§ (1) This part of this Act shall apply to persons over the age of sixteen at the date of entry into insurance who are not British subjects, subject to the following modifications:—
- (a) No such person shall be qualified to become a member of an approved society for the purposes of this part of this Act;
- (b) No part of the benefits to which such persons may become entitled shall be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament;
- (c) The rate of sickness, disablement, and maternity benefit shall be reduced, in the case of men, to seven-ninths, or in the case of women to three-quarters of the rate to which they would otherwise be entitled under this part of this Act;
- (d) No part of the sums payable in respect of such persons for medical benefit and sanatorium benefit or towards the expenses of administration of benefits shall in the case of such persons be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament.
§ (2) For the purposes of this section a widow who, having been a British subject before marriage, has ceased to be a British subject by reason of marriage with a person not being a British subject, shall be deemed to be a British subject.
§ (3) This section shall not apply to any person who is transferred to an approved society or the Post Office Fund in pursuance of an arrangement with the Government of any foreign State.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words "over the age of sixteen at the date of entry into insurance." I move this in order to get an explanation from the Government as to why those words are inserted. I daresay they have a very good reason, but on the face of the Bill it is not clear why they should be there.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. McKenna)
The point is extremely simple. It is not intended that the special provisions which apply to aliens should apply to such aliens if they are under the age of sixteen. It is that alien children under sixteen, who are in employment are probably qualified for citizenship. For that reason, the special provisions otherwise applied to aliens, it is not proposed to apply to them.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. HOLT
I beg to move to leave out the words "British subjects" ["who are not British subjects"], and to insert instead thereof the words "domiciled in the United Kingdom."
I submit that this distinction between British subjects is not a fair one, and is 1092 not right, and is contrary to true policy. Of course, by the Amendments and alterations which have been made in Clause 8, a British subject who is not domiciled in this country is prevented from getting any benefit of any substance whatever, so that substantially almost the only case which can be considered is that of an alien permanently resident in this country. The words I propose do not mean a mere passing residence, but a person who has set up his home in this country, and who, without absolutely becoming naturalised, has fixed his lares and penates in this country and has settled down to make his permanent home amongst us. It is very unfair that a man in that category should be in any way exempted from the advantages of the Bill. After all, such a man is, just as much as any British citizen, paying his taxes and contributing to the Government share of the money which has to be paid under the Bill, and surely in the name of justice the question you have to ask yourselves when you are deciding whether a man shall or shall not have the full benefit of the Bill is, "does he make a full contribution to the Bill?" A foreigner domiciled in this country is paying every penny that a British subject pays. He is paying his share as an employé, and his employer is paying the full contribution for him. I cannot see on what grounds of justice it can be pretended that this person ought not to receive the full benefits of the Bill.
It is suggested that he ought to have taken the trouble to get naturalised, and that he ought to go to the expense of getting naturalised. Possibly he ought to submit to what is to almost everybody, certainly to an Englishman, the mortification of indefinitely abandoning his own nationality. It is very curious that any one who holds that view could support Sub-section (2) of this Clause which stipulates that a British woman who has deliberately and for her own purposes abandoned her nationality and become a foreigner, is not to be excluded from the Act. Surely it is rather inconsistent to say that when a man comes to England and makes his home here he is to be penalised, and that his wife, if married in this country, is to suffer no penalty. That seems to me really absurd, and I cannot see on what ground of justice the distinction can be made. This Clause would probably be of much more importance if they were going to be treated as would appear from the wording of the Bill, but I understand that some arrangements are being 1093 made for the treatment of seamen which are at present unknown to us. I am informed that when these arrangements are known this Clause will not have any particular effect on the position of seamen. I submit that it is not right that British subjects not domiciled in this country should be led to suppose that there is to be a distinction between them and Lascar seamen and Chinese seamen. There is no distinction between a British subject and a foreigner as regards benefit, and nevertheless I am certain that any person would think on reading the Clause that the British subject was going to get some advantage compared with the foreigner. Therefore I submit there is no justification for making this distinction. The words "British subjects" ought to come out of the Clause, and the question of British domicile should determine whether people are to receive the full benefits under the Bill.
§ Mr. McKENNA
My hon. Friend desires that if an alien is domiciled in this country he should be treated for all the purposes of the Bill exactly as if he were a British subject. Well, the Bill, as a matter of fact, deals I think not ungenerously with aliens. They will be allowed, as my hon. Friend knows, to join approved societies. They will get the benefit of their employer's contribution as well as their own, and really the only difference between what he proposes and what is in the Bill is that no alien will be entitled to receive the State contribution of 2d. unless he becomes naturalised and throws in his lot with us. I do not think that the Committee will regard it as an unreasonable distinction to draw. If an alien comes to this country at any age and becomes a British subject by a process which is not difficult or costly, he will then become entitled to the full benefits of this measure, but I do think we are entitled to ask that he should become a British subject before he receives the special assistance which the State offers. As I have said, he will get all the other advantages. He will be in a position to join an approved society, and if he subsequently becomes naturalised he will then be able to obtain all the benefits of the Bill. I do not think that it can be regarded as harsh treatment if the Committee decides that an alien should become naturalised before obtaining the whole benefits. My hon. Friend has referred to the case of seamen. There will be an Amendment placed on the Paper dealing with the special case of seamen, 1094 and I can assure him that in that respect his arguments will be taken into serious account.
§ Mr. FORSTER
The answer of the Home Secretary is unfavourable to the Amendment, and I confess that I should like to know a little more clearly before I vote in favour of the Amendment what is meant by domicile. I want to vote in favour of an Amendment which will give the benefits of the Bill to the alien who has thrown in his lot with us to all intents and purposes, although he has not become naturalised. I want to vote in favour of that man being admitted to the full rights under the Bill. But I do not know whether, if I vote in favour of the hon. Member's Amendment, I should be voting in favour of a man who has been resident only a comparatively short time in the country. Therefore I want to know what is the legal interpretation of domicile. I can see at once that a man who has lived in this country for a period of five years and upwards has given very strong evidence of his intention to throw in his lot with us. You may say, "Why does he not become naturalised?" To start with there is a fee to be paid, but I am told on very good authority that that is not by any means the only stumbling block. The Home Secretary stated that it is a matter of no particular difficulty or expense to be naturalised in this country, but I am assured that although the examination they have to pass may be described as a fairly easy one, in point of actual practice it is really difficult. I am assured that a considerable number of aliens are prevented becoming naturalised every year solely on account of the difficulty of the examination they have to pass.
