HC Deb 02 March 1911 vol 22 cc565-685

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment to Question [27th February], "That the Bill be now read a second time:"—

Which Amendment was, to leave out from the word "That," to the end of the Question, and add instead thereof the words "this House would welcome the introduction of a Bill to reform the composition of the House of Lords whilst maintaining its independence as a Second Chamber, but declines to proceed with a measure which places all effective legislative authority in the hands of a Single Chamber and offers no safeguard against the passage into law of grave changes without the consent and contrary to the will of the people."—[Mr. Austen Chamberlain.]

Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question." Debate resumed.


The Amendment, Sir, which you have just put from the Chair may remind the House of a point on which we are all agreed, namely, that some constitutional reform is desirable at the present time in the opinion of both parties. I remember what probably no one else does, that, speaking on the First Reading of this Bill last week, following the Prime Minister, I welcomed the fact that upon this subject there was common agreement, although there was probably the widest divergence of reasons which had led to that harmony of opinion. I think it may be worth while for the House just to consider what the various reasons are which have induced the different sections of the House to arrive at the conclusion that in this year, 1911, it is desirable to proceed with some measure of constitutional reform, dealing with the Upper House, and dealing with the relations of this House to the Upper House. We are divided into several schools of thought, widely divergent. The Irish party hold as a party that the reason for supporting this Bill is that it is a necessary preliminary, and, as they believe, an adequate preliminary to obtaining a measure of Home Rule. I daresay individual Members of that party may have divergent views upon the abstract question of whether there should be a Second Chamber, and if there is to be a Second Chamber, how that Second Chamber should be constituted. But all those individual or personal views are merged in the common policy openly and honestly avowed, that the Irish party are supporting the Government—under some difficulty in regard to other questions—in order that they may get out of the way what they regard as an obstacle to the realisation of their Nationalist ambitions. I will have to say a word about that later, but at this moment I pass from that school of thought to another, which received support last night in the speech of the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Snowden), which has received immense favour in different sections of the constituencies, and which has bulked largely in all the controversies which have raged round the central problem during the last three years—I mean the school of thought which desires to abolish the existing Second Chamber because it objects to what is called the hereditary principle.

I confess personally to having the very smallest amount of intellectual sympathy with those diatribes against the hereditary principle, at all events against those who think and those who uphold that that is inherently contrary to universal reason, while representative Government, as it is practised, and as it must be practised, is in complete harmony and accord with the dictates of universal reason. It is a very foolish doctrine. I hold as strongly as the Member for Blackburn himself, I hold as strongly as any man in this House does, that what is called the democratic form of Government is absolutely the only form of Government under which a community like ours, having reached this present stage of political and social development, can possibly live peaceably or carry out effectively its national and Imperial work. In that sense, which is the only true practical sense, I am as strong a democrat as is to be found in this House, but when I am asked to follow the Member for Black burn into those abstract regions of speculative thought, it appears to me that he and those who think with him are absolutely misleading the House upon a point which has more than an interest, extending far beyond mere abstract and academic discussions.

Has the thought occurred to the hon. Gentleman that the system which he regards as the only one consistent with reason is practised by a small section of the human race, that the whole of history shows us, not that it seems reasonable to the ordinary man to acquiesce in a system of representative government, but that what may seem reasonable to the ordinary man, looking at it historically, looking at it if you like as the world is constituted now—if your gaze embraces the whole world—is the hereditary principle. If you tell him that what reason really requires of him is to regard himself as being represented in an assembly for which he has perhaps given a vote for a candidate who has been rejected, and in which the majority holds views that he does not share, he would say:—" They do not represent me; they are no better than I am; I differ from them, why should I obey them? Give me the old plan—my nation, or my tribe, or my clan, or my sept. Give me the practice I understand, and do not try to explain to me that I am being represented when in fact the people who represent me are doing everything to which I most object."

4.0 P.M.

The truth is that it is folly to appeal against the House of Lords on the ground that it is based upon the hereditary principle. There are other reasons which I should give why I think it ought to be changed, but that is not the reason. If the House will forgive me for being a little too abstract, and leaving for a moment this practical interchange of friendly blows with the Opposition, I say it is folly for us as practical men simply to lay down the proposition that we have noting to do with the hereditary principle. What we ought to see as practical men is what we can get out of it. There it is, part of our inherited traditions. There it is in conformity with the general feeling of mankind over the greater parts of the earth. Let it be our servant, let it be no longer our master. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Which part of that proposition do hon. Members cheer? Who wants it, who in this country for generations has ever wanted it, to be our master? Certainly nobody who sits on these benches. That, as a doctrine, so far as I am aware, has been abandoned, or has fallen silently aside, and is held by no man now living, nor has it been held by any man who has lived for generations.

There is the other view of the problem. Do you not think that we ought, if we can, to make it our servant? Can we not use it for some purpose? Let the House notice how absolutely invaluable in the development of the Constitution has been the hereditary principle in the case of the monarchy. You could not at this moment, and I defy any man to imagine a Constitution in which our diverse Empire could exist for a year apart from the hereditary principle. Do you think it is to your transient majority or to a transient minority; do you think it is to this House, or to the two Houses, that the Dominions beyond the seas, or our fellow-subjects in India, look. No, Sir, the common bond of Empire is based upon the hereditary principle, and in the great evolution which has taken place in these centuries we have known how to turn to account the powers of the Sovereign in a manner never dreamt of by our forefathers, but which I venture to think are more beneficent, more useful, more invaluable, more absolutely necessary to the continuance of your Empire than was the power of the Crown at the time when the power of the Crown was most undisputed. I care nothing whatever for the hereditary principle, for the hereditary privileges, as they are called, of any Member of the Upper House, except in so far as the continued use of that principle or that practice may serve to give us the kind of Second Chamber which, if we can only look at this great problem apart from the turmoil of party disputes, I believe we should all wish to have, a Second Chamber, in other words, which has not in it the seeds, the inevitable seeds, which will ultimately develop and grow so that the Second Chamber shall be a real rival to the first. I do not believe you can avoid that solution unless you use, as I advise you still to use, the hereditary principle, not to the extent it is used now, not the way it is used now. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] Why not, explain why not, why change the House of Lords at all? Is that the question? I will come to that. In the meanwhile I am dealing with the first school of thought, or the Home Rule school of thought. The second school of thought is the school ably represented by the hon. Member for Blackburn, and many people who seem to think they are driven on the path of great constitutional change by those imaginary dictates of pure political reason. That is an illusion.

I turn to another school of thought, of which I think the Government are the great representatives. They want a change, and they tell us the reason they want a change is that, in their own words, they "do not get fair play for their legislation from the present constitution between the two Houses." I have never suggested, either in public or in private, that I do not think it is a misfortune that through political causes, which everybody knows, gentlemen who, either in their own persons or in that of their immediate ancestors, were recommended to the honour of peerages by Radical Administrations no longer support the Radical party. The practice has been undisputed, and I think has reached proportions which are a just ground of comment and criticism. But at the same time I do think this way of looking at politics as if it was some game in which the rules were rather unfairly loaded in favour of one side is not the attitude of mind in which statesmen should approach the reform of their hereditary institutions. Some hon. Gentlemen seem to think that we are, as it were, opposed bands of football players, and that we insist on playing always with the wind behind us. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I thought and I hoped my sporting metaphor might meet with some approval among the athletes on the other side. Could there be a more flimsy reason, I will not say for changing the Constitution of the country, but for the particular kind of change which the Government are proposing. They say here that when the Radical party come into power they find themselves constantly thwarted by the House of Lords, and they are usually good enough to add that the House of Lords always acts by my own particular suggestion. It was only when I heard the speeches of hon. Gentlemen opposite that I saw what a great man I really am. Certainly I have not been conscious of those extraordinary and far-reaching powers, but when I heard them attributed to me by one orator after another I began to wonder after all whether I am not too modest.

I shall say a word as to how much truth there is in the charge of hon. Gentlemen and right hon. Gentlemen of being so perpetually thwarted and illegitimately thwarted by the House of Lords. Let us grant for the moment that the allegation is so, that the allegation is correct, let us grant for a moment that the House of Lords have mis-used the powers which they are by the Constitution intended to have for the purpose of checking hasty legislation, and that they have mis-used them in that sense, and always exercised them when hon. Gentlemen opposite were in office and never when we were in office. That, I understand, is the point. Indeed I should be very dull of apprehension if I did not understand it, because every Gentleman opposite has said it several times. That may surely be a reason for so modifying the House of Lords or so devising some other expedient that a check may be placed on your legislation. Why, if checks be desirable at all, and the whole contention of the Government is that they are desirable, is it a reason for removing the checks from the Radical side. Grant that this kind of sporting equality should be the goal of our legislative and constitutional ambition, surely the equality should be attained by an endeavour to find some proper check over the legislative operations of all Unionist Governments, instead of allowing all Governments, what-ever their views may be, whatever their policy, whatever their ambitions, to run free with all the uncontrolled licence which the Bill, as drafted by the Government, without the Preamble, will inevitably come to. Hon. Members have never attempted to deal with that point so far as I know. Hon. Members below the Gangway may be doctrinaires about the hereditary principle, but at all events they are perfectly consistent. They say practically openly we do not want a Constitution in which there are any checks. The hon. Member for Blackburn told us "we want the will of the people"; by which he means the will of the majority in this House for the time being. "We want that carried through into law with all possible speed, irrespective of any checks at all." That is very wild politics, but at all events it is a perfectly comprehensive coherent body of doctrine. That is not the body of doctrine held by hon. Gentlemen sitting opposite. They think, as we think, that checks are necessary. Then, if they think that we are not sufficiently checked, let them apply their great constructive intellects to find some way of dealing with that situation. Do not let them remove from their own hearts checks which they admit to be an integral part of any properly constituted Constitution. Hon. Gentlemen in one sense do themselves injustice. They assume in all their speeches that their legislative ambitions are as modest as those which characterise the Unionist party. Therefore, they do not seem to think that any more constitutional checks are required in their case than in ours. I do not agree with that. I think the party which boasts itself to be the party of rapid and effectual change is the very party which ought not to be stopped in its onward career if the country approves it, but to have a constitutional check which will make it clear, whether or not the country does approve of it. Frankly, I think it is more necessary in their case than in ours, and I should have thought that they would have agreed with that. I should have thought their own pride as legislators, as political innovators, would have made them admit that. But if they think differently, if they think that violent changes are as likely to emanate from the quiet benches behind me as from their own ranks, we need not dispute it for the moment; let us simply say: Devise checks; find a system which is a check; and then, if you can, apply it to both sides. But let it be a check; do not let it be a sham.

May I on this point remind the House of a speech delivered by the Home Secretary a few nights ago. The right hon. Gentleman has explained on many occasions, with not less eloquence and fervour than his colleagues who sit near him, that no self-respecting Ministers could continue in office when their legislative projects were liable at any moment to be defeated by the House of Lords. I have always sympathised with the right hon. Gentleman and his friends who have contrived to remain in office under these humiliating conditions for so many years. But quite a new picture of the situation was drawn by the right hon. Gentleman the other night. I gathered, to my surprise, that it was entirely due to the activity of the House of Lords that we still have the pleasure and profit of seeing him in office. He told us so quite unmistakably. It was a very interesting and able argument. He said, "If the House of Lords had not done this, that, and the other, we should have sunk under the load of our own iniquities; we should have been hurled from office as other people have been hurled from office; you would not have seen the unexampled spectacle of the same Government coming back after three successive General Elections." That you owe, he explained to the House of Lords, and to the House of Lords alone. I thought that a very interesting side-light on contemporary history, and it gave me much food for reflection. The first reflection it gave rise to was, what an ungrateful person the right hon. Gentleman is. He owes the continuance of his political existence as a Minister, so he says, to the House of Lords. I think the least you can do for your benefactor is not to belabour him with hard words. [An HON. MEMBER: "Oh!"] May I not spend five minutes upon what took twenty minutes in the right hon. Gentleman's speech? It was a most absurd, if he will allow me to say so, and fanciful argument, because it not only proved that the right hon. Gentleman was extremely ungrateful, but surely it also proved that the House of Lords, when it rejected certain Government measures, rightly gauged public opinion. But what is the right hon. Gentleman's argument? He says: If we had carried these measures, the country would have turned us out; our Bills would have been in operation, but we should have suffered the unpopularity which all Governments suffer when their Bills are carried out; the reforms which we had effected would have been found to do very little good to those they were intended to benefit, and a great deal of injury to those who objected to them; and the country would have found out that our beneficient projects of legislation were, after all, very little good to anybody.


I am sure the right hon. Gentleman would not wish to do injustice to the argument I put forward; I said that grievances would have been redressed and large classes would have been satisfied.


The right hon. Gentleman is quite right; he did say that; but he also explained that it was because the House of Lords had not passed those Bills that he is there. He is perfectly right to interrupt me if he feels that I have misrepresented him, as I am sure I have no desire to do that. That brings me really to the third school of those who desire a reform in the Constitution, of which school I am one. Why do we want a change in the Constitution? I want it, speaking for myself, and perhaps for others on this side of the House, because I think that recent events have shown that the House of Lords is not strong enough as at present constituted to carry out its functions. I deduce that conclusion from almost every speech which I heard delivered on the other side attacking the action of the House of Lords in recent years. What is the gravamen of the charge brought against them? First, that they threw out the Budget; secondly, that they modified the Education Bill; and, thirdly, that they dealt with the Licensing Bill. Nobody will deny that those are the three main points; I do not say they are all. There was another grievance against the House of Lords which I will not comment upon; it was mentioned by the hon. Member for Blackburn last night. He said that the House of Lords passed the Trades Disputes Bill, but they did not like it. That may be a criticism on their taste, but I do not think it is an adverse comment upon their action. Their taste in that respect was a taste shared largely in very important quarters above the Gangway.

But, after all, the gravamen of the charge against the House of Lords is the three matters I have mentioned. The Budget was a reference of financial proposals of great novelty and great magnitude to the judgment of the constituencies. It was avowedly done in that way and for that purpose. Some hon. Gentlemen opposite have spoken as if it was the ambition of any party or of any individuals in the House of Lords to arrogate to themselves the granting of Supply or the managing of the financial affairs of the country. That never was the wish of the Second Chamber. They thought, and in my opinion they thought rightly, that proposals so novel as those of the Budget were proposals on which the country ought to be consulted. They may have been right, they may have been wrong; as the Prime Minister says, they may have committed political suicide by their action; but it was, in my judgment, a perfectly legitimate action, considering the novelty of the Budget, and as such I think it will be judged by history. There was the Licensing Bill; there was the Education Bill. Will it really be pretended that the action of the House of Lords about either the Licensing Bill or the Education Bill went beyond what a proper Second Chamber ought to be able to do? [Several HON. MEMBERS: "Certainly."] I do not argue at the present time the merits of either of those measures. Let it be remembered that the Government themselves have not contended or thought that the Licensing Bill had behind it the opinion of a majority of the electors of the country. As to the Education Bill, all that the House of Lords did was to make an effort that the parents of this country should have for their children the kind of religious teaching that they desired. That, and that alone. It is absurd to tell us that in making that effort, not in throwing out or destroying the Bill, but in fighting for that principle, they went beyond what a Second Chamber might most properly and most legitimately do. If you want a proof of that, I ask you to look at the result of the subsequent elections. You boast, and you are perfectly justified in boasting, of your majority of 124 or 125, whatever it is, in favour of the Parliament Bill. That is perfectly proper; make what you can of it. But nobody pretends that in the House that I am now addressing there is a majority either for your Education proposals or for your Licensing Bill. In this House, where you boast of your omnipotence, you could neither propose nor carry by itself, irrespective of general policy, either of those measures. Is it not folly then to say that the Upper Chamber, whose function it is in certain circumstances to cause such delay as may involve the certainty of the constituencies really understanding and approving a policy, outstepped the line of their duty by those Amendments when the result of the election which followed has been to endorse the action which they then took?

This being the view which I, at all events, take about the action of the Second Chamber, I observe that a great body of opinion in this country, represented, I freely admit, by a majority in this House, is of opinion that the House of Lords went beyond their proper function, and that an adequate reason for altering them has arisen. I say, if a Second Chamber cannot do so much, if that modest plea for delay on their part is to be met as it has been met, you must strengthen your Second Chamber. I suspect there are more than we think on both sides of the House, and in all parties in the country, who would like to see the House of Lords go on exactly as it is now in external appearance, but shorn of all substantial power to check or to delay, or to carry out the proper functions of a Second Chamber. I do not agree with that view. Personally, I attach no value, except an æsthetic value, to ancient institutions which have lost all living force and reality. If the House of Lords is to be merely an ornamental part of the Constitution, re-minding us of our long history, connected with many ancient and picturesque ceremonies; if it is to be classed with the beautiful armour in the Tower, as something ancient and valuable, but wholly useless for any modern purpose, well, then, I say, I care as little for the House of Lords as any hon. Gentleman opposite. I want a Second Chamber. The Government also want a Second Chamber. We are in happy agreement about that. I suppose when the Government say they want a Second Chamber they mean a real Second Chamber—one which will carry out the functions of a Second Chamber. That is exactly my view. If it be true—and I think the events of the last few years have indicated that it is true—that under our existing system the House of Lords is not strong enough to carry out their functions, well, then, see to it that you have a Second Chamber which is strong enough. It may be asked why checks are necessary. It may be asked why a Second Chamber—among other checks at all events—is a necessary and desirable part of a free Constitution, and has always been thought to be a necessary and desirable part of a free Constitution by almost every statesman and every thinker who has devoted his attention to the subject. I think you can very easily see the reason by studying the facts of contemporary political history. These very facts upon which I dwell have been dwelt upon by some Members of His Majesty's Government. What is the nature of the system under which we live? We live under a representative party system. The representative party system in this country always tends to work out into something like rough equality between the two opposing camps. Ardent rhetoricians in the height of victory tell us that this party or that party have suffered a crushing defeat, have been hurled from power, have been driven into exile by their indignant countrymen, and all the rest of it. When the election is over and all this hurling and crushing is finished, you will find that the people who are in the minority are a fraction less than half the voters, and the people who are in power are a fraction more than half the voters—and not a very big fraction. Therefore we are apt to work in this House under a great delusion in this matter. However big the majority may be—take, for example, that which destroyed the Unionist Government in 1906, and to which the right hon. Gentleman opposite referred—even at that time you will find that those who suffered that defeat have behind them a vast body of their countrymen, and those not the least intelligent! What is called a great victory or a great defeat merely means what was admirably pointed out in the speech of the President of the Board of Education last night. He explained to us very lucidly, and I thought quite accurately, how the matter stood. If that be so, you must take count of it in framing your Constitution. The transfer of these relatively few votes from side to side under the impulse, it may be of some absurdly mistaken passions, some violent prejudice; it may be "Chinese labour," or some other historic cry; the transfer, I say, of these votes from side to side carries with it the principle of the absolute transfer straight off of all administrative power. It is quite right that it should do so. I am entirely in favour of it. The party system, when these administrative powers have been transferred from side to side, gives some stability to those who are entrusted with the difficult task of Government. There again I think the party system is an immense advantage. However much I might desiderate greater individual independence when we are discussing the provisions of Bills, I do think that the party system is absolutely necessary if you are to have stability of administration. I would rather have a bad Government in office with some kind of security of tenure, if only a brief one, than have the buying from day to day of this little section or that little section by some administrative concession. But when we turn from administration to legislation the case becomes somewhat different. More particularly does it become different when the legislation which you are dealing with is legislation touching the fundamental inheritance of the Constitution of the country. I think it is utterly absurd to say that the transfer of these few votes at a General Election under the violent impulse of some hope, fear, or passion of the moment, is to give a universal Power-of-Attorney to any Government to do exactly what it likes with the British Constitution. That seems to me to be altogether an absurd proposal. I am violently opposed, and always have been to this delegate theory of representation. I am opposed, and always have been opposed, to this talk or overtalk about mandates. Let me add, I think the system of pledges at elections is carried much too far—I think it is a great and growing evil. I wish we Members, we representatives, of the people who meet in this Chamber could meet here as men, not always thinking what we said at the last General Election, or what we promised to this deputation or the other deputation. I want us to devote impartial minds, or minds as impartial as we can make them, to the legislative work just before us.


What about the Referendum?


If you are going to give that power to Members of Parliament, if you are going to cut us adrift from the monstrous theory that we are the mere delegates of our Constituents, then I say there must be some limitation of the power which this House possesses for fundamental constitutional legislative problems. An hon. Member interrupted me just now and said: "What about the Referendum?" He thinks, as the Prime Minister thinks—so I gather from the speech he made the other day—that the use of the Referendum to protect fundamental questions turns us into a debating assembly. It does nothing of the sort. It is the one thing which prevents us being a debating assembly. It takes away from us the unlimited power which we ought never to possess, and it leaves us the powers which we ought to possess—the power of determining absolutely what shall be the administration. It leaves us the power absolutely of Voting Supplies, and of carrying on the general administrative work of the country, subject to review, revision and check by the other House, and it prevents the two Houses together—or it may do so—from making some inroad upon the Constitutional heritage of the people which no temporary assembly has the least right to do. Those are the reasons why I want a Second Chamber. Those are the reasons why I want a reform of the Second Chamber. I have given reasons for both. If the Government do not agree with all my arguments, and I am afraid they do not, at all events they will agree with the conclusion I have come to. Why, therefore, cannot we just trust them to approach the legislative work before us in the spirit of those who, having had entrusted to them the custody of the Constitution, are to amend it, and approach it with a strong feeling of responsibility, of care, of caution, and of that impartiality which the self-imposed task they have taken in hand ought to inspire? We know why we cannot trust them. We cannot trust them because they are not approaching this question as they would approach it were they an independent party. They are approaching it because they are coerced by their alliance with the Irish party. The President of the Board of Education last night said that we were always twitting the Government with the Irish alliance. He added that we would be perfectly ready to have Irish support if we could get it.


When you got it before you were glad of it.


The President of the Board of Education entirely mistook what I believe to be the situation, or, at all events, he entirely mistook what we think is the situation. Of course, any party in this House, when it goes into the Lobby, is glad to see other parties, and fragments of other parties, supporting them. Men of sense never doubted that. However much we differ politically we do not regard each other as the unclean things who, even when they agree, are not allowed to co-operate. What is it we do object to? We object not to the fact that the Government act with the Irish party because they agree with the Irish Nationalists, and that the Irish act with the Government because they agree with the Government, but that both have deflected their course from what it otherwise would have been in order to obtain the support of the other. When two Heavenly bodies approach each other, and come into the same system their course is modified and perturbed by the attraction each of the other, and so the natural orbit of the Irish party has been perturbed, and so has the natural orbit of the Radical party been perturbed. The only point in which my metaphor breaks down is that contrary to the ordinary laws, of gravitation, it is the smaller body which has perturbed the bigger body. Nevertheless, there has been perturbation on both sides, and it is really a curious thing to reflect that if there had been no alliance there would have been no Budget, and if there had been no alliance there would have been no prospect of Home Rule. The Irish party would certainly have defeated the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and had there been no alliance I do not think we should have seen this Bill in its present shape, and I am quite sure we should never see what we understand is to follow this Bill—the Home Rule scheme now agitating and tormenting the constructive souls of the Cabinet Committee, which is trying to devise it.

That, Sir, is the reason why we object to the alliance between these two parties. As to the Irish party, I do not say anything more than I have already said. They have accepted it, and they have been perfectly frank about it, much more frank than hon. Gentlemen opposite. They have openly told us that they did not like the Budget, but that they took it because this Bill is framed in this way, because this constitutional reform is so framed as to give them what they want. Hon. Gentlemen opposite have not been quite as candid as that, but it is perfectly fair inference, from everything they have said, and everything they have done. What has happened was not unexpected. Everybody knew if parties became so balanced in this House, that the Irish party could turn out the Radical Government whenever it suited them, there would be what I would call perturbation in the orbit of the Radical party. Everybody who knows anything of politics is aware of the fact, and it has been stated in terms almost cynical, both by Mr. Gladstone and by the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, before it happened. Each of them foresaw, each of them expressed in powerful language the inevitable pervertion of the true Radical course that would follow upon the Radical party being dependent upon the Irish party, and if neither of these eminent statesmen dwelt upon it after the event, well, that is only natural. There are some evils which we can clearly foresee and prophecy, but which we do not like to talk about at any great length after they have come upon us. It has been mentioned explicitly by these two eminent persons, but it was foreseen by every rational man. It was foreseen by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond), and if I remember rightly by Mr. Parnell before him as something that must, in the natural course of events, inevitably happen. It has happened, and its consequences have been what they were bound to be, and the result is this Bill, which in its central position none of the Members of the Government have attempted to defend from the beginning to the end of these Debates.

Supposing anyone unacquainted with the practical working of our party system were to be shown this measure, and were told, "This is the final result of the hard work of a reforming Ministry; they are strongly impressed with the need of checks in our constitutional system. They believe as thoroughly as any of our forefathers in the necessity of a Second Chamber, but there is one interval of indefinite length during which that necessity need not be fulfilled, in which this country can happily get on under Single-Chamber rule," and if the inquirer said, "Is there no chance of anything being proposed in that interval which fundamentally touches the Constitution?" the Government would have to say, and do say, "Oh, yes; there is almost the most important thing that could possibly be proposed, is going to be attempted during the Single-Chamber system, and it is only after that has been disposed of that we shall return to the safe and sober path of constitutional Government, in which there is a Chamber of check and supervision for preventing any aberration on the part of the representative body."


Without any Veto!


I do not think the hon. Gentleman quite understands the point. The point is the Government say there ought to be a Second Chamber for purposes of check and revision, but they refuse to create it—they leave an interval before creating it in which there is to be no Second Chamber, and when asked whether that is a peculiarly safe interval in which, as a matter of fact, nothing of a constitutional character is going to be attempted, they point to obscure passages in some of their speeches, and say, "On the contrary, we always meant to carry out the greatest possible revolution which this country has ever seen." That is the result of the Irish alliance. That is the perturbation which has occurred in the orbit of the party opposite. They could not trust to themselves, but have to depend for their Parliamentary existence upon Gentlemen from Ireland. I say the results will probably be disastrous to the country, and are certainly discreditable to the Government. They are doing what they have no right to do. They are using the powers given them by the transfer of these relatively few votes from one side to the other at a given election—they are using them to make fundamental changes in the Constitution of which they are the guardians, and they openly say they are going to force them through one branch of the Legislature by coercion, as they have imposed them on the country by fraud—



"Order," and "Withdraw."


I am not going to withdraw. [Interruption.]


I rise to a point of Order. I wish to know, Sir, whether it is your ruling that the word "fraud" as applied to individuals and political parties is in order?


When applied to individuals certainly it is out of order, but when applied to a party I do not think the expression is out of order.


That, Sir, is why—


The Tory party are frauds. [Interruption: HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw."]


The Tory party are frauds. [Interruptions, and HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw."] I will not withdraw. I am just repeating his own words.


The Gentlemanly party!


That, Sir, is why—


I must respectfully ask the House to allow the Debate to proceed. If violent demonstration is made against the Leader of the Opposition, it is quite open to the Opposition to retaliate, which would not be in the interests of orderly Debate. I have ruled that the expression is not a disorderly or unparliamentary one.


For these reasons, while agreeing with the Government that the time has come when sundry changes should be made in our institutions I think the spirit in which the Government have approached them is utterly unworthy of a great subject, of a great party, and of a Government which I am the last to deny contains men of great distinction.

