames is not allowed to make any difference between North London and Southwark. Why not amalgamate into one borough Leeds with Bradford; Newcastle-on-Tyne with Tynemouth, South Shields, Gateshead and Sunderland; Bristol with Bath; Gloucester with Cheltenham; Stockton, Middlesbrough and Darlington; Bolton and Wigan; Nottingham and Derby; Newcastle-under-Lyne and Stoke; Coventry with Warwick and Leamington; Plymouth with Devonport; Dover with Hythe; and Chatham with Rochester? Why not amalgamate other great towns, like Sheffield'? I might go on enumerating them. I think I have convinced the House that there is no analogy between London anti Birmingham, or other great towns, and the aphorism "as in Birmingham" does not apply to the wants and the necessities of the case. Let me deal with the larger and much more serious question of the representation of the people. The constituents of an area containing a population one-eighth of the whole population of the United Kingdom are to have one of their votes taken away from them. Mr. Gladstone once said—and it is remarkable that it is true of all: the Reform Bills with which he had to deal—that the principle in Reform Bills should be directed to this: that no franchise, no voting power, should be taken away unless there were strong reasons, and that every reform should be one to give and not to take away. What does this Bill give? It gives nothing in the way of voting power, and it disfranchises a large number of people, most of whom belong to the political opponents of the party at present in power. I think that would not be denied; I am quite positive, if it were, it could be easily proved. This Bill, although it pretends to deal only with London, really affects the whole of the representation of the country. If you take away or add anything to the scale you disturb the equilibrium and the whole balance of it. Disparities will exist, and one of the reasons for the Motion I have made to reject this Bill is that a measure of this kind ought not to be undertaken unless it takes the whole of the country into its purview and the representation is looked at as a whole. It is of the essence of the management of the affairs of this great country that the representation should be equal. What is the fact? When I entered Parliament in 7885, my first business was to give my attention to seeing how far the Reform Bill had affected the disparities which had previously existed, and I found that the greatest disparity after that Bill was in the proportion of eight to one; that is to say that the largest electorate was eight times as much as the smallest, and the population was in about the same proportion. That disparity has grown year after year. In 1872 I brought the matter before the House, when the respected father of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lewis Harcourt) was on that Bench where he is sitting, and represented the Government on that occasion, and after I had sat down he said that there was no doubt this was a matter that ought to be attended to, and must be attended to; all parties were concerned in it, and it must be attended to sooner or later, and I recollect these remarkable words which he added, "And sooner, rather than later."

It has been admitted by every Government that has been in power since then—I have been in six Parliaments and I have brought the question forward in each, and it has always been admitted that this ought not to be a party question. The fair representation of ourselves and our fellow subjects ought not to be a party question, and it is a great fault for which the whole House is to blame if we allow party politics to come in. In anything I have said or written I have not allowed myself to think whether it would be better for my Party or not that such and such a proposal for redistribution should be made. Let us see the difficulty of treating the whole of London as one constituency. I have said the disparity is thirty-three to one. Romford, which, by the way, is not included in this -Bill, although it is outside London, and it is an urban area—Romford and Walthamstow are the largest constituencies in the country—Romford has just upon 50,000 electors on the last register and the electorate of Kilkenny is 1,541, which I believe is one thirty-third of the constituency of the hon. Member for Rom-ford. Differences like this run through- out the whole of the representation of the country, and if you analyse the figures you will find the disparity grows less and less as you approach the medium figures. But what is the effect upon this House as it is now constituted. Why it is this, that half the House, 335 Members, are returned by 5,000,000 of electors, and the other half are returned by 2,000,000. If you take it the other way and divide the entire electorate into halves, half of it returns 443 Members to this House and the other half only 227. It is obvious, therefore, that any Resolution passed by this House would not represent the will of the constituencies outside, and so it has been in the past. We have the great authority of the present Prime Minister for admitting that to be so. I will venture to read three or four lines from his last speech on the subject of proportional representation made to a deputation headed by Lord Courtney. The Prime Minister said:— It was impossible to defend the rough-and-ready methods which they had hitherto adopted. It was not merely that under the existing system the minority in the country might return a majority to the House of Commons; hut what more frequently happened, and what he was disposed to agree was equally injurious in its results, was that they had normally a disproportion in the relative size of the majority and minority in the House as compared with their relative sizes in the constituencies which they were assumed to represent. That was the normal condition of the House of Commons. I say it is quite impossible therefore to say that any decision of this House represents the will of the people outside.

In two cases of General Elections, once when it was favourable to our side and once when it was favourable to the other, there was a majority which was exactly the reverse of that which the votes of the electorate as a whole would have decided. That is pertinent to the present Question, because it affects the value of the majority in the Division which will take place on this Bill, which no doubt the Government will carry if they choose in the present House. But what is the value of the majorities which the Government are getting now, and will 'get on this Bill? The majority at the last General Election obtained by the party now in power was 354 in the House over our numbers here. But ii the votes of the electors outside—I quote this on the authority of the Liberal Publication Department—if the votes are calculated, and each Member in this House after that General Election had been elected by an equal number of votes, the majority which the Government as a party would have obtained would not have been 354 but 74, and therefore it is fair argu- ment, though I admit not mathematically accurate, because of the changes which have taken place, to say that the difference between 74 and 354 is 260, and it follows presumably that unless the Government get 260 majority they are not in the majority at all, as compared with the electorate outside. I have taken the trouble to analyse the Government Divisions for the first six months of their reign, and I find that out of 143 Divisions upon various measures they only obtained 260 majority in two of them. Take the Finance Bill, or take any Bill of that character, they have never obtained a majority of 260, and they only had a majority of 23 yesterday. The fact remains that it is exceedingly important that the machinery by which we govern the Empire—for that is what we do—should represent the will of the people of this country. At present every reason goes to show that not only it does not represent it, but represents just the contrary, and it is not an unfair observation that when the decisions of this House, by such majorities as the Government are able to obtain, come to be reviewed, in another place or outside by our great constituencies, they will have to take that matter seriously into consideration. It is my business to see that it is brought before them.

No doubt a great number of the Government party wish to deprive everyone of the dual vote. They know well that the dual vote is held mostly by their political opponents. That is true all over the country. They tried their hand at a Bill, of which this is a piecemeal section, and it failed. It is quite fair and right that every grown man in the country who is capable of thoughtfully exercising it as a trust should have one vote, but we know that wisdom does not reside with the majority of numbers. Wisdom has been held in all ages to reside with the minority —I am not speaking of the present majority, although I believe it applies to them. But it is the minority of people who have the opportunities of life which enable them to obtain the necessary culture and knowledge and experience to wisely govern and to make great Empires and great businesses. I think when the dual vote has to be discussed upon its merits, as I hope it will one day, it will be admitted that to give due weight and value to the more valuable elements, those who bear the whole weight of the burden of taxation, that those who fulfil the largest amount of duties, who employ the largest number of hands, and who have succeeded by assiduity and diligence in acquiring a large amount of capital, the dual vote, or something like it, must be retained. It is not reasonable that any country should be governed merely by the number of noses or, as Lord Salisbury once expressed it, by the avoirdupois weight of our bodies. My belief is that the dual vote will be recognised to be the fair and just and only partial counterpoise for the enormous weight of numbers which they would have if every man had a vote, as every man can under the present system have.

This is a Bill which is unworthy of any statesman. It is not a Bill which would be brought in by any impartial mind unbiassed by party feelings, and directed with a single eye to the good of his country. It is a Bill which deals with part only, and a very moderate part, of a very large and vital question, but it deals with it in a manner which alters the balance and the equilibrium of the whole of the rest. It deals with it in a tinkering, I might almost say in a pettifogging manner in order to attract attention, as it would seem, from the larger issues which are involved in its consequences. Then it is a Bill which disfranchises instead of enfranchising. Instead of removing disabilities it creates them. It is, in fact, I believe, a departure from all good principles of government. We have a right to expect, even from political opponents in an enormous majority against us, whose leaders must necessarily be the Government of the day, that they would in dealing with such a matter as the representation of the people so far forget their partisanship as to deal fairly and equally between all parts of the United Kingdom, whether friend or foe. What is the real object of the Bill? Is it amendment, is it removal of difficulties, is it making things better than they were? I am driven irresistibly to the conclusion that it is an electioneering card for the purpose of bolstering up a falling and fictitious majority which now exists in preparation for the coming General Election, when it is known by every sign which intelligence can diagnose that the verdict is likely to be against them. I have no hesitation, on the grounds stated in the Amendment, as well as on the others to which I have referred, in moving the rejection of the Bill.


I rise with great pleasure to second the Amendment. As a London Member I feel that it is incumbent upon me to do my best to show how strongly I object to this suggestion. My hon. Friend regretted that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Harcourt) had not thought proper to say anything in moving the second reading of the Bill. Those who had the pleasure to listen to him when he introduced it, must feel that they are the poorer by his ready and pretty wit, which would have enlivened the proceedings to-day if he had thought proper to say anything when he introduced it. I hope I may be allowed to say how much I appreciate all he has done for London while he has been Chief Commissioner of Works, and the ability he has shown in changing the look of some of the disfiguring spots of London and turned them into things of beauty, which must be a joy for ever. One cannot help appreciating the Prime Minister's discretion in handing over this ugly duckling to the First Commissioner of Works in order that he should try his hand at making it something like presentable to London. In spite of all his skill I venture to think—and I know something about London—that London does not want the Bill, and that if it had the opportunity of showing its opinion about it, it would not have the Bill. It is true that we have in the hon. Gentlemen whom I see in front of me representing London constituencies supporters of the Bill. We have perhaps in them the most distinguished representatives of London, but it will take them all their ability and all their time to show that London wants this Bill. There has been no indication given by the voters of London that it is one that will commend itself to them. My hon. Friend (Sir H. Kimber) has referred to the fact that it is only a piecemeal bit of legislation. Included in the so-called London of to-day there are various constituencies which have been left out by this Bill. Why, nobody knows. At all events, the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill (Mr. L. Harcourt) has never told us why, and, therefore, it will be possible for certain voters disfranchised within the area to which the Bill applies, and who live in districts at present forming part of the London area, to vote, while other electors are not allowed to have a vote. The right hon. Gentleman was perfectly outspoken, as he always is, to this House when he introduced the Plural Voting Bill. He said in so many words, "I do not agree with the property qualifi- cation. I think that every man ought to have a vote whoever, whatever, and wherever he is, and that he should have only one vote." I differ from him in toto on that. I see no reason why a man who has property in a constituency should not have the right to vote in that constituency if he pays rates and taxes in it. If he performs the obligations of citizenship, why should he not be allowed to have the privileges attaching to the position My hon. Friend said that the largest number of plural voters are in the Unionist party. I differ from him. I think there are vast numbers on both sides who have the right of plural voting. I believe in plural voting, and I see no reason to object to it. It is a logical, sound and reasonable system. It is a system which we have become accustomed to, and I have yet to learn any reason against it, except that the right hon. Gentleman disbelieves in plural voting, and that he desires manhood suffrage. The House will remember that in 1885 a redistribution was brought about for the reason that London—important city as it is—was thought to be not sufficiently represented in this House. Divisions were marked out, and important divisions were allowed to have single representatives. In Finsbury there are three divisions, but I am not allowed to exercise my vote except in one, I believe that the same arrangement obtains in Marylebone and St. Pancras. At all events, it was clearly laid down that where an elector had votes in different parts of the same division he should not exercise his vote in more than one sub-division.

I believe honestly that London, accustomed as it is to the present system of voting, is strongly against anything in the nature of altering it for the purposes of this Bill. Why are we to apply it to London? The right hon Gentleman in introducing the Plural Voting Bill—and this is only a subsection of it—said that it was intended to apply this system throughout the whole of the country. I do not know whether he said that the Government would stand or fall by the passing of that Bill or not, but whether he did say so or not the fact remains that the Bill was thrown out. Instead of acting up to their statement that they want to apply this system to the whole country the Government now come back with one part of it, and attempt to apply to London the system which was rejected when it was proposed to apply it to the whole country. My hon. Friend has said that it is another of those medicated sops thrown out by the Government to various sections of their party for the purpose of buying at any price the votes of the party and keeping them together. London will show on the first opportunity it gets whether the London Members who sit on the other side of the House represent truly the opinion of London. [An HON. MEMBER: "Hear, hear."] I am glad to hear that that is approved by an hon. Member opposite. Many of them have stated—and it is perfectly evident—that if they stand at the next General Election they will be submerged by the flood of indignation with which London views the methods by which the country is being governed.

The main point of objection to this Bill is that it attempts to do away with the representation of localities. In my own Constituency it will make a considerable difference in regard to the number of electors, but it will make no difference, I venture to think, in the Conservative and Unionist views held in the Constituency. It will have the effect of disqualifying men 'of business standing, literary men, and men of great attainments, from voting there. It will drive away their interest from the Constituency, and it will gradually denude and injure the Constituency by the loss of their interest and their benefactions. By way of a sort of generous gift to the City of London, the liverymen are to have the vote in London, but they are only to have the vote if they do not select other districts. Therefore, in their case, as with the rest of London, you do away with the representation of localities, which I strongly believe in. You attempt to do away with the representation of local interests, which I believe in.

