HC Deb 07 August 1911 vol 29 cc795-921

I beg to move, "That the advice given to His Majesty by His Majesty's Ministers, whereby they obtained from His Majesty a pledge that a sufficient number of Peers would be created to pass the Parliament Bill in the shape in which it left this House, is a gross violation of constitutional liberty, whereby, among many other evil consequences, the people will be precluded from again pronouncing upon the policy of Home Rule."

In rising to move the Vote of Censure, the terms of which are on the Paper, I need hardly say that I am fully conscious of the gravity of the situation, and the seriousness of the step which I ask the House to take. Votes of Censure are familiar incidents in the Parliamentary history of our time, and of other times. They have sometimes been brought forward on grave occasions; sometimes on occasions bordering upon the frivolous. I think it will be admitted both by those who propose to vote for, and those who propose to vote against the Resolution, that there never has been in all our Parliamentary history a more serious case, or one which more urgently deserved—and even required—the consideration of Parliament, and, as I think, required the emphatic condemnation of His Majesty's Ministers. The propositions that I shall endeavour to lay before the House are: that the Ministry have grossly abused their rights as advisers of the Crown; that by abusing those rights they have put themselves above the Constitution; that they have acted wholly without precedent, and in a manner wholly inconsistent, not merely with the constitutional traditions of this country, but with the constitutional traditions of every country which understands what constitutional government is; and that they have taken this course, not in obedience to any great and overwhelming pressure of public opinion, not to carry out any great object; not to meet any great necessity of the State; but in order to further a Parliamentary arrangement with the different sections of the House which support them. They have done this in total indifference to the fact that they have not only broken constitutional traditions, but they have done it in order to prevent the people of this country pronouncing again on a point on which twice already they have uttered their opinion in no unmistakable voice.

I think, in developing these propositions, I may advisedly begin with what I regard as the great wrong that His Majesty's advisers have done both to the King and the office which the King holds. I should have thought that His Majesty's advisers would have been especially careful in dealing with this delicate question of the Prerogative when they had to advise a Sovereign who had only just come to the Throne, and who in the very nature of the case had not, and could not have, behind him that long personal experience of public affairs which some of his great predecessors enjoyed. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"]


You are censuring the King. [HON. MEMBERS: "Order, Scott!"]


I should have thought that they would have been especially careful in dealing with a Monarch so circumstanced. And who, remember, had at the time in which this—I will not say after the answer of the Prime Minister at the time that this obligation was finally entered into—I will wait and hear what he has got to say—but the date on which this question was undoubtedly mooted and carried much further—must have been and was carried much further—than a mere interchange of views—I should have thought at that time they would have hesitated. I should have thought they would have hesitated, knowing that the Coronation was just in front of them, knowing that at such a moment any King, and this King above all others, would desire to feel that he was the head of an Empire, and had behind him a united Empire; that he was far removed and above any question of dividing parties, any question on which his own subjects might be in sharp collision; that they would have been especially careful not to drag him into a position, through no fault of his, when the Prerogative, under the advice of his Ministers, was to be so used and so misused, that inevitably against such an action there must rise up a feeling in very nearly half His Majesty's subjects in these islands, and a great deal more than half of His Majesty's subjects in England. A feeling, I say, would be and must be aroused, that, under the coercion of the Government, the Prerogative is to be used in favour of a cause to which undoubtedly so far as we know their opinions, the opinions of the people of this country are contrary to the opinions of the Government, and it is to be used in order that Home Rule may be forced through the two Houses of Parliament without the people of this country being consulted. That was a cruel position for the advisers of the King to place the King in. I cannot doubt that it was accompanied with circumstances of special aggravation. The circumstances are these—they are obscure at present, they must necessarily remain more or less obscure until the Prime Minister speaks, for he has, perhaps wisely, been careful not to provide, and has refused to provide the Mover of the Vote of Censure with all the materials required.


The Prime Minister was not allowed to explain in his speech.


The hon. Gentleman is mistaken. That was not one of the points with which the Prime Minister ever intended to deal, as I gather from the printed report of his speech. It was a question with which ho could have dealt in answer to the interrogatory I addressed to the Chair just before I rose to make my speech. He refused to reply, and by refusing to reply, has, with reason or without it, declined to give the Mover of the Vote of Censure all the information which in my opinion he has a right to receive. This at all events I gather is beyond question. It is beyond question that in the Press which supports the Government it has been explicitly stated over and over again, and with emphasis, that the pledge was given in November last. No suggestion of contradiction until the ambiguous words of the Prime Minister this afternoon, has ever been given to that statement. It rests, indeed, so far as I am concerned, and necessarily rests upon rumour alone, and I frankly say that the rumours I have heard upon the subject are of a kind which make it in the absence of further explanation from the Prime Minister impossible for me not to believe that in. fact and in substance the advice of which I complain in this Vote of Censure was advice given and advice substantially accepted eight months at least before it had to be carried into effect.

If anything could aggravate the charge of giving such advice at all it would be the fact that it was given at a time when the circumstances could not be fully foreseen in which the advice was to be carried out. The right hon. Gentleman will give us his story in a few minutes, and I hope when he gives it he will explicitly tell us whether he laid before the Crown in November last, in a spirit of prophetic divination, the fact that the difference that would occur and which was to justify this revolutionary creation of Peers was not to be taken upon the rejection of the Parliament Bill by the House of Lords; not to be taken upon its mutilation, but simply and solely upon the one issue, whether or not the people of this country were to be allowed, if the Houses differed upon the subject of Home Rule, themselves to pronounce upon it. Was the King informed in November last, when these conversations took place, of this fact? And was he not merely advised by his Ministers to provide them with a majority in the Upper House for passing the Parliament Bill in its essential outlines? Was the King explicitly informed that the difference upon which the two Houses might ultimately split was not the Second or Third Reading of that Bill, but that the issue was, as I have described it, whether the Bill should pass with all its provisions, with the exception that Home Rule and some other points of which everybody knows the most practically and immediately important was Home Rule, if dealt with by legislation and rejected by the House of Lords should not come under the provisions of the Parliament Bill, but should be referred to the final arbitrament of those constituencies upon which we all depend. I hope the Prime Minister will not think I am unduly insistent in my repetition. Will he give us art account of what happened in November last? Will he tell us explicity and categorically whether that particular issue, the issue which has now arisen, was foreseen by him eight months ago? Will he tell us whether it was called to the King's attention, and whether it was in view of that the King gave the promise, absolute or conditional, on the issues in the present constitutional revolution?

I turn from one aspect of the treatment of the Sovereign by the Sovereign's advisers to another. Sir, the King is the fountain of honour. The Government have determined that the stream that flows from that fountain shall, under their advice, be poisoned and corrupted. The only precedent that we have in our long constitutional history for the creation of Peers is that of 1711, when twelve, mostly eldest sons, were created. There was one gentleman, Sir Miles Wharton I think his name was, who was asked whether he would accept a peerage in order to modify the political complexion of the Upper House. He said, as far as I can remember his words, I remember the substance, that he had hitherto understood that peerages were given as a mark of honour in recognition for what had been done not as payment for services that were to be done, and Sir Miles Wharton refused a peerage. We are, after all, a community of more than 40,000,000 souls, and I do not suppose that, if the Government go about in the highways and byways—and obscure byways—of political life they will find any insuperable difficulty in finding Gentlemen ready to accept this honour on any terms which His Majesty's Government may choose to exact, but I am not sure that the Position either of themselves or their descendants will be very agreeable. It is usual in the records of the Upper House to say that So-and-So or the ancestor of So-and-So was elevated to the Peerage because he was an eminent soldier or lawyer—[An HON. MEMBER: "Or brewer."]—because he had done service, honourable or dishonourable if you like, but had done service to his party in the political life of this country. Well, I suppose the record of these gentlemen will differ. They will appear as having been created under a promise of giving a vote to destroy, as far as in them lay, the institution of which they were to become Members. The price given, or proposed to be given, for their vote by the Government is that they shall become Members of an ancient and honourable body. The service exacted is that when they become Members they are to destroy the body to which they have been appointed. A meaner part, a more contemptible part, it would be difficult to conceive any politician playing, and certainly I do not envy those who are going to be called upon to play it.

But, after all, these gentlemen are but the supers in this sordid drama. Let us turn from them to the chief actors in the play. [An HON. MEMBER: "Smith."] Now, Sir, His Majesty's Government, against whom this vote of censure is levelled, and who are, in my opinion, the chief actors in the drama, if I understand them rightly, have based the revolution which they have recommended to the King on the ground of precedent. I say, Sir, that it is neither in accordance with constitutional precedents nor is it in conformity with the spirit of the Constitution; neither has it historical authority behind it. What is even more important than mere historical authority, it has not behind it those principles of constitutional liberty which are not the heritage of this country alone, but which, borrowed or inherited it may be from us, now prevail over so much of the civilised globe and over the western world. Lord Brougham —I am sorry that I have not the quotation with me, but I remember it in substance— in a speech which he made, I think in 1840 or a little later, said that it was within the power of the Prerogative to create as many Peers as the King for the time being desired. He also said that it was within the Prerogative for the King to send a regiment of Guards to turn out the Members of the House of Lords; and then he added that one proceeding would be as illegal and unconstitutional as the other. In my opinion Lord Brougham was right, and that opinion comes with all the more weight from him because he was one of the Government which in 1832 did suggest the creation of Peers.

Let us go then to the precedent of 1832 and ask how far it supports the contention of the Government. It is probably familiar to most hon. Gentlemen in this House, but, as is well known, the subject upon which that revolution was suggested, that extra constitutional action was the case of the Reform Bill of that year. That Reform Bill had been the subject, and the sole subject, mark you, of three General Elections.


No, only one.


I do not think that helps the right hon. Gentleman.


It is a matter of historical fact.


I do not take the right hon. Gentleman's view of history, but I ask, even if his view of history is accurate, how does it help his argument? At all events, he admits by his interruption that one election out of the three was in connection with reform.


There were not three. There were only two.


Out of three elections fought in connection with reform he admits that one was on the Reform Bill solely and absolutely, and that is enough for my case. In the second place, let it be remembered, not merely that the Reform Bill of 1832 and its predecessors had been passed in this House where there was a very large number of Members who sat for what were called rotten boroughs, but the feeling of the people of the country and of all classes of the people of this country was practically unanimous, as far as unanimity could ever be obtained in a free community in favour of reform. In the third place, let it be remembered that this subject created so unanimous a storm of indignation at the rejection by the House of Lords that it was found impossible to form an alternative Government, though that was tried, and that those Peers themselves never pretended to suggest, so far as I know, that the general sense of the whole of the community was not in favour of Lord Grey's measure. Remember, in those days there was no doctrine such as has universally prevailed in subsequent times, namely, that when the will of the people is unmistakably expressed the House of Lords have no duty except to bow to that will. There was no provision made for a collision between the two Houses even when it was clear that the whole of the public opinion was against the House of Lords, and that only a small minority were in favour of it. None of those circumstances are repeated on the present occasion, not one of them. I go through the conditions which I have explained as incident to the case of 1832. The Government would be the last to pre tend that the only question before the constituencies at the last election or the last election before that, or the last election before that, was the question of the Amendment to the Parliament Bill, on which the collision between the two Houses has now taken place.

The right hon. Gentleman talked just now of historical facts, and he was good enough to correct my historical fact. No one, at all events no sober historian, would ever suggest for one instant that at these elections there was but one question before the constituencies. The Government themselves have claimed a verdict for I do not know how many Bills on the strength that those Bills were before the electorate at the last election. There was but one Bill before the electorate in 1832. I go much further and I say the Amendment on which the two Houses are now divided was never before the country at all. I do not suggest, of course, that the right hon. Gentleman did not read out a sentence, prepared in the Cabinet, at the end of 1909, in which Home Rule was mentioned. I do not deny, of course, that he introduced it furtively and with timid and decorous caution in speeches he made, I dare say, at both the elections at the beginning of 1910 and at the end of 1910, but I do say explicitly in the presence of hon. Gentlemen, all of whom are capable of checking and correcting my facts, that it was never brought before the constituencies of this country as the great and critical issue. It was never brought before them in a fashion which would justify any Government in advising the Crown to create Peers in order to carry out the will of the people. It was hidden away in an answer to a question in the right hon. Gentleman's constituency; it was not mentioned by some of his colleagues, and it was barely mentioned by others. Conceive Members of the Government in 1832 in the middle of the storm of passion aroused by the rejection of the Reform Bill, and imagine them going down to their constituencies, and talking of everything in Heaven and earth except the Reform Bill. The very suggestion is preposterous, and yet it is notorious I do not exaggerate the facts when I say that in constituency after constituency in this country Members, not merely independent Members but Government Members, were either silent or spoke with the utmost hesitancy and discretion about the question which is now thought to have occupied so much of the attention of the electorate, eight or nine months ago, that it justified what Lord Grey himself would be the first to admit, was an extra constitutional procedure hardly to be justified even by the tremendous circumstances which prevailed in 1832. So much for the comparison between the present condition of affairs and the condition of affairs that prevailed at a time to which apparently the right hon. Gentleman looks for his main and indeed his only historical justification.

4.0 P.M.

I do not know whether the House will agree with me, but I think there are more fundamental considerations than any which can be drawn from mere precedent in this matter. I say boldly, I hope not too boldly, that it is contrary to the whole spirit and idea underlying the very notion of a Constitution in which there are legislative Chambers to put either one Chamber or the other into the hands of the Executive, and by putting them into the hands of the Executive, I mean erecting an executive authority which shall manipulate that Chamber by additions to its number until it happens to agree with the opinions which it holds. [Cheers.] I think, I am not quite sure, I understand the meaning of the cheers with which hon. Gentlemen opposite have been kind enough to greet these observations. If they lay down the proposition that either the Upper or the Lower House was in its character or by its composition totally incapable of fulfilling its functions in the Constitution, that may be an opinion right or wrong with regard to a particular Constitution. It may be right or wrong with regard to the present Second Chamber, but the way to deal with that is to reform the Chamber, and, if I may respectfully interpolate the parenthesis, it is the party to which I belong, and not the party opposite, which is sincere in its desire. While it is perfectly legitimate to desire that the constitution of the Second Chamber may be remodelled, what I venture to say no man who understands what he talks about can ever maintain is that you ought to put any Chamber, however bad—granted it has all the vices you can conceive, and that it can never be right— in a free constitution into the hands of an executive in the sense of saying, "We will mould you, we will add to your number or subtract from your number, we will modify you and deal with you as it pleases us, in order that your collective opinion may exactly square with any Parliamentary intrigue which we may happen to have in hand." I venture to say that history— recent history—is entirely on my side in this matter. Take the American Constitution. That constitution was avowedly framed upon the British Constitution, altered to suit the special requirements of the new Republic. It made no provision at all for flooding the Senate if the Senate should differ from the House of Representatives. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about Canada?"] Allow me to treat one country at a time. It made no provision whatever for dealing with deadlocks in the preposterous fashion which is now proclaimed by the Government as the constitutional method of dealing with them. [An HON. MEMBER: "They have no Peers."] What has that got to do with it? I say if you think that working with two Chambers there ought to be no hereditary element, then make the Second Chamber without it; if you think there ought to be a Second Chamber partially hereditary, make it so, but do not do what you are doing, and leave its constitution nominally the same, but manipulate the personnel if it does not happen to agree with you. I revert to the interruption of the hon. Gentleman about Canada. Canada is not the most recent example of a great Constitution made by this country. But even in Canada, I believe, there is no possibility whatever under the Constitution of flooding the Upper House. The hon. Gentleman who interrupted me is mistaken in his facts——

Sir A. MOND rose, but was unable to obtain a hearing.


Does the hon. Member rise to a point of Order?


I merely want to reply—— [An Hon. MEMBER: "Take your Peerage."]


The hon. Member cannot reply in the middle of a speech.


I need hardly say I respectfully agree with your ruling, although I should have liked to know to what the hon. Member takes exception. But if the hon. Gentleman will reflect, and if the House will think, they will find that, as a matter of fact, whatever power there may be to add to the Second Chamber in Canada there is no power in the executive to food that Chamber so as to make it conform to their own views. Then I take the last two great examples of Constitution making—one under the auspices of the Government of which I was a Member and the other under right hon. Gentlemen opposite—I mean the cases of Australasia and South Africa. Everybody knows that while the provision made for dealing with differences between the Chambers is not the same in both cases, in neither case is it permitted to the Executive, be the majority by which it is supported in the Lower House what you will—in neither case is the Executive permitted to flood the Second Chamber until it happens to fit in with what it thinks is just. If you are to have a true constitutional form of Government it can only be on the theory that when you have got a Second Chamber you do not flood it or manipulate it. Modify it and reform it if you like, alter its constitution by law as you like, but do not be so mad as to lay it down that the constitutional method of dealing with deadlocks is that the Minister, howsoever supported, wherever he gets his power, so long as he has power in the House, can go to the Sovereign and constitutionally advise that Sovereign to mould and modify and pack the Upper House with hired voters till it becomes the supple instrument of his own executive will.

I must honestly say if this procedure had been taken in favour of any cause whatever, I should have regarded it as a deep blot on the character and statesmanship of the Minister who advised it. But when I remember the sole motive which has compelled the Government to refuse the Amendments put in by the Lords to this Parliament Bill, and that that sole motive is that they are afraid of being turned out by the votes of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, then I say the last element of discredit has been added to one of the most discreditable transactions of which we have ever heard. While every man on this side of the House is determined to resist to his utmost the course pursued by the Government, and to make it impossible in the future, it is a matter of common knowledge that we do not all agree on the immediate steps to be taken. I make no apology for stating what everybody knows to be the fact—which, indeed, has been so widely advertised that nobody could be in any doubt as to how the matter stood. Hon. Friends of mine think that the best method of resisting the Government is to compel the creation of Peers in the largest possible number. I think that that method, whatever else may be said of it, does not really conduce to the great revision of our Constitution, which we are all agreed is absolutely necessary so long as the Constitution of this country is to be maintained. I do not hold the view, which they held, that it is either technically or substantially—either in appearance or in reality—fighting this Bill to compel the misuse to the utmost limit of the Prerogative. That misuse has in substance already been accomplished to practically its extremist limits, because the crime is accomplished. The blow to the fabric of our institutions has gone home. But, though there is this difference of opinion between us, let not those who oppose our policy, let not those who favour, perhaps I I should say, the policy of the Government—let them not think that they are going to reap any great advantage from these differences of opinion. It may be true—it is true, I think—that such differences are of no great assistance to a party entering into a great fight. But remember this, as soon as these what I think are secondary controversies are swept aside, not only every Gentleman who sits on this side of the House, not only every Member of the Unionist party in the United Kingdom, but vast numbers of citizens who have hitherto taken no great part in our political controversies, will awake to the fact that, under the leadership of the right hon. Gentleman, and by his advice, the Prerogative of the Crown has been so grossly misused that it is impossible that the present condition of things should be allowed to last; they will realise, how I do not know explicitly, but in some substantial form, that the Prime Minister extracted from the King a promise eight months before it was required to be fulfilled, which from that moment rendered impotent everything that could be done by one of the established Chambers in our Constitution.

During those eight months the right hon. Gentleman has kept secret from all whom it concerned what took place between him and his King. For that there may have been good and sufficient reasons, and, in so far as it refers to the relations between the right hon. Gentleman and the Sovereign, I make no complaint. But during those eight months the right hon. Gentleman has been masquerading here as a constitutional Minister. We have none of us suspected— [Interruption.] Well, I have not suspected— [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh."] Perhaps hon. Gentlemen opposite have been in the confidence of the Prime Minister. If they knew all about it they were more fortunate than myself, for I knew nothing about it. But through all these eight months the right hon. Gentleman, with these pledges in his pocket, has, I say, been masquerading as a constitutional Minister when he had, in fact, by the advice which he had given to the King, put himself far above the Constitution by using the Prerogative as no Minister in this country has ever dared use it before, and as no King in the old days of the Prerogative ever dared to use it When that is realised, and realised it will be, I am perfectly confident that all wise and sober opinion in this country will see that the Constitution, mutilated and destroyed and shattered as it has been by the right hon. Gentleman, cannot stand in the ruined shape in which he has left it. They will see to it that the crime of 1911, which has no precedent in our historic past, they will see to it that that crime shall, at all events, never be followed by repetition in the future of this country, however long the liberties of this country may be allowed to subsist under Radical domination.

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Asquith)

Though I did not detect any excessive kindliness of tone in the right hon. Gentleman's speech, my first duty is to tender him, on behalf of His Majesty's Government and those who support them, our most grateful acknowledgment for this opportune, though unexpected Motion. It was the very thing we wanted, for, on the one hand, it gives to the representatives of the Government an opportunity, such as no discussion upon the Lords Amendments could have afforded, to state to the country, with clearness and with precision, the grounds for the advice which we have tendered to the Crown. And. on the other hand, it gives the House of Commons the opportunity of stating, as I hope and believe they will state with equal clearness and emphasis, whether that advice truly reflects the opinion and judgment of the chosen representatives of the people. The right hon. Gentleman has complained that I have not given him, in support of what was apparently a hypothetical Vote of Censure, materials in advance by which he could or could not ascertain whether his hypotheses were well or ill-founded. But the only point raised by the Motion is whether, in the circumstances in which we stand—with the Parliament Bill twice approved in principle and once approved in all its details by the electors of the country, passed through this House by a continuous and overwhelming majority, and now met in the House of Lords by so-called Amendments which are in reality changes fundamental in their character and fatal to its purpose—[OPPOSITION cheers]—habemus confitentes reos—whether it is or is not the constitutional duty of Ministers of the Crown to advise the Crown that if the House of Lords refuses to give way, the Prerogative of creation should be resorted to in order to carry into effect the will of the people.

The right hon. Gentleman has asked me when that advice was given. The answer is—as I have already said in answer to his question—it was given in regard to the existing situation. It was given when a situation had arisen from which no other constitutional outlet was possible. It was given and accepted in reference to that situation, and it is by a review of that situation, how it arose and what it involves, that the question must be answered whether or not that advice was warranted and justified. That is a survey which I propose very shortly to undertake. But when I say the advice as to the Prerogative was tendered now and in view of existing circumstances, it must be clearly understood, as I have already intimated, that I do not mean in the least to convey that there had not been previous communications before the course of events had developed between the Sovereign and his Ministers on the subject. As it is most desirable that there should be no mystery or misunderstanding over a perfectly simple and correct transaction, it is, I am allowed to say, at His Majesty's strong desire, and therefore, of course, with his express permission, that I am able, as I am about to do, to disclose communications which up to this moment have been treated both by the King and by his Ministers as confidential. To make the matter clear, I must go back to the month of April, 1910, when the so-called Veto resolutions had been approved by large majorities in this House, and the Parliament Bill founded upon them had been introduced. King Edward VII. was then on the Throne—I ask the House to remember that—and there was every reason to believe that his life and his reign would be prolonged. It was notorious that our resolutions as carried in the House of Commons, and which were shortly to go before the House of Lords, would be laid aside or rejected there, and the majority inside and outside this House were beginning to ask with not unnatural impatience whether the election just held was to be reduced to a nullity, and if matters were once more to result in a futile deadlock. It was in these circumstances that on 14th April, 1910, after careful consultation with my colleagues, in language approved by them and communicated to the King, who was abroad, I used these words to the House of Commons:— If the Lords fail to accept our policy or decline to consider it if it is formally presented to the House, we shall feel it our duty immediately to tender advice to the Crown as to the steps which will have to be taken if that policy is to receive statutory effect in this Parliament. What the precise terms of that advice will be it will, of course, not be right for me to say now, but if we do not find ourselves in a position to ensure that statutory effect shall be given to that policy in this Parliament, we shall then either resign our offices or recommend a dissolution of Parliament. Now here come the important words:— Let me add this, that in no case will we recommend a dissolution except under such conditions as will secure that in the new Parliament the judgment of the people, as expressed at the elections, will be carried into law."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th April, 1910, col. 1548.] That is very plain language. It is language which represented, as I have said, the deliberate policy of the Government, and it was so understood and accepted at the time, not only by our friends but by our antagonists. It is a policy which, as I have reminded the House by reference to dates, was announced by me to this House and to the country— that is the only observation which I shall make in reply to what I thought the very unhappy remarks of the right hon. Gentleman in reference to a new King—as head of the Government while I was still King Edward's Minister. Within a month his reign came to a premature and a most unexpected end. A political truce followed, and for the best part of six months an honest, continuous, and, as I think, well inspired endeavour was made by leading representatives of both parties in the State to arrive at a settlement by agreement. That experiment, unhappily, as I shall always think, though I impute no blame to anyone, finally broke down in the early part of November, and we then reverted to the situation as it stood in April. What was the first question which we, the Ministers of the Crown, had then to determine? It was whether we should go on in the then existing Parliament or whether we should advise a Dissolution, having regard in both cases to my declarations of the preceding April. In the circumstances, after very full consideration, we thought it right to advise a Dissolution of Parliament. Nearly a year had passed since the General Election. We were in a new reign. There had been much discussion, some of it not of an acrimonious kind, of the questions at issue. Moreover, our plan was now actually formulated in the shape of a Bill. On the whole, it appeared to us, and I think so still, that the arguments for Dissolution were overwhelmingly strong. But we were clear, at the same time, that it would be neither honourable nor justifiable to go into another election blindfolded. In the first place there was my deliberate pledge, given upon the floor of this House in the name of my colleagues and the Government—that which I read a moment ago—that in no case would we recommend a Dissolution except under such conditions as would secure in the new Parliament that the judgment of the people would be carried into law. A great many hard words have been used about me just now. I do not mind in the least. Harder words would have been used— words which I should have minded, if, after that declaration of the Government, my colleagues and I had been false to the trust reposed in us by thousands and millions in the country. I might have been accused, with reason, both of treason and trickery had I under these conditions gone into a dissolution without any understanding as to the future. But, secondly, quite apart from that distinct and deliberate pledge, we might have been so accused if we had thought it right to plunge the country a second time in the course of a single year into the cost, the turmoil and confusion of a General Election, unless we could have felt sure that if it gave a decisive result the matter—subject, of course, to full Parliamentary discussion—would be regarded as for the time being definitely closed. Accordingly. Sir, when we came to the conclusion that it was our duty to advise the King to dissolve Parliament, we accompanied our advice——


I rise to a point of Order. We desire to hear the Prime Minister, but cannot, on account of some unruly persons near this corner of the House.


I hope the hon. Gentlemen do not wish to mar the harmony of the proceedings.


When we resolved to advise the King to dissolve Parliament we accompanied our advice, on 15th November, 1910, with this statement:— His Majesty's Ministers cannot take the responsibility of advising a dissolution unless they may understand that, in the event of the policy of the Government being approved by an adequate majority in the new House of Commons. His Majesty will be ready to exercise his constitutional power, which may involve the Prerogative of creating Peers if needed to secure that effect shall be given to the decision of the country. His Majesty's Ministers are fully alive to the importance of keeping the name of the King out of the sphere of party and electoral controversy. They take upon themselves, as is their duty, the entire and exclusive responsibility for the policy which they will place before the electorate. His Majesty will doubtless agree it would be inadvisable, in the interests of the State, that any communication of the intentions of the Crown should be made public unless and until the actual occasion should arise. That was the communication made by the Cabinet on 15th November to the King. His Majesty—after careful consideration of the circumstances, past and present, and after discussing the matter in all its bearings with myself and with my Noble Friend and colleague, Lord Crewe—felt he had no alternative but to assent to the advice of the Cabinet. Accordingly on 18th November, 1910, two days later, I announced to this House:— We have advised the King, and he has accepted our advice to dissolve Parliament. In the course of that Debate, in answer to a question put by my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme, column 135 of the OFFICIAL REPORT, I used this language:— My hon. Friend has asked me a question in regard to the declaration which I made on 14th April. That declaration I have already mentioned to the House. That declaration, the language of which was carefully chosen, represents now, as it did then, the intention of His Majesty's Government. I may say, and I am quite sure that hon. Members on both sides of this House will recognise the justice and, I hope, the common sense of the position, when I decline altogether and shall continue to decline, to make any statement as to the advice I may have given, or may hereafter give, as a responsible Minister, to the Crown. The King stands aloof from all our political and electoral conflicts, and it is the duty of all his subjects and of his Ministers to maintain and secure his absolute detachment from the arena of party politics. I hope my hon. friends have sufficient confidence—I will not say in myself, but in His Majesty's Government—to be content with that statement. What was the alternative? We might have resigned. If we had resigned, the King, no doubt, would have sent for the right hon. Gentleman opposite, the Leader of the Opposition. He might, or he might not, have taken the responsibility of forming a Government. If he had not, of course matters would have remained just as they were. If he had, it is a matter of common knowledge that the Government so formed could not have existed for a week in this House, for the simple reason that the House would have refused to grant Supply. A Dissolution therefore was inevitable, and there was no ground whatsoever for thinking that a Dissolution would not have been attended by the same result.