I do not see why we should expect a greater literary standard from those who become naturalised than we expect from people of our own nationality, and I do not see why we should expect people who wish to become naturalised—people who come here at the age of twenty, thirty, or forty—to pass examinations which many of our own people of the same age could not pass either. I am entirely in favour of there being a certain test and certain fees to be paid, because we are naturally proud of our nationality and do not wish to make access too easy. At the same time we do not want to make it too difficult. I mention that by way of illustration of the difficulty which some people find in the way of becoming naturalised. Why should aliens who have lived among us five years 1095 or more, who pay the same taxes we pay, and discharge practically all the same duties of citizenship that we discharge, not be included in the full membership this Bill proposes to create? I cannot understand it. I can understand a man who takes a blind and prejudiced view saying, "Under no circumstances whatever will we admit any alien to the benefits of this Bill." I can understand a man who is actuated solely by prejudice. But when we reflect that aliens are actually paying their proportionate share of the contribution the State is going to give to members of our own nationality, then I am bound to say that you have practical evidence of their intention to throw in their lot with us, and I cannot see why we should deny them access to the full scope of the proposals. As already indicated, I do not know whether I can vote for the hon. Gentleman's Amendment or not, not knowing what the precise meaning of domicile is; but what I have said will make it plain that if I do not vote for this Amendment I can vote for an Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Colchester (Mr. Worthington-Evans).
§ Sir CHARLES HENRY
I find myself very much in the same difficulty as the hon. Member for Sevenoaks (Mr. Forster) in not being able to ascertain exactly what is meant by domicile. Personally I must take exception to the remark of the Home Secretary that the terms on which an alien or foreigner can be naturalised are easy. They would have been easy if his predecessor in office had fulfilled the promises made to a certain number of my co-religionists as to reducing the fee when he contested North-West Manchester. I hope that my right hon. Friend now that he occupies the same position will move in that direction. I believe that aliens or people who have taken up their residence amongst us who have shown themselves good citizens, who have passed physical tests as regards their health, would be desirable as members of approved societies, and there is no reason for not giving them that benefit and also giving them State assistance. In fact, I believe that it is generally admitted that a good many members who are regarded as aliens may be looked on as some of the best lives which a great many of the approved societies would be ready to take. We all know that these aliens are temperate, that they lead sanitary lives and spend more money 1096 on solid than on liquid food. I hope that the Government will see their way to accept the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Tower Hamlets, or even one not so strict as that. I feel myself very doubtful whether I will be justified in supporting the Amendment, which is rather vague, of my hon. Friend.
§ 9.0 P.M.
§ Mr. J. WARD
I would just point out another danger with reference to this matter. I remember quite well the discussion on the Workmen's Compensation Act in this House in 1906 when a similar proposition was debated. The question was whether aliens should be entitled to the protection of the compensation laws when working on the works or in the factories of the country, the same as British subjects. It was eventually decided that it should apply to foreigners working in this country just the same as to other workmen. This is exactly the same question in principle. Therefore I would like to point out one of the dangers that arise if we tamper in any way with the proposition contained in the introduction to this Clause, which says that this part of this Act shall apply to persons over the age of sixteen at the age of entry into insurance who are not British subjects, and the modifications that go on give things that can be dealt with when we are at the stage to deal with them. We are now deciding whether practically this part of the Insurance Bill shall apply to persons resident in this country who are British subjects. You will be placing the whole alien portion of the community at a very serious disadvantage if you do not make the law apply almost entirely the same to those who are not British subjects as to those who are. I can quite imagine many cases of employers in various kinds of work who, if you ventured to say that there was some way by which if they employed foreigners they could get out of the provisions of this Act, would have a tendency to give employment to foreigners in preference to British subjects. Once you decide that the employer must pay the same, and that the workman must pay the same, I do not see how you can do otherwise than decide that if they pay the same they ought to reap the same benefit. I feel certain we should be doing an injury to our own workmen in this country if we did not insist upon the foreign workman resident here having exactly the same working conditions as ourselves.
I rise to oppose this Amendment. For once I agree with the hon. Member for Stoke. If you want to make a certain provision it ought not to be here, because this, as he says, applies to persons who are not British subjects. If you want to modify it at all it should be done under one of the sub-Clauses. My hon. Friend the Member for Salisbury has put down an Amendment which does that in the right place. I oppose this Amendment because it is to leave out "British subjects" and insert "domiciled in the United Kingdom." It is some time since I had to know as a matter of daily bread and butter what "domiciled" is. The law I believe is that a man is domiciled here if he comes over here with the intention of remaining. How on earth is it possible, even for the almighty Insurance Commissioners, to inquire into the intentions of a man who is living over here? It is quite impossible. But there is a real grievance which is contained in the whole Clause as it stands now that it interferes with unnaturalised foreigners, who have resided for very many years in this country and who are members of friendly societies. It would not be proper for me now to discuss this question. I have an Amendment on that subject, and, besides, it would be covered by the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Salisbury. But this particular Amendment is, as the hon. Member for Stoke says, in the wrong place, and whether it is out of place or not it seems to me to be thoroughly bad, and I will vote against it.
