§ The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Asquith)
I beg to move,
"That the proceedings on each of the seven allotted days given to the Report stage of the Government of Ireland Bill shall be those shown in the second column of the following Table, and those proceedings shall, if not previously brought to a conclusion, be brought to a conclusion at the time shown in the third column of that Table:—
59 In moving this Motion, I may point out that the number of days to be allotted to the Report stage of the Government of Ireland Bill has already been decided by Order of the House, therefore the only question which remains to us to-day is the manner in which the discussion shall be distributed over the time so available. Under the original Allocation of Time Resolution, passed by the House in the middle of October, seven days were to be allotted to the Report stage of the Bill, but during the discussion on Clause 8—which deals with the constitution of the Irish Senate—I agreed, on behalf of the Government, to give another half day in addition to the seven days originally allocated. We propose that that half-day should be given after the discussion on the present Resolution comes to an end. That will allow full time to be given to the discussion of Clause 8 on the fourth allotted day under the Resolution. Perhaps I may here point out that the Government Amendments to the Bill, which are on the Paper, except for a few purely verbal or drafting Amendments, are all Amendments carrying out promises made by the Government during the Committee stage. Under the Resolution I am moving, the Government have attempted to allocate the time in order to bring under discussion the most important parts of the Bill, and also those which were not adequately discussed in Committee. They have also endeavoured to meet the wishes of the Opposition in this respect, so far as those wishes have been made known. We are perfectly ready to receive any suggestions which the Opposition may offer with respect to the mode in which the time is to be allocated.
Turning to the Resolution, under the scheme as it appears on the Paper, a whole day's Parliamentary time is given to the discussion of new Clauses, that is, including the half-day which will be available to-day, and the time up to 7.30 to-morrow. If it be more than a half-day to-day, so much more time will be left. In reference to these new Clauses, I may say that so far as the Government are concerned, they are concerned only with two, the first of which, which I do not think can lead to any provocative Debate, is one put down by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary, to deal with the power at present existing in the Irish Executive to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act; while the second deals with 60 the position of Trinity College, Dublin, and Queen's University, Belfast, which, of course, is a matter in which considerable interest is felt on both sides of the House. I observe that the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for East Down (Captain Craig) has an Amendment on the Paper, the effect of which would be to reduce the time given to Clause 2 from a whole day to a half-day.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
And proportionately to give the half-day that is thus saved to the discussion of new Clauses. [Hoy. MEMBERS: "NO."] I think I am right.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I am not sure whether that Amendment is proposed on the assumption that only the half-day which appears in the Resolution is to be given to the new Clauses.
May I explain? The reason for the Amendment is because of the important step which the right hon. and learned Gentleman below me (Sir E. Carson) and his colleagues have taken in regard to the Amendment to exclude Ulster from the Bill. As the time-table at present stands, the Prime Minister will recognise that it would be necessary to enter upon that important and serious subject immediately at the dinner hour tomorrow evening, whereas under my scheme the intention is that that very important subject shall have a clear day's discussion.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I am much obliged to the hon. and gallant Member. I now understand the position. Of course, I did not know, at the time this table was framed, that that course was going to be taken. I say at once that if he and his Friends prefer that the discussion should be taken in that form, we shall accept his Amendment, and the result will be that that important discussion will be taken at the beginning and occupy the whole of the sitting. I did not know of that proposal before. Now I know it, I entirely assent to it, and will assent to the Amendment of the hon. and gallant Member. That, of course, will contract the discussion on Clause 2.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
The Amendment will have that effect. With regard to Clauses 2 and 3, under our proposal the time is so divided that an opportunity will be given in the second division, that is to say, after the break, for the discussion of any additions it is proposed to be made to the exceptions from the Irish Legislative powers. I pass from that. I will agree to the hon. and gallant Member's suggestion. The rest of the third day will be given to Clauses 4 to 7, which will allow a discussion on the Irish Executive. Coming to the fourth day, I have endeavoured to observe the pledge I gave, namely, that the first half of that day should be given to a discussion on Clause 8, which deals with the constitution of the Irish Senate. The second half of that day will be given to Clauses 9 to 14, which will afford an opportunity of discussing the constitution of the Irish House of Commons. Coming to the fifth day, we first take Clauses 15 to 21, under which the financial scheme of the Bill will be reviewed. We devoted nine days in Committee to the discussion of that scheme, therefore we think, having regard to the proportionate allocation of time, that that will be sufficient for that purpose. An opportunity for a discussion on the Joint Exchequer Board will be given on the second half of that day, when we take Clauses 23 to 27. I now come to the sixth allotted day. We have put in the forefront a matter which has also excited a good deal of interest, and in regard to which debate is not yet exhausted, namely, the procedure to be adopted with respect to appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in connection with matters arising in Ireland. On the second half of that day we take Clauses 31 to 39, and we start a discussion, which was curtailed in Committee, on the office of the Lord Lieutenant. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] It was not very much curtailed. I remember that I took part in it, in a very empty House, and that it occupied two hours, but I quite agree that points were raised that require consideration. On the first half of the seventh allotted day we begin with Clause 40, which deals with Interdepartmental arrangements between the two Executives; and on the second half of that day we start with what is undoubtedly a very important matter, which was also raised in Committee, and was reserved for further consideration, namely, the question of the appointed day, with regard to which the Government have put down Amendments 62 which I hope will give effect to the general? wish then expressed. I think, on the whole, we have made the best allocation of time, having regard to the governing considerations which I indicated at the outset of my remarks. I have made the concession which the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Captain Craig) suggested, and if any further suggestions are put forward the Government will be very glad to consider them in the course of the discussion.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
No Minister has ever had so much experience in moving Resolutions of this kind as the present Prime Minister, and the speech to which we have-just listened is, I think, a proof that in this case practice does not seem to make the task become any easier. The right hon. Gentleman assumed that all that it was necessary for him to do was to express a willingness to allocate the time in any way desired by the Opposition. But I think a very much more difficult task than that rested upon the right hon. Gentleman. I know perfectly well that the House has already decided that seven days should be allotted to this stage of our proceedings, but the task which, in my opinion, fell to the right hon. Gentleman, and which he-has not carried out, was to show that in that time he was able to carry out the promise which he gave in regard to the discussion of this Bill both on the Committee and on the Report stage. The House will remember that in introducing the general Resolution the right hon. Gentleman, with a playful humour which is not his usual characteristic, told us that it erred, if it erred at all, on the side of generosity. We have had experience of that generosity, and the House can judge how far that remark was justified. He told us also ore that occasion that these Resolutions would' enable this Bill to be discussed in a far better way than the Bill of 1893 was discussed. He told us, amid the laughter of my hon. Friends behind, that unlike the-Bill of 1893, where thirty Clauses were altogether undiscussed, every single Clause of this Bill would be discussed either in Committee or on Report. That was met by laughter, and the right hon. Gentleman said, "It is easy to laugh, but I have carefully considered this statement, and ray statement holds good that every important provision of this Bill will be discussed in Committee or on Report." Then the duty, as I understand it, which fell to the right hon. Gentleman, was to show that that promise had been fulfilled. I ask the House to consider exactly to what extent it is true. Of the whole Bill 212 lines have 63 been discussed in Committee, and 1,434 lines have passed absolutely without any discussion at all, and the result of the discussion of the 212 lines is that the Government themselves have introduced eighty-four Amendments in Committee, ten of which only have been discussed, and seventy-four have been introduced absolutely without the smallest discussion. In addition to that they have put down as the result of that discussion fifty-nine additional Amendments of their own to be considered on the Report stage. If, as the result of the discussion of 212 lines, the Government find it necessary to introduce nearly 150 Amendments, take a simple sum in proportion, and ask yourselves how many Amendments would have been necessary if the remaining 1,434 lines had been discussed.
But I do not think anything can illustrate more clearly the casual way in which this Bill has been put through the House than the reference which was made by the Prime Minister to his promise in regard to the appointed day. That refers to Clause 47. What happened? When that Clause was discussed my hon. Friends behind me spent a whole afternoon—I am not sure it was not a whole day—in showing that the Clause as it stood was utterly unworkable. The Minister in charge of the Bill—it was the Attorney-General—met every one of these criticisms by saying there was nothing in them, and that the Bill met the case precisely as it stood. He held on in his bold fight for Ireland, and was relieved at last by the fall of the guillotine. What happened next? The next day the same subject was introduced by my right hon. Friend (Mr. J. H. Campbell), and by an accident the Prime Minister happened to be present. After listening to the criticism of my right hon. Friend, he felt that the case presented was utterly unanswerable, and, disregarding the heroic struggle of his colleagues the day before, he at once promised an Amendment, which would never have been made, and which, he admits, is necessary if it had not happened that he was present when the subject came under discussion. Again I put to the House a question of proportion. If the Prime Minister had been present the whole of the time the Bill had been before the Committee, what would have been the number of Amendments which the Government would have put down in connection with that very Amendment? There is some-thing else which is worth noting. When 64 the Prime Minister said he would make that Amendment, my right hon. Friend asked, "Will there be time to discuss it?" Yes, certainly," said the Prime Minister, "on the Report stage." Under this Resolution as it now stands, so far as I can see, that promise cannot be kept. It is quite true this Amendment is to Clause 47, and Clause 47 comes first of a block of Clauses, but there are other things in that Clause besides the Amendment of the right hon Gentleman, and under the Resolution, as it now stands, this discussion is to begin at 7.30. But the Closure Division falls at 7.30, and twelve questions have to be put from the Chair. If, therefore, the House does not forego the privilege of voting, which is the only privilege still left, practically the whole time will be taken up in Divisions, and the promise given by the Prime Minister will not be kept.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
It is just like the previous occasion when the right hon. Gentleman was present. What would have happened if he had heard the whole of the discussion and the criticism which was made? After as careful an examination as I could give to this Resolution, I say, and I do not think there is a Member of the House who will study the question who will disagree with me, that the time allotted for this stage of this Bill would not be too much if it were devoted entirely to the Government Amendments which have been put down. I have here a list of the Amendments made by the Government in Committee, none of which have been discussed and almost none of which can be discussed under the Resolution which we are now considering. I shall not go over the whole of them. I shall take one day only. It is the fifth day, and it includes all the Financial Clauses. What do we find among these Amendments? There is, first, the power of the Irish Parliament to vary Customs Duties limited to additions never discussed in Committee. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] This Amendment was never discussed in Committee.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
What I say is literally true. I do not say there was not some discussion of the general subject, but I say this Amendment, which we meant to meet that discussion, has never been discussed, and, therefore, there is no opportunity of judging whether or not it meets 65 it. Another Amendment, is no power of Irish Parliament to vary the rate of Income Tax except Super-Tax—also undiscussed. A third, variation of Customs drawbacks only to cover duty paid and expense of revenue restrictions. A fourth, provision for paying duty on articles taken from bond. Another, provision for duties on trade between Great Britain and Ireland when articles are not originally subject to Excise Duty. Another, drawbacks to be allowed on articles subject to duty passing from one country to another. It is not worth while even going over these, but it is sufficient for me to point out that these Amendments all deal with Financial Clauses which were altered fundamentally in Committee, that they profess to be put in to meet the result of criticism, that there is no possibility of discussing them on Report, that there is no means of knowing whether or not they meet the criticisms which caused the Government to introduce them, and that from beginning to end, while the Financial Clauses of the Bill have been fundamentally altered, this House has absolutely no means of knowing whether the alterations do or do not meet the criticisms which were directed against them. Now turn to the Amendments on the Report Stage. I will again only refer to one or two. There is, first of all, the Amendment in regard to the Irish postal service. If I am not mistaken—I have not verified this—a promise was given that this would be discussed on Report. If that promise was given it cannot be carried out.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
Oh, no. It comes on the second day, when there are three hours for discussion. The postal service is nearly at the end of Clause 2, and judging by experience in Committee it is certain that this Amendment never can be discussed on Report. Anyone who followed the discussion on the postal service will agree with me that it was left in a state of utter confusion, but bad as the provisions were when the Bill was introduced the Amendment which the Government have made makes them still more unworkable, and criticism in this House has shown that they are utterly unworkable as they now stand. As regards other Amendments on Report, I turn to those in connection with finance, and again not one of them can be discussed on the Resolution as it stands. Here are some of them: "Powers of addition to Customs limited to 66 duties of a like character," whatever that means. There is a new Sub-section prohibiting the Irish Parliament varying Death Duties on the personal property of persons domiciled in Great Britain. Again, not discussed in Committee, and it cannot be discussed now. On Clause 17 there is a new Sub-section dealing with a subject which was discussed to a considerable extent in this House—the subject of the Exchequer Board and the methods by which it would calculate the value of taxes for England and for Ireland. Anyone who has followed these discussions knows that the matter was left in the utmost confusion, and that it was impossible for the Government to point out any way in which it could be dealt with. Now an Amendment is put down professing to deal with it. There is no chance of discussing it, and, in my belief, the Amendment does not meet in the least the criticism directed against it. In this same group there is another Sub-section, also the result of our criticism. The criticism was to the effect that the Irish Parliament might, if it chose, put on taxes which would be out of all proportion to the value of the receipts derived from them. This Sub-section is to meet that case, and the way it meets it—I can only refer to it—is to leave it practically to this House to decide whether or not the tax is out of proportion to the revenue. Here, again, this matter, as the discussion showed, was not understood by the Government, and could not be made to work. They profess to remedy it by an Amendment, and that Amendment never can be discussed in the House on the Report stage. The House will remember that on the Guillotine Resolution the Prime Minister said that every important provision could be discussed either in Committee or on Report. How has that promise been fulfilled? I have a list which it would weary the House to read, but I shall give them one or two examples of matters which have not been discussed and which cannot now be discussed. First, the conditions respecting the power of the Lord Lieutenant to withhold the Royal Assent. Over and over again that subject was brought up. Over and over again we asked the Government to give us some indication as to the way in which it would work. They have never given it. This part of the subject, the way in which the Royal Assent is to be given by the Lord Lieutenant, has never been discussed, and it cannot be discussed now. The power of 67 the Irish Parliament over Money Bills—that has never been discussed, and it cannot now be discussed. The privileges and qualifications of Members of the Irish Parliament—that was never discussed, and it cannot be discussed now. The number of the Irish at Westminster and how they shall be elected, the one subject which more than any other affects the United Kingdom—that has never been discussed, and under this Resolution it never can be discussed.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
The right hon. Gentleman doubts it. It never was discussed. The point I have specially named, the number of Irish Members at Westminster and how they shall be elected, was never once discussed in any shape or form, and cannot now be discussed. Clause 26—the conditions necessary to financial revision and the manner in which Irish representatives shall come to Westminster. Here, again, this was never discussed.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I beg the right hon. Gentleman's pardon. The point of the subject which I have specifically named never was discussed in any shape or form. Then we come to Clause 40—arrangemtnts between two Departments for the performance of one another's duties. According to the way in which that is made to work the Government can, if they choose, alter the whole of the Act. They can change the whole of the administrative machinery by which the Act is to be made to work. That subject has never been discussed, and never will be discussed.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I pointed out specially that it could be discussed on the first part of the seventh day.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I beg the right hon. Gentleman's pardon. That is so. It can be and will be discussed; but if it is, the subsequent parts of the same subject cannot be discussed, and here they are—the power of concurrent legislation with the Imperial Parliament—another safeguard never discussed and cannot possibly be discussed on the later stages of the Bill. And, finally—this is the last to which I shall refer—the power to make Orders in 68 Council adapting laws, which really means a power as great as has ever been given to any Government in the world. That power is given without any discussion at any stage of this Bill. I have not gone in any detail into this subject, though I have the material here which would justify me in doing so. But I have not done so for the simple reason that there is not a Member of the House, in whatever quarter he sits, who does not know that the House of Commons has had nothing whatever to do with the framing of this Bill from the beginning to the end. There is not a Member of the House who does not agree with me in thinking as I do that it would be just as sensible, that you would pay just as much tribute to the House of Commons, if instead of wasting these seven days the right hon. Gentleman had brought down a Resolution that the Bill should become law to-morrow. Everyone knows that under the conditions under which we are working the House of Commons has ceased to be a Legislative Assembly in any sense of the term.] ask the House to think for a moment what are the conditions under which this Bill has gone through, and what is the importance of the Bill. It is impossible to imagine any Bill more important. It sets up a new Constitution for Ireland; it sets up in effect a new Constitution for England, and in addition, if the Bill is to become law, it proposes to do what has never been done at any time in any country in the world's history—it proposes to use coercion to-compel a homogeneous community to leave a Government with which they are content and to accept another with which they are not content. This is the kind of Bill which is carried through by these methods.
