§ (1) Where in any Income Tax year any half-yearly or quarterly payments have-been made on account of any dividend, interest, or other annual profits or gains, previously to the passing of the Act imposing the tax for that year, and Income Tax has not been charged thereon or deducted therefrom, or has not been charged thereon or deducted therefrom at the rate ultimately charged for the said year, the amount not so charged or deducted shall be charged under Schedule D. in respect 1523 of those payments as profits or gains not charged by virtue of any other Schedule, in accordance with the provisions contained in the sixth case of Schedule D in Section one hundred of the Income Tax Act, 1842, and the agents entrusted with the payment of the dividends, interest, or other annual profits or gains shall furnish a list containing the names and addresses of the persons to whom payments have been made, and the amount of those payments, to the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, upon a requisition made by the Commissioners in that behalf.
§ (2) Any person liable to pay any rent, interest, or annuity, or to make any other annual payment, shall be authorised to make any deduction on account of Income Tax for any Income Tax year which he has failed to make previously to the passing of the Act imposing the tax for that year, or to make up any deficiency in any such deduction which has been so made on the occasion of the next payment of the rent, interest, or annuity, or making of the other annual payment after the passing of the Act so imposing the tax, in addition to any other deduction which he may be by law authorised to make, and shall also be entitled, if there is no future payment from which the deduction may be made, to recover the sum which might have been deducted as if it were a debt due from the person as against whom the deduction could originally have been made if the Act imposing Income Tax for the year bad been in force.
§ (3) Any charge or deduction of Income Tax made during any Income Tax year previously to the passing of the Act imposing the tax shall be deemed to be a legal charge or deduction so far as it does not exceed the charge or deduction which might have been made if the Act imposing the tax had been in force.
§ (4) In this section the expression "Income Tax year" means the year beginning the sixth day of April.
§ Mr. FELL
moved, at the end of Subsection (1), to add the words, "and the amount overcharged or overpaid, in consequence of a reduction in the rate of Income Tax, shall in the same way be repaid to the said agents to be returned to the persons entitled to the same."
This Clause is necessary, as I understand, owing to the period of the year in which Budgets are now passed. We are at present discussing a Budget which in ordinary circumstances would have gone 1524 through last June or July, and in those circumstances such a Clause was not necessary. But now a considerable period frequently elapses between the time when the agents collect the Income Tax and the time when the amount of the tax is finally decided by this House. Consequently the amounts collected by the agents may be incorrect owing to the rate at which they have deducted being different from that finally decided upon. This Clause is drafted to enable the Government to obtain from these bankers or others the amount short-paid owing to the Income Tax being levied at a higher rate. If it cuts that way, it must also cut the other way. If by any chance the Income Tax is reduced, and the bankers have charged or deducted from the dividends too much, the amount overcharged ought, in common fairness, to be repaid to the people entitled to it. The Clause as drafted applies only when the tax is increased. I think it ought to apply also when the tax is reduced, as we hope it may at some time be.
§ Sir JOHN SIMON
The hon. Gentleman has called attention to a matter which, of course, is one for consideration. But if he will be so good as to look at the Clause he will, I think, see that that which he is proposing is not really an Amendment to the first Sub-section of the Clause in question. The first Sub-section deals with this case. Perhaps he will allow me to give an illustration which will make the matter easier to follow. Everyone here knows that when one is paid a dividend or gets an income of that kind, in most cases Income Tax is deducted at the source. The banker or the limited company, as the case may be, deducts it. But there may be cases—there are sometimes cases—in which dividends or the like are paid without deduction at the source; so that the recipient gets his dividend or the like without any deduction at all. If the hon. Member will look again he will see that the first Sub-section provides that in cases where a person receives a dividend or the like without deduction having been made, he—the recipient—shall be liable to make returns for Income Tax in respect of that particular dividend. It does so happen that under the existing law there is no provision for that. It is merely to stop a gap in the Act which everyone would wish to stop.
§ Mr. FELL
May I call attention to this: "Or has not been charged thereon or deducted therefrom at the rate," and so on.
§ Sir JOHN SIMON
The sub-section runs in this way:—"Where in any Income Tax year, any half-yearly or quarterly payments have been made on account of any dividend, interest, or any other profits, or gains, previously to the passing of the Act imposing the tax for that year"—referring, as the hon. Member rightly says, to the fact that the Finance Act does not get the Royal Assent before April 6th—"and Income Tax has not been charged thereon or deducted therefrom, or has not been charged thereon, or deducted therefrom…Schedule D… upon a requisition made by the Commissioners in that behalf." That is quite following the ordinary practice. If, after April 6th, Messrs. Rothschild pay over a dividend without themselves having deducted the Income Tax at the source, then this sub-section provides that the recipient shall calculate it in his return, in order that Income Tax may be charged upon it.
§ Sir JOHN SIMON
I quite follow the hon. Gentleman, and I do not want to shirk the point. I only want to have the thing correct. The hon. Member will see in the first instance that the first Sub-section has nothing to do with the agent either paying the tax or getting it back; it is merely a provision that the recipient should make a return of assessment, but if he will look at Sub-section (3) of the Clause he will see that the very thing he wants is already secured. The sub-section says:—
"Any charge or deduction of Income Tax made during any Income Tax year previously to the passing of the Act imposing the tax "—
Say in the month of May—
"Shall be deemed to be a legal charge or deduction, so far as it does not exceed the charge or deduction which might have been made if the Act imposing the tax had been in force."
Suppose that in any year it is proposed to reduce the Income Tax from, say, 1s. to 9d., and that the Finance Act does not get the Royal Assent until the July or August following, it may be that the banker or company has subtracted the 1s., whereas, if he had waited a few months, he ought only to have deducted 9d. Subsection (3) provides that the deduction of 1526 1s. shall only be deemed to be a legal deduction so far as it does not exceed the rate of Income Tax ultimately fixed by the Act. In other words, 9d. is a legal deduction; 3d., is illegal; and, as often happens when there is a reduction of Income Tax, the money is returned to the extent to which it was not authorised by the Finance Act. I think the hon. Gentleman will find—though I sympathise with his intention and recognise his good faith—that Sub-section (1) does not deal with the matter he has in his mind, but Sub-section (3) does what he wants. It validates and authorises the anticipatory deduction only in so far as it is authorised by the Finance Act when it becomes law.
§ Mr. FELL
I am much obliged, and I think the Solicitor-General's explanation is clear, but I do not think the Bill is. It is very clear as to what as to be done if one has not paid enough. If you have overpaid, Sub-section (3) means that you can sue your bankers for what they have overcharged. Why should not the Crown repay?
§ Mr. BUTCHER
I quite follow the point put by the learned Solicitor-General. But I put this point. If too much is deducted and received by the Government is there anything in any Act of Parliament which compels the Government or the Crown to restore the sum improperly charged?
§ Sir JOHN SIMON
I am very glad the hon. and learned Gentleman contemplates a reduction of Income Tax under the present Government. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no; not under this Government."] Be that as it may, I think he will find that, for substantial purposes, it is covered by Sub-section (3). The Clause is careful to say that this anticipated deduction is only justified in so far as it does exceed the charge or deduction which might have been made if the Income Tax had come into force before 6th April. The Inland Revenue has never raised the slightest difficulty in adjusting this matter; it has, as a matter of fact, always done it on the next occasion of paying dividend.
I am sorry that my right hon. Friend who would have been able to deal with this point is prevented from doing so by a public engagement, but he will be here shortly. I feel incapable of taking his place on this very technical question. I can only say that if the Bill 1527 is only half as clear as the explanation of the learned Solicitor-General there will be no difficulty. I never heard a point more admirably and lucidly explained, for the Solicitor-General carried the House with him, not only as to his meaning, but also as to the substance of the policy he expounded. I Whether the Bill carries out the policy he has expounded I am not in a position to say. I think any hon. Member who suffers under the same educational disabilities as I do will probably experience the same difficulty as I do in regard to feeling that the policy so admirably propounded by the Solicitor-General is the same as that propounded in the Bill. I am ready to take it as a matter of faith, and if my hon. Friend has the same confidence in the exposition of the hon. and learned Gentleman, I should imagine he will not ask the Committee to proceed to a Division. I do not know whether there is any hon. Member present whose intellect is equal to the task of grappling with the various sub-sections of this Clause. If there is, and he can show that the Clause is not in conformity with the policy laid down by the Solicitor-General, that is another matter. I take it that on this subject there are many on both sides of the House in the same unfortunate position as I am, and will be as content as I am to rest my hope upon the statement which the hon. and learned Gentleman has made as to the policy which the Bill does really carry into effect.
I am sorry to have to pursue this particular point after what the Solicitor-General has said. May I point out that, as a layman, I do not quite follow all the hon. and learned Gentleman has said. After all he has said, I really cannot understand why he objects to accept the definite words which my hon. Friend the Member for Yarmouth has proposed. Everybody knows the difficulty there is in recovering anything from the Government, no matter what Department it is, whether it is the Customs or the Inland Revenue. My hon. Friend suggested the word "shall" in order to put the onus on the Government of returning what has been found afterwards to be an error or mistake. Although none of us object to the explanation which has been given on behalf of the Government, I am sure it would ease the minds of many hon. Members of this House if the Solicitor-General's interpretation 1528 of this Clause or of this particular point was allowed to go forward in the form in which my hon. Friend has framed it. The Amendment says that the amount overcharged in consequence of a reduction in the rate of the Income Tax shall be repaid. I do not suppose there is any other Act where the Income Tax collectors are compelled to repay when a mistake has been found out. The usual machinery in such cases is most awkward for the ordinary citizen. You have to go to one of the agents, perhaps miles away from where you are residing, and employ him. You have to produce all the counterfoils of the dividend warrants and everything connected with your income; and then, after that, there is a considerable amount of expense, and probably you have to employ some lawyer to put the case forward. There is not a man inside or outside this House who does not recognise that in every case the individual citizen is at a great disadvantage. My hon. Friend makes it an absolute and honourable obligation upon the Department, when they find they have made a mistake or when anything has occurred to change the tax, to repay the money, and on that ground I shall support him if he goes to a division.
§ Mr. FELL
I entirely agree with the lucid explanation given by the Solicitor-General. It is quite right that the Amendment should come under Sub-Section 3. Would he have any objection to the words of the Amendment being inserted in Sub-Section 3? I think they are a perfectly true statement of what the Solicitor-General says is going to be done.