§ Mr. STUART SAMUEL
I speak on behalf of a conference of Jewish friendly societies, representing between 30,000 and 40,000 members, held recently to consider this question. Very considerable numbers, probably about two-thirds of the societies, are not of British nationality. The Home Secretary rightly says that the aliens should cast in their lot with the rest of the nation. Nobody is more anxious to cast in their lot with the rest of the nation than the aliens themselves. If the Home Secretary makes citizenship of this country depend upon their residence here, and upon respectability of character, I think he may be assured that a considerable number of aliens will be reckoned, as is desired, amongst the respectable citizens of the country. But when the right hon. Gentleman comes to impose upon the workmen the practically impossible test of providing a money payment, which, 1098 together with the fees, amounts to between £7 and £10, and, in addition to that, imposes a test as to literacy which is not imposed upon the native-born workman, I think he throws difficulties in the way of the very object which he has in view. The Government, by imposing this money test, will deprive alien workmen of the benefits to which he is entitled with the rest of the inhabitants of the country, because the alien workman is poor and unable to provide the money the Government proposes to make him pay. I have nothing to quarrel with in its being required that the alien should be fairly well acquainted with the language of the country to which he proposes to belong when he has to exercise the vote and in other ways to interfere with the affairs of the country. But naturalisation has nothing to do with insurance against sickness, even though the man is an alien, and is unable to provide £5, or has not got £5. He is just as likely to be a burden on this country if not insured as any other individual. Sickness knows nothing about reading or writing English. The illiterate are just as liable to sickness as anyone else. Nevertheless, the Government imposes upon the alien tests which would deprive him of the benefits of the Act while professing to be anxious that he should throw in his lot with the general members of the community. The real fact of the matter is that the Government will not facilitate the aliens to throw in their lot with the general lot of the country. I will go further, and say that the test that is put in regard to reading and writing is an extremely unfair one. I know an instance in which an alien was requested to write to dictation the Section of the Act which refers to the naturalisation of aliens. A skilled lawyer might possibly be able to do so, but I would say that the average workman would certainly not be able to write out the legal phraseology of the Act. So long as the Government impose the test of respectability upon foreigners in this country there is nothing to be said against their proposal, but as soon as they impose a highly literary test, and a large monetary test in addition, they, as it were, put up the citizenship of this country to auction. I would suggest that no monetary equivalent can be compared to citizenship of this country. It ought not to be a question of money, but of respectability and longstanding in this country.
§ Mr. DUKE
As was said just now, there is great difficulty in determining the 1099 question of domicile. Apparently, in the case of persons who are to be qualified by reason of domicile under the proposed Amendment, it will be necessary in a great many cases to ascertain whether a man was domiciled or not. As lawyers know, you cannot have a more difficult or more uncertain inquiry. For my own part, I could not vote for the Amendment, but I feel a difficulty with regard to the words proposed to be contained in the Section. I cannot help thinking with the hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. John Ward) that you cannot discriminate between workman and workman on the question of citizenship or naturalisation. With regard to citizenship, a great number of estimable people are bearing the burdens of life in this country who could not possibly become naturalised. The right hon. Gentleman, who is a member of the Bar, and has practised at the Bar, will remember quite well what stringent conditions are contained in the Naturalisation Act of 1870 which governs the matter. It is quite impossible that the larger proportion of these workpeople who are dealt with by the disqualifying Sub-section here could possibly qualify themselves by becoming British subjects. If you take the working classes generally, I think you will find that probably ninety-nine out of a hundred of the working-classes who are born abroad, or are not British subjects by inheritance, would not be in a position to get themselves naturalised. That will not do. I could not vote for the Amendment, but I have great difficulty about these words in the Section.
I want to mention to the right hon. Gentleman another question which arises with regard to the matter of aliens, and which I do not find dealt with elsewhere in the Act, and in regard to which there will be very great practical difficulty. It really is a matter apart from the Amendment which I desire to present to the notice of the right hon. Gentleman. There is a very large class of persons who will come within the definition of persons employed under paragraph (a) of Part I. of the First Schedule whom I cannot conceive it is intended to make subject to the operation of this Act. I refer to the large number of seamen, some of them British subjects, a considerable proportion British subjects, but also a considerable proportion who are not British subjects, who serve upon ships registered under the British flag, who are from time to time in the Port of London, who from the circumstances 1100 of their calling and the conditions of their employment could never receive any benefit under this Act, yet who are included within the operation of the Act as matters stand at the present time. I think that technically I am in order in mentioning this subject of the retention of the words limiting the operation of the Bill with respect to nationality or otherwise, and I should really like to know for the information of persons who have a large concern in this matter what the Government propose to do in regard to Lascar seamen and other seamen of that class who are employed on ships sailing under the British flag, ships registered in Great Britain.
Some of them come from British Possessions in India, some from Natal, some from the West Coast of Africa. They are a very mixed body of men, and practically the whole of them are comprised within the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act, which makes these provisions quite inapplicable. There are regulations which are administered by the Board of Trade, which make it quite unnecessary to include this Clause for British subjects or foreigners who are within the protection of that Act. The effect of the Bill—I cannot doubt it has been brought to the notice of the Department by those who employ very great numbers of these men—will be to require a contribution in respect of each of these men—a contribution from the man himself and a contribution from the employer. The sailor will be deprived, from the circumstances of his employment, from getting the benefit. It is quite evident that a very large class of people is included in the Bill very much to the confusion of those who employ them, and who are perplexed to know what is going to happen in their case; first of all, whether they are to pay, and, secondly, how they are going to secure benefits for these men when they arrive in England. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will deal with that matter.
§ Mr. McKENNA
The point put by the hon. Member for Exeter (Mr. Duke) is one which, of course, will have the sympathy of the Committee. Let me assure him at once that an Amendment has been promised, and will be placed in due time on the Paper, dealing with the special case of the seamen. It is quite obvious that the provisions of the Bill as it stands now would not be altogether appropriate to that class. As to this particular Amendment, I hope it will not be pressed. I 1101 think it ought to be, without going into the general question, sufficient to point out that the difficulties would be in the way of interpreting the word "domicile." I have here the best legal definition I could find, and in it the domicile of a person is described as being:—That place or country in which his habitation is fixed without any present intention of removing there-from.You have to be satisfied not of what is in a man's mind, but of what is not in his mind. The Commissioners would have to make sure that the alien had no present intention of removing from the country. I think the Committee would agree that it could not accept my hon. Friend's Amendment upon that basis. I really think that the Committee are not doing justice to the Bill as it will be if the Committee accept the Amendments which are on the Paper in the name of the Government. With those Amendments accepted, the position will be this: The alien under the age of sixteen will be treated as a British subject. The alien over the age of sixteen will be able to become a member of an approved society, and to receive as a member of the approved society seven-ninths of the benefits which a British subject would obtain. But the Amendments of the Government propose to go even further than that. If at any time such an alien hereafter becomes naturalised he will be credited with the full reserve due to him, and come into insurance on the full basis of a British subject. We are offering an inducement to the alien to become naturalised. We tell him, "not only will you receive in future the full benefit, but you will get the full benefit of the reserve which will be credited to you."
