HC Deb 02 May 1911 vol 25 cc343-61

Five years shall be substituted for seven years as the time fixed for the maximum duration of Parliament under the Septennial Act, 1715.


I beg to move to leave out the word "Five," and to insert instead thereof the word "Three."

The effect would be to set up triennial instead of quinquennial Parliaments. If we are to make any change we might as well come back to the old system which was in operation before the Septennial Act, and have triennial Parliaments. That was an old Tory arrangement which was upset by a Whig Government which had lost the confidence of the country. I confess I do not look forward hopefully to having elections every three years, but after the experience of last year it would be an improvement. I am proposing this Amendment because we have got to take this Bill as we find it. The Government have forced through by the "gag" and the guillotine the first., second, third, and fourth Clauses—


The hon. Member must not reflect upon what has been done in that way.


I do not desire to reflect and I was merely stating facts, but I will bring my statement strictly in accordance with the facts. The Committee, at the instance of the Government, by means of the gag and the kangaroo Closure, have forced upon the Committee the Bill as it stands in Clauses 1, 2, 3, and 4, and what we have to do is to try and minimise the evil the Bill will do. I think the measure will do a great deal less harm to the country if we provide for three-year Parliaments instead of five years proposed by the Government. This is really a most reasonable Amendment. It does not in any way wreck the measure or destroy the purpose for which it was brought in. If there be any purpose for this Bill it is that only those measures shall be rushed through here and carried into law which have been directly and immediately before considered by the country, and which may therefore be supposed to have a special mandate. Under my Amendment that will still be possible. If Parliament sat for three years it would still be possible under this provision that in the first Session of a Parliament the particular measure which had been before the country at the last General Election could be carried through this House. It could be carried in the second and third year, and at the end of the third year, two years elapsing between the Second Reading and the final carrying of the measure it could still become law. The effect of that would be to limit the operations under this Bill to measures which undoubtedly had been before the country at the last election, whereas, with the elbow room five years allows, it would be possible for the Government not only to carry measures which had undoubtedly been before the country, but to rush in a large number of other measures, and carry them into law without the intervention of the Second Chamber, although it could not be pretended they had been considered by the country at all. It would be possible for the Government to bring in a programme something like the Newcastle programme, and, having five years' elbow room, to rush beyond the House of Lords into law half-a-dozen measures at least, many of which had never been before the country at all. We all know that at a General Election it is almost impossible to get the people to concentrate their minds upon more than one or two problems at the outside. If one or two important problems were considered by the country, they could still be carried into law without the intervention of the Upper Chamber under my proposal, but it would prevent the Government carrying other measures which had really not been considered by the country. Therefore, I submit it is a most reasonable Amendment, and is one which does not in any way destroy the purpose of the Bill. I fully admit I make the Government a present of this—it would destroy the purpose of the Bill, so far as the present Parliament is concerned. Unless the Government, after passing this Bill, proceed in the present Session to pass Home Rule and Welsh Disestablishment; they could not get those proposals into law. For my part, I do not think the Government have any right whatever to attempt in the present Parliament, without the intervention of the Second Chamber, to carry either Home Rule or Welsh Disestablishment. It cannot be pretended the Government have ever made any attempt to prove those two most important constitutional questions were before the country at the last election. If any question was before the country, it was the question of this Bill. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] If you contend it was this Bill, you cannot also say you have a mandate for Home Rule or Welsh Disestablishment. You cannot have it both ways, whereas the Government may fitly provide themselves with an instrument for carrying out the mandate of the people in the future, they have no right to use that instrument in the present Parliament. They could use it in the future, under my Amendment, but they could not use it in the present Parliament. For these reasons I throw it out as a proposal which I hope will commend itself to the Government that, if we deal with the duration of Parliaments at all, and I am not yet persuaded it is necessary to do so, we should at all events take the logical course of enacting it should be three years and not five years.


The Government cannot accept this Amendment—


On a point of Order. While not in the least hostile to this Amendment, I desire to ask whether it is in order in this form, because it appears to me the effect of it is undoubtedly to repeal the Act of 1715, which was itself an Act to repeal Triennial Parliaments. Therefore, if this Amendment were carried we should revert to the state of things which existed before the Act of 1715 was passed.

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Emmott)

It is just possible that may be the reason why the Clause is drawn in this form. I do not think substituting "three years" would repeal the Septennial Act, and it would not, therefore, have any effect upon the previous Act. I do not think it is out of order to move it in this form, but at any rate the question I put is, "That the word 'five' stand part of the Clause."