§ Mr. BUTCHER
I should like to have an answer to that question. The learned Solicitor-General tells us the Crown do not intend to stick to this money overpaid. I have not the slightest doubt, if they consulted him, they would not be advised to stick to it; but, unfortunately, the Inland Revenue do not always consult lawyers, and it is just conceivable to imagine circumstances in which they would not consult them. We want to have something in the Act which will enable the subject, who perhaps is not as learned a lawyer as the Solicitor-General, to know be can get back what is overpaid, something which will enable the subject to go to the Inland Revenue and say, "Look here, I have overpaid you; pay me back." The Amendment would only carry out the intention of the Government as expressed through the Solicitor-General. It cannot possibly 1529 impose any obligation, upon the Inland Revenue, which the Solicitor-General says ought not to be imposed. It will only make clear what the Solicitor-General says is the intention of the Revenue authorities; and if that is, as I have no doubt it is, a perfectly honest intention, I cannot conceive the remotest idea why the Amendment should not be accepted.
§ Sir JOHN SIMON
If there were the remotest ground for supposing that this was an effective Amendment which would produce an effective result, the Government would be prepared to deal with it. But I hope hon. Members will take it from me, on the part of the Department, that no difficulty has ever arisen. I might point out two or three difficulties which would arise if these words were put in, but until somebody can suggest that in this matter the revenue authorities of this country, which is staffed after all by permanent officials, have actually been cheating the taxpayer, I think it is unnecessary.
§ Mr. BUTCHER
I only want to make it clear by words in the Act of Parliament what the practice is.
I hope the hon. and learned Gentleman does not accuse me of having suggested that the Department have cheated the taxpayer.
§ Sir JOHN SIMON
I have heard no suggestion about the Department cheating anybody in the course of this Debate. I only suggested that they rightly looked after their own, and that the onus rests on the subject to recover from the Department. I should be sorry, indeed, to be associated with such strong terms. I had no intention in the remarks I made of suggesting that the Department was likely to cheat in this manner. All I said was that everybody knew, from common knowledge, that all the expenses, onus, and trouble rested on the citizens to recover from the Department, whereas under this Amendment the onus will rest on the Department.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 167; Noes, 265.1533
|Division No. 47.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk, (Bath)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Courthope, George Loyd||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Craik, Sir Henry||Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.|
|Ashley, Wilfred W.||Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr|
|Astor, Waldorf||Croft, Henry Page||Kerry, Earl of|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Dairymple, Viscount||Knight, Captain Eric Ayshford|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Doughty, Sir George||Larmor, Sir J|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers.||Lewisham, Viscount|
|Balcarres, Lord||Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Wor. Droitwich)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City Lond.)||Fell, Arthur||Mackinder, Halford J.|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Fisher, William Hayes||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Fleming, Valentine||Malcolm, Ian|
|Barnston, Harry||Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Forster, Henry William||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. (Glouc., E.)||Foster, Philip Staveley||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Gardner, Ernest||Moore, William|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Beckett, Hon. W. Gervase||Gibbs, George Abraham||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Gilmour, Captain John||Mount, William Arthur|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Goldman, Charles Sydney||Neville, Reginald J. N.|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Goldsmith, Frank||Newman, John R. P.|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish.||Grant, James Augustus||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Bigland, Alfred||Greene, Walter Raymond||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Bird, Alfred||Gretton, John||Nield, Herbert|
|Boscawen, Sackville T. Griffith.||Guinness, Hon. Walter Edward||Norton-Griffiths, J.|
|Boyton, James||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Burdett-Coutts, William||Hambro, Angus Vaidemar||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Burgoyne, Alan Hughes||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Harris, Henry Percy||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Butcher, John George||Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter||Peel, Hon. William R. W. (Taunton)|
|Cassel, Felix||Hills, John Waller||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Cator, John||Hobler, Gerald Fitzroy||Pole-Carew, Sir R.|
|Cave, George||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Horne, Wm. E. (Surrey, Guildford)||Quilter, William Eley C.|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Houston, Robert Paterson||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Clyde, James Avon||Hunt, Rowland||Rawson, Col. Richard H.|
|Remnant, James Farquharson||Stanler, Beville||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Rice, Hon. Walter Fitz-Uryan||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Staveley-Hill, Henry||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Rolleston, Sir John||Steel-Maitland, A. D.||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude|
|Ronaldshay, Earl of||Stewart, Gershom||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Royds, Edmund||Swift, Rigby||Winterton, Earl|
|Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)||Sykes, Alan John||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Rutherford, W. (Liverpool, W. Derby)||Talbot, Lord Edmund||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Salter, Arthur Clavell||Terrell, George (Wilts, N. W.)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Sanders, Robert Arthur||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Sanderson, Lancelot||Touche, George Alexander||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||Valentia, Viscount||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.— Captain Craig and Col. Chaloner.|
|Smith, Harold (Warrington)||Walker, Col William Hall|
|Spear, John Ward||Weigall, Capt. A. G.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Lundon, Thomas|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Essex, Richard Walter||Lynch, Arthur Alfred|
|Adamson, William||Falconer, James||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)|
|Addison, Dr. Christopher||Farrell, James Patrick||MacGhee, Richard|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Fenwick, Charle||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Ferens, Thomas Robinson||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbarton)||Ffrench, Peter||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Armitage, Robert||Field, William||M'Cailum, John M.|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||M'Curdy, Charles Albert|
|Baker, Harold, T. (Accrington)||Fitzgibbon, John||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Flavin, Michael Joseph||M'Laren, H. D. (Leices.)|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmett (Somerset)||Furness, Stephen||M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.)||Gelder, Sir William Alfred||M'Micking, Major Gilbert|
|Barry, Redmond John (Tyrone, N.)||Gill, Alfred Henry||Marks, George Croydon|
|Barton, William||Glanville, Harold James||Marshall, Arthur Harold|
|Beale, William Phipson||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Martin, Joseph|
|Beauchamp, Edward||Goldstone, Frank||Mason, David M. (Coventry)|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Masterman, C. F. G.|
|Benn, W. W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Greig, Colonel James William||Mathias, Richard|
|Bentham, George Jackson||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Meagher, Michael|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Molloy, Michael|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Hackett, John||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Mond, Sir Alfred M.|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Money, L. G. Chiozza|
|Brace, William||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Mooney, John J.|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Morgan, George Hay|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Morrell, Philip|
|Burke, E. Haviland.||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Haworth, Arthur A.||Munro, Robert|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Hayden, John Patrick||Murray, Capt. Hon. Arthur C.|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Hayward, Evan||Needham, Christopher T.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||Helme, Norval Watson||Neilson, Francis|
|Byles, William Pollard||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Nolan, Joseph|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Henry, Sir Charles Solomon||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Higham, John Sharp||Norton, Capt. Cecil W.|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Hinds, John||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Holt, Richard Durning||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Horne, Charles Silvester (Ipswich)||O'Dowd, John|
|Clough, William||Hudson, Walter||O'Grady, James|
|Clynes, John R.||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel||O'Malley, William|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Jardine, Sir John (Roxburghshire)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||John, Edward Thomas||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Corbett, A. Cameron||Johnson, William||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Cotton, William Francis||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Crawshay-Williams, Ellot||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)|
|Crumley, Patrick||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. Hmts., Stepney)||Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M.|
|Davies, Timothy (Lines., Louth)||Joyce, Michael||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Dawes, James Arthur||Keating, Matthew||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Delany, William||Kellaway, Frederick George||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Dewar, Sir J. A||King, Joseph (Somerset, North)||Pointer, Joseph|
|Dillon, John||Lamb, Ernest Henry||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Doris, William||Lambert, George (Devon, S. Molton)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Duffy, William J.||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-In-Furness)||Law, Hugh A.||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rl'nd., Cockerm'th)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||Leach, Charles||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Elverston, Harold||Levy, Sir Maurice||Primrose, Hon. Nell James|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Radford, George Heynes|
|Raffan, Peter Wilson||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Rainy, Adam Rolland||Scanlan, Thomas||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Raphael, Sir Herbert Henry||Scott, A. M'Callum (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Ward, w. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Seely, Col. Right Hon. J. E. B.||Wardle, George J.|
|Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Sherwell, Arthur James||Waring, Walter|
|Redmond, William (Clare, E.)||Shortt, Edward||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Rendall, Atheistan||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clithero)||Webb, H.|
|Richards, Thomas||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Richardson, Albion (Peckham)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||Snowden, Philip||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Soares, Ernest Joseph||Wiles, Thomas|
|Roberts, George H. (Norwich)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough).|
|Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Summers, James Woolley||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Robinson, Sidney||Sutton, John E.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Roche, John (Galway, E.)||Tennant, Harold John||Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)|
|Roe, Sir Thomas||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Rose, Sir Charles Day||Toulmin, George||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Rowlands, James||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|St. Maur, Harold||Verney, Sir Harry||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.— Mr. Gulland and Mr. Illingworth.|
|Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Wadsworth, John|
|Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Walters, John Tudor|
Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put and agreed to.
§ Mr. POLLOCK
moved to omit Sub-section (3).
It may seem perhaps a little remarkable that after the explanation which has been given of this Sub-section by the Solicitor-General, and the lucid explanation of the Leader of the Opposition, I should still desire to move this Amendment. I ask the Committee to pay attention to the exact words of the Clause. It is a Clause which has slipped in. It has an independent bearing of its own. It is not to be read subject to anything at all, and it stands on its own weight, and it says this—Any charge or deduction of Income Tax made during any Income Tax year previously to the passing of the Act.The Committee knows well that a mere Resolution of this House is not effective and has not got any legal force or validity, and no sum can be legally withheld by the Treasury or collected by the Treasury by the mere force of a Resolution of this House, and therefore until an Act has been passed there is no legal right to detain any sum from the taxpayers' pocket. Sub-section (3), which is designed for a particular purpose, goes very much beyond the purpose which the Solictor-General has indicated, and introduces a very high Constitutional change. It declares that "Any charge or deduction of Income Tax made during any Income Tax year previously to the passing of the Act imposing the tax shall be deemed to be a legal charge or deduction…" That is not qualified by any words saying that where a sum has been improperly charged or deducted that shall be illegal. What the Sub-clause says is that any charge 1534 made before the passing of the Act imposing it shall be a legal charge. It means that although a Resolution of this House has no legal force or validity, and although a Financial Resolution of this House does not take the place of an Act of Parliament, yet under this Sub-clause-any charge or deduction is to be deemed to be a legal charge or deduction.
