- (1) If any Bill other than a Money Bill is passed by the House of Commons in three successive Sessions (whether of the same Parliament or not), and, having been sent up to the House of Lords at least
220 one month before the end of the Session, is rejected by the House of Lords in each of those Sessions, that Bill shall, on its rejection for the third time by the House of Lords, unless the House of Commons direct to the contrary. be presented to His Majesty and become an Act of Parliament on the Royal Assent being signified thereto, notwithstanding that the House of Lords has not consented to the Bill: Provided that this provision shall not take effect unless two years have elapsed between the date of the first introduction of the Bill in the House of Commons and the date on which it passes the House of Commons for the third time.
- (2) A Bill shall be deemed to be rejected by the House of Lords if it is not passed by the House of Lords either without amendment or with such amendments only as may be agreed to by both Houses.
- (3) A Bill shall be deemed to be the same Bill as a former Bill sent up to the House of Lords in the preceding Session if, when it is sent up to the House of Lords, it is identical with the former Bill or contains only such alterations as are certified by the Speaker of the House of Commons to be necessary owing to the time which has elapsed since the date of the former Bill, or to represent amendments which have been made by the House of Lords in the former Bill in the preceding Session.
§ Provided that the House of Commons may, if they think fit, on the passage of such a Bill through the House in the second or third Session, suggest any further amendments without inserting the Amendments in the Bill, and any such suggested amendments shall be considered by the House of Lords, and if agreed to by that House, shall be treated as amendments made by the House of Lords and agreed to by the House of Commons; but the exercise of this power by the House of Commons shall not affect the operation of this section in the event of the Bill being rejected by the House of Lords.
§ Question again proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. SAMUEL ROBERTS
I rise to move, as an Amendment, "That the Clause be omitted from the Bill."
In doing so I quite recognise that I am practically moving the rejection of the Bill, because this Clause is the kernel of the Bill. Clause 1, though important as taking away the legal and constitutional right of the Upper House with regard to Money Bills, does not after all alter the practice which has existed between the two Houses, and which has been that the House of Lords has not interfered with Money Bills unless these Bills involved other matters than Money Bills. That was the reason why the Upper House rejected the late Budget. I am not going to deal with that now because we passed Clause 1. I am dealing with this important, this all-important Clause as it deals with every piece of legislation which this House can pass. There is no restriction; we on this side of the House moved Amendment after 222 Amendment endeavouring to exclude various subjects from operations of the Bill, but the Prime Minister announced' from the very beginning that he would exempt no matters; that the Bill must refer to everything, including such important matters as the Crown, the existence of the House of Lords, the powers of this, Chamber to perpetuate its existence after the fixed period of Parliament has been settled, say for five years, and to extend that five years to an indefinite period, and powers to reduce the two years' period or delay in case of exigency in which the Government sees it necessary to do so.
It is impossible to speak in terms other than those of apprehension, of grave apprehension of the position in which we find ourselves to-day. It was only yesterday that we were trying to move Amendments in this House providing that the House of Lords should have some power of revision even in trivial matters, but the Government resisted and said "No, the Upper Chamber shall not alter one word of a Bill unless we consent." That is the position in which we find ourselves, that is the' position which no other first-class power in the world is in. There was a return furnished to this House in 1907 at the request of the present Secretary of State-for Foreign Affairs; it is a return' from seventeen of the various Embassies in the world in respect to the-position and functions of the Second or Upper Chamber in foreign States. It is-a document worth reading, but I arm afraid a great many Members of the House have not read it. If they will read it, and give it attention, they will find that in other States and countries as a rule the powers of the two Chambers are, equal, equal not only in legislation but equal also in finance, with this modification, that Finance Bills, as a rule, originate in the Lower Chamber. It may be asked, "Has not there been trouble in other countries between the two Chambers?" My answer is that upon the face of this document there has not been. As a rule there has been no important difference of opinion between the two Chambers. Take our neighbour France. In 1875, when the constitution of the Senate was originated, there were doubts on the part of the Republican Party whether-they would consent, but these doubts entirely disappeared, and now you have the Senate of France co-operating and acting as a wise and cautious partner with the Chamber of Deputies, and this 223 document to which I have alluded has this passage in it:—There cannot be said to have been any constitutional conflicts during the last ten years between the Senate and the Chamber.And it is provided by rules of procedure that where there is a difference there shall be conference between the two Chambers, and the result has always been that a settlement has been arrived at. Take the United States of America. On page 64 of this return, Mr. Seeds, acting upon the request of the Government's representative, Mr. Bryce, says this:—In respect of their legislative functions the Senate and the House of Representatives are interdependent and possess equal powers; Bills may originate in either, acquire the force of law only upon obtaining the assent of the Upper House and the approval of the President. Where each Chamber has equal legislative powers frequent disagreements must be expected. No provision is laid down in the constitution to govern such cases, but in practice Congress has to settle differences by Conferences between members representing each House. Each House appoints three of its members and these six constitute the Conference Committee.Mr. Seeds adds:—It may safely be stated that this has worked out in practice so as not to involve the loss of any large percentage of Bills, for the two Houses generally sink their minor differences when important matters are at stake.4.0 P. M.
Our policy is to make our two Houses work together, but the policy of the Government practically is to abolish the Upper House altogether. This Bill means Single-Chamber Government so long as it operates. The Government say it is only to be a temporary measure, but they dare not tell us what their programme is with regard to the question of the reform of the House of Lords, and they will not tell us when that reform is to be introduced. Why is it that the countries of the whole civilised world, most of them democracies, have this system of two Chambers? Is it because they distrust the people? No; but because they trust the people and they want to provide that the will of the people shall prevail in all cases, and shall not be dependent upon any chance majority or coalition in the Lower House. That is the reason why they institute these two Chambers, and that is the reason why in this country it is necessary that we should have two Chambers, and so make sure that the will of the people must operate. We all know that the immediate object why this Bill has been brought forward by the Government is this, We know they are pressed by various groups of their supporters to pass measures through, including a Bill to provide Home Rule for Ireland; a measure on similar 224 lines to the last Licensing Bill, because the Government desire to punish the licensing trade for defending their own interests; and lastly a Disestablishment Bill for Wales. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Evidently from those cheers I have rightly interpreted what the objects of the Government are in bringing forward this measure. The Government say that Home Rule was before the country at, the last election. If so it was in a very mild way. [An HON. MEMBER: "They were not mild placards."] If we take the election addresses of Members of the Government we find that nineteen of them never mentioned the subject of Home Rule at all. I also find that out of 432 Radical and Labour election addresses 241, or 56 per cent., made no mention at all of Home Rule, or, at any rate, when it was mentioned it came under the term of local self-Government for Ireland and Devolution. Those were the mild expressions used in the addresses, because hon. Gentlemen opposite knew that they must not go any further. With regard to the Licensing Bill the proposals of the Government were a fraud on the licensing trade, because they proposed that the trade should he again punished because they defended themselves during the Session of 1906. Over and over again hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House told us that if that Bill was rejected by the House of Lords the licensing trade would find themselves in a worse position, and that they would substitute a greater punishment for them than that which was proposed under the Licensing Bill. I am trying to make out a case that the Government had no authority from the country to pass the Bills I have mentioned. In October, 1908, the Lord Advocate said:—I make it plain that in the event of the House of Lords throwing out or mangling this Bill to any extent the Prime Minister or the Chancellor of the Exchequer would impose such a heavy licence duty that fully one quarter of the public houses would have to shut their doors.The Committee will note that the Lord Advocate used the phrase "In the event." Well the event did hapen. Then the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Rotherham (Mr. Joseph Pease) said on 4th October, 1908:—I imagine that people will expect that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will cause the abolition of redundant licences by placing taxation on them so that the people may get hack their own.Then the Home Secretary, speaking against the Bill in 1908, said:—If our brewing friends refuse, they would surely find they had leaped front the frying pan into the fire.225 Well, they are in the fire now. [An HON. MEMBER: "They are on the gridiron."] They have been punished, and are being punished, and yet the Prime Minister proposes to punish them again. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."] But the Prime Minister has declared that it is part of his policy to introduce a Licensing Bill, and if that is so we ought to know what that Bill is going to be. Is it going to be on the lines of the Licensing Bill of 1908? Then we have the words of the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture of Ireland (Mr. T. W. Russell), who said:—If the Bill were thrown out, the Government would in next year's Budget recover the monetary value of the licences by imposing a Licence Duty on every public house in the country.All these quotations are to the effect that in the event of the Licensing Bill being thrown out by the House of Lords the Government would bring in heavy Licence Duties to punish the trade. The trade has been punished, and now it is proposed to punish them a second time. We want to know why. I suppose I should be out of order in dealing with any reform of the House of Lords, and I shall certainly not attempt to do so, although that is our alternative. There is a plan which will be produced in the other House very shortly. Our alternative is that although we do not admit in any way that the House of Lords have exceeded their duty, we admit that it is a very ancient body handed down to us for 600 or 700 years, and consequently its constitution is not in accordance with democratic sentiments. In the proposals which will be made in another place the Government will find provisions introduced that a certain part—we cannot say how much at present—of the House of Lords will be elected by the people either directly or indirectly. It is also proposed that the number constituting the House of Lords, which everybody admits is unwieldy for a Senate, should be largely reduced.
This subject of the Constitution is not a question for one party, but for all parties. We are all interested in our Constitution, and you may depend upon it if you pass this Bill, as you may, by keeping your majority together and using the guillotine, depend upon it it cannot be a final settlement. I venture to assert that the very first time the Opposition get the opportunity we shall see that our Constitution is placed upon a fair footing. Meanwhile the Government are pressing on their plans, and while this Bill is in operation we shall have Single-Chamber Govern- 226 ment. It is Single-Chamber Government that I am protesting against by moving this Amendment. I regret that no settlement of this question was arrived at by the Conference which met last year. I think it is a matter of very deep regret that a question of this kind, involving the-whole country and all parties, could not be settled by agreement. I do not blame anybody, because we do not know what caused the final rupture of the Conference, but I will say, if it is not too late, we are prepared from this side of the House to offer a settlement on fair lines. [Laughter.] I do not see anything in that remark for hon. Members to laugh at. [An HON. MEMBER: "It is too late."] It is not too, late. We have been trying to settle this question for nearly a year, and the door is still open for settlement if the Government are open to reason.
§ Mr. MILDMAY
As a firm believer in two-Chamber Government the necessity for which has been so ably set foRth by my hon. Friend, and the principle of which is recognised by the whole civilised community throughout the world, I am strongly opposed to this Clause as it stands. I think it is far better to do away altogether with the Second Chamber than retain it as a sham to induce the people of this country to believe that a Second Chamber with real powers still exists when all those powers have in reality been taken away from it. I wish in particular to direct my criticism to a part in this Clause which was not considered last night—I allude to the first eight lines of Sub-section (3). By the operation of the kangaroo closure no Amendment was allowed to those lines. I look upon this part of the Clause as containing one of the worst provisions embodied in this extraordinary scheme for the settlement of great constitutional difficulties. What does this Sub-section seek to do? It seeks by legislation to offer the strongest possible inducement to Members of this House to refrain from what is obviously their duty, that of striving honestly each according to his lights to effect all possible improvements in legislation in the interests of our Constituents so long as we have the opportunity of doing so. This point was to some extent recognised by the Prime Minister last night. It is quite true that the Government have sought to overcome the difficulty by enabling the House of Commons to suggest Amendments to the House of Lords without inserting them in the. Bill. As my 227 hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kingston (Mr. Cave) pointed out last night, if you have a fractious House of Lords not disposed to consider Amendments we are powerless to do anything.
The Prime Minister said he was disposed to take this point into consideration. I do not know whether it was exactly this point he intends to take into consideration, but I would draw the attention of the Committee to the fact that it is a most important point. If the Clause remains as it stands at present in the two years during which all Bills will be subject to the battledore-and-shuttlecock process up and down the passage between this House and another place, the best friends of a Bill will not dare to affect any improvement by any alteration, although public opinion may be crying out for it, and there may be a universal con-census of opinion on that point. At any rate, the Government of the day would not dare to accept an amendment which it may be doubtful whether the other House would accept, on account of the provisions contained in this Sub-section. As the hon. Member for the London University said last night the House of Commons would be compelled to ask for the Royal Assent to a Bill which it does not approve of. This Sub-section did not appear in the original Resolution put before the House of Commons by the Prime Minister. Furthermore, when the Leader of the Opposition pointed out last year to the Prime Minister what would be the effect of this Subsection, the right hon. Gentleman seemed to be impressed with his argument, and agreed that the criticism of the Leader of the Opposition was "relevant and cogent." How did he propose to meet that criticism. It said:—t was quite certain that Governments in the future, when the Veto Bill had become law, would have the strongest possible inducement to make their Bills in their original form as perfect as possible.What an extraordinary defence. What a very weak defence. Does the Prime Minister really maintain that already there is not every possible inducement for a Government so to frame their measures as to give the smallest opportunity for damaging criticism? Governments are but human, and the Prime Minister apparently contends that the Governments of the future will be so inspired that all necessity for criticism will be obviated. I suppose we are going to have the autocracy of the Cabinet—by almost unanimous admission one of the most serious 228 features of latter-day political life—more firmly enthroned and more securely entrenched than it has become even during the last ten years. I do not think hon. Members below the Gangway opposite will welcome that prospect. It reminds me of a story of an American tourist who went to see the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. He was a man of no culture and of no artistic perception, but he hastily went round to see what beautiful pictures there were there. Turning to the custodian, he said, "Are these your masterpieces? I do not think much of them." The custodian replied, "It is not the pictures in this gallery that are on their trial: it is the spectators." That was a very justifiable reply. Apparently, the Prime Minister claims the same immunity from criticism for his legislative schemes of the future, and I suppose would-be critics are to be told they are lacking in power of appreciation if they say the work of the Government is not free from flaws. We have had over and over again instances of Bills enacted in a certain Session obviously requiring to be supplemented by amending provisions within a year, and certainly within two years. Are we in this House to be deprived of such an opportunity while we still have various Bills under our control? The Prime Minister said last year that in such a case a Government, conscious of its responsibility, would not shrink from introducing substantial Amendments and, if necessary, from re-introducing the Bill as a new Bill.