But I ask the particular attention of the House and the country to this. A Dissolution under these conditions would have been held in circumstances which would have made it impossible to keep the name and authority of the King out of the arena of party politics. His Majesty, no doubt, thought this was a matter which was peculiarly incumbent upon him to safeguard. Now, I have never used in public or in private the word "guarantee" or "pledge" in regard to this matter. They are words which seem to me singularly inappropriate to describe a purely conditional understanding such as this. It purposely left open certain contingencies which might or might not arise, amongst others, the dimensions of the majority in the new House of Commons, and the shape the Bill might assume in the course of Parliamentary discussion. Nothing can be more absurd than to suggest (what I think the right hon. Gentleman suggested in the course of his speech, what I have certainly seen alleged outside) that the existence of such a confidential understanding between the Sovereign and His Ministers introduced an element of unreality in the subsequent discussion of the Bill when it came before both Houses. I tell you why. There was never any question of obtaining the Royal Assent in advance to a cast-iron legislative scheme to be rammed through Parliament. His Majesty's assent would never have been asked, and I am certain would never have been granted to any such proposal.

The Bill was always treated by us, and is treated by us now, as a Bill approved in principle by the electorate of this country, and therefore to be carried in principle into law, but susceptible to any reasonable Amendment which is not fatal to its principle and purpose. It was only in the contingency of its possible rejection, or its mutilation by the other House—which latter has taken place—after it had received the approval of a decisive majority and after it had gone through the full ordeal of Parliamentary discussion, that the understanding was ever intended to apply. Indeed, it was my hope and strong belief, expressed at this Table, that the House of Lords, when it got possession of the Bill, would show by its treatment of it that it recognised and was prepared without pressure, or suggestion of pressure, to give substantial effect to the decisive wishes of the people. It was only when that hope was frustrated, it was in the course of last month, that His Majesty was asked and consented, if necessary, to exercise his Prerogative. That, Sir, is the whole procedure. It requires no words of apology or even of defence. We took the only course which was consistent with the considerations of honour and true regard for the dignity of the Crown. The course we took was correct, was considerate, was constitutional. For my part, speaking for myself and my colleagues of the Cabinet, I am perfectly content with regard to it to abide by the judgment, first of this House and then of my fellow-countrymen.

The question is this: Is it, or is it not, unconstitutional in existing circumstances for the Executive to advise the Crown to be ready to exercise the Prerogative for the purpose of passing the Parliament Bill into law? That is a question which, in my judgment, admits of only one answer. The circumstances are unique, and far stronger than the circumstances of 1832, of which the right hon. Gentleman seems to have a very nebulous historical view. He actually told us that the Reform Bill of 1832 was three times before the electorate of this country. What are the facts? The facts are that there was a compulsory Dissolution in consequence of the demise of the Crown in 1830. There was no Reform Bill before the country at all. Reform was no doubt talked about, just as the reform of the House of Lords is now. Anybody who studies that election will see perfectly clearly that no one dreamt of the proposal of such a measure as that which was introduced by Lord Grey. Indeed, when it was introduced in the House of Commons by Lord John Russell, in 1831, it excited such universal astonishment that it was said that if a Division had been taken upon it that night it must inevitably have been rejected. That, therefore, was not the issue in 1830. The Duke of Wellington's Government was overturned on a side issue in the autumn of that year and Lord Grey came into office. The great Reform Bill was introduced in March, 1831. It passed the Second Reading by a majority of one. A vital Amendment was moved by General Gascoyne the moment it got into Committee, and it was carried, with the result that the Government dissolved Parliament, and a general election took place in May, 1831. That was the only election that ever took place in regard to the great Reform Bill. The three elections referred to by the right hon. Gentleman are, therefore, rather in the realm of mythological legend. A large majority was no doubt returned in its favour. It passed the House of Commons in the autumn, and was sent to the House of Lords, where it was rejected on the Second Reading. Thereupon Parliament was prorogued. It met again, and the Bill, in the early part of 1832, was again passed through the House of Commons—the same House. The House of Commons was not a year old at the time it passed through. The Bill went to the House of Lords, which, so far from fighting, allowed the Second Reading to take place. The moment it got into Committee it was defeated, or rather, a hostile Amendment was carried, at the instance of Lord Lynd-hurst, to postpone the Disfranchising Clause. That was the point at which Lord Grey went to the Crown and asked for the exercise of the Prerogative. Just let the House contrast the two cases. We are dealing with a Bill which has been twice before the electorate—in all its main principles in January, and in all its details in December, 1910. We are dealing with a Bill, the principle of which has been thrice confirmed in three successive Houses of Commons. We are dealing with a Bill in regard to which we have not asked for the exercise of the Royal Prerogative until it had gone through all its stages in the House of Lords. In Lord Grey's case there had been one election, and one election only, when he demanded the exercise of the Prerogative before the Bill had even been considered in Committee in the other House. I make the right hon. Gentleman a present of any benefit he can get from the analogy. The truth is that this is a far stronger case in every one of its details. You may say "The country approved of the principle of the Bill, but has the House of Lords gone beyond the legitimate sphere of Amendment and reconstruction within the limits of the principle which the country has so approved?" Well, I had the answer to that question a few moments ago from the other part of the House.

Let us see what is the Bill now. Is it the Bill which the country approved? Does it bear any but the most superficial resemblance to that Bill? I see some learned commentators have made out that there are some fifty to seventy lines of the Bill as it came back from the House of Lords which are identical with the Bill as it left the House of Commons. But it has grafted upon it in the Lans- downe Amendment the very alternative which the country repudiated. And here comes in another vital point differentiating this case from the Reform Bill of 1832, and in favour of the constitutional course pursued by the Government. In 1832 it was a question of the Bill and nothing but the Bill, but as everybody knows in 1910 that was not the question. There was the Bill on the one hand and the Lansdowne scheme on the other—the Referendum and all the rest of it—and, I may add, as the right hon. Gentleman has chosen to introduce the topic, Home Rule. I will undertake to say there was not a single speech made by a single right hon. Gentleman on the Front Bench opposite in the course of the general election of 1910 in which he did not warn the country about Home Rule, and no one in clearer terms than the right hon. Gentleman.


The right hon. Gentleman has said that there was not a single Member on this bench who in the course of the general election did not mention Home Rule. In my case I only said anything about it in one single speech.


I make my full apology to the right hon. Gentleman. But although he said it in only a single speech he said it with so much emphasis that that single speech was placarded on almost every wall in every constituency. What is the use of talking? Everybody knows that was the bogey set up by right hon. Gentlemen opposite. They tried to buy votes for the Referendum by representing that the effect of the Parliament Bill, if carried, would be to carry Home Rule, so that we have here a much stronger case—I am dealing now with the purely constitutional question—we have a much stronger case for the use of the Prerogative than ever existed in 1832, for not only had our Bill been twice before the country, but the alternative scheme of the House of Lords had also been before the country, and had been decisively rejected. I ask this simply question: What in these conditions, according to the law and practice of the British Constitution, if the House of Lords will not give way, what outlet, what way of escape, is there open to us? I put that question to them now. Will some of the hon. Gentlemen rise in the course of the evening, and, given my assumption that the Parliament Bill has been approved, and deliberately approved, by the electors—[Hon. MEMBERS "No."]—then I cannot argue with you—given my assumption that the Parliament Bill has been deliberately approved by the electors, that the alternative scheme of the Referendum has been deliberately repudiated, and that the House of Lords has insisted in putting the Referendum in place of the Parliament Bill—given this assumption, I challenge any hon. Gentleman opposite to rise in his place and tell me what is the constitutional solution of this. As for the authorities they are absolutely unanimous. I will quote only one of very great eminence—Professor Dicey. He says, in his classic work on the subject:— The point at which the Lords must yield or the Crown must intervene is properly determined by anything which conclusively shows that the House of Commons represents on the matter in dispute the deliberate decision of the nation. Well, is that going to be disputed? [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] You may deplore it. You may think the nation was misled.


We do dispute it.


You may deplore it if you like—you may say you were befooled or defrauded, if you like. You may be convinced that argument and experience in the course of time will cause the country to change its mind. That I can conceive, but do you dispute the fact?


Yes, certainly.

5.0 P.M.


Then I will state in a sentence why the fact is indisputable. Everybody knows that at this moment no alternative Government is possible. By an alternative Government I mean a Government to which the House of Commons would give its confidence, and everybody also knows—and I should be very much surprised if anyone denies what I am going to say—that no responsible Minister who could be called to the counsels of the Sovereign would venture at this moment to put the country to the gratuitous turmoil, cost, and confusion of a third General Election in the course of two years, which no one believes would or could give a substantially different result. There is no use blinking the facts. These are the real facts of the situation. Those are the facts with which we are face to face. It is the situation contemplated by all our great text-writers and authorities on the Constitution as justifying what is admitted to be a wholly exceptional use of the Prerogative. If we wan: precedent of the practice we can go back to the much weaker case of 1832. I will once more cite a classical passage on the subject, the language which was then used by Lord Grey. Lord Grey said in the House of Lords:— I ask what would be the consequence if we were to suppose that such a Prerogative did not exist, or could not be constitutionally exercised? The Commons have a control over the power of the Crown by the privilege, in extreme cases, of refusing Supply. The Crown has, by means of its power to dissolve the House of Commons, a control upon any violent and rash proceedings on the part of the Commons. If a majority of this House"— that is the House of Lords— is to have the power whenever they please of opposing the declared and decided wishes both of the Crown and the people without any means of modifying that power, then this country is placed entirely under the influence of an uncontrollable oligarchy. That is the true constitutional doctrine. There is nothing of novelty in its being applied to-day in the same way in the case of extreme and overwhelming necessity. I am accustomed, as Lord Grey in his day was accustomed, to be accused of breach of the Constitution and even of treachery to the Crown. I confess, as I have said before, that I am not in the least sensitive to this cheap and ill-informed vituperation. It has been my privilege, almost now I think unique, to serve in close and confidential relations three successive British Sovereigns. My conscience tells me that in that capacity, many and great as have been my failures and shortcomings, I have consistently striven to uphold the dignity and just privileges of the Crown. But I hold my office not only by favour of the Crown but by the confidence of the people, and I should be guilty indeed of treason if in this supreme moment of a great struggle I were to betray their trust.


The whole substratum of the argument which the Prime Minister has just addressed to the House depends upon his ability to make a diagnosis at once accurate and fair to the mandate which the Government claims to have received at the last General Election. In one incautious sentence he made it clear to the whole House that he is wholly incapable of diagnosing the nature of any mandate that he got at the last election. An observation was made which refers to Home Rule. The Prime Minister thinks it is relevant to found himself upon the number of speeches in relation to Home Rule which were made by my right hon. Friends, and he says the bogey failed. This is the great constitutional authority upon mandates. He is telling us now that the Government derived from the last election a mandate to carry Home Rule for Ireland, and he incautiously and somewhat posthumously repeated here all the old platform case in the country during the recent election that the objection to Home Rule was a bogey. And when the Prime Minister speaks as if he justifies the course which he has taken by a statement that he made in this House in April it is sufficient answer to say that I will undertake to show from his own mouth that the statement which he made in April and the threat which he made in April were unconstitutional, and that the action which he took pursuant to that threat, judging him by his own language, was a gross outrage on the Constitution. The Prime Minister has spoken of what he said in April, of the advice he gave in April. But what did he say in February, a few weeks earlier, in this House? Is the period of his consistency to be measured by a prescription of six weeks. This is what he said on 21st February:— In my judgment it is the duty of Statesmen as long as possible to keep the Prerogative of the Crown outside the domain of party politics. To ask in advance for a blank authority for an indefinite exercise of the Royal Prerogative in regard to a measure which has never been submitted to or approved by the House of Commons is a request which in my judgment no constitutional Statesman can properly make."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 2lst February, 1910, col. 56.]


I adhere to every word of it.


If the Prime Minister adheres to every word of that I will undertake to say that he has broken a distinct and specific pledge which he gave to the House of Commons. What is the profession of belief to which the Prime Minister adheres? It is that to ask in advance for the exercise of the Royal Prerogative in regard to a measure which has never been submitted to the House of Commons is a request which no constitutional statesman can properly make. The whole House has. hoard the statement which the Prime Minister has made of the advice which he gave his Sovereign in November, and it is, within the knowledge of the whole House that no measure in the sense and in the only sense in which we speak of a measure——


The three Resolutions embodied the whole of the principles of the Bill, and were passed by a large majority.


If the House will consider for a moment, I think I can show in a moment in a sentence the absolute inadequacy of the Prime Minister's answer. His interruption depends on this contention: That Resolutions may, for the purposes of the dictum he utttered, take the place of a measure. If Resolutions may take the place of a measure, why did the Prime Minister make this excuse, when he made it? We had had such Resolutions in the previous Parliament. The reason the Prime Minister did not choose to found himself upon the Resolutions of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman was because he recognised then, as clearly as we recognise to-day, that until a Bill has been discussed and has gone through the test of Committee discussion in the House of Commons it is foolish to say that the electors understand what its detailed consequences are. Everybody who heard that utterance from the Prime Minister will know perfectly well that that was what the Prime Minister meant when he defined the duty of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister made some reference to the Conference. I should have thought the less reference made to this the better. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] I am about to attempt to say why. The reason why his reference to the Conference would have been better omitted is simply this: That in our view, the view of myself and many of my hon. Friends, the Conference into which we went in good faith and with a. genuine desire to ensure a constitutional settlement, was used when it broke down in the basest party sense in order to force on an election at a moment which the Government advisers thought was most useful to the Government.

What were the circumstances in which we went into the Conference? The Prime Minister has said that the late King had died. That would not be a convenient moment either for the Government or anyone else to embark on a constitutional controversy of this business. It was for the convenience of the Government far more than it was for our convenience that we should go into Conference with them at the moment when he asked us to go into Conference. How did he use us? Not only on the very day the Conference broke down, but two or three days before public utterances were made by Ministers in high station opposite showing that an election was already determined. Now let me see if we can penetrate a little the clouds of the Prime Minister's statement with reference to the advice which he gave the King in November in the light of the subsequent discussions which have taken place? There is not a Member of this House who is able to express his meaning with greater perspicuity than the Prime Minister when he wishes to do so, and I will undertake to say that there is no Member of this House so habitually obscure in his utterances that he would not have given a clearer impression to the House of what took place in November than has been given. [Hon. MEMBERS: "Withdraw."] I will withdraw nothing. The Prime Minister uttered one sentence which tells us all we need to know. He said, if I heard his words rightly, that he informed in effect the. Sovereign that assuming an adequate majority were returned to support the Government in the new Parliament the Government would not be responsible for continuing as a Government unless they received by the Prerogative of the Crown powers, if it became necessary, to create Peers. I do not pretend to repeat with verbal accuracy what the Prime Minister said. I do not think he will dispute that I have repealed the substance of what he said.

The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Churchill)

You are wrong.


I am not wrong, of the Home Secretary will indicate where I am wrong it would materially help me. Until I am told specifically where I am wrong I will venture to think I am accurate. It can be settled in a sentence. The question which my right hon. Friend asked in moving this Vote of Censure has received no answer up to the present. Did the Prime Minister, or did he not, advise the Sovereign to authorise him to use the Sovereign's name as having sanctioned the creation of Peers to carry the Veto Bill not merely as it stood, but in relation to Amendments that might be moved? The Prime Minister has indicated to-day or indicated a few days ago, that some Amendment might be considered in the remaining stage of the Parliament Bill, and until that question has been answered it is quite impossible for any of us to judge either the position of the Prime Minister or the position in which he deliberately placed the Crown; but we can draw inferences as to what was done by the Prime Minister. We are not altogether without evidence in endeavouring to make up our minds because Ministers themselves have consistently said, from that day onwards, that they would tolerate no real interference, no Amendment of any importance, in the fabric of the Parliament Bill. And that is the common view. If that is the common view, then it is true and clear that in November and before the issues were determined, the Prime Minister advised the Crown, whom it was his duty chivalrously to protect, to give undertakings. Text-books are pointed to as an authority for the proposition that the Prime Minister was justified in the advice he gave to the Crown. You can find other statements also as to constitutional propriety, and sometimes in the same text writers. They have laid it down through many editions that it is the duty of the Prime Minister chivalrously to guard the Prerogative of the Crown with the same jealousy that he would guard his own honour, and not to prostitute it for party purposes. My right hon. Friend (Mr. Balfour) arraigned the policy of the Government on the ground that it was a gross violation of constitutional precedent. One would have thought that the Prime Minister who, after all, if one is to believe statements in the Press and elsewhere, has given advice to the Sovereign, would have given more close and less perfunctory attention to the precedents to which he has called attention as bearing on this question. The Prime Minister spoke about Lord Grey's statement in the House of Lords. I am able to supplement that by one also made by Lord Grey, on March 11, 1832, and this is what he wrote—when he was not doing what Jess distinguished people have done since, "bluffing"—in correspondence with a colleague:— It is a measure of extreme violence. There is no precedent for it in our history, the case of Queen Anne's Peers not being in point. It is a certain evil, and dangerous in itself as a precedent. So that the Minister on whom the Prime Minister found himself, writing privately to a colleague, says there is no precedent for it in our history, and that it is an evil dangerous in itself as a precedent. We have on record the opinion of another Minister, Lord Brougham. This is what he says:— It is a question whether I should not have preferred risking the loss of the Bill rather than expose the Constitution to the hazard of subversion. We should have obtained a compromise by doing so. I may quote what was spoken by the Duke of Wellington when he said:— They played a game of brag with me and I gave way. The second Lord Grey, who perhaps enjoyed some opportunity of knowing what was in his father's mind, was the Liberal Secretary of State from 1846 to 1852, and he said about this matter, which is considered so conclusively established a precedent in the view of the Prime Minister:— To create one hundred Peers in one day would be unconstitutional, and to advise the Sovereign to swamp the House of Lords would be the greatest violation of duty in the advisers of the Crown. I venture to address this question to the Government and to the right hon. Gentleman, who thinks the country is so much with him; the question is this: In the case of the creation of peers, admittedly unexampled in numbers, are we not entitled to ask the Prime Minister, on whom the duty was thrown of advising the King, why he should not have supported himself by some other and more convincing precedent than the only one he has brought before the House. The only Minister who has absolutely done this, as the House well knows, was impeached, and deservedly impeached. The second case, and the only other case which is relied on, was so unconstitutional that at the time it was spoken of as mere bluff, and would never have been carried out. These are your precedents, and what is it that the Prime Minister has done in advising the Sovereign? He is basing himself upon precedents so unreal and so flimsy as those to which I have referred. The Prime Minister has advised the Sovereign to tempt by rewards men to go to the House of Lords in order to give dishonest vote not upon issues presented to them in the House of Lords. How are they induced to go. They are not persuaded by money but by a form of corruption which is more subtle. That is a form of corruption supported by those on the other side of the House, and by men in the country who are wealthy democrats, who, in the last fifty years have varied denunciation of the House of Lords by entering within its portals. The Prime Minister said to these men, of whom the Patronage Secretary was armed with a list, "We will give you what you want if you on your part will pledge yourselves to do what Liberal Peers hitherto have not done, namely, carry out the understanding on which you are raised to the peerage." A Liberal paper to-day, in an enthusiastic and discriminating eulogy of the seventy-four or seventy-six Liberal Peers who have responded to the desperate ultimatum which Lord Morley has sent them, described them as "Live Liberals." Under what stimulus were they galvanised into vitality? Did they recover it when it was necessary to rescue the Veto Bill? Did they recover it when they were feverishly whipped up from all quarters in order to vote against Lord Lansdowne's Amendment. They remained like Achilles in his tent. They did not recover their liveliness until it became necessary to prevent their colleagues here from following them to the House of Lords.

But, indeed, why does the, Prime Minister, or why do I, waste the time of the House by pretending to treat this matter as if it either admitted of or required defence upon constitutional principle? There never has been constitutional principle here; it is a political question from beginning to end. In every corner of the House there is a complete understanding as to the realities of the situation. The Prime Minister gave His Majesty this advice, and he gave it because his master here ordered him to give it. And when the Prime Minister pours forth his sonorous rhetoric, he fails for one reason only, that he presupposes that he has acted as an independent and a conscious force. He is no more so than a satellite revolving round a larger constellation. The Prime Minister gave his advice to the Sovereign as the price of the Budget. He sold the Prerogative of the Crown for the Finance Bill. Like the House of Lords, he has ceased to be a free agent. Some hon. Gentlemen opposite, when my right hon. Friend was speaking, expressed great surprise at his professing to be unaware of the fact that these powers had been given to create these Peers. I will undertake to say that there was not a Member on this side of the House who was aware of the circumstances. I will undertake to say that there is not a Member on that side of the House who was not aware of it. Will the leader of the Irish party, who I hope will intervene in this Debate, positively and explicitly state whether, before the last General Election, he was informed by the Prime Minister that guarantees had been obtained?


I do not intend to intervene in this Debate. [HON. MEM-BERS: "Oh, oh."] I am sorry to disappoint the expectations of hon. Gentlemen. I may be allowed to answer the question put to me. The hon. Gentleman must not be aware of the fact that the question was asked me the other night here publicly, and I gave an explicit and categorical denial to the statement, and I hope he will, as did his colleague on that occasion, accept my statement.


If the hon. Gentleman tells me, as I understand him, that he had neither from the Prime Minister nor from any other Minister any communication made to him before the last election as to the general tenor of those conversations with the Crown, I accept it without any dispute, and I can only——


Mr. Speaker, this is extremely unfair. A question was put to me the other night, and I gave to the Member a categorical answer, and I asked you, Sir, to insist upon the hon. Member accepting that statement. I have now repeated that statement, and I ask the hon. Gentleman to accept it. If he does not accept my statement, then it is a matter of indifference to me.


I have no hesitation in saying that I accept the words of the hon. Gentleman, and no doubt my question and the answer will appear in the OFFICIAL REPORT to-morrow. Of course, I accept, without any reservation at all, the positive statement made by the hon. Gentleman. But it is rather difficult by question. and answer in the House to understand the precise words. I make no complains; I only say it is a little difficult by question and answer precisely to understand what the hon. Gentleman's denial was. I accept it without reservation. Is it not a very singular circumstance that nearly every Member of that side of the House derided my right hon. Friend when he said that he did not know about the existence of these guarantees, whereas it appears, when the facts are examined, that apparently the large majority of hon. Gentlemen opposite were armed with the information? [HON. MEMBERS: "NO, no."] As I understand, then, hon. Gentlemen opposite did not know before the last election. In that case, making all allowance for the form of denial of the Member for East Tyrone (Mr. W. A. Redmond) with regard to the statements which were made, I say if we accept his statement in its corrected form, it will appear that he having, I suppose some communication with the Leader of the Irish party —[Hon. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh."]—does anyone suggest that that is an improper observation. I repeat, having some communication with the Leader of the Irish party, and he has stated, accepting his own statement, that it was common knowledge that those pledges had been given by the King. Let us then face the reality of this position, and I can describe it in two sentences. I said there had never been a constitutional crisis, but that it was political, and that can easily be described in two sentences. The Government would from the beginning to the end of this controversy have accepted any settlement which would enable them to have carried Home Rule without an appeal to the constituencies, and would have accepted no settlement which did not allow them to carry Home Rule without an appeal to the constituencies. Why is it that the Prime Minister has changed his views so much in this respect? [An HON. MEMBER: "NO."] An hon. Gentleman says he did not. I venture to say I can very shortly show that he did, and I will undertake to show, or I hope to do so, that no more discreditable incident in the life of any Minister of the Crown was ever established than the inconsistency between the Prime Minister's previous declarations as to the taking of office without a majority independent of the Irish Vote and his position as he sits there today in the House dependent on the Irish Vote. Ten years ago the Prime Minister was exchanging acrimonious speeches with the Leader of the Irish party on the subject of that position. What did he say at Ladybank ten years ago? [An HON. MEMBER: "Chamberlain."] Is it suggested that ten years is the limit of the Prime Minister's consistency in these matters? The Prime Minister there said: I have for some time held the opinion that the Liberal party ought not to assume the duties and responsibilities of office unless it can rely upon an independent Liberal majority in the House of Commons. Such a majority may take a long time to secure, though, in my judgment, it is far more likely to come upon that footing than upon any other. But be the time short or long, it will, I am satisfied, be found in the long run the only practical alternative to a Tory Government. How did the Leader of the Irish party, between whom and the Prime Minister ties so affectionate and intimate now exist, how did the hon. and learned Member for Waterford receive that? He said: Mr. Asquith has made a very rash and a very foolish statement, that the Liberal party will never take office unless they have a majority independent of the Irish Members. Mr. Asquith only spoke for the Liberal Imperialists who to-day are few and in the future will be fewer. In the future, when the war has passed away, those Liberal Imperialists will disappear and the Liberal party will be run by men of the stamp of Lloyd George. At that date the Prime Minister possessed a harder fibre and somewhat more resistant qualities against the hon. and learned Member for Waterford than he does to- day, and, undismayed by that threat, he spoke later in the same month, 17th October, and said:— It seems to me plain honesty as well as plain policy that we shall claim and exercise freedom from the Irish party. In my opinion it would not be wise for the Liberal party to repeat the experiment of 1892 and to assume power—[you are repeating it to-day]—when it would only be retained by the support of the Irish vote. But the climax on this part of the Prime Minister's career was reached at Chesterfield, when he went to give to Lord Rosebery, who was then looked upon as if he was in the long run going to be the successful aspirant to the Leadership of the party, the Prime Minister was present, and the Foreign Secretary, in order to give support to Lord Rosebery. Lord Rosebry said:— Never will we have an intimate alliance with the Irish who have ranged themselves openly with the enemies we are fighting in the field. What did the Prime Minister say? He said:— We must endorse and act upon Lord Rosebery's declarations. Lord Rosebery was thrown over like an old glove by the Liberal Imperialists when he said in Cornwall what they had been saying in Chesterfield, and after the General Election of 1906 arose. Therefore the Prime Minister has boxed the whole political compass on the subject of Home Rule. Although an active politician, it is not, so far as I know, on contemporary record that he ever found salvation in the matter before Mr. Gladstone. When Mr. Gladstone found salvation on Home Rule the right hon. Gentleman found salvation with him. I suppose he agreed with Mr. Gladstone when Mr. Gladstone said that it was essential to have a majority independent of the Irish vote. He also agreed with Mr. Gladstone when Mr. Gladstone said a short time after that it was safe and honest to attempt to carry Home Rule with the Irish Vote. Then the Prime Minister boxed the compass with Lord Rosebery and said, "No, you must have a majority independent of the Irish vote," and now he has gone back to his first love, and he has been persuaded by the Leader of the Irish party, after four acts of complete political tergiversation on this point, to come back to the conclusion that he can introduce and recommend a Home Rule policy to Parliament without a majority independent of the Irish vote. What has changed him—a desire for office and nothing else. Whenever the Prime Minister has had the prospect of being supported by a majority independent of the Irish vote he has always dropped Home Rule, always. It has been a settled policy to drop it whenever he has had the chance of carrying it out independent of the Irish party. His haste in dropping it is only equalled by the celerity with which he takes it up again as soon as he sees that he cannot live as a Minister without the votes of the Irish party.

Where is this process to end, this process of Peer making on behalf of which he has evoked the Prerogative of the Crown. The hon. Member for Swansea (Sir A. Mond), an apt mouthpiece for Welsh Nonconformity, has welcomed the threat to create Peers as enabling the Government to carry Welsh Disestablishment. The hon. Member for Waterford and those who agree with him, welcomed the use of the Prerogative as a means of carrying Home Rule. I should like to ask this perfectly clear question. It is the view, as I understand it of hon. Gentlemen in all parts of the House, that one or other or both of the last, two elections gave them a mandate sufficient to entitle them to carry not merely the Veto Bill but also Home Rule and Welsh Disestablishment. That, I think, is the general view, because it is the avowed intention that when the House of Lords has been eviscerated by the Veto Bill, that those are to be passed. Suppose the House of Lords exercise their suspensory power for eighteen months in respect of Home Rule and Welsh Disestablishment, what will your position be, and what will the position of the Prime Minister be? I can quote the speeches that will be made by hon. Gentlemen opposite who will say at once as they say to-day. "A grave crisis has arisen. The last election gave us a mandate for Home Rule. We have carried the Home Rule Bill endorsed by the constituencies and ratified by the Commons of England." "We have carried that," they will say, "through the House of Commons, and why should that which is the deliberate expression of the people's will be suspended for eighteen months by any irresponsible House." I ask this plain question: Is there any reason why the Leader of the Irish party should not advise the creation of peers to meet that contingency. One hon. Gentleman is ready already, I dare say, if he is a little patient, he will receive promotion himself. If that is so, let us deal in this matter with the position of the Leader of the Irish party, with principals and not with agents. I know very well that if the Leader of the Irish party went to the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister has made himself by his speech to-day bankrupt of any answer to the demand of the Leader of the Irish party. What argument has the Prime Minister used to the House to-day as justifying the use that he has made of the Prerogative, which will not be, and ought not to be, consistently on the lips of the Leader of the Irish party going to the Prime Minister to demand the creation of Peers to meet the suspension of the Home Rule Bill, a mandate repeated at two elections representing the deliberate view of the electors, and all those other sentences, which I cannot remember, and which if I remembered I could not imitate, which have fallen from the Prime Minister today. Let me ask this question: Is there any Member on the other side of the House, and below the Gangway I am sure there is none, who would not think that it was perfectly legitimate to advise the Crown to create Peers if either Home Rule or Welsh Disestablishment were suspended by the House of Lords? It is obvious that anyone who agrees with the constitutional arguments of the Prime Minister can take no other view.