And consider this further, the moment the last stage of the Bill has been completed in this House, when the Third Reading is passed, the Bill will still be suspended in the air for more than a year at least. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] Well, in all probability it will be suspended for more than a year. It will come up for discussion again twice in the House of Commons, but by the arrangement not one single line of this undigested mass can be altered. If it becomes law at all, it must become law precisely in the form in which it now leaves the House of Commons. Suppose that anything of the kind were happening in a foreign country and we were reading an account of it, is there a Member of this House who would not say that such a method of carrying legislation 69 was the negation of representative government, and meant the destruction of all Parliamentary institutions? Yet what are we doing, and why are we doing it? It is because the Government are attempting the impossible. They are attempting to carry measures under Parliamentary form when they are destroying the spirit of Parliamentary institutions. That is what they are doing. The Government have, I think, done a grave injury to this country by destroying the Second Chamber without putting a substitute in its place, but they have clone, as I believe, a greater and a more permanent injury by the way in which they have treated the House of Commons. The other day, the Chancellor of the Exchequer—I am sorry he is not present—in a moment of expansive-ness let us see the inner workings of his mind, and I am quite sure that in this respect he reflected the opinions of all his colleagues. Speaking in Scotland, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said this—The Parliamentary machine was impeded by pedantry and garrulity. He turned into the House of Commons now and again when they were discussing tile Home Rule Bill and found a languid and an attenuated House, very few of the Members listening, and most of them waiting for their own turns to speak. All that was a great waste of time.It is an interesting speech. It shows, not only what the House of Commons has become, but what the Government desire that it should become. What is the use of speaking, or discussing, or debating? It is a waste of time. The only use of the House of Commons, under present conditions, is to act as a sounding board to echo the voice of any Minister, whoever he may be, who is chosen to give the decision of the Cabinet. I venture to say that if the Parliamentary conditions, as we now see them, are to become permanent, our institutions cannot be preserved, and, what is more, they will not be worth preserving.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
I gather from the concluding portion of the right hon. Gentleman's speech that it would be in order to carry on a Second Reading discussion of this Bill on this Motion. [An Hoy. MEMBER: "Why not?"] I am not objecting. I do not, however, intend to follow his example. I intend rather to devote the few words I have to say to the first portion of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, which seemed to me to be strictly germane to this Motion. The right hon. Gentleman has taken up the position that there has not been sufficient time for the discussion of this Bill, either in Committee, or, as now suggested, on 70 Report, and he says the House of Commons has had no control whatever over, nothing to say to, the framework of this Bill. But the moment before he complained of the fact that the Government are proposing very nearly 150 Amendments of their OWN, and he endeavoured to make out that those Amendments have not been and will not be discussed. Every single one of them, as the Prime Minister said, with the exception of purely drafting Amendments has been put on the Paper as the result of discussion and agreement come to by the Government. Everyone of them is in the nature of a concession to the pressure brought upon the Government, mostly by hon. Members above the Gangway, and to say that these Amendments have not been discussed, and that they are not a proof that the House of Commons has had a great deal to do with the framework of this Bill, is to make a statement that cannot hold water for a single moment. The right hon. Gentleman wants to make out a rule-of-three sum. He says if 150 Amendments have been the results of the discussions on this Bill for forty-five days—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Instead of putting the rule-of-three sum, as he says, I shall put a rule-of-three sum of my own, and I say that if the discussions of this Bill for forty-five days have resulted in the suppression of free speech, and in the impossibility of discussing this Bill, what does the right hon. Gentleman ask? If 150 Amendments have been produced after discussion for forty-five days, and if the discussions have resulted simply in the impasse which the right hon. Gentleman alludes to, what, I want to know, would be the fate of this House if there had been no Guillotine Resolution at all? If the House had gone on without this Guillotine Resolution we know very well on the confession of these Gentlemen that not forty-five days would have been occupied, but that the entire of the Session would not have been sufficient.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
That is quite a candid admission from the hon. and gallant Gentleman, who always is candid in everything he says. It is a candid admission by him that if there had not been this procedure Resolution this Bill simply would have been killed by talk and the length of the discussion which would have been pursued. The right hon. Gentleman says that voting is the only privilege left to the Opposition now. Does the House 71 recollect what has occurred? The principle of the Bill, that is on the question whether Ireland would be given, for the management of purely Irish affairs, a subordinate Parliament with an Executive responsible to it, has been discussed already for seventeen Parliamentary days. The question as to the powers which should be given to that Parliament has been discussed for five and a-half days. The finances of the Bill have been discussed for nine days, and in all forty-five days have been taken up by discussion of this measure. [An HON. MEMBER: "Tremendous."] It is tremendous. The hon. Gentleman is not as old a Member of the House as I am. If he was, he would know perfectly well that if the discussion of a great controversial measure were to be conducted in the spirit that animates him, it would be impossible ever to carry in this House any controversial measure even in the lifetime of a single. Parliament. Let me consider for a moment what has been the fate of this Opposition whose mouths have been closed, and to whom the only privilege left is to vote. I find that up to this date 5,500 columns of the OFFICIAL REPORT have been spoken on this Bill, and I have made a little sum on this. I find that allowing sixty lines to a column and eight words to a line, this House has already talked 2,500,000 words on this Bill, which is pretty good for a silenced and gagged Assembly. I am told—I do not give it on my own authority—that in the Bible there are only about 1,000,000 words. You have actually spoken on this Bill more than double the number of words in the Bible. This number of words will give about 4,500 words for each Member of the House.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
It is House of Commons fact. Of course, every Member of the House did not take part in these discussions. If they had they would have been entitled to 4,500 words each; but those who did take part in the discussion have got an average of 20,000 words each, and it was pointed out to me, as I was getting these figures out, that if these words were extended in one line that line would reach from Bolton to Ashton-under-Lyne, and the holder of the line, if he thought fit, would then have enough line left to turn right-about-face and start again to Bolton. That is not all. That is 72 not the total of the volume of discussion on this Bill which has gone on. If we had all the speeches made in the country and all the articles written in the newspapers with reference to this Bill, it seems to me that the line of words would extend from John o' Groats to Land's End. Even that is not all. I have only spoken now of the words that have been spoken with reference to this Bill this year in Parliament and out of it, but the House must remember that, after all, the Home Rule Bill in its main features and its main principles has been before the country for over twenty years, and if you add in the words that have been spoken from the commencement of this Home Rule controversy you would probably have a line that would go round the habitable globe. On the question merely of Divisions, which is the sole privilege left to the Gentlemen who have spoken three million words, they voted in 194 Divisions, and my Friend who supplied me with these figures has calculated that each one who took part in these Divisions has already walked over twenty miles. The problem with the Opposition, I respectfully submit, has not been that they have not had time enough. The problem, largely has been how to occupy the time, and it is now notorious that adventitious and surreptitious aids have been invoked to assist them in doing so. [HON. MEMBERS: "Rosenbaum."] How else have they been able to occupy the time? They occupied a length of time in discussing and actually dividing against some of those principles of which they have always declared themselves the firmest supporters. When the Clause came up enunciating the continued supremacy of this House they spoke against it and went the length of voting against it. Similarly, when the question of two Chambers came up, they were the bitter opponents of Single-Chamber government and spoke against two Chambers in Ireland and voted against the proposal, and in that way it seems to me they were forced to occupy the time that was given. Unless this House of Commons is to become absolutely impotent, unless every Government, when its turn comes up, is to give up for ever all hope of carrying through this House any great controversial measure, some such procedure as this is necessary. It seems to me that the amount of time given to this Bill has been, in the words used by the Prime Minister, not only adequate, but generous. For my part, I feel perfectly certain that that view will be taken in the country.
§ Sir E. CARSON
I only desire to add a very few words to what has been said as regards this Amendment by the Leader of the Opposition. I cannot help thinking that the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman who has just addressed us is a very fit prelude to the proceedings upon which we are now entering. It was high time for somebody to show up the whole farce that was going on in this House. The hon. and learned Gentleman has given a most valuable contribution in that direction. I have a very strong opinion that he did not write that speech himself. [HON. MEMBERS: "Name," and "Rosen-baum."] I think that it came from an Ulster Member below the Gangway.
§ Sir E. CARSON
I do not know what that interruption means but that he also gets his speeches for the country written by the same gentleman. But really the whole question that the hon. Gentleman deals with with such levity, I think he would take in a far different light if he had been night after night and day after day sitting in opposition to a measure in which he and his people at home were deeply concerned, and ho felt the insult and the aggravation that were put upon him by the tyrannical methods of the Government, and knew that those who had spent days and months in making up this Rill, and trying to understand it, and trying to amend it, were absolutely precluded from moving a single one of the Amendments which they had put down. There has been a great deal of talk about the discussion of the Clauses of the Bill. The Committee stage is not merely for the discussion of Clauses; it is for the discussion of Amendments, so that hon. Members may have a chance of putting forward in what way they think the Bill ought best to leave this House, so that it may bear upon it some impression of the work that we are sent here to do. To my mind, far and away the most important results of this Guillotine Resolution is that hon. Members who framed their Amendments—and some of them I know did so after a great deal of consideration and thought and a great deal of hard work—knew that they never would have a chance of putting forward any single one of their Amendments. There were not more than a few of the Amendments which were put down that were discussed, and there were 900 Amendments on the Paper which were 74 never reached or never discussed at all. It is all very well for the hon. and learned Gentleman to talk about the number of words that were used, but I ask the House—when we consider that what we are doing is framing a Constitution under which men are going to live for all future time, and which a great body of men absolutely detest—is that the way a Constitution was ever framed, in any country, not confining it to this country where the Constitution has grown up, not in a single year but in hundreds of years, all of which is now being abrogated and destroyed in many respects. The thing is absolutely ridiculous. Nine hundred Amendments have been undiscussed altogether; twenty-four Clauses of the Bill never were discussed at all.