§ Mr. McKENNA
If the hon. Gentleman had been here and heard the very able speeches delivered in the course of the last three-quarters of an hour he would have found ample reasons. I see the hon. Member for Sevenoaks (Mr. Forster) looking, I expect, to see whether my words are justified. Let me tell him that this long Amendment in the name of the Government will be moved in a slightly altered form, which will justify to the full the statement I have made. It escaped my memory for the moment.
§ Mr. McKENNA
It is not an alteration in intention, it is more in the nature of an alteration in drafting.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Mr. Maclean)
I must ask the hon. Member to confine himself to a speech which he may make later on.
§ Mr. McKENNA
That is the provision as to the alien. I do not think my hon. Friend, who is a great authority on this subject, quite did justice to the naturalisation law. I have only had the honour of holding my present office for a very few days, but much of the time that I have held that office has been devoted to signing certificates of naturalisation.
§ Mr. McKENNA
Yes, I am told that the large increase in the number of applicants for naturalisation—I cannot speak for it—but I am told it is due to the passing of the Old Age Pensions Act. If that be the case, and persons who have not hitherto been naturalised become so owing to the passing of that Act, I think the difficulties to which my hon. Friend alluded will not be quite so great as he thinks. There may be other reasons why they have not naturalised besides want of money and want of sufficient education. I hope my hon. Friend will not press his Amendment, and on the general subject that the Committee will take into consideration the whole of the advantages which are offered, and will not run away with the notion that the proposal as it stands is ungenerous.
§ Mr. HOLT
I think what has been said about the word domicile is rather more theoretical than practical, and in asking leave to withdraw the Amendment I hope the hon. Member for Salisbury will persist in his. I do not in the least understand this extraordinary desire to induce the alien to become naturalised, as the only effect of it is to have a vote and enable them to become jurors.
§ Mr. AMERY
I should like to refer to the point raised in the Amendment, but before doing so may I give expression to the interest and astonishment with which I have listened to speech after speech on this subject, while not a single Member referred to the fact 1103 that in Part II. of the Bill there is no restriction or distinction between the British subject and the alien whatever. Part II. begins by saying every workman, in every part, of the world, I suppose, is to receive certain benefits. It is worded too widely, and would I think, in its present form, extend to the Colonies. Thus there is no distinction whatever there in a case where the State contribution of 2½d. is very much larger than the two-ninths. I agree entirely with the hon. Member as to when we admit an alien. I do think we ought to be as strict as possible in the test of admission, but it is common fairness and common justice that if he pays the same contribution and the same share of State taxation, that out of the two-ninths he ought to get the same benefit. On the question of domicile, it is true that it is a very difficult matter to establish in law. But supposing a man does not intend to remain domiciled. He goes abroad and leaves the balance of his contribution in the funds of the approved society. He is not doing an injustice to the scheme or to the country. In that case the difficulty solves itself. With regard to the question of naturalisation, I have in the last few years in two cases come across curious instances of the difficulties attending the problem. Three years ago I was defeated by a narrow margin of votes by the hon. Member for East Wolverhampton. I ascertained that there was a very considerable number of aliens who had never become naturalised, who had, as a matter of fact, been on the register, never realising that they were not British subjects, and had voted at election after election. A large number of aliens have a sort of idea that if they remain here long enough they naturalise automatically. It is true that the standards of restriction on naturalisation have been enormously stiffened of recent years. Recently I was called upon by a detective, or an official, who told me that my name had been given as a reference by an undergraduate at Oxford, who, having reached his majority, wished to become naturalised. He made certain inquiries about this young man, whom I had known since he was a small boy. I asked why the inquiries were so strict, and he referred to certain outrages in the East End, and other matters. Some weeks afterwards the young man called upon me, and I had to sign a number of complicated documents before a commissioner of oaths. The young man told me that, in addition, he had had to get a number of inquiries 1104 answered by the headmaster of Charterhouse where he attended as a boy. The headmaster did not understand many of the searching inquiries put to him and answered them entirely wrongly, and the young man had to go down with a lawyer to explain how the matter stood. If the matter is so complicated in the case of a young man who has attended an English public school and a university, it must be much more complicated and difficult for a working man earning 18s. or 20s. a week, who perhaps does not understand the English language very well. It would be much simpler to follow the precedent of the second part of the Bill and draw no distinction whatever. In practice I do not think the question of domicile would raise any difficulty, but I should much prefer the Amendment standing in my own name suggesting the omission of the Clause.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. G. LOCKER-LAMPSON
I beg to move, after the word "modifications" ["subject to the following modifications"], to insert the words—If he has resided in the United Kingdom for less than five years he shall be entitled to become a member of an approved society, but the benefits payable to him shall be adjusted so that he will not receive any part of the moneys voted by Parliament.If he has resided in the United Kingdom for five years or more he shall be entitled to become a member of an approved society receiving the full benefits of this part of this Act, allowance being made either by temporary increase of subscription or reduction of benefits for the sickness risks appropriate to his age of entry into insurance.Provided that in computing such increased subscriptions or reduced benefits full allowance shall be made for any transfer value arising from his transference from partial to full membership in accordance with this section.One of the strongest arguments in favour of this Amendment is the statement that aliens are included in Part II. of the Bill. I hope the Government will consider the Amendment favourably. It seems to me extraordinarily hard that no matter how long they are resident, no matter how high their character, no matter how good their health, persons who are not naturalised are excluded from the chief privileges of the Bill. Some 1105 hon. Members may think that if the Amendment were accepted it would go a certain way towards encouraging immigration. They may also think that public funds ought not to be given to persons who are not naturalised British subjects. After all, if the Amendment is accepted the State contribution will be only 8s. per head per annum, and that 8s. will be raised from taxation to which these non-Britishers will have contributed. I do not think that 8s. per head would be at all likely to lure immigrants to this country. A very large number of people will be adversely affected if the Clause passes as it stands. In London alone there are over 300 small friendly societies amongst the Jews, with an aggregate membership of over 40,000, of whom from 75 per cent. to 80 per cent., or more than 30,000 are non-British subjects who would be excluded from the scope of the Bill. Outside London you have many Jewish courts among the Foresters, and Jewish branches in the Manchester Unity and other orders, a very large proportion of the members of which are undoubtedly of foreign origin and not naturalised British subjects. There are also a great many non-Jewish aliens who are making provision at present for sickness insurance under the authority of the Friendly Societies Act. I agree with the hon. Member opposite in thinking that there ought not to be any differentiation of persons according to nationality, and that we ought to do our utmost to remove that sort of differentiation. An hon. Member has already referred to the anomaly that would be created by having two men working side by side, one of whom would be regarded as fit and the other as unfit for insurance. There would naturally be a considerable stigma upon the latter.
