§ Order read for consideration of Lords Amendments.
§ Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Lords Amendments be now considered."
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I beg to urge the House not to consider this Bill now. I think that after the farce in which we have been taking part during the last three hours it is a little hard that Members on this side should be asked to take part in converting into law a measure which has been promoted by hon. Members opposite. If this were a Government measure we might take some trouble to see that it was placed on the Statute Book. Our feeling of loyalty to the Government on account 700 of the Liberal principles for which they stand would cause us to go to a considerable amount of trouble in order to see that their Bills became Acts of Parliament, but it is a very different matter in regard to a Bill introduced by the hon. Member for Fareham and pressed forward by panic which is unjustified by any well-ascertained facts for which there is any documentary evidence whatever. It has been thrust through this House by almost terrorisation of Members of the House. It is true it has received the blessing of the Archbishops in another place, and specialists on flogging have backed it for all they are worth. Now we are asked at two o'clock in the morning to consider the very serious Amendments which the House of Lords have made to this Bill. The Prime Minister, when asked what measures would be taken after half-past ten, said he hoped this Bill would be taken, but he made a 701 very important proviso. He said he hoped the Bill would be taken provided the Divisions on the Home Rule Bill did not take too long. Well, they could not have taken longer than they have done this evening. Surely three hours after half-past ten is sufficient to warrant us in urging the Government to fulfil the promise of the Prime Minister, and not to press forward this Bill at such an unseemly rate. The fact of the matter is the Government in bringing forward all their minor legislation after eleven o'clock at night are creating a precedent which is exceedingly dangerous. We have a list of Measures which the Government have either in prospect or have already passed through this House after eleven o'clock at night. We have the Superannuation Bill coming along— a Bill creating a large addition to the salaries of the permanent officials.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I do not think a general discussion upon the policy of the Government in regard to its Measures would be in Order.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
Of course I bow to your ruling, and I do not wish to enter into any general discussion of the measures the Government are bringing forward, but I wish to urge that it is important they should not undertake legislation after cloven o'clock at night, and that it is not dealing fairly by their supporters, the House, and the country for the Government to bring forward so much legislation at an hour like this. The Appellate Jurisdiction Bill is another Bill they are bringing forward after eleven o'clock, and in order to see that it does not pass into law we are compelled to sit up night after night. The Pilotage Bill is another Bill creating a large number of fresh posts.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member's point would be made if he pointed simply to the Order Paper and said there are ten or twelve Bills.
§ 2.0 A.M.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
Quite so, Mr. Speaker. There are thirteen Bills on the Order Paper to-day—an evil number—but the Pilotage Bill is coming back to us as soon as it gets through the Committee stage. All these measures are brought forward and pushed through the House of Commons after eleven o'clock at night. I do maintain that, however much claim the 702 Government may have upon its followers to support these Bills at any hour of the day or night, it is not likely to secure good results if they carry on their legislation in this way. It is especially unfortunate when the Government force their followers to swallow at this hour of the night Conservative Bills which have been adopted at the pistol's point by the Government, particularly when as in this case, the Bill is the outcome of hysterical hypocrisy, and inflicts a blot upon the Statute Book in the re-enactment of torture in punishment. I for one do not like this Bill. I believe it is merely introduced in order to satisfy the prurient cravings of a lot of people in the country. I believe it has been made worse by the Amendments in the House of Lords, and I hope that this House will, at any rate, attempt to consider the matter seriously, and not simply take it up as a child takes up a plaything at the end of a long day's work. I am not surprised that some hon. Members laugh. It is not surprising that people get their metaphors mixed at Two o'clock in the morning. I am quite certain I have the sympathy and unanimous support of the House in not wanting to go on discussing for six hours a Bill which the greater number of Members know in their hearts will produce no good result, and which has been simply introduced in order to please certain parties outside. There is one argument that is brought forward, I understand, by the other side urging us to deal with this Bill even at this late hour. It is that unless we pass the Bill to-night it will not be possible to put the Act into force before the Christmas holidays. The House of Lords are not going to sit any longer, and unless we pass the Bill to-night the last chance will have gone of saving the thousands of helpless girls who are to be carried away by the visionary kidnappers during the Christmas holidays. If the Bishops and the Archbishops want to make a present of this Bill to the people of the country for Christmas they will get the House of Lords to come back and sit during the next few days. There are Members on this side of the House—Scotch Members— who are having their finer feelings outraged and harrowed by being forced to come back here on New Year's Eve. After all, if the Scotch Members can so far forego their natural pleasures at the festive season to come back and assist this House to legislate on New Year's Eve, I think we might ask the Bishops and Archbishop 703 and the Noble Lords in another place to come back, too, and carry legislation which they believe will be so beneficient and which they voted for by an overwhelming majority of seven to one.
