HC Deb 07 May 1909 vol 4 cc1341-83

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."


I am glad to place my good fortune in the ballot at the disposal of the Miners' Federation and those interested in the Bill. It is a small Bill in comparison with many. There are two very small matters in it which are merely Amendments of the Coal Mines Regulation Bill of 1887. They relate only to the position of the checkweigher. It is a Bill which should go, with hardly any Debate, to a Committee at once to consider the adequacy of the clauses. The section affected in the Coal Mines Regulation Act is the 13th section, sub-clauses 3 and 4, which prescribe the position of the checkweigher at the coal mine in relation to his duties there, and the important part of the clause is in the third sub-section, which defines the duties of the check-weigher to check the weighings of the coal which is gotten, and to give information if he pleases to those who employ him in the matter, so that he shall give them information not only in relation to the weighing machines and deductions and other matters of that sort, but on any other matter within the scope of his duties as checkweigher, so always nevertheless that the working of the mine be not interrupted or impeded. Then clause 4 provides that if the owner, agent, or manager of the mine desires the removal of a checkweigher on the ground that he has impeded or interrupted the working of the mine or interfered with the weighing or with any of the workmen or with the management of the mine, or has, at the mine, to the detriment of the owner and agent, or management, done anything beyond taking accounts, there shall be a Court of Summary Jurisdiction brought into play, and the checkweigher, after hearing, may be removed from his office. The point about that clause is that if those words, "or has at the mine," came in earlier in the clause so as to limit the reprehensible action, if there is any, of the checkweigher to the time he is at the mine himself, there would be no occasion for this Bill, at any rate, so far as the first clause is concerned. When that Bill was before the House in 1887, the then Home Secretary, Mr. Matthews, now Lord Llandaff, was asked to insert a clause by the then Member for Merthyr Tydvil, aiming at this very matter of the checkweigher's position outside the mine. The clause sought to be inserted was that it should not prevent the checkweigher from being or acting as Secretary to any committee or body of workmen in the mine. From what was said about it it appeared, and it is the case now, I believe, that almost all the checkweighers in the various collieries in the Kingdom are employed also as secretaries of the local miners' committees and bodies assisting them in the transaction of their business in relation to mines. Mr. Matthews at that time objected to the proposed clause proposed by Mr. James. He said:— There is nothing in the measure to prevent a checkweigher from acting in any capacity he pleases outside the working of the mine. And he added:— It would be a great misfortune to insert unnecessary words which would only create difficulty. Therefore, Mr. James, with the assent of the House, satisfied with the explanation given by the Home Secretary, asked leave to withdraw his Amendment, and it was withdrawn in the hope and expectation that the words in the clause would be found sufficient to enable the checkweigher not only to hold that office, but also to act in his ordinary capacity outside the mine for the benefit of the miners. But Hope told a flattering tale, and there has been disappointment, for it so happens that in the construction of the statute the courts when cases were brought before them—I will not say cut down the meaning, but with a laudable desire not to give any more effect to the words than they seemed to import—gave an interpretation which disappointed the hope held out by the Home Secretary when he stated that the words of Mr. James's Amendment were wholly unnecessary.

I shall shortly refer to some of the cases which came before the courts. The first case of any importance was that of exparte White, which was decided in the Court of Appeal on a question with respect to a checkweigher under the Act of 1887. White was a checkweigher, and he was at the pit. Being at the pit, he communicated to the men some resolution which had been passed at a meeting. That was held to be an interference with the management and working of the mine, and the Court of Appeal upheld the judgment of the justices which removed the checkweigher from his office. A more important case was that of Sykes v. Barraclough. The facts were that the checkweigher was also president of the Miners' Association. He presided at a meeting of the men which was held at Acton Hall and at another meeting held at Featherstone.

Apparently from the statement of the case the whole of the action took place outside of the boundaries of the colliery, and yet the magistrates found that he was not justified in what he did, and no doubt properly, for the Court of Appeal upheld their decision that the checkweigher had interfered with the working of the mine. In that case the checkweigher was removed from his office. Since that time, guided by that case, similar decisions had been given, and indeed the checkweighers have found themselves rather hindered in their operations on behalf of the men. It must be understood that a checkweigher is always the most important man in a colliery in relation to those affairs. He is naturally the man from his aptitude in weighing and counting, and from his knowledge of the machinery and management, to whom the miners look, and they frequently appoint him secretary of their association. It seems a hardship that those engaged in this occupation should be prevented from acting in that capacity. There are thousands of people engaged in the mining industry, and I need not remind the House how important it is that the checkweigher should be in an independent position. By the construction of the statute the liberty of the checkweigher has been curtailed. I do not want to expatiate on the question of liberty. It has been said: "This is true liberty when a freeborn man having to advise his comrades may speak freely." That comes down to us from old Greek times, and it is well understood as the scope of liberty which a man should enjoy outside his occupation. The checkweighers are only asking the freedom which is enjoyed in the Post Office and other Government Departments. They only want to be in the same relative position with respect to their affairs. The first clause of this Bill is very simple. It says:—

"The provisions contained in section 13, sub-sections (3) and (4), of the Coal Mines Regulation Act, 1887, hereinafter referred to as the principal Act, shall not apply nor be deemed to apply to a checkweigher otherwise than when he is on the premises of the colliery at which he is employed as a checkweigher."

I ask the House to allow the Bill to go upstairs to be considered by a Committee. Another matter with which the Bill deals is that of shelters from the weather. That is a not unimportant matter, which is provided for to some extent by the Act of 1905. It is not provided for by that statute to the satisfaction of those who are concerned. That subsection provides that a shelter from the weather containing the number of cubic feet requisite for two persons should be provided for the checkweigher. That provision has been interpreted fairly liberally in England and Wales. The place where it is not carried out to the extent to which the promoters of this Bill desire is Scotland. It is rather an odd thing that in "Caledonia, stern and wild," they should not make adequate provision for shelter from the weather for those engaged in this occupation. If the clause dealing with that matter is allowed to go to a Committee upstairs any difficulty (here may be about it can be thrashed out there.

Now that phrase reveals the spirit of the Mining Association. It is put forward on their part, and betrays the spirit in which this Act has been greatly used to the disadvantage of the checkweighers, muzzling them and preventing them from doing that which as ordinary citizens they clearly have a right to do outside their ordinary occupation. Though that is so, there are many colliery owners, some of them Members of this House, who express approval of the provisions of this Bill. All we want is that other colliery owners, managers, and other persons concerned should follow the good example which the colliery owners I have referred to have given. The Government themselves have followed the principle in the recent introduction of checkweighing Arrangements for various other industries, so that apparently there is no objection to the Bill on the score of principle from the Government, and it is a mere question of considering the language of the clauses in Committee. However, we shall probably hear about that, as I hope, from a Member of the Government, who will bestow a blessing on the Bill, so that we shall be encouraged to go forward with our endeavours. I shall leave any further observations or the answer to any opposition that may be offered to it—I do not anticipate any—to the mining representatives. Those mining representatives in the House fortunately still include many of those Gentlemen who were concerned in the Coal Mines Regulation Bill with the hon. Member for Durham, whom I am glad to see here, and there are on the back of the Bill the names of men concerned in the mining industries whose words will impress the House far more than mine, such as the hon. Members for Hanley, Rhondda, Morpeth, and others. I hope that if they think it necessary to enter into the matter they will do so in their picturesque and practical manner, explaining to the House the inconveniences which they suffer and the remedies which they desire.


proposed to leave out the word "now," and, at the end of the Question, to add the words "upon this day six months." In moving the rejection of this Bill, I venture to draw attention to the fact that the introducers claimed as one of its great advantages that it is a small Bill. We are getting used to that expression—we hear it so frequently. It does not at all follow that because a Bill is a small one therefore it is an innocent one. On the contrary, I think that the House may look with increasing suspicion on the Bills of very small dimensions, and I venture to say that it is all the more important on these Fridays in the House that we should carefully examine the propositions put before us. Before dealing in any detail with this Bill I would like to point out the exceptional position occupied by the section of the community with which its provisions are more intimately concerned. They are a class of men, miners, who possess peculiar privileges not accorded by the Legislature to any other class of adult labour in the country, except where questions of the general public safety are concerned. Therefore we have to be all the more careful when this privileged class come to us to demand the amendment of Acts already on the Statute Book or endeavour to obtain further exceptional concessions from this House. They already enjoy the privilege of a statutory eight-hour day. [Cries of "No."] The Legislature have already provided for that. It is only a question of a few months before it comes into operation. [Several HON. MEMBERS: "It is not eight hours."] I call it an eight hours Bill. [HON. MEMBERS: "It is wrong."] I think I am justified in describing it in those terms—eight hours from bank to bank. If the hon. Gentlemen know of any other class of male labour, where public security is not concerned, similarly treated I have no doubt that when the opportunity arises, as doubtless it will later on, they will bring it out. At present, so far as I and the hon. Members sitting around me, especially the right hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London, are aware there is no other class in the community which is treated on those particular lines. It is a very important community, inasmuch as its number is increasing vastly. In recent years there has been a great increase in the number of miners, proving conclusively that that class of labour is not only not too arduous for men to undertake, but also that it is a class of labour which is extremely remunerative. Also I would say that we are dealing with a large section of the community who work, I venture to say, under healthy conditions, although they are not conditions that would attract most of the hon. Members in the House. The death rates are very low—

Mr. THOMAS RICHARDS (Monmouth, West)

On a point of order: This Bill has nothing to do with the miners or the life of the miners as far as the miners themselves are concerned. It applies purely to the checkweighers working on the surface.