11.0 P.M.


The Government cannot accept this Amendment. We agree that the question of the duration of Parliament is one about which opinions differ. We think five years is a good arrangement. We think it is a moderate arrangement, and that it occupies a convenient middle situation between the reactionary duration of a seven years' period and the revolutionary ardour of the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken and who, no doubt, in his dislike for this Bill would, if our discussions were indefinitely prolonged, reach the annual Parliaments which figured in the Chartist movement. We, as a Government or a party, cannot be reproached with any undue shrinking from contact with the electorate, because during the last five years there have been, no fewer than three elections. Thus we are in advance of the system suggested, by the hon. Member. It is quite clear that the adoption of the three years' period would largely defeat the objects we have in view in passing this Bill. It would mean that only Bills passed in the present Session of Parliament, if resisted by the House of Lords, would become the law of the land. We have not the slightest intention of agreeing to anything which will destroy now or hereafter the full utility of the machinery we are now setting up in the lifetime of the present Parliament. Quite apart from that there is a strong objection to a reduction of the life of Parliament to three years. It would not be a good arrangement for the Government of the country; while it would put an undue strain upon Members of both sides of the House to force an election every three years.

I admit that the House of Lords by their action have done more than that. They have been able to force two appeals to the country in quick succession on a question which it is quite clear the opinion of the country is unalterable and fixed. We have only bowed to the force of circumstances, and it would be quite a different thing for the Government to appeal to the country at a particular moment, and for Parliament to fix a statutory period at which the appeal must take place. We agree that the statutory period is necessarily a maximum, and we think that the five years' period will be a good maximum in the future, and it is certainly a very great reduction of the period which has hitherto prevailed. Quite apart from the expense and work put upon Members by these recurring elections under an unreformed Elections Act, it is desirable that Parliament, when elected, should afford a broad and stable platform for the transaction of national affairs and for the careful and persistent pursuance of legislative projects, and we think that five years corrects the undue excess which has been previously committed, without any proposal which would impose an undue strain upon individuals, and which would affect the full stability for national purposes. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition has always been opposed even to a reduction to the quinquennial period, and has voted against it on recent occasions, and I trust that we shall have his support in resisting this still more revolutionary proposal which was put forward by the hon. Gentleman behind him.


There are always a great many ingenious observations in the right hon. Gentleman's speeches, but they never seem to me to be consistent with each other. Although they may be admirable pictures by themselves, they do not fit into the same frame or make together a coherent picture. The right hon. Gentleman, for example, said that it was impossible or inexpedient to have triennial Parliaments, because under the existing system the expense was so great, but the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues have twice within a year put the country to the expense of an election under the existing system. At all events, the Government advised the Crown to dissolve, and they did it twice within a year, and threw that expense upon the Members standing for election, which the right hon. Gentleman thinks it necessary we should only have once in five years. It is all very well again to talk of the Lords in this connection. That is another of the observations of the right hon. Gentleman which did not fit in with the rest of his speech, because at the beginning of it he said that they could not be reproached with any reluctance to go to the people.

Apparently, according to the Home Secretary and the hon. Member who supported him from behind, there was no question of reluctance or want of reluctance, but they think they had to do it because of the Lords. Then do not make a virtue of it and do not say, "We love going to the people and consulting them and we are not complaining of their verdict," or else make the two observations in different speeches and not in the same speech. I confess I was rather surprised that the right hon. Gentleman should allude at all to the last election. I do not know how the House of Lords caused that election. It may be said, and I think said with truth, that what the House of Lords desired at the previous election was that the country should determine whether they wanted the 1909 Budget and in that sense I think it is true not that the Government wanted to go to the people, but that the Lords wanted to go to the people. I agree. But about the election in December last, who forced the Government into it?


Of course, the Lords.


Will the right hon. Gentleman tell me how the House of Lords forced them into it?


Because it was certain they would have refused to pass the Parliament Bill.


Because the right hon. Gentleman thinks the House of Lords would, under certain circumstances, have taken a certain course therefore the House of Lords forced the Government to go to the country upon an old register. A glorious specimen of Ministerial logic and a marvellous illustration of the passion which hon. Gentlemen have for consulting their constituents! While I do not think the right hon. Gentleman's speech was consistent with itself, there were some points in it with which I agree. I do agree that elections every three years would be a misfortune. I do not wish to see this limitation of three years. But let it be noted that my hon. Friend in his Amendment presses this Bill to its true and its only logical conclusion. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that it would be bad for administration, and I think bad from many points of view, that we should have, necessarily, every two and a half years, for that is what it would come to, a general election. But let the House consider what the logic of the position is as presented to the country and the House by the Government Bill.