There are two periods of time contemplated by this Sub-clause. One is after the old financial year is past and there is a period—an interregnum—while the collection of Income Tax is governed by a Financial Resolution of this House. That is the period before the Finance Act receives the Royal Assent in August. Then you may have a period after the Act has been passed, and when it may be necessary to regularise certain payments made previous to the passing of the Act. I ask the Committee to mark these two periods of time. Under the scheme of the Income Tax Acts there is a clause in the Act of 1890 under which the powers of an Income Tax Act of a previous year are brought forward so that preparations may be made for the purpose of collecting Income Tax when it is imposed by Act of Parliament. Nothing except a Statute can legally impose the tax. Sub-clause (3) is drawn in very wide terms, so that any charge or deduction shall be deemed to be legal. If what is desired by this Sub-clause is to make legal after August and after the Act has been passed what has been done before, that may be a laudable, desirable and necessary purpose. That might be a useful provision, and if there was some limit to the time we might be able to understand the Clause, but what is here 1535 stated is that these charges and deductions for which there is no authority and no Act shall be deemed to be legal charges, or deductions which might have been made if the Act imposing the tax had been in force, so that at any time during a period between April and August or between August and the close of the financial year any deduction or charge of Income Tax is to be deemed to be legal although there is not an Act in force at the time. That is going far beyond the needs that the learned Solicitor-General pointed out. I may give a concrete case.
In the outer Lobby just now an hon. Member suggested that the meaning of this Clause was that if at a certain time a shilling was taken from a person, then however that shilling was taken it should be deemed to have been legally taken from him. That is a somewhat startling proposition. But the proposition of the learned Solicitor-General is this: assume you had no right to take 1s. 2d. at all from the Income Tax payer, and it is ultimately determined that you are to have the 1s. 2d., or be it that you are to recover the shilling only, then so far as you have taken the shilling after a certain period it is to be deemed all right and legal that you should have taken the shilling, although at the time you took it you had no right whatever to take it from the pocket of the Income Tax payer. The financial Secretary to the Treasury did me the honour on the passing of the Second Reading before the House to tell me that this Clause was machinery only. But it is machinery of a very bad kind. It is machinery which makes legal matters which the House has always insisted on keeping in its own hands, namely, the taxation of the people of this country, and it makes it possible for the Treasury by means of this Clause to make any deduction that they please, subject only to this, that at a later stage in the year, when the Act is passed, the sum that has been taken shall not be in excess of the sum which is imposed by the Act. But the terms are so wide and so inapt from the very limited purpose which the learned Solicitor-General says they have been intended for, that I invite the attention of the Committee to this as a great Constitutional change, and a serious change, and unless some alteration is made in the terms of this Clause, and unless these words are cut down either by limit of time or limit of purpose, I submit to the Committee that they should not pass a 1536 Clause of this wide nature to make legal what is not legal, and justify deductions which have not been authorised by the Statute. On those grounds I beg to move the omission of Sub-section (3) of this Clause.
§ Sir JOHN SIMON
The hon. and learned Gentleman has put his point with great clearness, but I would like the Committee to consider whether what is proposed would not really be a disadvantage to the British taxpayer. That is a position which ought to be dealt with by the Committee, not with any kind of an idea of making a point across the floor of the House of Commons. After all an adequate and systematic collection of Income Tax, so long as it is a part of our system of taxation, is of equal interest to all parties whatever their political opinions. Certainly, I should be much surprised if the right hon. Member for East Worcestershire (Mr. Austen Chamberlain) thought it in the interest of the administration of the Income Tax that this Sub-clause should be omitted. Under modern conditions, with a Parliamentary Session beginning in January or February, the Finance Bill does not receive the Royal Assent much before August. I think a Finance Bill for which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Austen Chamberlain) was responsible received the Royal Assent before 1st August. Everybody knows that the Income Tax runs from 6th April to 5th April. If you have not some machinery by which this tax might flow steadily in subject of course to adjustments of amount, you are disorganising, not the finance of any particular Chancellor of the Exchequer, but the finance of the country.
It was not so if you go back to an earlier period. The Income Tax was first proposed by the younger Pitt in 1798, in the month of December, if I remember aright. It passed through at a rate that the modern Chancellor of the Exchequer would envy. The Bill was introduced and read a first time on the 5th, it was read a second time on the 6th, and a third time on 31st December, only two Members voting against it. It received the assent of the Lords on the 8th January of the following year, and the Royal Assent on the next day. The Bill, of course, provided for a thing entirely in the future. But in modern conditions it is really necessary that there should be a collection of the Income Tax continued without interruption arising, because the Finance Act does not receive the Royal 1537 Assent until August. What we provide under this Sub-clause is merely this, that if the Income Tax ultimately authorised is less than that which has been collected in the meantime, the balance of the tax unauthorised is illegal, and therefore cannot be retained. That is all in favour of the taxpayer. If the Sub-clause were left out it might in the result possibly be a matter of doubt as to whether the Income Tax had been collected in the ordinary course which had been collected in the month of July or August. If the whole machinery were brought to a standstill it would neither be good for the public service nor the individual taxpayer. If ever the happy day should come when the whole Income Tax is abolished, so that the whole amount of the Income Tax collected would have to be returned, I am sure the Income Taxpayers would be very glad to get it all back.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I will not set my memory against that of the hon. and learned Gentleman as to the date on which the Budget for which I was responsible passed into law. I am very much surprised to hear that it did not pass until August. My impression is that the duty at that time was levied on the 31st July, and that the Budget for which I was responsible passed in July. In that year there were proposals that Customs Duty should run until 30th June, and next year it passed in June. What the hon. and learned Gentleman has not made plain is why in order to pursue an old practice you require a new sub-clause or why you require, new words in the Statute It has always been the practice to collect the Income Tax on the strength of the Resolution of this House. That Income Tax has been collected in the ordinary course in certain cases long before the Royal Assent has been given to the Finance Act of the year. Of course, any collection made on the strength of the Resolution was subject to the obligation by the Treasury to return the money if the House at a subsequent period reduced the rate of the tax. For instance, if the House passed a Resolution that the tax should be 1s. 2d., and that in Committee stage it was reduced to 1s., the Treasury would have to refund the extra 2d. to the people, from whom there was no lawful authority to take it. That has always been the practice, and, as explained by the Solicitor-General, in order to make that the practice is the whole object of this Sub-clause.
1538 I distrust new words intended to make the law what it always has been. We tried in the great Budget of 1909. The learned Solicitor-General's predecessor insisted upon new words which he said were necessary in order that the Courts should not misinterpret the intentions of Parliament, and should not assess licences under a different method. Those words went to the Courts, and the Courts said, since there are new words they must have some new meaning, what that meaning is heaven only knows; but it is our unhappy duty to find a meaning for them. In this very Budget we have to have a Clause to take out those new words in order to restore the old meaning. With that example before us, I think we ought to press the Government further for some reason for finding new words, which do nothing more according to them than carry on the old practice. I think if you put in new words that you do not attach any new meaning, you run the risk that the Courts will import a new meaning, that you have done something which you had no intention of doing. According to the practice of the past these words are not in the least necessary for the protection of the taxpayer. You cannot levy taxes from him for which you have no lawful authority, and if you do levy money, in anticipation, and if Parliament does not give it you would have to refund it. That has always been the law and it does not need these words to make it so. I do not understand for what purpose the Government have put them in.
§ Mr. STEEL-MAITLAND
No one who objects to this Sub-clause as it stands has any wish whatever to interfere with the adequate and systematic collection of the Income Tax. Really the motives which have led some hon. Members to object to this proposal are entirely different in character from that. We have heard from the Solicitor-General reference to the Younger Pitt and the date at which the Income Tax was for the first time initiated in this country. It was initiated in 1798 as a temporary tax, as a small tax, and as a war tax. Now, it is not a war tax, not a temporary tax, not a small tax, and for that reason, though no one on this side of the House wishes to interfere with its adequate or systematic collection I think the Solicitor-General and everyone else on the other side of the House will realise that the character and permanency of the tax is now on a 1539 different basis, and that every conceivable endeavour should be made to prevent any appearance of harshness or arbitrariness on the part of the Inland Revenue who collect it. If one takes this new Subsection as it stands by itself, the Solicitor-General has told us that it will be to the disadvantage of the taxpayer if these words are deleted. As the right hon. Member for East Worcestershire has said, it is arguable that these words are not needed at all. Even on the hypothesis of the Solicitor-General himself, if these words are needed for the protection of the taxpayer, then at least why not so amend the Sub-section as to limit it to the purpose for which he says it exists? Taken by itself, there is no question but that this Sub-section is infinitely more far-reaching in its effect. If it was said that the previous wording of the Section was too complicated, there is no question whatever but that the wording of this Sub-section in itself is too clear. The Solicitor-General made a complicated statement clear in his previous explanation; I am sure he cannot make this perfectly clear Sub-section so complicated that it cannot be understood by being read.
The effect of the Sub-section is that practically any deduction may be made in the way of Income Tax by the Inland Revenue in anticipation of subsequent legislation. Taken by itself, this Clause is hardly open to any other interpretation at all. We have sometimes been laughed at for holding that the policy of the Government in the future would be to pass a Finance Act declaring that anyone should pay such taxes as might seem convenient to the Inland Revenue at the time. That has been held up to ridicule, but by this Sub-section almost that precise policy could be given statutory enactment. The Income Tax may be levied under this Sub-section without any resolution or statutory authority whatsoever. It is not even necessary that the statutory authority should be given in the same financial year or in the subsequent financial year. The tax can be levied in anticipation of being legitimate, so to speak, per subsequum matrimonium, in any following year whatsoever. It is quite arguable that the Super-tax might have been collected under this Sub-section, and that even if the Budget of 1909 had not been passed it would have been a legal charge under the words here inserted. Should not some Amendment be suggested 1540 by the Government if they do not wish the Clause to be altered so as to confine the operation of the Sub-section to the purpose for which the Solicitor-General says it has really been inserted? At present there is no time limit. We are always asked for a time limit in a certain trade. Might we not also ask for a time limit to the possible exactions of a great Government Department, to the demands made upon us by the Board of Inland Revenue? If this Sub-section is to be retained for the purpose of safeguarding the taxpayer, words should be inserted or the present wording altered so as to confine it to its legitimate purpose, and so that it would not enable any charge to be made in anticipation of some sort of legitimation by Statute at any subsequent date whatsoever.
§ Mr. STUART-WORTLEY
When the Solicitor-General speaks one becomes so hypnotised by the charm of his style that one gets to believe that one is living in a world altogether better than that by which we are unhappily environed. There is a rude old proverb about getting butter out of a dog's mouth. The Solicitor-General wishes us to believe that so far from expressing the ordinary relations between the taxpayer and the Exchequer, that proverb should be so varied as to express the idea that the Exchequer is full of nothing but the sweetest of all possible reasonableness. If there is one dangerous thing in a Statute more than another it is the presence of words which are superfluous. All lawyers know that in superfluous words there is the danger which always besets the doing of that which is unnecessary. And if there is one form of doing unnecessary things which is more dangerous than another it is doing the unnecessary thing to an insufficient degree, or in an insufficient shape. These words, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire has pointed out, are words which purport, sanction, perpetuate, recognise—and let me add crystalize, and that means make more rigid—the existing practice. Yet they do not express the whole of the existing practice. They express so much of it as tends to save and preserve the rights of the Exchequer. They say nothing of the rights of the subject. They leave entirely to that state of harmoniousness and sweet reasonableness, which is left entirely to the imagination, and will be printed in no Statute, the possibility and chance that the subject 1541 will have to get his money back as best he can from the jaws of the creature into which it has fallen.