I do not see any objection to the remarks which the hon. Member has made. They seem to be more or less relevant.


I venture to make these introductory observations as pointing to the conclusions to which the Bill has led me. Notwithstanding your kind ruling I pass on at the request of the hon. Member to the checkweigher himself. He is a man who occupies a very exceptional position. He is a privileged person inside a privileged class. The checkweigher is selected by the men themselves, not under consultation with the employers, and the checkweigher occupies at the mine and in the pit a position which no one else is permitted to occupy. He not only occupies that position of trust with special privileges, but he really has security of tenure there. The employer, however he may disapprove of the man individually, has no power to remove him from the position which he occupies. He is there, of course, to examine the weight of coal brought out, and to decide, together with the colliery weigh-man, what allowance is to be made for rubbish, stones, and so forth, on the weights, and to come to decisions of that kind. He is protected in every way. He can only be removed by an appeal to a court of summary jurisdiction, and a good case against him must be shown before he can be removed. With regard to one or two observations made by the hon. Member who introduced the Bill as to the rights of a free-born man being able to compete with his fellow men, this free-born man, the checkweigher, against whom there is not the least bit of prejudice, certainly not in my mind, is not merely a free-born man, not merely a man who can claim all the rights of citizenship either at the mine or outside, but he is also a man occupying a very privileged position. Under section 3 of the Act of 1887 it is provided that:— A checkweigher shall not be authorised in any way to impede or interrupt the working of the mine or to interfere with the weighing or with any of the workmen or with the management of the mine but shall be authorised only to take such account or determine such deductions as aforesaid," etc. Under this sub-section the checkweigher must attend only to his proper business of checking the weighings of the coal on behalf of the workmen by whom he is paid to do so, and must not do anything either at the mine or elsewhere, a most valuable and most essential provision, to in any way interfere with the working of the mine. If the so-called citizen rights of the checkweigher are restricted certainly the rights of the employer are also restricted. He must take the checkweigher into Court before he can remove him, and he must prove his case. And the weigh-man appointed by the colliery proprietor has to see that the weight of the coal is right, and the workman is paid according to the weight of coal he gets. The checkweighman is only there to see that fair-play is given to the men. Many of the supporters of the Bill have said outside that the number of cases which arise of the abuse of the position of checkweigher are very small. I will just refer to one particular case, that of a mine in the neighbourhood of Wigan. I must preface my remarks by one or two words as to the nature of the circumstances of the mine. It was a mine evidently working a rather thin seam, and in the process of working they came across a fault. In order to proceed they had to work through this fault, and that was done. On arriving on the further side of the fault it was found that the seam was very much thicker than it had been previously, and the consequence was that a new piece-rate, or field price I think is the technical term, had then to be ascertained. The owners of the colliery employed two men on day work to ascertain by the product of their labour for so many days what the field price or piece-rate ought to be now they had come to a thicker part of the seam. These two men were interfered with by the checkweigher. The evidence of the two men was to this effect. The checkweigher was brought into Court, and one witness made the following statement:— He worked the first week in the day, and a man named Morris worked in the night. The thickness of the coal was 5ft. 8in. and they didn't get the tops, the price paid being 2s. 1d. a ton. Witness remembered going to the weigh cabin on the Friday night when he asked Taylor for the weigh paper of 110 tally. Taylor said there was no weigh paper for him. Witness asked him what about the other 111 tally, and he said there was none for him either. Witness said if there was no paper for him. he was not going to pay, and he then left without the paper. On the morning of 23rd November, after he had been working in the night, he was knocked out of bed to see Taylor and the two Littlers. Taylor then told him that he was running in the face of the two men, and that he had no right to keep on working, and that if he were in his place he would chuck it at once. Witness replied that he should be obliged to serve his notice, and Taylor replied that he couldn't see he needed to do so in a case of that sort. Witness told him that he was not in the union, and asked him if the union would make his tools good. Taylor said he could not say for that. Witness did not tell him whether he would stop working or not. The men stayed about a quarter of an hour. Witness clearly stated in Court, and his evidence has been in no way rebutted, that he was called out of bed to see the checkweigher. ["When was that?"] On the 23rd November, 1901. There you have a clear case in which the checkweigher not only exceeded his duty, which is to act at the mine and in no way to interfere with the men, either at the mine or away from the mine, but he did what under the Act clearly was a most reprehensible thing. We have the evidence of the other man. The other witness said:— He was working at Stone's Pit, and he remembered going to the cabin on Thursday afternoon, 21st November. Taylor asked him if he knew he was doing wrong, and witness said he didn't. Taylor replied that he was doing wrong, but that he dared not tell him, and that he had better ask. Witness said he was a stranger, and wasn't going about asking. On another occasion on the embankment Taylor asked him if he was in a union. Witness said he was, and Taylor then asked for the delegate's name, but witness was so vexed that he wouldn't give it him. He asked Taylor what they were doing wrong, and he said they were working for a penny a ton less than they should, and that they should have explosives free. Witness said they were satisfied with the pace, but they gave up after the conversation. So that here is a clear case where the checkweigher practically intimidates the men—"Are you in the Union?" Then his conversation with the men. After which the man gives up work. We all know what that means quite well. Clearly the man was intimidated by the checkweigher. The checkweigher was abusing the position, the privileged position which he occupied with reference to those miners, and very properly we find that at the close of the case, during which other evidence was given, the checkweigher was removed. In cross-examination there was the following:— In plain words the Federation were objecting to this mine being worked except on their terms?—No. What business have you as checkweighmen to go and communicate the dictates of the Federation to the workmen? I have a right to speak to anyone, I expect. To interfere with the workmen?—No. I do not consider that interference. If getting a man out of bed in the night, intimating to him that he is doing wrong and has got to cease work, with the full force of the miners of the district at his back, if that is not interference with the liberty of a man to the right to work I would like to know what would constitute such conduct. The result of the case was: This was all the evidence, and the bench retired to consider their decision. When they returned to Court the senior magistrate said: 'We think there is sufficient ground shown by the owner to remove the check-weigher, and therefore make an order for his removal, with five guineas costs.' Under this Bill those who have introduced it and supported it do not ask that the checkweigher would be free to do what he likes or to say what he likes at the mine. They do not ask for that, but who supposes for a moment that they would not ask for it if they thought there was the slightest chance of getting it. Certainly they would. They know that, and acknowledge it by the fact that they do not venture to suggest it in the Bill; though what we might have in some subsequent Bill I do not venture to say. They know the checkweigher's privileged position; indeed, the introducer used the expression that the checkweigher was the most important man in the district. It is doubly important that this man, whose whole importance rests upon the fact that he occupies this privileged position, and has such fixity of tenure and cannot be turned out by the owners, the value of his importance rests upon that, it is doubly important that the power of this man to do mischief along the lines to which I have just referred in the case which is typical should be at any rate made impossible, continue to be impossible as it is, at least impossible apart from punishment and at the risk of losing his position as at present obtains.

We very naturally ask ourselves what it is these men want. Men do not promote a Bill in this House and worry the time of hon. Members, who have a busy life already, without some real object in it. Now, what those men want is this. Their checkweighers occupy this privileged position, and what they want is to act as miners' agents simultaneously with this privileged position. They want to be able to act in those two capacities. It is extremely undesirable that those men should be permitted to do that. By using the great power those men have—upon certain terms arrived at between the miners on the one hand and the owners on the other—it might very often happen they would stimulate disturbances, bring about strikes, and interfere in all sorts of ways with the conduct of the mines, and to act in this dual capacity. Hon. Members who represent the mining industry have, for the most part, been checkweighers themselves in the past. They know quite well that steps for promotion into this House in connection with the Miners' Federation are along the lines of the checkweigher. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] That is my opinion. Do you not promote the men who know most about your industry. The checkweigher is selected because he is one of the best miners in the district, then from checkweigher to miners' agent, and on to the floor of the House, perhaps through the Miners' Federation. Those checkweighers want to come here by a cross-country method. They are not satisfied to come from checkweigher to miners' agent, they want to combine checkweigher and miners' agent in a way that cuts off the corners on the road which other men have had to travel in order that they may come on the floor of the House to represent the Miners' Federation. They think the present representatives are getting too old for the job, they want younger men. If the miners' representatives in the House are of the same opinion, well, of course, the next General Election will make it easy for them, if they do not want to accept the Chiltern Hundreds between now and then. If they think they are too old, then by all means pass this Bill and facilitate these young men ousting you from the position you occupy.


You are intimidating us now.


This is a privileged place. That is what those men mean, that is the real inwardness of it. We know perfectly well men of that type and stamp have the power to organise disturbances and difficulty, and that if this Bill is passed the cases will not be few and isolated, but constant, where those checkweighers and miners' agents, in their double-barrelled capacity, will bring about interference with the liberties of the men. The introducer said that the principle of the Bill is embodied in the Government measure. I appeal to the Under-Secretary whether that is so. I have a copy of the Bill here, and I think the Under-Secretary will say conclusively that the provisions of this Bill are not embodied in the Government Bill. In fact, so much is the contrary the fact that I will ask hon. Members to turn to section 2 of the Checkweighing in Various Industries Bill, introduced by the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, and in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary, whom I am glad to see upon the Treasury Bench. Section 2, sub-section 3, of that Bill reads: "The provisions of the Coal Mines Regulation Acts, 1887 to 1908, relating to the powers, duties, removal and remuneration of checkweighers, and the relations between employers and checkweighers, as set forth and adapted in the Second Schedule to this Act shall apply to check-weighers and other representatives so appointed." The introducer of this Bill is entirely mistaken when he says that its principle is embodied in the Government measure. Not a bit of it. All the pro- visions of the existing Act in this respect are reproduced in the new Bill, and that is another ground on which I hope the House will reject the measure under discussion, because, if the House accepts it, great pressure will be brought to bear upon the Home Office in order that their Bill, good and sound as it is in this respect, may be modified in the sense desired by the promoters of this measure.