5.0 P.M.


The right hon. Gentleman has made an exceptionally interesting and illuminating speech—interesting because he has drawn with even a more lavish hand than usual from his unfailing reservoir of sophistical dialectics, and illuminating because we now know, on the highest authority, and with perfect lucidity, what is the real motive which has inspired the Tory party to take up the cause of the reform of the Second Chamber. It is to make that Chamber stronger, it is to make that Chamber—however it is going to be composed, and on that point the right hon. Gentleman has thrown very little light—stronger as against the chosen representatives of the people. The right hon. Gentleman began his speech by analysing the composition and motives of the various parties, and sections of parties, who are in favour of a change in our present constitutional arrangement. He started with the Irish party, and he said that their only motive for desiring a change and supporting this Bill was to promote the cause of Home Rule. I have no doubt that that was the large and govern- ing motive with the Irish party, but it would be a great mistake to suppose that, quite apart from Home Rule, Ireland has not an inveterate and perpetual quarrel with England.

I come now to the concluding passages in the right hon. Gentleman's speech. He thought it seemly and becoming, and in accordance with the traditions of the House of Commons and our public life, to suggest that we who sit on these benches would never have taken the course we are taking, would never have promoted this Bill, and asked for the assent of the House of Commons and Parliament to it, if we had not been dependent upon the support of hon. Gentlemen who sit below the Gangway on the opposite side of the House. He went on to say that our conduct in this matter, meaning, if words mean anything, that we were deliberately putting before the electors and before Parliament a scheme which in our consciences and our hearts we do not believe to be just and right, and he said that in order to obtain the support of those votes for the retention of these places, we had "committed a fraud." [Cheers.] Those cheers are, I think, a little premature. Let us examine the facts.


The "old nobility."


What was the origin of the scheme which is embodied in this Bill? Many hon. Gentlemen opposite were not in the Parliament of 1906 and 1909, and they have not refreshed their memories by a reference to history. What was the origin of the proposals embodied in this Bill? It was moved in terms, at this box where I am now standing, by my predecessor in the office of Prime Minister, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, in the summer of the year 1907, when we of the Liberal party had a majority not only independent of the Irish, but over all parties in this House—a majority of considerably over 200. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why was it dropped?"] This is the "fraud" upon the electorate. Talk of perturbations and deflections in the elections—we have never departed by one hair's breadth from that day to this from the lines laid down by our late Leader—laid down without any reference whatever to the conveniences of party alliance with hon. Gentlemen opposite; laid down because we here of the progressive party, acting independently of the grievances of Ireland, have found that Liberal legislation, progressive legisla- tion, with the House of Lords constituted as it is has become an impossibility and a sham.

"Fraud," indeed, "upon the electors!" Let me pursue the story of this electoral fraud. Before the General Election, after the House of Lords had rejected the Budget, before the General Election took place—in the month of January last year—I myself, on behalf of the Liberal party, while still in possession of an overwhelming majority in this House, announced in the most formal and definite terms that this was the manner in which we proposed to deal with the constitutional question, and I said, at the same time, we should hold ourselves free to take up the question of Home Rule. I say at that moment we were in a position of overwhelming Parliamentary strength. The right hon. Gentleman opposite knows it well, and those sitting on the bench opposite know it well. To pretend that we have adopted our present course and prosecuted this Bill, not because of our conscientious convictions, not because we were coerced into that course years ago, before there was any question of dependence upon the Irish vote—to pretend that it is a deflection, that it is the result of perturbation and party interest—is to make a charge which I do not hesitate to say is less supported by reason and by evidence than any charge I have ever heard made in this House.


He should withdraw.


No; let it go to the judgment of the country—this defrauded electorate, which twice in the course of twelve months has returned an overwhelming majority to this House, which we shall see in the Division Lobby to-night. To go back for a moment to the earlier part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, he seems to have discovered another class—another school of opinion—in support of constitutional change which he appears to think exists only in the Labour party below the Gangway—those who are opposed to the hereditary principle. The right hon. Gentleman tells us he is a "convinced democrat." He is a democrat who believes the representative system can only be safely worked when it is tempered and diluted by the hereditary principle.


That is not what I said.


I am not quoting the actual text, only the substance of the right hon. Gentleman's words. But let me refresh his memory. He said:— Let us not deal with abstractions; let us come to practical realities. Let us come to the test of experience: take the hereditary principle. What can we get out of it? Hon. Gentlemen opposite have got a great deal out of it, and I am not surprised that, judged by this rude practical test—this profit and loss account, where the balance is so overwhelmingly in favour of the right hon. Gentleman himself—he finds the hereditary principle an excellent thing, a practical working instrument for securing the absolute supremacy of this House when there is a Tory majority here, but a working instrument to frustrate and nullify the functions of this House when there is a Liberal Government in power. That is the "hereditary principle." That is what the right hon. Gentleman gets out of it. Then he says:— Let it not be our master So say we. It is because it has been our master—because at this moment it is our master, because it enslaves and fetters the free action of this House—that we have put these proposals before the House, and we mean to carry them into law. The right hon. Gentleman said, as though it were relevant to the question, that we recognised the principle of heredity in our monarchy. He pointed out with perfect truth and justice what everyone admits, that the Monarchy is an institution which is valued by all classes and conditions of men, by all schools of opinion in this country, and is the centre—the respected centre, and the indispensable centre—of our Imperial unity. Yes; but why is that? What has become of the Veto of the Crown? Does anyone suppose that if our Sovereigns had been foolish and short-sighted enough to persist in claiming an effective exercise of the legal right which at this moment they possess just as much as the House of Lords possess it, just as much as Queen Elizabeth possessed it—the legal right to refuse the Royal Assent to an Act of Parliament—does anyone suppose that if our Sovereigns had not been wise enough to forego the exercise of that power, to abandon their legal right, to recognise their constitutional position as part and parcel of a democratic system of government, the Monarchy would have held the position that it holds to-day? That argument is absolutely irrelevant, and those who are arguing in favour of continued exercise of the Veto of the House of Lords lose sight of the undoubted fact that we have in this country a valued and an hereditary Monarch. The right hon. Gentleman says there is another school. Let me say, in passing, that I entirely assent to the view, which he seems to think is confined to a small knot of people below the Gangway, that we cannot combine by any form of ingenuity in the long run a really representative system with the existence of an hereditary autocracy.

The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that there were others amongst us—particularly my hon. Friends who sit behind me—whose main motive in this matter is the desire for fair play. I think he was a little too modest in the view which he took of his own powers and authority with regard to the action of the House of Lords. Those who sat in the Parliament of 1906 became familiar in the course of time with those powers, which formed a part, a regular and consecrated part, of our Parliamentary proceedings. The signal that was raised and the banner which was waved by the right hon. Gentleman was invariably responded to by the House of Lords. But whatever may have been the right hon. Gentleman's opinion in the past I do not gather that he now says that there is fair play. He says I am with you in holding that there ought to be, at any rate, an appearance of fair play. "You are removing by this Bill all checks upon Radical legislation. It is not the means, or the proper means, of securing it." Checks against what? A great deal has been said about constitutional checks. What does any sensible or rational person mean by constitutional checks? Not perpetual machinery for clogging and fettering the free action of the representatives of the people; but a constitutional check in the only sense in which I understand the word is a check against stealthy, unconsidered, precipitate change. Such a check this Bill abundantly provides. I start, as I said before and as I repeat, with the presumption which lies at the very root of the theory of representative government, the presumption that the representative House is the true organ and mouthpiece and exponent of the will and of the opinion of the people. I say we have secured, so far, as human ingenuity can secure it in this Bill that that which is always presumptively true shall be actually true. By shortening the duration of Parliament, bringing the House of Commons into constant and ever-freshly renewed contact with those whom it purports to represent; and by providing for prolonged delay and consultation between the two Houses whenever they differ from one another, we have secured that the presumption shall be a reality. The only constitutional check, therefore, you really require is the constitutional check, we have gone out of our way by this Bill to provide and render effective.

Then we come to what I said in my opening sentence is far the most instructive and illuminating part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech. He said: "I am going to tell you why I am in favour of a constitutional check." Why? Was it because the House of Lords had done wrong? Was it because there was anything in the action, recent or remote, of that assembly which the right hon. Gentleman is not prepared to vindicate and justify? Nothing of the kind. On the contrary, he says, even as regards the Budget, they were perfectly right. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Hon. Gentlemen share his view. "They were perfectly right—to refer it to the people," and, as regards education and licensing, "Why," he says, "you know you dare not introduce!"—if this Government last in office long enough we shall see—" measures relating to those subjects in any way in conformity with those which the House of Lords rejected three or four years ago." According to the right hon. Gentleman, we have got in actual working so far as its practical operations are concerned, exactly the sort of Second Chamber which every rational democracy ought to desire. It has a clean Bill. Every count in the indictment against it fails. It has done the things which it ought to have done, and it has left undone the things which it ought not to have done. What more can you say of any legislative Chamber in the world? Why, in the name of conscience and commonsense are we going to have a violent constitutional change? They have done right, says the right hon. Gentleman. They have done what they ought to have done. The country has endorsed their view. A marvellous illustration of the right hon. Gentleman's perspicacity and ingenuity. After three elections, in each of which the House of Lords has been conspicuously rebuffed, the country has endorsed their view! But, he says, they exposed themselves to criticism. They do not look well on paper. They are difficult to defend when you come face to face with the hard-headed electors of Lancashire and Yorkshire. So let us put something in their place which will do the same as they do, but look a little more plausible and presentable. Now we know the real inwardness and the true meaning of the desire of the Tory party to reconstitute the Second Chamber. I did not think we should have it, I confess, so frankly or so candidly from such a master of nebulous dialectic as the right hon. Gentleman. I admit to the full that in this respect the right hon. Gentleman is perfectly consistent with himself. I have here—I am sure he will be very glad to have it quoted—a passage of a speech delivered by him at Manchester in October, 1906, and it is in strict harmony with what he was telling us to-day. He said: The chamber of review which we are now fortunate enough to possess is not quite one which would be easily improved even by the most ingenious constitution-mongers among us. It stands impregnable, not merely upon its historic past, but upon its present utility. That is rather a hard saying for those ingenious constitutional mongers whom I see upon the benches opposite, meeting more or less stealthily—[HON. MEMBER: "Oh, oh."] I mean no offence. It seems to be difficult to get an accurate or an authentic report. But whatever else they are doing they are constitution-mongering. They are trying to find a substitute for this admirable Chamber, which, as the right hon. Gentleman says, stands not only in its historic past, but on the record of its present utility. [An HON. MEMBER interjected an observation.] I heard a very foolish interruption, if the hon. Gentleman will allow me to say so with courtesy, because it had no relevance to what I am saying. What we are doing I will say in a moment. I was addressing myself to the constitution-mongers. I dare say they are anxious to divert their attention to somebody else. I should like to know why, if what the right hon. Gentleman said in 1906 was true, and I gather it is in strict harmony with his real convictions to-night, we are to have this gigantic process of constitutional investigation, and speculation, and architecture, which is going on behind the scenes, and which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wimbledon (Mr. Chaplin) said truly last night was not yet quite matured, but which I suppose in the course of a week or two at any rate will be ready for production in the House of Lords and in the country. People talk of the reconstruction of the House of Lords. It is one of the charges made against us that we have hurried precipitantly into this business. The charge is founded upon the Preamble of our Bill. What does that Preamble say—the Preamble, which it must be taken, as everybody in the course of these Debates has admitted, was approved of by the country in the course of the last General Election. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Well, if the Bill was, I presume the Preamble was also. What does the Preamble say? It recites that—

In the opinion of Parliament, it is necessary to reconstitute the House of Lords—the Second Chamber—upon a popular basis, but it goes on to say that is a step which ought not to be taken immediately, but is to be postponed till after the operative part of this Bill has become law. Everybody, therefore, who assented to this Bill, including the whole of the electorate of this country who voted for it, knew perfectly well. Talk about a fraud upon the electorate! They had their eyes open—that the first effort of the new Parliament and of the Government, if they supported them, would be to destroy the absolute Veto of the House of Lords and to substitute for it a suspensory veto, to take away entirely its alleged powers over finance, and to shorten the duration of the House of Commons.

I do not retract; I have no reason to retract or to qualify, one single word I have ever said either in this House or on the platform, since I have held a responsible position, as to my view as to the desirability and the expediency of a Second Chamber. I hold absolutely and entirely to everything I have said; but I laid down, when I introduced these Resolutions, what I repeat now, conditions which seem to me and seem to my colleagues to govern any solution of this problem. What are they? First, that this House must be predominant in legislation. Next, that the functions, and the only functions, which are appropriate to a Second Chamber, are the functions of consultation and revision and, subject to proper safeguards, of delay. Further, that the body which is to perform those functions shall be a relatively small body. Next, that it must be a body which does not rest on an hereditary basis. And, lastly, it must be a body which, as I said here last March, in its origin, composition, and attitude is not governed, as the present House of Lords is governed, by partisanship tempered by panic. It must be a body which discharges its proper duties with a fair mind and an even hand. That is not a body which it is very easy to bring into existence; and will anyone contend, anyone on the benches opposite, that those conditions are satisfied in any of the schemes hitherto put forward or adumbrated on the other side. I will not go into details of them—some are not yet finally settled—but they all perpetuate a Second Chamber in which one side will be permanently predominant. To sum up the matter: How then do we stand as this Debate is drawing to a conclusion? After three elections in which the electors have given a progressive majority, after two elections in which they have approved first the principle and then the actual plan which is embodied in this Bill, how do we stand? We are invited under those conditions by the right hon. Gentleman and by the party opposite to wait, to hold our hands, to put this Bill aside until some vast and revolutionary but still crude and formless change in the whole structure and mechanism of the Constitution has been thought out and then worked out. Meanwhile, with regard to this and to all other legislation, we are to remain with our hands tied by the Veto of the House of Lords. It is not upon such an errand that we were sent here by the constituencies. Their plain and reiterated demand, and our first and paramount duty, was to pass this Bill into law.


The right hon. Gentleman made, as he invariably does, a speech of great skill and ability; but on this occasion he displayed his ability by evading the arguments of my right hon. Friend. What were the two points made by the Leader of the Opposition? The first was that the Second Chamber should be strong enough. Strong enough for what? We have no difficulty in answering that question. It should be strong enough to secure that the will of the people should be carried out, at any rate, in fundamental matters. Do the Government say anything different? Do they want a Second Chamber which will not be strong enough to secure that the will of the people shall be carried out?


That is not the duty of the Second Chamber.


Then what do you want a Second Chamber for?


For revision, consideration, and suggestion.


All those things depend on going to some body—some tribunal which can enforce it. The right hon. Gentleman says that a Second Chamber must prevent stealthy and precipitate legislation. To what end, if there is no one to interfere? Stealthiness is no evil except to evade ultimate control; precipitancy, too, is no evil except on that condition. I suppose the hon. Member really means that the Second Chamber is to be strong enough to secure that the will of the people shall be carried out. Then my right hon. Friend's second point com-batted by the Prime Minister was that if you are to secure that the will of the people shall be carried out you should have that Chamber in operation before you undertake a highly controversial and profoundly fundamental change like Home Rule. The Prime Minister elaborately evaded those two arguments from beginning to end. He said not one word for the grotesque arrangement for which he is responsible, but he said the reconstitution of the Second Chamber brooked no delay. But that reconstitution is now indefinitely postponed because he says he does not see how he can constitute a Second Chamber to his mind. The reason why the Government do not reconstitute a Second Chamber is that they and their followers are divided on the subject. What is the use of these pretences? All the rest of it is a dialectical veil thrown over them to conceal their infirmities. The case for this Bill depends on two main propositions—or rather two points. The House of Commons is a complete and ideal instrument for expressing the will of the people. Is the existing Constitution or would the amended Constitution be fair as between the various currents of the nation. The Prime Minister, the President of the Board of Education, and other speakers have treated it as self-evident that the House of Commons is an instrument for expressing the will of the people.

What is meant by "representing." You may represent a thing in two different senses. You may represent as a letter represents the mind of the writer; or as a will represents the mind of a testator. That literally and exactly might be called the mandatory theory of the House of Commons, and some phrases of the Prime Minister seem to suggest that he holds that theory, because he suggests that the Preamble of the Bill had been submitted to the country, and therefore has the country's approbation. Therefore he adopts for the moment the doctrine of the mandate in its most extreme form. If he is strictly logical he ought not to have a Committee Stage at all on this Bill, because the Bill has been before the people and approved by the people, and what has the House of Commons to say further? It has to carry out the will of the people. Then there is the old constitutional theory of the representative system, of which Burke was the great exponent, and according to which the House of Commons comes to its work perfectly free. It is representative, but in quite a different sense; it is representative in the same sense in which you speak of a cricket team being representative when it appears for England or Australia. I often read in the reports of cricket matches that the M.C.C. have secured a very representative team. But it does not mean that they are going to bat and bowl precisely as the M.C.C. direct them, it means that that particular body of cricketers are the best exponents of the game that can be found in England, and that they are going to play the game to the best of their ability. The old theory of the House of Commons representation was that it was representative in that sense: that the Commons of England selected a team of politicians who went up to exercise their own free and independent judgment on the questions submitted to them by the Crown. Burke, in his famous speech to the electors of Bristol, refused to carry out the wishes of the electors; he said he was not Member for Bristol but a Member of Parliament.


Parliament has been three times reformed since.


The hon. Member will not allow anyone to speak about the Constitution but himself: he has made it his monopoly: he has patented the invention. That is the theory: that a Member of Parliament is to be perfectly free. I should be very glad to see it restored, but it is not in operation. Amongst other things you would have to greatly modify the party system. How is that system exemplified? Yesterday, the House being in a deliberative mood, it was thinly attended; to-day, because there is a vote to be given, everybody is in London. That is typical of the modern House of Commons. I should be glad to see adopted the method of voting by ballot in this House: that would give some chance of restoring the old theory. Then you have the mandatory theory. How absurd is that theory. How are Members of Parliament elected? When there is a vacancy one body of ardent partisans chooses one candidate and another body of ardent partisans chooses another. The only function the people have to perform is to choose which of the two they will send to Westminster. They have no other choice in the matter. Sometimes this produces very strange results. An hon. Member may be ardently concerned with the question of Free Trade or with the question of Chinese labour. How is he to vote in defence of the Union in an election in which Home Rule is concerned if he can only vote in defence of the Union by sacrificing Free Trade or continuing Chinese labour in South Africa? It is manifestly evident that the theory of the mandate is utterly unreal. The Government are proud of their majority, but if the House of Commons had been elected on the system of proportional representation their majority in the last Parliament would only have been fifty, and in this only thirty-eight. With such a majority it is safe to say the Government would never have been engaged on a Parliament Bill at all.

In the Parliament of 1906 their true proportional majority was about 100. With such a majority they would not have carried the Education Bill, Licensing Bill, or the Budget through this House, so that if a dispute with the other House had arisen it would not have been the same dispute as that which has now arisen. It is in that connection the Referendum is put forward. By it, at any rate, you get rid of many of the evils of the mandatory system. You ask the Government a plain question, "Do you want this Bill or not?" and in that way the will of the people is made manifest. What is it the Government intend to do. They propose there shall be two years' delay. Let us consider the alternative of solving the difficulties between the two Houses. The object of the two years' delay is that there is to be an agitation in the country, and in that way the will of the people will be manifest, and that the Government would be bound. What conceivable disadvantage attaches to a Referendum which does not equally attach to this informal Referendum which by implication the Government desire. I see a great many disadvantages in the Government scheme which do not attach to the Referendum. I see none that attach to the Referendum which do not attach to the Government scheme. The right hon. Gentleman asks is it to be supposed that legislation is not now made up with the object of catching popular support. But was it a mere happy accident that the Land Taxes were put in the forefront of the Budget. The truth is there are difficulties about the democratic system however you work it. There is the objection that it gives a great opportunity to demagogues to mislead. The Referendum would not, of course, destroy the arts of demagogy. There is no need, therefore, for the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the Home Secretary to resign their offices, but you would not be able to say if, for example, you carried Lancashire on Free Trade that you carried it on Home Rule, or if you carried old age pensions in country districts you could not pretend that it is a mandate for abolishing the Veto of the House of Lords. Those are the arts which my right hon. Friend stigmatised by a many-syllabled word, which gave great offence on the other side of the House. Those arts the Referendum will be a great safeguard against, and I am not surprised, therefore, that, like the sellers of silver shrines, who saw their professional means interfered with, the Government should rush into the streets, and cry: "Great is representative government." The truth is that if we are really honestly agreed that the will of the people is to prevail, we have approached very nearly to a complete agreement upon the whole subject. It remains only a question of machinery. If the Government are really in earnest in saying that the value of their two years' delay is to prevent Bills which the country disapproves going through, and I am quite unable to conceive any other value, the Referendum really does solve the difficulty. No doubt you cannot have a Referendum in every case, because you cannot make the will of the people solve every tiny question, but you can make it apply wherever the Government safeguard applies. The Government only propose that their remedy would be used in the case of a Bill of some magnitude, and about which they contemplate an agitation which would go all over the country. Why are you to have an agitation and not the far simpler method of a vote given once for all? Of old time a great many questions were settled by acclamation. Afterwards, voting was introduced as a better system. What the Government really propose to do is to go back to this clumsy, inefficient, and insecure system of shouting at the top of your voice from one end of the country to the other to settle which has the largest measure of popular support, instead of the new system of voting on the question and so deciding it. I read that in the old days bishops used to be elected by a mob in a certain cathedral, who shouted for several hours that they wanted a particular person to be bishop. That was one way of ascertaining the popular will, though not nearly so good as having the name of the bishop submitted to some proper authority and selected. How would the Government system of two years' agitation, with all its confusion work in the crucial case of Home Rule. Is it possible to conceive a less judicious way of carrying a Home Rule Bill? Confessedly, Home Rule excites great passion. Confessedly it is threatened—and, in my opinion, most justifiably threatened—that there will be resistance in the north-eastern counties of Ireland. How do the Government propose to deal with that situation? By no expedient more statesmanlike than submitting to the country for two years' agitation the question of Home Rule. People much less in the right, and much less excitable than the population of the north-eastern counties of Ireland might well be wrought up to the point of rebellion by two years' agitation. It is impossible to conceive anything more clumsy and more unworkmanlike than such a proposal. The Prime Minister says he wants a Second Chamber to stop stealthy legislation. I wish I knew whether he thinks that his new Second Chamber, whenever it is formed, will delay more or less efficiently than the existing House of Lords, or shall we say more or less in accordance with the will of the people? Above all, I should like to know whether the Secretary of State for War and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs are satisfied with the proposition that the less efficient House of Lords—the House of Lords which they condemn—should go on determining for an indefinite interval all sorts of public questions, so far as the Government leave them any power, when they are deeply committed to the proposition that the Second Chamber should be reformed. I think that those two Secretaries of State have a very deep responsibility in this matter. It is quite certain that if they had not gone with the Government the Government could not have gone on as fat as it has gone. It is quite certain that if they had resigned last year, or before the election, the Government would not have come back with their present majority or probably with any majority at all. I am sure that no two Members are less capable of doing anything dishonourable, but I earnestly protest against those two right hon. Gentlemen lending their reputation to the Government as a sort of umbrella, for use in rainy weather when storms beat on their head—an umbrella to be then put away in the Foreign Office or War Office as something not to be used until a future occasion. They have used their reputation to protect the Government; that involves an honourable obligation on their part to see that the electors who trusted their authority and reputation for moderation and statesmanship are not defrauded—no, defrauded is too hard a word, but do not find themselves mistaken in the end. [An HON. MEMBER: "They will take care of that."] Yes, but they will not take care of it by passing Home Rule before they reform the House of Lords. That is not what the great mass of the electors who trusted to their moderation and statesmanship expected.

The question the Government are asked is, are the House of Lords to proceed to decide questions of the utmost importance before the Constitution is in the state to which they themselves wish to bring it. I am persuaded that what the Government are doing is injurious to themselves and will in the end be injurious to the country. They are injuring themselves because they are dealing with a matter which concerns an ancient Constitution merely with a view to the exigencies of party. The Leader of the Opposition did not charge the Government, as the Prime Minister supposed, with being deflected from their course in respect to bringing in the Bill at all. His charge was that they were deflected from their course by the influence of the Irish Members in respect to bringing in Home Rule during the interregnum between the passing of this Bill and the setting up of the new reformed Chamber. Either that or they are the victims of some mysterious disease. There can be no other reason. What conceivable reason can there be for reforming the House of Lords at all if you can deal with Home Rule quite well without that reform. If the Government are not under the influence of the Irish vote I really think that a doctor should inquire into the condition of their minds. They are intent upon carrying Home Rule in one of two ways. Either it will be carried under their Bill after two years' agitation with all the disturbance and all the growth of passion that that means, or it will be carried, as some people suggest, by submerging the House of Lords by a large creation of Peers. If so violent and unconstitutional a course as that is taken it will be proper to say that a Parliament so created will be no Parliament but a sham, and the laws that it will pass will be sham laws. When King Charles II. and his Ministers, and afterwards King James II., packed the House of Commons, they set up a body which had no moral authority whatever. A packed House of Commons or a packed House of Lords has equally no authority. If you cannot change the Constitution by the consent of the three bodies that make it up you cannot change it at all as far as moral authority goes. If, having first created a sham Parliament, you impose Home Rule upon the Irish people, will not the north-eastern counties be justified, and more than justified, in separating themselves from the bastard republic that you are going to try to set up, and in adhering to the ancient monarchy? I am sure this Bill leads to revolution and disorder. In itself it is a method so futile, so unworkable, so vexatious, that it can be compared only to the proposal to prevent a carriage being run away with by putting sand into the wheel-axle. Every power you give to the House of Lords will be useless to protect the subject against changes in the Constitution, against which he ought to be guarded, will be efficient only for the purpose of causing friction and vexatious and unending disturbance between the two Houses. From every point of view it is a dangerous Bill, a Bill fraught with possibilities of revolution and disorder. Take it away from us, and give us something better—something which will be, in truth, a counsel of wisdom, something of which it may truly be said that it is a message of peace.


I feel grateful to the House for the kind indulgence which they will no doubt give me in putting the House of Lords question in a somewhat different light than that in which it was put by the various speakers who have gone before, because, having regard to what I know and have studied about it, if I am not in a position to say something new on the subject I have lived in vain. Before I do so, however, I should like to clear away two misconceptions. One has reference to the Irish party and the other to the Prime Minister, and as I shall speak perhaps rather personally of him I am very glad he is not here. First of all, in reference to the Irish party, certainly my heart warmed within me when, a moment ago, I heard the Prime Minister absolutely deny and repudiate the idea that the Members of the Irish party would not support this Bill if it did not mean an avenue and road to Home Rule. We gladly support it for that reason, but we would support any Bill which would make the people, in the words of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, masters of their own House, and which would clear away the vexatious obstacles and destroy the class privileges which pre- vent the giving of true democratic power to the representatives of the people and aid them in carrying out the people's desires. The Irish people, it has been truly said by the Prime Minister, have their own special grievance against the House of Lords.

6.0 P.M.

If they have destroyed, so far as they could, all social development of the English working classes, if they might be described by Lord Shaftesbury as a heartless, apathetic body calculated to paralyse every honourable and philanthropic endeavour, what have they done for Ireland? Their 110 years of rule in Ireland has been one chapter of tyranny. I will only take two or three instances in which this House of Commons, or rather its predecessors, the unreformed House of Commons, passed measures alleviating the condition of the Irish people which were ruthlessly thrown out by the House of Lords. Twice the Catholic Emancipation Bill was passed by the House of Commons and twice it was thrown out by the House of Lords. Three times this House of Commons passed Bills in order to assimilate the franchise, municipal and Parliamentary, in Ireland to the franchise in England. Three times it was thrown out by the House of Lords. But there is one matter, greater than all, which should never be forgotten. In 1881 the Gladstone Government passed a Bill to enable tenants to stay in possession until what time they could pay their rents by instalments—the starving and impoverished Irish tenants who were reduced to a last stage—and this House passed it. The House of Lords threw it out by a greater majority than had ever been gathered together in that House in their own history up to that time. It was a remarkable thing, because it was that historic date which marks the severance of Lord Lansdowne, the Leader of the House of Lords, from the Liberal party. Mr. Gladstone pitchforked Lord Lansdowne, then a young man, from one office to another for many years. Lord Lansdowne left the Under-Secretaryship of State for India in order to vote against his own Government in reference to the Evicted Tenants Bill. He produced, by the destruction of that Bill, a land war which was brought to such a wonderful achievement in reference to the destruction of landlordism by Mr. Parnell.

