HC Deb 18 April 1911 vol 24 cc630-72

The PRIME MINISTER moved: "That the Proceedings on the Parliament Bill, if under discussion at Eleven o'clock this night, be not interrupted under the Standing Order (Sittings of the House.)."

The House divided: Ayes, 156; Noes, 102.

Division No. 135.] AYES. [3.40 p.m.
Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour) Hancock, John George Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M.
Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda) Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale) Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)
Acland, Francis Dyke Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West) Phillips, John (Longford, S.)
Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire) Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.) Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Allen, Charles Peter (Stroud) Haworth, Arthur A. Pollard, Sir George H.
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
Baker, Joseph Alien (Finsbury, E.) Henry, Sir Charles S. Power, Patrick Joseph
Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark) Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. Pringle, William M. R.
Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.) Hughes, Spencer Leigh Radford, G. H.
Beauchamp, Edward Hunter, William (Lanark, Govan) Raphael, Sir Herbert Henry
Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts., St. George) Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)
Bethell, Sir John Henry Johnson, William Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Boland, John Pius Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe) Roberts, George H. (Norwich)
Booth, Frederick Handel Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)
Bowerman, Charles W. Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts., Stepney) Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, N.) Joyce, Michael Robinson, Sydney
Brigg, Sir John Keating, Matthew Rose, Sir Charles Day
Burke, E. Haviland- Kellaway, Frederick George Rowlands, James
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Lamb, Ernest Henry Rowntree, Arnold
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Byles, William Pollard Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld., Cockerm'th) Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Chancellor, Henry George Levy, Sir Maurice Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Lewis, John Herbert Scanlan, Thomas
Clough, William Logan, John William Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.
Collins, G. P. (Greenock) Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich) Sheehy, David
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Lundon, Thomas Sherwell, Arthur James
Condon, Thomas Joseph Lynch, Arthur Alfred Shortt, Edward
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Simon, Sir John Allsebrook
Crooks, William Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)
Crumley, Patrick Maclean, Donald Spicer, Sir Albert
Cullinan, John MacVeagh, Jeremiah Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)
Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy) M'Micking, Major Gilbert Summers, James Woolley
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Marks, George Croydon Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Dawes, J. A. Marshall, Arthur Harold Tennant, Harold John
Delany, William Martin, Joseph Thomas, J. H. (Derby)
Dillon, John Masterman, C. F. G. Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Doris, William Meagher, Michael Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Duffy, William J. Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.) Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Menzies, Sir Walter Verney, Sir Harry
Edwards, Enoch (Hanley) Millar, James Duncan Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)
Elibank, Rt Hon. Master of Montagu, Hon. E. S. Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
Essex, Richard Walter Mooney, J. J. Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Esslemont, George Birnie Neilson, Francis White, Sir Luke (York E. R.)
Falconer, James Nolan, Joseph Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)
Fenwick, Charles O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Williamson, Sir Archibald
Ferens, Thomas Robinson O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Wilson, Henry J. (Yorks, W. R.)
Ffrench, Peter Ogden, Fred Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Fitzgibbon, John O'Grady, James Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Flavin, Michael Joseph O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.) Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)
Gill, Alfred Henry O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.) Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)
Glanville, Harold James O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford Parker, James (Halifax) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.
Gwynn, Stephen Lucius Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)
Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F. Burn, Colonel C. R. Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. S.
Archer-Shee, Major M. Carlile, Edward Hildred Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-
Ashley, Wilfrid W. Cassel, Felix Eyres-Monsell, B. M.
Balcarres, Lord Castlereagh, Viscount Finlay, Sir Robert
Baldwin, Stanley Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University) Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.) Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Clay, Captain H. H. Spender Forster, Henry William
Banner, John S. Harmood- Clive, Percy Archer Gardner, Ernest
Barnston, Harry Cooper, Richard Ashmole Gilmour, Captain John
Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton) Craik, Sir Henry Goulding, E. A.
Bennett-Goldney, Francis Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian Grant, J. A.
Bird, Alfred Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred Greene, Walter Raymond
Bull, Sir William James Croft, Henry Page Gretton, John
Gwynne, R. S (Sussex, Eastbourne) Magnus, Sir Philip Swift, Rigby
Haddock, George Bahr Mason, Jams F. (Windsor) Sykes, Alan John
Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry) Middlemore, John Throgmorton Talbot, Lord Edmund
Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford) Mount, William Archer Terrell, George (Wilts, N. W.)
Harris, Henry Percy Newdegate, F. A. Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)
Hill, Sir Clement L. Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield) Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)
Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William Thorne, William (West Ham)
Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy Paget, Almeric Hugh Thynne, Lord Alexander
Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington) Tryon, Captain George Clement
Houston, Robert Paterson Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton) Walrond, Hon. Lionel
Kerry, Earl of Perkins, Walter Frank Ward, Arnold S. (Herts, Watford)
Kimber, Sir Henry Pollock, Ernest Murray Wheler, Granville C. H.
Knight, Captain Erie Ayshford Rice, Hon. Walter Fitz-Uryan White, Maj. G. D. (Lancs., Southport)
Lane-Fox, G. R. Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall) Winterton, Earl
Larmor, Sir J. Rothschild, Lionel D. Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)
Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End) Royds, Edmund Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Lee, Arthur Hamilton Salter, Arthur Clavell Worthington-Evans, L.
Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey) Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood) Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury) Snowden, Philip Younger, George
Lonsdale, John Brownlee Stanier, Beville
Lowther, Claude (Cumberland, Eskdale) Starkey, John Ralph TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Captain
Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich) Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire) Faber and Colonel Chaloner.

I beg to move: "That, until Whitsuntide, Government Business shall have precedence on Wednesday evenings, except upon 19th and 26th April."

I ought perhaps, first of all, to refer to previous statements made by me on behalf of the Government at an earlier part of the Session. On the 7th February last, at the very beginning of the Session, I said:— I hope—but cannot pledge myself to the statement—that we may be in a position after Easter to recur to the normal state of things. Speaking again on the 16th February last, a week later, when I moved that the Government should take the whole time of the House up to Easter, I said:— We believe that by the expenditure and distribution of Parliamentary time, which I have indicated, we shall be able, without any undue curtailment of Debate at any of the stages of the Parliament Bill—if the House approves of that Bill—to send it to the House of Lords comparatively early in the month of May, so that the House of Lords may have full opportunities of discussing, it and coming to their decision upon it before the date of the Coronation. And later on I said:— It is upon that ground primarily and substantially that I ask private Members up to Easter to curtail their ordinary rights and opportunities, in the hope and belief, and with the intention that "hen the Parliament Bill has passed through this House, and we resume our proceedings after the Easter Recess, private Members may have their normal and natural opportunities."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th February, 1911, cols. 1255–6.] I was very careful to safeguard myself in that matter by an anticipatory reference to the possible state of Government business when we resumed after the Easter Recess. How do we stand in this respect? First of all, as regards the Parliament Bill, two days have been occupied upon the First Reading, four days upon the Second Reading, and five days in Committee—that is eleven days in all—and we have not yet concluded the discussion of the First Clause. As regards private Members' time between now and Whitsuntide—Wednesday (April 19th) and Wednesday in the following week (April 26th) have been already ballotted for, and we do not therefore propose to interfere with the vested rights which hon. Gentlemen who have got precedence in the ballot have secured in regard to those two evenings. Further, in regard to Fridays, which, after all, are of more importance than Wednesdays, because they are days which are allotted to private Members for legislative purposes, we do not intend to interfere or to ask the House to interfere with the allocation to private Members of those Fridays from 21st April to 26th May. There is one remaining Friday, 2nd June, which immediately precedes the Whitsuntide Recess, as to which I should not like at the moment to give a pledge one way or the other; but, as regards all the others, from 21st April to 26th May, they will remain in the possession of private Members for the consideration of their legislative proposals. The extent of the encroachment which I am now asking the House to sanction upon the time of private Members between now and Whitsuntide is five Wednesday evenings between the 3rd and 31st May inclusive; and, as the House knows, that means, as the sitting for private Members begins at 8.15 p.m., two and three-quarter hours on each of those days.

The grounds on which I ask the House to submit to that further curtailment of the time of private Members are very simple, and, I think, very obvious. In the first place, in no other way can we secure the carrying out of the intention, which I announced at the beginning of the Session in the two speeches to which I have referrred, of getting the various stages of the Parliament Bill through this House in time to send it up to the House of Lords at a reasonably early date in the month of May. Further, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will, I hope, on a very early day—I cannot fix the day precisely at this moment, but a very early day—be in a position to carry out the pledge which the Government has repeatedly made, and the fulfilment of which, I think, is universally anticipated, and introduce his scheme for insurance against invalidity, accompanied with a scheme for insurance against unemployment. I do not think it is a controversial matter in a party sense at all, but it is a matter of the utmost importance, and it is extremely desirable, in the opinion of the Government, that scheme should not only be introduced, but that the Bill which embodies it should, if possible, be read a second time in order that the matter may go, as it is pre-eminently fitted to do, for consideration by a Committee upstairs before the adjournment for the Whitsuntide Recess. Further, and also in accordance with a pledge which I made on behalf of the Government at the close of the last Session, I think in November last, just before the General Election, we wish to present to the House, in order that they may have an opportunity, at any rate, of considering the Second Reading before Whitsuntide, our proposals to deal with the amendment of the law with regard to the employment of the funds of trade unions. If those three objects, the passing of the Parliament Bill through all its stages and the obtaining of the Second Reading of the Insurance Scheme and of the Bill for the Amendment of the Trade Unions Law are to be accomplished between now and the date of the Whitsuntide Recess, practically the end of May or the early days of June. I think it will be the general opinion of the House that the Government would not have sufficient time for the purpose unless they made this, I think, very moderate encroachment upon private Members' time on the evenings of the five Wednesdays to which I have already referred. If the request of the Government is acceded to, we shall then, I hope, be in a position to say when we come to our Whitsuntide adjournment that, so far as the Parliament Bill is concerned, this House has for the time being disposed of it, and, as far as these two other measures which are of great social importance are concerned, they are in a position to be considered in detail by Committees upstairs. I do not think, without in any way derogating from the importance or value of the proposals which private Members may desire to make, we can more usefully employ so much of our Wednesday evenings as I now propose to appropriate than in that manner.

