HC Deb 30 November 1911 vol 32 cc836-52

I beg to move the following Motion standing on the Paper in the name of the Prime Minister, That the Order made by this House on the 26th October, 1911, with respect to Business of the House (National Insurance Bill) (Allocation of Time), shall be amended by the substitution of the following Table for that portion of Table B annexed to that Order which relates to the proceedings of the fourth and fifth allotted days, and the time for those proceedings to be brought to a conclusion:—

Allotted Day. Proceedings. Time for Proceedings to be brought to a conclusion.
Fourth Parts II. and III. of the Bill and the First Schedule 10.30 on the fourth allotted day, or 4.30 if that day is Friday.
Fifth The remainder of the Schedules, and any other matter necessary to bring the Report stage to a conclusion 10.30, or 4.30 if that day is a Friday.

I gave way to the hon. Gentleman on the point of Order. The reason why I move this variation in the Order of the House is one which I think will commend itself to hon. Members on both sides. The proposal is that we should begin with the Second Schedule instead of the First Schedule on the last day. The reason for that is this: Looking at the Amendment Paper, I should say that the Amendments on Part II. will be disposed of early tomorrow. Part III. was very fully discussed in Committee. There was no Debate at all on Schedule II. There have been two or three Debates on the contributions. There was the Debate, first of all, upon the Financial Resolution, and the whole question of contributions was discussed then. There was a Debate upon Clause 3, which deals with contributions. There was an opportunity for further discussion upon Clause 3 when we moved the amended Resolution on finance, because the Amendment on finance was moved with special reference to the alteration we proposed to make in the contributions. Still, there was no opportunity on those three occasions to move a direct Amendment as to the amount of contributions. Therefore I think it is desirable, in the interests of discussion, that there should be at least a day's debate on the question of contribution. There are one or two important questions to be raised, I see, by the Amendments. I think the House would like to have an opportunity for debating those Amendments. In order to afford that opportunity, especially after the First Schedule has already been fully discussed, I submit this Motion to the House.


If this proceeding is brought forward by general assent, it is well within the understanding, because the Prime Minister was quite distinctly pledged not to enter into wholly new business, that had no relation to the business under discussion, after eleven o'clock. It is not desirable that understandings of that kind should be broken. My hon. Friend the Member for the City of London drew attention to the question, and to what would be the effect of suspending the Eleven o'Clock Rule. The Prime Minister in reply said:— We intend to guard a discussion which is approaching its conclusion, which may very often reach its conclusion in a quarter of an hour or half an hour—I am not binding myself, otherwise there may be charges of breaches of faith—but I will say within reasonable elasticity, a phrase capable of a great many interpretations. That is the kind of case we have in view. The only other case I can think of would be one, where there was agreement to take a Bill, although a Government Bill, a Bill of a departmental or non-controversial character."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24th October, 1911, col. 28.] I do not see the Prime Minister. I hope he is not unwell. If he is not, I think he ought to be in his place on a Motion of this kind. He is the Leader of the House, and it is very disrespectful of the Leader of the House not to be in his place when a Motion as to business is under discussion, and it is exceedingly inconvenient because we have to rely on those assurances, and it is inconvenient to discuss them in his absence. My right hon. Friend the Member for East Worcestershire (Mr. Austen Chamberlain) cross-examined the Prime Minister, as he said, and he had the assurance to complain of being cross-examined. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire said:— I understand the right Gentleman to preclude himself from beginning a new Bill after eleven o'clock, without the general assent of the House."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24th October, 1911, col. 29.] The Prime Minister objected to being cross-examined, and made a statement at considerable length, concluding— Subject to that I do say that without consent, we should not propose to enter upon a new Bill. I do not know whether the Government rely on the distinction between a Bill and a Resolution. That would be worthy of the Witches of "Macbeth"— That keep the word of promise to our ear. —and break it in the sense. This is not a very controversial business, and if it has the general assent of the House I should not stand in the way, as I have not any strong opinion on the matter. It is not keeping faith with the House to do it, and it is not the only instance by many.