Let me ask one further question. The question is a little unusual, but the circumstances are a little unusual. May we have a plain answer to this question. Is. the Government taking money for these peerages? [An Hon. MEMBER: "What did Northcliffe pay?") I will not affect to disregard a question that has been put to me and one which I can answer with consistency. I want to make it perfectly clear, so far as I am concerned, that by whatever party contributions to party funds taken in exchange for honours that I say is a practice that should not prevail, and I hope that it is a practice that will be discontinued. I know there is a general feeling in that sense. Hon. Gentlemen say, "Agreed." But does the Patronage Secretary agree to that proposition?


Better ask your own Chief Whip.


Has he got one?


What does a Privy Councillorship cost?


I think I have made it clear that some measure of agreement exists whether it is done by one party or the other. I agree with a great many hon. Gentlemen who sat in the 1906 Parliament and who said that they disapproved of it. I think on one occasion they voted to that effect when a Committee of Privileges sat. I can only say, and the House will remember my words hereafter—[HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."] The House always recollects anything which can be quoted against a Member. I say on this point that I will at any time support any section or any body in this House in preventing this practice, as far as any small power of mine can go. Does anyone really think that the creation of Peers—it may possibly be by the 300 or 400 at a batch—on the pretext that you are obliged by the necessities of a solemn constitutional crisis, is on the same footing as the creation of an individual Peer under normal circumstances? Are we not entitled, and is not the country entitled, to be told whether, besides the constitutional inducement, the Patronage Secretary is putting into the party funds enormous sums of money? If the question is not answered, the House and the country will have no difficulty in drawing their own conclusions. I do not hesitate to add on the subject of the closing observations of my right hon. Friend, that I myself regret, greatly, as is well-known that the House of Lords, or that some Members of the House of Lords, are not proposing to carry out what I consider at any rate to be the logical conclusion of the views they have hitherto expressed, and which we know they still hold. I regret it profoundly. I notice some indications in the Liberal Press, which I think are not wholly lacking in instructiveness—the Liberal Press, which have been good enough to take my right hon. Friend and Lord Lansdowne under their special protection, discovering qualities and merits in them hitherto wholly unsuspected by them—that they think the time has now come to take off the mask, and in the "Morning Leader" of Friday a very interesting statement appears, the time of its appearance, I suppose, being arranged in relation to the completion of the list which Lord Lansdowne has so obligingly given to the Prime Minister as his contribution to the revolution—[Interruption, and "Traitor."] ——


I must ask the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Fiennes) to restrain his interjections.


The object having been attained, the "Morning Leader" of Friday points out that this Vote, of Censure is wholly superfluous and wholly unconvincing, because, they say, after all the House of Commons knows of the true complicity of the Leaders of the Conservative party in the passage of the Parliament Bill in the House of Lords. If that is said now in a hesitating and occasional manner, everyone knows that it will be the one case that every hon. Member opposite will make in the years to come. They will say, "When we advocated the Veto Bill, you passed it, and you could have stopped it if you chose." I do not think that hon. Gentleman opposite will be very much impressed by a Vote of Censure passed by our numbers in the House of Commons. They will say:— They cursed by candle and book and verse, But what gave rise to no little surprise, Nobody seemed a penny the worse. I venture to think that another policy might have led to other results. I think it would have been wiser not to have given way to the campaign of bluff which has been carried on. Does anyone doubt the accuracy of my description? You have only to open the "Daily News," and you read, "Next Monday, fifty Peers will be created; on Tuesday, 100; on Wednesday 150." The whole programme was announced with minute accuracy, and was apparently accepted by some, at any rate. So recently as two days ago, the statement was contained, I think in the "Daily News," that, whatever else happened, before the. Parliament Bill goes back to the other House, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet had made up their minds that they will take no risks in the House of Lords. It has been bluff from first to last and all the time. Had we insisted from the start on the creation of these Peers, realising that it is not an advantage but a danger that constitutional forms should survive when you are living under the actual pressure of revolutionary influences, I for one entertain the gravest doubt whether the Peers would have been forthcoming, and I would not have hesitated, on the carrying out of that policy, to have invoked the undoubted right and power of the Committee of Privileges to inquire into the legality of hireling creations. If I am told that the only logical outcome of that policy is that we should have been driven from the Houses of Parliament to the country again, I would say that, so far as that issue in. the country is concerned, I do not and never did share the pessimism which has been expressed, because I believe that the country will still respond when we go to them, as we should, with a declaration of war against the party which sold their master for thirty pieces of silver.


I thought that this was a Vote of Censure upon us by the party opposite, but in the last part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech it seemed that they were rather censuring one another. Is it a Motion to cover the rowdyism in the Commons or the revolt in the Lords, to persuade the electors of the country that there is some sort of unanimity on the other side of the House? What do we care for a Vote of Censure which emanates from two hostile camps? You do not want to prove your hatred of us, you want to demonstrate your love of one another. In the last part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, which was much more interesting than the first, and equally irrelevant, I noticed that, at the Halsbury banquet, he ended up with poetry? May I remind him of what the "Observer" said about him and his fellows yesterday? I do not say it is poetry; but the prose of the "Observer" is romance. They spoke about the right hon. Gentleman and the Noble Lord his colleague and Friend, who sits by his side (Lord H. Cecil). The Leader of the Opposition has left, but I am glad to see that those two Gentlemen are not only in contact but in touch with one another. It is different on the Front Opposition Bench; there they are in contact with one another and in great hostility at the same time. This is the poetry from the "Observer": the right hon. Gentleman might like to use it on a future occasion. I am sure he will do me the honour of listening to it, even with shut eyes:— Our chiefs may be plucky or prudent—— There is only one now, and he is prudent— Our chiefs may be plucky or prudent, But the soldier's choice if free: It is better to fall with fools who fight, Than to live with the wise who flee. Whence does this Vote of Censure come? Does it come from the "fools who fight"— these are not my words—or from the "wise who flee"? What does it matter to us whether the Vote of Censure comes from wisdom on a hedge or from folly in a ditch? On one point, at any rate, the right hon. Gentleman is to be congratulated. I thought he had arrived at the limit of his vituperation towards his friends, and I was surprised that he had any left for his enemies. That is the worst of living in a ditch or a gutter, you get the language properly connected with the place of residence in which you dwell. The right hon. Gentleman to-day has fully justified his reputation in this respect. This Vote of Censure, I understand, is the official act of the Opposition. The weight of the censure must always depend on the character of those who censure us. Let us see what it is. Take, first, Lord Milner, that recent and uncontaminated creation in the House of Lords. I know that the right hon. Gentleman's concern about peerages and the way they are obtained begins in 1906. That is when he came into power. Let me inquire a little further. I do not know whether he is on speaking terms with the officials of his party. If he were, they would probably be the last people he would go to for his information. I thought it a little unfriendly of our Chief Whip to tell the right hon. Gentleman to go to his own Chief Whip, because, in an ostentatious way, instead of being at the back of his leaders, he has come below the Gangway. But he stabs them with equal effect whether from below the Gangway or at their back. Lord Milner says about this official Opposition that it is characterised by impotence and by vacillation. I think that perhaps Lord Milner is right. I know he is generally wrong, but he may be right.

6.0 P.M.

What did Lord Halsbury say about them? I mention the great leader of the right hon. Gentleman, and instead of opening his heart he opens an envelope. Speaking about the titular leaders of his party, the men who put him into high office for a considerable number of years, Lord Halsbury said that he would as soon go to them for advice as go to his grandmother. That is the first time we have heard of this relative of the Noble Lord. I beg the leader of the Opposition and Lord Lansdowne not to take the Noble Lord's reference amiss. She must have been a wise counsellor, otherwise it is impossible to explain why her descendant should have shown such a marked aptitude for public service. What does the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire (Mr. Austen Chamberlain) say? The policy of the Opposition is fraught with disgrace and disaster to the party. Mind you, when he says that he means it! He says that it is in his blood. He has a great deal in his blood. His blood has wrecked the Liberal party. His blood has ruined the Conservative party. Not content with leaving it in a miserable minority, he now is dividing that minority into two. The right hon. Gentleman well said, it is in his blood. What is the origin of this Vote of Censure? As I understand it, it is a great triumph for the "No-Surrender Party." I wish that party would take a greater interest in this Debate. I said it was a triumph for the "No-Surrender Party." It is the only triumph they are likely to get! I have heard the right hon. Gentleman talk of brag and bluff. Well, I like to hear expert witnesses upon these things. What does the "Daily Telegraph" say—not the "Daily Mail," with whom apparently he only agrees on Standard bread and sweet peas. I think it does the right hon. Gentleman infinite credit to refer to these vegetable products in the midst of a revolution. What, I ask, does the "Daily Telegraph" say about this? That the no-surrender party— of which he and the Noble Lord are prominent leaders, are acting with sheer terrorism against poor Lord Lansdowne. Well, but he is a lord after all. You must not terrify a lord. He might be a puppet, or a harlot, or a hireling peer by the way you have treated him. What does "The Times"—"The Times" is always right-say? They are apparently convinced that the essential thing in a crisis is gesticulation. Principle is nothing, consistency is nothing, tradition is nothing, even party unity is nothing. The one virtue and the one necessity is to strike an attitude. Why, then, are hon. Gentlemen opposite not content to strike an attitude. Why do they attempt to strike us? To strike an attitude would be much better, and I think the attitudinising on this question does infinite credit to the performers who have taken part in it. What is the purpose of all this? You do not think you will stop the Bill passing? You do not think you will get a majority in this House? What then is your purpose? Perhaps it is to evolve a new Leader. I do not see the hon. Gentleman, the Member for Shropshire (Mr. Hunt), here. It is usual for Leaders to be in the House. A great leader should always be in his place. He should be warned of this when he comes back. We saw his disinterested offer to accept the Leadership of the Tory party. Let me say that this offer has not yet been definitely refused.

There is the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire. I noticed at the banquet the other day that he was referred to as the possible coming Prime Minister. At the Chelsea banquet the right hon. Gentleman was referred to as a "chip of the old block." But you cannot make a Leader out of chips! I might add that you do not want a special vote of censure in order to inform us that you think we are wrong. Of course you think we are wrong. You have always thought we were wrong. We think you are wrong. But there is a great deal of difference between being wrong and being revolutionary. As I understand it, your distinction is: if there is a change of which you approve, then it is reform; if it is a change of which you disapprove, then it is a revolution. Let me take it further. Suppose that the method of that change is very grave and fundamental— even that is not of necessity revolutionary. Let me ask the right hon. Gentleman opposite one or two questions. What would you think of a change that abolishes the hereditary principle of the House of Lords? What do you think of the change that involves the transformation of the House of Lords? What do you think of the change that involves a deathblow to the House of Lords? What do you think of the change that involves the abolition of the Royal Prerogative to appoint members to the hereditary assembly? What does that amount to 2 Is that a revolution? That is Lord Lansdowne's proposal, which definitely and categorically occurred in Lord Lansdowne's speech. That is what the Lords' Reform Bill amounts to. What, then, is the conclusion that we arrive at; that any change, however, extreme, proposed by the Tories is reform; that any change, however moderate, proposed by Liberals, is revolution.

There really is only one small matter to be decided in this Vote of Censure. Is the epithet "revolutionary" properly applied, first of all, to the principle which underlies our proposed legislation; secondly, to the plan contained in our Bill; and, thirdly, to the method by which we propose to pass that Bill into law. These are the three questions which are involved. If there are two co-equal assemblies in a country as there are here; if there is one that always is reactionary and the other which is sometimes progressive; if the House of Lords thwarts and prevents all Liberal measures for a century and does nothing to retard or defeat Conservative legislation for seventy years, it seems to me that that is an intolerable situation. The only thing that has to happen is this: That the House of Lords has got to give way or the Liberal party must give in. Because the Tory party has ever found the House of Lords a pliant, a submissive, and an obedient instrument to carry out their decrees.

What is our principle? It is, as I understand it, this: That the legislative power of the Liberal party in power shall be real and effective. In other words, that the House of Commons shall be the predominant and ultimate authority in legislation. Is that principle revolutionary? I venture to submit that it is a principle that we must arrive at in the present state of affairs. As to the way by which this is to be carried out, I sometimes venture to think that the Conservatives have no plan. The Government of this country cannot remain a democratic Government unless there is some way of dealing with these matters. If there is no plan of dealing with such matters the Government of this country, instead of being democratic, will become oligarchal, and the House of Lords will become omnipotent and supreme in legislation. We have our plan. In January, 1910, that plan was in the Bill that was before the country. In December, 1910, that Bill and the textual provisions of that Bill were before the country. The country returned a favourable verdict to the plan on both occasions. I do not know whether anyone on the opposite side pretends that the Bill was not before the country. I think that Lord Lansdowne agreed that it had been before the country and had been favourably received. Let me read this extract of what Lord Lansdowne said on 29th May last:— But we admit that after the last elections you have a right to legislate upon this question, and we believe there are some grounds common to both aides. That being so, it seems to me that this is the only plan that holds the field. This is the plan upon which the country has pronounced a verdict. What ought the House of Lords to have done? They ought to have passed the Bill—that is, the Veto Bill.


Without Amendment?


Yes. As I understand the Noble Lord—he will correct me if I am wrong—he has hereditary knowledge that I do not possess. The right hon. Gentleman at his side (Mr. F. E. Smith) said that Lord Grey's son was able later to say what his father meant in 1832. Why cannot the Noble Lord, then, understand this? The Budget of 1909— was that revolutionary? I suppose nobody will deny that on the opposite side it was said so. The country approved of it, and the House of Lords passed this revolutionary Budget. Those who were at the Halsbury dinner said: "We believe that you must vote as you believe." That is a new doctrine in the House of Lords, devised and invented to meet party exigency. It was not so with the Old Age Pensions Bill. Lord Halsbury denounced the Trades Disputes Bill, and said that it would do incalculable mischief in the country, yet he had not the courage to vote against it. He never had courage until he began to be associated with the right hon. Gentleman. I come to the method of forcing this Bill through the House of Lords. If there is any other method than the one we propose we should like very much to know what it is. There is no other method. You must have a majority for it. You cannot have a majority for it unless some men are sent there to augment the number now there. It seems to me that unless we can pass this Bill through the House of Lords and make it law we might as well abandon all reform and all progress. When is a course revolutionary? When is a thing unconstitutional? There are unconstitutional courses. For instance, on 5th July I saw a letter from the Noble Lord in "The Times" saying "how easy it was to organise continuous disorder." There was no harm in that. It was only a statement of fact. If it became a prophecy it was not the Noble Lord's fault. On 24th July, there was a scene in the House which I think most of us regret.




I will never do the Noble Lord the injustice of saying that he is a repentant sinner, but I would undertake to make a good defence for him if he would allow me. "The Times" says that he was "white with anger" on the occasion. If he was white with anger, does he not think he might, on calmer reflection, and when his anger had disappeared, when the white had given way to his ordinary hue. [Laughter.] I assure the Noble Lord that was not intentional. The Noble Lord wrote to "The Times," and he said in his letter that the Tory party wanted some of the spirit of "Deborah."




I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for correcting me in my pronunciation. He was, we know, brought up a Nonconformist. Since then he changed places and left his group. I thank him at the same time. I learned the name in Welsh and I must be forgiven for my pronunciation. The Noble Lord says the Tory party want a little of the spirit of Deborah, or Deborah. She is a difficult lady to pronounce.


De-borah is not wrong


I thank the Noble Lord for that, but it seems as if there was another split in the Conservative party. On one side there is quality and on the other there is quantity. It is very serious to say that the Tory party want a little of the spirit of Deborah. Does the Noble Lord know the history of this lady. She was a ruler who composed the song, and the song was mainly in praise of a lady called Jael, because she had driven a nail under very aggravating circumstances right down into the head of Sisera. That is a very serious matter. What does the Noble Lord mean by saying the Tory party want the spirit of Deborah. Does he mean to advocate measures of that sort. Is this rhetoric or is it a parable? Are the Liberal party to represent Sisera. Let me remind the Noble Lord that Sisera was asleep, while the Liberal party are very active and wide awake.

Now is there anything unjust or arbitrary or unconstitutional or unprecedented in the work of the Liberal Government? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Walton dealt with the precedent of 1713, when Lord Harley was impeached. It is impossible that he would deliberately give us only half the truth. Members of the Privy Council never do that, and he must have forgotten, conveniently or otherwise, that the impeachment against Lord Harley was not proceeded with. It was abandoned, and he was not impeached in connection with the creation of Peers. Quite true, it was one of the many charges in the indictment, but the real charge was that he assumed the principle power and Authority of the King's counsel, a charge of which every Prime Minister must be guilty.


That was not the real charge against him. One charge was as much substantiated as another, and both were answered in his answer to the impeachment. The explanation was the breakdown had nothing to do with the withdrawal of the charges, but was owing to the general squabble between the two Houses of Parliament.


People come by their own sometimes by these squabbles. It is quite true that this was one of many charges. There are many charges in an indictment, but a man is in no sense tried for them all, and I do not think it was quite fair to say he was impeached for this alone.


I did not say so.


The impeachment was not proceeded with. The right hon. Gentleman spoke about "impeaching" the Prime Minister. Really people's sense of humour sometimes fails them, because before you impeach you must have a prosecutor and a tribunal, and the prosecutors in this case should be the House of Commons. Are we likely to prosecute the Prime Minister, and if so, after what Noble Lords have stated recently, would the House of Lords be a fair tribunal to try the Prime Minister. Are the Prime Minister and the Liberal party to be tried by a majority of 400 Peers in the House of Lords

Now, in regard to 1832, let me make the matter quite clear. It is within a small compass. On 10th May, 1832, Lord Althorpe, who was in charge of the Bill said:— I have no objection to state the advice, we thought it our duty to offer to His Majesty, was that lie should create a number of peers sufficient to enable us to carry the Reform Bill through the House of Lords in efficient form. That is, that in substance it should become the law of the land. The right hon. Gentleman quoted Earl Grey. I thought at first his was the same quotation as I have, but I think it is not. This is what he said: He admitted that the creation of Peers was illegal; he certainly did say that such a creation is a great evil, and that he should only have recourse to it to prevent a greater evil, which was the collision with the House of Commons. That is the whole point. He wanted to avoid it. The right hon. Gentleman says it was all bluff in 1832. It is quite true Lord Althorpe recanted the whole thing.


He was a very old man at the time, like Lord Salisbury.


What are the facts? The King, through his Private Secretary, sent to the Opposition a warning that if they persisted in their opposition the Peers would be created in accord- ance with the Royal Prerogative. Who were the parties to the bluff? No names are sacred in this Debate, and it is a big order to say that the King and the Prime Minister and the King's Private Secretary were all parties to a big game of bluff. Is not the real explanation this? That if the Peers had not given way the promise would have been fulfilled, the new Peers would have been created, and an absolute precedent would have been established. All I say is this, that the uncontradicted dicta of the text-books and the unbroken chain of precedents are all in favour of the course which we are taking, and I am profoundly convinced the principle which we are advocating in this Bill and the provisions which we are putting before the House of Lords are all based upon constitutional grounds. The Opposition are a divided and distracted party without any efficient leadership, and they are endeavouring to censure a party united under a Leader whose authority is unchallenged and unchallengable. He has exercised patience, moderation, and forebearance. These virtues must not be exercised too long. The time for resolute and determined action has come. The Bill must pass. The Liberal party must keep faith with the electorate of this country, and must prove to the country that there exists not only the form but also the substance of democratic government.

Captain TRYON

I think it is very essential that hon. Members should really realise the seriousness of the national situation. We heard a good deal quoted in this House in the course of these Debates from former occasions. I only say that I hope that the Prime Minister's account of 1832 was more accurate than his account of what happened in 1910. He told us that the election of 1910 turned upon this Bill. I remember the story of the black bread, and I remember the touching solicitude of Liberal Members for aged people who were going to lose their pensions, and it was by such methods, I say, that the present majority was obtained. I find from the records of this House a passage which I think is of extra-ordinary interest to-day. I found it in the Library in a book containing old speeches made in this House, and it was made in connection with the policy of the Radical party of that day towards the Upper House. It was made 250 years ago, and it is extraordinary how phrases and catchwords used in that speech are reproduced to-day. It was made by Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper in 1659, when there was a great agitation against the nobility:— Whereupon a wise man (to quote his exact words) procured the nobility to meet altogether, found a way to lock all the doors upon them, summons the people, and tells them by a contrivance of his he had taken all the nobility in a trap, and he suggested that they should immediately go along with him and despatch them. Addressing the people— 'Gentlemen,' says he, 'though I care not how soon this work of reformation was over, yet in this ship of Commonwealth we must not throw the steersmen overboard till we have provided others for the helm.' The wise man then suggested certain men from among the people for the new Peerages, but the people when they heard the names replied that— If such were Lords who, by all the gods, would be content to be Commoners. The wise man perceived they were sensible of the mischief they were running into, and saw that the pulling down of their rulers would prove in the end the setting up of their servants. That people, Mr. Speaker, were so wise as to comply with wise proposition and so think it easier to mend their rulers than to make new. That is a very remarkable comment in a speech made more than 200 years ago. We have had discussions in the House today, and I am told it makes discussions simpler, and promotes better respect between parties if we try fairly to understand what it is the Liberal party complain of, and what it is they intend to do. I have taken the trouble to try to understand from their speeches in the country what it is the Liberal party complain of. They complain of two things—a partisan and hereditary House, and they complain there is no check on Tory legislation when the Conservative party are in power. I turn to the proposed remedies which they have forced by their means, and methods of dealing, remedies I need hardly say which have nothing whatever to do with the complaints they make. The partisan Upper House is to remain partisan, an hereditary house is to remain hereditary. The complaint is that the Tory Government may pass measures which the people do not approve of because there is no efficient Upper House to check it. This Bill does not remove this grievance. The electors will be placed in an equally difficult position when the Liberal Government is in power, and therefore you are extending the grievance of the electors instead of removing it. The Upper House has been spoken of as an intolerable thing. If it is intolerable to hon. Members opposite in its present form, they ought to change it. The position is that between the preamble and the reform you talk of; between the possibility of joint sittings of the two Houses and between the reform and the passing of this Bill the Government deliberately create a gap. You bring in a Veto Bill and postpone reform, and you are creating a gap in your own scheme. That gap is created for a particular purpose in order to smuggle Home Rule through between the two portions of your own programme. The Lords Amendments are to be destroyed by the Prerogative of the Crown. The value of those Amendments is that they stop this gap between the reforms you promise and the Veto proposal, and it is these Amendments that have exposed the unfairness of the proposals to the electors.

Why are these Amendments refused? Simply because of Home Rule. These Amendments are not accepted because if you did accept them the people would get a chance of voting upon Home Rule. What is this proposal? Home Rule has been twice rejected by the electors. It was thrown overboard by the Liberal party itself when that party wanted to make sure of winning the 1905 election, thereby showing that the Liberal Government were conscious about the unpopularity of Home Rule in the country, and in order to make sure of winning the election of 1905 they threw Home Rule overboard and disowned it. This policy which you are now trying to force through by the Royal Prerogative has been twice condemned by the electors, and it has once been disowned by the Liberal party itself. Now we are to have puppet Peers created to pass this Bill, and they are to outnumber the present majority and give a, majority to the Government in the Upper House. If the Upper House do not give way in the matter of these Amendments, the Government we are told are prepared to make these Peers in order to overpower the Unionist majority in the Upper House. What happens under the Government Scheme. The Home Rule Bill will be brought in and discussed in this House, and when these new Peers have been created the Bill will be sent to the Upper House, and then I have no doubt there will be the gravest doubt as to whether there was a majority in the country for Home Rule. There would be the gravest doubt as to whether the country was prepared to accept Home Rule.

The Prime Minister told us some time ago that when there was a reasonable doubt whether the House of Commons represents a majority of the electors upon any question, the House of Lords should have the power of interposing such delay as will enable that doubt to be authoritatively settled. That is the Minister's own statement published in "The Times" of October 23rd, 1904. So that, according to the Prime Minister, when there is grave doubt as to whether Home Rule should become law or not it should be referred to the people even under the new Government scheme with the new Peers. The question whether Home Rule is wanted is not to be settled by the people but by the new Peers. If it is a crime against the Constitution to use this power to force through Home Rule, then not only is this proposal a crime in its purpose and intention, but it seems to me to be most discreditable in its methods. We are told that the Peers are to be created. After all, the Government has accepted the responsibility of advising the Crown to make these Peers, and we are in the position that the Prime Minister has given advice to the Crown which may lead to the creation of Peers, and if they are created we shall be the laughing-stock of Europe. These new Peers will have to be men so socially ambitious and so politically servile that they can be trusted to go to the other House and support the Government. Are these indentured labourers to be kept in some compound by the Government Whips? How will control be kept over them? You might treat them as taxi-cab drivers are treated in the endorsement of their licences. They might have Patents of Nobility, or Servility, to be endorsed if they speak and cancelled if they vote against the Government.

This is about the first time we have been governed by a system of nomination put into the hands of the Prime Minister. You are really creating a gap in your scheme in order to smuggle through Home Rule, and in order to keep that gap open against the Amendments of the Upper House you are using in a most unconstitutional manner the Prerogative of the Crown. You are not obtaining a national settlement, and you are attempting to gain a party victory, but whether you will succeed or not remains to be seen. Nobody contends that this is a final settlement, but it is a settlement to get the Liberal party out of its difficulties in the House of Commons. This country has led the world for many years in the arts of self-government, and it seems to me to be a crime against our history that the Liberal party should not attempt to make now a great national settlement of this question instead of trying to keep the whole subject open. Hon. Members opposite talk of making history, but in my view they are making history that their children will be ashamed to read. I hope the time will soon come when the electors of this country will resume a more effective control over the people's House and when the Unionist party will be returned to effect what has been kept open too long, namely, a national settlement. When we make that settlement I trust and believe that the Unionist party will not follow the narrow party lines of the Liberal Government, but will endeavour to the best of its power to obtain a national settlement based upon general consent.


I have on the Paper an Amendment to the Vote of Censure Resolution, and my Amendment if accepted, would make the Resolution read as follows:— That the advice given to His Majesty by His Majesty's Ministers, whereby they obtained from His Majesty a pledge that a sufficient number of Peers would be created to pass the Parliament Bill in substantially the same shape in which it was submitted to the people and left this House, is the most proper and practicable method whereby the resolute and inflexible determination of the people that the Bill shall become law can be enabled to prevail against the obstinate and self-interested opposition of an unrepresentative Second Chamber. I notice in the leading article of "The Times" this morning comment was made on the fact that I had not attempted to state that the action of the Government was a constitutional action. I only refrained from that because I understood it would be out of order to propose an Amendment which directly contradicted the Resolution itself, and as the Resolution asserted that the action was unconstitutional, I thought that by the procedure of the House I was debarred from placing an Amendment on the Paper which asserted that it was constitutional. As I hope to show in a very short time, I am certainly of opinion, and I contend strongly, that the action of His Majesty's Ministers upon this question is an entirely constitutional one. I have placed this Amendment on the Paper, but in view of what the Prime Minister said in his speech, which seems to indicate that the view of the Government is that they are prepared to take a direct negative on this Vote of Censure, I think the course most acceptable would be that I should not move my Amendment. I think, however, that my Amendment is a statement of fact, and I should like for a short time to take it for my text. On the general question which, has been before the House, I believe that most of us on this side feel that the speeches made by Members of the Opposition have been either unconvincing or irrelevant. With regard to the speech of the Leader of the Opposition, I would only make one or two very brief remarks. The right hon. Gentleman showed great solicitude for the King, but I would like to ask what solicitude for the King has His Majesty's Opposition shown? What solicitude have they shown in this respect in the events which have led up to this inevitable and necessary crisis? I will leave the subject there. I think the action the Government have taken is entirely consistent, and it is a proper answer to any accusations they make as regards our attitude on this subject.

