§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £50,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1912, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Local Government Board in Ireland, and to enable it to make good certain statutory advances."
§ The CHIEF SECRETARY for IRELAND (Mr. Birrell)
I am very glad that the Treasury has placed this down as a Supplementary Estimate, although, strictly speaking, I do not think any such Estimate was necessary, because the Labourers Act specially provided by one of its Sections what was to happen in the event which has happened, namely, a deficiency in one of the funds to meet its natural demands. I quite agree that the circumstances of this Supplementary Estimate and the guarantee of the Treasury are very properly made the subject-matter of inquiry. I therefore desire to give the explanation that I can. By the Labourers (Ireland) Act, 1911, with the consent at all events of all the Members from Ireland from all parts, an extra sum of £1,000,000 was provided to supplement the £4,500,000 which had been provided by an earlier Act in order that we might proceed to increase the beneficent operation—we are all agreed now it was a beneficent operation—of building labourers' cottages for all parts of Ireland, north, south, east, and west. The question was how £1,000,000 was to be obtained. We had a precedent—I daresay the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) may think it a bad precedent—for laying our hands upon funds which seemed for the most part to be free from demand for purposes of this kind. It had been done in England, and it was also done, I believe, some time ago in Ireland. I believe the excellent library in the Four Courts was provided out of this fund, and in the Workmen's Housing Act the same Dormant Suitors' Funds were laid hands upon by hon. Gentlemen opposite. It was part of the bargain that the Treasury had to be behind it. It was no question of taking money which belonged to somebody else. It was part and parcel of the whole scheme that the Treasury should in each of these Acts say the suitor need have no apprehension, because, if this fund is required, 1206 the Treasury will always see there is enough money in the Bank of Ireland to-meet his demands. That was the principle on which the last Act proceeded. I have looked up some observations of my own upon the subject. I had a friendly note from the hon. Baronet saying he would like to call my attention to the matter, and I therefore looked up to see what I had said. I said:—I notice that there has been a mistake in some parts of Ireland in supposing that the provision in the Bill we are now reading a second time which lays hands on £36,000 cash of the Dormant Suitors' Fund, and another sum of £30,000 Consols from the same Irish money does something which the Bill of 1906 did not do. That is a mistake, because, under the provisions of the Bill of 1906, the sum of £150,000 was transferred from the Petty Sessions Clerks Fund, and the sum of £70,000 from the Ireland Development Grant. Then there was a sum equivalent to the reduction of the salaries of the Lord Chancellor and various judges These were Irish funds, which I think were very usefully employed in the reduction of the rate charge upon the ratepayers of Ireland concerning the building of these cottages. We followed that scheme in this Bill, taking from the Dormant Suitors £36,000 cash, and £30,000 Consols. Of course, the Treasury, under the provisions of this Bill, undertake to make good the money in the extremely improbable—I might almost say impossible—event of the Dormant Suitors' Fund requiring the money which is taken from it for the purposes of enabling cottages to be built. Therefore, no dormant suitor need be alarmed if he awakes from his long sleep. He will find that there is a solvent guarantor able to make good the sum. We leave balances of £112,198 and also £85,376. The Lord Chancellor of Ireland, who is the guardian of the funds, is satisfied they may be very properly taken and applied in the same manner as these as well as other Irish funds were applied under the Act of 1906."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 31st May, 1911, cols. 1167–8.]The Bill was passed taking these funds and providing, as I have already said, that the Treasury should bear the brunt of the transaction if it was found more money was taken from one or other of these funds, than ought properly to have been done. The late Lord Chancellor of Ireland, now, I am sorry to say, no more, was, as everybody—Gentlemen on the Front Bench opposite and all Gentlemen from Ireland—will recognise, not only an able man but an accomplished lawyer. He was the very perfection and acme of caution. I never in the whole course of my life came across a more cautious man than Sir Samuel Walker. He went into this matter with the utmost care, and, after considering it, he made certain proposals rather different from those actually carried out. He proposed we should take £40,000 Consols from one account, £10,000 from another account, and £20,000 cash from the balance at the bank. That was his proposal, and not £36,000, £20,000 cash, and a greater sum of Consols. The cash originally suggested by him was £20,000, but it was afterwards increased to £36,000. This is a fund most carefully guarded. The hon. Baronet may 1207 think it was not sufficiently guarded, but it had watch-dogs of very exceptional powers, because, not only was the Lord Chancellor himself everything I have described, but there was the Treasury behind fully alive to the fact that by the Act of Parliament they became eventually the persons who had to provide this money. They have a permanent Treasury official of their own in Ireland, wholly unconnected with Dublin Castle, and over whom I exercise no sort of control or pressure and no sort of influence. The Treasury suggested they would like to investigate this matter themselves. That fact was communicated to my lamented friend, Sir Samuel Walker, and I think it only fair to read the following letter which he wrote in reply:—There is nothing more I desire than that the Treasury officials should investigate these figures themselves. It would be a great protection to me. Please convey that wish of mine to them. I think a Treasury official doing it here would be much the best.That was immediately carried out. The Treasury sent their emissary, and he was a whole long day going through the matter with the Lord Chancellor, with the result that he recommended the Treasury to alter the figures, to reduce the Consols and to increase the cash from £20,000 to £36,000. It was thought that could be safely done. That was taken from the balance at the Bank of Ireland standing to the general account of the Suitors' Fund. It was no concern of mine in any shape, form, or way. I could not get at these moneys. I was not the custodian of them. It was entirely a matter for the custodian and the Treasury, and emphatically was it a matter for the Treasury. The Treasury sanctioned the insertion in the Bill of these figures, including the £36,000 cash. That is the way the deficiency has arisen. Consols have in no way affected the position of the other two dormant accounts, but owing to circumstances, for which I admit I cannot wholly account, the balance, which certainly seemed a very large one at the time, when reduced by this extra amount imposed upon it—it had already borne a certain amount of depletion in respect of the working of the Housing Act—fell short. There is no question of insolvency. There is no question of anybody being kept out of his money. The whole question is the liability of the Treasury. The result has happened which often does happen when people back bills or put their names to a liability which they do not perhaps fully realise. The Treasury had to bear the brunt of this sum, and, consequently, this 1208 Supplementary Estimate—not necessary, because, as I say, there was no occasion to come to Parliament for it at all—was put down in order that an explanation should be given. Of course, the Treasury is the aggrieved party. The Labourers Act of 1911 was a Government measure. It was a measure to which they put their full name and authority, and this was an idea of getting a "buffer State," or, at all events, a period apparently of repose, to some extent relieving the Treasury of the full burden of their obligations.