§ Sir JOHN SIMON
May I add one word in view of what has fallen from the right hon. Gentleman opposite? It is an error to suppose that the provision now suggested is introduced for the first time. I am informed by the Department—the right hon. Gentleman opposite will know how full they are of information of matters relating to historical fact—that substantially a similar provision existed for many years down to the Customs and Inland Revenue Act, 1885. I find in it a Sub-section which provides that "any charge or deduction of Income Tax.… made in the same year prior to the passing of the Act shall be deemed to have been legally charged." I am informed by the Department that a similar provision to the present existed for a generation before 1885. It is not known by those who instruct me why it came to be dropped out. Possibly the right hon. Gentleman knows—we do not. It must have been omitted by accident. All that we are doing is, as the right hon. Gentleman has recognised, to put into the Statute that which has been most frankly and fairly stated is the practice.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I thank the hon and learned Gentleman for his information. I confess I was not aware of what he says, and I am sorry to say that I do not know any more than his advisers for what reason the Sub-section was dropped out. I noticed in the words which he read that they were not exactly the same as these. They were more limited. The point of them was to limit the payment of the tax to the particular year which the Act of that year was subsequently to legalise. I understand the words to mean that there was to be a collection in a particular year which was to be legalised on the Act passed subsequently in the same year. "Any charge or deduction of Income Tax made during any Income Tax year previous to the passing of the Act imposing the tax," the Government may legalise by an Act of two years hence. The subject has no protection. Any charge is legal which the Government may at any time afterwards legalise by an Act, and the Inland Revenue may at any time collect Income Tax at any rate they please, and the Government, under the Sub-section may legalise that collection by the passing of an Act—
§ Sir JOHN SIMON
I do not think that is so. The right hon. Gentleman will see that the Clause, though not exactly in the same words, is carefully limited to any charge or deduction made during any Income Tax year—that is, from the 6th of April to the following April—and it is necessary by the language of the Clause, as I read it, that the charge should be made during the Income Tax year, and legalised by the passing of the Act imposing the tax—
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
The hon. and learned Gentleman, in order to make the point clear, introduced into his explanation words which are not in the Clause. He says it legalises any charge of Income Tax made during any Income Tax year or previous to the passing of the Act for the year. The words "for the year" do not occur in this Clause—
§ Sir JOHN SIMON
What does occur is "imposing the tax," and the tax is a tax made during the year—
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I think this arises. You could make a tax for this year and legalise it two years hence. I hesitate, of course, on a question of the construction of words to place my opinion against that of the learned Gentleman. I think the words are open to question, and perhaps other learned Gentlemen may give the House the advantage of their learning on the subject. I put a further point to the Solicitor - General. This Clause, according to the Government, intended for the protection of the taxpayer, authorises the collection of Income Tax not merely in anticipation and the passing of the Act, but without even the passage of a Resolution. Hitherto I think you needed the authority of a Resolution. You at least made your proposal to a Committee on the strength of their approval of a Resolution. You collected the tax in anticipation of the Act, but you did it on a Resolution. This would enable you, I think, to collect the tax without any Resolution at all. That is hardly a measure for the protection of the taxpayer; it may be a convenience to this Government or another, but it is a variation which, I think, we ought not lightly to adopt. I am unable to see why having got on for 25 years without this proposal to the satisfaction of the Government, and more or less equally to the satisfaction of the taxpayer, we should now introduce new words in order that you may pursue an old system. 1543 I agree with what has been said that this is a very dangerous thing and when a Committee does that it frustrates its own desire.
§ Sir JOHN SIMON
The right hon. Gentleman has raised an important point. I do not claim to have any superior authority in understanding the plain words of an Act of Parliament. What I should wish to do if the right hon. Gentleman agrees is to suggest that this Amendment be withdrawn, and in view of the comments which have been made we will consider whether we are going further than we intended to go. It is not intended to go further than is fair and constitutional.
§ Mr. CAVE
In view of what has been said I do not want to take up this matter controversially. I should like to put two points which I think ought to be considered. This Sub-section contains two branches, one authorises a charge and the other a deduction. As regards the charge I take it to be clear that it enables a tax to be collected though not sanctioned by resolution. That differs from the other Acts which sanction by Statute amounts levied under a Resolution of this House. This Section sanctions a charge not sanctioned either by Bill or Resolution. That point was fully raised by my right hon. Friend. Then there are the words authorising a deduction. See what that means. It may mean the deduction by a banker or a company of a charge not yet sanctioned by Parliament. Supposing an agent says to the taxpayer, "I will not pay your dividend in full because I think the Income Tax this year will amount to 2s. or 2s 6d." He may then make a deduction on that basis. What is the result? The taxpayer has no remedy. He cannot sue because by the time his action comes to a hearing the Statute may have sanctioned the deduction. I think the whole subject ought to be reconsidered.
§ Mr. POLLOCK
May I call attention to a point which I think the Solicitor-General and his advisers have apparently overlooked. If I may say so, the reason why that Clause was dropped in the Act of 1885, even if it was continued afterwards, was that they took a certain power which is contained in the Act of 1890 and that is a permanent Clause which is quite sufficient for present working purposes and makes this new Clause unnecessary. What I fear 1544 to is Section 30 of the Customs and Inland Revenue Act, 1890, which provides:—In order to ensure the collection in due time of any duties of Income Tax which may be granted for any year commencing on the 6th April. All such provisions contained in any Act relating to Income Tax as were in force on the preceding day shall have full force and effect with respect to the duties of Income Tax which may be so granted in the same manner as if the said duties had been actually granted by Act of Parliament, and the said provisions had been applied thereto by the Act.This Section was much debated at the time, and was considered by the Law Officers when the Budget had been rejected in another place, and the question was put over and over again in this House as to whether or not, by reason of there being a resolution, the Income Tax could be collected. If I recollect rightly it was determined at that time that there was no such power because the effect of this Section was to keep the machinery for collecting the Income Tax on foot, and it was held and apparently has been held for twenty-one years that that is sufficient in order to maintain the smooth collection of the Income Tax. It was never intended, until this drastic Clause was inserted, that not only should the machinery be kept in motion but also that sums should be deducted, and that those deductions should be held to be legal without either a Financial Resolution or an Act imposing them. Might I respectfully, and with all humility, offer to the learned Solicitor-General the explanation why that Clause has gone, as his permanent advisers tell him it has gone. For twenty-one years a different system has been adopted, and it has not been thought advisable to have a clause so wide as this Clause, on which the Solicitor-General admits there is a question which, I understand, he is going to kindly consider whether he cannot modify in order to carry out the real purpose and at the same time safeguard the liberty of the subject without imposing so serious a burden upon him.
The Solicitor-General has promised, on behalf of the Government, that this matter shall be thoroughly investigated before the Report Stage. I hope that pledge carries with it, as it ought to carry with it, a further implied pledge that the House shall have some opportunity at the Report stage of 1545 considering the decision at which, between now and then, the Govern may have arrived, because I am sure he will not expect us to pass from a very substantial point unless we have a prospect of reviewing in the Report stage the decision at which the Government may by that time have arrived. May I point out to the hon. Gentleman some of the issues which I think he will have to consider during that period? He will have to consider whether any words are required in this Bill at all and whether the words of the Act of 1890, which my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Pollock) has quoted, are really not adequate for all purposes. He will have to consider in the second place whether the words of Sub-section (3) are not really absurdly wide as they now stand. As I understand Sub-section (3) it will be possible for the Government, without a Resolution of the House at all, to collect Income Tax at the rate of 2s. in the £, because Mr. Pitt established an Income Tax of that amount. The words are:—
"Any charge or deduction of Income Tax made during any Income Tax year previously to the passing of the Act imposing the tax—"
As far as I understand that language, that goes back to the very beginning of the Income Tax; and because Mr. Pitt, in a year of great stress, and with extraordinary rapidity—partly due to the difficulties in which the country then found itself and partly to the absence of Mr. Fox and his friends—was able to get through the necessary financial proposals of the year, and because he proposed an Income Tax of 2s. in the £, it seems it will be possible for the Government, without a Resolution of the House of Commons at all, to exact from the taxpayer an Income Tax of that amount. I cannot believe that is the intention of the Government. It certainly seems to follow directly from the phraseology of Subsection (3), and it is truly absurd to say that any charge shall be deemed to be a legal charge because fifty, sixty, or one hundred years ago it was a legal charge passed through this House and through Parliament.
The hon. and learned Gentleman has produced certain precedents which he says really carry out the intention of the Sub-section, and which appeared in Acts twenty or thirty years ago. Does he see any objection, if he wishes to restore the substance of those 1546 provisions, to restoring them in the very language which Parliament then passed? We may presume that sections which were in force for many years, and which carry out the present intentions of the Government, were safe sections from the point of view of the taxpayer. It would be a great relief to us to know, if the intention of the Government does not go beyond the intention of the Government of 1885, that they will restore the words of 1885. It may possibly require amendment. I hope the Government will understand if we do not put the House to the trouble of a division on this Sub-section now it is on the distinct understanding that they do not wish to go beyond the Act of 1885, and that we shall have an opportunity on the Report stage to survey the form which the Government meanwhile with their expert advisers will consider in the light of the criticisms which have been passed on it. I do not think that the hon and learned Gentleman who has shown himself so conciliatory will think that my requests go beyond what the critics of the Government have a right to demand.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I think it would be far more satisfactory if the Government would accept the Amendment of my hon. and learned Friend at this stage, reserving to themselves the right to bring up new words on Report. The Attorney-General has met us in a conciliatory manner, and has suggested that the matter should be considered again before Report. There are two ways in which such consideration is made. If it is left to the Government to consider any possible alteration they are much less prone to look thoroughly into the matter than if they consented to the Opposition's Amendment, with a view to subsequently bringing up any amendment of their own. Would it not be wise to leave out the words now?
Will the learned Attorney-General consider a very important point about reductions of the Income Tax made during the Income Tax year. Suppose in the first place the Income Tax Resolution was for 1s., that then it was altered to 8d. and subsequently to 7d. How could the legality of the 8d. be insisted on? Would it not be possible in framing this Sub-section to make it perfectly clear exactly where we stand so far as legality is concerned. I take it in connection with the 8d. it is provided that any charge for Income Tax made during the Income Tax year previous to the passing of the Act shall 1547 be deemed to be a legal charge. But take the case of the people who had been paying 1s. Suppose it was a railway company or some large concern which had to pay their shareholders their dividends, Income Tax deducted on the 1s., and yet when the Act was passed the legal tax was 8d. Would it not be possible to frame such a sub-section as would make it perfectly clear that those who had paid the larger sum would not be in a worse position than those who waited and paid the lower sum. Is there not an invidious distinction by which people who pay Income Tax on the first demand are placed in a less advantageous position than those who keep the payment back and then find the demand reduced?
