HC Deb 05 August 1912 vol 41 cc2773-91

The Noble Lord, with whom I fully sympathise, was good enough to emphasise the fact that the county council did try to get control over these places and were refused. I hope now we shall be able to get control over them. I want, however, to raise a question which rather affects the War Office. This House has acquiesced in the proposal that there should be a minimum wage of 24s. a week paid to the men in the Royal Arsenal and other places. The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs who was formerly Financial Secretary to the War Office, made a speech which has been quoted so frequently that I am afraid he will be tired of hearing it. We made a good many attempts in this House to get something like a decent minimum wage, and the hon. Gentleman in reply to an appeal of my own told us an Advisory Committee had made careful inquiries, and reported that the wage paid by good employers of work of that type was something like 25s. 6d. per week:— That at once brought up the question of privileges, which I have more than once talked over with the hon. Member who raised this question. He believes, and I am rather inclined to agree with him, that it might be better to do away with our system of privileges altogether, and not to reckon privileges as having equivalent in wages. We have not done that, but we have gone a step in what he will regard as the right direction. We have left the privileges as they are, but instead of reckoning them as being equivalent to a wage of 1s. in the £1, we are going to reckon them now as only equivalent to a wage of 6d. in the £1, and therefore only as equivalent to 6d. when we are considering the figures named to us by the Committee, which is 25s. 6d.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th March, 1911, cols. 2335–6, Vol. XXII.] The conclusion arrived at was that these men in the Arsenal were to be paid not less than 24s. a week including sick benefit with a doctor, which were the privileges talked of. There has been a change of office two or three times since, and we have had various interpretations and now for two weeks in succession the minimum wage has been reduced by 4d. a week. If you made a contract with the men to find sick pay, surely it was your duty to pay the 4d., and not ask the men to pay it, or to deduct it from the miserable 24s. per per week which you have guaranteed over and over again. I remember the last Conservative Administration came to the conclusion that when a minimum had been fixed it should not be reduced even by compulsory holidays. This was confirmed tinder the present Liberal Administration by Lord Haldane when he was Secretary of State for War, and men who lost work through no fault of their own were assured of the full rate. We were told they had appropriated a sum for the express purpose of paying an increased rate of wage, and we were under the foolish belief that if any alteration were made the War Office had made provision. We were told when the increase was given that they had the. Insurance Bill in mind. The speech of the hon. Gentleman was made on 15th March, and it was not until late in May that the Insurance Act was introduced. They say the privileges are equivalent to 6d. in the £, and they have actually given 6d. in the £ to the men who receive about 30s. a week, so that the man receiving 50s. a week has had his pay increased by 1s. 6d., but they take 4d. off the men who receive 24s.

This House has unanimously agreed the men should get not less than 24s. per week, and at the proper time it will resent your reducing that wage to pay for a benefit which you owe them. If you have entered into arrangement with the Insurance Commissioners for sick benefit and the services of a doctor very well, but you must pay the minimum wage to these men. You may argue as long as you like that the men did not understand. They did understand, and it will take all the ability of the Attorney-General and the hon. Gentlemen to make them believe they have not been done out of 4d. I agree with them. You may have said to newcomers they will not get any sick pay, but it was promised to the men whose wages were at the irreducible minimum. How many times did we hear of the difficulties of living on 24s. a week. The hon. Gentleman agreed, and the House cheered him to the echo. Yes, and these men want to know when you are going to give them their 8d. back. The fact of the matter is the War Office have made a mistake, and I do ask them to go to the Treasury and to pay these men the money which is owing to them. No argument will convince them that 4d. is not being deducted from what is their rightful wage. I do not know what the answer is going to be, but whatever it is these men will not be content until the minimum wage of 24s. per week is restored to them.


This matter has been raised in connection with a speech I made on 15th March last year, and I would like to take the opportunity of replying on that point, although, if the question is pursued, the present Financial Secretary of the War Office will deal with it. I only want to deal with the matter as it is affected by what I said last year. I think we shall get it clear if we take it in two parts: first, in connection with the minimum wage, and, secondly, in connection with the question of privileges. The hon. Member, as it seems to me, is really urging that in the case of men receiving the minimum wage the Government should have said in advance of the introduction and passing of the Insurance Act that they would not only pay the 3d. and the 2d., but the 4d. as well, and that in no case where a man was receiving a less rate should that man pay his 4d.


Plus sick pay.