With regard to clause 2, I do not think there is any great objection to be taken. The whole importance of the measure lies in clause 1; I have no doubt that clause 2, with its sort of appeal to pit, for shelter from the weather, was put in as a makeweight. The checkweighers doubtless share with the colliery weighmen whatever shelter there is, and all the comforts, such as they may be, that surround the process of weighing. The colliery weighmen and the checkweighers are in the same building; if one is exposed to the weather, so is the other; but we are pretty certain that the Government inspector, who from time to time goes down to see the conditions under which the industry is carried on, would report if the provision was really inefficient, or that these men were exposed to the stress of cold, wet, and storm. Without going into any detail, I would point out that this class of the community enjoy certain privileges at present denied to others; their interests by manifold legislative provisions are watched over and cared for with the greatest attention; the privileges which they hold are at the cost of the entire community, industrial or non-industrial; and as a result of these special privileges their output is strictly limited. We were told last year by the Home Secretary that there was no trade so inelastic as that of coal mining; so that these privileges are granted at the cost of the general community, either in the carrying out of their industrial undertakings, or in the mere cooking of food and warming of the person. In addition, within the last two or three years we have sacrificed on their behalf £2,500,000 of revenue in order that there might be ready access for that limited production. For these reasons I hope the House will reject the Bill.


In seconding the Amendment so ably moved by my hon. Friend, I would remind the Mover of the second reading, who stated that certain coalowners were in favour of the Bill, that there is not the name of a single coal-owner on the back of the Bill; on the contrary, every name with the exception of his own is that of a representative of a single class which is going to benefit by the Bill. The hon. Member himself is, I believe, a Constituent of mine; I do not know whether it is due to the fortunes of the ballot that his name appears as a promoter of the Bill. It may be asked, what have I to do with this particular measure? My desire is to secure the liberty of the subject for everyone, whether master or man; but this Bill goes further in the direction taken by the Mines (Eight Hours) Act of last Session, of creating a particular privileged class—of conferring privileges upon a class which, though an excellent class, and one which has done great service to the community, is perfectly well able to look after itself without this legislation.

What is the real object and meaning of the Bill? On the face of it it is not easy to arrive at a conclusion; but one is enabled to do so by reading the Bill more carefully, by perusing the clauses of the Act of 1887, and by bearing in mind what one heard in the Grand Committee on the Coal Mines Act—which hon. Members do not seem very anxious to have alluded to. I do not know why they object to it. Are they ashamed of it? It conferred great privileges upon this particular class at the expense of the community; I do not know whether that was one of the reasons why they interrupted my hon. Friend when he referred to it. I believe the real meaning of the Bill is this: that the secretary of the trade union should have a comfortable office in the precincts of the mine, on the property of the mine owner, and that with the information obtained in that way he should be able to carry on the work of the trade union in a manner satisfactory to the trade union and to the trade unionist, but to the detriment of the man who is not a member of the trade union. If there was any doubt about that, the instances given by my hon. Friend would show that my contention is correct. My hon. Friend cited not mere hearsay statements, but actual cases in court, with sworn evidence, in which the checkweigher misused his position in order to coerce a workman who did not belong to the trade union. Hon. Members below the Gangway may consider that a laudable object, but some of us do not consider it a proper object or one which Parliament should encourage. We believe that every Englishman should be able to dispose of his labour in the way he thinks right and just, and that he should not be coerced by checkweighers or anybody else into doing things which he would rather not do.

The Mover of the second reading, who made a very innocent speech, said that the checkweigher only wanted to act as secretary. On reading sub-section (4) of Clause 13 of the Act of 1887 I see no reason why the checkweigher should not act as secretary, provided he does not act as secretary of an association which interferes with the working of the mine. If he wants to act as secretary of the Young Men's Christian Association there is no earthly reason why he should not. The clause is very simple, and so far as I understand it—well, this is what the clause says:— If the owner agent or manager of the mine desires the removal of a checkweigher on the ground that the checkweigher has impeded or interrupted the working of the mine or interfered with the weighing or with any of the workmen or with the management of the mine or has at the mine—


At the mine?


"At the mine." That, as I understand, the hon. Members are prepared to leave. It is the first five lines they wish to leave out. Very well, it is perfectly evident that this section as it is now, and if this Bill is not passed, only prevents the checkweighman from interfering or following an avocation which "interferes with the working of the mine, or the weighing, or with the workmen." Now what is wrong with that? It seems to me that this is merely a proper safeguard to insure that, to a certain modified degree, the owner of the mine should have some control over his own property. We have advanced very far in the direction of Socialism. But I do not know that we have yet gone so far as to say that the owner of a mine, or other porperty, should not exercise some control over it and of the men that he employs and pays for out of his own pocket. I maintain that no hardship can result if this clause is left in its present condition. It does not interfere in the least with the checkweighman carrying out any of the rights of citizenship which he may wish to carry out, always provided that he does not take advantage of the privileged position which has been granted to him to interfere with the working and proper conduct of the mine.

It is evident that if this clause is removed that a very great power would be put into the hands of the checkweigher to compel workmen to do certain things. My hon. Friend says that the checkweigher refused to give a tally. That practically means, as I understand it, that the checkweigher refused to allow the man who had earned it to get his money. [Cries of "No, no!" from the LABOUR Benches.] Then, if I am wrong, perhaps the hon. Member will tell me what the effect of it is.


May I point out to the hon. Gentleman that it was not a tally at all which the man asked for from the checkweigher. The man was working by day-wage and not by contract, and as he was not being paid by results he did not need any paper as to the weight he was sending up.


I do not know what the actual details of the case were, but I venture to say that I was right in my first contention. [Cries of "No, no!"] Unless you give a man a paper of weight how can you say—


In this case the man was not working by contract or piece-work. He was working by day-wage, and therefore needed no weighing at all.


In this particular case the men did not get the weight, but it does not follow that the checkweigher did not refuse the weight the same day to a man who did not happen to be a member of a trade union! An hon. Member laughs. How would he like it if somebody was to come round and tell him that he was not to be paid his fees because he did not happen to be a member of a friendly society which a few solicitors had arranged should govern the direction of his affairs? It is all very well to laugh if you are in a comfortable position in the City of London; but I venture to say that if the hon. Member was earning his living and had to be compelled to do that which he did not like, to join a trade union which he did not approve of, with the alternative, in the event of refusal, of starvation, the hon. Member would not be so very mirthful.

I think the whole Question very simple. It is an attempt again by the trade unions to ensure that they shall be paramount at the mine. That is a fact evident to everybody. I would remind the House that really this Bill is unnecessary, because the Government have a Bill to deal with checkweighers, and it is probably a better one than that of the private Member. My experience shows that private Members' Bills are nearly always bad, on whichever side they are introduced.

The hon. Member, in moving the second reading of the Bill, said that if it went to Committee it would be thrashed out there. That is a very familiar phrase. Hon. Members bring in a Bill which is vaguely to do something what they desire. It is drawn in such a manner that they themselves know that such a Bill cannot pass. But having thrown upon the floor an ill-considered measure, they say, "Send it upstairs, so that the Committee may endeavour to lick it into shape." I presume the action of the Government will be the same as it was in the case of the Sweated Industries Bill. The adjournment of the Debate will be moved, in order that the Government Bill may be considered and discussed.


The Government Bill does not apply to coal mines at all.


