HC Deb 13 July 1910 vol 19 cc557-67

I move "That this House do now adjourn."


I rise to protest in the most emphatic manner against the action adopted by the right hon. Gentleman. In the first place, he has put down this Vote in a most unprecedented manner. A great many questions of importance were raised by three hon. Members, and surely out of courtesy to them and in the interests of the efficiency of Debate we are entitled to an answer from the War Office. Through the action taken by the Secretary for War—a quite unprecedented action—he was precluded from taking any further part in the Debate without the leave of the House. No answer whatever has been given to the questions raised during the Debate of the last two and a half hours. I do not know what reason the right hon. Gentleman will put forward for the course he has adopted to-day. It may be that he has in his recollection the proceedings of the last Parliament, when we, a small minority it is true, were subjected to almost tyrannical treatment by the Government. But the situation is a very different one now. We are a minority who are capable, in numbers and in other respects, of holding our own, and we are entitled to the courtesy and the respect of the right hon. Gentleman. I sincerely hope before this Motion to adjourn is accepted, I we shall hear from the right hon. Gentleman some adequate reason for what is his apparently discourteous action.


I think this is but a poor return for my kindness in moving the closure, thereby releasing right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite from a self-imposed task which is as quixotic as it high-spirited. I put down Vote 12 [War Office] ten days ago in order that there might be a full discussion on it. We desire to get that amount of money to-day. It is the only Vote we have put down besides Votes. A and 1, and I shall be very glad, if it is, desired to raise any other points on Tuesday, to put down any Votes in respect of which hon. Gentlemen may wish to raise discussion. The last thing I would wish is to stifle the discussion of Army matters. I always have tried to meet things as far as I could, but to-night, at this hour, and after the amount of discussion we have had on this matter, I think it would be very unsatisfactory if we had gone on longer. I shall be very glad to put down any Votes on Tuesday, and will undertake to make a statement covering any points that remain undiscussed; but there is no point that has been raised now to which, in the course either of speeches or answers to questions, I have not replied most copiously.


Whilst there are many points, as the right hon. Gentleman says, which have been raised, there are a great many which have not been answered, and which he knows as well as I do cannot be answered during the present Session unless he takes the opportunity of answering them now. His offer to take Votes on Tuesday is not the point. We have, on Tuesday, the right to discuss Vote 9 on cordite, and the right hon. Gentleman has offered us a Vote on which we can discuss the question raised by the hon. Member for Woolwich (Major Adam). But there are many other points, one of the most important being that of the Mediterranean command. We have never had any real answer on that question, and it is a point on which a great many of my hon. Friends have the strongest opinions. If we are sitting here at three o'clock in the morning it really is the fault of the Government. They chose to put this Vote down to-night at eleven o'clock. I have said all along it would take considerable time and that it would be a contentious Vote. But the Government have precluded themselves from reopening the question because they have moved the closure, and it is against all principles of my right hon. Friends behind me to vote against the Secretary of State for War, especially when he tells us that on the passing of this Vote depends not his salary, but the pay of the rank and file of the Army. Why did we pass that Vote just now without a Division? Because the right hon. Gentleman told us it was necessary for the pay of the rank and file of the Army. Whatever hon. Gentlemen may think, the Conservatives are not going to vote against the pay of the rank and file of the Army. The fault for our sitting here now does not rest with me or my right hon. Friends behind me. It is due to the way the Government manage their business, and because they chose to put down a contentious Vote containing many matters which ought to be discussed, but which we now have no chance of debating fairly.


The conduct of the Secretary of State for War has amazed me, because when I was making the few observations I ventured to address earlier in the evening, I suggested we might perhaps have a reply to them, although the right hon. Gentleman had technically exhausted his rights of speech, because, no doubt, if he asked for it, the consent of the House would be given for him to reply to the various questions raised. When I made that suggestion the right hon. Gentleman nodded his head as though he assented to the proposition, and I quite thought, from the courteous attention he was giving to the remarks and to the fact that he was taking notes, that he was going to reply. Judge of my astonishment, therefore, when, after the Debate had proceeded and hon. Members on this side had addressed most cogent remarks, suddenly, without a moment's warning, the right hon. Gentleman got up and moved the closure. It is not necessary to go very far to find the reason why he moved the closure. He knew perfectly well that it was contrary to all usages, and also, I would venture to say, contrary to the decencies of debate in this House.