This Bill, of course, has to be passed now, but there is no hurry for passing it. It will do very well if we take part of it to-night and part to-morrow night. I would finally, as a last word, put before the Government, that it would be possible even now to avoid a lengthy discussion on all the details of these Amendments by promising that if we do discuss the Lords' Amendments to-night the Home Secretary will move to reject them en bloc and send the Bill back to the Lords as it left us after considerable discussion in Committee and on Report. If the Home Secretary will do that, I undertake that the Bill will be through in five minutes, but if he will not, then we must oppose the Amendments tooth and nail.
§ Mr. RADFORD
May I earnestly appeal to the Home Secretary not to proceed further with the measure to-night. The Bill, as amended by the House of Lords, raises questions not less important than what is really the primary subject matter of the measure, and it ought not to be discussed with the House in the languid state it is is now. Moreover, I appeal with some confidence to the right hon. Gentleman on another ground. I do not know if he heard, as I did, the words of the Prime Minister when this matter was mentioned to him at question time to-day. He said that he hoped that this Bill might be taken to-night unless the Divisions on the Home Rule Bill took too long. It is notorious that the Divisions have taken a very long time, and I feel certain that if the Prime Minister himself were here and were reminded of his promise he would say it would be a breach of faith if the House were to proceed to deal with this measure to-night. I do earnestly appeal to the Home Secretary, and with some confidence, to redeem the promise made to the House by the Prime Minister.
§ Mr. McKENNA
It is obvious that the discussion can only be carried on with the general assent of the House. I think it is equally obvious that it is the strong wish of the great majority of hon. Members present in the House now that this Bill should be taken to-night. Let me remind my hon. Friends of one or two very salient facts. This Bill received a 704 Third Reading in this House without opposition. It was the unamimous wish of this House that this Bill might become law. My hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Wedgwood) alleges that the reason we wish to take the Bill now is that if we do not do so the House of Lords cannot reconsider it before Christmas. That is not the reason. If we do not take the Bill to-night it cannot get the Royal Assent next Friday. As the Royal Commission sits next Friday, unless we carry the Bill to-night we shall have to wait at least a month before a new Commission will sit to give the Royal Assent. It is not a question of not getting the Bill through another place; but it is undoubtedly true that the Bill cannot become law before Christmas unless the Amendments are considered now.
Upon the general subjects of the Amendments, I believe I am quite correct in saying that there is only one Amendment on which the Lords have disagreed with the contentions of the House of Commons. Every other Amendment simply carries out a pledge which I gave during the passage of the Bill through this House, construing, so far as I could, what was the general desire of the House at the time. With the single exception to which I shall refer in a moment there was no other Amendment carried in the Lords that did not conform to the views generally expressed here. In the case of that exception, I admit to those of my hon. Friends who take a strong view with regard to flogging that the House of Lords have struck out words which on the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract (Mr. Booth) were inserted in the Bill in this House, and I propose on that Amendment to ask the House not to agree with the Lords' Amendment. I believe I am correct in saying that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Fareham (Mr. Arthur Lee) will support me in that view. It comes to this, therefore, that the only Amendment on which in another place the views of this House have not been accepted. I propose to ask this House not to agree with. In these circumstances I would suggest, as so many hon. Members have been good enough to stay till this late hour, that we should be allowed to proceed with the Bill to-night.