The Government say in the first two years of a Parliament it is fit to legislate, and so fit to legislate that it is a true mirror of the people, and it can force its will by a majority of one upon a reluctant House of Lords, and, it may be, a reluctant people. These are its powers during the first two years or three years, as the case may be, of its term of office. Then comes a period after two years have elapsed during which apparently it is fit to sustain a Ministry in office, but is not fit to carry legislation through over the heads of the House of Lords, nor does it continue to be an accurate mirror of the popular will. So that you have the House of Commons, under the Government, plan, divided into two sharply distinguished halves, the half which is fit to legislate alone as a single Chamber, and the half that is not fit to legislate alone as a single Chamber, during both of which it is fit, although it may not reflect the popular will in any full or accurate sense, to sustain in office at all events an administration against which the tide of popular feeling and popular judgment is running, and may be running very strongly. That is an absurd theory. If the framers of this Bill are correct when they say, "We represent in some peculiar and exceptional manner the will of the constituencies, the feeling of the people, the settled determination of the democracy during our first two years, they are bound to vote for triennial Parliaments.

The theory that we are not fit to do it in the last two years, the conclusions drawn by my hon. Friend, that we are a representative Assembly in the sense that the Government mean, only in the first two years, and after that that we cease to carry out that function, to be the mirror of the people, to be their substitute for all purposes, that we sink to a lower plane, that we are able to make tentative efforts at legislation, to support a Government in office, but not to bear the whole burden of responsibility which apparently we can carry without difficulty in the first two years of our existence, is really an absolutely untenable theory of representative Government. In that sense my hon. Friend is perfectly right in saying the true conclusions of the Government Bill is that this House should only last without going to the people during that period in which on the theory of the Government themselves it truly, adequately, and completely reflects the will of the people. That is my hon. Friend's view, and he is perfectly justified in moving the Amendment, but I who believe that the whole theory of representation contained in the Bill and in the speeches of the Government is altogether alien to anything we can find either in the traditions of this country or the example of other countries, think it is a misfortune to make it incumbent upon Ministers to advise the Crown necessarily to dissolve every two years or two years and a half. I take the view that this Bill is not made better by being made more indefensible. It starts by being indefensible, and indefensible let it remain, and let us not try to make it more unconstitutional still.


I find myself in some difficulty as to the vote I should give in regard to this Amendment. My right hon. Friend has said that the further shortening of the duration of Parliament, even the shortening proposed by this Clause, is an unnecessary and undesirable thing apart from this Bill. The expense of frequent elections, the exhaustion of Members fighting frequent elections, the sense of insecurity, the demagogy that spreads over the House of Commons when an election is immediately in prospect—all these things are against short, Parliaments, and I am averse to having a five years' limit if it were not for the provisions of this Bill. This Bill is, after all, an interim Bill confessedly. It is not intended by the Government, and still less by the Opposition, to be a permanent settlement of this question. Indeed, the Government in more than one of their speeches made it perfectly clear that they had so little prospect of returning with a majority after the next General Election, that one of their arguments is that they have got to make hay in this one legislative day which is given to them. They have to make the most of the opportunity Not only this Clause, but the whole Bill will be altered by the House of Commons which succeeds the present one, and therefore I do not see why we should not limit the present Parliament to three years until a wiser Parliament comes into being. The real question is whether you are to accept the machinery of the Bill or not. While the Bill lasts you have to accept it. The theory of the Bill is that this House is only the mirror of the people for a certain time after an election. Mirror is rather an insecure word to use in this connection. A mirror is an excellent thing in its way, but the metaphor does not apply in this case. The function of the House of Commons is not to supersede the original type it reflects, but only to reflect that type. The assumption that the House of Commons has an independent light is not consistent with the metaphor of the mirror. In this particular case we are trying to find security that the will of the people will not be misrepresented for a short term any more than for a long term.


On a point of Order, it does seem to me impossible that this Amendment should be in order in this form, because if it were carried you would then have three years substituted for the seven years provided for the duration of Parliament in the Septennial Act of 1715, and the result would be to make that Act a perfect farce. The preamble of that Act, among other things, recites:—

"Whereas by an Act of Parliament made in the sixth year of the reign of their late Majesties King William and Queen Mary of ever blessed memory entitled an Act for the frequent meeting and calling of Parliaments it was among other things enacted that from thenceforth no Parliament whatsover that should at any time thereafter be called assembled or held should continue longer than for three years at the furthest to be counted from the day on which the writs of summons to the said Parliament were issued, and whereas it has been found by experience—"


I think that the Noble Lord need not read that. Subsequent Amendments on the Paper, he will see, do put the Amendment in order, and provide for a repeal of that Act.