The Noble Lord has no right to reflect upon the closure. He is really reflecting on the Chair, and if he wishes to do that he must do it in proper form.


The last thing I would wish to do is to reflect on the Chair. That is not the point I am raising. I am raising the point of the right hon. Gentleman moving the closure, not of its being put. His doing so is contrary to the courtesy and decency we might have expected from the Front Bench.


As the hon. Gentleman has said that the action of the right hon. Gentleman in moving the closure is contrary to the decencies of Debate, he suggests it was wrong for me to accept the Motion.


I have already stated that I wish, naturally, to make no reflection on your granting of the closure, and if you think that the word I uttered implied that reflection I will most certainly withdraw it. I can only say that we on this side of the House take it as a grievance that we have not had an answer from the right hon. Gentleman or his colleagues, who had not exhausted the right to speak before the Debate was drawn to what we, at all events, felt to be a premature conclusion. I think the right hon. Gentleman might have given us a little more time under the circumstances under which this Debate was initiated this evening. We now complain that the Debate was taken to-night. What is the object of suspending the Eleven o'clock Rule if you are not going to have a full discussion of the subject under Debate? Of course, if this Debate had taken a day to itself the discussion would not nearly have terminated by now. We have had only four hours of it, and that is rather less than half a Parliamentary day. Therefore, I do think that the right hon. Gentleman, before moving the closure, might at least have reflected that we had not had adequate time—many Members still desire to speak—or he might have been courteous enough to give us a reply. I would point out that there is no further chance of getting a reply on the questions we have raised. Other questions can be raised.

I understand that the Vote on cordite will raise some questions which no doubt the right hon. Gentleman will listen to. Whether he will reply to them or not is another matter. I understand he says he will put down some other Votes. But from what I gather the particular questions we have raised on the salaries, which are general questions, cannot be raised in the same way on other votes. It is doubly aggravating to us not to get any reply, because the same thing happened in Committee. What is the use of raising points of this kind if the Front Bench and the responsible Minister are not to give any answers at all? It is all very well for the right hon. Gentleman to say that no fresh point has been raised to-night which was not raised fourteen days ago and which he has not answered. I may say there are dozens of points which have not been answered of greater and minor importance. It seems to me that it is making a farce and travesty of our whole Parliamentary procedure. After all, what is Supply for? Surely a Debate in Supply is intended to give an opportunity to Members of this House to criticise the administration of the Departments; there is no other way of which I know. It is not easy to raise any question of administration at Question Time in the form of criticism. You can certainly raise matters of innuendo. You can insinuate that a Minister is not administering a Department to your satisfaction. But as to giving any actual criticism of administration it is perfectly impossible to do so. Supply is the only chance you have of really bringing to the notice of a responsible Parliamentary head of a Department the grievances which you may feel as to his administration. And not always grievances. There were some points I urged this evening which were not grievances at all, but suggestions for his consideration, and I think that when suggestions are made on the floor of this House the person who makes them has a right, at all events, to some indication whether those suggestions are received favourably or unfavourably.

After all, are we to consider in this House that Ministers are there in office, drawing their salaries, quite independent of anything this House may do or say? Or are we to have the old-fashioned idea that Members of this House may really have some effective voice in the administration of the nation's affairs, at all events through the power of criticism? I think the right hon. Gentleman has by his conduct to-night struck a very severe blow at House of Commons procedure and House of Commons dignity. We heard a great deal when the Conservative party was last in power of the dignity of the House of Commons and the way in which that Government was said to have destroyed it. We heard that when the Radicals came in that dignity was to be restored. How have they restored it? By using the one solid argument they possess, which they used to great effect in the last Parliament—the weapon which they sharpened with such admirable skill, namely, the closure. By using the closure at all sorts of inconvenient moments—that is the way they hope to restore the dignity of the House of Commons, and I suppose that is their idea of the freedom of Debate. I am glad to have had this opportunity of making a protest against the conduct of to-night's Debate. I think we are legitimately possessed of a very considerable grievance against the right hon. Gentleman, and I may say that that comes all the more hardly from him, because if there is one Minister who I should say has received attentive consideration—almost kindly consideration—at the hands of the Opposition it is the right hon. Gentleman himself. So for my part I am not only grieved, but profoundly disappointed.