The House will bear in mind that under all the Labourers Acts 36 per cent. of the cost of the cottages is borne by public moneys, and the balance, 64 per cent., by the ratepayers. There has always been these contributions, the larger contribution being by the ratepayers and the smaller by the Treasury. It must not therefore be supposed by the hon. Baronet that we should not have got our Act if this "buffer State," as I call it, had not been introduced. We were bound to get the money in the interests of Ireland as a whole. This has come about in the way I have described. Consequently, it has been found necessary to provide the sum of £20,000 immediately to fill up what was taken from the bank balance, and another £30,000 may be required. We have therefore put down a Supplementary Estimate of £50,000. I am sure my poor friend, Sir Samuel Walker, who has been taken away from all troubles of this sort, would have been somewhat perturbed, but he would have rejoiced to know that he wrote the letter I have read, namely, that he was only too happy that the Treasury officials should investigate the figures for themselves. They did, and made the matter rather worse; they lightened the burden where, as a matter of fact, no great harm could be done, and they increased the burden on the weak spot. However, we shall all, I am sure, be glad to have the Treasury contribute rather more than they contemplated as their share of this public work. These things were introduced hoping to reduce the burden of the Treasury. They have failed to do so, and therefore the general body of the taxpayers has the satisfaction, or the sorrow, of contributing rather more than they at one time expected towards completing the building of labourers' cottages in Ireland. That really is, I think, a full explanation of the matter. I hope the Committee will not think I am in any way taking blame off myself. I am the last person to do that. I am altogether 1209 blameworthy, I know, and I am quite prepared to stand the racket of blame when I do not altogether deserve it, but in this case I had no knowledge of the figures except as they were communicated to me by the Lord Chancellor and the Treasury. I have no responsibility in the matter whatever. The idea of my putting pressure on Sir Samuel Walker in such a matter would be perfectly ridiculous. He went into the whole matter with care, and called the Treasury to his assistance. The Treasury went into it too, and they came to a decision in the way I have described. I agree this matter requires the fullest explanation, and I hope the Committee will be satisfied with the explanation I have given.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I beg to move the reduction of the Vote by £1,000.
I desire to thank the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for the explanation he has given on this matter. It is an important question. This is a new item. So far as I know, it has never before occurred, not only in a Supplementary Estimate, but in an ordinary Estimate. It amounts to a considerable sum. I am sorry there is no representative of the Treasury present at this moment. Someone should have been here in order to give their explanation of how it is that this sum of £50,000 is asked for. The right hon. Gentleman feels satisfaction in the knowledge that certain cottages have been built. But that is really not the point in question. The point is whether statements which were made upon the particular item now before us are statements which are correct, and whether the statements of one of the Members below the Gangway and of the right hon. Gentleman himself are borne out by the facts. The abjection that I have to the granting of this money is that it is granted in a wrong way. The right hon. Gentleman referred to a speech of his on the 31st May, 1911. But before dealing with that, I should like to ask him to look at the footnote on this Estimate, and he will see that this £50,000 is asked for for two purposes. One is pursuant to Section (4) of the Housing of the Working Classes (Ireland) Act, 1908, and the other is Section (1) of the Labourers (Ireland) Act, 1911. I think I recognise the extract of one of the speeches which the right hon. Gentleman quoted. It was delivered on the Labourers (Ireland) Act, 1911.