You are trying to do away with plural voting, a custom which has been fraught with considerable advantage to the country and against which no sound solid or logical reason has been urged, and you are going to substitute what is after all one man one vote, regardless of the value of the votes. In the particular instance of London you are practically going to allow the night watchmen to supplant the present voters of the City of London. If you think that that is a change for the better all I can say is that neither London nor the country will agree with you. I have a great many points which I was going to raise, but in view of the speech of my right hon. Friend with which I entirely agree I do not propose to say more now, but will leave what I have to say to the Committee stage, beyond this, that the expense and inconvenience likely to arise if this Bill passes cannot be in any sense commensurate with any advantages to be gained. The right hon. Gentleman in introducing the Plural Voting Bill in 1906 called attention to the fact that the Bill—and it is practically the same as this Bill—would entail a great deal of labour and confusion in the intercommunication of registration officials all over the country. If you substitute "London" for "all over the country" those words would answer the purpose today. You are going to throw on to the heads of the staff of the London County Council an amount of work which it would be impossible for them to do. It;s admitted on all hands that the Education Act has thrown more work on to their shoulders than they can do, and yet you are going to put still more work on them to do. You are trying by an indirect method to absorb the City of London into the London County Council. I am sure that the London County Council do not know what work is going to be thrown on them. I am sure that they are not as competent to do the work as the officials who do it to-day. I am quite sure that if you disfranchise the large number of voters of the City of London you are going to inflict a great hardship on them. You are going to do what the right hon. Gentleman in his Plural Voting Bill said he was averse to. You are going to keep the different voters on the different lists. It is suggested that the voter might be struck off the list for the constituency which he did not select to vote in; but you are going to keep him on the register of every constituency in which he has property. That throws an enormous burden on the Chief Revising Barrister when he takes up his work. You have to examine thousands of lists in London, and to do it all in a very short time. You fix the time for the revision of the lists as 14th November. To-day they have to be out by 1st November. How are you going to arrange for the date of nominations of candidates for municipal elections which have to be in by 1st November?

I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman can really have taken the trouble to look into all these side questions in reference to the Bill, or otherwise those who have advised him in reference to the matter have advised him extremely badly. As to the selections for voting the best analogy I can think of to-day is the lodger vote. In that case they have to be claimed every year. They are a body of voters just as well qualified to vote as any others who pay similar rent, whose landlords have no control over them, and do not even live on the premises; but the result is that in the latter case once they get on the register they go on automatically from year to year, but in the other cases the lists of the lodger electors contain usually one-third or one-fourth of those who are already qualified to vote, and you may reckon you will get a similar result in the case of those who take the trouble to select. I suppose the right hon. Gentleman thinks that if you do not take the trouble to select you have no business to vote; but I am quite sure you are going to leave out of the voting power of London a large number of men whom otherwise it would be an advantage to have upon the lists. This whole Bill to my mind is against the interests of London. It is a badly thought out Bill. It is illogical. It attempts to get by a side wind for London—which happens to-day to have a large preponderance of Radical Members —what they could not get by the Plural Voting Bill of 1906. Do they seriously mean to push the Bill on? I do not think they can. We have this year an extremely busy Session. It is likely to carry us—if we are to be guided by the interesting announcement to-day in the newspapers of the Whips of the Radical party, who have invited the party to say the particular time when it will be convenient for them to be in this House—well into October. It is an unpleasant enough prospect to be carried all through the hot months of the year to the end of October; but it must be admitted that nearly the whole of that time will be taken up by the Budget.

Have you got the slightest chance of passing this Bill? Do I understand that you seriously propose to push it through to its third reading, or is it as you said yesterday another of these shop window dressing Bills? You have got other Bills more important which must be dealt with. After the Budget you have got the Welsh Disestablishment Bill. I understand that the Welsh members are not quite happy about that Bill. This Bill after all is only part of another great Redistribution Bill which has been promised us by the Prime Minister for some years past. It was stated by the right hon. Gentleman himself when introducing the Plural Voting Bill that one would be brought in, but it was necessary to bring it in towards the end of this particular Parliament. If they really meant what they Say, then there is no urgency in this matter, and there can be no object in pushing it forward now. If you are going to have a Redistribution Bill—and I do not object to any necessary electoral reform, I think it ought to come sooner or later—London ought to be part of the Bill. London ought not to be treated separately, and it ought not to be treated in this way against the largely preponderating feeling of London itself, and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will treat this House as he has always treated it, with perfect straightforwardness in everything he has done yet, and tell us that this Bill is only put forward as a sop to the followers of the Government in London, that they do not intend to pass it, and that having satisfied these followers and kept them quiet, as no doubt they intend to, for some time to come, they may get on with the serious business of the season, namely the Budget, and go away for their holidays at the ordinary time. I beg to second the Amendment.


The House has listened to the hon. Baronet with that interest and respect which it always shows when he addresses it, but I think that the majority of metropolitan Members must have heard with regret the strong opposition which he has offered to the moderate proposals of this Bill—proposals by which London is at last to obtain that equality of treatment which it so much desires, and which it has so long demanded. We have heard without surprise that the Bill does not meet with the hon. Baronet's approval, because it does not include a scheme of redistribution. The truth is that redistribution is his ancient love; it is his constant obsession; it presents a veil before his political vision, and he sees redistribution in everything. I really believe that if we brought in a bill to revise the rubrics of the Prayer Book he would move its rejection on the ground that it did not include a redistribution of the Commandments. After all there is much excuse for the hon. Baronet's painful anxiety. The fact is that the burden of the representation of Wandsworth is more than he can bear. He is suffering from a surfeit of representative responsibility. And it is not surprising that with a constituency of, I think, nearly 37,000 of population, he should feel himself a plutocrat amongst pluralists. What a contrast there is between the present proposals and those contained in the Bill of the late Government. Under the Redistribution Bill of the late Government I believe that the hon. Baronet was one of the Wandsworth triplets. It is said that we cannot nave too much of a good thing, and if Wandsworth will persist in returning Tory Members to this House, it cannot have a better pattern for the Three Musketeers of the future.

But when the hon. Baronet demands, as he does demand in the Motion on the Paper to-day, that some remedy shall be found for the existing glaring anomalies, I think we are entitled to ask what is the form of redistribution of which he is in favour as a cure for these anomalies. On a former occasion, as he has reminded the House, I was in charge of another Bill, and I believe that I did the hon. Baronet unwittingly an injustice, for which I desire to make tardy reparation. I suggested that he approved of the redistribution scheme of the late Government. That, I believe, was not the case, and now I wish to relieve him from the implied reproach. Of course, I ought to have known that it was impossible that anyone who desired to obtain a remedy for existing glaring anomalies would have supported a plan which created and perpetuated more anomalies than it professed to cure. It proposed, I think, to leave a Member to Whitehaven, with a population of 17,000, and gave no more than one Member to Lewisham, with a population of 127,000. I think that it proposed to take from Monaghan, with its population of 74,000, one of its Members, and to leave the City of London, with a population of 27,000, with two representatives. There was too little similarity and too much simultaneity in these proposals, and, of course, a scientific and philosophic redistributor like the hon. Baronet could not approve the haphazard and happy-go-lucky plan of the late Government. It is charitable to assume that it was haphazard, because, if it was not, it must have been a piece of electoral jury-packing. It is not conceivable that the hon. Baronet the Member for Wandsworth would have formulated any scheme which would leave two Members to a constituency of 27,000 inhabitants; but, if he did not, he would have come into collision with the junior Member for the City of London, and then we might have been within measurable distance of a, rift within the Baronetage, though even that deplorable event would hardly have made the music of either of them mute. I assume that the logical precision of the hon. Baronet would have prevented him from supporting the proposals of his own Friends which were put forward on the question of redistribution. He is not the only distinguished Member on that side of the House who was in full revolt against that scheme. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wimbledon said in 1705 that if he were to give support to a redistribution Bill in future it would have to be a very different Bill from that foreshadowed by the Resolution of the Government. It is clear, therefore, that the vague generalities of the Amendment to-day cover no coherent scheme on which the Mover and his Friends are agreed. In fact, they ask us to do something which they are themselves unable to draft and do not dare to define, and they ask us to do it in a Bill to which it would be absolutely foreign and inappropriate. Of course, we have not escaped from the way-worn formula of "One vote, one value." It was invented, I think, as a convenient counterpoise to the formula of "One man, one vote." Ever since its invention it has served as a convenient cloak to cover the inveterate resistance of the party opposite to every improvement in the machinery of the franchise. I have never denied, and I am not going to deny, that redistribution is desirable and that it may be overdue. A period of 25 years may be—probably is—too long an interval to wait for the rearrangement which is rendered necessary by the growth and the mobility of the population. But such proposals are only appropriate to the conclusion of a Parliament. I think the hon. Baronet knows that any rearrangement of our voting areas must and ought to be accompanied by many other reforms in the nature of a revision of our electoral law which are discovered to be necessary after a period of a quarter of a century. I see no reason to assume, when the time comes, that redistribution will necessarily be absent from a careful and coherent plan. I think I may add, however, that any scheme which emanated from these benches would prove as distasteful to the hon. Baronet as their absence is distressing to him to-day. The present Government have frequently expressed the hope that before they recur to the sense of the people they may be able by many reforms to put the people in a better position to adequately and truly record their sentiments, and until that interesting moment arrives I must ask the hon. Baronet to possess his soul with such patience as he is able to command. I ask the House to imagine what would have happened if I had included in this Bill the redistribution of London and of London only. I tremble to imagine what would have been the virtuous invective which would have been poured forth by the political purists opposite. But so careful have I been to avoid the slightest cause of offence in this matter that I have even forborne to include the very small readjustment which would have been necessary to make the Parliamentary Borough of London coincide with the Administrative County.

I would recall the House to some of the particular provisions of the Bill. This measure is not designed to give London exceptional privileges. Its sole object is to remove and to relieve very exceptional anomalies and disadvantages which London alone, of all the great cities, has been compelled to suffer. London has many other wants in the direction of reform—social, political, municipal, administrative—but this is neither the time nor the method by which they can be effected. The arbitrary and unreasonable division of the Metropolis for electoral purposes into separate boroughs has had the unfortunate, and I believe undesigned, effect of disfranchising for long periods some of those who are not the least worthy of its citizens. The absurdity that the transfer of a residence or business, in some cases from one side of the street to the other, may deprive the householder of his vote in his new quarters for a period of two and a half years is surely a result which even the most courageous of hon. Gentlemen opposite will hardly he able to defend.

The admission has long ago been made, and indeed has been passed into law by the Tory party, I hat in County Council elections in London no man shall have more than one vote, whatever his qualifications or his business premises may be. Surely that is a recognition, opposed to the view of the hon. Member for Holborn (Mr. Remnant), that the so-called magnitude of a man's stake in a particular locality is not a reason for plurality of voting power. I myself see no logical distinction between the local and" national elections, but if hon. Members do so, then let me point out that ever since the Reform Act of 1885 the justice and convenience of the single vote in great cities for Parliamentary purposes has been recognised throughout the country by both parties in the State. As to the advantage of ha-wing London elections on the same day, I think there can hardly be a doubt, and in spite of the hon. Baronet's fears, the diminution of commercial disturbance in a trading community, will, I believe, be a boon and an economy. If incidentally it decreased what is called the swing of the pendulum, it would only be regretted alternately by those who believe that the swing is towards themselves, and with the regular oscillation of political opinion in this country I think that substantial justice will be meted out to both parties.

The three changes effected—continuity of qualification, singularity of vote, and simultaneity of the poll—are none of them specifically enacted by this Bill, but they ake a necessary corollary of the amendment of the existing law in order that London shall be constituted a single borough for Parliamentary purposes. The Bill resolves itself merely into a modification of the machinery for effecting this purpose. The governing provision to that end is contained in clause 1. Clause 2 enacts a slight variation in the appointment of the revising barristers. At present all the revising barristers north of the Thames are appointed by the Lord Chief Justice, and those south of the Thames are appointed by the judge who happens to be going on the South-Eastern Circuit at the time a vacancy occurs or that appointments have to be made. It is desirable that in the united borough there should be some unity of appointment. I think everyone will agree that we could find no fitter patron for making the appointments than the Lord Chief Justice.

Clause 3 constitutes the clerk of the London County Council the returning officer for the whole of London. It is obviously essential where all the polls are to be on the same day that one person should be appointed to fix that day. The actual polling arrangements, as in other parts of the Kingdom, will be carried out by deputy, presumably the town clerk of the borough council. In the Bill discretion as to that is left to the unfettered judgment of the clerk of the London County Council, but I am quite willing to consider in Committee, if it is the general desire, a provision whereby the clerks may have a statutory option of fulfilling this duty where they desire to do so. Clause 4 is the only one which presents even a suggestion of difficulty or of complication. It makes a necessary provision and as simply as possible as to duplicate entries. The necessity for this clause arises in London, because we have eleven revising barristers, whereas we have only one in other great towns. It is quite obvious that if Brown is revising Wandsworth, and Jones is revising Holborn, neither of them will be necessarily aware that Robinson is a qualified voter in both. We, therefore, propose to appoint, and we have already legal power to do so, an additional revising barrister to deal with this part and this part only of the revision work. He is called in the Bill "the special revising barrister," but he is additional, and in no sense superior. to his colleagues.