I should like to add, before I submit my Motion to the House, that I fully recognise the importance of the topic raised at Question time to-day by the hon. Member for the Kirkcaldy Burghs (Sir Henry Dalziel). I think there was a most serious and regrettable curtailment on the Motion for Adjournment for the Easter Recess of the privilege private Members ought to enjoy, the privilege of ranging over the whole field of political discussion and controversy, and of administrative action, before the House takes its holidays. Our practice in that matter is not regulated by Standing Order. It is the growth of an un written tradition, sanctioned by the rulings of successive Speakers, and now as firmly embodied in the law of this House as many of the unwritten customs of the Common Law are in our Courts of Law. It has, I think, developed into a degree of rigidity which I venture to say, not speaking in the interests of the Government, but in the interests of the House, is perhaps very injurious to freedom and latitude of discussion, and I cannot help hoping the House may with unanimity, or practically with unanimity, agree to the suggestion thrown out by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Balfour), with which I altogether concur, and that we may throw the Motion for Adjournment completely open, subject to a reasonable limitation of the hours of sitting, to the discussion of all topics of interest to the House without reference to any anticipatory or so-called blocking Motions which may have been placed upon the Order Paper. If that is, as I believe it is, the general opinion of the House, I shall be glad at the earliest possible moment to fulfil the pledge I gave at Question time and to put down myself on the Paper notice of a Motion which I hope will receive general approval. Putting that matter for the moment on one side, I think the general sketch I have given of the state of public business and the intentions and possibilities of the Government business amply justify the Motion which I now make.

4.0 P.M.


I do not propose to make any detailed comment upon the programme of business which the Prime Minister has just sketched out. I will only make one observation on what he has asserted and another observation on what he has omitted to assert. He has told us he hopes to press forward certain measures of social reform, which, so far, I know, are uncontroversial, though I do not know exactly what their provisions are, but as to their intentions parties on both sides of the House are likely to concur. But in addition he has, as I understood him, told us it is necessary to get the Parliament Bill through in the early days in May. I hope that does not mean the Government desire to curtail discussion upon that measure. Of course, I recognise, as everybody who understands anything about Parliamentary business recognises, that, however much the Opposition may object to a measure of that kind, there neither is nor can be any idea of defeating it by the lapse of time. No Government possessed of a majority would tolerate that, and, as far as I know, no Government had ever allowed first-class measures to be defeated in that way. But that is a very different thing from asking this House to pass the whole remaining stages of this Bill in throe or four weeks. I do not see, for myself, that that is possible, and there is nothing that I know of in the conditions of public business to justify this lessening of the opportunities of those who desire to criticise the Bill in this House. I should not have referred to that, however, if the Prime Minister had not suggested these rather fantastic expectations with regard to the time in which this Bill can be legitimately got through its remaining stages in this assembly. While I was delighted to hear from what fell from the right hon. Gentleman that there is a prospect that the health of the Chancellor of the Exchequer will soon again permit him to take part in our Debates, I was surprised that among the functions allocated to this House by the Prime Minister before the Coronation, there was no mention of the Budget.


I was only speaking of the arrangements up till Whitsuntide.


At any rate, there was no mention of the Budget among the arrangements up till Whitsuntide. The Government's dealings with Budgets are getting more and more mysterious; there may be some unknown public reason why the Budget should be put off until after the Whitsuntide holidays, but that reason is not given to us by the Prime Minister, and I am unable to imagine what it is. I think he will be the first to allow that until this present Government came in and, indeed, had been in office some years, it would have been thought necessary to explain and apologise if it had been found necessary to defer the Budget till after the Whitsuntide holidays. But now it has become a very ordinary matter of procedure—so ordinary that the right hon. Gentleman, when looking forward to the progress of business, docs not think it even worth his while to make the most passing reference to it. It is an astonishing procedure, and I should have deemed it a procedure not very convenient to the great financial and commercial interests of this country.

I pass from these preliminary observations upon the programme of the Government to the actual Motion which the Prime Minister has put before us. This is a question which primarily concerns what are called private Members—the unofficial Members of this House—and, if I may, I should like to give them a warning as to the course on which they are entering. A large number of the gentlemen I am addressing were not in this House at the time when the late Government revised our Rules of Procedure. Among the important topics then dealt with were the rights of private Members in regard to Resolutions. Before that change in our procedure private Members had, nominally, a vast body of privileges; they had the whole of Tuesday, the whole of Wednesday, and the whole of Friday in those days. Practically that only left the Government Monday and Thursday, and it was found necessary by every Government to make some incursion into the then existing rights of private Members. Naturally, when they began to eat into those privileges appetite came with the eating, consequent on the pressure for legislation put upon the Government a pressure which has undoubtedly grown greatly in the last generation, and finally private Members were not only deprived of their rights, but they had not the least idea of what were their rights. They might ballot in the expectation of getting a day for the discussion of a subject of very general interest; they might succeed, but down would come the Government and say: "We are very sorry; we recognise the great importance of your Motion, and nothing but public necessity drives us to the regrettable course of depriving you of the opportunity which the Rules of the House nominally gave you. But deprive you of that opportunity we must."

What was aimed at when the Rules were reformed was to recognise that the amount of time given to private Members was in excess of what could possibly be given if the task of legislation thrown upon successive Governments was to be fulfilled. What was then attempted was to curtail the nominal rights of private Members to bring forward Resolutions to be discussed, but, after they were curtailed, to leave private Members in undisputed enjoyment of them, so that, at the beginning of the Session, a private Member would know that, if he were successful in the ballot, his Parliamentary fortunes would not be interfered with by the ambitions nor by the necessities of any Minister or of any Government. That policy, if I may venture to say so, was, on the whole, successful; it met with great opposition on the part of private Members at the time, when they saw their nominal rights thus disposed of, but unquestionably for many years in succession, indeed until last year, it had the effect desired by the framers of this change in our rules, and private Members actually enjoyed the privileges which the Standing Orders of this House nominally gave them. I am afraid, after what happened last year, and still more after what happened this year before Easter, and what is happening now, we have begun again to tread the downward path. It is really a serious matter for private Members if the Government, under the new practice, as under the old practice, are to regard it as within their power to come down and say, "We are sorry to take away your privileges, but do so we must." Of course, what is done by one Government may be done by another, and private Members will again be in exactly the position they held before the reform was carried. Their hopes will be subject to constant disappointment. A Member will bring forward before the House some subject of immense importance for discussion on a Tuesday or Wednesday evening, and he will suddenly find the Leader of the House coming down and saying that, much as he deplores the course he is obliged to pursue, public exigencies force it upon him. If this is once begun it will, of course, go on, and the right hon. Gentleman will come down next year or the year after, and his successors will come down also, and will plead the precedent started last year and followed this year. It really was a most serious thing when private Members consented to give up the really genuine, if diminished, privileges which at the time of the great reform of our Standing Orders were secured to them. That is really all I have to say on that question.

The right hon. Gentleman, as a sort of solace, I suppose, towards the end of his speech, referred to something which had no connection whatever with the Resolution before us. But I confess I heard his reference, although it may not have been within the strictest and narrowest limits of Order, with very great pleasure. He was good enough to approve a suggestion which I threw out, and I earnestly hope that, at any rate in this case, if the two Front Benches are for once agreed, that fact will not provoke hostility in any quarter of the House. I am certain that the desirability of getting rid of blocking Motions, root and branch, is a thing we ought to hesitate about. I do not think I am saying anything I ought not to when I quote Lord Selby as having very strongly held that opinion as Speaker of this House. That the present system of blocking Motions can be, and is, grossly abused is clear to anybody who has watched the business of this House, and I really cannot see why we should not unanimously support the Prime Minister in respect of the Resolution which he has foreshadowed, so as to secure, with regard to Motions for the Adjournment for the holidays, reasonable latitude for discussions in this House. I should be glad if we were able to carry that in the course of the present Session. But that does not touch the essence of the Motion now before us. I attach the greatest value to these miscellaneous discussions upon Motions for the holidays. But we all know that, useful as they may be, they are liable to great disadvantages. While there is nothing out of order in these very miscellaneous discussions, while there is no topic which cannot be dwelt upon, no question, however trivial, and no question, however important, which it is not in the competence of any hon. Member to raise if he catches the Speaker's eye, the Debate is necessarily irregular. It is a Debate on which there can be no division—a division on the Motion for the holidays can only be a vexatious one. Everybody wants the holiday, and the fact that the House, by some chance division, refuses to accept it when offered by the Government would do nothing but greatly embarrass everybody; it would do nothing to further the cause which had been pleaded in the preliminary discussion.

Therefore, there are clearly limits to the utility of the freest debate on the Motion for Adjournment. But on Motions on private Members' evenings, although the time is limited to rather less than three hours, there can be a division, and the result is that most important questions are raised and most important speeches are delivered, both on the part of private individuals and on the part of the Government. The latter too often desire to guide the vote of the House when it comes to divide at eleven o'clock. Under these circumstances, I appeal to private Members on both sides of the House, from their own point of view, and I tell them this respectfully with a very long experience behind me, that the course they permitted the Government to take last Session is going, unless they take a decided stand, to put an absolute end to the rights which, I confess, I thought had been eternally secured for them. I do not believe that taking these few Wednesdays would really make any difference to the Government Bill. But they would make the profoundest difference to private Members and, under these circumstances, I venture to suggest to private Members that they should support me in the vote I mean to give against this Resolution.