One word about the Prime Minister. He has been represented as a sham Home Ruler and as a Gentleman who is advocating Home Rule in order to have the Irish vote. It is said that he wants to get this, and will then establish a Parliament in College Green as the price of our vote. That is the meaning of his being led by the "Dollar Dictator." There were not many American dollars coming for Irish agitation forty years ago. I can assure the House that the present Prime Minister when he was a student at Oxford was as firm, as convinced, and as enthusiastic a Home Ruler as any Irish Nationalist Home Rulers there were there. He has never receded from that point and has never turned, in principle, or in character, from the high-minded, patriotic fellow he was in Oxford forty years ago. If I were of his own party I could not speak so enthusiastically of him, but I can view him with an air of detachment, and these are proper and completely historic criticisms. As I am in a mood of reminiscence, and as this thing excites it, let me say this. It has been frequently observed during the Debate by such diverse authorities as the hon. Member (Mr. Bottomley) and my two distinguished Friends (Lord Hugh Cecil and Sir William Anson) that this Debate and the appearance of the House have not been of a very excited or revolutionary character. Where is all the excitement and all the enthusiasm which ought to usher in a tremendous constitutional change? There are no bands outside, there is no booming of guns to announce a Dissolution of Parliament. As the hon. Baronet (Sir W. Anson), the most revolutionary person I have met, rather regretted, there is not a proper element of excitement. I am very much astonished that Gentlemen of their Parliamentary experience should take that as a proof that people are not interested. The late Mr. Lecky once said, in that curious manner that he had of perpetually washing his hands, "It takes only a fortnight in this House of Commons to know more about it than if you were writing and reading about it outside for twenty-five years. The dull appearance of the House, so far from being an evidence of non-excitement, is to me an evidence of the reverse. It is an evidence that the people have made up their minds. They want no further argument on the matter." This four days' Debate provides a time for possible conciliation, just as perhaps a man condemned at the Bar is asked if he has anything to say why execution should not be passed on him. That is the meaning of the dulness of the House. This House at present is an exact replica of the House that Grenville accused, in the Parliamentary Petitions, when they were heard by the whole House, of being an audience where the persons present to hear the Debates were very few, and the judges were very many. The judges to-night will be very many. They will show that it is a practical thing we are at. We mean business, and not talk.

I never heard a revolution defended so weakly as by the Leader of the Opposition and my Noble Friend (Lord Hugh Cecil). If they had lived in the time of the barricades they would have come in and destroyed the barricades, perhaps by quotations from Aristophanes. I will ask hon. Members to consider that this shows how mightily this great cause has progressed. Mr. Bright in 1880—I was thinking over it when the Prime Minister expressed his abhorence and disgust and contempt of the hereditary system—speaking at the Bingley Hall, said that twenty years before, in 1859, he had made a speech in which he said that the hereditary principle could not have any permanent place in the free institution of a self-governing people. He then told his audience that when Lord Palmerston was forming a Government in 1859, he wrote to him and said, "I should be delighted to have had you in the Cabinet, but I cannot have you in on account of those revolutionary views of yours in reference to the House of Lords." Again, I recollect this curious incident. Mr. Labouchere gave notice of a Resolution, copying it from a Resolution of the Parliament of 1642—the Long Parliament—to this effect, "That the House of Lords is useless and is dangerous, and ought to be abolished." As a matter of privilege, the Resolution was brought to the notice of the Speaker, and Mr. Speaker Brand said he would call to order any hon. Member who spoke of the House of Lords in Debate as "useless," and the word "useless" would have to be eliminated from the Motion. Mr. Labouchere did not lose heart. He submitted his Motion, and he got a day by ballot—and this in the 1880 Parliament, the great Parliament in which the Liberals swept the Conservatives—and, could you believe it, they would not allow him to have a House. A House was not formed. In 1882 there was a House formed, and Mr. Labouchere was allowed to make his speech, and his Seconder was allowed to speak, and immediately after that the House was counted out. We are indebted to some of these worthies of former times. Perhaps I will show the House a Resolution which was submitted —the very first Resolution on the House of Lords—which was submitted to this House, and one will see that it is, in rough outline, of the form and scope of the Parliament Bill. The Resolution was moved on 21st November, 1884, by Mr. Labouchere, and seconded by Sir Wilfrid Lawson. It is this:— That in view of the fact that the Conservative Party is able, and has for many years been able, through its permanent majority in the House of Lords, to alter, defeat and delay legislation, although that legislation has been recommended by the responsible Ministers of the Crown and approved by the nation through its elected representatives, it is desirable to make such alterations in the relations of the two Houses of Parliament as will effect a remedy for this state of things. We shall vote for that to-night, and vote for it successfully. I rejoice to think, looking over the Division list, that we have with us now, thank God, some of those who voted and spoke for the resolution. It was rejected by 145 to 71. I see in the list the honoured name of the right hon. Gentleman who is now the Father of the House. I see likewise the name of John Morgan. We all know who he is. He is a Peer, and I wish they were all like him. There is also the name of Charles Russell, who was afterwards the Lord Chief Justice of England. Then we see names which are perhaps dearer to my heart. I see the name of Mr. Biggar here, my hon. Friend (Mr. T. P. O'Connor), and the Member for Roscommon, the hon. Member for one of the divisions for Waterford, and the hon. Member for West Clare. That is a proof, that, so far as the Irish party are concerned, they are true as steel in reference to the House of Lords, and represent the democratic feelings and instincts of the people. That was when the Liberal party as a whole were opposed to Home Rule, and when we had good hope that the Tories would give it.

I want to say a word about the reform of the House of Lords. They are all now anxious to reform. They are, in fact, eager and desirous to reform; but in all their efforts at reform they make themselves very safe. All the chief reformers secure that their positions in the House of Lords are unassailable. They are like the directors of a company who have got into very great trouble, and the first thing the leaders do is to save themselves. In the old form, the Duke of Wellington used to say, "Officers to the front." Here it is nothing of the kind. It is the victims, the "backwoodsmen," who are to go to the front. The backwoodsmen are to efface themselves politically in order to give Lord Lansdowne and Lord Curzon a better lease of political life than they have at present. How were proposals for reform received by the Lords formerly? In 1885 they scouted Lord Rosebery's methods. Sometimes Lord Rosebery is a prophet. He spoke well when he said not long ago that the time is too late for the Lords reforming themselves. They scouted the proposals for reform which were made by Lord Salisbury and Lord Dunraven. They also scouted Lord Carnarvon's proposal to deprive the House of Lords of men who had committed some offences. During their whole existence only two reforms were passed by them. One reform was in 1869 to prevent bankrupt peers sitting in Parliament while they were bankrupts, and the other was the establishment of the Court of Appeal. They were not reformers in 1909 when they threw out the Budget Bill. When they threw out that Bill they went to the country as the saviours of the people, and we know the result in the constituencies. Then they turned round and said they were determined to reform themselves, that they were the promoters of the people's will and wish, and that they only wanted to know what the people wished them to do. We did not hear much about the Referendum in 1887, when a Bill was passed by the power of Pigott's letter. That Bill was passed to destroy constitutional government in Ireland. It was passed by the aid of the guillotine in this House, and, though it was obstructed by the Irish Members to the last degree, the Lords, when it went up to them, carried it in a single day. There is no such thing at present as a properly constituted revising Chamber. It is an absolute pretence for the House of Lords to claim to be a revising Chamber. It keeps up the privileges of a class against the rights of the people at large. I should be sorry to say anything unkind of them personally. When they passed the Bill to which I have referred in one day they utterly destroyed any claim they could have to be regarded as a revising Chamber.

There is one thing in reference to this Bill which has not been spoken of in the Debate, and I think it is the most salient feature of it, namely, the proposal for the shortening of Parliament. That proposal is to me almost as valuable as the destruction of the absolute Veto of the House of Lords. In 1693 a measure for triennial Parliaments was passed, and William III. vetoed it. It was sent back to him in the following year and passed. In 1716 there came the Septennial Act, the reason for passing that measure being that they were afraid there would be a change in the succession. That Bill which extended the life of Parliament from three to seven years was intended to be a temporary measure, but it has remained on the Statute Book from that day to this. One thing which is not generally known is that Lord Chatham said he was a convert to the Triennial Act and would like to see it become law. All the great reformers, including Lord Grey himself, were in favour of shortening the life of Parliament by three, four, or five years, and so late as 1849 a Bill for shortening the life of Parliament was actually given its first reading in this House by a majority of five. The shortening of Parliament has always been a Radical measure.

Another thing in this Bill has not been spoken of at all, but it is a proposal which I regard as extremely constitutional and highly elevating to the rights of this House. Not only is the power of this House over finance absolutely established by this Bill, but Mr. Speaker is to judge whether a Bill will come under the description of what is known as "tacking" or not. He is also to judge whether Amendments made by the Lords or any alterations in our Bills, in the slightest degree infringe the principle that the House of Commons is to have full power over Supply. That is an enormous accession to our privileges. In giving Mr. Speaker this power, it is not so much to the individual as to the House of Commons, whose mouthpiece and representative he is. So far from being an exaltation of the individual, it is a recognition of the power of the House of Commons placed in the man in whom we all have confidence. As regards the Veto itself, there is nothing more clear than that what is proposed by the Bill will give every opportunity for delay and revision if any Bill were brought in against popular feeling. Mr. Gladstone, writing in 1878, expounding the character of our institutions for the benefit of the American public, said, in reference to our septennial Parliament, that it was utterly impossible that they could pass measures contrary to the people's will. He pointed out that there was an election on the average every month, and that Members of Parliament were good judges of political weather. I could mention many measures, including the Repeal of the Corn Laws, which were passed through the House of Commons in obedience to popular feeling. This is not an ideal representative Assembly, but it may be regarded as a genuine reflex of every phase of political life. I rejoice that I have lived to see this day when a reform of the Constitution is to be brought about, entirely unaccompanied by the revolutionary incidents which my hon. Friend the senior Member for Oxford University expected. I believe this is a very historic and interesting period. I recollect reading a speech made by Mr. Disraeli in which he paid a panegyric to Mr. Cobden on the occasion of his death. He said that in Parliament, and in the history of Parliament, there was from generation to generation a communication of sympathy and communion with those who had gone before, and that on great occasions we felt we were not merely individuals passing away, but links in a mighty chain. When we go into the Lobby to-night everyone will feel that he is carrying out the principles of the great men who have made this Parliament the home of national liberty, the defence of the poor, and the refuge of the oppressed. I have no doubt that all the great men, from Simon de Montfort to Fox and Windham, to Grattan and Sheridan, to O'Connell, Peel, and Gladstone, if they could speak, would be in spirit with us to-night, when with God's blessing we will put a stop to a very great and harassing evil.


The Prime Minister resented the suggestion that this Bill was the outcome of an alliance between the Liberal party and the Irish Nationalist party. The hon. and learned Member for Donegal (Mr. Swift MacNeill) said that the Irish party, apart from the question of Home Rule, were in favour of the limitation of the Veto of the House of Lords. I should like the House to consider what was the position of the Prime Minister and of the Leader of the Irish party immediately before this Bill was introduced here last year. The Prime Minister went back to the earlier period when the question of the relationship between this House and the House of Lords had been considered. We all know that that question has been considered for many years past. The hon. and John Redmond) has spent his political life endeavouring to obtain Home Rule cal life endeavouring to obtain Home Rule for Ireland. He and his party have struggled for it, notwithstanding that they have realised that the great majority of the people of the country is absolutely opposed to it. When the Home Rule Bill which passed through this House was thrown out by the House of Lords the hon. and learned Member spoke about that very point and as to the position of the House of Lords with regard to the popular will. He said:— The House of Lords have no power to-day to withstand the declared will of the people, They have never done so. Let the popular will be once emphatically declared in favour of any popular reform and the House of Lords must, as they have always done in the past bow to the popular will.… Had the rejection of the Home Rule Bill been appealed from by the Government, as every similar rejection of every great reform was appealed from in the past, and if the verdict of the people was in favour of Home Rule this I assert, the Home Rule Bill would now be law; and I say further, let the election be held to-morrow on the question of Home Rule pure and simple, and if a majority is elected in the Constituencies in favour of it then the House of Lords will not attempt to oppose it. The rejection of the Home Rule Bill by the House of Lords so far from being protested against, has been justified. If that means anything, it means that the people of this country were opposed to Home Rule, and that the House of Lords, in rejecting the Home Rule Bill, was merely echoing the voice of the people. On a subsequent occasion the hon. Member, referring to the same Bill, said that the House of Lords threw out the Home Rule Bill, and the people endorsed their rejection. The hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. Dillon) has spoken to the same effect. On 14th March, 1909, he caid:— I have read English history and have never been able to discover one single case in the whole history of Great Britain in which any great cause which had been taken up by the people and the democracy was defeated by the obstruction of the House of Lords. The problem which the hon. Member for Waterford and his party had to face, and had faced for twenty-five years, was this. The great majority of the people of the country are against Home Rule, for if that had not been so he would only have had to get an election in which the people had decided in favour of Home Rule, and according to his own statement the House of Lords would have passed it. The problem he had to solve was how to get Home Rule against the will of the majority of the people. That was the problem before him in April last year. What was the problem before the Prime Minister on the same occasion? The Prime Minister had in 1909 a great Budget passed through this House and sent to the House of Lords, and by them referred to the people for their decision. The Nationalist party, to a man I believe, voted against the Second Reading of that Budget, and abstained from voting on the Third Reading, and in the election of January of last year Nationalist Members in Ireland spoke in the most bitterly hostile terms of that Budget. In this House, when the Budget was introduced, the hon. and learned Member for Waterford told the Chancellor of the Exchequer that he must expect throughout the strongest opposition to that Budget on the part of the Irish Members, and he had it. On 10th February the hon. Member said:— If Home Rule is put on one side then I will fight the Budget, and if it is a question of the Budget or Home Rule I will accept the Budget. The position of the Prime Minister therefore was that the majority of the representatives of the people were returned to oppose that Budget. There was a certain section coming from Ireland who were determined to oppose that Budget, but also wanted Home Rule. That was an opportunity of enabling the Prime Minister to get through his Budget against the will of the people by buying the votes of the representative who had been sent here to oppose that Budget, by promising them that which they wanted—Home Rule.

Home Rule is a permanent thing. The Budget is, in a sense, transitory. If the Budget is passed to-day it can be repealed or amended next year, but Home Rule once granted is granted and gone for ever, and the United Kingdom is set asunder. Some hon. Members laugh. Do they suggest that once Home Rule is granted it would ever be possible again to unite the United Kingdom? In this House, before the introduction of this Bill, the hon. Member for Waterford, speaking for his party, made an offer to the Prime Minister. I have no doubt it was merely a repetition of an offer which had been made before. The Prime Minister had come down to the House and said that the Budget was the first item, and then came the question of the Veto. Then it was that the hon. Member for Waterford repeated the offer that I believe had been made before. He said on 1st February, in this House:— Let the right hon Gentleman give us reasonable assurance that he will be able to carry his Veto Bill into law this year and we will not abstain from voting on the Budget. We will vote for it. We are willing to pay that price, but we are not willing to pay that price for nothing. That is an offer of a bargain pure and simple. What is the price? They will vote for that Budget which they were returned to oppose, but in return they want Home Rule. That is a bargain as plainly made as any bargain could possibly be made. "We will sell you our votes upon the Budget to enable you to get your Budget through against the will of the people if you, on the other hand, will en- able us to get Home Rule through against the will of the people." That was the bargain that was struck in this House, and this Bill is now being forced through this House under the guise of giving effect to the will of the people though the majority of the people are opposed to it—


I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Member, but is he willing—


The hon. Member is not entitled to interrupt. The hon. Member speaking is entitled to finish his speech.


That was the bargain. The hon. Member for Water-ford was to be enabled to solve his problem how to get Home Rule against the will of the people, and the Prime Minister was to be enabled to solve his problem how to get the Budget against the will of the people, and then they introduce this Bill and force it through the House, pretending that its object is to enable the will of the people to be carried out. It is said that this Bill is not a Home Rule Bill. I noticed, in the course of the Debate, that the hon. Member for St. Ives (Sir Clifford Cory), and I believe there are others opposite in the same position, said he had been returned to oppose Home Rule. The difficulty in his mind was as to whether this was really Home Rule; but the hon. Member for Waterford has given an answer to that question. He said:— We will regard the abolition or the limitation of the Veto of the House of Lords as tantamount to granting Home Rule. The object is to get rid of the block which stands at present for the will of the people as against Home Rule. So long as the people are against Home Rule so long will that block stand. You have got to remove it, and then you can bargain for votes which will carry Home Rule against the will of the people. That is the position which this House is asked to accept under the pretence that you are passing a Bill in order that the will of the people may prevail. That is really an imposture upon the good sense of the House and upon the people. It has been said that this Parliament Bill was before the people of the country, and that the people have adopted it and sanctioned it. I wonder how many of those who voted at the last election ever saw or heard or read a single line of the Parliament Bill. How many of them understood it How many of them knew what was intended by that Bill? What were they deciding on that Bill? Was the Bill put fairly, fully, and truthfully before the people of the country? Before you can say that the last election resulted in a great national verdict in favour of your Parliament Bill you must show that it was put before the people fairly, fully, and truthfully, and that, understanding it, the people voted for it. Instead of that, however, on every platform up and down the country speeches were made in which the question between the House of Lords and this House was not fairly, fully, or truthfully stated. The way it was put before the people of this country was whether the Lords should be allowed to tax the food of the poor, or whether the Parliament Bill was to be passed in order to enable the Government to tax the possessions of the rich. That was the line which was taken; those were the arguments used, and by no less an authority than the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Let me read what the right hon. Gentleman said, speaking at Mile End on 21st November last. He was speaking of his famous Budget, and I take it that his purpose was to explain to the people the real dispute between this House and the House of Lords, which necessitated this Parliament Bill. He said:— We also needed money for the purpose of great schemes of Social Reform, long promised by both Parties, much too long deferred. That was our need No one denied it. How did we meet it? By taxing great incomes, great fortunes, and the luxuries of all classes. That was our proposal. We sent it to the House of Lords. What did they demand? That great wealth should be spared; that we shauld pass luxuries by untaxed and untolled, and the money squandered on luxuries also, and that we should impose the burden on the bread and the meat of the people. What was our answer? We said, not an ounce would we tax out of the necessities of the life of the people. Then the Lords said, 'Out with your Budget then,' and we have come here to ask you to help us to put them out. Does that represent the reason for this Parliament Bill at all? Where have the House of Lords ever said that you shall not tax great wealth, and that you ought to impose burdens on the bread of the people? Is there any resolution to that effect to be found anywhere? Is there any single vote of the House of Lords that can be taken to justify that statement? Does that truly represent the reason or the object or purport of this Parliament Bill? It represented to the people to whom it was addressed that the question between the House of Lords and this House was whether the rich man was to be taxed, or whether the poor man's bread and meat should be taxed—that this House wanted to tax the rich man's wealth, and that the House of Lords wanted to tax the poor man's bread. That never was the issue. There is no justification whatever for the statement that the House of Lords have ever sought to prevent the rich man's wealth from being taxed, and to impose burdens on the bread and meat of the people. That is only one instance. You can go through every speech made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, by the Home Secretary, and by many other politicians on the other side and you will find the same thing repeated and echoed over and over again. That is how votes were got for this Parliament Bill. People were got to vote for it, not by telling them exactly what are the object and substance of this measure, but by treating it as a question of the taxation of the rich or the taxation of the poor. This Parliament Bill has no more to do with taxing the rich or the poor than any other Bill. However, the course taken was strong enough for the purpose of taking the votes of the people who did not know what the Bill was. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said some time ago, and it was repeated by an hon. Member of the Labour party in the course of this Debate, that when a great issue of this kind was pending, it was exceedingly wrong to misstate the issue to the people whom you are asking to vote. I have read a very great number of speeches made during the last election by right hon. and hon. Members opposite, and I have not found in one of those speeches that the Parliament Bill was read to the audience, or explained. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh."] I do not profess to have read them all. I am not suggesting that I have done so, but I have read a great many, and in none have I seen that the Parliament Bill was explained to the audience.

But the point is this, that the Parliament Bill was got through the last election by speeches such as that made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and not by clear and simple statements of the intentions and purposes of the measure. If you have got the Bill through in that way you cannot say that it has the deliberate will of the people behind it. In order to justify this statement that it has the support of the great national verdict, you must show that the people who gave that verdict understood fully and truthfully what it was they were giving a verdict about. Having gone up and down the country during the election for the purpose of getting votes, and having succeeded in securing them by the means to which I have referred, it is impossible for hon. Members opposite to say that these votes are votes in favour of the Parliament Bill. Another method was adopted for the purpose of getting votes for this Bill, the moment an election became certain the people were told by the Radical Press that the Lords "broke up the Conference, and that the fact must be driven home while it is fresh in the public mind." Is that true—the Chancellor of the Exchequer no doubt can answer—that the House of Lords broke up the Conference? If it is not true, why is that statement made? [An HON MEMBER: "You made it."] The statement was published in a leading article in the "Daily News" on the 15th November, 1910. [An HON. MEMBER: "Copied from the 'Daily Mail.' "] I am glad of that interruption. Just see what it means. If it means anything it means that the "Daily Mail" contained misleading and false statements Supposing it were so, all the stronger my case. If both sides made misstatements how can we say that the people understood the Bill? I have not found for my part, and I do not think hon. Members have been able to quote in the course of their speeches in the Debate, misstatements as to facts made in the last election on behalf of the party of which I am a humble Member. I am putting to the House here a statement made by a leading organ of the Press of the party opposite, and made immediately before the election for the purpose of getting votes, a statement which is untrue. How would that statement in the "Daily News" be used, do you think? What was it intended for? I do not suppose that anybody but Radicals reads the "Daily News," and they were not likely to be affected; but this statement was published so that street orators and corner-end orators were able to use and tell their audiences that it was the wicked House of Lords that had smashed the Conference. That was how votes were obtained in favour of the Parliament Bill.

If you go through the speeches of candidates and supporters of the other side during the last election you will find over and over again statements with regard to the question between this House and the House of Lords which are absolutely unfounded in fact—statements made for the purpose of catching votes. These people know their business when they are vote-catching. They make those statements knowing what will be their effect, and knowing that they will get votes. Having obtained them by these means they, forsooth, come down here and say, "We have a great majority in favour of our Parlia- ment Bill." If that Bill had been simply and carefully and truthfully explained to the people, if they had been told that this Parliament Bill was intended to put the whole power of legislation in the hands of a Single Chamber, and to do that primarily for the purpose of granting Home Rule to Ireland—if all that had been put clearly before the electorate, I think the result of the last General Election would have been very different. It has been stated in the course of this Debate that the people were told over and over again that the Home Rule question was to be decided during that election. It has been pointed out as a curious fact that no Minister mentioned the question in his address. But I happened to be in Wiltshire, and there I had placed before me a speech which was made by a Minister who is no longer a Member of this House (Sir John Fuller). He made a speech for the purpose of getting votes in that election. Speaking at Melksham, on 30th November, he said:— I am wanting, so far as I am able, to conduct the campaign so that Liberals shall not be blinded by any side issues, and pay no attention to Home Rule."' What does that mean? If that means anything, it meant that Home Rule had nothing to do with that election. Why did Sir John Fuller make that statement? Because he realised that there was a large body of the electorate who were opposed to Home Rule, and their votes were wanted.

7.0 P.M.

I have no doubt what was done by Sir John Fuller was done also in other constituencies where there was a strong anti-Home Rule feeling. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I am quoting a statement from a speech of a then Minister of the Crown, and is it not a sound presumption that the followers would do the same. The position is, first, that this Bill is the outcome with the view to enabling the Prime Minister and the hon. and learned Member for Waterford to get through their two measures against the will of the people; and, secondly, it is impossible to say that this Bill was fairly, fully, or truthfully before the people of the country at the last election, or that the last election is a verdict in favour of this Bill.


The hon. Member who has just spoken put two points very prominently before the House. The first was that the supporters of this Bill had failed to submit the Bill to their constituents during the election. The second was that we had been guilty, either directly, or through the Press that supports us, of misrepresenting the position. As to the first point, in my judgment never was a question so thoroughly submitted to the constituencies as was the Veto Bill during the last election. At any rate, if other Members experienced what I experienced in my Constituency, even if I had been desirous of shirking the issue, my opponents did not permit me to do so. I will venture to say that what I did most Members did who are now supporting this Bill—namely, in going to their constituencies for re-election they submitted one question, and one question only, through their election addresses to their supporters, and to their constituents. In my own case, I admit the soft impeachment that has been thrown over the floor of the House repeatedly during this Debate, that in my election address I did not mention the question of Home Rule. Why? That was my fourth election in seven and a half years, and I took good care I submitted only one issue in my fourth election, for the simple reason I wanted those whom I represented in this House to understand that the work they had sent me to do was impossible of accomplishment, including the question of Home Rule, because of the obstructive tactics of the House of Lords. Therefore, in my election address I said, the supreme issue in this contest, and I shall endeavour to concentrate upon it, is the removal of the Veto of the House of Lords. In regard to the second point made by the hon. Member that the position had been directly or indirectly misrepresented in the country, I was most surprised that an hon. Member occupying his position, especially professionally, should have begun to quote from a paper giving us the name of the paper without telling us that the paper was actually using a quotation from a paper on his own side.


Will the hon. Member kindly tell me what quotation?


The hon. Member quoted from the "Daily News," and I wish to suggest that the quotation was included in an article in the "Daily News" calling attention to what had been said by the "Daily Mail" and commenting upon it.


The passage I quoted from the "Daily News" does not purport in any sense to be a quotation from the "Daily Mail."


The hon. Member distinctly said that the "Daily News" charged the Lords with breaking-up the Conference. I think I am in the recollection of the House in that statement. Hon. Members on this side of the House threw over the challenge that that was a statement from the "Daily Mail." Now I hold, when it first appeared in the "Daily Mail," and when it was being quoted in the leading article columns of the "Daily News," that the hon. Member ought not to have thrown the statement to us from the "Daily News," but from where it first originated—namely, in the columns of the "Daily Mail."


I quoted from the "Daily News" what appeared in the "Daily News" as a part of the article of the "Daily News," and not as a quotation; and so far as I know—and I may be wrong, as I do not read the "Daily Mail "—it never appeared in the "Daily Mail." [HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw."]


When I have got anything to withdraw I will willingly withdraw it, but I again repeat that the statement appeared in the first case in the "Daily Mail" the morning after the Conference was publicly known to have failed to come to a conclusion. Therefore, I think that I am right in saying that the statement ought to have been traced to its source before it was quoted in this House. I am the more surprised that the hon. Member quotes it when he admits he does not read the "Daily News," and did not read the article.


I did not say I did not read the article. I read the article in question from beginning to end in the "Daily News," not in the "Daily Mail."


I do not want to misrepresent the hon. Member, but I understood him in his speech to say that he did not read the "Daily News."


No, the "Daily Mail," I said.