Speaking by leave of the House, I think I had rather not enter into the very controversial sentence with which the Noble Lord concluded his speech. The only alternative to this is a Saturday sitting, and surely that is not for the convenience of the House. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] I do not think hon. Members who interrupt me would consider that a very satisfactory arrangement.


Why is it the only alternative?


I will tell you why. I think I have interpreted the desire of the majority of those who are interested in the discussion in saying that it is desirable that we should have a Debate on Schedule 2, and not merely the desire of those in the House, but those outside who are specially interested in the apportionment of the contributions. We feel bound, in honour bound, to do what we can to propose a Resolution which will enable the House to have that opportunity. If we did not do it to-night our only chance would be by setting up a Saturday sitting.


Let us do that.


The Noble Lord says let us do that; but I do not think that that is the general feeling of the House. My right hon. Friend was anxious to get Clause 81 to-night, and had it not been for this Motion he would have gone on until that Clause was passed. The Adjournment was really proposed in order that we might move this Motion. I do not think we are breaking faith in the spirit. In the letter—I am not pressing the point; we are not substantially breaking faith. What the Prime Minister really meant—I was not here at the time, but I have consulted my right hon. Friend who was—was that we would not start a new Bill of a controversial character after eleven o'clock. But this Motion is in reference to the Bill under discussion, and the consideration of that Bill was adjourned earlier than it would otherwise have been in order that we might get this Resolution. Some hon. Members are very anxious to raise the cotton question in Lancashire, and I think it ought to be discussed. If I were anxious to get rid of an inconvenient question I would not move this Resolution. It is because I am desirous of discussing these questions, however inconvenient they may be, so that the case may be stated on both sides, that I am making this proposal.


I think my Noble Friend did right in calling attention to the undertaking given by the Prime Minister, and it would have been a great pity if he had not done so. The question resolves itself into this: Is the Motion really controversial, or is it not? If it were really controversial, I do not think the right hon. Gentleman ought to take it; he would be bound by the pledge of the Prime Minister. Speaking for myself, I regard the whole of our proceedings under the guillotine as so cribbed, cabined, and confined, that it is absolutely immaterial what compartments you suggest, what arrangements you make, for the discussion of this or that detail, of this clause or of that schedule. Every part of the Bill requires examination and amendment, and ought to be discussed. Therefore, I say that if you in your generosity say that we will curtail the discussion of Part II. to a single afternoon, in order that we may have a discussion of Schedule II. on the following day, it is perfectly immaterial. I am just as ready to discuss Schedule II. as any other part of the Bill. Before the Report stage I suggested that we should take Part II. first, believing that the discussion would occupy but a limited time, so that the rest of the time available might be devoted to the discussion of Part I. An arrangement was nearly arrived at by agreement. If the suggestion had been carried out, we could have had two and a-half days for the discussion of the Clauses of Part I. As it is, we have not had a single moment for the discussion of many of the Clauses of Part I. I am not going into the general question of the guillotine. That was very ably dealt with in the short and eloquent speech of the Leader of the Opposition this evening. I say this particular guillotine motion has not the slightest interest for me. The Government has shown little judgment of the real difficulties of their own Bill, and little ability in apportioning the time properly for discussion of one part as compared with another. I say that they have given too much time for the discussion of some sections, and far too little for the discussion of others. They must take the whole responsibility for this particular Motion.


This is a controversial topic, and if the Noble Lord and others think that the Prime Minister gave a pledge—if they insist upon that, there is no alternative but to have a Saturday sitting. I should certainly not press the matter if that is the view taken by the Opposition—that it should not be pressed after eleven o'clock at night. Therefore I put myself in their hands.


It was in answer to a speech of mine that the Prime Minister gave his undertaking. It is quite true that I used the word "Bills" in connection with the suspension of the eleven o'clock rule, but if the House will consider for a moment I think it is quite evident that when one discusses whether or not advantage will be taken of the suspension of the rule that it includes everything, whether the Bill or business. From the day the pledge was given till now no one could have observed the undertaking in a more honourable spirit than the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Government Whip. I am very glad, in order that there should be no misunderstanding on these matters—which are important for both sides of the House—that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has taken the view he has done. So far as I am personally concerned I do not in the least care whether it is taken or not. But I thought I ought to get up and inform the House that in my opinion, if the Resolution was taken, it would be a breach of the undertaking given by the Prime Minister, for ever since 24th October the pledge has been religiously observed by the right hon. Gentleman.