§ Mr. ARTHUR LEE
May I add my appeal to that of the Home Secretary? I think the House knows that whilst the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Wedgwood) has been good enough to credit the Bill 705 entirely to me it is a Bill which has been fashioned with the consent and goodwill of all parties in the House of Commons. It is a Bill which represents, I think, in an unusual degree the will of the whole House. I quite agree that some explanation is necessary as to why it is desired to take the Bill at this time of the night; but whilst it may seem to hon. Members who are not perhaps aware of the whole facts, somewhat unnecessary that the Bill should be discussed on this particular night, when we have been kept up late. I would ask them to consider this one circumstance, namely, that, as was pointed out by the Home Secretary, unless the Bill receives the Royal Assent on Friday its coming into operation will be delayed for about a month.
It so happens— and I have been in very close touch with this subject for twelve months—that reports are coining in from sources which cannot be disbelieved to the effect that people engaged in this particular class of traffic are making an exceptional effort to reap a substantial harvest before this Bill can become law, and it is the time of year in which the perils are greater than at any other time. During the Christmas shopping, when an unusally large number of young girls are about the streets, it is of urgent importance, in the opinion of people who are in a position to judge, that this Bill should come into operation at the earliest possible moment. Therefore, I do think the circumstances are quite exceptional, and I do appeal to the House to treat them as exceptional, and to make a liberal extra sacrifice of time in order to pass what is really only a formal stage. The particular Amendment to which exception has been taken by many hon. Members opposite is disagreed with by the Home Secretary, and, so far as I may speak for the promoters of the Bill, I also am of opinion that that Amendment should be disagreed with, not because I do not think it is a good Amendment, but because I recollect that on the Report stage of the Bill in this House an arrangement was come to with the hon. Member for Peterborough, in order to facilitate the completion of the Report stage, that these words should be inserted in the Bill, and, therefore, I consider we are morally bound to respect the bargain made. These words were taken out by an Amendment of the House of Lords, and the Home Secretary proposes—and I shall certainly support him—to reinstate the words in the Bill. Under these circum- 706 stances I do feel that we are not only justified, but circumstances demand that we should proceed with this measure and complete this stage to-night.
§ Mr. J. MARTIN
I oppose the House proceeding with this Bill on the same grounds that I have opposed proceeding with all the Bills that the Government have introduced after Eleven o'clock at night for the past two or three weeks. I am not opposed to the Bill; I am in favour of it, with the exception of the Flogging Clause. I oppose the Bill for different reasons from those of the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme. A great many of us are opposed to taking this or any Bill at this hour of the night. The hon. Member for Fareham, and a large number of Members behind him, insist on having this Bill to-night because otherwise its operation may be delayed for a month. How long has this country been without this Bill? I would like to say to the hon. Member for Fareham that, if he had applied his eloquence to his Friends behind him and suggested to them that, instead of wasting three hours in the Division Lobby they should, at any rate, have cut off one hour I believe we could reasonably have considered these Amendments, but we certainly cannot do so at a quarter-past two in the morning. The Government insists on our being here all the time to keep them from the danger of "snap" Divisions. [Cries of "Divide."] Being only a Liberal Member, they now wish to prevent me from speaking. I certainly object to that, and I object to the whole proceedings. The Home Secretary says it would be unreasonable to consider any Bill at this hour of the morning, but, because a large majority of the Conservative party want to consider this Bill, a minority of Liberals are not to be taken into account at all. I submit that it would be most unseemly, in order to put this Bill on the Statute Book one month earlier, that we should conduct our proceedings in this way. There must be some reason. The hon. Gentleman told us the reason was that he had been persuaded that if we did not put this Bill upon the Statute Book a great many girls would get into difficulties during the Christmas holidays. I have no doubt at all the hon. Gentleman believes that, and that he has the utmost confidence in the intelligence that was conveyed to him by certain persons unknown to this House with regard to the matter; but if this House is going to act on that information it ought to know what 707 that information is. There are police in this country. The hon. Gentleman has now warned them that special efforts are going to be made to press this traffic so as to make the most of the time that is left. Surely we can rely upon the police seeing that, at any rate, the traffic is not worse in the coming month than it has been all these years. Under those circumstances I join with my hon. Friend and appeal to the Government, at any rate, to treat with consideration a number of their followers: being a small minority, it is all the more reason why they should receive such treatment, rather than that the Government should play into the hands of Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House who have absolutely wasted three or four hours of our time to-night already. Having submitted to that willingly in support of the Government, we are now to be compelled by the iron hand of the Government to sit here for three hours more in order to satisfy the hon. Member for Fareham and his friends. How does the right hon. Gentleman know that the whole House is agreeable to these Amendments?