May I submit that those Amendments cannot come on until this Amendment is discussed.


Supposing the Amendment to be carried they will.

Question, "That the word 'five' stand part of the Clause," put, and agreed to.


I beg to move "to leave out the word 'under' ['under the Septennial Act'], and to insert instead thereof the word 'and.'"

This Amendment is necessary if the Government are to go beyond the point at which they have arrived in this Clause. For some reason or another they do not desire that the Septennial Act should be repealed; and just as in a previous Clause they have said that an Act of Parliament means an Act that is only passed by one of the three estates of the realm, so now they are going to say that the duration of Parliament is to be only five years under what is called a Septennial Act. You are really going in for more absurdities and paradoxes in connection with this Bill than have ever been connected with any Statute before. Whatever they may say, they are repealing the Septennial Act in saying that the duration of Parliament is to be five years instead of seven. That clearly takes us out of the original Act, because the Noble Lord (Viscount Helmsley) was endeavouring to show when called to order just now that the Septennial Act only contains one Clause, namely, the substitution of seven for three years, and when you substitute another number for seven you repeal the Septennial Act straight and square. The fact is that the Government do not like in a sub-Clause of a Bill to be seen to repeal so important an Act as the Septennial Act, one of our standard Constitutional Acts, which has been a very long time in existence, and has great authority behind it. Mr. Speaker Onslow was frequently heard to declare that the passing of the Septennial Act "formed the era of the emancipation of the British House of Commons from its former dependence on the Crown and its dependence on the House of Lords," so that Mr. Speaker Onslow thought that a very considerable-advantage in regard to the House of Lords, the primary object of this Bill. There are many other testimonies in favour of the Septennial Act in which I do not desire to detain the House at this time of night; but at all events the Act has behind it very great authority, and it has in the country a status which I think the Ministry very well know is at the bottom of their reason for this Clause, which gets round the repeal of the Septennial Act, leaving us with the absurdity of saying that the Septennial Act is one that makes the duration of Parliament five years. This Amendment does not raise the whole principle of the Clause, and it is one, therefore, upon which the-Government can very well make a concession. For the sake of having the Statute-in the best form possible, the Government will surely not refuse an Amendment which puts the Statute in a practical form, but will take the fair and honest line of acknowledging that this is really a repeal of the Septennial Act.


The hon. Member is under a misapprehension with regard to the effect of this Clause. It is not right to say that; by the proposed alteration from seven to five years the Septennial Act is repealed. The Septennial Act remains, and all that is changed is that you substitute five for seven years. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] If hon. Members will forgive me, that is just the misapprehension, as I am submitting to the House, under which they are resting, and on which they base their whole argument. If they look at the Act, they will find there are two provisions in it. The first is of considerable importance, I should have thought, at any rate, to hon. Members opposite, and on this side also. It fixes the point of time at which the years for the duration of Parliament are to begin to run. The other provision expressly enacts that notwithstanding there is a period fixed for the maximum duration of Parliament—that is, without prejudice to the-right of the King to dissolve Parliament. That is expressly stated in the second part of Clause 1 of that Act. The whole of the Act remains except for the substitution which is provided for in this Clause, and if hon. Members will consult the Act of Parliament for themselves they will see what I have stated is correct. We preserve the whole of the Act with the substitution of the word "five" for "seven." What we do is not to repeal the Act, because we think it should be preserved, but merely to limit the years during which Parliament sits.


I must say it seems remarkable to ask the House to call a Quinquennial Act a Septennial Act. That is what the Attorney-General's way of doing this amounts to. I would like to ask whether the Act which was altered by the Septennial Act does not also contain provisions saving the Prerogative of the Crown to dissolve Parliament. If that Act does contain these provisions then the argument of the Attorney-General breaks down. Even if the Attorney-General is right, should not the Government have accepted this Amendment which would have repealed the Septennial Act, and have accepted the Amendment moved earlier in the evening that nothing in this Bill shall alter the Prerogative of the Crown. Thus the whole case would be met, and the matter would not have been left in its present absurd and ridiculous position. I am sure even the

Government will not maintain that it is not absurd to call an Act limiting the duration of Parliament to five years a Septennial Act.