In sub-section 3 of clause 4 there is a provision that under certain circumstances the allocation of the voter to a particular division in the absence of selection shall be determined by lot. This may seem to some Members a novel provision, but it can only seem so to those who are ignorant of our present electoral law. In all other boroughs, in the absence of certain special qualifications or of selection by the voter, the revising barrister is directed by law to select as the effective entry amongst duplicate entries that which occurs in the list which he first revises. The barrister is also enjoined to decide by lot the order of those lists for revision. It will therefore be seen that we have closely followed the precedent of the existing law, but we carry out the operation direct, instead of by two stages. Sub-section 4 provides that it shall be the duty of the clerk of the London County Council to examine and collate the lists of the various divisions, to make inquiries, and to receive whatever information is necessary. Of course, he will employ such a staff, and at such times as may be requisite, to enable him efficiently to perform his duties. The hon. Baronet the junior Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) has probably observed with satisfaction, and possibly his satisfaction is the cause of his rare absence on this occasion, that in clause 5 I have scrupulously fulfilled my promise to provide that every liveryman and freeman should be allotted to vote in the City unless he deliberately elects to exercise his franchise elsewhere in the borough of London. In clause 6 provision is made as to registration expenses in London, and in clause 7 the usual and necessary power is taken to provide by Order in Council for adjustment in the mechanical and other procedure, in order to secure some approach to uniformity in the preparation of the lists and in other matters as regards the registration of voters. The Bill is merely nothing but a piece of simple machinery to carry out the desirable object of treating London as a single borough and as an electoral entity. When we come to the details in Committee I shall be ready to consider suggestions made from any quarter by which this Bill may be rendered more just and more reasonable and efficient than I believe it already to be, and to that end I would beg hon. Members to put aside any preconceived prejudices or unfounded fears, and to believe that there is no party object, no wirepulling project included within the four corners of this modest measure, and that it is not even in the words of the hon. Baronet an "electoral card of the first water "; and in that spirit I would ask hon. Members in all quarters of the House to join in giving to the great metropolis the relief from an intolerable inconvenience under which it has so long and so impatiently suffered.


I think the right hon. Gentleman did very wisely to devote so large a portion of his speech to a Bill which is not before the House. Indeed, many hon. Members must have wondered when the right hon. Gentleman was coming to his own Bill. Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, who was a Member of this House, and is now a Member of what is known as "another place," made a speech in the country once in which lie said that in this country public opinion expressed itself probably more quickly and accurately than it did in any country in the world—so quickly and accurately upon the doings of the Legislature that it might be truthfully said that all proposals to alter our electoral law would give no further efficiency, directness or accuracy to the reflection of public opinion, and, therefore, that all schemes of electoral reform might be described as a pure waste of time. Waste of time becomes something worse than waste of time when it is proposed to increase by partial or unfair action any existing anomalies or injustices, and produce a more one-sided state of affairs than we have got now. The right hon. Gentleman referred to some precedents. For instance, he referred to the fact that it was a Conservative Government which took away the right of exercising the dual vote with regard to local elections in London. That is quite true; but it is no secret that a good many of us at that time looked with very scanty approval upon the proposal, and certainly nothing has occurred since to cause us to alter that sense of dis- approval of that proposal. We see after many years that that enactment has not tended to economy, has not tended to efficiency, and has not tended to justice. I spoke just now of waste of time. This makes me wonder why this Bill has been brought in now. And it makes me further wonder why it has been brought in now of all times. Is it because of the superabundance of spare time which is hanging upon Ministers' hands, or is it because of the supposed need of something to rehabilitate the electoral strength of present Radical representation of London, some of the gentlemen identified with which received a most effective notice to quit at the last London County Council election? From that point of view there may be very much need of some such measure. My complaint is that electoral reform questions are never regarded by hon. Gentlemen opposite from any other point of view. I have referred to the Radical party's habit —apparently an incurable habit—with regard to franchise questions. I charge them with merely manipulating these franchise questions as devices for improving the position of their own party. What happened years ago? In 1880 the Liberal party was returned to Parliament fresh from the constituencies with an express mandate to give household suffrage In the counties, admitting that the existing electoral system was insufficient, and admitting thereby the unrepresentative character of the existing though new Parliament. What did they do? Disregarding alike these obligations of honour and an unbroken series of precedents as well, they put off the matter year by year for four years, with the effect and, I believe, with the intention of getting for four years a state of things in which the unsettled state of the franchise question could be made use of to protect or prolong their own Ministerial existence, and they so made use of it that when criticism or attack was threatened on their South African policy, their foreign policy, and their Irish policy, members of their party were told that they were endangering the Electoral Franchise Bill which had been promised. The Bill at last came in 1884. The scheme bore at first such a one-sided and partisan character that the House of Lords were able, with almost universal approval, and in spite of a machine agitation, tointerfere and to compel the adoption of an equitable scheme in the shape of a system of redistribution, under which we have for a quarter of a century been contentedly living. The right hon. Gentleman in his speech, in introducing this Bill, spoke of placing London upon an electoral par with provincial cities. I am not quite sure about the two-edged nature of that phrase. For my part, I am not altogether inclined to see absolute perfection even in the state of things which prevails in our provincial cities. Theoretical symmetry is good only probably for the purposes of speech.

There is a notion that the provincial model is necessarily perfect, and that the London arrangements—to quote the right hon. Gentleman's own words—are necessarily in a state of inferiority. I do not assent to that. The curious thing is that wherever you go, on a popular platform or anywhere else, and give vent to the very natural sentiment that where a man pays rates and taxes there he should have a vote, you will get a cheer from almost any audience. You get that cheer for the simple reason that doctrine, that sentiment — or whatever you may call it — is fundamentally at variance with the doctrines upon which this Bill is founded. Strict electoral equality, like other maxims of the copy-book Whiggery of the last century, is in these days not only strange and out of harmony with, but is detested by, the masses of the people.

The right hon. Gentleman, in the case of successive occupation, says that it is absurd that a man by changing his residence from one side of the street to the other should lose his vote. But that could happen in a model city at the present time. A man would lose his vote by removing from Birmingham to Aston Manor. The right hon. Gentleman speaks about having all the elections on one day in London. Why do we not have all the elections on one day in the counties now? What is the reason that prevents the theoretical desire that they should be on one day being carried into effect? For the serious reason known as the police reason. Ratepayers in the counties do not like to be asked to maintain the force of police that would be necessary to be in attendance at all the polling places in a county in view of possible disturbances. I should like to know whether the right hon. Gentleman has consulted the Commissioner of Police in regard to that aspect of the matter?

The greater part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech was an attempt to describe the position of my hon. Friend who moved the Amendment, by saying that it presents us with no tangible or formulated alternative. There is this to be said of all the right hon. Gentleman said about redistribution: that it amounted to nothing more than that a redistribution scheme, to be just and effective, is very difficult to frame. We know that ! We know that it is very difficult to approach any question of electoral reform without facing great difficulties, and running great risk of injustice. That is why we, on this side of the House, say, and always will say, that neither this nor any other Government, in approaching any of these questions, should fail to approach them as a whole, and deal with all the anomalies which exist in a way in which a Government can alone deal with them, namely, by a measure of first-class importance in a fresh Parliament returned by an express mandate from the electors for the purpose.


We are told that London is absolutely opposed to this Bill. I cannot but think that that is a curious commentary on the statement that the opposition to the Bill is led by the right hon. Gentleman who hails from Yorkshire, and not from either of the hon. Gentlemen who occupy the London seats. Last year a Bill on somewhat similar lines was before the House. The objection then, as I understood it, was that it was introduced by a private Member. This year the Bill is introduced upon the responsibility of the Government. I do not find that the opposition has diminished. It has rather increased in bitterness if not in force. The right hon. Gentleman opposite thinks it worth while to say that the Bill illustrates the fact that Liberal Governments always attempt to reform questions with a desire to manipulate the subject in favour of their own party. The Government has been blamed for this Bill as piecemeal legislation. I have been in this House for many years, and should be afraid to say upon how many occasions I have seen London dealt with by a separate Bill, and by Bills which have been promoted by both Governments. An objection of that kind scarcely comes with good grace from a Government which dealt separately with London by the London Council Bill of 1899!

There is another and closer precedent. Parliament dealt separately with the hours of polling in London. But I do not admit that in the true sense of the term we are dealing separately with London; or, at all events, we are not putting forward any new principle in this Bill. On the contrary, we are merely recognising the facts of the situation, and applying to those facts a principle which already exists and is recognised.

The hon. Baronet emphasises the statement that London is a county, and not a borough. Taken literally, no doubt that is true. But the conditions and habits of the people of London constitute it in reality, because of constitution and character, far more of a borough than a county. Why is it that you have this right of qualification by succession in boroughs and not in counties? Clearly because the population cf the borough is recognised to be more mobile than the population of the county. A s regards mobility, there is no population that. has that quality to a greater extent than the population of London. I think that is a good quality. I do not want in any way to check the mobility of London's population; but clearly it is not a quality which ought to be penalised as the present law does penalise it. Then the hon. Baronet, taking up the phrase of the Chief Commissioner of Works, when the matter was last before the House, "as in London," said it was not appropriate. He referred to the case of Birmingham and Aston Manor. He reeled off a very long list of similar cases. But the analogy does not apply. The relation between the London boroughs amongst themselves is not at all the relation between Birmingham and Aston Manor or between Plymouth and Devonport. It is asked why not? I am surprised that this should be doubted, because the Government of the party opposite recognised that the cases were different by bringing into existence the London County Council by the Act of 1888. That Act was a recognition that for some purposes London was to be regarded as an entity. You have not a common county council for Birmingham and Aston Manor; they are distinct for such purposes, but by the Act of 1888 you recognised that London was integral for some purposes, not for all purposes, but for some purposes of local government. In saying that I desire to guard myself, being as I am a strong advocate of autonomy for the London Boroughs, for some purposes, and it is enough for me to point out that the creation of the London County Council made a clear distinction between the London borough and the cases which the hon. Baronet has cited. The hon. Baronet (Sir Henry Kimber) delivered his usual speech upon redistribution. Last year, when we were discussing this Question, he was described as the Brobdingnag of Wandsworth, and he was contrasted with the Lilliput of St. George's-in-the-East. No one on this side of the House denies for a moment that there is an irresistible case for redistribution, but any hon. Gentleman who raises the Question of redistribution upon the present occasion, where it naturally does not arise, sets himself to do so either from wantonness or insincerity.

I was sorry, and I was somewhat surprised at the bitterness of the opposition of the two hon. Gentlemen who moved and seconded the rejection of this Bill, and I was surprised particularly because the hon. Baronet said he always looked upon this reform and redistribution Question from the non-party point of view. I ask him to look at this Question to-day from the non-party point of view. I ask him to regard it from the point of view of a London Member, discarding these unworthy suspicions with regard to the motives that have actuated this Bill, and I ask him and his Friends to support this Bill because it goes a long way to remove these disabilities from which London has so long undeservedly suffered.


The right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill made, as he usually does on these occasions, a facetious and humorous speech, but I must own I failed to see in that speech any very strong argument in favour of the Bill which is now before the House. He dwelt at some length on what he described as a Bill, but which I understood was not a Bill, introduced by the late Government, pointing out where it failed to carry out certain proposals which he thought desirable, and then he charged the hon. Baronet who moved the rejection of this Bill with not having brought forward any clear, concise, and succinct scheme for redistribution, which he so much favoured. It certainly did seem a rather remarkable argument, coming from a Member of the Government, to complain that a Member of the Opposition who objects to this Bill, in his argument objecting to it, should not have brought forward some counter scheme of redistribution.

The hon. Member who has just sat down (Mr. Pickersgill) has pointed out that in many instances London has been dealt with differently from other parts of the country, and he claims therefore that this Bill, which proposes differential treatment for London, might reasonably be assented to on both sides of the House. The hon. Member himself said that for some purposes, but not for all, London may be re garded as an entity, and he emphasised the fact that London may be regarded as an entity with respect to local government. The Bill we have before us has nothing to do with local government; it is a Bill relating to the Imperial Legislature, and surely no argument which applies to local government can be said to hold good when we are dealing with conditions under which Members are returned to what may be regarded as the Imperial Parliament. Therefore it seems to me that that argument of the hon. Member entirely breaks down. The Bill which we are discussing fortunately does not in any way affect the Constituency which I have the honour to represent. I do not think there will be any dearth of speakers upon this side of the House who will be capable of showing that there is strong objection on the part of those whose constituencies are affected by the proposals in this Bill. But the fact that my own Constituency is not affected does not seem to me to afford any reason why I should abstain from expressing an opinion as regards the general policy of this measure and its effect upon the representative character of this House. On the contrary, I venture to think that those whose position is in no way affected are, perhaps, more competent of assigning reasons for dissenting from the provisions of this Bill than those whose constituencies are likely to be very much altered by these proposals. Certainly it cannot he said that we do not approach the question from a purely non-party point of view, and that our criticisms are not made from an absolutely impartial standpoint.

What are the proposals of this Bill? I listened with interest to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who is responsible for its introduction, and he dwelt some little time in indicating some of the detailed machinery by which the proposals of this Bill are to be carried into effect: As I said, I approach this Question from the point of view of general policy, and, speaking generally, the objects of this Bill are, I take it, to unite into one great municipality for Parliamentary election purposes the different boroughs in the Metropolis, and at the same time, inferentially, to arrange that all the elections shall take place upon one day. The right hon. Gentleman who introduced this Bill and the hon. Member who has' just sat down (Mr. Pickersgill) both spoke, of this as a very trifling matter, but is it? It effects a complete change in the conditions under which London Members are returned to Parliament, but it makes a complete revolution in the conditions under which no less than fifty-nine Members of the present House of Commons hold their seats. Can that in itself be considered a small measure, quite apart from the consequences to which it may lead? Before assenting to changes of such a revolutionary character as those contained in this Bill, I think we are justified in asking for a clear statement as to what are the advantages which are likely to result from it. What will be the general gain to London or to the country generally? While the advantages claimed for this Bill are not very clearly defined, I do not think it can be doubted that the advantages, the inconveniences, and the disabilities arising out of this measure are evident to everyone. These disadvantages mainly arise from the fact that all the elections under this Bill are to be held on one day. It has already been pointed out that the effect of holding all these elections on one day must be to seriously interfere with the business arrangements of this great metropolis of the Empire, and it must inevitably involve the disturbance of all our postal arrangements and our telegraphic and telephonic communications on that particular day. Even the police force may not be sufficiently strong to protect the life and property of the people and to protect our streets, because they would be largely employed watching the polling booths, and London for that one day will be delivered over to the hooligans and roughs, and one scarcely knows what may be the result. These and other practical difficulties arising out of the complicated machinery of this Bill do not seem to have been sufficiently considered by its framers.