My Amendment proposes to limit the application of the restrictions in this Clause to aliens who have resided here for less than five years, that is to say the minimum period of residence which qualifies a person to become a British subject will be the minimum period to qualify a person for the chief privileges of the Bill. I think that period might be accepted as the period rendering an alien eligible for insurance. The cost would not really be at all great. There are about 300,000 aliens in this country at present. The Government actuaries estimate that rather less than one-third of the population will be eligible to become employed contributors under the national scheme. Having regard to the fact that 1106 among aliens, as compared with the general population, there is a larger proportion of males, that the proportion of adults is much larger, and that the proportion following the casual occupations exempted from the Bill is much smaller, it is fair to assume that about one-half of the alien population will become eligible. That would give 150,000 aliens eligible for insurance. Consequently the cost to the State would be about £50,000 a year. It is highly probable that the cost would be a good deal less than that, because the sickness experience of aliens is certainly superior to that of other classes of the community, for two reasons. It is not due to superior stamina, but really to the fact that on the whole aliens follow less hazardous trades and are more sober in their habits. The experience of certain large Jewish societies in this country amply prove that statement.
I do not think I would be in order in discussing the Government Amendment, but I feel that there are a great many things to be said against that Amendment. I would like to adduce one more argument in favour of my Amendment. The great friendly orders at present existing, I think, would benefit enormously by the preservation of their alien members as insured employed contributors under the scheme, because it would mean that there would be an infusion of a very large element whose sickness rate is below the average. In fact these foreign members would be really returning to their non-Jewish members increased rates considerably more than the State contribution. I hope that hon. Members will really consider this favourably. I believe there are several Members on the opposite side of the House who wish to see the Amendment carried, and I certainly think it ought to be pressed to a Division.
§ Mr. McKENNA
The hon. Member's Amendment is in a very great measure met by the Amendment which stands in the name of my right hon. Friend. The hon. Member divides the aliens into two classes, those who have been resident in the country less than five years and those who have been resident for more than five years. With regard to the first class he proposes to deal with them not as generously as they will be dealt with by the Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer—
§ Mr. McKENNA
The Amendment providing "that any such person may become a member of an approved society." With regard to the second class, the hon. Gentleman the Member for Salisbury proposes to deal more generously than my right hon. Friend. The difference between the two Amendments is this: the hon. Gentleman the Member for Salisbury proposes that after five years residence the alien shall be treated as a British subject, and in treating him as a British subject he proposes to give him the full benefit of the reserve. My right hon. Friend, on the contrary, proposes that if, after any period of residence less than five or more than five years, an alien becomes a British subject, and, of course, takes the Oath of Allegiance—a factor which has been entirely overlooked in the discussion so far—he will get all the benefits which the hon. Gentleman proposes, and, in addition would be credited with reserve value. Is it too much to ask that the alien who enjoys the hospitality of this country for five years, under the Amendment of my hon. Friend opposite, should be invited to take the Oath of Allegiance before he gets the additional benefit? If the alien is young, and comes in under the age of sixteen we treat him as a British subject. We give him all the benefits of the Bill throughout life because we assume he has come in under the age of sixteen with the intention of settling. With the alien that comes into this country later in life it is not unreasonable that he should be limited to the seven-ninths' benefit until he has made up his mind to take the Oath of Allegiance. That is the difference between the two Amendments, except that the hon. Member opposite agrees with the Government for the first five years, and disagrees for the second five years. Under the circumstances I hope the Committee will be favourable to the Amendment of the Government rather than that of the hon. Gentleman opposite.
§ Mr. FORSTER
I should very much like to know what the Amendment is that the right hon. Gentleman refers to?
§ Mr. McKENNA
A correction will be made in Sub-section (4) when the time comes. The Chancellor will propose it in this form:—Such persons shall not be deemed to have joined an approved society for the purpose of the provision of this part of the Bill relating to reserve values.…1108 I am informed that the effect of these words is to give to the alien who becomes naturalised the benefit of the reserve.
§ Mr. FORSTER
We have to take it from the Home Secretary that the effect which he has named will be the effect of the form of words proposed. I wonder why we could not have had those words on the Paper. The question of the alien is the same at the end of October as it was at the end of June. Why do not the Government put their Amendments on the Paper in time for Members of the House to acquaint themselves with them? It is not dealing fairly with Members. There is a very large number of aliens who have been living in this country for a great many years. Their case is not touched. I had the advantage of receiving a deputation from some of the Jewish approved societies, and they gave me figures showing that a large proportion of their membership are men who have been living in this country for a long time. Their average age of membership is very considerably higher than the average of the membership of a British friendly society. Are you going to insist on men who have lived in this country twenty, thirty, and forty years, taking out naturalisation papers in order to get the benefits of this Act? I cannot see the justice of such a proposal. It is only fair that you should admit men who have been members of friendly societies for twenty or thirty years paying exactly the same taxes that members of our own community have to pay to the full privileges of this scheme. I think we ought to support the Amendment of my hon. Friend. If the Committee refuse to accept that Amendment, and if the Government are strong enough to impose upon the Committee the Amendment of which they have given notice, then I think they ought to add to it a proviso that aliens who were members of friendly societies on 4th May, when this Bill was introduced, ought to be admitted to the full privileges of the Bill. Personally I prefer the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Salisbury, and I hope the Government will accept it.