I think he said only Radicals read the "Daily News," and as he is not a Radical I assumed that he did not read the "Daily News." I do not know that we need pursue the matter further. Since this controversy was brought prominently before this House there has been no ambiguity about the position which we on these benches took up. I think we have always been perfectly straightforward. The right hon. Gentle- man the Leader of the Opposition, in his speech to-day, quite unintentionally, I will admit, did not do quite justice to the position which we take up. He made a very strong point when he was discussing the different sections that support the Government on this question, based upon the speech of the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Snowden), that our only objection, or our main objection, to the House of Lords was because of the hereditary principle. I do not think that that quite fairly states our position, and I think he certainly ought to have known that it did not do so. What was the position that we very fully declared in the Amendment which we moved in 1907, when Resolutions on this question were submitted to the House. That Amendment was as follows:

"The House of Lords, being an unrepresentative part of the Legislature, and of necessity representative only of interests opposed to the general well-being, is a hindrance to national progress, and ought to be abolished."

To that position we still hold, and, in fact, if anything our adherence to the principle it contains has been strengthened since 1907. We, as a young party, and I think our presence here in 1906 had its significance, came here in 1906 strongly desirous of seeing certain great social and economic reforms effected. We did our best in supporting those reforms as they were brought from time to time before this House. But what did we find? Time after time the very questions that we had been sent here to support were rejected or so mutilated as to be made impossible of acceptance at the hands of the House. Therefore I say, having regard to what has passed since 1907, our adherence to the principle that we then declared for is, if anything, stronger. In fact it appears to us that any other position would be inconsistent with the complete supremacy of this representative House. Any other position would also be inconsistent with the increasing democratic tendencies of the times, and with that changed outlook that is operating almost amongst all sections of the community with regard to the need for great social and economic changes. We are convinced that democracy receives neither fair play nor justice from our present irresponsible and non-representative Second Chamber. Moreover, when we consider the history of the House of Lords, its composition, and its powers, we find that there is nothing about it to commend it to the consideration or compassion of the com- mon people of this country. Its decisions have ever been marked by class prejudice or political partisanship, by which it has frequently defrauded the people of the fruits of representative government. So far as we on these benches are entitled to speak for the organised workers of this country we wish it to be understood that the long and serious nature of our grievances is the measure of our determination to insist upon a remedy that will make a repetition of the offence for ever impossible. We are not alone in our opinion of the class character of the House of Lords. Many quotations have been given during the course of this Debate, and I am going to quote, not a member of the great rank and file of the democratic forces of this country, but to give a quotation from an article in the "Nineteenth Century," by the late Duke of Marlborough. He said:— It is certainly discouraging to an admirer of the hereditary system to take note of the mental calibre, not to say the physical appearance, of certain noble Lords who on great occasions are dug up from their graves of dignified oblivion to assist in defeating a measure which is distasteful to the hereditary Chamber. It is certainly hard on the people, who spend their time and their energy in sending Members to Parliament, that a parcel of incapable and ignorant gentlemen should have a right to come down when they choose to the Upper Chamber, and obstruct indefinitely the progress of "measure which is for the benefit of the nation. The Duke of Marlborough goes on to say:— The House of Lords has used its direct and indirect influence for eighty years to impede and stave off all reform, until it has endangered not only the just rights of property, but also the very integrity of the Empire. He also declared the House of Lords to be an institution representing essentially the landowning class. It is in the spirit of the statement I have made and the statement I have quoted that we approach the consideration not only of the Parliament Bill, but also of the Amendment proposed by the right hon. Member for East Worcestershire. We frankly admit that neither the policy of the Bill nor the policy of the Amendment meets the position of hon. Members on these benches. Apart, however, from the Preamble of the Bill, which we deplore, and which was condemned very emphatically by my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester (Mr. Ramsay Macdonald) on the First Reading of the measure, we are drawn towards the Bill, as we think it provides for an admitted grievance a remedy that will be practical, immediate and effective. We also support the Bill because its provisions are the only proposals, in our judgment upon which the country has been consulted and has given judgment in a constitutional way. I know what on this point we have been told in the course of the Debate that the difference between the supporters of the Bill and its opponents is so small that we are outraging the feelings of nearly half the electors by forcing the measure through. Is it to be the new theory that we are to heed the lesser half and ignore the definite instructions of the greater? Is that to be the new theory in connection with our electoral system? In our opinion the constituencies have been consulted, and, though, as the right hon. Gentleman says, the question of mandate might be pushed too far, yet certainly never during the eight years I have been in this House and never in any election that I have known has a single measure been so definitely and so clearly submitted to the judgment of the nation as was the Parliament Bill last December.

In thus giving our approval to the Bill we are not unmindful of the dangers that may follow the process of delay which the Bill sets up. I do not know that I am far wrong, remembering the process of delay that may follow every measure of importance, and especially every measure to bring about those social and economic changes which we so much desire to see, in thinking that in years to come those of u s who are supporting this measure will be charged with having supported one of the most Conservative measures ever placed upon the Statute Book. We regard the Parliament Bill as a compromise, and in our opinion it is the full limit to which we ought to be invited to go. Our position is the Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill. We are always perfectly candid about our position, and that is our position on the present occasion. So long as the Government stand by the Bill in its principle, and endeavour to secure its speedy passage into law, they will have our cordial support. What about the alternative set forth in the Amendment? When we come to analyse that Amendment and the speeches by which it has been supported we cannot resist the conclusion that it seems to make the composition of the Second Chamber, and not its powers and functions, the supreme issue in this controversy. In the second place, it seems to me to relegate the settlement of the powers and functions of the Second Chamber to a more remote period. If this is not the case, what becomes of the doctrine of the mandate of which we have heard so much? To consent to the in- definite postponement of the fixing of the powers and functions of the Second Chamber appears to me to be altogether contrary to the wishes of the majority of the electors, and to disregard the urgency of the need for an immediate remedy of this long outstanding grievance. Members opposite seem to have displayed throughout the Debate a remarkable contempt for the past, and they invite us to explore with them the uncertainties of the future. We are invited by them to reject the Veto Bill which we have seen, in order to undertake some scheme of reform which we have not seen, and upon which I venture to say hon. Members opposite themselves are not yet agreed.

In spite of the fact that I have followed most carefully this discussion, it is necessary for me to inquire what these reform proposals that are now being nursed so much by the other side really are. It must be admitted that the Debate has not thrown a considerable amount of light upon the position of the Opposition. We do not know, as yet, whether they are unanimously agreed—I am not overlooking the statement made by the Leader of the Opposition—upon the complete abandonment of the hereditary principle. I believe that the right hon. Member for the Strand Division (Mr. Walter Long) is to take part in the Debate. I should like to have an assurance from him that there is general agreement that the hereditary principle is to be abandoned. We have not been told yet whether the young Tory democrats, who I believe have held more than one meeting in the Committee room upstairs, have themselves agreed that the new Second Chamber shall be entirely elective, or whether they have persuaded their leaders to take up the position which we know many of these Tory Democrats hold. Is the Second Chamber to be chosen by the people and responsible only to the people? In view of the questions which have been put on the other side, I think these are inquiries which might very pertinently be submitted for answer before the Debate closes. May I say without offence, that all the schemes under discussion are in process of being sat on, and it would be dangerous to say what will be the result when the egg is hatched or when the process of incubation is terminated. It would be dangerous to say whether we are going to get the real article or something that will be less savoury. Are the Opposition certain that they have a mandate for the reform schemes about which they have talked so much during this Debate? Have they a mandate for setting up the Referendum as part of the Constitution? It seems to me that one or two of their own papers have rather given them away. For instance, this is what I read in one of the strongest papers behind the party opposite. The "Morning Post," as recently as 28th January last, said:— Whatever else the people may or may not have decided by the recent election, they rejected the Unionist schemes of Constitutional reconstruction, and they did not reject the whole Constitution on which they were not given an opportunity to pronounce. Then the paper goes on to say:— Patriotic self-sacrifice alone is needed to clear the path for the Unionist party to revert to a constructive policy. Abandon Constitution-mongering, It seems to me that Members opposite might take to heart the advice given to them by one of their stoutest organs. Are they quite sure that they have a mandate for reconstruction, reform, or the Referendum? Whichever scheme of reform the Unionist party ultimately take up, whether it be Lord Lansdowne's scheme, Lord Curzon's scheme, Lord Rosebery's scheme, or a mixture of them all, or perhaps the scheme which is being considered so carefully by the energetic Members of the party in the committee-room upstairs, we are not convinced that the scheme will be satisfactory from our point of view. Anyone of them will still retain an overwhelming majority of class representatives who will be against the social and economic position for which we are fighting. Therefore we want to say that we cannot agree with the suggestion made by the right hon. Gentleman that we ought to have, not a better, but a stronger Second Chamber. If we have suffered all these years by having our measures thrown back, by having the will of the people flouted, then it seems to me that we ought to be very much on our guard before we give the slightest encouragement to any schemes of reform that have been hinted at up to the present time. When I speak of schemes of reform that have been hinted at up to the present time, let me say that that includes not only those for which the Noble Lords who support the party opposite, or Members of the party opposite, have been suggesting, but it applies equally and just as emphatically to any scheme of reform for which the present Government may in future days make themselves responsible. But we have been told very often in connection with this controversy, and in this Debate, that the Referendum or a reformed Second Chamber is absolutely essential to safeguard the interests of the people of this country. What I cannot understand—and I think the party opposite ought to make a choice—is this: how they should be so persistent in putting before the House that the only concern they have is to ascertain the will of the people—for that is really the intent of the Amendment now before the House—they profess that their only concern is to be in a position to ascertain the will of the people—yet they are trying to find out some scheme of reform which will stand between the expression of the will of the people as declared at election times—as expressed through the elected representatives in this House! I want them to choose whether they are going to have the will of the people as expressed through the elected representatives, or the will of the people expressed by some fantastic scheme of Referendum? After all, one satisfactory point has emerged from the Debate. It is this: We on these benches have been declaring all along against the position of the House of Lords. We have the satisfaction of knowing that at least right hon. and hon. Gentlemen—and especially right hon. Gentlemen—are convinced that the present system has completely broken down. I would like to know if that position is challenged?


The hon. Gentleman appeals to me. I do not think anybody has used language that justifies his phrase that we accept his definition that "the existing state of things has completely broken down."


I am rather glad that the right hon. Gentleman has interposed, because I am going to try to give my justification for the position I take up. Dealing with this question of the Referendum the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, as recently as 25th June, 1907, speaking at the Constitutional Club, made the following statement:— Other people have suggested the Referendum. Now I do not say that the Referendum is not, in the absence of some other and better plan, one to which this country might conceivably be driven; but it is certainly alien to our traditions. However in conformity with the theory of popular representation it may be, it is not easy to carry out— I hope hon. Members opposite will remember those are the words of their own Leader— and I should certainly not myself advocate it until I was convinced of the total failure of the existing system. I hope my right hon. Friend (Mr. Long) will consider that I did not stretch the point too far when I said that they are now going in for reform and the Referendum because in the words of their own Leader they must be convinced of the total failure of the existing system. Therefore I say we are delighted that at least on this point there is agreement between them and ourselves—[An HON. MEMBER: "Their Leader"]—between their Leader and ourselves. One more point. The right hon. Gentleman tried to make a point against those of us who are sup porting the Parliament Bill, and especially against the Government and the Nation alist party. The point was this: That they had deflected the course that they would have taken under other circumstances merely to obtain that which they had both set their hearts upon. Very well. I am not going to analyse that position. I only want to base this contention upon it: If that be so, what, I want to ask, would the country think of the Government who accepted the repeated invitation which has been given from the other side to the Government—not to us; we have been left out—that because there is now common agreement as to the necessity of reform—


Hear, hear.


Yes; I am glad that my right hon. Friend accepts that—that they have deflected from the position that they went to the country, with the Nationalists and ourselves, upon last December; that they have to treat with contempt the verdict of the country, to throw over entirely the doctrine of the mandate, to deflect from their course in order that they may walk in agreement with those who bitterly opposed them at the election. We have got back to the old story that we learnt in our schooldays. The Opposition have been saying to the Government: "We are agreed; why cannot we walk together?" "When two are agreed, why do they not continue their journey together?" This is their position:— Will you walk into my parlour. Said the spider to the fly? That is the position. They talk of the morality of the Government and of the Nationalist party in deflecting from the course of action that they have in view, yet they would invite the Government, who have received a special mandate from the country, to leave us to that extent and go with them in trying to find some scheme of reform and settlement of the functions and powers of the House of Lords! I do not think for a single moment that the Government will listen to the suggestion. All I have to say is, that if they do they will not only forfeit any support that we on these benches have to give, but, in my opinion, if they do anything to pass such a Bill into law they will forfeit the confidence of the country.


The Government are threatened in every direction. They are told by supporters below the Gangway on this side of the House—not inside the House, but outside, that they must "toe the line." Other hon. Members below the Gangway on the opposite side of the House say that if the Government—in which they express such supreme con fidence—venture to surrender the smallest portion of the principle of this Bill, for which a direct mandate is claimed, they will have to face the consequences and they will lose the support of a prominent section of the coalition. I have listened to the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken. I was particularly struck by one remark which he made in which he claimed that the country wanted "the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill." We all know where that cry first came from. I would ask Members who are aware of what is going on in the country to cast their minds back from this day to that, and make the comparison for themselves of the different circumstances. That was a cry which the people of this country in every town, village, and hamlet, the artisan of the town and the labourer of the country, raised in 1832 when the great franchise reform demanded by the people was pending. That was a cry which met you everywhere. If you read the history of those times you will see that mass meeting after mass meeting was held, and the country was ablaze with excitement. The watchword was: "The whole Bill and nothing but the Bill." One would really think, from the voices of sound and fury and confidence that one hears in this House that the country at the present time was in the same condition as in 1832. Does anyone who has any knowledge of the country at the present time, with this great constitutional revolution pending, suggest for a moment that the country is on fire?


What about lining the last ditch?


I am perfectly satisfied when the time does come for lining the ditches we will not see hon. Members oppo- site there. Compare the position of 1832 with what the feeling of the country is at the present time. There is a constitutional revolution pending—it is admitted by its sponsors—in the four corners of this Bill. I think it is most extravagant language. I do not think that it is a healthy sign of the times, but fact it is that outside party politicians the general public seem perfectly apathetic as to what both sides are doing in this House of Commons. Hon. Members opposite get up and shout: "Great is Diana of the Ephesians." They will keep up the cry for the space of three hours. But the country is going about its own business. A great many hon. Gentleman in this Debate have stated that in their opinion half the country does not understand the Parliament Bill, and the other half does not care about it. I do not believe that the ordinary man outside the party politicians in any part of the country would lose a moment's sleep if he were to be told to-night that the Bill had gone through, or had been rejected. Hon. Members have got up and said that the country is dying for the Bill; is on fire for the Bill as it was in 1832, and that every man is shouting and asseverating that "We must have the whole Bill and nothing but the Bill." That is an expression which the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has made use of. I have a friend who has been recently at the election in Lincolnshire. The experience of my friend was that he found the Radical candidate rubbing in the old Radical superstition about the danger of old age pensions—a thing which ought to have been exploded long ago—he was rubbing in the risk of dear food; and, on the other hand, the Unionists were rubbing in, and quite properly rubbing in, the dangers of Home Rule, and there was a very keen conflict. The Parliament Bill was argued neither on one side nor the other, but I have no doubt that if a follower of the Government came back or was returned he would join in the shout that he was elected upon the Parliament Bill. There was no enthusiasm for the Bill because the people did not really understand it, or if they did they were apathetic, and there is no general enthusiasm in any part of the country for the objects which the Bill is intended to bring about. I know you will get no more enthusiastic supporters of the policy of Home Rule than Nationalist Members below the Gangway, but will anyone tell me that there is general enthusiasm on the part of the Liberal Benches opposite upon Home Rule. [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] Then you do not show it in your constituency. I took part in a great many elections in this country, and I generally found Members of the Liberal party singularly silent about Home Rule, unless when addressing audiences in which there was a sprinkling of Irish people. Hon. Members opposite may be very glad to have Home Rule got rid of, because it would rid them of difficulties which confront them in their constituencies. But I certainly defy any solid body of Liberals opposite to say they are enthusiastic for Home Rule. It is looked upon as a great experiment, accompanied by a good deal of danger, and I say that none of them are prepared to defend it whole-heartedly.

This Bill is welcomed by the Labour party, because they think it will give them a chance of reversing the Osborne Judgment. I do not know whether my countrymen in this House are concerned much about the Osborne Judgment. [HON. MEMBRES: "We are."] I never heard much about it in Ireland. I heard a good deal of talk about the Whisky Tax, more unquestionably than about the Osborne Judgment, but I understand the Nationalist Members are prepared to assist the Labour party in return for the Labour party assisting them, but that is nothing more or less than ordinary log-rolling. I should not describe my countrymen as wild with enthusiasm for the Osborne Judgment, and I am sure there are a great many Liberals of whom the same might be said. The Welsh Members are wildly enthusiastic for disestablishment of the Welsh Church, which will give them their hearts' desire.


The same as the Ulster Members were up to 1870.


Yes, but if Ulster and Wales were united up to 1870, I am sorry that Wales has abandoned Ulster by trying to force Home Rule upon her.


The Ulster Members pledged themselves to help Wales towards disestablishment, in return for disestablishment given to Ulster by the assistance of Wales.


Yes, and in return, the Welsh Members vote for putting Home Rule upon us. I appeal to the hon. Member, unless his interruptions are pertinent, to allow me to proceed. The hon. Member has a good deal of interest in the disestablishment of the Welsh Church, but I do not know whether that is so widely or enthusiastically shared by English Liberals, many of whom are members of the English Church, and I do not know whether Nationalist Members are very much interested. The matter is one which interests non-Catholics, and does not appeal to Nationalist Members. There are various objects for which the Parliament Bill does appeal to each section, and I take leave to say that just as there is little general enthusiasm in any part of the country for the Parliament Bill outside the professional politician, so there is very little enthusiasm for any one of the objects which each section hopes to gather through the Parliament Bill. When I heard the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken say that when he came into the House eight years ago, and subsequently that the one thing dear to him and his party were measures of economic reform, I began to wonder how far with his eyes open he was playing a game which would absolutely delay measures of social reform.

The Government has thrown down the gauntlet of constitutional revolution. You are not going to settle that in one session. When the heather does take fire, when the people do get interested, and realise what the great issues are, you are going to have business, trade, social progress and reform in this country, at a standstill for the next three years, while we are probing to its very depths this great question of constitutional reform—the reform of this House and the composition of the other. In the meantime, social reform is postponed by the Government. Next year we are going to have Home Rule, we are told. That is an interesting question for hon. Members from Ireland below the Gangway. Does that help social reform in England? I have not heard any answer from hon. Members who represent the Liberal party. I think the ordinary English artisan would consider he is being fed with an empty spoon if the year's work of social reform of the Government is to be represented by Home Rule for Ireland. The next year—1913—is to be spent in the Disestablishment of the Welsh Church, so far as a definite pledge could be given. Is that social reform for the English working man? It will take the whole of the Session, and the English working man is represented here by a party which pledged itself to give him social and economic reform, but whose whole action is to keep the Government in power while dealing with these questions, and to postpone real social reform for four, five, or six years hence, with a General Election in the meantime.

After the experience which the country has had during the last five years the people are perfectly sick of this House spending its time upon legislation. What the people want much more is that the House should look better after admistrative affairs. You can take three days here in Committee over a minor Bill; hon. Members can speak as often as they like in Committee, and on other days—on one of the miserable twenty-three days allotted for Supply—£10,000,000 or £20,000,000, or £30,000,000, which is to be spent for the good of the country or the people, is voted without any discussion. I know perfectly well that a feeling is growing that the House of Commons would be much better engaged in attending to administration, in seeing how money is spent, and how the Government of the country is carried on, than as they are at present wasting the time of the nation on legislation, some of which is as useless as it is contentious. Really you should have in this House, as the Jews had, a Sabbath every seven years—a legislative Sabbath—when the House would content itself with the ordinary humdrum business and put its affairs in order. Such a course would be welcomed by the country. The Parliament Bill does not touch that, social reform is postponed in the way I have said. Is it any wonder that the country should not be enthusiastic for the Parliament Bill. The sponsors to the Bill have recognised that there is a good deal of danger of legislation which is not really approved of by the people, being rushed through when you deprive the House of Lords of the power of referring it to the country. That has been conceded again and again, but whenever it is conceded it is accompanied by the announcement that there are safeguards. The only safeguards suggested is the check of debate in this House before a Bill is passed, and second, the check of debate in the country if a Bill is for the second time passed before it automatically becomes law. Are these really practical checks? If the check of debate in this House had been proposed, say twenty years ago, I think it would have been a very good one, because then debates in this House were uncontrolled. The rules were not invented under which we work and labour to-day. Any Member could discuss any subject or part of a Bill practically as long as he liked. There was free debate, but the framers of this Bill, unconsciously or deliberately, have lost sight of these things. Under what conditions are we to debate matters now? Day after day and Session after Session we see the Government getting more greedy and grasping of the ordinary Members' time.

8.0 P.M.

One of the first thing this Government did, after 1906, was to reverse the Standing Orders. One result of that was, that now, unless the contrary is moved, every Bill for its Committee stage must go upstairs. What is the effect of sending it upstairs? Debates in this House would be of very little use and would have no effect but for the fact that they are published. The proceedings of Committees upstairs are practically never published, and that means that a Bill is sent upstairs, if the Minister in charge wishes to avoid public criticism, and nothing more is heard of it until the Report stage in this House. We had an instance of that when a Bill for endowing and establishing a Roman Catholic University in Ireland was sent to a Committee upstairs. If it were debated in this House, the proceedings would have been printed and published, and would have shown how utterly hollow was the claim that the University set up was an undenominational one. The Chief Secretary took care that the Bill went upstairs, and we had thirteen days of it there, with only cursory reports appearing. That was a case in which public debate in this House should have acted as a safeguard and check upon the passage of that Bill for any one who had pledged himself as many hon. Gentlemen opposite had done, to oppose denominational education or to endow it by the State That Bill was burked, its passage was cloaked and concealed upstairs; so we see what the value of the check of debate would be. In these days you have the guillotine doubly sharpened and the gag working with a double snap. We now have a system which has been called the "kangaroo" system, and day by day opportunities for the discussion of popular measures are being taken from the House. Debate is no longer possible as an efficient check upon legislation. This Bill will also prevent the check in the country being efficient, because you can only have that check when the public are fully informed through the Press of what has happened in the House of Commons. The present system is a very illusory check to prevent measures being smuggled through. With regard to the suggested composition of the Second Chamber, that is a point which has been dealt with by many speakers, and I only wish to refer to what the Minister for Education (Mr. Runciman) said about it. The right hon. Gentleman said the Crown had the Prerogative of creating Peers, but the Peers were hereditary, and that it would be an interference with the Royal Prerogative if you abolished the hereditary representation to the fullest extent from the Second Chamber. That being the pronouncement of a Minister, it seems that there will be some hereditary element left when the time comes for the Government to formulate their schemes of reform. I should have thought that, moving with the times and popular feeling—which has been inflamed very unfairly in some directions—there would have been a more popular move in the direction of having an entirely elected Second Chamber, but that would at once have been attacked by hon. Members opposite as being an attempt to set up a stronger House than the House of Commons itself. If on these benches we had agreed to support a popularly elected Second Chamber we should at once have been told that we were only trying to make the Upper House stronger. Some hon. Members have said that the Second Chamber ought to be elected on the same franchise as the Members of this House. If so, what is the good of a Second Chamber? Surely you could appoint a Committee of this House to do the work of revising, delaying, and checking our proceedings? Would any hon. Member of this House be willing to serve on such a committee? [An HON. MEMBER: "Yes, I would."] If the hon. Member opposite did serve on such a committee he would find his powers truncated, because he would only have the powers which the Parliament Bill confers upon him, and, after being selected, at the end of three Sessions he might find the Bill which he had condemned or rejected passed over his head. With the exception of the hon. Member opposite I am sure that very few Members of this House would be content to serve on such a Committee.

The Minister for Education dealt with the scheme promulgated from the House of Lords and in particular with Lord Curzon's scheme. I do quarrel with the way that scheme was presented to the House by the right hon. Gentleman. In my opinion any question of altering the Constitution ought not to be treated as a party question. This is a national question affecting the whole position of ourselves and those who are to come after us. Lord Curzon proposed that the Second Chamber should consist of certain peers and leaders in the State, and certain distinguished men in the military, judicial, legal, and medical services who have made their way to the top of their respective professions. He also suggested that there ought to some of the men who have distinguished themselves in the municipal world, who conduct the fortunes of our great thriving centres of industry. If Ministers would look at this question from a national point of view I would listen with pleasure to their arguments. I think it might be shown that it would be for the good of the nation and those who are coming after us that the men who had attained such positions as I have mentioned should be called in to be Members of a Second Chamber. The Minister for Education seemed to forget that this was a national question, and he ignored the fact that this class of men with experience, and perhaps with some stake in the country, would be administering national affairs for the country's good. In the narrowest and most pitiable way the right hon. Gentleman got up, and not from the point of view of the Ministry and the King, but as a Liberal politician said, "I have been through these men's names head by head, and we will not have them, not because it is good for the Empire or the State, but because I find you would only get such a proportion of Liberals amongst them." Upon a national question like this I think it is regrettable that proposals of that sort are dealt with on the narrowest party basis by Ministers who, on a question like this, ought to forget party, and see that the State is stirred instead of their own miserable party interests. Arguments of that kind will surely bring punishment on the heads of those who use them. Once the country recognises that the proposals put forward by the Unionist party are to be condemned practically without discussion. I am sure it will work disastrously to the Liberal party.

I have heard the Prime Minister often deservedly complimented on his dexterity and his great lucidity and eloquence, but perhaps I may be allowed to say that after selecting Home Rule as the first subject to be dealt with after the passing of this Bill, he is a master of cynicism. Practically the Government are saying: "We will make Home Rule the law of the land without consulting the people." [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"] Of all the measures in the world the Prime Minister has the audacity to take Home Rule as a fit subject for treatment under his party system. If ever there has been a Bill rejected by the people, it is the Home Rule Bill. In 1886, those who threw out Home Rule were returned triumphantly. It was passed here in 1893, and thrown out by the Lords, and at the General Election of 1895 the action of the House of Lords was again absolutely justified. From 1895 until the year 1912—although you have had six years of Radical Government in the meantime—the Liberal party have never ventured to bring full Home Rule before the House and yet that subject, after a triumphant career of rejection at every stage in this House, in the Lords, and in the country, is selected by the Prime Minister to go through while the Constitution remains imperfect after you have abolished the revising power of the House of Lords. I say that is a triumph of cynicism. We are told that circumstances have greatly changed in Ireland. I think they have. One factor has become very important as distinguished from 1895, when Home Rule was before the country, and that is the financial situation which has very much altered. The credit of this country has been advanced to the extent of £100,000,000 since 1895. [An HON. MEMBER: "Who got it?"] We think we ought to repay it. The tenants of Ireland have borrowed £100,000,000 from hon. Members opposite as representing the electors of this country. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I believe £40,000,000 have been advanced under the Act of 1903. Then you had the Land Act of 1895, and there has been various loans and grants from the Board of Works. Hon. Members may take it from me that £100,000,000 of British money is now owing to the United Kingdom in respect of advances made to Ireland within the last twenty-five years. We were always very much obliged to the British Exchequer.

