§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I beg to move,
"That it is the duty of the Government to afford all possible protection to men who desire to work in a lawful occupation, and that the claim of the Secretary of State for the Home Department to distinguish between cases in which he will afford such protection, and other cases in which he will supply it only after a breach of the peace has occurred, is unconstitutional and contrary to law."
873 4.0 P.M.
Although the Motion is one of great and serious consequence, it is not one which, I hope, will necessitate my detaining the House for any long time in introducing it to their notice. I suppose that in all quarters of the House regret will be felt that we should so soon be called upon again to deal with an incident arising out of a great labour unrest and trouble in the Metrooplitan City. We do all regret it, but all of us cannot confess surprise at it. We have watched the course of the Government with considerable anxiety, with grave doubt as to whether their previous action was well calculated to promote the ends they had in view, and with a growing anxiety lest the constant interference of the Government in every trade dispute, instead of appeasing differences and leading to a permanent settlement, should only foment; unrest elsewhere, and provoke trouble in regions which were previously peaceful. It fell to my lot to speak in the Debate on the Coal Mines (Minimum Wage) Bill. I ventured then to ask the consideration of the House to the path along which we were moving. I traced the gradually growing interference of Government Departments, and the Government itself, in these disputes between capital and labour. I pointed out that as a necessary consequence both sides now, when a dispute arose, expected, if it was of a serious character, that sooner or later the Government would interfere, and that as a consequence both sides held back until the Government did interfere, and would not advance to meet each other to the full extent they might think right to do, because they were afraid they would prejudice their position when they came before the arbitration forced upon them by the Government if they had made that advance before. In the particular case of the coal strike the Government went further. They legislated to enforce a particular settlement in particular districts. Their legislation was, by the nature of the case and of the method in which it was drawn, far more effective for coercing employers than it was for enforcing the award upon workmen, and we pointed out to them then, that to allow the whole trade of the country to be held up to force the interference of the Government and of Parliament to settle the dispute in the national interest, and still to leave both parties to that dispute all the liberties and rights which others enjoyed, who have not abused them, so as to threaten national existence, was to invite a recrudescence of the same kind of agitation and the same 874 kind of unrest in that or in other trades. We have not had long to wait. Our predictions have unhappily been verified only too soon, and we now have the whole trade of the Port of London dislocated and held up with the obvious hope that such pressure may be brought to bear upon public opinion and the Government that fresh legislative interference may be wrung from them and that they may be compelled to intervene in order to settle the demands of the strikers. I conceive that it would be quite improper for me on this occasion to enter into the merits of this dispute. The actual facts are very largely contested, and though we were all very much interested and indebted to Sir Edward Clarke for his report, it is obvious that it was, under the circumstances, so hastily arrived at that it was not possible for him to hear all the parties who were concerned, and that in any case the dispute as it now exists involves people who were never heard before him and never invited to give evidence to him.
But while it would be improper to go into details of the dispute or to attempt to assign praise and blame in regard to the several matters which are alleged on the one side or the other, there is one general aspect of this struggle common to it and to recent outbreaks of unrest of the same kind to which I must draw attention. It is a novel feature of these recent disputes. They begin with a local, geographical, or perhaps, as in this case, a personal grievance alleged on one side and not met on the other. What then follows? Is the dispute confined to the particular parties with whom it originates? On the con-contrary. The leaders of trade organisation have now adopted a policy of at once giving the dispute the greatest extension which is possible. They no longer ask with whom they have a quarrel but, having a quarrel with one employer or group of employers, they involve the whole of the trade in that locality in the dispute at once, and seek to involve the whole of the similar trades throughout the country in the same dispute, so that workmen who have alleged no grievance, who have made no representations to their employers seeking for a change in the terms or conditions of their work, who are content with the terms offered and are peacefully pursuing their occupation, are constantly called upon to come out in support of some dispute which, in its origin, was purely local and perhaps absolutely personal. 875 That carries these disputes into a new class. They no longer concern merely the particular disputants with whom they arose. The policy is a perfectly plain one. It is to hold up the whole trade of the country, to attack not the employer who is alleged to be at fault, but the great mass of the public, who have no interest in the dispute, but whose only interest is that the trade of the country shall be maintained, and by bringing this great and bitter pressure to bear upon the mass of working men who have no connection with the dispute, to force political intervention to bring the dispute to a close. I think the time has come when this House ought to revise its notion as to how such a state of things is to be dealt with, and ought to consider whether the course of action pursued by the Board of Trade under successive Governments in the last few years is really applicable to a state of things so wholly different from that to which it was first applied, and whether it is, in fact, tending to promote the peaceful settlement of grievances, or is not rather tending to provoke these outbreaks.
Only this I say further, and it is germane to the occasion to say it, that putting aside the details of this dispute, the public interest in the case is not the cause of the struggle, but the way in which an extension is given to it. It is not the objects which are pursued by one party or the other, it is the methods by which those objects are pursued, and if you want to judge these methods impartially, to say whether they are such as ought to meet with the approval of this House and the country, I ask you to test it by supposing the position were reversed. Suppose a particular employer in the Port of London having a quarrel with a particular man had, in the first place, locked out all the others, and that that had been followed by a call by him to other employers—[An HON. MEMBER: "They have done it."]—throughout the country engaged in the same trade—
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
Would right be upon their side? If it is not right for the employer how can it be right for the men?
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I say so much upon the subject because I wish the House to realise that by the action of leaders of organised labour in this case public interests are directly menaced, and it is the public interest with which we have most concern. I do no more than echo the words of the Chief Secretary when I say that in a dispute of this magnitude, or to which it is sought to give this magnitude, I wholly deny that it is a matter for employers or employed in these particular trades alone. I assert that the public have the most direct interest and the most direct right to make their voices heard in matters of such consequence. What are these interests? The great interest of the public is that the trade of this country should be carried on undisturbed. It is the interest of every man capable of making a free bargain, and, having made it, having offered or agreed to sell his labour freely without compulsion in a lawful calling, that he should be allowed to go about the pursuit of his calling freely, without intimidation and without being subject to threat or to outrage. Until last week I do not think any Government has ever denied its obligation to protect such men to the fullest extent of its resources. I said it was no surprise to some of us that we should so soon have to be debating an incident arising out of labour troubles again, but it is a surprise, and I think it must have been to the whole House, that we should have to do it on a Motion such as I have placed upon the Table of the House, or that we should be called upon at this time of day to assert as against the Home Secretary, the sworn guardian of law and order, the elementary duties of his office. Workmen who are dissatisfied with their terms of employment have a perfect right to strike. I, for one, do not wish to take that right away But workmen who are satisfied with the terms of their employment have an equal right to work, and we do not wish to see that right taken away with the connivance of the Home Secretary. I gather from the Home Secretary's cheers that he is now prepared to accept that it is the bounden duty of the Home Office to do everything in its power, with all the force that he can command, to secure the free exercise of their right to work by men who have made a contract with which they are satisfied.
But that is not what he said on Thursday night. He then assumed to himself the 877 right to distinguish between the work which he would protect and the work which he would not, and the men whom he would protect, and the men whom he would not. He was prepared to protect the handling of what he called necessary cargoes by men engaged upon the spot, but he was not prepared to protect the handling of other cargoes, or to protect men who were not habitually resident in the place where the trouble arose. I wish that, even within the limits which he then set down, he had been a little more active in discharging the duties which he admits. He said, in the course of that speech, that there had been practically no disorder. I have here a series of statements, which I believe are also in the possession of the Home Secretary, made by men who have been pursued with intimidation, abuse, and violence in consequence of their endeavour to proceed with their ordinary and lawful work. I have here letters, which are not pleasant reading, from man after man who has tried to get to his work and has been turned back, or who has gone to his work and has been beaten and assaulted—letters recounting the way in which their houses are beset and their wives and families threatened. There is a letter from a wife written to the employer begging him to keep her husband out of sight because pickets are watching for him at his house, and have been inquiring for him, and she is afraid that injury will be done to him if he returns to his home. It is all very well to say that order is preserved. What does the Home Secretary know about preserving order under these circumstances? Order is preserved if no man dare exercise his right to work. Order is preserved when, under the pretence of peacefuel picketing, mobs of men assemble and drive men from their work and prevent them from leaving their homes. That is the kind of order which it is the duty of the Government to maintain. The duty of the Government is to protect the liberty of these men and to give them all the protection in their power—and until they have given them all the protection in their power they have not discharged their duty—in order that they may proceed with their work. The Home Secretary says that he is proceeding on the principle of only protecting necessary cargoes. I am quite ready to admit that some cargoes are more immediately and urgently required for the lives of London, or any other great town, than others. Some supplies are more imperative than others, but all those cargoes are necessary to the trade of the 878 Port and the trade of the country, and to hold up everything but foodstuffs, and without calling upon all the reserves, without calling upon all the forces you might bring into the field, and to set out at the beginning saying that you cannot protect any but what are called necessary cargoes, is to do ineffable injury not only to the Port of London, but to the trade of the country as a whole. I suppose there is not one of us moving in business circles or meeting business men who has not met in the last few days instances of orders sent abroad because delivery cannot be given at home, and so the effect of the strike, local in its actual and immediate application, spreads far beyond the immediate area of the strike, throws men out of work, and deprives of wages men who have no concern whatever in the industry immediately affected, but whose trade and the trade of the country is ruined by the inability of ships to sail, and the unwillingness of the Home Secretary to give protection for those who are willing to work. What did the right hon. Gentleman say in regard to the particular case brought to his notice on Thursday. He said:—In this case it was not a question of protecting men who would usually be engaged at work at Purfleet, but it was a question of protecting men who had excellent opportunity for work at Newport, but were brought in specially as strike breakers.May I say, in commenting upon that, I think the Home Secretary is misinformed as to the facts. I understand that these men who were brought from Newport are men in the permanent employment of Messrs. Houlder, who have been forced to engage them in consequence of anterior troubles at Newport; that Messrs. Houlder have only an occasional ship to load at Newport; that they have not full work there for these men, and that work on any other ships or in any other employment is refused to these men by the organised labour in Newport. I understand therefore it was not free to these men, as the Home Secretary would represent, to take their labour anywhere in Newport and at once find a job. But if it were true, has the Home Secretary the right to decide for workmen where they shall work? Has he the right to prescribe that they are not to move, that they are tied to the soil, and that, whilst he would give them protection so long as they remain where they originally lived, if they choose to go elsewhere to better or change their conditions, his obligation to protect them ceases? It is a monstrous principle, and one more destructive of the personal liberty of the subject and one more 879 dangerous to labour it is impossible to conceive. The right hon. Gentleman will not protect these men because they ought to have been working at Newport and wish instead to work at Purfleet. He goes on to say:—If these men hart carried on their work, or if actual disorder had arisen, it would be the duty of the Government to use every means in its power to restore order.If there is actual rioting taking place, if heads are being broken and men are being murdered, then the Home Secretary will really feel that he ought to interfere, but until he has evidence of broken limbs and heads, and perhaps the evidence given before a coroner's jury, it is not his duty to interfere. That is the doctrine of the Home Secretary—the doctrine which the Minister in charge of the Home Office lays down.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. McKenna)
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
What is the course which that right hon. Gentleman recommended to the employers? He said:—If you are to bring into this dispute a new element, if instead of taking on men from the shore in the ordinary way, you bring in ships for the purpose of supplying strike breakers, although the very same men might be housed on shore and do their work in the ordinary way, you are introducing a new element which is bound to provoke disorder.That sentence is not quite consistent with the last sentence I read, and I should like to know what the right hon. Gentleman and hon. Members below the Gangway mean by that. I understand that in the first statement the right hon. Gentleman was referring to the men brought from Newport by Messrs. Houlder Brothers. But I understand from the second statement that the complaint is not that you bring in strike breakers—that is to say, he has given up the idea that the Newport men have not the right to work anywhere but in Newport; his complaint here is not that you bring in the Newport men and house them on a ship, instead of housing them on shore;. Is that all your grievances [An HON. MEMBER: "Not by a long way."] Why are not these men housed on shore? For exactly the same reason, that so many of the men who are housed on shore, men to whom this work would naturally belong, are not working now because, though you house them on shore, the Home Secretary is not giving them protection either at their homes or between their homes and the working 880 places. There can be no dispute about it. I have here a letter from the Chief Constable of Essex, written to a firm of shipowners, saying:—It is quite impossible for me to find escort for your employés backwards and forwards. Why not keep them in the docks at such a time?And yet the Home Secretary says if they do keep them in the docks or house them in a ship there, in order not to be exposed to terrorism in going to and from their work on land, that is provocative action, to which he will lend no countenance, and for which he will provide no protection until rioting has actually taken place. We have heard a great deal about the right to work. I think the party below the Gangway on the opposite side of the House have on several occasions introduced a Bill with that title. I do not know, whether the Bill is still alive, but their interest in the right to work has wholly disappeared. Here are men, many of whom had no grievance, and alleged no grievance, against their employers—here are men, multitudes of whom would be only too glad to go back to work if they could be assured of protection, but the Home Secretary requires to see their heads broken before he is willing to give them that protection. The fact of the matter is that this firm which brought the "Lady Jocelyn" from Newport with workers were faced with this situation. Some of the men who would ordinarily have handled the cargo were out on strike of their own free will and refused to do the work, and some of them who ordinarily would have handled the cargo were intimidated and afraid. Messrs. Houlder could not get local labour on the spot, not because there were not enough men willing to work, but because the protection was insufficient for those men, and in these circumstances they brought in other men in order that the trade of the Port might be carried on. Then the Home Secretary says that is provocative action to which he will not lend his sanction. I cannot but contrast the attitude of the Government in this respect with their attitude earlier in the Session in the matter of a certain meeting at Belfast. The right to work is a right to be exercised in an unprovocative manner. If you wish to work, you must be careful to give offence to no one, and if you have the misfortune to strike, the Home Secretary does not consider it his duty to protect others who are willing to work. But when a Cabinet Minister wants, not to work but to speak, the 881 Government do not then have any hesitation about calling out the military. The Government then are not slow to employ the military. What did occur at Belfast?
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
What was threatened? I think, if the hon. Gentleman will wait for a moment, he will find that I will give him a reply to that. Does the right hon. Gentleman think that the action of the First Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. Churchill), in holding a Nationalist meeting disguised as a Liberal meeting in the Unionist centre of Belfast, was less provocative than the action taken by Messrs. Houlder? The First Lord of the Admiralty is not a resident of Belfast. That is not his natural sphere of action. Why did not the Home Secretary confine him to Dundee, or at least to this side of the Channel? You would have an imported speaker, and you would have an imported meeting, and in order to secure the peaceful carrying on of the imported meeting by this imported speaker the Government were prepared to employ the whole resources of the police and military.
§ The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Asquith)
In order not to provoke disorder he abandoned the meeting in the Ulster Hall, and held his meeting in a place to which no exception was taken.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
And what was the action the Government then took? In their own words this is what the hon. Member asked for: In view of the possible disorder in consequence of threats which had been made in certain quarters to interfere with the rights of free speech in the City of Belfast, he introduced into Belfast, in addition to the troops habitually there, five battalions of Infantry, one squadron of Cavalry, and two companies of Royal Engineers at a cost of some thousands of pounds. That was not too high a price to pay in order to secure the inestimable benefit of a speech from the First Lord of the Admiralty.
Mr. CLEMENT EDWARDS
I rise to a point of Order. The right hon. Gentleman stated that something he read was in reply to what I said. It was not in reply to anything I said.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I was not even aware that the hon. Member was in the House. I referred to the hon. Member sitting next him. The Government were prepared, and I will not say they were wrong, to use whatever military force was necessary in order to protect the right, as they said, of free speech. But then are not they at least as much bound to protect the right to labour?
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
The Prime Minister says they are. Then why does the Home Secretary not do it? Why does he justify not doing it on the floor of this House? The Home Secretary said he had no direct responsibility for a particular district involved in the question,but if at Tilbury or any other district the same method is pursued, giving only such organised protection as can reasonably be given for necessary cargoes—"[OFFICIAL REPORT. 6th June, 1910, Vol. XXXIX., col. 424.]Was the First Lord's speech a necessary cargo? Was it really urgent that it should be unloaded? For a political purpose they use all the forces of the Crown to protect a colleague—they think no exertions too great; but to protect humble men dependent for their livelihood on their work and striving to keep their families from distress and starvation is a task which they do not consider unless the cargoes which they are handling are necessary cargoes as defined by the Home Secretary from time to time, and unless the men in the opinion of the Home Secretary are men who ought to be working in that particular part of the United Kingdom. A writer in the "Times" has already called our attention to the fact that the action of the Home Secretary finds its precedent in the old restrictive laws of the Plantagenet times. It had been the triumph and the achievement of labour to free itself from those shackles, and now the Home Secretary by an administrative act or an administrative refusal is trying to tie labour down to a particular place and refusing it protection where it can find employment. The action of the Home Secretary on Thursday night was so novel and so grave and was fraught with such serious consequences for our industrial future that I think it would have been impossible for us to leave that Debate where it stood, and not ask the judgment of the House upon the attitude 883 of the Government. I have seen it stated in some quarters that instead of seeking to bring to an end the unhappy dispute which now exists, the Opposition have gleefully chosen the first opportunity to raise a party Motion on the subject. No charge more malicious or more untrue could be levelled against us, and our whole conduct in these past trade disputes is a guarantee that we would be actuated by no such motive, and that we would not allow any such consideration to weigh with us. As long as we had any assurance that the Government was doing its duty or trying to do its duty, we refrained from intervention in other struggles; we refrained from criticism, or even from suggestions that might hamper them in the course of their action; and it is only because in this case the Home Secretary, in defiance of the law and the Constitution, has arrogated to himself a dispensing and discriminating power which has no basis in law or in justice that I have now to move this Resolution.
§ Mr. McKENNA
The Motion of the right hon. Gentleman, if it were to receive the approval of this House, would bring as severe a condemnation upon a Minister as could possibly fall upon him. Every hon. Member in the House will understand—speaking not as a Minister but as a Member of this House—that the condemnation of this House is the severest punishment that any one of us can know. I should have thought that if that punishment were to be meted out to anyone upon a charge advanced with full notice, the right hon. Gentleman who made himself responsible for the charge would at least have put himself to the trouble of making clear and definite accusations, and would have brought forward particular instances and cases which could be met and refuted or admitted, and would not have confined himself, as the right hon. Gentleman has done, to a general attack, which for a quarter of an hour dealt with such matters as the coal strike, a sympathetic strike, and the Board of Trade, and other matters which did not in the least touch any action of mine. For the next quarter of an hour, it is true, he referred to what he believes to be my iniquities, and the concluding portion of his speech for some ten minutes was an attack upon my right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty.