The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that we had hurt the feelings of nearly-half of His Majesty's subjects. If the Government had not taken the course they have adopted they would have been hurting the feelings of considerably more than half the electors. There are limits to the rights of minorities, and sometimes a majority should have their rights considered. The right hon. Gentleman made a point that a great deal more than half of the population of England itself had their feelings hurt by the action of the Government. In regard to that point I will only say that the population in this country ia reckoned, not by votes, but by voters, and that makes a considerable difference. If you were to eliminate the plural voter, I believe you would find in England itself you would not have the majority which the Leader of the Opposition claimed. The right hon. Gentleman went on to talk of the stream of honour being poisoned, which seemed to me somewhat of an insult to the "poison" already in the Upper House. That is a statement which does not need a great deal of notice. I protest against the assertion that it would be necessary to bribe Gentlemen who are promoted to the Upper House in order to get them to vote for the Parliament Bill. There are several millions of people in this country ready to vote for the Parliament Bill in the Upper House, and who would be glad to make the necessary sacrifice in order to do it.

With regard to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Walton Division of Liverpool, it was full of the usual commonplaces about the Leader of the Irish party, "office seeking," "promotion," and so on, but I do not see how it had a great deal to do with the present Vote of Censure. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to be suffering from the delusion that we had not got in this House a majority in favour of Home Rule independently of the Irish party. It is a notorious and well-known fact that in Great Britain, apart from Ireland, we have a majority of sixty, and, if hon. and right hon. Gentlemen doubt that is a Home Rule majority, let them wait for the Division List, and see whether I am right in saying we have to-day a majority in Great Britain in favour of Home Rule. I think these remarks come very ill from hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, who are so loud in their protestations that we are a United Kingdom.

I may say I put my Amendment on the Paper because I imagined there might be advantages in placing on record, not merely a negative refusal to censure the Government, but a positive opinion that their action was inevitable and necessary. After all, we have come here to-day, not to excuse our Leader, but to applaud him. We are not here merely to justify his conduct, but to praise him, and I should be glad to see placed on the Journals of the House a record of the fact that we are not only justifying him, but offering our praise of the conduct he has shown. Moreover, I think the Amendment I have put down is a plain statement of unvarnished fact, and I hope to be able to prove it. I will try to do so in as uncontroversial a manner as I can, and I will do my best not to wander outside into discussion of the constitutional problem generally. I would like to avoid references to the technicalities of constitutional law, appeals to history, and citations of the opinions of those who are dead. I desire to take the situation as far as I can as it presents itself to the average man or to the man in the street, and ask whether it could have been otherwise dealt with. After all, as President Cleveland once said:— it is a condition which confronts us, not a theory. No exact parallel exists for the events which have led up to this crisis. Perhaps, as far as the present situation is comparable to the situation in 1832, so far is the remedy also comparable. Where the conditions have changed, the remedy must of necessity also be changed; and, as usual, no precedent can absolutely and wholly meet the case. But, as Mr. Gladstone once said—and I would recommend this to hon. Gentlemen opposite who have been so very fond of recent years of quoting Mr. Gladstone:— When there are representatives living and awake, why disturb the ashes of the dead. We have representatives here living and awake, we have this situation which confronts us, and' I say, taking into account precedent, and ruling ourselves as far as we can by it, we have got to face this problem as a problem we have got to deal with, if necessary, as a precedent itself. Supposing unconstitutional action were necessary—and I assume our action has not been unconstitutional—personally, I should be prepared to support it. After all, the Constitution was made for man, and not man for the Constitution. You can go too far in making a fetish of precedent. This is the view of the man in the street, and I venture to think he would support me when I say no word of the Amendment is unjustified. I should like to take, roughly, the points of the Amendment I have placed on the Paper and try to show they are substantially true. In the first place, reference is made to the fact that the Bill is in—

"Substantially the same shape in which it was submitted to the people and left this House."

I do not think that will be disputed. The whole Bill is there in all its essentials. There is still the Preamble. What do hon. Members expect it to be? Do they expect it to be the Bill? It was the Preamble, and it is the Preamble. Reform of the House of Lords has got to come, and I agree with the Home Secretary in his remarks the other day when he said, reform must make it easier and not more difficult to pass our Bills there. Reform of the Upper Chamber must come, and I for one should be extremely sorry not to see it. The Preamble, therefore, is there. The Clause with regard to Money Bills is there as it was submitted to the people and as it left this House. The Clause with regard to all other Bills is there, providing for that suspensory Veto, which His Majesty's Government submitted to the electors. The rest of the Amendment I think asserts what is not disputed— The resolute and inflexible determination of the people that the Bill shall become law. I believe there are some hon. Gentlemen opposite who can be got to dispute the fact that the Bill has been approved by the people. I heard several references today which seemed to indicate that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen do not imagine that the Parliament Bill has been approved resolutely and inflexibly by the people of this country. But to anyone who asserts that, I would recommend reference to the columns of "The Times," because that paper said on 26th July:— The one solid fact in all this speculation is that the Parliament Bill, with all its faults, was before the electorate in December, and that no one seriously believes that the electorate has changed its mind. If the Lords in truth abide by their established criterion. the people's will, their course is settled by that fact alone. I think I have condemned those who assert that the people have not definitely and inflexibly approved of the Parliament Bill out of their own mouths. Next, mention is made of the House of Lords—

"The obstinate and self-interested opposition."

I do not blame the House of Lords for this opposition. It may be self-interested, which is very natural. Dr. Johnson once said he was told that, if you put a snake's tail in its mouth, it would not bite it. The House of Lords has a good idea whose tail it is biting, and it does not want to bite it, but that at any rate makes it no less necessary for us to overcome their opposition. Lastly, say:

"An unrepresentative Second Chamber."

No one would be found to contend that the present is what is popularly known as a representative Second Chamber. So much for the main terms of the Amendment What is left is the assertion that the course which His Majesty' Government proposes is— the most proper and practicable course by which I do not preclude at all the sentiment that it is the most constitutional course. It is proper by precedent and by principle. What has been said by my hon. Friend the Leader of the Welsh party has aptly shown that the Act of 1832 was an apt precedent for the present day, and, with regard to principle, text books have been quoted and I could add quotation from Lecky and Bagehot to show that the course pursued is entirely constitutional. I am often tempted to wish hon. Members opposite would read text books more frequently, not only text books on Constitutional Law, but also text books on Economics. If they would only read some elementary school text books, I think we should hear less of their proposals than we do at the present time. To pass from the question of propriety to the question of practicability, no one will deny this course is practicable. It is practicable, it is being practised, and it will be successful. Nor can exception be taken to the statement that it is the most proper and practicable method. If there is any more practicable and proper course, let us hear it from the mouths of the hon. Gentlemen opposite. I should like to ask them what they would do if they were in our place to-day. In ordinary cases I know it is unfair to do that, but this is not quite an ordinary case. In this case it is not policy in question but the solution of a deadlock, and I think we are entitled to press for an answer when, after all possibilities are exhausted, the Opposition still contend we are wrong in our methods.

I should like to ask hon. Gentlemen opposite to suppose themselves in our position. I should like to ask them to suppose they have composed their differences and cleared their minds and have, as a result, evolved some lucid, non-contradictory scheme of protection. I hope I am not making an undue tax on the imagination of hon. Gentlemen opposite. Suppose this scheme has been long forecasted, has. been deeply discussed, is simple and understood by the people, and suppose it is embodied in a short Bill. I know the parallel is not likely to obtain. Suppose that at previous elections this simple scheme, this deeply-discussed scheme had been freely ventilated and had been approved by the people. Suppose a majority of 120 had been obtained by the Government of hon. Gentlemen opposite, and then suppose the Second Chamber, which had always been violently and obstinately opposed to it, refused to pass it. Suppose then there was another general election on every small detail of the scheme and that again a majority of 120 was obtained by hon. Gentlemen opposite. Suppose the Bill was then passed through the Commons, Committee Stage and Third Reading, and sent up to the Lords, and suppose once again the Lords refused to have anything to do with it. Suppose the Opposition were unable at the same time to form a Government, be- cause that is the position of hon. Gentlemen opposite. If they doubt it, I will refer them again to the columns of "The Times,'" which on 2nd August, said:— There is not a sane man amongst them who holds that Mr. Balfour, if called upon to form a Government, could do so with any reasonable prospect of adequate support at the polls. Suppose, I say, the Opposition was unable to form a Government, what would they recommend? Would they resign? It is no use resigning. Would they have a third General Election? It would be impossible and preposterous. I really think, if they would put themselves in the position of the Government, they would see there would be no alternative but to overcome the opposition of the Second Chamber, and there would be only one way of doing that and that would be by the creation of Peers. If any hon. Gentleman opposite will put the case in his own mind, from his own point of view, he will see there is no other course open. If there is, I for one shall be glad to hear what it is. The time has come when something has got to break and when something has to give way. It is either the people or the Peers. I think there is only one answer. It must be, and it ought to be, the Peers. Their selfish opposition must be broken, and it must be broken in the easiest and simplest way. I really assert, without fear of detailed contradiction, that this is what is being done.

7.0 P.M.

I think I have made out my case, but before I sit down I should like to say a word on what I hope I shall not be considered impertinent if I call certain illusions which are entertained by hon. Gentlemen opposite. I am inclined to think the strain of recent events must have told on hon. Gentlemen opposite, with the result that their nerves have grown weaker and their language stronger. I have already pointed out the illusion that we are unconstitutional in the action we are taking. Then there is the illusion we have heard mentioned today once or twice, that the people, as a whole, have evinced their desire to have a reform of the House of Lords before they have the veto of the House of Lords limited. I venture to say that at the last election the electorate definitely said, once and for all, they did not desire the reform of the House of Lords before the Veto Bill. I think hon. Gentlemen quite misapprehend the temper of the country in this matter. I do not think the country is adverse to making the House of Lords better than it is to-day. But they want to clear away what is bad before they go on to make something good. They want to clear away the useless slums before they start rebuilding. I think their temper is very well voiced by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, who said at Denbigh, in 1884:— I have always thought it was a very picturesque institution—attractive—from its connection with the history of the country. I have no desire to see dull uniformity of social life; and I am rather thankful than otherwise to gentlemen who will take the trouble of wearing robes and coronets, and who will keep up a certain state of splendour, which is very pleasing to look upon. They are ancient monuments, and I for one should be very sorry to deface them; but, gentlemen, I do not admit that we can build upon these interesting ruins the foundations of our Government. That, I think, is the view taken by the country to-day. I think the right hon. Gentleman accurately stated that they do not want to build on interesting antiquities and ruins the foundations of their new city.


I should like to ask the opinion of Mr. Speaker whether it is in order to discuss discursively the constitutional question at large, or whether the discussion is not limited to the propriety or otherwise of the advice tendered by the Prime Minister to His Majesty?


I do not think the hon. Member is going beyond the legitimate bounds of discussion.


I certainly have no wish to go outside the bounds of order. I was only endeavouring to answer arguments which had been put forward. As I have said, that is the position of the country, and, therefore, being of that opinion, it desires to see the Opposition overcome in a strenuous and effectual manner. That is what the Government are doing to-day. Then there is another illusion which we have not heard of to-day, but which is pertinent because it was put forward by the Leader of the Opposition in his speech on Monday, 24th July. He therein suggested that there ought to have been some compromise, and that compromise was possible on essential points on the Parliament Bill. But, really, after the Conference that was held, after the election of last December, and after the speeches made on both sides of the House, I think this suggestion of compromise must be dismissed. There is also an illusion indulged in by hon. Members opposite who are supporting this Vote of Censure, and that is that the people do not care any longer about the Parliament Bill, because there are no riots and no demonstrations, and everything is calm and quiet. By reason of this right hon. Gentleman are led to think the country does not care about the Parliament Bill, and want to see it dropped. But they are quite wrong in this view. The people are quiet, because everything is happening precisely as it was expected to happen. They are quiet because they are confident. Their vessel is holding its course. If there were rocks and storms they might be upset, but the rocks in this case are charted, there is no deviation from the course; our pilot is perfectly capable of weathering all storms, and I do not see why anybody on this side of the House or on our side in the country should be in the least perturbed about the way in which the voyage is proceeding. The calm is the calm of confidence, and not in the least of carelessness.

Another illusion is that the country desires us to omit certain subjects of vital importance from the Parliament Bill—subjects referred to over and over again at the election, and the theme of speeches and of election addresses by right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite in the country. May I point out that no reservations were made at the last election. If any hon. Member had made a reservation that Home Rule should be excepted he would have a perfect right to vote for its omission, but if he gave his support to the Parliament Bill as it stood he would not be acting in faith with his constituents if he now made any attempt to omit a subject such as that from the Parliament Bill. I am not always a violent advocate of the principle of mandate, but I should consider myself betraying my trust if I were to go back on what I said at the election, and to propose to omit such vital subjects from the scope of the Parliament Bill, to which I then promised my support. It is an illusion to think that people desire this to be done or that it is possible for Members on this side to assent to its being done.

Then there is the very widespread illusion that the results of this Bill mean single-Chamber Government and Cabinet autocracy. If by single-Chamber Government it is merely meant that the ultimate power will reside in the Chamber composed of the people's representatives, then I think it is entirely constitutional and I should have no quarrel with it; but if it means that no power, if it means that no proper powers will be left to the Second Chamber, then I think the hon. Member who suggests that, is consciously or unconsciously misstating the facts. The Second Chamber has for its object revision and delay. I do not propose to go over the ground very much discussed in connection with the Parliament Bill. But I would remind the House that, as has been pointed out, ample opportunity is left under this Bill for the Second Chamber to exercise those functions of revision and delay. As to the question of Cabinet autocracy, it is the fashion to-day to run down the party system and to carp at our traditions of government. But no one has suggested anything better. No one has pointed to anything as a substitute for our party system or for the organisation of parties. What is the common sense view of it? We must have organisation. There must be discipline, there must be loyalty, if there is to be any effective system. Ask trade union leaders what they think? Ask, indeed, the hon. Member for East Birmingham (Mr. Steel-Maitland) whether he could run his party organisation without it. Its use is beneficial, and I believe abuse brings its own reward. Dr. Johnson once said he did not care very much whether the system of government was right or wrong, because in the end the wrong system of government would have to give way. In a free constitution authority will only be tolerated while it is tolerable, and you cannot flout the opinion either of this House or of the people in the country. There is no need for fear that the people will be dragooned or domineered, nor need there be any fear that any serious explosion will be necessary to get rid of an abuse of power. Cabinets are responsible and they are also responsive. The real danger is when a power is found fixed, selfish, irresponsible, and independent, not liable to render an account to the will of the people. When that power comes into conflict with this House or the people, then indeed the result may be serious. That is precisely what has been happening, and we are now working out the results. I do-not fear that the explosion will be very serious so far as the people of this country are concerned. It may be serious for those who provoke it. I am not at all sure that they will not rue the encounter a great deal more than the people at large. I come now to the last illusion, voiced by the hon. Gentleman who last spoke, who-suggested that we should be written down in history as traitors and that they themselves will be written down as heroes.

Captain TRYON

May I point out that I did not use either of those words.


I confess I may have exaggerated the hon. Member's language; he is perhaps not so skilled in the use of epithets as some of his Friends. But that is what, I am sure, a good many of them mean. As a matter of fact, when I used the words I heard a cheer from the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury); therefore he at any rate thought it right and proper. I am ready to admit that the hon. and gallant Member did not use the word "traitor." Indeed, he may think us heroes. However, what I have suggested is the dominant sentiment of hon. Members opposite who are strenuous in their opposition. They think we shall go down to posterity as traitors, while hon. Gentlemen on their side will be regarded as heroes.


"Hear, hear."


I am glad that we go together so far. Time alone will prove whether I am right or whether the hon. Baronet is right. Meanwhile we are both entitled to our opinion. I would like to point out that the Die-hards of 1832 entertained exactly the same idea. They thought they would be handed down to posterity as benefactors of the human race. Their position seems to curiously coincide with the position of the Die-hards of to-day. Like them they stood for privilege against principle; for oligarchy against democracy. Like them they emulated Canute and stood stubbornly in the rising tide of democracy until they had the choice between ignominious flight and drowning. Like them, they rivalled Mrs. Partington, and tried to keep back the Atlantic Ocean of freedom with the mop of reaction. Like them, they thought that in doing all this they were behaving like men and martyrs. The analogy is too close to be absolutely disregarded. There is no reasonable room for doubt that when the day comes for the history of this crisis to be dispassionately and impartially written the Die-hards of to-day will gain no more sympathy than the Die-hards of 1832, their hysterical heroics will be read with ridicule, or perhaps more mercifully will be consigned to oblivion and their whole party will be seen to be what in truth they are, a body of misguided reactionaries, as I sincerely believe, who have vainly attempted to stem the invincible tide of progress.


I think we are all grateful to the hon. Member for the kindly, if condescending, attitude in which he has addressed us and advised us to read text books, to keep our nerves steady, and to avoid strong language. I do not know whether we shall succeed in acting up to his advice, but at all events we will always, remember the kindly spirit which prompted it. There is one point on which I should like to congratulate the hon. Member, and that is the discretion he has displayed in not moving the Amendment which stands in his name. It contains this expression, that the Bill should become law against the obstinate and self-interested, opposition of an unrepresentative Second Chamber. What possible justification can anyone have for talking about the obstinate and self-interested opposition of the House of Lords? The object of the main Amendment is to secure that no change of capital importance shall be effected in our institutions without making sure that the people really desire it. That is the motive of the Amendment, and it is that to which the country attaches the most importance. But the hon. Member tabled an Amendment, which he had the good sense not to move, talking about the obstinate and self-interested opposition. The question whether the broad course is constitutional or not is one which has been a great deal discussed by the Government and the supporters of the Government in connection with the action of the House of Lords with reference to the Budget. We were then told over and over again that the action of the House of Lords was not legal, and that it was not constitutional. We had many speeches delivered upon that text, and the reason why the Government insisted that the Lords were not acting constitutionally in rejecting the Budget was that such a thing had not been done for fifty years. These arguments were shattered all along the line, and in the end it came back to this, that that course had never been taken since the year 1860. Now we are engaged in discussing the constitutionality of a line of action which has never been taken for 200 years.

The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir Rufus Isaacs)

The point was that the House of Lords would not have thrown out a Budget under similar circumstances fifty years ago.


I do not desire to enter into a general controversy. My right hon. Friend will remember that the question was very much debated whether the Lords could throw out a Taxing Bill, and in 1860 all the Taxing Bills were thrown together into one, which, of course, made it much more difficult for the Lords to throw it out. It could be done only on occasions of very great importance. When the matter was analysed the one argument which remained to the Government always was that a Taxing Bill had not been thrown out since 1860. Disuse was relied upon as showing that a particular course would be unconstitutional. A course such as this has not been taken for 200 years, and then the men who took it were impeached for it. What does the Government say to the course of precedent and the course of disuse as bearing on the question whether action which may be legal is, or is not, constitutional in this instance? If the right hon. Gentleman should discuss the question he will find that the tone adopted with reference to disuse as to Prerogative is very different indeed from the tone adopted with reference to disuse when the right of the House of Lords to reject a Taxing Bill was under consideration.

Then it may be said with truth that such action was threatened in the year 1832. But would the threat have been carried out? It is impossible to say. All we have got is the statement of some of the most prominent actors concerned in that matter upon the Liberal side to the effect that they very much doubted, if things had come to the point, whether they would have carried out that threat. They used the strongest terms—Lord Althorpe, Lord Brougham, and Earl Grey—with reference to the violent and almost unconstitutional nature of such a step. They talked of it as a measure of extreme violence, as involving possibly ruin to the Constitution. They talked of the dreadful consequences of the Act and the last and most significant passage to which I will refer is from Lord Brougham, in which he says that without such a measure he believes that a large measure of reform would have been obtained by compromise. I commend that passage particularly to the consideration of His Majesty's Government. But in 1832 the circumstances were absolutely different from those which exist at the present time. I listened with amazement to what the Prime Minister said upon this subject. He went into details about the election. There was only one election, he said, on the Reform Bill of 1832. But to count results in that way is to mistake the essential features of the case. Does anyone doubt that in 1832 the country was almost on the verge of civil war on the question of the Reform Bill? The country had absolutely made up its mind. England was united as one man in favour of the passage of that measure. Is there anything of the same kind now? The feeling of the country is one of indifference, mixed with a sort of amused contempt at the evolutions of the Prime Minister in steering his way amid the various factions by which he is kept in office. I admit the skill with which he executes this political egg dances, but to say that the case with reference to this Bill is a great deal stronger than was the case with reference to the Reform Bill of 1832 is to shut one's eyes to the most obvious facts of history. There is no analogy whatever between the two things. I would recommend the Prime Minister, if political affairs leave him any leisure, to read that most interesting novel of Stanley Weyman's, "Chipping," in which he describes the history of the Reform Bill and in which the essence of what is to be collected from many volumes of history is presented with all the skill of the practised novelist.

The hon. Member (Mr. Ellis Griffith) said that all the text writers were unanimous as to the constitutionality of such a step as this. I think he had not looked at Dr. Hearne's very interesting and instructive work upon English Government. Dr. Hearne takes the very strongest view that to create Peers for the purpose of passing a particular measure is under all circumstances unconstitutional. I admit a great many authors have taken a different view, but there is one point upon which all authors are agreed, and that is that such a resource should be used, if at all, only in extreme emergencies. Is this an extreme emergency? There is no emergency except for the Government, who have to keep their miscellaneous factions together. May I quote a passage from an author who is still with us (Sir William Anson)? He summarises very admirably the correct view of the situation in this language:— It seems plain enough that to introduce a number of persons into the House of Lords for the sole object of determining a vote on a particular occasion is a use of legal powers which nothing could justify but imminent risk and the alternative of public danger. What imminent risk is there now? What public danger is there now? Danger there is, but it is danger to His Majesty's Government, and not danger to the country. May I quote another very distinguished author who is perpetually quoted in this connection, and very often quoted by those who maintain, the constitutionality of such a course—Sir Erskine May. In his constitutional history he says:— Statesmen of all parties would condemn such a measure except in cases of grave and perilous necessity, but should the emergency be such as to demand it, it cannot be pronounced unconstitutional. Mr. Hallam, the great Whig constitutional historian, adds that it would be unconstitutional to employ such a resource unless parties were nearly balanced in the House of Lords—in other words, that it would be unconstitutional to swamp the House of Lords by a wholesale Peerage. May I read his words? He says:— It is true that the resource of subduing an aristocratical faction by the creation of new Peers could never be constitutionally applied except in the case of a nearly equal balance. I charge the Government with having violated in this matter every canon of constitutional law. Whether there is grave and perilous necessity—which is a condition which all authors are agreed upon must exist before such an expedient should be resorted to—can be determined only at the time and when the occasion has arisen and with reference to the state of things and the surrounding circumstances as they then present themselves. What the Prime Minister has told us he did was to get an undertaking of some kind from the Crown in advance, before by any possibility he could have known what the state of things would be at the time when it became necessary to put that into force. The Prime Minister objects to the use of the terms "guarantee" or "pledge" with reference to those securities which he said he must get from the Crown before he could consent to hold office. It is a very odd thing that the index maker to the OFFICIAL RETORT puts it under the words "guarantees" with reference to the Parliament Bill, and it shows how perfectly the sense was conveyed that such an expression is used. I think there is not the slightest doubt that, whatever the precise term employed was, the sense was conveyed to the country that the present Government would not take or hold office without getting promises from the Crown which would enable them to give effect to what they were pleased to term the national will.

I do not care about precise terms. Be it that the word "guarantee" or the word "pledge" was used, the idea was most certainly conveyed, and such a course as that was unconstitutional. The right hon. Gentleman ought never to have made the statement of 14th April. It could not properly be made, and when we come to the incidents which preceded the General Election of last December, according to the statement that the Prime Minister has made, I infer from what he said that the Leader of the Opposition was never asked whether he would be ready to form a Government and to take the opinion of the country. The Prime Minster said there was a very excellent reason for that course not being taken—that it might have involved the Crown in our electoral disputes. I think there was a much better reason; for it—that the Government would not ask the country what they thought of the advice given by the Ministers of the Crown that they should get security for any Amendment, whatever it might be, to a Bill of this kind being negatived, even though the result might be to pass Home Rule behind the backs of the electors of this country. That was an issue which His Majesty's Government would not have faced with much equanimity, and I cannot help thinking that the reason for this election in December upon an old register, without taking the course of seeing what the Leader of the Opposition thought about it, was not at all that which the Prime Minister has suggested, but a desire to take an election at a time which they thought more convenient for themselves.

The CHANCELLOR of the DUCHY of LANCASTER (Mr. Joseph Pease)

No, no.


Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that there were no technical reasons which influenced him and his Friends in having an election on an old register?


In the opinion of the Government we should have stood a better chance if we had appealed to the country on a new register. That was the view of the Government at the time. They did not wish to postpone the election to the New Year on account of the damage it would do to trade.


That is a most interesting statement. I never met any Member of our party who was not most firmly persuaded that if the election had been fought upon a new register we should have done a great deal better. It appears the right hon. Gentleman thought he would have done a great deal better if he had waited for the new register, but he determined, most unselfishly, to forego that advantage. Whatever was the reason, for taking the old register, I do most respectfully say that the sort of promise— I cannot call it a "pledge" or "guarantee"—which the Prime Minister tells us he got from the Crown (without seeing what the Leader of the Opposition had to say to it), was absolutely unconstitutional. The hands of the Crown ought not to have teen tied in this matter. The first duty of the advisers of the Crown is to let the Crown approach a situation unfettered by promises, pledges, or guarantees, or whatever they may be called, and free to form a judgment upon the circumstances. In 1832 the House of Lords was setting itself against the will of the people—there was no doubt about it—and this extraordinary resource was invoked for putting an end to the conflict. For what purpose is the present Government invoking the Prerogative? It is invoking it for the purpose of preventing the country from expressing its wishes. It is invoking the Prerogative to enable the Government to pay the price of the Nationalist support by which it is kept in office. Of "grave necessity"— the only condition on which this extraordinary power should be used—there is none, from the national point of view. Of imminent risk there is absolutely none, except to the squalid coalition of which the Prime Minister is the head. Of public danger there is absolutely none. There is danger, however, to the Government if the promises to the alliance are not carried out. Mr. Hallam said that this power should be exercised when parties were nearly balanced in the House of Lords.


When was that written?


My impression is it would be written before 1832.


It was written in 1827.


That is the view taken by Mr. Hallam at a time when he was looking at the matter merely as a constitutional lawyer, and a great authority upon such subjects. Now, the Government, with a light heart talk about creating 400 or 500 Peers to swamp the House of Lords. They are cheered on by some of their supporters in that extraordinary course. On an occasion which presents none of the features which existed in 1832 they are threatening a creation of Peers unexampled in English history. The crime of the Government is this, they have dragged into the arena of party warfare— and on a gigantic scale—the resources which are reserved by our Constitution for the gravest emergencies, and which should be used in the most sparing way. And what do they propose to do? They are violating the Constitution, by proposing to create Peers in this way, in order that they may destroy the Constitution. It is proposed finally to change the relations of the two Houses and to oust the House of Lords from that position which it enjoys— not in the supposed selfish interests of the nobility of the United Kingdom, as seems to be implied in the Amendment of the hon. Member for Leicester, but in the interests of the people of this country. The function of the House of Lords in delaying measures until the people have pronounced their considered opinion upon them is the only safeguard we have against hasty and ill-considered legislation by a majority in the House of Commons.

By this violent and unconstitutional means England is to be deprived of a Second Chamber. The Prerogative is to be invoked not to carry a single measure of legislation, but to alter the Constitution permanently. The Prerogative of the Crown is being abused in order that the Crown, Lords, and people may be put at the mercy of the majority of the House of Commons—a transient majority it may be. I venture to say that in the whole course of English history never has advice of this character been tendered by Ministers to the Crown. His Majesty's Government have dragged the Crown into the arena of party struggle. They have invoked this extraordinary Prerogative for their own partisan ends; they are using this power to stifle the voice of the people of this country, to prevent the country having a say in measures vitally concerning it. Whatever the result of the Division upon this Motion may be, there can be no doubt what the verdict of history will be upon this conspiracy. I firmly believe that as soon as the country gets an opportunity of pronouncing upon it, they will let the Government know what they think of their proceeding.