I would like to point this out that if this new resolution is carried the First Schedule cannot be discussed at all to-morrow. The First Schedule is the only part of the Bill that interests me, because of the numerous people who have written to me upon the subject. The First Schedule deals with the people who want to get out of the operation of the Bill—the most numerous class, I think—including, amongst others, secondary school teachers, hospital nurses, and the domestic servants. By this Motion to-night the Government are going to carry this alteration in Part I. by half-past four to-morrow, and it will not be discussed in any way, whereas if it is taken on Monday some of the people seeking exemption will have their claims discussed by this House.


So far as I can ascertain the feelings of hon. Members, and certainly speaking for myself, I would strongly prefer the Resolution as it stands at present than the Motion moved to-night, and for this reason. We are particularly anxious to discuss in the House upon Report stage several very important questions as to what classes of the community should be exempt from the operations of the Bill. If this Resolution of the Government is passed to-night we should find ourselves without any opportunity of discussing these important points. Upon the merits of it we are very strongly opposed to the Motion [...] the Chancellor of the Exchequer. We think the subject so important that if another day could be given to it, even if it was a Saturday, it would be infinitely better that Members of Parliament should be willing to give another day to matters like this rather than that they should be rushed through and passed into law without a reasonable opportunity for discussion and amendment, which they certainly ought to have.

I am the more emboldened to make these observations by the fact that I distinctly understood, when the Prime Minister brought forward his Motion with regard to the suspension of the eleven o'clock rule—and we paid very great attention to every word that fell from him on that occasion—it was made clear that any extra business could only be put down and discussed upon a night when the business of the Insurance Bill had been concluded at half-past ten o'clock. We all felt that it would be a reasonable thing if the Government choose to bring forward any business if the business of the Insurance Bill had been disposed of at an early hour that they should do so. We understood that to have been made perfectly clear upon the Motion for the suspension of the eleven o'clock rule. It was understood that the Government would only ask us to deal with matters of form on nights when the guillotine operated at 10.30, which would allow time for reasonable discussion. It has now been made clear that there is a very considerable difference of opinion upon the merits of the Motion the Chancellor of the Exchequer has brought forward, and there are very strong reasons why it should not be pressed to-night.


I can only speak by the indulgence of the House, but I wish to say that the very kind speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer has fully met the question of keeping faith. I do not wish to press the matter further. I have not followed this Bill very closely, and I do not quite know which course would be the most convenient, but as I understand from the right hon. Gentleman's reply that the matter is to be adjusted in a friendly spirit, I do not desire to press my Motion.


The Government distinctly promised two and a-half days for the Report stage of the Unemployment Section of this Bill, and they are now proposing to take away one of those days. The Chancellor of the Exchequer assumes that we should finish early to-morrow, but may I point out that we have only done three Clauses to-night, and there are eighteen more. The unemployment part of the Bill has never been before the House at all. It is true it was discussed in the Standing Committee, and now, after a definite promise that two and a-half days would be devoted to this part of the Bill, the Government propose to take away one of those days. I think that is a definite breach of faith. I wish to call attention to the fact that during the proceedings on the Standing Committee certain Amendments were withdrawn on the understanding that they were to be brought up on Report. I protested at the time that there would be very little time on Report, but the President of the Board of Trade said we should have two and a-half days, and that argument was used more than once. And now, at the very last moment, without any warning, the Government propose to take away one of the two and a-half days, reducing the time allowed for this part of the Bill to one and a-half days. I consider this is a complete breach of faith.


It is clear that the Government intend to prevent us having any adequate opportunity of discussing this Bill, and it would be useless to protest or attempt to say which part shall or shall not be discussed. What the hon. Member for Dudley said about the work upstairs is quite accurate, for again and again we were promised consideration of our proposals in the House, and Amendments were withdrawn on the distinct understanding that they should be considered on Report. It is clear that that cannot possibly be done because, however quickly the House moves to-morrow, it will not be able to cover the whole of that ground. As to what will be done on Monday, there are twenty-nine Clauses which have never been discussed at all in Committee, and eleven of them were not discussed on Report. Those eleven Clauses have not been discussed in Committee, on Report, or upon the Second Reading, because they are new Clauses which have never been before the House. I think it is ridiculous for the Government to say to us now, "Would you like your head cut off at ten o'clock or eleven o'clock, or how would you like it?"