I just want to say one word by way of appeal or suggestion to the Government which they might adopt before the Report stage. The Attorney-General referred to the Septennial Act, and said there is much importance in part of it. The Preamble of the Septennial Act seems to me very pointed and excellent, and it might with a few alterations be very well adapted to the present Bill. For example, I read:—

"And the said provision if it should continue may probably at this juncture when a restless and Popish faction are designing and endeavouring to renew a rebellion within this country—"

"When a restless and Popish faction desire to introduce a Home Rule Bill" would be a great addition, and make the Preamble of this Bill a great deal more candid. I think we have a good deal to learn from our ancestors. I hope the Attorney-General will study the wording of the Act.

Question put, "That the word 'under' stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 271; Noes, 149.

Division No. 211.] AYES [11.33 p.m.
Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour) Bytes, William Pollard Elverston, Harold
Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda) Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich) Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)
Acland, Francis Dyke Chancellor, Henry George Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)
Adamson, William Chapple, Dr. William Allen Essex, Richard Walter
Addison, Dr. C. Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Falconer, James
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Clough, William Fenwick, Charles
Ainsworth, John Stirling Clynes, John R. Ferens, Thomas Robinson
Alden, Percy Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock) Ffrench, Peter
Allen, A. A. (Dumbartonshire) Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Field, William
Allen, Charles Peter (Stroud) Condon, Thomas Joseph Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward
Armitage, Robert Corbett, A. Cameron Fitzgibbon, John
Ashton, Thomas Gair Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Flavin, Michael Joseph
Athrricy-Jones, Llewellyn A. Cory, Sir Clifford John France, G. A.
Baker, H. T. (Accrington) Cotton, William Francis Gelder, Sir W. A.
Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.) Craig. Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Gibson, Sir James Puckering
Barnes, George N. Crawshay-Williams, Eliot Gill, A. H.
Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick) Crooks, William Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford
Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.) Crumley, Patrick Goldstone, Frank
Barry, Redmond John (Tyrone, N.) Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy) Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)
Barton, William Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) Greig, Colonel James William
Beale, W. P. Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth) Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward
Beauchamp, Edward Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Griffith, Ellis Jones
Bentham, G. J. Dawes, J. A. Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)
Black, Arthur W. Denman, Hon. R. D. Gulland, John William
Booth, Frederick Handel Devlin, Joseph Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)
Bowerman, C. W. Dewar Sir J. A. Hackett, John
Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North Dillon, John Hall, Frederick (Normanton)
Brace, William Doris, William Hancock, J. G.
Brady, Patrick Joseph Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)
Brigg, Sir John Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley) Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)
Brocklehurst, William B. Edwards, Allen C. (Glamorgan, E.) Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Edwards, Enoch Hanley Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid) Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.) Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of Harwood, George
Haslam, James (Derbyshire) Manfield, Harry Roche, John (Galway, E.)
Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Marks, George Croydon Roe, Sir Thomas
Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry Mason, David M. (Coventry) Rose, Sir Charles Day
Haworth, Arthur A. Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Rowntree, Arnold
Hayden, John Patrick Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.) Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Hayward, Evan Millar, James Duncan Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Healy, Maurice Molloy, Michael Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Molteno, Percy Alport Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)
Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.) Money, L. G. Chiozza Scanlan, Thomas
Henry, Sir Charles S. Mooney, John J. Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.
Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor Morrell, Philip Scott, A. MacCallum (Gies., Bridgeton)
Higham, John Sharp Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C. Seely, Colonel, Rt. Hon. J. E. B.
Hinds, John Needham, Christopher T. Sheehy, David
Hodge, John Neilson, Francis Simon, Sir John Allsebrook
Holt, Richard Durning Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster) Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)
Hope, John Deans (Haddington) Nolan, Joseph Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich) Norman, Sir Henry Snowden, Philip
Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Norton, Captain Cecil W. Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)
Hughes, Spencer Leigh O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Strachey Sir Edward
Hunter, William (Lanark, Govan) O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Summers, James Wooley
Illingworth, Percy H. O'Doherty, Philip Sutton, John E.
Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel O'Dowd, John Taylor John W. (Durham)
John, Edward Thomas Ogden Fred Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Johnson, W. O'Grady, James Thorne, William (West Ham)
Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil) O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.) Toulmin, George
Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth) O'Malley, William Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Jones, Leif Stratten, (Notts, Rushcliffe) O'Neill, Or. Charles (Armagh, S.) Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Verney, Sir Harry
Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T.H'mts, Stepney) O'Sullivan, Timothy Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)
Joyce, Michael Palmer, Godfrey Mark Wardle, George J.
Keating, Matthew Parker, James (Halifax) Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay
Kellaway, Frederick George Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek) Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Kelly, Edward Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M. Watt, Henry A,