1210 The right hon. Gentleman did not give any explanation of what took place on the Housing of the Working Classes Act, 1908. If the right hon. Gentleman will excuse me for saying so, he rather avoided that point. He read out certain words, but he avoided the chief point, which was that it was impossible that this money would ever be required. That is the whole point. The understanding in this bargain was that the money would never be required. The right hon. Gentleman said it was dangerous to back a Bill. No doubt it is, but then it depends upon the person for whom you are backing it. Hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway gave assurances to the person called upon to back this Bill that he would never be asked to fulfil the engagement, and presumably those who gave that assurance were people who had real knowledge of the question. But the people who are to blame are those who gave this House the assurance without any real knowledge of the question. I was astonished to hear the right hon. Gentleman say that he had no knowledge of the fund.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I had the assurance given me by one who had paid the most careful attention to the matter and who, while he was very desirous that the Treasury should check the figures, came to the conclusion that the Grant, could very properly be made without any criticism. That was, of course, the Lord Chancellor of the day.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Or led him astray, the fact still remains, we have still to look to the right hon. Gentleman for the explanation.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Now I would like to remind the right hon. Gentleman of certain statements made on the Labourers (Ireland) Bill. The hon. Member for North Dublin (Mr. Clancy) said, for instance, that the rents would yield £162,500 a year, from which should be made a deduction of 30 per cent. for rates, insurance, and repairs. That would give a net rental of £114,000, leaving a deficit of £39,000. Two sources were suggested from which this might be drawn: first, the Irish Suitors' Fund—a fund consisting of moneys lodged 1211 in Court to the credit of pending suits. The greater part of that could not be touched, but there was a portion of it called the Dormant Fund to which no man now living or ever likely to be born could successfully lay claim.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I suppose some of the money goes to one and some to the other. Under these circumstances someone must have lived or must have been born since 1908 who could lay claim, otherwise it would have been impossible to arrive at the conclusion that this money will have to be payable by the State. The hon. Gentleman went on to say—and I hope he will give some explanation of these words:—Strictly speaking, we ask not for a penny of British money.Yet here is £50,000 of British money being asked for.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The hon. Gentleman did not speak of "British money only." He said, "we ask for not a 1d. of British money." If he was so scornful of British money four years ago, why does he now come down to the House and ask through his representative, the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, that we should pay this £50,000? I opposed this on the ground that the finance of it was wrong. I stated that on several occasions. I have read my speeches, a thing I do not often do, and I confess I am astonished at their moderation. The right hon. Gentleman a little later on made certain observations and referred to the fact that the hon. Member for West Kerry had stated that they depended solely on Irish money to finance the scheme. Evidently that is not correct. They have only depended on it for four years, and that is not a very long 1212 time. Then I come to another speech by the right hon. Gentleman, in which he said:—Lawyers having got those funds, and the Treasury having got control over them, it was supposed that the money should be spent on legal matters. A very handsome and charming library at the Four Courts had been built out of the Suitors' Fund in the time of the present Secretary of State for India, and in that, beautiful room I have seen the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin University pursuing his lucrative calling. But I think the time is coming when the rest of Ireland should get a benefit from the fund, and I am glad to think that the Treasury are fully in accord with me in this matter, and do not see why the money should not be invested in trust securities, and the interest from it used by way of easing the burden and making up what I am afraid will be a very considerable deficit between the obligation to pay interest on the loan and the rent from the houses themselves.The hon. Member for North Dublin said, further, on the Report Stage:—The judges considered so much of the fund under their control as they thought would never be called upon should be released, and had stipulated that in the improbable event of any of those monies being called upon, the Treasury should, as in many other cases, guarantee their repayment.What I really object to is the right hon. Gentleman coming down and asking us for this money in face of the fact that when the Bills were originally introduced it was not stated that any deficiency would have to be made up by the Treasury. It must have been evident from the very beginning that this particular fund would be called upon and would be exhausted. I complain that the right hon. Gentleman did not take steps to ascertain for himself whether or not any people were likely to live who would have a claim upon this fund. I can see a reason why he did not do so. A great deal of English money was being spent at the time, and it was not thought wise to ask for a direct Grant. Therefore this fund was taken, and, in order to soothe the susceptibilities of economists like myself, we were told that it would never be required. That statement was evidently made without any grounds for it. It was made by the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Dublin, who I should have thought had some knowledge of the question. But evidently he knew nothing about it, and only made a statement in order to get the Bill through. I understand that, as recently as November last year, in reply to a question put by the hon. Baronet the Member for Mid-Armagh (Sir John B. Lonsdale), the right hon. Gentleman said that no deficiency had arisen in this fund and that no deficiency was likely to arise.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I do not think I said that. I speak from memory, but I think the hon. Baronet used the expression 1213 "insolvent fund." I said there was no question of a fund being insolvent, because the Treasury was bound to contribute in order to make up any deficiency that might arise. That is my recollection.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I must admit that I have not looked up the matter myself. My hon. Friend told me yesterday that that was what occurred. I was rather occupied yesterday, and I had not time to look it up for myself. Of course I accept what the right hon. Gentleman says.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I speak from memory. The hon. Member used the term "insolvent fund." I pointed out that there was no question of insolvency, because the Fund will be restored to whatever amount is required by the Treasury.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I accept that. Of course hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway having got the guarantee of the Treasury, so long as England is solvent the Fund will be solvent. That was not what was in the mind of the hon. Baronet the Member for Mid-Armagh. What he wanted to know was whether the moneys in this Fund had been exhausted, and whether the Treasury would have to make up the deficiency which had arisen. I accept the right hon. Gentleman's answer that that occasion had not arisen. I quite see where the mistake arose. It was because the right hon. Gentleman was rather harping on the word insolvent and the word insolvency cannot be applied to anything which is guaranteed by the Treasury of England. I would like to point out that the note at the bottom of the page says this:—The Suitors' Fund, having now sunk below its normal requirements, a sum of £30,000 has been temporarily advanced to it. This estimate is presented to enable the Local Government Board to cover the advance and to restore a further sum amounting to £20,000 to the Suitors' Fund.I do not quite understand what that means. Does it mean that all the money in the Suitors' Fund has been taken away, and that £30,000 more than there was in it has been taken away, or does it mean that there was an actual deficiency in the Fund of £30,000? Does it mean that the Treasury are to advance that sum of £30,000, and, if that is so, what is the meaning of the next few lines:—This Estimate is presented to enable the Local Government Board to cover the advance and to restore a further sum.I do not understand the meaning of "to restore a further sum." I do not understand the difference between £50,000 1214 and £20,000, unless it were that the Suitors' Fund was short by £30,000, and that there is another demand for £20,000 to be taken directly from the Treasury. I am sorry that there is no representative of the Treasury present on what, after all, is an important question.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I do not want to do that, but I think it would be a little more decent, at any rate, if there were some, representative of the Treasury present to inform us upon this point.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Thank you. I should like the right hon. Gentleman to give me some explanation why the £50,000 is divided into the two sums of £30,000 and £20,000, and also what is going to happen in the future. I presume that might be in order for this reason, that if we vote these sums we ought to know if we are going to be called upon or not for other sums. That might affect whether or not we oppose the Vote. If there is this deficiency, and it were necessary to put the money back we might be willing to vote the money for that purpose; but I want to know, if we do that, whether it is to be taken as a precedent, and that in every February or March a further Supplementary Estimate is to be brought forward of £30,000 or £20,000.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I do not suggest that that occasion will arise, because Section 4 limits the amount to £84,000.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
In 1911 the right hon. Gentleman not only hoped not, but he said it would not arise. It may be possible that it will arise again. The right hon. Gentleman used the eloquent language and picturesque imagination which is at the disposal of all hon. Members below and above the Gangway to show that it was impossible that this money ever could be touched, I propose, therefore, to move a reduction in the Vote of £1,000. I do not know whether I shall divide upon it. That depends upon the further explanations from the right hon. Gentleman and from the Treasury. I move it in order to show my disapproval of the manner in which this sum has been 1215 asked for, and of the way in which the right hon. Gentleman has allowed a fund to be used which he said never would be used, without having ascertained whether there were people who had claims upon it. That is really the secret of the whole mistake. This fund never was dormant. There were people in existence then who had a claim to the money. What he really did was to take other people's money and use it for a particular purpose. That is a very bad thing, and a very dangerous thing. With the general tendency now of being so generous with other people's money, which is increasing, not only in this House, but outside it, I feel it my duty to call the serious attention of the Committee to what has taken place, and I have therefore much pleasure in moving the reduction of £1,000.