The hon. Member for Waterford, in his hurry to get the Bill—I do not think he will find it as easy as he imagines—makes a joke of the whole thing. Well, it is no joke to us. We have never treated is as a joke. We have done our best in very difficult and very adverse and very aggravating circumstances to try to confine our Debate here and the propriety of Debate when discussing this Bill. I remember, a short time after the discussions commenced, passing out after one Division on the Closure, and hearing two Libera Members saying, "They have not even go enough in them now to shout gag." No; that was not our method. We had resolved to try to discuss the Bill and the way we were met in relation to it was that every evening the answer we got was the guillotine, and now we are told by the hon. Member for Water-ford—I do not know whether that is his idea of the way he will run the new Irish House—that we have had a great deal too much discussion. Why he is growing almost more tyrannical than the Prime Minister's Government in his anxiety to snatch this Bill in the time that remains. Everybody knows that hon. Members have now met here with the object of getting away for a holiday as quickly as possible. They do not care one farthing whether this Bill is discussed or not. I have heard hon. Members opposite, and even to-day cheer the fact, which was a fact, that the House was almost empty during the dissions of this Bill, and Liberal newspapers have boasted of it. I do not think it is a thing to boast of, it is a thing which the House of Commons ought to be ashamed of. It only shows us that, under the 75 methods adopted all interest goes out of the Debate, no matter how important the Bill, the moment we know that at a prearranged time everybody will be here just to suit the purposes of the Government. I agree with one observation of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford, that there must be some limitation, but, as the Prime Minister promised us, there should also be adequate discussion. But when you come to see what is adequate discussion, I submit it must be adequate discussion relative to the importance of the Bill and not relative to the number of Bills which, by reason of the Parliament Act, you are determined to force through. That is the whole thing. What is the use of discussing it? Docs anybody pretend that if we were not to have the Welsh Bill as well as the Franchise Bill, we should have had this restricted discussion over the whole of the Home Rule Bill? Everybody knows we would not. The hon. and learned Member in his jocular way talks about the amount of time we have had and the amount of time that is wasted. I think he forgets that Mr. Gladstone when he introduced his Home Rule Bill gave us almost quite as much time as we have had over this Bill, and yet everybody knows that the time which Mr. Gladstone allowed was not adequate for the discussion of this Bill.
Let us look for a moment at one or two matters in which, in setting up a new Constitution, we have not been allowed to have any voice, and we are not going to be allowed to have a voice, in addition to those matters which have already been mentioned by my right hon. Friend, the Leader of the Opposition. I should have thought that one of the most important matters that we might have been allowed to discuss has reference to the constituencies of the new Irish Parliament. I should have thought that one of the matters of some importance to the setting up of any Parliament would be the constituencies which were to return representatives to Parliament. But that is treated as nothing in this Bill. We have not been allowed to discuss it in Committee in detail, nor will we be allowed to discuss it on the Report stage, because we are only allowed three hours, excluding Divisions at half-past seven, for the discussion of Clauses 47 to 49 and the Schedules. Is it right or is it fair that a Constitution should be set up in Ireland in which the constituencies who return the Members to 76 govern the Irish people are never to be discussed in this House? I think it makes a pantomime of their Constitution. Let me ask the right hon. Gentleman this question: Supposing you brought in a Redistribution of Seats Bill to-morrow, would you give the possibility of a half-hour for the discussion of the whole of that Bill in Committee? You would take weeks and months in Committee, and necessarily so; and yet not one single moment is to be given to the important question of the constituencies in the setting up of this Parliament. That is your Constitution.
And if ever there was a country which required mature consideration as regards the constituencies it was Ireland. In the United Kingdom you have a mixture of great industrial towns and centres containing vast numbers of people, such as there are in Lancashire and London, but when you take Ireland the conditions in that country are absolutely different. There you have an agricultural country with few industries, and those industries mainly centred in one part of Ireland—the North of Ireland. What are you doing—have you ever even considered it? You are giving to the boroughs in Ireland thirty-four Members, and you are giving to the counties 128 Members; so that you are going to have the whole of the industries in the North of Ireland regulated, ruled, and bound hand and foot by the agricultural constituencies in the South and West of Ireland. That may be right or it may be wrong, but it ought to be discussed. Yes; and do you think that a great industrial community, such as Belfast and some of the surrounding towns which are very closely allied to them—if there was nothing else in it—will allow themselves to be ruled by these small agricultural holders in the South and West of Ireland? The thing is impossible. No sane man would think of setting up a Government of that kind. All I am complaining of at the present moment is that the Prime Minister, doing no doubt his best with the time which he has himself limited, has not been able to find a single day, hour, or minute which he can give us for the discussion of this question. What is the condition of these small holders that are going to govern Belfast and the industrial classes of the North of Ireland, as well as industries elsewhere, such as they are? Have hon. Gentlemen opposite ever thought or set themselves to find out what will be the class of voters who would do 77 this? In Ireland there are 353,547 small holdings of under thirty acres. When you take those, with the agricultural labourers who exist upon them, and with the number of votes that come out of those holdings, you will see at once that the whole industrial community of Ireland will be absolutely swamped by the agricultural labourers and by small farmers, who are in a very little better position than the agricultural labourers. The whole of that matter has been left absolutely undiscussed. The constituencies in Ireland are to be left to be framed at the sweet will of His Majesty's Government. That one instance alone shows how absolutely ludicrous is the whole method in which you have disposed of this Bill.
But that is not the whole matter. We have not discussed nor been able to discuss the constituencies to be represented in this House. That is to be done, as I understand, by an Order in Council. This House is to part with the settlement of the constituencies of the Members returned to this House. That has never been discussed. If the hon. Gentleman the Member for Waterford thinks it a great triumph that he is effecting by the rushing of this Bill—but which I have no doubt he is somewhat nervous may not get through for some reason or other—if he thinks this a great triumph of statesmanship—and the Government may think that it is also statesmanship—all I can say is that is not statesmanship, it is mere folly. You cannot set up a Constitution of this kind, with any idea of its ever becoming a working machine, or giving any satisfaction—putting aside all sentiment—without going minutely into those details. When the hon. and learned Gentleman makes a joke about the number of words spoken in this House, I would like to ask him whether he has ever calculated out how many Bills are inside this one Bill. If I wanted to joke about the matter I daresay I could, even far more truly than in the statistics he has given, have worked out 100 or 150 Bills, which are all included in this measure, and which are all, more or less, if this Bill ever becomes law, going to affect the fate and happiness of the people of Ireland. It is very easy to joke; it is very easy to make fun of speeches; but the logical conclusion of it all is that the House of Commons has ceased to be a legislative machine at all, except without discussion—that is, except without adequate discussion. We are not saying here that the time for discussion should not be 78 limited so as to prevent a waste of Parliamentary time. We are saying here that a Bill of this complexity, which the Prime Minister himself called the chief Bill of the Session, has been given no adequate chance for discussion, and that in framing his time-table the right hon. Gentleman has not considered either the interests of Ireland or the interests of the United Kingdom, or the interests of the people of Ireland, but has solely considered political exigencies.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
The right hon. and learned Member has referred to the insufficient time which he says has been allowed for the discussion of the Bill, but my own strong belief is that it is not so much that insufficient time has been allowed as that the time which has been given has not been put to its proper use. The right hon. and learned Member said quite truly that the Committee stage of a Bill is for the purpose of considering Amendments with a view to so framing the measure that it may become law in the best possible shape that this House can give it. I entirely agree with that proposition, but the difficulty is that the House of Commons has for many years used the Committee stage, not only for the purpose of amending a Bill, but for destroying a Bill. I submit to the Opposition and to my own side that the House should recognise that when a Bill has passed the Second Reading it is intended that it should become law, and that in the Committee stage Amendments should be considered with a view to putting the measure into the best possible shape. If that method were' adopted we would escape many of the acrimonious discussions which take place, and would use to greater advantage the time which is given. For my part I think that the time is growing longer and longer that this House gives to important Bills. It is not that the Bills are more important than the Bills passed in former times, but it means that the method of discussion in the Committee stage has completely changed, and that there is a perpetual tendency to speak upon Amendments as if it were a Second Reading discussion. This has been to some extent checked by the Chairman, but it is practically impossible for him to prevent that, if the House really intends to have a Second Reading discussion, though usually it has been done by agreement, and, instead of devoting ourselves to the consideration of Amendments, we spend our time in prac- 79 tically continued Second Reading Debates., I submit to those who are concerned in the procedure of the House, as I am myself very sincerely, that the real difficulty lies there in the too frequent Second Reading discussion of the Clauses, rather than in not sufficient time being given to the Amendments.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
I think in some degree that is so. I do not think the guillotine is a perfectly satisfactory method of dealing with the difficulty, and I do not altogether like it, and I do not think it will ever be satisfactory until the time has been reached when the time will be allotted by an impartial Committee rather than by the Government of the day, but that, of course, is not under discussion to-day, and we are really only to-day concerned with the allotting of the seven and a half days which the House has already decided to give to the Report stage. I do say in regard to the right hon. Gentleman who spoke last that the real evil lies in trying to use the Committee stage to destroy a Bill which he hates, and so long as he uses the Committee stage to try and destroy the Bill it really is not reasonable to complain that he has not had the opportunity of amending it. The Opposition has largely in its control what subject shall be discussed in Committee and how the allotted time shall be spent. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman has made out a very strong case, and in so far as it is true that there may be important matters which have not been discussed, I do submit that is due, not to the insufficiency of time, but rather to the way in which the Opposition has chosen to use that time. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition made a speech which was very full of contradictions. That is perhaps not unusual. He generally contradicts his colleagues, but in this case he contradicted himself more than once. In the course of his speech he talked about the dignity of the House of Commons, and that in the very same sentence in which he was appealing to another place to destroy the work of the House of Commons. I do say to him that what is really destroying, or tending to destroy, the dignity of the House of Commons is that Members of this House have appealed against the House of Commons outside the House of Commons, and it is not for any right hon. Gentleman who does 80 that, and who makes that part of his political armoury, to stand up and claim that he is a defender of the dignity of the House of Commons. Another remark which I think was made by the right hon. Gentleman was that the House of Commons had nothing to do with the shaping of this Bill, but he himself admitted that whenever the Prime Minister was here he had shown himself of a yielding disposition and had accepted Amendments. It does seem, to my mind, a contradiction to say in the same breath that the House of Commons had nothing to do with the shaping of the Bill and that the Prime Minister had frequently accepted Amendments.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
I think the righthon. and learned Gentleman was not present-when his Leader made his speech.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
It will be within the recollection of the House that the Leader of the Opposition said that whenever the Prime Minister was here he had shown himself of a yielding disposition, and had been disposed to accept Amendments, and the right hon. Gentleman even worked out a rule-of-three sum to show how many Amendments would have been accepted if the Prime Minister had been here more frequently. As a matter of fact, he was here throughout our Debates. I speak with knowledge, as I am one of those who have been almost always here, and the Prime Minister was here throughout our Debates except during the Financial Clauses of the Bill, when, as he himself stated, he delegated them to certain of his colleagues. That also, it seems to me, destroys the argument of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, that the House of Commons had nothing to do with the shaping of the Bill. It is quite true that the Bill went through Committee with many undiscussed lines, but that was true of Bills in days when there was no Closure. I have been at pains to read some of the old Debates on great Bills of this House, such as the Debate on the Irish Church Bill and many great Bills which passed through the Parliament of 1868 to 1874. In the Committee stages of those Bills whole Clauses went through undiscussed, and quite as many in those days as go through under the guillotine. I admit those were Clauses which the 81 House had decided to let through without discussion, probably having considered them, but really Members fall into an error if they think that the non-discussion of Clauses is born of the guillotine. The effect of the guillotine is that we sometimes spend time discussing unimportant parts of Clauses and leave undiscussed important parts. That I have always felt about the guillotine and regretted it, but it is not the case, and it cannot properly be argued by anyone who knows the past history of procedure in this House, that there is less discussion of the provisions of important Bills to-day than there was even in what we may regard as the palmy old days, when there was perfect freedom of discussion for the House. The truth is, as the Prime Minister said, in introducing his Guillotine Resolution, that every important provision of the Bill would be discussed in Committee stage or Report stage, that that has been done. The Leader of the Opposition and the right hon. and learned Gentleman who spoke last searched themselves and with the competent help they are able to command, and certainly have not produced very many examples this afternoon of matters which have not been discussed. They said they did not do so in order to spare our time, but we have got until half-past seven o'clock, and we would be glad to have heard of more instances. I do not think, as I say, that a very strong case has been made out. Every important provision of the Bill I believe has been discussed. I think some have been discussed over and over again. We have been discusing the great principles underlying this Bill and underlying the Clauses instead of the details, but that will only be done when the House and the Opposition recognise the real purpose of the Committee stage and devote themselves to it. For my part, I am no friend of the Guillotine Motion, but in the present allotment of time I think the Government seem to have done their best with the seven and a half days. I am glad that they have accepted Amendments from the Opposition so that the Opposition may shape the discussion as far as they can. That is only reasonable when the time is limited, and within that framework I do not think there is much to complain of in the Motion which is at present before the House.