Kennedy, Vincent Paul Pease Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham) Webb, H.
Kilbride, Denis Phillips, John (Longford, S.) White, Sir George (Norfolk)
King, Joseph (Somerset, North Plckersgill, Edward Hare White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)
Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) Pointer, Joseph White, Patrick (Meath, North
Lansbury, George Pollard, Sir George H. Whitehouse, John Howard
Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West) Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H. Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Lawson Sir W. (Cumb'rld.,Cockerm'th) Price, Sir R. J. (Norfolk, E.) Whyte, A. F.
Levy, Sir Maurice Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford. E.) Wiles, Thomas
Lewis, John Herbert Primrose, Hon. Neil James Wilkie, Alexander
Logan, John William Pringle, William M. R. Williams, John (Glamorgan)
Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas Radford, George Heynes Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)
Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich) Raphael, Sir Herbert H. Wiliams, Penry (Middlesbrough)
Lundon, Thomas Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields) Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
Lyell, Charles Henry Reddy, Michael Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)
Lynch, Arthur Alfred Redmond, John E. (Waterford) Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)
Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Redmond, William (Clare, E.) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Rendall, Athelstan Winfrey, Richard
Maclean, Donald Richards, Thomas Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)
Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven) Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)
MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Young, William (Perth, East)
MacVeagh, Jeremiah Roberts, George H. (Norwich)
M`Callum, John M. Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.
M'Curdy, Charles Albert Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford) Dudley Ward and Mr. Wedgwood
M'Laren, F. W. S. (Lincs., Spadling) Robertson, John M. (Tyneside) Benn.
M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe) Robinson, Sidney
Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F. Bigland, Alfred Dalrymple, Viscount
Altken, William Max Bird, Alfred Dixon, Charles Harvey
Arkwright, John Stanhope Boscawen, Col. A. S. T. Griffith- Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-
Ashley, Wilfrid W. Boyton, James Du Gros, Arthur Philip
Astor, Waldorf Bridgeman, W. Clive Duke, Henry Edward
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Bull, Sir William James Faber, Captain W. V. (Hants, W.)
Begot, Lieut-Colonel J. Burdett-Coutts, William Fell, Arthur
Baird, John Lawrence Burn, Colonel C. R. Fisher, William Hayes
Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.) Butcher, John George Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.
Balcarres, Lord Carlile, Edward Hildred Fleming, Valentine
Baldwin, Stanley Cassel, Felix Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.) Castlereagh, Viscount Forster, Henry William
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Cator, John Foster, Philip Staveley
Banner, John S. Harmood- Cautley, Henry Strother Gardner, Ernest
Baring, Captain Hon. Guy Victor Cave, George Gibbs, George Abraham
Banston, H. Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford Univ.) Goldman, Charles Sydney
Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.) Chaloner, Col. R. G. W. Goulding, Edward Alfred
Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. (Glos., E.) Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worcr.) Grant, J. A.
Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks Clay, Captain H. H. Spender Green, Walter Raymond
Beckett, Hon. William Gervase Clive, Percy Archer Gretton, John
Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth) Clyde, James Avon Guinness, Hon. Walter Edward
Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich) Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet) Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)
Bennett-Goldney, Francis Craik, Sir Henry Hall, Fred (Dulwich)
Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian Hamersley, Alfred St. George
Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry) MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh Rolleston, Sir John
Helmsley, Viscount Mackinder, Halford J. Rutherford, William (W. Derby)
Hill, Sir Clement L. Macmaster, Donald Sanders, Robert Athur
Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter M'Calmont, Colonel James Sanderson, Lancelot
Hill-Wood, Samuel Magnus, Sir Philip Salter, Arthur Clavell
Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy Malcolm, Ian Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Hope, Harry (Bute) Mason, James F. (Windsor) Stanler, Beville
Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Meysey-Thompson, E. C. Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)
Horner, Arthur Long Mildmay, Francis Bingham Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)
Houston, Robert Paterson Mills, Hen. Charles Thomas Steel-Maitland, A. D.
Hume-Williams, William Ellis Newman, John R. P. Stewart, Gershom
Hunt, Rowland Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield) Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North
Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath) Nield, Herbert Swift, Rigby
Ingleby, Holcombe Norton-Griffiths, J. Sykes, Alan John
Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, E.) O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid) Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)
Joynson-Hicks, William Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A. Thynne, Lord Alexander
Kebty-Fletcher, J. R. Paget, Almeric Hugh Valentia, Viscount
Kerry, Earl of Parkes, Ebenezer Walker, Col. William Hall
Kirkwood, John H. M. Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington) Wheler, Granville C. H.
Larmor, Sir J. Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton) White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)
Law, Andrew Bonar (Bootle, Lancs.) Perkins, Walter Frank Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury) Pollock, Ernest Murray Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude
Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey) Pretyman, Ernest George Yate, Colonel C. E.
Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lieut.-Col. A. R. Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.
Long, Rt. Hon. Walter Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.
Lonsdale, John Brownlee Rawson, Colonel Richard H. Laurence Hardy and Earl Winterton.
Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich) Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)

The question is, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."