§ Mr. CLANCY
The hon. Baronet was good enough to give me notice towards the close of last week that he would quote from a speech of mine on this subject when the matter came up here to-day. From some observations he has made, it appears that he expects some explanation from me. Really I do not know that he is entitled to any explanation from any private Member. At any rate, I beg to assure him that I have nothing to explain, and that there was nothing in anything I have said or done in this matter of which I am not very proud. There is really very little in the indictment he has levelled against the Government. He has quoted me as saying that this money would never be called upon. As a matter of fact, what I really did say, and what the Act of Parliament says in plain English is, that it is very improbable that any call would ever be made upon the Dormant Suitors' Fund. The Act of Parliament says most distinctly and clearly that if it is called upon, that in the improbable event of its being called upon, then the Treasury should make it good. Where is there anything wrong in all that? The hon. Baronet was warned beforehand that there was a possibility of this Dormant Suitors' Fund being called upon.
§ Mr. CLANCY
He was warned of the possibility by the very words of the Act of Parliament, and if he says he opposed it—I do not recollect whether he did so or not—then, of course, he did his duty, but the House of Commons, including the Unionist portion of the present House of Commons, 1216 agreed to this proposal. I do not understand what is the ground on which the hon. Baronet frames his indictment against the Government.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
This is what the hon. Member calls a full warning. He said:—There is a portion of it called the Dormant Fund to which no man now living, or ever likely to be born can successfully lay claim.They have now laid claim to the money, and therefore I say I did not have full warning, or, rather, that the warning I had was incorrect.
§ Mr. CLANCY
The hon. Baronet has two or three times said that already. I repeat that it was made quite plain to the House of Commons that while it was extremely improbable that this fund would ever be called upon, at the same time it was felt it was possible that it might be called upon, and in that very improbable event the Treasury would have to make it good. It is not so exceptional a case as the hon. Baronet would like the Committee to understand. There is a precedent in England for the proceedings that have been taken in this matter. Out of what fund does the hon. Baronet imagine that the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand were built? They were not built out of a Vote by Parliament, except as to two or three small items. The money was taken out of the Dormant Suitors' Fund for England, or out of the analogous fund in the Bank of England remaining to the credit of pending suits, and of the suitors who-might turn up. If I am not mistaken—I do not pledge myself to this, because it is a good while ago that I investigated the matter—Parliament and the Treasury had afterwards to come to the rescue and vote some small sums which, on the same hypothesis, were never to be taken out of the Suitors' Fund. This extreme economic virtue which the hon. Baronet now exhibits was never exhibited then by him or anybody else.