I think that this is an occasion when something more than a mere conventional justification by the Prime Minister and a mere conventional protest by the Leader of the Oposition is required, although I think the speech which has just been delivered lifted this Debate into a much higher position than similar Debates before. It cannot be denied by anybody that this is more than the customary protest of the Leader of the Opposition against the action of the Government in encroaching upon private Members' time, and I think, under these circumstances, the appeal which has just boon made by the Leader of the Opposition should be listened to and considered by those private Members who sit on the opposite side of the House. The first point that occurs in connection with the curtailment of our time is that this leakage has been practically continuous for the last five years. I am not in the least denying that those sitting on the Front Opposition Bench have not been absolutely spotless ill regard to this matter. But I think that the whole question of depriving private Members of their time, and of the application of the Closure, is a confession of weakness on the part of those for the moment in power. I think that the Par- liamentary history of the last twenty years in regard to the power of seizing upon the time of private Members and curtailing the opportunities of Debate which has been used by both the great parties in the State has corresponded already with Parliamentary declension and in the decrease of importance of the Debates in this House among the other Parliamentary Assemblies of the world. Whether that be so or not, during the last five years, as has been pointed out by the right hon. Gentleman, private Members have lost most in the way of time. That is not denied by anybody, least of all by the Home Secretary, whose experience is great, especially in regard to opportunities for speaking on private Members' nights.

I suppose it is not denied by anybody that the chance of the private Member bringing forward his views, airing his grievances, and addressing the House has become very much less, not only during the last ten years but more especially during the last five. If this habit continues, in ten or fifteen years' time the position of a private Member will have become that of a mere cypher. Some of us who have entered this House early in life look forward to spending a large portion of our lives here, and looking forward ten or fifteen years we hope that then the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition will be in possession of their full Parliamentary vigour, but they will be nearing the end of their time. It would, perhaps, be more polite if I were to say twenty years would be the end of their Parliamentary time, but what will be the position of those of us who hope, if we have the advantage of living and retaining the support of the electors of this country—what will be the position of those who have to carry on Parliamentary Government? The Leader of the Opposition and the Prime Minister are trustees of Parliamentary tradition, as are also we younger Members, and I say if we deliberately allow the time of private Members and the privileges of this House to be filched away as they have been done during the last five years, at the end of fifteen or twenty years there will be no time left for the private Members at all. I was very sorry when, on a Debate which took place some little time ago on this same subject, the Leader of the Opposition mentioned, in the course of his speech, protesting against the Motion of the Prime Minister, that the party opposite were themselves preparing a rod which some day might be applied to their own backs. I was sorry to hear that statement made, because I think the Leader of the Opposition would have strengthened the position of himself and his party if he said he would wash his hands altogether of this growing attempt to take time away from private Members. Any party which has for its motto "full and free debate, and not Government by brute force," is a party which will obtain a considerable amount of support in the country, although I am willing, as I said before, to admit that the party which now sits on this side of the House and the Leader of the Opposition have not an absolutely spotless reputation in this matter.

The principle, I admit fully, has been adhered to by both parties of seizing private Members' time, but the point is that the Government have carried the principle beyond all bounds of Parliamentary decency and Parliamentary dignity, and the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister has really become a sort of David Davies of Parliamentary theft, during the four years in which he has led this House in respect to the application of the guillotine closure and the taking away of private Members' time. I do not believe that any one on the Front Bench opposite believes that it is evidence of the capability of the Leader of this House that he should be constantly applying the guillotine Closure and having to take away private Members' time. I think it is too little recognised by those who hold office and form the Government of the day that every time there is a Motion for the guillotine Closure or the time of private Members is taken away it means that there is a black mark against the record of the Leader of the House; and when we hear both Front Benches, as we did a short time ago, asserting vehemently that this House has never held a position of greater prestige among the deliberative Chambers of the world, all I can say is that their experience in regard to other Legislatures in reference to their brilliance of intellect cannot be first hand. Take a great democracy like France, not only has the private Member the fullest opportunity of questioning the Government by interpellations, but he has the fullest opportunity of stating his views, and there the application of the Closure as it is applied in England is absolutely unknown. Take the case of the Parliament of a great democratic nation within the Empire, that of Canada. There, not only is private Members' time not taken, but there is no guillotine Closure of any kind. Is any hon. Member bold enough to get up and say that Sir Wilfrid Laurier is a less able leader of the Parliament of Canada than either of the two right hon. Gentlemen who represent the two great parties in this House?


There are eight Parliaments in Canada.


I never heard a less pregnant interruption than that of the hon. and learned Gentleman. Is anyone prepared to say that Sir Wilfrid Laurier in the fifteen years he has ruled over the destinies of Canada has not stamped his individuality on the Parliamentary history of that country as much as any right hon. Gentleman has done in this House? Of course he has done so. He has led that House for fifteen years without once applying the guillotine or taking away private Members' time, as it is proposed to take it away to-day. These recurring Motions are merely a sign of the failure of successive right hon. Gentlemen to lead the House of Commons, and although I fully think that the difficulties in the case of this House are greater than in the case of some of the other Houses of which I have given an example, I certainly am not prepared to admit what the hon. and learned Member for Waterford has asserted, that because in the Canadian Legislature there are eight provincial legislatures, it makes it possible for Sir Wilfrid Laurier to control the House without the guillotine and without the private time of Members. I know, of course, what the hon. and learned Gentleman is driving at, but I think his argument is extremely unsound. He would suggest that if exclusively Irish affairs were reviewed not by this assembly but by one sitting in Dublin, the time of this House would not be so fully occupied, and that it would be possible to carry through business without extra time or the Closure or the guillotine. Let the hon. and learned Gentleman take his mind back only for the last two months. We have not had one single Irish Debate except that on the Address, and one during the short afternoon after the all-night sitting, which was mainly devoted by the hon. and learned Gentleman to a bitter attack upon the Noble Lord the Member for Maidstone (Viscount Castlereagh). Does the hon. and learned Gentleman say that if Irish affairs had been taken away this Session the Government would not have come down to take away private Members' time. I have never heard a more ineffective interruption in my life.

There is one thing, and one thing alone, which would make this Motion unnecessary, and that is that the House should be properly led, and the Prime Minister and the Patronage Secretary of the day should be so able to arrange their business as to get it through in a reasonable time, and under reasonable conditions. The injury to the House that is done by this kind of resolution cannot be exaggerated. When a Motion of this sort was brought forward earlier in the Session, it was suggested by the purely party Press—or perhaps I ought to say, by the baroneted and ennobled Press, that after all private Members had no very great grievance as a great many of them made extremely dull and mediocre speeches. I do not think that point affects the decision at all. It is a matter which is agreed upon on both sides that those who lead the two great parties in the House are entitled to and would in any great assembly be listened to, and would be sure of a hearing, through the brilliance of their intellect and their position. But the point is that neither in this House nor any other English-speaking House is the House mainly composed of speakers who are great and good. The Anglo-Saxon nation is not a nation of orators. If you want to hear oratory go to the French Chamber where you will hear an ordinary working man or a small vine farmer from the South of France make a speech which in brilliance of diction and elegance would compare favourably with any speech by the Home Secretary or the hon. Member for Walton (Mr. F. E. Smith). In this House, as I think it has often been said, the present style of Parliamentary oratory is much less brilliant than it was fifty years ago, but there has never been a House here composed in the main or wholly of great orators. This is a House in which the average man represents in an average way the views of the average man outside, and it is no kind of an excuse for this system to say that the leaders on both sides, who have the greatest opportunities of speaking, are the men to whom it is most worth while to listen, and the men who would in any case command the largest audience. Everyone who sits here should have an equal, or nearly equal, opportunity of making his views known.

It is obvious that these Motions do not affect those who are among the fighters who are always ready to get up and attack the Government. They are ready to get up and speak, whether the House wants to hear them or not, at least I am. The people whom it hurts very considerably are those on both sides of the House, who may not be orators perhaps, or not very frequent speakers either in the House or the country, but men with great business training and experience and knowledge of certain subjects, and who desire to give the benefit of that experience and training to the House. They are prevented by this system. Every now and then, when a Member of Parliament dies, one reads in his obituary notice that he was perhaps the greatest authority on some special subject, and yet in the whole course of his Parliamentary career one may not have heard him speak more than once. It is these people who are prevented by this system from having their views heard and making their influence felt. These are the men we wish to encourage and wish to be Members of a House of Commons which has such vast responsibilities and governs such a vast extent of territory. You are deliberately driving these men out. One who holds the view, as the Prime Minister docs, that the House has not suffered any loss of prestige in the country and is still supreme both in the Empire and among foreign countries as the first Legislative Chamber in the world, should certainly not bring forward this Motion, because to bring it forward is to propose a policy of absolute imbecility.

I will make only one further suggestion. If the Government find it absolutely necessary to bring forward this Motion they should at any rate add words which would carry out this principle. It has been more or less laid down from the Chair with regard to Gentlemen on the Back Benches that it is customary when several speakers get up, to call upon those whom the House most wishes to hear. I suggest that the same rule should be applied to the Front Bench, and that, with the exception of those who are bringing forward an Estimate or proposing a Bill, it should be left to the discretion of the Chair to choose between a Front Bench and a Back Bench speaker. I have never been able to understand why this preference should be given to the Front Bench speakers. I have never been able to see why they should be put in this position of privilege. One has little hope that hon. Members below the Gangway opposite will support the suggestion of the Leader of the Opposition that they should pause before they vote for this Motion. I have no doubt they will support it, as they have supported all other Motions of the same kind. If they do so they will lose a real opportunity of making an effective protest in the Lobby against the appropriation of private Members' time by successive Governments, and they would set a very good example to those on this side of the House who will some day be in the same position that they are in in supporting them in protesting against any encroachment on private Members' time.