§ Mr. McKENNA
One quarter of an hour out of forty minutes is all he thought necessary for bringing against me and endeavouring to establish the severest condemnation that the House could pass. Now I will answer his points. In his concluding observations he made one statement with which the whole House will agree, that the public interest should be the chief interest of this House. I would like to ask this House to consider the conduct of this strike so far as the Home Office has been responsible for it from the point of view of public interest. This strike has been proceeding in the Port of London for more than three weeks. It has covered the Port of London, an area which I believe includes about a thousand square miles. It has covered every trade in the Port of London, and it has therefore included the trades that are most necessary to the public, the trades in food. During the whole of those three weeks, until the last day or two, the price of food in London has not risen by a halfpenny. During the whole of those three weeks there has been practically no disturbance of any kind, and during the whole of those three weeks so much has labour been protected—the labour which the right hon. Gentleman charges me with refusing to protect—so fully and freely has it been protected that they are actually—[HON. MEMBERS: "Chair"]—that the employers are actually now, and have been for the last few days, discharging men from employment in the docks because they have no work for them. The House must understand the circumstances of the dock strike, and I hope that it will credit me when I say—[HON. MEMBERS: "Chair."] Hon. Members opposite will give no licence to anybody though they make charges of a most intolerable kind. [An HON. MEMBER: "We want to hear you."] The hon. Member has not failed to hear a single word I said. The House will believe me when I say that in everything I have said with regard to this strike, and in everything which I shall say, I am dealing only with the particular circumstances of the present strike in London, and that must be understood in relation to every observation that is made. In this strike in London there is a very peculiar and very exceptional fact. The whole of the lightermen are on strike. The lighters can only be used by men holding licences; consequently, as all the licence holders are out, there is no means of conveying goods by lighter. The result of that is that the amount of possible work to be done at the docks is restricted to the amount which 885 can be carried by cart and railway. It is impossible, or at least it would not bear the cost, to carry a great deal of the goods which might be carried by cart or railway. It would not bear the cost to do so as the freight would be so heavy that it would be an unprofitable basis of work. There is one article of vital importance to the public, which is ordinarily carried by cart and railway, and that is food. By a proper distribution of our forces it was possible for us so to contrive that full employment should be given to everybody in the Port of London for whom there was work possible, having regard to the fact that the lighters were laid up, at the same time to give absolute security for the food supplies of London, and further to accomplish these ends without disturbance. What was the method? Right from the very first day of the strike we—I, and the Home Office, who are supposed to have refused protection to labour until heads were broken—right from the first day of the strike, on Whit Monday, police convoys were organised in order to see first of all a meat ship unloaded, and then the meat conveyed from the dock to Smithfield Market. The work, which began with one ship, extended day by day until it now includes, I believe, close on 100 ships. We began with 200 men at work under protection. There are now at the docks 8,000 men at work under protection, and I observed, I confess, with some satisfaction that the Chairman of the Docks Committee of the Port Authority, in an interview which he had yesterday, reported in the "Daily Chronicle," I think it was, stated that the Port Authority had received more protection for labour from the present Home Secretary than they had ever received from any previous Home Secretary. Those are the facts. More labour has been protected without disturbance in this strike than was ever protected before, and the whole of the food trade of London has been safeguarded; but the right hon. Gentleman says, but the men who wish to work are not allowed to work because the Home Secretary prevents them. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Where are they to work? Men are being discharged now because there is no work for them. Where were they to work? [An HON. MEMBER: "Purfleet."] I will come to Purfleet in a moment. You cannot find more employment for free labour at the present time at the docks, so long as the lightermen remain on strike. There is nobody to carry the goods, and anyone acquainted with the trade of 886 the Port of London will understand what I say. So much for the facts of the case. What did the right hon. Gentleman say? He said, "Order is preserved if no man dare exercise his right to work." Will he repeat that after what I have said? Will he still say that no man dare exercise his right to work in London at the present time?
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I did not make the general statement that no man dare exercise his right to work, but I do say that there is a great number of men who would now work if they dare.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
The right hon. Gentleman, for instance, has seen the same statement, Messrs. Scrutton's, giving the names and cases.
§ Mr. McKENNA
Messrs. Scrutton are not within my jurisdiction. I am coming to that case. I am dealing with the Metropolitan area, where, in the Port of London, in the Metropolitan area, are men wanting work and not able to get it.
§ Mr. McKENNA
My hon. Friends in the House generally can judge for themselves. I claim that without disorder, without calling in the soldiers, without breaking heads, without disturbance, I have given more protection to labour in London than has ever been given before. When I challenged the right hon. Gentleman who brings this serious charge against me and against the Government to give the name of a single trade, a single employment where men cannot work because they are not protected, in London, at the present time, he has to go down to Essex, where I have no jurisdiction.
§ Sir ALFRED CRIPPS
It is in the Port of London, and the right hon. Gentleman is responsible for the Metropolitan area.
§ Mr. McKENNA
My jurisdiction is limited, so far as the police are concerned, to the Port of London in the Metropolitan area.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Messrs. Deacon arid Sons applied for police protection in the Surrey Commercial Dock, and were refused.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I think I have disposed of the case so far as concerns the Metropolitan area, and I now come outside the Metropolitan area to the case of Messrs. Houlder Brothers, a firm of shipowners whose history is not unknown to the House. Two years ago Messrs. Houlder Brothers, who, at that time combined their own method with the use of the "Lady Jocelyn," sought to take the "Lady Jocelyn," with a load of strike breakers on board, into the port of Newport, Monmouthshire. The Home Secretary of the day refused to allow the "Lady Jocelyn," which Houlder Brothers brought with strike breakers on board, into the port.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I accept the correction. The Home Secretary and the Secretary for War—and both of us spoke in the subsequent Debate. The hon. Baronet opposite raised the same subject as to Messrs. Houlder Brothers, for whose methods he seems to have a particular affection—at any rate, he seems to have taken them particularly under his care in this House. He raised the case of the exclusion of the "Lady Jocelyn" from the port of Newport, and upon that occasion the present Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Bonar Law) made the following interesting statement. He said, with regard to the Newport case:—If the Home Secretary in his defence of the action of the Government had confined himself to saying that 'police protection is not sufficient, and if these men are landed now there will be trouble and disturbance, with which it will be impossible to cope, and therefore to allow these men to laud would be so great an evil that as an administrative Member of the Government it is my business to prevent it,' I should have said he was quite right.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
The right hon. Gentleman does not read what I said further in the same speech. [An HON. MEMBER: "It is clear enough."]If all that the Home Secretary meant was that he was prepared to say to Messrs. Houlder Brothers, 'At this moment we have not the force necessary to prevent a riot, and therefore I will do my best to prevent these men being landed, but if you insist on your legal rights I shall take steps to give you legal protection—
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Mr. McKENNA
In the case of the "Lady Jocelyn" and Messrs. Houlder Brothers, at Newport, Monmouthshire, two years ago, the responsible members of the Government of that day went much 888 further than I did. They refused to allow the ship to go into the port, and when the question was brought up before the House, the right hon. Gentleman never even divided against the action of the Government of the day. I have read what he said. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I have read the whole of what he said in that part of his speech. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO."]. I have read the whole of the justification which he gave there; and he did not feel it necessary at that time, when the Ministers of the day went far beyond what I have done—he did not, so far from thinking it necessary to bring a Vote of Censure against the Government—even divide against them, whatever his reasons may have been. What did I do in the case of Houlder Brothers in the present instance? The House must understand that Purfleet is outside the jurisdiction of the Home Office. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO."] How impatient hon. Gentlemen are—outside the jurisdiction of the Home Office, so far as the Home Office is responsible for the Metropolitan Police. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh."] It is the custom for one police authority to lend police to another authority, whenever it has a sufficient number at its disposal to do so. As hon. Members know, it has frequently been the subject of complaint by hon. Members who represent Metropolitan seats, from time to time, that Metropolitan Police have been lent to other districts. There is power to make these loans under Section 25 of the Police Act of 1890, which empowers any police force, by agreement, to lend men out to another police force, the aided force paying the cost. It is quite obvious that the loan of police in this way can only be made when the authority making the loan has not immediate requirement for its own police. I was asked to lend the Metropolitan Police to Essex at a time when I had on my hands a great London strike. Essex had got the whole of the counties in its immediate neighbourhood, and the whole of the Midlands to draw upon if it wanted further assistance. What actually happened in this case was this. Needless to say, I did not want to lend any constables to Essex for any purpose in view of my own demands upon them. Representation was made at the Home Office that serious trouble was intended at Tilbury. It was made not by the Chief Constable, but, I believe, by Messrs. Scrutton. I sent down a police officer the same night to Tilbury to see for himself what the 889 situation was, in order that I might offer any advice that could be offered, and in order also that I might know definitely whether the situation was so urgent in the way of disorder, that in spite of my own necessities I should feel justified in sending Metropolitan Police. The report came back that there was no need, and that the Chief Constable of Essex did not require our assistance. The next morning the Chief Constable telephoned to us that affairs were much worse, and he would be glad if we could lend him men. He was told, in reply, that we could spare 100 men and twenty-five mounted constables, provided his need for them was "very urgent."
How did I define that urgency? It was no good my merely telling the Chief Constable that we would despatch the men if they were "very urgently" needed. How was he to know what I meant by "very urgent"? I had to judge whether it was urgent. The responsibility rested upon me. How was he to know what my definition of "very urgent" was. He could not know what demands are made on the men in London. Down at Purfleet there are some very large oil stores; it would have been a disaster of the first magnitude if a crowd had attacked those oil stores and had in any way damaged them. I told the Chief Constable that if the oil stores were threatened I would send men at once. That was most urgent; and no matter what the claims were upon the men in London, they should go outside my jurisdiction, and I would lend them to him in the emergency. Then I told him "if you have not the necessary food that you require I will send the men down." I think the House will agree that either of these two would have been most urgent demands on the police. But I added, "If you only require them for the unloading of ordinary cargoes I have far more urgent claims upon me in London, and I cannot afford to spare them for that purpose." I further informed him that he could, if he wanted them, apply to Birmingham, which, being an inland town and not suffering from a strike at the moment, had no special claim upon its police force, and there, no doubt, he could obtain all the assistance he required. What happened? The men from the Metropolitan Police were not sent. The chief constable did apply to Birmingham, and got from Birmingham all the men he needed. He has received all the protection he requires he has not suffered from the lack of men, and we, in 890 the Metropolitan area, have been able to retain all the protection which we require.
I come next to the question of the language I used last Thursday. Many hon. Members here now were not present then. I came into the House about twenty minutes past eleven. I had had no notice—that was not due to any fault of the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London—and, having heard not one word of the discussion, and not knowing what had been said, except what I was told as I came in, I had to speak within half a minute. The question of Houlder Brothers had been raised earlier in the same evening, and the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition had also raised the question of the "Lady Jocelyn." When I rose to reply I had both the cases of the Houlder Brothers and of the "Lady Jocelyn" in mind. I make this statement in order that the House may understand the precise relevance of the language I used. In the first part of my speech I was referring to the Houlder Brothers' case, and I gave an explanation in as short a form as I have given now. In the second part I was referring to the case of the "Lady Jocelyn." I spoke of the use of that vessel as provocative action intended to provoke disorder. I am prepared at any time to justify that statement up to the hilt. Look at the facts. There are some hundreds of men on board the vessel; they have come here for employment; there is no employment at the docks which they can get. All the men who can get employment at the docks have got it, and 300 men were turned away yesterday because they could not get it. Still I am to go out of the way and use a vast force of police in order to give protection to the 400 men on the "Lady Jocelyn," whose labour is superfluous and redundant.
Why do I say it was provocative? I had the history of the Newport case in mind. We have to deal with facts. The men out on strike regard the "Lady Jocelyn" as a banner, a flag; to them it, means everything that they hate and loathe under the name of blackleg. They may be wrong in having these feelings, and hon. Gentlemen may be inclined to say that the possession of such a feeling is so near a crime that soldiers ought to be brought in to shoot them down. But in the desire of any Minister to preserve order it must be a necessary part of his policy to acquaint himself with the best means by which order can be preserved. 891 If the "Lady Jocelyn" is brought in—she has a perfect right to come; I cannot stop her—but if she is brought in such a state of feeling will be aroused in the Port of London that instead of being able to carry on, as we are carrying on now, the work of 8,000 men, I should have to draw so many of the police from the necessary convoys; I should have to meet with such a state of feeling, that work would be interrupted and almost stopped; I should have riots and bloodshed, and a complete sacrifice of the public interest.
Let it be clearly understood that to employ labour in itself is not provocative. To import labour for employment in itself is not provocative. But if you employ and import labour under such conditions and in such a way as you know from past history must excite the most violent feeling and opposition on the part of those on strike, I say that is unnecessary provocation, and we ought not to be called upon, with such great claims on the police, to withdraw them from their other duties in order to give protection in this case. That is the beginning and the end of what I have done and what I have said. I appeal to the House to look at the results; to see that London, in the midst of a great strike lasting over weeks, is still peaceful, still without any rise in the price of food, still without any exceptional means of repression being introduced, and I do ask this House to justify the Home Office in the action it has taken and to purge me from the charge which has been brought against me.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The Home Secretary has stated that my right hon. Friend the Member for East Worcestershire has not brought before the House any specific instances which he or any other hon. Member on that bench could contradict, and he has also stated, apparently to his own satisfaction and to the satisfaction of his supporters, that Messrs. Houlder Brothers have received adequate protection and have nothing to complain of. I will give the right hon. Gentleman—and I am glad that the Attorney-General will have an opportunity of replying—certain specific charges in accordance with the request he has made. What is the history of the charge which I brought against the Home Secretary on Thursday evening? The right hon. Gentleman has very kindly stated that any delay in obtaining his presence in the House was not due to any fault of mine, but was owing to a misunderstand- 892 ing of an hon. Member of his own party. I cannot admit, however, that the right hon. Gentleman was not conversant with the charge I brought against him when he came into the House, because he had had a report on the subject, and my impression was that the whole of his remarks on that occasion were directed to the case of Messrs. Houlder Brothers. This firm had a vessel called the "American Transport." It was under charter with a full cargo of Jarrah wood from Bunbury, Western Australia; she arrived at Purfleet on 29th May, and work was started in the afternoon of that day and carried on until dusk. Early on the morning of the 30th delegates visited the wharf and called out all the men employed by the Purfleet Wharf and Sawmills Company. They appeared very reluctant to obey the summons; most of them had been continuously employed by the Wharf Company for a number of years and were on the best of terms with the company. Messrs. Houlder gave the men until 4.30 to decide whether they would resume work on the morrow, intimating that otherwise free labour would be imported.The men came back at 4.30 p. m. and said they were very sorry, but they were not to be allowed by their leaders to resume work. The steamer was idle all day Thursday, the 30th May, until Monday morning, the 3rd inst., when Houlders' Newport men commenced work on the cargo.I might point out to the Home Secretary that he distinctly stated that Messrs. Houlder had no business to bring men from Newport. That was absolutely distinctly stated. The bringing of men from Newport was a provocative action for which he would not give protection, because the men in Newport had ample opportunities to obtain work. I will not weary the House with the history of the dispute at Newport. If the statement is challenged by any hon. Member opposite I have here particulars which show that these men had entered into an agreement which had been settled by arbitration on two distinct occasions, on one occasion the arbitrator being, I believe, a Member of the Government—if it was not the President of the Board of Trade himself, it was someone appointed by him—and on both those occasions the union not only refused to comply with the award, but they refused to allow the men to join the union, and they refused to let them work for anybody else. Consequently, these men had not the opportunity to work in Newport which the right hon. Gentleman said they had.The ship was idle until the morning of the 3rd inst., and then Houlders' Newport men commenced work on 893 the cargo, all necessary arrangements for housing and feeding the men on board the "American Transport" Having been made.Here I would point out that these men, at any rate, up to the present time were not on the "Lady Jocelyn" at all; they were on the "American Transport." The doctrine which the Home Secretary introduced on Thursday was a most extraordinary one. He said, "If men come from Newport by ship and remain on the ship, I will not protect them; but if they come on shore and live on shore I will protect them." Messrs. Houlder decided that they had no other course open but to bring up their Newport men to work in London. At that time they had no steamer loading in London. Then there is a paragraph stating that the leaders of the union in Newport would not allow their men to work:—Work continued during Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, the 3rd, 4th, and 5th inst., under police protection, and owing to the action of the London Strike leaders in withdrawing engine drivers, electric tram drivers, etc., from the wharf, Houlders had to fall back upon their own staff to act as engineers, etc. Early on the morning of the 6th delegates visited the wharf (a large portion of police protection having been withdrawn in the meantime) and interviewed the wharf manager, peremptorily demanding that the steamer should cease work at once He naturally refused, and delegates said they would go back to Grays and bring up a large body of men to make an organised attack and compel stoppage of work. The foregoing was telephoned to London, and urgent telegrams were accordingly despatched at 8.15 a.m. by Houlders to the Home Office and the Chief Constable for Essex at Chelmsford, urgently asking for adequate protection. A message was also received from the wharf that it would be dangerous for any of Houlders' officials to visit the steamer as it was intimated that she was to be raided. At 11 a.m., on the advice of the few policemen labour seven or ten remaining, the wharf manager ordered the housekeepers, their wives and children, and everybody from the yards to take shelter on board the steamer, and arrangements were made at once to bring up two tugs from Gravesend to haul the steamer from the wharf into the river.This is a pretty commentary on the right of the ordinary Englishman who is desirous of doing—what? Work, which by the laws of the land he is entitled to do.In the meantime a gang of about eighty men had gathered on the foreshore, while hundreds could be seen making for the wharf along the adjacent roads. The strikers, however, cleared off about dinner time Subsequently, however, a squadron of mounted police rode into the place at full gallop, and this evidently had the effect of keeping the strikers quiet for the remainder of the day, but about 130 men—These are not members of the union, and hon. Members below the Gangway do not care what happens to them. But they are working men—about 130 men, with women and children, were kept in the steamer (which is merely a cargo steamer without any conveniences) for the whole day under circumstances of the greatest discomfort. In London, Houlders visited the Home Office, but in spite of an appointment made with Mr. McKenna—
§ Sir F. BANBURY (reading)
—In London Houlders visited the Home Office, and, in spite of an appointment made with Mr. McKenna, they were informed that he could not see them, and they were recommended to see Sir Edward Troup, which, they declined to do.I may say that on Thursday when I saw Messrs. Houlder, about half-past ten, they informed me that they had been in the Home Office during the whole of the afternoon and evening, and I made that statement in the House on that day on their authority.Sir Edward Troup informed Mr. Combs, a director of the Purfleet Wharf Company, that he could do nothing, as Purfleet was outside the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Police, and he thought it was very silly of Houlders to have brought up their men from South Wales.What business was it of that gentleman to say that it was silly or not silly?