Captain CLIVE

I wish to join in this protest. The Secretary for War appears to have fallen back on the excuse that he has spoken, and that without leave he could not speak again. But there has been an hon. Gentleman who has not yet exercised his right to speak. I mean the Financial Secretary to the War Office. It is the financial muddle that we are chiefly kept up to discuss. It is the fact that the affairs of the War Office have been so conducted that unless this Vote is made there will be no pay for the rank and file. Who, next to the Secretary for War, is responsible for that state of affairs? Surely it is the Gentleman who is styled the Financial Secretary to the War Office? He is responsible, I believe, for the Votes, and he is responsible, therefore, for bringing those affairs to such a condition of chaos that the Votes for the salary of the Secretary for War has to be forced through at three in the morning, because but for that there will be no pay for the Army. There are, of course, a number of other questions which we should have liked to raise. I think it is extraordinary that the Secretary for War should think that sufficient discussion of his salary has taken place after only three hon. Members have been allowed to speak on the general question of Army matters. He must admit that each of the three hon. Members are experts in the subjects they have raised, and it would only have been common courtesy that he should have replied even shortly to their criticisms. There is the question of the Inspector-General of the Overseas Forces. On 27th June the right hon. Gentleman said:— We have reached a stage in the evolution of the English forces in which it is necessary to have an Inspector-General of the Overseas Forces. It is no longer possible for the work to be done by a single inspector, as the whole globe has to be considered." [OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th June, 1910, col. 794.] I should like to ask since when has the whole globe had to be considered? What new territory has been acquired since the right hon. Gentleman went to the War Office, or what new garrison has been established to necessitate this Inspector-General's inspection? As a fact, one garrison has been withdrawn—that of St. Helena—and in the case of South Africa it has been reduced. There is, therefore, no reason whatever for a new expenditure of £10,000 a year upon a fresh appointment. I protest against the right hon. Gentleman throwing the matter back on the shoulders of Sir Ian Hamilton by suggesting that when we criticised the appointment we were criticising Sir Ian Hamilton.

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


withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.

Debate resumed.

Captain CLIVE

The appointment was, an unnecessary one. In the Debate on Monday week we were promised some figures as to recruiting for the Territorial Forces. The right hon. Gentleman then said they would be available in eight or ten days' time, and it is only reasonable that they should be given to us now. As to the question of horses—


On a point of Order, is the hon. Member in order in raising questions of Army policy on the Motion for the adjournment of the House?


It is in order.

Captain CLIVE

The same horses are used again and again by different corps for their manœuvres. That is obviously unsatisfactory, and the right hon. Gentleman has not given any promise to remedy that state of things. The remedy is comparatively simple. I suggest that the Territorial Forces should draw horses for the manœuvres first in the summer, and; that the horses should be branded on the hoof in the same way as the horses of the-Regular Cavalry, so that it would be impossible for any other Territorial regiment to use the same horses for their manœuvres. In that way we should ensure having the necessary number of horses for manœuvres.

Mr. HALDANE rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the question be now put."

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

The House divided: Ayes, 110; Noes, 70.