It must have been with some difficulty that the Noble Lord kept a serious countenance while delivering his speech. I think it can only be owing to the fact that his experience in the House has been somewhat limited. If he had been here as long as some of us he would know only too well that the kind of speech we are hearing on both sides of the House now is the kind of speech we are accustomed to hear, whoever is in power and whoever is in Opposition. The real secret of the whole thing is not the somewhat impertinent solution which the Noble Lord suggested, but the simple and obvious one that this House is overwhelmed with work and has more to do than it can possibly get through, and when the Government ask for the time of the House it is not an evidence of incapacity, but of a desire to get some work done that the House wishes to have done. They need the time and must have it. It is a very serious thing indeed that private Members' time should be entrenched upon as it is, as it has been year after year, and as it will be in more increasing measure as the work of this Parliament increases. The remedy is not to be found in the direction which the Noble Lord suggests—that private Members should be allowed to talk longer. That moans that we should not get as much work done as we do now, and we should be more overwhelmed than ever, and the work of Parliament would be more congested than ever. A reference has been made to Canada. The real reason why they have not resorted to these methods was clearly indicated by the interruption of the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. John Redmond). This House, with all the burden of this great Empire upon it, has more work to do than it can adequately discharge. It is obvious that there is a large amount of detailed special work which might well be done elsewhere and by other bodies, and until we relieve this House of that work we shall have these growing encroachments upon private Members' time. I agree that that is a very serious matter, but it would only make it worse to adopt the Noble Lord's remedy. Whichever Government we have in power, we shall have these demands made. The real thing for private Members to do is to concentrate their attention on the real remedy, which is to provide for dealing with and discussing large masses of matter which take up our time elsewhere and in other assemblies.


The right hon. Gentleman's speech should have come from the Treasury Bench. He appears to be in league with the Government against private Members. He speaks of some of us who have not been so long in the House as he has. I suppose that means that in the years during which he has been a Member of the House he has been swept along, and has now given up all hope that private Members will be allowed any rights whatever. We are becoming somewhat accustomed to these Motions which the Prime Minister makes. He assumes a sort of veneration for the rights of private Members. I do not know how long that will continue, because, from the rapidity with which this Government has advanced from stage to stage in encroaching upon private Members' time I have no doubt that in a very short time from now we shall see a formal Motion placed on the paper by which all private Members will have given up any idea of having any rights whatever. The position of private Members is very serious indeed, and I should really like to make an appeal to hon. Gentlemen opposite. It is perfectly true that they maintain a strict and absolute silence on the subject. I have no doubt during the Debate we shall not have a single speech from any hon. Gentleman opposite. This is not a question which affects the Opposition only. The rights of private Members are not a monopoly of the Opposition. They belong to both sides of the House, and when we realise that a precedent is very easily established and is always quoted with great weight and emphasis, we recognise that these encroachments that the Prime Minister has made since he has led the House are a very serious invasion of the rights and privileges which private Members have always looked upon as their own. I do not know what the end of it will be or what will be the solution of the question. I view with great apprehension the time when the time of the House will be devoted chiefly to the discussion of measures which emanate from the Cabinet. This House is far more than a legislative machine. It is a means of ventilating grievances from all parts of the United Kingdom, and it is in order that we may have an opportunity of the very short time which is available to us now of bringing forward these questions and grievances which naturally appertain to our constituents that we oppose this Motion. The Prime Minister still says he hopes to return to the normal state of things. The normal state of things is coming to be that private Members have no time to themselves whatever.

I should like to make an appeal to those Labour Members who are not attending the Conference of the Independent Labour party. We should, I think, hear a certain amount of protest from them, because the time which the Prime Minister is to take is time which by right belongs to them. There is a Motion on the Paper in the name of the hon. Member (Mr. Crooks) on Wednesday, 26th April, calling attention to the need of a living wage. There are two other Motions equally important, one in the name of the hon. Member (Mr. Lansbury), who, I am sure, if he were here, instead of making violent speeches at Birmingham, would be making a deliberate attack on the Government. During the short time that he has been a Member of the House he has not sunk into that quagmire of subservience to which all the other Labour Members have sunk. He has a very important Motion calling attention to the methods of procedure in this House and the consequent curtailment both of the liberty of action and the freedom of speech of private Members. I am sure he would have assisted us on this Motion. Next to that is a Motion in regard to the Education (Provision of Meals) Act. These are two very important Motions, and I suppose they were put down on the Paper by hon. Members because they meant to bring forward the questions. They represent important constituencies, and I do not think they would tell their Constituents that they come here to act as the party hacks of the Government. That is the position they are taking up at the present moment in giving up to the Government the time that belongs to them and in assisting the Prime Minister to make a direct and unjustifiable invasion upon the rights of private Members. I have on previous occasions had the opportunity of making a protest, or rather an appeal in favour of private Members, and I do so again, though I am sorry to say there is not a common understanding, or rather a lead, among private Members in this House for the maintenance of rights, which are naturally, and always have been considered to be, their own. I do think that this is a question which should be watched very closely and carefully by all hon. Members, whether they are supporters of the Government or belong to the Opposition. The rights which private Members had before I had the honour of being a Member of this House were a great deal stronger, and there were more of them than at the present moment. The invasion which the right hon. Gentleman is making into a region which naturally belongs to private Members is one which should cause hon. Members to pause before they give their votes in support of the Prime Minister's Motion. It is for that reason I associate myself with the Leader of the Opposition and the appeal which the right hon. Gentleman has made to private Members on both sides of the House.


I think this is an occasion when we should review the situation in regard to these very frequent Motions. My Noble Friend (Earl Winter-ton) said that the Leader of the Opposition has not an altogether clean sheet in connection with this matter. At all events we have to recollect in defence of the right hon. Gentleman that he did provide advantages for private Members, perhaps not so large as they had before, and as long as he had authority in the House he never withdrew their rights, but, on the contrary, he secured that private Members should get the time which was given to them. We must remember the point which the Leader of the Opposition alluded to in his speech, namely, that these Motions provide the only direct occasions when private Members can get a clear fight with Ministers on matters of importance. We are told that we can raise them on the Address at the beginning of the Session. Everyone knows that a vote cannot be open on an amendment moved to the Address. The supporters of the Government must support the Government whatever the subject may be to the Address, and therefore an Amendment on the Address is never a satisfactory way of raising a point of public importance respecting Government administration. Motions for the adjournment of the House are strictly limited. They have to be limited to definite matters of urgent importance, and there again you cannot find a final answer in the Division Lobby, because it is very unsatisfactory to have a vote on a Motion for the Adjournment at the end of an evening sitting. Therefore we have no other direct opportunity except when a Motion is proposed by a private Member on Tuesday or Wednesday evening. I think anybody who was in the House a few days ago, when the Motion for the Easter adjournment was moved, must have realised to what an extent the Government had carried these Motions.

Many Members on this side came into the House in last Parliament, and they have now sat in two Parliaments, and yet I think it must have struck them—it has certainly struck me, as one who has been in the House for a considerable period—how entirely private Members have forgotten the way in which those Motions are balloted for. There was considerable hesitation when the names were called out as to how hon. Members should act, because, practically, in the two Parliaments in which they have sat the rights of private Members have been taken away, and hon. Members have practically never learned how to act, in what used to be the normal course of procedure in this House. I think they ought to be warned as to how these powers are being encroached on. Although an assurance was given by the Leader of the House that they were to be permanent they may be taken away, and very soon we may lose them altogether. If I were to choose between opportunities for proposals of legislation by private Members on Fridays and Motions on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, I would prefer the opportunities for Motions, for you can then raise a definite matter of public importance, whereas in the matter of legislation, even if a measure should get a Second Reading, it is doubtful whether facilities will be given for the later stages of a Bill promoted by a private Member. I think we should have seen a little incursion into the time of private Members on Fridays as well, but for one particular Bill which is on the paper for a few weeks hence. At all events, the Government have limited their attack to private Members' Motions, and it is with special reference to these Motions that we ought to make a protest, because they are the most valuable asset left to private Members. They afford the only occasions when they can challenge the opinion of the Government in the Division Lobby. Therefore we ought to be careful how we part with our rights to the Government.

In the very bold programme put forward by the Prime Minister, we see that he has thought it very necessary that, besides the Parliament Bill, there should be something else to offer to their followers in order to enable them to place the programme before the country. We cannot but remember that there are a good many by-elections going on at present, and that the Government want to be put before the electors in a favourable light. I think from the programme which the Prime Minister has put before us that the Government are not altogether content with the Parliament Bill. They find it necessary to add some more fascinating things. Any Member can see how insufficient must be the time available before Whitsuntide for the ambitious programme which the Government have put before us, even leaving out other matters which ought to have the attention of the House. It is rather remarkable to have that programme put before us while the Government have not proposed to get the Speaker out of the Chair on the Civil Service Estimates. We have not had any opportunity of dealing with these matters during this Session of Parliament. They are matters which should be brought forward when we find these vastly ambitious schemes of the Government, and further I think that when this demand is made upon us, we ought to remember how liberal the Opposition have been in connection with the demands made by the Government in the past few weeks. If we look back, we see that the House granted the Second Reading of the Mines Bill after a most inadequate discussion, which was brought on with only twenty-four hours' notice of the Bill. It is an enormously long and controversial Bill, and yet the House gave it a Second Reading in order to help forward legislation of this sort. When we discussed the Second Reading there was no opportunity for discussing the Bill on its merits. That shows that on this side of the House there is no obstructive policy whatever to reasonable legislation. We have been generous as regards time to the Government in the early part of the Session, and I think that is an additional reason why we should protest against this attempt now to take a portion of the remaining time of private Members.


I desire in a few words to make an earnest protest on behalf of private Members against the proposed deprivation of the time which belongs to them. The encroachments made on private Members' time and on their rights and privileges must have come with something of a shock to those who were Members of this House up to 1906, and who, after an enforced absence returned under the new regime. Formerly we were not only privileged to express the views of our constituents, but we were also enabled to take part in constructive policy, and that is a point I am very anxious indeed to urge upon the Prime Minister. I cannot help believing that in the great position which the right hon. Gentleman occupies he must be very anxious indeed to preserve the personal character of this House. Therefore, I would ask him to pause very seriously before he continues these encroachments on the rights of private Members. We are fortunate enough in this House to draw recruits from all those bodies of men who have great experience in what I may call the various branches of social reform. These men come into the House not only for the honour and privilege of being Members of it, but also for the honour and privilege of being enabled to take part in its debates, and to urge forward those schemes of social reform which they understand so well, and which they say would be of such advantage to the people.