What I should like to ask is, how can we consider seriously the questions that will come before us and put. our seal on the Amendments made by the House of Lords in the circumstances in which we now are. [An HON. MEMBER: "Divide."] This is the new style of Parliamentary discussion. When a Member tries to put the case in support of arguments advanced by his friends he is met with cries of "Divide, divide." As I have said, I join most heartily in the appeal which has been made to the Home Secretary, and I do so as a friend of the Bill. A delay of one month is not going to make much difference to the Bill, and there is no reason to provoke any ill-feeling over the measure. I have supported the Bill, not only by my vote so far, but also by saying nothing about it. This is the first time I have raised my voice during all the long discussions which have taken place in this House upon the Bill. I now raise my voice to protest against the tyranny of the majority in this House. It is not the first time since I have been in the House that I have noticed that when the occupants of the two Front Benches arrange something all the other Members of the House of Commons are simply as nothing. They represent Constituencies it is true, but they are bound down by their party allegiance 708 —we on this side to those on the Treasury Bench, and they on the other side of those who sit on the Front Opposition Bench. Here we have a solemn contract entered into between the Home Secretary and the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Arthur Lee), that this Bill is to be shoved through the House to-night no matter what Members on the Back Benches may think about it. As a strong supporter of the Bill— [An HON. MEMBER: "Divide, divide."] Never during the discussion on the Bill have I interfered with it at all, and now that I venture to say a word I am to be howled down. But as the arrangement between the two Front Benches is made and the compact sealed, I suppose it is very little use to complain, though I still hope that the Home Secretary will listen to the appeal which has been addressed to him from this quarter of the House.
§ Mr. LYNCH
I wish to say very little on this subject to-night. The words which fell from the Home Secretary just now have materially altered the situation so far as I am concerned. I was one of those, as the House perhaps will remember, who opposed the Flogging Clause vehemently. I intended to oppose also to-night the enforcement of flogging by the Lords, but I recognise that in the circumstances the Homo Secretary has gone as far as it is possible for him to do. Taking the whole of the conditions into account, and recognising the difficulties in regard to time which the Government have to overcome, I feel that that expression from the right hon. Gentleman has completely disarmed my own opposition.
§ Mr. ARNOLD WARD
As a supporter of this Bill I can assure the House that I do not wish to say anything that would jeopardise the Royal Assent being obtained on Friday. But I should like to ask, Why is it necessary to take the Bill to-night in order to obtain the Royal Assent on that day? Why would it not be possible, to discuss the Bill for a short period to-morrow afternoon?
§ Mr. ARNOLD WARD
I know that Home Rule has been made the first Order of the day; but would it not be possible for the Government to change its plan with the assent of the House? The Government should, I think, recognise the fact that the Bill is, from the point of view of 709 the ordinary elector and constituent, the most important Bill of the Session. Hon. Members on all sides have probably had, as I have had, far more letters about this Bill, not only from individuals, but from societies and other private bodies, than they have had about any of the three great controversial Bills introduced by the Government this Session. It is not reasonable to ask us to deal at this time of the night with the very serious Amendments made by the Lords, and I hope that the Government may see their way to give us time tomorrow for that purpose.
§ Sir ARTHUR MARKHAM
The hon. Member for St. Pancras (Mr. Martin) got up just now and made a violent attack on Members on the Government and Opposition sides about being howled down by cries of "Divide." During the course of his speech one Member on the Government Benches above the Gangway said, "Divide." Is that being howled down? What I have risen for really is to ask the Government to go on with the Bill. A few cranks sitting on these Benches——
§ Sir ARTHUR MARKHAM
I do not know whether, in a figurative sense, the lion. Member for Pontefract (Mr. Booth) is a jackal of these hon. Members. I only wish to point out this, that all the slob-berring sentimentalism from the cranks sitting here is not going to prejudice the House of Commons when the overwhelming majority of the House is in favour of proceeding with the Measure. The hon. Member for St. Pancras (Mr. Martin) said that he would not have objected to the Bill being taken if we had finished the Divisions two hours ago. That is to say he would have not objected to it being taken at one o'clock, and yet earlier in the same speech he said that no Bill should be taken after eleven o'clock. Therefore, let us not waste further time, but decide to sit up and get the Bill passed.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
I must say that in common with a number of other Members in this part of the House I have admired greatly the display of puritanical fervour which has just been witnessed on the part of the hon. Baronet the Member for Mans- 710 field. I am glad to find that he has the utmost contempt for all cranks. Quite voluntarily I have had to associate a good deal with him in this part of the House since I entered Parliament about three years ago, and during all that period I have been very much impressed with the tendency he has shown to act on almost every conceivable occasion with cranks. I have noticed that on almost all occasions he has joined with those who have protested against the arbitrary and tyrannical action of the Government, especially at times when there has been a conspiracy between the two Front Benches to get business through. I feel that I am entitled to refer to this strange conversion of the hon. and titled Member for the Mansfield Division, but I would remind him that had the question before the House been the Appellate Jurisdiction Bill or the creation of an extra judge he would have been the first to protest against such an important matter being dealt with at this hour of the morning.