I will go into the question of privileges presently. If all Government employés, or if a particular class of Government employés, had to have 4d. paid for them as well as 5d., surely it was quite impossible for us in March last year, before the Insurance Act was passed, to announce it to the persons employed by the Government at Woolwich. If it were not done universally throughout the country, it would be an exceptional thing if we were to say in the case of these men that the Government would pay the whole 9d. instead of only 5d. How is that affected by the question of privileges and the revaluation of the privileges? My account of that is this: The men had convinced us that our own valuation of the privileges, namely, 1s. in the £ was too high. I took the line we could not split sixpences. We had either to have an equivalent of 1s., or, if we could not show there was an equivalent of 1s., then it must be reduced to the equivalent of 6d. Consequently, when it was shown the privileges were not worth 1s., I said, "We will put them at sixpence." I made it clear in a letter I wrote to the hon. Member for Woolwich that under the Insurance Act the actual value of the privileges was 8½d. or 9d., but as they were not worth 1s. we could only count them as worth 6d. The only question which presented itself to me is whether, after the deduction from the privileges likely to be given under the Insurance Act, the remaining privileges would be worth 6d. I knew perfectly well that between the date when we made that change and the coming into operation of the Insurance Act there would be considerably higher privileges than were worth 6d. offered by the Government. I thought that it was fair, first, considering that probably we had been taking it out of the men a bit too much, while counting the privileges as worth 1s., and knowing, as I did, that after the Insurance Act passed through this House, things would be more nearly fair to both sides. I maintain that our contract with the men was that they should get 24s., plus 6d. worth of privileges, and that, the 6d. remaining demonstrable after the passing of the Insurance Act, they should, like any other wage-earners in any other part of the country, be subject to any deduction which might be authorised under any scheme of compulsory National Insurance, unless this House directed it otherwise. I maintain we could not state then, and cannot state now, unless instructed by Parliament, that we would pay the 4d. as well as the 5d. We cannot do more than say, as we did say then, that as we can show the privileges were not worth 1s., they must be taken as worth 6d., and we were quite justified, when the Insurance Act came along, knowing the privileges would be worth 6d. or 7d. more after the Act had come into operation, in calling on the men to pay for the privileges over and above the 6d.


Why does not the allowance of 6d. in the pound apply to the 24s. a week men?


I wish to call attention to several matters connected with Home Office administration. First of all, I want to direct the attention of the House to the fact that forcible feeding has gone on since the Debate in the House two or three weeks ago, and I want to ask the Home Secretary whether the time has not arrived when the Government should appoint some small or large Committee to consider the whole question. I take it that the House this afternoon, when we had that universal laugh at the statement that a woman had been discharged because she was hysterical after forcible feeding, did not display its real attitude. Whatever people's minds may be on the subject of forcible feeding the fact remains that many of these women have had to be discharged not after continual forcible feeding but after only once being forcibly fed, and this proves that this is a very disagreeable, very dangerous, and, in the view of some people, and in my own view, a very disgusting process indeed. I do not believe the House realises that a very large number of eminent doctors have put it on record that forcible feeding under these circumstances is really dangerous to health and to life itself. The very case the right hon. Gentleman mentioned this afternoon is a very extraordinary one. Those who take an interest in the subject will remember that in the case of a man named Ball, he, through forcible feeding or otherwise, certainly did go out of his mind while in prison, and after he had been forcibly fed, and it is on record that this man did not actually resist forcible feeding. Most of the women I am told—and they have all been examined by a most eminent physician—most of the women discharged as being liable to die or as being in a very weak state of health indeed owing to forcible feeding—had only been fed on one occasion, and the very woman about whom I asked a question this afternoon was, I understand, only fed or attempted to be fed, twice; yet in the end she had to be discharged. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman meant to convey the idea that because she took her food properly, after being told she would be discharged, she fully recovered her health, for then there would be no reason for discharging her. I take it she was so discharged because it would have been dangerous to her life or reason to have kept her in prison.

If that were an isolated case there might be something to be said for leaving the matter in the hands of the prison doctors. But I have in my pocket a series of statements, authenticated by some of the highest physicians in the country, who have examined women after they have been discharged from prison, and have unanimously declared that most of the cases are cases on similar lines to the one I have just mentioned. It seems to me that whatever case the Home Secretary may have for forcible feeding, there is no case for saying that he is forcibly feeding them for the purpose of preventing them determining their own sentences. Whatever other reason he may give, he cannot possibly give that as a reason, as over 60 per cent. of the women who have gone on hunger strikes have determined their own sentences, and have had to be discharged. Does the House of Commons want this kind of thing to go on or not? And is it not time we found a more excellent method of dealing with what, after all, is passive resistance, the strongest form of resistance that is possible in any community, the resistance of just standing or sitting still and absolutely refusing to do anything? Is it not time that the House asked the Home Secretary and the prison authorities to find some better method of dealing with these women?