§ Mr. AMERY
The Home Secretary says the scheme of the Government gives more to the aliens than the Amendment of my hon. Friend. As a matter of fact it leaves out of consideration a very large class who would be benefited by the Amendment of my hon. Friend and would not come into the scheme of the Government. Take the case of the alien child brought into this 1109 country when two or three years of age, many years ago. When this Act comes into force, if the Amendment of my hon. Friend is accepted such person would be entitled to the full benefits of the scheme, having been more than five years in the country. Under the proposal of the Government he must wait until he becomes of age. Therefore, I submit that the Amendment of my hon. Friend is very much better than that suggested by the Government. There is another class of aliens also, not taken into account at all. They are not very numerous but they are an important class, namely, those people who have been naturalised in other parts of the British Dominions, but who, as the law stands at present, are aliens when they come into this country. Are we to prevent a Canadian or a South African who comes to this country, after he has become naturalised as a child in Canada or South Africa getting the benefit of the scheme? Are we to compel him to wait for the scheme of the Government, or even for the scheme of my hon. Friend? I think that is a great anomaly. Personally, I think the only satisfactory solution would be to delete the whole Clause, but as that is not likely to be done, I shall support the Amendment of my hon. Friend.
§ Mr. HOHLER
I find some difficulty in supporting the Amendment of my hon. Friend because I am wholly opposed to this Clause. As I understand the Bill, the position of these aliens at the present moment is this. If they happen to be members of approved societies they will suffer great injustice, because they will lose the advantages given by approved societies with reserved balances to their members. If an approved society has admitted an alien to its ranks, why should he not receive the same benefits as any other members of that approved society? The difficulties in regard to approved societies will be exceedingly great. Approved societies may have among their members persons who are aliens, and the approved society may be entirely ignorant of that fact. The result would be that an approved society would receive no reserve value in regard to these particular members. It seems to me that is an injustice. If any approved society took upon itself to admit aliens to its ranks, and make them members of their society, why should not the State accept the same obligation and burden with regard to them as to other members? This question of reserve 1110 balances only arises in regard to members of approved societies, and it can only arise if they enter into insurance within six months. The result, therefore, is that this distinction drawn between British subjects and aliens is a wrong one, and I think it would be far simpler to treat everyone, whether British subject or alien, on the same footing. It is to be borne in mind that it is for the approved society to determine whether a man becomes a Member. It is exceedingly important for trade unions in regard to skilled artisans and so on, and it is equally important for friendly societies. If a man does not become a member of a friendly society he becomes a deposit contributor and the Government are not called upon to pay anything except this two-ninths of hypothetical benefit. I therefore fail to see the justice of this Clause, and for that reason I am unable to support the Amendment of my hon. Friend, because I disapprove of the Clause root and branch.
§ Mr. POLLOCK
I desire to point out a reason, which has not been referred to either in the discussion of this or the last Amendment, why my hon. Friend's Amendment should be accepted. The whole scheme of this Bill is to try and improve people's health as far as possible in order that we may remove conditions of misfortune and dangers of sickness existing in our midst. The cleavage is not, therefore, between aliens and those who are British subjects and domiciled over here, but the cleavage ought to be between persons who can, under the provisions of this Bill, make themselves better and more useful citizens, and less a danger to the State, and those who are, unfortunately, unable to do so. I do not think, when discussing this Bill, therefore, that the same line of argument applies as was suggested by the hon. Member for Stoke, who said the question was exactly the same as in the Workmen's Compensation Act. The question here is different. All persons resident here, British subjects or aliens, whose domicile is here, are persons who ought to come within the purview of this Bill, and if we are to limit pestilence and sickness, to which the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his speeches in this House referred, we ought to try and make the conditions of those persons resident here as good as possible, and give the benefit of this scheme to as many as the money under the Bill will enable us to do. On that ground it seems to me we 1111 ought to try and make the provisions such as will enable persons resident here to have the opportunity of becoming free from sickness and to enable them to take advantage of this Bill. On these grounds, on any question of division between aliens and British subjects, I desire to support the Bill.
§ Sir C. HENRY
(who was indistinctly heard, was understood to ask): How is it that no distinction was made in Part II. of the Bill?
§ Sir C. HENRY
I doubt very much whether there will be an opportunity, as it does not arise on Part II.
§ Mr. McKENNA
My hon. Friend is mistaken. It would be open to any Member to move a Clause in Part II. dealing with aliens. I have endeavoured to the best of my ability on three separate occasions to explain the reason why we are dealing with aliens in this part of the Bill. I do not think I shall be called upon to explain why we do not make a distinction in Part II. of the Bill.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
The right hon. Gentleman must remember that he is dealing with two Bills, or rather two parts of a Bill which are "interdependent and inseparable." That is the description of the measure given by the right hon. Gentleman's colleagues in the Cabinet. One part of this Bill has been sent upstairs where the majority of us have no opportunity of hearing what is said or of taking part in the Debate. I think the Committee here is entitled to ask that there should be a statement by the Government of the reasons which caused them to introduce this marked distinction between insurance against unemployment and insurance against invalidity and sickness. This is not a demand which any Government would pretend to resist if they did not know that whether they remain silent or not the guillotine would fall and they will get their Clauses at 10.30. It is one of the misfortunes of the guillotine that a Minister can afford to treat the House with undisguised contempt and refuse information that he would not dare to refuse if the House had its ordinary liberty. I think this Clause, as drawn by the Government, leaves a 1112 great blot on the Bill, and it is a gross injustice to the men who are concerned. I also think it will do a great injury not only to those individuals, but to the community at large. There are great Jewish societies where a majority of the members are aliens, but those societies have exercised a great educational influence on the men belonging to the Jewish religion who have taken refuge here from other countries where they were not so happily situated.
They have done much to encourage habits of thrift and self-sacrifice, and they have helped to keep their own people from becoming a charge on our local rates, as everybody who knows anything of their conduct is fully aware. But they have done more, for they have shown a great appreciation of what they owe to this country, and what their duty is towards the country which has given them a refuge. This Clause will strike a serious blow at those people. I hope my hon. Friend will press his Amendment, and at any rate take the decision of the Committee as to whether these men are to be left to the tender mercies of a Government which issues its decrees, passes them into law with little discussion and less consideration, or whether they are to have the fair treatment which they have a right to expect.