One always listens to my right hon. Friend upon questions of constitutional law with profound respect. He is one of the few Members of this House who possesses a large and deep knowledge of this subject. But I must confess that I have listened with amazement to some portion at least of his argument. Does he suggest that it is an unconstitutional proceeding to create peers in the event of the House of Lords differing from the House of Commons? If he does not, does he say the right should be exercised only when there is reasonable ground for believing that the country is in unison of opinion with the House of Commons. That, I have always understood, is the true constitutional position. His speech, however, has seemed to indicate that it was a very doubtful proceeding on the part of His Majesty's Government during the time of the Reform Bill, in 1832, to have advised the Monarch of the day to create—not a limited number of peers— but an unlimited number of Peers. He has quoted a jurist of authority, but a jurist who is a solitary exception to every jurist in this country. The jurist he invoked it not only an exception, but a recognised exception. I am surprised that my right hon. and learned Friend did not refer to one of the most conspicuous constitutional lawyers of to-day— Professor Dicey. He has no sympathy with the party to which I belong. Professor Dicey is extremely hostile to the present policy of His Majesty's Government. Let me therefore call the right hon. Gentleman's attention to the attitude Professor Dicey takes up. Professor Dicey says:— … In foreign, as in domestic affairs, the wishes of the two Houses of Parliament—and when they differ, that of the House of Commons—ought to be followed. And coming a little closer he goes on to say that if there is difference of opinion between the House of Lords and the House of Commons, at some point not definitely fixed the House of Lords ought to give way, and should it appear that the House of Commons continues to enjoy the confidence of the country (and the House of Lords does not give way) it becomes a duty of the Crown or of its responsible Ministers to make, or threaten to make, enough new Peers to override the position of the House of Lords and thus restore the harmony of the two branches of the Legislature. Still further he goes on to say:— The point at which the Lords must yield, or the Crown exercise its Prerogative, is properly determined by anything which conclusively shows that the House of Commons represents, on the matter in dispute, the deliberate decision of the nation. That clears the ground completely, and makes the point this—do we enjoy the confidence of the country in the course we are pursuing? It also clears the ground completely on the question of the right of Ministers of the Crown with regard to advice and the duty of the Sovereign to respect that advice by creating Peers.


There is the further condition that such extraordinary resort to the Prerogative can only be constitutionally employed in cases of grave emergency.


Of course, that is a very speculative question—the question of what is a grave emergency. In our opinion, and in the opinion of His Majesty's Ministers, a grave emergency has arisen. The right hon. Gentleman said earlier in the evening that in 1832 there was grave disorder. No doubt Sir Charles Wetherell, in the City of Bristol, was in imminent danger of his life in 1831. In Manchester and many provincial towns there were riotous proceedings. Does the right hon. Gentleman really suggest that these manifestations are necessary in order to justify the policy of His Majesty's Ministers? That seems to me to be an extra ordinary proposition. We believe, and I think we rightly believe, that the country is so unanimous upon the necessity of this change that ebullitions and manifestations of that kind are quite unnecessary. But that is not, let me point out, the qualification which jurists make. It is perfectly true that one or two jurists the right hon. Gentleman has quoted say that there must be a grave emergency. What does that mean? That a grave emergency is in the public interest, that it is demonstrated sufficiently by the vote of the electorate, and that it is in the public interest that a change should be made. It is not necessary that there should be rowdy scenes and riots in the streets.

I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will not dispute that what is necessary is that it should be demonstrated beyond all question that the general feeling of the country is with us in the reform we wish to carry out. Is the general feeling of the country with us? I am quite ready to make this admission to the right hon. Gentleman. I agree that the Irish question is the dominating question in this controversy. I do not think that any rational man would deny that is so. And so it should be. Let me point out that the Irish question in its present form came into being in 1886. I am perfectly sure that to us who are old Parliamentarians it has brought conclusive proof that in the interest of this great Parliament it is necessary that a solution should be found. The efficiency of Parliament has been destroyed. The independence of action and the opportunities for useful contributions of legislation by unofficial Members have been largely impaired and almost prevented. The Parliamentary machine has broken down under the stress of the Irish question, and that makes this a matter of grave urgency, and that justifies the Government in pressing this matter forward by all constitutional methods which are available. Let me go a step further. It is quite true, as the right hon. Gentleman has said, that the opinion of the country ought to be the governing factor. Has the opinion of the country shown itself clearly on this question? In 1886 we went to the country after the Home Rule Bill of that year had been introduced, and we were defeated. I am not at all sure that the defeat—and I speak with a real sense of responsibility in the matter—was not due to the defections of many of the upper and middle classes, and the defections of Members in this House rather than to any feeling of hostility among the electorate. If the sitting Members of that day had not deserted us we should have held our seats, and the Home Rule cause would have been triumphant. I do not wish to press that unduly, but I have always been of that opinion, and I know that that was the opinion entertained by Mr. Gladstone. What followed? In 1892 we went to the country again. Has the Liberal party during the twenty-five years since 1886 ever discarded Home Rule? You may quote isolated passages from the speeches of Lord Rosebery, who is no longer with us, and I am not sure that he ever was with us; but there is no question at all that the Liberal party throughout the whole of these twenty-five years has been consistently in favour of Home Rule.

There has been no deception on our part with the country. We warned the electors in 1892, 1895, 1900, and 1906 that we were in favour of Home Rule. The electorate knew that as soon as the opportunity was presented to us we should deal with the Home Rule question. We went to them in the beginning of 1910, and again at the end of 1910, in exactly the same position. Is it possible after that to say that the deliberate opinion of the country has not been favourable to Home Rule? Obviously it is favourable. I admit there have been vicissitudes. I grant that we lost in 1886 and 1895, but when you say that the country has not formed a deliberate opinion then I say that is an inaccuracy. It is a very glaring inaccuracy, and we, therefore, now stand in the position of having put before the country categorically what our policy was. Treat it as a Home Rule policy if you like, or as a Parliament Bill policy. We have put that proposition to the country, and the country has answered in the affirmative. Then what remains? Does my hon. and learned Friend think we ought to go to the country again? There are places other than this House for discussing these matters. I know that the opinion of every Conservative Gentleman—and they speak with frankness—whose opinion I have had the honour and privilege of hearing, is that if we went to the country now we should come back exactly as we are, or with very little difference. Therefore, I ask why should we go to the country again inviting the electors to repeat what they said in 1906, January, 1910, and December, 1910? I admit that this is a very grave question. I approach it as a constitutional lawyer and an old Member of this House with a serious sense of responsibility. But the arguments I have had the honour of listening to are so absolutely unreal that they do not appeal to me. The present position justifies the Government in asking the exercise of the Prerogative of the Sovereign. Every condition is fulfilled at the present time. I do not say that the House of Lords has any double dose of original sin in the matter. I believe that the House of Lords is created by a very unscientific process. If you took the opinion of the middle and upper classes, you would find that in their view the Liberal party in the House of Commons rest on the will of the working classes. It is quite impossible that the two Houses can work together in harmony so long as the sentiment represented by the middle and upper classes is that this House represents the sentiment of the working classes. That is an absolute impossibility, and it is the very thing we are doing to-day.

Some time after the Reform Bill of 1832 was passed difficulties arose between the two Houses, I think it was in 1835 the House of Lords rejected Bills which were of practical use, and not what could be called polemical political measures. The attitude of the Liberal party at that time was exactly the same as the attitude of the Liberal party to-day. In 1835 the situation nearly led to the same crisis which we unfortunately have to face to-day. It is thus that these difficulties have arisen. These are ineradicable difficulties. The House of Lords injudiciously refused to accept the Budget which was presented to them by this House two years ago. That was an unprecedented affair. If you go back more than 200 years, which was the time referred to by the right hon. Gentleman, you will find that the House of Commons energetically guarded its rights over finance. It was because in regard to Finance Bills the House of Lords occasionally intervened that the modern conception of the Budget was formed by Mr. Gladstone in the sixties. For my part I look with great apprehension to what the ultimate outcome of this controversy may be. I am, and always have been, a Single Chamber man, and I should regard a statutory chamber as a source of greater danger to the democracy of this country, and far more formidable and antagonistic to the aspirations which we Liberals, Radicals, and Labour men entertain than the present—I think I may call it now the past—somewhat feeble Second Chamber, which is an anachronism. Hon. Gentlemen opposite generally recognise with us that the period for a purely hereditary Chamber has come to an end, and that in the course we are pursuing to-day we are pursuing the only course which is open to us in view of the antagonism to Liberal principles which has been pursued by the other House for many years past.

8.0 P.M.


The supporters of the Government claim that the Parliament Bill was approved by the people of this country, and the Prime Minister has declared that he is going to abide by their judgment. I submit that the question of giving the Cabinet absolute power to pass any Bill it likes has never been fairly put before the people of this country. The question has been mixed up with black bread, big loaves, and other matters. The Prime Minister knows perfectly well that if this question were put fairly before the country as a single issue, it would be rejected by the people. If he were really loyal to the people, he would surely say that this is a matter which ought to be put before them as a single issue. That is the only way it can be S.O P.M. fairly settled. That is the reason he has tried to bluff the Lords, but he did not tell us how many Lords he was entitled to manufacture. I do not personally believe that he could find 200 men of independent means in this country who would stand the ridicule and the contempt of their bought mushroom coronets. It is about time that the people of England woke up. There was a great deal of disturbance in the House of Commons the other day. I admit it was regrettable, but it was a necessity. in order to call the attention of the people to the fact that they were in the greatest danger of allowing themselves to be placed entirely in the power of a Single Chamber, with the Prime Minister at their head as dictator. That is really what it comes to, although I daresay hon. Gentlemen on the other side have not realised it yet. This has happened only once before in English history. That was during the Long Parliament, and the result, even according to Cromwell himself, was tyranny, jobbery, and corruption. This is what Cromwell said in 1652: "Members of Parliament chiefly occupied themselves in getting profit for themselves and their friends and in delaying business in order to continue in power, and they could not be kept within the bounds of justice, law, or reason, because they themselves were the supreme power of the nation, liable to nobody, and could not be controlled or regulated by any other power, there being none superior to or co-ordinate with them, and unless there was some authority or power to restrain them and keep things in order it would be impossible to prevent the ruin of the country." That was when the country was under Single Chamber Government. It is a pretty strong condemnation by the great Nonconformist commander of the trial of an uncontrolled and all-powerful House of Commons, and that is what is going to happen again if this Bill is passed.

In my opinion the Prime Minister is taking advantage of a King new to his position. He has coerced him to promise to make a large number of Peers who will be pledged to vote in a certain way in order to obtain the honour of a Peerage. I call that bribery, and bribery in its worst form. If I promised a man to get him a place as head-gardener on condition that he voted for another man to get him into the House of Commons, and if it were found out that man would be disqualified from sitting here. You are going to make hundreds of head-gardeners into Peers and that is a much larger bribe. I wonder whether all these hundreds of worthy or unworthy gentlemen are going to pay for being made Peers, or whether some of them will have to be kept by the subscriptions of the others? I should like to have asked if it would be in order whether the new Peers created for the purpose of forcing the Parliament Bill through the House or Lords will be in any way bound to vote for the Government on that Bill? It is nearly 800 years ago since the English barons compelled King John to give their present rights to British subjects. Since then British Peers have upheld the rights and powers—[An HON. MEMBER: "Of themselves"]—of the British race on the battlefield and in the council chamber. To-day they are asked to desert the people and the King at the bidding of the friends of every country but their own, and this at the mere threat of the manufacture of blackleg Barons, bribed by the offer of a peerage to ruin their country. It seems to me that if the leader of the Opposition and Lord Lansdowne are compelling the Peers into surrender in order to save the King from being dragged into party politics they are only trying to put off the evil day. Depend upon it the threat will be repeated. The Leader of the Opposition told us to-day that the crime had already been accomplished. Lord Lansdowne has himself said that under the unamended Bill the Crown will not be safe. Will it be safer if the leaders run away and lose, as they certainly will lose, all the power and respect they have in the country. They will then be of no further use to anybody. [Laughter.]

Hon. Gentlemen opposite laugh at me but that is what I shall tell my people in the country, and beyond that, if the Peers run away they will to a great extent also destroy the Unionist party, who are the best friends of the monarchy. According to my ideas it is political madness. The Government is really depending on the Leader of the Opposition to bring about the surrender of the only safeguard that the people in this country have against the tyranny and oppression of laws being passed against the will of the people, laws which the people will be powerless to prevent. In my opinion the present position has come about because the Leader of the Opposition has been playing with the Unionist party and the people of this country for more than seven years. He has told us that he is struggling to bring in Tariff Reform and Preference. Yet he told Professor Hewins that he did not want to come into power on Tariff Reform and Preference, because he said that they were very awkward, difficult questions and it would kill him in six months if he had to bring them in, and that is confirmed both by Lord Ridley and by Mr. Fabian Ware. We cannot go on under such a leader. I am saying this with the greatest reluctance; but we cannot have anything more fatal to a party than to have a man for a leader extremely clever, with great personal, almost hypnotic, charm, but who, while saying that the first constructive policy of the Unionist party was Tariff Reform and Preference, has done all he can to stop it all these years. The last dodge to stop it was when he brought in a promise of a referendum on Tariff Reform without stipulating that the Government should do the same on the Lords Veto and Home Rule. Of course I know very well that that is what has knocked out to a great extent Tariff and Preference for a time. Our kinsfolk over the sea view with very great alarm the desire of the Government to be the sole dictator of the Imperial Parliament. Even working men opposed to the Lords say that they respect a House of Lords that can fight, but have no use for a House of Lords that only sticks in its place in order to do what it is told.


By the Leader of the Opposition.


And if the Lords give way now when they have got a chance of saving their country, the Unionist working men, who have up to now stood for liberty, justice, and patriotism, will say, and say rightly, that the Lords deserted them in their hour of need, and that the Unionist party betrayed them because they were afraid to fight, and they would say there is no use any longer in sticking up for a party that runs away at the first glimpse of the bayonet. Surely it should not be allowed. Members of the House of Lords some years ago went out and fought and died for their fellow-countrymen in the late war, whilst Members of the present Cabinet stayed at home in peace and comfort under the shelter of the British policeman, and. moreover, abused their fellow-countrymen fighting for their King and country in the far-off hostile Continent. Is it to these sort of men that the Lords-are going to surrender the rights and liberties of the British people? There are Members who sit on these benches who have withstood the fierce rush of the Arab and the Afghan. Are they going to urge the Lords to shirk their manifest duty? Are they going to urge the Lords to allow the country to be governed by an autocrat responsible to nobody but his Socialist allies and the Irish party, who are financed chiefly by the deadly enemies of the Empire? I suppose that I have burned my boats. The last time I asked for first fault I did not get it. I cannot ask for it this time. But however that may be I shall have the satisfaction of having stated publicly the privately expressed opinion of millions of men and women who are loyal supporters of their country and their King, their race, and their Empire, and I shall have pointed out to (he Lords, the trustees of the liberties and just rights of the nation, the criminal folly of the policy of funk. I have only to add that I cannot help thinking there are Liberals on those benches who do not altogether like the idea of being governed by a Single Chamber. The Government of this country may not always be in the hands of the Liberal party; you cannot tell that it may not some day be in the hands of the Socialists, and how would Liberals like their goods and money taken away from them?


I cannot help thinking that the hon. Member who has just sat down made a mistake in raising once more those charges against the Prime Minister in connection with His Majesty, for I should have thought that this afternoon they once and for all had been definitely disposed of. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for St. Andrews University (Sir R. Finlay) made some attempt to deal seriously with the constitutional aspect of this question brought forward in the form of a Vote of Censure. He quoted authorities, and I am bound to say some of those he quoted were very extraordinary. He chose to rely for his view on the constitutional aspect of this question on the obiter dicta of Lord Brougham and on the novels of Mr. Stanley Weyman. I do not think either text-books or precedents very much help us in this particular matter, but if you consult text-books certainly the later are preferable to the earlier ones. I say that for this very good reason: If you are seeking for a definition of the right use of the powers that are available under the Constitution you cannot find it in books, unless they are contemporary, because the Constitution really is found in the minds of living men as much as in books. I do not believe that anyone in any quarter of the House will be found to deny that the vast majority of politically-minded people at this moment are agreed in thinking that a proper and constitutional course is being taken by His Majesty's Government. Nor, again, do I believe that we should attach any importance to the alleged unwillingness and hesitation of the Government to bring this weapon of the Prerogative into play. It is suggested that the fact of its being unwelcome is some sort of proof that it is also unconstitutional; but the injury which has been done by the House of Lords requires a correspondingly violent remedy.

The mere existence of that threat of creating Peers in 1832 settled the crisis at that time, and the mere fact of its existence on the present occasion, I think, will also settle the matter. The Prime Minister, in the course of his speech, invited hon. Members opposite to suggest what alternative they could possibly propose to take the place of the use of the Prerogative. I notice that not one hon. Member opposite, not even the right hon. Member for St. Andrews University (Sir E. Finlay), has so far attempted to take up that challenge. What could take its place? It is quite useless to say that we should have further consideration, because that would in no way alter the present position of affairs. The only possible solution of the deadlock such as we have at present, is this ultimate resource of the Constitution, and if it did not exist we should then be reduced to a state of affairs from which there would be no exit whatsoever. I do not think reference has been made. in the course of this Debate, to the attempt made, in the year 1718, to abolish the Royal Prerogative, and to limit, once and for all, the number of Peers. I venture to quote one or two words from the speech, the memorable speech on that occasion, of Sir Robert Walpole—memorable not only because of its merits, but also because of the fact that it exercised such a powerful effect on the House of Commons of that day that it actually turned votes and altered the political situation. He pointed out that if you allow the Prerogative to be checked or curbed to any appreciable extent, you would then be making the Lords the masters of the King. Those words, I think, are equally applicable to the present situation. Again, you would allow them to form themselves into a compact and impenetrable phalanx. Words which are also equally applicable to the present action of the Opposition. The fact is the only sort of suggestion we are able to extract from the Opposition in this matter is to substitute their policy for our own, that is, to substitute for the policy which was approved at the last General Election that which was rejected. The Prime Minister received endorsement of his specific policy, and that being so, it is for the Government to see that it is carried out. Some reference has been made to the precedents which are to be found in history for this use of the Prerogative. I think, however, they only serve to show a tissue of false analogies on which the opposition to the Government is based. The Leader of the Opposition, in a speech made the other day, and the right hon. Member for St. Andrews University, in his speech, referred to the cases of 17l1 and of 1832, and said in both those cases there was danger of war. In the first case we had a devastating foreign war continuing in Europe, and in the second case we are told that there was danger of civil war in this country. The words which the Leader of the Opposition used were:— There was a sanguinary war in progress which it was vitally necessary in the interests of this country to bring to a speedy end. I will not attempt to compare that with the issues before us at this moment, but we have a domestic struggle which carries with it some of the results of foreign war. It paralyses our energy; it. hinders our progress. It can only be ended in one way, and that is by the effective assertion of the predominance of this House.

Our Constitution is something which is not fixed. It changes continually but slowly. At any moment you can point to some part of it which is the centre of political gravity. You can adduce some principle the acceptance of which is essential to its safe working. At this moment undoubtedly the centre of gravity is the House of Commons. It was so in 1832, it is even more so now, and I doubt if anyone would be prepared to deny that that is so. Yet every political act of hon. Gentlemen opposite is a challenge to the predominance of this House. That is why we have this Vote of Censure, that is why they advocate the Referendum which would destroy the responsibility of this House, that is why they deny the propriety of the use of the Royal Prerogative which is the defence of this House, that is why we have the House of Lords at this very moment claiming greater and greater powers, that is why it has departed even from its own precedent set when it so tardily accepted the rejected Budget of 1910. I do not think it is going too far to say that the common principle underlying all those various operations is an all-round attack on representative Government. Fortunately we have the weapon with which to repel it, and we mean to repel that attack. But in doing so it is not right to look at this summoning of the Prerogative as a mere isolated act. It really takes its place in historical sequence, and it must be judged in the light of all that has taken place in the last twenty-five years in connection with this House and the House of Lords.

I think it is equally false and unfair to say that the Parliament Bill is a sudden and spontaneous mutation in the course of our political development. In my opinion the Parliament Bill merely crystallises and summarises and puts into practice what is the true theory of the Constitution at this moment. We now have the means in our power and we intend to use it to see that what is the theory shall also be made the practice. I have attempted to deal with one or two points in connection with this Vote of Censure which seemed to me to be more than of merely academic interest. After all, I think what the hon. Member for Anglesey (Mr. Ellis Griffith) said earlier to-day is indeed the fact and that is that this Vote of Censure does not really concern us so much as hon. Members opposite. Its object is not to destroy the Government so much as to unite the Opposition. It is really a piece of tactics and as a piece of tactics I am bound to say it seems to me to be characterised by the skill and subtlety which we expect from the Leader of the Opposition. It has one weak point, it will allow the Government in a short time to exhibit once more its preponderating majority in this House in favour of the principle and the details of the Parliament Bill. To the people outside I believe that that will be a more powerful argument than any words which can be uttered within these walls.

Captain CRAIG

I have listened to the Debate practically all through the day, and so far very little has passed from either side of the House as to the subject which I think most interests those who come from my part of the country. I refer to the concluding words of the Vote of Censure in reference to Home Rule. The hon. and learned Member who last spoke said that he was content that the Parliament Bill should go through, and that he felt confident it would receive the sanction of the country, and that it was placed before the country as a specific and undoubted issue at the last General Election. That may be so, but the appalling and staggering fact remains that if this Bill goes through, as it was originally intended, without a strong protest, it carries in its train disaster to a very large section of the most loyal part of these islands. It is impossible, as everyone who has attempted will admit, to argue in an English Constituency on the Parliament Bill the pros and cons of granting Home Rule to Ireland. How could anyone do it? That is where the trickery and dodgery of the Prime Minister and his Government has never been surpassed, because in asking the electors to grant them what they call the Parliament Bill, they take powers unto themselves, or rather grant powers to the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond) and his followers, beyond any powers that were ever granted to any section in this House before. Is it any wonder that the people of Ulster are alarmed at the situation as it at present presents itself? During the course of this Debate one hon. Member below the Gangway opposite with great pride got up and told the Leader of the Opposition that he had been had. A great many people have been had or fooled or tricked, not only in this House, but in the country, but I can assure the Prime Minister and the other Members of the Government, and above all the hon. and learned Member for Waterford, and I am sorry he is not in his place, that the people of Ulster or the Ulster representatives have not been tricked from the very first day this Parliament Bill was suggested. We saw with a clear eye, and we told the people at home that if the Parliament Bill became law they, the loyal Protestant population in the North of Ireland, would be placed under the heel of John Redmond. [HON. MEMBERS: "Order."] I am quoting speeches of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford and of the Nationalist party, and it is quite allowable to do that. [HON. MEMBERS: "Order."] I apologise. I did not mean to do anything more than to refer to the Leader of the Home Rule disloyal section of this House. There are not many of them here at present, but if there were——


At any rate, they do not threaten to get up Civil Wars against the Crown.

Captain CRAIG

The hon. Member represents the southern division of the county Down, which is adjoining that for which I sit. He will probably find, although I always admire his courage, that he and his party have tackled a far bigger job than they ever anticipated. [An Hon. MEMBER: "NO, no."] And the earnestness and determination of those people, backed up by their representatives, although there are not many in this House, will show not only him, but the Liberal party, the Radical party, the Socialist party, and the Nationalist party that we were not had, as I said, from the word "Go"; and that we do not intend to submit in any degree to any Parliament which brings forth, under false pretences and by fooling the country, a system under which we would be placed under hon. Members below the Gangway. Our minds are made up, our determination is firm, preparations are being made, and will be made, from this on to show—[An HON. MEMBER: "Loyalty," and laughter.] I know that kind of laughter which is aimed at us when we put before the House our sincere views on a matter which concerns the whole life of the people at home. But that kind of thing will not do, nor will it carry conviction to anyone in this House when we get into grips on a matter which I say affects the welfare of so many of His Majesty's loyal subjects in Ireland. The hon. and learned Member who preceded me said that the Prime Minister's action all through had been constitutional, proper, and correct. He also stated that all that had taken place in November, and subsequently, was the natural outcome of carrying out the wishes of the country. It is very significant that prior to the approaching of His Majesty for guarantees, the Leader of the Nationalist party, speaking at a Convention on 27th September, is reported in the "Freeman's Journal" as having said:— But the soul of this Trish movement has been the spirit of nationality. Ireland would prefer poverty rather than surrender her national spirit. I have come here to-day to ask you to give us your aid in a supreme and. I believe, final effort to dethrone, once for all, the English Government of our country. Again, later on, he said:— I do not trust any English party. If any British Minister or any British party be false to their pledge we will be able within one month to drive them from office. We will make them toe the line. That occurred on 13th October. At the same meeting Alderman Boyle, M.P., said: We are the sons of a free, self-governing and independent nation. On another occasion, from the "Irish Independent":— We do not care a snap of the finger for either political party, for England, or for any political leader. If they refuse to do our will, we can turn the Liberals out as easily as we can reduce a Conservative Government to impotence. The situation is ideal for our cause. These reports are sent on. The Prime Minister could not accept office or carry on the Government unless he pandered to the wishes of the Nationalist party, and, as the Leader of the Nationalist party picturesquely puts it, he has to toe the line. What was the Prime Minister's justification for approaching the Crown for guarantees to make these Peers? I will not call them hard names now, but I will afterwards. What was the whole tenour of his speech this afternoon? It was that he was only justified in so doing because the clear issue of the Parliament Bill was before the people of the country. Was the dear issue of the Home Rule Bill before the country? Can anyone in this House suggest what the Home Rule Bill is? They do not know the details yet. The Home Rule Bills which are talked about on platforms vary very much according to whether the explanation is given in England, in America, in Ireland, or in any other part of the world. In one place, this great measure is to satisfy the aspirations of the race, and will be most acceptable to all classes in Ireland. In another place, it does better to strike a different note—the note of independence, of separation, and of "standing where Parnell stood," and so forth, according to the audience addressed. Can anyone truthfully say that the slightest hint of the details of the measure of Home Rule intended by the Prime Minister was put before the people in either January or December, 1910? I say no. What would these puppet Peers be created to do? They would be created on the understanding that they perjured themselves. {Several HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] How can they be created to carry out the Parliament Bill and all that it means if they are not also to vote for a Bill which later on their very consciences might tell them meant the ruination of the country, the separation of Ireland from England, and the smashing-up of the British Empire? Looking at the matter from that point of view only, how can the Prime Minister in the slightest degree justify the creation of Peers, whether the number be 50, 100, or 400, in order to bind them down to vote for a measure which would be dictated not by the prudence of the Prime Minister or his colleagues, but by the Leader of the Nationalist party, who has before him not alone the immediate Home Rule Bill about which he speaks, but the full programme of Parnell and his followers.

There have been meetings in different parts of Ireland, and the people, at those meetings, have pledged themselves to what? I am speaking not of what is to take place, but of what has taken place. They have pledged themselves, in the first instance, to pay no taxes whatever to any Government set up in Dublin, which is to be ruled by the Nationalist party. In the second place, they have pledged themselves not to obey its behests. In order that the House may be perfectly aware of the dangerous road they are travelling— [laughter]. Hon. Members laugh. I hope someone will answer this argument; but no one here can do it. Since this controversy started there has not been a reasonable, sensible speech made from the Nationalist benches. They know as well as I do that this is a question far greater in importance than those with which this House has been dealing in the last Session or two. But hon. Members, while going on with the Insurance Bill through the hot days of July and August, have failed to realise that whilst they are spending time on what may or may not be a very legitimate purpose, they have, with this miserable Parliament Bill, started unrest, uneasiness, and great discomfort amongst the people of Ireland, who must wait for probably two or two and a-half years before they know their doom. How would people in Yorkshire or Lancashire, accustomed to live in freedom and openness under the British constitution, like to have two years of unsettlement, and to see all their property deteriorating, houses emptying, unrest increasing, stocks and shares depreciating. [Several hon. Members dissented.] Let somebody get up and deny it; do not sit there talking nonsense. Hon. Members murmur and murmur. Let them read the paper, and they will see that shares are depreciating and stocks falling. People are to be upset for two and a-half years, looking forward to a measure of Home Rule which will ruin the country, and undoubtedly bring disaster, not alone upon Ireland, but also upon the Empire. Take it this way: you say two and a-half years, and that in that time it is possible, and probable, that the country may have changed; at all events, that when these Bills, under this Parliament Bill are passed they can be repealed. I have stated before that the Prime Minister was again trying to jockey us when he said that you can repeal Bills which are passed under this Parliament Bill. How can you possibly repeal the whole machinery of Home Rule with its Premier, its Secretary of State for this, that, and the other, with its Exchequer, its education and with all this great machinery established in Ireland

How can the Government go in twelve months afterwards and upset the whole thing except at immense cost to the country and heart-burnings amongst those who are disappointed? It is impossible to do it. The Prime Minister knows it is impossible to do it. He is only once more trying to hoodwink the House when he says that the Government of the day could repeal any of the Bills which were passed under this Parliament Bill. What will happen? Perhaps the first year, if there is any decency about the Prime Minister, and any respectability left in the Chief Secretary for Ireland, we may be allowed to discuss certain Clauses of this immense measure affecting the welfare of such a large number of people in Ireland. That would go on for perhaps a month or two. Then the right hon. Gentleman would say that the time was getting on, and that they would have to get the Clauses, and that the Closure, and so forth, would have to be put into operation. Then the Bill would go through against the wishes, I am certain, of the majority of the people of Ireland, because they do not want— they have stated it over and over again, that if they are allowed freedom of vote and voice—that they would not care to hand over their welfare to these hon. and learned Members below the Gangway. We know that for a fact.