I have got no such confidence in the Governments of the future. I recall how Governments in the past have resisted even verbal Amendments in Committee, with a view to obviating the necessity of a Report Stage, which at most would have involved a week's delay. How much greater will be the temptation to resist all possible Amendments to a Bill when such Amendments may involve a delay of one year, and perhaps more. I maintain this Sub-section is a premium on bad legislation, and, what is worse, by this Sub-section we are surrendering the rights of the House of Commons and our control over legislation. If we desire to effect any Amendment after the first passing of a Bill in this House we can only do so by going, hat in hand, to the House of Lords and begging them to be kind enough to accept these Amendments. If they refuse, we are absolutely powerless, and we shall be in the position of having to ask the Royal Assent to a measure of which we really disapprove. It is because I believe 229 this Clause with its intricacies and extra ordinary manœuvring between this House and another place is a really bad Clause that I support its rejection.
§ Mr. H. W. FORSTER
I do not propose to examine the wider aspects of the question now before the Committee, but I want to direct attention to some practical points involved in the Clause which I understand will shortly be added to the Bill. The resolute refusal of the Prime Minister and the Government to exempt any class or category of Bills from the operation of Clause 2 makes it I think absolutely essential the Committee should realise where they stand, and the dangers which threaten them in the future. We had hoped up to the last moment that the Government might have made some concession to us. We had hoped they might have taken some Bills out of the operation of Clause 2, but, like Pharaoh of old, they have hardened their hearts, and we have to face the reality of the situation as it is, and in future the House of Commons is to be supreme, absolutely supreme. The Prime Minister reminded us as late as last night, I think, that the Veto of the Crown is dead by disuse, and what is commonly called the Veto of the House of Lords is being killed by this Bill. The House of Commons in future, within the limits of time imposed by the Bill, will be able to do anything. What do we mean by the House of Commons? What is the House of Commons to whom we are going to give this supreme power? The House of Commons is the Government, and the Government is the Prime Minister. There may be a Prime Minister and a Government without a House of Commons, but in these days there is no House of Commons sitting for legislation or for effective work without a Government and a Prime Minister. Some hon. Gentlemen seem to find that difficult to believe. If they will cast their minds back to the time when the present Prime Minister took office, they will remember that the House of Commons adjourned and did not meet for business until he had been appointed and had taken up his position. Therefore, I say, and everybody knows—no one better than the Home Secretary—when you speak of the House of Commons you do mean the Government, and when you speak of the Government you do mean the Prime Minister.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Churchill)
I certainly should not make myself respon- 230 sible for a statement so far removed from the truth as that.
§ Mr. FORSTER
Then I will put it in this way. If there arose an acute divergence of opinion between the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister, the resignation of the Home Secretary would not involve a change of Government, but the resignation of the Prime Minister would.
§ Mr. FORSTER
Let me see if I can make the point clear. Why does the House of Commons of the day support the Government of the day Largely, but not invariably, because they agree with their legislative proposals. Sometimes they support the Government of the day because they are unwilling to face their constituents. The resignation of the Prime Minister may compel reluctant Members to face their constituents, and, rather than undergo so trying an ordeal, they may prefer to keep him in office even at the expense of their own political convictions. The Prime Minister will be able to do what he likes under this Bill so long as he can command a majority of the House, and when he cannot command the majority of the House he may retain office and retain semblance of power by allowing the majority of the House to command him. I think in this House of Commons I need not labour that point. It is just as well we should face the realities of the situation, and recognise quite frankly that, when we speak of the House of Commons, and say we are going to make the House of Commons supreme, we are in fact and in reality going to entrust the Government of the day with far greater powers than they have ever enjoyed before. We have got to realise that the people who would not tolerate the despotic rule of the Sovereign are standing idly by while the Prime Minister seizes for himself, with the assent and support of the majority of the House of Commons, a fuller measure of power than has been enjoyed for centuries by any Monarch in this country. Having gained the power, the Government in the future will be able to pass what they please, and, within the limits of the power imposed by the Bill, they will be omnipotent. In course of time they may go so far as to abolish the Monarchy itself. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh."] There are some hon. Gentlemen to whom the suggestion is wholly repulsive. I will come to it, if 231 I may, in a few moments. They may go so far as to abolish the Second Chamber altogether. If hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite were in the majority, it might not be long before such a course was taken. The Home Secretary may tell us "none of these questions and neither of these two very undesirable courses of action are likely to be pursued, because you have ample and sufficient safeguard in the Preamble of the Bill." The Preamble of the Bill, it is quite true, calls for the reform of the Second Chamber. It may be peRtinent to inquire where is the reputed author of the Preamble Where is the Foreign Secretary while we are discussing this Bill? Is the Committee aware the Foreign Secretary has not given one single vote in favour of any proposal contained in Clause 2? It is rather a surprising abstention on the part of one of the leading Members of the Government. I hope it is not due to ill-health. I am reluctant to believe it is due to callous indifference, and I can only suppose it is due to deliberate abstention.
§ Mr. FORSTER
He voted last night for the first time. [HON. MEMBERS "Withdraw."] Certainly, I shall not hesitate to withdraw if I am proved to be wrong. I withdraw what I said, that the Foreign Secretary had never given a single vote in connection with Clause 2. I will say he did give one vote.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I think, as it is suggested, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, has not voted for Clause 2 because he disagrees with the Government; it is important I should give immediate denial to that. The Foreign Secretary has had some reason to seek, and has obtained a certain rest from the duties and labours of the House, but there is absolutely no foundation of any sort whatever for the suggestion that his abstention from voting in divisions arises on any question of policy.
§ Mr. FORSTER
I hope the Foreign Secretary will take an early opportunity of confirming the statement, which I of course accept, of the right hon. Gentleman.
§ The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. Herbert Samuel)
The Foreign Secretary voted last year in favour of the Bill.
§ Mr. FORSTER
I was referring to Clause 2 of the Bill. I said a moment ago it might be that the House of Commons as the Government in the future will have the power, if it chooses to exercise it, to abolish the Monarchy and to abolish the Second Chamber. We may be told that that suggestion is fantastical and absurd, but I would remind the Committee that what the House of Commons has done the House of Commons may do again. I would further remind the Committee that in the course of its long and varied history the House of Commons has, by resolution, abolished both the Monarchy and the House of Lords. I think it may not be without some degree of interest if I remind the Committee—it is not necessary to remind the Home Secretary—of the circumstances and the phraseology which was employed when the House of Commons abolished both the Monarchy and the House of Lords. Here is the resolution by which the Monarchy was abolished:—It hath been found by experience, and this House doth declare, that the office of a King in this Nation and to have the power thereof in any single person is unnecessary, Burthensome and dangerous to the liberty,,, safety and public interest of the people of this Nation, and therefore ought to be abolished.
§ Mr. FORSTER
There is no reference in "Hansard" to it. I mention this resolution simply because I wish to refer to it later on. Now we come to the question of the abolition by this House of the House of Lords. The House of Commons, having passed the resolution abolishing the House of Lords, proceeded to act by Bill. On 17th July, 1649, there was passed an Act declaring what offences shall be adjudged treason, and the House, having made itself supreme, proceeded to endeavour by Bill to entrench and fortify itself in its position of supremacy and to take such steps as would make it supreme, and at the same time make it impossible for the nation to get rid of it in any way whatever short of an act of violence. These are the terms of the Bill which was passed in 1649:—Whereas the Parliament hath abolished the kingly office in England and Ireland, and in the Dominions and Territories thereunto belonging; and having resolved and declared that the people shall for the future be governed by its own representatives or national meetings in Council, chosen and entrusted by them for that purpose, hath settled the Government in the way of a Commonwealth and Free State without King or House of Lords; be it enacted by this present Parliament and by the authority of the same, that if any person shall mischievously or advisedly publish by writing, printing or openly declaring that the said Government is tyrannical, usurped or unlawful, or that the Commons 233 in Parliament assembled are not the supreme authority of this Nation, or shall plot, contrive or endeavour to stir up or raise force against the present Government, or for the subversion or alteration of the same and shall declare the same by any open deed, that then every such offence shall be taken deemed and adjudged by authority of this Parliament to be High TreasonThat is the sort of thing that happens when the House of Commons establishes itself as the supreme authority in this realm. It went further than that. The Long Parliament, having made itself omnipotent, proceeded in course of time to discuss the election of Parliament, and sought to take the election of the Members of the House of Commons out of the hands of the constituencies into practically the hands of the House itself. As to the aims of this Bill, Mr. Gardener, in his History of the Commonwealth, says:—There are some reasons for believing it was intended that this system of recruiting (to the House by the House)—was to be applied to each successive Parliament, so that there should never be a General Election again.The Committee will remember that on the Third Reading of the Bill on 19th April, 1653, Cromwell attended the Debate, protested against the action which the then House of Commons sought to take, ordered the mace to be carried away by force, and declared to the Parliament, "You are no Parliament."
The present Government profess to be acting in this manner in the name of the people. So did the Parliament in 1649. The profession that they made was that the duty which was imposed upon them by the responsibilities they owed to the people forced them to take the course that they then took. That is the profession which the Government make to-day. The Prime Minister, of course, may say, "You have raked every chapter and page of ancient history, but there is no occasion to fear in these modern days that the House of Commons is likely to take any such action as they took then." I would remind the Prime Minister that, although he himself may be able to make a promise to the House and to the country which he may be able to keep there may come a time when the House of Commons, when the Government, and when the Prime Minister of the day will make use of the weapon which you are now entrusting to their hands. The Prime Minister may be able to bind himself, but he cannot bind his successors, and, some day, the majority of the people may send to power a party representative of hon. Members sitting below the Gangway. That is a position which some of us may live to see. I wish I could be certain that the Prime Minister, elected, 234 chosen, and supported by the party who sit on the benches now occupied by the Labour Members will give us a binding pledge that none of these dangers need be feared. I cannot help remembering a speech made by the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Keir Hardie) less than a year ago, and it was in connection with that speech that I quoted just now the Resolution passed by the House of Commons abolishing the Monarchy. Here is what the hon. Member is Reported to have said a year ago, when speaking upon the question of the Civil List:—There are differences of opinion about the wisdom or unwisdom of having a King. I have no doubt whatever in my mind on the subject. I regard the existence of a King as proof of lunacy among the people. A sane people would insist on ruling and governing themselves. I submit it is a scandalous waste of public money to pay over to royalty these enormous sums year after year.When you have a Government sitting on that Bench composed of men who share the views and hold the opinions thus expressed by the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil, then I say you will live to regret the power that you have given to the Executive Government of the day, and you will live to regret that you ever put into this Bill a weapon which they may use to shatter every semblance of constitutional Government.
§ Mr. MEYSEY-THOMPSON
I was cut out from speaking last night on this Clause, and I therefore now rise to emphasise my opinion, a very strong one, that the whole of the Clause should be left out. I strongly support the Amendment before the House. In the first place I should like to criticise the selection of Mr. Speaker to certify what alterations are necessary owing to the time which has elapsed since the date of the former Bill. That seems to me a very critical position in which to place Mr. Speaker. I do not know haw he is to judge exactly what alterations are necessary under such circumstances. At all events, this provision places him in a position which, I think, is really invidious, and which he ought not to be called upon to occupy. The second part of Sub-section (3), which I wish also to criticise, reads as follows:—
"Provided that the House of Commons may, if they think fit, on the passage of such a Bill through the House in the second or third Session, suggest any further amendments without inserting the amendments in the Bill, and any such suggested amendments shall be considered by the House of Lords, and if agreed to by that House, shall be treated 235 as amendments made by the House of Lords and agreed to by the House of Commons; but the exercise of this power by the House of Commons shall not affect the operation of this section in the event of the Bill being rejected by the House of Lords."
It seems to me that under this part of the Sub-section at the very last moment, during the very last week, in a Bill sent up to the House of Lords which has been before it in three different Sessions, the House of Commons will be enabled to insert any Amendment it chooses which may entirely alter the tenor of the whole Bill. This Amendment the Lords are not to he given time to consider. If it is accepted it is to be treated as an Amendment made by the House of Lords and agreed to by the House of Commons. Surely it is absolutely and entirely unreasonable that a Bill which has been before the House for two years in a certain form shall at the last moment be amended so as to alter its whole tenor, and the House of Lords is not to have time to consider it. Yet, if it rejects the Amendment the House of Commons will have the right to take the Bill straight to the Crown without the assent of the House of Lords. I think it is perfectly childish and ridiculous. There is one point on which I wish to be absolutely clear, and I think it is a very important one. Are these Amendments which are to be sent up to the Lords at the very last moment and which we are told are not to be deemed to be inserted in the Bill, to be included in the Bill which they are to be compelled either to pass or which we are going to take it out of their power to pass by sending it to the Crown? I should like to have an answer from the Prime Minister as to this point. Are these Amendments to be inserted, although they are not to be part of the Bill? They are to he sent up at the very last moment to the House of Lords, and is the Bill so amended to be considered identical with the Bill which went up before? Are these Amendments to be forced through the House of Lords or to be taken straight to the Crown? This point is so important that I think we ought to have a perfectly clear declaration from the Government in regard to it.
§ Viscount CASTLEREAGH
The Clause which my hon. Friend is seeking to induce the House to reject is a most remarkable instance of combining two objects. It serves the purpose of satisfying those hon. 236 Gentlemen who are anxious to see Single-Chamber Government set up and also it acts as a salve to the consciences of those who tell us and who also control a certain amount of opinion in the country, that they are anxious to see a certain kind of Second Chamber created in this country. That is the most remarkable attribute which belongs to this Clause. I do not think that we need look very much further in the consideration of the Clause than to see that it sets up a Single-Chamber Constitution in the country, and that those protests of the Postmaster-General that he is in favour of a Second Chamber being set up in this country have absolutely no substance in fact. It means that the measures which are to be brought forward under this Bill will be passed into law without the effective control of the Second Chamber being brought to bear upon them. It is naturally a consideration which must have come to us on this Clause as to whether this is a permanent or a temporary solution. We cannot understand whether this Clause is to continue in existence for all time, and means that the Second Chamber is to be given merely the power of factious criticism and delay for three years, and that after the House of Commons has said that a Bill is to pass on three occasions that Bill is to become law, or whether this is a temporary measure to tide over an interregnum. It is true that we have had no indication from the Government as to what they propose to do in the future. They have been very reticent, and their supporters have also been very reticent, and I regret that the Prime Minister is not able to be with us. I naturally regret the cause which keeps him away, but I regret it more because the right hon. Gentleman has shown a certain amount of consideration for Amendments which come from this side of the House, but in his absence his colleagues adopt a non possumus attitude, and in considering Amendments show that they are either not authorised or that they have no desire to accept them from this side of the House.