I listened not altogether with astonishment, but at the same time with deep regret to the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford 82 (Mr. J. Redmond). What we have complained about all through the discussion of this Bill in the early stages has been the unseemly levity with which hon. Members opposite seem to treat this subject, which,, to us, is of such great importance, find to the class of levity, unseemly levity unfortunately, the whole Nationalist party, led by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford, seemed to cater on every occasion on which they address the House. I wish that some of those hon. Members who come down here and treat the whole discussion of the Bill as a huge joke with which to go back to their constituents, would only come up to the North of Ireland and see what they think of it—
§ Mr. R. HARCOURT
May I ask, Is the general discussion still proceeding, or is; the hon. Gentleman going to move his-Amendment, which seemed to deal with the allocation of time?
I was merely dealing with one aspect of the matter. I am sure the hon. Member was one of the very worst offenders and treated this serious matter in a way which is disgusting and revolting to every hon. Member who understands the seriousness of the case. He is the worst offender in the House, and a man we despise for the way in which he tries to lower this Debate from a matter of the supremest importance to one which is a mere matter of jesting and joking across the floor of the House.
§ Mr. R. HARCOURT
Apart from personal abuse, on a point of Order, I desire to ask you again whether a general Debate is proceeding or whether we have to argue simply upon this subject?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon and gallant Gentleman can move his Amendments at such time as he may think fit. In the meanwhile I think he is entitled, just as the hon. Member, to discuss the matter at large, and then he can conclude with his Amendments.
I have perhaps come from a different atmosphere too recently to address the House, and I shall content myself on this particular occasion by simply formally moving the Amendments which stand in my name on the Paper, and the Radical party can take their Bill and their Amendments and treat them as they like.
§ Mr. R. HARCOURT
The hon. and gallant Gentleman made offensive personal references to me, but as he has now left the House, I do not intend to reply to him.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member must confine himself now to the Amendment.
Amendments made: Leave out"7.30"and insert instead thereof"10.30."["Allotted Day: First. New Clauses.…7.30."]
Leave out the words, "Clause 1"I"Allotted Day: First."]
Leave out"7.30"["Allotted Day: Second. Clause 1.…7.30."]
Leave out the words, "Clause 2 to the end of paragraph (10)"[Allotted Day: Second."]
Leave out the words "The remainder of" ["Allotted Day: Third."]—[Captain Craig.]
§ Mr. W. O'BRIEN
I beg to move, in respect of the Fourth Allotted Day, to leave out the words "Clause 8,"and to insert instead thereof the words "Clauses 8 to 13."And further to leave out the words "Clauses 9 to 14,"and insert in stead thereof "Clause 14."
This Amendment is intended as a protest against the extraordinary arrangement that the Government have made in reference to this Report stage. For some incomprehensible reason, Clause 8, which is purely a discussion on the Irish Senate, a matter that is not of any practical interest to anybody, gets a whole afternoon to itself in addition to any discussion that it may receive subsequently, while Clauses 9 to 14 are huddled together to be disposed of within two hours after the dinner hour upon the same night. The seven Clauses that are to be treated in that way begin with Clause 9, which deals with the important question of the composition of the Irish House of Commons. That, of course, will occupy the entire two hours, and might very well occupy an entire sitting. The result of the Government arrangement will be to prevent any discussion what ever of two Clauses which I regard as perhaps more important than all the other Clauses in the Bill put together, with the exception of the first and the second. I refer to Clause 13 dealing with the representation of Ireland in this House, and Clause 14 dealing with Irish revenue and expenditure. In my Amendment I have 84 confined myself to Clause 14, which is the financial core of the Bill. I say that the suppression of all discussion upon a Clause of that kind is a perfectly indefensible and, so far as some of us are concerned, an intolerable proceeding. I do not like to use any strong terms that can be avoided, but it is little short of an outrage that the representatives of Ireland should be debarred from saying a single word upon the Clause which is the keystone of the whole fabric, and upon which the whole future of the financial relations between the two Parliaments will depend. It is an extraordinary fact that upon the night when the Treasury Resolution which really decided the finances of this Bill was under discussion, only one of the eighty-six Nationalist representatives intervened in the Debate, and that one was not the Leader of the party behind me.
That is a fact which I think will be quoted hereafter with some amazement, and it is a rather ghastly commentary upon the Christmas pantomime humour to which we listened a while ago as to the superabundant discussion of this Bill. My Friends and I contented ourselves with one speech of protest against a financial scheme which, in our judgment, at all events, will deprive this Bill of any title to permanence or finality. I speak, of course, of the machinery of the Bill as distinguished from its principles. We resisted the temptation and the very strong and aggressive provocation which we received on that occasion from the Treasury Bench to carry on a conflict in this House throughout the rest of the proceedings on the Financial Clauses. We abstained from all further discussion of those Clauses; but I put down an Amendment to Clause 14 which I hoped would give us an opportunity of making one further appeal to the Government to recognise that the financial arrangements of the Bill are, and ought to be, of a temporary character, and to provide for their revision after a few years of practical experience. That is, in my opinion, the only condition on which these financial arrangements could be tolerated. The Government themselves have on Clause 26 opened the door to revision within, I think, six years. But Clause 26 could only come into operation in conditions which, to my mind, almost certainly will never arise. More than that, the provisions of Clause 26 can only be with a view to increasing, instead of diminishing, the Imperial burdens of Ireland. The Government concede a 85 revision which can only add to our burdens, and refuse any concession that might afford relief. I hope the Government will reconsider their time-table in this respect. It would be very easy for them either to accept this Amendment, which would be a very small concession indeed, or to pass at a swoop without any pretence of discussion a dozen, or even two dozen, of the minor later conditions of the Bill. At all events, we urge upon the Government that we are not unreasonable in asking that we should have an opportunity of submitting our views on the last occasion when the Nationalist representatives of Ireland will have any voice in the future financial arrangements of their country. I respectfully request that before this discussion closes, some Member of the Government will tell us plainly whether or not we are to have the opportunity for the brief discussion which we desire.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
I beg to second the Amendment. The Bill has been vitally changed in the Committee stage upon the one matter to which I, at any rate, attach importance, namely, the question of finance. One of the chief reasons why I, for one, was anxious to see some settlement in Ireland, was to get relief from British Budgets. Our country, as an agricultural country, is wholly unsuited to them. You, with your vast ideas and grandiose exchequer, can afford the sort of Budgets that you frame year after year. To my astonishment, without a word of protest, as far as I know, from the Leader of the Irish party, a Clause was accepted putting our finance permanently for all practical purposes under the Budget of the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom. Finance has always played the greatest part in every struggle for liberty in this House. It was because we were getting rid of British Budgets under the Home Rule Bill that we consented to our representation being cut down to forty-two Members. As my hon. Friend has said, we have never had an opportunity since that change was made of discussing the important question of the Irish representation in this House, in the light of that revolution in the terms of the Bill. Now, when a modest Amendment is put down by my hon. Friend (Mr. W. O'Brien) in order to raise the question—I do not say that the Government have done it deliberately, because I am sure the Prime Minister is too large-minded to descend to a manoeuvre of that character, 86 but by some mischance or by some want of consideration, that Amendment is being entirely smothered and put out of sight. It was not of a revolutionary or hostile kind. All it proposed was that this scheme of finance which, without any consideration for our feelings, has been adopted, should not be permanent in character, but should be reconsidered after a period of something like six years.
The Government have made this extraordinary change in the Bill without reference to Irish feeling, and, as far as I know, without even considering the Member for Waterford (Mr. J. Redmond), whose chief function now seems to be to act the part of harlequin when the Prime Minister gets up. He has told us to-day, as an excuse for his humour, that he had already made his speech at Ipswich. I wish he had left it at that. At all events, with the financial fate of Ireland at stake, as it is in this matter, I expected some different kind of contribution to the Debate in the shape of a demand for consideration on this financial question, instead of a computation of how many hundred thousand, or million words were spoken by Members of the House. We who are friendly to the principle of the Bill, anxious to see it work, and whole-heartedly desire a settlement between the two Kingdoms, have been placed in a position of great difficulty during these Debates. We were in a somewhat similar position when the University Bill was being discussed in Committee upstairs. The whole time was taken up by a couple of Gentlemen whose children were never likely to go to the university, and who had no concern whatever with it. Those who were anxious to see the Bill welded into some reasonable shape and to prevent it from becoming what it threatens to become abstained from speaking, because otherwise they would have been accused of assisting in the obstruction indulged in by some hon. Members from the North of Ireland, whose only desire was to kill the Bill. In the same way with regard to the present measure, they were kept from making a reasonable protest against the scheme of finance, which has, unfortunately, been adopted by the Government, because they would have at once been charged with assisting the general body of the Opposition. We have no desire to do that. We desire to help pass a good and reasonable Bill. I say sincerely that the finance of this Bill is putrid—there is no other word for it—from top to bottom.
87 The finance is the one thing that the people will feel. You may talk as you like about reserving the police and reserving this, that, or the other; but what the people will feel is the question of finance. What condition of affairs will there be when with this great boon which has been held out to them, which is to crown their joy and to restore their position after the misery of a century, they find themselves cribbed, cabined, and confined at every turn by the arrangements that you have made? All we say by the Amendment of my hon. Friend is that this financial scheme shall be temporary in its character and reconsidered after a period of five or six years. The Government, with that reasonable Amendment on (he Paper, have made arrangements—I do not say wilfully—under which that Amendment will be avoided; and the hon. Member for Waterford, instead of demanding for his country further time for the consideration of this important subject, treats us as if we belonged to Ipswich. We do not. Accordingly, my hon. Friend has made his demand that this question of finance shall be once more considered. Surely hanging upon and dependent upon that is the question of our representation. When Mr. Gladstone's Bill was before this House in 1886 I certainly was opposed to the Irish representation being continued in this House. I was quite content that our representation should be cut down to forty-two. I think that is reasonable—a reasonable settlement and compromise-though perhaps there is not much logic in it. But if the Irish people are to wait every March or April to see what is in the British Budget; if their representation in this House is to be cut down to something like forty Members, what chance will we have, what power will we have, or what force shall we employ in order to bring our case before the minds of the Government?
Another most important consideration is this: It is not by arguments that Governments are affected; it is by votes. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer is framing his Budget—I do not say the present Chancellor, but a future Chancellor—he will have to cut his coat according to his cloth. He will have to frame his Bill according to his majority, and if Ireland has only forty Members in this House what consideration will she get when these Budgets of the future are framed? They will not be framed from an Irish point of view, 88 unless the margin of the party majority should fall to a very small number indeed. Therefore, I do say in this matter that this question of finance, and the question of Irish representation which hinges upon it, are vital matters in the Bill—it is not matters of police, or of appointments, and not some of the other matters that are being discussed here at great length. Finance is the first, second, and third, and I might say the life and soul of this Bill. In the present state of its finance the Bill is utterly deplorable. You will not get a single authority in Ireland, no matter what politics they may be, to take your view as regards finance—not one. I challenge hon. Gentlemen behind me to get up now, and in the face of their country, say they are satisfied with the finance of the Bill. They are simply trying to smuggle the Bill's finance through the House of Commons. They are simply trying to avoid discussion as to its defects. We therefore, not in any spirit of hostility—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"]—well, we have got to live in the country, and we have got to pay your taxes as well as our own. We respectfully put forward this very moderate demand that a few hours' time should be given to the discussion to be raised by the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for 'Cork.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir Rufus Isaacs)
Both the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment have perhaps for the moment forgotten what happened when we were discussing Clause 8. When we were dealing with that Clause in Committee a definite promise was made that half a day should be allotted to Clause 8, and it is in pursuance of that promise that we have framed the allocation of time. If we were to accept this Amendment we should not be able to carry out that pledge; consequently it is quite impossible for us to accept it. As I have said, by doing so we should not be performing the pledge given by the Prime Minister.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
Yes, but four other Clauses deal with the matter, and if we accepted the Amendment I am afraid we should be open to the reproach that we have not given the half-day promised to Clause 8. If the Opposition are willing to accept the Amendment as a fulfilment of the pledge which the Prime Minister gave, if they intimate that to us now, we would willingly accept the Amendment. If, as I say, the Opposition assented to that 89 suggestion, we should be released from our pledge. It is only on that condition we could accept the Amendment. I point out the Prime Minister's promise in order to show that if it had been possible we might have been able to accept the hon. Gentleman's Amendment. The net result is that as we stand it is an absolute impossibility. May I point out further that the object of this Amendment—though it does not seem very plain—is, as the hon. Gentleman said, to get a discussion on Clause 14. I do not propose to follow other hon. Members into a discussion generally on the finances of the Bill, which has already been fully discussed in Committee, but I want to remind the hon. Gentleman opposite, when he says that Clause 14 has not been been sufficiently discussed and that there has not been adequate opportunity for such discussion, that he has selected the worst possible instance upon which to hang any reproach of the kind. If he will recall the matter to his recollection, it will be found that Clause 14 is a Clause that has had, in effect, five days' discussion out of the twenty-seven originally allotted to Committee; thus twenty-seven eventually became twenty-nine in consequence of the two days which were given, acting upon Mr. Speaker's suggestion, by which we moved the recommittal and reconsideration of the Money Resolutions. First of all, there were three days in the original allocation of time to Clause 14. Then, in consequence of what happened, two further days were given, and the result is that in respect of that Clause, and proposals concerning it, there have been five full days to its discussion out of the twenty-nine.