The Solicitor-General is one of the most capable draftsmen in the House, and his knowledge of Parliamentary procedure is such that he can introduce an Amendment, backed by his large majority, which will enable the Bill to apply to coal mines. May I point out to the Solicitor-General the advantage of this method. The Government are at present pressed for time, the Committees are full upstairs, and it would be very much better if one Bill instead of two went before the Committee. I am not desirous of assisting the Government to pass their measures, but I do not like to see their time wasted unnecessarily. My hon. Friend said he did not think there was so much in clause 2. I am not quite so sure. I think there is a good deal in clause 2, and when my hon. Friend made that remark I tried to remember what the hon. Member who moved the second reading said about clause 2. He talked of "Caledonia, stern and wild," and he said because "Caledonia, stern and wild," did not afford sufficient shelter that this clause was necessary. To go back to the more prosaic language usually used in this House, I should have thought Scotland would provide sufficient shelter for the checkweigher, and that if the mine owners did not afford him protection my knowledge of Scotch character would lead me to believe that the Scotch miner would soon find out why the owner did not comply with the Act of Parliament. In the second section of the Act of 1905 it is provided: "The facilities afforded to check-weighers under section 137 of the principal Act shall include provision for the checkweigher of shelter from the weather, containing the number of cubic feet required for two persons, a desk on which the checkweigher may write and a sufficient number of weights, etc." Surely that is sufficient. The number of cubic feet is even laid down and would be the number of cubic feet required under the various Public Health Acts or the Factory Acts necessary for the accommodation of two persons. It seems to me that under that clause everything that is reasonable, even in "Caledonia, stern and wild," has been done. There is a desk or table at which the checkweigher may write, there are to be a sufficient number of weights, and there are to be a sufficient number of cubic feet of space for two people. Where is the hardship, and where is the necessity for altering the law? I look now at the clause in the Bill and I find that, "It shall be implied to mean a structure affording protection from all weathers, properly ventilated, in a sanitary and habitable condition, and adapted for the purposes of an office." I should think that the words of the Act which this clause alters were more calculated to ensure what the section wants than the words in the clause in the Bill. The section of the Act of Parliament provides for a desk or table, and the number of cubic feet of space that shall make the place sanitary and habitable, and the description "Shelter from the weather" means a place affording protection from the weather; the meaning is so clear that the most facile lawyer could not translate it into anything else. What is the meaning of this clause in the Bill then? My hon. Friend said it is put in as a make-weight to misguide and mislead people into the "belief that this is an innocent Bill. I do not quite agree with my hon. Friend. There are two very important words left out of the clause in the Bill, namely, "Two persons." This means that this office may accommodate any number of people. It means what I said that this is to be a trade union office, and that is why the words "Two persons" have been left out. It is to be a trade union office in which the trade union may carry on its business and manage the mine for the mine owner. I think my hon. Friend's usual acute-ness has deserted him when he considers that clause does not mean anything. Taking clause 2 with clause 1, it is clear that is meant to be a trade union office. It is evident that that is the object. Because I believe that all these restrictions upon in- dustry, all these Acts of Parliament to Put power into the hands of one class to manage the work, not in the interest of the community as a whole, but in their own interest—in the interests of a class who are a very worthy class, but a very highly paid class, more highly paid than almost any other artisan class in the country, and a class for whom Parliament has already provided regulations under which they work—for these reasons I have very great pleasure in seconding the Amendment of my hon. Friend.


With all due respect to the two hon. Members who have Moved and Seconded the rejection of this Bill, I am bound to say I do not think either of them appreciated the meaning or the purpose of this Bill. Let me at once remind the hon. Member who moved the rejection of the Bill that if the checkweigher is guilty of the offences to which the hon. Member appears to think he is very prone, namely, intimidation, or any unlawful act, the arm of the law is sufficiently strong to reach him, and to punish him as it would any other citizen who committed any violation of the law. Therefore, we are not concerned with that in the smallest degree. Undoubtedly, ever since the Seventies, when legislation in regard to checkweights was introduced, this has been a thorny and a tangled subject. It has been a thorny and a tangled subject not because there was no disposition on the part of various Governments of the day or on the part of this House not to afford proper protection to checkweighers in the discharge of their duties as checkweighers, and in the exercise of their rights as citizens, but because the position was a singularly anomalous one, and it was difficult to devise words in an Act of Parliament which would adequately protect the coal-owner and at the same time adequately protect the checkweigher. That is the root of the whole difficulty. Let me explain what I mean. The checkweigher section of the Coal Mines Act enables a body of miners to place upon the premises of a person who can neither engage, employ, or dismiss him, a person who is under the control of the miners only. It, therefore, became necessary to protect the owner against any gross abuse of his functions by the checkweigher. For instance, a checkweigher, while purporting to be-engaged in the work of checking the weight of the minerals, which is his whole business, might be guilty of misconduct. He might intimidate the workmen, or he might impede or hinder the mine officials, and the mine owner would be powerless, because he could not discharge him. Only in the event of the checkweigher being guilty of some breach of the ordinary law of the land could the owner call in the assistance of the public authorities, but apart from some breach of the ordinary law this person would be wholly in a position of independence, and would be able to defy the authority of the mine owner. Parliament attempted to meet that situation by laying down that while a man is engaged in checkweighing he shall not be allowed to do anything which will interfere with the general transaction of the colliery business. That is perfectly fair, and there is no attempt on the part of my hon. Friend to interfere with that position. They are perfectly content to accept the position that whilst a man is engaged in discharging his duties as checkweigher he shall do nothing else but the work of checkweighing.

When the Act of 1887 was before the House 22 years ago I moved an Amendment which, if it had been passed, would have precluded the necessity for this discussion to-day. That Act, while it laid down that the checkweigher must not interrupt the working of the mine, also put in the provision, "or otherwise misconducts himself." I moved at the time to omit those words, but in view of the assurance which was then given to me by the Home Secretary of that day I withdrew my Amendment, and what was the result? That in some cases coal owners availed themselves of the words "or otherwise misconducted himself," and they took proceedings against checkweighers not for what they did at the mine, but in the exercise of their ordinary functions outside the mine altogether. Then came the Act of 1896, and I humbly ventured to give warning to my hon. Friends that that made the matter rather worse than better, and an amending section was passed which left out the words "or otherwise misconducted himself," and inserted the words "or interferes with the management of the mine," which are still larger words. The result of the insertion of those words was that if the check-weigher did anything quite away from the mine premises, or from the pit or the place where he performed his work—it might be at a public meeting in the Miners' Hall, Speaking on behalf of the trade union of which he was a member—that was held by benches of magistrates to come within the words "otherwise interfering with the management of the mine," and the result has been that checkweighers have been removed for actions which have had nothing whatever to do with the discharge of their functions as checkweighers. Do let the hon. Gentleman who moved this Amendment recognise that this Bill is not for the purpose of putting the check-weigher in any position which would enable him while discharging his duties as a checkweigher to abuse those functions. Therefore, the suggestion of the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London is an idle one. As a matter of fact anybody but the checkweigher coming to his office would be a trespasser, and could be removed. In the second place the words of the present statute, as amended, would prevent the checkweigher at the mine doing anything else but check-weighing. So much for the criticism against the Bill, and what is the true exposition of the law.

Let me point out to hon. Members opposite what is the real grievance. It is one which I think any fair-minded man will admit. I know there are many coal owners who regard this Bill in a very fair-minded way. When a man is elected to the position of checkweigher he is usually a man who enjoys the full respect of his fellow miners. Generally he is a man of conspicuous ability and of high character. The mere fact that he is a checkweigher is one reason why he should be elected to a position of responsibility in his lodge, because so long as he conducts himself properly he is independent of the owners of the mine; whereas, if he were an ordinary workman he would be liable to be discharged by the owners of the mine. A checkweigher, although he may be an officer of the Miners' Association, ought to be allowed to exercise the ordinary rights of a citizen and the ordinary rights of a trade unionist. The hon. Member for St. Albans said it was a gross abuse-of the position of a checkweigher that he should knock up a workman at his house in order to reason with him as to the conditions under which he should give his employment.


I think that is a gross abuse of the position he occupies, and the court took that view, because they granted the order discharging the man.


That is exactly what I say is an unjust application of the law. If that man committed any act of intimidation by going to these workmen's houses, then let him be punished by the law.


In the case I alluded to the checkweigher took two men with him to the workman's house.


I am not concerned whether he took three or four men With him, but if he committed a crime in so doing let him be punished; if, on the other hand, he was committing no crime, why should he not exercise his rights as a citizen, and as a member of a trade union? Why should he not be allowed to discuss a trade grievance with a workman at the colliery at which he is employed? Now, Sir, I agree that there may be things which a checkweigher may do when he is not actually at the pithead which may make him a very undesirable person as checkweigher. For instance, he might be guilty of a misdemeanour or other offences, but these points are open for consideration in Committee. I am sure that my Friends here will think that if a man is guilty of a crime off the mine which would make him absolutely unfitted for his position the subject is one for arguing whether some concession should not be made. Really the thing with which we are concerned to-day is whether a checkweigher should be removed from his office, not for any crime or for any interference with the management of the mine at the point at which he is stationed, but because away from the mine head he chooses to discuss matters with miners on subjects with which they are concerned. That is the whole point. I regard this Bill as the means of putting an end to what has been a very unpleasant controversy for many years. I have been engaged in many cases in which check-weighers have suffered from gross injustice. I think that mine owners are adequately protected. Take the case of the drivers of a hackney carriage. If he misconducts himself while driving he is punished, and his licence is revoked. His licence is taken away from him; but if he is not in control of the hackney carriage he does not forfeit his position. I think that this Bill strikes the golden mean. There is no necessity to be alarmed at it. It protects the mine owners.

I have only one more comment to make and that is on the drafting of the Bill. It is on clause 1. The words are that, "the provisions contained in section 13, subsections (3) and (4), of the Coal Mines Regulation Act, 1887, hereinafter referred to as the principal Act, shall not apply nor be deemed to apply to a checkweigher otherwise than when he is on the premises of the colliery at which he is employed as a checkweigher." It is inartistic drafting, because there are no "premises" there. What I should prefer to see is "the works of the colliery," or when he is "stationed on the colliery." I have in my mind a railway two miles from a colliery, but which was held by the Court of King's Bench to be the "premises" of the colliery. We know that mine owners own houses which the men occupy, and that those houses are away from the colliery. What I would suggest is that the promoters of the Bill, who have shown conspicuous ability in dealing with it, should use some other words in the clause.