Now that the Government are amending their guillotine Motion they should omit so much of it as refers to the Third Reading altogether, and I am going to propose an Amendment to that effect. In the first place, may I point out that there really is never any justification for including the Third Reading stage in a guillotine Motion. As soon as the discussion has gone on sufficiently long it is open to any Member of the House to move the Closure, and that brings the stage to an end then and there. If certain facts arise which make it desirable that the Third Reading should be discussed at length, then the House should have full and free powers of discussing it. If, on the other hand, it is apparent that the Bill has already been sufficiently discussed, and there is no desire to prolong the discussion, then Mr. Speaker, no doubt, in the exercise of his discretion, would allow the Closure to be moved. I have never been able to understand what justification there is for putting a Third Reading into a guillotine Motion, and I do not understand what justification there is in this case.

It appears to me there is in this case even less justification than usual, because unquestionably the Bill has been enormously changed since the Second Reading. Tremendous alterations have been made. They may have been improvements or they may have been the reverse. It is wholly different Bill in many respects from what it was on the Second Reading, and whereas on the Second Reading there was every reason to suppose the Bill was going to be discussed freely and openly in the House, and that no attempt was to be made to curtail the discussion—as I understand was the general understanding in the summer—there suddenly came an alteration in the Government's plans, and the guillotine Motion was proposed to be altered. Since that time undoubtedly the Bill has assumed a very different aspect from what it had during the summer. Therefore, it seems to me—and I submit this to the House as well as to the Government—that this is an occasion on which there is even less reason than usual for arbitrarily cutting short the Third Reading stage by a cast-iron rule before anyone can see what the desire of the House may be at that stage with reference to the length of the discussion.

May I just add this, which I admit is a matter affecting me personally, and therefore is not perhaps of any great importance to the House, but which is of some importance to myself and those whom I represent? I have recently fought an election in North Hertfordshire. During the course of that election both my opponent and I made the Insurance Bill the principal topic which we presented to the electors. We found—I think he found, and I know I found—that the Bill was profoundly unpopular. I firmly believe that if it had been possible to take a Referendum of the electors, not one-tenth of them would have voted for the Bill as it stands at present. That being so, I have no reason to suppose the North Hertfordshire electors are different from the electors in other parts of the country. ["Oh."] It might be different in the case of the electors who have the honour to be represented by the hon. Member opposite who dissents, but it certainly is not different from the case of other agricultural electors—at least that is what other hon. Members who have an opportunity of addressing agricultural electors inform me. That being so, I feel that this is a case in which further discussion of this Bill is very urgently needed, and, as far as I am personally concerned, I am absolutely pledged to do my best to press for very considerable changes in the Bill. The hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. Booth) was good enough a day or two ago in this House to make an observation with myself and others that: They assured the people that they would come here and put this Bill right, and tell the Chancellor of the Exchequer what they think. Where are they? Why are they not here? They dare not speak upon this Bill. As far as I am concerned, I am perfectly ready to speak on this Bill, and I desire to have a full and free opportunity on the Third Reading to present those arguments which I had the honour to set before the electors of my Constituency.


May I make a personal explanation? I do not think the hon. and learned Gentleman has read out the whole point of my remarks. I called attention to the three elections, and asked where the victors were, and there were cries from the Opposition side that they had been in the House that afternoon. I said, "If that is so, they have not dared to speak."


The point of the hon. Member's observation was that I myself and two of my colleagues were afraid to present to this House the arguments we used to our constituents.


I think so.