§ Mr. W. O'BRIEN
Was that by Irish Members? I pointed out that on the Financial Resolution, upon this vital question, only one of the eighty-six Irish Nationalist representatives was heard. Can the right hon. Gentleman deny that?
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I am not prepared 'either to deny it or to assent to it. I have no doubt the hon. Gentleman is correct in his assertion, but I have yet to learn that the power of argument depends upon the number of times it is repeated. To listen to one Member stating the argument is sufficient, and I do not know that the Committee would be more impressed by the repetition of the argument by others. I do not think it would be any use detaining the Committee further upon this matter, because it is impossible for us to accept the Amendment, in view of the 90 pledge given by the Prime Minister, from which we are not released by the Opposition.
§ Mr. J. H. CAMPBELL
What is happening just now is an excellent illustration of the impossibility of attempting any free discussion of the Bill under this allocation of time. We have an Amendment moved by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cork, and supported by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for one of the County Divisions of Cork, the object of which is to secure more discussion on the Report stage in reference to the Financial Clauses, including Clause 14, which, the hon. Gentleman truly says, is the kernel and keystone of the whole financial scheme. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General says, quite truly, "I quite agree that this matter is very important, and that your application is a reasonable one, but we have put it out of our own power to grant it." Why? Because, he says, "We have already agreed that an equally important Clause, Clause 8, is to get a discussion. That discussion will occupy the first half of that allotted day. Therefore, says the right hon. and learned Gentleman, you can only take what is left. What will be left will be three hours or less, from half-past seven to half-past ten. The Government therefore say, "We have tied our hands, as our time-table will not permit the granting of what prima facie seems a reasonable request." That is quite true. It is a very good answer—that is to say, it is a good answer for not yielding to the request of the hon. Member. But it only illustrates the way in which discussion in this House has been strangled, and will be strangled throughout the entire Report stage. Clause 8 is an important one. I do not say it is as important, I do not believe it is, as the Financial Clause. But it is an important matter, more particularly as there has been introduced into it the experiment of proportional representation., which up to the present moment no one inside or outside the House appears to understand.
That is going to be tried upon my unfortunate country; it is going to be tried without having received either any satisfactory explanation or any very full discussion. Accordingly, we are going in the enormous and most liberal allotment of three hours to discuss what is a revolution in our system of Parliamentary representation; a method entirely novel and entirely original. The Government pride 91 themselves on the generosity that they have shown in giving to this House three hours' discussion in regard to this startling innovation. Then they say, having given that three hours, "Our hands are tied; we will not enlarge the time owing to our time-table for the discussion of these Financial Clauses being fixed." That is true. But I say it illustrates to an extraordinary degree the absurdity with which all our proceedings on this Bill have been up to the present conducted, and the conditions under which we are going to discuss this Bill on the Report stage. I can only repeat what has been said already by my right hon. and learned colleagues in the representation of Dublin University, that it is perfectly ludicrous to suppose that within this allotted period we are going adequately to attempt to discuss one tithe of the important questions that must inevitably arise on the very face of many of these Clauses. So far as we are concerned, speaking for myself, I would just as soon that the Government took the extreme course of passing the Report stage in one day, or half a day, than give us the ludicrous period under this scheme of allotted time.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Mr. MAURICE HEALY
The Prime Minister gave a pledge to the Leader of the Opposition, and is bound to keep that pledge. But I should have thought that the Government might have been able, with the exercise of a little ingenuity and a little good will, to keep that pledge, and at the same time not to make the effect of it to shut out from discussion practically the one cardinal matter which arises. The Government have adopted a most arbitrary method in the grouping of the Clauses. The Financial Clauses of the Bill start with Clause 14. Clause 8 is the Clause dealing with the composition of the Senate. Clauses 9 to 13 deal with cognate matters, namely, the business proceedings of the Irish Parliament, money Bills, disagreement between the two Houses, the privileges and qualifications of Members of Parliament, and the representation of Ireland in the House of Commons and the United Kingdom. It, therefore, appears to me that the only method of keeping the pledge which the Prime Minister gave and at the same time not shutting us out from the discussion of the Financial Clauses would be to have in the second compartment Clauses 9 to 13, and to have put Clause 14 in its natural posi- 92 tion, namely, at the beginning of what are the Financial Clauses of the Bill. On the fourth day you have set down for discussion three matters, all of importance—the question of the proportional representation in the Irish Senate, the matters dealt with in Clauses 9 to 13, and you add to that this Clause 14, which raises the whole question of Irish finance, thereby not alone crowding the fourth day, but cutting off Clause 14 from its natural place in the Bill as the proper introduction to Clauses 15 to 21 dealing with finance. I think the argument of the right hon. Gentleman is not convincing. It is perfectly within the power of the Government to keep their pledge to the Leader of the Opposition, and at the same time to give the Irish Members the opportunity which all of* them should require, and which some of them do require, of raising again for the last time this important question of finance, and that could be very well done-by grouping Clause 14, not with the four Clauses with which it has no connection, but with Clauses 15 to 21, to which it is really the proper introduction.
§ Mr. MALCOLM
Would it not be possible for the Prime Minister to consult those anxious to pass this Amendment, while at the same time religiously keeping the pledge he made to the Leader of the Opposition, who asked for a half-day for Clause 8. Would it not be possible, seeing how very important these Financial Clauses are, to have taken the end of an evening not dealing with finance at all, and at the same time to arrange to give half a day extra for these very important Financial Clauses mentioned by the hon. Gentleman who has last spoken. Hon. Members from Ireland have done everything so far to expedite this measure to-which we take the greatest exception. I should very much dislike to see the right hon. Gentleman depart from the pledge for the full discussion of Clause 8. I think the Clause is sufficiently important to have an extra half-day devoted to it, and, if possible it should be taken by itself. The whole of the attention of the Committee should be focussed on the tremendously important financial question opened up by Clause 14.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I am afraid, anxious as I am, to facilitate matters, I cannot respond to the appeal just made. I am carrying out the pledge I made with regard to Clause 8 to give a half-day. If this Amendment were carried I should be 93 departing from that pledge. The hon. Gentleman wants an extra half-day for Clause 14. We have already given one half-day and I cannot really give another. In regard to Clause 14, I repeat what was already said by my right hon. Friend the Attorney-General, it has been discussed for five days. There is no Clause in the Bill which received so much discussion in Committee, and therefore I do not think at this stage that there is any Clause that has less cause for special consideration.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
We find ourselves in the position of a besieged garrison on reduced rations. We are fighting for the crusts of bread the Government are giving us. I could quite understand the conclusiveness of the Prime Minister's argument if you once assume his premises, and I might observe that one of the many arts of Parliamentary debating of which he is master is to assume all the doubtful parts of his case and then triumphantly prove the parts of the case which no one disputes. That is a familiar and successful Parliamentary stratagem. It assumes first of all that by the laws of the Universe he must pass this Bill, the Welsh Bill, and the Franchise Bill at some early date in February so as to allow them a month in another place and in the interstices of Easter fill in the usual financial business before the 31st March. Of course, if you assume that there is no alternative, that you have to get through this business
§ before a date which ultimately depends upon the 31st March, well and good.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
We are now discussing a particular Amendment. We will resume the discussion upon the Motion as a whole later, and if the Noble Lord wishes to address himself to the general question he will have an opportunity of doing so when this Amendment has been disposed of.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I will not detain the House a moment longer after that observation. I was not going to deal with the general argument beyond this that it is not fair to the argument of my hon. Friends to assume that there is no way out of the difficulty. The obstacle is of the Government's own making, and there is a way out if they wish to find it.
§ Mr. GILHOOLY
I hope the Prime Minister will reconsider his attitude towards this Amendment. The Financial Clauses are regarded in Ireland as of vital importance. No doubt the right hon. Gentleman has given a promise with regard to Clause 8, but that need not prevent him if he wished to give more time to the discussions of the Financial Clauses. I hope my hon. Friend will go to a Division on this Amendment as a protest against the action of the right hon. Gentleman in this matter.
§ Question put, "That the words ' Clause-8' stand part of the Table."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 259; Noes, 123.97
|Division No. 471.]||AYES.||[6.10 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Chancellor, H. G.||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)|
|Adamson, William||Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Essex, Richard Walter|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Clancy, John Joseph||Falconer, James|
|Alden, Percy||Clough, William||Farrell, James Patrick|
|Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire)||Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Ffrench, Peter|
|Arnold, Sydney||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Field, William|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Fitzgibbon, John|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finshury, E.)||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Cotton, William Francis||Furness, Stephen|
|Barnes, G. N.||Crooks, William||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Crumley, Patrick||Gill, A. H.|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Cullinan, John||Ginnell, Laurence|
|Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts., St. George)||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Gladstone, W. G. C.|
|Bethell, Sir J.H.||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Glanville, H. J.|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford|
|Black, Arthur W.||Dawes, J. A.||Goldstone, Frank|
|Boland, John Pius||Delany, William||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Griffith, Ellis J.|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Devlin, Joseph||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Dillon, John||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Donelan, Captain A.||Hackett, John|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Doris, William||Hall, Frederick (Normanton)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Duffy, William J.||Hancock, J. G.|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar)||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Slid)||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Money, L. G. Chlozza||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Morgan, George Hay||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Morrell, Philip||Rowlands, James|
|Hazleton, Richard||Morison, Hector||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Muldoon, John||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Henry, Sir Charles||Munro, R.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Higham, John Sharp||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Hinds, John||Neilson, Francis||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.|
|Hodge, John||Nolan, Joseph||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Hogge, James Myles||Norman, Sir Henry||Sheehy, David|
|Holmes, Daniel Turner||Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Shortt, Edward|
|Hudson, Walter||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Smith, Albert (Lanes., Clitheroe)|
|Hughes, S. L.||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||O Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim)|
|Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||O Doherty, Philip||Snowden, Philip|
|Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||O'Donnell, Thomas||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||O'Dowd, John||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Ogden, Fred||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||O Grady, James||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Jones, W. S. Glyn- (Stepney)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Sutton, John E.|
|Jowett, F. W.||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)||Taylor, John W. (Durfiam)|
|Joyce, Michael||O Malley, William||Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)|
|Keating, Matthew||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Kellaway, Frederick George||O' Shaughnessy P. J.||Thomas, James Henry|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||O'Shee, James John||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Kilbride, Denis||O Sullivan, Timothy||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|King, J. (Somerset, N.)||Outhwaite, R. L.||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon,S.Moiton)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.J||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||Wadsworth, J.|
|Leach, Charles||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Walsh, Stephen (Lanes., Ince)|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Pointer, Joseph||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Power, Patrick Joseph||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|London, Thomas||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Pringle, William M. R.||Webb, H.|
|Lynch, A. A||Radford, G. H.||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.||White, J. Dundas (Glas., Tradeston)|
|McGhee, Richard||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)||White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E.R.)|
|Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South)||Reddy, M.||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Macpherson, James Ian||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|M'Callum, Sir John M.||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|M'Larcn, Hon. F.W.S. (Lincs.,Spalding)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Winfrey, Richard|
|Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.||Robertson, Sir Scott (Bradford)||Young, William (Perthshire, E.)|
|Meagher, Michael||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Robinson, Sidney|
|Molloy, Michael||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Molteno, Percy Alport||Roche, Augustine (Louth)||Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Mond, Sir Alfred M.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford Univ.)||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey|
|Aitken, Sir William Max||Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Chambers, James||Forster, Henry William|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Gardner, Ernest|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton|
|Barnston, Harry||Collings, Rt. Hon. J. (Birmingham)||Glazebrook, Capt. Philip K.|
|Barrie, H. T.||Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Goldsmith, Frank|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)||Greene, Walter Raymond|
|Bird, Alfred||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Gretton, John|
|Blair, Reginald||Craik, Sir Henry||Guiney, Patrick|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Crean, Eugene||Guinness, Hon.W. E. (Bury S.Edmunds)|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Croft, H. P.||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Hamilton, Marques of (Londonderry)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Denniss, E. R. B.||Harris, Henry Percy|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Healy, Timothy Michael (Cork, East)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Dixon, C. H.||Hewins, William Albert Samuel|
|Byles. Sir William Pollard||Duke, Henry Edward||Hill, Sir Clement L.|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. (Dublin Univ.)||Eyres-Monseil, Bolton M.||Hoare, S. J. G.|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Houston, Robert Paterson|
|Cassel, Felix||Fell, Arthur||Hunt, Rowland|
|Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath)||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. A. (Ashburton)||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.||Newton. Harry Kottingham||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Knight, Captain Eric Ayshford||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Talbot, Lord E.|
|lane-Fox, G. R.||O'Brien, William (Cork)||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)|
|Larmor, Sir J.||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)||louche, George Alexander|
|Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Lee, Arthur Hamilton||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Lewisham, Viscount||Perkins, Walter F.||Walsh, J. (Cork, South)|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Pole-Carew, Sir R.||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Locker, Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee||Quilter, Sir William Eley C.||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Randles, Sir John S.||Wills, Sir Gilbert|
|Lyttelton, Hon. J. C (Droitwich)||Ratcliff, Major R. F.||Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks, E.R.)|
|MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Rees, Sir J. D.||Winterton, Earl|
|M'Mordie, Robert James||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Worthlngton-Evans, L.|
|M'Nelll, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Sanders, Robert Arthur||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Magnus, Sir Philip||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Malcolm, Ian||Starkey, John Ralph||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Staveley-Hill, Henry||Maurice Healy and Mr. Gilhooly.|
|Moore, William||Swift, Rigby|
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I beg to move to leave out"10.30"["Clauses 47 to 49 and Schedules 10.30"], and to insert instead thereof "12.0."