It appears to me that a premium is immediately given to those who refuse to pay the Income Tax in the meantime, that is to say, before the Act comes into operation. If consideration is given to those who refuse to pay before the provision appears in an Act people will say, "Why should they pay this money, be out of pocket and have the trouble of recovering the twopence, when the people who will not pay the larger sum until the Resolution becomes law have a premium given to them." The Government have been claiming that, in the interregnum, there was full power in them to collect the tax and now in face of this Amendment they are deliberately eating their own words. You cannot expect the country to understand the Clause when the Government put it forward in a Bill and then immediately a few arguments are offered they have to admit that they are wrong, and before Report stage they will consider the matter and put it right. I quite admit that this argument may be a perfectly genuine one between the members of the legal fraternity who are able to interpret the nicities of legal phrases, but to the ordinary lay mind it seems absurd that a Bill is brought forward in the House with a clause of this sort, and after slight criticism by a lawyer Members of the Government have to admit that they are wrong, but before the Report Stage they will make it right.
I think my hon. and learned Friend will be quite ready to withdraw the Amendment if it is clearly understood, as I think was indicated by a favourable nod on the part of the Solicitor-General, that we should have an opportunity of discussing this question when the 1548 Government are able to put it before us on Report. If that is clearly understood—
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
§ Mr. POLLOCK
I will withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
I do not suppose the Government desire to keep this up any longer, especially bearing in mind the promises of the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer last autumn of full opportuntities of discussion, and the promise of the Chancellor of the Duchy that we should have full opportunities of moving our new clauses. It is twelve o'clock; we have come to the end of a part of the Bill, and it is a convenient time for the Committee to adjourn.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Churchill)
I am sure the Committee will feel that we ought to make a serious inroad into the Bill to-night. The Government have very earnestly desired throughout the Session, so far as possible in matters affecting the time of the House, to meet the wishes and justifiable opinions of hon. Members opposite. We have honestly endeavoured to carry our business forward without arriving at any of those sharp collisions of opinion which sometimes have led to the expression of feeling. On the Address, on the First Reading of the Parliament Bill, and on Supplementary Estimates, the time which the Government had originally allocated to the discussions of those subjects has been extended in every way, so far as possible, to meet the wishes of all parties; but our progress has not been so rapid as we had anticipated, and much less rapid than we had hoped. There is great pressure upon the House between now and 31st March in regard to financial business, and this very procedure of discussing the old Budget and patching it up is largely due to the punctilious fulfilment by the Government of a pledge which they voluntarily gave when our proceedings in the last Parliament were terminated by the 1549 General Election. The Government are very anxious indeed to make substantial progress with this measure to-night. The Debate has been of a most valuable, cool and business-like description, and no one can say the House is not efficient to continue it. We all regret the absence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who, no doubt, is a loss which the Government cannot fully supply, but the Leader of the Opposition has borne witness to the lucid and conciliatory manner in which the measure has been conducted, and on behalf of the Government I must ask the House not to agree to the proposal which is made, I think, without any expectation that it would at this early hour be acceded to, and that we should rely upon the Committee to continue the discussion until a very much larger portion of the Bill, and of the new clauses has been disposed of than we have at present placed to our credit.
The right hon. Gentleman appears to think that the fact that the discussion so far has been conducted with good temper and without heat is sufficient reason why the House should sit to an abnormally late hour. That condition is very easily disturbed. I am the last person to wish that any heat should be introduced into the discussion, but evidently the fuel is there. If the right hon. Gentleman cannot be moved by anything less than a conflagration, I daresay a conflagration can be provided. I am quite sure the right hon. Gentleman is the last person to desire that that particular method of persuasion should be adopted. May I appeal to his sense of justice, and to the repeated declarations made by himself and by his friends on that bench. The circumstances under which the whole of the discussion is necessary at this time—for it is a discussion which ought to have taken place last Session—are present to everybody's mind. How was that transference from the right Session to the wrong Session recommended by the Government? How was it excused to the House? It was excused to the House by repeated promises on the part of more than one responsible Minister that there would be the fullest opportunity for discussing the whole question in the course of the present Session. The Prime Minister, on one occasion at least, the Chancellor of the Exchequer on two occasions at least, and then the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Joseph Pease), recently the head Whip of his 1550 party, made this statement on 21st November last year:—We propose, under the new Bill in next Parliament to extend the discussion over the whole range of our taxation system, and it will he permissible next Session for hon. Members to move new clauses, as they usually do—say clauses for the reduction of the Land Duties, or any new clauses of that kind—although we will have no resolution covering new taxes."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st November, 1910, col. 226.]Of course, I could multiply quotations, but it is sufficient to say that there is no doubt whatever there is an honourable understanding on the part of the Government that we should have full and ample opportunity for discussion on this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman says that we are now in a very calm and cool temper eminently fitted to discuss the question at what he calls this early hour of the evening. Well, the hour of the evening is a quarter past twelve, and this Government were the people who laid it down that for the adjournment of Debate eleven o'clock was the proper hour. We are now told by the right hon. Gentleman that an early hour in the evening is a quarter past twelve. If this is an early hour in the evening, what is eleven o'clock?
Of course, everybody knows that the practice introduced by this Government of adjourning at eleven o'clock was with the special approval and by the special desire of some of their supporters who thought that that hour should be the extreme limit of the ordinary Parliamentary sitting. Therefore it is preposterous to describe a quarter-past twelve as an early hour of the evening. It may be an early hour in the eyes of gentlemen who are accustomed to later hours, but not in the eyes of gentlemen of earlier domestic habits, who think that eleven o'clock is the proper time to adjourn. I really want to know how the Government are going to justify the appeal they are now making to us to sit later. Does anybody suggest for a moment that we have not made substantial progress to-night? I confess, after listening to a good deal of the Debate, that I have never heard a Debate on anything so controversial as this Budget conducted in a more conciliatory spirit on both sides of the House, and with less desire to waste the time of the House. We have repeatedly abstained lest we should unduly occupy time, and I think it a very poor return on the part of the Government for the efforts which we have made that they should in face of their repeated pledges tell us that half-past twelve at night is the time to begin the 9th Clause. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman and those on his Bench that 1551 if they use the power of their authority on this occasion to force through in the early hours of the morning a discussion on this Bill they will stand accused before their own consciences and before all public opinion of having made those repeated pledges last November simply to get over an immediate crisis without the smallest intention of carrying them out. I do not accuse right hon. Gentlemen of that, I do not believe that they were guilty of it. But how can they, in the face of all they said, what the Prime Minister said, and what the Chancellor of the Exchequer said, not once, twice or three times, but repeatedly, ask us at this time to begin new subjects, to start a new discussion dealing with complicated draftsmanship and varied problems which these clauses present to us and tell us that that is carrying out the pledge that we should have, in the words of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, an opportunity of extending the discussion over the whole range of our taxation system? I am sure if the right hon. Gentleman has read the pledges given last November he will not insist upon this House beginning at this hour a further discussion, especially as we have to resume debates in less than twelve hours from this time.
§ Mr. LAURENCE HARDY
I venture to press on the attention of the House the statement just now made by the right hon. Gentleman with reference to the time already given to the House in connection with the business that we have been transacting. The right hon. Gentleman claimed that we ought to go on through the early hours of the morning because the Government had been generous in the time that they had given to other subjects. This House still remembers that the Government gave us perhaps one more day on the Address, but took away the whole of the private Members' time. If they gave us the opportunity of voicing matters of grave importance, they took to themselves time which in ordinary Sessions would have been of vast importance in raising large public matters. We are told that ample time has been allotted to us for the stages that have been taken of the Parliament Bill. Can anybody say that any Bill of that vast constitutional importance has ever been passed through its First and Second Reading in this House in so few days? If anybody turns back to measures which may be compared to it, he will find that a very large portion of the House's 1552 time had been given to this subject; and then he fell back upon the statement that it is necessary on account of the exigencies of the financial year.
But it is entirely the Government's own doing. There was plenty of time to do the financial business before the end of the financial year if they had not insisted upon bringing in such vast measures as the Parliament Bill in all its stages. It is really the direction of their own business which brings about this pressure that they now venture to exert. So it is that we have the right to put aside such arguments as have been put forward. Nobody can deny that to get through eight or nine Clauses of a Revenue Bill like this in one evening is sufficient work for one night, and its having been done reasonably affords all the more proof to the Government that it is desirable that they should act in a reasonable manner. Seeing that we have been doing the work of this Session in a business-like manner, I do not think that the Government should take a step which may produce another condition of things. Certainly it is not wise at this hour of the night to enter upon such a subject as is opened up by Clause 10, and which, by the evidence, is one that excites the deepest interest, which is not confined in the least to one party, but exists among all parties alike. I think we rightly ask that on such a matter as Clause 10, we ought not to be asked to enter at this hour, but that we should be allowed to go home to-night, and start fresh, on our return, on so important a question, in order that not only ourselves, but that the public and the Press should have an opportunity of knowing what is going on in connection with Clause 10, which is much more important than probably any other portion of the Bill. Therefore I ask the Government to reconsider the position, and give us the time for which we ask.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
May I point out to the Committee the statement which was made by the Prime Minister on the 16th of February this year, and I think the importance of it will be seen. The Prime Minister said, speaking of the Finance Bill:—In redemption of that pledge we Lave first, of all to introduce, as we shall on Monday, by resolution, or by a series of resolutions in Committee of Ways and Means, that which will lay the foundation on which we have to prosecute the Bill through its various stages, and we propose to give for these purpose "six-and-a-half days."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. Thursday, 16th Feb., 1911, col. 1253.]1553 There was, as far as I have been able to look through the report of that Debate, no protest by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite against the time which was then proposed to be devoted to this purpose.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
We protested against the whole arrangements for the Bill.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for giving way to me. All I wish to say is that the right hon. Gentleman really must not base an argument on our silence. We do not get up and challenge every statement of the Prime Minister the moment it is made. I think we all protested unanimously against the proposal of the Prime Minister, holding that he had under-estimated the time needed for the Bill.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
We propose to keep to the arrangement. The hon. Member opposite (Mr. Laurence Hardy) rather led the Committee to understand that we took up before the close of the financial year other business than finance.