After the exhaustive manner in which the Bill has been explained by its proposers, whom I wish to thank on behalf of our federation, and after the thorough criticism of my hon. and learned friend opposite, I have to say very little on the clauses of the Bill. I listened with much care, interest, and some amusement to the speeches of the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment for the rejection of the Bill. They have read into the Bill that which is not in the Bill, and was never intended to be in it. I remember that the Mover of the Amendment for the rejection of the Bill is an active member of the Tariff Reform League, which does not hesitate to use intimidation against Members of this House. Checkweighers have no desire to intimidate. Whom would they intimidate? The workmen have the power to dismiss them, and they would unhesitatingly do so if the checkweighers deserved dismissal. The object of the Bill is to carry out an Act of Parliament as it was originally intended that it should be carried out. The object of that Act was to give certain powers to checkweighers not because all employers were thought to be dishonest, but because some employers were dishonest. Therefore Parliament gave power to appoint checkweighers. All that this Bill proposes to do is to put right what the law has done wrong, and it must be remembered that the checkweighers are an intelligent—a highly intelligent—set of men—law-abiding citizens. If any trouble arises with the workmen the managers, instead of communicating with the miners, go to the checkweighers, and the checkweighers are very often able to settle disputes which might otherwise grow into strikes. When we hear speeches about the intimidation of checkweighers and the fear of conspiracies to damage employers, it should be remembered that if a ballot were taken of mine owners it would be shown by a vast majority that they have benefited very considerably by the appointment of checkweighers.

When checkweighers are held out as objects of fear, will the House permit me to say that all the employers' representatives, such as the managers and officials, are not angels in disguise. Checkweighers have been open to and subjected to a good deal of unfair intimidation by managers, and they have a cause of complaint against them. As a matter of fact, the last case I was personally interested in was the case of two checkweighers having to defend their position because they called a mass meeting of the workmen to discuss questions in dispute, and although these two checkweighers at the meeting pleaded with and advised the workmen not to have a stoppage of work they were summoned to appear before the magistrates and had to defend their position, and were it not that the magistrates were men of great common-sense, these checkweighers might have been thrown upon the road and their families left to starve. We are urging the second reading of this Bill because we feel we are justified in asking this House to put into actual law what was clearly the intention of Parliament, as cited by the Proposer, to enable a checkweigher to be a checkweigher without losing his rights of citizenship. In doing that the miners in general and the checkweighers in particular are not asking for anything of a very drastic character. The hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London, in a moment of forgetfulness, said, "What he stood for was the liberty of the subject." Exactly. It is to bring about the liberty of the checkweighers that we are troubling the House to-day, and if the hon. Baronet really desires to be consistent he will support us; but if he finds he has committed himself too far to go into the Lobby with us, surely, after the speech delivered to-day, he will remain neutral on this question. The clause explains itself. It has been drafted with no particular ingenuity. All we ask is that the checkweighers shall be free when free from their work to take part in the business of the organisation, to take part in helping and guiding their own fellow workmen, by whom they have been brought out because they are men with special capacity to be leaders.

The Proposer of the Amendment for the rejection of the Bill endeavoured to intimidate us Members of this House. "What the checkweighers want," he said, "is to drive you out of the House of Commons, so that they can come here." I should be less than a man if I did not publicly acknowledge that the checkweighers only desire is to serve their class. When the hon. Member refers to the checkweighers, and says that we must come along that line into the House, will he permit me to say that I never was a checkweigher myself, nor were many of the hon. Members who represent mining constituencies. After all, what can you expect from the hon. Member? After all, he is only speaking from his brief. Let me tell this House that a number of checkweighers are members of our conciliation board, and, like ourselves, make for peace. After all, a labour leader is not successful when he gets a stoppage of work. He has in some degree failed when a stoppage of work has taken place. The successful leader of men, whether a checkweigher or a mine owner's agent, is the man who can arrange negotiations between the employer and the employed without a stoppage of work, and in order that a stoppage of work may be prevented I would ask the House to remember that in proportion to the power of trade unions there has been a substantial reduction in the number of the stoppages of work. Combination simply places labour upon a more equal basis of negotiation with the employers, and the employers themselves recognise this, and being members of our joint conciliation board they are concerned in settling disputes not only in their own collieries, but sometimes, in connection with the conciliation board, they go out to other collieries. The checkweighers are rendering a great service to the community, and therefore we are asking that this House should grant the passing of this Bill as giving a right, and not as an act of grace. I desire to ask the employers of Scotland to do what the employers of England and Wales are doing. I do not know why some employers should think it is good business to make the checkweigher's work as difficult as possible. But there are those who do, and the complaint has come from Scotland. In the Bill we only ask that the checkweighers shall be given the ordinary rights of citizenship. When he reaches home, after his day's work, let him take part, as every workman and citizen takes part, in the affairs pertaining to the welfare of the people among whom he lives. We submit the Bill with a strong conviction that the House will only be doing a simple act of justice to men who are rendering a service to the community.


I do not think this is a Bill which ought to take up much time in going through this House. It seems to me, on the face of it, a very simple Bill, and as the hon. Member has only just pointed out, its purpose is to give that liberty of the subject which every man ought to have to the checkweighers. There is nothing more odious than that the employer should have the power to control the action of his employé outside his work, and I do not think anyone can deny that. My hon. Friend who moved the rejection and the hon. Baronet for the City talked about checkweighers as being in a privileged position, but I do not know what that privilege consists of. Like any other employé, they are employed by the miners, they are not employed by the owner, and they have the right to be at the pit head to represent the miners, and as long as they do not interfere with the work of the mine at the pit head and do not interfere with the output of the colliery, I do not see that anybody has the right to speak to them except the miners themselves who employ them, and when these checkweighers are outside the mine and have finished their duties, surely they can give effect to any political opinions they hold and discuss the matters and affairs of the colliery without doing any harm. Of course, if it is proved that they do attend meetings, or call meetings of the miners, or men's association, or members of the colliery staff for the purpose of committing injury to the mine, I presume—though of course I am not a lawyer, and should have to bow to the decision of the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite—I presume the common law would be able to interfere with action like that, and it would not be necessary to appeal to this Act of Parliament, or to Acts of Parliament in regard to checkweighers generally. But I do maintain at the same time that the owner, who would not think of denying to his gardener the right to go and attend a meeting outside to discuss the affairs of the State generally, ought not to do so in the case of the checkweighers. I hope that Members on this side will not offer any further opposition to this Bill. Any opposition that we have had brought forward to it has been sufficient to bring forward the real motives of the hon. Members who have brought in the Bill, and I think there is nothing lying or lurking behind it. The House is well aware that I am rather suspicious of many of these Bills brought in, and see Socialism lurking in them. I have endeavoured to detect something harmful in this Bill, and I have failed to do so, and, therefore, I hope the House will at once give it a second reading.


After the speech which we have just listened to I think I may say a word or two in regard to the position of the Government in this matter, in order that we may bring the Debate to a close. As the hon. Member for Durham has pointed out, the Bill we have is an eminently fair Bill. It is not only eminently fair, but it is a measure in that form and to the effect in which it was intended to pass in the year 1887. A passage was read in the speech of the hon. Member who moved the second reading, from one of the speeches of the present Lord Llandaff, who was then the Home Secretary and conducted the Bill through the House. It is perfectly clear from that passage which was read by the hon. Member, that Lord Llandaff never intended at all that there should be any restriction on the conduct of the checkweigher as a man outside the mine where he was employed, but what makes the matter abundantly clear is a passage in the Memorandum which was printed with the Bill of 1887. As the House knows, the practice has grown up, and a very useful practice it is, especially if a Bill is a long one, of printing a Memorandum and prefixing it to the Bill, when it is distributed, describing in non-technical language the main objects and provisions of the Bill and the Memorandum prefixed to the Bill of 1887, which became the Coal Mines Regulation Act of 1887, had this paragraph dealing with the checkweighers:— The employed are by the Bill, as by the Act of 1886, free to select their own checkweigher, and words are introduced which strictly confine him when at the mine to the discharge of his statutory duties. On the other hand he is not to be liable to removal for anything done elsewhere than at the mine. That makes it abundantly clear what the proposers of the Act of 1887 themselves intended. There was no change in the particular provision to which I am now referring during the passage of the Bill through the House; if there had been it might be argued that this had been done away with, but there is no change at all.

What has happened is that the judges have declared that the operation of the retrospective provision with regard to checkweighers is not confined to working hours and the working place at the mine, but really is intended to restrict them in their general conduct outside the mine, not near the mine, nor during working hours. There is a rule of law, of course, which prevents the opinion of anyone which is expressed in this House being read in the courts. That is right if the intention of the Legislature is perfectly clear and expressed in a perfectly clear way in the Act of Parliament; all the courts can do is to look at the Act itself and the words themselves, but I think personally that that rule has been made much too strict. I think the history of a Bill of this kind and of its passage, would be a perfectly legitimate matter for inquiry, and if that were possible in the conduct of our business at the courts I have little doubt that the decision against which this Bill seeks, to provide would have been different. That being the case, I entirely agree with the hon. Member that the House had better go at once on to some other business. As to the other part of the Bill, no one can reasonably say a word against it. No reasonable employer has refused to provide shelter. There have been no complaints in England and Wales, although there have been complaints in Scotland. We have sometimes to legislate against the possible acts of bad employers—a few bad employers—just as we have sometimes to legislate against the acts of a few bad landlords, and surely if there are employers who would not erect shelters to protect these men from the weather or give sufficient protection to the man who has clerical work to do, and who is not promoting the circulation of his blood by adding up figures or looking at weights or anything of that kind, I do not think any reasonable man will say it is unreasonable to require that they should give sufficient protection.