§ Amendment put, and agreed to.
§ Main Question, as amended, put.
§ Mr. R. HARCOURT
I wish to tender to the House something in the nature of a personal explanation. Hon. Members will recollect that when the Amendments were being discussed the hon. and gallant Member for East Down (Captain Craig) made some personal reference to myself which I desired to answer at the time, but owing to the Rules of our procedure, and as the hon. and gallant Member concluded by moving an Amendment, I was unable to do so, and I am now taking the only opportunity left to me. The hon. and gallant Member referred to my intervention in the Debate, and stated that I had been guilty of approaching this question something in the nature of a spirit of frivolity and mockery in my treatment of a question which I know lies near to the hon. and gallant Member's heart, and that is the question of Ulster. I do not think the hon. and gallant Member would be able to prove that contention. While he was speaking I picked up a volume of the OFFICIAL REPORT dealing with the Committee stage with which I had provided myself for the purpose of speaking on the main question of the Guillotine Resolution, and I referred to the contribution I made to the Debate during that discussion. On the sixth allotted day the hon. and learned Member for North Armagh spoke, and I will quote from his speech as an example of the charges which are, in my opinion, rather imprudently made against hon. Members on this side of the House, that we approach these discussions in a spirit of frivolity and mockery. The hon. And learned Member for North Armagh 98 was making what I am bound to say was a somewhat provocative speech, and he said:—We are quite willing and ready to safeguard ourselves when a cowardly Government, in subservient obedience to the Irish vote, is going to filch our liberty and property from us.I think hon. Members will agree with me when I say that that was an observation which lends itself to retaliation. When the hon. and learned Member sat down I had an opportunity of addressing the House, and I said:The hon. and learned Member opposite speaks from his experience, and his opinions are entitled to absolute respect in this House.I think hon. Members will agree that they have seldom heard a more mealy-mouthed intervention in response to a somewhat provocative speech than that. I regret that I have had to detain the House with two minutes of a personal explanation, but I desire to say that we on this side would regard it as a grave disaster if we entered upon the discussion of the Report stage in anything but a spirit of conciliation. Hon. ' Members opposite, when speaking upon the Main Question, and particularly the Leader of the Opposition, have said that the Government would have done equally well if, instead of providing seven or seven and a half days for the consideration of the Report stage they had moved that the Bill be now passed into law, or that it be read a third time. Apparently they have left out of sight the fact that the question of Ulster, the dominant question in the opinion of hon. Gentlemen opposite, has been discussed at considerable length outside the operation of the Guillotine Resolution. I do not refer merely to the First or Second Reading, but it will be within the recollection of the House that the most important Amendment dealing with the exclusion of four Ulster counties was given three days' discussion, and I think I shall be well within 99 the mark when I say that on the third day all legitimate discussion was well exhausted. I think the hon. Member for East Down has been unfair not only to myself, but to hon. Members generally on this side, because the Amendments which he moved received perfectly fair treatment, and were received in a reasonable spirit with the object of getting this great capital question discussed at a proper time of day when even' argument advanced could receive due consideration from the Government. I think the hon. Member should recollect that his Amendments were immediately accepted by the Prime Minister in a spirit of conciliation. When for the first time Ulster makes, as we understand, a definite proposition, we are perfectly ready to consider it—indeed, we are eagerly and anxiously awaiting the observations and the arguments on this subject which will fall from hon. Gentlemen opposite even at this late stage of the discussion. I apologise once again for introducing a personal matter into this discussion, and I regret it all the more because we are extremely anxious to get on with the consideration of the remaining portions of the Bill, and I certainly believe that hon. Gentlemen opposite will have no title to complain of our arguments going for a moment outside the realms of order.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
I am glad the hon. Member opposite has thrown out so fair a promise of a conciliatory spirit and a reasonable line of argument. I am bound to say that there are a certain number of hon. Gentlemen opposite who, throughout all these Debates, have certainly been exceedingly fair in hearing such arguments as we were allowed to present, although the time was not very long. I must say also that there have been a certain number of hon. Members who very rarely come into the House, and when they do come in they have brought to the Debate a spirit of levity which those who sit on this side certainly have not displayed, and which I think is very ill-timed and out of place. The hon. Member for the Rushcliffe Division (Mr. Leif Jones) made an interesting contribution to the Debate. I have heard him make a number of speeches upon Guillotine Motions, and I think he has always prefaced his remarks and has never been ashamed to acknowledge that he dislikes the guillotine altogether.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
And so-do I, but I am bound to add that I cannot charge my memory with any occasion on which the hon. Gentleman has so far allowed his dislike of the guillotine to carry him into the Division Lobby against it.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
May I point out that we are not now really discussing the Guillotine Motion? We have decided already to allot seven and a half days to the discussion of the Report stage of this-Bill, and we are now merely discussing how the seven and a half days can be best allotted.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
The hon. Gentleman would have been entitled to say that but for the proceedings during the last half-hour, which was taken up by an Amendment proposing a reallocation of the time, and when the Prime Minister resisted that proposal one of my hon. Friends suggested that the way out of the difficulty was to give an extra non-allotted day. The hon. Gentleman has just been voting against that. I say, frankly, when the kangaroo was originally instituted, I was one of those who viewed it with great suspicion, but I am bound to say it is, in my opinion, infinitely preferable to the guillotine, and I still believe, even in the case of a highly controversial Bill, that by the ordinary methods of the Closure and the Kangaroo you could get a far more fair and reasonable discussion.
It is said we have not been able to show that by the Government's proposed allocation of time any substantial injustice will be done to the Opposition, and I should like to go through the proposed time-table and see how we actually stand. It would not be fair to the Government to call into question their arrangements with regard to Clauses 2 and 3, because, owing to Parliamentary necessities, it is certainly highly desirable that the discussion on Clause I should commence at the beginning of a Parliamentary day. Therefore, if this Procrustean bed of the Government is to exist, it is quite true the discussion of Clauses 2 and 3 must be squeezed into a smaller amount of time. I do not, therefore, make any complaint about that. That disposes of two and a half allotted days, and we come to the third allotted day, when three hours are to be given in the evening to Clauses 4 101 to 7. I invite the attention of the Prime Minister to this, because he said all the important points in the Bill had either received, or were going to receive, full and adequate discussion. What are Clauses 4 to 7? They comprise the Irish Executive, the position of the Lord Lieutenant at the head of the Executive, the position of Irish Ministers, who are to be Irish Ministers, and their relation to the Lord Lieutenant, and all the provisions with regard to the different transferable services, of which the Royal Irish Constabulary is the only one which has at present been discussed, and that only partially.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
I agree. The transfer of land purchase was discussed on Clause 2. I had forgotten that, and I make the correction. Then there is the Veto of the Lord Lieutenant, on which we have only had a partial discussion. All that is comprised in this compartment, and it is to be disposed of in three hours. It is suggested we have had sufficient discussion. These four Clauses consist of 104 lines; sixteen of them were discussed in Committee, and eighty-eight of them have never had a word of discussion at all, and apparently under the scheme of the Government they are never likely to receive one word of discussion. The first three and a half hours of the fourth allotted day are taken up with Clause 8. That is in accordance with the promise made to the Opposition, and I do not, therefore, complain about it. Clause 8 contains thirty-one lines, and in Committee only five were discussed, leaving twenty-six to be discussed in half a day. Let me call attention to the evening of the fourth day, when Clauses 0 to 14 are to be discussed. Those Clauses comprise a somewhat interesting collection of provisions, in view of the right hon. Gentleman's idea that all important points are going to receive full and ample discussion. There is the Irish House of Commons, the position of Money Bills, and the relations between the two Houses of Parliament in Ireland, the whole of the Parliament Act for Ireland, the qualifications of Members of Parliament and their privileges, the question of the Irish at Westminster, and the question of the Transferred Sum. That is not a light Budget to be got through in three hours. Those six Clauses 102 contain 165 lines, of which the large total of twenty-five have been discussed in Committee, leaving 140 undiscussed altogether, including the whole of Clause 10, which deals with Money Bills and the relations between the two Irish Houses, and the whole of Clause 12. It is quite obvious, therefore, that neither Clause 10 nor Clause 12 will ever receive one single word of discussion in this House.
I go on to the fifth day. In the afternoon Clauses 15 to 21 are to be taken. That, the right hon. Gentleman says, is finance. Let the House hear a little about what is comprised in those Clauses. There is the question of the powers of taxation, the relations between Great Britain and Ireland as to Customs and Excise, the calculation of revenue, charges on the Land Purchase Guarantee Fund, the disposal of the Development Fund, the disposal of the Irish Church Temporalities Fund, the provision for an Irish Exchequer, and the Audit of Irish Accounts. That is all to be done in three and a-half hours. There are at least two exceedingly important Amendments to Clause 17, standing in the name of the Government, which cannot by any conceivable chance be discussed. One has been alluded to by my right hon. Friend, and the other is remarkable inasmuch as it provides—if I gather its meaning rightly—that this House is to have the power from time to time, if an Irish tax is costing too much to collect, of saying the Irish Parliament is to be saddled with the cost of collecting it. That is a remarkable provision to go through without one single word of discussion. This compartment, Clauses 15 to 21, comprises 265 lines. How many does the House think we discussed in Committee? I make a liberal estimate and I say seven, leaving 258 lines absolutely undiscussed, including the whole of Clauses 16, 18, 19, 20, and 21; and, let me observe further, if it had not been for the fact that the Government refrained from moving their own Amendments, even Clause 17 would not have received any discussion in Committee, because all the time left for the block of Clauses 17 to 21 was the fragment of one hour left to us after we had been engaged in discussing and dividing upon Government Amendments to Clauses 15 and 16. I say it is a perfect scandal, and it really is hardly consistent with the facts to suggest in relation to this block of Clauses that we have had anything approaching to an adequate opportunity of discussion.
103 I do not think the case is any better with regard to the afternoon of the fifth day, when Clauses 22 to 27 are to be taken. They comprise the Joint Exchequer Board, Irish loans, and what is the true Irish revenue. The Government's own official experts said it was absolutely impossible to decide what was the true revenue of Ireland. That has all to be decided along with other matters and the important question of revision coining upon the "happy day" in three hours. Those Clauses comprise ninety-six lines; eight of them were discussed in Committee; and eighty-eight of them have never been discussed at all, including the whole of Clauses 23 and 25, and, I may add, a most remarkable Government Amendment to Clause 26, which appears on the Paper, and which will obviously never receive a word of discussion, though, as far as I can understand, it empowers the Crown by Order in Council—that means the Government of the day—to select who shall be Members of the House of Commons for certain purposes. That is the most remarkable provision which has ever yet been proposed by any Government in any Act of Parliament, and, if there is one thing more certain than another, it is that proposal will go into the Bill without one single word of discussion, and once it is in the Bill it can never be taken out again if the Parliament Act is to have that operation which hon. Members want. I think that is a sufficiently remarkable provision at all events to be worthy of a word or two of discussion, even under the present regime. The next compartment is Clauses 28 to 30. They comprise sixty-nine lines; only nine were discussed in Committee, leaving sixty without discussion, including the whole of Clause 28. They get three and a half hours.