§ Sir F. BANBURY (reading)
—Mr. Frank Houlder and Mr. Maurice Houlder determined to visit the steamer, and did so later in the afternoon, and it was arranged with the wharf manager and the Chief Constable for Essex that if 150 provincial police could be obtained, Houlders would undertake to house and feed them. Arrangements were made about midnight for these police, and they were drafted into Purfleet early the following morning. It will thus be seen that Houlders have now the responsibility of housing and keeping at Purfleet nearly 300 people. On. returning to London the Messrs. Houlder tried to interview Mr. McKenna at the Home Office, but were informed he was at the House of Commons. They proceeded there, and, after promising to see them—
§ Mr. McKENNA
I can assure the hon. Baronet that I have had no communication of any sort or kind with Mr. Houlder. I made no promise to see him; I have had 895 no appointment with him. The whole of his statements as regards myself are pure myth.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Messrs. Houlders have not had any interview with the Home Secretary, because, according to their statement, he would not see them. Did they see Sir Edward Troup?
§ Mr. McKENNA
I asked Sir Edward Troup about it, and I believe they declined to see him. I never made any appointment with them of any sort or kind.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
This is a statement Messrs. Houlder have given to me, and authorised me to make in the House of Commons:—On returning to London, the Messrs. Houlder tried to interview Mr. McKenna at the Home Office, but were informed he was at the House of Commons. They proceeded there, and. after promising to see them and keeping them waiting the whole of the evening, word was conveyed to them that Mr. McKenna had left the House, and although an attempt was made to see his Parliamentary and private secretaries it was stated they had also gone.That was on Thursday evening, and when I saw Messrs. Houlder in the Lobby they told me exactly the same story then as they tell me now.Sir Frederick Banbury, Bart then put the questions in the House which have already been reported, to which Mr. McKenna, having in the meantime been found and brought to the House, duly replied.That is Messrs. Houlders' case. I venture to say that the reply of the right hon. Gentleman is of a most unsatisfactory character. All that he has to say is that food is still in London. Here we are in the height of the twentieth century, and we are to congratulate ourselves that in a city of 5,000,000 inhabitants we can get the necessary food without increase of price and without bloodshed! The Home Secretary takes credit to himself and says that he has given as much protection to the docks and to the merchants of London as any of his predecessors did. In the time of his predecessors there was no occasion to give protection, because law and order was maintained, and people who endeavoured to prevent, other people working or obtaining the necessary supplies of life knew perfectly well that such a gross outrage would not be permitted.
May I very shortly allude to the case, which I threw across the Table of the House of Commons and which the Undersecretary for the Home Department has had an opportunity of studying, in reply to the request of the right hon. Gentleman 896 for anybody on this side of the House to give him a single instance of a refusal of police protection in an area within the district of the Metropolitan Police. I may say, in passing, that that seems to me to be a most extraordinary doctrine on the part of the Home Office. Are we to understand that the Home Secretary of this great country, one of His Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State, is responsible for law and order only in London? Unless that is so, the argument of the right hon. Gentleman falls to the ground, and I think I may describe it as a mere subterfuge without in any way transgressing Parliamentary etiquette. I will put the case shortly, because hon. Gentlemen opposite have read it. It is the case of Messrs. Deacon, timber merchants, who have sent me certain particulars, and authorised me to use them:—The Port of London Authority, after declining at first to deliver goods (timber) belonging to us and stowed at the Surrey Commercial Docks, on account of the strike, agreed to do so if we obtained protection from Stratford till we got inside the docks. We believe it is a fact that they are bound to deliver goods to the owner on demand by Statute, although this was refused last August. For nearly three weeks we were unable to get any goods from the docks. On obtaining two policemen from the inspector at Stratford, the writer drove a van to the docks and got a load of stuff on Saturday. 25th May. This was done owing to our carmen being afraid of violence in the future if they went. We would point out that the number of police on duty outside the Rotherhithe Tunnel, through which we went, was totally inadequate to properly protect us if any real opposition had been offered.He then goes on to give the request that he made to the Home Secretary. I do not know that I need read it, but it comes to this: they could not get protection. They telephoned to the Home Office on Friday, 24th May, and these are some of the points they made:—Being taxpayers, we expect protection in return. If we cannot get this why are taxes demanded of us? … We would suggest that the docks be kept open and a notification by proclamation or otherwise be issued, that the utmost protection will be afforded to all and sundry to carry on their lawful occupation. The idea of permits being allowed to circulate signed by Ben Tillett or other strike leaders seems to us to be the absolute negation of government, and creates a position absolutely intolerable in a trading and civilised community.Here is the letter addressed to the Right Hon. R. McKenna, Secretary of State for Home Affairs:—Referring to our letter earlier to-day, we have just been refused protection by the police at Stratford, the inspector stating that he could only give this in case of food, etc., being transported. Whilst agreeing that food comes first, we renew our demand upon you for protection to conduct our business.I think the firm go on to say:—If we can get a few friends the writer intends to make the journey to the docks early to-morrow morning himself.
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Ellis Griffith)
The right hon. Gentleman might read the letter intervening between those two.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Yes, I did not read the whole of the letter. The following reply was received from the Home Office on 29th May:—Gentlemen,—In reply to your letter of the 28th inst., I am directed by the Secretary of State to say that the police are doing and will continue to do their utmost to protect from violence or even intimidation all persons following their lawful occupations so far as their resources allow, and having regard to the paramount necessity of protecting the food supply of London.The answer to that is this:—We are obliged for your favour of the 29th. In reply we quite agree that the police are doing all they can in the way of protection so far as their resources allow. We have still a right to protection, even if the resources of the police are exhausted. We again beg to give you notice that we are now making another effort to get goods from the Surrey Commercial Docks, and, failing proper police protection, we shall protect ourselves to the utmost.Here is a firm of gentlemen being reduced to say, "We are unable to get police protection"; they are obliged to write to the Home Secretary and say: "We are going to protect ourselves…" They are obliged to make arrangements with several of their friends in order to get their goods! To this, the only reply received was an acknowledgment of their letter.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Yes.I have got some goods since without police projection.[Laughter.] I really do not know what hon. Members are laughing at. These people are doing what everybody in Great Britain will have to do: combine themselves into a force in the same way as in the old days Members did going home from the House of Commons. Members combined themselves together to walk home to be protected from violence from outside, and that is the origin of the cry, "Who goes home?" Traders in London will have to combine together to protect themselves from the violence of people who desire to prevent them earning an honest livelihood, and that apparently is a matter of congratulation to hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite. I have given specific instances—I hope I have not wearied the House in so doing—in order that the Home Secretary may deal with 898 them; for he requested the Opposition to give him specific instances. Having been in the House on Thursday and to-day, I have ventured to draw the attention of hon. Members to the extraordinary change in the attitude of the right hon. Gentleman. On Thursday the right hon. Gentleman was full of anger against anybody who did any work outside his particular locality, explaining that provocative action must ensue if people attempted to earn an honest livelihood. He was going to give no protection for people under those circumstances! Further, he said unless a riot ensued he was going to do nothing. Now the Home Secretary has completely changed his attitude. I am not at all sure that, as the result of my effort of Thursday, and the speech of my right hon. Friend this afternoon, that if information were received that 800 men are going to work on the "Lady Jocelyn"—I should not be at all surprised to see it—that he would not send down a considerable force of men to protect that vessel. It is an entire reversal of his policy of Thursday. If nothing else has been done this has been done: On Thursday, when there were only a few Members in the House, and when the situation had not attracted the notice of the Press, we had one answer. That answer has attracted the notice of the Press; a Vote of Censure is removed, and we had another answer.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
Towards the end of his remarks the right hon. Gentleman ventured upon the observation that he hoped he had not wearied the House. I think I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that he did exactly the opposite. In fact, if he will allow me to do so, very respectfully I would desire to commiserate him upon the case which has been handed to him. When we come to this House there are always certain parties and certain interests which try to have us. I can remember quite well my own earlier experiences, when I am afraid I was a little more innocent than now, after my experience as a Member of Parliament. I used to seize with unquestioned and uncritical avidity every letter that happened to be sent to me, like those that the right hon. Gentlemen has been reading. I was perfectly convinced, especially if the senders were business people, that there was no guile nor dishonesty in them. I have become a wiser man since. The only reflection I would make upon the matter now 899 is why the junior Member for the City of London has taken such a long time to attain to the same degree of wisdom, He gave us two cases. Apparently in neither case had he taken the trouble to cross-examine those who supplied him with the information. The Houlder case is completely shattered by the simple fact that the Home Secretary states that what was the most important statement in the letter is untrue. After that what more can we have, or do? Even if that were not so the fact that the area affected by the complaint is outside the Metropolitan Police district does not make a case which is germane to the charge that is now being put forward against the Home Secretary. The Home Secretary did not say—he can defend himself, or some of his colleagues can defend him—but I do not wish any delusions to be carried away by hon. Members in the later part of the Debate—the Home Secretary did not say that he was not responsible for law and order in England. He said he was not responsible for the Metropolitan Police outside the Metropolitan Police area, unless requests under certain circumstances had been made to him for their services, and the state of order in the Metropolis seemed to justify him in giving the aid asked. If the Houlder letter was what I have described, what are we to say about the Deacon letter? Outside "Alice in Wonderland," I have never heard a document so amusingly absurd in its lack of common sense, and its lack of relating its conclusions to the facts that preceded them than this letter. We are told that this firm goes down to the docks—it blows a trumpet and seems to go with its knees knocking—nevertheless, it gets what it wants at the docks. Then it writes a threatening letter to the Home Office and says to the Home Office if it is not protected, if it cannot get the goods that it requires from the docks, why is it called upon to pay rates and taxes? A second time it informs the Home Office that it is not being properly protected, and in a postscript which the hon. Gentleman who read the letter very carefully did not read until he was asked, we are informed that goods were delivered.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
May I say I think that is hardly fair. I sent the whole of the documents before I made my speech over to the Front Opposition Bench so that they might be read by the Prime Minister and others.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
I am quite sure the right hon. Gentleman knows that I do not desire to make an unfair charge, and if he feels the statement I have just made to be such, I withdraw it. Let me put it in this way: that the statement I referred to destroyed the irrational fear of the persons who wrote that letter. They got their goods. They admitted there was sufficient protection as far as they were concerned. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] They got their goods from the docks.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
They got some of their goods without protection. I have not read the correspondence, but I understand that if they did not get all the goods they wanted the failure was not owing to the Home Office failing to give adequate police protection, and that so far as the goods were available they got them. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] They did not require any more police protection, and their threats about bringing down their friends to help them at the docks were made the day before they made the attempt. When that attempt was made, neither they nor their friends, according to the circumstances, need have been afraid at all. The final point about the correspondence is this. Until I heard that postscript read I was under the impression that they did not get the goods that day. Because I was under the impression that they did not get the goods that day I said to myself, "That is one point against the Home Office."
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I must have read the thing very badly. It was some time after this that the firm state:—Since then we have been down one clay and obtained a certain amount of goods.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
Well, but will the right hon. Gentleman tell us> whether the day that they threatened to take their friends down to the docks they went down, and because there was no adequate force of police they did not get their goods?
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
Surely the junior Member for the City of London knows perfectly well that is the point. It is no use bringing vague charges like this and reading letters written by a man who has got more capacity for fear than for common sense, and written one night 901 before he undertakes his adventure. Does the right hon. Gentleman come and tell us when he informs us about this man's fear that he does not know whether it was justified or not? The whole point of this charge surety is not especially the fact that certain rather foolish people were afraid, but that those people when they went to the docks, specifically and definitely for goods, found that there was an overwhelming force of strikers, that there was no law and no order; that there were no policemen, and that the docks were in possession of mobs, and that they were therefore foiled in their purpose? If that is not their case, then it is a very serious waste of valuable Parliamentary time to discuss it. These are the specific cases which the hon. Baronet the Member for the City has brought before us. I venture to say that there is not enough evidence to justify a jury in giving a verdict of murder against a dog! What did the right hon. Gentleman on the Front Opposition Bench say? There were two notes that I made of his speech that I should like to refer to. He, too, was armed with letters, but he took the wise precaution not to read any of them. He, too, has been told of wives writing to employers and begging the employers to keep their husbands out of sight because their houses are waylaid and beset with pickets. There is not a single strike that has ever taken place but that we have had these accusations. [An HON. MEMBER: "They always have been."] They always have been, and whenever these things have been investigated, in nine cases out of ten, they have been just as fictitious as they are now detailed in the Deacon letter!
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
There is a very grave doubt as to why that man suffered his leg to be broken. [Laughter.] If hon. Gentlemen knew the case as well as I do they would not laugh. The hon. Gentleman opposite has told us about legs being broken. The hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that these blacklegs, whom he is so anxious to protect and in whose interests this Resolution is proposed today, have done more damage to life and property in London since they been employed than the ordinary workmen would have done in six months, working 10,000 times a greater volume of work.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
If it is life and property the hon. Gentleman wishes to protect he finds himself in most unenviable companionship in supporting his own Front Bench in reference to this Resolution. The next point, I notice, is the conversion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire to the doctrine of the right to work. He chaffed us in a very pleasant way, and asked us why our interest in the right to work has now wholly disappeared. When did his interest begin to show itself? We have had a right-to-work Bill several times before this House. I do not remember that the right hon. Gentleman ever said a word in its favour.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
I do not think he ever will except in special circumstances, and the special circumstances are these: that when the employers again desire to degrade the industrial conditions of their men and employ blacklegs then the doctrine of the right to work is going to be launched forth in this House and from public platforms by those who do not believe in it at all. Let us widen this question a little further. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am very glad to hear that cheer. Why should the Home Secretary decline to do what the Opposition ask him to do? The Government ought not in any circumstances to give any legal protection that any employer was likely to ask them to give. That is a good Conservative doctrine. Hon. Gentlemen opposite will remember that their own Chief Secretary for Ireland, in 1886, found himself, in reference to Irish evictions, in the same position that the Home Secretary is in reference to the Port of London today. Lord Clanricarde asked Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, as he then was, to give him, in precisely the same way, protection to evict his tenants that the Opposition are asking to give protection to employers to degrade labour in the Port of London today. Lord Clanricarde used the same taunts against the Conservative Government that was in power in 1886 that hon. Members opposite are using against the Government now. He talked about the feeble attempts of the Government to maintain law and order in Ireland, and he talked about the Land League. What was the reply of Sir Michael Hicks-Beach? On the 25th of October, 1886, Sir Michael Hicks-Beach wrote a letter to Lord Clanricarde, in which he laid down a very 903 sound principle—a principle from which the Home Secretary has not departed in the present case. He said:—In the event of application to the Government for the services of the constabulary and military on such occasion—That is the occasion of evictions—compliance with the request would certainly be retarded by the pressure of other claims and duties, and would most probably be postponed to the utmost extent permitted by law.That was the policy of the Tory Government in that day. It is perfectly true that this case subsequently found itself in the Courts, and that a legally minded person decided in different terms; but that is not the point. The point is that the Home Secretary is not a judge, and just in the same way Sir Michael Hicks-Beach was not a judge. The Government have got to take a civic as well as a legal view. Certainly that is the distinction between the Judiciary and the Executive.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
Surely there is, in considering the circumstances in which certain cases become of such importance that they have got to be met subject to the letter of the law. I hope the Noble Lord, on reconsideration, will not dispute that point. That is the whole difference between a man responsible for law and order as a statesman, and a man responsible for the enforcement of law and order as a judge. There is a fundamental difference. I am not going to pursue the point, but I am amazed at its being disputed at all. That was what was laid down by Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, and I am going to found my argument upon Sir Michael Hicks-Beach's statement. There has been no attempt this afternoon to consider the effect of what certain action is going to be. The strike is not a thing that has arisen out of malicious intent upon one side or another. The strike has arisen because labour and capital came to certain disagreement which could not be settled without a strike being resorted to. Various persons have made independent inquiries; and the result of these inquiries has been to place it beyond the shadow of dispute that, both sides were in the wrong; both sides made mistakes, and both sides broke agreements. That was stated from both sides in this House, and I say so again. Both sides were wrong. The Government comes in, and offered to meet the party. The men make a certain 904 conciliatory offer to the employers. The employers considered and rejected it. The Government made a certain conciliatory offer to the employers. The employers considered and rejected that too. Now, surely, the Government is perfectly entitled, not only so, but it is the Government's duty to examine the whole circumstances of the case, and if they find there is any unreasonable attitude taken up by any body of employers, the effect of which is going to degrade the status of London life, and lower the standard of London citizenship, the Government have a duty to maintain that status and tell the employers they are going to do so, whatever the consequences may be. The Government must impose duties, as well as maintain rights. And that is a point upon which we can stand and put forth our arguments in support of what the Government have done.
What is this case? It is no secret. The employers want to smash up the Transport Workers' Union. There is no doubt about that. They think they can beat the men, and consequently they reject the men's advances and the Government's advances and are employing blacklegs. In considering that, I do not want to say anything unreasonably provocative. I made a remark in reply to an interruption a few moments ago, when I used the rather ugly expression, but necessary expression, "blackleg." A blackleg is a peculiar species of workman. He is not a man who is desirous to work and is found regularly in employment. That is the mistake which so many hon. Members make. A blackleg is a totally different species of workman from the ordinary workman. He is a man very 10th to work at all, for which neither hon. Members opposite nor ourselves here have the least sympathy. Blacklegs require to be much more carefully looked after than they can be, even by the police, whom they like to protect them. I do not want to dwell too much upon an unsavoury subject, but I should like to ask the Home Secretary whether he has any information, whether, as a matter of fact, the Moroccan Wharf at Wapping at the present moment is closed because of the infectious diseases brought in by blacklegs? I venture to say if hon. Members of this House who are very much interested in the "Lady Jocelyn" case would just take the trouble to go on board the "Lady Jocelyn" they would get enlightenment which would make them very sorry for the rest of their lives, and they would never in future 905 mention the "Lady Jocelyn" case, her crew, or her owners.
6. 0 P.M.
I go back and emphasise this, that the Home Secretary and the Home Office has a double duty to perform. I do not deny the arguments advanced from the other side so far as they go. If I were in the Home Secretary's position I should find myself compelled to give what protection was absolutely necessary to the labour that was necessary to enable London to live just as fairly well as it can in the unfortunate circumstances in which it is placed at the present time. The right hon. Gentleman has a duty imposed upon him, and I am not going to say anything against his carrying out that duty. He has this further wider and more permanent duty. He has got to see to it that no organisation of employers can use him for the purpose of restoring in the Port of London the deplorable and altogether objectionable conditions that preceded the organisation of labour in that port. It is very difficult I am sure for my right hon. Friend to steer between the two duties, to dovetail one into the other, and while satisfying one to do his duty in respect of the other; but if it is difficult and practically impossible to lay down any principle upon which he can act, I am perfectly certain the Resolution moved on behalf of the Opposition proposes the worst thing the Home Secretary could do, and expresses the very worst sentiment any body of sensible men could express in the House of Commons. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the right of free speech and tried to draw a parallel between the Port of London and Belfast. I do not object to the parallel. I accept the parallel. If the right to work, as he calls it, was a genuine right to work; and if there was any deliberate and organised attempt by any malicious or anarchically-minded men to disrupt without due cause the ordinary operations of labour, then the right hon. Gentleman ought to bring his police upon the spot and stop those attempts. The right hon. Gentleman ought to act on terms of equality. When you speak of the right of the employers in the Port of London to tear up agreements and to refuse to come to agreements after they have torn them up, to reject conciliation, "whether offered by the men or by the Government, and to bring in blacklegs, whom they will not employ in times of peace, in order to establish a special and specific machinery to destroy organised labour in 906 the Port, and to lower wages, casualise labour that has become more and more decasualised, it is a colossal piece of absurdity to put that kind of policy and action alongside the right of free speech, and say that the defence given to the one side will not be given to the other. Let me emphasise that point. The employers were not bringing those men from Newport to keep them in London; they are not bringing the inhabitants of doss-houses from Sheffield and other places in order to make regular dock labourers of them; they are not giving them the extra money necessary to bribe them down to London, and they are not giving them their beer and the carnal facilities they have got to offer them, as permanent things. No, it is for a special purpose, and this is the sort of thing which the right hon. Gentleman opposite describes as the right to work. Ten days after the strike is ended the men who are being condemned as intimidators and breakers of the law will offer themselves at the docks and they will be taken back, and those men whom the right hon. Gentleman is so anxious to protect by the police and soldiers will find their way back to the places from which they came, and they will not then be employed in the docks because they will not suit the purpose of those who are employing them at the present moment.