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Mr. CLANCY
It was not when you were in the House. I protest against this exceptional treatment being meted out in criticism in the case of this very small matter relating to Ireland, especially when the object for which the money is used is considered—namely, the provision of houses for the most miserably-housed people in the whole civilised world. I should have thought that a representative 1217 of a great and wealthy community like that of London—I think I might say of the richest parts of London, should have thought it necessary to raise the question at all. It is exactly, in my opinion, because men like him raise these questions in regard to the poor that you have the labour unrest which is now patent to the world, and which perhaps the hon. Baronet may not be so unmindful of in the future as he appears to have been in the past. When the Act of 1908, for which I had some responsibility, was being framed—I say this not to excuse myself at all; I took a personal part in this transaction—I myself consulted the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and he called together all the judges of the Chancery Division, and they never gave their consent to the sum appropriated under the Act until they had satisfied themselves, and so informed the Government that the money might be appropriated by that Act. After that, if I had any responsibility for the matter, I think I should be excused, but I had no responsibility whatever, and of course I do not recognise the right of the hon. Baronet to question me on the subject at all. I think it is a miserable and a paltry thing for the representative of the richest part of the British Dominions to object on any specious ground whatever to a sum of £20,000 or £30,000 being devoted to improving the housing conditions of the most wretchedly situated set of towns in the whole world, and also, I shall be greatly surprised if the Members for the North of Ireland who sit around him, including the Members for Belfast, will say a single word in support of the indictment which the hon. Baronet has made against the Government.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I ought to say there has been a good deal of reference to legislation, which is not usual in Committee of Supply. We cannot discus the merits of an Act, but merely the question whether the Treasury is justified in giving the amount under the Act.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
I did not understand that the hon. Baronet referred to the principle of the Act. There is a good deal in what he said that I agree with and a good deal that I disagree with. If I understood him rightly, his attack upon this Vote consisted of two parts. Roughly speaking, in the first place, he said he objected to this method by which a guarantee was given by the Treasury at all; and, in the second place, he objected 1218 to the Parliamentary methods by which the guarantee of the Treasury was extracted from the House of Commons. With regard to the last proposition, I admit that I think he stands upon a certain amount of foundation. The right hon. Gentleman has admitted quite frankly, and those who were associated with the Bills in their earlier stages must also admit, that perhaps the estimate formed was unduly optimistic. There is no doubt that the facts have borne that out. But then the right hon. Gentleman presses his case a little too far, because he talked to the Committee a moment ago as though this was something which was sprung upon him at a moment's notice without any warning whatever. That is not the fact. The facts are that in the case of the first Act, the Housing of the Working Classes Act, 1908, in the very Debate which the hon. Baronet quoted, he was told by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury that the object of the Clause was to make it perfectly manifest that this was a double guarantee.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Quite so. Everyone, of course, must have known that there was a guarantee by the Treasury, but what I said was that we were assured that the guarantee would never be required, that there were funds which no one had any claim to, and they were sufficient to answer the purpose, and the guarantee of the Treasury was a formal thing which would not be required.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
The hon. Baronet went much further than that, because he objected, not only to the method by which the guarantee was obtained from Parliament, but to the method of this form of guarantee at all. He said it was bad finance. I want to put it to him that he had full warning of the form of finance which was going to be adopted. Here is the financial Resolution on the Labourers Bill, 19th June, 1911. The first Clause says the object of the Resolution was to authorise the advance out of the Consolidated Fund of any sum necessary to meet any deficiency in the Fund of Suitors in the Supreme Court of Ireland. That Resolution was put to the House, and the hon. Baronet did not object to it, either in Committee or on Report. He said the House should have been told that they would not suddenly find that this liability had been imposed upon them. The hon. Baronet suggested that this form of guarantee was radically bad, and that it was without precedent. One precedent has been referred 1219 to, and I should like to point out how exactly the precedent squares with the actual facts. XXVIII. and XXIX. Victoria, Cap. 48, is the Act for the building of the Courts of Justice in London, and, just as it was proposed in the two previous Acts to have a certain amount of money, so in this Act it was proposed to take a certain amount of money. In Section 17 of the Act there is a provision, precisely analogous to this one, by which any deficiency in the Suitors' Fund is to be made up from the Consolidated Fund. My hon. Friend may say it is true that the provision existed in the Act, but it was never called upon, and no such Vote as this was ever required for the Law Courts to make good a deficiency in the Suitors' Fund. If he says that he will be wrong, because in the finance accounts for the year 1871 a sum of £18,017 19s. 11d. was voted, and in the finance accounts for 1872 a sum of £131,322 8s. 5d. was voted from the Consolidated Fund to make good a deficiency in the Suitors' Fund.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Could the hon. Member inform me whether at the time the Irish Members were told it was to be financed solely out of English money?
§ The CHAIRMAN
This may be very interesting, but it is quite out of order. It really is a discussion on the merits of legislation, and it is not in order in Committee of Supply. I must ask hon. Members to leave that point alone.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
I think I have shown sufficiently that this is not a new item, and is not without precedent. There is this precedent which exactly squares with the fact. I admit frankly that in my judgment there is a certain amount of optimism in the way in which the Estimate was framed. It is very unfortunate that we have no representative of the Treasury here, because, although the right hon. Gentleman is the person whom we have to blame at present, and he is responsible for the Vote, he has cast a good deal of the burden of responsibility from his own shoulders on to those of the Treasury. He said he had no knowledge of the figures, but was advised by the Treasury.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
Of course, the new Financial Secretary had nothing whatever to do with this, and I do not know that he will be able to throw any further light 1220 upon the matter as it stands now; but with reference to the hon. Baronet's question about what the footnote means, it means that you require a sum of £30,000 to cover the actual advances which have been necessary, and you want a further sum of £20,000 to restore the balance at the bank to what may be called a normal and a proper amount, because, of course, you cannot run to the Treasury every minute in order to cash a cheque. The custodians of the cash fund require £30,000 to make good what is absolutely necessary, and another sum of £20,000 to make the balance, the comfortable kind of balance on which the hon. Baronet and I like to draw. That is the explanation.
§ Viscount CASTLEREAGH
The thanks of the House are due to the hon. Baronet for having raised the question. The hon. Member (Mr. Clancy) made rather a violent attack on him and asked, "What is £20,000?" Surely it is the duty of every Member of the House to consider the question of the finance of the country with the greatest possible vigilance. The principle underlying the matter is one which may carry with it a certain amount of danger. The financing of various Acts from the Suitors' Fund has taken the place of a Treasury Grant. If only this matter had come before the House in the shape of a Treasury Grant it would have incurred a certain amount of criticism, whereas by the optimism of the right hon. Gentleman in taking this money from a fund it was believed that no questions would be asked. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Mitchell-Thomson) talks about a precedent, but two wrongs do not make a right, and I hope, in matters of this kind, the House will consider it with more vigilance than they have done in the past. The original Estimate of £107,000 is, by this means, increased by £50,000, and it comes to this, that the money has been spent and we are called upon in this House to ratify the expenditure after the money has - disappeared. That is another mode of procedure which I do not think would be commended by any Member of the House. It is a matter which affects the expenditure of the country, and one which calls for the attention of every individual Member. I would suggest that we should have an undertaking from the right hon. Gentleman that this mode of procedure will not be followed again. There must have been some mistake in regard to this dormant suitors' account, for it appeared that it is very much alive.