Clauses 31 to 39 comprising the Lord Lientenant, existing judges, and persons having salaries charged on the Consolidated Fund, existing laws and institutions, and Crown lands, are to be disposed of in three hours. This is a block of which the Government might very fairly say an unusually large proportion received some discussion in Committee. The block comprises 252 lines, of which no less than 130 were discussed in Committee, leaving only 122 lines undiscussed; but those 122 lines, it ought to be added, include the whole of Clauses 32, 34, 35, 36, and 39, so the result is not as creditable to the Government as might be thought. On the last allotted day we are to deal in the afternoon in 104 three and a half hours, with the arrangements between Departments in England and Ireland, with concurrent legislation, with the reduction of Irish representation at Westminster, with advances to the Irish Government, and with any adaptations in little things like existing laws and institutions which may require to be made by Order in Council. Those Clauses, Clauses 40 to 46, comprise 159 lines, of which only twenty-seven have ever been discussed. There has been no discussion, and never will be, on Clauses 41, 45, and 46, leaving 132 undiscussed, including the whole of Clauses 40, 41, 45, and 46. In the evening of the last allotted day we have, I understand, owing to the extension the Prime Minister has given us, no less than four and a half hours. We have got up to twelve o'clock to discuss Clauses 47 to 49, which comprise the Appointed Day and all the Definition Clauses. Those Clauses contain eighty-five lines, of which not one single line has ever been discussed in Committee. I do not press Clause 49 because it is only the title, but Clauses 47 and 48 are both very important Clauses.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
Clause 47 was only discussed through the leniency of the Chairman, who allowed us to refer to it on the discussion of Clause 42. Surely the right hon. Gentleman does not think that a satisfactory Parliamentary proceeding. It is quite obvious that all we could do was to discuss the general proposition. We could only do that by reference, and as to moving any Amendment, it was quite impossible. Neither Clause 47 nor Clause 48 has ever yet had one word of discussion. The case does not stop there. Hardly anything has been said about the Schedules. You cannot count the Schedules by lines; I count them by pages. There are fourteen pages of Schedules to be got through in the balance of time left after the discussion of Clauses 47 to 49. They have never had one single word of discussion. I agree that something less than one-half of those pages deal with Civil servants in Ireland. But of that I make no special complaint. I think it is fair some discussion should have taken place on them, but, although certain Amendments were wanted to be moved, we have not been able to move them. Still, I make no special complaint 105 of that. I do say, however, it is perfectly monstrous that a complete redistribution scheme for Ireland should be smuggled through in this way without any discussion in this House. I might say a good deal more. I might quote a number of figures, but it is no use going on. The thing has become a perfect farce. I did make one calculation when the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Waterford was speaking, as to what we should be required to do in order to discuss this Bill in the time that the Government propose to allot to us on the Report stage. I find that the Bill contains 1,642 lines, and of those 1,440 have never been discussed at, all. It is proposed to give 7½ days' discussion to the Report stage, and at a liberal computation that represents forty-nine hours of Parliamentary time. A very small sum in long division will show hon. Gentlemen that to discuss 1,400 odd lines in forty-nine hours involves passing one line of the Bill every two minutes. That may be the idea of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite in regard to legislation. It may be the idea of free democracy, but it certainly is not the idea which I have entertained, and I do not believe it is the idea that any man who takes an intelligent interest in the affairs of this country can possess. I think it is a perfect scandal that affairs should be conducted in this way. It may well be said that the right hon. Gentleman has tied down the safety valve, and he is now engaged in speeding up the Parliamentary machinery in this House to an extent which has never before been known, and which must lead to a breakdown in the machinery. Further than that legislation passed under these conditions can have no real moral value. The hon. Member for the Rushcliffe Division spoke of the old days, but in the old days in this House there was some pretence made of discussing Bills. How can it be suggested that a Bill has received fair discussion here when not a single word has been uttered in regard to seven-eighths of it? The case would not have been so bad had there been a Second Chamber, but you have removed that opportunity for reviewing the work of the House, and you have deprived the Second Chamber of the power of amending any Bill. Under conditions like that it is perfectly outrageous to pretend that Bills are receiving fair treatment, or that measures are getting fair discussion. Bills passed under such 106 circumstances cannot have that moral sanction which ought to be behind the considered judgment of the House of Commons.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I was very much interested in the speech of the hon. Member for the Rushcliffe Division of Nottinghamshire. It seemed to me that a Motion of this kind affords the House of Commons an opportunity for a pious exercise which is called self-examination. It affords us an opportunity of looking into the mechanism of the House of Commons and seeing what it is that makes it necessary to have restrictions upon discussions such as we have under review to-day. The fundamental trouble is that we here have an exaggeration of the rigidity of the party system. It is true that in the old days the Committee stage and the Report stage were more speedily got through, but in those days the whole tactics of Parliament were generally directed to persuasion—to persuading independent Members, and there was always somebody worth persuading; consequently the whole tactics of Parliament were directed towards that object. But that condition of things died out a great many years ago, and as it died out a new system grew up—a system beginning with using the Committee stage for other purposes than persuasion, for purposes of party criticism. The result, was that the Opposition claimed to be allowed to manage the Debate in their own way. If they were allowed to do that, it involved prolonged discussion on particular points, and when they were able to secure a dialectical advantage over the Government they could force it to make changes in the Bill, and thereby discredit the measure in the eyes of their fellow countrymen. That system has been pursued. My right hon. Friend the Member for the City of London, who is a great authority on these matters, on one occasion dwelt on the difference between Debates in this House and Debates in the House of Lords. He said that while the Debates in the Upper Chamber were extremely brilliant they did not get to the bottom of the subject so thoroughly as the Debates in the House of Commons. But he also admitted that there was an enormous amount of tedious repetition in the House of Commons discussions that had very little real value. The guillotine destroyed that altogether, but there was no longer the power of getting at the bottom of the matter. The 107 guillotine destroys the reality of debate, and everyone must recognise that during the last few years that has been the case. Other evils sprung out of it. It is recognised that the Debates are sparsely attended. We all recognise that a Prime Minister—one of the most brilliant and accomplished speakers in Parliament—in old days had considerable audiences.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I have heard Mr. Gladstone address no more than six Members on the other side of the House.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
During the dinner hour, probably. I do not remember the incident referred to by the right hon. Gentleman. But I have noticed the right hon. Gentleman addressing very thin Houses to an extent I have never known before. I merely adduce that fact, however, as showing that the evil is increasing, and I do not believe you are going to get a remedy for it unless the rank and file take up their old regard for the Leadership of the Front Bench. I have recently amused myself by reading some of the speeches made by Members of the Liberal party against former Guillotine Motions, and I have found in them most admirable statements of the case against the guillotine; yet they are not prevented from bringing in a Guillotine Motion at the present moment. Knowing the weakness of right hon. human nature as I do, I notice without surprise the striking behaviour of right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench opposite in bringing forward this Resolution. They are fulfilling their former prophecies with all the ardour of martyrdom. We shall never get over these difficulties unless we can obtain a body of opinion which cares more about the House of Commons than about party. At present Members think more about the success of party than about the House of Commons. Until a change is brought about it does not matter whether we are governed by Parliament or by a despotic Cabinet. People, however, are beginning to see that respect for the law itself depends ultimately on the machinery by which the law is made. The House of Commons will be obliged to reform itself. It will have to take some other way on dealing with the difficulties which it has to encounter.
Let me enumerate some of the ways in which it can act. It might use grand Committees instead of Committees of the Whole House much more largely. It might 108 proceed to use the House even apart from Grand Committees in such a manner that it should sit in different divisions for purposes like the Report stage and for a good deal of business in Committee of Supply. While the House itself is overworked individual Members roam about the lobbies miserably unoccupied, having nothing to do, and finding the time intolerably tedious. That state of things might very well be altered by a delegation of business such as is carried out in other Chambers. Let me say at once I do not believe in the delegation of national or quasi-national business. I hold entirely different views. I want the House to deal with important business and not merely with the draining of an Irish bog. I should like to see some means of delegating the unimportant parts of the business of the House of Commons to other assemblies, which I would not have elected independently, because I think the House of Commons itself should appoint them. You will never get back to a great House of Commons unless you are prepared to allow a certain measure of independence to individual supporters of the Government of the day. The evil of growing party discipline is certainly intensifying from day to day and from year to year. I saw only the other day that the hon. Member for North Aberdeen (Mr. Pirie) was attacked in his constituency for some very reasonable exercise of Parliamentary independence.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I am sorry if I misread the report, but I understand that the hon. Member gave an assurance that in future he would vote with the Government, whereas he had not done so in the past.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
It certainly is the case that pressure is brought to bear on Members on both sides if they decide against their party. I know it was done in very extreme cases in which party feeling ran high, but it is now done as a matter of machinery constantly, at every turn. I 109 have heard stories in conversation with hon. Members, of those who, not acting with the Opposition, which is always against the Government, but acting in honest independence on their own extreme Radical lines, have been attacked by their constituents for want of loyalty to the Government they support. You will never get the House of Commons to be an efficient legislative body unless you get rid of the notion that it is disloyal to the Government to vote against them on all the ordinary details of a Bill and on all the smaller questions which come up. The real effort which ought to be made is to get rid of the notion that a constituency has a right.—not the constituency, but the party organisation which represents the party in the constituency—to make from day to day criticism of and have control over the representative when he is once elected. The old and true version is that the representative is elected to Parliament to do the best he can, and he should be left untrammelled to act as he chooses in that Parliament.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I think my hon. Friend is an untrammelled representative of the City of London, because his views happen to coincide with those of the ardent partisans, who chose him as their representative. Sir Edward Clarke was much less fortunate. Our complaint against the Government in respect of this particular guillotine is that they carry the thing further than it has ever been carried before. It is true that it is in the nature of a disease which has gone on for a great number of years; but they have made it much worse. They, first of all, rearranged the Constitution to suit the party exigencies they had in view. Having done that, they found it necessary to rearrange the business of the House of Commons in order to get through the required number of Bills and work their Parliament Act. Having done those two things, they limit Debate in the House of Commons much more rigidly and on a greater scale than has ever been done before. The evil of the guillotine is not to be met with answers like the interesting statistical speech of the hon. and learned Member for Water-ford (Mr. J. Redmond). The evil is the rigidity of the guillotine rather than its limitation in point of time. If you could restrict the guillotine to a certain number of questions, and hon. Members could debate those questions subject to the ordi- 110 nary Closure, and you had elasticity, it would be far less mischievous. What destroys the House of Commons is that everyone knows that there is a fixed wall behind which the Government can take refuge. Debates like this are like passing a man's hand through a candle. He can bear it for the moment during which his hand is passing through, but, if you hold it there, he would soon cry out with pain.
I was present during some of the Debates—unfortuately I was ill and not able to attend all—on the Clauses dealing with finance and the judiciary, and it appeared to me that the Government had not a good case, and that there was a good point of which the Opposition were not able to take advantage because of the rigidity of the guillotine. If we could have prolonged the Debate for two or three hours longer, perhaps we might have produced some effect. The real defect is the rigidity. The Government have made it worse, and have intensified the evil under which we suffer. The result is that there is a growing sense that this Bill either will not pass into law, or, if it is passed, must be repealed as soon as the next Parliament assembles. There is a growing sense of unreality spreading over all our proceedings. Parliament is falling into contempt. I am a great reader of the publications associated with the Labour party, and I observe that it is quite as common among the supporters of the Labour party to speak with contempt of the proceedings of this House as it could be for the most ardent Tory who despised democracy. The reputation of Parliament is going down. Unless we form some body of opinion which is non-official, which really cares for institutions more than it cares for partisan advantage, and unless we can carry through some really fundamental reforms in the procedure and organisation of this House, Parliament will fall into deeper contempt, the law will follow it, and we shall be face to face with the evils of disrespect of the law and contempt for Parliament.