It is given to few of us to obtain honourable positions on the Front Bench, and therefore the opportunities we have for taking part in constructive policy—and that after all is the main work of Members of this House—are very limited indeed. I want to urge upon the Prime Minister that this deprivation of private Members of their time prevents them from pursuing constructive policy and that this will reflect itself upon the character of the men who come here. They are hard-working men in the true sense of the word, and they are anxious to give the best years of their lives in order to do something to elevate the lives and fortunes of others who are not so well placed as themselves. If this deprivation of the time of private Members continues, the personnel of the House will suffer very greatly indeed. To my mind that is the chief reason why we should ask the Prime Minister to pause in his continual encroachments on the time of private Members. I cannot help thinking that this encroachment at the present moment is not the fault of the leadership of either party, but that it is due to the fact that the party which has obtained hold of power is subject to the dictation of various sections, and that it is the painful necessity of the Government to have to force through the House in some way or other various things which are required by the various sections which make up the supporters of the Government. I think we ought to look to the Prime Minister as the custodian, not only of the rights of his own party, but as the custodian of the personnel of the House and of the rights of private Members. I hope, therefore, I may have been able to bring home to the right hon. Gentleman that that is the reason why this deprivation of the time of private Members should not lake place.

5.0 P.M.


After the almost pathetic appeals made by hon. Members on the other side on behalf of private Members, it does seems to me that they have completely ignored the justification for the Prime Minister's Motion. After all, we on this side have been sent here to pass the Parliament Bill—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]. Our constituents have had every part of the Parliament Bill explained to them. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] You may say No. I can only speak for myself, and I can say that every part of the Parliament Bill has been explained most carefully to my Constituents, and I am sent here to support the Government in passing the Parliament Bill. If hon. Gentlemen opposite would only curtail their speeches a little in opposition to the Bill which we have been sent to pass, I do not think there would be any necessity on the part of the Prime Minister to propose such a Motion as he has proposed to-day.


I beg to propose as an Amendment to add to the Motion moved by the right hon. Gentleman, the words: "And on the 3rd and 10th of May."

The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down appears to be under the impression that the whole duty of Members, from the Liberal point of view at present, is to do nothing but push forward what is often called the Veto Bill, which he says has been entirely explained in all its parts to his constituents. I hope that at a later stage in the Debate we shall have an opportunity of hearing precisely what the explanation was which the hon. Member offered to his constituents of the Parlia- ment Bill. I am sure that the House, and I have no doubt the Treasury Bench will note with interest the explanation which the hon. Member has offered. It is a little hard after an Easter holiday of record shortness to come back and be faced with a Motion like this. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition pointed out that the Prime Minister made no reference to the fact that the date of the Budget has not been mentioned, and that apparently the Budget has been postponed. May I ask the Prime Minister further when we are to have an opportunity of going through, that process which is somewhat irreverently known as the process of getting you, Sir, out of the Chair upon the Civil Service Estimates?


Very soon.


I am very glad to hear that, because it is a process which certainly ought to be gone through at an early date, for, until that is done, discussion of grievances in Supply becomes absolutely impossible. My right hon. Friend (Mr. Balfour) has called the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman a rake's progress. It is quite true that the Government have increasingly gone on making Motions of this character. The Leader of the Opposition pointed out that under the rearrangement of business undertaken by him private Members lost a great deal of the rights they used to have. He forgot to add that when the business was rearranged by the late Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman private Members lost another quarter of an hour, as the time was changed from nine until twelve, and is now only from 8.15 to 11. It is a small thing, but still it is a loss of some moment to the private Member. Is it worth the right hon. Gentleman's while to insist on this Motion? What is he going to get from the Government point of view? It is going to give the Government very little and it is going to work a great deal of harm to private Members, not only in this Session but as a precedent in the future. The Government are going to take five Wednesday evenings of two and three-quarter hours each, that is thirteen and three-quarter hours, or two Parliamentary days. Is it worth while for the sake of that continuity to create a precedent so bad as the precedent which the right hon. Gentleman is creating? I do not think that the Government have shown any just cause for taking action. I cannot see that private Members are likely to look with any lively anticipation to the future or with any great confidence to the kind of promises made by the Government as to action in the future after their action in the past. The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that over and over again a Resolution passed on a Wednesday evening has been ultimately found to be a real basis of some legislative reform. It is the only means which the private Member has of getting this House to affirm or deny a Parliamentary principle, and the Wednesday evening is of a great deal more value to the private Member than the right hon. Gentleman suggests.

The reason I select the dates mentioned in my Amendment is because of the Motions on the Paper for those days. The Motion for the 10th of May, which is in the name of the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) is in the following terms: "To call attention to the methods of procedure in this House and the consequent curtailment of liberty of action and freedom of speech of private Members, and to move Resolution." The right hon. Gentleman wound up his speech by an attack on the system of blocking Motions, and by holding out a promise, or at least a lively expectation, that some reform might be accomplished. It seems to me that this two and three-quarter hours upon the 10th of May should afford an opportunity for that discussion which the right hon. Gentleman suggests, and I suggest to him that the 10th of May might, therefore, be exempt. I come now to the 3rd of May. For that date a Motion stands in the name of the hon. Member for Coventry (Mr. D. Mason) in these terms: "Unemployment. To call attention to the question of employment, and to move a Resolution." The reason I suggest that this should be exempt has relation to procedure. The other day, on the Motion for Adjournment, I understand that certain Members on the Labour Benches were anxious to discuss the question of unemployment, but were prevented from doing so by the fact that this Motion, which had been balloted for, appeared on the Paper for that day. I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman will be prepared to deny that under these circumstances there is a certain vested right which he may well recognise in these conditions. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will take these two things into consideration and see his way to accept the Amendment which I suggest. If he does not, I most certainly will divide the House on the point, and I shall hope to have the support of some of the hon. Gentlemen who sit below the Gangway. I observe that in the country at the present moment, in one of the numerous conventicles of the different sections which compose their party, they are being somewhat vigorously reproached as being somewhat tame supporters of His Majesty's Government. I do not know rightly whether it may be justly expected that in the circumstances in which they find themselves, the Labour party will have that complete freedom of action in practice which they have in theory, but on the Amendment which I am now moving I shall certainly expect to receive their support if any value at all is to be attached to their professions. If they do not support the Amendment they can hardly expect any longer to escape the reproach of being merely the conscript appanage of the Treasury Bench.


I shall have much pleasure in seconding my hon. Friend's Amendment, because, though it is not all that I would desire, it goes a certain length in that direction. I have always regarded the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister as a master of parliamentary tactics, and he has never excelled himself in my opinion in a greater degree than he has done to-day. He made a very excellent moderate speech in favour of this Motion, and he told hon. Members below the Gangway that, after ail, he was going to do something for them, that Wednesdays were not of much account, and that he was going to see whether or not he could not do something for them on the Motion for the holiday adjournment. The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that there are only two days on which holiday adjournments are taken—at Easter and at Whitsuntide. He knows perfectly well that most of the House are away on those days. He knows perfectly well also that when a Member gels up to ventilate a grievance, in all probability when he has finished his speech and before the Minister can reply, if by good fortune the Minister is in his place, some other hon. Member will get up and start some other subject, and consequently the whole procedure becomes involved in confusion, nobody wants to object to going away on a holiday, and therefore nothing takes place. Whenever the Prime Minister has brought forward a Motion of this sort, he has always shown the precedents upon which he has founded his Motion, but today he has made use of not one single precedent, because there never has been a case in which these Wednesdays have been taken, and I am surprised that hon. Members who have spoken have not reproached the Prime Minister with this fact. This is the first time since the private Member's rule was made in 1902 that Wednesdays after Easter have been taken. The Leader of the Opposition said truly that last year for the first time the Government took all private Member's time before Easter. 'They are now-taking all the private Member's Wednesdays except two after Easter. Next year they will take all, and we shall be told it is very necessary because there are certain things to pass.

The right hon. Gentleman says he wants to get the Parliament Rill. It is now only the 18th of April, and the Parliament Bill is a Revolution which is going to alter the Constitution of this country as it has existed for over 600 years. Why should there be such a great desire to pass it in such a violent hurry? The right hon. Gentleman says we have had eleven days. Why, if we had fifty-five days, it would not be too much to devote to the consideration of a measure of this sort. The importance of the measure demands consideration. We shall not probably adjourn until the beginning of August. There is any amount of time to pass the Parliament Bill without taking these five Wednesdays, which involve something like 13½ hours. The right hon. Gentleman says that they have got some other Rills which they want to pass—the Invalidity Bill, and the Trades Union Bill. Why should there be such a violent hurry to pass these Bills? They have got plenty of time to pass them all probably, even if the five Wednesdays were not taken, but in any event we cannot pass every Bill which is likely to gain a vote in every Sessions. We must leave something for the three or four remaining years that the right hon. Gentleman is going to be in power. From the look on his face he does not appear to think he is likely to be in power so long, but there is no necessity to pass these Bills in a violent hurry. Hon. Members opposite seem to be under the impression that the object of this House is to pass Bills. The object of this House is nothing of the sort. It is to govern the country and proceed with Supply. That is the principal object which Members of this House ought to bear in mind. We have had two excuses only made by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. One of them that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley (Sir T. Whittaker) said that the real reason of this Motion was the congestion of business. The right hon. Gentleman has gone out of the House, or I would like to ask him whether he thinks that the Parliament Bill, the unemployment Bill, and the Trade Unions Bill, which are the three Bills to which reference has been made as the reason for taking the Wednesdays, cannot be dealt with in this House. Does he propose to allow the Parliament in Dublin to discuss the whole Constitution of the country, or some Parliament in Wales to discuss the Trade Unions Bill, or some Parliament in Scotland to deal with the Invalidity Bill? Had he been present I should have been happy to show the right hon. Gentleman how weak are the arguments by which he sought to support the case he put forward. An hon. Gentleman who sits for a Division of London said he supported the Motion because he wanted the Parliament Bill, but there is no necessity to deal with those questions in order to get the Parliament Bill. It will be perfectly easy to pass the Parliament Bill, always providing it is not to be passed until the end of June, without taking the Wednesdays. Why is there this anxiety to get the Parliament Bill in this kind of way, and why is it desired to bring forward the Invalidity Bill and the other Bills? The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister docs not hope to pass those Bills this Session, I suppose?


