HC Deb 09 March 1911 vol 22 cc1413-22

Order read for resuming Debate on Question proposed [1st March], "That Mr. Arkwright be a Member of the Select Committee:

That Mr. Bagot, Mr. Cameron Corbett, Mr. C. N. Nicholson, and Sir Luke White be nominated Members of the Select Committee:

That the Committee have power to send for persons, papers, and records:

That Three be the quorum:

That a Message be sent to the Lords to acquaint them therewith."—[Master of Elibank.]

Question again proposed, "That Mr. Arkwright be a Member of the Select Committee."

Debate resumed.


I beg to move the adjournment of the Debate. This Motion raises a most important question. It is part of a Motion to appoint five Members of this House to act along with five Members of the House of Lords upon a Joint Committee. The other House sent down a message to this House, and the President of the Local Government Board moved, and this House passed, a Resolution to agree with the House of Lords upon the same day on which the message was sent down, contrary to every precedent which I know of personally, and contrary to all the precedents—


The hon. Member is not entitled to go back upon the Motion. The only question now before the House is whether Mr. Arkwright should be one of the Members appointed, and the hon. Member's speech must be confined to that point.


May I remind you, Mr. Speaker, that when I complained upon a former occasion that a march had been stolen upon me, by the Motion to agree with the Lords having, contrary to precedent, been moved on the same day on which the Message had been brought down, you said an opportunity would be given to me upon this Motion.


No, not upon the Motion that Mr. Arkwright should be a Member of the Committee, but upon the Motion accepting the proposal of the Lords setting up the Committee. That Motion was before the House on a previous occasion. It was proposed and passed, and that was the hon. Member's opportunity. The only opportunity open to the hon. Member now is to canvass the name of this particular hon. Member.


Of course, Mr. Speaker, I submit to your ruling, but I am sorry I misunderstood the undertaking I thought you had given to me. I will, however, proceed upon the lines which you have been good enough to indicate. I have, of course, no personal objection to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Hereford, whose name appears in this list. My objection is entirely upon a point of principle, and in order to make my point clear I must remind the House of what this Committee has been appointed to do.


The hon. Member is again going back upon what the House has already decided. On 1st March this matter was discussed, and a record of it appears in the Votes and Proceedings. A Motion was then made for the nomination of a Select Committee, which was carried, and the House made the Order. Thereupon the next Motion is that Mr. Arkwright be a member of that Committee, and that is the matter which we are now discussing.


May I point out to you, Mr. Speaker, that there was no discussion upon the earlier Motion.


I did not happen to be in the Chair, but I see, according to the Votes and Proceedings, that the matter was carried.

4.0 P.M.


If I may respectfully say so, I think I was strictly upon the point that Mr. Arkwright be a member of this Committee. In order to show my objection to Mr. Arkwright—to whom I have no personal objection—I must point out what the object of the Committee is. If you will allow me, Mr. Speaker, to proceed just for one moment you will see that I am really in order in what I am about to say. The object of the Committee is to inquire into the application of a provision contained in the Local Government Acts, consequent upon the alteration of a Local Government area, and to report if any Amendment of that provision is desirable. These questions mainly arise either when a new borough is created, when the boundaries of an existing borough are extended, or when a borough which is part of a county is constituted what we call a county borough. Upon these occasions the financial interests of the county are in conflict with the financial interests of the borough, and no doubt it is well within the personal experience of many hon. Members that these conflicts have given rise to the most bitter controversies and to the most protracted litigation. This Committee has been formed to consider the principle upon which financial relations between these bodies shall be adjusted. It seems one might almost say elementary justice—in fact, it is so obvious that it scarcely needs to be argued—that upon such a Committee the representation of the boroughs ought not to be overborne by the representation of the counties. It is proposed in the constitution of this Committee that the representation of the boroughs shall be overborne by the county. Is it also proposed that upon this Committee there shall be only one representative of an English borough, and as against that it is proposed that there shall be three representatives of English counties. I understand that the English county councils are already congratulating themselves upon the fact that this Committee is to be so constituted so much in their favour, but possibly they are chuckling a little prematurely. It is true that it is proposed that there shall be a representative of Scotch burghs, but this question concerns England very much more than Scotland. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] Because these questions arise more frequently in England and in a more aggravated form than in Scotland. Surely Scotland can have no objection to the substitution of a borough Member for one of the English county Members. It is true, also, that if this Committee should be constituted as I desire it to be, there would then be three borough representatives as against two county representatives. Surely that cannot be more objectionable than the present proposal, under which there would be three county representatives as against two borough representatives. By my plan the great object will be gained of giving absolute equality as between the English counties and the English boroughs. I appeal to hon. Gentlemen who represent English boroughs in this House. If there are any hon. Members to whom this question is being called to their attention for the first time, or if they are not very conversant with this subject, I ask them respectfully to take it from me that, after going fully into the matter, I am of the opinion that the interests of English boroughs are not adequately protected according to the plan setting up this Committee which is now before the House. Therefore, in order to give the Government an opportunity of substituting an English borough Member for an English county Member, I propose, before I sit down, to move the Adjournment of the Debate.