I think this, however, is a Clause which hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House should give their earnest attention to, although hon. Members who sit opposite seem to assume that they will always keep seats in their present position, and they do not seem to consider that the procedure under this Bill will react upon them. If, however, we consider the rapidity with which the closure and guillotine resolutions have increased in this House, it is 237 obvious when we review this Bill that they are bound to increase to ten-fold what they are at the present moment. I say, therefore, that we should realise exactly what the trend of Parliamentary opinion has been. We are told by the Government that they desire to see measures given three successive Sessions and two years in which to pass, and they ostensibly tell us that that length of time is given for the purpose of the country being able to judge of those measures and for the purpose that public opinion should be brought to bear upon them. They desire that before those Bills can be passed into law the Government, who are introducing them on three successive occasions, should be able to know perfectly well whether it is or is not in accordance with the opinion of the people of this country that they should pass. I say we should carefully watch the trend of the manner in which measures are passed in this House, and I assert that measures which are brought into this House are continually being less understood by the people of this country. The Government bring in a measure, and they are so intoxicated with the manner in which they use the closure and the guillotine resolutions, that they assume that because they know what the provisions of a Bill are, that whether it is discussed or whether it is undiscussed, or whether they give opportunities in this House for adequate, useful, and efficient discussion or not—they assume that the people of this country know exactly what is going on in this House. You are opening the door, however, by passing a measure of this description which will enable the Government to pass measures by means of rigid closure and guillotine resolutions, and this means that measures will be passed by this House, and that their meaning and their provisions will, under no circumstances, be brought to the cognisance of people outside this House.
The position in which you are placing the Second Chamber at the present moment is one of so rigorous a description that I am prepared to say that if the new Second Chamber which is spoken of, but of which I have no idea when it will come into existence—I am convinced that you will be unable to set up a Second Chamber which will be prepared to undertake duties under the restrictions which this Clause which you are seeking to impose upon them contains. It is a foregone conclusion that no Second Chamber will be prepared to undertake duties in regard 238 to which they will be given no responsibility whatever, and under which they will not be allowed to discharge the very duties, which are the duties of the Second Chamber, of safeguarding the interests of the people of this country. In regard to this Clause we have in the course of the Debates upon the Amendments seen that the Prime Minister takes to himself a mandate to pass into law every single measure with which he himself is in agreement. Reference has been made in this Debate already to the question of Home Rule, which, to my mind, is the most important measure which is going to be introduced under this Bill. The people of this country knew nothing whatsoever about it. All that they have done is to give to the Government a mandate, if it can be used, to do something to alter the machinery of the Government of this country. I am prepared to admit that that is the mandate which has been given by the country, but to use the machinery which it is proposed to set up under this Bill to pass into law any legislation which may commend itself to the Government from their own personal views, or which may commend itself to them for the purpose of maintaining the Coalition which exists at the present moment is, I say, to take a liberty,, with the mandate which has been given by the people of this country to the Government, and in doing so they are in no sense carrying out the wishes of the people of the country. With reference to the question of Home Rule, it has been alluded to before, and the Prime Minister has endeavoured to tell us that he has received instructions, if I may use the expression, to pass a measure of Home Rule by means of this machinery.
5.0 P. M.
I say that nothing whatever was put forward when the Government stood before the people of this country except that a certain machinery should be set up, and I venture to think that the people of this country had no idea as to the machinery or the effect which that machinery will have when it is passed into law. This is obviously the kernel of the whole Bill. The first Clause dealing with finance has to my mind not half the importance or significance of the second Clause which we are dealing with at the present moment, and it is for the purpose of establishing a system of Single-Chamber Government in this country and of passing into law measures which have not received the sanction of the people of this country by smuggling that legislation through behind 239 the backs of the people of this country that you are endeavouring to put this Clause upon the Statute Book. I remember a few years ago that there was a policy known as "filling up the cup." It was spoken of on all Radical platforms, and it is because the House of Lords rejected those various measures which were brought before them, and which were brought forward not for the purpose of benefiting any section of the community, but for the purpose of "filling up the cup "that those measures which were brought forward then are to be brought forward again under this Bill and carried without the assent of the people of this country being given to those specific issues which are to be carried by the action of this Clause. It is to be hoped that the objection which my hon. Friend has moved will be carried to an issue. I should like to see this Clause rejected, but I should also like to hear a few remarks from the other side of the House as to what they consider the action of this Clause will be. I should like to hear the opinion of the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Ramsay Macdonald), speaking for the Labour party, who will rest in his place no doubt because he believes that this Clause is an enactment of Single-Chamber Government in this country. Undoubtedly that is why it will receive his support, and the hon. Gentleman and his colleagues told us so, but they are pledged to silence for some benefit which they will receive in the future. Perhaps, however, the Postmaster-General will rise in his place and tell us how, if this Clause is passed, that Second Chamber of which he speaks so glibly as being approved by his Constituents will be established, and I wonder whether he will rise in his place and tell us how there is going to be an effective Second Chamber. The Second Chamber is understood by the people of this country to safeguard legislation before it is passed into law. It is for these reasons, and in the hope that these two sections of the Coalition will tell us how they reconcile their views with respect to this Clause, that I heartily support the Amendment.
§ Mr. BAIRD
I support the rejection of the Clause, though for reasons rather different from those advanced by the Noble Lord. If the desire of the Government was to perfect the machinery of Government in this country in order that 240 the will of the people should be able to control legislation, they never would have put this Clause into the Bill at all. Obviously this Clause is put in for the purpose of giving complete control to the Government in the person of the Radical party for the time being. We have frequently been told that this is only a temporary measure, and consequently they desire to have complete control. Why should the House of Commons in this country have complete control of the affairs of the nation? In what respect does our House of Commons differ from the House of Commons of any other country which has constitutional government? Hitherto it has differed in that we have been ruled on the party principle. That is being rapidly abandoned, and we are now ruled on the group system, which gives an opening for log-rolling. To that extent we are coming into line with other Lower Chambers in other parts of the world. Then hitherto, service in this House has been honorary; now we are going to be paid, so that to that extent we are equally coming into line with the Lower Chambers of other parts of the world. But there is no Single Chamber which has ever claimed, or been given, powers such as the House of Commons by this Bill proposes to assume, and the more you approximate the Constitution of this House to that of other Houses in other parts of the world, the more necessary it seems to me that you should keep those safeguards which all civilised peoples have found necessary in order that they should not have hasty and ill-considered legislation put before them. What can be the object of the Government in not accepting some of the Amendments that we have advanced? They cannot pretend that the country really can know what measures are proposed simply by following the Debates in this House. In the first place, how many do follow the Debates? How many Members of the House alone read the Debates? As for people outside very few certainly follow them sufficiently closely to know what measures really are put before the country.
Every other Legislature has secured the proper consideration of measures by referring them, when they have been adopted in the Lower Chamber, to an Upper Chamber to be further considered. Then there comes the consideration, in what respect does our Upper Chamber differ from that of other countries? It differs 241 very considerably. That is a point which the Government are going to leave severely alone. In fact, the Lord Advocate, if correctly Reported, said in Scotland only the other day that our Upper Chamber was an excellent Chamber, and he saw no reason for altering its constitution at all. I entirely endorse that statement, but, if it is such a good Chamber, why not allow it to discharge the function of an Upper Chamber? Then people complain that the Upper Chamber consists of backwoodsmen and hereditary people, and so on, but, as a matter of fact, if one analyses the Division List in the Upper Chamber on any big measure the majority is composed of people who have been either nominated Members of the Upper Chamber in their own lifetime, or are Privy Councillors, or have done something to earn distinction sufficiently to have been put in the Upper Chamber. You find that certainly with regard to the Budget, which was supposed to have been thrown out by the backwoodsmen. There was a majority against the Budget among Privy Councillors and Peers nominated in their own lifetime. Again, our Upper Chamber is nominated by the Government for the time being. That does not differ from the composition of a great many other Chambers, and to say that when a man has served with distinction, either in some branch of the Civil Service, or the military service, or in this House, and leaves this Chamber to go to the Upper Chamber, and then is of no further value in the matter of legislation, seems to be absolute folly, and yet that will be the effect of the passage of this Bill if this Clause is not deleted. It is conferring on the Government of the clay absolute autocratic power. The Prime Minister or his representative, assuming the air of an Oriental despot, announces, hoc volo sic jubeo, and, surrounded by a sad majority, carries the measure through. As to taking any interest in legislation, they take none whatever. How many of them have risen in the Debate to say why they support this measure? You cannot have it both ways. In the beginning we were told it was impossible to have any modification of the Bill, and that the Government had received a mandate for it, and so on. Then we came to Subsection (4) of Clause 1, and the Government deleted it at once, and then they say they will consider on Report various other Amendments. Either they must have the Bill as it stands or else the Bill 242 is capable of improvement; and it is an extraordinary thing that hon. Members opposite should have found no occasion whatever to point out in what way it should be amended. These are a few of the reasons why I shall certainly vote for the deletion of the Clause.
§ Mr. KEBTY-FLETCHER
I take it that if we once pass this Clause, the result will be that the Upper Chamber will be a sham, and that we shall be under Single-Chamber government. One of the first things that this Government might do would be to extend their time for another fifteen years. That would give £75,000 in salaries to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and it would give £75,000 to the Home Secretary. With past-masters of jobbery such as this Government is, it behoves us to look carefully into this matter. The Liberal Government have their hands in the cash-box nearly all the time, and if they elected themselves for another fifteen years it would be a very serious thing. There is another thing they might do. The Protestant Succession has been handed down from generation to generation. I am not arguing that that is either right or wrong, but if the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. John Redmond) told the Prime Minister that he did not want Home Rule, but would substitute the abolition of the Protestant Succession, the Government would accept it. There is nothing to stop this. The Labour Members might object to it, but when the Liberal whip cracks the Labour Members come to heel. The Welsh constituencies also might not like this, perhaps. The Welsh Members have been sent here for two generations to vote for Welsh Disestablishment, and they are no nearer to it than they were then. That is not an outlook that we should look upon with confidence. The Government have attacked the licensing trade out of revenge, and not for revenue at all, and if they were elected for another fifteen years we do not know what other trades they would attack; and I say, as a commercial roan, looking after the commercial interests of this country, we do not want this Government in, at any rate for another fifteen years. We are not governed by this Chamber, but by a Radical caucus. The English Members at present are against the Parliament Bill. The majority of English Members are for Tariff Reform and against the Parliament Bill, and I think the predominant partner's wishes should be taken into con- 243 sideration. There is another thing that might happen. We had it from the Labour Members the other day that there should be a minimum wage of 30s. for men and women. The result of that would be that one or two million Russians and two or three million Chinese would come into this country directly they heard there was to be 30s. a week for everyone. That would mean, if the Government remained in office for fifteen years, that all the cotton mills in Lancashire would be closed. Perhaps that would not matter to the Labour party, but it would be very serious for the Lancastrians. The House of Lords is out of date, but the House of Commons is also out of date. I represent a constituency of 21,000 electors and yet there is a pettifogging constituency with 1,600 which has the same power as my Constituency in Cheshire.
§ Mr. NEWMAN
An inhabitant of Mars, if he had sat under the Gallery listening to this Debate would have gone back to his place with the very erroneous idea that we, of all the nations in the world, were cursed or blessed with two Chambers, and that we alone could settle disputes between those two Chambers, and that the method of the Government, as indicated by Clause 2, is the only way in which these disputes can be settled by any civilised community. Take, for a moment, the great sovereign States of Europe. Have they got two Houses? Do their Houses ever dispute, and, if so, how do they settle it? Austria consists of many nations which are very quarrelsome and often at loggerheads. Austria, with two Houses, has a Joint Committee to settle disputes. Take Belgium. Belgium has a Senate and a Lower Chamber, and their disputes are settled by compromise and common sense, and, be it noted, the composition of the Belgian Senate is practically identical with what I hope will be the composition of our Upper House in the near future. In Denmark you have an equal number chosen from the Yolk-thing and the Landthing. They form a Committee to settle differences which arise and Report on them. France settles her differences by conciliation. I cannot do better than quote the words 244 of a very well-known French statesman, M. Ribot:—The two Chambers should he allowed to pursue their negotiations, which may frequently be laborious, but which are the necessary conditions of a parliamentary régime. An agreement will be the more easily found seeing that the Constitution has rendered conciliation an every-day political necessity. It is, indeed the bases of a parliamentary regime, and one of the inevitable conditions of the existence of two. Chambers.Take the Netherlands. Supposing the two Chambers disagree. They confer together, and if nothing can be done the Prime Minister has a right to ask the Queen to dissolve one of the Chambers, and the measure is determined after the election. In Norway the two Chambers have a joint sitting. In Portugal there is a joint committee, in Spain a mixed committee, in Sweden a common vote of both Houses and an absolute majority is decisive; in Switzerland a conference of the "united" committee of the two Houses. In the United States of America there is a conference committee of six, three being from each House, and if the matter of dispute cannot be settled, then that particular measure is dropped when the Session comes to an end. It appears, therefore, that in the States to which I have referred conferences of the two Houses are not unknown. Are conferences between the two Houses absolutely unknown in this country? I do not think so. I would quote a few lines from the Notice Paper of yesterday. The Under-Secretary for the Home Department (Mr. Masterman) had on the Paper a, Notice of Motion with respect to the Rights-of-Way Bill in the following terms:—
"That the Lords' message [7th April] communicating the following Resolution, 'That it is desirable that the Rights-of-Way Bill be referred to a joint Committee of both Houses of Parliament,' be now considered."
Then follows the hon. Gentleman's. Motion:—
"That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Resolution."
It is perfectly certain that we ought to consider something in the nature of conferences and committees. If other nations like Portugal and France can confer to get over disputes in that way, why should we not adopt that method in this country? After all there is nothing better than the getting of men's opinions as they sit round a table. How was the only good measure passed for Ireland in recent times brought about? It was by conference. Men representing different interests met round a 245 table and conferred, and their conference resulted in the great Land Act of 1903. Therefore I say that the Government are wrong in excluding all idea of conferences or committees, and for that reason I support the Amendment.