I hope that the personally-conducted tour of the Radical party throughout the country and along the bog-sides, and so on, will be carefully prepared for them by their Nationalist friends. I hope that the conductor of the tour will take them up to some of those loyal industrial centres of Ulster; that they will see Belfast and its great shipbuilding industry, Londonderry and its linen manufactures; that they will pass through all this great part, and see really for themselves how prosperous such part of the country may be— like Lancashire and Yorkshire—under the British Constitution and under the British flag. Let them ask themselves: why change all this? Why should they, when a case has never been made for it, change it? Not one single Nationalist all the time of his life has been able to produce a single argument in favour of handing over to a Parliament in Dublin the management of affairs which could not be better managed by the justice and fair play of the great English people! That position has been challenged over and over again, but owing to the compact which undoubtedly hon. Members have entered into with the Front Bench to keep particularly quiet during all these stormy times it is not taken up. There are stormy times ahead when you try to make a large section of the people take a Bill against their wish and will. They will not do it and you cannot make them do it. This Parliament Bill, we are made to pretend, is merely a measure to thwart the Lords, or to prevent them from having the last say in the matter. I say that you are doing damage to the country and damage to the Constitution. Remember this: that in this challenge which has been thrown out, a challenge made on many a platform, to the Government to allow Home Rule to go as a separate issue to the country, they know, and you all know, that you are afraid, you are cowards, and will not allow it to go to the people and let them have their say. Yet you call yourselves Democrats! You call yourselves those who come here to voice the sentiments of the people, while the very last persons you want to consult are the people themselves. You want to consult hon. Members opposite to you to see how long you can stay in office, and how long they can keep the Government in power; not to go frankly before the people and say: "Here is the first great disintegration of Empire; let us hear all the pros and cons. Will you or will you not have Home Rule?" I say that the country will back us up and back us up afterwards, and turn the Radical Government and the traitorous Prime Minister out of Parliament.


I do not propose to follow the hon. Member who has just made such an eloquent and interesting speech through his somewhat irrelevant observations on the Home Rule controversy, which he seems to think is involved in this Vote of Censure. But I would like with another challenge to respond to the one which he has thrown out, and ask him: Will he accept a Referendum to the Irish people on the Home Rule question?

Captain CRAIG

If the hon. Member will guarantee that the Roman Catholic Church will allow the people to vote according to their conscience I will guarantee the Protestants will all vote against it.


I am not in the happy position to be able to give any guarantees. It seems to me when they talk about a Referendum on Home Rule that the only kind of Referendum which has any kind of relevance to the matter is the one you have in Ireland to-day. I would like to get away from the idea that ran in the hon. Gentleman's mind, and which occupied a good deal of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition: that this insistence on passing the Parliament Bill into law was meant to obscure a plot with the Irish Nationalists, on the part of the Government, dictated by the Irish Nationalists; and that the Government could not drop the Parliament Bill and hope to remain in office. A more fantastic misconception of the reason why the Parliament Bill was introduced, or of its historical position, or of the feeling of the rank and file on this side of the House has never crossed the mind of anyone who is familiar with the circumstances. May I remind hon. Gentlemen opposite that the Campbell-Banner-man Resolution on which the Parliament Bill was founded was passed in the Parliament of 1906. The Government then had a majority far exceeding that of the Opposition, that whether the Irish Members had voted for or against the Government mattered little. If they or the Labour party or both had voted against the Government the Government would still have had a large majority. The Government are now passing that Resolution into law. It is an absurd and fantastic idea that the Liberal party should now quietly sit down and fold its arms, and go through the same humiliating circumstances, and the same disgraceful treatment which they received in 1906 and 1910! What has the House of Lords done for the last two or three generations, and against which Liberal statesmen, including the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham—who, unfortunately, no longer graces this House with his presence—and against which Lord Rosebery, and Mr. Gladstone, and every Liberal statesman has protested. The idea that all these things, the rejection of the Licensing Bill, of the Education Bill, and the Plural Voting Bill are all to be overlooked, and that we are to sit here doing nothing, and that all would be forgotten except for the pressure of Irish Members, is absurd. That might be all very well as argument in some backwoods or for some backwoodsmen, but it will not do for the House of Commons. If the Government showed any hesitation in pressing forward the Parliament Bill to its ultimate destination, or if it showed any hesitation or doubt in resorting to an appeal of the highest authority in the country to utilise its Prerogative, which is a great possession of the British Sovereign, it is-not the Irish party but the Liberal party that would turn the Government out of office. Of course, it may suit the convenience and the purpose of Gentlemen opposite to talk about Home Rule. The Leader of the Opposition said that Lord Lansdowne's Amendment merely provided that Home Rule and "some other matters" should be referred to a Referendum, by some unknown body constituted in some unknown way, and in some matter not yet ascertained.

9.0 P.M.

What are the "other matters?" I understand Welsh Disestablishment to be one of those other matters. Do hon. Gentlemen think that Welsh Members would accept an Amendment of that character or that some of the "other matters," not yet defined except in amusing terms as. matters of "great gravity." which may not be matters affecting reforms that the democracy of this country have at heart for years. Do they think that by merely harping on the words "Home Rule," and trying to hide the inner meaning of the Amendments of Lord Lansdowne, that they are going to succeed in throwing dust in the eyes of the British electorate? Lord Lansdowne's Amendments would make the Parliament Bill useless, not merely for the purpose of passing Home Rule, but for the purposes for which we set out, namely, to make the will of this Chamber predominant in contest between the two Houses. Hon. Members opposite have had their fight; they have been beaten in the country, and they have been beaten again to-day. They know that perfectly well, and their leading newspapers admit that the country has not changed its views, and that if there was another election to-day a majority would be returned for the Parliament Bill just as. it was at the last election. I would like, in support of that, to quote from an interesting leader in "The Times." "The Times" was occupied in pointing out that Lord Lansdowne and his followers were more reasonable and rational than the "No Surrender" party of the united party opposite. It says:— Does it mean that Lord Lansdowne is bound in honour or common sense to vote for his Amendments to the end? The answer is 'No.' It could only be 'Yes' if the Constitutional party believed that here and now they could challenge an appeal to the country on that question with some chance of success. They do not believe it. There is not a single man amongst them who holds that Mr. Balfour, if called upon te form a Government, could do so with any reasonable prospect of adequate support at the polls. That is the view of the leading Unionist newspaper. Now I would like to ask: Will any responsible Member opposite say what the Prime Minister ought to have done, rather than what he has done in demanding the exercise of the Royal Prerogative. It seems to me that four courses only were open to the Prime Minister. One was to withdraw the Bill, the second was to accept the Amendments, the third was to resign, and the fourth was to invoke the Royal Prerogative. The Prime Minister obviously could not withdraw the Bill, for which he had a majority in this House. Neither could he accept Amendments which the House of Commons would not carry. If he resigned, there was no alternative Government in sight; and on the admission of hon. Gentlemen opposite and their supporters in the Press, another election would not change the position of party. And what is it he ought to have done which he has not done? What course should he adopt except the only one open to him to adopt. However pleasant it may be, and no doubt it is occasionally gratifying to use hard and insulting language about your opponents, I have never found the use of harsh and violent language a help out of difficulty. All the violent language of "traitor" and "treachery" in reference to the Royal Prerogative represented curious aspects of mind in hon. Gentlemen opposite. When they make use of these cries against the Prime Minister they are imputing motives to the Sovereign in allowing himself to be directed. What other course could the Prime Minister or the Sovereign have adopted? I fail to find any except one of these four alternatives. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition made a long speech, but he did not for a moment tell us what course he would have adopted if he had been in the position of the Prime Minister, or anything like a similar position. Until we have that answer I do not see how the House of Commons, or any reasonable body of men, can be asked to censure the conduct of the Prime Minister in carrying out a perfectly constitutional duty.

Of course, we all can find books and writers of books on constitutional history, who talk much about their idea of the British constitution. But I venture to submit that the greatest authorities upon the British constitution, the late Mr. Bagehot, Professor Dicey, and others, all admit that in this country the creation of Peers is the only method we have, and a very clumsy method I am afraid it is, for putting an end to deadlocks between the two Houses. This deadlock has not only existed in recent years, it has been in existence for some time, but I have not heard any suggestion from hon. Gentlemen opposite as to how it can be solved. We have had a Conference and that Conference failed to bring about a settlement. We have no guarantee that a new Conference would take us any further. We are told we must reform the Second Chamber. We never had any kind of guarantee that the Party opposite were ready to reform the Second Chamber in. any way acceptable to any one on these Benches. In fact, when the right hon. Gentleman said that his party wished to reform the House of Lords, one wonders why in the long years between 1886 and 1906, when he was almost continually in office, he never took one single step or or moved a finger to reform the House of Lords. For twenty years he had a very large following, and he must bitterly regret now that he did not reform the House of Lords, and I believe that if he were in office to-morrow he would find the same difficulty confronting him which confronts us with regard to the reform of the House of Lords. It is not the Conservative party that will ever reform the House of Lords, because you cannot hurt your own friends very much. That is not human nature. It is not possible for the party opposite to rob their own friends and allies of their power and glory. Whenever a reform of the Second Chamber comes about it will have to come from this side of the House. All the strong language which has appeared in the "Observer," and all the vituperative adjectives which have been used in this controversy leave the problem where it was before. What hon. Gentlemen opposite have to remember is that the country is not with them. The people want the Parliament Bill passed, and for that reason the Prime Minister, in the advice which he has tendered to the Sovereign has tendered advice of which the majority of the people approve. The Prime Minister has acted in a constitutional manner, and the Sovereign accepts his advice, and in accepting that advice the constitutional Sovereign is carrying out the desires and wishes of the great mass of the electors of this country.

In this matter the Government and the Prime Minister deserve the support of all those who have followed him up to now. It has been the right hon. Gentleman's good fortune, and it will redound to his glory, that of a long list of Leaders of the Liberal party he is the one who has been able by his strength of purpose and by the unity of those behind him to carry out this great reform. Hon. Members opposite can never realise the position in which Liberal politicians have so often found themselves in this country. They have lived in that position where success at the polls has placed them in office but not in power. On the one hand we have seen Liberal Governments struggling to pass measures in which they saw good, whilst on the other hand when those measures have reached the other end of the Lobby they have been mutilated or rejected. The end of all that has come. We feel that in some way the Parliament Bill will leave us in a position in the political arena of fighting on something like equal terms with our opponents. I do not think hon. Gentlemen opposite need be so despondent about their cause when they will be able to meet us in the future under the Parliament Bill on equal terms. The Prime Minister who has so courageously folio-wed this course will go down to posterity as one who has lifted burdens off the people, and has liberated the democracy of this country.


I do not think what the hon. Member for Swansea (Sir A. Mond) has said has added anything new to the Debate on this particular question. It is a grievance with the Liberal party that they have been unfairly treated by the House of Lords. From what the hon. Member opposite has said, and from what other hon. Members have said, not perhaps so much in this House as in the country, it would appear that none of their legislation has ever been carried by the House of Lords. On this side of the House, sometimes, at any rate, we try to be just in our judgment as to the action of the House of Lords, and while we must admit that there have been measures, no doubt very dear to the hearts of the Liberal party, that have been refused on grounds which may be just or unjust by the House of Lords, it is unjust to say that they have treated all Liberal legislation with anything like injustice. I know there are a good many hon. Members who want to get away from the party side of this question, and would very much like to have seen a settlement without this attempt at revolution, if revolution it be, and without bringing the King into a question of politics. I have always hoped that there might be a settlement based upon those lines before finality came on this important question. It is very much to be regretted that that does not appear to be likely now. With regard to the action of the House of Lords, I am bound to say that they have not generally interfered with or destroyed Liberal legislation. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh."] One hears in the country that the House of Lords interferes with and destroys Liberal legislation to such an extent that it is hardly worth while for the Liberals to hold office at all. On the other hand, we read of hon. Members belonging to the party opposite who go to the country and say, "What a splendid record we have had this Session." We have passed one hundred or two hundred Bills dealing with social and other legislation, and we have done a great service for our country." I agree that during the last five or six years the Liberal party have a record in regard to the passing of legislation of which they have a right to be justly proud, but it is not fair to make that claim and at the same time charge the House of Lords with having prevented your legislation from becoming law. When you tell the country what a magnificent record of work you have done during the years you have been in office you ought to remember that you could not have passed one of these measures until it had been submitted to and passed by the House of Lords. I think it is only just that we should try and put this question on equitable and fair lines. The Bill which has produced all these difficulties was discussed in this House, and very few if any Amendments were accepted. The Parliament Bill was sent to the other House, and if we could clear our minds of political bias we should be able to say that the Peers, in proposing their Amendments, have endeavoured to equitably present to this House Amendments which in my judgment ought to be accepted.


I rise to a point of Order. The hon. Member seems to think that we are discussing the business which is down for to-morrow. Is he in order in discussing now the Lords Amendments to the Parliament Bill?

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Whitley)

The hon. Member was quite in order.


I do not wish to discuss to-morrow's Amendments in any detail. I was only desirous of presenting to the House what I thought might have been a fair and equitable settlement of this question. I think if the questions upon which Amendments have been made by the House of Lords in the Parliament Bill were placed before an impartial jury the decision would be in their favour. I think that a jury would decide in favour of the proposal that you should have a Committee formed, with the Speaker as Chairman, to settle what is a Money Bill. Surely that is a very equitable method of dealing with that question? The one question which appears to be a stumbling block to the settlement of this matter is that which gives to the present Government the power to pass Home Rule without that subject being first submitted to the country. That is the question. You are to pass any kind of legislation that this House endorses, and, after it has been two years hung up and presented again to this House it is to become law. In my younger days I was trained as a Liberal, and I am sorry the Liberals of to-day do not appear as anxious to safeguard the liberty of the electors as they were then. What is this Amendment submitted to you? It is merely an Amendment that shall safeguard in the last event the right of the people to say what kind of legislation shall pass and what kind of laws they shall live under. I am not discussing whether Home Rule is right or wrong. There may be a Bill of local self-government for Ireland presented which may find me a supporter of it. My mind on that question is not at all closed. I should be glad to see some settlement of these questions, but, if Home Rule is right, then surely the people of England and the constituencies generally can be trusted to speak upon it and to say it is right. It is not merely the question of Home Rule, but under the Bill as it stands you can disestablish the English Church as well as the Welsh Church. Only two years is required, and when the two years are passed and gone, you can, if you choose, commit what I think would be a great wrong and error without submission to the country at all.

If that is true, there are other principles and measures which in the future may arise of much greater importance to the liberty of our people than some of those to which I have referred. Are we, for example, to have an interference with the rights of property? The middle-class people of the country who have been, and are to-day, largely supporters of the party in power, have much to consider in regard to the question of the interference or the possibility of their being interference with the rights of property as they exist under our law to-day. If you can pass a law which will confer Home Rule on Ireland without it being submitted to the people, surely you may one day, under different conditions and possibly under a different Ministry, interfere with the rights of property and the freedom and liberty of our people in that direction. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, speaking the other night on another Bill, made a reference to a settlement of the building societies, and put forward the suggestion that a proportion of the surpluses of the societies that were rich might be transferred into a common fund for the benefit of those not so well off. The day may come, and could come under this Bill as it stands, when the surplus income of individuals might be collectively used for the benefit of what may be called the community. That is Socialism. There is no way of preventing that. If you had a party sufficiently strong in the House of Commons a ministry could, now that you have broken our constitution and taken away one of the safeguards, in two years interfere with the rights of property and rob the individual of a proportion of his savings for the benefit of the State.


We can do it in one year now.


All I say is that this Bill, without Lord Lansdowne's Amendment, giving the people the right to finally speak on any great question, does indeed aim at the very foundation and root of society. After all, this House is governed not by hon. Members opposite but by the Executive Government, and, if the Executive Government said these Amendments were to be accepted, hon. Members opposite would follow them in what they said. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO, no."] I daresay some hon. Gentlemen, like us on this side of the House, would be divided on this question, but I know party government in this House sufficiently to be aware that on any great question such as this the party opposite, as the party here, will follow those who lead, and I think that a very proper thing too. I am only arguing this question as I think it will be argued by the man in the street. I suggest, when he understands what these Amendments are, how small they are in number, but how important they are so far as their essence goes to the freedom and liberty of our people, he will ask what all this controversy is about. There must be some underlying prinicple so far as the Government are concerned You know what that underlying principle is. A pledge has been given to the Irish party that for their votes and their support the Government are going to give them Home Rule at the back of the people. That is my opinion, and I believe it is very largely the opinion of the country. It may answer for a little while, but I am confident, when the people of this country realise the wrong that has been done them in not accepting these Amendments, they will come to their senses and return to power a party that will safeguard their interests. This Parliament Rill is only a part of what has gone before. You came into office on the Chinese slavery lie and nothing else. You have retained office, what by?


The Budget.


Yes, to some extent, I admit, by the Budget, but much more, very much more, by the working man's little loaf lie. You may deceive the country once or twice, but you will not deceive it always, and the time will come when retribution will overtake you.


The hon. Member began his speech in a spirit of comparative moderation, but he soon lost that key, and I am bound to say from many points of view it was a singular speech to make on a Vote of Censure. Part of the time it was an appeal ad misericordiam for the House of Lords. They really were a much better body than we had estimated them to be. At the close he forgot the merits of the House of Lords and was so completely full of the demerits of the Liberal party in the year 1905 that he even forgot apparently he was speaking to a Vote of Censure. It is somewhat difficult, therefore, to answer him, and I do not suppose much harm will be done if I do not attempt to do so. I would like to call attention to the position taken up by one of the few official representatives of the party opposite. After the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, I think the only Front Bench man who has spoken is the hon. and learned Gentleman who represents the Universities of St. Andrews and Edinburgh (Sir R. Finlay). It is only fitting we should give some attention to his speech. After all, this is supposed to be an official Vote of Censure, and he is the second official speaker on behalf of it. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition to-day said very little that he had not said a fortnight ago, but the right hon. and learned Gentleman, the Member for Edinburgh and St. Andrews University (Sir R. Finlay) did introduce a new proposition into this Debate. In fact, he laid down a new doctrine for Conservatism. In replying to the argument of the Prime Minister, who insisted that the case for the creation of Peers just now is far stronger than was the case in 1832, declared on the contrary that it was very weak. He said that the case of 1832 was very strong, and that its strength was to be found in the fact that the country, at the time, was in a most dangerously disturbed state, that it was on the verge of Civil War, and that in such a state of things, the authorities were bound to make a concession to the Democracy. That is a pretty doctrine to come from that side of the House! Hon. Members opposite may shake their heads as much as they like, but that was what the right hon. Gentleman said: he declared that the position was most dangerous and that it justified what was done. He went on to argue that, at the present moment, the country was perfectly quiet, and there was, therefore, no justification for creating Peers. If the right hon. Gentleman did not mean that, he meant nothing at all.

What is the effect of the doctrine he is giving to the world? It is that, in order to force the Government to take a course that hon. Members call revolutionary, all you want to do is to get up a certain amount of rioting in the country. [An HON. MEMBER: "You cannot do it."] I will come to that point presently. I want to point out what this new Conservative doctrine is. It means that if you have the Bristol riots over again you will be justified in creating 500 Peers if necessary. And this is the kind of doctrine the Conservative party advances in support of a. Vote of Censure! An hon. Member just now interjected the words, "You cannot do it." I quite agree. There is no spirit of riot in the country at all. But you cannot have it both ways, and when the right hon. and learned Gentleman tells us that the country is perfectly calm and tranquil, we answer that that tranquility has reference to the Veto Bill. You cannot tell us we are on the verge of a fearful revolution, or that the constitutional liberties of the nation are being trampled under foot. You cannot tell us the Prime Minister has played the part of a traitor, and at the same time you cannot taunt us with the fact that the country is perfectly peaceful and that nobody seems in the least disturbed. If the tranquility of the country is as perfect as hon. Members allege, it shows that the country does not believe in what hon. Members opposite say. It shows that the country is perfectly satisfied that the reform being carried out is an inevitable and necessary reform. With this complete absence of all excitement at a time when, more than in any preceding time, the country is fully informed of what is going on, seeing that it can read the daily diatribes of journals representing hon. Members opposite, and when we have in memory what occurred only a fortnight ago, how can hon. Members tell us that revolution is in the air. They really must be consistent for the sake of appearances.

I can remember when the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Walton Division (Mr. F. E. Smith) told us in his richest vein of satire that we on these benches were not the people to carry through a revolution, and that we were far too respectable for it. I entirely agree with him. The pirates are not on this side of the House. If there is to be a violent revolution carried out I dare say that the colleagues of the right hon. Gentleman, as they exhibited themselves a fortnight ago, are perhaps a little better fitted to carry it through. But it comes to this after all. You cannot at one moment declare us to be the most violent, unscrupulous, revolutionary party that ever existed and at the same time add that we are too respectable to carry a revolution through. Hon. Members will insist, however, on having their propositions both ways. But I would warn them that the principle, "Heads I win; tails you lose" will not work any more in this House in politics than it does in other matters outside. With reference to this new Conservative doctrine, if the people of India read in tomorrow's papers that the second speaker of the Opposition on that bench laid down the doctrine that a serious emergency, justifying the creation of 500 Peers, in order to force the submission of the rest, arises only when there is violence outside, what is going to be the effect of that doctrine on the people of India? What, too, will he its effect on the native population of Egypt? There are hon. Members opposite who, when any violence whatever takes place in a country like Egypt or India, at once condemn it because it takes place under the rule of the Radical Government, and they assert we ought to stop taking any reform steps whatever. The same Members, with admirable consistency, now tell us that if only there is sufficient rioting in England then the Prime Minister is justified in breaking down a historic Constitution!

Part of the case of the right hon. and learned Gentleman consisted in denying that there was any consensus of opinion among jurists on the subject of the rights of the Government in the matter of the creation of Peers. He has been followed by a jurist on this side of the House, and I do not propose to go into the question as to the relative merits of the opinions held by jurists. But I would like to put one question: What is the use of quoting the words of Hallam in 1828 in laying down not merely technical precedents, but still vital precedents which ought to be followed by the Prime Minister of to-day, and when that is coupled with the case of the impeachment of Harley in 1715, I think it affords the best illustration we have had of the utter unreality of this line of argument. I wonder what the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Walton Division would have said if his party had been in power and the party on the other side of the House were to come into power and were to bring forward an impeachment similar to that of Harley, brought in by the Ministers of George I. The atmosphere is so different. There is no analogy between the two cases; there would be just as much analogy between the actions of a Roman Senate and the impeachment of Harley. It was a piece of factious party action. Yet it is cited as an authority to-day, and is given as a reason why the present Prime Minister deserves impeachment for a breach of the Constitution. I invite hon. Members to balance this case against these irrelevant precedents, and I would invite them further to accept the doctrine laid down in the "Encyclopedia Britannica" on this very subject. I do not say that the "Encyclopedia Britannica" is always right, but it is a tolerably Conservative publication, not likely to put forward highly subversive doctrines, especially in view of the attitude it has taken upon the question of Tariff Reform. But no one will dispute that on this point it lays down the best ordinary current accepted beliefs of politicians in this country. What does it say in its article on the question which was discussed by the right hon. and learned Gentleman with reference to a number of authorities from which he carefully excluded authorities of the greatest weight:— The constitution possesses, in the unlimited power of nominating Peers, a well understood last resource should the House of Lords persist in refusing important measures demanded by the representatives of the people. In the United Kingdom, it is well understood that the real sovereignty lies with the people, The electorate and the House of Lords recognises the principle that it must accept a measure when the popular will has been really expressed. That is the doctrine of the "Encyclopædia Britannica" in the article on Government in the present edition, and I believe that article is largely a reproduction of the article in the previous edition. So here you may say one of the Conservative commonplaces of the country was the very doctrine that the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite tries to overthrow by bringing forward a new doctrine of emergency, which is even more subversive as regards the attitude adopted by his own party than it is as regards the Constitution of the country. The hon. Member (Captain Tryon) perhaps did some service to the Debate by trying to indicate, by way of justifying the Vote of Censure, certain points on which the action of the Leader of the House might fairly be impeached, or at least indicted, and he declared that the real course that the House and the country wanted was the adoption of a national settlement. No one on that side of the House has ever indicated what he means by a national settlement. The only definition I can find for it is a settlement which will suit hon. Gentlemen opposite. They want a settlement which will suit them, whether or not it suits us. They surely might spare us the use of such absolutely empty forms as that. A national settlement in any real sense of the term is a settlement that they cannot get, and that is a settlement agreed to by both sides. If the minority are not satisfied with the settlement that is only in the ordinary course of things, and I would suggest to them that they should do what Members on this side in the past Have had to do, bow to the decision of the majority that is in power. When the hon. Member (Sir G. Doughty) tells us of all the dangerous possibilities when the Veto Bill is passed in the way of fresh legislation, let him answer us this. When the party opposite in power destroyed the School Boards of this country without having consulted the people, when the House of Lords passed the measure without giving the people a single chance of passing a vote on the subject, were they then acting up to the principles that they hold now? The fact is that hon. Members opposite always discover their constitutional and ethical principles when they are in opposition. If there is any one strictly relevant argument pertinent to this Vote of Censure I take it to be this, that the Prime Minister is to be censured because he asked a certain kind of support from His Majesty at a certain date, before the actual crisis had arrived. Does any Member on that side of the House pretend that the right hon. Gentleman did not know all that he knows to-day in essence last year?

The right hon. and learned Gentleman (Sir R. Finlay) discussed to-day the language used by the Prime Minister on 14th April of last year, and he argued with great emphasis that that language could not properly be used and was improperly used. But then hon. Members opposite knew all along what the Prime Minister was doing, there was no secret in the case, and if they had been consistent they would then have brought their Vote of Censure on him. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Balfour) is a great master of what I may term bogus indignation. He has a greater power of simulating passion than any Member on that side of the House. I say advisedly "simulating," for I will not deny a considerable power of real passion on some of those benches. To-day for the second time, in language of quivering indignation, he complained that the Prime-Minister had put certain matters before the King, or consulted the King in a certain way, long before he was entitled to do so. His colleague said that the language used by the Prime Minister last year ought not to have been used. Then he ought to have been impeached and the Vote of Censure ought to have been brought then. But, again, I will take an authority outside; I turn to "The Times" summary of the Session of 1910, copied from "The Times" of 28th November of that year. In the summary of the Session, a thing usually carefully done in that journal, with regard to what the Prime Minister had said on this very subject we have these words:— His reference was usually understood to refer to the creation of a number of Peers adequate in number and temper to ensure the passage of the Bill. That was the understanding of the leading Conservative newspaper, it was the common understanding of the country, and it was the understanding of Members on that side of the House, and it is only within the last few weeks that it has occurred to them to get up indignation at a discovery which was perfectly within their knowledge all along, and they had decided on a Vote of Censure this year that they ought to have moved last year if they had been consistent. The Leader of the Opposition tells us, speaking for his party, that they are ready to reform the House of Lords and that they have their measure of real reform. He only moves us to inquire once again with what kind of sincerity he conducted the action of the House of Lords down to the very last moment before this battle was pitched between us? He admits to-day that the House of Lords is unfit to exist as it now exists, and he is prepared radically to change it. Of course, on that side, as on this side, there is no agreement whatever as to what is to be put in its place. Just as on this side there is division, so on that side there is division as to what the composition of the Second Chamber ought to be. That is the answer to those gentlemen who tell us that it is the duty of the Government to go on just now with the Second Chamber. They themselves tell us we have no right to go on with Home Rule because the country has not discussed it enough, and we answer them that we have clearly no right to go on with reform of the Second Chamber because it has never been discussed in detail in the country. No one is ready with a scheme on that side any more than on this, and when the right hon. Gentleman tells us we are ready to reform the House we ask him once more why he used that House, so utterly unfit to exist, down to 1909, even for the purpose of smashing the British Constitution in order to throw out a Budget that his party did not want.