I do not desire to sit down without making it perfectly clear that the present situation is one which requires very careful and very firm handling so far as the employers are concerned, as well as the employed. If there is going to be coercion, let it be imposed upon both sides. We are told that the employer does not want to be interfered with, and that he desires to be allowed to employ the labour that he likes. That is his case, and that is his strength. I am aware that all he wants is to smash the unions. The very wording of this Resolution is fallacious, because it does not contain the whole of the truth. It is not wide enough in its description, and it is very carefully worded. The words have been carefully selected, and they have been selected just as carefully as the selection which have been read out to the House. If the Home Secretary were foolish enough to accept the advice given by the Opposition, he would create a temper, both on the part of employers and employed, that would not wear away for a great many months to come. What we want is to get this thing settled with as little bad temper 907 being left behind as we possibly can. The workmen want the employers to federate, that is to join a union. I think the employers ought to candidly accept the situation and try to encourage and not discourage the workmen to do the same. An agreement between the two bodies, one representing the employers and the other the employed, must be the basis of whatever peace we can get in the Port of London. The Government to-day and during the whole of this dispute should be very careful not to do anything whatever to make co-operative and joint bargaining and collective bargaining on the part of the men impossible, because that would destroy the organisation which is the basis of that bargaining. It is for these general principles, and upon more general grounds than have been raised before, that I, for one, shall go heartily in the Lobby with the Home Secretary and oppose most seriously from the bottom of my heart the iniquitous Resolution which has been moved by the Opposition to-day.
§ Sir ALFRED CRIPPS
I am bound to say that I regret much that has fallen from the last speaker, having regard to the extreme importance of the principle which is now being discussed by the House. After I have dealt shortly with one or two points which have been raised, I want to address myself to what I think is the exceptional position of the Home Secretary. In the first place, I understand that the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Ramsay Macdonald), speaking for the Labour party, lays down the principle that the Executive, instead of protecting everyone on the same basis, should take sides in industrial disputes. [An HON. MEMBER: "That is what you want."] That is what the leader of the Labour party said. Not only did he say that, but he quoted—I do not think he quoted accurately—in support of that contention what Lord St. Aldwyn had said when he was Chief Secretary for Ireland in relation to Lord Clanricarde. When we are supporting what we consider a right principle on a most important constitutional point, it is an absolute fallacy and falsehood to suggest that you are actuated by any desire to break up the unions. At the same time I desire to protest absolutely against the way in which the hon. Member who has just sat down has referred to those workmen whom he calls blacklegs. I want to say that whether a man is a unionist or a non unionist, as 908 long as he is acting within his legal rights, he is entitled to the full protection which can be afforded him by the law.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
I did not use the expression "blackleg" as synonymous with non-unionism. All non-unionists are not blacklegs.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
What the hon. Member said was that the free labourers who interfered with the rights of unionists to monopolise labour were blacklegs. I deprecate the use of any such expression which, with all deference to the hon. Member who is the Leader of the Labour party, could only have been used for purposes of prejudice, and not for the purpose of elucidating this great problem. Let me follow up that argument by one other statement which was made by the hon. Member for Leicester. He drew a distinction between what he called the civic and the legal aspect, and, as I understood him, he drew that distinction for this reason—that whereas from a legal point of view certain principles have to be observed from a civic point of view, you may put aside those principles when you do not happen to agree with the people who ask you to put them into force. I say that is a monstrous suggestion when you are dealing with a principle of this kind. There is no distinction whatever between civic and legal principles in dealing with this question, and there is no distinction whatever whether you are dealing with union and non-unionists or employers or employed. I do not want to divert what I have to say by any question of prejudice as to details, because we are really dealing with a question which goes to the whole basis of the security of civilised life and society. I am sorry the Home Secretary is not present for the moment, but I see the Prime Minister is here. The first point upon which I join issue with the Home Secretary is that the right hon. Gentleman, who, in matters of order, is the representative of the Government, declared, as I understand him that his responsibility was limited to the London area—[HON". MEMBERS: "No."] That is the effect of what he said.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
The right hon. Gentleman said that as soon as it became a question in Essex it was outside his jurisdiction.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
My right hon. Friend said a totally different thing. He 909 said that he was the head of the Metropolitan Police, and in that capacity his direct responsibility was limited to the Metropolitan area.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
Let me reply to that point, because I do not wish to misrepresent anyone. I will take up that position. What has that to do with the subject matter of the present complaint? Let us assume that it is quite true that the Home Secretary is in a special position as the head of the London police. No one will deny that, but, unquestionably, as Home Secretary, he has another responsibility and a much larger and wider responsibility, and it is that which has been called into question by the Motion which has been moved by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire (Mr. Austen Chamberlain).
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
I will tell the House what that responsibility is, because it is of extreme importance. In matters of order and dealing with riot or bloodshed, in a certain sense every citizen, every policeman, every soldier, every Minister, and every Member either of the Opposition or the Government side has the same responsibility. That was laid down, I think, in precise terms by Lord Bowen when he was dealing with the Feather-stone inquiry. No one will deny that statement. Now I bring that home to the position of the Home Secretary. Conditions are brought to the notice of the Home Secretary under which he is called upon to give assistance in order to protect a citizen in carrying out his legal rights and duties, and to prevent riot and bloodshed. I say the very moment that that position is called to the notice of the Home Secretary the full responsibility rests upon him to do what he can to give protection and to prevent the spread of riot and bloodshed. When these special conditions are brought to his notice responsibility is thrown upon him in a special manner, because to the country and to this House the Home Secretary represents the Government as regards questions of law and order, and as regards dealing with these questions of riot and bloodshed. I cannot understand the position which the Prime Minister takes up.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
Does the Prime Minister agree that the Government of this country are prima facie responsible for the 910 proper protection of all citizens in carrying out their legal duties in a lawful manner? That is the first point. Does the right hon. Gentleman admit that the Minister specially responsible for the Government carrying out its duties in that respect is the Home Secretary? If he admits those points, then I have substantiated my position that a very heavy and distinct responsibility rests upon the Home Secretary, because he is the Member of the Government through whom the Government ought to carry out what is one of its first and primary duties, that is, giving proper protection to every citizen in this country in the conduct of his legal business under legal protection, and in a legal manner. Therefore, I entirely join issue with what the Home Secretary said, as I understood it, in the sense of limiting his responsibility within the area of London when he is head of the police and not giving due weight to the equally large responsibilities which he has in all parts of the country, as Home Secretary, and therefore as representing the duties of the Government in matters of riot or disorder. When the Home Secretary was speaking in reply to my right hon. Friend the Member for East Worcestershire (Mr. Austen Chamberlain), he somewhat diverted the discussion from questions of principle to questions of fact. I am not going into the discussion as regards these questions of fact between the Home Secretary on the one side and the, hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) on the other, because it is not necessary. It is most important when the House is dealing with a great question of principle that it should not get involved upon questions of fact which do not really affect the principle at all, but which divert the attention of the House from the real matter of importance which is in issue before us. The Home Secretary claimed that; as regards the protection of citizens in the performance of their legal rights in a legal manner, he was entitled to discriminate. He said the Executive were entitled to say they will protect some citizens and will refuse to protect others. If a doctrine of that kind were once laid down, we should bid farewell to that security which is the essential condition to all civilised society.
It is not for the Executive of the Government, and it is not for the officer of the Executive of the Government to make a discrimination between one person and another. He has got a duty, which he equally owes to all, to protect every man within the limits of the legal rights to which 911 he is entitled in the exercise of his lawful everyday business and pursuits. That is the first point on which I absolutely join issue with the principle laid down by the Home Secretary. He made no answer on this point to what was said by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire. Instead of making any answer to a most important attack, not made so much upon him personally as upon him in connection with the duties of his office, he merely dealt with questions of disputed facts which, were they to be decided one way or the other, would not in any way interfere with the leading principle, namely, the equality of treatment of all citizens without any discrimination of any sort or kind. Undoubtedly the other night he did say in his speech that he drew a distinction between imported labour and the labour already situated at the docks. I know of no constitutional principle on which a discrimination of that kind can be justified. What does it matter to the labourer who is desirous of earning his livelihood whether, for the purposes of his labour he is living on the spot or whether he happens to come from a distance? It is a monstrous suggestion that because a labourer comes from a distance in order to carry out the ordinary peaceful duties of labour, such as the loading or unloading of vessels, protection is to be withdrawn from him on the ground that if he went home again to Newport he might be able to find employment in the port there. How can you carry on civilised society, how can the Government carry out the duties thrown upon them as regards the protection of the free labourer and his equal rights if they seek to raise this discrimination: "We will protect you if you seek employment in your own village or in your own county, but we will refuse to give you protection if you come outside the area of your own village or your own county?" I protest from every point of view against the unconstitutional doctrine laid down by the Home Secretary that it is either the duty or the right of the Executive to make a discrimination. That is not their duty at all. They are bound, and absolutely bound, to give protection to all citizens, irrespective of the work they are doing, and irrespective of the claim they are making at the particular time.
There are two other matters on which I want to say a word or two in reference to what was said by the Home Secretary. 912 I think the Home Secretary referred to the Newport case in a way which was quite unjustifiable. I recollect very well that at the time the Newport case was discussed in this House a speech was made from the Treasury Bench by the then Secretary of State for War, who is now the Lord Chancellor (Lord Haldane). I need hardly say you will find nothing in that speech of the doctrines advanced by the Home Secretary to-day. If you read that speech you will find it laid down in the most absolute terms that it is the first duty of the Government in a civilised country to give legal protection to all citizens as regards-their ordinary business duties without discrimination and without distinction. What he said was this, and it is the one exception to the principle:—Under very exceptional circumstances, there may bean extreme case of necessity which possibly entitles you to interfere with an ordinary citizen as regards his legal right.Let me remind the House of the illustration which he gave. It will show the very different view which was taken by the them Secretary of State for War from the view taken by the Home Secretary to-day. He said:—I give this illustration. Suppose you saw a man going to throw a lighted match near a powder magazine. I think in an extreme case of that kind, although prima facie a man has a legal right to throw a lighted; match on one side, you are entitled to interfere.Who would deny the necessity which arises under exceptional conditions of that kind?: The very fact that such an exceptional condition was taken for the purposes of illustration confirms what the then Secretary of State for War laid down in the widest terms, that there is to be no discrimination in the treatment of citizens, but that all are to be alike protected in their lawful pursuits and as regards their lawful business. There was one other topic referred to by the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London. He said:—Is it not a monstrous thing that in the twentieth century goods are not to be moved from the docks of the city, which is the centre of the civilised world except under the permits of Mr. Ben Tillett?Surely that is a monstrous position to which we have come under the conditions of government at the present time. I want to back that up if I may. I had a letter to-day from a neighbour of mine in the country, who was wanting certain goods which were being imported into the Port of London, and he sent me this letter from the person from whom he bought these goods:—I regret to say I cannot forward them to you., because I have not got the permit of Mr. Ben Tillett.913 Is it not a monstrous thing we should be reduced to that in a civilised country at the present moment? Unless the Government with true courage accepts the true constitutional doctrine, that apart from politics or any other consideration they insist as a first principle that people should be allowed to carry on their legal business in a legal way, I see no alternative but an increase of that industrial unrest which has done untold harm to the country during the last few years. The way to deal with industrial unrest is to deal with it with a firm hand and to show that you hold the balance of justice equally as between all parties in all industrial disputes. I hear the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister assenting to that general proposition. I hope, when they come to practice, they will obey the same principle to which they are now giving their assent in the House of Commons. It is of vital importance—in fact there is no matter of greater importance—that in a question of this kind, dealing with a first principle in civilised society, this House should insist on that principle of equality without which you cannot have liberty, and on that principle of justice without which you cannot have other than conditions of industrial unrest.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I always listen with great respect to my hon. and learned Friend, particularly when he is dealing with matters of constitutional law, on which he is so high and recognised an authority. He spoke, I think, with rather unusual vehemence, but he addressed very few of his observations to the Motion before the House. That Motion, I may remind him and other hon. Gentlemen, is a Motion of Censure upon the Home Secretary, and through the Home Secretary upon the Government, based upon an allegation that my right hon. Friend had drawn either in words or in practice—and words are really of very much less importance than practice—a distinction unwarranted by law and by the Constitution in cases in which he will and cases in which he will not afford protection. Had my right hon. Friend done so, he would have well warranted the censure of this House. I will not go back to the initiation of this Debate, for I must confess that in a now somewhat prolonged Parliamentary experience I have never heard a more complete and crushing reply than that which was given by my right hon. Friend to the speech in which this Motion was introduced, and no attempt, 914 not the faintest attempt, has been made to question or to undermine his position. What my right hon. Friend proved was this, that in so far as the Metropolitan area and that part of the Port of London within the Metropolis is concerned, he has during the whole time this strike has lasted, afforded protection without discrimination or distinction to persons or cases, protection which has proved perfectly adequate for the purpose, for all the labour for which there was a demand in the Port. Is that disputed? [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] By whom It is no good saying you dispute it unless you can produce cases, actual cases, in which free labour, as it is called, labour which is actually being employed at the docks, is not being protected, or in which there has been a demand for labour at the docks and the necessary labour to supply that demand has been prevented.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
The hon. Gentleman can get up and produce his case after I have spoken. This Vote of Censure was put down on Monday. What I am saying is that so far as the Debate has gone and so far as we have any knowledge of the events which had taken place at the time when the Vote of Censure was put down, not one single case is produced in which full and adequate protection has not been given to every labourer employed throughout the whole of the Metropolitan area.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
Does the right hon. Gentleman maintain that protection has been afforded to everyone who was legally entitled to it at the docks?
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
He himself admitted that he had discriminated against men imported on the "Lady Jocelyn."
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I should have anticipated that the Leader of the Opposition would understand the distinction between the case he is putting and the case with which I am dealing. I will come to that other case presently. The right hon. Gentleman does not know the case. I was confining my observations for the moment to the cases within the area of the Metropolitan Police. I have said so. When I ask for a case in which within that area adequate protection has not been afforded, what does the right hon. Gentleman think 915 it pertinent to do—to get up and mention a case which is admittedly outside the Metropolitan area altogether? We cannot conduct Debate in a reasonable spirit if interruptions of that kind are made. I repeat my challenge, which is perfectly plain and explicit, to so far as the Metropolitan area is concerned, in which my right hon. Friend is directly responsible for the conduct of the police, no case has as yet been alleged, certainly no case has been proved, in which during the whole of this strike adequate protection has not been afforded. I come now to another question, the question which was raised by my hon. and learned Friend who has just spoken, namely, What is the limit of the responsibility of the Home Secretary in regard to these matters? I can speak as an old Home Secretary. I held that office for three years. They were three years of great industrial trouble and strife. During that time I believe I had to deal with problems even as grave, and certainly more grave so far as public order is concerned, than even those which have unhappily emerged during the course of the last two years. I did not escape criticism, but the criticism to which I was exposed generally proceeded from a different quarter. I believe I acted on precisely the same principles of administration as those upon which he has acted. I do not see the hon. Member for Merthyr (Mr. Keir Hardie) in his place, but I am sure that from more than one public platform in his genial way he criticised my action.
I only mention that because the person who holds that office is obliged to acquaint himself with, or bitter experience teaches him, what are the extents and limits of his functions. I do not think they are quite correctly apprehended by my hon. and learned Friend. Let me state them as I understand them. In the first place, the Home Secretary is head of the Metropolitan Police. As such, he is the police authority for the Metropolitan area, and he has the same responsibility within that area for the control and management of the police as in municipal boroughs the Watch Committee has, or as the Standing Joint Committee of a county, neither more nor less. In the next place, as Home Secretary he has an authority which has gradually grown up and developed for which it is very difficult to find any legal or even constitutional origin. He has a conventional authority—I do not think I can describe it as anything else—which has no 916 legal sanction, of giving advice to the local authorities of the country, with whom, be it remembered, by the law of England, responsibility for the preservation of order rests. It does not rest with the central Government. The central Government is not responsible for the preservation of order. It is a legal duty cast by the law of England from time immemorial upon the magistrates and on the local authorities. The Home Secretary has absolutely no responsibility, and he has no power of interference with the discretion of the local authorities in the discharge of that duty. But a convention has grown up under which the Home Secretary is called upon to advise, and often spontaneously advises, local authorities in cases of difficulty and emergency as to how that duty may best be performed. In this way he is able to bring into more or less co-ordination the various local authorities of the country; and in regard to a matter which, happily, not very frequently happens, namely, the necessity of the employment of troops, he becomes the medium of communication between the local authority and the War Office or the officers in command of the troops.
In the case which happened when I was Home Secretary, and in which, unfortunately, life was lost through the action of the military, they brought in the military to suppress what was apprehended to be and what turned out to be a dangerous riot. It so happened in that case (I am speaking from memory, though I am sure I am accurate) that the call for the military was made without any intervention by the Home Office at all. It was made directly by the local authority to the officer in command of the troops. I was Home Secretary. I was in constant touch with the industrial situation. I knew nothing, absolutely nothing, of what had taken place until unfortunately the loss of life occurred. I was called an assassin for it for many years afterwards; but that is neither here nor there. I merely mention that as an illustration of the manner in which our administrative machinery actually works. I protest altogether against the doctrine, to which I was very sorry to think that the hon. and learned Member in his speech just now gave countenance, that the Home Secretary and the central Government was responsible for the maintenance of order in the different localities of the country. That is not the law of England, and never has been the law of England. It 917 is not part of our constitutional practice, and I trust it never will be. To go back, let us see how far we have advanced. I say that the Home Secretary is directly responsible, as head of the police, as the police authority, in the Metropolitan area. He has also got by convention this duty of advising, and to some extent coordinating the action of local authorities elsewhere, but he has no direct power or responsibility in that matter. Thirdly, in common with other local authorities, he may be called on in case of need to lend whatever surplus of police force may be at his disposal to assist the local authority in another area in the discharge of this duty of preserving order. That is a liability and responsibility which he shares with all police authorities in the country. When I have said that, I believe I have exhausted what, under the law and constitutional practice, are the powers and duties of the Home Secretary with regard to the maintenance of order. I should be glad to know of any other.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he does not think that the responsibility lies upon the Crown, and therefore upon the constitutional advisers of the Crown to keep order from one end of the country to the other.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
The King's peace according to the constitutional law of this country, it is the duty of the magistrates of the various localities to maintain. They can call, for the purpose of maintaining the King's peace, and have the right to call upon every citizen, be he ordinary layman, or soldier—and that is the only way in which soldiers come in—to render such assistance as is reasonable and proper, and is at the time in his power to give. That is the law in this country, as well settled as any law can possibly be.