§ Colonel BURN
I am glad to have this opportunity of supporting the Amendment to reject this Clause. I do so as a strong protest against this attempt on the part of the Government to launch this country into a. Single-Chamber Government scheme. I protest against this attempt to smuggle through a Home Rule measure without consulting the nation, and to do it while hiding and gagging what I may call the constitutional coastguard. I believe the bulk of the people of this nation hold that if a legislative import of that nature is to be brought into this country, it should first and foremost be subjected to strict quarantine for a sufficient period if it is ever to be brought into the country. Moreover, I hold that the consignees, the electorate of the United Kingdom, have every right to demand a clear specific and detailed invoice of this import before it is admitted into the country. I say, also, it should be up to date, for we have never been given any of the details, and the country does not know what it is in for. We can all remember that some years ago an attempt was made to land a Home Rule import in the country, that an embargo was put upon it by the proper authorities, and that they were supported in that by the consignees—by the very people for whom the import was intended. I think it is exactly the same as when some enterprising, and perhaps speculative, tradesman at Christmas time sends out unordered parcels in the hope that they will be accepted. This import was not wanted, and it had to be taken back. We who sit on this side of the House say that an import of this nature—that legislation of this nature—has to be brought before the country, and that the electorate as the competent authority should be capable of exercising a like discretion in future, for in 1912 it may very well be as in 1895.
I venture to say in all seriousness that, there are many hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on the Benches opposite who would have felt considerably easier in their consciences if they could only have been somewhat more explicit at last election in regard to this great measure of Home Rule. I do not believe that they would try to claim that they have a mandate from their constituents in that matter. The right 246 hon. Gentlemen the Member for North Bristol (Mr. Birrell) who reigns over the destinies of the Irish Office has told us that minorities must suffer. But the loyalist minority in Ireland is not in a minority in. the United Kingdom. It certainly would be an artificially created minority under Home Rule in. Ireland. I say that the people of this country have a right to demand that they should be allowed to express their opinion on this question. In Ireland at the present time I do not believe there is any desire for the measure, though, perhaps, some hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway maintain that there is. At any rate, when this question comes up, let the Government put it to the electorate of the country to decide. Let them have a final and fair and square issue submitted to them before Home Rule is made the law of this land. We all know that during last election many things were said, but, at any rate, the question of Home Rule was never before the country. I do not suppose that hon. Members would wish for a moment to say that it was. We claim that this ought to be made a clear and leading issue unobscured by an over-riding controversy with regard to the position of the Second Chamber. We know that the hereditary principle has been much discussed, and if the hereditary principle was before the country and if hon. Members opposite made much gain out of it, then I say Home Rule and other leading issues were pushed into the background. If these measures are to be fought out they must be fought out fairly and squarely. If hon. Members on the opposite benches have made considerable capital out of their election cry, "Peers versus People," there were many of the electors who either did not understand or did not take the trouble to prick the bubble and see it was only air. I think a very good case has been made out for cutting this Clause out of the Parliament Bill.
§ Mr. EDWARD WOOD
I hope with all my heart it may be a long time before the biographies of hon. Gentlemen opposite have to be written, because outside this. House I am quite sure we should all wish them long life. I am quite certain that when the day does come for writing their biographies their apologists will find a difficult task if they have to explain their political action, which is accompanied by a strange lack of speech on this part of the Bill. I wish to draw the attention of the Committee to one point that was touched upon by my Noble Friend the Member for-Maidstone (Viscount Castlereagh), and it 247 is a point with regard to which I think the Government has treated this Committee and the country with a very strange lack of political candour during these discussions. It has never once been stated, so far as I know, whether the proposal in the Clause we are now discussing is, or is not, to be a permanent part of the constitutional framework of this country. I should have thought that the first duty of statesmen was either to avoid raising awkward questions, or, if raised, to answer them. It is exactly the opposite method that seems to dominate the action of hon. Gentlemen on the other side. Everybody knows that Membership of the House of Commons yearly becomes more distasteful. I very much doubt whether there is a very large proportion of Members, if they spoke the truth and left out other considerations, who would say that it was a real pleasure to be in the House. I suppose most people regard it as their duty to be here, and I only ask them to imagine themselves in the position of Members of the Second Chamber if Clause 2 stands part of the Bill. They would then be in a position which would be distasteful to many people if they were told in so many words that were limited to Debate, but that for all practical purposes no discussion they had would be of the slightest value. What does it matter whether you have a hereditary, or a nominated, or an elective Second House in that case? How can you expect to get men worth their salt and anxious for work on terms like these. If any argument were needed to show that hon. Gentlemen, opposite are not in earnest when they pay lip service to the principle of a Second Chamber in this country, I think it is to be found in that. There may be fair and legitimate difference of opinion as to whether or not hon. Members opposite are entitled to pass a Home Rule Bill in this Parliament. I think if they do they will most certainly be doing something they have no right to do. On the other hand, a good many Members opposite, I am prepared to admit, may have made Home Rule one of the planks in their political platform, and may be able to vote for Home Rule with a clear conscience. But what there can be no dispute whatever about is that some scheme for the reform of the Second Chamber ought, even on the grounds on which hon. Gentlemen opposite are accustomed to argue, to precede a Home Rule Bill. I do not want unduly to exaggerate 248 the doctrine of mandates. I think at times we are all rather inclined to exaggerate that doctrine unduly. But I do think that, as far as that doctrine is worth anything and election addresses are worth anything, it is very difficult for hon. Gentlemen on the other side to escape this obvious argument, that, in so far as the Reform scheme has been on paper, even in the dim and shadowy way in which it has been on paper, it does ipso facto establish precedence over a Home Rule scheme that has not been on paper at all. I know that the scheme foreshadowed by the Preamble is about as shadowy as any scheme can be, but, after all, we have some hint of the Preamble scheme, in the Preamble itself, on paper, and it has been before the people of this country in black and white, which Home Rule has not.
I only attach importance to that point because if it were not that one attached a certain importance to that I should be at a complete loss to account for the necessity of the last election. By that I mean this, that unless the Government thought they would be in a stronger position after their proposals had been put on paper in the shape of a Bill, and therefore they would be able to do more than they could when their proposals were only in the air, then surely, apart from that, there was no reason why hon. Members should have been put to the trouble and expense of an election. On those grounds it is clear that whatever may be the individual opinion of hon. Members on this side or that with regard to the precise extent. of the mandate for Home Rule, there ought to be no question as to precedence between Home Rule and the Reform scheme; and if only hon. Members opposite would be content to follow precedents instead of always trying to create them, I think they would also be prepared to agree with us upon that point. For my own part, if I required no other inducement, that would be sufficient argument to convince me that I should support the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend on this side to delete Clause 2, which will establish a vicious principle in our Constitution and a principle absolutely unqualified and which the Government have refused to qualify by accepting any one of the reasonable Amendments of machinery which we have proposed on this side of the House.
§ Mr. BUTCHER
Although the discussions on this Clause have been mangled by perhaps the most drastic form of closure ever known in a constitutional 249 Assembly, they have had some striking results. They have served, at any rate, to lay bare the true purpose and intentions of the Government. They have elucidated certain facts. One of them is this—that the fixed purpose and intention of the Government is to set up a domination of the House of Commons, or perhaps I should say of the Cabinet, and that the régime which they propose to set up is to be absolutely unrestricted in time, and be capable of dealing with any subject that can possibly be brought forward. Another thing which has been made clear is that the real and avowed object of this Clause is to enable the Government to pass, behind the backs of the Second Chamber and without the assent of the people, a scheme of Home Rule of which the details have never been outlined to the country. It is true that in the great majority of the election addresses it was not even hinted at; but will anyone point to one single election address, either of Ministers or their supporters, in which any definiteness was given to that phrase Home Rule? Is it to be the Gladstonian Home Rule scheme of 1886 or the Gladstonian Home Rule scheme of 1893, or the Chief Secretary's Devolution scheme of some other date—I forget what now? [An HON. MEMBER: "Wait and see."] Perhaps when the country does see, it will not care much about it. We have heard now the avowed and unashamed admission of the Government that their main object in passing this Clause of the Bill is to pass this undisclosed scheme of Home Rule which the country have never assented to. Then we heard threats that the Constitution is to be outraged by the creation of 500 peers. What for? To pass through this undisclosed scheme of Home Rule. Is that conceivable? It would not be conceivable under any other Government, but this present Government are under control and direct ion, and therefore they are not their own masters.
I suppose that is the explanation. I can conceive no self-respecting Government acting in that manner except under the most absolute coercion. The system set up by this Clause is absolutely without a shadow of precedent in any constitutional country in the world. Not even the worst Government in the most inefficient and feeble country in the world has ever attempted to set up a form of Government such as that which is set up by this Clause. It does not seem to be even an honest form of Government. I can understand a Single Chamber and 250 Two Chambers, but I cannot understand setting up the pretence of Two Chambers, and at the same time reducing the Second Chamber to a sham. The proposal which the Government make under this Clause-is contrary to every one of their avowed protestations. They tell us they are all in favour of a Second Chamber. The Postmaster-General (Mr. Herbert Samuel) chose last Saturday, of all times in the year, in the middle of a discussion on this Clause, to go up to Newcastle and protest his undying affection for Second Chambers; and then he comes down here after making that protest in the country and proceeds to destroy the Second Chamber. How is that reconciled with political honesty passes my comprehension. Then we are told, not quite so often now as we used to be told in times of General Elections, that they are all in favour of a reformed Second Chamber. We remember some of the lively passages in the Lime-house and other speeches. I am not going to quote them. We have had these protests as to the absolute necessity of a reformed Second Chamber, but when they come here they throw those provisions down and they take not one step, and they do not tell us when they are going to take any step to carry these protests into effect.
It is a remarkable fact that throughout the whole of these Debates from start to finish two of the most remarkable men in this House have never opened their lips. I refer to the Foreign Secretary (Sir E. Grey) and the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. J. E. Redmond). I suppose the Foreign Secretary has refused to take any part in the discussion of this Clause, because he knows that it would be useless for him to oppose it, and I suppose the hon. Member for Waterford remains silent because he knows it is perfectly unnecessary for him to support it. He issues his orders elsewhere. With regard to the Foreign Secretary, I think we have some ground to complain. There are many fair, well disposed, constitutionally minded people in this country who have been accustomed to think that the Second Chamber can be in no danger so long as you have the Foreign Secretary and the Secretary for War to guard it. The public believe in their protestations. They regard them as two useful watch dogs who would no doubt give an alarm if they saw there was any danger arising to the Second Chamber. What has become of those watch dogs? One of them has been muzzled and has gone away, and the other 251 will not bark. At the present moment he neither bites nor barks. I wish he would do something. I wish he would tell us what he thinks of this Clause, and I am sure the country will be glad to know whether, in his opinion, the Liberal party are marching to damnation or not. He said they would be marching to damnation if they adopted the course which they are now adopting.
I want to know, and I think the country would like to know, whether that is still their opinion. I do hope that the House may hear, and I think the House will be glad to hear, before the end of these Debates, the opinion of the Foreign Secretary upon these matters. I think I am right in saying that during the whole course of these Debates from start to finish he has hardly ever been present in this House, and that certainly he never spoke even once. How about the other remarkable character—the hon. Member who sits up &here to the left like an omnipotent god and gives his orders? He does not think it necessary to speak. I suppose we may conjecture how it is that it is not necessary for him to speak. He, at any rate, has got the power behind him, and the mere knowledge that that power can be exercised has been sufficient to make the Government carry out his desires, but do let the country realise that we are in this extraordinary position of passing this astounding Clause setting up a Constitution unprecedented in the history of mankind because seventy Irish Members desire it, and for no other reason. It is disagreeable for hon. Members opposite to hear this, no doubt., but it is a fact all the same, and the country will realise, before they are done, that they are having the Constitution mangled and torn up for one purpose, and for one purpose only—to pass a scheme which the country has twice rejected, and which they will reject again when they get a chance. I suppose this Debate will come to a close in time, and before it does so, I hope some hon. Members on that side of the House will find their voices, which have been so long silent and kept under control. Possibly it is not too much to hope that before we go to a Division hon. Members opposite may recover some of the courage which they seem to have entirely lost, and, even if but momentarily, let us see some little measure of that independence which should lead them to vote against one of the most preposterous Clauses ever brought before the House of Commons.
§ Mr. BYLES
It has been repeated a hundred times that the whole object of this legislation now before the House of Commons is to pass Home Rule without the assent of the people. As I understand the situation, it is to pass Home Rule with the assent of the people. It is because we cannot pass Home Rule with the assent of the people that this measure has become necessary. It is because the people cannot get any of their ambitions realised in regard to political matters, it is because they cannot get what they vote for at the elections, that it has become necessary to introduce this measure. The hon. Member opposite (Mr. Butcher) said that the reform of the Second Chamber must be set up before Home Rule is passed. Why does he imagine that the alternative of reform of the Second Chamber—whether it is immediate or in the distance I cannot say—should be taken first? Does he imagine that a reformed Second Chamber would have restored to it the Veto which we are now in process of limiting? Certainly it will not. The object of this measure, as I understand it, is for ever to establish the supremacy of the House of Commons instead of that of the Second Chamber. Meanwhile there need be no anxiety. We have got a House of Lords of which the hon. and learned Member opposite appears to be so very fond. Why, if he is so fond of that Second Chamber, is he afraid of having a few more Peers; what harm would they do? A few hundreds out of 40,000,000 of people will not do any harm. We are told that the English people love a lord; then let them have a few more lords.
§ Mr. BYLES
I am sorry, Mr. Whitley, you take that view. My point, the one point I desire to make, and it is the only reason why I have risen, except the secondary reason of delighting my opponents, is to assert this, and it is the view of many of us—I hope of all of us on this side—that the people ought to have Home Rule if they want it. I ask hon. Members opposite whether they deny that. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] If the people desire to have Home Rule the people ought to get it. Hitherto they have not been able to get it. If the people desire licensing reform, or one man one vote, or any of those things which have been thrown out by the House of Lords, they ought to be able to get them if they want them, and it is 253 because they cannot get them, and for that reason alone, that we are setting up this legislation. The whole question is who shall have the last word. [HON. MEMBERS: "The people."] We are claiming now that the House of Commons ought to have the last word, and I should have thought that Members of the Commons would be the first to defend that position. If two men ride pillion, one must ride behind. Who is it to be? I hope that the right hon. Gentleman opposite, who always claims to be a House of Commons man, will say with me that the House of Commons must ride first.