I do not say that the words in this clause are at all the best or aptest words, but something should be done by the House to compel all employers to afford reasonable protection for those whom Parliament has said must be there in the performance of their duty. The hon. Gentleman said there had not been a great many cases where there has been harsh treatment, and the decisions have been on questions of fact. Interference with workmen or the working of a mine is very difficult to define. It is not a term of art, it is not a legal term; it is a question of fact, and if any bench of magistrates said that certain conduct on the part of these men was an interference with the working of a mine, or workmen, there is no possibility in any court of the realm of putting that right. The cases have not been very many, but there is a sense of grievance, and I do not think the existence of that sense of grievance is good for the miners, or their representatives, the checkweighers, or for the employers themselves. Even if the sense of grievance is slight, it is best for all parties who desire to co-operate that this sense of grievance should not remain, and therefore it is proposed in this Bill—and the Government have no objection to it— that outside the mine and the strict performance of their statutory duties these men shall be able to demean themselves as any other citizens of this realm.


The few words which the Solicitor-General has spoken rather represent the general principle in regard to this Bill—that is to say, it is a very small measure, it applies to a very small grievance, there have been very few cases, and it is rather a matter of super-sensitiveness on the part of the checkweighers than any real necessity for the measure or any need for our present regulations to be altered. I should just like to say that I entirely agree with the hon. Member below the Gangway as regards checkweighman and the employers. The checkweighman is a man who is very useful to the employers, and is accepted by them in the case of disputes in order to assist in settling them, and there are really very few points of difference with him, and I can say on behalf of the employers we most heartily respect and like to live in harmony with him. But when he goes further and refers to the objection to this Bill as being the action of our very good secretary, Mr. Ellis, he goes a great deal further than he has a right to, because Mr. Ellis's remarks are the strong opinion of the Coal Owners' Association, and the statement that the coal owners approved of this Bill is not at all correct. The coal owners have a very strong view as regards this Bill that it is injurious to those good relations between checkweighers and themselves that now exist. The hon. Member behind me spoke of the fact, as really one reason why the Bill should be passed, that he presumed there were measures for dealing with the checkweighman in case he called meetings against the employers and made representations with regard to their conduct, and that there were other ways in which the checkweighman might be dealt with if he persistently and consistently outside made himself offensive to the owners. But that is just the point of this objection of the coal owners to the Bill. There is no such means as the hon. Member referred to. The common law does not prevent the checkweighman attending a meeting and making representations in regard to the coal owners, and the result is that you would have, as in the case of Taylor, a man on your premises, certainly not appointed by you, but by someone else, in daily communication with your workmen, doing everything he possibly can against the interest of the firm with which he is connected, a man whom in any other form of employment you would straight way kick off the premises, because of his offensiveness, and you are compelled, as you are now, as the Act stands, so have him remaining there and in constant touch with your workpeople. It is a most extraordinary position that the Government should assent to such a proposition. What would they do if a Local Government auditor, a Local Government inspector, or a Custom House official sent to attend at any of these numerous works, made all sorts of representations and agitations outside, and still remained at the place as the auditor, inspector, or Custom House official? The employer then would have a right to make representations, and while probably the man would not be dismissed, another place would be found for him, and he would not go to those works to carry out that species of offence. It would not be permitted for a minute, and yet here you say a colliery proprietor is to be obliged to have a man appointed by some one else placed upon his premises without any means of getting rid of him, and that man, while conducting his business thoroughly well on the premises, might be doing everything he possibly could outside, with the information he obtained inside, to injure the employer. It is not only possible, but, as you know, it has been done. The Attorney-General said himself there were not many cases on the other side.

There is really no grievance on the other side. In some cases men have had to be removed because they were distinctly interfering in such a way as to be an offence to the colliery proprietor, but there are very few instances it is admitted, I think by all, and yet the checkweighman who has, I should say not a dozen cases in the whole of as many years to refer to, says, "I am not able to perform my duties as a citizen. I live always under a cloud of suspicion and wrong, and I am not allowed like another man to go and speak at a meeting. It is absolute nonsense. The checkweighman is a very influential man, a very learned and clever man, and takes his place amongst the community where he is a prominent man without any of this feeling which you allege is weighing so heavily on his shoulders, so as to make his life a misery; and yet you say that the checkweighers—and remember you are going to apply this to the iron trade very shortly, and put in inspectors of weights and measures—in collieries and in all the ironworks in future are to be free to use their position for the purpose of detriment to the works in which they are placed. Such a thing seems extraordinary in the interests of peace as between the employer and the workmen. They work well at present, and there are no cases of hardship, and yet you are to allow them to stand there and, no matter what they do or how offensive they are outside, there is no means by which the employers can turn them out. A banker can do it with an inspector from outside, a municipality can do it with a Local Government auditor if he is offensive, and says things he has no right to, but colliery proprietors and iron manufacturers are not to be allowed to do it. They have to have him on their shoulders for the whole of their career, whatever their wishes are. I say that fortunately these things do not take place, or only rarely take place, and, therefore, it seems to me needless on the part of the promoters of this Bill that they should have raised this question. The employers in the coal trade and the iron trade feel that in passing such legislation as that now proposed you are placing your heel down on the employers of this country, and placing them in a position of inferiority—a position which must create a feeling of injustice because it is a feeling which is so prominent on the other side of the House and among hon. Members below the Gangway. Hon. Members of the Labour party desire, I admit, to do good work for their class in providing good wages, but it is because there is a strong feeling that Parliament would be doing an act of injustice in passing such a measure as this that I protest against; the Bill and hope it will not be carried.


I do not think that I should have intruded in this Debate but for the finishing statement made by the hon. Member for the Everton Division of Liverpool to the effect that on this side of the House we who are promoting this Bill are putting our heel down on the employers. That is a charge in support of which the hon. Member has not produced a shred of evidence. I would have been delighted if the statement had never been made. Such statements made by responsible men in this House may have a most serious effect on the rank and file of the people whom we represent. If such statements are regularly made by such employers as the hon. Gentleman I do not wonder that irritation, stoppages, and friction take place. Let me give an illustration. I am connected with an association—


I should like to say that it was the party opposite I attacked when I referred to their attitude towards employers.


The hon. Gentleman's statement was that our action in this House in trying to promote this Bill was tyranny on the employers, and that it meant putting our heel down upon them and using undue power which would irritate and perplex them. I was going to state an example quite different from that given by the hon. Gentleman. I come from a district which is associated with the union, and in connection with which there are over 40,000 men who are employed in and about the mines. May I tell the hon. Gentleman that for the last 11 years we have never had a stop, and that scores of disputes between the employers and workmen have been settled by the check-weighman without interference by secretaries or others. While we are promoting this Bill we understand that there are good employers who are with us with respect to it. There are employers of labour representing large capital who will dissociate themselves very emphatically from the statements made by the hon. Gentleman. When there is a grievance at a colliery in my county at many places the colliery manager at once goes to the checkweigher to ascertain from him the nature of the grievance. Having ascertained the nature of the dispute the manager asks him to meet him with a deputation of the men to see about having the matter put right. What is the opposition to this Bill? The hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London offered some criticism of which, if he will excuse me for saying so, I do not take notice because he is not an expert. He does not understand the Question, and he proved that while addressing the House. He has no knowledge of the working of a mine, and made statements quite contrary to what the facts of the case would justify. We can afford practically— and I say it respectfully—to ignore the statements of people who do not understand the Question. But we cannot afford to ignore the statements of the hon. Member for Liverpool, who is himself a colliery owner, when he tries to prevent those checkweighers having the liberty which they ought to enjoy. I wonder what the hon. Member would say if anybody tried to prevent him from going to a meeting of coalowners to formulate a policy for dealing with the men as to length of hours. That is on all fours with the works of the checkweighmen. The duties which the checkweighman has to perform are formulated by Act of Parliament. He has to weigh the material which comes from the mine, but he is not to interfere with the winding of the material. We ask that when he is away from the mine he shall be able to give advice to the people with whom he is associated with respect to their grievances, and that he shall be able to help them in formulating a policy for the removal of those grievances. That is a reasonable request, and it is not putting down our heel on the employers or using tyrannical methods towards them. All good employers, and they are the great majority, are with us in this matter. Eighty per cent. of the employers are carrying out what we ask, and never make any interference at all.

My hon. Friend the Member for the Wansbeck Division tells me that I have understated the case, and that more than 80 per cent. of the employers are carrying out what is now asked. I could give case after case to illustrate the necessity for such a measure as this. The cases are so glaring that I should be very much surprised if the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London and others were to persist in their opposition to this Bill after hearing the facts of those cases. I have here the details of a case in which a checkweighman at a pit was asked if a resolution had been passed forbidding the men to work more than eight hours per day. Such a resolution had been passed, and the checkweighman only gave that information for which he was asked. He did not advise the men. As the result of the information being given the men did not go to work. The manager applied to the court for an order for the removal of the checkweighman on the ground that he had interfered with the management of the pit. The justices acceded to the application, and the Court of Appeal refused to interfere with their judgment. Was that sufficient ground for the removal of a checkweighman? Is there any man in the House who will say that the checkweighman did wrong in telling the men that that resolution had been passed. That is not liberty; that is tyranny, and it is a tyranny which this House ought at once to suppress; it ought to say that it shall no longer continue to operate with regard to these men.