§ Sir A. CRIPPS
Surely the right hon. Gentleman recognises the over-ruling responsibility of the Government, as representing the King, to keep the peace in all parts.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I quite agree, but I am dealing with the actual facts. I say, according to our law and our constitutional system, the manner in which the King's peace is preserved is the manner I 918 have described, and the persons responsible—and no one knows this better than the hon. and learned Member—are the magistrates, and if they do not do their duty they are liable to indictment for the non-performance of it. You never heard of the indictment of a Government. You could not indict a Government. Let the hon. Member try against the Home Secretary or any other Member of the Government because the peace has been broken. There is no grand jury could or would return a true bill, whereas if the magistrates fail in their duty they could and they would. I believe I am stating, and I hope so, the constitutional practice. There is really no difference of opinion among legal or constitutional authorities as to the truth of what I have said.
§ Mr. BUTCHER
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware there is an opinion delivered by Lord Campbell to the exact contrary of the doctrine he has laid down?
§ The PRIME MINISTER
The hon. and learned Gentleman will have the opportunity subsequently of stating what Lord Campbell said. I am stating what I be believe to be practically the unanimous opinion of all the great constitutional authorities. Nowhere was it more clearly laid down than in the report made by Lord Bowen in the investigation to which reference has already been made, and which followed on the Featherstone riot. I come to the very important question of discrimination, or alleged discrimination. I entirely accept, and so does my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, the general proposition that it was the duty of the authority responsible, whatever that authority might be—whether he be the Home Secretary or whether it be the local police authority—to afford protection to every citizen without any distinction or discrimination in the exercise of his legal rights. That, again, is elementary law. Certainly no discrimination of any kind ought to be made by reference to the judgment of the police authority. Whether those rights ought or ought not exist, or whether it was expedient or inexpedient that they should be exercised, they have every right to protection. But even within the limits of the area for which my right hon. Friend is entirely responsible cases may arise, and constantly do arise, in which, without making any invidious or unjustifiable discrimination on such grounds as I have suggested, the police and the person responsible for the police must, having regard to the forces at his 919 disposal, distinguish between the urgency of the relative demands upon him. No one will dispute that.
You must obviously have regard to the limited forces at our disposal, and none of our police forces are kept, or ought to be kept, with more than a very narrow surplus apart from the normal requirements. Therefore the police authority must have regard to the forces at their disposal, which are not more than adequate for the normal requirements that may be made upon them. They must, when calls come upon them from different quarters, distinguish to the best of their ability as to the character and urgency and the amount of support that ought to be given. Take an extreme case of a man ill tempered and provocative, an eccentric man, if you like, and I am not referring to the industrial dispute at all, who chooses deliberately, in the exercise of what is his legal right, to parade before a certain number of his fellow citizens emblems or other symbols, or to indulge in conduct which he knows will be provocative, and which will inspire and arouse feelings of resentment and very likely lead to dispute. He is perfectly entitled to do that, but when he calls on the police authority to give him protection the police authority is entitled to say, "There are other calls more urgent than yours, and although you may not be exceeding your legal rights in what you propose to do I cannot give you that protection until, at any rate, I have satisfied myself as to every other demand made upon me."
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I have purposely not taken an industrial case, but I will take any case the Noble Lord likes; it does not matter who it is or what it is.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
The First Lord of the Admiralty at Belfast was precisely the case you were taking.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I am sorry we have had so much of the First Lord of the Admiralty at Belfast, not because I think it is a peculiar case, but because it rather diverts attention from the real point at issue. As a matter of fact, the First Lord of the Admiralty set a most admirable example. I have never known a better example set by any public man. When he found, in the exercise of a perfectly legal right, that to give an address, at a 920 particular hall in a particular part of Belfast, which he was absolutely entitled to do, and which he was entitled to call upon the authorities to protect him in doing, when he found that that might have, and probably would have, the result of provoking disorder, and possibly riot, abandoning all amour propre, and, I have no doubt, sacrificing the convenience of a, great number of other people, he deliberately changed his place of meeting, and held it in a spot which I think most people-would agree was not provocative. In doing so the First Lord of the Admiralty set an admirable example, which I trust will be widely followed by others in all parties in social, political and industrial life.
I am sorry to have been diverted from the argument I was endeavouring to address to the House. The point I was making was this: While it is absolutely-wrong for the police authority to discriminate on such grounds as those of political justice or interest, or of social expediency or even between the different demands of the different persons he has to protect, he is bound, otherwise he does not perform his duty as an administrator, to make an estimate of the relative urgency of the different calls which are made upon a comparatively limited force, and in the exercise of his honest judgment to apportion it in the first place to the call which is most urgent, and in which the largest number of persons are interested. If that is true of the police authority acting within the area of his own jurisdiction, how much, more is it true when, as was the case—and now I am coming to the case put by the Leader of the Opposition—with my right hon. Friend, when he was asked to lend a portion of the police force for use in another area for which he has no direct responsibility at all. That is a very serious thing to do at any time. You have got a very small margin, as I think you ought to have, of police for the normal requirements of your own district, and when your own district is in an abnormal condition, as was the case here, when you have got a serious labour dispute covering a very large area of ground, and affecting a very considerable number of men engaged in different employments—when you have got an abnormal condition of things like that, it is not only right, but is the primary duty of the person responsible for the administration of the police, to be most careful how and to what extent, and for what purpose he lends any of his force for use in another area.
921 I think my right hon. Friend was not only right, but was bound, when the demand was made to him from Essex, a place outside the Metropolitan area, to say to the person making the demand "Your necessities may be great, but you must satisfy me of their urgency, and of the ground of the urgency, before I can send to you any of my Metropolitan Police. If property is actually in danger, if oil stores are actually in danger, or if there is any reasonable apprehension of an immediate breach of the peace, or riot and disorder, then I can spare you the men; but if it is a less urgent case than that, go elsewhere. There are many police areas in the country which are entirely unaffected by this strike. They can supply you with men. I cannot spare my men for, I will not call them non-necessary, but non-urgent purposes. As far as I am concerned, I must withhold my assistance. I must keep it for absolutely urgent demands." That was the position taken up by my right hon. Friend. Does anyone say he was wrong? If I had been in his place—I was not here, but I entirely endorse everything he did—if I had been at the Home Office, I should certainly have pursued exactly the same course, and so would every right hon. Gentleman on that bench. He would have said to himself, "I am perfectly sure," and the more he felt the necessity of protecting free labour here in London the more would he have felt the cogency of these considerations, he would have said, "I must not denude London of the necessary supply of police for service elsewhere, unless I am absolutely convinced that there is an overwhelming and imminent necessity." That is the course which was taken by my right hon. Friend, and the course which, by this Motion, the House of Commons is invited to censure.
I have endeavoured to present to the House what I believe to be, and what I believe are, the accepted principles which ought to govern our administrative actions in matters of this kind. If those principles, as I have put them before the House, are correctly stated, then their application to the facts, which are not in dispute, which are now under consideration, does not admit of any controversy at all. I am not at all sorry, indeed, I am very glad, that this question has been raised. I am glad because it will afford a complete vindication of my right hon. Friend, who, in circumstances of great difficulty, both during the coal strike and during this 922 strike, has maintained the best traditions of the Home Office, and has preserved order in London, so far as he could do so, by advice, and in other parts of the country, where many men, less strong-nerved, might have lost their heads, and might have committed serious mistakes. I am very glad, therefore, that my right hon. Friend is going to be vindicated, as he will be to-night by the House of Commons. But, glad as I am on personal grounds, I am still more glad that the House should have had this opportunity of once more bringing itself face to face with what are the actual administrative problems which the Home Secretary of this country has to deal with, and what are the legal and constitutional principles by which alone those problems can be solved. Those principles have been completely carried out in the administration of my right hon. Friend and I ask the House to endorse his action.
§ Mr. PETO
In following the Prime Minister I am, of course, at a great disadvantage, because from very long experience it is well known to every Member of this House that the Prime Minister is a past master in the art of choosing the ground on which he can make the strongest possible defence, and of confining his remarks, both before learned judges and before this House, to the ground he has specially chosen himself. In the earlier part of the Prime Minister's speech he chose to ignore the exact terms of the Motion before the House. He confined his remarks to a defence of the Home Secretary, and ignored the position of the Government. I must say that it came as a shock to me, as an ordinary layman, not versed in these nuances of the law and constitutional doctrines, to hear the Prime Minister, almost below his breath, tell the House that the central Government is not under the duty of maintaining law and order in the whole of the country. I venture to think that will come as a shock to the ordinary man in the street who reads a report of the Prime Minister's words to-morrow. Ordinary plain people have been under the impression for years and years in this country that His Majesty's Government was responsible for much more than the maintenance of law and order in the country, and it will come as a shock to them to find that in defending the action, or want of action, in permitting people to carry on their avocations in this country, the Prime Minister shelters himself behind these thin veils of ancient constitutional ideas, 923 they, of course, may be perfectly correct—I have no doubt they are as the Prime Minister stated them to be—but they apply to ancient usages in this country, when we had beadles, and when we had not got police, and when the only possible alternative would have been armed military intervention.
The Prime Minister, in the early part of his speech, said the Home Secretary had given a complete and crushing reply, and that he completely proved his case so far as his action in the Metropolitan area was concerned. I venture to say that even at the present moment within the Metropolitan area there is not protection being given to people who want to do the work of unloading vessels which are actually lying at the quays at the London Docks and the Tilbury Docks. One of the principal grounds of this Motion of Censure against the Government is, that the Home Secretary discriminates between what he is pleased to call necessary cargo and what he calls unnecessary cargo, for which he does not give protection. The specific case I am going to quote is of four vessels of the Canadian Pacific Line. First, there is the "Mount Temple," which arrived in the London Docks just before the outbreak of the strike. It had a most valuable cargo, including foreign motor cars from the United States, which had been shipped by the Canadian Line. On that vessel and on three others, one firm in London alone have £20,000 worth of motor cars. Up to midnight before the strike broke out, some of those cars were taken from the docks. The firm in question are perfectly willing to have the whole of their property unloaded over the quay, and taken by road or rail. They do not want the cheap lighterage facilities, which the Home Secretary referred to as being the reason that so little work was going on at the docks. I believe it is the fact that 90 per cent. of the in-and-out cargo is taken delivery of over the side from lighters, and if you have no lighterage service on the Thames, you cannot expect a large amount of work to be done at the docks. The firm in question were promised by the manager of the Canadian Pacific Company that at one o'clock this afternoon the goods should be taken off. Men who were prepared to do the work were engaged, and he was to report progress at two o'clock. At two o'clock he telephoned that a body of 4,000 strikers, outside the dock, refused to allow the work to proceed, and he is conse- 924 quently doing nothing and is unable to do anything further in the matter.
§ Mr. O'GRADY
Is not this the case of 300 blacklegs who were dissatisfied with their conditions of labour? I was there at the time. Did they not ask the strikers to come down and help them?
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Mr. PETO
The hon. Member could not have been there, because I have been in the House all the afternoon, and he has been assiduously attending to his duties also. It is not the business of the Home Secretary or the Government to distinguish between one kind of cargo and another, and say that the people may have, say meat, but must not have fish or, if they are to have all kinds of food, a certain modicum of supply that the Home Secretary thinks necessary, but on no account will he give protection to unload raw material of the industries which are actually on the Thames, because in the long run, even if it does not happen in the course of three weeks, it is no use providing meat if you do not provide the workers who have no interest in this particular dispute with the raw material on which they are to find employment and wages to buy the meat.
In the earlier part of the Prime Minister's speech he entirely confined his remarks to the Metropolitan area. There is nothing whatever in the Motion to draw a distinction between people who want to do their work in the Metropolitan area or just outside it. When we have a port of vast dimensions like this, it is a very poor line of defence to take an arbitrary county division, and, because some of the docks happen to be in Essex or Kent, for the Home Secretary to practically wash his hands of all responsibility for maintaining law and order there, and for the Prime Minister to defend his action and the action of the Government, and only bring forward certain ancient constitutional doctrines which he has now put before the House. The hon. Member (Mr. Ramsay Macdonald) complained that the hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury) had gone into detail, and he said he wished to enlarge the area of the discussion. I noticed with Rome amusement that the Home Secretary a few minutes before complained that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Austen Chamberlain) had not devoted a sufficiently large part of his speech to detail, but had dealt with the general question-He said he thought he ought to have given more than fifteen minutes to quoting 925 specific cases in which the Home Secretary had failed in his duties. He asked what was a strike? It was not a malicious movement. It was simply, and in fact a declaration of war. That is exactly what I should like hon. Members opposite to remember also. I entirely agree. A strike is a declaration of war. There is no possible doubt about that, and it is an appeal to strength and to endurance, and it is because it is so that it is so absolutely essential that, if we are to have just and fair and equal government in this country, neither side should receive from the Government, either moral or physical assistance in order to take sides and help one or the other to win. So far, I am entirely in agreement with hon. Members opposite; but that is not our contention. What we say is, that whatever forces there are available must be used in order, as it were, to keep the ring. We cannot have such proposals as, for instance, that made by the hon. Member (Mr. W. Thorne) yesterday, that the town council of West Ham should pull up all the roadway leading to the docks, which argument he supported by the curious theory, that because the ratepayers paid for laying it down, it is perfectly proper to employ the ratepayers' money for pulling it up. Since we have that class of argument being used on one side, it is perfectly evident that the Government must use all the force at its command in order to maintain law and order. The Home Secretary said that a quarter of an hour of the right hon. Gentleman's speech was devoted to attacks upon the First Lord of the Admiralty. That was a monstrous thing to say. There was no attack whatever on the First Lord of the Admiralty; but there was a specific statement by the right hon. Gentleman that he entirely approved of the action of sending sufficient force to maintain law and order in the neighbourhood of Belfast. It is interesting to recall that for every word that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Churchill) read to the assembled crowd at Belfast, the country was put to an expense of 14s. or 15s. for the maintenance of law and order.
I want to call attention to one or two of the wider questions which are brought into this question. A manifesto has been issued by the strike committee, and they say the employers are to depend upon the brutal weapons of starvation and intimidation, and police and military repression. That is a statement which, although I do not want to introduce any acerbity into the 926 discussion which can possibly be avoided, really ought to be contradicted most emphatically. It would be very easy for us to say that on the other hand the strike committee are depending entirely in the long run on this same brutal weapon of starvation for the success of their movement. That is the reason why this Transport Workers' Strike is so entirely different from any other. But when we get a strike carried on on the lines of allowing by permit necessary supplies to be taken to hospitals and that is spoken of as charity which may be misunderstood. I think it is time that the House took very serious stock of what is the real method by which this kind of warfare is now conducted. It is most instructive to look into the history of the Debates which took place two years ago, when there was a somewhat similar strike in Wales, and see what a long way the Government have moved in those two years in their ideas of what constitutes their duty. Once the Government come in and say that people are not allowed to do what is perfectly within their legal right to do it is very easy to descend to the much wider idea of the Home Secretary, as put before the House last Thursday evening. In that dispute the case is given very clearly in a very few lines of a letter which was written to the Prime Minister by Messrs. Houlder Brothers:—We were told that if we placed the loading of our vessels in the hands of other men than those by whom it had hitherto been done, we should be committing a provocative act which would lead to a breach of the peace, and we were furthermore explicitly informed both by Mr. Sydney Buxton and by Sir Edward Troup that if we attempted to bring in the labourers whom we had engaged, no steps would be taken to protect them from violence.What was the action and what were the words used by the then Home Secretary (Mr. Churchill) in connection with that dispute? Speaking in that Debate, he said he had directed the following telegram to-be sent to the Mayor of Newport, and this was the very commencement of his action in this dispute:—It has been represented to the Secretary of State that the police have not been able to preserve order in connection with the strike of stevedores. He desires to remind you that the police and magistrates are responsible for the maintenance of order and the prevention of outrage or intimidation, and that if the local police are insufficient, immediate steps should be taken to obtain assistance from other police forces.A more proper telegram, and one more entirely in accordance with the ideas which lie behind this Motion could not possibly have been sent. But it very quickly changed from that position and a new theory was introduced that, although they 927 admitted that it was the duty of the Government to see that if the local police authorities had not sufficient force to maintain order they should assist them, yet there might be a case. The Home Secretary said:—They would have to take that step only at such a time and in such circumstances when the police arrangements were carried to a point which would enable them properly and adequately to safeguard them.That was the case of bringing in these free labourers. He admitted that they were perfectly within their rights and must be protected. The only new departure was that they must select the time and the place presumably for bringing them in at such a time that the Government would be able to have the protection which was required. That was a very small departure from what had been hitherto understood. The Home Secretary prepared a telegram with full deliberation but it was never sent. I will read the first word or two:—It is the duty of the local authority to provide a sufficient force to suppress disorder, riot or outrage. It is also their duty to use all legal means to prevent occasion for conflict between the parties.That second sentence is the one that the present Home Secretary has departed from. He still thinks it is the duty of the Home Secretary to see that the local authorities are in a position to suppress disorder, but he does not think it is any part of his duty now to see that they have sufficient force to prevent a conflict between the parties. The telegram finishes:—In the last extremity they may prevent and forbid the landing of imported labour.That would mean preventing Messrs. Houlder Brothers from the exercise of what in ordinary circumstances would be their legal rights.The last step could only be taken if local authorities can show that the landing of imported labour will inevitably cause riot and bloodshed and will lead to a general and disastrous strike.Such approval as was given from the Front Bench on that occasion was strictly limited to that condition, that if the landing was done at such a time when there was no adequate provision to safeguard a breach of the peace, and when it was done at such a time also that it would be sure to provoke an immediate outbreak of riot and so forth, then a more suitable time could be chosen. But of course the Leader of the Opposition was perfectly definite in stating that if all that the Home Secretary meant was that he was prepared to say to Messrs. Houlder's, "at this moment I have not the force necessary to prevent a riot, therefore I will do my best to prevent these 928 men being landed, but if you insist on your legal rights I shall take steps to give you legal protection"—if that was the only departure in the direction of not giving the protection which all citizens have a right to, that action would meet with his approval. Let us compare the position two years ago with the position which the Home Secretary laid down the other night. The Home Secretary laid down three entirely new principles. His speech of Thursday was, I think, extremely clear, and certainly it was not long. The first was that his duties were limited to suppressing actual disorder, and to protecting what he termed necessary food stuffs. There are two principles involved in that, the first being that he is the sole judge of what is necessary in the course of a strike. For all we know, this or any other strike might go on for six months or more before it was decided one way or the other, but the Home Secretary is the sole judge, not of what is legal and right for employers to do, but of what is necessary as regards cargoes, and what unloading of ships may be allowed, though in other cases cargoes may be required for the trade of the country. I have pointed out the absurdity of attempting to draw such distinctions. There is no possible distinction between the meat a man may be able to buy to-day and the cargo that might be necessary to provide him with the wages to buy it tomorrow. The second principle the right hon. Gentleman laid down was that he is only to preserve the peace when the action taken is not provocative. That he explained in two passages of his speech. He laid down the extraordinary theory that while it might be right for people if lodged on shore to unload vessels, the situation was entirely altered if the men were lodged on board ship. Does anybody suppose that Messrs. Houlder, or any other firm, would bring men by sea from Newport and make themselves responsible for the daily food and lodging of 300 men for the mere fun of the thing, or to spite the Home Secretary? Their motive in doing so was perfectly clear. It is because it is safer for the men to be on the ship than on shore, and because they need less protection; and yet the Home Secretary says that the mere fact that they are on the ship is so provocative that he does not think it necessary to lend additional police for their protection. He further explained that theory by using these words:—It is not, it cannot be, the duty of any Government on every occasion to assist employers in actions which 929 are primarily intended, as I believe in many cases—I do not say in this case—to provoke disorder.As I understood the Home Secretary this afternoon, he has now taken back this proviso. He does now say in this case the action is specially designed to provoke disorder. I ask the House really to consider this proposition. Here is a business firm, and there is a Member of the Government. The right hon. Gentleman asked the House seriously to believe that a firm whose entire business consists in getting goods quickly loaded and unloaded, and who are put to enormous cost if there is delay and if ships are held up, would deliberately go out of their way to bring men, not to get ships loaded and unloaded, but to provoke disorder! Really to believe that we must believe that instead of being a business nation we are a nation of mad people. I do not think that proposition needs any further discussion. The right hon. Gentleman said that these men had ample opportunity for work at Newport. That point has already been met. There is no proof except in the Home Secretary's imagination that these people had ample opportunity for employment.