Why not?


We have not yet had the Budget, which after all is a most important measure, and a measure on which one of these Bills is founded. The Invalidity Bill and the Unemployment Bill are going to take money. We cannot say what may done under this Government, but under ordinary Governments you cannot get money without a Vote of this House, or without the knowledge of this House, and that is one of the reasons why the right hon. Gentleman has postponed the Budget. The Prime Minister has shown no reason whatever for this unprecedented action of taking those five Wednesdays. I do not agree altogether with what has been said about Members being anxious to enter this House in order to have the opportunity of bringing forward their proposals on Wednesdays. I think they would become Members of this House if there were no Wednesdays. The real point is that you ought to give the private Member a chance of bringing forward grievances. Personally, I have not got many grievances, nor do I think that hon. Members below the Gangway opposite have many grievances, except in their own imagination, and I think it is in the interests of hon. Members who are in favour of the two Motions which have been excluded, that this Amendment should be accepted. One Motion has reference to procedure, and the other to unemployment, both matters which, I presume, hon. Members opposite are very anxious to discuss, though I do not find much enthusiasm among them for their own Motions. I suppose they are thinking whether, it they vote in defence of their own Motions, they may by some unfortunate chance defeat the Government, or whether they will remain sincere and vote for their own Motions and defeat the Government. If they throw over their own Motions they show the insincerity with which they were put down, and will do so in order to maintain in office a Government which one of the hon. Members opposite yesterday described as a "Government consisting of wicked Liberals." I do not want to put hon. Members below the Gangway opposite on the horns of a dilemma, although I am afraid they are on those horns, unless the Prime Minister, a master of parliamentary tactics, gets up and accepts the Amendment, and I am not at all sure that that will not be the solution. If it is the solution, it will only show that the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to accept half the time which a short time ago he said was absolutely necessary for his purposes. While seconding the Amendment of my hon. Friend I wish he had put down four Wednesdays instead of two, which would have given us more time, at any rate. But half a loaf is better than no bread, and, therefore, I support the Amendment.


I will not be tempted by the invitation of the hon. Baronet to wander outside the comparatively narrow field which is legitimately presented to us by the Amendment for consideration.


It had not been proposed.


It is proposed now, and I am within the limitations of order. I take note of the statement of the hon. Baronet with very great satisfaction that he has no grievance against the Government himself. I was under the impression that it was thought that people were being taxed out of existence by the various proposals of the Government.


May I point out that my statement was with reference to the Wednesday evenings.


I do not want to enter into controversial matters, but I gather that for once the hon. Baronet and his constituents are in entire agreement with the policy of the Government as far as concerns the circumstances of the City of London. The hon. Baronet thinks that this Motion rather introduces a precedent. There are precedents of all sorts, and precedents for violent proceedings, but this is an extremely moderate proposal. It leaves the two Wednesdays already granted and the whole of the six Fridays; and Friday, I would point out, is a day on which private Members can bring forward constructive proposals, which they consider it so very important should be brought up for consideration. So much for the general question arising on this matter. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment dwelt particularly upon two Motions which, by the chances of the ballot, have been put down for the 10th and the 3rd May. I could not gather from the hon. Gentleman which of the two propositions he adopted—namely, whether the Government, on the one hand, ought to be regarded as the slaves of the Labour party, or, on the other hand, the Labour party are to be regarded as the slaves of the Government. They are both propositions which are constantly put forward by speakers opposite, and very often by the same speaker on the same platform. The hon. Gentleman himself seems to be in some doubt on the matter. Let me reassure him in regard to these two Wednesday evenings—the 3rd and the 10th May. He took the Motion of the 10th May first, which is to call attention to the methods of procedure in this House, and the consequent curtailment both of liberty of action and liberty of speech of private Members. What have we been doing this afternoon? We have been discussing that Motion. It has been the burden of every speech made on the other side of the House. Therefore we have had an anticipatory discussion, and it would be a waste of time to devote another day to what has already been so amply considered. But let us take the earlier notice—that of the 3rd May, which is to call attention to unemployment and to move a Resolution. I have already indicated that one of the main objects of my asking the House to make a curtailment of private Members' time is in order that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer may introduce and explain the proposals of the Government in this very matter. So that whether you regard the Motion of the 10th May, or that of the 3rd May, I think I have shown that the apprehension of the hon. Gentleman in reference to their being-passed over altogether without discussion, is without foundation. I cannot on behalf of the Government accept the Amendment. As I have already said, I think our proposal is a moderate one, and I hope the House will very soon come to a decision.


The right hon. Gentlemen said that we on this side constantly speak of the Labour party being the slaves of the Government or of the Government being the slaves of the Labour party. On that subject we have only to compare the speeches by Labour Members in this House with the speeches they make outside this House, and I would like to draw attention to a speech made by the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) a prominent Member of the Labour party, who said, at a demonstration held on Sunday, at Wolverhampton:— The reform of the House of Commons was of much more importance to the democracy of England than the reform of the House of Lords. The Liberals were floundering with social reform plus a more or less Punch and Judy light with the House of Lords. To think that in the House of Commons they were strenuously engaged in a terrible revolution to overcome the tyranny of the House of Lords was all bunkum, pure and simple humbug. He had spent hours in the House of Commons every night and watched this epoch-making revolution being waged with half-a-dozen men sitting on the benches. It was merely a time-killing arrangement. The fact was that the House of Commons and the Liberal party had a lot of men who wanted to go to the House of Lords. He had some little respect for the true-blooded lord whose ancestors had handed down to him an estate, but he had nothing but contempt for the peers who had paid their price to the Liberal party. When the Liberals stopped making peers, then he would believe that they wanted to get rid of the House of Lords. I invite the Prime Minister, in view of the criticism he has made on some of the speeches which he said we on this side of the House deliver, to compare that sort of utterance with what we hear in this House from hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite. I think the right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that those hon. Members are always ready to follow him into the Lobby, and that on this occasion their action will prove no exception to that very general rule. We on this side of the House recognise that the Labour party are becoming merely one of the official elements of the Liberal party. The Government, by their proposals, propose to take these Wednesdays, yet if they sat a few hours later on several nights they could soon make up the thirteen hours which they will get by this Motion; or, on the other hand, they could limit the duration of speeches by a modification of the Standing Order. I am perfectly well aware that such a proposal does not commend itself to a great many hon. Members opposite, and very likely does not commend itself to some Members on this side of the House. The Prime Minister said, however, that there was no other way in which he could act, and here I show him two ways.

As regards the value of these evenings, everybody knows that often on private Members' evenings very valuable Motions and very valuable speeches are made. Very often the speeches made on these occasions are infinitely more valuable for the purpose of criticising the Government than the possibilities afforded by private Members' Rills. I should like to ask the Prime Minister which is the most convenient for the Government, to have the possibilities of legislation taken away from private Members or the possibilities of criticism on Wednesday evenings. Everybody knows that it is most convenient for the Government to take away the Wednesday evenings, and nobody more so than hon. Gentlemen opposite who, when the Unionist party was in power' took advantage of them to criticise us on the Fiscal question, and to bring it up constantly in order to embarrass the Government. Such Motions are infinitely more valuable than the possibilities in bringing in Bills which very often go no further, and very often are of very little value.

I would suggest to the Prime Minister that the amount of time he is going to give is not worth the Motion which he is making. The House has only got to sit on a very few evenings a very little longer. The Government are ready enough to sit up late sometimes. They have certain Members of the Front Bench who are artists in carrying on all-night sittings, or sittings which are described as being a "little late." I am sure the vast majority of the House will be ready to sacrifice a certain amount of the time which they ordinarily devote to their beds in order to preserve their privileges, and to preserve those evenings so that we may have opportunity for criticising the actions of the Government of the day in a way in which it is absolutely powerless for us to do so on a Bill. The Motion is not, I am sure, going to give the Government the advantages they expect. It will deprive a great many hon. Gentlemen of valuable opportunities. I only hope that those gentlemen who sent the Labour party here will realise that unless they vote with us in this case they are deliberately depriving—(Laughter). Hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite may laugh in a very uneasy manner. They know that the Congress at which those violent speeches have been delivered is not going to sit on the third day, and that if they wait until to-morrow's papers are ready they will not see this. At any rate it is our duty to place on record that if they vote against this Amendment they are deliberately keeping from discussion two or three Motions of the greatest importance, which they have been clamouring for and asking for, and which they will have no other opportunity of moving. They are deliberately preventing the House from the opportunity of discussing those Motions, and are preventing those Motions being thoroughly ventilated. I should be very much surprised if those who sent them here do not deeply resent that.


I rise only for a moment to say that I shall certainly support the Amendment of my hon. Friend. I am sorry I did not hear his speech in advocacy of it, but I heard the Prime Minister's speech against it, and that was quite ample, because, if I understood the Prime Minister aright, he seems to think that the whole question of unemployment can be adequately dealt with, or will be adequately dealt with, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer brings in his Bill. That evidently is not the case. I have no doubt the suggestions of the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be more important, and must be more important, than any two or three hours' debate private Members could have on the general question, but the idea that a Bill dealing with the uncertainties of unemployment and the uncertainty of health covers the same ground as that of the general Motion on unemployment is, I will not say an absurdity, but an exaggeration of which no one is more conscious than the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, who laid it so amiably before us. The other point was that we were already at this moment discussing the question raised in the Motion which is put down for Wednesday, the 10th May. We are doing nothing of the kind. This Amendment does indeed deal with one very important fraction of the question, but only a fraction. It does not touch the broad issues and the widest issues which I apprehend the hon. Member who tabled the Motion intended to raise. The Motion we are now discussing simply deals with the problem, is the House going to abandon now, and what will be, I am afraid, for all time, the compact which was laid down between the then Government of 1901 and the private Members of that day when the Government said, "We are taking away a very large fraction of your nominal privileges, but we are leaving you a fraction, and that fraction we intend to be yours in a substantial sense."