Mr. Whitley, may I on a point of Order ask if we are to understand that in putting the question that the Clause stand part of the Bill that you have ruled out of order the Amendment of which I gave notice? That Amendment is to add certain words at the end of the Clause.


The Amendment was not in order.


I would like, very respectfully, Sir, to point out that the whole discussion that we have had upon this Clause has very largely turned upon the amount of expense and difficulty which the shortening of Parliaments will cause to Members. This has been referred to in almost every speech up till now. The object of my Amendment was that where a Member has been returned after a contested election, he; ought not to he opposed again if a General Election came within three years.


The hon. Member's proposed Amendment deals with electoral matters outside the scope of the Clause.


I accept your ruling.

Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."


(speaking seated with his hat on): On a point of Order, may I inquire as to my Amendment?


I have already put the Question.


With great respect I did not hear; but may I ask, on a point of Order, is it not usual, if I may say so with great respect, to call upon a Member when he rises to move an Amendment?


The hon. Member did not rise until after I put the Question and collected the voices.

The Committee divided: Ayes, 257; Noes, 114.

Division No. 212.] AYES. [11.45 p.m.
Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour) Barry, Redmond John (Tyrone, N.) Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North
Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda) Barton, William Byles, William Pollard
Acland, Francis Dyke Beale, William Phipson Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)
Adamson, William Beauchamp, Edward Chancellor, Henry George
Addison, Dr. Christopher Bentham, George Jackson Chapple, Dr. William Allen
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Black, Arthur W. Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.
Ainsworth, John Stirling Booth, Frederick Handel Clough, William
Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire) Bowerman, Charles W. Clynes, John R.
Allen, Charles Peter (Stroud) Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, N.) Collins, G. P. (Greenock)
Armitage, Robert Brace, William Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)
Baker, H. T. (Accrington) Brady, Patrick Joseph Condon, Thomas Joseph
Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.) Bridgeman, William Clive Corbett, A. Cameron
Barnes, George N. Brigg, Sir John Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.
Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick) Brocklehurst, William B. Cotton, William Francis
Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.) Burns, Rt. Hon. John Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)
Crawshay-Williams, Eliot Illingworth, Percy H. Pollard, Sir George H.
Crooks, William Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
Crumley, Patrick John, Edward Thomas Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)
Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy) Johnson, William Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)
Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil) Primrose Hon. Neil James
Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth) Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Pringle, William M. R.
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe) Radford, G. H
Dawes, J. A. Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Raphael, Sir Herbert Henry
Denman, Hon. R. D. Jones, W. S. Glyn- (Stepney) Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)
Devlin, Joseph Joyce, Michael Reddy, Michael
Dewar, Sir J. A. Keating, Matthew Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Dillon, John Kellaway, Frederick George Redmond, William (Clare, E.)
Doris, William Kelly, Edward Rendall, Athelstan
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Kennedy, Vincent Paul Richards, Thomas
Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley) King, J. (Somerset, N.) Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)
Edwards, Allen G. (Glamorgan, E.) Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Edwards, Enoch (Hanley) Lansbury, George Roberts, George H. (Norwich)
Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid) Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.) Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)
Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld., Cockerm'th) Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)
Elverston, Harold Levy, Sir Maurice Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.) Lewis, John Herbert Robinson, Sidney
Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.) Logan, John William Roe, Sir Thomas
Essex, Richard Walter Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas Rose, Sir Charles Day
Falconer, James Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich) Rowntree, Arnold
Fenwick, Charles Lundon, Thomas Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Ferens, Thomas Robinson Lyell, Charles Henry Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Ffrench, Peter Lynch, Arthur Alfred Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)
Field, William Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Scanlan, Thomas
Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Scott,A.MacCallum (Glasgew, Bridgeton)
Fitzgibbon, John Maclean, Donald Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.
Flavin, Michael Joseph Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Sheehy, David
France, G. A. MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Simon, Sir John Allsebrook
Gelder, Sir William Alfred MacVeagh, Jeremiah Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)
Gibson, Sir James Puckering M'Curdy, Charles Albert Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Gill, Alfred Henry M'Laren, F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding) Snowden, Philip
Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe) Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)
Goldstone, Frank Manfield, Harry Summers, James Woolley
Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough) Marks, George Croydon Sutton, John E.