§ Mr. BRYCE
It is very satisfactory to those on this side of the Committee to find this newly-found sympathy and enthusiasm for the equality of aliens, but I must say that I sympathise with their arguments, and I think the Government would be very well advised if they would consider the doing away altogether with this distinction between aliens. I am perfectly certain that this provision will produce a great many complications in a very complicated Bill. There are a number of provisions to follow, and there are some very important Amendments, which I am sure will be very difficult to work. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman opposite in thinking that the distinctions drawn in this particular Clause are one of the greatest blots on the Bill.
§ 10.0 P.M.
§ Mr. PETO
The hon. Member for Aberdeen seems to think there is something in this Amendment that has caused us suddenly to show sympathy with aliens. There is nothing sudden in that sympathy, and I am sure there is nothing in this Amendment which calls for any such remark. It certainly draws a marked distinction between those resident here for five years 1113 and those who have not been resident here for that period. I think that is the best possible line we can go on. What is the one and the main purpose of the whole of this Bill? We are told that it is to make provision for people in time of sickness, prevent them going down, and prevent them being absorbed in the Poor Law administration of this country. If an alien has been a resident for over a period of five years, are we going to pay any less or more if he has to go into the workhouse? I think this Amendment is drawn exactly on the right lines. It avoids the great difficulty of minute investigations in each individual case, and a kind of investigation that would not be undertaken in the case of an applicant for admission to the workhouse. Therefore, far from it being, as the hon. Member for Aberdeen put it, a case of newly-found sympathy for aliens, it is a matter of plain, practical common-sense, and whatever our views may be as to the ability of these aliens to earn their living at reasonable wages in this country, if they have been here five years it is not reasonable after that period to go into these minute investigations, and it is infinitely better to say, as this Amendment says, that five years' residence in this country qualifies them, at any rate as far as the provisions of this Bill go. For these reasons I shall support the Amendment of my hon. Friend.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I do not wish to appear as having attached too much importance to anything that fell from my right hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Chamberlain). The right hon. Gentleman made a charge which was wholly unfounded, and had he been in the House during the course of the Debate I think he would have been the first to recognise that his charge was not warranted. This question has been discussed fairly on both sides, and it has not been suggested that the Government have been anxious to avoid any question, or that they have not been willing to meet the views of their critics. I have sat here and listened to the Debate, and I have been greatly impressed by the opinions expressed on both sides that more generous treatment should be accorded to aliens. It is not easy, as the hon. Member who moved this Amendment recognised, to treat every alien who comes here the first moment as a British subject. The hon. Member himself proposes a waiting period of five years. I may say that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is willing, if the Committee will accept it as a reasonable 1114 settlement, to deal specially with those who at the passing of the Bill have been five years in this country. I think that meets the point of the hon. Member for South Birmingham (Mr. Amery). I would suggest the Committee should take the Government's Amendment on the Paper with the assurance that on Report an additional provision will be introduced recognising the special case of aliens who have been settled in the country for five years at the time of the passing of the Bill and who are already members of an approved society.
§ Mr. McKENNA
Oh, no. They need not have been for all that period, but they must at the time of the passing of the Act be members of a society which becomes an approved society, and they must have been five years resident in this country.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I find myself in rather a difficult position. I do not know whether to vote for or against the Amendment. The difficulty in which I am placed is this: I will not give any advantage to any alien at all, but, if I am going to compel an alien to subscribe, then I do not see why he should be treated differently from anybody else. The right hon. gentleman is prepared to take the money of the alien, but he is not going to give him the benefits he gives to other people. Why introduce the alien at all? Why not leave him alone? If he likes to subscribe and make any provision for himself, he should be at liberty to do so, but why bring him under the Bill? If you do bring him under the Bill, why not treat him the same as anybody else? I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to kindly relieve me of my embarrassment and endeavour to show me how I can vote so as to safeguard my opinions.
§ Mr. CROOKS
I should not have intervened in this Debate at all except for a confession that has been made. I thought the game on that side of the House was always to make the foreigner pay. I do not quite understand what they are going to do with all that wonderful literature they have got about the foreigner and the alien taking the bread out of our people's mouths. I do not know, if the shades of Sir Evans Gordon was to come into the House, what he would say of hon. Gentlemen opposite now. "Give the alien 1115 the same chance as the Englishman!" Why, they have talked with tears in their voices of these people coming and taking the bread out of our mouths. I do not like it' a bit, and I am wondering what they are going to do when they face the people outside. The hon. Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) was certainly consistent, but it does not matter much what you do in the City—they all go one way. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire (Mr. Austen Chamberlain) waxed very eloquent about fair play for the foreigner. "Fair play for the foreigner!" What is to become of our own people? A fair and honest offer is made, and I agree with their arguments to-day. I have not altered my mind, but they have. Repentance is never too late.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I have not been able to listen to the hon. Member, having been otherwise engaged, and I am not in a position to reply to any observations he made. I should like, however, to make a reply to the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Annan Bryce). I do not know what warrant he has for thinking anybody on this side of the House does not desire fair and just treatment for aliens. There have been great differences in this House as to the conditions which should govern the entrance of aliens, but I should have thought there would be no difference of opinion that, if you admit them you must treat them fairly when you have admitted them. The difference between us and the Government is that we did not think this was a fair way of treating them. If the alien laws are to be altered they should be altered in an Act purporting to deal with that matter. We ought not to alter the alien laws under the cover of an Insurance Bill, any more than we ought to alter the qualification of doctors or chemists, or any of the various people mentioned here. It is extremely difficult to realise what is meant by the proposal of the Home Secretary made across the floor of the House. Am I right that the Home Secretary proposes, on behalf of the Government, as a compromise for this stage of the Bill, at any rate that aliens who at the passing of the Act had been in the country for five years and were members of a society which becomes an approved society should stand in exactly the same position as if they were British subjects?
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
That is a very considerable advance beyond anything the Government has proposed before. I understand they put it forward as something they are willing to give if it is accepted as a compromise, but they are not going to propose it if my hon. Friend presses his more advanced proposal to a Division. I do not know exactly what my hon. Friend will feel upon the matter, but I confess I should be sorry in the circumstances in which we stand to take the responsibility of refusing so great a concession as that when the most I could hope to do would be to register my opinion that something ought to be done without the slightest prospect of getting it done. It is a great concession, and for my part I would take it as such, because it represents the best terms I can get. I should be sorry to jeopardise that advantage for these people by taking a Division which would be an expression of opinion that could not gain for them very much benefit. I do not know whether my hon. Friend will take the same view. It is a serious responsibility for anyone to refuse on behalf of these people a concession of that kind as insufficient when the only alternative probably is having regard to the attitude of the Government that they will get nothing at all.