I am not, of course, at all accusing the right hon. Gentleman of bad faith with the House. He was not a Member of that Government, and that kind of private treaty cannot be said to have any moral obligation, I quite admit, through an indefinite number of years. The fact still remains that the whole aspect of this problem was thoroughly thrashed out nine years ago. The arrangement then arrived at worked perfectly until last year. If we take last year and this year together, we are evidently at the beginning of a new state of things in which the rights of private Members will be as uncertain in the future as they were before 1901. Under those circumstances I am bound to vote for any curtailment of the proposal made by the right hon. Gentleman. I do not believe, were the right hon. Gentleman to show himself amenable to what is the expressed opinion on this side of the House, and what is the tacit opinion on the other side of the House, that he would lose substantially anything of those advantages in respect of Parliamentary opportunity which he hopes to gain by the drastic proposal he has put before us.


I do not propose to deal with the general question before the House, because all I have to say on that subject was said when the right hon. Gentleman made his Motions to take the Wednesdays after Easter. Some observations which have been made on the other side do require a word or two from those sitting below the Gangway on this side. The hon. Member for Barkston Ash (Mr. Lane-Fox) has warned us that he and his friends are going to make certain statements in the country about what is going to happen here this afternoon. I assure the hon. Member I expected that. They have done it before, and we are perfectly prepared for their doing of it again. I would suggest to them, however, that when they make their statements that they will make them fully, and not do as they have done before. The fulness of the statement, for instance, will include this very remarkable fact that the hon. Member who has been good enough to look after our interests this afternoon by moving this Amendment, was so anxious when we desired to raise the question of unemployment on the Adjournment at Easter, that he put down a blocking Motion upon it.


At the request of Members of his party I withdrew that Motion.


It is perfectly true that the hon. Gentleman withdrew his Motion, but not in time.


The Motion was not on the Paper on Wednesday.




Certainly. I do not want to do the hon. Gentleman an injustice. The situation was this, that the Motion remained on the Paper until another Motion was put down, and that no information was conveyed to us of its withdrawal until it was too late for us to take any action on this side. I have not the least objection that the statement I originally made should be amended in that direction, and to that extent all I have got to say is this, that as long as we are Members of this House we shall use our common sense in voting for or against Resolutions, and I can assure hon. Gentlemen opposite that the very last thing which would influence us in voting on such Resolutions as that before the House at the present moment is such suggestions as that made by the hon. Member for Barkston Ash, that he is going to misrepresent our conduct to the constituencies when the time comes.


The hon. Member made a very interesting speech, but I cannot quite understand, after listening to it, why it is that he does not vote for this Amendment, or why it is that he does not press the Government to withdraw their opposition to the Amendment. The Amendment, no doubt, has pointed out the inconsistency in which hon. Members have placed themselves. The Amendment saves two days from the Prime Minister's Motion, and one of those days would be given up to a general discussion on unemployment. I share the amazement of my right hon. Friend at the statement that what the Government says about unemployment is the only thing that deserves the attention of the House of Commons.


made an observation which was inaudible.


That is the only way in which the right hon. Gentleman's observations can be turned into argument. I do not understand why a general discussion on the question of unemployment would be in any sense a waste of time when the Government are going to bring in a very important Bill on the same topic. On the other night there is the Motion in the first instance about procedure, and in the second place a Motion relevant to the provision of meals for school children. That is a Motion to which, we are constantly assured, hon. Members opposite attach very great importance. It is, of course, in the power of the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) to withdraw his Motion as to procedure if he thinks the other Motion more important, so that both Motions are fairly under the consideration of the House.


We are going to ask leave to introduce a Bill under the Ten Minutes Rule on that particular subject.


I do not think the hon. Member will maintain that a discussion under the Ten Minutes Rule is—


If hon. Members opposite are so very anxious for a discussion of this question, perhaps they will make representations to the right hon. Gentleman and join with us in asking for facilities for the Second Reading of the Bill.


We offer the hon. Member the opportunity of getting terms now, and if he does not avail himself the point really is, are hon. Members below the Gangway ever going to exert any pressure on the Government, whether on this topic or on any other? Let me understand what is in the hon. Member's mind. He attaches importance to the Parliament Bill, and does not want to do anything to jeopardise it. I listened to the Prime Minister's speech with great attention, but I cannot understand why the Parliament Bill is supposed to be dependent upon so trumpery a matter as thirteen hours, or, to far as this Amendment is concerned, five hours. There are a hundred ways of getting round that dificulty. A couple of days at the end of the Session given to some other legislative matter would enable the time to be made up. Are you going to take these two days from private Members in order to have two more days' holiday in August? That is really the issue, because the Session can always be extended. The fate of the Parliament Bill cannot reasonably be said to depend on a Motion of this kind. I think the Labour party will find themselves somewhat worsted in the struggle between the different groups which are anxious for the passing of that Bill. Already the Nationalists and the Liberationists seem to be ahead of them, and after those two groups have exhausted their efforts there will probably be a reaction in the country. My right hon. Friends may then come into office, and there will be a reformed Second Chamber. Whether that reformed Second Chamber will be favourable to the Liberal party or not I cannot say, but it certainly cannot be advantageous for the Labour party. The Liberal party and the Conservative party taken together must be in a great majority, and the Labour party will not have the influence—


They will not send us up there.


The hon. Member would be an ornament to the Upper House, but he would not be able to turn out the Government by voting against them, because votes in the other House do not involve the fate of the Government. It seems to mc that with a reformed Second Chamber the Labour party will certainly be in a worse position. They seem to be going to make a legislative night of it, but the Nationalist and the Welsh parties will get most of the liquor, while the headache will be shared by all. That, however, is somewhat beyond the present Motion. I do not believe the Labour party can go on giving votes of the character of the one they are going to give to-night and continue to be treated seriously as an independent party. The Nationalist party have obtained a position which we all recognise as independent. But they have done so by voting against both parties. The Labour party, however, are biding their time. They are like the traditional villain of melodrama, who is always muttering, "The time will come." I am inclined to think that that time will not come in this Parliament. The Labour party will be always just getting ready to take strong action, but they will be put oft by some contrivance—and the Prime Minister is a past master in those contrivances. At General Elections hon. Members below the Gangway opposite pose as an independent party, but they always, as a matter of fact, vote for the Government. No doubt they know their own business best. I do not aspire to the post of unofficial adviser to the Labour party. All I say is that they have no right to complain of us if we point out to them and to their supporters that their position is largely a delusive one, and that they are called by a name which they do not deserve. I shall certainly go into the

Lobby in support of my hon. Friend's Amendment.

Captain CRAIG

If these tactics of the Government are pursued it must have an effect on the progress of Bills on the Paper. Hon. Members opposite will appeal in vain for any mercy in regard to any of their Bills for the remainder of the Session. That is the only way in which private Members will have the slightest opportunity of showing how strongly they feel on this matter. As far as I am concerned, I give warning that I shall not allow any single Government measure or private Member's Bill to get through this Session.

Question put, "That the proposed words be there added."

The House divided: Ayes, 129; Noes, 174.