9.0 P.M.

I want to re-emphasise the point that you gain nothing by this method. If at the end you could show that it kept all these women in prison, there would be something to be said for it from the penal point, of view, but you do not succeed in doing that. The medical men who have advised the Home Secretary are of opinion that there is no danger in it. There must be danger in it, otherwise the women would not be discharged as they are being discharged. In practice it proves itself so dangerous that the women are bound to be discharged. The House ought to realise that it is not for fun that the women undergo, in some ways, untold misery both before and after this process. They are doing it for the same principle that every political prisoner has ever endured any kind of hardship in a prison. They do not want to be treated as criminals; they want to have the kind of treatment that you mete out to international political offenders. It is of no use the Attorney-General saying, as he did on the last occasion, that there is no such thing as a political offender. We do recognise political offenders, and the fight the women are putting up is for the same recognition. Even if the Home Secretary does not appoint a Committee to inquire into what has been done, I hope that he will draft some rules so as to bring Rule 243A and the Rules concerning first-class misdemeanants into one, and treat all political offenders as first-class misdemeanants. I have read over again the two letters of Lord Justice Coleridge with regard to the three prisoners who were convicted of conspiracy. I am still unsatisfied that there has not been differentiation in regard to prisoners. I am not going to say that the Home Secretary is the person who is altogether guilty. I do not know whether that is the case, because I do not know what happened outside this House, but I do know what happened with regard to Mr. Justice Coleridge. I know that in sentencing those women he made the statement contained in the letter read out by the Home Secretary, that had they expressed any contrition and promised not to offend again he would have put them in the first division. The second letter, which was written some days afterwards—after the agitation had taken place outside—put an entirely different construction upon that. I do not claim that I know the English language like a judge or a lawyer, but ordinary people reading his first letter and listening to his summing up were under the impression that he wanted to extract a promise from Mrs. Pankhurst and Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence that they would not undertake such an agitation again. That was whittled down finally to saying that if they promised not to carry on the agitation they would be treated as first-class misdemeanants, and they were so treated. I put it to the House that all the other women who were in prison were entitled to exactly the same treatment. Beyond that, I want to claim that those who are now in prison are entitled to that treatment. All people have not the privilege of knowing people in society, who can bring influence to bear upon either Ministers or judges.


On a point of Order. Is the hon. Member in order in reflecting on the conduct of judges in their judicial capacity?

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Maclean)

That is distinctly out of order.


I do not think I was reflecting on the judges. The two letters I quoted are in the OFFICIAL REPORT, and every statement I have made up to the present was made by the Home Secretary standing at that Table. What I said—and I think I am entitled to say it—is that it is a most extraordinary thing that between the writing of the one letter and the writing of the second letter there was great agitation in the country.


I have already directed the hon. Member's attention to the fact that what he said was out of order. I ask him not to repeat it.


If you will tell me what I have repeated that is out of order I am perfectly willing to withdraw it. I want to point out that between Lord Justice Coleridge's first letter and his second letter there was persistent agitation in the country.


The hon. Member is making remarks reflecting upon one of His Majesty's judges. That I have already stated is out of order. I must again ask him not to repeat it.


Am I not entitled to take the two letters which have been used as an argument in defence of the Home Secretary's action and to argue upon those letters, and to point out to the House that there was persistent agitation in the country between the writing of the first letter and the writing of the second letter. Surely if that reflects upon the judge that is his business and not mine. I cannot help it if he should write two distinctly different letters.


I am sorry that the hon. Member wants me to repeat for the third time that he is out of order. I must ask him not to repeat it again.


Am I not entitled to call attention to the two letters? Both of them are published in the OFFICIAL REPORT. I remember that the words of the two letters are entirely different. That is all to which I want to call the attention of the House, and I leave the House and the country to draw their own conclusions from the two letters. I want further to say with regard to the other prisoners who have not got influence with Ministers or other people, that they are unable to get the privileges of Rule 213a. There is a great deal said in this House about equality of treatment. There is lying in one of His Majesty's prisons at the present moment a man convicted of an offence connected with the suffrage agitation, and I contend that if a woman who commits a breach of the peace or an offence against the law under the same circumstances, is entitled to treatment under Rule 243a, the least we can ask is that the man Gray, who is at present in prison, should be treated in the same manner. I do not understand the distinction drawn between prisoners of one sex and the other, and between prisoners of one standing in society and prisoners of another standing in society. That this is so is perfectly evident to anyone who cares to read the evidence on the subject or who take the trouble to find out why various people are imprisoned. I contend that all the prisoners convicted of offences in connection with that agitation should be treated in the same manner. I want to go a step further, and in regard to the prisoners, Crowsley, Tom Mann, the Bucks, and Bowman, and those prisoners connected with the "don't shoot" campaign, to say that each of these was as guiltless of moral turpitude as any prisoner connected with the suffrage agitation, and I do not understand why, just automatically, they should not have been given the same privileges as are given to prisoners under that rule. It is said that the offence of Tom Mann and Crowsley was a very serious one. I do not understand all this talk about the seriousness of one offence and the lesser seriousness of another in this connection. Surely any offence that involves locking up a man is serious enough, and the prisoners who have been sentenced in connection with the "don't shoot" campaign were sentenced to hard labour just as some women were sentenced to hard labour; but in the case of the women, after persistent agitation, we were able to get all of them the conditions of 243A, and I ask that when men are convicted of similar offences they should be treated in the same manner.