§ The CHIEF SECRETARY for IRELAND (Mr. Birrell)
I do not see why this House should make itself out to be worse than it is, or represent itself as labouring under a more cruel misfortune than has yet befallen it. Here we are, with the guillotine falling at 7.30, discussing simply the question how best seven and a half days which are already allotted to this measure should be spent on the Report stage. That being the question before us, 111 we have had the great satisfaction of listening to the speech of the Noble Lord—a speech which I doubt very-much could have been delivered except under the guillotine. Perhaps it is one of the evil consequences of the guillotine that it does get into the heads of sublime personages that the thing is going to come to an end at 7.30, and you might just as well listen to an interesting speech as to a dull one. We have had during the last twenty minutes or half an hour the gratification of listening to a speech from the Noble Lord in which he never so much as mentioned any of the alterations in this allocation, or descended to such details as Clause 8, or Clause 41, or Clause 44. He delivered a disquisition, half history, half romance, on this House, dealing with the days long before he or any of us entered it. He seemed to imagine that there then existed in the House of Commons a great mass of free opinion, and that the orators of the various parties—the Pitts, the Foxes, the Disraelis, the Gladstones, and Brights, and everybody—when they rose to make their orations, which you may read or not, as you like, were addressing not the country, not their opponents on the Front Bench opposite, but a party of wobblers whom they pointed at and said, "I see there is so and so listening. I have got him in my eye. I will direct my arguments to him, and it may be I shall get him with me into the Lobby." I myself doubt whether there ever was—at all events, in the time of Parliamentary oratory—any such party in this House. I remember a story which is told by Sir Walter Scott—I have not been able to trace it further—about Oliver Cromwell. When Oliver Cromwell was Leader of this House, one of his friends, who was very much annoyed with a proposal he was making, said to him:—Mr. Cromwell, I will take the sense of the House against you.to which Cromwell replied:—Very well, you will take the sense, and I will take the nonsense, and we will see which is the bigger Lobby.[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] That cheer is a recognition that every Opposition is persuaded that it carries with it the good sense and the minority, and that the Government Lobbies are swollen by the nonsense and the majority. Of course that view is instantly changed the moment the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir F. Banbury) changes his seat and finds 112 himself once more where he longs to be, voting in the bigger and therefore in the nonsensical Lobby. I doubt whether the Noble Lord is right in saying that there is any very great change in that respect. I should be very sorry to think there was no room in this House for an independent Member. I really honestly do not believe that the constituencies are in the least degree tenacious of what may be considered to be their rights in having themselves represented by a man who reflects their opinions. It largely depends upon the character of the man himself. If they' feel he is not a troublesome person who votes against his party simply because he loves to be contradictious, but that he really has genuine opinions of his own, to which he can give proper, courageous, intelligent, but not necessarily eloquent utterance, I do not think he is worried by his constituents any more than in the old days. After all, constituencies too have their rights. The Noble Lord, in a justifiable manner, made a contrast between the hon. Baronet and Sir Edward Clarke, and indicated that in the one case an hon. Member got into trouble with his constituents and the other did not. It is only fair to the hon. Baronet who at present represents the City of London to assume that the City are better pleased because they think he represents their views. They think the hon. Baronet represents their views, better, particularly in these democratic days. You cannot waive these constituencies on one side. Sometimes hon. Members are disposed to say, because a constituency has been represented by a very able man whom we all want to see in the House, "What a shame that such and such a borough will not continue to return him because we all want to hear him far more than the ninety-nine just men who found no repentance." That is not quite fair on the constituencies. You have, therefore, to strike a balance between independence and the representation of the views of the constituencies. I rejoice to be able to say I do not really think there is any falling off in the spirit of independence of Members or that constituencies are becoming more and more exacting. They like to be represented, I admit, by a man, by someone of character and determination, who can make known and express his views. If they have a man of that sort they are willing to put up with a good deal of latitude, although of course there are 113 questions on which they might find it difficult to allow him to have it entirely his own way.
To listen to some hon. Gentlemen opposite you would think we had been doing nothing at all in the forty-five days or thereabouts that this Bill has been under discussion, and that nothing has happened. I have a copy here of the Rill as Amended in Committee in which I have underlined in red ink all the addition's which have been made during its progress under the guillotine, as things are, and also I have in brackets the words which have been omitted. Then I have got in print or in ink on the interleaved side the Amendments which the Government hope to be able to introduce into the Bill during the Report stage, all of which spring from the results of our discussions. Really, I am quite honest in saying I do not think there are more than two pages of the Bill which are not scored over with red ink or with brackets, or with written or printed matter which represents the additions which will be made to the Bill on the Report stage. Therefore, it is not fair or just to the House to say that nothing has been done, and that all these forty-five days have been wasted. They have covered the whole scope of the Bill. I do not say that the time might not have been more judiciously expended, although I agree that the Government have no right to be harsh on the Opposition in that matter, to complain because they have not spread the butter judiciously over the whole surface of the loaf, because that, of course, is not in human nature. I have no quarrel myself with the manner in which the Bill has been discussed, and I quite agree with hon. Gentlemen opposite, and I sympathise with what fell from the right hon. Gentleman (Sir E. Carson). Under trying circumstances, and irritated and interfered with by the guillotine, which must always be irritating to an Opposition, I think they have shown extraordinary skill as well as restraint in debate. Still, I say if they had been more economical in the disposition of the time they would have covered
§ some of those Clauses which I agree have not been discussed in the manner which they deserve.
§ The Schedules have been referred to. Schedules do not, of course, admit of very close discussion line by line and word by word, because when once you establish a certain basis of population after all it follows pretty much as a matter of course what they will be. Still, I quite agree that these Schedules are very well deserving of consideration, and they might have got it. Now that the Prime Minister has extended the time from half-past 10 to 12, I do not think there will be very many divisions taken at 7.30. There will be, I hope, time to raise any questions which may arise on the Schedules, but they will not really admit of a great deal of discussion. Of course, people can discuss them for months, if they feel so disposed, but you all agree with the right hon. Gentleman, looking forward, as you do, to occupying office some day, that nothing can be carried in this House now without, at all events, some attempt to restrain the endless verbosity and prolixity of Members: who use it for the purpose of destroying the Bill. I am afraid any Government with any great controversial measure will have to have a time-table of some sort. The only question is how the time-table should be allocated, and how it should be spread over the whole Bill. On the whole, confining myself entirely to this last attempt on the Report, we have made the best possible division and distribution of the time, giving to those Clauses for which further discussion was asked or for which further discussion is necessary the first place. I do not think we can do more than that. We have already done a great deal, and I am perfectly satisfied that if seven and a half days are expended, as I hope they will be, in rational and critical Debate the rest of the Bill will be pretty well covered.
§ Main Question, as amended, put.
§ The House divided: Ayes, 279; Noes, 153.117
|Division No. 472.]||AVES.||[7.25 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Arnold, Sydney||Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts., St. George)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Bethell, Sir J. H.|
|Adamson, William||Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury)||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Black, Arthur W.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Boland, John Pius|
|Alden, Percy||Barnes, G. N.||Booth, Frederick Handel|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Beale, Sir William Phipson||Bowerman, C. W.|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)|
|Armitage, Robert||Beck, Arthur Cecil||Brace, William|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Pointer, Joseph|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Hudson, Walter||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Hughes, S. L.||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Burke, E. Havlland-||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||John, Edward Thomas||Primrose, Hon. Nell James|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar)||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Radford, G. H.|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Reddy, M.|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Jowett, Frederick W.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Joyce, Michael||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Clough, William||Keating, Matthew||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Kellaway, Frederick George||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Kilbride, Denis||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||King, J. (Somerset, North)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon,S.Moiton;||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Cotton, William Francis||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Crooks, William||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)||Robinson, Sidney|
|Crumley, Patrick||Leach, Charles||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Cullinan, John||Levy, Sir Maurice||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)||Lewis, John Herbert||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||London, Thomas||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Lyell, Charles Henry||Rowlands, James|
|Dawes, J. A.||Lynch, A. A.||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Delany, William||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||McGhee, Richard||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Devlin, Joseph||Maclean, Donald||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Dillon, John||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South)||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Doris, William||Macpherson, James Ian||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.|
|Duffy, William J.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||M'Calium, Sir John M.||Sheehy, David|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||M'Kean, John||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Shortt, Edward|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||M'Laren, Hon. F.W.S. (Lincs.,Spaiding)||Smith, Albert (Lanes., Clitheroe)|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Smith, H. B. L. (Normanton)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Martin, Joseph||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Snowden, Philip|
|Essex, Richard Walter||Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Falconer, James||Meagher, Michael||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Millar, James Duncan||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Ffrench, Peter||Molloy, Michael||Sutton, John E.|
|Field, William||Molteno, Percy Alport||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Fitzgibbon, John||Mond, Sir Alfred M.||Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Tennant, Harold John|
|Furness, Stephen||Morgan, George Hay||Thomas, James Henry|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Morrell, Philip||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Gill, A. H.||Morison, Hector||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Ginnell, Laurence||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Muldoon, John||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Glanville, H. J.||Munro, R.||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Goldstone, Frank||Nannetti, Joseph||Wadsworth, J.|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Neilson, Francis||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Nolan, Joseph||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Guest. Hon. Frederick (Dorset, E.)||Norman, Sir Henry||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Hackett, John||Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Waring, Walter|
|Hall, Frederick C. (Normanton)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Hancock, J. G.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Webb, H.|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||O'Doherty, Philip||Wedgwood, Josiah|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||O'Donnell, Thomas||White, J. Dundas (Glas., Tradeston)|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)||O'Dowd, John||White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E.R.)|
|Haslam. Lewis (Monmouth)||Ogden, Fred||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||O'Grady, James||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Hayden, John Patrick||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Hayward, Evan||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Hazieton, Richard||O'Malley, William||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Hemmerde, Edward George||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||O'Shee. James John||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Henry, Sir Charles||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Winfrey, Richard|
|Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Outhwaite, R. L.||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Higham, John Sharp||Parker, James (Halifax)||Young, W. (Perthshire, E.)|
|Hinds, John||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Hodge, John||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Hogge. James Myles||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Holmes, Daniel Turner||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas|
|Altken, Sir William Max||Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Moore, William|
|Anton, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Fell, Arthur||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)|
|Archer-Shee, Major M.||Fetherstonhaugh. Godfrey||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Astor, Waldorf||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Balcarres. Lord||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Forster, Henry William||Perkins, Walter F.|
|Barnston, Harry||Gardner, Ernest||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Barrie, H. T.||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Pole-Carew, Sir R.|
|Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc, E.)||Glazebrook, Capt. Philip K.||Pryce- Jones, Col. E.|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Goldman, C. S.||Quilter, Sir William Eley C.|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Goldsmith, Frank||Randies, Sir John S.|
|Bigland, Alfred||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Bird, Alfred||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Rees, Sir J. D.|
|Blair, Reginald||Greene, Walter Raymond||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Boyle. William (Norfolk, Mid)||Gretton, John||Royds, Edmund|
|Boyton, James||Guinness, Hon.W.E. (Bury S.Edmunds)||Rutherford, John (Lanes., Darwen)|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Sassoon, Sir Philip|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Harris, Henry Percy||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Burgoyne, Alan Hughes||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Stanley, Hon Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Butcher, John George||Hill, Sir Clement L.||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. (Dublin Univ.)||Hoare, S. J. G.||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Carlile, Sir Hildred||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Swift, Rigby|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Cassel, Felix||Houston, Robert Paterson||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford Univ.)||Hunt, Rowland||Talbot, Lord E.|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath)||Terrell, G. Wilts, N.W.)|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Kebty-Fietcher, J. R.||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Kimber, Sir Henry||Touche, George Alexander|
|Chambers, James||Knight, Captain Eric Ayshford||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Clive, Captain Percy Arthur||Larmor, Sir J.||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. J. (Birmingham)||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Lee, Arthur Hamilton||White, Major G. D. (Lanes., Southport)|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Lewisham, Viscount||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Wills, Sir Gilbert|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee||Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks, E.R.)|
|Croft, H. P.||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||M'Mordle, Robert James||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Dixon, C. H.||M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Yerburgh, Robert A.|
|Doughty, Sir George||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Malcolm, Ian||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Pike Pease and Mr. Eyres-Monsell.|
Question, "That the Clause, as amended, be added to the Bill," put, and agreed to.
|Allotted Day.||Proceedings.||Time for Proceedings to be brought to a conclusion.|
|Third||…||Clauses 2 and 3||…||…||…||…||7.30|
|Clauses 4 to 7||…||…||…||…||10.30|
|Clauses 9 to 14||…||…||…||…||10.30|
|Fifth||…||Clauses 15 to 21||…||…||…||…||7.30|
|Clauses 22 to 27||…||…||…||…||10.30|
|Sixth||…||Clauses 28 to 30||…||…||…||…||7.30|
|Clauses 31 to 39||…||…||…||…||10.30|
|Seventh||…||Clauses 40 to 46||…||…||…||…||7.30|
|Clauses 47 to 49 and Schedules||…||…||…||…||12.0|
§ table, and those proceedings shall, if not previously brought to a conclusion, be brought to a conclusion at the time shown in the third column of that table:—119
§ Bill, as amended, considered.