The position now is that of debtor and creditor, and the British taxpayer will have to be consulted on this matter. That is a new element and it is a question of which the details are most important. And yet there is not a single hon. Member opposite who can say that he has even a glimmering of what the Government intend to do with regard to the financial details of Home Rule. The fact that you have made this country into a creditor of ours would of itself justify the reference of Home Rule to the British taxpayers. Nevertheless the British taxpayer, as represented by the British elector, is the one man under this Bill who will not have a voice in the matter. I believe those chickens will come home to roost. It is not so much the needs or the wants of Ireland the Prime Minister is considering, as how to keep peacefully, faithfully, and loyally attached to the Government some seventy-six of my fellow countrymen who represent Ireland in this House. Those are the exigencies of the Liberal party. But anyone who knows Ireland knows that land purchase has been the greatest success. Everyone knows that where you have purchase you have peace and prosperity and everyone equally knows that as soon as you seek to disturb that condition by altering the security of the British Government on the faith of which the money was borrowed you are killing that peace and bringing turmoil into the country. Did you ever think what the condition in Ireland would be under your Parliament Bill in two years after its passage into law? Matters would be unsettled and no one would be able to tell what was going to happen. No one would know whether there would be an election before the two years were up which would arrest the disaster, or whether, on the other hand, we were to be doomed to suffer. Can you imagine anything that would affect the prosperity of the country more than that everything vital should be at stake, hung up for two years under the Parliament Bill? Hon. Members below the gangway laugh, but they are not profoundly interested in the trade and industries of Ireland. They are in our part of the country. Anyone who goes to Ireland knows that that is so.

What is going to happen to the country during these two years? [HON. MEMBERS: "War."] There is the first threat we have had yet. Hon. Members say there will be war. It is quite possible there may be. We have been threatened again and again by hon. Members, or rather by their friends in the country, with aggression in Ireland—and I make no secret about it—we Ulster Protestants are going to defend ourselves. [Laughter.] I think that matter is not a comedy, but a tragedy. It is a tragedy when you see men driven to make up their minds that the only way they can protect their liberty and religion is by resort to weapons of defence. I know very well what a great many of my countrymen will say to the government of the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond), and they will be perfectly right. The hon. Member for Waterford has again and again said, in Ireland, that his public policy was to make the Government of England in Ireland "dangerous, difficult, and impossible." He has said that again and again in various places in the country. I have taken the oath of allegiance to the King, but I will never take it to the hon. Member for Waterford, and there are a million Irish Protestants who will say the same, and hon. Members below the Gangway know it. I do not want to be led into this. I can only assure the House I am speaking with the utmost sincerity. I am not speaking my own views only, but also the views of the people who have sent me to this House again and again with enormous majorities—of people who are just as good workmen but less politicians than some of the hon. Gentlemen who have interrupted me. I know I am expressing their views, and I say it is an intolerable thing that under the Parliament Bill there should be the possibility of such an event in a part of the United Kingdom happening while you tie and hang us up for two years before we know whether we are to be blotted out or not. I will support the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Worcestershire (Mr. Austen Chamberlain) with all my heart, and I will do every thing I can as an ordinary Member of the rank and file of this House to represent those who sent me here—the working men in Ulster, the loyal Protestant working men, to kill that Bill in every way.


As a new Member of this House I ask for its forbearance during the short time that I purpose to address it. I ask for it perhaps with a little less diffidence than would otherwise be the case, because I believe the constituency I represent has been represented during the last few years by Members who, without dispraise or criticism, I may say were among the silent category of Members—at any rate, ever since the junior Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) sat for that constituency. I should like to draw the attention of hon. Members opposite to the interesting illustration which that constituency affords upon the question of the mandate which the country has given for the present Parliament Bill. Peckham is not situated in Ireland, it is situated within ten miles of this House, and in the year 1908, at a memorable bye-election it returned a Tory Member to this House by a majority of 2,449 votes. Within eighteen months of that time, at the General Election in January, 1910, it reduced that majority to the nominal one of eighty-three, and at the last election it wiped it out. What possible reason or motive can hon. Members suggest actuated 2,400 people in March, 1908, to give the Government notice to quit, and eighteen months afterwards, in January, 1910, not only to withdraw that notice, but to express their emphatic desire to renew their lease of power? What was the motive? Had it anything to do, do you think, with the House of Lords? What other new item had been added to the Government programme since March, 1908, but the Budget, and in connection with it the Veto proposals of the present Government? It was that which changed 2,400 votes, not in an Irish, but a London constituency, and I say it is idle for hon. Members to protest that the country has not given a mandate when you have typical London constituencies turning over that enormous number of votes directly they found a Government for the first time in its history had put this question of the Veto of the Lords in the very forefront of its programme.

The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, when he spoke on the First Reading, practically admitted that there was a majority in this House in favour of the Parliament Bill, but he said, nevertheless, you ought not to pass it into law because the majority who would vote for it were not actuated by the same motive to see the measure passed. Let me put this question to him. If and when he is returned to office as the Leader of the Tariff Reform party, and when he takes his poll of the people, does he intend to ask them not only are you in favour of Tariff Reform, but why are you in favour of it, and will he undertake not to proceed with that measure unless he has a majority who all want it for the same reason? If he does give that undertaking, I think the Tariff Reform League may send for the shutters or put itself in the hands of the hon. Member for South Hackney (Mr. Bottomley) with a view to reconstruction. There were several powerful phrases in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman urging that this should be a year of peace and goodwill, because it is the Coronation year. The right hon. Gentleman's views as to what should take place in a Coronation year seem to have strangely altered since the last Coronation year, when he was in office. He then had been returned to office with a mandate to put an end to that useless and guilty war which his party had brought about in South Africa. But, having got into office, in defiance of all his election pledges, he passed the Education Act which disturbed the whole settlement embodied in the Act of 1870, and outraged the consciences of the Nonconformists of this country. He considered that a perfectly fair thing to do in the Coronation year. Unless there are to be two standards and two tests set up—one for the party he leads, and one for that to which I belong, why is it perfectly proper for the Tory party in a Coronation year to pass into law an Act which outrages the feelings of the majority of the people, while it is an almost disloyal act if it happens that a Liberal Government in a Coronation year carries into law such a Bill as this which they were returned to pass, and for which they have the mandate of the people. When we speak of the Coronation year, and when this year is referred to, it will be as a Coronation year in more senses than one. It is a year that will witness the Coronation of a King to whom is given, in the fullest measure, the respect and affection of all his people. But it is a year also which will witness the coronation of the people's rights—the rights of free men to make the laws under which they live.

I do not think that the matter is carried very much further when we are challenged by speaker after speaker with the question, "Why do you not join us in attempting to agree upon a compromise in this matter or upon a scheme which will satisfy both you and us." The answer surely is clear. The wisest men of the Opposition met the wisest men of the Government in a prolonged Conference, and if a settlement had been possible that Conference would have come to one. They admitted, after the matter had been thrashed out through many weary months, that it was impossible to arrive at any scheme which would satisfy both the Tory and the Liberal party. Under these circumstances it is interesting—indeed, it is necessary—to ask what new suggestions since the Conference have been made which are calculated to satisfy the progressive forces in this country. We have not heard a single suggestion. We know what Lord Rosebery's scheme is, and we know what Lord Lansdowne's scheme is; and if the "Morning Post" is to be trusted we know what the scheme of the present Opposition is. I find this passage in the "Morning Post" dealing with a meeting held upstairs the other day, and attended by 200 Members of the party opposite. The Editor of the "Morning Post" takes upon himself the responsibility for saying that Sir Arthur Acland - Hood, the Chief Unionist Whip, declared that the heads of the party "will have nothing to do with the idea of a Second Chamber which breaks all continuity with the hereditary element." May I say at once that we on these Benches will have nothing to do with a Second Chamber which does not break that continuity. The two policies are thus clearly, plainly, and explicitly stated. Where is there room for compromise? I think the gulf is too wide for that, but if there is any proposal let it be made to-night before the Second Reading of this Bill. I suspect that what hon. Members opposite want is not reform, but delay, so that for another term of years the House of Lords may remain as at present constituted, with all its powers intact, able to set at defiance the will of the people, and to continue to mutilate and to render barren legislation passed in this House by the Liberal Government.

It is not from a mere spirit of mischief that these well-considered proposals are now offered to this House. They are not put forward in the spirit of the boy who flung a brick through a plate-glass window in order to see something smash. We want to deal with the Veto because we want to get on with our work. We have great measures of social reform long overdue, which we know the House of Lords, as at present constituted, will never accept. There is one other point I desire to deal with: it is the suggestion that this Bill means Single-Chamber Government. That is as unsound as any criticism of this Bill could possibly be. Let me appeal to moderate men on the Benches opposite, and ask them whether they consider that a Bill does constitute Single-Chamber Government which requires any measure to be passed three times through three Sessions of this House before it becomes law, and before the Second Chamber is compelled to accept it. No one who knows the position in which political parties are placed when they are getting near a General Election and are about to render an account of their stewardship to the electors who sent them to the House of Commons can suppose for a moment that a Bill having been twice passed in this House, after all the discussion in the Press which must ensue, that such a Bill could be passed again a third time unless there was strong popular opinion behind it. If the Government insisted on passing such a measure with the country against it they would know full well that in so doing they would be committing political suicide. This verdict ought not to stand; that is the last argument against the Bill, because it has been procured by class passion and because a good deal of angry feeling at the elections was shown against the House of Lords.

Are hon. Members surprised that there was a good deal of class passion shown at the last election, when this great issue was before the country, when they remember that amongst the millions of people who compose the democracy of these islands there is no class, there is scarcely indeed a single man who has not, in times not very remote, suffered through the intolerable persecution of the House of Lords. The Roman Catholic might well have remembered—it was indeed his duty to remember—that it was the House of Lords that on three occasions threw out Bills which gave him the rights of an English citizen. The Jew might well remember that seven times the House of Lords rejected Bills which were designed to remove the cruel disabilities under which he had for centuries lain. The Nonconformist no doubt remembered that it was the House of Lords that for forty years excluded him from the English universities and forbade his marriage except by a priest of the Anglican Church. The working man did not forget that it was the House of Lords that deprived him for more than three generations of the blessings of elementary education, and which denied him, as long as it dared, every measure of social reform and amelioration. That is why the democracy of England welcomed this contest. That is why they have rejoiced, as they have seldom rejoiced before, in the result of an electoral encounter, and why they regard this measure, as indeed the historian will write of it, as the second great charter of their liberties. I do not know how long it may be my lot and privilege to sit in this assembly, but this I know, that no vote that I shall ever give shall I give with greater satisfaction than the one which I shall record to-night in favour of the Second Reading of this Bill.


The hon. Members sitting on this side of the House felt some sense of gratification when the hon. Member who has just sat down seemed to view with some doubt how his constituency will regard the vote which he intends to give to-night, for, from his concluding remarks, he seemed to have some misgiving as to how long he would remain a Member of this House. In regard to the spirit of his other remarks one would almost think that he had never found time to read this Bill, because part at all events of his argument was directed towards showing that this Parliament Bill was not intended to set up Single-Chamber Government. I thought that argument had been abandoned on that side of the House a good time ago, because I have heard a good many speeches made from below the Gangway there in favour of this Bill, because it set up Single-Chamber Government. I am really surprised, therefore, at this time of day, to find any hon. Member on that side of the House trying to convince us that this Parliament Bill does not set up Single-Chamber Government. But, however hon. Members on that side of the House may begin their argument, they always end up in the same way. It is always with abuse of the other House. I have listened to many speeches made by hon. Members on that side of the House, especially some that were made last night. We heard of the tyranny of the House of Lords, the audacity of the House of Lords, and we had many instances given. It would be quite impossible for me to follow hon. Members on the other side of the House through all these instances. I just want to take two. I heard an hon. Member last night, who represented a Scottish constituency, and he was pointing out the audacity of the House of Lords in rejecting the Scottish Small Landholders Bill. I do not know whether hon. Members have looked at the provisions of that Bill, and I do not intend to take them all through it, but I think I am justified in saying that it was a measure which was intended to apply the provisions of the Crofters Act to the whole of Scotland—not only to the Highlands, but also to the Lowlands, where there is a highly specialised and extremely successful system of farming going on.

It was condemned by one very eminent statesman, who pointed out in his forcible manner that it would be just as reasonable to apply Crofterisation to the Lowlands of Scotland as it would be if the Minister for War to come down to the House of Commons and propose to arm the Territorial Force with bows and arrows. It was pointed out that that Bill was condemned by every responsible authority throughout the length and breadth of Scotland, the real fact being that the House of Lords refused to pass an ill-considered and badly drafted Bill which had been forced through the House of Commons, and thus save the agricultural industry, and yet, in the House of Commons, hon. Members get up and talk about the tyranny and audacity of the House of Lords. Then the other question which is constantly being referred to is one which cannot be too frequently mentioned on this side of the House. Hon. Members talk of the audacity of the House of Lords in refusing to pass the Budget. But I would ask, is not the House of Lords still a part of our Constitution? Some of us think it will remain a considerable time longer part of our Constitution, although hon. Members opposite do not agree with that view. Will anybody dispute that the House of Lords had a perfect right to throw out a Budget if they thought fit? Nobody can possibly dispute that nowadays, even if it were an ordinary Budget. No constitutional lawyer can dispute that, even if it had been an ordinary Finance Bill they had the right, but such a Budget as we had for 1909–10, which, as it was said by hon. Members opposite over and over again, was the commencement of a social and political revolution, why should not one Chamber, which was still part and parcel of the constitution of our country, exercise its undoubted prerogative if it thought it right to throw it out. Where was its audacity? Let me go me step further, having thrown it out, has it not been shown over and over again that that House more clearly interpreted the wishes of the people of this country than this House did?

We were told, I think it was by the Prime Minister, that the party on this side of the House persuaded the House of Lords to throw out this Bill, and in so doing committed political suicide. The result of that political suicide was that right hon. Gentlemen opposite lost 120 seats, and can anybody doubt now, if an honest, straightforward vote had been given at the beginning of last year upon the Budget, that there would have been a majority against it. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why did the Lords pass it?"] I will answer that question in a moment. If the Irish Nationalists had voted in 1910 in the same way as they have voted in 1909, namely, against the Second Beading of the Budget, and it was the same Budget, there would have been a considerable majority against it in this House. But, of course, the position had changed. In 1910 the one matter of absorbing interest with my Friends below the Gangway is Home Rule, and they said "We are not going to vote for the Budget until we get an assurance that Home Rule will be brought in, and the one thing we must have before Home Rule is brought in is the abolition of the Veto of the House of Lords." That is the reason why the Budget was passed through the House of Commons in 1910, whereas if a perfectly straight and honest vote had been given about it the Budget would never have passed through the House. Therefore I maintain that not only was the Second Chamber perfectly within its rights, as part of the Constitution of the Realm, to reject it when they thought it right in he interests of the people of the country, but their action was backed by the people of the country. An Hon. Member asked me why the House of Lords passed it. Because it was passed through this House of Commons twice. They cannot take account of the log-rolling that takes place. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why not? "] It would not be within their province to do so.

I was saying that, however the arguments of hon. Members opposite may begin, they always end in the same way—in abuse of the House of Lords—and they generally end, when the House of Lords does not agree with a particular Member's view on the matter which is nearest to his heart, by saying it is "audacious, tyrannical, and unconstitutional." Who are the tyrants at present? Hon. Members opposite who want to take away the only safeguard we have against measures which have not really been submitted to the people of the country being passed into law. Hon. Members opposite are the tyrants, if there are any, who are going to vote for the Second Reading of a Bill which, at all events as regards one section of the House, has only one object in view, and that is to pass a Home Rule Bill for Ireland. Was it not Mr. Gladstone who said it would be dangerous for the Liberal party to undertake a measure of Home Rule if they were in a position dependent on the Irish vote? Does anyone dispute that the Radical party are totally dependent on the Irish Nationalist party? If the Nationalists made up their minds to vote against the Government on any question they would be out in a day. The Government are not only proposing to do that which Mr. Gladstone said would be dangerous, and which the Radical party ought not to do, but they are going a step further. In order to carry out their will they are embarking upon an attack upon the Constitution of this country in order to force that Bill through against the wishes of the people. It is said by hon. Members opposite that Home Rule has been before the country. I deny that; but supposing it has, how does that help them? You may talk about Home Rule in the abstract. People may have different ideas of what Home Rule means.

You may get votes in favour of Home Rule as long as you describe it in a sufficiently nebulous way, and so long as you tell them it means a certain amount of local self-government, and impress upon them over and over again that it does not mean separation, especially if you get such an important person as the Prime Minister saying, "whatever our measure of Home Rule may be, on no account shall it mean separation." Under those circumstances you may get people to vote for Home Rule, but when they realise that if you are going in for setting up a separate Parliament for Ireland and giving them an executive solely responsible to that separate Parliament, and that means nothing more or less than separation, you will not get the people in this country to vote for Home Rule, and until the people see what the particular measure of Home Rule really is you cannot say that Home Rule has really-been before the people of the country. It is all very well for the Prime Minister to utter his sonorous platitudes, which may-seem anything or nothing, just as he likes or as his supporters like. It is a very different matter indeed when you get the actual provision setting up a separate Parliament in Ireland with an executive responsible to it. That means nothing more or less than separation. I entirely endorse what was said by an hon. Member last night, that it ought not to be considered a party measure. Unfortunately, as far as I can make out, hon. Members opposite regard it entirely from the party point of view. It is hopeless, in my opinion, to expect anything like a settlement which will be lasting unless you can put forward a scheme which will be adopted by the very large majority of reasonable and moderate men in this country. We are not passing a Local Government Bill. This is not a matter of the parish pump; it is a matter which may affect the fortunes of the country for generations to come. It is idle for hon. Members opposite to try and force through a Bill strongly opposed by a minority, which is very little less in point of numbers than the majority. There are certain essentials of a settlement in this case, and unless they are recognised there is no hope of anything like a lasting or peaceful settlement. The Prime Minister has a great opportunity. He has an opportunity of showing that he will put country before party. He has got an opportunity of showing that he is an independent-minded man, and that he is not going to be regarded, and is not going to act, as the slave of his dictators. If he will do that, and if he will even now show that he is inclined to meet the wishes of moderate men throughout the country, his name will go down to history as a man who put his country before party, and endeavoured to make a lasting settlement. But if he does not—if he is determined to force this Bill through in its present form—he will go down to history as a man who did not hesitate to attack the British Constitution, which has lasted for so many years, to dislocate the machinery of Government, to put party interests before the interests of the country, and to receive the condemnation of his successors.

9.0 P.M.


I do not propose to follow in detail the speech of the hon. and learned Member opposite (Mr. Sanderson). I notice with interest that he has repeated the argument which was put with such force by the Leader of the Opposition that the House of Lords have done perfectly right in everything during the last four or five years, and that they have acted in the interest and in accordance with the wishes of the country. That remark leads one naturally to inquire again as to the reasons that actuate the party opposite in asking a reform of the House of Lords. I ask the House where is the position of the hon. and learned Member for the Walton Division? He has in effect said, "Although the House of Lords have not been unfair or one-sided, although they have acted with strict impartiality in the interests of the nation, interpreting most delicately their most secret desires, yet is it possible to defend the existing disparity of party representation in the House of Lords. If it is said that it is not, what change is required in this respect." I am putting these words in the mouth of the hon. and learned Member, but I think they are a fair paraphrase of what he said. I wonder what made the hon. and learned Member write his letter to the "Times." Was it the effect of that great risk he ran of shipwreck in the summer? Was it the effect of the suden shock which made him think that there really must be something wrong with the House of Lords, or was it that at that moment he believed there was a crisis in the fortunes of his party, because at the same time he said that the change which was to take place must not be one which will produce identical results under a less assailable form. I do not intend to refer to the change proposed. I wish to remind the House of the attempt which was made once before to confirm one party in the other Chamber. In 1719 an attempt was made to stamp a Whig majority in that place. It has been spoken of as a mischievous proposal, which was defeated by the sturdy commonsense of Sir Robert Walpole, who, in his career, never perhaps performed a greater service to the country. The prevention of that coming into law prevented the prerogative of the Crown from being interfered with—the prerogative which may be used in the case of a deadlock between the two Houses We on this side of the House resist the Amendment proposed by the hon. Member for East Worcestershire (Mr. Austen Chamberlain) because the country has chosen this definite Bill instead of the kaleidoscopic programme of the party opposite. The hon. Member for South Hackney (Mr. Bottomley) described what he called the hand stretched across the House. It seems to me that it is stretched across the House to try to pull us into the difficulties which beset hon. Gentlemen opposite—their difficulties in regard to a reconstructed Second Chamber. I think it would indeed be foolish for those on this side of the House to depart from the task entrusted to them in order to take part in the difficulties which at the present time engage the attention of hon. Gentlemen. The hon. Member for the Denbigh Boroughs the other day asked whether a Tariff Reformer looked a bigger fool than he was, or something to that effect. I think it would be uncomplimentary to hon. Members on this side of the House to expect them to accept an invitation to mix themselves up with the troubles of hon. Members on the other side in regard to the form of the Second Chamber at the present moment. I wish to say a word as to the possible service which an ideal Second Chamber may render in regard to legislation which is carried through this House. I give as a concrete illustration a case in which revision, discussion, and some reasonable delay would have been of real advantage to the legislation. I refer to the Miners Eight Hours Bill. That Bill, conceived in a humane spirit and having in the main a humane effect, has been proved in practice to have certain defects and disadvantages which, if the Bill had been reviewed in an impartial and fair spirit by the Second Chamber, would, I believe, have been foreseen, and some of them would have been removed. Instead of doing that, the Second Chamber tried, as I think they have too often tried, to snatch some advantage for the rights of property without sacrificing the interests of party. They had, if I may say so, one eye on the money-box and the other eye on the ballot-box, and the result is that there has been friction in the working of the measure, which might have been avoided if the House of Lords had made it a more workable measure by removing some of the defects which have rendered it not altogether acceptable even to those in whose interest it was conceived.

I wish to make another point which, I think, has not been put in this Debate. What are the dangers for which safeguards are required in respect of the legislation which is passed through this House. They do not touch finance, for it is agreed that the power of controlling finance is to be in the hands of this House. Therefore, taxation is in the hands of this House. If hon. Gentlemen fear at some future day that there may be high Income Tax or Death Duties, they will know that these are matters over which this House will have entire control. This House will have entire control over questions of war and peace, over Foreign and Colonial matters, and over the size of armaments, which is a matter affecting the safety of the Empire. What are the dangers we are constantly told would beset this country if the House of Lords, or a Second Chamber of great strength, is not to exercise its powers? It appears to me that the greatest dangers affecting the country do not lie in that direction at all. They lie in lack of education, in clerical control of education, on the lines of intemperance, and economic and social evils, which have as their base the question of the land, and the way in which it is held and withheld from public use.

What has been the record of the House of Lords on these three matters? Acting as I believe in the interests of property and privilege, and not in the interests of the State, they so tried to amend the Education Bill as to keep still that clerical control which I believe to be a paralysing control throughout the world in matters of education. They threw out the Licensing Bill, so as to protect the interests of property which were specially represented in the other House, and they threw out the Budget, or referred it to the country if you like, as we all know principally because of the land clauses in the Budget. There is no secret made about these things. If these are the main questions that have been discussed and decided by the House of Lords in that way, what is the party opposite so much afraid of? Despite all the talk we hear, and despite the eloquent speeches they make in this House about trusting the people, I do not really believe that the party opposite do trust the people. I do not wish to say that in any offensive spirit. When I came into this House I did not expect always to speak conventional phrases, but to speak honestly and from the heart. The party opposite represent certain people in this country. We all know them. The class of the average Conservative who does not really trust the people. We were asked the other day to remember the Gladstonian tradition. The Gladstonian tradition in this matter is "Trust the people," qualified by prudence. Toryism is "Distrust the people," qualified by fear. That is as true to-day as when it was first said.

I am not exaggerating in the least when I say that the party opposite really do not trust the people because all through one's experience of life, when one hears the average Conservative, one finds that he speaks as if he feared the people, as if there was danger of the people being over-educated, and as if the extension of the franchise had been an evil. That attitude of mind is not consistent with the appeal often made in perorations to trust the people, and the desire expressed to see the people's will obeyed. If you did really trust the people, why this barrier against what you call the possible unreasoning demand of the people for hasty legislation? Those of the party opposite in the country have repeatedly thanked God for the House of Lords because they believe that the House of Lords stands against unreasonable demands on the part of the people. There has been no safeguard in the House of Lords, because they have blindly, sometimes selfishly, put the interests of party and property as against national interest, and the national progress that all democracies are bound to make. A Noble Lord at Chelmsford the other night attempted to defend the action of the House of Lords by taking credit for the fact that they had passed certain measures of the Liberal Government. But if one analyses those measures one sees there is not much credit to be taken even in that regard. The Old Age Pensions Act was passed by them, with some protest, but at a time when they were not asked to pay for old age pensions or contribute a share towards them. The test came when they were asked to pay their fair share for old age pensions, and then they threw out the Budget. They passed the Miners Eight Hours Act, it is true, but when it came to the taxation of mining royalties in the Budget they threw out the Budget. They passed the Small Holdings Act, it is true. There was a prospect under that Act of handsome prices being received for land, but when the Budget was introduced, which was to make it possible for the first time for local authorities to obtain land at reasonable prices by making it possible for land to come on the market, they threw out the Budget; so the plea that the House of Lords passed certain measures only proves my contention.

They passed those measures in the interests of party, and as not affecting much their own interests or property. But when ft came to such measures as attacked the interests of property they tried to hinder them from passing into law. Although I would like to see a Second Chamber with powers of revision for the reasons which I just given it is not because I, speaking for myself, have any fear of the democracy. The democracy, to my mind, are only dangerous in two ways. They may be dangerous when they are crushed by temporary power, by forces united against them to deprive them of their liberty or rights of justice or equality of opportunity. They may, on the other hand, be dangerous if they sink into the quagmire of self-indulgence. The Government realise both these dangers. The Government, I believe, have honestly set their hand to the task of social reform, removing grievances, increasing opportunities, tackling unemployment, tackling the question of overcrowding in houses and overcrowding in towns, and substituting the natural magnetism of the land for the artificial attractions of the town, by passing such measures as make it possible for the natural attraction of the land properly to operate. It is because I believe that they are anxious to extend the principle of self-government, which in the history of the world has always been proved to be the best cure for self-indulgence, and because the Government are doing these things it is right to support them in the measure which makes it possible for them to pass such measures into law and prevent the present House of Lords, or a future House, stronger than the present House of Lords, from standing in the way of those much-needed reforms.


I hope that the House will extend to me that general indulgence which, according to immemorial tradition, it always extends to a new Member who ventures to address it for the first time. I hope that on this occasion it will extend to me a more generous and more ready indulgence than usual, because, in common with a number of new Members, I find myself confronted with a most unpleasant dilemma. I have no desire to intervene in this Debate, but I feel that non-intervention might be misinterpreted by those to whom we all owe our places in this Chamber, and might be attributed to a political futility and a political impotence which would be unjust to their traditions and to mine. On the other hand, the subject of this Debate has been the material of an acute political controversy in the constituencies ranging over some months. It has also been the subject of discussion and examination in minute detail in this Chamber on more than one occasion. I do not think that the most seasoned Parliamentarian and the most impenitent of rhetoricians will attempt to adorn the subject under discussion with any new illustration or to inform the Debate with any new argument. I have noticed during the course of debates that hon. Members opposite have relied upon what they have termed the mandate which they have received from the country. We have seen in the past history of this country great constitutional reforms carried, but they have been carried in moments of popular indignation and by statesmen of resolute and determined temper. On the present occasion I look in vain either for the popular indignation or for determination. It strikes me that the revolution which we are passing through at the present moment is a very chilly business. I do not suppose that in the history of this country there has ever been an election which was more languid, more tranquil, more indolent, in fact a more bald election than the one to which the Prime Minister owes the renewal of his majority. I am the last to call in question either the size or the solidarity of that majority, and I am equally the last to question the right of the Prime Minister to use it in any direction he may please. When I am told that the Prime Minister has got at his back the will of the English people, that he has got the moral force of the great democracy at his back, the concentrated power and the gathering impetus of the people, determined to abolish the sullen Veto of the tyrannical House of Lords, then I look around in vain for those symptoms of political interest, not to say those manifestations of popular indignation, which have marked the progress of great reforms and advance of great causes in all ages and all countries. I sometimes think that those hon. Members who believe that the English people set any store at all on the mechanism of government are labouring under a profound delusion. These questions of procedure, these subtleties of constitutional reform, this adjustment of electoral machinery, which are of so much interest in this House, leave the man in the street comparatively cold. The country judges by results; they lay more stress upon what Members opposite call remedial legislation than they do on the particular form of machinery by which that legislation is carried into effect.