That brings me to the last point—the men who are now in prison in connection with the dispute at the docks. There are some hundred, or perhaps more, men at present in prison because of disturbances connected with the late dock strike. I do not defend violence of any kind any more than hon. Gentlemen opposite do, but we shall all agree that when men are suffering the pangs of hunger, when they are going home night after night to face their women and children without food, it is rather hard for them to see other men taking their work under conditions that they think are very unfavourable to their class. At the end of any war, I think even at the end of a civil war in Ulster, if ever it came off, we should all be quite agreeable to see that, as far as possible, all the old sores were cleared up. I believe the great majority, both of dockers and stevedores and all sorts of men, are back at work, and most of us will be going off for a holiday; and those who have children will be seeing them decently and comfortably enjoying themselves. I have a vision of these men in prison and their women and children, knowing that they are in prison and the hopelessness of their struggle with poverty which will be besetting them. Seeing that all classes, from His Majesty downwards, are now putting up money to help people out of the difficulties in which they have been landed, and as the Home Secretary has advised His Majesty to reconsider many sentences during his term of office, I believe no better case could be put up for the consideration of mercy than the case of these men. I have been in some of their disturbances, I have seen how they arose, and I have seen the kind of man who has been taken to prison, and I can assure the House that very often the disturbances have arisen almost spontaneously, without any previous arrangement at all, but just on the spur of the moment, as this kind of disturbance nearly always takes place. So far, hardly any property has been destroyed or injured during the strike. I should say that, considering there are nearly 100,000 practically all poor men with their dependants in the condition this whole population has-been in for ten weeks, the amount, of lawlessness has been quite trivial. Property has been as safe in the East and South-East, London as under normal conditions, and, although some heads have been broken, I hope the Home Secretary will remember that many heads of non-combatants have been broken too, that many people who perhaps took part in the disturbances have had their heads cracked as well, and that many and many a home to-night has got its bread-winner in gaol for six months, and in some cases even for twelve. It seems to me that it would be a rounding off of all this difficulty, it would be showing that at least the Government were willing to take a broad view of their responsibilities, if the sentences on these men could be reconsidered and, if possible, revised. I know some men had nothing whatever to do with the strike, but were in a public park or some public place and were swept into the disturbances, and under these circumstances I wish to make the very strongest appeal I can—mainly because I know many of these men and know their women and children—to the Home Secretary that he will get lists of these men made, and will go into each case, and if it is at all possible advise His Majesty to grant pardon.


The Noble Lord (Lord H. Cavendish-Bentinck), in a sympathetic speech, called1 attention to the fatal fire which occurred in Moor Lane. He pointed to the fact that the evidence at the coroner's inquest shows that the means of escape from the fire were inadequate and particularly referred to the fact that there was no notice pointing out where the proper exit was, and he further called attention to the particular dangers which arise from the use of celluloid in certain factories. With regard to the question of safety from fire, there is a dual jurisdiction. The local authority is responsible for providing proper means of escape from fire, and for determining what is adequate. The Home Office is responsible for inspecting the means of escape which the local authority has ordered to be provided. I did not understand that the Noble Lord blamed the Home Office, and I cannot discover that there was in the present case any dereliction of duty on their part. But I would not wish to run away from responsibility merely by stating the technical limit of the Home Office duty. I entirely agree with the Noble Lord that whether the responsibility be directly ours or not it would be most desirable that our inspectors should call attention, not only to any defect in the maintenance of means of escape, but of any obvious deficiency in the means of escape. I have not yet had a report upon the matter. If no notice of the exits was properly provided, I certainly regret that the attention of the local authority was not called to its absence by the Home Office inspector. With regard to the second point, namely, the dangerous occupation which was carried on in the premises, the matter is not at all an easy one. The Noble Lord suggests that under the powers which the Home Office now enjoys under the Factory Act of 1901 compulsory regulations should be issued dealing with any manufacture which involves the use of celluloid. The difficulties in dealing with the question in a wholesale way are very great. As I am informed, celluloid differs very much in the degree of its inflammability. Some celluloid, I am told, is no more inflammable than wood. Other celluloid, on the contrary, is as dangerous—as appeared from the evidence before the coroner—as was the celluloid used in this particular case. It would be impossible, therefore, if one has regard to the processes of manufacture, to issue general regulations dealing with all cases of the use of celluloid. Then the quantity of celluloid used in any particular manufacture must be a material factor in determining whether the regulations would or would not be applicable. In certain cases where celluloid is used in Sheffield in the manufacture of knife handles the memorandum issued by the Chief Inspector of Factories would be very useful of application. In other cases it is perfectly obvious that we must have further inquiry before we could have regulations which would be of general use. I can assure the Noble Lord that inquiry is to be undertaken at once, and that when we have full information for dealing with this manufacture I am quite confident that if an amendment of the law should be necessary I shall have the support of the House in introducing such an amendment; but if it is not necessary, I assure the House that I shall proceed under the powers I already possess under the Act of 1901. I hope that assurance will satisfy the Noble Lord in regard to the case he has raised.