I think I can speak on this subject without being accused of being a crank. The appeal made by the hon. Member for New-castle-under-Lyme (Mr. Wedgwood), the hon. Member for Islington (Mr. Radford) and the hon. Member for St. Pancras (Mr. Martin) is, I contend, one that should have been more sympathically treated by the Home Secretary. My right hon. Friend might have borne in mind when replying just now the statement made by the Prime Minister this afternoon when the question was put to the Prime Minister whether this Bill would be taken after half-past Ten, the right hon. Gentleman said in reply that the Bill would be taken only if no long time were occupied over the Divisions in Committee on the Home Rule Bill. That I submit was an expressed condition and it was understood by the House as such. Had that promise been given to the Front Opposition Bench, right hon. Gentlemen on the other side would have insisted on it being fulfilled to the letter, and when a small minority below the Gangway on this side—all, mind you, supporters of the Government—are equally insistent on the fulfilment of pledges I do not think they should be thrown overboard as is now proposed. I would point out that there will be plenty of other opportunities of proceeding with this Bill if we do not take it to-night. Surely Friday is not the only occasion in the near future on which there can be a Royal Commission. Only three Noble 711 Lords are required to constitute a Royal Commission and they can be brought together at any time. There are seventy-two Scottish Members who will have to be here on New Year's eve, and it would not be a great hardship to get together three Noble Lords to form a Royal Commission on some day after next Friday. Surely, in these circumstances, there could be another Commission for this Bill, which is alleged to be so necessary, although the grounds for this necessity have never been proved to this House. The hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Lee) and his friends are constantly making wild and vague general statements about the enormous evils which this Bill is intended to remedy; but when they are asked to adduce concrete facts, no concrete facts are ever put before us. My point is this, that there is no such urgency as is alleged. After the hon. and learned Member for Cambridge University
§ (Mr. Rawlinson) proposed an Amendment on the Report stage, he was asked to state a case for the Amendment, and he then said that no case had been brought before him which made it necessary to give extra power to the police. The only concrete case he gave to the House was one in which the police could have acted with their present powers. With only these facts before the House, we are urged upon these hypercritical grounds of urgency, at this time of the morning, to pass a Bill interfering seriously with individual liberty, and also introducing a barbarous punishment into our criminal law. I think it is scandalous, and I think the right hon. Gentleman would have been well advised to listen to the appeal which had been made to him.