§ Mr. WALTER LONG
I do not know if the Government are to be congratulated upon the solitary appearance of one of their supporters who has found his voice, and has been good enough, by some strange accident, to put one or two peRtinent questions to Members on this side,of the House. If the hon. Gentleman desires the information which he sought, I really think the question is one which ought to be answered, and I respectfully suggest that he should first have asked the Government. If he wishes to know why the people ought not to have a particular measure which they want, he ought to have given to the people an opportunity of saying whether they want it or not, by voting for more than one amendment moved in the course of the Committee stage on this Bill, and which would have enabled the desired conclusion to be arrived at. The hon. Gentleman said that the people wanted Home Rule, and they could not get it. The hon. Gentleman is an old Member of this House: Does he not recollect that on two occasions the other House rejected Home Rule, and the moment the people were consulted they approved of the action of that House?
§ Mr. WALTER LONG
Yes, and I believe the hon. Gentleman immediately lost his own seat. I had the honour, too, at that time, of sitting here, opposite the hon. Gentleman. I came back, and he did not. Therefore, I think it is asking a great deal of this House that we are to abolish the House of Lords, which has been in existence I do not know how many centuries in order that hon. Gentlemen on the other side may get an opportunity 254 of doing what the people do not want, by sitting here for a short time and overriding the views not only of the pernicious House of Lords, but also the mass of the electors, who, the hon. Member says, ought to be allowed to do what they wish. They did do what they wished—they turned out the Government who were anxious for Home Rule, and turned out the hon. Gentleman who has supported that Government. Both the House of Lords and the constituencies did not only what they thought was right, but they did what they thought was best for the country. I do not suggest for a moment that in turning the hon. Member out of the House they were not making a great mistake in the interests of the country, but they thought it was the right, thing to do, and they did it. I doubt whether the Government are to be congratulated on this intervention by one of their supporters, and I suspect the Home Secretary, if he were to speak aloud would be heard saying with great earnestness, "Save me from my friends." I vote for the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield with very great good will, for one or two reasons which I will give the Committee. I believe that everything that has been said by my hon. Friends on this side of the House, and notably by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for York (Mr. Butcher), is fully justified, and the proof that they are correct in the criticisms they have addressed to the Government is to be found in this Clause itself. With regard to the first Clause, I will only say that it does not give that proof of the real policy and object of the Government that Clause 2 does. Clause 2 gave the Government, if they really desired it, an opportunity of framing a new Constitution.
It is true, and I think it is probable, that their constitution was not likely to be one which we on this side of the House would have approved, but, at all events, this Clause gave them the opportunity to frame such a constitution, and to prove by its production that they were in earnest, and desired to provide the country with a new Constitution of a stable and satisfactory character. Clause 2, I submit, shows in the plainest terms that they have no such desire and no such intention. Let me remind the Committee that this Bill is not the first effort of the Government at Constitution making. During the short time that they have been responsible for the Government of the Empire they 255 have had to frame one Constitution themselves, and to approve another constitution framed in another part of the Empire. Shortly after they came into office they framed a new Constitution for the Colony of the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony. They now are constantly boasting to their supporters of the work that they did. Is it not remarkable that when they come to frame a new Constitution for the Mother-country they should ignore every guiding principle that obtained when they were engaged upon similar work for those Colonies, and that they should deny to the Mother of Parliaments the privileges and opportunities which they gave to the Transvaal and Orange River Colonies. And what about the new Parliament in South Africa, not framed by the Government, but approved by them, while the efforts we have made to bring this new Constitution which we are discussing into conformity with those for the Colonies, have met with nothing but steadfast resistance on the part of the Government?
Is it possible for us to be unmindful of the fact that the Government have themselves told us, here and in the country, that this machine which they are making is intended for a similar purpose. When we realise that the Government have steadfastly refused any Amendment which sought to bring about either some form of conference between the two Houses, or to establish the Referendum, are we not forced to the conclusion that in their preparation and conduct of this measure they have thought far more of their object than they have of the wisest and best way of making the new machine. Surely one would have thought that when engaged on this tremendous task of framing the new Constitution their first object would be to find something which would be likely to promote harmony, to make the relations between the two parts of the Constitution friendly, and to provide, if they could, a reasonable method of adjusting differences. Has any effort in that direction been made by the Government? We suggested Conference, such as is to be found in the Colonial Constitution to which I have referred. It has been denied to our Parliament for any purpose. My hon. Friend the Member for Enfield referred to the existing practice of a Conference between the two Houses, when there is a difference over a Bill. Many of us have had occasion to take part in those Conferences 256 or Joint Committees. I admit that the system as it exists now is a very insufficient one; it provides a very unsatisfactory way of removing differences or dealing with difficulties. I venture to say that if the Government had really desired to make the relations between the two Houses satisfactory, and to give them both an effective share in the legislation of this country, it would have been an easy matter for the Government, with the advantages which they enjoy and with the assistance which is at their disposal, to have so framed a. system so as to have made a very great improvement in this Bill.
There is the question asked just now by the Member for Salford. He said, why should the people not have a particular measure if they want it. We moved an Amendment in Committee by which we sought to introduce the Referendum, which would have given, particularly in respect of a great measure like that of Home Rule to which the hon. Member referred, the very opportunity which he demands for the people, namely, that they should have the chance to say directly and clearly, without the possibility of a mistake, whether they want a particular measure or whether they do not. To that again the Government offered the most determined opposition. I therefore maintain that this Clause shows, in the plainest possible way, that the intention of the Government throughout has been to resist anything which would be likely to turn their hastily engineered machine into one more likely to last. They have resisted from the beginning anything that would involve-the risk of having to ask the people directly whether the object for which they are going to use the machine is one which the people desire to see accomplished or not. We come to the charge which they resent, but which has been repeated, and justly repeated, here to-day, namely, that what they are thinking of is their object and not the method by which they are going to get it. They object to being told that they are acting under the control and direction of the Irish Nationalists. They object to the charge being made that Home Rule is to pass as the immediate consequence of this Bill passing. After all we are not alone in the opinion, and I am sorry to say for my hon. Friends behind me, in and out of this House, that we cannot even claim to be the authors and original founders of this description of the Government. I find that in an election 257 address, issued in 1900, the following passage appears:—What will happen if a Radical Government comes into power? They will enjoy the support of the Irish vote on the understanding that they will introduce a Home Rule Bill—either they will break their pledge or the dreary farce of their last administration will be repeated. The Conservative party in the House of Commons will vigorously oppose, and the House of Lords will most certainly reject that pernicious plan, which the electors of England have twice condemned. To avoid this or the consequence of this the Radicals will try to abolish the House of Lords, and to subvert the ancient constitution of the land. In this they will again be met by the firm and unfaltering resistance of the whole united Conservative party.Mark these concluding words:—The country will be plunged into a furious political struggle, trade will suffer, the Empire will be weakened by internal strife and no practical good from social reform will come to the people.That is the description, far more eloquent, far more pregnant than any we could attempt to frame, and it deprives my hon. Friends even of the claim to originality in the charge which they make, and which is so bitterly resented by the Front Bench and hon. Gentlemen opposite. Yet that was the view held by the present Home Secretary only so long ago as the year 1900. I am aware the Home Secretary will tell us that he has since then found salvation, but I do not suppose he will say that the fact that he has found salvation will have destroyed his reputation as a prophet in the particular period at which this statement was made. At all events, whatever may have happened to those views, and though he may have changed his views, and though he may have found salvation, yet I venture to say that he foretold exactly what would be the action of a Radical Government. He foretold that they would attack the House of Lords in order to pass Home Rule. He foretold that the country would be plunged into bitter controversy and turmoil, and that that would postpone useful legislation and interfere with social progress. All that he foretold, and he has proved to be a true prophet; the only misfortune for himself being that he is amongst those who are sitting opposite and doing the things which he prophesied. I think that this Clause proves beyond a question of doubt that the Government have never really set themselves to carry that reform which they talk about in the country and that is to be found in the Preamble of the Bill. Hon. Gentlemen opposite cheered just now when one of my hon. Friends quoted some of the election addresses on Peers versus People, yet what was that based on? It was based on the hereditary character of the House of Lords and not upon the relative powers of the two Chambers.
258 That was the agitation which the party opposite made during the last election, and if their object had been to give effect to the statement they then made we should not have been engaged in discussing a Bill affecting the power of the House of Lords, but we should have been discussing its constitution. I am not going to refer further to that, because it would be out of order, but I submit that the Motion to delete this Clause is abundantly justified by the Bill itself in the first instance, and still more by the action of the Government in rejecting every Amendment which has been moved front this side, and which would have done something at all events to make the Constitution a workable and a better one. They have rejected every offer that has been made; they have made, it impossible for us to approach this question, as I venture to say we ought to have been able to approach it from both sides of the House with a reasonable amount of compromise and fair consideration. They have dealt with it from beginning to end as a pure party question. When we have moved those Amendments, what has been the answer? The answer has rarely ever been the one that would have been expected—namely, that the effect of the Amendment upon the Constitution will be this or that. The answer has invariably been, "What will be the effect of this Amendment upon our party and our legislation." This Bill has been conceived in a party spirit; it has been passed through and is being passed through, in a strict party spirit. It is intended to serve a party end, while it is described as a constitutional reform. A measure so framed deserves the fate that will overtake it. I support the Motion for the rejection of this Clause because I believe it to be, not only the most important Clause of the Bill, but the one which most clearly and directly proves that the policy of the Government in framing their Bill and in carrying it out is one that is foredoomed to failure, and one which has been conceived in the interests of party, and that the interests of the State and of the Empire have been entirely forgotten, and it is because that finds justification in this Clause more than in any other part of the Bill that I shall vote for my hon. Friend's proposal with contentment and satisfaction.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The right hon. Gentleman has clone me the honour to refer to my election address in the year 1900, and he is perfectly entitled to make the fullest party point or personal point. I do 259 not deny for a moment that his influence and eloquence enable him to in criticisms, legitimate criticism, of my complete change of position. It does not break with an air of novelty upon the Committee, and the explanation, such as it may be, of the facts necessary for any judgment of that has already long been before the country for such of my countrymen as may take an interest in such a private matter. I have every reason to believe that they formed opinions which on this as on other subjects, are strongly divided. It is quite true that those words were used by me eleven years ago. I came out of the Army without much knowledge or contact with politics, and at a few months' notice I had to get up the ordinary claptrap which was used in those days for Conservative electioneering, and which I am bound to say does duty still. The right hon. Gentleman spoke the truth when he said that the position of the Conservative party had not changed in any respect. We quite agree; they have hardly discovered a new argument, except the arguments then used. Quite apart from my own personal inconsistency, which I make no attempt to burden the Committee with in the course of this Debate, many other things have changed in the interval and great new facts have come to the notice of the people and great new facts have come to govern the political situation. It is not true, in passing let me remark, to say as I said in 1900, that Home Rule is the cause of this constitutional change; it is not true.
The Resolutions on which we are now proceeding were passed through the House of Commons in Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman's administration in a Parliament in which we had an overwhelming majority, independent of all parties, and in a Parliament in which we were specifically debarred by our own declaration from bringing forward a measure of Gladstonian Home Rule. So that it is not at all true to say that the words which I used ten years ago are applicable, even in a Tory sense or a Conservative sense, to the present situation. I admit that, although in even that respect they cannot be borne out, they are most consistently repeated by hon. Gentlemen opposite. The evil which I say has led us to the procedure embodied in Clause 2 is not the question of Home Rule. The House and the Committee know perfectly well what our experiences have been in the last five years. I am not-going over all that ground again, but we were brought to a complete dead- 260 lock. The party which obtained the, majority at successive elections was brought to a complete deadlock and standstill on all essential and vital lines of its policy by the action of the House of Lords. For three Parliaments running there has been a substantial majority in favour of the settlement of various great controversial questions, all of which have been fought out in the ordinary way at the polls, and yet on all these questions—Home Rule is one of them, Welsh Disestablishment and the Abolition of Plural Voting are others—it is well known that while the present constitutional situation continues we have absolutely no power, although Parliament after Parliament has affirmed its readiness to deal with all these matters. The Education controversy has been highly unsettled, and we are still unable to offer any remedy to the classes which felt themselves aggrieved in that matter; individuals are still being sent to prison and are still being punished under a law which a great majority of their countrymen decided should be amended, if not immediately repealed. That is the grievance. That is the evil, and when we are challenged on general grounds it is necessary to refer to it in order that it may be clearly stated.
There has been a complete paralysis of the whole working of the Constitution. There has been a denial of all constitutional forms of redress to those who are associated in their politics with other parties than that for which the right hon. Gentleman so ably speaks. It has also been pointed out in other Debates on this subject that, quite apart from the great evil of the denial of all constitutional redress, which is the present position to which we have been reduced, the general system of Government in this country by a balance or alternation of parties would be imperilled by the continuance of the existing Veto powers of the House of Lords. The programmes of parties are formed gradually over a long period of time. Every new subject added to the programme of that party or of this brings with it its friends and sends into the ranks of the opposing party its foes. Gradually and slowly over years and generations the composition, character, and strength of parties are made up. That is the only way which in this country, in the United States, and in the self-governing colonies, has been found compatible with the smooth working of representative institutions. If we are to continue in a state of tutelage under the House of Lords, which must 261 have the effect of making it certain that. the Liberal party or any other party except the Conservative party can only carry into law such measures as they can prevail on the Conservative party to agree to, and can only continue in the administration of responsible office upon the favour and by the goodwill of their political opponents—if it is to be certain that all other parties except the Conservative party are to be deprived of any power of giving effect to the wishes of their constituent forces, or administering any remedy for the evils from which those who have returned them suffer, and are to be permanently debarred from placing their own imprint on the legislation and character of the Government of the country, it is absolutely certain that the Sovereign will only choose responsible advisers from a single party in the State.
That is the point we have actually reached, as is well known. It would be impossible for any other portion of the nation to be actively associated with the business of Government, except that portion which is gathered together around the Conservative standard. What a disaster that would be for our national life. What an element of instability that would introduce into our institutions. It is just the fact that in this country the people own the Government, and that all classes of the people and almost every shade of political influence can be represented not merely in the sterile business of criticism, or in the arid work of political theorising, but in the actual control from day to day of the Government which they themselves have returned in accordance with their choice—it is that fact which associates in this country more than in the other great States of Europe the whole people with the business of Government. It is to that more than anything else the great security and harmony of our national life are due. These are the evils. I apologise to the Committee for refer ring to them, but it is necessary when the Clause is challenged as it is that we should show the evils from which this Clause is the remedy. If the evils are great, surely the remedy is moderate. Would it be possible to devise a more moderate remedy? It is not a novel proposal. Many years have passed since it was put before the country. We have not changed it, except to modify and moderate it, during the whole course of these long disputes and discussions. During the long Debate to which we have listened on 262 this Clause, I have been very much struck by the recognition which, in spite of themselves, the Leader of the Opposition and the party opposite-have shown with regard to the safeguards provided by our proposal. There have been Debates in which it has been made quite clear that they recognise that the powers which this Clause will leave to the House of Lords in the matter of revision and delay are of the greatest substance and reality. Certainly, as we have conducted these discussions, the reality and importance of those safeguards have impressed themselves upon me with greater emphasis and clearness as the days have passed.