I have only referred to a few of the difficulties, and I am fully aware that the inconveniences and disadvantages of this Bill are far more numerous than those to which I have referred, but I have purposely avoided referring to others. There is, however, one to which I should like to refer, and it is the proposal that the clerk to the London County Council shall be the returning officer for the Parliamentary Borough of London. Everybody knows that the London County Council is a very much overworked body. Year after year new and increasing duties are thrown upon that body, and the members of it even now complain of the difficulty, if not the impossibility, of discharging the all-important duties for which they are responsible, Under this Bill a new duty is to be thrown upon the clerk to the London County Council, who will be called upon to act as the returning officer to the Parliamentary Borough of London. If we look at clause 4, sub-section (4), we find it is provided:— "(4) Every town clerk shall, as soon as the revised lists of the Parliamentary electors are received by him from the revising barrister,_ send a copy of the lists so revised to the clerk of the London County Council, together with notice of any entries. contained in those lists which he has reason to believe to be duplicate entries, and it shall be the duty of the clerk to the London County Council to examine all the lists sent to him as a whole, with a view to ascertaining any entries in those lists which are. duplicate entries, and to cause any such duplicate entries to be brought to the notice of the special revising barrister when holding his revision court." That is no light task for which the London County Council, through its clerk, will be responsible. Anyone who looks through this Bill will see how many other duties are thrown upon the London County Council. Those are some of the disadvantages of this Bill, but what are supposed to be its advantages? In the first place, it is contended that this will assimilate the procedure in London with the procedure adopted in.. other large cities as regards Parliamentary elections. The second great advantage which is supposed will result from this Bill is that it will prevent plural voting, and the electors will be stopped from recording their votes in two constituencies. With regard to the first reason, I think we ought to bear in mind the fact that our representative system already contains a very large number of anomalies, and that one anomaly, more or less, does not make very much difference. When it can be shown, as in this case, that the removal of one anomaly creates a large number of new and different anomalies, surely that cannot be regarded as a sufficient reason for the acceptance of the proposals contained in this Bill. We have to. ask ourselves the question whether there is any real resemblance between London as a city and the other cities which have been mentioned, such as Birmingham, Liverpool, and Manchester, to enable us to deduce logically from the practice of those cities a rule which can be applied to the metropolis. Can. it be said that there is any community of feeling among Londoners, politically or otherwise, which justifies London being regarded, from a Parliamentary point of view, as one single entity? Can it be said that there is the same community of feeling throughout the whole metropolitan area as exists in, Liverpool, Manchester, or Birmingham, or any other of our large cities The hon. Member opposite (Mr. Pickersgill) admits that it has been necessary in the past to adopt exceptional legislation for London, and in many Acts London has been differentiated from other cities. That is not an argument which cuts both ways, but certainly it is an argument which has reference to any analogy being dawn between provincial cities and London. Such an analogy cannot be applicable to London. There is another point. This Bill makes no difference between the boroughs on either side of the Thames. If we compare London with such a place a3 Manchester we find that, whereas by this Bill all the different boroughs throughout London will be linked together and treated as one municipality, we have two contiguous boroughs in Manchester which remain perfectly distinct—I mean Manchester and Salford. Are we not, therefore, creating a large number of different anomalies by differentiating London from provincial cities? Supposing Manchester, Newcastle, and Liverpool had the area occupied by London, would not that area consist of a large number of different boroughs, each of which would be a single constituency? Yet all the boroughs of London are to be united. That shows that the argument of analogy has entirely broken down. I do not say there is much value in any argument of analogy, but in this case this argument breaks down. We come to another consideration, which is very important, and that is that the Bill will be a step towards preventing plural voting. The right hon. Gentleman who introduced this Bill has made certain attempts to abolish the system of plural voting, which he regards as vicious. His former attempt made in 1706 was far more ambitious than this. This is not to be compared with it. In fact, compared with that measure we may regard this as a comparatively small measure. The right hon. Gentleman has learned during that time the very useful lesson of proceeding cautiously, tentatively and by degrees towards the object which he has in view. I venture, with my little experience of Parliamentary life, to pre--diet that the Bill which he has now introduced, small as it is, will meet with -exactly the same fate as the larger measure which he introduced three years ago, and will meet with that fate for the same reason. He knows, all Members know, everybody knows, that the country is not prepared for a revolutionary measure of this description.

Let me say one word as regards plural voting. I am not going to quote John Stuart Mill on plural voting. John Stuart Mill is an overrated economist, and he is quoted by hon. Members only when his opinions happen to coincide with their own. When I spoke on this subject three years ago, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean reminded me that John Stuart Mill changed his opinion on this subject. He changed his opinion on many of these political questions. I can fully understand that several Members occupying Government Benches are in full sympathy with the views of John Stuart Mill, but for my own part I must own that I have not been a very strong supporter of plural voting. I own that I regard the mere possession of a freehold property in some district of the country remote from that in which one dwells, and where one has no special interest, is no sufficient. reason for giving to a man a vote for the constituency. I have said that before; but the case is very different indeed when a man resides in one locality and carries on his business in another locality. There are large numbers of persons who carry on their business in the City, or in some other part of the metropolis, and yet reside in other parts of greater London. It would be difficult and very hard for them to have to select the constituency in which they should vote; and it does not seem to me in the least degree fair that a man should be disfranchised in any constituency in which he has a distinct interest. Here, again, the analogy between London and provincial towns breaks down. A man may carry on his business in Birmingham and reside in the suburbs, and yet he can have a vote for Birmingham. But if a man resides in Dulwich or Norwood and carries on his business in Oxford-street or any other part of the metropolis, he will, under this Bill, be disfranchised from exercising his vote, and yet both those districts might be much less distant than the suburbs are from Birmingham. This Bill would create new anomalies, new disabilities, and would be unjust and unequal in its operation. Surely no case has been made out in favour of this Bill which overcomes the obstacles to which I have referred. This kind of piecemeal legislation which the Government on more than one occasion has endeavoured to pass must necessarily be attended with all the disabilities I have mentioned. Why is it the Government are endeavouring to legislate for London in this differential way? Reference has been made to the fact that we have been promised a Redistribution Bill. Is there any reason whatever if a Redistribution Bill is to be introduced before the General Election, why this particular Bill should not be deferred and made a part of that measure? If it were so, many of these anomalies which at present exist might be removed. We have heard that a Bill for "one man, one vote" should be attended by a corresponding measure of "one vote, one value." One does not want to repeat these ordinary, hackneyed phrases, but surely everyone will admit, if one man is to have one vote, it is desirable at any rate that somewhat more uniformity should be given to the value of the vote and unit than they have at the present moment. This might be effected, and probably would be effected, by a Redistribution Bill, not having reference to London alone, not having reference to England only, but to Great Britain and Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman asked what we should have said if he had brought in a Redistribution Bill for London. We could not have said much more than we have said on this Bill; but we should have said exactly the same. We should have said that the Bill should have been postponed till we had a complete scheme of redistribution applicable to the United Kingdom. If the present Bill were to pass, hon. Members opposite must see that many of those sitting on both sides of the House would no longer correctly represent the constituencies which have returned them. It may be, I am not prepared to say, that many do not at present represent the political opinions of the constituencies which returned them; but if they do not;, it is because the political views of the constituencies have changed. This Bill, however, would alter the constituencies themselves, and they therefore could by no chance be correctly represented. The constituencies would be made larger or smaller; they would be altered in some way or other; and therefore the Members returned could no longer correctly and adequately represent those who sent them. That is generally recognised. It is recognised by the right hon. Gentleman who brought in the Bill, because it has been pointed out that a Redistribution Bill is brought in towards the close of a Parliament and just before a General Election. A Redistribution Bill is followed by a General Election or by a Dissolution. Why, if the Government wish to bring in this Bill, do they not at once state that they will be prepared to go to the country? Surely, no period in the eyes of the Government could be more appropriate for a Dissolution than the present time, when they have just brought in a democratic Budget which we are going to consider and which transfers periodically slices of earned property to those who have not earned it ! No period could be more appropriate for appealing to the electors than the present occasion. It seems to me no Bill of this description, affecting the character of the constituencies which return Members to Parliament, ought to be introduced unless accompanied by a Redistribution Bill, applicable to the whole country, and followed immediately by a Dissolution. For these reasons, I certainly cannot support the Bill, and I shall vote in favour of the Amendment of my hon. Friend.


The hon. Member who has just sat down and of whose constituency I form a humble fraction, has approached this question, as he explained, from an academic and detached point of view. No doubt that partly explains the relatively mild terms in which the hon. Member denounced the Bill. I have no doubt it is also partly due to the fact that the Bill, unlike the former Bill introduced by the right hon. Gentleman—the Plural Voting Bill—leaves the University which the hon. Member represents unaffected. May I, as happening to be the returning officer of the University he represents, congratulate the hon. Member, this House, and his constituency on the fact that the constituency remains unaffected by the present Bill? I gathered from the hon. Baronet who moved the Amendment that, in the course of his long studies of the question of Electoral Franchise, he largely based himself on the opinion of Mr. Gladstone. I could not help, when I heard his speech, remembering a speech I heard made just 17 years ago by Mr. Gladstone in the City of London, of which the right hon. Gentleman was a Freeman, held in high respect. He alluded to the exceptional position in which London stood electorally, and which justifies to some extent those who support this Bill and ask that London should be dealt with, not exceptionally, but with a view to removing exceptional anomalies under which London suffers, more especially in degree if not in kind, compared with the rest of the country. Mr. Gladstone said:— The case of London is a very peculiar case. The registration question is a question in which London has a deeper interest than any other place, whether county or town, in the whole country. No place suffers as London suffers from a defective state of the law. You -suffer mom than any other place from the plural vote. The constituencies of the metropolis are bloated on the one hand and starved on the other. Bloated, as he went on to explain, by the plural vote, and starved by the fact that successive occupation does not run throughout the whole area of London, he called attention to the diversity in electoral power in proportion to population between St. George's-in-the-East, where it was 1 to 13, and St. George's-in-the-West, where it was 1 to 8. The same authority concluded by saying "how unequal is the condition of London in relation to the rest of the country in respect of the enfranchisement of its population." Those words of that authority quoted by the Mover of the Amendment ought to go, far to justify those who -say that the case of London is more clamant for treatment in this regard than perhaps any other part of the kingdom. Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite seem to me somewhat more concerned at the fact that this Bill might remove the opportunity of exercising the franchise from a limited number of persons, who exercised it twice or even twenty times, under the present state of things, than they are concerned to see that those who are eligible for the franchise should not be deprived of it, as is the case under the law. I have heard many piteous tales myself of the humbler citizens of London, who feel bitterly the injustice and unfairness which they have to suffer from the fact that the movement of their residence even only across the road disfranchises them for from one to two years. When I was chairman of the Housing Committee of the London County Council I remember we found that even in the model dwellings of the London County Council there was a change in population of something like 23 per cent. in the course of a year, and in many portions of London, especially the humbler, there is that change or migration to that extent of one-third of the population, and the House will realise how hardly this must operate when the transfer happens to take the form of crossing /my one of these artificial lines which separate Parliamentary boroughs in London at the present time. Those who are familiar with life in London must know that that does operate harshly and cause very great injustice.

The right hon. Gentleman who introduced this Bill justly said it was not a measure to treat London differentially or exceptionally, but was to remove exceptional disadvantages under which London citizens suffer. It does not inflict any injury elsewhere to remove an anomaly and an injustice, and as regards the actual figures, even at a more recent period than that which I quoted from the speech made by the late Mr. Gladstone, in London I find taking the register of 1707 there were 144 per thousand of the population on it, whereas in the rest of England and Wales, excluding London, there were 176 per thousand of the population on the register. That shows the disadvantageous treatment that London obtains under the present system of registration. The hon. Baronet who represents the City of London, on the introduction of the Bill, in opposing it said he objected to London being treated differentially to other portions of the country, but that is precisely the justification which I and other Members urge for this Bill becoming law, because to such a degree London is treated disadvantageously, electorally, under existing circumstances. It is unnecessary, I think, to dwell at greater length upon the claims of this Bill. The hon. Baronet who moved the Amendment seemed to put forward certain high standards of political morality, and I rather gathered that he regarded himself as the one and only follower of those standards, and he seemed to regard both sides of the House as having dealt with this matter in an unjust-and tricky manner.


I made no such imputation.


If the hon. Baronet disavows any such intention, I at once accept his disavowal, but there are others who advocate this Bill, not on any grounds of political jerrymandering, but because they think it will remove a very great injustice which the humbler citizens of London are suffering at the present time, and from no meaner motive than that do they advocate this Bill. It is no disadvantage to this Bill that it regards London as an entity, and as one, or almost one, and as an instalment of further legislation dealing with London in a further unified capacity, I gladly, as a London Member, give my support to this Bill.