The right hon. Gentleman said it was only his business to protect necessary cargoes. Surely that is a new theory of government. It is impossible for responsible people who represent the Opposition in this House to allow new doctrines of that kind to be enunciated without uttering some protest. It is not a question of slave traffic, or something of that kind, but it relates to the legitimate trades of the country, which have been safe-guarded hitherto. If they are to be interfered with, and if the Home Secretary is to say, "I am the sole judge of what is necessary for the people, I am the sole judge of what is a necessary cargo, I am the sole person to determine whether any particular action is what I am pleased to call provocative and is consequently entirely outside of the law and the protection of the State"—if that is so, then this Debate was absolutely necessary in order that those responsible for the trade and commerce of this country should know that they no longer have a Government which they can depend upon to protect them in carrying out their rights, and that they have no proof whatever that because for hundreds of years certain things have been lawful and have been protected they will continue to be protected to-day and to-morrow. We have now a Government, which includes the Home Secretary, who is the sole 930 arbiter of what business is to be carried on, what is necessary, and what is unnecessary. It will be necessary for every employer of labour to refer to this new autocratic authority in order to find out not whether his business is lawful, but whether in the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman it cannot be protected as formerly, so that he may take the quickest possible means of getting out of such a business. If he has invested capital in a business which comes under the ban of the Home Secretary, who says he will not protect it in the event of a dispute between the employer and the employés, the employer will clearly understand what is possible in future in this country. Let employers realise what is possible under the new Home Secretary-made law, in order that they may be able to carry on their business in some other country where there are less extraordinary ideas of what are the duties of government.
Mr. CLEMENT EDWARDS
I gave notice of my intention to move as an Amendment to leave out the words, "and that the claim of the Secretary of State for the Home Department to distinguish between cases in which he will afford such protection, and other cases in which he will supply it only after a breach of the peace has occurred, is unconstitutional and contrary to law," and to insert instead thereof the words, "but that it is not the duty of the Secretary of State for the Home Department to expend public money in providing protection for a body of professional strike breakers, collected at so much per head and employed by an unlawful association for the purpose of inciting to public disorder and provoking peaceful workmen into breaches of the peace."
After consideration, I do not propose to move the Amendment, but I desire to address a few remarks to the House on the lines of the Amendment. There is not very much more to be said in reply to the Vote of Censure after the perfectly smashing speech we have heard from the Home Secretary. It makes the Motion one of the flimsiest which in my short memory of this House has been submitted. One or two things have been said on which I should like to make some observations. It is rather interesting to have from a Member of the old Constitutional party doctrines like those to which we have just listened from the hon. Member for the Devizes Division of Wiltshire (Mr. Peto). 931 It is perfectly amazing to him that a Liberal Prime Minister should rely upon the ancient usages of the Constitution. Apparently the hon. Member would wipe the whole thing aside, and start absolutely de novo. Then it is something quite new to have, especially from the Conservative Member for an English rural constituency, the suggestion that the power of "the great unpaid"—the power of the magistracy in the counties—should be wiped out and replaced, for that is what it comes to.
Mr. C. EDWARDS
The hon. Member shakes his head. It appeared to me he suggested there should be direct responsibility on the part of the Home Secretary.
Mr. C. EDWARDS
I do not know where the hon. Member has been to get that doctrine from, but I suggest to him that he will not find it in any single text-book, or in any utterances of any single representative person. The sole authority for keeping order locally is the police authority, whether the magistracy or the Watch Committee, and it is only when they, in the exercise of their discretion, say that they do not think they have adequate power to cope with the trouble, and when they formally ask the aid of the Government, that any Government can aid them. I ask the hon. Member to find any authority for his proposition, or any authority contrary to that which I have stated. I very much admired the great adroitness of the hon. and learned Member (Sir A. Cripps), who, having listened to the reply of the Home Secretary, and finding that the whole case was up, promptly proceeded to indulge in the merest generalities—much more general than even he is in the habit of indulging. In connection with this Vote of Censure there has been no direct statement, but there has been a certain assumption for which, as I shall show to the House, there is not the slightest foundation. It is the assumption of the right hon. Gentleman who moved the Motion, and it is the assumption that ran through the two last speeches we have 932 heard from the opposite side. It is that the persons on board of the "Lady Jocelyn" were a body of perfectly orderly, genuine workmen, who were desirous of obtaining employment, and that they were induced by Messrs. Houlder Brothers, as their employers, to come to the Thames. The hon. Member opposite (Mr. Peto) has accepted the view that strikes are in the nature of war. Very well, let us get rid of all cant, and accept the thing on that basis. The questions that arise are, was the "Lady Jocelyn," which was used in this dispute, owned by Messrs. Houlder Brothers, and were the persons on board that ship ordinary workmen? The answer to the first question is that the ship was not one belonging to Messrs. Houlder Brothers, but was a ship that has been utilised as a sort of floating boarding house for professional strikebreakers by the Shipping Federation and the National Free Labour Association to my knowledge since 1890. The second proposition is that the men who were aboard of her were not Newport men, but men selected from doss-houses, from gaol doors, and from a number of other places by the National Free Labour Association. I am inclined to think that the right hon. Gentleman who moved this Motion has been very badly had, and that the persons responsible for the National Free Labour Association have, not for the first time in their history, rather badly deceived the Conservative party. I would first like to deal with the Shipping Federation, and if the Home Secretary and the learned Attorney-General will give me their attention I am going to make a suggestion. We have heard from the outset a great deal in denunciation of the wickedness of trade unions who having been formed purely for trade union purposes have branched out and indulged in political work, and done things which the law has called ultra vires. Here is a Shipping Federation which, by every test you can apply to it, is a trade union pure and simple. Notwithstanding that, it has not merely acted as a trade union but has sought to supplant the insurance societies connected with shipping. This trade union, the Shipping Federation, has engaged in business, and is doing insurance work under the Workmen's Compensation Act without complying with the conditions of the Board of Trade as to deposit, and is seeking to supplant nearly every kind of association of shipowners. It is acting in violation of the Merchant Shipping Act as pimps for the purpose of engaging—
Mr. C. EDWARDS
With respect, I may point out that the Vote of Censure does suggest that the Home Secretary has differentiated in his attitude as to police protection between one class of men and another class of men.
Mr. C. EDWARDS
If the denial is accepted by the Opposition, and that part of the Vote of Censure is promptly expunged, I have not another word to say upon it. But I do submit with very great respect that it is relevant to the latter part of the discussion to discuss the character of the people against whom the Home Secretary is alleged to have differentiated.
I do not think that the hon. Member is justified in taking this opportunity of making an attack upon a body of people who are unrepresented here and cannot reply, and who really are only quite remotely connected with this matter.
Mr. C. EDWARDS
With very great respect the whole position is this. Were the men on the "Lady Jocelyn" genuine workmen imported by Houlder Brothers, or were they persons introduced by the Shipping Federation in connection with this strike for the purpose of creating public disorder and inciting men to a breach of the peace?
I do not think the hon. Member is justified in using his position here as a Member of this House to make a series of charges as to which he knows no attack can be made upon him outside by those who are charged. It is an abuse of his privilege.
Mr. C. EDWARDS
After that observation it would be very difficult for me to pursue my argument, but I do suggest with very great respect, that when we are asked to deal with a certain condition of things, and where an essential part of that condition of things is the character and motive of those who are fighting on the one side, it is of almost imperative importance that the House should be placed in possession of all the facts.
The hon. Member is entitled to refer to any facts which relate to this particular dispute, but he is going 934 into all sorts of charges. He is charging this federation with having broken the insurance laws, and the mercantile laws, and he is making charges in relation to a number of different subjects which are really totally irrelevant to the matter which we are now investigating. If he limits himself to the subject we are now discussing, I should not stop him.
Mr. C. EDWARDS
After that ruling, with the profoundest respect for what you have said, I will confine myself as narrowly as I can. One point I will deal with in a sentence, and I would ask for the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary. The short point is this: that there could have been no running of a boarding-house if the Shipping Federation had not got itself registered as a company contrary to the Trade Union Act. What I do commend to the right hon. Gentleman is this, that he should see that this is a trade union fulfilling every form of the definition of a trade union, and inasmuch as the Trade Union Act says that if a trade union is registered as a company the registration is void, I suggest that he might at once take action against it and remove the difficulty of the "Lady Jocelyn" or any other business activity in which this trade union masquerading as a company indulges contrary to law. I will leave that matter there, and I now come to the past history of this "Lady Jocelyn." This is not the first time that there has been a very serious charge brought in connection with this ship. There was serious trouble in 1890 and in 1891, and I will suggest to right hon. Gentlemen sitting on the Opposition Front Bench to inquire quietly what their own Home Secretary did in regard to the "Lady Jocelyn" in the dispute at the Victoria Docks in October, 1891. They will then find that the conduct with which they are now charging the present Home Secretary was the conduct of their own Home Secretary in 1891, and if they refer to the Report of the Labour Commission set up by their own Government they will find that the "Lady Jocelyn" and another ship at that time were sources of the very gravest disorder. It was not disputed that the men on these two ships were armed with revolvers and that a number of shots were fired, and that the men on board did act as a party of inciters to trouble. The next point is with regard to the characters of the men on this ship. Either this ship or another, when stationed at Hull during the dispute of 1893, was forbidden by the Port 935 Sanitary Authorities, on the ground that small-pox had broken out on it, and this ship or another ship, while stationed at Liverpool during the shipping dispute of 1892, was forbidden by the Port Sanitary Authorities in Liverpool on the ground that cholera had broken out on it; and I think that there are other grounds on which this matter might be dealt with as a matter of policing by the Home Office, as well as in the way suggested by the Opposition.
As showing the character of the ship, a number of the men who are on board the "Jocelyn" are, as I have said, professional strike breakers. That is to say they are men who are in the first place collected at so much per head by the Free Labour Association and supplied to the Shipping Federation. It is not an unknown fact that some of them have been supplied at so much per head by these people a number of times over. More than that, a number of these men have been taking the place of men on strike in not one, but a number of strikes, and a number of industries. That is to say, when the men on board the "Jocelyn" went to Liverpool some of them had been engaged to break a strike of engineers in the North of England, some of them had been engaged to break a strike in Hull, and some of them had been engaged to break a strike in West Ham. The question arises on that point as to whether, if people do go about in this way—they have a perfect right to do it—many of them armed with revolvers, they are to be vouchsafed at the public expense precisely the same protection as if they are genuine workmen, genuine free labourers, genuine non-unionists, seeking to get work. I submit that it would be wrong in principle for money to be expended on people going about in this provocative way, as though a man going up and down the street and threatening to crack on the head everybody whom he meets, should ask for police protection while he was indulging in the process of provocation. I ask hon. Members opposite sincerely not to believe that people are only armed in this way, and that this boat is only used in this way, to get the fullest possible protection for these men from the strikers. There are other reasons in connection with this very ship. In the strike of 1892 one of the reasons for using her was to prevent the men getting away after the capitation fee had been drawn on account. If hon. Members opposite really think the sort of thing which goes on in connection with this 936 vessel is worthy of their protection, I would suggest that they investigate matters a little further. Not only are the conditions of the vessel grossly insanitary, but they are also grossly immoral in character so as to retain the men on board. If hon. Members have any doubt about it, let them go down and inquire for themselves.
If in that condition of things you are to afford the same protection that would be given to a perfectly genuine workman seeking employment from being threatened and molested, then I for one say it is not a right principle. Hon. Members opposite have been rather badly had over this Motion. The Free Labour Association, who are responsible for engaging these men and running the agitation on the employers' lines, are a body of some seven or eight men, who during the past few years have taken part in a great number of bogus agitations. The National Free Labour Association is only one alias out of five, and under this one alias these particular persons carry on their bogus agitations. They were brought into existence for this purpose by Mr. Laws, of the Shipping Federation, for the admitted purpose of smashing trade unionism and to promote Toryism. There has not been any General Election and there has not been any municipal election in the last twenty years where these particular people have not issued manifestoes on behalf of the Conservative and Moderate parties. They have confessed to receiving large subscriptions from the Conservatives, and I could give particulars if it were at all necessary. I need hardly remind the House that the head of this particular gang has derived some fame from a letter which was sent by the late Prime Minister, and which began "My dear Peters"—in other words, these are precisely the same individuals who ran the great bogus agitation as to the East London water supply, the same people who ran another big agitation when they obtained large subscriptions from the wharfingers not in favour below the Tower Bridge, and afterwards drew subscriptions from wharfingers above the Tower Bridge on the ground that it was going to injure their business.
The hon. Member is continually bringing in irrelevant matter, and he takes this opportunity to vent his spite on a particular body by bringing all sorts of charges against them which are irrelevant to the matter in hand. I must ask the hon. Gentleman to keep to the matter under discussion.
Mr. C. EDWARDS
I have no spite, and I act from a high sense of public duty. When to my knowledge political scavengers of this character are utilising a perfectly genuine sentiment of this kind through the instrumentality of a great party in the State to create a wrong impression, I think I would be neglecting my duty to this House if I did not bring to its knowledge all the facts on which I base my statements. You are, Sir, supreme in your position, and it is impossible for me to speak contrary to your ruling. I have indicated what is the character of this agitation, and I could have supplied many details. I shall have to take the opportunity of doing it elsewhere. I say, with all sincerity in conclusion, that in my belief this whole thing has been engineered by this particular gang of people, who have captured the innocent mind of the Front Opposition Bench in their attempt to discredit genuine workmen and a genuine trade union movement by representations of a disgraceful character against the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary.
§ Mr. JAMES MASON
The latter part of the speech to which we have listened seemed to me to consist of an attack upon certain individuals, while in the earlier portion of his observations the hon. Member gave an example of that intolerance which is so often shown by organised labour against all other men who are desirous to work. The attacks we have heard upon the men on board this ship seem to be very unworthy. Insinuations were thrown out, and it was suggested, that they are not ordinary workmen, because they came from gaol doors and other places. All sorts of insinuations of that kind were thrown out, without any attempt whatever to prove them. At any rate we have no evidence before us that these men upon whom the attacks are made were not willing to work; and we have still less evidence to show why they should not have as much right to work as any other body of men. Earlier in the evening we listened to a very interesting speech by the hon. Member for Leicester, who insisted considerably upon the question of the right to work. I refer to that subject, because it seems to me that the ideas which we hold about the right to work, and the ideas which hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite hold on the same question, are very different ideas, and are very much at the root of a great deal of the trouble we experience. The 938 fact is the right to work is the right of every man to do the work he is willing to do and which is offered to him; whereas the right to work as understood by hon. Gentlemen opposite is that a certain class, the aristocracy of labour, should have the right to work under more favourable circumstances, which involves the denial to other people of any right at all.
We contend that the action adopted by the Government, and certainly the language which is used by the Home Secretary, must at any rate have a tendency to show sympathy on the part of the Government, a preferential sympathy for trade unionists over free labourers. I do not think it can be denied that the tendency of the whole action of the Government, and the tendency of the words used by the Home Secretary, puts trade unionists in a preferential position over others. In that way and to that extent it shows that the Government offers a sort of inducement to all men to join the ranks of organised labour, and that the Government would approve of organised labour practically absorbing the whole labour of the country. This question is one which lies between three parties—the labourers the employers and the public. This question of whether or not pressure should be put upon every labourer to join a trade union is one which, of course, has considerable interest for employers; but in my opinion it is far more interesting still to the community at large. I am quite prepared to admit that in the case of some employers, and in the case of some trades, it may even be of advantage that the whole of the men employed should be trade unionists. I have had a long experience of this subject myself, and I have had experience in both directions. Many years ago I was interested in a business in which the action of the trade unionists became so intolerable that it was one of the principal causes why that business has broken down. But, on the other hand, I have been interested in a business in which undoubtedly the assistance which the management received from the trade union officials was very considerable, and certainly in that particular case the fact that the whole of the men belonged to trade unions was no disadvantage whatever. Therefore, I think employers may not necessarily be all opposed to or in favour of the whole of the men being members of trade unions. I feel sure that in many cases the fact of the whole of the workmen being trade unionists may be an advantage.