The victory on which hon. Members prided themselves last December can hardly be ascribed to any feeling of popular anger on the part of the people of England. It can hardly be ascribed to any very fervent wish on their part to live under a more logical, under a less anomalous, under a more ideal form of Government than they do at present. During the course of a long and an eventful history, the English people have assumed many different roles, and worshipped at many different shrines, but they have never yet shown any peculiar regard for pure theory; still less have they shown any regard for the doctrinaires by which these theories have been advanced. There is probably no people in the world more human or actuated by more human motives than the English people, and I venture to think that at the last election we saw an expression of gratitude, and of a profound gratitude, for the old age pensions which they had received from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. That was coupled with the desire for another helping from the same dish. If hon. Members opposite agree to that view of the last general election, they can hardly claim it as a mandate for a great constitutional reform. I will go a step further. If Members opposite are to retain the confidence of the people, surely it behoves them to abandon these barren and sterile discussions and to direct their attention to the solution of those great problems which the hon. Member opposite has grouped under the name of Economic and Social Reform, and to direct their attention to the solution of those problems. I have been a Member of this House for more than a year now. I came to this House interested in a particular class of questions; but, during the whole time I have sat here I have never had an opportunity of speaking upon or of discussing anyone of those questions. I am beginning to think that on the part of some hon. Members below the Gangway opposite there has been a great breach of trust. They talk to us in this House about Social Reform.

There never was a time in English history more opportune or more favourable to the passage of Social Reform than the present. There never was a time in which those who hold extreme views on Social Reforms were in a better position to try the most drastic, I might even say, the most perilous experiments in this direction. What is the situation to-day? We have a Treasury Bench which all parties will admit to be amenable to gentle and continuous pressure. We have a Second Chamber in the House of Lords, which at the present moment would be extremely chary of throwing out any well-considered scheme. Hon. Members may laugh, but they will not deny my proposition. The fact remains that at the present moment we were never in a better position to advance the cause of social reform than we are to-day. What do I see? I see that week after week, and month after month, we have these barren discussions about the machinery of government. I do not think that any hon. Members below the Gangway can contend for a moment that a reform of the Constitution is the most pressing problem demanding our attention. A man would have to be singularly guileless and simple in nature to suppose that questions of Poor Law reform, Insurance Against Invalidity, and all that varied assortment of schemes which are grouped together under the name of social and economic reform, would not, but for the pressure and the tyranny of faction, this very evening be receiving our consideration. Social reform is at a standstill in order that the Prime Minister may keep his majority together. Let me pass for one moment to the case which has been advanced against the House of Lords.

I was struck, and I feel that many hon Members share my surprise, as to the weakness of the official indictment advanced against the House of Lords. I listened with interest to that full-blooded denunciation which was flung down by the Minister of Education last night. For good or for ill, the House of Lords, as a national institution, has existed for centuries. In framing this indictment the Minister for Education has not thought it necessary to travel outside the last two decades. All the actions, whether they were actions for good or ill on the part of the House of Lords, during the centuries which go to make up its history, are wholly ignored. The indictment rests upon the fact that during the last two decades the House of Lords has prevented hon. Members opposite from giving satisfaction to the demands of factions that were mutually irreconcilable. I could not help also being struck by the fact that the right hon. Gentleman mentioned no single instance in which a great reform wanted by the people of this country had been permanently obstructed by the House of Lords. It is easy enough to talk about the will of the people, it is easy enough to colour the country with pictorial posters on the subject of the Peers v. The People, but it is quite another matter to prove that the House of Lords has ever once thwarted or obstructed the will of the people when it could be expressed. Another significant feature in last night's Debate was the sedulous care which hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite omitted to mention those cases in which the rejection of measures by the House of Lords received subsequent ratification on the part of the country. There is no doubt that the House of Lords has at more or less frequent intervals in its career deferred great reforms, but let me point out that this power of delay and of deferring reforms is one of the precise powers with which you still propose to entrust the House of Lords. I notice that hon. Members opposite profess that this power of delay ensures that steady and continuous march of progress in this country, that it is to this power of delay on the part of the Second Chamber that we owe the fact that in this country our history has been happily free from violent oscillations and those fierce reactions which have characterised the progress of social reform in other countries. Yet because the House of Lords has exercised this function of revision and delay they are to-day arraigned and placed upon their trial.

I notice that in the second count of the indictment hon. Members dilate upon the anomalies connected with the hereditary principle. They complain of the partisan character of the House of Lords, that the present Chamber does not include a sufficient number of Gentlemen in political agreement or in personal friendship with themselves. I sometimes think that that is the sum and substance, the head and front of their offending. What remedy do right hon. Gentlemen opposite propose for this state of affairs? The remedy they propose does not deal either with the anomalies of the hereditary principle or with the partisan character of the House of Lords. It simply deprives this country of those checks and safeguards which every democratic community in the world has considered it desirable to incorporate in its constitution. Let me admit for one moment the existence of those anomalies; let me admit that the partisan character of the existing House of Lords; let me admit the principle counts of the indictment advanced by hon. Members opposite. Does any hon. Member pretend that it would not be possible to devise a solution on the lines of bi-cameral government which would be acceptable to the great mass of the democracy of this country, for, after all, that is the question which we are debating to-night. We on this side do not stand up to defend the House of Lords as it exists to-day. We are fighting the battle of bi-cameral Government as against Single-Chamber Government. If there is one section of this House which is frank, which is candid, which is honest on this question, it is that section of the House which sits below the Gangway on the opposite side, because they at least are frank enough to say that they do not wish this country governed on the bi-cameral system, while they are perfectly sincere advocates of a system of Single-Chamber Government. Let me note that, holding those views, they are fully satisfied and content to accept the proposal of the present Veto Bill.

There were two paths lay open before the Prime Minister when he addressed himself to the solution of this question. In the first place there was the path which he has chosen, and which one of his colleagues has described in a now hackneyed phrase as leading to "death, disaster, and damnation." The Prime Minister has left it to us, on this side of the House, to prove to the country that it is possible to frame a scheme to devise a Second Chamber which shall not only be armed with ample and effective power, but which shall also enjoy the confidence and the respect of the country at large. I notice when they come to discuss this question of the House of Lords hon. Members opposite confine themselves to asking certain questions and to making a good deal of play with the various schemes that are associated with the names of Lord Lansdowne and Lord Curzon. I do not propose to follow them in their criticism of those schemes, but I would point out that neither Lord Lansdowne nor Lord Curzon, nor hon. Members on this side have got any monopoly or exclusive right to put forward schemes for the reform and re-constitution of the House of Lords, and if hon. Members opposite are not satisfied with the schemes suggested by Lord Lansdowne and Lord Curzon it is equally open to them to put forward a scheme of their own by which an effective Second Chamber shall be preserved in the Constitution of this country. I suppose that everyone in this House will agree that any reform of the Second Chamber must in the first place be bold in character, simple and obvious. I think everyone will agree further that it must fulfil two primary considerations. In the first place, it should be constituted on such a basis that it will not only command the confidence and the approval of the generations that inhabit this country at the present moment, but that it may have some reasonable prospect of enjoying the confidence and the support of the generation who come after us. If I may except hon. Members belong the Gangway opposite, I take it that the vast majority in every quarter of the House will agree that it should be armed with powers ample and effective, powers almost as great and as far-ranging as the powers enjoyed by the House I am now addressing. I do not approach this question with any view of saving the flotsam and jetsam of the wreckage of the House of Lords. I am not out on salvage bent. My vision and attention are focussed on the future. I wish to see a House constituted or reconstituted with ample powers, resting secure upon the solid bed-rock of popular representation. The Home Secretary told us the other day that it was one of the principal functions of the Conservative party to promote Conservative legislation. I venture to think that a bold, simple, and obvious solution of this question, such as I have indicated, is a truly Conservative policy for this party to adopt. It is because I have the utmost confidence and belief in the validity of the hereditary principle that I am willing to forego that principle as a qualification for Parliamen- tary power. I would ask the House to remember that the hereditary principle rests upon a scientific basis. [Laughter.] I do not know whether hon. Members opposite challenge the proposition that heredity today is one of the great principles on which modern science works. I reiterate my statement that the hereditary principle rests upon a scientific basis: it does not depend upon legislative sanction. I am confident that those men who command the respect and confidence of the country in the House of Lords to-day will continue to command that respect and confidence, and to play a great and prominent part in the legislation and administration of this country under whatever system may be devised by the craft and ingenuity of right hon. Gentlemen opposite. In conclusion, I should like to thank the House for the patience and consideration with which they have listened to my inadequate presentation of the case.


I think the whole House will agree that the Noble Lord who has just sat down has no need to claim special indulgence from the House. We on this side, at any rate, have listened with a large measure of agreement to several of the statements he has made. Like some other Members on that side, he has absolutely thrown over the hereditary principle, and he has also made the statement, with which we are in profound agreement, that the House of Lords will be exceedingly cautious to-day before they throw out any real measure of social reform. But I think that possibly the Noble Lord would have fallen under the rebuke of the right hon. Member for Wimbledon (Mr. Chaplin), who, replying to the Minister for Education last night, complained that he had not said much about the Parliament Bill. The Minister for Education was distinctly replying to a speech of the hon. Member for one of the divisions of Edinburgh, who had spoken of the alternatives proposed by his party; my right hon. Friend examined, and I think pretty well blew to the winds those alternatives as possible alternatives that we might accept. I do not think that hon. Members opposite who have wandered a little from the Parliament Bill are altogether to blame. The right hon. Member for East Worcestershire (Mr. Austen Chamberlain), in moving the Amendment, dwelt for some time upon what he called the mandate. He referred to the various Amendments in connection with the King's Speech, declaring that His Majesty's Government had not a mandate for one Amendment and another Amendment; and I think he said they had not a mandate even for this Parliament Bill. One was tempted to ask if they had not a mandate for any of those special measures, what had they a mandate for? Was it a purely negative mandate? Far be it from me to suggest it, but one was almost encouraged to suggest that the people of this country said, "Let the heavens fall, but save, oh save us, from a Tory Administration!"

In the course of this Debate two charges have been put forward with regard to the Parliament Bill. One is that we have not any mandate for it. I do not intend to go into that further than to say this: There have been many general expressions of opinion. I must apologise for intruding a personal element, but, after all, an ounce of personal experience is worth a ton of generalities. It so happens that in Manchester, a division of which I have the honour to represent, at the beginning of the election we had a large Free Trade Hall meeting, representative of all the constituencies, at which the Home Secretary was the chief speaker. As we were being specially attacked by Mr. Bonar Law on Free Trade grounds, the right hon. Gentleman of necessity spoke on Free Trade. The only other subject was that of the Parliament Bill. I had the honour to follow the right hon. Gentleman, and I tried to expound exactly what the Parliament Bill was, and what it was not. A day or two afterwards some Members of my own committee came to me and said: "We want you, if you will, to put into pamphlet form, as concisely as you can, your speech on the Parliament Bill." That was done, the pamphlet was circulated broadcast, and I do not think the result in Manchester was altogether unsatisfactory from our point of view. It has been said again and again that what this Bill proposes is Single-Chamber Government. That statement has been reiterated with very little argument—mere assertion. It was a favourite topic on Conservative platforms during the election. How can they say that it means Single-Chamber Government in view of the Preamble of the Bill? They sometimes come down with more or less vehemence upon the honesty of the Government. I do not think it is altogether a convincing argument when the Conservative party have come to rely upon doubting the honour of their opponents for their chief argument against the Bill.

If the House will pardon me for again being personal, let me say that I had a certain small section of my Constituents who were, to use the old phrase, in favour of "ending the House of Lords." I opposed that personally. I am here as a staunch supporter of a Second Chamber. I believe that there is nothing whatever approaching Single-Chamber Government in the Parliament Bill. But I do say that it is absolutely impossible to arrive at the condition when you can construct a Second Chamber which shall be fair in its dealings between the two parties until you have curtailed the absolute Veto of the House of Lords. People used to say: "Who will bell the cat?" If we ask the House of Lords to reform itself it is very much like asking the cat to bell herself—a most costly proceeding, and one not likely to be very faithfully carried out. We must curtail the absolute Veto of the House of Lords before we can hope to set up a Second Chamber—which we want in perfect sincerity, and which shall work with perfect fairness between the two parties. The other charge brought against us at the present time is that, after all, we are only a composite majority. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition said this afternoon: "Surely there is no harm in those co-operating together who from time to time think alike." I seemed to detect a somewhat wistful look on the benches opposite when he made that remark. But if we are a composite majority is not that rather an indication that from various points of view and from various districts in the United Kingdom there is a united demand for this Parliament Bill, even though that demand be not a new demand, but put forward after the accumulation of long years of feeling. I, for one, naturally rejoice that we have from many quarters, and if you like for various reasons, a solid demand by the people of the United Kingdom for this Parliament Bill. Surely hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite who are inclined to twit us with being a part of a composite majority, if they think and feel what they say, should, after this Bill has been passed, as I believe passed it will be, rejoice more than we that this composite majority will fall to pieces. Even so, we for our part, are quite willing to take the risks. We feel that the one thing we must have, and must have now, is a possibility of fair play for the Liberal measures which we have been interested in for a good many years. When we are now confronted with these numerous efforts at reconciliation, of settlement by consent, of further conference, or agree- ment, we feel that though we perhaps do not altogether approve of—what shall I call it?—the ultra-evangelical language of Lord Milner, we did at any rate appreciate the fighting spirit which brought this particular issue into the immediate realm of practical politics. So when Lord Milner urged upon the peers successfully to throw out the Budget and have no fear of the consequences he appealed to a sportsmanlike spirit. They took his advice against better advice, and they displayed a fighting spirit which we appreciate. Now what do we see? Not that fighting spirit, but a cringing spirit of asking for compromise! The Lords staked their all on a certain stake, and, having lost, they are pursuing the unsportsmanlike course of quibbling and disputing about the stakes. We never expected that from any body of Englishmen. I trust that they will recover themselves, and will go back to that sporting spirit. We have here and there had resistance and defiance breathed. Let that spirit be breathed, and we, on behalf of our party, and, we believe, the vast majority of this country, are prepared to meet resistance with resistance.


The hon. Gentleman who has just addressed the House began his speech by a very kindly and pleasant reference to the speech of my Noble Friend behind me, the Member for Bath (Lord Alexander Thynne) I would like to associate myself with the expression to which he gave utteranace as to the impression produced on his mind by that speech. My Noble Friend is a fellow-countryman of mine, and I can only say that I hope his speech here to-day is, as I believe it to be, only the commencement of a distinguished career in this House. I regret I cannot agree with the hon. Gentleman in the remainder of his remarks. He told us that he was a strong supporter of a Second Chamber; that he is here to give effect to his views by his speech and by his vote. He told us that he had found salvation in the Preamble of the Bill. I congratulate him upon possession of an easy conscience, and also upon the fact that he is evidently able to look forward and hope with greater persistence than it is given most mortals to do. The whole of his assurance for the future is centred in the Preamble. As to the hon. Gentleman's reference to the House of Lords, I do not know whether in the speech which he tells us he made in the country in which be was defending the two-Chamber principle—and in which evidently he was adopting a course which was not familiar to his audience—because they asked him to print his speech for circulation—he found it necessary to salt it with something a little more suitable to the views of his constituents; and whether his peroration to-night is not a reproduction of another part of the same speech, or a different speech! At all events, may I respectfully suggest that, as he thought it desirable to have the original speech printed and circulated, he should adopt the same course with regard to the speech he has just made; because I venture to say, whether he ad-dresses Radical audiences or Unionist audiences, he will find throughout the country very little acceptance of his view for the first time propounded, in these Debates, that whatever faults may be attributed to the House of Lords there is included among them want of sportsmanship and straightforward dealing and unwillingness to face their responsibilities. I have been a regular attendant during these Debates, and I have heard most of the speeches, and now that we are approaching the conclusion I ask myself this question—and it applies to the speeches we heard in the Front Bench opposite, as well as to the benches behind it. What on earth would right hon. and hon. Gentlemen have done if it had not been for the speeches and action of the Opposition? It is usual upon occasions of this kind, when the Government propound a great policy, that they should defend their policy and make good their case; and when the Government produces some great measure of legislation it is usual for their supporters to get up and give reasons as to why they support it, and why they believe it is going to effect the purpose which it proposes to effect. Nobody who has listened to this Debate will disagree with me when I say that the great bulk of the speeches opposite have been addressed not to the defence of this measure, or to proving that it is going to do what they want it to do, to facilitate the passage of legislation which they think the country approves, but they have fallen back upon a resource which is not usual. They have attacked the policy of their opponents, and instead of defending their own case, they have turned upon us and said: "Why are you so meagre in the production of your programme? What is your programme? Fill in your details. Why do you produce a programme only upon general lines?"

I have come to learn for the first time in these Debates that it is the duty of the Opposition to produce in detail every part of the policy which, if they were in office, they would be prepared to introduce if they had the responsibility of passing it through Parliament. Every speaker on the other side of the House almost addressed himself to the mandate. I share, as I need hardly say I do, in every other respect, the views expressed by my leader with regard to the mandate. I have never during the many years I have been in this House attached very great importance to what is called the mandate. The learned Attorney - General last night devoted almost the whole of his speech to proving that the Government had a mandate for a particular thing. The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down said nothing about this Bill; he did not tell us how this Bill was going to do what he wants, mainly to get his legislation passed, but he said he was going to defend it and that he had a mandate to defend it. The most powerful and the most eloquent argument upon this subject came from the learned Attorney-General. He said that during his election he had been most unfairly attacked by the Unionist party and that certain leaflets had been circulated by the Irish Unionist Alliance; and he made a very dignified complaint that they were circulated without any communication with him.

10.0 P.M.

I am not responsible for the publication of these leaflets, but I have been in the course of a long Parliamentary career attacked by the other side and by their leaflets, and, curious to relate, I cannot remember a single instance in which my opponents did me the honour to send me a copy beforehand of the leaflets they were about to issue. I am bound to say I should have much less respect for their brain or ingenuity if I thought they were likely to do so. Therefore I was rather puzzled when I heard this indignant complaint by the Attorney-General, because, being a stupid layman, I have necessarily the utmost respect for distinguished members of the legal profession who are supposed to gain their position by the use of their brains. But now as to this indignation of the learned Attorney-General, what do I find was put forward, I daresay also without communication with him, in a paper that supports his views—the "Reading Standard." On 3rd December that paper issued a magnificent bill. Every page of it was filled either by a picture of the Attorney-General or a most wonderful statement of the policy of the party of which he is a distinguished member. The House will remember that the Attorney-General's statement last night dealt with the attitude of Gentlemen on the Opposition side as one demanding reform—the maintenance of a Second Chamber and so on was put upon one side—and he indignantly denied that the general attitude taken up had been to descry the House of Lords because of its peculiar constitution. The bill contained this interesting paragraph:— Every Conservative and Unionist candidate supports the Peers against the people. The battle is the battle of the people, the Peers. I think it is very hard of hon. Gentlemen opposite to circulate these statements, because they seem entirely to ignore that there are some Peers whom they claim as their colleagues and friends and supporters. The battle is a battle of the people, against privilege, of work against wealth, of the millions of toilers against 600 Peers. I suppose the colleagues of the right hon. Gentleman are involved in this battle Who claim to rule the people. Why? Not because their powers are too great or that their powers are so great that they ought to be curtailed, but because they are The sons of their fathers. Gentlemen opposite claim that the fight in the country during the last election was not really based upon the fact that the House of Lords is a hereditary Chamber. That was the foundation of their attack t—that was the grievance which they represented to the people; that was the case which they put from platform after platform in placard after placard, in leaflet after leaflet, and to the removal of that grievance and the redress of that evil they are not moving one inch. The Prime Minister, in the speech he delivered earlier in the evening, was very indignant at the charge that the case for this Bill was unfairly put before the country, and he told us that he and others had made great speeches in the country, in which they put the Parliament Bill before the electors. I am what is called an old Parliamentary hand so far as years go, and I am not going to decry ordinary Parliamentary methods. I have no hesitation, however, in stating that meetings, and the speeches made by the great leaders, are not altogether the methods by which elections are won. Elections are won principally by those who visit the houses and the cottages, and I would like to know if there is an hon. Member opposite prepared to say that the canvassers who went into the cottages and the houses talked about the Parliament Bill? Did they take a copy of that Bill with them?

The hon. Member for South Manchester (Mr. Haworth) apologised to the House for giving his own personal experience. Sometimes we are bound to rely more or less upon our own experience. I suppose during the last election I went to as many different parts of the country as any hon. Member of this House. If it be true that the canvassers for hon. Gentlemen opposite and their workers went from house to house with a copy of this Bill in their hands and explained that it meant a curtailment of the power of the House of Lords, may I ask if at the same time they explained that this Bill means leaving the son of his father sitting in the House of Lords. Did they tell the electors the great central principle of the Bill which is now being put forward. If they did I can only say that my own experience goes to show that they failed to make any impression. Is it not a fact common to all of us that when we go to help a friend in his constituency we are generally told by him or by those who are working for him what is the precise method of attack adopted by the other side which is the most dangerous, and we are asked to meet it. If hon. Gentlemen are right when they say that every canvasser went to every cottage with a copy of this Bill in his pocket—[HON. MEMBERS: "No "]—well at any rate a certain number of them—is it not a very remarkable thing, and I do not think my experience differs from that of any other hon. Member that when we went into those places we were told that it was not the arguments against the peers that was influencing the election, but the argument that "your bread is going to cost you more. "

The Prime Minister indignantly repudiated the Motion that this Bill was being put before the country for the first time now, and he said it had been before the country for two if not three elections. If that statement is true, what becomes of all the speeches of the learned Lord Advocate upon old age pensions in which he explained in speech after speech that if the Unionist party were returned the money for old age pensions would not be forthcoming. He did not say that the peers would be dealt with or the Parliament Bill passed, or that the power of the people would be made paramount. The hon. Member who has just sat down told us that he found comfort and consolation in the Preamble of this Bill. The Prime Minister and others have claimed that their party is a united party with a powerful majority, as solid as that which stood behind the previous Prime Minister. The hon. Member opposite (Mr. Haworth) found comfort in the Preamble, but the hon. Member for Barnard Castle (Mr. A. Henderson) found in the Preamble what I believe the Foreign Secretary described as "Death and damnation." The Preamble spells for the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken comfort and security, whilst to hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway it spells precisely the reverse. I mean no disrespect to the hon. Gentleman opposite, but I desire to call his attention to the fact that earlier in the Debate this evening the Prime Minister made a very significant statement. He was challenged upon the Education Bill and the Licensing Bill, and he said:— You say we cannot pass both of them. Wait. If" time permits, if this Parliament lasts long enough we shall probably pass both of them. That is a very significant announcement. What do we know? We know that the Government have already mortgaged a large portion of its time for the passing of Home Rule. If to that you are going to add a controversial Education Bill—and it certainly will be controversial—and a Licensing Bill, then what becomes of the hon. Gentleman opposite who has so much-confidence in the Preamble. For five-years at least the time of the Government is pledged already, and yet the hon. Member is so wonderfully confident that he is prepared to vote for this Bill because it has a Preamble, and he believes that that Preamble will ultimately be given effect to. In this further remark I am going to make, I mean no disrespect when I say that from my previous experience of this Government, from all that I have learned from carefully watching them in this and' the preceding Parliament, as well as the Parliament before I have no confidence in their promises. The hon. Member may, for aught I know, represent a large body of opinion—I know the strength of the opinion represented by the hon. Member for Barnard Castle, and it is possible that the hon. Member for South Manchester represents a larger number—but if it comes to a choice between the two I have no doubt on which side the Government will ultimately come down. For my part I do not attach the smallest importance to the Preamble which gives comfort to those who are called Whigs, or to those who say they believe in a Second Chamber. It will no doubt endure just long enough to enable them comfortably, with due respect to their consciences, to remain in their places, and in due course when the order comes it will disappear. For my part I firmly believe that this Bill means Single-Chamber Government, and, if I had any doubt about it, my opinion is confirmed by the speech by the hon. Gentleman who preceded me. What did he say. He said:— We have to curtail the powers of the Peers. I believe the right tiling to do is first of all to decide upon the powers and then create the body. I am bound to say that those I have heard discuss this question have always said the first thing to do is to constitute your body and then decide what powers to give it. The hon. Member opposite evidently thinks the other way is the best. He and some other hon. Gentlemen, particularly the hon. Member for Barnard Castle, have asked what our views are about the hereditary principle. The Prime Minister has said, of course, with absolute truth, that this question of the reform of the Constitution of the House of Lords is a very difficult and technical one, and one which will take an immense time to deal with in detail. I am bound to say that when the hon. Member for Barnard Castle, speaking with authority as the representative of his party, challenged us as to our views, and rallied us about our differences. I was amazed. He heard the speech of the President of the Board of Education (Mr. Runciman) yesterday, and he heard the speech of the Prime Minister to-day. What had those two right hon. Gentlemen to say upon this very question of the hereditary principle? The President of the Board of Education said distinctly yesterday that the party to which he belonged would resist the abolition of the hereditary principle. Why? Because its abolition would make the second House far too strong in comparison with this House. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] It is no use for hon. Gentlemen to shake their heads. The speech is perfectly clearly reported, and so far as I know, no suggestion is made that the words were not intended to bear the meaning they evidently do bear, and all those who heard them have a perfectly clear recollection on the subject. Whereas to-day we have had it from the Prime Minister that any Second Chamber must be thoroughly democratic. We have had hon. Gentlemen opposite, including the hon. Member for Barnard Castle, challenging us as to what our views are upon the hereditary prin- ciple. Before the hon. Gentleman challenges us, who are his opponents, and rallies us about our views, the least he can do is to give his aid and counsel to his own colleagues and friends, and ask them to be agreed upon this question.

The time at our disposal is very limited. I am bound to say that I think the Government have treated us in this respect very much worse than we have ever been treated before. When a previous Liberal Government brought in a Home Rule measure I think we had eight days—[HON. MEMBERS: "Twelve."]—twelve days for the Second Reading. We have had four days only for a Debate on what is, after all, the biggest question that can possibly be raised in this House, but I should not dream for one moment of taking advantage of the accident that I happen to be speaking now to drive the Member of the Government who is going to reply into a corner by taking the time at his disposal to-night. [HON. MEMBERS: "Go on."] I am not going to stop now, I am only saying by way of protest, and I am entitled to make that protest, that it is quite impossible to cover adequately the ground which many Members would like to cover, and I think, having regard to the fact that we have no time in this Session in which we can raise any of those questions which are directly or indirectly affected by this Bill, it is very unfair we have not been given a longer time. The Government and the party opposite set out in this Debate to prove two main propositions—one, that the House of Lords had failed to do its duty to the country, and the other that this Bill would produce a state of things which would remove this grievance. They have failed altogether to prove the first proposition, and they have not tried to prove the second. I have been here for more than thirty years, and they have been very eventful years. When I hear hon. Members deliberately declare that the legislation which this House has passed has been ineffective, and that the House of Lords has obstructed all real reform, and when I remember that during those thirty years the franchise of this country has been radically altered, that the land laws have been amended, and that measures affecting local government and a whole host of other matters, apart from measures affecting Ireland, have been passed, I ask myself what is the meaning of this statement that the House of Lords has been obstructive? The Prime Minister told us to-night that this was not a new case. He told us that from 1906 till 1909 this case had been going on. That statement is absolutely true. One of the explanations of some of their failures is that for some reasons of their own they deliberately brought about a conflict with the House of Lords, when they could have, if they liked, secured useful legislation of their own draughtsmanship. But they would not have it. A right hon. Member asks what about the Scottish Landholders' Bill. It is an unfortunate interruption, for I will venture to say there is no Bill which ultimately fell in the House of Lords which so abundantly proves the case I have stated. I am not going to give my own opinion or quote that of my hon. Friends; but I will remind the House that when the fate of that Bill was trembling in the balance several hon. Members challenged the Government about it. The Member for Galloway—


There is no Member for Galloway.