I do not propose to say very much on the general question of re- distribution which has been raised by my hon. Friend behind me, except on two points. I do recognise, of course, the immense necessity of it and of doing something in regard to London constituencies, and when you have three constituencies on the borders of London like Romford, Walthamstow and Wandsworth, sending to Parliament three Members, whereas there are no less than 35 constituencies in Great Britain having the same electorate sending 35 Members, it is obvious that it would be an advantage to have Wandsworth sending eleven instead of one distinguished representative. It is, however, perfectly true also that redistribution should accompany electoral reform, and the reason is a very simple one, because redistribution is an exceedingly difficult and troublesome thing to carry out. Every party that does it is invariably accused of manipulating the constituencies in its own interest, and I have no doubt that every party has the desire to do so if they can. The reason why, therefore, you should never allow these large electoral changes to go through without redistribution is that you cannot really get through the one without the other, and if you have your electoral reform, you will postpone your redistribution to some indefinite period in the future. I think the right hon. Gentleman opposite himself provided the very best reason for voting against the second reading, because he told. us that these large measures of electoral reform had always been introduced at the end of Parliaments, because, obviously, you must have a General Election to confirm them. That is a very strong reason indeed against bringing forward any partial system, applying to any particular portion of the country. It is perfectly clear you cannot have a General Election for London, though I should enjoy nothing better myself, and if you could, it would probably provide a surprise for the Government, but it is undesirable to bring forward an electoral change for one part of the country, because you have to wait one, or two, or three years, before the Government go out for the change to be tested.

I, of course, protest very strongly against this attempt to turn London from a county council area into a borough, and to reduce its status by Act of Parliament. -There is, I believe, absolutely no precedent anywhere for such a course. You never heard before in this country of reducing a county borough to the status of a borough area, or a borough to the status of an urban district. Of course, it may happen if the country was decaying and your large county boroughs were deserted and fell to 5,000 or 10,000 inhabitants. In that case the large machinery of Government for a large area and a large population might be too great for the small town to which it had fallen, but nothing of that kind is suggested at all, and in order that certain results—quite different results—may flow from the proposal, and that you may call London a borough, London is to suffer in its status and position through no fault of its own, in order that some little electoral change may be introduced by the Government. It is curious enough that the whole attitude of the Government and of Parliament before this Government came in has been to enlarge the position and power of the County Council. It is notorious that it is always throwing fresh duties upon it. It is notorious also that it has insisted that these duties should be paid for out of the rates, and not by contributions from Parliament itself. Therefore your attitude is entirely inconsistent. You increase its powers and you ought to increase its status. Instead of that you increase its powers, and you are determined to degrade and diminish its status and position. Of course, there may, in connection with London government, be other results which you may wish to follow for this. It is notorious also that the Government were about to bring in a very much larger measure of London government. This is only a very small fraction of the large scheme which they were supposed to be incubating and which has fallen to the ground. Under that large scheme one of the first objects was to destroy the existence, the independence, and the position of the borough councils, which were created in 1879. Is not this a side attack also on the borough councils, because it is quite clear that if you are to call the whole of London one borough the position of the 29 boroughs in London becomes void and of no effect? You cannot maintain your 27 boroughs in London and at the same time call the whole of London one borough.

I protest also against the general idea that you can or ought to equalise the position of London with other boroughs and county boroughs. I know this Bill is advocated on that ground, that you take away the disability from London or give London an advantage which the others possess; but—and this runs through really the whole government of London and other boroughs—if you try and assimilate the government of London exactly to the government of other boroughs you really differentiate against London, and the result is exactly the opposite. You are dealing really with totally different situations, and it is absurd to talk of any principle of government — of assimilating London to Birmingham or Manchester merely by a stroke of the pen. I am fully aware of the fact that in London there is not the same living, and vivid civic spirit as exists in some of the boroughs we know—in the larger boroughs like Manchester and Birmingham, or such smaller boroughs as Taunton, which I represent. I deplore that, but you cannot cure a thing of that kind by merely stating in the House of Commons that a county is a borough. You do not create a civic spirit in that way. You do not arouse the civic spirit through 4 millions of people, you do not make neighbours know their neighbours, you do not excite the interest of London electors in London government by simply saying Parliament in its wisdom has enacted that London shall be a borough, and not a county council. You want to assimilate London, you say, in that way to other boroughs, but the historical position is of course entirely different. These other boroughs originally had one Member. Of course, many of them had no Members before the Reform Bill of 1832. Then many of them NI ere created boroughs with Parliamentary representatives, and electors were taken away from some of them and given to Manchester and other large places. Then when they were divided up it was perhaps natural that the man who had enjoyed the privilege of voting in this particular borough should not be able to multiply himself, as it were, and vote in more than one division of the borough. Here again the history of London is totally different, and it is absurd to draw any analogy or comparison between it and boroughs like Manchester and Birmingham, which have been split up in consequence of historic causes.

The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Harcourt) based his argument to some extent on the elections for the London County Council, and he said this system of preventing dual voting obtained in the County Council area, and was introduced by this party and had worked very satisfactorily indeed. I should be the last to deny that during the last two years the system has had a much more satisfactory result than it had in the previous eighteen, but at the same time, if you do look very carefully at the results I do not think, speaking quite impartially, the results of the non-allowance of dual voting have been successful. There are people who vote twice in County Council elections. A very eminent Liberal confessed to me the other day that he committed the heinous sin of voting in two different constituencies in London, so it can be done. But if you look at the condition of the unrepresentation of property in London you will see that perhaps it would not be at all a bad thing that the inequality between the representation of property should be to some extent redressed by the existence of plural voting. I do not suggest that plural voting is a mathematically correct method of altering the anomalies of other representation, but you have at present in London a rateable value of £45,000,000, of which only £35,000,000 is represented by votes. You have £15,000,000 of property which has no representation at all. That is to say, the owners of that property have no direct power of controlling the expenditure of money which they so largely contribute. Under those circumstances, I entirely deny that the analogy which the right hon. Gentleman wishes to draw is a good one, or that the experience we have had of the method of representation in London County Council elections is at all a good precedent on which to found a new system.

There is another very strong reason, I think, why this electoral system should be accompanied by redistribution. I have no doubt it has not escaped the attention of the right hon. Gentleman that, in his desire to abolish plural voting in London, he has in another sense increased plural voting. He is actually going, under this Bill, by treating London as one borough, and by allowing people who reside within seven miles of the area of that borough to vote in London in respect of business premises, to create a number of plural voters. I should like to appeal to the party opposite whether they really think it is right that they should support a Bill which is actually doing something to increase that anomaly and to create new anomalies against which they so-strongly pledged themselves to vote. Many other names may be added because of this change in the residential limits, and, of course, they themselves have said there will be further alteration in the constituencies, because some people will be able to claim as the result of successive occupa- tion. There will further he a diminution in the electorate of some constituencies because of names which will be struck out owing to the new system of preventing plural voting. These three things together constitute very considerable changes in a great many London constituencies, and it seems to me to be absolutely indefensible that when you have already got these tremendous anomalies which the hon. Baronet (Sir H. Kimber) has alluded to, and when, under this Bill, you are increasing these anomalies and altering in a way you cannot at present define or know the number of voters in the different constituencies, you should here again attempt to have any system of redistribution which would add to the great anomalies already existing.

Of course, you can talk about the difficulty and anomaly of changes in London, moving from one street to another, depriving people of their votes, but, here again, of course, you have innumerable fresh anomalies constantly being created by the fact chiefly of the rather arbitrary line of the county council government. The hon. Member opposite, who has had a great deal of experience on the London County Council and speaks with authority on housing and other matters, has told us about the 33 per cent. of the London County Council buildings shifting every year. I hope that is not due to the harsh conditions which they impose. But he has not dwelt, I think, on the great point of migration. Migration now is not so much within the area of London itself as from London into the outer districts, and, that being so, it is perfectly clear that if you want to maintain people's votes you must give them successive voting, not within London itself, but between London and the great areas outside London. I am very familiar with that, because I tried to represent at the last election the Harrow Division, which contains the whole of Willesden. That district is almost wholly composed of people who work in London. It is one of the great dormitories of London and, of course, that district is constantly growing, and you are constantly by this arbitrary line depriving people of votes, and you will be doing nothing whatever by the Bill to cure that difficulty.

As regards having the general elections on one day, that would no doubt have the indirect result of causing a deal more cost to London in police and otherwise, but I will not say much upon that, as it has already been dealt with. Both that and the Post Office arrangements are incidental details, but they are important details, and I think there will be more disturbance to London business if the whole of the elections take place on one day than if they are distributed over two or three days. Whether the swing of the pendulum will be for the good of one party or another is a question which I will leave to political philosophers, who will deal with it better than I can.

I wish to refer to one or two points in the machinery of the Bill. I do not think the Bill has the least chance of going beyond the second reading, and therefore it may be convenient to refer to these matters now. I think if you examine the system of claiming the place in which you are going to vote you will see that the machinery is very unnecessarily complicated. The notification is to be sent to the revising barrister; from him it is to be sent to the clerk of the county council, from the clerk of the county council to the superior revising barrister, who is to do his work after the ordinary revising barristers have done their own. There is a great deal of unnecessary posting, and there is very great danger that many of these claims may in that way be lost, and the result will be that they will be determined by lot. There is another minor inconvenience which will result from the work of this revising barrister, and that is that the lists can hardly be ready before the end of November, because he is able to sit on the first fortnight of November. The lists take some time in printing, and it will be impossible to produce the fresh Parliamentary registers in the beginning of November. Many have thought that considering the registers are made up in August to introduce them only at the beginning of next year will be far too late. The difficulties in connection with the making up of these lists are enormously increased. They are enormously enhanced by one fact which has been alluded to, and that is the difference there is between the municipal and the Parliamentary areas of London. There are a great many such cases. For instance, there are Lambeth and Chelsea. The Parliamentary area of Chelsea contains a piece of Kensal Rise. Moreover, the Parliamentary areas sometimes overlap the municipal areas, and the Parliamentary constituencies outside to some extent overlap the municipal areas. That causes an enormous amount of difficulty and trouble, and gives, of course, to the town clerks a great deal of unnecessary labour. I am informed that in connection with one constituency there are between 80 and 100 separate lists for the various wards falling within the district, the transferred municipal areas, and the detached portions, and if you multiply these lists by the 58 constituencies you will get between 4,000 and 7,000 separate lists which have got to be examined.

At the present time the expense of registration is divided between the borough councils and the county council. In this case it is going to be thrown entirely on the county. It shows the utter carelessness with which municipal affairs are treated by the Government, that there is absolutely no provision made for any control over the expenditure, so that the unfortunate county council is to have the responsibility of finding money over which they are to have no control. The amount of these expenses will be immensely enhanced because of the discrepancies between the Parliamentary and the municipal areas. That could be cured by a Bill not nearly so contentious as the one which the right hon. Gentleman has brought in. Then we are told that the clerk to the county council is to get fresh staff to examine the lists and find out the duplicates. It will mean the taking on of a large staff and the incurring of large expenditure, and that for no reason except that you may disfranchise a certain number of persons who have at present the right to vote. From the municipal point of view there is nothing to be said for the proposal, and from the Parliamentary point of view it is open to the objections which have been pointed out. I condemn the Bill most strongly. I think it is a mean, pettifogging little Bill to try to introduce by a subterfuge changes in electoral London. The right hon. Gentleman himself confessed that the conseouences are not stated in the Bill at all. The consequences are of such importance that they ought to be stated. They are inferences drawn from the proposition that London ought to be treated as one borough. I entirely protest against a place of the magnitude of London being called a borough, and I entirely protest against the inferences that are drawn from that proposition.


The Amendment which has been moved says: "That this House will not entertain a Bill dealing with, and restricting, the exercise of the voting franchise which, besides its own defects and injustice, is not accompanied by provisions for a redistribution of seats, and gives no remedy for existing glaring anomalies in the representation of the people." Personally, I feel considerable sympathy with the hon. Member who moved the Amendment in his desire that the reform of the Parliamentary system of London should be accompanied by a redistribution of seats. We know perfectly well the discrepancies between the size of the various Parliamentary divisions. They are so great that they have amounted, up to now, to a Parliamentary scandal. But, at the same time, we must remember that the Liberal party is not the only party that has dealt with London electoral affairs without a measure for the redistribution of seats. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of Dublin (Mr. Long), when he was President of the Local Government Board, in 1902, brought in a Bill for the purpose of remedying some of the anomalies that occur in connection with the electoral affairs of London, and he did not suggest any such change as is suggested by the Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman left the great outstanding complaint as to Wandsworth still unremedied. That Bill would not have effected a redistribution of seats in London. This Bill is so drafted that it really does not affect the rest of the country at all. We leave the Parliamentary position of voters all over the country quite untouched by anything done by this Bill. I think it is rather strong to apply to it the epithet which was used by the hon. Member for Taunton that it is a mean, pettifogging little Bill. My hon. Friend the Member for West St. Pancras has shown that the real object of the Bill is not to abolish plural voting, important though that is; -that it is not to make all elections on one day, important though that is; but that it is to do away with a condition of affairs which has brought about serious injustice to the electors of London. The proportion of electors in London is smaller than that which holds good in any other town I know.