Do not you think this House wants reforming


I do not think that that is any answer. I have put a challenge to the right hon. Gentleman. He admits that the House of Lords is unfit to exist as it is now, yet he used it to the very utmost of his power till the very last moment to destroy a Liberal Budget. If he had believed that that body was in need of the reformation that he admits it to stand in need of to-day, his use of it in 1909 was the most unscrupulous act in his political career, and the pretence of a readiness all along to reform the House is really a very fitting finish to that particular act.


The hon. Gentleman has thrown across the floor of the House a challenge to the Leader of the Opposition, I am bound to say a challenge of the most remarkable kind I have ever heard in the House of Commons. He asks my right hon. Friend why he used the House of Lords to reject the Budget, although he held the opinion at the time that the House of Lords was in need of reform. I am not going to quarrel with the hon. Gentleman about his choice of phrases. He is an accomplished speaker and a capable arguer, and I am not going to quarrel with him. because for once, I think, he has adopted an indifferent phrase. I think the phrase that my right hon. Friend used the House of Lords for a particular purpose savours more of that strict party line of argument which has distinguished this Debate and the Debates we had on the Parliament Bill and the Resolution, and shows that the hon. Gentleman, although he did his best during the earlier parts of his speech to. argue the question from a constitutional point of view, could not help falling back into the line of argument that has commended itself to hon. Gentlemen in the previous Debate, namely, the party line, and he, therefore, suggests that my right hon. Friend used the House of Lords. Earlier this afternoon we had one or two speeches of a very amusing character, not as it seemed to me very pertinent to the subject-matter before the House, but none the less interesting and amusing. The speakers endeavoured to show that my right hon. Friend was in a position of being condemned by his own supporters, many of whom are in the House of Lords. Therefore the hon. Gentleman is inconsistent in his remarks when he suggests that my right hon. Friend would use a House, the constitution of which he disapproves, for a particular purpose. What is the position of the hon. Gentleman himself. I cannot pretend to know the position of any particular Member on the other side of the House, but essential differences exist there. Does he advocate a drastic reform in the representation in this House by the introduction of manhood suffrage— one man one vote. If he holds this view he is himself doing the very thing which he says my right hon. Friend is doing. The hon. Member is using a House which he holds to be improperly and unworthily constituted, for purposes far greater than the temporary rejection of a Budget. He is using it for the reform of the Constitution.

I shall not say this is being done in a revolutionary way because hon. Gentlemen seem to dislike very much the word revolution, but they are changing the Constitution of this country in a radical root and branch, way. The hon. Gentleman also said, in taunting hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House, that our policy is, heads I win, tails you lose. I have never heard the policy of the Government so well described as this in one brief sentence. I shall venture to examine that proposition later, but the hon. Member failed altogether to show in his speech that there is anything in our opposition to the policy of His Majesty's Government to justify his description of it, namely, that it is, heads we win, tails you lose. He went on also to tell us that he found in the "Encyclopædia Britannica" certain information which helped him in this Debate. His quotation from the encyclopædia was amazing. He told us this right of the creation of Peers ought to be the last resource in a grave crisis.


These words were not in a quotation.


I did not say they were in the quotation. I said that he quoted from the "Encyclopædia Britannica" to justify his statement that the creation of Peers ought to be a last resort.




Does he think it ought to be the first resort?

HON. MEMBERS: The quotation.


Never mind the quotation. I am perfectly prepared to take the issue with the hon. Gentleman, but I have other remarks. Our time is limited, through no fault of ours, and, as I desire to leave time to the Home Secretary who I understand is to follow me, I suggest that it is not worth while disputing over a quotation. For that reason, and that reason alone, I propose to pass it by. Let me say this from my remembrance of it, it does not bear upon the situation in which we now find ourselves. That I think I shall be able to show by examination of speeches which we heard early in the afternoon and other speeches in the numerous debates on the Parliament Bill. The Prime Minister this evening made a very important speech, I suppose as important a speech as any head of a Government can be called upon to make.

There were many men in this House, and many people outside it who were very anxious to know what the views of the "Prime Minister and the Government were, and what they really meant to do. The Prime Minister told us a great deal that was very interesting about history and precedents. He made some interesting references to the precedent of 1832 and he told us something of what passed between the King and himself. But he never told us whether the Government were determined to create 500 Peers, or whether they were threatening only. [The Prime Minister entered the House. HON. MEMBERS: "Ask him; here he is now."] I am prepared to repeat in the Prime Minister's presence what I have said. He did not state anything which would enable the country to understand whether his stated intention to use the Prerogative was intended as a threat used to frighten those opposed to him, or whether he is prepared to advise the Sovereign to create 400 or 500 Peers to overbear the position of the House of Lords. I hope I have made that point clear. The Prime Minister has dealt with the precedent of 1832. but my hon. and learned Friend (Sir R. Finlay) has shown that to be altogether inadequate. I venture to say to the Prime Minister that the vast majority of people in this country do not concern themselves very much with the exact precedent of 1832, or any other time. Those who are supporters of the Prime Minister are naturally content to take his action without question because it is simpler for them not to indulge in self-examination or test what he is doing too carefully, but the critics of the Government ask him this simple question which he will not answer.

What precedent is there for abolishing one of two Chambers by an executive Act —for that is what is now being done—except in the case where you have in existence an absolute monarchy? Can the Prime Minister give us any precedent where it is possible for the Executive by their own act to mutilate, or, as we hold, to destroy the Constitution by the destruction of one House of Parliament, excepting in the case where the Government is vested in an absolute monarchy? I venture to say you cannot find a single precedent. Am I not justified in saying that the Prime Minister has this power? What did he tell us in the statement he made? The statement he made was that previous to the election of 1910 he had received assurances that if the election was successful he would have the necessary power to create Peers. What is the effect of that power conferred upon the Prime Minister? I venture to say the effect of it is to make the Prime Minister of the country—I do not care to what party he belongs or how his Government is constituted—when once vested with that power, an absolute dictator, able to do what he likes with the Constitution, and therefore to a large extent with the country. I am confident that he cannot produce a precedent for the power which he has acquired according to his own statement to us to-night. It would have been far more interesting for us and the country if he had dealt with this novel situation in which we and the country find ourselves rather than try to draw comparisons, which, I believe, are altogether illusory, between the present situation and that in 1832. I am not quite sure whether I followed the Prime Minister accurately, but I understood him to say that the permission which he received was that he would be given authority to carry out his policy. That was what I understood to be his description of the permission he had received. I confess it seems to me that that is altogether inconsistent with the explicit declaration when the Prime Minister had made, and which has been quoted more than once in this Debate, namely, that he or any Minister in his position, could only ask guarantees, promises, pledges, securities, or whatever you like to call them, for a definite policy when the difficulty arose which made the adoption of that particular course necessary. It seems to me that the statement which he made to-night was altogether inconsistent with the declaration to which I referred, and I hope when the Home Secretary comes to reply we shall have some further information on the subject.

10.0 P.M.

The hon. Gentleman who preceded me taunted us on this side of the House by staling that, we are actuated as a party by party spirit, and that we have only recently discovered the cause of our objection to the policy of the Government. I venture to say he is mistaken altogether when be says that the indignation of my hon. Friend or of those whom the speakers represent is in any way simulated. It is real indignation, and it rests on conviction. It is conviction which has been strongly increased by the action of the Government through the whole of this story from beginning to end. They thought of their party first, and only afterwards of the country, if at all. Testing this by the Prime Minister's own declaration it comes to this—I do not think there is any dispute about it—that the most important moment in the whole of these transactions was the decision of the Government with regard to the election of 1910. A Minister of the Crown who is now a Member of the House of Lords took us into his confidence shortly before the General Election was announced. He told his constituents and the country how he thought the General Election would arise. He told us he thought it would come as a thief in the night. That was a very apt description. What does a thief come for in the night, and why does he select the night? I presume we shall all be agreed that he comes in the night because it is convenient to him, because ho is less likely to be discovered, and because those whom he wants to attack will probably not be alive to his operations. Forgetful for the moment of the indiscretion of his colleague, the Prime Minister told us that he advised this Dissolution because no other Government was possible. I venture to ask the Prime Minister what right he had to do so. His advice was given towards the end of 1910.

We know from what has happened here to-day that no suggestion was made which would enable those who could form an alternative Government to express their opinion upon it. We know from what the Prime Minister has told us that he and his colleagues believe that no other Government than their own was possible at that-time or now. If they were so confident that they enjoyed so completely the confidence of the country, if they believed that nobody else but the Prime Minister and his colleagues could form a Government which would command a majority, why did they not take the obvious course and give somebody else the opportunity? What right has any man, be he Prime Minister or anyone else, to assume that those to whom he declines to give the opportunity cannot assume the responsibility of forming a Government at a moment of difficulty? I ask this ques-t ion of any fair-minded supporter of the Government, I do not care how prejudiced he is, or how enthusiastic he may be in support of their policy. If the opportunity had been given, and if the opportunity had been availed of, and if they believed, as the Prime Minister told us tonight, that defeat and failure would have been the result, what would have been the effect on the Government and their policy?

I venture to say that they would have been in ten times a stronger position. They would have avoided the crisis and the difficulty. They would have saved time and hare been able to proceed with other legislation instead of spending the better part of the year upon practically one proposal. The Prime Minister told us that the only Government possible was the one which he represented, and therefore he was justified in recommending dissolution. The most amazing thing about the Dissolution at that time was that although it followed only a few months after the Dissolution which was taken upon the action of the House of Lords with regard to the Budget everything that hon. and right hon. Gentleman said in 1909 was forgotten. Then we were told that the country would be plunged into difficulties, that the greatest inconvenience would be caused by the postponement of the Budget, that the public would lose, and that finance would be in danger. All this was forgotten, and we were told by the Prime Minister that this Dissolution was taken because nobody else could form a Government, and that therefore it was in the opinion of the Government necessary to recommend this to the Crown. On every previous occasion when a Dissolution was discussed hon. Gentlemen sitting opposite have always held that it should be taken on a new register when the great majority of the electors qualified would be able to record their votes, and then for the first time they took this line. In the speech which we have heard there has not been one shadow of defence for this policy of the Government.

The Prime Minister has taken us into his confidence as to the general relations between the Sovereign and himself. He has told us in language which I am sure hon. Members, however much opposed they may be, will understand, that he was extremely anxious to put the whole matter of the exercise of the Prerogative of the Crown on a perfectly frank and fair footing; and he went on to say that he discussed this question with the King in all its bearings. May I ask him whether, having regard to the fact that the position in which the Government found themselves was one which necessitated advice being given to the Crown to exercise the Prerogative in a way in which it had never been exercised before in the whole history of our country, when he gave this advice he told the Sovereign that this was his advice in his position as Leader and head of a great party, but that if the Sovereign chose to seek for other advice it would be well for him to do so before deciding on this course. I ask the Prime Minister whether in discussing this question of the exercise of the Prerogative—and I am quite certain, however hon. Gentlemen will look at this purely from the party point of view, they will say that the Prime Minister will have no fault to find with me for asking these questions, because they are the questions which are being asked by thousands of our fellow-countrymen: if you are going to settle this question at all you know, as well as I do, that you can only settle it by telling the people everything and letting them know exactly what the position is— when the advice was given to the King that the Prerogative was to be exercised in certain circumstances, was it indicated that the exercise of the Prerogative might easily mean the creation, not of twenty, thirty, or forty Peers, but the creation of 300 or 400, or even more; and was it pointed out at the same time that the creation of a great block of Peers of 300 or 400 or 500 meant introducing into this controversy the passing of the Parliament Bill, a new question in an altogether new form?

After all, it must have been evident to anyone accustomed to study our business and our proceedings that the creation of 300 or 400 or 500 Peers would entirely alter the position of things in the Upper Chamber. [Cheers] Those cheers justify this question, because they show clearly what hon. Gentlemen desire. I am not now discussing whether it would be right or wrong to exercise the Prerogative in this way. I am not discussing whether it is right to give the Sovereign advice to create 400 or 500 Peers. I am asking a very simple question, to which an answer can easily be given. I am asking whether, when the situation was created, was it pointed out that it might involve this large creation, and that this large creation might in its turn involve an entire change in regard to the political situation as between the two Houses? I will undertake to say that if this information was not pointed out as to what would be the probable effect of this use of the Prerogative, then the answer is plain and direct to the question which hon. Gentlemen opposite asked, "Why are you indignant?" The indignation and dissatisfaction among hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House and those whom they represent in the country are because they believe that these undoubted possibilities were never discussed when this sanction was given, and the Prime Minister became the dictator charged with powers which he used not only to break up the Constitution, but to pass legislation at once which, under his own Bill, could not otherwise pass, at all events for eighteen months or two years. During this Debate there has been a great deal of reference to the impression that hon. Gentlemen and the country have formed. The other day there was an interruption from the hon. Gentleman. I do not know who he was, but he made a charge against His Majesty's Government which was conveyed in a very few words, but was more offensive to them than any charge that has been made on this side of the House, when he interrupted my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition by saying, "You have been 'had.'" What was the meaning of this phrase? It means, as I think most Members of this House know, that the person indicated has been deceived, has been misled. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO."] Certainly, it has no other meaning.

Mr. PRINGLE rose, but was unable to obtain a hearing.


I gave way to the hon. Gentleman, but he can only rise to a point of Order, and he cannot complain of the action of those who object to his rising, because the quotation I made is strictly accurate.


It was the meaning of it.


The meaning of it is perfectly simple. We do not require the hon. Gentleman's intervention to explain its meaning. If hon. Gentlemen opposite wish to hear the Home Secretary they must behave themselves. There is no mistake and no possibility of mistake as to the meaning of the hon. Gentleman's phrase. Whether he appreciated the full meaning of his words or not I do not know and I do not care. That was the phrase, and, what is more, and what is perfectly well known outside this House, not in debate, but in every-day conversation in the street or in the railway carriage, that remark is the common remark of supporters of hon. Gentlemen opposite towards their political opponents. It is the charge levelled against those who are opposed to them by the supporters of hon. Gentlemen opposite, and it is exactly the language used by the hon. Gentleman opposite. What does it mean? It means that to his idea Gentlemen on this side of the House, led by my right hon. Friend (Mr. Balfour), have been deceived. It is their language and not ours, and I venture to say it is an accurate description of the situation unless the questions which I have ventured to put to the Government can be answered satisfactorily, even at the eleventh hour, whether in the affirmative or in the negative. The Prime Minister told us, and I am sure he meant what he said, that his object was to protect the Sovereign. Nobody doubts the Prime Minister's ability, yet how remarkable it is when he set out on this great campaign, with this as his first and his governing object, that he should have failed so completely in attaining the desired result. How is it possible, if you mean in the long run to advise the Sovereign to exercise the Prerogative in a way which we hold to be wholly unconstitutional, to keep the name of the Sovereign out? Only in one way, and that was by taking care that everything was made known, that every opportunity was given to your opponents to present their case, to make the issue clear from their point of view so that you might be able to say: "You had your opportunity, you were beaten, you must now take the decision." Was that opportunity given to us? What was said by the Prime Minister to-night. He told us that the Amendments to the Bill were fundamental in character and fatal to its purpose. What then was the purpose of the Bill. In all the Debates on the Bill and on the Resolutions what were we told by speaker after speaker on the other side of the House. We were told that we had checked the Liberal party and destroyed their projects of legislation in the House of Lords, that we had thrown out—what? [HON. MEMBERS: "The Budget."] No, no; to give them their due, they were not quite so inaccurate as that. They dealt with education, the land question, the licensing question, and a variety of others. Those were the justification for the introduction of this Bill. The Prime Minister knows as well as we do that under the Bill with the Amendments introduced into it in the name of Lord Lansdowne, every one of those subjects of legislation can be dealt with, and dealt with under the powers conferred upon this House by the Parliament Bill.

The Prime Minister went on to say that he was prepared, as I understood him, even now at the eleventh hour, to consider some questions of Amendment of the Bill. I will ask him now to tell us, through his Home Secretary, whether he would consider this Amendment? There were, I believe, some six Amendments introduced into the Bill in the name of Lord Lansdowne and one other Peer. Suppose every one of those Amendments was dropped, and the only Amendment adhered to is the one excluding Home Rule. Yet this Bill is to be passed by powers conferred upon the Prime Minister to enable him to pass a measure which has not been properly and fully before the country. The Prime Minister to-night told us, and I was surprised to hear him say so, that he considered that Home Rule had been before the country, adopting the argument of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway in our previous Debates, who, when they were stranded for a reply, told us, and I was amazed at their falling back on such an answer, that Home Rule was before the country because it had been casually mentioned by the Prime Minister and a round half dozen of his colleagues. And they said it was before the country because you will find it in the speeches of the Leader of the Opposition and his colleagues. A more astounding rebuke on the Front Bench opposite I never heard, that you cannot make your policy clear to the country, but the Leader of the Opposition and his friends do so. When we are told that this Bill is to enable you to pass a measure which has been before the country, how much has Home Rule been before the country? What is known about the proposals of the Government? We had earlier in this Session a Debate upon a Motion, if I remember aright, dealing with the question of Home Rule and Federal Reform. I will venture to say now to-day that there are not a dozen Members on the opposite side who are prepared to say whether the Government are in favour of Federal Home Rule or simple Home Rule. And yet tonight they are going to vote against this Vote of Censure, which blames His Majesty's Government for advising the Sovereign in this moment of supreme national difficulty to exercise the Prerogative in such a way as to enable Home Rule, never disclosed to the country, and absolutely unknown to the electors, to be forced through Parliament over the heads of the electors and without their knowledge. This is what the Prime Minister calls dealing with the deadlock. What has happened to the great social reform measure of the Chancellor of the Exchequer? You have had to alter all your plans and have a most inconvenient thing for you as well as for us, namely, an autumn Session, to carry your Insurance Bill. If it was not for the inability of the Prime Minister to accept the Home Rule Amendment, where would your difficulties be? If you could still retain your places and your power you could give the time of Parliament to the legislation that you wanted to carry. You cannot do it. In a moment, as I believe, of panic, in a moment when you have arrived hastily and as I believe most unwisely at your conclusion, you have decided to submit to this domination, and to advise the Sovereign to exercise his Prerogative in order if it be necessary that it may be used in the most extended way, to pass not only this Bill, but those other Bills which follow in its train.

The Government may have for the moment a temporary victory. For my part I doubt whether that victory tastes as sweet to them even now as they would have us believe it does. Of this I am certain. It is a victory which has been won by placing false issues before the country. It is a victory which has been won for a party under the guise of a great national reform. It is a victory which will prove in the long run to be dearer far than defeat. I for one am certain that in all the long history of this business you have gravely and completely mistaken the character of our people and their natural desires and intentions. You will find that, though it may not be to-day or to-morrow, retribution, when it comes, will be heavy and enduring. We for our part are as confident to-day as we ever have been during this long fight of the ultimate success of the opposition which we are offering to your attempt to destroy our ancient Constitution.


The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Walter Long) is a good party man, and he does not spare his political opponents. He speaks with vigour on the controversies of the day, but we do not quarrel with his methods of expression. We respect the sincerity which animates him, and we are always sorry when we fall under his condemnation. The right hon. Gentleman has put to us a number of questions. There are some of those questions to which I will endeavour to give an answer if the House will bear with me in the short time—[An HON. MEMBER: "Half-an-hour"]—in the short but sufficient time which remains before the Division is called. To the question which he asked as to the true purpose of our Bill, I hope to be able to give a reply. To the question, "Will you exclude Home Rule from the purport of the Bill," I hope to give some answer.

But, when the right hon. Gentleman proceeds to ask us questions about the conversations which have taken place between the Prime Minister and the Sovereign, I must respectfully ask the House to support the Government in allowing that matter to rest where it was left by the very full and clear statement of the Prime Minister. That is a statement which I venture to say goes beyond precedent in the direction of making public the confidential relations of Ministers with the Crown, which has been laid fully before the House this afternoon, and which, if studied, I am quite certain will be found to contain the answers to all the questions which the right hon. Gentleman has put. I was glad to see that the right hon. Gentleman did not use the hard words which we have heard from other quarters about us, and which have been used so freely out-of-doors. Those words would wound us if they were true. If the charges which have been made were well founded, and if the language in which they have been expressed had not been exaggerated, they would have awakened a responsive echo on this side of the House. We know well that we are charged by Members who have held high office, and who will hold it again, with being traitors, cheats and tricksters, and we have been compared only this afternoon by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Walton (Mr. F. E Smith) to Judas Iscariot. We feel that this language, although it may express the feelings of those who used it, and although it may relieve their feelings, bears no relation to the realities of the case. We are confident that their permanent convictions will not endorse it in the future. That being so, we ourselves do not feel any pangs when such language is addressed to us. We have no wish to provoke hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, nor will we allow ourselves to be provoked, still less to be turned from our object by mere cries of anger, however strident.

Before I attempt, however briefly, to say why it is we think your Vote of Censure is not called for, is not justified, and may fairly be repulsed by us, I would like to pay a sincere tribute of admiration on behalf of this side of the House to the courage of the right hon. Gentlemen the Members for Walton and Dover. One right hon. Gentleman has told us that the spirit of King Henry V. is surging in his breast, and the other that he stands with Clive confronting the deadly pistol of the duellist. We may admire their courage all the more because if it has any effect it is an effect which will inure considerably to our advantage. All forms of courage are praisworthy. But there are two features about the courage of these right hon. Gentlemen which deserve the momentary passing notice of this House. First, it is that kind of courage which enables men to stand up unflinchingly and do a foolish thing, although they know it is popular. Second, it is that kind of courage which can not only be maintained in the face of danger, but can even shine brightly in its total absence. Mr. Jorrocks has described fox-hunting as providing all the glory of war with only 35 per cent. of its danger.


Twenty-five per cent.


Twenty-five per cent. The right hon. Gentleman has arrived at a much higher economy, and I think no one has succeeded in manufacturing a greater amount of heroism with a smaller consumption of the raw material of danger than his right hon. and learned Friend the Member for the Walton Division. We are the objects of a Vote of Censure couched in very severe and serious terms. You ask the House to say that the advice which we have given to the Crown is a gross violation of constitutional liberty. How do we stand on that? What is the object which we on this side of the House hold in view. [HON. MEMBERS: "Home Rule."] The object we have in view is a perfectly legitimate one. We have given great consideration to speeches that wounded our feelings from the opposite side of the House, and I only ask for the same consideration. We believe the object we are contending for is perfectly legitimate and fair. If we tried to gain some unequal or invidious advantage for ourselves there would be some justice in your wrath and in the basis of your censure. We seek no privilege, we desire to obtain no handicap, we look for no facility which you do not already and have not long enjoyed. All we seek, all we ask, all we demand, all we are willing to take is political equality for all parties in the State. We wish to be placed by the Constitution in exactly the same position as you are in. We wish that a Liberal House of Commons shall have the same powers as you always enjoyed. We think that the millions of electors whom we represent are entitled to be admitted to as full and responsible citizenship, are just as competent to return Governments with plenary powers, as the millions of electors whom we freely admit support hon. Gentlemen opposite, and we will not tolerate any longer the continuance of a system whereby the larger portion of the electorate is permanently relegated to a status of political inferiority—a status which deprives them permanently even when they have a majority in this House, of any constitutional means of obtaining redress for grievances which they have nourished, and under which they have suffered for so long. That is our object, and surely there is nothing in it which merits censure, or can be the subject of censure of any level-headed or fair-minded man.

In all these Debates the Opposition has never made any attempt to offer us political equality. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Walton once made some suggestion in that direction—but he was repudiated by the Leader of the Opposition—I do not know if he is still his leader —who has always carefully refused to commit himself—[HON. MEMBERS: "Who is your leader," and "Redmond"]—to a proposition that in any Second Chamber which may be created the Liberal party is to have as good a chance or as bad a chance of having a majority as the Conservative party. Every proposal which has been put forward during the two years of controversy on this subject has been marked with the same denial of political equality to those who sit upon this side of the House, and no proposal is more marked by that than that which now reaches us in the shape of the Bill as amended by the Lords. I am not going into that now, because to-morrow we are going to examine that but I have no hesitation in saying that so far as we are concerned on this side of the House we would rather have the Constitution as it is and continue under the absolute Veto of the House of Lords than take any of these compromises, concessions, eirenicons, repentances and so-called reforms with which you have from time to time favoured us. The very arguments which have been employed in this House this afternoon thus show quite clearly that the Opposition do not, even at this late stage, recognise the disability from which we are determined to obtain relief. Take this argument. It is said: "You knew ever since November last that in certain circumstances you could obtain the power to override the House of Lords on the Parliament Bill and therefore all our Debates on the Veto Bill have been a mockery and a farce." Why have they been a mockery and a farce? Because they say the Government possessed the knowledge that they could carry their measure through the House of Lords. Has not that been the position which every Conservative Government has occupied in regard to every one of the measures which in nearly twenty years of power they brought forward in the House of Commons? All that the assurances which we asked and received have done is to place us on the same footing as you have always been accustomed to keep on. You have always known that what you could carry through the Commons you could carry through the Lords. That is all we want to-night. Now for the first time, and in respect of a measure which in principle has been assented to by three Parliaments in succession, and which has been in detail approved at one if not two elections, we occupy the same position you have occupied in regard to every measure you have brought forward, great and small. And now you are furious, you are angry, and you move a Vote of Censure upon us because for once you are in the position which every Liberal Opposition has occupied and because we for once are in the position which every Conservative Government has occupied.

All we ask for is a fair and even Constitution, and in fact our proposal falls far short of an absolute equality. Hon. Friends of mine who sit behind us say that this Bill is as much their Bill as it is the Bill of the Government. I have never seen a Bill in my short Parliamentary experience which has been so shaped and impelled forward by the party as a whole, and I say that they are responsible as much as the Government for the nature and character of this Bill. Why do I say that? Because I know the day will come when we shall be reproached by some of those to whom we look in the country for the singular moderation with which at this memorable opportunity we have used our power, and for the fact that at this opportunity we have still left the Conservative party possessed of notable advantages which are denied, and will perhaps for ever be denied to those who sit on this side of the House. [An HON. MEMBER: "Not for ever."] For some time at any rate.

I have spoken of the object and I have spoken of the plan. Let me now say a word about the procedure. All the constitutional usages we consider—I do not expect hon. Gentlemen opposite to agree with me—have been strictly observed. We even exposed ourselves to the risk and to the labours of another General Election on this Bill in order to place ourselves on unchallengable ground. There were a great many people who thought, when the Budget was rejected as long ago as 1909, that Ministers were entitled under the Constitution to have recourse to the Prerogative of the Crown to secure the carriage of that measure in that Parliament. When the election had taken place, and we were again returned to power, there were a great number of persons, basing themselves on great constitutional arguments, who expected that a creation of Peers would have been employed in the last Parliament to carry the Parliament Bill; and I personally have never been able to deny the force which decides in the argument of those who think the December election was not required on any constitutional ground to justify the use of the Prerogative of the Crown. The December election was a voluntary and additional proof on our part. It was what the Noble Lord below the Gangway would call a work supererogation. It was an effort to find a way out of the deadlock which would be considered final by the disputing parties without involving the Prerogative of the Crown. It was a concession to Conservative opinion. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Hon. Gentlemen opposite contended that the January election was fought on the Budget, and, though we did not agree, we deferred to that opinion, and we consented to expose ourselves to all the risks and labours of another election, which, of course, I might remind the House, the right hon. Gentleman, the Leader of the Opposition said could only be deferred for a few weeks. Was it to prove nothing


made a remark which was inaudible.


The right hon. Gentlemen said that in the House of Commons. His words are perhaps even more important to others than they are to myself. At any rate, I am quite sure of them. After that election was finished, whatever else may be contended, the Government held that the plain constitutional duty of the Lords, according not merely to our view of their functions, but according to their own view repeatedly declared, and acted upon only last year in regard to the Budget, was to pass the Bill without vital Amendments. It was their duty, irrespective of any question of the creation of Peers. It is their duty still. It is not less their duty now because it has also become their urgent interest. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister has spoken to the House to-day of the method of creating Peers. I do not intend to attempt in any way to go over the ground he has traversed. I do not know whether it would be presumptuous in me to say, but I would like to say, a word which will not be repudiated by the House of Commons generally—that that speech and statement makes us on this side of the House who are his colleagues and supporters, realise how much we owe to his guidance He has shown that the creation of Peers is according to precedent and constitutional authority. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I know you do not agree. He has shown that is the proper method for resolving such a deadlock. [Hon. MEMBERS: "No."] But, however much you may think of that, it is certainly the only method which anyone has been able to suggest; and the course for which you wish to censure us to-night is the only course which the wit of man can devise at the present juncture for escape from the absolute deadlock in which we find ourselves. No other course is open, and, if we have been slow, as I think cannot be denied, to adopt it, if we have refrained till the very last possible moment, if we have risked the attrition of our own strength by the delay, if we have strained the patience and fidelity of our own friends for weeks and months, and even years, if we have given some excuse to our opponents for thinking we have not got the power, or the will to use the power, it has not been, we beg the House to believe, because we shrink, or have ever shrunk, from a special creation of Peers. It has not been because we think that that would be detrimental to the national or to the party interest. It has not been because we have doubted in the last resort which we say has now been reached either the propriety of expediency of our proposal. It has only been because we are better constitutionalists than some of our critics. We have not been willing to use the reserve forces of the Crown until the need has become overpoweringly justifiable and indisputable.