I mean the hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty. In the last Parliament he asked the Secretary for Scotland if the responsiblity for the rejection of this Bill did not rest with the House of Lords. He also asked whether there was not very great distress in the Highlands, and whether the Bill brought in was not one impossible to pass. This Bill did not go to the House of Lords, and on its Third Beading in the Commons the hon. Member for Orkney said he did not want the Bill thrown out, and he certainly trusted that, although the Chamber was not allowed to voice any compromise, wiser counsels would prevail in another place. The matter did not end there. Subsequently a statement was made in the House of Lords by Lord Crewe, on behalf of the Government. In this House the Member for Sutherland had asked who authorised Lord Crewe to state that those entitled to speak for the northern counties concurred in the withdrawal of the Crofters' portion of the Bill, and the Prime Minister replied that although Lord Crewe did not make that statement with any authority from him the statement was quite correct, as he had received assurances from all sides that while the Crofter counties' representatives were anxious to obtain these benefits, they were willing to submit to what was considered the best policy and the best tactics. Then you come here and claim to be acting upon great constitutional principles, and to have the cause of your country at heart, and the Prime Minister waxes very furious at the Leader of the Opposition because he makes a statement which gave offence to the Prime Minister and his followers. Are we not entitled to say, to put it mildly, that there is a want of sincerity in your action? You charge the House of Lords with having rejected measure after measure, and yet you know perfectly well that two of them—I am not going to say another word about them—were Bills that you could not pass, even though the Prime Minister said you had an overwhelming majority over all parties. On the strength of that majority you tried to tyranmse over this House and over the country. What happened? You brought in these two measures to which reference has been made—the Education Bill and the Licensing Bill—you made them applicable only to England and Wales, and the first time you gave the people of England and Wales the opportunity they, by a majority, decide against them. I think I have said enough to justify the proposition I started by making. You have not made your case, you cannot make it, you have not sought to prove that this Bill will do what you want, namely, enable well-considered legislation dealing with the country's wants to be passed. Every speech that has been made—no matter from what part of that side of the House—shows that the object which hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite have in their mind and in their heart has to do with that which their party wants, and not with that which their country wants. The Prime Minister taunted us earlier in the evening by saying, "You will see who wins when we get into the Lobby." We shall see, and I for one am not so foolish as to doubt who will win to-night in this the first great engagement of this great contest, but there are victories which are dearer than defeat, and I venture to say that this Government had an opportunity which has seldom offered itself to any Government, which probably they will never have again, and have chosen deliberately to pass it by. They have preferred to secure what they regard as a triumph for their party to doing that which would have provided a firm and satisfactory settlement of this constitutional question, and which would have conduced to the benefit of their country. They may win, but their victory will be a dear one, and, won as it will have been won, will be short-lived.

The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. Herbert Samuel)

We especially on this side of the House have listened with the greatest interest to the forcible speech of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Walter Long), for at last, for the first time in this long Debate, we have listened to a speech from an out-and-out defender of the House of Lords. "Why the Bill?" says the right hon. Gentleman. "The Lords have not obstructed. Where is your grievance? They have passed all good legislation." The right hon. Gentleman has forgotten the very Amendment in support of which he was speaking which offers to the House a root and branch reform of the House of Lords itself.


I must protest. If I had had a quarter of an hour longer I intended and desired to put the views that we hold with regard to the general question. Because I shortened my remarks to suit the convenience of the right hon. Gentleman he has no right to challenge me.


I appreciate most deeply the courtesy of the right hon. Gentleman in being good enough to give me so long a portion of the time of the House, and I should be the last to criticise him for having left out any item in the speech that he intended to address to us, seeing that he did so in order to give me a longer time. But the argument is patent and plain. If there is no grievance against the House of Lords, and that surely was the main burden of the right hon. Gentleman's argument, why this policy of self-reform? I wish I could give way at this moment to the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. F. E. Smith), who in incisive language, would very speedily convince the right hon. Gentleman how necessary, and, indeed, essential, it is on broad grounds of policy to remedy the grievance of the Liberal party and to allow us, in his own terms, as good or as bad a chance of passing our Bills through the Second Chamber as the Unionist party now enjoy. I think we on this side have a right to be somewhat sceptical of these schemes for self-reformation when those who themselves are prepared to adopt a scheme of reform declare in the next breath that they have always led a blameless life and that there is no case for reform at all.

The second point of the right hon. Gentleman was that this Bill was not before the elecorate at the recent General Election. A strange doctrine! Surely by every method of political advocacy this Bill was brought home to every elector. Every speaker from the Prime Minister downwards, even to street corner orators, stated it prominently. The very provisions of this Bill were circulated to every house, on millions and millions of leaflets. I do not say it was the only measure discussed at the election, I do not say it was the only important measure discussed at the election; but I say never since 1832 has any Bill been so prominently and conspicuously laid before the electors. What has been the result? The Prime Minister finds himself here supported on this Bill by a majority in the House of Commons greater than any that ever supported the measures of Gladstone or Disraeli, and, with rare exceptions, the greatest majority in the House of Commons in modern times. True, the hon. Baronet (Sir W. Anson) and the Noble Lord (Lord Hugh Cecil), made a point which seems apparently to appeal to the academic mind, that if we had had proportional representation on the lines and according to the calculations made by the Royal Commission on electoral systems our majority at this moment would not be 124, but in January of last year 54, and now 38. But the hon. Baronet and the Noble Lord did not show all the candour that is expected from scientific men. They have neglected to tell us that the same Royal Commission proceeding on the same method of calculation, declared that the majority of the right hon. Gentlemen opposite in 1900 would have been at the exiguous figure of two, and in 1895 would have been of precisely the same magnitude.


We did not propose to alter the Constitution.


The Noble Lord and his friends were not very much disturbed in mind at the discrepancy between their actual and their theoretical majority. The right hon. Gentleman and those who sit by him have laid before the House all through these Debates two propositions. The first proposition is that measures of great constitutional change should not be passed into law unless they are specifically referred to the people and have the assent of the people. The second proposition is that this measure of great constitutional change which has been specifically referred to the people, nevertheless should not pass into law. Well, the lot of progressive legislation is very hard if constitutional reforms which have not the assent of the electorate are not to pass through the House of Lords, and if constitutional reforms which have the assent of the electorate are not to pass even through the House of Commons. They go further and say, "You boast of your great majority, but after all it is a composite majority, which has no moral validity." It is said that we are mere playthings in the hands of independent groups, and that, therefore, the Government are compelled by the pressure of exigencies to take the course which we have taken. [Cheers.] I rejoice that I have expressed the views of hon. Gentlemen opposite in a manner which is acceptable to them, and yet these are the days in which we are told that Parliament suffers above all things from Cabinet autocracy. We are both playthings and despots. I leave to the House the obvious contradiction. Surely it is an astounding doctrine that if one homogeneous party which is under the control of Government whips were to pass a Bill through the House of Commons, that is legitimate and right, but if three bodies wholly independent of one another freely and voluntarily combine to support a particular measure, then we are told that that is an illegitimate, immoral, unconstitutional, and flagrant violation of Parliamentary usage. There is no period in our Parliamentary history when it has been held that, if independent Members of the House of Commons support Government proposals, those proposals are for that reason less worthy of approval. The Constitution knows nothing of party. There is the King, there is the House of Lords, and there is the House of Commons, and it is among the many new constitutional doctrines which are born in such prolific numbers under the pressure of necessity that the House of Commons must do nothing unless its majority consists wholly of one party subject to that very control which on other occasions is so freely condemned.

Mark the consequences of this doctrine on the representation of Ireland. It is another instance of the bitter antagonism which so often and so constantly has been shown by the Unionist party to the Irish representatives or to the Nationalist representatives. Eight hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite say to the Nationalist representatives, "We rule you out, we will not count your votes in discussions of the Imperial Parliament. You shall not have a Parliament of your own, and we will not count you as Members of ours." This, forsooth, is the doctrine of Unionists for the representatives of Ireland, which is as much an integral part of the United King- dom as Devonshire, or Cornwall, or Warwickshire, or Lancashire.


Has anybody used that argument.


Why do right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite protest against our passing this Bill through the House of Commons on the ground that it is the work of a coalition majority? I will go further, if I have not fairly interpreted the argument which I am endeavouring to meet. As I understand, right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite say, "Not merely do you combine with the representatives from Ireland to pass this Bill, but it is an immoral combination in itself, because the hon. and learned Member for Waterford comes forward as a sort of diabolus ex machiva, steps on to the stage to rule events, to try to turn the situation as he desires, and your quarrel with the House of Lords is not the outcome of Liberal policy, but is the result of a servile, humiliating dependence upon the necessity of securing Irish support. Now I have succeeded in interpreting the views of hon. Gentlemen opposite. If that be so what becomes of the argument of the Leader of the Opposition himself, who, on the First Reading of this Bill, says, speaking of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister:— In the first place the party which he now leads and of which he was an important member came into power in 1906 determined to pick a quarrel with the House of Lords. It is a commonplace of history. It will be denied by no one who really throws his memory back to those days. In 1906, when, according to this doctrine, we came into power determined to pick this quarrel, there was no dependence upon the Irish vote. The American dollars and the Canadian dollars had never been heard of, and surely the Leader of the Opposition has given an answer to his own party by declaring that this quarrel originated in 1906. We did not come into power in 1906 determined to pick a quarrel with the House of Lords. It is no desire of ours that we should be obliged to spend the time of Parliament in this great constitutional struggle. I believe I know the sentiments that animate my hon. Friends behind me and those around me. Those of us who came into Parliament in 1906 came with an earnest desire to deal not primarily with constitutional, but with social questions, with the land question, the licensing question, the labour question, and with a desire to establish principles of religious equality in our educational system. Had we been allowed to proceed with these, with our work, had the House of Lords shown, as they used to do in earlier days, the strength which knows when to yield, this constitutional struggle would never have come upon us. The quarrels that have arisen since then have taught us, by bitter experience, that it is impossible to proceed with the measures that we have primarily at heart unless we deal with this question.

I come back for a moment to this accusation, that by this measure we make these proposals merely in order to secure our support. Let it be observed that not one of the effective stages in this quarrel between the two Houses has arisen out of an Irish question. When, long ago, the proposals that are the chief provisions of this Bill were made by John Bright, it was not on an Irish question; it followed the rejection by the House of Lords of the Franchise Bill of 1884. When this House passed, in 1907, the Resolutions on which this Bill is founded, these Resolutions followed the rejection by the House of Lords of the Education Bill for England and Wales, the One Man One Vote Bill, which was common to the whole country. When in 1908 my right hon. Friend said that this question must be for the Liberal party the dominating issue, that followed the rejection by the House of Lords of the Licensing Bill. In 1909, when my right hon. Friend declared at the Albert Hall that never again would a Liberal Government be responsible for the administration of the country unless this issue was settled once for all, that followed, not an Irish dispute, but the rejection by the House of Lords of the Budget of 1909. For my part, I am a Home Ruler, and always have been. Every day I live, and watch events in this House and outside the House, the more convinced I am, and I think my hon. Friends share this opinion, of the necessity of securing a national settlement with Ireland. But I do declare, and no one will deny it, that if the Irish question had never existed, if the fields and mountains of Ireland had never risen above the sea, if Parnell, O'Connell, and the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond) had never been here, if Home Rule had not been a living issue, British Liberalism now, for the sake of all that it holds dear, would be compelled at this moment to come to grips with the House of Lords. Why do we produce this Bill, the right hon. Gentleman asked? Let me ask, if I respectfully may, hon. Members opposite to put themselves in our place in imagination, and, if they will do so, to assume that we are in earnest, to assume that we really do desire to carry our Education Bill, our Licensing Bill, our Plural Voting Bill, and Scottish Land Bill, our land reform, and all those measures—to assume that we do desire to carry them, believing them to be for the benefit of the nation and useful progress of our people When we see, year after year, these measures thwarted, what would they have us do? I think they rate too low our sincerity, our energy, our courage, if they think we are in need of any pressure from any quarter to deal with this barrier that stands in our way. This argument was advanced against us: If you are not immoral in making your proposals now, in combination with hon. Members from Ireland and the Labour party, your immorality is only postponed by a year. It will display itself within twelve months from now when you lay before this House, after passing the Veto Bill, the proposals for Home Rule. It may be that you are entitled to combine for the purposes of this Bill, but you are not entitled to pass this Bill, and then, without consulting the electors, introduce Home Rule proposals. We were told by the Leader of the Opposition this afternoon, and by the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University, if we do so we shall be committing a fraud on the electors that a helpless nation will suddenly wake up to find, like a bolt from the blue, a Home Rule Bill, which they never anticipated would be passed into law under the provisions of the Veto Measure. Contradiction is given to that by the most specific, distinct, and emphatic speeches made before each of the last two elections by the Prime Minister himself. My own experience, I am sure, is that of all hon. Members on this side. Again and again during my own contest I was questioned whether I was in favour of Home Rule, and I answered I was. Again and again I was asked whether, after the Veto Bill passed into law in this Parliament, the Government intended to introduce a Home Rule Bill and pass it into law under its provisions, and I answered that we did. That was the answer given throughout the country by candidates on our side. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."] Hon. Members opposite apparently know our own speeches better than we know them ourselves. Do they know their own speeches and messages? The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition sent messages to support Members of his party throughout the constituencies, mostly, as such messages always do, containing the same sentiment. Here is one sent to the Conservative candidate for the Barnstaple Division:— The avowed intention of the Government is in substance to abolish the Second Chamber, and then without any reference to the electors, to grant a sweeping measure of Home Rule. The right hon. Gentleman gives too little credit to the weight of his own words.


made an observation which was inaudable to the Official Reporter. [Interruption.]


The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wimbledon (Mr. Chaplin), who gave us an interesting speech yesterday, put the same principle into the crisper form so familiar to us, when he declared, at a meeting in the North of England:— Every vote given in support of the Government at this election is a vote given in support of Home Rule. I hold in my hand an interesting document:— Special report adopted by the Ulster Unionist Council at its annual meeting. This is the passage to which I wish to draw the attention of the House:— There was a large increase in Unionist majorities in Ulster contests at the election of January, 1910, owing to the impetus imparted to Unionist efforts by Mr. Asquith's Home Rule pledge, given in his famous Albert Hall speech a few weeks before. It is somewhat hard that hon. Gentlemen opposite who have won votes on the strength of a declaration should afterwards deny that that declaration was made. Fraud on the electors—fraud on the electors there would be if we were to accept the invitation of hon. Members opposite, and were now to abandon this Bill. Then the right hon. Gentleman says that our attack was on the hereditary principle. Why do we not proceed with our reform now? [OPPOSITION cheers.] I am glad to be so successful again in interpreting the right hon. Gentleman. The Leader of the Opposition says that there is common agreement as to the necessity for a reform of the other House. Quite true. But there

is no common agreement as to the character of that reform. "Reform" is only a word—it may mean much, or it may mean little.


What does it mean in your Preamble?


There were put down to the Address by hon. Members opposite, twenty-three Amendments, couched in similar terms, calling upon this House to pass a Bill to make the House of Lords fully representative and popular in character. Not one of the twenty-three Members moved the Amendment. Instead, we have the Amendment, which is now the question before the House, merely asking us to reform the composition of the House of Lords. During the whole of these four days' Debate, although we have had speeches—able speeches, of course—from almost all the Members on the Front Bench opposite, not one word has been spoken by a single one of them to tell us what the character of their reform is to be. [Several HON. MEMBERS: "What is yours?"] Surely it is a strange thing at this time of crisis, after two elections, when the Government of the day places before Parliament its chief measure, and when the Opposition of the day formally moves a reasoned Amendment presenting to the House an alternative, asking the House not to pass this Bill, but to pass another Bill, that we should have not one single syllable of explanation of what their plan is.

I regret that other points on which I desired to reply to the right hon. Gentleman and others I cannot deal with now. The fact remains that the House of Commons is now called upon to give its assent or its dissent to this Bill. Again and again in recent years hon. Members opposite have appealed for aid to a power across the Lobby. We have appealed to a greater power outside these doors, and we ask the House now to pass this Bill.


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, 366; Noes, 243.

Division No. 23.] AYES. [11.0 p.m.
Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour) Addison Dr. C. Alden, Percy
Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda) Adkins, W. Ryland D. Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire)
Acland, Francis Dyke Agnew, Sir George William Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)
Adamson, William Ainsworth, John Stirling Armitage, R.
Ashton, Thomas Gair Farrell, James Patrick Levy, Sir Maurice
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Fenwick, Charles Lewis, John Herbert
Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A. Ferens, T. R. Logan, John William
Baker, H. T. (Accrington) Ffrench, Peter Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas
Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.) Field, William Low, Sir F. (Norwich)
Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark) Fitzgibbon, John Lundon, T.
Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset) Flavin, Michael Joseph Lyell, Charles Henry
Barnes, G. N. France, G. A. Lynch, A. A.
Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick) Furness, Stephen W. Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)
Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.) Gelder, Sir W. A. Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)
Barry, Redmond John (Tyrone, N.) George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd MacGhee, Richard
Barton, William Gibson, Sir James P. Maclean, Donald
Beale, W. P. Gilhooly, James Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.
Beauchamp, Edward Gill, A. H. MacNeill, John Gordon Swift
Beck, Arthur Cecil Ginnell, L. MacVeagh, Jeremiah
Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. Geo.) Glanville, H. J. M'Callum, John M.
Bentham, G. J. Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford M'Curdy, C. A.
Bethell, Sir J. H. Goldstone, Frank M'Kean, John
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough) McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald
Black, Arthur W. Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland) M'Laren, H. D. (Lelces.)
Boland, John Pius Greig, Colonel J. W. M'Laren, F. W. S. (Line, Spalding)
Booth, Frederick Handel Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)
Bowerman, C. W. Griffith, Ellis J. (Anglesey) M' Micking, Major Gilbert
Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.) Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke) Markham, Arthur Basil
Brace, William Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.) Marks, G. Croydon
Brady, P. J. Gulland, John W. Marshall, Arthur Harold
Brigg, Sir John Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway) Martin, J.
Brocklehurst, W. B. Hackett, J. Mason, David M. (Coventry)
Brunner, J. F. L. Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Masterman, C. F. G.
Bryce, J. Annan Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale) Mathias, Richard
Burke, E. Haviland- Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Meagher, Michael
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil) Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, R.)
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Harmsworth, R. L. Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.) Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) Menzies, Sir Walter
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar) Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.) Molloy, M.
Byles, William Pollard Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.) Molteno, Percy Alport
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Harwood, George Mond, Sir Alfred M.
Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich) Haslam, James (Derbyshire) Money, L. G. Chiozza
Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood) Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Montagu, Hon. E. S.
Chancellor, H. G. Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry Mooney, J. J.
Chapple, Dr. William Allen Haworth, Arthur A. Morgan, George Hay
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Hayden, John Patrick Morrell, Philip
Clancy, John Joseph Hayward, Evan Morton, Alpheus Cleophas
Clough, William Hazleton, Richard (Galway, N.) Muldoon, John
Clynes, J. R. Healy, Maurice Munro, R.
Collins, G. P. (Greenock) Helme, Norval Watson Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C.
Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.) Needham, Christopher T.
Condon, Thomas Joseph Henry, Sir Charles S. Neilson, Francis
Corbett, A. Cameron Higham, John Sharp Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Hinds, John Nolan, Joseph
Cotton, William Francis Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. Norman, Sir Henry
Cowan, W. H. Holt, Richard Durning Norton, Capt. Cecil W.
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Home, C. Silvester (Ipswich) Nugent, Sir Waiter Richard
Crawshay-Williams, Eliot Howard, Hon. Geoffrey O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Crean, Eugene Hudson, Walter O'Brien, William (Cork, N. E.)
Crumley, Patrick Hughes, S. L. O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)
Cullinan, J. Hunter, W. (Govan) O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy) Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel O' Doherty, Philip
Davies, E. William (Elfion) Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh) O' Donnell, Thomas
Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth) John, Edward Thomas O' Dowd, John
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Johnson, W. Ogden, Fred
Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan) Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea) O' Grady, James
Dawes, J. A. Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil) O' Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)
Delany, William Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth) O' Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)
Denman, Hon. R. D. Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe) O' Malley, William
Devlin, Joseph Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) O' Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)
Dewar, Sir J. A. Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T'w'r H'mts, Stepney) O' Shaughnessy, P. J.
Dickinson, W. H. Jowett, F. W. O' Shee, James John
Dillon, John Joyce, Michael O' Sullivan, Timothy
Donelan, Captain A. J. C. Keating, M. Palmer, Godfrey Mark
Doris, W. Kellaway, Frederick George Parker, James (Halifax)
Duffy, William J. Kelly, Edward Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Kemp, Sir G. Pearce, William (Limehouse)
Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley) Kennedy, Vincent Paul Pearson, Weetman H. M.
Edwards, Allen C. (Glamorgan, E.) Kilbride, Denis Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)
Edwards, Enoch (Hanley) King, J. (Somerset, N.) Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)
Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor) Lamb, Ernest Henry Phillips, John (Longford, S.)
Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan Mid) Lambert, George (Devon, S. Molton) Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Elverston, H. Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) Pointer, Joseph
Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.) Lansbury, George Pollard, Sir George H.
Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.) Lardner, James Carrige Rushe Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
Essex, Richard Walter Law, Hugh A. Power, Patrick Joseph
Esslemont, George Birnie Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld., Cockerm'th) Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)
Falconer, J. Leach, Charles Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)
Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham) Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel) Walters, John Tudor
Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.) Scanian, Thomas Walton, Sir Joseph
Primrose, Hon. Neil James Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E. Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
Pringle, William M. R. Scott, A. M'Callum (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Wardle, George J.
Radford, G. H. Seely, Col., Right Hon. J. E. B. Waring, Walter
Raffan, Peter Wilson Sheehan, Daniel Daniel Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay
Rainy, A. Rolland Sheeny, David Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
Raphael, Sir Herbert H. Sherwell, Arthur James Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields) Simon, Sir John Allsebrook Watt, Henry A.
Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough) Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe) Webb, H.
Reddy, M. Smith, H. B. L. (Northampton) Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Redmond, John E. (Waterford) Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.) White, Sir George (Norfolk)
Redmond, William (Clare) Snowden, P. White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)
Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.) Soares, Ernest J. White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Rendall, Atheistan Spicer, Sir Albert Whitehouse, John Howard
Richards, Thomas Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N. W.) Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Richardson, Albion (Peckham) Strachey, Sir Edward Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)
Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven) Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West) Wiles, Thomas
Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Summers, James Wooley Wilkie, Alexander
Roberts, G. H. (Norwich) Sutherland, J. E. Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs) Sutton, John E. Williams, P. (Middlesbrough)
Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford) Taylor, John W. (Durham) Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside) Tennant, Harold John Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Robinson, Sydney Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.) Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)
Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke) Thomas, J. H. (Derby) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Roche, John (Galway, E.) Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton) Winfrey, Richard
Roe, Sir Thomas Thorne, William (West Ham) Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)
Rose, Sir Charles Day Toulmin, George Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)
Rowlands, James Trevelyan, Charles Philips Young, W. (Perthshire, E.)
Rowntree, Arnold Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander Yoxall, Sir James
Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter Verney, Sir Harry
St. Maur, Harold Wadsworth, J. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Master of Elibank and Mr. Illingworth.
Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland) Walsh, J. (Cork, South)
Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees) Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)
Aitken William Max. Cave, George Guinness, Hon. W. E.
Anson, Sir William Reynell Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University) Haddock, George Bahr
Anstruther-Gray, Major William Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W. Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)
Archer-Shee, Major M. Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.) Hall, Fred (Dulwich)
Arkwright, John Stanhope Chambers, J. Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)
Astor, Waldorf Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Hambro, Angus Valdemar
Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J. Clay, Capt. H. H. Spender Hamersley, A. St. George
Baird, J. L. Clive, Percy Archer Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)
Baker, Sir R. L. (Dorset, N.) Clyde, J. Avon Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)
Balcarres, Lord Collings, Rt. Hon. J. (Birmingham) Harris, Henry Percy
Baldwin, Stanley Compton, Lord A Helmsley, Viscount
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.) Cooper, Richard Ashmole Henderson, Major H. (Abingdon)
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Courthope, G. Loyd Hickman, Col. T. E.
Banner, John S. Harmood- Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim. S.) Hill, Sir Clement L.
Baring, Captain Hon. G. V. Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter
Barlow, Montague (Salford, South) Craig, Norman (Kent) Hills, J. W.
Barnston, H. Craik, Sir Henry Hill-Wood, Samuel
Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.) Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian Hoare, S. J. G.
Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc, E.) Cripps, Sir C. A. Hohler, G. F.
Bathurst, Charles (Wilton) Croft, H. P. Hope, Harry (Bute)
Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks Dairymple, Viscount Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)
Beckett, Hon. W. Gervase Dalziel, D. (Brixton) Horne, W. E. (Surrey, Guildford)
Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth) Dixon, C. H. Horner, A. L.
Benn, I. H. (Greenwich) Doughty, Sir George Houston, Robert Paterson
Bennett-Goldney, Francis Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Hume-Williams, W. E.
Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish Eyres-Monsell, B. M. Hunt, Rowland
Beresford, Lord Charles Falle, B. G. Hunter, Sir C. R. (Bath)
Bigland, Alfred Fell, Arthur Ingleby, Holcombe
Bird, A. Finlay, Sir Robert Jardine, E. (Somerset, E.)
Boscawen, Sackville T. Griffith- Fisher, W. Hayes Jessel, Captain H. M.
Boyle, W. L. (Norfolk, Mid) Fitzroy, Hon. E. A. Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.
Boyton, James Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr
Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell Fleming, Valentine Kerry, Earl of
Bridgeman, W. Clive Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead) Kimber, Sir Henry
Bull, Sir William James Foster, Philip Staveley Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement
Burdett-Coutts, W. Gardner, Ernest Kirkwood, J. H. M.
Burgoyne, A. H. Gastrell, Major W. H. Knight, Capt. E. A.
Burn, Col. C. R. Gibbs, G. A. Kyffin-Taylor, G.
Butcher, J. G. Gilmour, Captain J. Larmor, Sir J
Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M. Goldman, C. S. Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'm'ts, Mile End)
Campion, W. R. Goldsmith, Frank Lee, Arthur H.
Carlile, E. Hildred Gordon, J. Lewisham, Viscount
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H. Goulding, Edward Alfred Lloyd, G. A.
Cassel, Felix Grant, J. A. Locker-Lampson. G. (Salisbury)
Castlereagh, Viscount Greene, W. R. Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)
Cautley, H. S. Gretton, John Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.
Long, Rt. Hon. Walter Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge) Steel-Maitland, A. D.
Lonsdale, John Brownlee Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton) Stewart, Gershom
Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston) Perkins, Walter F. Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, N.)
Lowther, Claude (Cumberland, Eskdale) Peto, Basil Edward Swift, Rigby
Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (Hanover Sq.) Pole-Carew, Sir R. Sykes, Alan John
Mackinder, H. J. Pollock, Ernest Murray Talbot, Lord E.
Macmaster, Donald Pretyman, E. G. Terrell, G. (Wilts, N. W.)
M'Calmont, Colonel James Pryce-Jones, Col. E. Terrell, H. (Gloucester)
M'Mordie, Robert Quilter, William Eley C. Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)
Magnus, Sir Philip Ratcliff, Major R. F. Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)
Malcolm, Ian Rawilnson, John Frederick Peel Thynne, Lord A.
Mallaby-Deeley, Harry Rawson, Col. R. H. Tobin, Alfred Aspinall
Mason, James F. (Windsor) Remnant, James Farquharson Touche, George Alexander
Meysey-Thompson, E. C. Rice, Hon. Walter F. Walker, Cot. William Hall
Middlemore, John Throgmorton Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall) Walrond, Hon. Lionel
Mildmay, Francis Bingham Rolleston, Sir John Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)
Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas Ronaldshay, Earl of Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)
Moore, William Rothschild, Lionel D. Weigall, Capt. A. G.
Morpeth, Viscount Royds, Edmund Wheler, Granville C. H.
Morrison, Captain J. A. Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen) White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)
Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton) Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby) Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Mount, William Arthur Salter, Arthur Clavell Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude
Neville, Reginald J. N. Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood) Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)
Newdegate, F. A. Sanders, Robert A. Winterton, Earl
Newman, John R. P. Sanderson, Lancelot Wolmer, Viscount
Newton, Harry Kottingham Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells) Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Ripon)
Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield) Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Nield, Herbert Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange) Worthington-Evans, L. (Colchester)
Norton-Griffiths, J. (Wednesbury) Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.) Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid) Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)) Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Orde-Powlett. Hon. W. G. A. Smith, Harold (Warrington) Yate, Col. C. E. (Lelcs., Melton)
Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William Spear, John Ward Yerburgh, Robert
Paget, Almeric Hugh Stanier, Beville Younger, George
Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend) Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)
Parkes, Ebenezer Starkey, John R. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Viscount Valentia and Mr. H. W. Forster.
Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington) Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)

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

The House divided: Ayes, 365; Noes, 244.