§ Mr. G. LOCKER-LAMPSON
In view of the very considerable concession made by the Government I beg to ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. GLYN-JONES
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), after the word "modifications" to insert the words,Any such person may require the Insurance Commissioners to pay from time to time to any provident society or fund of which he is a member, to be named by him and approved for this purpose by the Insurance Commissioners all sums received by them in contributions from such persons or from any employer in respect of such person.There are a number of aliens who, even with the arrangement which has been indicated, will be unfairly treated. There will be, first, the aliens who have not been here for five years, and there will also be those who, although they have been here for five years, are not members of a friendly society which is an approved society, and for whom the only alternative is to become 1117 a Post Office contributor or to join an approved society. I would ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to consider the advisability of permitting the alien workers' quota of the State Grant to be allocated to the funds of any society which for that purpose is approved by the Insurance Commissioners—not necessarily approved within the technical meaning of the Act, but approved for the purpose of receiving this grant.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I hope the hon. Member will be prevailed on to withdraw this Amendment. It is really going over the same subject again. It is also urgent and necessary that I should be in a position to move the Amendment I have promised before Half-past Ten. What I propose, is to move to insert after Sub-section (3) these words—This Section shall not apply to any person who, on the 4th day of May, 1911, was a member of a society which shall become an approved society and has been resident for five years in the United Kingdom.I understand that by the general agreement of the House this is a very wide concession to be made. It must be moved on the Committee stage; it cannot be brought in on the Report stage.
§ Mr. GLYN-JONES
I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the Government between now and the Report stage will consider whether it is really necessary to compel the alien who is left out of the scheme to join an approved society within the meaning of this Act, and whether it will not be enough to say that he may have these contributions given to a society which is not necessarily an approved society, but which may be approved for this purpose? I withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. POLLOCK
rose to move, at the end of paragraph (a), to add the words "but persons who are not British subjects, and who are members of approved societies at the time of the passing of this Act, may retain their membership and shall be entitled to seven-ninths of the benefits in the case of men and three-fourths of the benefits in the case of women."
§ Mr. McKENNA
Will the hon. Member allow me to move the Amendment which the Government are proposing? It will give to the aliens more than the hon. Member proposes to give. If they are members of approved societies and have been resident in the United Kingdom for five years they will get all the benefits of the Bill and not merely seven-ninths as he proposes.
§ Mr. POLLOCK
The right Gentleman is very courteous, but I do not understand Amendments which are verbally called out to me across the Table, and I do not appreciate them. I do enter a protest against this sort of Amendment and being asked to withdraw my Amendment without having had an opportunity, even during the last half-hour, of being able to consider the Amendment suggested by the Home Secretary. If he had passed it across the floor one would have been able to see what it was. I do not want in the least to be difficult. If I understand him to say his Amendment will give more than my proposal gives, then, subject to entering my protest as a private Member, I give way.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I beg to move, at the end of paragraph (d), to add the words,
"Provided that any such person may become a member of an approved society on the terms and subject to the conditions hereinafter mentioned, and in such a case the following provisions shall have effect—
- (i) the contributions payable by or in respect of such person shall be credited to the society;
- (ii) the society shall in each year pay to the local health committee the sums payable in respect of such person for medical benefit and sanatorium benefit;
- (iii) the rate and conditions of sickness benefit, and disablement benefit, and maternity benefit shall be such as may be determined by the benefit society;
- (iv) such person shall not be deemed to have joined an approved society for the purposes of this Part of this Act relating to reserve values, and no part of the contributions of such person shall be retained by the Insurance Commissioners towards the discharge of their liabilities in respect of reserve values."
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
It is quite obvious we cannot discuss the Clause much further, and that we are at the mercy of the Government. I want them to consider the point raised by the hon. Member for South Birmingham (Mr. Amery) in respect to the children of aliens already in the country. I think my hon. Friend went a little farther and talked of people who are coming to the country. Alien children may be going to be naturalised, but they cannot be until they are twenty-one. The concession of the Home Secretary leaves a gap in their case which he ought to consider between this and the next stage of the Bill and see whether, following out the logical consequence of the concession he has already made, he ought not to introduce some provision to deal with those children who are already here.
§ Mr. AMERY
These children are not members of approved societies, so the concession which is offered is not really valuable. I appeal to the Government to drop the whole of the Clause. These Amendments are going to introduce an enormous amount of financial complication. Why should the British people be taxed to provide all the extra money to make these elaborate separate accounts? The whole thing is unnecessary, and it is only the personal pride of the Government that compels them to retain the whole Clause.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I beg to move, after the words last inserted, to add the words "This Section shall not apply to any person who on the fourth day of May, 1911, was a member of a society which shall become an approved society, and has been resident for five years in the United Kingdom."
§ Mr. HOHLER
I wish to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he cannot carry this concession a little further. Could not you exclude the five years so as to make your Amendment run, "any person who on the 4th day of May, 1911, was a member of a society which shall become an approved society." The advantage of it is this. It will avoid all inquiry by a society as to how long a man has been a member. The mere fact that he was a member will obviate all inquiry of any sort or kind.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The real difficulty is that every alien who comes in will 1120 have his reserve value. The hon. member talks about taxing merely to keep accounts, but as a matter of fact every alien will have a reserve value. That will fall on British subjects. It might be right or wrong, but the Committee ought to realise it. Every alien would have between £5 and £8 paid into his account out of funds which are provided in the Bill.
§ Amendment agreed to.
Further Amendments made
In Sub-section (2), leave out the word "widow," and insert instead thereof the word "woman."
Leave out the words "to be a British subject," and insert instead thereof "not a subject under the provisions of this Section if her husband is dead or if the marriage has been dissolved or annulled or if she has for a period of not less than two years been actually separated from or deserted by her husband."—[Mr. Lloyd George.]
§ Question, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Tuesday next, 7th November.
§ Whereupon Mr. SPEAKER, pursuant to the Order of the House of 24th October, proposed the Question, "That this House do now adjourn."