I turn now to the points mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury). He covered very wide ground, and raised s0everal topics which have already been very fully debated in the House. First of all, in regard to forcible feeding, I am happy to be in a position to inform him that nobody is being forcibly fed at the present time. He asked for inquiry into the subject, on the ground that eminent doctors had declared that it was dangerous to health. He disputed my statement that in the practice of forcible feeding as now carried on all danger is avoided. My hon. Friend must not quote me as having said that under no circumstances could there be danger in forcible feeding. As he rightly pointed out, such a statement could not be true, in the opinion of the Home Office. I frequently have advised the exercise of the prerogative, in order to release a prisoner to whom forcible feeding would be dangerous. The question is whether it would be dangerous, as carried on at the present time. The moment we are advised that there would be any serious danger, or permanent danger to health, and anything more than temporary inconvenience, the practice of forcible feeding is discontinued. My hon. Friend says, cannot we devise some other method of dealing with these prisoners? I wish he would help me. He suggests that as these prisoners cannot be kept in prison under conditions of forcible feeding, and as therefore forcible feeding cannot be necessary, or cannot be practised, with the intention of compelling prisoners to remain in prison, therefore forcible feeding should be abandoned. It appears to me a very simple, logical process by which my hon. Friend comes to that conclusion. But what would that mean? If forcible feeding is to be abandoned, and prisoners informed that in no circumstances will they be forcibly fed, then a prisoner has only to announce his intention not to take food, and he will be immediately released. That is the difficulty in which my hon. Friend will be placed. Then as to the doctors who declare that forcible feeding should not be practised in the case of Suffragette prisoners, although it may properly be practised in the case of all other prisoners, the distinction is one I am unable to draw. If I am bound by law, as I am bound, in the administration of the penal code, to keep alive by any means in my power all such prisoners as are committed to the charge of the prison commissioners—[An HON. MEMBER: "Are you?"] I am not permitted by law to allow prisoners to starve themselves. It is the duty of the prison commissioners to see that prisoners do not starve themselves. If that duty is imposed on the prison commissioners, it is imposed as regards all prisoners alike.


Who were the doctors who said otherwise? Was it Sir Victor Horsley?


A long correspondence has been entered into by certain doctors—and I think Sir Victor Horsley was one of them—who said that in their view, in the case of the Suffragette prisoners, forcible feeding should not be applied. I asked if they wished the same rule to apply to all prisoners, and they said that they made that statement with respect to the Suffragette prisoners, and did not wish it to apply to all prisoners, their reason being that the Suffragette prisoners were only imprisoned on account of certain actions resulting from their political beliefs. My own conclusion from that view is that no matter what breach of the law a Suffragette might be guilty of if the prisoner declares her intention not to take food, she must be immediately released. There is no other solution that I can see. I regret that I am unable to give my hon. Friend any assurance whatever that these prisoners who decline to take their food will not be dealt with as the law requires. Then he asks that Rule 243A should be approximated to the conditions of the first division. I would rather put it that it might be an advantage if the conditions of prison life in the first division were rendered more severe, and were brought down to the level of the conditions allowed under Rule 243A. That is a matter to which the Prison Commissioners are giving their attention at present, and if it is thought desirable on a full examination of the case to make any change, I shall announce it to the House at the first opportunity. Then my hon. Friend seemed to have in his mind that the social standing of the prisoners has something to do with their treatment in prison. I can assure him that he is under a complete delusion on that point. I personally have not the slightest idea of what the social standing is of any of the suffragette prisoners who are now in prison, or who have been in prison, and it never entered into my mind either to inquire or to consider what their social standing may be. The hon. Member thinks that the prisoners who were tried before Lord Justice Coleridge were put in the first division on account of their social standing. Nothing could be further from the thoughts of either of the judge or myself, and if it is not a matter to argue about it is because any suggestion that they were put into the first division for some occult reason is entirely without foundation. They were simply placed in the first division because the judge, as he stated in his letter to me, believed that he would have put them into the first division had the prisoners given him at the trial the assurance which they subsequently gave to me.