Division No. 24.] AYES. [11.12 p.m.
Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour) Brady, P. J. Dawes, J. A.
Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda) Brigg, Sir John Delany, William
Acland, Francis Dyke Brocklehurst, W. B. Denman, Hon. R. D.
Adamson, William Brunner, J. F. L. Devlin, Joseph
Addison, Dr. C. Bryce, J. Annan Dewar, Sir J. A.
Adkins, W. Ryland D. Burke, E. Haviland- Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N)
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Burns, Rt. Hon. John Dillon, John
Agnew, Sir George William Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Donelan, Captain A. J. C.
Ainsworth, John Stirling Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.) Doris, W.
Alden, Percy Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar) Duffy, William J.
Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire) Byles, William Pollard Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)
Allen, Charles Peter (Stroud) Carr-Gomm, H. W. Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)
Armitage, R. Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich) Edwards, Allen C. (Glamorgan, E.)
Ashton, Thomas Gair Cawtey, Harold T. (Heywood) Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Chancellor, H. G. Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)
Atherley-Jones, Llewelyn A. Chapple, Dr. W. A. Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)
Baker, H. T. (Accrington) Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Elverston, H.
Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.) Clancy, John Joseph Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N)
Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark) Clough, William Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)
Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset) Clynes, J. R. Essex, Richard Walter
Barnes, G. N. Collins, G. P. (Greenock) Esslemont, George Birnie
Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick Burghs) Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Falconer, J.
Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.) Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Farrell, James Patrick
Barry, Redmond John (Tyrone, N.) Condon, Thomas Joseph Fenwick, Charles
Barton, W. Corbett, A. Cameron Ferens, T. R.
Beale, W. P. Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Ffrench, Peter
Beauchamp, Edward Cotton, William Francis Field, William
Beck, Arthur Cecil Cowan, W. H. Fitzgibbon, John
Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. Geo.) Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Flavin, Michael Joseph
Bentham, G. J. Crawshay-Williams, Eliot France, G. A.
Bethell, Sir J. H. Crean, Eugene Furness, Stephen W.
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Crumley, Patrick Gelder, Sir W. A.
Black, Arthur W. Cullinan, J. George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd
Boland, John Pius Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy) Gibson, Sir James P.
Booth, Frederick Handel Davies, E. William (Elfion) Gilhooly, James
Bowerman, C. W. Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth) Gill, A. H.
Boyle, D. (Maya, N.) Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Ginnell, L.
Brace, William Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan) Glanville, H. J.
Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford M'Curdy, C. A. Richardson, Albion (Peckham)
Goldstone, Frank M'Kean, John Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)
Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough) McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland) M' Laren, F. W. S. (Lines., Spalding) Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)
Greig, Colonel J. W. M' Laren, H. D. (Leics.) Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)
Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward M' Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe) Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)
Griffith, Ellis J. M' Micking, Major Gilbert Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke) Markham, Arthur Basil Robinson, Sydney
Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.) Marks, G. Croydon Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Gulland, John William Marshall, Arthur Harold Roche, John (Galway, E.)
Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway) Martin, J. Roe, Sir Thomas
Hackett, J. Mason, David M. (Coventry) Rose, Sir Charles Day
Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Masterman, C. F. G. Rowlands, James
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale) Mathias, Richard Rowntree, Arnold
Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Meagher, Michael Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil) Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) St. Maur, Harold
Harmsworth, R. L. Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.) Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) Menzies, Sir Walter Samuel, J. (Stockton)
Harvey, T. E (Leeds, W.) Molloy, Michael Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)
Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.) Molteno, Percy Alport Scanian, Thomas
Harwood, George Mond, Sir Alfred Moritz Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E.
Haslam, James (Derbyshire) Money, L. G. Chlozza Scott, A. M'Callum (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Montagu, Hon. E. S. Seely, Col., Right Hon. J. E. B.
Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry Mooney, J. J. Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Haworth, Arthur A. Morgan, George Hay Sheehy, David
Hayden, John Patrick Morrell, Philip Sherwell, Arthur James
Hayward, Evan Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Simon, Sir John Allsebrook
Hazleton, Richard (Galway, N.) Muldoon, John Smith, Albert (Lancs-, Clitheroe)
Healy, Maurice Munro, R. Smith, H. B. (Northampton)
Helme, Norval Watson Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C. Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Murray, Captain Hon. A. C. Snowden, P.
Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.) Needham, Christopher T. Soares, Ernest J.
Henry, Sir Charles S. Neilson, Francis Spicer, Sir Albert
Higham, John Sharp Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster) Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)
Hinds, John Nolan, Joseph Strachey, Sir Edward
Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. Norman, Sir Henry Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)
Holt, Richard Durning Norton, Capt. Cecil W. Summers, James Woolley
Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich) Nugent, Sir Walter Richard Sutherland, J. E.
Howard, Hon. Geoffrey O' Brien, Patrick (Kinkenny) Sutton, John E.
Hudson, Walter O' Brien, William (Cork, N. E.) Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Hughes, S. L. O' Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Tennant, Harold John
Hunter, W. (Govan) O' Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)
Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel O' Doherty, Philip Thomas, J. H. (Derby)
Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh) O' Donnell, Thomas Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
John, Edward Thomas O' Dowd, John Thorne, William (West Ham)
Johnson, W. Ogden, Fred Toulmin, George
Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea) O' Grady, James Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil) O' Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.) Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth) O' Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.) Verney, Sir Harry
Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe) O' Malley, William Wadsworth, J.
Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) O' Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.) Walsh, J. (Cork, South)
Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T'w'r H'mts, Stepney) O' Shaughnessy, P. J. Walsh, Stephen (Lanes., Ince)
Jowett, F. W. O' Shee, James John Walters, John Tudor
Joyce, Michael O' Sullivan, Timothy Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
Keating, M. Palmer, Godfrey Mark Wardle, George J.
Kellaway, Frederick George Parker, James (Halifax) Waring, Walter
Kelly, Edward Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek) Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay
Kemp, Sir G. Pearce, William (Limehouse) Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
Kennedy, Vincent Paul Pearson, Weetman H. M. Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Kilbride, Denis Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham) Watt, Henry A.
King, J. (Somerset, N.) Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton) Webb, H.
Lamb, Ernest Henry Phillips, John (Longford, S.) Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Lambert, George (Devon, S Moltor) Pickersgill, Edward Hare White, Sir George (Norfolk)
Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) Pointer, Joseph White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)
Lansbury, George Pollard, Sir George H. White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Lardner, James Carrige Rushe Ponsonby, Artnur A. W. H. Whitehouse, John Howard
Law, Hugh A. Power, Patrick Joseph Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld., Cockerm'th) Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central) Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)
Leach, Charles Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.) Wiles, Thomas
Levy, Sir Maurice Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham) Wilkle, Alexander
Lewis, John Herbert Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.) Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Logan, John William Primrose, Hon. Nell James Williams, P. (Middlesbrough)
Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas Pringle, William M. R. Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
Low, Sir F. (Norwich) Radford, G. H. Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Lundon, T. Raffan, Peter Wilson Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)
Lyell, Charles Henry Rainy, Adam Rolland Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Lynch, A. A. Raphael, Sir Herbert H. Winfrey, Richard
Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields) Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)
Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough) Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)
MacGhee, Richard Reddy, M Young, W. (Perthshire, E.)
Maclean, Donald Redmond, John E. (Waterford) Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone. E.)
MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Redmond, William (Clare) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Master of Elibank and Mr. Illingworth.
MacVeagh, Jeremiah Rendall, Atheistan
M'Callum, John M. Richards, Thomas
Aitken, William Max. Gastrell, Major W. H. Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)
Anson, Sir William Reynell Gibbs, G. A. Nield, Herbert
Anstruther-Gray, Major William Gilmour, Captain J. Norton-Griffiths, J. (Wednesbury)
Archer-Shee, Major M. Goldman, C. S. O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid.)
Arkwright, John Stanhope Goldsmith, Frank Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.
Astor, Waldorf Gordon, J. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William
Bagot, Lieut. Colonel J. Goulding, Edward Alfred Paget, Almeric Hugh
Baird, J. L. Grant, J. A. Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)
Baker, Sir R. L. (Dorset, N.) Greene, W. R. Parkes, Ebenezer
Balcarres, Lord Gretton, John Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Baldwin, Stanley Guinness, Hon. W. E. Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge)
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Und.) Haddock, George Bahr Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight) Perkins, Walter F.
Banner, John S. Harmood- Hall, Fred (Dulwich) Peto, Basil Edward
Baring, Captain Hon. G. V. Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth) Pole-Carew, Sir R.
Barlow, Montague (Saltord, South) Hambro, Angus Valdemar Pollock, Ernest Murray
Barnston, H. Hamersley, A. St. George Pretyman, E. G.
Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.) Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.) Pryce-Jones, Col. E. (Montgom'y B'ghs)
Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc., E.) Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford) Quilter, William Eley C.
Bathurst, Charles (Wilton) Harris, Henry Percy Ratcliff, Major R. F.
Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks Helmsley, Viscount Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Beckett, Hon. W. Gervase Henderson, Major H. (Abingdon) Rawson, Colonel R. H.
Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth) Hickman, Colonel T. E. Remnant, James Farquharson
Benn, I. H. (Greenwich) Hill, Sir Clement L. Rice, Hon. W. F.
Bennett-Goldney, Francis Hillier, Dr. A. P. Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Eccleshall)
Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish Hills, J. W. Rolleston, Sir John
Beresford, Lord C. Hill-Wood, Samuel Ronaldshay, Earl of
Bigland, Alfred Hoare, S. J. G. Rothschild, Lionel D.
Bird, A. Hohler, G. F. Royds, Edmund
Boscawen, Sackville T. Griffith- Hope, Harry (Bute) Rutherford, John (Lanes., Darwen)
Boyle, W. L. (Norfolk, Mid) Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)
Boyton, J. Horne, W. E. (Surrey, Guildford) Salter, Arthur Clavell
Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell Horner, A. L. Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)
Bridgeman, W. Clive Houston, Robert Paterson Sanders, Robert A.
Bull, Sir William James Hume-Williams, W. E. Sanderson, Lancelot
Burdett-Coutts, W. Hunt, Rowland Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells)
Burgoyne, A. H. Hunter, Sir C. R. (Bath) Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert
Burn, Col. C. R. Ingleby, Holcombe Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)
Butcher, J. G. Jardine, E. (Somerset, E.) Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M. Jessel, Captain H. M. Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)
Campion, W. R. Kebty-Fletcher, J. R. Smith, Harold (Warrington)
Carlile, E. Hildred Kerry, Earl of Spear, John Ward
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H. Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr Stanier, Beville
Cassel, Felix Kimber, Sir Henry Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)
Castlereagh, Viscount Kinloch-Cocke, Sir Clement Starkey, John R.
Cautley, H. S Kirkwood, J. H. M. Staveley-Hill, Henry
Cave, George Knight, Capt. E. A. Steel-Maitland, A. D.
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University) Kyffin-Taylor, G. Stewart, Gershom
Chaloner, Colonel R. W. G. Larmor, Sir J. Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.) Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'm'ts, Mile End) Swift, Rigby
Chambers, J. Lee, Arthur H. Sykes, Alan John
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Lewisham, Viscount Talbot, Lord E.
Clay, Captain H. H. Spender Lloyd, G. A. Terrell, G. (Wilts, N. W.)
Clive, Percy Archer Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury) Terrell, H. (Gloucester)
Clyde, J. Avon Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey) Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)
Collings, Rt. Hon. J. (Birmingham) Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R. Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)
Compton, Lord A. (Brentford) Long, Rt. Hon. Walter Thynne, Lord A.
Cooper, Richard Ashmole Lonsdale, John Brownlee Tobin, Alfred Aspinall
Courthope, G. Loyd Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston) Touche, George Alexander
Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.) Lowther, Claude (Cumberland, Eskdale) Walker, Col. William Hall
Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (Hanover Sq.) Walrond, Hon. Lionel
Craig, Norman (Kent) Mackinder, H. J. Ward, Arnold S. (Herts, Watford)
Craik, Sir Henry Macmaster, Donald Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)
Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian M' Calmont, Colonel James Weigall, Capt. A. G.
Cripps, Sir C. A. M' Mordie, Robert James Wheler, Granville C. H.
Croft, H. P. Magnus, Sir Philip White, Major G. D. (Lanes., Southport)
Dairymple, Viscount Malcolm, Ian Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Dalziel, D. (Brixton) Mallaby-Deeley, Harry Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude
Dixon, C. H. Mason, James F. (Windsor) Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)
Doughty, Sir George Meysey-Thompson, E. C. Winterton, Earl
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Middlemore, John Throgmorton Wolmer, Viscount
Eyres-Mensell, B. M. Mildmay, Francis Bingham Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Ripon)
Falle, B. G. Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Fell, Arthur Moore, William Worthington-Evans, L.
Finlay, Sir Robert Morpeth, Viscount Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Fisher, W. Hayes Morrison, Captain J. A. Wyndham, Rt. Hen. George
Fitzroy, Hon. E. A. Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton) Yate, Col. C. E.
Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue Mount, William Arthur Yerburgh, Robert
Fleming, Valentine Neville, Reginald J. N. Younger, George
Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead) Newdegate, F. A.
Foster, Philip Staveley Newman, John R. P. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Viscount Valentia and Mr. H. W. Forster.
Gardner, Ernest Newton, Harry Kottingham

Question put, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."

The House divided: Ayes, 368; Noes, 243.

Division No. 25.] AYES. [11.35 p.m.
Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour) Dawes, J. A. Hughes, S. L.
Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda) Delany, William Hunter, W. (Govan)
Acland, Francis Dyke Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel
Adamson, William Devlin, Joseph Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)
Addison, Dr. C. Dewar, Sir J. A. John, Edward Thomas
Adkins, W. Ryland D. Dickinson, W. H. Johnson, W.
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Dillon, John Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)
Agnew, Sir George William Donelan, Captain A. Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)
Ainsworth, John Stirling Doris, W. Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)
Alden, Percy Duffy, William J. Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)
Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire) Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)
Allen, Charles P. (Stroud) Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley) Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T'w'r H'mts, Stepney)
Armitage, R. Edwards, Allen C. (Glamorgan, E.) Jowett, F. W.
Ashton, Thomas Gair Edwards, Enoch (Hanley) Joyce, Michael
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor) Keating, M.
Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A. Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan Mid) Kellaway, Frederick George
Baker, H. T. (Accrington) Elverston, H. Kelly, Edward
Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury E.) Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.) Kemp, Sir G.
Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark) Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.) Kennedy, Vincent Paul
Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset) Essex, Richard Walter Kilbride, Denis
Barnes, G. N. Esslemont, George Birnle King, J. (Somerset, N.)
Barran, Sir J. (Hawick) Falconer, J. Lamb, Ernest Henry
Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.) Farrell, James Patrick Lambert, George (Devon, S. Molton)
Barry, Redmond John (Tyrone, N.) Fenwick, Charles Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)
Barton, William Ferens, T. R. Lansbury, George
Beale, W. P. Ffrench, Peter Lardner, James Carrige Rushe
Beauchamp, Edward Field, William Law, Hugh A
Beck, Arthur Cecil Fitzgibbon, John Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld., Cockerm'th)
Benn, W. W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.) Flavin, Michael Joseph Leach, Charles
Bentham, G. J. France, G. A. Levy, Sir Maurice
Bethell, Sir J. H. Furness, Stephen Lewis, John Herbert
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Gelder, Sir W. A. Logan, John William
Black, Arthur W. George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas
Boland, John Pius Gibson, Sir James P. Low, Sir F. (Norwich)
Booth, Frederick Handel Gilhooly, James Lundon, T.
Bottomley, Horatio Gill, A. H. Lyell, Charles Henry
Bowerman, C. W. Ginnell, L. Lynch, A. A.
Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.) Glanville, H. J. Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)
Brace, William Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)
Brady, P. J. Goldstone, Frank MacGhee, Richard
Brigg, Sir John Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough) Maclean, Donald
Brocklehurst, W. B. Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland) Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.
Brunner, J. F. L. Greig, Colonel J. W. MacNeill, John Gordon Swift
Bryce, J. Annan Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward MacVeagh, Jeremiah
Burke, E. Haviland- Griffith, Ellis J. (Anglesey) M' Callum, John M.
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke) M' Curdy, C. A.
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.) M' Kean, John
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.) Gulland, John W. Mc Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar) Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway) M' Laren, F. W. S. (Lines., Spalding)
Byles, William Pollard Hackett, J. M' Laren, H. D. (Leics., Bosworth)
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. M' Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)
Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich) Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) M' Micking. Major Gilbert
Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood) Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale) Markham, Arthur Basil
Chancellor, H. G. Hardie, J. Keir Marks, G. Croydon
Chapple, Dr. W. A. Harmsworth, R. L. Marshall, Arthur Harold
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) Martin, J.
Clancy, John Joseph Harvey, T. E. (Leeds. W.) Mason, David M. (Coventry)
Clough, William Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.) Masterman, C. F. G.
Clynes, J. R. Harwood, George Mathias, Richard
Collins, G. P. (Greenock) Haslam, James (Derbyshire) Meagher, Michael
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)
Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)
Condon, Thomas Joseph Haworth, Arthur A. Menzies, Sir Walter
Corbett, A. Cameron Hayden, John Patrick Molloy, M.
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Hayward, Evan Molteno, Percy Alport
Cory, Sir Clifford John Hazleton, Richard (Galway, N.) Mond, Sir Alfred M.
Cotton, William Francis Healy, Maurice Money, L. G. Chiozza
Cowan, W. H. Helme, Norval Watson Montagu, Hon. E. S.
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Mooney, J. J.
Crawshay-Williams, Eliot Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.) Morgan, George Hay
Crean, Eugene Henry, Sir Charles S. Morrell, Philip
Crumley, Patrick Higham, John Sharp Morton, Alpheus Cleophas
Cuillnan, J. Hinds, John Muldoon, John
Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy) Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. Munro, R.
Davies, E. William (Elfion) Holt, Richard Durning Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.
Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth) Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich) Murray, Captain Hon. A. C.
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Needham, Christopher T.
Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan) Hudson, Walter Neilson, Francis
Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster) Reddy, Michael Tennant, Harold John
Nolan, Joseph Redmond, John E. (Waterford) Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)
Norman, Sir Henry Redmond, William (Clare) Thomas, J. H. (Derby)
Norton, Capt. Cecil W. Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.) Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Nugent, Sir Walter Richard Rendall, Athelstan Thorne, William (West Ham)
O' Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Richards, Thomas Toulmin, George
O' Brien, William (Cork, N. E.) Richardson, Albion (Peckham) Trevelyan, Charles Philips
O' Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven) Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
O' Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Verney, Sir Harry
O' Doherty, Philip Roberts, G. H. (Norwich) Wadsworth, J.
O' Donnell, Thomas Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs) Walsh, J. (Cork, South)
O' Dowd, John Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside) Walsh, Stephen (Lanes., Ince)
Ogden, Fred Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford) Walters, John Tudor
O' Grady, James Robinson, Sydney Walton, Sir Joseph
O' Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.) Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke) Ward, W. Dudley (Southampten)
O' Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.) Roche, John (Galway, E.) Wardle, George J.
O' Malley, William Roe, Sir Thomas Waring, Walter
O' Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.) Rose, Sir Charles Day Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay
O' Shaughnessy, P. J. Rowlands, James Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
O' Shee, James John Rowntree, Arnold Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
O' Sullivan, Timothy Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter Watt, Henry A.
Palmer, Godfrey M. St. Maur, Harold Webb, H.
Parker, James (Halifax) Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland) Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek) Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees) White, Sir George (Norfolk)
Pearce, William (Limehouse) Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel) White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)
Pearson, Wectman H. M. Scanlan, Thomas White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham) Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E. Whitehouse, John Howard
Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton) Scott, A. M'Callum (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Phillips, John (Longford, S.) Seely, Col., Right Hon. J. E. S. Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)
Pickersglll, Edward Hare Sheehan, Daniel Daniel Wiles, Thomas
Pointer, Joseph Sheehy, David Wilkie, Alexander
Pollard, Sir George H Sherwell, Arthur James Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H. Simon, Sir John Allsebrook Williams, P. (Middlesborough)
Power, Patrick Joseph Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe) Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central) Smith, H. B. L. (Northampton) Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.) Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.) Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)
Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham) Snowden, P. Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.) Soares, Ernest J. Winfrey, Richard
Primrose, Hon. Nell James Spicer, Sir Albert Wood, T. M' Kinnon (Glasgow)
Pringle, William M. R. Stanley, Albert (Staffs. N. W.) Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)
Radford, G. H. Strachey, Sir Edward Young, W. (Perthshire, E.)
Raffan, Peter Wilson Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West) Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Rainy, A. Rolland Summers, James Woolley
Raphael, Sir Herbert H. Sutherland, J. E. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Master of Elibank and Mr. Illingworth.
Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields) Sutton, John E.
Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough) Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Aitken, William Max. Burdett-Coutts, W. Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-
Anson, Sir William Reynell Burgoyne, A. H. Eyres-Monsell, B. M.
Anstruther-Gray, Major William Burn, Col. C. R Falle, B. G.
Archer-Shee, Major M. Butcher, J. G. Fell, Arthur
Arkwright, John Stanhope Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M. Finlay, Sir Robert
Astor, Waldorf Campion, W. R. Fisher, W. Hayes
Bagot, Lieut-Colonel J. Carlile, E. Hildred Fitzroy, Hon. E. A.
Baird, J. L. Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H. Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue
Baker, Sir R. L. (Dorset, N.) Cassel, Felix Fleming, Valentine
Balcarres, Lord Castlereagh, Viscount Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)
Baldwin, Stanley Cautley, H. S. Foster, Philip Staveley
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.) Cave, George Gardner, Ernest
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University) Gastrell, Major W. H.
Banner, John S. Harmood- Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W. Gibbs, G. A.
Baring, Captain Hon. G. V. Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.) Gilmour, Captain J.
Barlow, Montague (Salford, South) Chambers, J. Goldman, C. S.
Barnston, H. Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Goldsmith, Frank
Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.) Clay, Captain H. H. Spender Gordon, J.
Bathurst, Charles (Wilton) Clive, Percy Archer Goulding, Edward Alfred
Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc, E.) Clyde, J. Avon Grant, J. A.
Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks Collings, Rt. Hon. J. (Birmingham) Greene, W. R.
Beckett, Hon. W. Gervase Compton, Lord A. Gretton, John
Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth) Cooper, Richard Ashmole Guinness, Hon. W. E.
Benn, I. H. (Greenwich) Courthope, G. Loyd Haddock, George Bahr
Bennett-Goldney, Francis Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)
Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.) Hall, Fred (Dulwich)
Beresford, Lord C. Craig, Norman (Kent) Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)
Bigland, Alfred Craik, Sir Henry Hambre, Angus Valdemar
Bird, A. Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian Hamersley, A. St. George
Boscawen, Sackville T. Griffith- Cripps, Sir C. A. Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)
Boyle, W. L. (Norfolk, Mid) Croft, H. P. Hardy, Laurence
Boyton, J. Dairymple, Viscount Harris, Henry Percy
Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell Datziel, D. (Brixton) Helmsley, Viscount
Bridgeman, W. Clive Dixon, C. H. Henderson, Major H. (Abingdon)
Bull, Sir William James Doughty, Sir George Hickmann, Col. T. E.
Hill, Sir Clement L. Middlemore, John Throgmorton Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells)
Hillier, Dr. A. P. Mildmay, Francis Bingham Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert
Hills, J. W. Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)
Hill-Wood, Samuel Moore, William Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Hoare, S. J. G. Morpeth, Viscount Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)
Hohler, G. F. Morrison, Captain J. A. Smith, Harold (Warrington)
Hope, Harry (Bute) Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton) Spear, John Ward
Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Mount, William Arthur Stanier, Beville
Horne, W. E. (Surrey, Guildford) Neville, Reginald J. N. Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)
Horner, A. L. Newdegate, F. A. Starkey, John R.
Houston, Robert Paterson Newman, John R. P. Staveley-Hill. Henry (Staffordshire)
Hume-Williams, W. E. Newton, Harry Kottingham Steel-Maitland, A. D.
Hunt, Rowland Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield) Stewart, Gershom
Hunter, Sir C. R. (Bath) Nield, Herbert Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, N.)
Ingleby, Holcombe Norton-Griffiths, J. (Wednesbury) Swift, Rigby
Jardine, E. (Somerset, E.) O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid.) Sykes, Alan John
Jessel, Captain H. M. Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A. Talbot, Lord E.
Kebty-Fletcher, J. R. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William Terrell, G. (Wilts, N. W.)
Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr Paget, Almeric Hugh Terrell, H. (Gloucester)
Kerry, Earl of Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend) Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)
Kimber, Sir Henry Parkes, Ebenezer Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)
Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington) Thynne, Lord A.
Kirkwood, J. H. M. Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge) Tobin, Alfred Aspinall
Knight, Capt. E. A. Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton) Touche, George Alexander
Kyffin-Taylor, G. Perkins, Walter F. Walker, Col. William Hall
Larmor, Sir J. Peto, Basil Edward Walrond, Hon. Lionel
Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'm'ts, Mile End) Pole-Carew, Sir R. Ward, Arnold S. (Herts, Watford)
Lee, Arthur H. Pollock, Ernest Murray Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)
Lewisham, Viscount Pretyman, E. G. Weigall, Capt. A. G.
Lloyd, G. A. Pryce-Jones, Col. E. Wheler, Granville C. H.
Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury) Quilter, William Eley C. White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)
Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey) Ratcliff, Major R. F. Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R. Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude
Long, Rt. Hon. Walter Rawson, Colonel R. H. Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)
Lonsdale, John Brownles Remnant, James Farquharson Winterton, Earl
Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston) Rice, Hon. W. F. Wolmer, Viscount
Lowther, Claude (Cumberland, Eskdale) Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall) Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Ripon)
Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (Hanover Sq.) Rolleston, Sir, John Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Mackinder, H. J. Ronaldshay, Earl of Worthington-Evans, L. (Colchester)
Macmaster, Donald Rothschild, Lionel de Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
M'Calmont, Colonel James Royds, Edmund Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
M'Mordie, Robert Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen) Yate, Col. C. E. (Leios., Melton)
Magnus, Sir Philip Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby) Yerburgh, Robert
Malcolm, Ian Salter, Arthur Clavell Younger, George
Mallaby-Deeley, Harry Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)
Mason, James F. (Windsor) Sanders, Robert A. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Viscount Valentia and Mr. H. W. Forster.
Meysey-Thompson, E. C. Sanderson, Lancelot

Bill read a second time.


I beg to move, "That the Bill be committed to a Committee of the Whole House for Monday next."

Motion agreed to.

And it being after half-past eleven o'clock, Mr. Speaker adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.

Adjourned at Twenty-two minutes before Twelve o'clock.