§ Mr. L. HARDY
I think the allusion I made was to the Parliament Bill. I do not suppose that the right hon. Gentleman says that that is financial business.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
I understood the hon. Gentleman to say that we were taking other business that we should not take. [HON. MEMBERS: "The Parliament Bill."] We are not taking to the end of this month business other than financial business, and in that financial business we are not taking any business other than that which must be concluded before the end of the financial year. We are not taking any business to the end of the financial year that it is possible to postpone over the end of the financial year. Thus far we go. I think the undertaking of the Prime Minister last February was that the business of the financial year should be concluded, and the Revenue or Finance Bill in the financial year. We are endeavouring to redeem that promise, and we have, in order to do so, postponed the business which we proposed to take, namely, the further stages of the Parliament Bill. I would ask the Committee to say that we have tried to redeem the pledge we gave not merely by giving ample time for discussion, not merely by giving five and a half days during the last Session of Parliament for the discussion of what was called the first part of this Bill, 1554 but as well giving ample time to the discussion of financial business and trying to redeem our pledges in concluding the financial business within the financial year.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
Has the right hon. Gentleman sufficiently considered the pledges that were given last August? It is quite true that there was a pledge that the matter would be dealt with in the financial year, but I think the inference is that that should have restrained the Government from introducing the Parliament Bill and passing it to its Second Beading. What the Government have really done is by a very improper proceeding to make it difficult for them to carry out honourably their pledges. If they are to break their pledge—and break it they are—it is better they should carry this on to the next financial year than discuss important matters in this way. What the Prime Minister said was:—Therefore, with the undertaking of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer—all such undertakings being now—I hope that is clearly understood—subject to unforeseen contingencies …What is the unforeseen contingency?With the undertaking, subject to those contingencies, on the part of my right hon. Friend, that he will reintroduce and submit for consideration, with full opportunity of discussion, before the close of the present financial year, the remaining provisions of the Budget which for the moment he is obliged to drop.If anybody calls this "full opportunity of discussion" on a new subject, very important confessedly, at this hour in the morning I do not envy such a person's sense of honour. The Government are in a peculiar position in the matter of financial business. They contend that it is solely a matter for the House of Commons. So far as amendments to the financial business go that has always been understood. This is a matter on which the House of Commons alone can judge and alone can discuss. This is therefore the only opportunity on which this matter can be brought into public debate at all.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
was understood to make an observation.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
Does the right hon. Gentleman deny that I am referring to this particular proposal of the Bill, this Money Bill, which the House of Commons alone can discuss, according to the Government, and that is not to be revised by any possible Second Chamber? I am not sorry that the public should see to what a point of submission the First Chamber sinks under the present Government. I do 1555 not care how often the Government exhibit the degradation of their own supporters. It is perfectly clear that this House is the mere instrument in the hands of the Government. If they choose to take anything at one o'clock in the morning they can take it. We all know how valueless is the control of the House of Commons over finance or any other matter, although the Government no doubt pretend to believe in that delusion. We know it is a delusion. Up to now we have thought there was some security in the solemn undertakings of Ministers. The Government are overthrowing this year one of the Constitutional securities—the Second Chamber. Are they going to overthrow at the same time the tradition of trusting the pledged word of Ministers? How much is going to be left to us by these House of Commons men of the ancient customs under which the proceedings of Parliament were conducted? It is very unfortunate that the Home Secretary has been left in charge of the House. He is constitutionally unaccustomed to yield submission to considerations which appeal peculiarly to good taste and good feeling. Our appeal must necessarily be made from this House and from this Government to those who are outside. What does the right hon. Gentleman say? The observations of the Financial Secretary to the Treasury did not reach me. They are seldom of an enlightening character.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
I will enlighten the Noble Lord. I was referring to the recent reference to the people at Lanark.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
It is characteristic of the right hon. Gentleman's mind that he thinks the proceedings of to-night ought to have influenced an election which took place yesterday. We are asking for a reasonable opportunity to discuss a financial measure in the House of Commons, and the Government, in spite of their repeated promises, are refusing us that reasonable opportunity. As a partisan I am quite indifferent. In fact, I am pleased, because I am anxious that it should be made clear to all the world what the relations of the Government and the House of Commons are how completely the House is at the mercy of the Government, how completely it is under their orders, how utterly valueless the securities they offer us in the Parliament Bill really are. I am glad to be rid of the silly hypocrisy with which they put us off in Debate here and attempt to gull the 1556 electors in the country. But it is necessary that we should make an emphatic protest against their proceedings; they will find that they gain neither time, patience, nor amenity in Debate by treating us in this way.
§ Mr. MacVEAGH
If a mere plebeian like myself may dare to follow in the footsteps of a distinguished patrician like the Noble Lord who has just spoken, I would respectfully suggest that the House is getting a little tired of the lectures the Noble Lord is so fond of delivering to this House. The Noble Lord appears to be ready to deliver one of his superior addresses on any subject under the sun. I would suggest to the House, and especially to the friends of the Noble Lord—who seem to admire him on some occasions, and on other occasions are so anxious to drive him out of public life—that as a matter of fact it is absolutely impossible for any man to know half as much as the Noble Lord pretends to know. Why, Sir, the Noble Lord would be ready to lecture Cardinal Newman on the use of the English language, or Darwin on "The Origin of Species," or—[An HON. MEMBER: "Or manners?"] I thought I heard a Noble Lord, one of the triplets in the corner, say something about manners? May I tell him that I do not look up to the Noble Lord as an exemplar of good manners. I think, at any rate, at a quarter to one o'clock in the morning he would be much better occupied if he would address any remarks he has to make on good taste to the Noble Lord (Lord Hugh Cecil) who sits near him. For the absence of good taste is the most conspicuous feature in the speeches of the Noble Lord. The Noble Lord may be a great theologian, I do not know much about that myself, but he certainly does not strike us by the lectures that he is so fond of delivering to us that he is very much of a politician. If I were to describe the character of the Noble Lord as it appears to me I would say that he is a politician in the custody of a cleric. Nature has certainly intended him to be, not the leader of a new Fourth Party, but a pedagogue. If there is one thing I gather clearly from the views of hon. Gentlemen opposite—many, too, on this side of the House—it is that the House is getting thoroughly sick of the posturing of the Noble Lord as an authority upon politics and everything which comes under the purview of this House. I earnestly trust the Government will not be intimidated by the three Noble Lords 1557 in the corner, but that they will stick to their guns and insist in carrying out the programme they laid before the House this afternoon.
§ Viscount HELMSLEY
This Motion to report Progress seems to allow considerable latitude. I do not feel I am at all called upon to reply to the remarks of the bon. Gentleman who has just sat dawn. The only observation which occurs to me in that connection is that he has given us one more lesson, if such ware needed, of the kind of Debate which would take place in a Parliament in College Green.
§ Mr. MacVEAGH
We will have no lords there.
§ Viscount HELMSLEY
And no doubt it is because of the experience of the hon. Member in regard to the unwillingness of this House to listen to trumpery eloquence of that character that induces him and his colleagues to be so keen to transfer their energies to another sphere. Coming back to the Motion before the House to report Progress, it certainly seems to me rather ridiculous for the Home Secretary to say at this hour of the morning that he wishes to make a substantial inroad into this Bill after we have already passed eight clauses. I should like to call the attention of the Committee to the nature of the Clauses which we have already passed. First we have gone through the Clauses dealing with land values. Anybody who has heard the discussions we have had during this Session, about land values, and knows the amount of controversy that is excited by the land taxes, must realise that in getting through three Clauses dealing with land values so rapidly the Government should congratulate themselves very much indeed. Then there have been the whole of the Excise Clauses equally important, and also two Clauses dealing with Income Tax. If that is not a substantial inroad into the Bill, I am sure I do not know what the Home Secretary calls a substantial inroad. The Home Secretary did not say how far he proposes to go, and we can form no idea of what he contemplates as substantial. He tried to make out we ought to be very grateful because the time for discussing various matters this Session has been already extended. What does that amount to? The time for Supplementary Estimates has been extended.
What did the Government propose for Supplementary Estimates to start with? 1558 Was it one day or what? We had Supplementary estimates, although the amounts were comparatively small, raising questions of the very greatest importance and interest which ought to be discussed in this House, and which are as yet by no means finished. The Home Secretary talked about the first reading of the Parliament Bill. There was an extension, I believe, of one day from what was originally proposed. Only four days were allowed for the Second Reading, and when the Closure was moved several hon. Members had not been able to deliver speeches during any of these four days. Hon. Friends of mine have told me that they spent the best part of those four days rising in their places endeavouring in vain to catch the Speaker's eye, and if I am not largely mistaken there are many hon. Members opposite who gave themselves a good deal of exercise in the same direction without any result. That is what we are asked to be grateful for. We are asked to be grateful for being allowed four days' discussion on the Second Reading of the Parliament Bill, the most important measure which has ever been introduced into the House. That is the Government's idea of giving ample time for discussion.
The Home Secretary talks about "catching up the Budget," and carrying the financial business of the year. It is a well-known fact that it is not in the least necessary from a financial point of view to pass this Bill before the end of the financial year, and if the Government had wished to carry out their pledge, and pass this Bill before the end of the financial year, they should not have introduced the Parliament Bill before their financial business. Why did they introduce the Parliament Bill when they had all the pressure of this financial business? They did it because they knew they would be able to get more votes by bringing in the Parliament Bill at the beginning of the Session, and at all events by so doing they would be able to keep together the heterogeneous horde on their side—[HON MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"]—whereas if they gave free discussion on these financial measures they know they would be in danger of losing a large number of votes which they gained at the last election. Apart from all the rhetoric indulged in about these taxes, if the people of the country really knew the effect of those taxes upon a great many people we should not find the Members sitting opposite but the Leader of the Opposition and his supporters would be occupying 1559 the benches opposite. There are hundreds and thousands of people in this country who have not the faintest idea of the incidence of these taxes, because they have been gulled. The Government know very well that the more these taxes are discussed the more the people will find how they have been deceived by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Home Secretary. What are we coming to?
§ Mr. MacVEAGH
§ Viscount HELMSLEY
We shall have to consider almost immediately, when the Stamp Clause has been disposed of, the great question of the relations between the local authorities and the Imperial Exchequer. There is no subject more thorny than this.
§ Mr. FLAVIN
Yes, there is the monkey tree.
§ Viscount HELMSLEY
There is no subject more thorny than the question of the money which ought to go to the local authorities. Then there is another question we shall come to on Clause 10. There is no doubt in the world the Government have absolutely gone back on a distinct pledge, free of all conditions, to give half of the Land Duties to the local authorities. Considering we are coming to all these important matters, considering, as the Home Secretary must recognise, that the line and temper of the Debate has been entirely altered by his refusal to accept this Motion, I must say that we are entering upon a discussion that cannot in any way be fruitful. We are entering upon the discussion of important matters when the House is no longer in a mood to discuss them impartially, fairly, and properly; and, moreover, we are being asked to bring up this important question with regard to the local authorities at a time when, as the Home Secretary knows very well, it will be impossible for there to be an adequate report of it in any of the papers to-morrow morning.