I am prepared, if the Government will give me the opportunity on the Third Reading, to show that the hon. Member is entirely mistaken, and that he is making one of those charges that are absolutely baseless. As a matter of fact, observations of the kind I desire to make can only be made on Second and Third Readings. The hon. Member's invitation to us to enter upon a full discussion of our objections to the Bill on the Amendment then under discussion was not an invitation we were likely to accept. But that is only a personal matter. It is of importance to the House in this respect, that undoubtedly the feeling of the country has undergone a considerable change in regard to the Bill since Second Reading. The people understand now, for one thing, as they have had the advantage of the explanations of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in very elaborate speeches, and it was explained, I believe, by the hon. Member for Pontefract in my own division in a very elaborate speech. Under these circumstances, and in view of the great change of public feeling, I submit that in the case of this Bill, more than in the case of most Bills, there is less reason for arbitrarily cutting short the discussion on the Third Reading, and it ought to be left to the House, under the guardianship of Mr. Speaker, to say how long that discussion should last. Under these circumstances, I beg to move after the word "by" ["amended by the substitution"] to insert the words "omitting so much of it as refers to the Third Reading and by." The effect of that would be to cut out from the original Resolution all words referring to the Third Reading, and leave the Third Reading to the ordinary Rules of the House.


I beg to second the Amendment.


I have consulted those who have considered the arrangements on behalf of the Government, and the objection to the Amendment is that it might interfere with the time that the Lords require for the Second Reading of the Bill. My recollection, which goes back a good many years, is that as regards most of these Bills only a day has been given to the Third Reading. I remember very well the Education Bill of 1902, in which the Noble Lord (Lord Hugh Cecil) took a great interest. He will admit that was a very controversial Bill, and yet I do not know that we got even a full day for the Third Reading. At all events, I am perfectly certain that we did not get more than a day, and the Third Reading Debate on that Bill was by no means the most useful of the discussions we had. As to the remarks of the Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin (Lord Robert Cecil), the only observaton I wish to make is that if the Bill is unpopular it is because we have followed the advice which the Noble Lord gave in connection with another matter when he moved that we should proceed on contributory lines.


An account has been given of my views which is absolutely unwarranted, and I have contradicted it before. I was always in favour of a contributory scheme; I was never in favour of a compulsory scheme. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer will refer to what I have said he will find that is the case.


. I do not need to read anything the Noble Lord has said; I accept his words at once. But that undoubtedly was the view upon which the Opposition as a whole proceeded, and there are plenty of hon. Members present who can confirm what I say. But I will pass from that. All I will say is that if you want to make the Bill popular there is an easy way to do it—that is take the fourpence off the workman. All you have to do is to shift the burden of contribution from the shoulders of the workman and you would make the Bill very popular, at any rate with the bulk of the people of the country. I am surprised that the Noble Lord (Lord Robert Cecil) advocated a by-election as a test of the popularity or unpopularity of a measure. He is the last man in this House I expected to see coming forward as a champion of that kind of theory. I do not think it is altogether worthy of his advocacy of other causes in the past. But I will not pursue that subject further; I would rather confine myself to the Amendment before the House. Again, I say I do not think the Third Reading is a very useful stage to us, and I have never known a Guillotine Resolution moved—I will not say by the present Government, but by the late Government—which gave more than a day for that purpose. On the two Bills which I referred to earlier—the Education Bill and the Licensing Bill—we got a day for the Third Reading of each. I am not sure that in the case of one of them it was not half a day—a Friday. I thought the Noble Lord (Lord R. Cecil) was going to propose that the day which is to be allocated to the Third Reading should be given to the discussion of Amendments on Report. That, I am bound to say, would have been more worthy of consideration, but his present proposal is one the Government could not possibly assent to.