Division No. 98.] AYES. [3.20 a.m.
Addison, Dr. C. Burns, Rt. Hon. John Davies, Ellis William (Elfion)
Allen, Charles P. Buxton, C. R. (Devon, Mid) Dawes, J. A.
Anderson, Andrew Macbeth Carr-Gomm, H. W. Dewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness)
Baker, Harold T. (Accrington) Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood) Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Chancellor, Henry George Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)
Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.) Clough, William Elverston, Harold
Barton, William Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock) Falconer, James
Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, S. Geo.) Corbett, A. Cameron Fenwick, Charles
Brace, William Crawshay-Williams, Eliot Furness, Stephen
Brigg, Sir John Cullinan, John Gelder, Sir William Alfred
Bryce, J. Annan Davies, David (Montgomery Co.) Gibbins, F. W.
Gibson, Sir James Puckering M'Curdy, C. A. Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Mallet, Charles Edward Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Guest, Major C. H. C. Masterman, C. F. G. Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Millar, James Duncan Seddon, James A.
Hancock, John George Montagu, Hon. E. S. Seely, Col., Right Hon. J. E. B.
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale) Muspratt, Max Sherwell, Arthur James
Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Neilson, Francis Soares, Ernest Joseph
Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West) O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Summers, James Woolley
Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)
Haworth, Arthur A. Ogden, Fred Toulmin, George
Hayward, Evan Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Hazleton, Richard Pickersgill, Edward Hare Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Higham, John Sharp Pointer, Joseph Vivian, Henry
Hogan, Michael Pollard, Sir George H. Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central) Waring, Walter
Hughes, Spencer Leigh Radford, George Heynes White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)
Illingworth, Percy H. Raffan, Peter Wilson White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)
Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil) Rainy, Adam Rolland Whitehouse, John Howard
Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Rea, Walter Russell Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)
Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Reddy, Michael Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)
Keating, Matthew Rendall, Athelstan Williamson, Sir A.
King, J. (Somerset, N.) Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Wing, Thomas
Lambert, George Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.) Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)
Leach, Charles Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)
Lehmann, Rudolf C. Robinson, S. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Master of Elibank and Mr. Gulland.
Levy, Sir Maurice Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Rowntree, Arnold
Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F. Gastrell, Major W. Houghton Nield, Herbert
Adam, Major William A. Gibbs, George Abraham Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William
Arbuthnot, Gerald A. Gilmour, Captain John Perkins, Walter Frank
Archer-Shee, Major Martin Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight) Peto, Basil Edward
Baird, John Lawrence Hamersley, Alfred St. George Rawson, Col. Richard H.
Baker, Sir Randolf. L. (Dorset, N.) Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry) Rice, Hon. Walter Fitz-Uryan
Barnston, Harry Heath, Col. Arthur Howard Rutherford, Watson
Bathurst. Hon. Allen B. (Glou., E.) Helmsley, Viscount Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)
Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks Henderson, H. G. H. (Berkshire) Staveley-Hill, Henry
Brackenbury, Henry Langton Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy Stewart, Gershom (Ches. Wirral)
Brassey, Capt. R. (Oxon, Banbury) Hope, Harry (Bute) Sykes, Alan John
Bridgeman, W. Clive Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Talbot, Lord Edmund
Brotherton, Edward Allan Hunt, Rowland Thynne, Lord Alexander
Calley, Col. Thomas C. P. Jackson, John A. (Whitehaven) Tryon, Captain George Clement
Carlile, Edward Hildred Jessel, Captain Herbert M. Tullibardine, Marquess of
Castlereagh, Viscount Llewelyn, Venables Valentia, Viscount
Cator, John Lloyd, George Ambrose Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)
Cautley, Henry Strother Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R. Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude
Clive, Percy Archer Macmaster, Donald Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Cooper, Richard Ashmole (Walsall) Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas Worthington-Evans, L.
Dairymple, Viscount Morpeth, Viscount Younger, George (Ayr Burghs)
Du Cros, A. (Tower Hamlets, Bow) Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.
Duncannon, Viscount Newman, John R. P. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. of Elibank and Mr. Gulland.
Dunn, Sir W. H. (Southwark, W.) Newton, Harry Kottingham
Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.

Question put accordingly, "That this House do now adjourn."

The House divided: Ayes, 110; Noes, 70.