Greig, Colonel James William Mason, David M. (Coventry) Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Griffith, Ellis Jones Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.) Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.) Thorne, William (West Ham)
Gulland, John William Millar, James Duncan Toulmin, George
Gwynn, Stephen Lucius Molloy, Michael Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Hackett, John Money, L. G. Chiozza Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Hall, F. (Yorks, Normanton) Mooney, J. J. Verney, Sir Harry
Hancock, John George Morrell Philip Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)
Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C. Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay
Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil) Needham, Christopher T. Wason, J. Cathcart (Orkney)
Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) Neilson, Francis Webb, H.
Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West) Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster) White, Sir George (Norfolk)
Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.) Nolan, Joseph White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)
Harwood, George Norman, Sir Henry White, Patrick (Meath, North
Haslam, James (Derbyshire) Norton, Captain Cecil W. Whitehouse, John Howard
Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir T. P.
Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)
Haworth, Arthur A. O'Doherty, Philip Wiles, Thomas
Hayden, John Patrick O'Dowd, John Wilkie, Alexander
Hayward, Evan Ogden, Fred Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Helme, Norval Watson O'Grady, James Williams, Llewellyn (Carmarthen)
Henderson, Arthur (Durham) O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.) Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)
Henderson, J. M'D. (Aberdeen. W.) O'Malley, William Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
Henry, Sir Charles S. O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.) Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., South) O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)
Higham, John Sharp O'Sullivan, Timothy Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Hinds, John Palmer, Godfrey Mark Wood, T. McKinnon (Glasgow)
Hodge, John Parker, James (Halifax) Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)
Holt, Richard Durning Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek) Young, William (Perth, East)
Hope, John Deans (Haddington) Pearson. Hon. Weetman H. M.
Horne, Charles Silvester (Ipswich) Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.
Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Phillips, John (Longford, S) Dudley Ward and Mr. Wedgwood
Hughes, Spencer Leigh Pickersgill, Edward Hare Benn.
Hunter, William (Lanark, Govan) Pointer, Joseph
Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F. Banbury, Sir Frederick George Bird, Alfred
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Banner, John S. Harmood- Boscawen, Col. Sackville T. Griffith-
Altken, William Max. Barnston, Harry Bull, Sir William James
Ashley, Wilfrid W. Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.) Burdett-Coutts, William
Astor, Waldorf Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. (Glouc., E.) Burn, Colonel C. R.
Bagel, Lieut-Colonel J. Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks Carlile, Edward Hildred
Baird, John Lawrence Beckett, Hon. William Gervase Cassel, Felix
Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.) Bennett-Goldney, Francis Castlereagh, Viscount
Balcarres, Lord Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish Cautley, Henry Strother
Baldwin, Stanley Beresford, Lord Charles Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r) Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Clay, Captain H. H. Spender Hope, Harry (Bute) Peel, Hon. W R. W. (Taunton)
Clyde, James Avon Horner, Andrew Long Pollock, Ernest Murray
Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet) Houston, Robert Paterson Pretyman, Ernest George
Crack, Sir Henry Hume-Williams, William Ellis Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.
Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian Hunt, Rowland Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Dalrymple, Viscount Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath) Rawson, Colonel Richard H.
Dixon, Charles Harvey Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East) Salter, Arthur Clavell
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Joynson-Hicks, William Sanders, Robert Arthur
Du Cros, Arthur Philip Kebty-Fletcher, J. R. Sanderson, Lancelot
Duke, Henry Edward Kerry, Earl of Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Fell, Arthur Kirkwood, John H. M. Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)
Fisher, William Hayes Larmor, Sir J. Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)
Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A. Law, Andrew Bonar (Bootle, Lancs.) Steel-Maitland, A. D.
Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead) Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R. Stewart, Gershom
Forster, Henry William Long, Rt. Hon. Walter Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North
Foster, Philip Staveley Lonsdale, John Brownlee Swift, Rigby
Goldsmith, Frank Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich) Thynne, Lord Alexander
Goulding, E. A. MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh Valentia, Viscount
Grant, J. A. Macmaster Donald Walker, Col. William Hall
Greene, Walter Raymond M'Calmont, Colonel James Wheler, Granville C. H.
Gretton, John Malcolm, Ian White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)
Guinness, Hon. Walter Edward Mason, James F. (Windsor) Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight) Meysey-Thompson, E. C. Yate, Colonel C. E.
Hall, Fred (Dulwich) Mildmay, Francis Bingham
Hamersley, Alfred St. George Newman, John R. P.
Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry) Norton-Griffiths, J. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.
Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford) O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid) Watson Rutherford and Earl
Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter Orde-Pewlett, Hon. W. G. A. Winterton.
Hill-Wood, Samuel Parkes, Ebenezer