That is not an isolated case. There is another case which I have here where a checkweigher was secretary of the local association. In pursuance of a resolution passed by the local branch of the Federation he wrote to the manager asking that certain grievances which existed should be discussed between the manager and the men's representatives, and that if opportunity for this was not given, the men would have no alternative but to have a stop day, so that the matter might be discussed. In writing this letter the man was merely conveying the purport of the resolution which had actually been passed by the workmen, and the grievances which the workmen had were really of a substantial character, that were subsequently remedied by the manager. On the writing of this letter the manager founded an application 1or the checkweigher's removal. When the case came on for hearing they withdrew their application on this ground. Should such irritation be caused? Should such expense be incurred? Should anything of the kind happen with regard to the liberty of the subject? It may be that such cases as these apply only to a small percentage of the men employed, but injustice to one man ought to be remedied as well as injustice to many men With regard to the other Question dealt with in the Bill we have no grievance in England and Wales. We have our checkweighing boxes and we have facilities for protection from the weather. But Scotland is a part of our Federation; it is part of our trade; and on the pit banks there there are great coverings, perhaps much larger than this House, and in the centre is a machine where the men have to sit with the wind howling through these great places and no protection whatever for them against the weather. We have checkweighing boxes in the Midland counties and in Wales and in Durham and Northumberland which give great satisfaction to the men, but in Scotland there is no protection to the check-weigher from the inclement weather that they have to face, and for that reason we ask that the second clause of this Bill be carried. And I do appeal to my right hon. Friend, whom I have to meet on various occasions with regard to these questions, not to press this opposition, but to come into line with the great humanitarian idea that has taken possession of the country to-day, and give the same liberty to the man who is employed by the men as their representative and as their guarantee of good faith as is given to others, and to secure that these men in Scotland should be properly protected.


I desire to engage the attention of the House only for a few moments. As I took a part in the Debate of 1905 on this Question I hope that I may be allowed to occupy a few moments. I cannot speak without expressing my regret, which I am sure is shared by every Member of the House who was a Member of the House at that time, that Colonel Pilkington should have been removed by a premature death. He took a prominent part in the negotiations in that year, and it was largely owing to his generosity and large-minded temper that a satisfactory conclusion was then arrived at. I myself hoped, and expressed the hope, that the conclusion should be regarded as a settlement, and I cannot help feeling some regret that the matter should have been reopened at this period. But there is no reason to complain, although we may regret it that there should be another Debate on this Question. I look upon it not as a matter of refined argument. I do not look upon it as a matter of technical knowledge. It seems to me a common-sense Question. The checkweigher is engaged in a certain position by Act of Parliament in order to insure certain duties. His position is, I believe, unexampled. He is appointed by the men and he is paid by the men, and as their agent, and their most honourable agent, he occupies a most honourable position, but it is attended with qualifications and limitations. It is a place of, I will not say privileges, because their might be something invidious in the word, but it is a position of great opportunities. Those opportunities have been given by Parliament to a certain end, and they are limited opportunities in order that that end may be fully achieved. As the section of the Act of 1887 has been referred to by previous speakers I will only quote a few words. The duty of the checkweigher is limited by the provision that he is not to interfere with the other workmen or with the management of the mine. That is the mischief. The position I venture to take up is this. If the law prevents his doing things in one place I think it carries with it a prohibition of his doing them in another place.


I do not know whether the hon. Baronet read the passage, which shows that that was not the intention of those who passed the Act in 1887. The words are these:— On the other hand he is not to be liable to removal for anything done elsewhere than at the mines.


It seems to me a matter of no consequence whatever where the mischief is done if the mischief forbidden by the statute takes place. I have not heard anything said to-day to show that to be an inaccurate position. The position of the checkweigher was referred to by my hon. Friend who has just spoken, and his knowledge of the subject is, of course, far greater than mine. I can only deal with the matter on general principles, but I say that on general principles the case in favour of this Bill has not been made out. There may be a sense of grievance among the men, but if there were an alteration of the law there might also be a sense of grievance among employers. We must set one grievance against the other, and we must deal equitably with both sides. I am quite sure that in these anxious times we are bound to make every endeavour to cause this great industry of coalmining to be conducted without friction and without embarrassment. I do hope that the friendly spirit shown in 1905 will continue, and that both employers and employed will co-operate together in this matter, as they have in so many other ways, in order to promote the common interest. As regards the second clause in the Bill in reference to the shelter, I do not think that any words are necessary. I think myself that the clause which was framed in 1905 is sufficient. But there is a feeling on the part of the Member for an amendment of that clause as being in their interest, and I should be the last Member of the House to raise any obstacle or interpose any difficulty. I thank the House for giving me the opportunity of speaking these few words as an outsider. I have the privilege, I believe, of enjoying the confidence both of the employers and the workpeople in the borough I represent, and, in my opinion, a few words to-day which will promote the harmony and good will between both employers and employed will not have been spoken in vain.


I merely rise to say that I cordially support the second reading of this Bill. I consider that the proposals which it contains are of a most reasonable character. Indeed, there are only two points in the Bill. The first is that it will restore to the checkweighman all the rights and privileges of citizenship when he is off the premises and not following his employment, just as is the case with the coal owners and other sections of the community. I cannot imagine any ground whatsoever for any Member of the House, to whatever party he belongs, objecting to so reasonable and just a proposal as this. In the second place, it also makes clearer what is the intention of the previous Act, and it says that the colliery owners shall provide proper shelter for the checkweighmen when they are attending to the duties of their position. If every one knew, as I know, how they are exposed, especially on the night shifts, no one for a moment would contend that it is not very desirable that the employer should be compelled to provide suitable shelter for the checkweighmen, so that they can at any rate prosecute their work with some degree of comfort. I have the greatest pleasure in cordially supporting the second reading of the Bill.


I desire also as a coal owner to join cordially and warmly in supporting the second reading of this Bill. I think those of us who have a direct or indirect interest in the great colliery industry of the country should do our very utmost in the cause of peace, and having had some experience of the immense advantage which the coal owners, as well as the workpeople derive from the boards of conciliation which are being established now generally from one end of the country to the other, I think that is the best course to pursue. It seems to me that we should all of us recognise that unless you have a strong and well organised union on both sides you cannot give free play to the boards of conciliation, which depend for their very existence on organisation on both sides. I for one would strongly deprecate any disability whatever being cast upon an official of a trade union except for the absolute necessities of his work. I must say that Parliament did not do quite rightly in imposing certain disabilities on rightly in imposing certain disabilities on checkweighmen. Perhaps, in fact I have no doubt, that while they are on duty it is quite right that their powers and responsibilities should be strictly defined, but, on the other hand, when once they have left their duty and take their place in the ordinary ranks of citizens of this country, I, for one, think that it is extremely unfortunate that special disabilities should be imposed upon them. Therefore I welcome very cordially what seems to me a very just and moderate measure. I understand from what the Solicitor-General said just now that this Bill, if not declaratory of the law as it is now, is a declaratory Bill in regard to the intention of those who passed the earlier Act of Parliament which deals with this matter. Therefore, in passing this Bill to-day as I hope it will be passed, we shall be doing only what is a mere act of justice, and in no way embarking on some new or untried principle, but only putting things in their right place, and giving to the men, who so richly deserve it, that confidence and that position which as citizens they may rightly claim.


It is with a certain amount of regret that I find myself unable to support the Motion made from these benches, although I do not feel that I can join in the fulsome adulation given to this measure by the two hon. Gentlemen on the other side. I do not think that there is a great weight of public opinion behind it to justify its being introduced. If there were that weight of public opinion I have no doubt that the right hon. Gentleman who sits on the Treasury Bench would have produced his own Bill for carrying out the proposals brought forward by the hon. Members below the Gangway. It is true that this is a small measure. But we have had small Bills which have emanated from hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway that we have been compelled to view with a certain amount of suspicion. I do not think that any adverse results need be anticipated from the passing of this measure. With regard to the checkweighers, I can speak from experience; they are, as we all know, a very honourable body of men. In reference to the anticipations and prognostications put forward on this side of the House, I do not think that there is any substance in them. This Bill is an amplification of the Act of 1887. It is perfectly obvious that the fact of these provisions contained in the present Bill not having been passed 22 years ago is a proof that they were not con- sidered very necessary; but I must admit that I cannot see where any objection to the Bill can be taken. One point I would touch upon, and it is this: The checkweighman is entirely different from a trade union official, and if a checkweighman transgresses in any way it is impossible to proceed against him except in a court of law. But after all, I do not think that anyone can justifiably say that there is a right to interfere with his movements when he is not actually at his work. To my mind it infringes to a certain extent the liberty of the individual. I certainly hope that the checkweigher is always in favour of his employer. I believe in many, and in the majority of, cases the employers and the checkweighmen are the best of friends. If he finds he must in his leisure time go about and perhaps organise and perhaps agitate against the employer, to be coerced in any way by an Act of Parliament is, to my mind, an infringement of the rights of the individual. It is for those reasons I venture to support the Bill.

Captain CRAIG

Very seldom I differ from the Noble Lord on any of these matters that come before the House. I would not have ventured to rise in this Debate at all if it had not been for the appeal of the learned Solicitor-General, and because in that appeal he spoke of the intention of the Act of 1887. It seems to me absolutely absurd to do so. He was not, I understand, a Member of this House in 1887.


I have read from the Memorandum which is prefixed to the Bill by the Home Secretary for the year 1887. I will read it again if the hon. Member desires.