We recognise that, so far as the relative relations of the two Houses are concerned, this Bill does undoubtedly secure the effective predominance of the House of Commons; but do not let us delude ourselves by imagining that it secures any exact equality between parties. After it has been passed into law, we shall still he under a severe disability as compared with our opponents. If the provisions in this Clause were fairly worked by the Second Chamber, if they were worked in a spirit of reasonable co-operation, suitable, I admit, to the relations between two estates of the realm, if they were worked in a spirit which recognised the subordinate role which must in every democratic country necessarily be assigned to the Second Chamber, I believe the provisions of this Clause, one-sided though they be, short though they may fall of exact political equality, might still be found to be a lasting and convenient solution of our constitutional difficulties. We recognise that there is little prospect of that. The differences of origin between the House of Lords constituted as it is and the present democratic character of the House of Commons are too great. I fully admit that if the provisions of this Clause are vexatiously used, if they are used as the Noble Lord the Member for Maidstone (Viscount Castlereagh) suggested, in a spirit of factious criticism, if they are used in a spirit of harsh, bitter, and calculating partisanship, I do not think it is necessary or possible for us to deny that they will undoubtedly leave us under a very severe disability. That is why it is in the nature of things important that a reform of the body which is to work these provisions should follow as a complement and as a consequence of the Parliament Bill.
If the provisions of this measure were worked by a body more fair and even than 263 the present House of Lords, a body which was in contact with the real grouping of forces in the country, a body with whom the old relations of give-and-take might be resumed, I agree that the inequalities under which we shall suffer, even when this Bill is pasesd, would be very considerably lessened and mitigated. In that, quite apart from the declarations of Ministers, quite apart from the Preamble of the Bill, lies the real security that the step we are now asking the Committee to take will not be the last step in the constitutional changes which must take place. But all that is in the future. Whether in the distant future or in the near future no one can say. But whether in the distant future or in the near future, the provisions of this Clause must be established first. That is the only means by which parties other than the Conservative party can ever be put in a position in which they can even discuss on fair and equal terms such a question as the reconstitution of the Second Chamber. I daresay that for the reconstruction of the Second Chamber a very considerable measure of agreement would be necessary. But what is the use of attempting to embark upon such a discussion so long as we should only be able to argue and you would be able to decide; so long as we, possessing a Parliamentary majority, should have the liberty,, to plead, and you, although in a minority, the right to judge; so long as we could only propose, and you could pronounce?
As has been said on several occasions, both in this House and in another place, by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War, we must have the provisions of this Clause as the essential preliminary to any further advance in constitutional reform. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Walter Long), like others who have spoken in these Debates, has complained that the Government has not found it possible to agree to any exemption from the scope of the Clause. We consider that the procedure set up by this Clause—of two years and three Sessions—is adequate to the settlement of even the gravest matters that can arise. The gravest matters that can possibly affect this country are already in the control of the House of Commons, and in the control of the Government resting on the support of the House of Commons alone. We need not frighten ourselves with the nightmares which various hon. Members have put before us. One hon. Gentleman said that under this Bill it would be within the power of the House 264 of Commons to bring two or three million Russians into this country. Another hon. Member strongly urged us to be on our guard lest Ministers should propose to extend the life of a Parliament to fifteen years, in order that the Home Secretary might secure £75,000. But it is already in the power of the Government to propose a free grant of £75,000 to the Home Secretary; and it is already in the power of the House of Commons, if it should so move their wisdom, to confer that provision on a purely Single-Chamber basis.
But it has not happened yet. When we are asked seriously to believe that questions affecting the monarch should be exempted from it, I am bound to say that those who dwell so much upon that aspect of the question show very little real knowledge of the sentiments and feelings of the electors who obsolutely control the opinions and votes of this House upon great questions. The hon. Gentleman, the Member for Enfield (Mr. Newman), bade us look to other countries for safeguards to monarchical institutions. In his search over Europe for Constitutional procedure which would give confidence and security to monarchical institutions, he lit upon Portugal. By a curious choice he pointed out the admirable advantages of the system of Joint Conference prevailing in Portugal as a bulwark of monarchical institutions. The truth of it is there is no substitute in these great matters for the will and convictions of the great mass of the Nation. The House of Commons as the mirror of the opinions and wishes of the Nation, as hitherto had in its power, through its control of the Executive Government, practically to decide, and certainly to approve, or disapprove the decision on questions of peace and war, and of all those enormous subjects which in every State have been held to involve public security, and even the life of the Nation.
It is not to a Second Chamber that we ought to look for safeguards against the gravest dangers by which States may be menaced. If the safeguard of the law and order of our country, and of the stability of our life, were dependent upon the House of Lords or upon any Second Chamber that might be devised, I do not believe that they would stand the violent shocks which in course of time have in the past arisen. These safeguards exist throughout the country in every village, and in every street of our land; exist in the healthy balance of the Nation, in the 265 diffusion of wealth and of education; in the inter-play of interests; in the growing complexity and groupings of those interests; and in the influence of public opinion. These are the safeguards, the great safeguards, which throughout the country have their effect not only upon Members, but on every voter, every person living in this country. These are the only real safeguards for the foundation of British security and British prosperity. These safeguards, we believe, will in the future, as in the past, find their most effective expressions in the votes of Members, freely elected upon a broad franchise, and debating together under the regular forms of representative Government.
The right hon. Gentleman began his speech by commenting upon a passage read out from one of his earlier utterances by my right hon. Friend near to me. That passage showed, I think, not only a considerable command of style, not also no little dexterity in prophesy. The right hon. Gentleman made a defence of that utterance with which I think all will sympathise. He said there was no use going back, and taunting him with it, because in the sight of all men he had declared that his earlier way were ways of error, and that he had seen fit to adopt an entirely new political creed. I do not complain of the procedure of the right hon. Gentleman. It is a free country; an independent country. We all have a right to hold what opinions we like, and to change them when we like. Then the right hon. Gentleman went on to say by way of—I do not know whether by way of apology or not—that he had left the Army only a few months before he penned his address, and that all that he could do was to make the best use of current clap-trap. I think he made an admirable use of it. I hope he will take it as a compliment when I say that the art he showed so excellently in 1900 has not been wholly lost in 1911. His great powers have not grown rusty from disuse. He went on lo tell us that Home Rule had nothing to do with this policy. He endeavoured to justify that statement by referring to the late Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman's Resolutions in 1506–7. I think he rather mistook the point of the criticism levelled against him and his party in connection with these great threatened constitutional revolutions. I do not at all deny that the party to which he belonged have for a long time been seeking to destroy the powers of the House 266 of Lords. The whole talk about "filling up the cup," which largely figured in the election of 1895, was the beginning, apparently, of all this. At all events, I quite admit that it is an old policy of hon. Gentlemen opposite. They have used it at different times. Probably there has been no moment in the last fifteen years in which they would not gladly have brought in a measure to destroy the power of the other House.
But these revolutions are not always very easily accomplished. They require behind them a great deal of Parliamentary and political support. I do not believe in the least that this Bill, that, indeed, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman's Resolutions would ever have been framed into the Clauses of a Bill, or would ever have had behind them the whole machinery of the Government to force that Bill through if it had not been for the mixture of threatening and cajoleries by which the Irish party below the Gangway deal with this Government. [An HON. MEMBER: "No, no."] I thought I heard some hon. Member express dissent from that statement. I do not know why such dissent should be expressed. It is perfectly notorious that the Government exist, and only exist, by favour of the Irish party below the Gangway. It is perfectly notorious that the one cardinal doctrine of the policy of that party, for the present, at all events, is Home Rule in some form or other. It really is not making a party attack upon hon. Gentlemen opposite, it is only stating the plain and obvious facts of the political situation, to say that inasmuch as the Government exists solely on sufferance, and that their fate is in the hands of an independent party that owes no allegiance, and pretends to own no allegiance to it, and which, by the mouth of its chief has called upon the Irish in this country to look to him and not to the Gentlemen on that Front Bench opposite to carry out their policy—it really is not either uncharitable or untrue to say that the reasons and the only Parliamentary reasons which are throwing into the background at this moment every other political issue, have been brought upon us not by Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, in 1907, not by the declaration of hon. Gentlemen opposite in the elections of 1895 or 1906, or any other election, but are brought upon us by the plain operation of manifest political forces. Everybody to whom I am speaking knows that that is a fact.
267 The right hon. Gentleman, naturally enough, is not disposed to admit the accuracy of the statement I have made to the House. He finds another explanation for the Bill which his Government have brought forward. He says that it is absolutely necessary to bring to an end the complete deadlock in legislation which exists, and apparently has existed for many years in Parliament. That really is purely imagination. I notice that, whenever right hon. Gentlemen opposite come to the deadlock argument they say: "We will not weary the House by repeating and enumerating the measures which it has been impossible to pass." These measures form an infinitesimal fraction of what would have been the legislative output of the Government since 1906. If they had been passed they are not measures which hon. Gentlemen would have gone to the country upon, and which they would have boasted about. On the contrary, I believe that most of them would be hastily buried away—that they would have been treated with a discreet silence on the platforms. [An HON. MEMBER: "No."] Well, I rather think so.
The chief measures suggested by the right hon. Gentleman to-day were the Education Bill—[HON. MEMBERS: "The Plural Voting Bill," and "The Scottish Land Bill."] The less said about Scottish land the better. These measures produced an absolute deadlock! I understand that this is what hon. Gentlemen opposite urge when they point to the barrenness of the efforts of Liberal legislation. It really is a gross travesty of the history of the last few years. The Government certainly have not been successful in all their measures. Take for example the Irish Councils Bill. [An HON. MEMBER: "Or the Budget."] They produced more than one Education Bill, and none of their Education Bills were consistent with the other. None of them embodied the same policy. For which of these three inconsistent policies was there a mandate from the people? About which of them would they have boasted if it had passed into law? I should like to have seen hon. Members opposite going about the country—in Lancashire, say—and explaining there their great triumph in destroying all the voluntary schools. Then as to the Welsh Church. This was one of those great 268 efforts in the cause of religion, morality, and progress of the higher type, in which the efforts of a benevolent Administration were thwarted by the House of Lords. My right hon. Friend reminds me that when they did try to press it they were run down to a majority of seven, a quite big enough majority, I adroit, under the Clause we are now discussing. They were run down to seven. I do not think, when they were in a triumphant majority for all purposes in the House, as we were reminded, a year or two ago, I do not remember that that effort of legislation was ever really carried out.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The House and the country well knew that if it made progress and went through this House it would have been rejected by the House of Lords.
I do not think that that as an historical explanation will serve the right hon. Gentleman very much. His third point was as to the Plural Voting Bill. Are we really to be told that what the democratic part of this country is panting for is a Plural Voting Bill wholly unaccompanied with any redistribution of seats? Is that the democratic policy which the antiquated constitutional machinery of this country has prevented hon. Gentlemen opposite from taking? Everybody knows that, as far as the Plural Voting Bill was concerned, it was a jerry-mandering effort to deal with that fraction of the electoral problem which happened to suit hon. Gentlemen opposite, and to mention this as one of those great and beneficent measures which nothing but the prejudice of another place prevented from being carried into law is really to make democratic aspiration ridiculous. The right hon. Gentleman was quite ready to pass by the legislative performances of himself and his friends; but let me quote him also against himself. He says, "at the present time there is a deadlock, and this House is under the pupilage of the House of Lords," and he went so far as to say, "we were on the high road to a condition of things under which Ministers of the Crown can be selected but from one party in the State."
I do not see that very much progress on that high road has been recently made. But, however that may be, he went on, when it suited his argument, a little later 269 in the same speech and told us that the powers of the House of Commons were already so great that the fears of my hon. Friends as to the abuse that might take place under Single-Chamber Government were thrown away. Were ever inconsistencies greater? My hon. Friends get up and in one speech after another they point to what is undeniably the fact, that this Bill means Single-Chamber Government, and they point out the various dangers that follow. The right hon. Gentleman gets up, and, having explained in the first part of his speech that we are under the pupilage of the House of Lords, explains in the second part of it that so tremendous is our power, so unlimited the control this House already has on governmental machinery, that my hon. Friends are boggling over imaginary dangers if they think the perils of the State can be increased by giving in form as well as in substance Single-Chamber Government. Whether this House has these enormous powers which he attributes to it in the second part of his speech, or only the incidental powers which he attributes to it in the first part of the speech—
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The legislative powers of this House are under the pupilage of the House of Lords. The administrative powers which are under the control of the House undoubtedly touch the gravest matters of the State.
That distinction was not drawn by the right hon. Gentleman. I am perfectly willing to accept his statement, and I now deal with the amended contentions of the right hon. Gentleman. I say that as regards legislation the history of the last few years shows clearly that these deadlocks in legislation are imaginary. No one has ever said the House of Lords has never done anything to which this House objects. That is the province of the Second Chamber. I say conflict between the two Houses—although so much is made of them here—are not greater than are habitual in all democracies where there is a First and Second Chamber. So much for the first half of the right hon. Gentleman's statement. The second half completely disposes of the argument he used in the first and also that used by the hon. Member for Salford, who talked about the predominance of this House. Of course, I think in the partnership between the two Houses of Parliament this constitution ought to be different from historical reasons, from slow evolutionary 270 growth from that which prevails in many other countries. The right hon. Gentleman erroneously stated in his speech that in no democracy in the world were the two Chambers upon an equality. He is quite wrong. In a great many democracies, in most democracies the two Chambers are upon a perfect equality, and the Second Chamber in many cases not only has the same power technically and legislatively, but substantially it has more power, and a predominant place in the State.