I would remind the hon. Member that he is objecting to the only English borough Member, and his remarks are really not relevant to that.


Surely, that is a technical point. My object is at the very first opportunity to raise the question of the constitution of this Committee in order to give the Government an opportunity of substituting another name. It was suggested to me by a very young Member this morning that my resolution was likely to cause pain to the representatives whose names are mentioned. I venture, as a very old Member, to think there is nothing at all in that point. If I thought that the Motion which I now propose, with your permission to make, would be in any way offensive to those hon. Gentlemen, I certainly would not make it, for I have the greatest respect for every one of the hon. Members whose names are mentioned. As a matter of fact, there is nothing at all offensive in it. It is no great catch to be a member of a Committee of this kind. It is a great-charge and a great burden, and the obligation is not upon the Member who serves, but upon the House which appoints. I beg to move the Adjournment of the Debate.


I would point out that by moving the Adjournment of the Debate the hon. Member prevents the House from discussing the very subject which he wishes discussed., because, after the Motion for the Adjournment of the Debate is put from the Chair, the only subject for debate is the question of the Adjournment, and the question of the composition of the Committee could not then be discussed.


You have decided that; so far as the Local Government Board has had charge of this particular Bill, which is to be remitted to this Joint Committee, everything has been done decently and in order; and the only matter to which I have to refer this afternoon is the point made by my hon. Friend as to whether the interests of the English boroughs—


The hon. Member, by moving the Adjournment of the Debate, has prevented that being discussed. The only question the House has now to consider is whether the Debate should be adjourned.

Question put, "That this Debate be now adjourned."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 39; Noes, 354.