939 But when you come to the question of the community, then I think the matter is of much more importance. It is undoubtedly not in the interests of the community that anything should be done or any step taken in the direction of making these general attacks upon the community. It is quite obvious that if the whole of the labour of the country could be forced into the trade union ranks it is a step which would facilitate what of course many of them are driving at—that is, the carrying on of the general strike. The general strike would then be not against the employers of labour in general, and certainly not against employers of labour in particular, but it would aim at holding up the whole community of the country, being able to starve the community into such a position that the interference of the Government would be necessary, and the trade unionists in that way would gain their object. If the trade unions get so far as to absorb the whole of the labour of the country, is it not obvious that the starvation of this great city may become possible? Who saved London from starvation within the last few weeks but the free labourers? But if you have the whole labour of the country forced into trade union ranks, starvation, which has not been a success and has failed owing to the free labour coming forward to save London, might, under trade unions, if they had their way, become possible, and a great city might be threatened with very disastrous consequences indeed. I think the position of the community is a very serious one, and that any words or action on the part of the Government which tend to encourage, and to make at all possible this very alarming possibility to the community of being what is commonly called "held up" by labour, and starved into submission—that any action on the part of the Government which encourages that position should be looked upon very carefully and as such as should certainly lay the Government open to very just and proper criticism.
§ 8.0 P.M.
§ Mr. O'GRADY
I think the hon. Member who has just spoken can hardly be aware of the facts in regard to the question of the food supply of London to which he referred. He cannot be aware that offers were made to the Home Secretary by the strikers to unload cargoes of food, and it is, therefore, not quite fair that he should state that, but for the intervention 940 of free labour, London would have been in danger of starvation. I should like to comment on the special regard which hon. Members opposite are just now displaying for the interests of the public in disputes between capital and labour. It is well known that in most of the strikes which have occurred in recent years it has been the employers who have been responsible for endangering the interests of the community. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire asked what, if employers had done this kind of thing, action would have been taken by the country, and he said that no doubt they would have been condemned wholesale, and probably steps would have been taken by the Government. As a matter of fact they have done it over and over again. I may recall the instance of the lock-out of the engineers. In that case a terrible strike was carried on for six months, and there was not the slightest concern shown for the public interest or for the welfare of the community. But when men are compelled to take such action, as I submit they have been compelled to take during this dispute, then we find that the whole force of the Opposition Press, and, I regret to say, a section of the Press representing Gentlemen on this side of the House, is active in denouncing and condemning the workmen in all directions.
Many of the speeches which have been delivered to-night are quite wide of the facts. The hon. and learned Member for South Bucks (Sir A. Cripps) declared that goods had only been obtained from the docks on permits signed by Ben Tillett. One would have imagined that a gentleman of the high legal reputation which the hon. and learned Gentleman possesses would be careful of his facts. Mr. Ben Tillett has never signed a permit or been asked to sign one during the whole course of this strike. I thought it was common knowledge that a colleague—John Jones—signed these. The same misstatement appeared in a letter read by the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London—a letter from one of the firms for which he was holding a brief, a letter full of purely ex parte statements absolutely unsupported by evidence. My complaint against the Government is that the protection which they have afforded has been all on one side. Instead of not giving protection, as hon. Members opposite complain, they have, in my opinion, gone too far. The assumption in these Debates always is that when workmen strike they are in the wrong; they are 941 always supposed to be engaged in a conspiracy, and, therefore, it is argued, that the employers are entitled to employ all possible forces to break down the strike. In the case of the strike of last July the employers in the Port of London declared that they had the men beaten, and that they ought to have been left alone to smash them; they resented the interference of the Government and of the Board of Trade in bringing about a settlement on that occasion, and ever since there has been an expression of regret on the part of the employers that they were not allowed to pursue their policy—to beat the men and compel them to revert to the old brutal struggles that used to take place at the dock gates before 1890. It is merely a policy of cheap wages; the talk about free labour is nonsense. There is no free labour in this country, and the least free of any, as is well known, is the so-called free labour which is imported into strikes in the Port of London and other places.
I am glad the Leader of the Opposition has committed his whole party to a policy of union smashing and to a preference for blackleg labour. As far as we are concerned we shall make that fact prominent on almost every platform throughout the country during the next three or four weeks, and I hope that the Tory trade unionist will read these Debates and get a glimpse of the policy inaugurated by the Opposition here. I fancy they will give short shrift to the political party opposite, as well as to hon. Gentlemen on this side who express agreement with a policy of that character. The attitude of the strikers has been commented upon, and complaint is made that the Government have not afforded more protection to blacklegs. But I can give dozens of cases to show how the police have got out of hand; how they break the strikers' heads, and ride down women and children. I only hope the report is not correct that one child was killed in the attack which the police made on the people on the other side of the water last night. There is also a report that a police sergeant, on 11th June, in the course of the morning, fired a revolver upon the strikers from the bridge of a steamboat, and that he stood there in order that he might get a better aim. I hope that that statement too is incorrect. I will give what facts I have to the Home Secretary, and trust that the right hon. Gentleman will make inquiry. If the charge is proved to be inaccurate, I shall be the first to withdraw it. There are 942 dozens of cases we have to submit to the Home Secretary in that way.
I want to know, seeing that the employers in the Port of London have been absolutely responsible for bringing about this strike, why the Government has not taken the same attitude towards them. Of course they cannot do it. What they could do would be to follow up the policy of the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London, and advocate a reversion to the old English method of settling disputes. Seeing that the employers are absolutely responsible for this strike and for the damage caused thereby to the community and to the Port of London, and inasmuch as a statutory body like the Port of London Authority has had the impertinence to flout the Government and to take up the policy of union-smashing, I say the time has crane when these things must be considered in all their bearings. The employers want the Government to stand hands off, and to allow them to smash the unions and to introduce sweating wages, coupled with the abominable conditions that existed prior to 1890. From the time that agreement was arrived at, and almost before the ink was dry, down to May this year, the employers have persistently broken the contract; they have adopted a deliberate policy of forcing the men to strike, and that was the policy they had in their minds in August, 1911, although they were prevented carrying it into effect on that occasion. It has been calculated by men who ought to know, that as a result of the breaking of contracts by the employers £500,000 in wages has been filched from the poor dockers who suffer from the vicissitudes of our industrial system. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why not sue them?"] I am asked why the employers have not been sued. We could not hope to get justice, and I think I can prove that by my own personal experience. I went into a Court to give evidence in favour of an employer who was suing another employer for payment for a certain machine, and the employer, on whose behalf I was witnessing, lost his case because of the mere fact that I stated I was a trade unionist. Again, there are no contracts to sue upon; these men work from hour to hour and week to week; they have no claim at all and the only way they can get an increase in wages is by a threat on the part of the union that unless the employers keep their contracts the men shall strike.
§ Mr. RONALD M'NEILL
Do I understand the hon. Member to say that there has been a breach of contract by which the workmen have lost £500,000. Surely if there has been a breach of a legal contract there is a remedy for it in the Courts of Law.
§ Mr. O'GRADY
There is not such a contract apparently as action can be taken upon. We do not want the Government to legislate on this matter. I may recall a case in which Mr. Gosling withheld action in one dispute for three weeks in order that the matter might be discussed before the Lord Chief Justice. The Lord Chief Justice decided that the men were entitled to be paid the wages which they claimed, but even then they were not paid. The leaders and the men themselves want this thing settled upon fair and square lines, and, in order to attain that end, they offered certain guarantees, always provided something was done to make their contracts legal so that they could obtain their wages under them, or that some compulsion was imposed upon employers to keep their contracts. The strike is spreading from London to other ports in the kingdom. I believe that 98 per cent. of the ports of the country will be idle within the next week or two. It will probably spread to the railways; it will spread all the way round. My complaint is that the employers, instead of being treated in a manner that would bring them to their senses, are getting Horse, Foot, and Artillery, police, and all the rest of it to keep on with the policy that they have set themselves to carry out.
With regard to the Motion before the House, I hold no brief for the Liberal party. I am in the happy position of never having been a Liberal. Like the great great majority of my race, I was always a Nationalist. But among the many speeches I have heard in this House I have never heard a more crushing reply than that of the Home Secretary to-day. On the whole, I think that we have a grievance. In view of the delicacy of the negotiations at present, I do not want to say anything that will increase the anger either of the employers or the workmen; but I say very deliberately that if this kind of conduct is to go on, if this union-smashing policy is to be backed up in this House by hon. Gentlemen who ought to know better, and who at least ought to have a sense of fairplay and decency when these questions between capital and 944 labour come up, we shall have to take our own course and risk the consequences. That is our position put in a nutshell. I hope the Government will keep on its even-handed way, and hold the balance fairly and squarely between the two parties. In the meantime I plead with hon. Gentlemen opposite that they should consider this matter really from the point of view of national and public interest. Instead of going on with this policy of union-smashing and the employment of blackleg labour, let them do their level best to bring both sides together, and to get a settlement fixed up that will ensure peace in the Port of London for at least the next five years.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
Personally, I am concerned first and foremost with the preservation of peace, and I want to know from the hon. Member opposite, does he or does he not justify the intimidation of and the assaults upon blacklegs?
§ Mr. O'GRADY
I want to know if they have taken place. Will the hon. and learned Gentleman cite me generally a number of cases? I do not want one here and there. They happen in a state of war, but generally there has been no attack upon and no intimidation of free labour.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
I will give proof presently that during this strike there have been assaults and intimidation upon what is termed blackleg labour. I want to know from the Labour party, once and for all, do they justify, if it exists, the assaulting of people whom the Leader of the Labour party has described with so-much skill as blacklegs? The hon. Member himself (Mr. O'Grady) accused the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London of believing too easily everything he read and everything he was told. No Member will accuse me of that crime. I have had the privilege of seeing a good deal of these labour disputes during the last fourteen years. Fourteen years ago I was honoured by being appointed by the Government as counsel in a case in which Mr. Ben Tillett was concerned, and I have had the privilege of going through one or two strikes since then. Does anyone suggest that in these strikes intimidation is not freely used against non-union labour?
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
You may put that in if you like. My point for the present is with regard to non-unionist labour. Is it suggested that violence is not used in the course of these strikes?
§ Mr. LANSBURY
As the late Leader of the Opposition once said, there are limits to human endurance in any dispute. We do not deny that there is violence, but there is violence on both sides.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
You never justify violence, but you can explain it. It is exactly in the same way as the right hon. Member for Dublin University (Sir E. Carson) explains his violent language to the Ulster Orangemen.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
I am much obliged to the hon. Gentleman for his frank answer, but it is not quite an answer to my question.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
Do or do not the Labour party justify violence against blacklegs in the docks or elsewhere? With regard to the contribution of the Prime Minister concerning the duties of the Home Secretary, I have had an opportunity of looking at the authorities, and I think it is a fairly new proposition to suggest that the Home Secretary is not responsible outside the Metropolitan area for the maintenance of law and order to this extent. In the Metropolitan area he is responsible directly for the Metropolitan Police. Outside the Metropolitan area I submit that he is certainly responsible for seeing, if necessary, that the local authorities do their duty, and in case of need he has the power and duty of calling out the military to suppress riot and put down disorder. With regard to the local police, the right hon. Gentleman knows his powers far better than I do. He has very considerable statutory powers over the local police. But this is the point with which I am dealing more specifically. He is the person who, as representing His Majesty's Government, is bound to put into force such powers as he possesses to prevent a breach of the peace even outside the Metropolitan area. The right hon. Gentleman, in his speech the other night, said that a communication was made to the 946 Home Office not from the Chief Constable, but from certain large shipowners at Tilbury, last Wednesday, as to the state of disturbance there. In reply to a question of mine he said:—The communications which I mentioned as having reached me on Wednesday were made verbally, and no record of them has been kept.There is no doubt some misunderstanding about that answer, because I am going to read telegrams which were sent and received at the Home Office upon the Wednesday. I venture to submit they have a very material bearing upon this case. On the Wednesday this telegram was sent by a shipowner:—Reference telegram 3rd, have now to report that serious intimidation from large body of pickets prevails at Tilbury. Scruttons, Ltd., intimate that two of their foremen have been badly injured; one now in hospital. Union pickets are in complete charge of bridge, railway, and ferry, constituting sole access and means of communication between different points in dock Earnestly beg you will at once take steps to reinforce local constabulary, who have proved quite inadequate to deal with situation, which is now very critical.That is from a shipowner. I gather it was received at the Home Office.
§ Mr. McKENNA
The hon. and learned Gentleman asked a certain question to which I gave him an answer. I have answered specific questions which he put as to what was the communication made to me to which I referred in my speech. I replied that the communication made to me was a verbal communication, and that no record was kept. I never referred to that letter.
§ Mr. McKENNA
Yes, but the hon. Gentleman did not ask me about letters I have received from shipowners, but what was the communication to which I had referred in my speech on Thursday night. The hon. Member sees the difference.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
I quite see the difference, and I will show the House in one moment that the difference is this: that the right hon. Gentleman stated in his speech that he had upon the Wednesday received a communication from a shipowner or shipowners—
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
I very naturally asked that the communication to which he referred should be laid upon the Table of this House, and that I should have a copy. I quite agree that I ought to have expressed it more carefully. The right hon. 947 Gentleman replied that the communication he had received was from a shipowner, was verbal, and that no record had been kept. I have read a communication from another shipowner which admittedly was received at the Home Office on the Wednesday. I know it was received. Let us deal with it for a moment. It refers to serious intimidation by a very large body of pickets. It says that Scruttons, Limited, intimate that two of their foremen had been badly injured. Has the right hon. Gentleman the slightest reason to doubt that this is true?
§ Mr. McKENNA
Certainly. I do not think the hon. and learned Gentleman was in the House when I gave my answer. If he had been he would have remembered that on receiving that communication from Messrs. Scrutton, whose account I accepted, I sent down a special officer to Tilbury to report to me as to whether the circumstances were as serious as alleged. He reported, on the authority of the Chief Constable, that they were not so serious as to require any constables being sent down.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
I was in the House when the right hon. Gentleman made his statement, and I heard it except that about the Chief Constable.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
I certainly did not hear that. I believe it is correct. But I am dealing now not with disturbances, and especially with the fact that two people had to go to hospital. The right hon. Gentleman made a great point that there were no disturbances.
§ Mr. O'GRADY
Does the hon. and learned Gentleman know that the statement he is quoting has been repudiated, and the papers published and apologised for it, and it subsequently turned out that the reporters had got their information from the Shipping Federation?
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
Then a further telegram was sent upon the same day:—Beg call your attention to inadequacy police protection at Surrey Commercial Dock. Several men have already been injured by Union pickets, and present indications are that Union attacks and intimidation on 948 a much more violent scale may now be expected. Fear superintendent in charge does not appreciate gravity position. Earnestly trust that you will make investigation into matter, and arrange protection on same scale as Albert Victoria Docks.This telegram and another were sent to the Home Office. The latter said:—Have despatched following telegram to Chief Constable, Kent Constabulary: About 300 Union pickets have been assembled at Greenhithe since last night, and are preventing access to our depot ship 'Lady Jocelyn.' They have wrecked and sent adrift one of the ship's boats, maltreated the boatman, and are preparing for other acts of violence. Greenhithe is outside the jurisdiction of the river police, who communicated with your force last night. But understand that up to the present absolutely no attempt has been made to afford adequate protection or to disperse the pickets. Beg you will give matter your immediate attention.That was received by the Home Office on the Wednesday. Does that show that there was no disturbance going on? Not only at Greenhithe but at the Surrey Commercial Dock, which is within the right hon. Gentleman's jurisdiction. I myself do not draw any very keen distinction between the fact as to whether it is in the Metropolitan area or just outside. Surplus police were in the possession of the right hon. Gentleman, and could have been sent outside his jurisdiction to where the disturbances were. But whether the disturbances arose inside or outside the Metropolitan area, I submit without any technicality that the right hon. Gentleman was responsible equally in one case as in the other. Upon these telegrams there are two distinct charges made, namely, disturbances in the Surrey Docks, which are within the jurisdiction of the right hon. Gentleman, and at Greenhithe, which is outside his jurisdiction. Does the right hon. Gentleman deny that there were disturbances? I am not inclined to believe people too easily, but I have seen people who have told me that they have seen these disturbances. They have seen the picketing down one side of the river banks which have resulted in violence. They have seen stones thrown and injury to people at whom they were thrown. Does any hon. Gentleman here say that either one is not to believe what is thus told him? I submit there is not the slightest doubt that there have been cases of considerable violence and intimidation. What was the result in the case of the "Lady Jocelyn"? The result was that there was difficulty in getting either food or water aboard that ship.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
Apparently there was, and one boat, I understand, was 949 upset for the purpose of showing the occupants that there was plenty of water in the river. Frankly, I agree with two hon. Members on the Benches opposite below the Gangway, because I know them well enough to know that they are absolutely straight. They make no secret of it, that they know perfectly well that there has been intimidation, and they make no secret of the fact that they do not see that there was very much harm in it. But it is different with the Home Secretary. He is paid to see that law and order is kept. That is the point which is the important thing here. I say that it is an important matter. The Home Secretary has an important office as head of the police force in London, and the practical control of the police throughout England. He is paid to see that peace is preserved. Surely it is an important matter that he should see that it is done? Is the mere fact that a man is a blackleg, as the hon. Gentleman the Member for Leicester pointed out, sufficient to disentitle him to protection? The Home Secretary has not attempted to deal definitely with that point. He said, so far as the power lies in him. He says if there is sufficient police. But admittedly here there were surplus police ready to be sent down if necessary; surplus police who would have been sent down if an outbreak had occurred. Yet there was this scene of disorder going on outside. The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well when he boasts here that a large number of non-union men are working in the docks and on the river with police protection, that it is not the protection of the police that enables that to be done, but the protection of a civilian force more or less of an irregular kind which apparently has raised up feelings in that neighbourhood at the present time. That is the point I wish to press. On Wednesday warnings were given but no attention was paid to them by the Home Office. On Thursday, the chief constable communicated with the Home Office and requested help and reinforcement, and then it was that although the Home Office had this surplus force at its command it declined to send down any force except for certain purposes, namely, the carrying of food or in case riot had occurred, which had not occurred at that particular moment. But the right hon. Gentleman did not send them down to protect the people who at that time had been threatened and were being assaulted, namely, the non-union men trying to work, and consequently the 950 people who were trying to bring food and water to the non-union men were not protected. That is the complaint I make against the Home Office. It is difficult to intervene in a Debate like this without appearing to take sides, and it makes one more or less of a partisan on one side or the other.
I submit to the House, quite apart from this strike, it is best for all parties that the Home Office, entrusted with the preservation of peace in England, should carry out that duty whether they like or dislike the particular people who want to be protected. In this case it happened to be what are called blacklegs. We may like them or not. There are two courses open to the Home Office. First, the unpopular course, which is the course of duty to see that every person acting within his right should be protected from personal violence and intimidation. That is the unpopular view. The second is what I may call, without disrespect, the vote-catching view, fitting oneself to the exigencies of the times, at one time dealing with the employers and another time with the other party, trying to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. I am not urging these matters more than is necessary for the purposes of discussion, but I want to impress upon the House that the duty of the Home Office is perfectly clear. On the one side, I do not say whether it is right or wrong, we have men who want to smash trade unionism. On the other side we have the Labour Members frankly trying to assist trade unionism. It is far better for the Home Office to carry out the duty entrusted to it independently, seeing that protection is given to those who need it. The Labour Members do not represent all labour.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
The Labour Members do not represent all labour, and I know they do not even represent all trade unionists.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
I have no doubt we all in this House represent common sense. Mr. Ben Tillett and Tom Mann and others represent some part of trade unionists in England, but I do not wish to make that point. The position I am making here is the necessity for preventing disorder. The Home Secretary asked us to give specific 951 instances of intimidation and disorder at the present time. Surely he cannot really mean he is unaware that continual disturbances existed within twenty miles of London in the past week; he surely cannot be unaware that hon. Members who have addressed the House have given some instances. I have been told of various cases of intimidation within the last day or two. I am not speaking only of those which came before the Courts. Men going down to take part in the unloading of ships have been met by pickets and have been intimidated and turned back. I do not wish to deal too much in detail with these matters, but I can give plenty of instances, privately, if necessary, to the Home Secretary. Is there any hon. Member in the House who does not know that there have been definite organised attempts to prevent what are called blacklegs from doing their work, and that the pickets are doing their endeavours to prevent them from going to work?