I do not want that state of affairs. I desire now, and I always desired, and I have professed and honestly professed, that in the British Constitution this House should be the predominant Chamber. By the right hon. Gentleman's own assertion, the whole administrative power lies in this House, and also the whole selection of Ministers, which I understand is to be taken away by the gradual operation of the powers of the House of Lords, according to another statement made by the right hon. Gentleman which I could not in the least understand. When I reflect upon that, and upon the undeniable fact that the House of Lords as a Second Chamber ought to aim at working broadly in harmony with this Chamber, I think it is absurd to say that under any such system, and without this Bill, this House is in the smallest danger of losing its predominance. The only thing that can imperil that predominance is the carrying out of the Government's own Preamble. I grant, if you are going to have a Second Chamber as completely and freely elected as this Chamber is from the people, then from that day foRth the predominance of this House is threatened, and though the process may be slow, though we do not in this country move very rapidly from one view of our institutions to another, though that movement is not quick or rapid, so sure as you establish that elective Second Chamber, so surely are you on the high road to absolute equality between the two Houses, and ultimately to predominance, I think, of the Second Chamber. But, as the right hon. Gentleman truly said, the date when this Preamble is to come into operation may be soon or may be late. I think he indicated that of the two possible alternatives it was more likely to be late.
I can quite understand the right hon. Gentleman would shrink equally from the Scylla of the one side or the Charybdis of the other, in his position of impartiality and ignorance, and from anything not consonant with facts possibly suited to the situation. And what is the result? The result is that we, whichever of these alternatives we take, whether we are to have a reformed Second Chamber soon or late, in either event, we can only look upon this Bill as an Interim Bill. I say it is a bad Bill, and it is a bad Interim Bill, largely because this is a bad interim Clause.
What we want in the Constitution is something that will give stability with regard to governmental institutions and security to the nation that a small and transient majority in this House calling itself the mirror of the nation, as the right hon. Gentleman said, may not carry out some great change which cannot be reversed and which the nation is utterly unwilling to accept. I do not deny the right of the Government to make interim arrangements. I am ready to grant for the sake of argument that so great is this constitutional issue, and so many the points which arise it would be almost too much to ask the Government in the shape of one Bill to deal with the whole circuit of the problem at once. Granting that for the sake of argument, but granting it as much as you will, are you not bound as you pull down one corner of the House to see that the temporary structure you put up will really carry out for the time those purposes which the Constitution is intended to carry out for all time. You are erecting this hovel of yours for some quite unknown period. I remember when the question of renewing the barracks of this country was under discussion it was pointed out there were some huts that had been put up as temporary erections at the time of the Crimean War, or before, and that they had been going on as temporary erections for two generations almost. That, I suppose, is the kind of but in which we are expected to be able to live under this Bill, and it will go on from year to year because the Government have not the time or the strength or the majority or the will or the desire to see that the Preamble is carried out and that the Constitution is really erected upon the lines they pretend to have themselves laid down for it in this Bill. Well, let them put off reform of the House of Lords if they wish. In the meantime do not leave us without a 272 Second Chamber at all. You have no right to do that. I do believe the people of this country want to see a modification of the Second Chamber. I am quite certain they do not want to see such a Chamber as they would have under this Bill. Under this Bill, and with the power of passing any measure you like, you are requiring this country to do what it never intended to do, that is to destroy the control of the old Second Chamber without putting a new Second Chamber in its place. This Bill, twist it about as you like, is not merely a temporary arrangement carried out in order to give you time to complete your greater scheme. No, Sir, it is an ad hoc Bill, not to improve your Constitution, but to carry certain measures which you want to see carried. [Cheers.] I do not think I ever heard cheers which more enthusiastically gave away the whole case. It shows what we have always known and what I thought ordinary prudence would have induced them to keep as secret as possible. What those who vote for this Bill want is not to improve the Constitution by which the laws are made, but to set up machinery by which certain laws they want will be made and certain definite measures will be passed, whether the people like them or not. I do not know whether hon. Gentlemen were in the House when the hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Byles) made his contribution to the Debate this afternoon, but it was worth listening to. The part of it that struck me most was the absolute impossibility which the hon. Member found to distinguish between the voice of what the Prime Minister called a casual temporary majority and the voice of the people. There is no dispute between hon. Gentlemen on any side as to this political theory. We all agree that the essence of democracy is that the settled will of the people shall prevail. The hon. Member says the existing Constitution prevents the settled will of the people prevailing because under it there is a Second Chamber which may for a time delay Bills on which possibly the heart of the people may be set. That danger is as great, and even greater, under the system that you propose in this Bill, and for this reason: whether the Second Chamber is constituted as now or whether you remodel it, it never aspires or desires to resist what it conceives to be the settled will of the people; all it can do is to delay. What you can do under this Bill if and when it passes is to pass against the will of the people that which can never be 273 recalled. The only evil of delay is that a certain few months later that is done which might have been done a few months earlier. Under this Bill you give powers not to the people but to the House of Commons to do that which the people think ought not to be done and which can never be recalled, when a few months or a few years can put you back into the position in which you would have been had there been some constitutional machinery in existence by which rash changes could have been avoided. There may be a party in the House—I do not know whether there is—anxious to press and hurry forward the rashest measures, conscious that when they are passed they cannot be recalled. If there be such a party of course they want this Bill, but there surely must be on all sides of the House and in all parties men of a wider outlook and more careful statesmanship, men who see that of all the evils a Constitution can suffer from rash legislation is the most dangerous, and even if in some cases a year, or two or three years elapse before the will of the people is carried out; even granting that is an evil, as it undoubtedly is, it is far less of an evil than the alternative which you are forcing down our throats, which will enable a single vote in this House to carry for ever some irreversible revolution.
There were one or two observations made by the right hon. Gentleman which I should like to reply to shortly. The right hon. Gentleman told us that, after all, this attack upon the House of Lords is no new development, because it was foreshadowed in the Campbell-Bannerman Resolutions only four or five years ago. That is quite true, but I ask why were those Resolutions dropped? The party opposite had then an overwhelming majority in the House of Commons, far greater than they have now, and yet those Resolutions were not pressed forward. Why was that? Would Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman not have pushed forward those Resolutions if he had felt that his legislation was blocked by the House of Lords when he had such a large majority behind him? On the contrary, he felt that the feeling of the country was not opposed to the existence of the House of Lords as a Second Chamber, and he was quite content to drop the Resolutions and go on as before. The Home Secretary has told us that Home Rule was not the cause of this Bill. When the party opposite come into power with a much smaller majority, this Bill is brought forward 274 again; and why? Because the Government know that they are now depending entirely upon the votes of the Irish Members. The Government have now a smaller majority, and they have brought forward a more drastic measure in dealing with the House of Lords. Is it not plain that the declaration of the Home Secretary that Home Rule has nothing to do with this Bill will not not stand examination. It is clear that this Bill is not due so much to the Campbell-Bannerman Resolutions, or to what was said in 1895, as to the fact that the Irish Members now command a mass of votes in this House which control the Prime Minister.
Another of the terrible evils which we are told have to be redressed is the case of the Passive Resister. I thought the Passive Resister had almost dropped out of history now, because I have not seen any account of his doings in the Press recently. Let me ask the right hon. Gentleman if he thinks when Home Rule is passed he will receive from the Irish Members that assistance which will enable him to right the wrongs of the Passive Resister. Does he think, with the assistance of those votes, he would be able to do away with denominational religion in our schools? He will be bitterly deceived if he thinks that by a measure of that kind he will be able to redress the rights of Passive Resisters. The right hon. Gentleman used some very ominous words, for he stated that a more moderate remedy was not possible, and he said that as he listened to the course of this Debate he became aware of the fact that the safeguards were far more real and far stronger than he had supposed them to be. He further stated that the course of this Debate had forced upon his mind the conclusion that even under the Parliament Bill you would not get exact equality between the parties, and exact fairness and equality of treatment. That is a most remarkable statement, because it suggests that even before this Bill has passed the Home Secretary is not satisfied with it. When the right hon. Gentleman made that statement it was punctuated with a tornado of cheers from benches on the other side of the House. After all, we know what that means. One of the Amendments, moved from this side of the House was to the effect that there should be exempted from this Clause other Bills which were to amend this particular Bill, but that was rejected by the right hon. Gentleman opposite and apparently very wisely rejected on his own account, because he has already announced that this Parliament is 275 not strong enough to establish equality of treatment between the two sides of the House, and that in a future, not very remote, the right hon. Gentleman and his party intend to bring in a particular measure to deal with the constitution of the House of Lords.
In the peroration of his speech the right hon. Gentleman launched out into one of those magnificent passages of rhetoric in which he told us what are the great safeguards to the British Constitution. I thought that was a very fine passage. He said the safeguards of the Constitution are not to be found in this House or in the other House, but in every village in England and in the hearts of every peasant in England. If that is so I really do not see the use of keeping this truncated House of Lords at all. Apparently the right hon. Gentleman draws a distinction between the stability of British society and the stability of the British Constitution. I thought the British Constitution was to safeguard British society. I do not understand the use of this truncated Second Chamber if we are so perfectly secure and if there is not the slightest danger of any sort of mistake being committed by this House or by another House of Commons; and if there is not the slightest chance of the House of Commons misinterpreting the views and wishes of the people. If the House of Commons is not going to go beyond the wishes of the people what is the use of making all this trouble about the Parliament Bill, and why not abolish the House of Lords altogether and have done with it? Why not tell us about this new and wonderful Second Chamber which we are going to have in which everybody is going to be elected, and in which the powers of the Second Chamber are going to be exactly the same. I wish to make a point in regard to the real effect of the second Clause. What is the exact effect of the delay which will be brought about by the second Clause. There is a certain class of Bills which will be effected by this delay, but they are chiefly a class which after discussion are shown to be so unworkable, absurd, and hopeless that they fall by their own weight. They are really Bills which either under a Single-Chamber Constitution or under a Constitution where there are two strong Chambers will equally fall to the ground. I want to ask the Government what is the test they are going to take of the expression of public opinion in the case of Bills which pass in the second and third Session 276 which would justify or force them to withdraw them. They have explained the whole object of this delay is that public opinion should have some opportunity of expression and should be able to show whether a Bill is wanted or not. One method, I suppose, of public opinion finding expression is by-elections, but whenever this side win by-elections it is always explained by that grotesque body the Gladstone League they are won either by intimidation, or by corruption, or some method of that kind.
My Noble Friend suggests by squaring the judges. In that way how would you get any true test of the opinion of the people? Whatever expression there was as the result of the by-elections, an interpretation would always be placed upon it adverse to the party on this side of the House. What test are you going to take of a change of opinion among the people which would make it necessary for this House not to pass a Bill into law? Are you going to take the test of meetings? If meetings were held all over the country violently protesting against a measure we should be told by right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite those meetings were packed. Anybody could get up meetings if they wanted, and they were no test of the opinion of the people. If you had petitions, the other method by which public opinion could express itself, and if rolls of petitions were brought to this House, it would be said anybody could get up petitions, and they did not show there had been any change in public opinion. I therefore contend the Government have not shown or explained to us in any way how it would be possible for such an expression of public opinion to be shown in the country as to convince any Government they ought to withdraw a Bill. Everybody knows a Government stands very much committed to any large measures they bring before the House. How much more would they stand committed to a measure if it had passed the House not only once, but twice? It would take almost an upheaval in the country for it to be brought home to the mind of any Government that a measure, after having passed the House twice, ought not to go up for the Royal Assent on the third occasion.
You really leave open violence as being the only test of whether people are opposed to a particular measure or not. For that reason, I regret you have not the 277 Referendum at least for large measures. It is suggested it would destroy the position and dignity of the House of Commons, but, after all, as the right hon. Gentleman has pointed out, the House of Commons is supreme over administration, it is supreme in all matters connected with money, and it would also be supreme with regard to all minor and secondary Bills. Can it be suggested, because a Bill of first-class importance is submitted to the people on a Referendum it destroys the strength and position of this House which already has, and must have, such enormous powers entrusted to it? I confess I am one of those who think it would be most valuable if the people were able to distinguish between the rough draft of the Bill and the full picture as it is filled up under legislation, if they were able to understand the distinction between the idea of a Bill and its full accomplishment as carried out in legislation. We know perfectly well issues are very much mixed at elections. It can very often be contended a new Government is sent into power not because the people love the new Government, but because the people dislike the old Government. I heard of a voter the other day who expressed himself very much disgusted with the form of the ballot paper, because he said, "I can only vote on this for one candidate or the other. I want to vote against both candidates." That man, in voting in favour of one candidate, was probably voting not so much for that candidate as against the other one.