I am not going to make a second speech on the lines of that I have already made, but I really must make an appeal. We are coming to a most important question of Parliamentary procedure. Let me first deal with what I take to be the view of the Government. They say, whether their previous course has been right or wrong, they are now compelled to adopt these drastic measures in 1560 order to get through the necessary financial business before the 31st of March. That does not, in my opinion, justify their course; but let us leave the past alone for the moment. I am sure they could, if they felt the necessity of doing so, make some rearrangement of their business which would enable them to carry out what I shall show in a moment are real pledges. They might, for example, postpone the Debate on Monday, though I am the last person to wish it postponed, for three weeks—less than three weeks—until we had finished our financial business. There is nothing in most of the Budget—in nine-tenths of the Budget—which makes it necessary to pass it before the end of the financial year. So far as I am aware—I speak not as an expert in this matter—there is only one clause and the schedule which it is desirable to pass.
It would also be very inconvenient not to pass the provision about the Sinking Fund before the end of the financial year, but the greater part of the matters we have been discussing to-night, and which remain to be discussed, and all the new clauses can be discussed every bit as well after the financial year as they can tonight, and, though I have had no opportunity of consulting my friends, I have no doubt they will agree with me that so far as the clauses or the provisions of the Bill have to be passed before 31st March, the Government will have no trouble at all if they make arrangements for postponing that part which need not be passed before 31st March. They would then be able to get the things which ought to be passed before 31st March without any undue Parliamentary dilemma whatever. That is to say, I think they could carry out the pledge which we conceive to be given. Let me return to the pledge in no controversial spirit. I have had to do "with the Leading of the House, or the Opposition, for more years than I care to think, and in all those years one of the methods by which Parliamentary business between sharply contrasted bodies of opinion has been able to be carried on is that when pledges are given they are carried out. I would really, not in any controversial spirit, appeal to all old Members of this House to support me when I say that if this House is to be in the future what it has been in the past that system must be continued, and I would ask any new Members of the House to believe me when I say that has been the settled practice of all parties and of all Governments ever since the time to which my Parliamentary 1561 memory goes back. I have read one statement from a Cabinet Minister, let me read a statement from the Prime Minister. I do think, when I have read it, and when I have reminded the Government of the terms on which that pledge was given, they will feel it is their bounden duty to do everything they possibly can to see that the promise given by the Prime Minister is carried out.
This is what the Prime Minister said on 21st November, 1910—For the purpose of bringing the present Session to a close we think it will be found for the general convenience of this House and the country that we should confine our discussion to that part of the Finance Bill which proposes the two new taxes … at the same time "—And these are the words I am earnestly asking every Member of the House to consider:—Repeating the undertaking given, both by myself and my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, last Friday, that if we are in a position to control the business of the new Parliament we shall consider it a binding obligation on us to give the new House of Commons full opportunity with every latitude to discuss and consider these other matters before the close of the financial year.I wish to add no embittering comment to the recital of these words. I appeal to the right hon. Gentlemen opposite, who, although they have not had such long experience of Parliamentary life as I have, still know what Parliamentary life is and I ask whether there was ever a pledge given by the Leader of the House in terms more clear or more explicit, or in terms which more rigidly bound those who made them to carry out to the letter everything that they promised. Do they really think that that promise is carried out when on the very first night of the Committee, and after having passed eight Clauses, after having worked strenuously and honourably all these hours to carry those eight clauses we are forced in the small hours of the morning to deal in Committee with the new subjects contained in the remainder of the Bill? I do not believe that any men of ordinary common sense or with ordinary feelings of honour will think I have exaggerated in the statement I have made, nor will they think I am putting in an unfair claim when I say that we look to the Government, who have the majority at their back, to carry out the pledge that their leader gave.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Whatever may be felt about the argument which the right hon. Gentleman has addressed to us it will certainly be conceded on all sides that he has put his appeal, or his attack, 1562 whichever word properly characterises his speech, in a very much less offensive manner than has been indulged in by the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University. But when all deductions have been made on that score the right hon. Gentleman's charge is a very serious one. He has charged the Government with deliberately breaking their pledge with regard to the course which we are now pursuing. I do-not think the Committee will find that there is any justification for such a gross accusation and attack. The circumstances under which the Budget last year was cut in half are well known to the House. They are exceptional and extraordinary circumstances.
If it were any part of my wish or intention to-night to go into controversial matters, I should have no difficulty in indicating the original cause of the financial embarrassments which led us to divide the Budget of last year and led us to convulse our Parliamentary business by two General Elections. That is not my purpose. The Committee will remember that when the House assembled in November of last year to discuss the Budget, the period at our disposal even then was very restricted before Christmas was reached, and in no circumstances could the discussion of this Budget, even if undertaken last year, have extended to anything approaching the length which a controversial Budget is usually contended in in ordinary circumstances. Then it was decided that Parliament should be dissolved, and the Prime Minister promised that the opportunity should be given for the discussion of these further matters connected with the Budget in the new Parliament. At the very beginning of the Session the Prime Minister explained very carefully what he meant by that. He said first of all last year that he expected the conclusion of this Budget to be reached by March 31st, and that was the pledge that he gave. In the second place, at the beginning of this Session, he said he proposed to allocate six and a half days to the discussion of finance. Although that might not then have seemed satisfactory to the right hon. Gentleman opposite, and may not now seem satisfactory to them, and although we do not attempt to say that they committed themselves to the opinion that the proposal was a satisfactory one, at any rate it is the proposal we made openly and frankly from this Bench, which we have never departed from, which we 1563 are not going to depart from, and which we shall make good to the very best of our ability.
I really do not think that the right hon. Gentleman has been justified in making so very harsh an accusation against us as he has. It would not be possible for us to postpone the discussion that is to take place on Monday, as he has suggested. We promised definitely to those who have pressed for the opportunity of discussing the expenditure on the combined Services that they should have an opportunity of doing so before Mr. Speaker left the Chair on Army Estimates. We could not possibly accept that suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman. If we were further to divide the Budget and take part now and leave the rest trailing over into the Budget of next year, we should never get our Parliamentary finance and the Parliamentary discussion of our finance out of the confusion into which it has been involved, as everybody knows through no fault of our own—at any rate, through no fault of anyone in this House. I can only say that while we very much regret that difference of opinion should arise between the two sides of the House as to the amount of time given to these matters, we are quite unable to depart in any way from the statement that it has been my duty to make earlier in the evening, and must ask the House, no doubt by some exertion and sacrifice, to press on with the discussion of this measure. If, of course, we could be satisfied that we should reach the end of this Bill at a reasonable hour, it would not be necessary for us to press the discussion of the new clauses upon the Committee at the present time, but in the absence of any desire to meet us in that direction we can only say, with every earnest wish not to cause ill-feeling or rise of temperature, that we must press steadfastly along one path.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I must say that the concluding suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman for a fresh arrangement between the two sides of the House
§ came singularly badly from him at the moment when he was persisting in a flagrant breach of an agreement already made. When the Prime Minister in November made the statement which has been quoted to-day and gave it as an assurance, as a definite promise, of the ample opportunity that we should have to discuss this Budget, my Noble Friend (Lord Hugh Cecil), with whose speeches the right hon. Gentleman finds fault, interrupted him to say "There is no statutory security for that … "The Prime Minister said" I do not know what the Noble Lord means. "The Noble Lord said," There is nothing to be put in the Bill that will give security for that matter. "Said the Prime Minister," There is no necessity." I am afraid the Prime Minister was mistaken and that a pledge that is not statutory is not worth much under present conditions. Never have I known in the nineteen years that I have been in the House so clear a promise of ample time so flagrantly broken by the colleagues of the Minister who made it. If I regret, as I do deeply regret, the cause of the absence of both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I regret their absence still more because I am certain that if the Prime Minister or the Chancellor of the Exchequer had their words before them they would not think of pursuing a course which is absolutely unparalleled in the treatment of a contentious Budget, and is absolutely incompatible with the pledges which they gave. It is a great misfortune for us that we have to discuss the Budget in the absence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but the misfortune is doubled when the Leadership of the House is taken in these circumstances by the Home Secretary.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 231; Noes, 155.1567
|Division No. 48.]||AYES.||[1.10 a.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.)||Booth, Frederick Handel|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Barry, Redmond John (Tyrone, N.)||Bowerman, C. W.|
|Adamson, William||Barton, W.||Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.)|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Beale, W. P.||Brace, William|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Beck, Arthur Cecil||Brady, P. J.|
|Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire)||Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Brocklehurst, W. B.|
|Armitage, R.||Bentham, G. J||Brunner, John F. L.|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Burke, E. Haviland.|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Black, Arthur W.||Burns, Rt. Hon. John|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Hudson, Walter||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Hughes, S. L.||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Chancellor, H. G.||John, Edward Thomas||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Chapple, Dr. W. A.||Johnson, W.||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Radford, G. H.|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Clough, William||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.|
|Clynes, John R.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Joyce, Michael||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Kellaway, Frederick George||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Corbett, A. Cameron||Kilbride, Denis||Richards, Thomas|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||King, J. (Somerset, N.)||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Lambert, George (Devon, S. Molton)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Crawshay-Williams, Ellot||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Crumley, Patrick||Law, Hugh A.||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Davies, E. William (Elfion)||Lawson, Sir W.(Cumb'rld., Cockerm'th)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lines., Louth)||Leach, Charles||Robinson, Sydney|
|Dawes, J. A.||Levy, Sir Maurice||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Delany, William||Lewis, John Herbert||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Dewar, Sir j A.||Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Dillon, John||Lundon, T.||Rowlands, James|
|Doris, W.||Lynch, A. A.||St. Maur, Harold|
|Dufty, William J.||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||MacGhee, Richard||Samuel, J. (Stockton)|
|Edwards, Allen C. (Glamorgan, E.)||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Elverston, H.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Scott, A. M'Callum (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||M'Curdy, C. A.||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||M'Laren, H. D. (Leics.)||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Essex, Richard Walter||M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)||Shortt, Edward|
|Falconer, J.||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Smith, H. B. L. (Northampton)|
|Ferens, T. R.||Masterman, C. F. G.||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Mathias, Richard||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Field, William||Meagher, Michael||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Fitzgibbon, John||Molloy, M.||Summers, James Woolley|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Mond, Sir Alfred Moritz||Sutton, John E.|
|Furness, Stephen W.||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Gelder, Sir W. A.||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Tennant, Harold John|
|Gill, A. H.||Mooney, J. J.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Glanville, H. J.||Morgan, George Hay||Toulmin, George|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Morrell, Philip||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Goldstone, Frank||Munro, R.||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Greig, Colonel H. W.||Murray, Captain Hon. A. C.||Verney, Sir Henry|
|Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Needham, Christopher T.||Walters, John Tudor|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Neilson, Francis||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Gulland, John W||Nolan, Joseph||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Norman, Sir Henry||Wardle, George J.|
|Hackett, J.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||O'Connor. John (Kildare, N.)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Webb, H.|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)||O'Dowd, John||Wedgwood, Josiah C|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||O'Grady, James||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||O'Malley, William||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Williams, P. (Middlesbrough)|
|Hayward, Evan||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Helme, Norval Watson||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Palmer, Godfrey||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Henry, Sir Charles S.||Parker, James (Halifax)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)|
|Higham, John Sharp||Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)||Young, W. (Perthshire, E.)|
|Hinds, John||Pearson, Weetman H. M.|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.— Mastar of Elibank and Mr. Illingworth.|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||Pointer, Joseph|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Beech, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Burn, Col. C. R.|
|Archer-Shee, Major M.||Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Butcher, J. G.|
|Ashley, W. W.||Benn, Ion H. (Greenwich)||Carlile, E. Hildred|
|Astor, Waldorf||Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Cassel, Felix|
|Baird, J. L.||Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish.||Castlereagh, Viscount|
|Balcarres, Lord||Bigland, Alfred||Cator, John|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City Lond.).||Bird, A.||Cave, George|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Boscawen, Sackville T. Griffith.||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)|
|Baring, Capt. Hon. G. V.||Boyton, J.||Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)|
|Barnston, Harry||Bridgeman, W. Clive||Clay, Captain H. H. Spender|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Bull, Sir William James||Clive, Percy Archer|
|Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc., E.)||Burgoyne, A. H.||Clyde, J. Avon|
|Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Kerry, Earl of||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Knight, Capt E. A.||Royds, Edmund|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Larmor, Sir J.||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Croft, H. P.||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts, Mile End)||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Dairymple, Viscount||Lewisham, Viscount||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Doughty, Sir George||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers.||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Eyres-Monsell, B. M.||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Fell, Arthur||Lyttelton, Rt. Hn. A. (S. Geo., Hon. S.)||Spear, John Ward|
|Fisher, W. Hayes||Mackinder, H. I.||Stanier, Seville|
|Fleming, Valentine||Malcolm, Ian||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Staveley-Hull, Henry|
|Foster, Philip Staveley||Moore, William||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Gastrell, Major W. H.||Morpeth, Viscount||Stewart, Gershom|
|Gibbs, G. A.||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Swift, Rigby|
|Gilmour, Captain J.||Mount, William Arthur||Talbot, Lord E.|
|Goldman, C. S||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Terrell, H. (Gloucester)|
|Goldsmith, Frank||Newman, John R. P.||Thompson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)|
|Gordon, J.||Newton, Harry Kottingham||Touche, George Alexander|
|Grant, J. A.||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Greene, W. R.||Nield, Herbert||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Gretton, John||Norton-Griffiths, J. (Wednesbury)||Weigall, Capt. A. G.|
|Guinness, Hon. W. E.||O'Neill, Hon. A. E B. (Antrim, Mid)||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||White, Major G D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)||Paget, Almeric Hugh||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude|
|Harris, Henry Percy||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. H.)|
|Helmsley, Viscount||Peel, Captain R. F. (Woodbridge)||Winterton, Earl|
|Henderson, Major H. (Berks., Abingdon)||Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Hillier, Dr. A. P.||Perkins, Walter F.||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Ripen)|
|Hill-Wood, Samuel||Peto, Basil Edward||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Hohler, G. Fitzroy||Pole-Carew, Sir R.||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Hops, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Pollock, Ernest Murray||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart.|
|Horne, W. E. (Surrey, Guildford)||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Hunt, Rowland||Quilter, William Eley C.||Younger, George|
|Hunter, Sir C. R. (Bath)||Rawson, Colonel R. H.|
|Jardine, E. (Somerset, E.)||Remnant, James Farquharson||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.— Sir. Acland-Hood and Mr. H. W. Forster.|
|Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.||Rice, Hon. W. F.|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."1568
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 157; Noes, 228.1571
|Division No. 49.]||AYES.||[1.17 a.m.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Hill-Wood, Samuel|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Clay, Capt. H. H. Spender||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Clive, Percy Archer||Horne, Wm. E. (Surrey, Guildford)|
|Astor, Waldorf||Clyde, James Avon||Hunt, Rowland|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Hunter, Sir Charles Roderick (Bath)|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Courthope, George Loyd||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Craik, Sir Henry||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City Lond.)||Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Kerry, Earl of|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Croft, H. P.||Knight, Captain Eric Ayshford|
|Baring, Captain Hon. Guy Victor||Dairymple, Viscount||Larmer, Sir J.|
|Barlow, Montagu (Salford)||Doughty, Sir George||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)|
|Barnston, Harry||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers.||Lewisham, viscount|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)|
|Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc., E.)||Fell, Arthur||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. B.|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Fisher, William Hayes||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Fleming, Valentine||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (Hanover Sq.)|
|Benn, Hon. Hamilton (Greenwich)||Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Mackinder, Halford J.|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Foster, Philip Staveley||Malcolm, Ian|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish.||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas|
|Bigland, Alfred||Gibbs, George Abraham||Moore, William|
|Bird, Alfred||Gilmour, Captain John||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Boscawen, Sackville T. Griffith.||Goldman, Charles Sydney||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)|
|Boyton, James||Goldsmith, Frank||Mount, William Arthur|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Gordon, John||Neville, Reginald J. N.|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Grant, J. A.||Newman, John R. P.|
|Bull, Sir William James||Greene, Walter Raymond||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Burgoyne, Alan Hughes||Gretton, John||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Burn, Col. C. R.||Guinness, Hon. Walter Edward||Nield, Herbert|
|Butcher, J. G||Hall, D B. (Isle of Wight)||Norton-Griffiths, J. (Wednesbury)|
|Carlile, Edward Hildred||Hambro, Angus Vaidemar||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Cassel, Felix||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Harris, Henry Percy||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Cator, John||Helmsley, Viscount||Paget, Almeric Hugh|
|Cave, George||Henderson, Major H. (Berkshire)||Peel, Captain R. F. (Woodbridge)|
|Cecil, Lard Hugh (Oxford Univ.)||Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter||Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)|
|Perkins, Walter Frank||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Peto, Basil Edward||Smith, Harold (Warrington)||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Pole-Carew, Sir R.||Spear, John Ward||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude|
|Pollock, Srnest Murray||Stanier, Beville||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Pretyman, E. G.||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)||Winterton, Earl|
|Pryce-Jones, Col. E. (Montgom'y B'ghs)||Staveley-Hill, Henry||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Quilter, William Eley C.||Steel-Maitland, A. D.||Wood, Hon. E F. L. (Ripon)|
|Rawson, Col. Richard H.||Stewart, Gershom||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Remnant, James Farquharson||Swift, Rigby||Worthington-Evans, L|
|Rice, Hon. Walter Fitz-Uryan||Talbot, Lord Edmund||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart.|
|Rolleston, Sir John||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Ronaldshay, Earl of||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)||Younger, George|
|Royds, Edmund||Touche, George Alexander|
|Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Salter, Arthur Clavell||Walker, Col. William Hall||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.— Mr. H. W. Forster and Mr. Pike Pease.|
|Sanders, Robert A.||Weigall, Capt. A. G.|
|Sanderson, Lancelot||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Fitzgibbon, John||Mason, David M. (Coventry)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Flavin, Michael J.||Masterman, C. F. G|
|Adamson, William||Furness, Stephen W.||Mathias, Richard|
|Addison, Dr. Christopher||Gelder, Sir William Alfred||Meagher, Michael|
|Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbarton)||Gill, Alfred Henry||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Armitage, Robert||Glanville, Harold James||Molloy, Michael|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Mond, Sir Alfred Moritz|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Goldstone, Frank||Money, L. G. Chiozza|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.)||Greig, Colonel James William||Montagu, Hon. E. S.|
|Barry, Redmond John (Tyrone, N.)||Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Mooney, John J.|
|Barton, William||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Morgan, George Hay|
|Beale, William Phipson||Gulland, John William||Worrell, Philip|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Munro, Robert|
|Bentham, George Jackson||Hackett, John||Murray, Capt. Hon. Arthur C.|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Needham, Christopher T.|
|Black, Arthur W.||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Neilson, Francis|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Nolan, Joseph|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Brace, William||Haworth, Arthur A.||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Hayward, Evan||O'Dowd, John|
|Brunner, John F. L||Helme, Norval Watson||O'Grady, James|
|Burke, E. Haviland.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Henry, Sir Charles||O'Malley, William|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Higham, John Sharp||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Hinds, John||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Cawley, H. T. (Lancs, Heywood)||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Holt, Richard Durning||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Hudson, Walter||Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Hughes, S. L.||Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M.|
|Clough, William||Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Clynes, John R.||John, Edward Thomas||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Johnson, William||Pointer, Joseph|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Corbett, A. Cameron||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Joyce, Michael||Radford, George Heynes|
|Crumley, Patrick||Keating, Matthew||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Kellaway, Frederick George||Raphael, Herbert Henry|
|Davies, Timothy (Lines., Louth)||Kilbride, Denis||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Dawes, J. A.||King, J. (Somerset, N.)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Delany, William||Lambert, George (Devon, Molton)||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E)|
|Dewar, Sir J. A.||Lambert, Richard (Wills, Cricklade)||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Dillon, John||Law, Hugh A.||Richards, Thomas|
|Doris, William||Lawson, Sir W.(Cumb'rld., Cockerm'th)||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Duffy, William J.||Leach, Charles||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Edwards, Allen C. (Glamorgan, E.)||Lewis, John Herbert||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Elverston, H.||Lundon, Thomas||Robinson, Sydney|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Essex, Richard Walter||Mac Ghee, Richard||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Falconer, James||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Rowlands, James|
|Farrell, James Patrick||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||St. Maur, Harold|
|Fenwick, Charles||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Ferens, Thomas R.||M'Curdy, Charles Albert||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Ffrench, Peter||M'Laren, H. D. (Leicester)||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Field, William||M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches. Crews)||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Flennes, Hon. Eustace E.||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Scott, A. M'Callum (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|Seely, Col., Rt. Hon. J. E. B.||Tennant, Harold John||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Sherwell, Arthur James||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Shortt, Edward||Toulmin, George||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Simon, Sir John Allsebrook||Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)||Verney, Sir Harry||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)||Walters, John Tudor||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)|
|Soares, Ernest Joseph||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)|
|Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)||Wardle, George J.||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Summers, James Woolley||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Sutton, John E.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.— Master of Elibank and Mr. Illingworth.|
|Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Webb, H.|