If the electors of London bore the same proportion to the population as the electors in Birmingham we should have an increase of over 150,000 in our electors, and it is because this injustice to the electors of London should be done away with that we are anxious that this Bill should pass. That is the primary object of the Bill. The other proposals are more or less incidental. On the statement that if we do constitute London one Parliamentary borough we should have the elections all on one day, we have had some extraordinary difficulties conjured up in the course of this Debate as to what will happen if we have the elections all on one day. We are to have the whole postal system upset, and the police rendered incapable of keeping order. The hon. Gentlemen who make those suggestions forget that once in every three years we appeal to a larger electorate. The electorate of the London County Council is 150,000 more than the Parliamentary electorate; yet we manage it all on the one day, and we have never upset the postal system nor interfered with the repose of the Metropolitan Police. The abolition of plural voting is not the main object of the Bill, but is incidental to it, because if we treat London as one borough then the same principle which governs other boroughs ought to govern London, and if you have a homogeneous community with the same municipal government more or less uniform then a person living in that community should not be entitled to vote for more than one Member of Parliament. That is a simple proposal, yet the hon. Member for Wandsworth has said that the whole object of the Bill is to do away with the Unionist ascendancy. I have myself readily recognised for many years that the Unionist party have had a very important ascendancy in London, but I never suggested that that ascendancy is due to the fact that there is a certain number of people in London who have three, four, or five votes. If that is the only reason which justifies the existence of the Unionist ascendancy in London then I venture to think that we have strong ground for complaint and strong reason to rectify that injustice, and we are doing nothing that anybody could justly complain of.

The hon. Member has raised the point that London ought not to be called one borough, and for the reason that we have in London a certain number of what are called metropolitan boroughs. I venture to think that a great deal of the discussion which has arisen is clue to a misconception of what is the system of municipal government in London. To a person who knows only the municipal boroughs in the country, the argument that a municipal borough ought also be treated as a Parliamentary borough very likely appeals strongly. But there is hardly any resemblance between the metropolitan boroughs and the boroughs of the rest of the country. In fact, so far has that been recognised that when the Act of 1897 was being passed the Conservative Government was impelled to put into it a section which laid down that no Act which affected municipal boroughs should apply to metropolitan boroughs unless it was expressly applied in future legislation. The metropolitan borough is a thing entirely by itself, and a thing which I venture to think it was originally a great mistake to call a borough at all. The metropolitan boroughs, as has been pointed out, are not in the least like boroughs such as Manchester and Salford. These are absolutely independent, and have nothing at all to do with one another. They are under separate mayors with separate councils, and have separate systems of administration, which are totally distinct. You cannot call the metropolitan boroughs distinct. But even on that, in connection with this Bill, we are not talking about metropolitan boroughs at all. We are speaking about Parliamentary boroughs. There, again, venture to think there is a very considerable amount of, I will not say ignorance, but of non-acquaintance with the peculiarities of London administration. The Parliamentary boroughs in London number twenty-seven and the metropolitan boroughs number twenty-eight. But not one single one of the metropolitan boroughs is actually coincident with any one of the Parliamentary boroughs. The only area coincident for Parliamentary and municipal purposes is the City of London.

Perhaps the House will allow me to give an instance of how very divergent the Parliamentary boroughs are from the municipal boroughs. In many cases they, are approximately the same, though they are not quite coincident, but in some cases they are absolutely different. Take, for, instance, Tower Hamlets Parliamentary. borough. Tower Hamlets includes two whole metropolitan boroughs and three parts of other metropolitan boroughs. Portions of five metropolitan boroughs lie within the Parliamentary borough of Tower Hamlets. On the other side, take the municipal borough of Westminster. The municipal borough of Westminster contains three whole Parliamentary boroughs and three pieces of Parliamentary boroughs. That is to say. there are six portions of six different Parliamentary. boroughs existing within the municipal borough which is now called the City of Westminster. I may just point out the results of that from the point of view of the legislation proposed. Take a person living in Tower Hamlets. Suppose he moves his residence from Poplar to White- chapel, he moves from one metropolitan borough into another, and yet he will be able to get a succession vote because he does not move outside the Parliamentary borough. On the other hand, a person in Westminster, although he may move from one spot in the municipal borough to another spot in the same borough, loses his Parliamentary vote. If a shopkeeper moves from Charing Cross to Parliament-street, although he is still subject to the whole of the municipal administration of the civic borough of Westminster, and the corporation of Westminster borough are over him in both places, and all his local affairs are managed for him after as well as before his removal by the same body, yet when he moves from Charing Cross to Parliament-street he loses his Parliamentary vote, sometimes for one year and sometimes for two years. In fact, if you only move from Bond-street to Piccadilly you may lose your Parliamentary vote, though you never leave the metropolitan borough in which you have been living.

That is with regard to successive occupation. But with regard to the plural vote a man in Tower Hamlets may have five shops situate in five different metropolitan boroughs, but he can only vote once because they are all in one Parliamentary borough. On the other hand, a man in Westminster may have six different shops in Westminster metropolitan borough, and he may be able to give votes for six Parliamentary candidates in the different Parliamentary Divisions. I could mention dozens of other instances to show that the idea of rejecting this Bill because of the metropolitan boroughs is a mistake. You have got to look at London as it stands—as a whole.

I attach great importance to the mere fact that we are treating London in this Bill as one great town with the Parliamentary rights which you give to other great towns. The hon. Member for Taunton has taken some objection to parts of the machinery of the Bill. I have no doubt that the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the measure will, as he always does, show himself anxious to meet hon. Members on some of the points which have been raised. I do not propose to refer to them, with one exception, namely, that in regard to expenses. It is quite true that the expenses of registration under this Bill are to be placed on the central rate of the London County Council. At the present moment the London County Council pay half the expenses, and the borough councils pay the other half. The London County Council have already a careful system of checking all these accounts. The person who authorises the accounts is the revising barrister, but the county council appears before the revising barrister and he sees that the accounts are properly rendered and are more or less economical. The only change made by this Bill will be to relieve the borough council of half the expense, and the county council will be responsible for the whole. Therefore, it is perfectly clear that when the revising barrister is going through the charges made by the town clerks and others for this purpose, he will give a little more attention to the officers of the county council in regard to any representations which they may bring before him as to extravagant or improper expenditure. As far as that is concerned, I think that the hon. Member will see that this particular clause has not been so carelessly drafted as he seems to think, but that it has been carefully considered and may result in very considerable advantage to the system of registration in London. I hope that this Bill will be allowed to go to Committee, where I am sure that some of the points which have been raised will be very carefully considered and, where possible, fairly met. I hope, despite what has been said by hon. Gentlemen opposite, that this Bill will become law this Session, and that some 150,000 persons who are at present deprived of the vote will be put in a position to exercise the franchise equally with the citizens of other big cities.


I think that it is perfectly obvious from the speeches we have listened to, and also from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill on the first reading, that the whole basis of this measure is that London is, or can be made, one city in the sense that any other city is one. I ask any Member who knows London, its different parts, its different histories, its different traditions, its different occupations, trades, and industries, whether ever such an absurd basis was put forward for any Bill in this House I confess that I listened to the hon. Gentlemen the Member for North St. Pancras with perfect astonishment when he said that this Bill was justified by the fact that London was or could be made a homogeneous entity. Is it so It is a proposition which will not commend itself to anyone who has the slightest knowledge of London. So much for the basis of the Bill.

Now for its object, which is said to be to "put London on a par with Birmingham or other great towns of the country." But London is absolutely different from Birmingham or other great cities, and the object sought by this Bill is perfectly unattainable. London can never be placed on a par with Birmingham or any other provincial town simply because it consists of ten or twenty cities, each as large as Birmingham, each in relation to the other as different as Birmingham is from Manchester, or as one provincial town is from any other. The real object of the Bill is to do away in a limited area with what is called plural voting. That is the object aimed at by the party opposite, because they consider, rightly or wrongly—and I think that there is some reason to doubt that they are right—a larger number of people who have plural votes belong to the party to which they are opposed than to their own party. That is the whole object of the Bill. Later I may have something to say about the ethics of the states manship involved in trying to introduce under the guise of improving machinery a great change of principle, which you have not been able to carry through Parliament by legislation in a direct form. The hon. Member for West St. Pancras and the hon. Member for North St. Pancras, who followed him, emphasised their point by comparing the proportion of voters to population in London with the proportion of voters to population in the country. It is well known that London is essentially a place with an enormous floating population—a population which is taken for the purposes of record, but which is so fluctuating and so transient that it cannot be taken for purposes of electoral comparison. Therefore in the case of London it is natural—and it must always be the case— that the proportion of voters to population is much less than in the rest of the country, where the conditions of the population are more fixed. The hon. Member opposite argued that because the county council election in London could be held in London on one day that therefore there would be no difficulty in holding the Parliamentary elections on one day. To my mind that i3 also an altogether false analogy, if you compare for a moment the amount of calls upon officials and police and the number of voters in county council elections with those at Parliamentary elections. You cannot argue as to those matters from a county council to a Parliamentary election. The hon. Member for West St. Pancras (Sir W. Collins) criticised the hon. Member for London University (Sir P. Magnus) because he had used what, I think, he called "abstract arguments."




I beg your pardon; I meant "academic." That was the word used and not "abstract." This Bill does introduce a really new principle, a great change, and a great revolution in our Parliamentary institution and in our representative government, which has not yet been passed or not yet admitted by this House, and I think that that change must be discussed to a certain extent upon the question of principle, and one may well point out how this change of principle will apply in London.

It seems to me that the whole basis of this Bill is altogether illogical. Either you must leave taxation as a basis of franchise, or throw it over altogether, and have what is tantamount to manhood suffrage, or, if you like to call it so, "one man one vote." You cannot combine two principles so diametrically opposed to each other. But that is what this Bill does. It says, "We will start off on the old principle of taxation and representation. That is our basis for the qualification of the voter; he must have it in order to be able to vote, and by virtue of having it he shall be able to vote for the Parliamentary borough in which the qualification exists." Then with regard to certain individuals you suddenly pull up and say, "Oh, no; we are wrong; we do not mean that: We shall abandon that basis with regard to these voters, and they shall not have the vote, like all the rest, for the Parliamentary boroughs in which they possess the qualification." Could anything be more illogical, invidious, and unfair? Or could any scheme be more destructive of the real basis of representation on which Parliamentary government has existed in this country It is directly opposed to what was the original and is still the fundamental theory of representative government, as distinct from, or, at any rate, precedent to, party government. The fundamental theory is that the people who pay the taxes and have a direct interest in a particular locality or community should be entitled to send to Parliament the man who intheir opinion will best represent the interests of that locality or community, which are often entirely different to those. of another locality or community. That right you admit, and you measure or express it in the voter's qualification. What is your justification for destroying this original logical and sensible basis of representative government with regard to certain individuals, and, what is more important, with regard to certain localities and communities? You have no justification unless you frankly say that you wish to make everything subservient to party government, and, unless you assume what ought not to be assumed in theory, and what I am far from admitting is the universal practice, that people vote for a man not because he is a fitting representative of the locality or community but simply because he belongs to a particular party. It is only from that point of view that you can deny to any man who possesses the qualification in a constituency, and who by virtue of that qualification is able to form a judgment as to who shall best represent his interests, the right to vote in any constituency in which he possesses that qualification. I listened with surprise to the hon. Member for the University of London when he said that because a man had a vote in two or three constituencies that therefore he was not able to form an opinion about all of those constituencies. I think it is perfectly possible. It generally happens that the individual who has a vote in London has a vote in the country, and has a vote in two or three different parts of the country, visits those different parts, and lives in London, and he is able to form a fair judgment of the needs and requirements and the representation of each one of those districts. The whole result of this Bill will, it seems to me, be to enslave everything in this country—all the interests, local, individual, and peculiar to constituences—to a system of party Government and nothing else. To deny to people who have the qualification to vote in a constituency the right to exercise that vote from the point of view of the interests of the constituency on the ground that if they vote in more than one constituency they are certain to give their votes to the candidate who belongs to one party, is to represent what I think is very far from being the case.

Let me take a case that often occurs: In one constituency the whole condition of the locality and the character and occupation and interests of the community may be quite different from those in another, and a man may be standing for one who is eminently suited for it by his attainments, his profession, or trade, his long service in the same capacity; and in the other a man may be standing who is just as unsuited to represent it. Who can judge so well as the voters who have qualifications in those two constituencies respectively, and who know their needs and character. I do not think it is by any means the case that because these two candidates belong to the same political party every voter will necessarily vote for the man who is unsuited and for the man who is suited to represent the two constituencies respectively. I venture to hope that the House will not give a second reading to the Bill.


As one associated for thirty years with registration work, I venture to say a few words. The Bill which has been presented to the House is a large enfranchising Bill. I am surprised that the hon. Member who moved this Amendment should be responsible for it. because there is no one in London, except the hon. Member for Lewisham, who represents a larger number of disfranchised electors than does the hon. Baronet who sits for Wandsworth (Sir H. Kimber). There has been a great movement of population in South London—especially owing to the County Council tramcars—from the more central districts to Wandsworth, Tooting, etc. Directly an elector moves from any of the central districts to one of the suburban areas of London he is per se disfranchised, and loses his Parliamentary vote. The most singular thing is this: that he does not lose his county council, municipal, or board of guardians vote, but he loses his Parliamentary vote. That is an anomaly that this Bill is to rectify. By looking at division 3 of the overseers' lists people can discover for themselves the number of people who have been disfranchised. Over 1,000 voters were disfranchised last year in Wandsworth. It is such an absurd thing to rob a man of his Parliamentary vote while you leave him his municipal and other votes. There is a connection between one part of London and another different to other places that have been cited. Five-sevenths of the rates are for common charges and two-sevenths for local purposes. For the fire brigade Hammersmith as well as Dulwich contributes, and Hackney as well as other places contributes to the education rates. As I say, five-sevenths of the rating in London is central rating. Birmingham, Manchester, Salford, make their own rates independently of their neighbours.