The answer of the right hon. Gentleman to my Noble Friend's Amendment is clearly entirely unsatisfactory. He says that the Government cannot give an extra day for the Third Reading, because if they did the Lords would not have sufficient time for the Second Reading of the Bill. I think that in the interests of fuller discussion those who are responsible for the conduct of business in another place might be able to spare us another day for the Third Reading Debate in this House. At any rate, I think if the interests of the Bill as a whole would be served by the devotion of another day to the Third Reading this House ought to have it. The right hon. Gentleman says the custom has grown up of devoting only one day to the Third Reading of the most controversial measures. There is a very good reason for that. You have a controversial fight the whole way through the Committee and the Report stage, and by that time everybody knows pretty well where they are. But that is by no means the case with this Bill. The fact is the Bill we are going to read a third time is not the Bill we read a second time, and half of it we have never discussed. My hon. Friend the Member for Colchester (Mr. Worthington-Evans) has pointed out that twenty-nine Clauses of Part I. of the Bill have never had a single word of discussion upon them, and eighteen of these were passed in a single sitting without anyone having a chance to speak. To-night we have had put from the Chair 470 odd Questions—a proceeding which occupied an hour and a-half of the time of the House. That obviously puts the Bill in an entirely different category from other measures which have been referred to. You cannot, therefore, draw any comparison between this Bill and ordinary measures which are passed, whether with or without the aid of the guillotine. I still hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer may reconsider his decision. The suggestion my Noble Friend has made is perfectly reasonable. There is a very general desire on the part of hon. Members who sit on these Benches to take part in the Third Reading Debate, and unless this extra time is given, very few of them will be able to do so, while those who do take part will, if the time is limited to one day, have to make their speeches exceedingly brief.


I must say I feel bound to attack the right hon. Gentleman for his attitude in this matter. There are Members of the House who have never been able to speak freely on this Bill at all, and now it is a new Bill. It is entirely different from the Bill which was brought in originally by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I have never had what I call my head loose on the Bill at all. I must say I should like very much to speak freely on the Bill, and so would a great many other hon. Gentleman. I do not think that it is an unreasonable request that we should have at all events a couple of days for the Third Reading with the Eleven o'Clock Rule suspended, so that hon. Gentlemen could have a chance of speaking on the Bill if they wanted to. I can promise the Chancellor of the Exchequer that wherever I go, and in my own Division, at all events, unless we have this concession, I shall tell the people that the Government would not give a fair chance of discussing the Bill, because they were afraid the absurdity of it would be exposed. I think, in their own interests, therefore, they should give us a proper opportunity of debating the Bill.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."


I desire to move a further Amendment to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's motion that after the word "conclusion" ["these proceedings to be brought to a conclusion"] to add the words "provided that no speech on either of the days mentioned in the schedule below shall exceed twenty minutes."


I do not think that would be relevant. That would have to be done by special Order of the House.


As a matter of Order, may I be allowed to press

The House divided: Ayes, 37; Noes, 120.

Division No. 418.] AYES. [12.50 a.m.
Balcarres, Lord Greene, W. R. Smith, Harold (Warrington)
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Helmsley, Viscount Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)
Ben, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth) Henderson, Major H. (Berks., Abingdon) Starkey, John R.
Benn, Ion H. (Greenwich) Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Stewart, Gershom
Bigland, Alfred Hunt, Rowland Thynne, Lord Alexander
Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith- Ingleby, Holcombe Wheler, Granville C. H.
Bridgeman, W. Clive Larmor, Sir J. Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey) Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University) Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton) Worthington-Evans, L.
Chaloner, Col. R. G. W. Pole-Carew, Sir R. Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott Pryce-Jones, Col. E.
Eyres-Monsell, B. M. Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Lord R. Cecil and Mr. Rawlinson.
Forster, Henry William Sanders, Robert A.
Gibbs, G. A.
Acland, Francis Dyke Hackett, J. Nugent, Sir Walter R.
Ainsworth, John Stirling Hancock, J. G. O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire) Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)
Allen, Charles P. (Stroud) Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds.) O'Doherty, Philip
Anderson, A. M. Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.) O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)
Baker, H. T. (Accrington) Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)
Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple) Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry Parker, James (Halifax)
Bentham, G. J. Hayden, John Patrick Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)
Boland, John Pius Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Pointer, Joseph
Booth, Frederick Handel Higham, John Sharp Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
Bowerman, C. W. Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. Power, Patrick Joseph
Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.) Horne, Charles Silvester (Ipswich) Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)
Bryce, J. Annan Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar) Hughes, S. L. Pringle, William M. R.
Byles, Sir William Pollard Hunter, W. (Govan) Raffan, Peter Wilson
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)
Chancellor, H. G. Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil) Reddy, M.
Chapple, Dr. W. A. Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe) Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Clough, William Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Collins, G. P. (Greenock) Jowett, F. W. Robinson, Sidney
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Keating, M. Rowntree, Arnold
Cowan, W. H. Kellaway, Frederick George Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Kennedy, Vincent Paul Scanlan, Thomas
Crawsllay Williams, Eliot King, J. (Somerset, N.) Sherwell, Arthur James
Crumley, Patrick Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West) Shortt, Edward
Dawes, J. A. Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th) Simon, Sir John Allsebrook
Doris, W. Lewis, John Herbert Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)
Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.) Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)
Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid) Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J. Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)
Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding) Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Elverston, Sir Harold Markham, Sir Arthur Basil Toulmin, Sir George
Essex, Richard Walter Marshall, Arthur Harold Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
Ferens, T. R. Masterman, C. F. G. Webb, H.
Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.) Whitehouse, John Howard
Flavin, Michael Joseph Morgan, George Hay Whyte, A. F. (Perth)
George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd Muldoon, John Wiles, Thomas
Gill, A. H. Munro, R. Williams, P. (Middlesbrough)
Gladstone, W. G. C. Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)
Glanville, H. J. Neilson, Francis
Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke) Nolan, Joseph TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Gulland and Mr. Wedgwood Benn.
Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway) Norton, Capt. Cecil W.