§ Question put, "That the Lords Amendments be now considered."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 199; Noes, 18.713
|Division No. 442.]||AYES.||2.37 a.m.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)|
|Adamson, William||Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)|
|Arnold, Sydney||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Joyce, Michael|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Keating, Matthew|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Falconer, James||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr|
|Balcarres, Lord||Falle, Bertram Godfray||Kilbride, Denis|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Farrell, James Patrick||King, J. (Somerset, North)|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Ffrench, Peter||Lane-Fox, G. R.|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Field, William||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe|
|Barnes, G. N.||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||Leach, Charles|
|Barnston, Harry||Fitzgibbon, John||Lee, Arthur Hamilton|
|Barrie, H. T.||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Barton, William||France, Gerald Ashburner||Lewisham, Viscount|
|Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc, E.)||Gill, A. H.||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Gilmour, Captain John||Lundon, Thomas|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Ginnell, Laurence||Lynch, A. A.|
|Renn, W. W. (T. H'mts., St. George)||Gladstone, W. G. C.||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)|
|Bentham, G. J.||Glanville, H. J.||Maclean, Donald|
|Bird, Alfred||Griffith, Ellis J.||Macmaster, Donald|
|Black, Arthur W.||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)||Macpherson, James Ian|
|Boles, Lieut.-Col. Dennis Fortescue||Gulland, John William||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||M'Curdy, C. A.|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Hackett, John||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lines., Spalding)|
|Brace, William||Hall, Frederick (Normanton)||Manfield, Harry|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Hardle, J. Keir||Marshall, Arthur Harold|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds.)||Meagher, Michael|
|Carina, Sir Edward Hildred||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Hayden, John Patrick||Millar, James Duncan|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Hazleton, Richard||Molloy, Michael|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Healy, Timothy Michael (Cork, East)||Mond, Sir Alfred M.|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Henderson, Major H. (Berkshire)||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)|
|Chambers, James||Henry, Sir Charles||Munro, R.|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Hickman, Col. Thomas E.||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.|
|Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Higham, John Sharp||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Clough, William||Hills, John Waller||Neville, Reginald J. N.|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Nolan, Joseph|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Home, Charles Silvester (Ipswich)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Home, E. (Surrey, Guildford)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Crooks, William||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Crumley, Patrick||Hughes, S. L.||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Cullinan, John||Illingworth, Percy H.||O'Shee, James John|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Dawes, J. A.||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, E.)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Doris, William||John, Edward Thomas||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Doughty, Sir George||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)|
|Duffy, William J.||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Pryce-Jones, Col. E.||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim)||Ward, A. (Herts, Watford)|
|Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Spear, Sir John Ward||Waring, Walter|
|Reddy, M.||Stanier, Beville||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Rendall, Athelstan||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Richards, Thomas||Starkey, John Ralph||White, J. Dundas (Glas., Tradeston)|
|Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||Stewart, Gershom||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Talbot, Lord E.||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Robinson, Sidney||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)||Wills, Sir Gilbert|
|Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.||Toulmin, Sir George||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Tryon, Captain George Clement||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Sanders, Robert Arthur||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Sheeny, David||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Rowntree and Mr. James Hope.|
|Sherwell, Arthur James||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Martin, Joseph||Sutton, John E.|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Morrell, Philip||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)||Outhwaite, R. L.||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Pointer, Joseph||Watt, Henry Anderson|
|Hancock, J. G.||Radford, G. H.|
|Hogge, James Myles||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Pringle and Mr. Wedgwood.|
|Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rlnd, Cockerm'th)||Sutherland, J. E.|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Lords Amendments considered.
§ Lords Amendment: After Clause 1, insert Clause (a):— In paragraphs (3) and (4) of Section (2) of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1885, the words "or frequent" shall be inserted after the words "an inmate of" wherever those words occur.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."—[Mr. McKenna.]
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I beg to move "That this House do disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment." I take this course because I think it would be more simple to deal with Amendments en bloc rather than seriatim.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
That sort of Motion would not be in order. The House has decided to consider the Amendments, and we must now proceed to consider them.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I trust the House will forgive me if, in dealing with the first Amendment, I touch upon the other Amendments.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