Is it a fact that the assurance which was asked for the first time differed entirely from that which was asked the second time?


Yes, but the prisoners through their agent volunteered the statement to me as to the conditions on which they would act while in prison. I forwarded that statement to the judge, and the judge, in his letter, stated that although these conditions did not exactly fulfil his original terms, still, if the prisoners had given those pledges at the time of the trial, he would have placed them in the first division.


He never asked for those at the time.


No. I am sure that my hon. Friend wishes to be fair, but he is not quite clear on the point. Prisoners at the time of the trial stated that they would give no assurance, and subsequently they stated that they did not understand what it was that was asked of them. It was really a misunderstanding between the prisoners and the judge, and there was no point whatever in the suggestion that it had anything to do with the social standing of the prisoners. If it comes to a question of social standing of the prisoners, of those prisoners who were forcibly fed, Mrs. Pankhurst was not because her state of health would not allow it, but Mrs. Pethwick Lawrence was forcibly fed, and so was Mr. Pethwick Lawrence. There is nothing in the suggestion of my hon. Friend on this point. Then he said that sex had something to do with it, and that the reason Mr. Gray was not receiving the benefit of Rule 243A is because he is a man. He is not receiving it because he was guilty of serious violence. The rule is not applied to persons who are guilty of serious violence. Then he asked as to why Crowsley did not receive it. Rule 243A does not apply as a right to anybody. It is a matter of discretion. The instructions given to prison authorities are that Rule 243A is to apply in the case of suffragette prisoners and passive resisters, but in any other case in which the rule is applied for application is to be made for instructions. It has been laid down as a general rule that in the case of suffragette prisoners and passive resisters their cases are of a kind, provided they are not guilty of serious violence, to which the Rule 243A is to apply, but in all other cases special application must be made in order to consider whether the case is one in which the rule should be applied. Then my hon. Friend asked that there should be a general gaol delivery of prisoners who had been convicted of offences arising out of the dock strike. My hon. Friend recognises that it would be impossible for me to advise His Majesty to exercise the prerogative of mercy in such a manner. However, he is perfectly within his rights in asking me to consider each particular case upon its merits. I shall consider any application made by any prisoner now that the dock strike is over, but I could not make any general promise of amnesty.


Before we go to a Division on this question I think there should be a voice raised, however feeble, in favour of some retrenchment in our expenditure. The Appropriation Bill, to which we are asked to give a Third Reading, is a Bill which appropriates vast sums of money from the taxpayers. I think we ought to ask ourselves the question, is that money being well spent? I think that an unnecessarily large amount is being spent upon preparations for Imperial defence. It is admitted on both sides of the House that the reason we are spending such vast sums on the Navy, at any rate, is because of our hostility to Germany or their hostility to us. Why are we not spending this money on building ships against France? Of course the answer is because we are friends with that Power. Why then may we not be friends with Germany too? Millions of persons in this country and millions of persons in Germany are anxious to bring about relations between the two countries as amicable and as friendly as those which exist between this country and France. Tens of thousands of persons are actively engaged in promoting such relations. I submit to the Government—and I am glad that we have at least one Cabinet Minister here to represent it—that it ought not to baffle statesmanship to bring about relations of this kind. We do not arm against France, and, once you establish friendly relations between this country and Germany, we should require to spend far less money than that which we are about to vote, and provide fewer guns and fewer men. Let the House remember that it is the poor taxpayer as well as the rich who has to pay these men, to provide them with food, shelter, and clothing, and with rich accoutrements. The money which we spend for them we could save, and turn it to productive work. We have a Liberal Government in power, let us have a Liberal policy; and nothing could do more to strengthen their hold upon the country than a modification of the present policy. The Government at this moment are alienating the support of their friends, and their best friends, both in this House and in the country. They are lowering the temperature of Liberalism. I do not ask for a less efficient Navy by any means; but I say that with a smaller peril to meet, a smaller provision would be necessary, and would be equally efficient. Both in Germany and here it is a common saying in the Press and on every platform, that this rivalry in building warships is madness. Whichever side you go to you will find that argument used—a mad rivalry. The right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary (Sir E. Grey) came down here and told us three years ago that if this policy went on for a few years more, it would bring us to national bankruptcy. It has gone on, and the right hon. Gentleman himself, of all other men, perhaps is the most responsible for it.