the point that the object of the Amendment is to enable more ground to be covered by the discussion. It is very important, and I submit very respectfully that the Amendment of my hon. Friend is quite applicable to a case where we are confining a large amount of business to a specified time, in order to be able to get over the ground.


I would have considerable sympathy with the Amendment if it proposed to cut down the speeches to ten minutes, but I do not think so important a change in the procedure of the House can be admitted as an Amendment. It would require a more substantive and more solemn Motion.


On the original Motion I desire to draw attention to an inaccuracy of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I wish to point out that he was under a misapprehension when he refused the Amendment of my Noble Friend the Member for North Herts (Lord R. Cecil). We find that the Education Bill of 1902 was discussed for two days on Third Reading, and as the right hon. Gentleman used that Bill as a precedent for this one I think it would have been as well, before using it as an argument for refusing the Amendment of my Noble Friend he should have been more seized of the facts. In addition to the fact that we are not going to be allowed proper time for the Third Reading of this Bill I wish to point out, though we do not consider this Amendment of the guillotine Motion controversial in itself, that it is most hypocritical of the Government to come down at this stage and amend the Motion. It is nothing but an attempt to deceive the country into thinking that this Bill has not been so much closured as it has been—nothing but an attempt to induce the country to believe that we have had adequate discussion. I wish to say, in the clearest possible terms, that we have had no adequate discussion on any part of the Bill. If we had I should like hon. Members to ask themselves what is the supposed value of the Report stage. Not a single Clause of this Bill has been discussed on the Report stage.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer is apparently surprised that we object to that. He thinks he has only to come here with Amendments and say they are all beneficial to us, or else that they are drafting Amendments. Was ever a more absurd proposition? The Amendments may be improvements: I do not say that they are not; but who are to be the judges of whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer's promises are fulfilled or not? Is it the person who makes the promise or the person to whom it is made? To try to throw on us the onus of accepting or rejecting these Amendments when we have no chance of discussing them is to be hypocritical with the country, and is deceiving this House. The Chancellor of the Exchequer was equally hypocritical in what he said about the Second Reading Debate in the Lords —as if he cared one bit about what happens in the Lords! We know he has no regard whatever for that assembly, and that in any case the whole time which the House of Lords has for the discussion of the Bill must be inadequate, because of the exigencies of Parliamentary time, and to enable Parliament to rise before Christmas.

We know that the whole discussion of this Bill by the House of Lords will be absolutely farcical from beginning to end—only one degree more so than it has been in this House; and farcical for this reason, that if they were to start to amend the Bill properly and discuss it right through, instead of sitting from now to Christmas they would be sitting from now till Christmas next year. I only wished to make these few observations to show that we see the object of this Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It is to throw dust in the eyes of the country, to make the country think certain parts of the Bill have been discussed which have not been discussed, and to make the country think our protests against the Closure have not behind them that backing which we know they have.

Main Question put, and agreed to.