I object to these full powers being given to one Chamber, because I do not think it is possible for any one set of men to really keep their heads if they are entrusted with such large powers. After all, the House of Commons has been popular in the past
§ largely because, it has not had supreme power. It was popular in the past when its early struggles were against the King, and a great deal of its popularity in the last sixty or seventy years has been due to the fact that it was not supreme, but had in certain cases to struggle against a Second Chamber. If you remove all the power of that Second Chamber, and if the House of Commons emerges not only predominant but supreme, then I am convinced a great deal of that popularity must disappear, and it must attract to itself a great deal of that hostility which comes to all men and to all institutions entrusted with absolute and unlimited power. I do not think it can be contended under the provisions of this Clause that will not happen. After all, power has the same effect on the minds of men, however derived, and, even though at the beginning of the five years it may be drawn from the people, the fact that it is in the hands of a few men will be sufficient for them to be regarded as some tyrants of old, or as some absolute supreme king. The mere fact that at the end of five years that power may have to be surrendered and accounted for may be a very slight check on its exercise during those five years. The very fact that it is known that power must come to an end at the end of five years may make men during the course of that period more reckless in its exercise.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 292; Noes, 191.281
|Division No. 201.]||AYES.||[7.25 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Bethell, Sir J. H.||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Clough, William|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Black, Arthur W.||Clynes, J. R.|
|Adamson, William||Boland, John Plus||Collins, G. P. (Greenock)|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Booth, Frederick Handel||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Bowerman, C. W.||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.|
|Alden, Percy||Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.)||Condon, Thomas Joseph|
|Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire)||Brace, William||Corbett, A. Cameron|
|Allen, Charles Peter (Stroud)||Brady, P. J.||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Brigg, Sir John||Cotton, William Francis|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Brocklehurst, W. B||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Brunner, J. F. L.||Crawshay-Williams, Eliot|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Bryce, J. Annan||Crooks, William|
|Barnes, George N.||Barns, Rt. Hon. John||Crumley, Patrick|
|Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick)||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Cullinan, J.|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.)||Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.)||Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)|
|Barry, Redmond John (Tyrone, N.)||Byles, William Pollard||Davies, E. William (Eifion)|
|Barton, William||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Davies, Timothy, (Lincs., Louth)|
|Beauchamp, Edward||Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)|
|Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts., St. George)||Chancellor, H. G.||Dawes, J. A.|
|Bentham, G.J||Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas|
|Devlin, Joseph||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Dewar, Sir J. A.||King, J. (Somerset, N.)||Reddy, M.|
|Dillon, John||Lamb, Ernest Henry||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Doris, W.||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Lansbury, George||Richards, Thomas|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Edwards, Allen C. (Glamorgan, E.)||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rid., Cockerm'th)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Leach, Charles||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Elverston, Harold||Lewis, John Herbert||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Logan, John William||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||Robinson, Sidney|
|Essex, Richard Walter||Lundon, T.||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Falconer, J.||Lynch, A. A.||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Ffrench, Peter||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Field, William||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Runciman, Rt. Hon Walter|
|Fitzgibbon, John||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||M'Callum, John M.||Samuel, J. (Stockton)|
|France, G A.||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Gelder, Sir W. A.||M'Laren, F. W. S. (Line., Spalding)||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Gibson, Sir James Puckering||M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E.|
|Gill, A. H.||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Ginnell, L.||Manfield, Harry||Sheehy, David|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Markham, Arthur Basil||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Goldstone, Frank||Marks, G. Croydon||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Meagher, Michael||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Greig, Colonel J. W.||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Smith, H. B. L. (Northampton)|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Menzies, Sir Walter||Snowden, P.|
|Gulland John William||Millar, James Duncan||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Molloy, M.||Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N.W.)|
|Hackett, J.||Moiteno, Percy Alport||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Hall, Frederick (Normanton)||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Summers, James Woolley|
|Hancock, J. G.||Morrell, Philip||Sutton, John E.|
|Harcourt Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Muldoon, John||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Hardle, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Munro, R.||Thorne G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Harmsworth, R. L.||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Thorne,, William (West Ham)|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Murray, Captain Hon. A. C.||Toulmin, George|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E)||Needham, Christopher T.||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Neilson, Francis||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Nolan, Joseph||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Norman, Sir Henry||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Norton, Capt. Cecil W.||Wardle, George J.|
|Hayward, Evan||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Helme, Norval Watson||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Wasps. John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Henderson, J. M D. (Aberdeen, W.)||O'Doherty, Phillip||Watt, Henry A.|
|Henry, Sir Charles S.||O'Dowd, John||Webb, H.|
|Herbert, Cal, Sir Ivor||Ogden. Fred||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Higham, John Sharp||O'Grady, James||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Hinds, John||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Hodge, John||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)||White, Patrick (Meath, North|
|Holt, Richard Durning||O'Malley, William||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Horne, Charles Silvester (Ipswich)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Wiles, Thomas|
|Hughes, S. L.||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Hunter, W. (Govan)||Parker, James (Hallfax)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel||Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)||Williams, W. Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|John, Edward Thomas||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Williams, P. (Middlesbrough)|
|Johnson, W.||Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Pease, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Rotherham)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)|
|Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Phillips, John (Longford. S.)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Jones, H. Hadyn (Merloneth)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Winfrey, Richard|
|Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Pointer, Joseph||Wood, T. McKinnon, (Glasgow)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)|
|Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts., Stepney)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk. E.)||Young, W. (Perthshire, E.)|
|Jowett, F. W.||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Joyce, Michael||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Keating, M.||Radford, George Heynes||TELLERS FOR THE AYES —Mester|
|Kellaway, Frederick George||Rainy, A. Rolland||of Elibank and Mr. Illingworth.|
|Kelly, Edward||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Baird, J. L.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Arkwright, John Stanhope||Baker, Sir R. L. (Dorset, N.)|
|Altken, William Max||Ashley, W. W.||Balcarres, Lord|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Astor, Waldorf||Baldwin, Stanley|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Bagot, Lieut.-Col. J.||Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gilmour, Captain J.||Malcolm, Ian.|
|Baring, Capt Hon. G.||Goldman, C. S.||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Goldsmith, Frank||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.|
|Barnston, H.||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Barrle, H. T. (Londonderry N.)||Grant, J. A.||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas|
|Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc., E.)||Greene, W. R.||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts., Wilton)||Gretton, John||Newman, John R. P.|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Guinness, Hon. Walter E.||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Beckett, Hon. William Gervase||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Haddock, George Bahr||Nield, Herbert|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||O'Neill, Han. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish||Hamersley, A. St. George||Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge)|
|Bigland, Alfred||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)|
|Bird, A.||Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)||Perkins, Walter F.|
|Boscawen, Col. Sackville T. Griffith-||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid.)||Harris, Henry Percy||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Boyton, J.||Helmsley, Viscount||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Henderson, Major Harold (Berkshire)||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hickman, Colonel T. E.||Rawson, Colonel R. H.|
|Burgoyne, A. H.||Hill, Sir Clement L.||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Hillier, Dr. A. P.||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Butcher, J. F.||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Campion, W. R.||Hoare, S. J. G.||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Carille, E. Hildred||Nobler, G. F.||Royds, Edmund|
|Cassel, Felix||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Cater, John||Horner, A. L.||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Cautley, H. S.||Houston, Robert Paterson||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Cave, George||Hume-Williams, W. E.||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hunt, Rowland||Stanler, Beville|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Hunter, Sir C. R. (Bath)||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Ingleby, Holcombe||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Jardine, E. (Somerset, E.)||Stewart, Gershom|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Joynson-Hicks, William||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.||Swift, Rigby|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Sykes, Alan John|
|Clyde, J. Avon||Kerry, Earl of||Talbot, Lard E.|
|CauRthope, George Loyd||Kimber, Sir Henry||Terrell, G. (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Terrell, H. (Gloucester)|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North|
|Cripps, Sir C. A.||Kirkwood, J. H. M.||Thynne, Lord A.|
|Croft, H. P.||Knight, Capt. E. A.||Tryon, Capt. George Clement|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Lamar, Sir J.||Ward, Arnold S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Dixon, C. H.||Law, Andrew Bonar (Bootle, Lancs.)||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. Akers-||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts, Mlle End)||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lee, Arthur H.||Willoughby. Major Hon. Claud|
|Eyres-Monsell, B. M.||Locker.Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Ripon)|
|Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Falle, B. G.||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Fell, Arthur||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Fisher, W. Hayes||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Fitzroy, Hon. E. A.||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Yerburgh, Robert|
|Fleming, Valentine||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Younger, George|
|Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh|
|Foster, Philip Staveley||Mackinder, H. J.|
|Gardner, Ernest||Macmaster, Donald||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Viscount|
|Gastrell, Major W. H.||M'Calmont, Colonel James||Valentla and Mr. H. W. Forster.|
|Gibbs, G. A.||Magnus, Sir Philip|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the Clause, as Amended, stand part of the Bill."282
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 299; Noes, 195.285
|Division No. 202.]||AYES.||[7.36 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N)||Brigg, Sir John|
|Abraham. Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Barry, Redmond John (Tyrone, N.)||Brocklehurst, William B.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Barton, A. W.||Brunner, John F. L.|
|Adamson, William||Beauchamp, Edward||Burns, Rt. Hon. John|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Beck, Arthur Cecil||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Bentham, George J.||Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)|
|Alden, Percy||Bethell, Sir J. H.||Byles, William Pollard|
|Allen, Arthur A. (DumBarton)||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Carr-Gomm, H. W.|
|Allen, Charles Peter (Stroud)||Black, Arthur W.||Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Boland, John Pius||Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Haywood)|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Booth, Frederick Handel||Chancellor, H. G.|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Bowerman, Charles W.||Chapple, Dr. William Alien|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.)||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.|
|Barnes. George N.||Brace, William||Clough, William|
|Barran, Sir J. (Hawick)||Brady, P. J.||Clynes, J. R.|
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||John, Edward Thomas||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Johnson, W.||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Primrose, Hon. Neil James|
|Corbett, A. Cameron||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Radford, G. H.|
|Cotton, William Francis||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Rainy, Adam Rolland|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Jones, W. S. Glyn. (T. H'mts.,Stepney)||Raphael, Sir Herbert Henry|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Jowett, Frederick William||Rea, Rt. Han. Russell (South Shields)|
|Crooks, William||Joyce, Michael||Reddy, M.|
|Crumley, Patrick||Keating, M.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Cullinen, J.||Kellaway, Frederick George||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Kelly, Edward||Richards, Thomas|
|Davies, E. William (Eifion)||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Kilbride, Denis||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||King, J. (Somerset, N.)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Lamb, Ernest Henry||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Dawes. James Arthur||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Lansbury, George||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Robinson, Sidney|
|Dewar, Sir J. A.||Lawson, Sir W.(Cumb'rl'nd.,Cockerm'th)||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Dillon, John||Leach, Charles||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Doris, William||Levy, Sir Maurice||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Lewis, John Herbert||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Logan, John William||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Edwards, Allen Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Lundon, T.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Lynch, A. A.||Samuel, J. (Stockton)|
|Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Elverston, H.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E.|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Essex, Richard Walter||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Sheehy, David|
|Falconer, J.||M'Callum, John M.||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Fenwick, Charles||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Ffrench, Peter||M'Laren, F. (Lincs., Spalding)||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Field, William||M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)||Smith, H. B. (Northampton)|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Fitzgibbon, John||Manfield, Harry||Snowden, P.|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Markham, Arthur Basil||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|France, G. A.||Marks, George Croydon||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)|
|Gelder, Sir W. A.||Masterman, C. F. G.||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Gibson, Sir James P.||Meagher, Michael||Summers, James Woolley|
|Gin, A. H.||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Sutton, John E|
|Ginnell, L.||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Menzies, Sir Walter||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Goldstone, Frank||Millar, James Duncan||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Molloy, M.||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Greig, Colonel J. W.||Molteno, Percy Alport||Toulmin, George|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Griffith, Ellis J. (Anglesey)||Morrell, Philip||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Muldoon, John||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Hackett, J.||Munro, Robert||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Mall, Frederick (Normanton)||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Hancock, John George||Murray, Captain Hon A. C.||Wardle, G. J.|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Nannetti, Joseph P||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Harcourt. Robert V. (Montrose)||Needham, Christopher T.||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Hardie, J. Kelr (Merthyr Tydvil)||Neilson, Francis||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Harmsworth, R. L.||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Nolan, Joseph||Webb, H.|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Norman, Sir Henry||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Norton, Captain Cecil W.||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Harwood, George||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||White. Patrick (Meath, North|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||O'Doherty, Philip||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||O'Dawd, John||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Ogden. Fred||Wiles, Thomas|
|Hayward, Evan||O'Grady, James||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Helme, Norval Watson||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow. W.)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||O'Malley, William||Williams, P. (Middlesbrough)|
|Henry, Sir Charles S.||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Higham, John Sharp||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)|
|Hinds, John||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Hodge, John||Parker, James (Halifax)||Winfrey, Richard|
|Holt, Richard Darning||Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)||Wood, T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|Hope. John Deans (Haddington)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)|
|Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M.||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Hughes, S. L.||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Hunter, William (Lanark, Govan)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Illingworth and Mr. Guliand.|
|Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel||Pointer, Joseph|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Falle, B. G.||Macmaster, Donald|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Fell, Arthur||M'Calmont, Colonel James|
|Altken, William Max.||Fisher, W. Hayes||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Fitzroy, Hon. E. A.||Malcolm, Ian|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Fleming, Valentine||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Foster, Philip Staveley||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Ashley, Wilfred W.||Gardner, Ernest||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas|
|Astor, Waldorf||Gastrell, Major W. H.||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Gibbs, George Abraham||Newman, John R. P.|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Gilmour, Captain John||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Baker, Sir Randall L. (Dorset, N)||Goldman, C. S||Nicholson, Wm G. (Petersfield)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Goldsmith, Frank||Nield, Herbert|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Goulding, Edward Alfred||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City Land.)||Grant, J. A.||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Greene, Walter Raymond||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Baring, Captain Hon. G.||Gretton, John||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Guinness, Hon. Walter Edward||Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge)|
|Barnston, H.||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Haddock, George Bahr||Perkins, Walter F.|
|Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc., E.)||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Pete, Basil Edward|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Hombre, Angus Valdemar||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Hamereley, A. St. George||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.|
|Beckett, Hon. W. Gervase||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington)||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)||Rawson, Colonel R. H.|
|Benn, I. H. (Greenwich)||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Harris, Henry Percy||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish||Helmsley, Viscount||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bigland, Alfred||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Bird, Alfred||Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Royds, Edmund|
|Boscawen, Col. Sackville T. Griffith-||Hill, Sir Clement||Rutherford, W. (Liverpool, W. Derby)|
|Boyle, W. L. (Norfolk, Mid)||Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Boyton, James||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hoare, S. J. G.||Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hohler, G. F.||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Burgoyne, Alan Hughes||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Stonier, Beville|
|Butcher, J. G||Horner, Andrew Long||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Campion, W. R.||Houston, Robert Paterson||Starkey, John B.|
|Carlile, Edward Hildred||Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Cassel, Felix||Hunt, Rowland||Stewart, Gershom|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hunter, Sir C. R. (Bath)||Strauss Arthur (Paddington, North|
|Cater, John||Ingleby, Holcombe||Swift, Rigby|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Jardine, E. (Somerset. E.)||Sykes, Alan John|
|Cave, George||Joynson-Hicks, William||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.||Terrell, G. (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Kerr-Smiley, Peter||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Kerry, Earl of||Thomson, W. Mitchell (Down, N.)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Ware's)||Kimber, Sir Henry||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Tryon, Capt. George Clement|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Walker, Cal. William Hall|
|Clive, Percy Arthur||Knight, Captain E. A.||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Clyde, James Avon||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid.)|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Larmor, Sir J.||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Craig, Norman (Kent)||Law, Andrew Bonar (Beetle, Lancs.)||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'm'ts.,Mile-End)||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Lee, Arthur Hamilton||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Croft, Henry Page||Locker-Lampoon, O. (Ramsey)||Worthington-Evans. L.|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Colonel A. R.||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Long. Rt. Hon. Walter||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Dixon, C. H.||Lansdale, John Brownlee||Yerburgh, Robert|
|Douglas. Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Younger, George|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)|
|Eyres-Monsell, B. M.||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Viscount|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Mackinder, Halford J.||Valentla and Mr. H. W. Forster.|