That would not be permissible. The hon. Member must confine himself strictly to the first Amendment.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I am afraid it would be rather difficult for me to make my case quite clear against the first Amendment. The first Amendment is an addition to the Bill as it left this House, but it is not an addition to the Bill as it was originally drafted, and as it left the Grand Committee upstairs. The fact of the matter is that in another place they have inserted in the Bill words which we cut out on the Report stage in this House—words which we cut out for the very specific reasons that they were not sufficiently definite and might give rise to the possibility of very serious danger arising from them. If the House will be good enough to look at the Amendment they will see that it refers to paragraphs (3) and (4) of Section 2 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1885. The Lords desire that after the words "an inmate of," we should add the words "or frequent." And if the House will refer to the Third Section in the Act, they will see that it deals with procurers, and it provided that any person who procures or attempts to procure any woman or girl to leave her usual place of abode in the United Kingdom with intent that she may for the purposes of prostitution become an inmate of "or frequent" a brothel, and so on. When you have the word inmate then you are dealing with the specific offence of procuring or confining a woman about which I daresay hon. Gentlemen opposite have read all sorts of stories respecting women being decoyed into the place, having their clothes stolen, and being locked in so that they could not even open the window to shout for the 715 police. Such stories have no verisimilitude, and I do not believe stories unsubstantiated by a tittle of evidence, and when there is not given the names and addresses of the persons to whom such things are supposed to have happened. This addition is a serious one. To be an inmate is a matter which can be proved, but to frequent is difficult of proof. The man who brings round the milk in the morning and the domestic servant might be described as frequenting a house. The case was admirably stated to the House by the hon. Member for Cambridge University, and other hon. Members when these words were cut out on the Report stage, because the House felt that it was not desirable that you should give to the police of this country such very wide powers as would be given them by the insertion of vague words such as "frequent." The House of Commons has twice running made it quite clear that these words are too vague for an Act of Parliament. In the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1885, the words are not inserted; Parliament decided that they should not be inserted; they considered that it would be undesirable and unsafe for the liberty of the citizen that these words should be inserted. The House of Lords, led by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, have thought otherwise, and so we are asked to set aside the decision of this House and reinsert the words. Hon. Gentlemen opposite should be the last people to ask the House to reverse its decision, for they have recently made very strenuous efforts to prevent this House changing its view upon a particular matter. But directly the decision, twice taken in this House, happens not to meet with the approval of a majority in another place we are asked at ten minutes to Three in the morning, with any possibility of adequate discussion, to reverse the decision we took previously and to stultify ourselves in this matter, and merely in order to enable the hon. Member for Fareham and the hon. Baronet the Member for the Mansfield Division (Sir A. B. Mark-ham), and their friends to put in these extremely vague words. The hon. Baronet talks much about sentimentalism, but he has supported a Bill like this against all the other cranks in the House.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I do not want this Debate to degenerate into a slanging match between the hon. Baronet and myself. The hon. Baronet comes here with his record which every student of history knows——
§ Mr. RAFFAN
On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. I desire to ask whether the hon. Baronet is entitled to apply to another Member of this House the term "single-taxer."
§ Mr. RAFFAN
I submit to you, with great respect, whether he is entitled to apply it to any hon. Member as a term of reproach.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I do not propose to proceed with the past history and character of the hon. Baronet. I urge the House to disagree with this particular Amendment of the House of Lords being put in without any discussion or debate whatsoever. Simply because the House of Commons cut it out on Report, they have inserted it in the House of Lords. I trust that, at any rate, we may have from the Home Secretary, from the hon. Member for Fareham, and from all those energetic supporters of the Bill who are here in such great numbers, those reasons which lead them to desire the re-insertion of these words, and which may be necessary in the interests of girlhood and all the rest of the humbug—the sentimentality of the Opposition passes comprehension. Do they imagine that this Bill is really going to regenerate the world?
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I am very sorry, Mr. Speaker, I got led away by interruptions. The Amendment is a dangerous one from the point of view of the liberty of the subject. It is an Amendment which was deliberately struck out by the House of Commons itself, and it is an Amendment to insert words which it is impossible to define accurately so as to ensure justice being done, and I hope we shall not allow it to be inserted without very adequate reasons given by people who have practical experience.
§ Mr. McKENNA
The hon. Member in the course of his speech said no less than four times that these words were struck out on the Report stage of this Bill. So far as my recollection goes, and after a careful search of the Bill as it came down from upstairs, there is no foundation for that statement. My recollection is that upon the Report stage the inclusion of these words was moved by the hon. Member for Inverness Burghs. There was a general opinion in favour of the words, and I undertook to propose that they should be inserted in another place if, after taking competent legal advice, it was considered advisable to do so. Having received that assurance, the words were proposed in another place and were accepted without opposition. The whole story put forward by the hon. Member as to what occurred on the Report stage is pure fiction.
§ Question put.
§ The House proceeded to a Division, and Mr. Speaker stated he thought the Ayes had it. On his decision being challenged, it appeared to him that the Division was frivolously claimed, and he accordingly called upon the Members who challenged his decision to rise in their places, and declared the Ayes had it, seven Members only who had challenged his decision having stood up.