Division No. 99.] AYES. [3.30 a.m.
Addison, Dr. Christopher Davies, David (Montgomery Co.) Haworth, Arthur A.
Allen, Charles Peter Davies, Ellis William (Elfion) Hayward, Evan
Anderson, Andrew Macbeth Dawes, James Arthur Hazleton, Richard
Baker, H. T. (Accrington) Dewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness) Higham, John Sharp
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Hogan, Michael
Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.) Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley) Howard, Hon. Geoffrey
Barton, William Elverston, H. Hughes, S. L.
Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, S. Geo.) Falconer, James Illingworth, Percy H.
Brace, William Fenwick, Charles Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)
Brigg, Sir John Furness, Stephen Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)
Bryce, J. Annan Gelder, Sir William Alfred Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Gibbins, F. W. Keating, Matthew
Buxton, C. R. (Devon, Mid) Gibson, Sir James Puckering King, Joseph (Somerset, North)
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Grey. Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Lambert, George
Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood) Guest, Major C. H. C. Leach, Charles
Chancellor, H. G. Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Lehmann, R. C.
Clough, William Hancock, J. G. Levy, Sir Maurice
Collins, G. P. (Greenock) Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale) Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.
Corbett, A. Cameron Harcourt, Robert V. M'Curdy, C. A.
Crawshay-Williams, Eliot Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.) Mallet, Charles Edward
Cullinan, J. Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry Masterman, C. F. G.
Millar, James Duncan Rendall, Athelstan Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Montagu, Hon. E. S. Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Muspratt, Max Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs) Vivian, Henry
Neilson, Francis Robertson, John M. (Tyneside) Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Robinson, Sidney Waring, Walter
O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Roch, Waiter F. (Pembroke) White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)
Ogden, Fred Rowntree, Arnold White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E.R.)
Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland) Whitehouse, John Howard
Pickersgill, Edward Hare Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees) Whyte, Alexander F.
Pointer, Joseph Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne) Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)
Pollard, Sir George H. Seddon, James A. Williamson, Sir Archibald
Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central) Seely, Col., Right Hon. J. E. B. Wing, Thomas
Radford, George Heynes Sherwell, Arthur James Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)
Raffan, Peter Wilson Soares, Ernest Joseph
Rainy, Adam Rolland Summers, James Woolley TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Master of Elibank and Mr. Gulland.
Rea, Walter Russell Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)
Reddy, Michael Toulmin, George
Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F. Forster, Henry William Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William
Adam, Major William A. Gastrell, Major W. Houghton Perkins, Walter Frank
Arbuthnot, G. A. Gibbs, George Abraham Peto, Basil Edward
Archer-Shee, Major Martin Gilmour, Captain John Rawson, Col. Richard H.
Baird, J. L. Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight) Rice, Hon. Walter Fitz-Uryan
Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.) Hamersley, Alfred St. George Rutherford, William Watson
Balcarres, Lord Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry) Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)
Barnston, Harry Heath, Col. Arthur Howard Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)
Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. (Glouc. E.) Helmsley, Viscount Stewart, Gershom (Ches., Wirrall)
Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks Henderson, Major Harold (Berkshire) Sykes, Alan John
Brackenbury, Henry Langton Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy Talbot, Lord Edmund
Brassey, Captain R. (Banbury) Hope, Harry (Bute) Thynne, Lord Alexander
Bridgeman, William Clive Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Tryon, Capt. George Clement
Brotherton, Edward Allen Hunt, Rowland Tullibardine, Marquess of
Calley, Col. Thomas C. P. Jackson, John A. (Whitehaven) Valentia, Viscount
Carllie, E. Hildred Jessel, Captain Herbert M. Ward, Arnold (Herts, Watford)
Cator, John Llewelyn, Venables Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude
Cautley, Henry Strother Lloyd, George Ambrose Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Clive, Percy Archer Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R. Worthington-Evans, L.
Cooper, Richard Ashmole (Walsall) Macmaster, Donald Younger, George (Ayr Burghs)
Dairymple, Viscount Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas
Du Cros, A. (Tower Hamlets, Bow) Morpeth, Viscount TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Viscount Castlereagh and Captain Morrison-Bell.
Duncannon, Viscount Newman, John R. P.
Dunn, Sir W. H. (Southwark, W.) Newton, Harry Kottingham
Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A. Neild, Herbert

House adjourned accordingly at Twenty-seven minutes before Four o'clock a.m., Thursday, 14th July.