I have no desire to refer to my own Constituency, except that I know it well. Thirty-three per cent. of the electors in my Constituency moved last year-5,700 out of 15,013. They shift from one place to the other. I took the trouble to look into this matter, and I found that 737 came into my division from other Parliamentary boroughs. There are 134 people who would he enfranchised because the boundary of seven miles would be extended, and that with the 737 would mean 871 people who would be enfranchised if this Bill became law—737 as succession voters from other Parliamentary boroughs. They can retain at present their county council vote and borough council vote, but they lose their Parliamentary vote, and will have to remain without the Parliamentary franchise until 15th July next. I find that 837 people moved out of my division to Lewisham and other places, and because they moved from the Parliamentary borough of Southwark into Lewisham and other places they lose their Parliamentary votes altogether this year. That is peculiar to London, and in that respect London differs from any other corporate town. Everyone acquainted with Birmingham and Manchester knows how different things are in these cities. If a man moves from one place to another in the area of the corporation of Birmingham or Manchester he still retains his Parliamentary vote. I never gave much attention to the question of plural voting. I believe it is exaggerated. I never considered it a very important factor. The larger merchants at the present time have lost their plural votes, bemuse they preferred to turn their businesses into limited liability companies, and it is startling to find the number of firms who agreed to lose their votes in that way. The plural votes now are in the hands of the small tradesmen who opened shops in various parts of London and have votes for each shop. I know one man who has 16 different votes. Out of 141 persons who have plural votes 104 are starred because they have a vote in the Parliamentary district of Southwark. The hon. Baronet the Member for Wandsworth (Sir Henry Kimber) said you cannot send in to a clerk in the county council the names of persons who have plural votes selecting one division in which they elect to vote; but they have to do it now. If a man has more than one qualification, say for instance a man has a vote in every one of the seven Tower Hamlets, he has to select the division he will vote in at the Parliamentary election, and if he does not do so Parliament has laid down conditions as to how the revising barrister is to act in such cases. The revising barrister places a star against the name of the elector in every other division, and this prevents him from voting at any other election. If a man turns up in the polling booth who has his name starred lie is refused. It is the same in the borough of Islington, Camberwell, St. Pancras, and Marylebone. This is a matter which is dealt with almost every day, and there is no difficulty about it.


Not over a great area like London?


It can be done as easily-over the whole of London as if, is done at the present time. It can be done by the revising barrister, but the duty is thrown upon the elector himself, who has to decide which division he will vote in; and if he neglects to do so the revising barrister settles the matter for him. Throughout all the counties of England that is the common practice in the registration courts. Perhaps I may be allowed to say that out of 441 plural voters in the Borough of Bermondsey we have already starred 104 of them, so that they cannot now vote in Bermondsey if an election takes place. We have exercised for them, or the revising barrister has, the right of selecting the division in which they shall vote. This is not a party question. [OPPOSITION cries of "Oh, oh !"j It is not a party question at all, because it affects the West End of London as much as the East End; it affects the poor as well as the rich, and it affects the supporters of the Government just as much as it does the Members of the party opposite. If a person moves from the West End into some other Parliamentary division, he suffers just the same as he would if lie lived in the East End of London, where he might be a red-hot Radical. It is not a question of party, and I am surprised that hon. Members opposite should come forward and support practically the disfranchisement of a very large number of their own supporters. A very large number of the people who are affected by this proposal belong to all sections of the community. For these reasons I hope the House will give this Bill a second reading, and allow the details to be threshed out in Committee. At any rate, I hope that the promoters of this Bill will see that when a man moves from one Parliamentary borough to another in London he is not deprived of his vote.


This is a very characteristic specimen of the legislation of the advisers of His Majesty's Government. It is brought forward and recommended to this House by its real author, the hon. Member for St. Pancras, not as a real attempt to abolish plural voting in 27 constituencies in the country, but as a small, unpretentious, and humble enfranchisement measure. That has not taken anybody in, still less hon. Members opposite, who smile when they hear that contention put forward. The real truth of the matter is that it is a very important change in. principle which affects the greatest city in the world. It affects 27 Parliamentary constituencies, and yet a Bill of this kind is introduced in an amusing speech under the Ten Minutes' Rule. If it were the fact, as the Member for North St. Pancras said, that the real object of the Bill is to remove the plural voting in the Metropolis, a Bill with a single clause might have done that, and hon. Members opposite, who are supposed to he anxious to enfranchise their fellow-subjects, would have had the satisfaction of saying, "This must be accepted or rejected." But that has not been done. Not at all. A Bill has been brought forward which is complex in its provisions. It sets up a costly machinery—an intricate machinery, and proposes a number of fundamental changes. This Bill has been introduced to effect a change in plural voting. Some reason has to be found why plural voting should be abolished in London while it is not abolished elsewhere. In order to furnish some colourable ground for dealing with London, it has to be regarded as one constituency. Anybody who has an elementary acquaintance with London knows that it is a great province. Yet the Bill proposes that it is to he in the future one constituency. Does the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill—do his supporters—really suppose that anybody who knows anything about London thinks that London can be justly called one constituency? I will endeavour to prove that it is not one constituency. But before I deal with that matter let me just say a word in this particular Debate at this particular moment on the subject of the throwing out in another place of the Plural Voting Bill. On the throwing out of that Bill it may be justly said not a dog barked. That is really true. The most fanatical Radical Member who has addressed the most fanatical Radical meetings has never referred to the throwing out of that Bill. The agitation for the Bill is absolutely dead. No doubt during the progress of the Bill hon. Gentlemen opposite received letters from their constituents, but since the Bill was thrown out hon. Members opposite have not won a single by-election. What real principle can he put forward for this Bill? It is really a very strange thing that plural voting should be assailed with vehemence in this Bill, because the Budget is interested in favour of plural voting. What does the Budget do? It treats every individual as if he were what people in my profession call a "persona," and divides him into different sections of taxable entities. It taxes him as the holder of land, as a licence holder, and as the holder of undeveloped land. It finds out by dissection every phase or aspect of him in respect of which money can be wrung from him. It is very strange that the moment you think it right to split up a man perhaps into nine or ten sections and tax him separately on each divided section of his personality, you should deny him the right of being more than one "persona" when it comes to voting, and give him no more than one of those minktory persons in London, on whose behalf this Bill is alleged to be brought forward. I have really honestly endeavoured in listening to the Debate to ascertain what the principle is upon which the Bill is maintained. It is being maintained by the First Commissioner of Works and by the hon. Member for St. Pancras that London is one constituency. The right hon. Gentleman in his speech in the first reading was so impressed by the greatness of Birmingham that he could not get rid of it from his mind for a single moment. He justified everything almost by the words "as in Birmingham." I wish he would show a similar docility in regard to some other lessons which that great city affords. I am afraid I cannot admit that London and Birmingham can be compared at all for the purpose of this Bill. In the first place, it notorious to anybody who lives. in London—and if you like, it is lamentable—that there is no civic patriotism in London at all. I wish there was. It is notorious that the London County Council, who has administered the affairs of London for 20 years, has sought to create that civic patriotism. They have done their best, and I should never endeavour to deny the enormous amount of labour they have undertaken in order to put through such administrative work as they thought right. Every credit is due to them. They have had the assistance of rich and poor men and men occupying the most distinguished positions in the country —a Prime Minister and others, but they have not been able to create in London a sense of homogeneity or patriotism. Notoriously, they have not been able to do so, notwithstanding the great labour and care with which they have endeavoured to do it. How utterly different that is in Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester—how utterly different. I have had some experience in connection with Liverpool. For instance, with my right hon. Friend the Minister for War, I think, we once were Ministerially interested in the charter for the University of Liverpool. Wonderful was the civic patriotism which was exhibited by that great city on that occasion, and afterwards by Leeds, and subsequently by Manchester and Birmingham. Take Birmingham: What is the evidence of complete corporate homogeneous life Why, the Corporation of Birmingham have the whole of their local autonomy—the whole of the local government of Birmingham in their hands. They have the administration of the police and public health, and they have their great water and gas undertakings. They have almost transformed Birmingham by their improvements, and, lastly, as the coping stone of this magnificent civic enterprise, they have their great artistic and scientific university. Of course that makes a splendid and homogeneous community. I do not mention, though I am familiar with, the same features in other places like Bristol, Liverpool, and Manchester. Can anybody who knows anything of the subject contend that there is anything like that homogeneousness in London? In London they do not administer their own police, which is divided between one of the Imperial Departments and the City. A separate Water Board has been constituted for London. [HON. MEMBERS: "Who constituted it V] It was set up by those who recognised the facts. Nobody for a moment, not even the most rabid county councillor, thought that it ought to be entrusted to the London County Council. Where is the gas? In the hands of the companies. I think for some eighteen years Progressive majorities have been in power in the County Council, but whoever hears anything of the London University as the creation of civic patriotism. It is quite a separate thing, and I do not think it can be said that it represents the sentiment of London which the university of Birmingham or Liverpool does in those cities. That is an Imperial question, although it was no doubt supported by the great City companies. That is so. Gas, water, and even the asylums are different in London—you have the Metropolitan Asylums Board. In reference to the interruption of hon. Members who asked who constituted the Water Board; may I ask them this question: "Who constituted the Port Authority"? There is another separate authority. We have not merely gas not administered in London by what hon. Gentlemen seem to say is one constituency. Water is not administered, the Port is not administered, the police are not administered. For a long time even School Boards were not administered. What was the report of their own Commission, or at any rate one which contained very distinguished representatives of the other side, namely, the Traffic Board Commission? The Lord Chancellor was a member of that Board, and very great was the indignation against the County Council for not accepting the recommendation of this important Commission to appoint a Traffic Board. We have had the entire refusal of London to trust the electrical power authority to the London County Council legislation, and the actual institutions of London recognise and point most clearly to that which we all know, that London is not really one city, but a vast congeries of cities, and notwith. standing all the efforts which have been made—I admit most praiseworthy efforts —in that respect by the London County Council to make London one city, that part of their labours has, in my judgment, absolutely failed.

Let me notice this further fact. Birmingham and Liverpool and these other great towns are brought forward as illustrations on which London should model herself. Birmingham was only one constituency before 1885, and it has never been treated otherwise than as one constituency. Before 1885 how many constituencies was London divided into? Ten. What has happened since that time which should disentitle London to have at least ten constituencies? Of course, there has been a great immigration into London. The population is more migratory than ever. A great number of migrants pass into greater London and outside the boundaries. In fact, if you examine the thing you will find that there is far more reason now in the enormous size and the greater instability of the population for London being maintained in a number of constituencies rather than being absurdly called one constituency, as this Bill seeks to do.

As has been justly said, there will probably be no opportunity in Committee to point out some of the grave objections of detail; and I really think I must mention one or two. I do not say a word about the enormous increase which must take place in the staff of revising barristers, but if you examine the task which is laid upon the shoulders of the unhappy person who is called the Special Revising Barrister, the heart of the most industrious might quail. Let me trace what this unfortunate individual is supposed to do.

The present revising barristers have to revise in 58 constituencies in London, and they will continue their work as before. They will hear the objections made by the town clerks and by the opposing agents, and they will continue to make up their lists as they have done before. That is a very difficult work in itself, and it is a necessary work. I never was one myself, but I am informed that every revising barrister has in the simplest case to make eight separate lists. In the case of Norwood there are eleven wards, and that would mean that the revising barrister in Norwood alone would have the compilation of lists and the hearing of objections in regard to 88 lists. I take 80 for a round number. You have got to multiply these 80 lists by the 58 constituencies, and that gives something like 5,800 lists. All these lists have to go before the Special Revising Barriser, who must sit after the revising banisters have concluded their work, which, I think, is upon 12th October; and no courts must sit for the Special Revising Barrister's work later than 12th November. Well, anybody who has ever considered this matter—apparently His Majesty's Ministers have not done so—will see what the task will be for the Special Revising Barrister, who will have to deal with over 5,000 lists. I do not know how many names of "John Smith" they will contain, but if there is a "John Smith" in Walworth and another in Clerkenwell, then the poor man will have to find out whether that is a duplicate entry or not. Supposing that he carries on business under the name of "John Smith and Son," or under some other name, he will have to try to find out the identity of the firm, and whether there is a duplicate entry which entitles a member of the firm to vote in one place and not in another. He will necessarily have to have the attendance of all the town clerks, or their representatives, and of all the parties concerned—and there are often three or four—he will have to hear all those parties, and he will not be able to carry out that work as in the case of the town clerk of Birmingham, who can go to the rate-book. He is only the revising barrister, and he will have to search for duplicate entries in something like 5,000 lists dealing with a population greater than that of Australia. How this unhappy man will be able to do all this distracting work, and to keep order between the multitude of town clerks and others, I do not see. It would be useless to delegate the work to other people, and even if delegation could be made it would not shorten the time, because each man must go through the whole of the work. I confess that if that piece of machinery stood alone it seems to me unworkable as it stands. The Bill is described as a Bill for the enfranchisement of the migratory population of London, whereas in truth it is a Bill for doing far more and a very different thing, and it does not deserve a second reading nor any further discussion.