I hope the hon. Baronet will not press this Amendment to a Division. I agree with the Noble Lord (Viscount Castlereagh) that the hon. Baronet has done the Committee great good on many occasions in pointing out these very erroneous methods of finance. The attack made by the hon. Member for North Dublin (Mr. Clancy) was quite unwarranted and unmerited, because the hon. Baronet is not opposed to the two Acts. I take it that the real objection raised by his criticism is to the method of finance adopted on this occasion. It is on that single point that he is interested at the present moment. The Chief Secretary started this Debate by giving his defence for the action he took on the occasion when the 1908 and 1909 Acts were passed. He quoted the statement then made that he believed there was no chance of this money having to be made good by the Treasury at any future time. There was a very curious divergence of opinion between the right hon. Gentleman and the present Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Hobhouse), who was then Financial Secretary to the Treasury, and who had charge of the finance of these measures. I have in my hand an account of the receipts given by Mr. Teening, Accountant-General to the Supreme Court of Judicature in Ireland, for a number of years. It is very significant that, in 1908, on page 3 of the report signed by the Secretary to the Treasury of that day, it is stated on the authority of the Accountant-General that the Consolidated Fund is liable for the amount of the deficiency in the event of any Court having at any time to meet the payments to suitors. The report adds that this liability may, however, be said to be nominal. I presume that was the feeling which animated the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues in dealing with the two Bills to which reference has been made. It is most significant that from 1908 these words have been omitted, showing that from that year down to the present day those in charge of the fund and the auditing of the accounts of the Supreme Court of Judicature in Ireland must have expected there would be a deficit which would have to be made up. In spite of that, the right hon. Gentleman, answering my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Armagh, in December last said there had not been any deficiency in the Suitors' Fund. Therefore I think the House will require this matter to be cleared up. If as late as December there was no deficiency 1222 in the Suitors' Fund, how is it necessary now, not only to ask £30,000 to cover the actual liabilities incurred, but a further sum of £20,000 to bring the balance up to what the right hon. Gentleman considers a safe and normal balance for such an important fund.
I would like to ask the Chief Secretary whether when consulting the Lord Chancellor of the day and the other Chancery judges, he took the trouble to consult Mr. Teening, because I think an matters of finance, although the Lord Chancellor and the other judges may be very able in their own lines of business, it does not follow that they are expert financiers, and surely on such an important matter as the voting of money in this way, even although for a temporary loan, the Government should have the best advice from the Accountant-General himself. If the Accountant-General, who is responsible for presenting the accounts in the most proper manner, put his foot down and said that he did not think this was a judicious way to deal with the fund, how was it that his decision, if there were such a decision, was overridden by the Lord Chancellor and the other Chancery judges? As to the financing of the two Bills to which the House gave absolutely unanimous approval, there is a point to which I wish to call attention. It might be that at the back of the minds of some hon. Members with respect to each Bill there was a sympathetic feeling, and that it received support in all parts of the House when it was pointed out that it was to be financed (by dormant balances, and that, therefore, it would cost nothing to this country. Hon. Members might be inclined to give support to the measure more on that ground than on the merits of the Bill, and, consequently, legislation might be got through the House through the sympathetic feeling of Members on all sides. They might say, "Here are dormant balances; the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, the Chief Secretary and his colleagues give their word to this House, and the hon. Member for North Dublin gives his word that the country is never to be called upon for money," and it is possible that the House might pass legislation on this ground. Only after a short period the right hon. Gentleman comes to the House and says, "They were all wrong, and instead of bringing forward legislation in this way, they should have asked the whole sum of money from the British Treasury in the first instance." The whole point is really whether in future more care will be taken by those 1223 concerned in the disposal of dormant balances which prove not to be dormant at all, so that legislation shall not be obtained in this House by what might almost be called false pretences. Perhaps the Chief Secretary will tell us whether a larger sum of money will be necessary to meet the deficiencies, or whether there is any intention to take the opinion of the Accountant-General on this matter. I would take his word before that of the Lord Chancellor himself as to whether bottom has now been touched, and whether the House will not be required to make good further mistakes if they have been made.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I think the hon. Gentleman has made an excellent speech, and I fully appreciate the difficulty of the point he has raised. The hon. Gentleman referred to my reply to the hon. Member for Mid-Armagh in December last. At that time, when that reply was given, I was perfectly well aware that a deficiency was probable, and that it was necessary that the Suitors' Fund and the cash account should be supplied with the funds under guarantee. There was no misapprehension on that point. I wished the House to understand the circumstances, and to thoroughly understand that a deficiency was anticipated. The hon. Member referred to Mr. Teening, the Accountant-General, and asked whether he was consulted. At the time referred to Mr. Teening was unfortunately unwell. The Treasury Remembrancer went over the whole of the figures. He went into the accounts with the Lord Chancellor. I deeply regret that Mr. Teening was not able to be present during these particular negotiations in order to give the Treasury the benefit of his great experience. I want to explain to the Committee what is understood by dormant accounts. There are three accounts which are called dormant accounts. The first is the account which relates to funds not paid for a long time, and the dividends on these funds are not liable to reinvestment. About that no difficulty has arisen here. The dormant are still dormant, and long may they remain so. Number 2 is a more modern account, and in July, 1910, consisted of £90,000 of stock, and the dividends accruing on that sum which have to be reinvested. Consequently that is an account which has not been touched. Number 3 is the Land Judges' Account, which in July, 1910, amounted to £15,000 in Consols. These are called dormant accounts. Two 1224 of them are genuinely dormant, but it would be risky to deal with the other. Then there was a cash balance in the Bank in Ireland, out of which we had to take £20,000, but in communications with the Treasury it was suggested that instead of reducing the Consols of No. 1 Account we should take a larger sum from the cash balance. We took £36,000 from the cash balance, and it is on that cash balance that difficulty has arisen. It was not so much a dormant account, but a cash balance into which dividends were paid when they became due. In past times there was very little interference with the money which was kept at the bank in Ireland. The fact that these experienced persons to whom I have referred thought that we could take £36,000 out of that balance only shows how very difficult it is to estimate beforehand what money will be available in a fund upon which other people have a right to draw.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