Division No. 42.] AYES. [4.5 p.m.
Adamson, William Croft, Henry Page Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)
Ashley, Wilfred W. Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)
Baring, Captain Hon. G. Gilhooly, James Ronaldshay, Earl of
Barnes, George N. Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)
Bennett-Goldney, Francis Jowett, Frederick William Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)
Bird, Alfred Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Sutton, John E.
Boscawen, Sackville T. Griffith. Malcolm, Ian Thomas, James Henry (Derby)
Brace, William Martin, J. Thorne, William (West Ham)
Bull, Sir William James Morrell, Philip Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)
Butcher, J. G. Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Winterton, Earl
Castlereagh, Viscount Neville, Reginald J. N. Worthington-Evans, L.
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University) Parker, James (Halifax)
Clynes, J. R. Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Mr. Pickersgill and Mr. Wedgwood.
Crean, Eugene Pointer, Joseph
Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour) Cator, John Gilmour, Captain John
Acland, Francis Dyke Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Haywood) Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford
Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon Sir Alex. F. Chaloner, Col. R. G. W. Goldman, C. S.
Addison, Dr. C. Chancellor, H. G. Goldsmith, Frank
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Chapple, Dr. William Allen Goldstone, Frank
Ainsworth, John Stirling Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S Grant, J. A.
Alden, Percy Clancy, John Joseph Greene, Walter Raymond
Anson, Sir William Reynell Clay, Captain H. H. Spender Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)
Anstruther-Gray, Major William Clive, Percy Archer Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)
Ashton, Thomas Gair Clough, William Greig, Colonel J. W.
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Clyde, James Avon Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)
Astor, Waldorf Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock) Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)
Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A. Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Guinness, Hon. Walter Edward
Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J. Condon, Thomas Joseph Gulland, John W.
Baird, John Lawrence Cooper, Richard Ashmole Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)
Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.) Corbett, A. Cameron Hackett, J.
Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.) Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)
Balcarres, Lord Courthope, G. Loyd Hambro, Angus Vaidemar
Baldwin, Stanley Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.) Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington)
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)
Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset) Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)
Barnston, H. Craik, Sir Henry Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)
Barran, Sir J. (Hawick) Crawshay-Williams, Ellot Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)
Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.) Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian Harris, Henry Percy
Barry, Redmond John (Tyrone, N.) Crions, Sir Charles Alfred Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)
Barton, A. W. Crumley, Patrick Haslam, James (Derbyshire)
Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc., E.) Davies, E. William (Eifion) Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)
Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton) Davies, Timothy (Lines., Louth) Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry
Beale, William Phipson Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan) Haworth, Arthur A.
Beauchamp, Edward Dawes, James Arthur Hayden, John Patrick
Beck, Arthur Cecil Delany, William Helme, Norval Watson
Beckett, Hon. W. Gervase Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas Helmsley, Viscount
Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth) Dewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness) Henderson, Arthur (Durham)
Benn, I. H. (Greenwich) Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.) Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)
Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. Geo.) Donelan, Captain A. Henry, Sir Charles S.
Bentham, George J. Doris, William Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.
Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers Hill, Sir Clement
Bethell, Sir J. H. Duffy, William J. Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter
Boland, John Pius Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor) Hill-Wood, Samuel
Booth, Frederick Handel Elverston, H. Hinds, John
Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.) Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.) Hoare, S. J. G.
Boyle, W. L. (Norfolk, Mid) Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.) Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.
Brady, P. J. Esslemont, George Birnie Holt, Richard Durning
Bridgeman, W. Clive Eyres-Monsell, B. M. Hope, Harry (Bute)
Brigg, Sir John Falconer, J. Horne, W. E. (Surrey, Guildford)
Brocklehurst, William B. Falle, B. G. Houston, Robert Paterson
Brunner, John F. L. Farrell, James Patrick Hudson, Walter
Burgoyne, Alan Hughes Fell, Arthur Hughes, S. L.
Burke, E. Haviland. Fenwick, Charles Hunt, Rowland
Burn, Colonel C. R. Ffrench, Peter Hunter, Sir C. R. (Bath)
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Field, William Ingleby, Holcombe
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Fisher, W. Hayes Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.) Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead) Jardine, E. (Somerset, E.)
Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar) Forster, Henry William Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)
Byles, William Pollard Gardner, Ernest Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)
Campion, W. R. Gastrell, Major W. H. Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)
Carlile, Edward Hildred Gibbs, George Abraham Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Gill, Alfred Henry Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)
Joyce, Michael O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Scott, A. M'Callum (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
Kellaway, Frederick George O'Dowd, John Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.
Kerr-Smiley, Peter O'Grady, James Sheehy, David
Kilbride, Denis O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.) Sherwell, Arthur James
King, J. (Somerset, N.) O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.) Shorn, Edward
Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A. Simon, Sir John Allsebrook
Kirkwood, John H. M. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)
Knight, Capt. E. A. O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Smith, Harold (Warrington)
Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) O'Sullivan, Timothy Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Law, Hugh A. Paget, Almeric Hugh Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'm'ts., Mile End) Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend) Soares, Ernest Joseph
Lawson, Sir W.(Cumb'rld., Cockerm'th) Parkes, Ebenezer Spear, John Ward
Leach, Charles Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek) Stanier, Beville
Levy, Sir Maurice Pearce, William (Limehouse) Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)
Lewis, John Herbert Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington) Summers, James Woolley
Lloyd, George Ambrose Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham) Sykes, Alan John
Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury) Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge) Talbot, Lord Edmund
Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey) Perkins, Walter F. Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R. Phillips, John (Longford, S.) Tannant, Harold John
Logan, John William Pole-Carew, Sir R. Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)
Long, Rt. Hon. Walter Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H. Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)
Lundon, T. Power, Patrick Joseph Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Lyell, Charles Henry Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central) Tullibardine, Marquess of
Lynch, A. A. Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.) Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.) Primrose, Hon. Nell James Verney, Sir Harry
Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich) Pryce-Jones, Col. E. (M'tgom'y B'ghs.) Wadsworth, J.
Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Quitter, William Eley C. Walker, Col. William Hall
MacGhee, Richard Radford, G. H. Walters, John Tudor
Mackinder, Halford J. Raffan, Peter Wilson Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)
Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Rainy, Adam Rolland Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Ratcliff, Major R. F. Wardle, G. J.
MacVeagh, Jeremiah Rawson, Colonel R. H. Waring, Walter
M'Callum, John M. Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields) Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough) Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
M'Mickilng, Major Gilbert Reddy, M. Watt, Henry A.
Marshall, Arthur Harold Redmond, John E. (Waterford) Webb, H.
Mason, David M. (Coventry) Redmond, William (Clare) Weigall, Capt. A. G.
Masterman, C. F. G. Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.) Wheler, Granville C. H.
Mathias, Richard Remnant, James Farquharson White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)
Meagher, Michael Rendall, Atheistan White, Sir George (Norfolk)
Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Rice, Hon. Walter Fitz-Uryan White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Menzies, Sir Walter Richards, Thomas Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Mildmay, Francis Bingham Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall) Whyte, A. F. (Perth)
Molloy, M. Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford) Wiles, Thomas
Money, L. G. Chiozza Robinson, Sidney Williams, P. (Middlesbrough)
Montagu, Hon. E. S. Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke) Willoughby, Major Hon. Glaude
Mooney, J. J. Roche, John (Galway, E.) Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
Morgan, George Hay Roe, Sir Thomas Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)
Morpeth, Viscount Rolleston, Sir John Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Mount, William Arthur Rose, Sir Charles Day Wolmer, Viscount
Munro, Robert Rothschild, Lionel de Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)
Murray, Captain Hon. A. C. Rowlands, James Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Neilson, Francis Royds, Edmund Wood, T. M'Kinion (Glasgow)
Newdegate, F. A. Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter Yate, Col. C. E.
Newman, John R. P. Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen) Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)
Newton, Harry Kottingham St. Maur, Harold Younger, George
Nicholson Wm. G. (Petersfield) Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland) Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Nield, Herbert Samuel, J. (Stockton)
Nolan, Joseph Sanders, Robert A. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.— Master of Elibank and Mr. Illingworth.
Norman, Sir Henry Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert
Norton, Capt. Cecil W.