I am a pretty stout and consistent supporter of the present Government, but I have been driven several times lately, upon Naval Votes, into the Opposition Lobby. I would ask the Government why should they drive their supporters, their best sup- porters, their very strongest supporters, into the Lobby against them? They may be quite sure that I and my friends went into the Lobby against them with the greatest possible reluctance; not only that, but many others who went into the Lobby to support them went there with great reluctance, also. This is not Liberal policy. In the year 1909 the right hon. Gentleman who is now First Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. Churchill) said:— A Liberal is a man who ought to stand as a restraining force against an extravagant policy, to keep cool in the presence of Jingo clamour, and to present a sour look to scaremongers of every kind, however distinguished. Three years later the right hon. Gentleman himself, the First Lord of the Admiralty, who is now putting further millions on the taxpayer, has become the darling of the Admiralty and Naval Lords, he is cheered by the Tories, and he is petted by the Navy League. The hon. Member for North Kensington (Mr. Burgoyne), who is Secretary of the Naval League, said he recently talked with an officer, at midnight, on the "Enchantress," and that the officer remarked to him, "By Gad,

he plays the First Lord devilish well." The hon. Member said and said truly that that implied a compliment beyond mere words. I am a Liberal in the sense in which the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Admiralty described "Liberal" three years ago, and I cultivate a sour look—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear," "Withdraw"]—towards all scaremongers, however distinguished. I have only to add that it does seem to mo, before we go to a Division, that it was for somebody to say this. I believe that the statesman who can bring about Anglo-German friendship, in exchange for the strained relations which exist to-day between these two great Powers will have done infinitely more for the peace of the world, infinitely more for the peace of his own country and of the great German Empire, than all the builders of "Dreadnoughts," and all the "Dreadnoughts" that anybody can build, in this wide world.

Question put, "That the Bill be now read the third time."

The House divided: Ayes, 191; Noes, 162.