As I understand you took from a cash balance on which you were giving no interest, which was a very proper transaction, instead of taking Consols on which there was interest. What was the difficulty in taking from No. 1 dormant fund and selling Consols to replace the cash balance?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
No. 1 was not a very large account. In July, 1910, it only consisted of £51,000 Consols, and in 1908 we had taken £70,000 to assist the Housing Bill. We did not wish to take any more from that other account, because the custodians of that account did not consider that it would be safe to take away from it. The right hon. Gentleman thinks that we might have replaced with Consols. I do not know how that may be. The Lord Chancellor's suggestion was to take something from No. 1, nothing from No. 2, and a little from No. 3, and £20,000 from the cash balance. But the Treasury officials came to the conclusion that it was safer to reduce the amounts taken from these-accounts and to increase the amount taken from the cash balance. It is on that increased sum of £36,000 that the difficulty has arisen. I quite see that the matter-has required some explanation, which I hope that I have given to the best of my ability.
§ Mr. MOORE
I wish to draw attention to the unnecessary red tape which there seems to have been around this whole subject. This money was taken from funds in the Supreme Court of Judicature. They 1225 are under control of the Lord Chancellor by Act of Parliament, and if they sink below the proper amount of the security, the Treasury is to advance out of the Consolidated Fund whatever sum may be necessary to replace the amount. The only part the Local Government Board have to play in the matter is that they are recipients of the first £80,000. Once they get it they are done with it. I gather from a footnote that the Local Government Board, having got that money from the Suitors' Funds, which have to be replenished, the statutory obligation has now arisen to get from the Treasury the money necessary to replace the fund in the Supreme Court of Judicature. Why, then, is this brought under the Local Government Board Vote at all? They are surely out of the question. It is only multiplying red tape to hand it over to the Local Government Board, who have no further claim on it to be a burden on them to replace the fund.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
There was really no occasion for a Supplementary Estimate at all, but the Treasury said that it was necessary to explain to the House of Commons how this came about, and as it was Local Government Board business, and as the Act of Parliament was promoted by me as President of the Local Government Board, and as the Debates took place on the Local Government Board, it was thought desirable to put it down for a Supplemental Estimate for full explanation if desired, and it was put down under the Local Government Board.
§ Mr. MOORE
I quite welcome the course which the Government took in putting it down as an Estimate, but it is simply a multiplicity of red tape to put it down under the Local Government Board, who have got all they can under the Act. Why not put it down directly, by an Estimate if you like, under the Supreme Court of Judicature? You have separate Votes for that. By this Estimate you are throwing an additional burden on the Local Government Board. Instead of paying, as the Statute directs, into these funds which are in the Bank of Ireland, you are adopting this course, which is only an instance of the misconception which has run through the right hon. Gentleman's mind about this whole business.
§ Viscount HELMSLEY
The Chief Secretary seems to take credit to himself or the 1226 Treasury for having put down this Supplementary Estimate. I would like to know if that is actually the case, and is it owing to the good will of the Treasury that this Committee is discussing the question? Because, as I understand the right hon. Gentleman, this taking of the money was authorised by an Act of Parliament, and if the money was needed for the ordinary purpose for which it was earmarked, then the Treasury would have to make good the deficiency. This expenditure was authorised by legislation. Surely that applies to all this expenditure of this House. Take the expenditure under the Development Fund. That does not invalidate the necessity of having an Estimate, and if more is required a Supplementary Estimate. Was it not absolutely necessary in the course of their procedure that this should be submitted as a Supplementary Estimate, as it could not have been done in any other way?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I do not pretend to be an authority on this matter. The Treasury themselves informed me that in their opinion no Supplementary Estimate was necessary, but it was desirable that there should be one, with which I concurred.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The hon. Member for North Dublin, who said that this was a question of misery or of sympathy or something of that nature, attempted to draw a red-herring across the path and enlist the sympathy of hon. Members in favour of his proposal. This has got nothing whatever to do with the object of the Bill, which I did not oppose, but I did oppose the financial part of the Bill because I thought it was unsound finance. That is what I am opposing at the present moment. I do not quite understand the explanation of the right hon. Gentleman about the £36,000. He says the deficiency arose from the fact that the Lord Chancellor objected to his taking a sum from the No. 1 Account, and suggested that it should be taken from the cash balance to cover the deficiency of £36,000.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
No. We were going to take £20,000 in cash, and it was suggested that we should take £36,000 instead of £20,000 and a less amount from the accounts.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Now I understand how the deficiency arose. I wish to draw 1227 attention to the great contempt with which the Treasury has treated the Committee. The right hon. Gentleman says that he had requested a representative of the Treasury to be here. Forty minutes have elapsed and not a single person from the Treasury has condescended to come down to the House. That is treating an important question like this with contempt, and therefore I feel compelled to move the adjournment of the Debate.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
It is quite true that I did get up to say that I had sent for an explanation from the Treasury, but the reply I got from the Treasury was the simple explanation which I gave about the £20,000 and the £30,000, making up the £50,000, and they could not add anything; and, being very much occupied, I told them I thought that perhaps it would meet the views of the hon. Baronet. I should be very sorry indeed if the hon. Baronet thought that they were in any way to
|Division No. 14.]||AYES.||[5.45 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Aitken, Sir William Max||Forster, Henry William||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Foster, Philip Staveley||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Gardner, Ernest||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Col. J.||Gibbs, G. A.||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Baker, Sir R. L. (Dorset, N.)||Gilmour, Captain John||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Balcarres, Lord||Goldman, C. S.||Paget, Almeric Hugh|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Goldsmith, Frank||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Gordon, John (Londonderry, South)||Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge)|
|Barnston, Harry||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Peel, Hon. William R. W. (Taunton)|
|Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc., E.)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts., Wilton)||Gretton, John||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Guinness, Hon. W. E.||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Hamersley, Alfred St. George||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Bigland, Alfred||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Boles, Lieut.-Col. Dennis Fortescue||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells)|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Harris, Henry Percy||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Helmsley, Viscount||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Hill, Sir Clement L. (Shrewsbury)||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Butcher, John George||Hills, John Waller||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Campbell, Capt. Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Stewart, Gershom|
|Campion, W. R.||Hoare, Samuel John Gurney||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Cassel, Fellx||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Terrell, George (Wilts, N. W.)|
|Cator, John||Horner, Andrew Long||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Touche, George Alexander|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Joynson-Hicks, William||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford Univ.)||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Kerry, Earl of||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Weigall, Capt. A. G.|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Lewisham, viscount||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Croft, Henry Page||Lloyd, G. A.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Dalziel, D. (Brixton)||Locker Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Faber, George D. (Clapham)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (Hanover Sq.)||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Falle, Bertram Godfray||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Younger, Sir George|
|Fell, Arthur||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Mackinder, Halford J.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Sir F. Banbury and Mr. Sanderson.|
|Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine)|
§ blame, because I told them that I had made the explanation and that I thought it was satisfactory.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I am not casting any blame on anyone. I think that the right hon. Gentleman has been extremely courteous, but I blame the Treasury, who seem to think that all they have got to do is to send a message down to the House that they are rather busy. What are they paid for? They are paid to come here when matters in which they are concerned arise in this House. I feel bound, in the interests of the House, to move the adjournment of the Debate as a protest against the continual disregard by the officials of the Treasury of the ordinary customs of the House of Commons.
§ Question put, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 132; Noes, 239.
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||O'Dowd, John|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Hackett, J.||O'Grady, James|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||O'Malley, William|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Barran, Sir J. (Hawick)||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Beale, W. P.||Henry, Sir Charles S.||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Higham, John Sharp||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts, St. George)||Hinds, John||Primrose, Hon. Neil James|
|Bentham, G. J.||Hodge, John||Pringle, M. R.|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Hogge, James Myles||Radford, G. H.|
|Black, Arthur W.||Holmes, Daniel Thomas||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.|
|Boland, John Pius||Holt, Richard Durning||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Horne, Charles Silvester (Ipswich)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Reddy, Michael|
|Brace, William||Hughes, S. L.||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Brady, P. J.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||John, Edward Thomas||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Brunner, J. F. L.||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Burke, E. Haviland||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Robertson, J, M. (Tyneside)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Robinson, Sidney|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.)||Jowett, F. W.||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Joyce, Michael||Rowlands, James|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Keating, M.||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Kilbride, Denis||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Chancellor, Henry G.||King, J. (Somerset, N.)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Lansbury, George||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E.|
|Clough, William||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Clynes, John R.||Leach, Charles||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Sheehy, David|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Lewis, John Herbert||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Shortt, Edward|
|Cotton, William Francis||Lundon, T.||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Lyell, Charles Henry||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Crooks, William||Lynch, A. A.||Snowden, P.|
|Crumley, Patrick||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Davies, E. William (Eifion)||McGhee, Richard||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, W.)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs, Louth)||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||MacNeill, John G. S. (Donegal, South)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Macpherson, James Ian||Tennant, Harold John|
|Delany, William||M'Callum, John M.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||M'Curdy, C. A.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Devlin, Joseph||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Dewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness)||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Dillon, John||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Walters, Sir John Tudor|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Doris, W.||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Duffy, William J.||Masterman, C. F. G.||Waring, Walter|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Meagher, Michael||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Menzies, Sir Walter||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Molloy, M.||Webb, H.|
|Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||Molteno, Percy Alport||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Money, L. G. Chiozza||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary)||Mooney, J. J.||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Morgan, George Hay||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Ffrench, Peter||Morrell, Philip||Wiles, Thomas|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Munro, R.||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Gelder, Sir W. A.||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Williamson, Sir A.|
|Gill, A. H.||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C.||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Glanville, H. J.||Neilson, Francis||Winfrey, Richard|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Goldstone, Frank||Nolan, Joseph|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Norton, Captain Cecil W.|
|Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Nuttall, Harry||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||O'Donnell, Thomas|
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I do not wish to divide on the Amendment for the reduction, although I think the method of finance is not a proper one. I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for the trouble he has taken in coming down to the Committee and thoroughly explaining his wrongdoing. The right hon. Gentleman had certain qualms of conscience, and he told us he might be blamed, and that he was prepared to take the blame. In order to encourage Ministers to take the same attitude on future occasions, I ask leave to withdraw my Amendment for the reduction.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.