Division No. 136.] AYES. [5.55 p.m.
Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F. Finlay, Sir Robert Mount, William Archer
Aitken, William Max. Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A. Newdegate, F. A.
Anson, Sir William Reynell Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)
Anstruther-Gray, Major William Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead) Ormsby-Gore. Hon. William
Ashley, Wilfrid W. Forster, Henry William Paget, Almeric Hugh
Balcarres, Lord Foster, Philip Staveley Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Baldwin, Stanley Gardner, Ernest Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.) Gilmour, Captain John Perkins, Walter Frank
Banner, John S. Harmood- Goulding, Edward Alfred Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Baring, Captain Hon. Guy Victor Grant, J. A. Pollock, Ernest Murray
Barlow, Montague (Salford, South) Greene, Walter Raymond Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Barnston, Harry Gretton, John Rice, Hon. Walter Fitz-Uryan
Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton) Gwynne, R. S (Sussex, Eastbourne) Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth) Haddock, George Bahr Rothschild, Lionel D.
Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich) Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry) Royds, Edmund
Bennett-Goldney, Francis Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford) Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)
Bigland, Alfred Harris, Henry Percy Salter, Arthur Clavell
Bird, Alfred Hill, Sir Clement L. Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)
Boscawen, Sackville T. Griffith- Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter Sherwell, Arthur James
Bridgeman, William Olive Hill-Wood, Samuel Snowden, Philip
Bull, Sir William James Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy Stanier, Beville
Burn, Colonel C. R. Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)
Butcher, John George Houston, Robert Paterson Starkey, John Ralph
Carlile, Edward Hildred Hume-Williams, William Ellis Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)
Cassel, Felix Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath) Swift, Rigby
Castlereagh, Viscount Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr Sykes, Alan John
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Kerry, Earl of Talbot, Lord Edmund
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University) Knight, Capt. Eric Ayshford Terrell, George (Wilts, N. W.)
Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W. Lane-Fox, G. R. Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Larmor, Sir J. Thorne, William (West Ham)
Clay, Captain H. H. Spender Law, Andrew Bonar (Bootle, Lancs.) Thynne, Lord Alexander
Clive, Percy Archer Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End) Tryon, Capt. George Clement
Cooper, Richard Ashmole Lee, Arthur Hamilton Walrond, Hon. Lionel
Courthope, George Loyd Lewisham, Viscount Ward, Arnold S. (Herts, Watford)
Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Lockor-Lampson, G. (Salisbury) Wheler, Granville C. H.
Craik, Sir Henry Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey) White, Maj. G. D. (Lancs., Southport)
Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian Lonsdale, John Brownlee Winterton, Earl
Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich) Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)
Croft, Henry Page MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh Werthington, Evans, L.
Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. S. Magnus, Sir Philip Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Mason, James F. (Windsor) Younger, George
Du Cros, Arthur Philip Middlemore, John Throgmorton
Eyres-Monsell, B. M. Mildmay, Francis Bingham TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Mitchell-Thomson and Sir F. Banbury.
Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants., W.) Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas
Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour) Alden, Percy Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)
Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda) Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire) Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)
Acland, Francis Dyke Allen, Charles Peter (Stroud) Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.)
Addison, Dr. Christopher Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Barton, William
Beauchamp, Edward Higham, John Sharp Phillips, John (Longford, S.)
Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts., St. George) Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. Pollard, Sir George H.
Black, Arthur W. Home, Charles Silvester (Ipswich) Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
Boland, John Plus Hughes, Spencer Leigh Power, Patrick Joseph
Booth, Frederick Handel Hunter, William (Lanark, Govan) Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)
Bowerman, Charles W. Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel Pringle, William M. R.
Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North) Johnson, William Raffan, Peter Wilson
Brace, William Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Raphael, Sir Herbert Henry
Brigg, Sir John Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe) Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)
Burke, E. Haviland- Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney) Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Joyce, Michael Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar) Keating, Matthew Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Byles, William Pollard Kellaway, Frederick George Robinson, Sydney
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Lamb, Ernest Henry Rose, Sir Charles Day
Chancellor, Henry George Lambert, George (Devon S. Molten) Rowlands, James
Churchill; Rt. Hon. Winston S. Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) Rowntree, Arnold
Clough, William Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld., Cockerm'th) Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Collins, G. P. (Greenock) Levy, Sir Maurice Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Lewis, John Herbert Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Condon, Thomas Joseph Logan, John William Scanlan, Thomas
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich) Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.
Crooks, William Lundon, Thomas Sheehy, David
Crumley, Patrick Lynch, Arthur Alfred Shortt, Edward
Cullinan, John Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Simon, Sir John Allsebrook
Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy) Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Maclean, Donald Spicer, Sir Albert
Dawes, J. A. Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)
Delany, William MacVeagh, Jeremiah Summers, James Woolley
Dillon, John M'Micking, Major Gilhert Sutton, John E.
Doris, William Marks, George Croydon Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Duffy, William J. Marshall, Arthur Harold Tennant, Harold John
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Meagher, Michael Thomas, J. H. (Derby)
Edwards, Enoch (Hanley) Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.) Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of Menzies, Sir Waiter Toulmin, George
Essex, Richard Walter Middlebrook, William Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Esslemont, George Birnie Millar, James Duncan Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Falconer, James Montagu, Hon. E. S. Verney, Sir Harry
Fenwick, Charles Mooney, J. J. Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)
Ferens, Thomas Robinson Morrell, Philip Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
Ffrench, Peter Nolan, Joseph Waring, Walter
Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward Norman, Sir Henry White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)
Fitzgibbon, John O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir T. P.
Flavin, Michael Joseph O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)
Gill, Alfred Henry O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Williamson, Sir A.
Glanville, Harold James Ogden, Fred Wilson, Henry J. (Yorks, W. R.)
Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford O'Grady, James Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Gwynn, Stephen Lucius O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.) Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)
Hancock, John George O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. U. (Rossendale) O'Malley, William Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)
Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West) O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)
Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.) Parker, James (Halifax) Young, William (Perth, East)
Haworth, Arthur A. Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)
Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.
Henry, Sir Charles S. Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)

Main question put. The House divided: Ayes, 176; Noes, 128.

Division No. 137.] AYES. [6.0 p.m.
Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour) Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar) Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of
Acland, Francis Dyke Byles, William Pollard Essex, Richard Walter
Addison, Dr. C. Carr-Gomm, H. W. Esslemont, George Birnie
Alden, Percy Chancellor, Henry G. Falconer, J.
Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbarton) Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Fenwick, Charles
Allen, Charles P. (Stroud) Clough, William Ferens, T. R.
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock) Ffrench, Peter
Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.) Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward
Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark) Condon, Thomas Joseph Fitzgibbon, John
Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.) Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Flavin, Michael Joseph
Barton, William Crooks, William Gill, A. H.
Beauchamp, Edward Crumley, Patrick Glanville, H. J.
Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts, St. George) Cullinan, John Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford
Black, Arthur W. Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy) Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)
Boland, John Plus Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Hancock, J. G.
Booth, Frederick Handel Dawes, J. A. Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)
Bowerman, C. W. Delany, William Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)
Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.) Denman, Hon. R. D. Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E)
Brace, William Dillon, John Haworth, Arthur A.
Brigg, Sir John Doris, W. Hayden, John Patrick
Burke, E. Haviland- Duffy, William J. Henderson, Arthur (Durham)
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Henry, Sir Charles S.
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Edwards, Enoch (Hanley) Higham, John Sharp
Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. Mooney, J. J. Scanlan, Thomas
Home, Charles Silvester (Ipswich) Morrell, Philip Seely, Colonel Rt. Hon. J. E. B.
Hughes, S. L. Nolan, Joseph Sheehy, David
Hunter, W. (Govan) Norman, Sir Henry Shortt, Edward
Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Simon, Sir John Allsebrook
Johnson, W. O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)
Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth) O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Spicer, Sir Albert
Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe) Ogden, Fred Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)
Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) O'Grady, James Summers, James Woolley
Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney) O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.) Sutton, John E.
Joyce, Michael O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.) Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Keating, M. O'Malley, William Tennant, Harold John
Kellaway, Frederick George O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Thomas, J. H. (Derby)
Lamb, Ernest Henry Parker, James (Halifax) Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Lambert, George (Devon, S. Motion) Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek) Thorne, William (West Ham)
Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M Toulmin, George
Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld., Cockerm'th) Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham) Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Levy, Sir Maurice Philips, John (Longford, S.) Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Lewis, John Herbert Pollard, Sir George H. Verney, Sir Harry
Logan, John William Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H. Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)
Low, Sir F. (Norwich) Power, Patrick Joseph Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
Lundon, T. Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham) Waring, Walter
Lynch, A. A. Pringle, William M. R. White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)
Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Raffan, Peter Wilson Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Raphael, Sir Herbert H. Whyte, A. F.
Maclean, Donald Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough) Williamson, Sir A.
Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Redmond, John E. (Waterford) Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)
MacVeagh, Jeremiah Roberts, G H. (Norwich) Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
M'Micking, Major Gilbert Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford) Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)
Marks, G. Croydon Robertson, John M. (Tyneside) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Marshall, Arthur Harold Robinson, Sidney Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)
Meagher, Michael Rose, Sir Charles Day Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)
Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co) Rowlands, James Young, William (Perth, East)
Menzies, Sir Walter Rowntree, Arnold
Middlebrook, William Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Illigworth and Mr. Gulland.
Millar, James Duncan Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Montagu, Hon. E. S. Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.) Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas
Aitken, William Max. Finlay, Sir Robert Mount, William Arthur
Anson, Sir William Reynell Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A. Newdegate, F. A.
Anstruther-Gray, Major William Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)
Ashley, Wilfrid W. Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead) Paget, Almeric Hugh
Balcarres, Lord Forster, Henry William Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Baldwin, Stanley Foster, Philip Staveley Peel, Hon. W. R W. (Taunton)
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.) Gilmour, Capt. John Perkins, Walter F.
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Goulding, E. A. Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Banner, John S. Harmood- Grant, J. A. Pollock, Ernest Murray
Baring, Captain Hon. Guy Victor Greene, W. R. Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Barlow, Montague (Salford, South) Gretton, John Rice, Hon. W. Fitz-Uryan
Barnston, H. Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne) Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Bathurst, Charles (Wilton) Haddock, George B. Rothschild, Lionel de
Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth) Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry) Royds, Edmund
Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich) Hardy, Laurence Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)
Bennett-Goldney, Francis Harris, Henry Percy Salter, Arthur Clavell
Bigland, Alfred Hill, Sir Clement L. (Shrewsbury) Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)
Bird, A. Hillier, Dr. A. P. Sherwell, Arthur James
Boscawen, Sackville T. Griffith- Hill-Wood, Samuel Snowden, P.
Bridgeman, W. Clive Hohler, G. F. Stanier, Beville
Bull, Sir William James Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)
Burn, Colonel C. R. Houston, Robert Paterson Starkey, John Ralph
Butcher, J. G. Hume-Williams, William Ellis Staveley-Hill, Henry
Carlile, E. Hildred Hunt, Rowland Swift, Rigby
Cassel, Felix Hunter, Sir C. R. (Bath) Sykes, Alan John
Castlereagh, Viscount Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr Talbot, Lord Edmund
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Kerry, Earl of Terrell, George (Wilts, N. W.)
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University) Knight, Captain E. A. Terrell, H. (Gloucester)
Chaloner, Col. R. G. W. Lane-Fox, G. R. Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Larmor, Sir J. Thyme, Lord Alexander
Clay, Captain H. Spender Law, Andrew Bonar (Bootle, Lancs.) Tryon, Captain George Clement
Clive, Percy Archer Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End) Walrond, Hon. Lionel
Cooper, Richard Ashmole Lee, Arthur H. Ward, Arnold (Herts, Watford)
Courthope, G. Loyd Lewisham, Viscount Wheler, Granville C. H.
Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury) White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)
Craik, Sir Henry Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey) Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Ripon)
Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian Lonsdale, John Brownlee Worthington-Evans, L.
Cripps, Sir C. A Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich) Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Croft, H. P. MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh Younger, George
Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott Magnus, Sir Philip
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers. Mason, James F. (Windsor) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Earl
Du Cros, Arthur Philip Middlemore, John Throgmorton Winterton and Mr. Ormsby-Gore.
Eyres-Monsell, B. M. Mildmay, Francis Bingham