Question, "That Mr. Bagot, Mr. Cameron Corbett, Mr. C. N. Nicholson, and Sir Luke White be nominated Members of the Select Committee," put, and agreed to.

Question again proposed, "That Mr. Arkwright be a Member of the Committee."


I am not quite satisfied with the composition of the Committee. I have some doubt whether the hon. Member for Hereford ought to sit upon it. My point is this. These five Gentlemen have to sit with five peers all having equal rights of sitting and voting. When I analyse the composition of the Commons representation I find it includes two Members of the Opposition. I should like to know what the composition of the Peers contribution to the Committee may be, because, if the peers reflect the general composition of their House, it involves a rather serious situation, as it is possible that the hon. Members for Hereford and Westmoreland may vote with the peers, and the net result would be that the will of the people, as declared through its representatives, would not prevail upon the Committee and this House would be completely humiliated. Its position, to say the least, would be ludicrous. I should like to know who the five peers will be, and whether they will be in harmony with the majority of this House, otherwise the Government will stultify themselves in regard to this Committee. Perhaps the Prime Minister can give me that information?


I have not the least idea. I do not even know whether the five peers have yet been nominated.


Is that a fair example of what the Prime Minister knows of these proceedings?


Perhaps I may be able to satisfy the curiosity of the hon. Member, and at the same time to give the House what it is entitled to receive, the personnel of the Joint Committee. Before I do so may I observe that the selection of the five House of Commons representatives was carried out in the usual way, and the Members were not selected because they represented exclusively county divisions or exclusively borough areas. It would be a mistake if a Joint Committee were established on such narrow and at the same time such invidious grounds. It is rather odd that the opposition to the resolution to set up this Joint Committee proceeding, as it does, on the basis that there are not sufficient borough Members, the point should be raised upon the name of a borough Member, i.e., the Member for Hereford, and that it should be suggested that Mr. Arkwright is not a fit and proper person to be a member of the Joint Committee ostensibly because, if he were ruled out, someone more closely associated with a borough might be selected. Now, Mr. Arkwright represents Hereford, which is a borough, and from the argument advanced by the hon. Member for Bethnal Green (Mr. Pickersgill) there is no reason why he should be objected to. It may be convenient for me to give the other four names. Mr. Nicholson represents Doncaster, which, while it is part of a county division, is a division which includes sufficient of a borough to justify his claims being considered. But one of the strongest claims he has, as the House recognises, is that for some time he has been Chairman of the Local Legislation Committee, a qualification which, in the judgment of those responsible for the selection of the names, eminently fits him to be a Member of this Committee. Another Member selected comes from Scotland, Mr. Cameron Corbett, who represents one of the divisions not of a borough but of a great city, and is therefore qualified to consider, I trust impartially, the claims of cities and boroughs. Again, Mr. Bagot, while he does not represent solely a Parliamentary borough, sits for Kendal, and fifty per cent. of his constituency is in the borough of Kendal. The last name is that of Sir Luke White who represents a county division, and has been for many years, as the House will cheerfully recognise, one of our veterans, and one of our ablest Chairmen, of both Private and Public Bill Committees. I think in view of the qualifications of these five gentlemen no exception can be taken to any or all of them on the ground that they are likely, in the language of our prayer, to show either prejudice or partial affection for any of the questions that may be submitted to them. My hon. and learned Friend wanted to know the personnel of the Lords Deputation. I will read the names which I believe have been agreed upon. They are the Duke of Devonshire, Lord Welby, Lord Newlands, Lord Mersey, and Lord Macdonald. In the judgment of those who are entitled to have their opinions respected on matters of this kind, it seems to me that this is a first-rate team, and I cordially commend it to the House.

Ordered, That the Committee have power to send for persons, papers, and records.

Ordered, That Three be the quorum.

Message to the Lords to acquaint them therewith.

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