I feel that it would be improper for a London Member to allow this Bill to proceed to a second reading without urging some of the objections which are entertained against it. What are the reasons put forward by the promoters of this measure to justify its adoption by the House? Their most important argument has been a theoretical one. They have tried to induce the House to believe that London is essentially one great unit, and that it is really due to the accidents of history that it has been split up into a number of Parliamentary boroughs. That, of course, is absolutely the reverse of the fact. London is a congeries of a number of cities which have each grown up distinctly, and for many years were absolutely different from one another. To tell, for instance, the borough which I have the honour to representMarylebone—that it is part of the same entity as Greenwich or Bermondsey would be to say a thing which would be laughed at by everybody who is a resident of the place. Marylebone is absolutely distinct in all its interests and its local history, of which it is exceedingly proud. It possesses a great deal of local patriotism. It is Marylebone patriotism; not London patriotism. The true analogy is not the analogy of such cities as Birmingham, but of Manchester and Salford, or of Liverpool and Bootle, or Liverpool and Birkenhead, where you have two completely separate cities with two completely independent civic lives, which cities gradually extend their boundaries until they join, and then attempts have been made to unite the two, and they have been always bitterly resented. And so it will be if there is any attempt made to amalgamate Marylebone into one great constituency which is to include all the other boroughs of London. That is the theoretic ground on which this

Division No. 154.] AYES. [5.0 p.m.
Abraham, W. (Cork, N.E.) Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Hart-Davies, T. Redmond, William (Clare)
Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch) Haworth, Arthur A. Rees, J. D.
Armstrong, W. C. Heaton Hazleton, Richard Ridsdale, E. A.
Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.) Hedges, A. Paget Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Henry, Charles S. Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Higham, John Sharp Robson, Sir William Snowdon
Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Hobhouse, Charles E. H Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Barran, Rowland Hirst Hooper, A. G. Rogers, F. E. Newman
Beauchamp, E. Horniman, Emslie John Rowlands, J.
Beilairs, Carlyon Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)
Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport) Hyde, Clarendon G. Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Bern, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.) Idris, T. H. W. Sears, J. E.
Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford) Isaacs, Rufus Daniel Seaverns, J. H.
Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Malden) Jackson, R. S. Seely, Colonel
Brooke, Stopford Jardine, Sir J. Shipman, Dr. John G.
Bryce, J. Annan Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Showden, P.
Burke, E. Haviland- Kekewich, Sir George Spicer, Sir Albert
Burns, Rt. Hon. John King, Alfred John (Knutsford) Stanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Cheshire)
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Laidlaw, Robert Steadman, W. C.
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Lamont, Norman Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)
Cleland, J. W. Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E) Strachey, Sir Edward
Clough, William Lehmann, R. C. Straus, B. S. (Mile End)
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich) Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)
Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.) Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas Summerbell, T.
Compton Rickett, Sir J. Mackarness, Frederic C. Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)
Cooper, G. J. Macpherson. J T Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.)
Cotton, Sir H. J. S. MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.) Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Cox, Harold M'Callum, John M. Thorne, William (West Ham)
Crosfield, A. H. Maddison, Frederick Tomkinson, James
Dalziel, Sir James Henry Marnham, F. J. Verney, F. W.
Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.) Massie, J Walters. John Tudor
Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.) Menzies, Walter Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
Dobson, Thomas W. Mooney, J. J. Wason, Rt.Hon. E. (Crackmannan)
Duckworth, Sir James Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Waterlow, D. S.
Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley) Murray, Cant Hon. A. C. (Kincard.) Watt, Henry A.
Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Murray. James (Aberdeen, E.) Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Elibank, Master of Myer, Horatio White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)
Evans, Sir S T. Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw) White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Faber, G. H. (Boston) Norton, Captain Cecil William Whitehead, Rowland
Falconer, J. O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)
Findlay, Alexander O'Donnell, C. J. (Waiworth) Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Fuller, John Michael F. Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek) Williamson, A.
Goodard, Sir Daniel Ford Pearce, William (Limehouse) Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Grant, Corrle Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk. Eye) Wood, T. M`Kinnon
Greenwood, Hamar (York) Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.
Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill Pickersgill, Edward Hare Joseph Pease and Mr. J. Herbert Lewis.
Haldane, Rt Hon. Richard B. Pullar, Sir Robert
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale) Radford, G. H.
Balcarres, Lord Bull, Sir William James Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Burdett Coutts, W. Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)
Bowles, G. Stewart Carlile, E. Hildred Cochrane, Hon. Thomas H. A. E.
Bridgeman, W. Clive Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H. Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)

Bill has been based, but the practical reasons put forward are different. It has been urged by the hon. Members for St. Pancras and Bermondsey, and I dare say by other hon. Members whom I have not had the advantage of 'nearing, that this is a great enfranchising measure, because it will enable people to claim successive Occupation all over London. May I ask the House to consider for one moment on what the principle of successive occupation rests?


rose in his place and claimed to move: "That the Question be now put."

Question put: "That the Question be now put."

The House divided: Ayes, 143; Noes, 51.

Craik, Sir Henry Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham) Salter, Arthur Clavell
Du Cros, Arthur Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R. Sandys, Col. Thos. Myles
Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.) Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham) Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Gardner, Ernest Lowe, Sir Francis William Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston) Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Starkey, John R.
Guinness, W. E. (Bury St. Edmunds) Magnus, Sir Philip Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)
Hamilton, Marquess of Newdegate, F. A. Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)
Harrison-Broadley, H. B. Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield) Winterton, Earl
Heaton, John Henniker Oddy, John James Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Helmsley, Viscount Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington) Younger, George
Hill, Sir Clement Peel, Hon. W. R. W. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir
Hills, J. W. Percy, Earl A. Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia.
Houston, Robert Paterson Rawilnson, Sir John Frederick Peel
Keswick, William Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)
Kimber, Sir Henry

Question put: "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided: Ayes, 141; Noes, 49.

Magnus, Sir Philip Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool) Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)
Newdegate, F. A. Sandys, Col. Thos. Myles Winterton, Earl
Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield) Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.) Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Oudy, John James Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand) Younger, George
Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington) Starkey, John R. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir
Peel, Hon. W. R. W. Valentia, Viscount H. Kimber and Sir William Bull.
Percy, Earl Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)
Rawilnson, John Frederick Peel

Question put: "That this Bill be now read a second time."

Division No. 156.] AYES. [5.15 p.m.
Abraham, W. (Cork, N.E.) Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Hart-Davies, T. Redmond, William (Clare)
Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch) Haworth, Arthur A. Rees, J. D.
Armstrong, W. C. Heaton Hazleton, Richard Ridsdale, E. A.
Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.) Hedges, A. Paget Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Henry, Charles S. Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Higham, John Sharp Robson, Sir William Snowdon
Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Hobhouse, Charles E. H. Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Barran, Rowland Hirst Hooper, A G. Rogers, F. E. Newman
Beauchamp, E. Herniman, Emslie John Rowlands, J.
Bellairs, Carlyon Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)
Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport) Hyde, Clarendon G. Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.) Idris, T. H. W. Sears, J. E.
Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Rumford) Isaacs, Rufus Daniel Seaverns, J. H.
Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon) Jackson, R. S. Seely, Colonel
Brooke, Stopford Jardine, Sir J. Shipman, Dr. John G.
Bryce, J. Annan Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Snowden, P.
Burke, E. Haviland- Kekewich, Sir George Spicer, Sir Albert
Burns, Rt. Hon. John King, Alfred John (Knutsford) Stanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Cheshire)
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Laidlaw, Robert Steadman, W. C.
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Lamont, Norman Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)
Cleland, J. W. Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.) Strachey, Sir Edward
Clough, William Lehmann, R. C Straus, B. S. (Mile End)
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich) Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)
Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.) Mackarness, Frederic C. Tennant. H. J. (Berwickshire)
Compton-Rickett, Sir J. Macpherson, J. T. Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.)
Cooper, G. J. MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.) Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Cotton, Sir H. J. S. M'Callum, John M. Thorne, William (West Ham)
Cox, Harold Maddison, Frederick Tomkinson, James
Crosfield, A. H. Marnham, F. J. Verney, F. W.
Dalziel, Sir James Henry Massie, J. Walters, John Tudor
Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.) Menzies, Walter Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
Dickinson. W. H. (St. Pancras, N.) Mooney, J. J. Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
Dobson, Thomas W. Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Waterlow, D. S.
Duckworth, Sir James Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.) Watt, Henry A.
Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley) Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.) Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Myer, Horatio White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)
Ellbank, Master of Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw) White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Evans, Sir S. T. Norton, Captain Cecil William Whitehead, Rowland
Faber, G. H. (Boston) O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)
Falconer, J. O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth) Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Findlay, Alexander Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek) Williamson, A.
Fuller, John Michael F. Pearce, William (Limehouse) Wilson, P W (St. Pancras, S.)
Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye) Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Grant, Corrie Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.
Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill Plckersgill, Edward Hare Joseph Pease and J. Herbert Lewis.
Haldane. Rt Hon. Richard B. Pullar, Sir Robert
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale) Radford, G. H.
Balcarres, Lord Guinness, W. E. (Bury St. Edmunds) Peel, Hon. W. R. W.
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Hamilton, Marquess of Percy, Earl
Bowles, G. Stewart Harrison-Broadley, H. B. Rawilnson, John Frederick Peel
Bridgeman, W. Clive Heaton, John Henniker Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)
Bull, Sir William James Helmsley, Viscount Sandys, Col. Thos. Myles
Burdett-Coutts, W. Hill, Sir Clement Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Carlile, E. Hildred Hills, J. W. Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H. Houston, Robert Paterson Starkey, John R.
Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.) Keswick, William Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)
Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham) Kimber, Sir Henry Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)
Cochrane, Hon. Thomas H. A. E. Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R. Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.) Lowe, Sir Francis William Younger, George
Craik, Sir Henry Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir
Du Cros, Arthur Magnus, Sir Philip A. Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia.
Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.) Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)
Gardner, Ernest Oddy, John James
Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston) Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)

The House divided: Ayes, 140; Noes, 46.

Bill accordingly read a second time.


I beg to move: "That the Bill be committed to a Committee of the Whole House."

Division No. 157.] AYES. [5.24 p.m.f
Balcarres, Lord Guinness, W. E. (Bury St. Edmunds) Peel, Hon. W. Robert Wellesley
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Hamilton, Marquess of Percy, Earl
Bowles, G. Stewart Harrison-Broadley H. B. Rawilnson, John Frederick Peel
Bridgeman, W. Clive Heaton, John Henniker Rutherford, W W. (Liverpool)
Bull, Sir William James Helmsley, Viscount Sandys, Col. Thos. Myles
Burdett-Coutts, W. Hill, Sir Clement Scott. Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Carlile, E. Hildred Hills, J. W. Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H. Houston, Robert Paterson Starkey, John R.
Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.) Keswick, William Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)
Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham) Kimber, Sir Henry Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)
Cochrane, Hon. Thomas H. A. E. Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R. Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.) Lowe, Sir Francis William Younger, George
Craik, Sir Henry Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Sir
Du Cros, Arthur Magnus, Sir Philip A. Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia.
Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.) Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)
Gardner, Ernest Oddy, John James
Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston) Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Abraham, W. (Cork, N.E.) Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale) Redmond, William (Clare)
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Harcourt, Fobert V. (Montrose) Rees, J. D.
Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch) Hart-Davies, T. Ridsdale, E. A.
Armstrong, W. C. Heaton Haworth, Arthur A. Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.) Hazieton, Richard Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Higham, John Sharp Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Hobhouse, Charles E. H. Robson, Sir William Snowdon
Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Hooper, A. G. Rogers, F. E. Newman
Barran, Rowland Hirst Horniman, Emslie John Rowlands, J.
Beauchamp, E. Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford
Bellairs, Canyon Hyde, Clarendon G. Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Bens, Sir J. Williams (Devonport) Idris, T. H. W. Sears, J. E.
Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.) Jackson, R. S. Seaverns, J. H.
Bethell, Sir J H. (Essex, Romford) Jardine, Sir J Seely, Colonel
Bethell, T R. (Essex, Maldon) Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Shipman, Dr. John G.
Brooke, Stopford Kekewich, Sir George Snowden, P.
Bryce, J. Annan King, Allred John (Knutsford) Spicer, Sir Albert
Burke, E. Haviland- Laidlaw, Robert Stanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Cheshire)
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Lamont, Norman Steadman, W. C.
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.) Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Lehmann, R. C. Strachey, Sir Edward
Cleland, J. W. Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich) Straus, B. S. (Mile End)
Clough, William Mackarness, Frederic C. Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Macpherson, J. T. Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)
Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.) MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.) Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.)
Cumpton-Rickett, Sir J. M'Callum, John M. Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Cooper, G. J. Maddison, Frederick Thorne, William (West Ham)
Cotton, Sir H. J S. Marnham, F. J. Tomkinsom James
Cox, Harold Massie, J. Verney, F. W.
Crosfield, A. H. Menzies, Walter Walters. John Tudor
Daiziel, Sir James Henry Mooney, J. J. Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.) Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Wagon, Rt. Hon E. (Clackmannam)
Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.) Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.) Waterlow, D. S
Dobson, Thomas W. Myer, Horatio Watt, Henry A.
Duckworth, Sir James Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw) Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks., Otley) Norton, Capt. Cecil William White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)
Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Elibank, Master of O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth) Whitehead, Rowland
Evans, Sir S. T. Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek) Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)
Faber, G. H. (Boston) Pearce, William (Limehouse) Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Falconer, J. Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye) Wilson P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Findlay, Alexander Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke) Weed, T. M'Kinnon
Fuller, John Michael F. Pickersgill, Edward Hare TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.
Goddard. Sir Daniel Ford Puller, Sir Robert Joseph Pease and Mr. J. Herbert Lewis.
Grant, Corrie Radford, G. H.
Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)
Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.

Bill committed to a Standing Committee.

The House adjourned at twenty-nine minutes before Six o'clock.

Question put, "That the Bill be committed to a Committee of the Whole House."

The House divided: Ayes, 46; Noes, 135.