Division No. 197.] AYES. [9.45 p.m.
Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour) Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.) Jowett, Frederick William
Alden, Percy Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.) Joyce, Michael
Armitage, Robert Essex, Richard Walter Kellaway, Frederick George
Baker, H. T. (Accrington) Farrell, James Patrick Kennedy, Vincent Paul
Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.) Ffrench, Peter Kilbride, Denis
Barnes, G. N. Field, William Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)
Beck, Arthur Cecil Fitzgibbon, John Lansbury, George
Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts, St. George) Flavin, Michael Joseph Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)
Bentham, G. J. George Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd Lewis, John Herbert
Black, Arthur W. Gill, Alfred Henry Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas
Boland, John Pius Glanville, Harold James Lundon, Thomas
Booth, Frederick Handel Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford Lyell, Charles Henry
Bowerman, C. W. Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland) Lynch, Arthur Alfred
Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North) Greig, Colonel James William Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)
Brace, William Hackett, John Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)
Brady, Patrick Joseph Hall, Frederick (Normanton) McGhee, Richard
Brocklehurst, William B. Hancock, J. G. Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.
Bryce, J. Annan Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Macneill, John G. S. (Donegal, South)
Buckmaster, Stanley O. Hardie, J. Keir Macpherson, James Ian
Burke, E. Haviland Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds) MacVeagh, Jeremiah
Byles, Sir William Pollard Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire) McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.) Markham, Sir Arthur Basil
Clancy, John Joseph Haslam, James (Derbyshire) Marshall, Arthur Harold
Clough, William Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim)
Clynes, John R. Hayden, John Patrick Molloy, Michael
Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock) Hayward, Evan Molteno, Percy Alport
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Hazleton, Richard (Galway, N.) Mooney, John J.
Condon, Thomas Joseph Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Morgan, George Hay
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Henry, Sir Charles Morison, Hector
Cotton, William Francis Higham, John Sharp Morton, Alpheus Cleophas
Crooks, William Hinds, John Muldoon, John
Crumley, Patrick Hodge, John Munro, Robert
Cullinan, John Holmes, Daniel Turner Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.
Davies, E. William (Eifion) Hope, John Deans (Haddington) Nannetti, Joseph P.
Dawes, J. A. Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Needham, Christopher T.
Delany, William Hudson, Walter Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)
Denman, Hon. R. D. Hughes, Spencer Leigh Nolan, Joseph
Devlin, Joseph Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus Norman, Sir Henry
Dillon, John Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Sw'nsea) O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Donelan, Captain A. Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil) O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)
Duffy, William J. Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth) O'Doherty, Philip
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) O'Donnell, Thomas
Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of Jones, W. S. Glyn- (Stepney) O'Dowd, John
O'Grady, James Reddy, Michael Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.) Redmond, John E. (Waterford) Thorne, William (West Ham)
O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.) Redmond, William (Clare, E.) Trevelyan, Charles Philips
O'Malley, William Richardson, Albion (Peckham) Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.) Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven) Wadsworth, J.
O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)
O'Shee, James John Roberts, George H. (Norwich) Webb, H.
O'Sullivan, Timothy Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford) Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Outhwaite, R. L. Robertson, John M. (Tyneside) White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
Parker, James (Halifax) Roche, Augustine (Louth) White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek) Roe, Sir Thomas Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham) Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland) Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Phillips, John (Longford, S.) Scanlan, Thomas Williamson, Sir A.
Pointer, Joseph Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton) Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H. Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B. Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Power, Patrick Joseph Sheehy, David Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)
Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central) Shortt, Edward Young, William (Perth, East)
Primrose, Hon. Neil James Simon, Sir John Allsebrook Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Pringle, William M. R. Smith, Albert (Lanes., Clitheroe)
Raffan, Peter Wilson Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.
Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields) Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.) Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.
Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough) Thomas, J. H. (Derby)
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Foster, Philip Staveley Parkes, Ebenezer
Amery, L. C. M. S. Gastrell, Major W. Houghton Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R. Gibbs, G. A. Peel, Captain R. F. (Woodbridge)
Archer-Shee, Major M. Glazebrook, Captain Philip K. Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)
Ashley, Wilfrid W. Goldsmith, Frank Perkins, Walter Frank
Baird, John Lawrence Gordon, John (Londonderry, South) Peto, Basil Edward
Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.) Goulding Edward Alfred Pollock, Ernest Murray
Balcarres, Lord Grant, J. A. Pretyman, Ernest George
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Greene, Walter Raymond Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.
Banner, John S. Marmood- Gretton, John Quilter, Sir W. E. C.
Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester) Guinness, Hon. W.E. (Bury S. Edmunds) Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Barnston, Harry Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne) Rawson, Colonel Richard H.
Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton) Haddock, George Bahr Rees, Sir J. D.
Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight) Remnant, James Farquharson
Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth) Hall, Fred (Dulwich) Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich) Hamersley, Alfred St. George Rolleston, Sir John
Bennett-Goldney, Francis Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington) Ronaldshay, Earl of
Beresford, Lord Charles Harris, Henry Percy Royds, Edmund
Bigland, Alfred Harrison-Broadley, H. B. Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)
Boles, Lieut.-Col. Dennis Fortescue Helmsley, Viscount Salter, Arthur Clavell
Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith- Henderson, Major H. (Berkshire) Sanders, Robert Arthur
Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid) Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.) Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells)
Boyton, James Hewins, William Albert Samuel Sassoon, Sir Philip
Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell Hickman, Col. Thomas E. Stanier, Beville
Bridgeman, William Clive Hill, Sir Clement L. Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)
Bull, Sir William James Hills, John Waller Starkey, John Ralph
Burdett-Coutts, William Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy Steel-Maitland, A. D.
Burgoyne, Alan Hughes Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Stewart, Gershom
Burn, Colonel C. R. Horne, Edgar (Surrey, Guildford) Swift, Rigby
Campion, W. R. Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath) Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)
Cassel, Felix Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East) Talbot, Lord Edmund
Castlereagh, Viscount Jessel, Captain Herbert M. Terrell, G. (Wilts, N.W.)
Cautley, Henry Strother Kerry, Earl of Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Maner) Kimber, Sir Henry Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)
Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin) Knight, Capt. E. A. Tobin, Alfred Aspinall
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.) Kyffin-Taylor, G. Touche, George Alexander
Chambers, J. Larmor, Sir J. Walker, Colonel William Hall
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End) Walrond, Hon. Lionel
Clay, Captain H. H. Spender Lewisham, Viscount Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)
Clive, Captain Percy Archer Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston) Wheler, Granville C. H.
Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham Mackinder, Halford J. White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)
Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet) Macmaster, Donald Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud
Craik, Sir Henry McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's) Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks, E.R.)
Dalrymple, Viscount Magnus, Sir Philip Winterton, Earl
Dalziel, Davison (Brixton) Mason, James F. (Windsor) Wolmer, Viscount
Denniss, E. R. B. Middlemore, John Throgmorton Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott Mildmay, Francis Bingham Worthington-Evans, L.
Du Cros, Arthur Philip Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Duke, Henry Edward Neville, Reginald J. N. Wright, Henry Fitzherbert
Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M. Newdegate, F. A. Yate, Col. C. E.
Falle, Bertram Godfrey Newman, John R. P. Yerburgh, Robert
Fell, Arthur Newton, Harry Kottingham Younger, Sir George
Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A. Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)
Fleming, Valentine Nield, Herbert TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. G.
Fletcher, John Samuel Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend) Faber and Mr. Malcolm
Bill read the third time, and passed.
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