Why should we shrink from the creation of 400 or 500 Peers. At any rate, that is one way of arriving at an impartial Second Chamber evenly balanced in which Liberal legislation will have some chance. At any rate, it is one way of putting the House of Lords in touch with the real feelings and forces of all classes and all parties in the country. And although an assembly of 1200 Peers may seem somewhat unwieldy it might form a very convenient panel from which a smaller body might be chosen to carry on the business of the country. In fact, all we want is the smooth working of the Parliament Bill. The Noble Lord whose excitement is always pleasurable to witness will admit-[HON. MEMBERS: "Redmond."] The decision rests with the House of Lords. [HON. MEMBERS: "Redmond."] How can the decision of the House of Lords next Wednesday rest with Redmond? Has the hon. and learned Member for Waterford been tampering with the Die-hards? The decision does not rest with us. I have here a letter written by the right hon. Gentleman the senior Member for Oxford University a few days ago to "The Times." In it he says:— And in all this talk of the ignominy of surrender what has become of the doctrine that the House of Lords has never failed to acquiesce in the decision of the electorate clearly expressed. We may say that the last general election was a snap vote, taken before the people had time to understand the issue; but I doubt if there are many Unionists who think that a general election this month or next would appreciably alter the position of the House of Commons, and if we believe that the electors would now return a majority in favour of the Bill the Lords will only follow the course adopted by the Duke of Wellington, by Lord Cairns, and by Lord Salisbury, if they accept, however reluctantly, the verdict of the nation as it is now represented, But why were those words not spoken before? That is a question which we have a right to ask. Why were they not spoken by those higher in the party councils than the right hon. Gentleman (Sir W. Anson)? Why were they not spoken by the leader of the party, who is more versed in Parliamentary public business than any other man in the House of Commons, and who yet tells us that he thinks that the announcements of the last few days have fallen on him with a shock of surprise Leaders who lead their party from day to day by doing the popular thing, by staving

off difficulties, and by withholding their true counsel until it is too late, cannot complain if, when disaster culminating in catastrophe is reached, some of their followers are reluctant to share in the odium of capitulation, however necessary, however inevitable. There are no grounds for this Vote of Censure. The object we have in view, the measure which we put forward, is one of moderation. We have tried to the best of our ability to be guided by constitutional interests. The remedy which we apply is one approved by precedent and by every constitutional authority. We have not invoked it except upon absolute justification. It is a remedy which we think is not only efficacious for its purpose in any case, but actually beneficial in itself. You censure us because you say we are going to pass Home Rule in this Parliament. So we are. Let the Opposition search the British Empire, let them go to any Parliament in any Dominion, any Province, or State. Let them go to any Parliament in the whole world where the English language is spoken, and they will find that the grant of Home Rule to Ireland will be applauded as a wise measure. Censure us then if you will, by all means, for that. Censure us for that if you have the power. You have not the power. We repel your censures to-night, and we are sure that this censure will be even more decisively repudiated before these matters have passed from action into history.

The PRIME MINISTER rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put.

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

The House divided: Ayes, 359; Noes, 245.

Division No. 306.] AYES. [11.0 p.m.
Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour) Barnes, George N. Bryce, J. Annan
Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda) Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick, B.) Burke, E. Haviland-
Acland, Francis Dyke Barry, Redmond John (Tyrone, N.) Burns, Rt. Hon, John
Adamson, William Barton, William Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas
Addison, Dr. Christopher Beauchamp, Sir Edward Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.)
Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D. Beck, Arthur Cecil Buxton Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Benn, W. (T. H'mts., St. George) Byles, Sir William Pollard
Agnew, Sir George William Bentham, G. J Cameron, Robert
Ainsworth, John Stirling Bethell, Sir John Henry Carr-Gomm, H. W.
Alden, Percy Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)
Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire) Black, Arthur W. Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)
Allen, Charles Peter (Stroud) Boland, John Plus Chancellor, H. G.
Armitage, R. Booth, Frederick Handel Chapple, Dr. William Allen
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Bowerman, Charles W. Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.
Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A. Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.) Clancy, John Joseph
Baker, H. T. (Accrington) Brace, William Clough, William
Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.) Brady, P. J. Collins, G. P. (Greenock)
Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark) Brigg, Sir John Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)
Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple) Brocklehurst, W. B. Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.
Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset) Brunner, John F. L. Condon, Thomas Joseph
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. Neilson, Francis
Cotton, William Francis Hodge, John Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)
Cowan, William Henry Holt, Richard Durning Nolan, Joseph
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Hope, John Deans (Haddington) Norman, Sir Henry
Crawshay-Williams, Eliot Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich) Norton, Captain Cecil William
Crooks, William Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Nugent, Sir Walter Richard
Crumley, Patrick Hudson, Walter Nuttall, Harry
Cullinan, John Hughes, S. L. O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy) Hunter, William (Lanark, Govan) O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)
Davies, David (Montgomery Co.) Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus O'Connor, T. p. (Liverpool)
Davies, E. William (Eifion) Jardine, Sir John (Roxburghshire) O'Doherty, Philip
Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth) John, Edward Thomas O'Donnell, Thomas
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Johnson, William O'Dowd, John
Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardiganshire) Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea) Ogden, Fred
Dawes, James Arthur Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil) O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)
De Forest, Baron Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth) O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)
Delany, William Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe) O'Malley, William
Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)
Devlin, Joseph Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts., Stepney) O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Dickinson, W. H. Jowett, Frederick William O'Shee, James John
Dillon, John Joyce, Michael O'Sullivan, Timothy
Donelan, Capt. A Keating, Matthew Palmer, Godfrey
Doris, William Kellaway, Frederick George Parker, James (Halifax)
Duffy, William J. Kelly, Edward Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)
Duncan, C. (Barrow-In-Furness) Kennedy, Vincent Paul Pearce, William (Limehouse)
Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.) Kilbride, Denis Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)
Edwards, Enoch (Hanley) King, J. (Somerset, N.) Phillips, John (Longford, S.)
Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor) Lambert, George (Devon, S. Molton) Pirie, Duncan V.
Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid) Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) Pointer, Joseph
Elverston, Sir Harold Lansbury, George Pollard, Sir George H.
Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.) Lardner, James Carrige Rushe Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.) Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West) Power, Patrick Joseph
Essex, Richard Walter Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th) Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)
Esslemont, George Birnie Leach, Charles Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)
Falconer, James Levy, Sir Maurice Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)
Farrell, James Patrick Lewis, John Herbert Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)
Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles Logan, John William Primrose, Hon. Neil James
Ferens, Thomas Robinson Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas Pringle, William M. R.
Ffrench Peter Low, Sir F. (Norwich) Radford, G. H.
Field, William Lundon, Thomas Raffan, Peter Wilson
Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward Lyell, Chas, Henry Rainy, Adam Rolland
Fitzgibbon, John Lynch, Arthur Alfred Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)
Flavin, Michael Joseph Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester) Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)
Furness, Stephen W. Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Reddy, Michael
Gelder, Sir William Alfred MacGhee, Richard Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd Maclean, Donald Redmond, William (Clare, E.)
Gibson, Sir James Puckering Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J. Rendall, Atheistan
Gill, Alfred Henry MacNeill, John G. S. (Donegal, South) Richards, Thomas
Glanville, H. J. Macpherson, James Ian Richardson, Albion (Peckham)
Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford MacVeagh Jeremiah Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)
Goldstone, Frank M'Callum, John M. Robert, Chares H Lincon)
Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough) M'Curdy, C. A. Roberts, George H. (Norwich)
Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland) M'Kean John Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)
Greig, Colonel J. W. McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)
Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward M'Laren, H. D. (Leicester) Robertson, John M (Tyneside)
Griffith, Ellis J. M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe) Robinson, Sydney
Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke) M'Micking, Major Gilbert Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.) Manfield, Harry Roche, Augustine (Louth)
Gulland, John W. Markham, Sir Arthur Basil Roche, John (Galway, E.)
Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway) Marks Sir George Croydon Roe, Sir Thomas
Hackett, J. Marshall, Arthur Harold Rose, Sir Charles Day
Hall, F. (Yorks, Normanton) Martin, Joseph Rowlands, James
Hancock, John George Mason, David M. (Coventry) Rowntree, Arnold
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale) Masterman, C. F. G. Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Meagher Michael Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil) Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds.) Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Courty) Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)
Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire) Menzies, Sir Walter Scanlan, Thomas
Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) Middlebrook, William Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)
Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West) Millar, James Duncan Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.
Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.) Molloy, M. Sheehy, David
Harwood, George Molteno, Percy Alport Sherwell, Arthur James
Haslam, James (Derbyshire) Mond, Sir Alfred Moritz Shortt, Edward
Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Money, L. G. Chiozza Simon, Sir John Allsebrook
Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry Montagu, Hon. E. S. Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)
Haworth, Sir Arthur A. Mooney, John J. Smith, H. B. L. (Northampton)
Hayden, John Patrick Morgan, George Hay Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Hayward, Evan Morrell, Philip Snowden, Philip
Helme, Norval Watson Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Muldoon, John Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N.W.)
Henderson, J. M'D. (Aberdeen, W.) Munro, R. Strachey, Sir Edward
Henry, Sir Charles S. Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C. Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)
Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor Murray, Captain Hon. A. C. Summers, James Woolley
Higham, John Sharp Nannetti, Joseph P. Sutherland, J. E.
Hinds, John Needham, Christopher T. Sutton, John E.
Taylor, John W. (Durham) Wardle, George J, Williams, John (Glamorgan)
Taylor, T. C. (Radcliffe) Waring Walter Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)
Tennant, Harold John Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay Williams, P. (Middlesbrough)
Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.) Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan) Williamson, Sir Archibald
Thomas, J. H. (Derby) Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney) Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton) Webb, H. Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worc., N.)
Toulmin, Sir George Wedgwood, Josiah C. Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Trevelyan, Charles Philips White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston) Winfrey, Richard
Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E.R.) Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)
Verney, Sir Harry White, Patrick (Meath, North) Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)
Wadsworth, John Whitehouse, John Howard Young, W. (Perthshire, E.)
Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince) Whitley, Rt. Hon. J. H. Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Walters, John Tudor Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Walton, Sir Joseph Whyte, A. F. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.— Master of Elibank and Mr. Illingworth.
Ward, John (Stoke-upon- rent) Wiles, Thomas
Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton) Wilkie, Alexander
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Craik, Sir Henry Jessel, Captain H. M.
Aitken, Sir William Max Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred Joynson-Hicks, William
Amery, L. C. M. S. Croft, H. P. Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr
Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R. Dalrymple, Viscount Kerry, Earl of
Anstruther-Gray, Major William Dalziel, Davison (Brixton) Keswick, William
Archer-Shee, Major Martin Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. S. Kimber, Sir Henry
Arkwright, John Stanhope Dixon, Charles Harvey Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement
Ashley, Wilfrid W. Doughty, Sir George Kirkwood, John H. M.
Astor, Waldorf Du Cros, Arthur Philip Knight, Captain Eric Ayshford
Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J. Duke, Henry Edward Kyffin-Taylor, G.
Baird, J. L. Eyres-Monsell, (Bolton M.) Lane-Fox, G. R.
Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.) Faber, George D. (Clapham) Larmor, Sir J.
Balcarres, Lord Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.) Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)
Baldwin, Stanley Falle, Bertram Godfray Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City Lond.) Fell, Arthur Lee, Arthur Hamilton
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey Lewisham, Viscount
Banner, John S. Harmood- Finlay, Sir R. Lloyd, George Ambrose
Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester) Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)
Barlow, Montagu (Salford, South) Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A. Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)
Barnston, Harry Flannery, S. J. (Fortescue) Long, Rt. Hon. Walter
Barrie, H T. (Londonderry, N.) Fleming, Valentine Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee
Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton) Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead) Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)
Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks Forster, Henry William Lowther, Claude (Cumberland, Eskdale)
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Foster, Philip Staveley Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han S.)
Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth) Gardner, Ernest Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)
Benn, Ion H. (Greenwich) Gastrell, Major W. H. MacCaw, Wm J. MacGeagh
Bennett-Goldney, Francis Gibbs, George Abraham Mackinder, H. J.
Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish Gilmour, Captain J. Macmaster, Donald
Beresford, Lord Charles Goldman, C. S. M'Mordie, Robert James
Bigland, Alfred Goldsmith, Frank McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine)
Bird A. Gordon, John (Londonderry, South) Magnus, Sir Philip
Boles, Lieut.-Col. Dennis Fortescue Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton) Mason, James F. (Windsor)
Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith- Goulding, Edward Alfred Meysey-Thompson, E. C.
Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid) Grant, J. A. Middlemore, John Throgmorton
Boyton, J. Gretton, John Mildmay, Francis Bingham
Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell Guinness, Hon. W. E. Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas
Bridgeman, William Clive Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne) Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)
Bull, Sir William James Haddock, George Bahr Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)
Burdett-Coutts, William Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight) Mount, William Arthur
Burgoyne, A. H. Hall, Fred (Dulwich) Neville, Reginald J. N.
Burn, Col. C. R. Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth) Newdegate, F. A.
Butcher, J. G. Hambro, Angus Valdemar Newman, John R. P.
Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M. Hamersley, Alfred St. George Newton, Harry Kottingham
Campion, W. R. Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.) Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)
Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry) Nield, Herbert
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H. Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence Norton-Griffiths, J. (Wednesbury)
Cassel, Felix Harris, Henry Percy O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)
Castlereagh, Viscount Harrison-Broadley, H. B. Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.
Cator, John Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon) Ormsby-Gore. Hon. William
Cautley, Henry Strother Hickman, Col. T. E. Paget, Almeric Hugh
Cave, George Hill, Sir Clement L. (Shrewsbury) Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter Peel, Captain R. F. (Woodbridge)
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University) Hills, John Waller (Durham) Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)
Chaloner, Col R. G. W. Hill-Wood, Samuel Perkins, Walter Frank
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.) Hoare, Samuel John Gurney Peto, Basil Edward
Chambers, James Hohler, G. F. Pollock, Ernest Murray
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Hope, Harry (Bute) Pretyman, Ernest George
Clay, Captain H. H. Spender Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Pryce-Jones, Col. E.
Clive, Captain Percy Archer Horne, W. E. (Surrey, Guildford) Quilter, William Eley C.
Clyde, J. Avon Horner, Andrew Long Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham Houston, Robert Paterson Rawson, Col. Richard H.
Cooper, Richard Ashmole Hume-Williams, William Ellis Remnant, James Farquharson
Courthope, George Loyd Hunt, Rowland Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.) Hunter, Sir C. R. (Bath) Rolleston, Sir John
Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Ingleby, Holcombe Ronaldshay, Earl of
Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet) Jardine, E. (Somerset, E.) Rothschild, Lionel de
Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen) Swift, Rigby Weigall, Capt. A. G.
Salter, Arthur Clavell Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford) Wheler, Granville C. H.
Sanders, Robert A. Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central) White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)
Sanderson, Lancelot Talbot, Lord E. Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells) Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.) Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud
Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.) Terrell, Henry (Gloucester) Wolmer, Viscount
Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'p'l, Walton) Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North) Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Smith, Harold (Warrington) Thomson, W. Mitchell (Down, N.) Worthington Evans, L.
Spear, Sir John Ward Thynne, Lord Alexander Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Stanier, Seville Tobin, Alfred Aspinall Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk) Touche, George Alexander Yate, Col. C. E.
Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston) Tryon, Captain George Clement Yerburgh, Robert
Starkey, John Ralph Tullibardine, Marquess of Younger, Sir George
Staveley-Hill, Henry Walker, Colonel William Hall
Steel-Maitland, A. D. Walrond, Hon. Lionel TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Viscount Valentia and Mr. Pike Pease.
Stewart, Gershom Ward, Arnold (Herts, Watford)
Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North) Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid.)

Question put accordingly, "That the advice given to His Majesty by His Majesty's Ministers, whereby they obtained from His Majesty a pledge that a sufficient number of Peers would be created to pass the Parliament Bill in the shape in which it left this House, is a

gross violation of constitutional liberty, whereby, among many other evil consequences, the people will be precluded from again pronouncing upon the policy of Home Rule."—[Mr. Balfour.]

The House divided: Ayes, 246; Noes, 365.

Division No. 307.] AYES. [11.12 p.m.
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University) Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)
Aitken, Sir William Max Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W. Hall, Fred (Dulwich)
Amery, L. C. M. S. Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Worc'r.) Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)
Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R. Chambers, James Hambro, Angus Valdemar
Anstruther-Gray, Major William Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Hamersley, Alfred St. George
Archer-Shee, Major Martin Clay, Captain H. H. Spender Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington)
Arkwright, John Stanhope Clive, Captain Percy Archer Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)
Ashley, Wilfrid W. Clyde, James Avon Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence
Astor, Waldorf Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham Harris, Henry Percy
Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel, J. Cooper, Richard Ashmole Harrison-Broadley, H. B.
Baird, John Lawrence Courthope, George Loyd Henderson, Major H. (Abingdon)
Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.) Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.) Hickman, Colonel T. E.
Balcarres, Lord Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Hill, Sir Clement L. (Shrewsbury)
Baldwin, Stanley Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet) Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.) Craik, Sir Henry Hills, J. W.
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Cripps, Sir C. A. Hill-Wood, Samuel
Banner, John S. Harmood- Croft, Henry Page Hoare, S. J. G.
Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester) Dalrymple, Viscount Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy
Barlow, Montague (Salford, South) Dalziel, D. (Brixton) Hope, Harry (Bute)
Barnston, Harry Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. S. Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)
Barrie, Hugh T. (Londonderry) Dixon, C. H. Home, Wm. E. (Surrey, Guildford)
Bathurst, Charles (Wilton) Doughty, Sir George Homer, Andrew Long
Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks Du Cros, Arthur Philip Houston, Robert Paterson
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Duke, Henry Edward Hume-Williams, W. E.
Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth) Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M. Hunt, Rowland
Benn, Ion H. (Greenwich) Fiber, George Denison (Clapham) Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath)
Bennett-Goldney, Francis Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.) Ingleby, Holcombe
Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish- Falle, B. G. Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)
Beresford, Lord Charles Fell, Arthur Jessel, Captain H. M.
Bigland, Alfred Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey Joynson-Hicks, William
Bird, Alfred Finlay, Sir Robert Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr
Boles, Lieut.-Col. Dennis Fortescue Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes Kerry, Earl of
Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith- Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A. Keswick, William
Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid) Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue Kimber, Sir Henry
Boyton, James Fleming, Valentine Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement
Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead) Kirkwood, John H. M.
Bridgeman, W. Clive Forster, Henry William Knight, Capt. Eric Ayshford
Bull, Sir William James Foster, Philip Staveley Kyffin-Taylor, G.
Burdett-Coutts, W. Gardner, Ernest Lane-Fox, G. R
Burgoyne, A. H. Gastrell, Major W. Houghton Larmor, Sir J.
Burn, Colonel C. R. Gibbs, G. A. Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)
Butcher, John George Gilmour, Captain John Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mlle End)
Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M. Goldman, C. S. Lee, Arthur Hamilton
Campion, W. R. Goldsmith, Frank Lewisham, Viscount
Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred Gordon, John (Londonderry, South) Lloyd, George Ambrose
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H. Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton) Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)
Cassel, Felix Goulding, Edward Alfred Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)
Castlereagh, Viscount Grant, J. A. Long, Rt. Hon. Walter
Cator, John Gretton, John Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee
Cautley, Henry Strother Guinness, Hon. Walter Edward Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)
Cave, George Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne) Lowther, Claude (Cumberland, Eskdale)
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Haddock, George Bahr Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.)
Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich) Pollock, Ernest Murray Talbot, Lord E
MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh Pretyman, Ernest George Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)
Mackinder, Halford J. Pryce-Jones, Col. E. (Montgom'y B'ghs.) Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)
Macmaster, Donald Quilter, William Eley C. Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)
M'Mordie, Robert James Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel Thomson, W. Mitchell (Down, North)
McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine) Rawson, Col. Richard H. Thynne, Lord Alexander
Magnus, Sir Philip Remnant, James Farquharson Tobin, Alfred Aspinall
Mason, James F. (Windsor) Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall) Touche, George Alexander
Meysey-Thompson, E. C. Rolleston, Sir John Tryon, Captain George Clement
Middlemore, John Throgmorton Ronaldshay, Earl of Tullibardine, Marquess of
Mildmay, Francis Bingham Rothschild, Lionel de Walker, Col. William Hall
Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen) Walrond, Hon. Lionel
Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton) Salter, Arthur Clavell Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watord)
Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton) Sanders, Robert Arthur Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)
Mount, William Arthur Sanderson, Lancelot Weigall, Captain A. G.
Neville, Reginald J. N. Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells) Wheler, Granville C. H.
Newdegate, F. A. Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.) White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)
Newman, John R P. Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'p'l, Walton) Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Newton, Harry Kottingham Smith, Harold (Warrington) Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude
Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield) Spear, Sir John Ward Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)
Nield, Herbert Stanier, Seville Wolmer, Viscount
Norton-Griffiths, J. Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk) Wood, John (Stalybridge)
O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid) Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston) Worthington-Evans, L. (Colchester)
Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A. Starkey, John Ralph Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William Staveley-Hill, Henry Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Paget, Almeric Hugh Steel-Maitland, A. D. Yate, Col. C. E
Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend) Stewart, Gershom Yerburgh, Robert
Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge) Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North) Younger, Sir George
Peel, Hon. William R. w. (Taunton) Swift, Rigby
Perkins, Walter Frank Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Viscount Valentia and Mr. Pike Pease.
Peto, Basil Edward Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)
Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour) Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood) Field, William
Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda) Chancellor, Henry George Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward
Acland, Francis Dyke Chapple, Dr. William Allen Fitzgibbon, John
Adamson, William Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Flavin, Michael Joseph
Addison, Dr. Christopher Clancy, John Joseph Furness, Stephen
Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D. Clough, William Gelder, Sir William Alfred
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock) George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd
Agnew, Sir George William Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Gibson, Sir James P.
Ainsworth, John Stirling Compton-Rickett, Sir J. Gill, A. H.
Alden, Percy Condon, Thomas Joseph Glanville, H. J.
Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire) Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford
Allen, Charles Peter (Stroud) Cotton, William Francis Goldstone, Frank
Armitage, R. Cowan, W. H. Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)
Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A. Crawshay-Williams, Eliot Greig, Colonel J. W.
Baker, Harold T. (Accrington) Crean, Eugene Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward
Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.) Crooks, William Griffith, Ellis J.
Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark) Crumley, Patrick Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)
Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple) Cullinan, John Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)
Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset) Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy) Gulland, John William
Barnes, George N. Davies, David (Montgomery Co.) Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)
Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick) Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) Hackett, John
Barry, Redmond John (Tyrone, N.) Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth) Hall, F. (Yorks, Normanton)
Barton, William Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Hancock, John George
Beauchamp, Sir Edward Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan) Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)
Beck, Arthur Cecil Dawes, J. A. Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)
Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts, St. George) De Forest, Baron Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)
Bentham, George Jackson Delany, William Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds.)
Bethell, Sir John Henry Denman, Hon. R. D. Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Devlin, Joseph Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)
Black, Arthur W. Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.) Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)
Boland, John Pius Dillon, John Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Booth, Frederick Handel Donelan, Capt. A. Harwood, George
Bowerman, Charles W. Doris, William Haslam, James (Derbyshire)
Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North) Duffy, William J, Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)
Brace, William Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry
Brady, Patrick Joseph Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.) Haworth, Sir Arthur A.
Brigg, Sir John Edwards, Enoch (Hanley) Hayden, John Patrick
Brocklehurst, William B. Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor) Hayward, Evan
Brunner, John F. L. Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid) Healy, Timothy Michael (Cork, East)
Bryce, John Annan Elverston, Sir Harold Healy, Maurice (Cork)
Burke, E. Haviland Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.) Helme, Norval Watson
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.) Henderson, Arthur (Durham)
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Essex, Richard Walter Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North) Esslemont, George Birnie Henry, Sir Charles
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar) Falconer, James Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., South)
Byles, Sir William Pollard Farrell, James Patrick Higham, John Sharp
Cameron, Robert Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles Hinds, John
Carr-Gomm, H. W, Ferens, Thomas Robinson Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.
Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich) Ffrench, Peter Hodge, John
Holt, Richard Durning Mooney, John J. Rowntree, Arnold
Hope, John Deans (Haddington) Morgan, George Hay Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Home, Charles Silvester (Ipswich) Morrell, Philip Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Hudson, Walter Muldoon, John Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)
Hughes, Spencer Leigh Munro, Robert Scanlan, Thomas
Hunter, W. (Govan) Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C. Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)
Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.
Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh) Nannetti, Joseph P. Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
John, Edward Thomas Needham, Christopher T. Sheehy, David
Johnson, William Neilson, Francis Sherwell, Arthur James
Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea) Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster) Shortt, Edward
Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil) Nolan, Joseph Simon, Sir John Allsebrook
Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth) Norman, Sir Henry Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)
Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe) Norton, Captain Cecil W. Smith, H. B. L. (Northampton)
Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Nugent, Sir Walter Richard Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim)
Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney) Nuttall, Harry Snowden, Philip
Jowett, Frederick William O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Joyce, Michael O'Brien, William (Cork) Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)
Keating, Matthew O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Strachey, Sir Edward
Kellaway, Frederick George O'Connor, T. P (Liverpool) Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)
Kelly, Edward O'Doherty, Philip Summers, James Woolley
Kennedy, Vincent Paul O'Donnell, Thomas Sutherland, J. E.
Kilbride, Denis O'Dowd, John Sutton, John E.
King, J. (Somerset, North) Ogden, Fred Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Lambert, George (Devon, S. Molton) O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.) Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.) Tennant, Harold John
Lansbury, George O'Malley, William Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)
Lardner, James Carrige Rushe O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.) Thomas, James Henry (Derby)
Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West) O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rid, Cockerm'th) O'Shee, James John Toulmin, Sir George
Leach, Charles O'Sullivan, Timothy Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Levy, Sir Maurice Palmer, Godfrey Mark Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Lewis, John Herbert Parker, James (Halifax) Verney, Sir Harry
Logan, John William Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek) Wadsworth, J.
Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas Pearce, William (Limehouse) Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)
Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich) Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham) Walters, John Tudor
Lundon, Thomas Phillips, John (Longford, S.) Walton, Sir Joseph
Lyell, Charles Henry Pirie, Duncan V. Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)
Lynch, Arthur Alfred Pointer, Joseph Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Pollard, Sir George H. Wardle, George J.
Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H. Waring, Walter
McGhee, Richard Power, Patrick Joseph Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay
Maclean, Donald Price, C. E (Edinburgh, Central) Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J. Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.) Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
MacNeill, John G. S. (Donegal, South) Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham) Webb, H.
Macpherson, James Ian Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.) Wedgwood, Josiah C.
MacVeagh Jeremiah primrose, Hon. Neil James White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
M'Callum, John M. Pringle, William M. R. White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)
M'Curdy, C. A. Radford, G. H. White, Patrick (Meath, North)
M'Kean, John Raffan, Peter Wilson Whitehouse, John Howard
McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Rainy, Adam Rolland Whitley, Rt. Hon. J. H.
M'Laren, H. D. (Leics.) Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields) Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe) Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough) Whyte, A. F. (Perth)
M'Micking, Major Gilbert Reddy, Michael Wiles, Thomas
Manfield Harry Redmond, John E. (Waterford) Wilkie, Alexander
Markham, Sir Arthur Basil Redmond, William (Clare, E.) Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Marks Sir George Croydon Rendail, Athelstan Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)
Marshall, Arthur Harold Richards, Thomas Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)
Martin, J. Richardson, Albion (Peckham) Williamson, Sir Archibald
Mason, David M (Coventry) Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven) Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Masterman, C.F.G. Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)
Meagher Michael Roberts, G. H (Norwich Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton),
Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.) Winfrey, Richard
Meehan, Patrick A (Queen's Co.) Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford) Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)
Menzies Sir Walter Robertson, John M. (Tyneside) Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)
Middlebrook, William Robinson, Sidney Young, W. (Perthshire, E.)
Millar, James Duncan Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke) Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Molloy, Michael Roche, Augustine (Louth)
Molteno, Percy Alport Roche, John (Galway, E.)
Mond, Sir Alfred Moritz Roe, Sir Thomas TELLERS FOR THE NOES.— Master of Elibank and Mr. Illingworth
Money, L. G. Chiozza Rose, Sir Charles Day
Montagu, Hon. E. S. Rowlands, James