Captain CRAIG

He may be perfectly right in saying that, but when we have called attention, for instance, to the intention of the Land Act for Ireland, the Law Officers of the Crown have assured us that whatever the intention of the Legislature for the year 1903 was, that they always have got to take the Act of Parliament as it stands, that the intention of the House cannot be referred to afterwards in support of any amending Act. When the learned Attorney-General and his colleague and the other Law Officers of the Crown ask us now to pass this Bill on the grounds that the intention of the Legislature in the year 1887 was in a certain direction, I was tempted to wonder how it is that we on these benches get such very different advice from one Law Officer of the Crown when it suits them and recently the opposite advice when that advice suits them. A more flimsy reason for passing this Bill cannot be advanced, it seems to me.

The next point I would like to raise, with the permission of the House, is as to the remarks of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, who supported this Bill as a coal owner and one who had an interest in coal mines. There is nothing in the world to prevent the hon. Member carrying out all the facilities to those checkweighers which are contained in this Bill without making it compulsory upon other coal mine owners who have not the privilege of expressing their sentiments in the House of Commons. He asked the House to pass the Bill on the ground that he is a large coal mine owner himself. He evidently has not afforded those facilities to the check-weighers in the past, but the Bill having been brought under his notice, he considers it judicious to urge the House to compel him to carry out those improvements in the dwellings of the checkweighers at the pit mouth. That also appears to me to be a rather extraordinary appeal to hon. Members. If this Bill is what he says, how is it he has been so lax in the past that he has not done all this, and therefore the necessity for the Bill, in so far as his case is concerned, would not have arisen. I really think in urging us to pass this Bill hon. Members might make out a slightly stronger case. The hon. Member for Barnsley said he wished to see those men with all the powers of citizens. It is very well to talk of the powers of citizens, and I would be the last person to deprive anybody of his rights as a citizen. After all, a great many officials of the Government have not got all the powers of citizens.

We on this side have urged from time to time the removal of the restrictions with regard to school teachers in Ireland, and with regard to some of the postal officials, as not having the full powers of citizens, and we were met by those colleagues of the learned Solicitor-General with the view that it would not be in the interests of the State to grant those privileges. And now we are asked, in this particular class, to remove what is supposed to be a hardship in their case on those grounds. That also, from the hon. Member for Barnsley, does not seem to be a very weighty argument in favour of the Bill. Surely there are cases under Government control where it is not thought advisable that the persons should have all the powers of a man who is working in other spheres of life. And, so far as I can see, clause 3, sub-sections (3) and (4), of the Act of 1887, as it stands, gives this class very large powers as it is. If anyone cares to take up the Act of that year, and look especially at the concluding part of sub-section (3) of clause 13, they will see those checkweighers have very large privileges, as far as I can see, outside the very onerous duties they have to perform. I do not pretend for a moment to have any large interest, like the hon. Member, in coal mines. I do not suppose anybody regrets that fact more than I do myself, but when we are legislating for a certain section, I think it is the duty of every Member to see how it affects the country at large.

Passing from clause 1 to clause 2 of the Bill, I think the tendency of this clause would be to raise the price of coal. Some of those who are in close touch with the poorer classes will be able to say how it would be possible to carry out clause 2 without a great deal of expense, and, remember, none of this expenditure falls on the trade unions or on those who are legislating in favour of the checkweighers. All this falls on the mine owner, and the mine owner will recoup himself for any extra cost. It seems to me to be a very slight case indeed. Clause 2, if there is no legal definition added to the Bill, appears to me to wander into realms where there seems to be no end. Take two words out of clause 2, and what does it state? It says: Sanitary and habitable condition and adapted for the purposes of an office." What does that mean? We are going away from the iron huts and the small shelters that have been frequent of old in carrying out this duty, and we proceed to urge, or to compel rather, the mine owners to put up "a structure affording protection from all weathers, properly ventilated, in a sanitary and habitable condition, and adapted for the purposes of an office." Supposing, for the sake of argument, that those words were referring to some office in the City of London or some office in one of the other large towns in this country, and that it was ordered by Parliament that you had to put an office in such a condition that it was "properly ventilated, in a sanitary and habitable condition," it means building a regular house, almost a dwelling-house fit to live in. It will be a difficult matter for the Law Officers to define what size of building is necessary to comply with clause 2. Will any hon. Mem- ber venture to say it will be confined to a cost of £500? Even if they could give that assurance, would the more advanced Members of the Labour party be guided by it? These shelters are to be put into a sanitary and habitable condition as offices. It does not say how many the office is to accommodate. An office to accommodate two persons for the purpose of checking the weighing of coal from the pit is quite a different thing from an office for all those members working below the ground who desire to join the checkweigher for a chat in the afternoon. If for no other reason, I should be compelled to vote against the Bill because of the wide powers suggested under clause 2. But that is only a fraction of my objection. If this Bill had been brought in some years ago, when there were no restrictions on the hours of work and the conditions prevailing were very different, there might have been some excuse for it. But now we have in force the Workmen's Compensation Acts, the Coal Mines (Eight Hours) Act, and all the nursery legislation which surrounds the industry. The men who work in mines are a superior, well-paid, independent, and sporting class, but they are nowadays

hedged round by all manner of restrictions, and these Acts render a Bill of this description the more unnecessary.

I object to the Bill also because of the hit which I consider it will give those miners who are not members of the trade union. The Bill will give more power and influence to trade unions against the independent labourer who does not desire, or has not the necessary affluence to join such associations. The Noble Lord the Member for Maidstone spoke in favour of the Bill, but he gave it very faint praise. I can quite understand that those interested in the industry desire harmony and peace between themselves and their workmen; but the House of Commons has to treat these matters from a business, and not from a sentimental point of view. Looking at the Bill from a business point of view, fearing that it will lead to a further increase in the price of coal to poor people, and impose more onerous conditions on the industry, I am afraid it will be necessary for me to vote against it.

Question put: "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

The House divided: Ayes, 158; Noes, 13.

Division No. 85.] AYES. [3.3 p.m.
Abraham, W. (Cork, N.E.) Fenwick, Charles Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.
Abraham, William (Rhondda) Ffrench, Peter Lardner, James Carrige Rushe
Ainsworth, John Stirling Flynn, James Christopher Layland-Barrett, Sir Francis
Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch) Gardner, Ernest Lewis, John Herbert
Ashton, Thomas Gair Gill, A. H. Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David
Atherley-Jones, L. Ginnell, L. Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Glover, Thomas Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)
Barnes, G. N. Greenwood, Hamar (York) Macpherson, J. T.
Barry, E. (Cork, S.) Hall, Frederick M'Callum, John M.
Beale, W. P. Halpin, J. M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)
Beck, A. Cecil Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Marnham, F. J.
Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.) Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil) Meagher, Michael
Bowerman, C. W. Hart-Davies, T. Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)
Brace, William Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.) Menzies, Walter
Bridgeman, W. Clive Harwood, George Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)
Brigg, John Haslam, James (Derbyshire) Murphy, John (Kerry, East)
Brooke, Stopford Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)
Bryce, J. Annan Hayden, John Patrick Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Hazleton, Richard Nussey, Thomas Willans
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Heaton, John Henniker O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Cameron, Robert Helmsley, Viscount O'Dowd, John
Castlereagh, Viscount Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.) O'Grady, J.
Channing, Sir Frederick Allston Higham, John Sharp O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)
Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Hobart, Sir Robert O'Malley, William
Cleland, J. W. Hobhouse, Charles E. H. Parker, James (Halifax)
Clough, William Hodge, John Paulton, James Mellor
Coilins, Stephen (Lambeth) Hogan, Michael Pease, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Saff. Wald.)
Compton-Rickett, Sir J. Holland, Sir William Henry Philips, John (Longford, S.)
Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead) Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Pointer, J.
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Hudson, Walter Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
Delany, William Hutton, Alfred Eddison Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)
Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.) Jacoby, Sir James Alfred Radford, G. H.
Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.) Johnson, W. (Nuneaton) Raphael, Herbert H.
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Jones, Leif (Appleby) Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Duckworth, Sir James Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Redmond, William (Clare)
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Jowett, F. W. Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)
Edwards, Enoch (Hanley) Joyce, Michael Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Elibank, Master of Kavanagh, Walter M. Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)
Esslemont, George Birnie Kekewich, Sir George Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Evans, Sir Samuel T. Kennedy, Vincent Paul Robson, Sir William Snowdon
Everett, R. Lacey Kilbride, Denis Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Rogers, F. E. Newman Stanier, Beville Watt, Henry A.
Rowlands, J. Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.) Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter Steadman, W. C. White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)
Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford) Stewart, Hailey (Greenock) White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)
Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland) Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon) white, Patrick (Meath, North)
Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel) Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander Whitehead, Rowland
Seddon, J. Verney, F. W. Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)
Sheehan, Daniel Daniel Walsh, Stephen Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Shipman, Dr. John G. Walton, Joseph Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie Wardle, George J. Younger, George
Soames, Arthur Wellesley Warner, Thomas Courtenay T. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. R. Pearce and Mr. John Williams.
Spicer, Sir Albert Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
Stanger, H. Y. Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Baldwin, Stanley Hill, Sir Clement Talbot, Rt. Hon. J. G. (Oxford Univ.)
Bignold, Sir Arthur Lane-Fox, G. R. Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Bowles, G. Stewart Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir F. Banbury and Captain Craig.
Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.) Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)

Main Question put, and agreed to. Bill read a second time and committed to a Standing Committee.