§ Mr. W. THORNE
As far as the north aide of the Thames is concerned we never had a picket at all. The police would not allow us to come within a mile of the river.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
All I can say is that the police, for whom the Home Secretary is responsible, have done their work badly. Pickets were at Fenchurch Street this morning.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
No, I say the police are very negligent in allowing the pickets to work. The pickets were working at the East Indian Dock on Monday night, and the police have been pretty careless in allowing picketing upon that side. I do not know what power they had, but they used it extremely badly. All I am saying is no one can doubt that intimidations have been used during the strike. The telegrams I have read give a fair illustration of that. No one can doubt the position taken up by the Home Office is equally culpable. It was this: that although at the time they had the means in their power they did not afford the proper protection, and the Home Office had written to say that they were only prepared to send their surplus police subject to certain conditions, and that they were not prepared to send their surplus police to protect men who were anxious to work. I think there is not the slightest doubt about that. If there is any doubt, one has only 952 to read this letter sent out from the Home Office:—Sir,—In reply to your letter of the 4th inst., requesting the assurance of such police protection as may be necessary to enable the "Lady Jocelyn" to be brought into the docks, I am directed by the Secretary of State to say that it appears to him that to bring the ship into dock at the present moment would be a provocative action, and would greatly increase the difficulty of the police in maintaining order throughout the whole area to which the strike extends. While, therefore, in case of actual disturbance or violence, the police would if called upon intervene to maintain order, Mr. McKenna cannot authorise them taking precautionary measures such as are justified when the question is that of convoying to the markets the food supply of London. The demands on the police are very heavy, and it is necessary to concentrate their efforts on the protection of necessary supplies, and not to divert them to support proceedings which would produce great irritation and increase their difficulties.The point I am making is that here the right hon. Gentleman has failed in his duty because he failed to give such assistance as he admittedly had at his disposal to protect men who were doing what they have a lawful right to do. He failed in his duty to send men to prevent a breach of the peace occurring at that time. Breaches of the peace had occurred and have been rampant during the last ten days, and it is clearly the duty of the Home Secretary to prevent violence of any kind, and in this respect the right hon. Gentleman has not done his duty, and that is why there is justification for this Motion.
§ Mr. CARR-GOMM
The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken in support of this Motion, which is practically in the nature of a vote of censure upon the Home Secretary, did not, I think, hear the speech which my right hon. Friend made in defence of his action this afternoon.
§ Mr. CARR-GOMM
I think the Home-Secretary answered the points which the hon. and learned Gentleman has just raised. Speaking as a London citizen, I would like to add my testimony to what, other hon. Members on this side have said in support of the policy which my right hon. Friend has carried out in circumstances of very great difficulty. To anybody who knows the dimensions of the Port of London, and the differences and varieties of interests in that Port, the management of the forces of law and order at times like this is one of extreme difficulty. After listening to the speeches of hon. Members opposite, and hearing their suggestions as to what ought to have been done, as a London citizen I feel very gratified 953 and satisfied that the present occupant of the office of Secretary of State for the Home Department is one who holds Liberal opinions, and not the opinions of hon. Gentlemen opposite. In London, and in all great centres of industry, it is very easy to lay down strict principles and watertight compartments, but you have to deal humanely with these matters, and there are so many differences and varieties of interests to deal with that it is a matter of extreme difficulty to act upon any cut and dried plan. I wish to speak upon a matter which occurred last night, and which is of great importance to those who work on the south side of the river. Last night an occurrence took place in the district of Rotherhithe of great gravity, and if it is a sample of the kind of police methods which hon. Gentlemen opposite desire to see put into forces then I am glad that they are not in power to enforce it. On the occasion I allude to the police attempted to clear a whole street, not of strikers, but of citizens of every class by the most violent methods. It is quite true that along this street the meat vans have to pass under a convoy, but I assert in this House, as I have asserted at the Home Office, that it will be found on inquiry that the condition of affairs in this street before the police took the action they did was one of absolute quietude, and until the police commenced this charging the crowd there was no difficulty or trouble whatsoever.
I realise that the Home Secretary has met me in a very fair and frank way in this matter, for he has promised a full inquiry. The Home Secretary is not present, but I will ask the Under-Secretary to convey to him my thanks for his promise, and I can assure him that the matter is of the most urgent and vital importance. Here in this district, where so much suffering at the present moment is taking place, and where the crisis is so acute, you have the police acting in a very dangerous manner and practically asking for reprisals. I have been there this afternoon myself, taking every advantage at open-air meetings and other places of urging strikers, non-strikers, and citizens to help by maintaining order, and I am convinced that they are going to do it. I am also convinced that they would have done the same thing last night if they had been left alone. I have the greatest possible admiration for the members of the Metropolitan Police force, and I have testified to that fact before. I am not suggesting that the actual mem- 954 bers of the force were responsible for what took place, but I do suggest that someone in authority in the police force gave an order which, in my humble judgment, was a colossal blunder, and it will only be by the level-headedness and the peacefulness of the people of that district if serious consequences are avoided. It is a curious thing that this affair which took place last night very nearly coincided with the putting down of this Motion on the Paper. It is a curious thing that hon. Members opposite are trying to urge the Government to adopt more drastic measures. I am here not merely as a Member of the Liberal party, but as the representative of a large artisan constituency, and I am profoundly thankful that the leaders of the party opposite have not got charge of affairs in London during this crisis.
To handle these difficult questions when a great dispute is on is an exceedingly delicate matter. It is all very well to say that you have to protect the right of the man who wishes to work. I think the Home Secretary made a clear and straightforward reply to that argument, because he asked for instances where there was work wanted and where work would not be protected. The answer was given by the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury), who referred to the case of Messrs. Deacon at the Surrey Commercial Docks. The defence of Messrs. Deacon was very fully and ably answered on this side of the House. The charge in the letter which justified the hon. Baronet in saying that they could not get police protection was a statement of Messrs. Deacon that in their opinion they did not consider there were enough police outside the Surrey Commercial Docks. On that statement, which rests upon the opinion of Messrs. Deacon this instance was given, and was received with very great cheering by hon. Members on the Opposition Benches. I think my right hon. Friend is perfectly justified in saying what he did. There are 8,000 men at work in the Port of London. As no one can bring any statement forward to show clearly that there is any big demand for work which cannot be satisfied, these charges fall to the ground. I think my right hon. Friend has justified his action up to the hilt, and I thank him for promising a full inquiry into the methods adopted by the police last night. I can assure him that the matter is of the most profound importance. This is a kind of attempt by certain officials of the police force to introduce new methods into the 955 management of the crowds in London. Usually the management of crowds is accomplished without any difficulty, but here there was an unprovoked attack upon innocent citizens which certainly produced terrible results last night. We ask the right hon. Gentleman for an immediate inquiry and to hear all sides. If I thought there was any fear that this matter would be hushed up or that an inquiry might be burked, I would not support him or the Government any further. This is a most serious matter to those who sent me to this House, and at the risk of wearying hon. Members I may say again that I have been this afternoon to my Constituency and told them their case has been put forward as keenly as possible, and they would get from this House and from the Home Secretary ample justice and ample hearing at the inquiry.
§ 9.0 P.M.
§ Mr. BALDWIN
I am sure everyone in the House will sympathise with the hon. Member who has just spoken, and understand he has been obliged to give, and has only been performing his duty in giving, a somewhat narrow and local application to the subject under discussion. I feel a little embarrassed, so many hon. and learned counsel have spoken to-day, and have dwelt so fully with the question from the legal and constitutional point of view. I have neither the knowledge nor the ability to follow in their steps, and must confine myself to a much wider and more general aspect of what I believe to be the very grave error on the part of the Home Secretary. I propose to confine myself to this: the impression the words of the Home Secretary, as they will be diluted through the Press and through other public reports, will give to people, both employers and employed, throughout the country. In these days when we are governed so much by a cheap Press, when we are governed so much by impulse, and when few of us have time to think, it is the impression that gets at large amongst big bodies of men acting together that may overflow as it were the banks of our civilisation and carry all things before it. The words the Home Secretary uttered the other evening were after all only the putting of the final coping stone to the building that has been in course of erection for some years. There is no doubt—and I think the words of the hon. Member for West Ham (Mr. W. Thorne) bear me out—that there is a general impression not only amongst the work- 956 ing classes, but amongst all classes in the country to-day, that, under the Trades Disputes Act of 1906, the moment an industrial dispute breaks out the picket is above the law. I do not wish to be misunderstood. I said there was that impression, and I claim the hon. Member for West Ham as an authority on my side. He looked at it as a definite grievance that the police had prevented picketing on the other side of the Thames, and from that I judge he felt the police were acting beyond their legal powers, and that therefore the pickets were within their rights. That completely justifies what I said. We have to remember that frame of mind is very prevalent in the country, and we have to remember that this Government, acting, I believe, with the best intentions, but producing, in my opinion, very grave results, have throughout the time they have been in power continually interfered with trade disputes, and by that very interference have caused another widespread impression that a trade dispute has only to start to bring in the Government to help everybody, masters and men alike, out of the difficulties into which they are getting. What have we seen in the last few weeks? We have seen this strike beginning under rather peculiar circumstances. If we may use a military simile for a moment, and I know military similes are popular in labour disputes at the present time, we should say it was an act of criminal folly on the part of any commander-in-chief who entered upon a campaign without seeing to his commissariat, and without seeing there-was money to pay and to feed his troops. Would it not seem to be an act of folly, and even of criminality, that strike leaders should choose a moment to lead their men into action in a big strike when it is perfectly obvious they have not been at the pains to see that those men can be provided with pay or their children with food. I do not believe any strike leader would have committed an error of this kind had it not been for that second impression that the mere threat of a general strike, or the mere calling of a general strike, would be sufficient to bring the Government into the field to put an end to all the troubles, and to force the two parties into a settlement. Just at that moment, the most delicate moment in a trade dispute that can be conceived, the Home Secretary makes that announcement—an announcement which I admit has been considerably watered down by 957 the Debate which has taken place to-day—which has created an impression in the country, and which must have created an impression in the country, that, added to the immunity of pickets, he, as Home Secretary, is going to confer on strikers the further privilege that anything in the shape of strike breaking will come under the condemnation of the Government. I admit freely the Home Secretary said this afternoon that is not his meaning, and it is not what he is going to do. I admit that, and I welcome that gladly; but I cannot have any confidence that the details of this Debate will filter into the country as fast, or as accurately or as inaccurately, if you choose to put it so, as the statement he made the other night. The harm has been done. The harm is that you have one of the first officers of the Government making a declaration which is understood by many men in this country to mean that it will make strikes easy. To my mind on the scale on which they take place to-day there can be no greater tragedy to a country than a big lock-out or a big strike. If I may make one personal remark, I am proud to think that during the twenty years I have been directly responsible for the management of a large number of men there has never been any question of a lock-out or strike. I can hardly imagine myself any circumstances under which I would be a party to a lock-out on a large scale. There is a spirit in these modern strikes which I fear may not be helped by what the Home Secretary said, a spirit of less responsibility. It is a spirit that if carried on must make more difficult the attainment of that mutual and collective bargaining on which trade unions for so many years, and rightly from their point of view, have insisted, and to which I was going to say the majority of the employers of this country were coming to agree and to work with in harmony. The great tragedy of these general strikes is, that when so many of the men's leaders think to promote the interests and the welfare of their own class and to elevate them and raise their wages, I feel perfectly certain that the only result of those strikes must be, so far from raising their position, is to depress it, because the harm that is done and the damage that is done to the commerce of the country is far greater than anything the men can hope to get back, and any temporary advantage they may obtain. Feeling that as strongly as I do, and that few of the leaders and few of the Members 958 of the front Ministerial Bench have any idea of what the struggle to-day is in the world's competition to secure trade and orders to keep our works in this country going and to keep our people fed, feeling that is so little realised makes me feel all the more hopeless when a right hon. Gentleman of the Home Secretary's ability and of the Home Secretary's standing, in the middle of a dispute of this kind, can give utterance to such words as he used the other night, even though this afternoon he has, as I think most rightly, qualified them so considerably. It is for those reasons I shall support the Motion of my hon. Friend.
§ Mr. CROOKS
May I say with the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down that I too regret that I have not had any legal training at all, as otherwise I should be able to say such awfully nice things to everybody without meaning anything in particular. We are under a very great debt of gratitude to the Opposition for moving this Motion, and I venture to say that this is but the opening of many such Debates on labour questions that will take place in this House. An hon. Member who addressed the House some little time ago with considerable force asked whether we favoured intimidation and assault. He repeated the question two or three times. When you talk of intimidation and assault you do not agree with it a bit, not at all. You are trying your best to prove that we are the only people guilty of intimidation and assault, but what is going on at this moment? You have convoys conveyed along the road by the police. Is that intimidation to anybody at all? Is that not intimidating men who are trying to save their souls? Is it not intimidation for you to introduce men to take the bread out of their mouths? I remember many placards in my lifetime calling for London work for London men, and you are bringing shiploads of men to take the place of London men. The intimidation is going on and went on last night at Rotherhithe, where you had intimidation and assault. Those people are our people now; they are your people at election time; they are only our people when they are in trouble. All my life I have heard of them as citizens of a great and glorious Empire on which the sun never sets, but that is when there is no strike. Those are the very men who are trying to justify that they are Englishmen and citizens of no mean city, and who are being intimidated 959 and assaulted, and whose wives and families are being starved, to satisfy what? An hon. Member opposite just now enlarged upon the virtues of free labour, but I did not hear anything of the men out of work. We hear of all the expense to bring in this free labour, which has to be kept chained up in a ship, and at an expense which is thousands of pounds more than what the granting of the concessions asked for would cost.
What in the name of common sense are the masters standing out for? Is it liberty. It may be liberty if you like, but not the liberty of the workman. Force has been tried for 1,900 years to our knowledge. They crucified Christ to end a movement which did not end but went straight on. Here they had a chance greater than was ever offered before. The men were willing to be bound down in hard cash that they would keep their agreement. Why did not the masters accept that? Because they had not got them low enough down. You talk of heroes who have come to rescue London from starvation. Is that so, having regard to the fact that the men in the very first instance offered to convoy the things through the streets so that the people should not starve. You talk of starving people. Have you thought about it that the only people who starve are the workers? If bread were a sovereign a loaf you would not go without it; you would be all right; it would make no difference to you. It is the poor fellow who is trying to stand on his hind legs and demands to be treated as a man who suffers. You talk of intimidation and assault. Come up some of the streets I know, into some of the houses I know, and see the starving little children facing you and the women crying. That is the heroism that would be praised if they were in a besieged city. That is the heroism the "Times" would be full of, but when it is a case of workmen then of course it is a wicked thing. There is no heroism that can compare with the sacrifices of those poor creatures whose hearts are rending. Is there a man in this House who would not have his head punched a thousand times rather than have his little child go without food? When he sees that, go and talk to him about intimidation and provocation. If a solicitor took 6s. instead of 6s. 8d. he would have to go out of his union, and probably never get back any more. When a brief is marked, if you have a very good man, you have to give a very good price.
§ Mr. CROOKS
It is a refresher. Instead of making a violent attack upon the Government, the House ought to have been thinking how it could have ended this struggle. The masters might have been thinking that now is their chance to get the men in subjection. Let me tell any hon. Member—and the last speaker will know this, because he has been in business—that a discontented man is not worth having at any price. If you are going to compel men to go under and to starve them under, what do you expect? They are Englishmen, they are Britons, and at the first opportunity they will fight again. How can they help it? You would do it yourselves. There is not a man within sound of my voice who would not do it if he had the chance. Here is a miserable pass. What is there in it? You talk of a declaration of war. Against whom? Against women and children. The men will not give in, because they are in exactly the same position I have been in myself. I was warned once when I said, "I do not think I will look at this job." The master said, "You will have to. Remember you have a wife and children dependent upon you." And I thought, "What will they think of their father running about for the likes of you"? If anybody says, "You shall do it," you simply put your thumbs into the armholes of your waistcoat and say, "Go on, make me." We cannot help it; it is our breed. The whole of this business could be settled with the masters to-morrow. They are asked to sacrifice nothing. If you have a railway strike you go down to the Board of Trade and get them to introduce a Bill to enable the companies to charge higher fares. It seems to me that the House argues all the time about business and dividends, and never about human beings. Supposing that the other side of the House say they are absolutely right, and we think they are absolutely wrong, so we determine to have a ring outside and fight it out. Somebody sends a message down to the Home Secretary saying there is going to be a row, and that he had better bring in his police. He says to those who think they are in the right, "clear out," and he says to us, "you clear home, we are not going to have any bother here."
The Home Secretary has been giving you a chance of intimidating. The police have been riding on the pavement. Are we really in a state of siege? Last night 961 there must have been 80 to 100 police escorting two flour vans, and nobody attempting to interfere, and yet the police shoved a man standing at the corner who looked as if he were looking for a job. I do not think the London police would do that. Had the other side been in office there would not have been policemen but soldiers. I rejoice you have shown your hand, and what you would do with us if you had your way. The Government are giving you a great deal too much now, because they are on your side. The police are all for the protection of blacklegs. You talk of "free labour." God help us! Is there any free labour in the world? Men are running down coal mines, and going into the dark to wrestle with bales of wool. Are they doing it because they love it? Are there any of you who would change places with any of these men on the "Lady Jocelyn," even with a concert party going on there to-night—music introduced, I suppose, to keep them cheerful. You talk of intimidation, provocation and assault. Think of the private policeman, the civilian policeman, in a grey uniform with a helmet. These are the gentle persuasive persons sent there for the protection of free labour, with a big shillelagh to keep order. Have you run across any picket doing the same thing? Has he stood at the door with a big stick, preventing men from going in? I challenge you to prove any case of the kind.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
Is the hon. Member aware that men were injured at Tilbury last Thursday when they were trying to do their work?
§ Mr. CROOKS
The Noble Lord has forgotten the provocation. You cannot hit an Englishman, or a Scotchman, without his wanting to hit you back. He will not have it, and good luck to him for not having it. You began the fight, you began the intimidation.
§ Mr. CROOKS
I can assure you that I know it is wasted on them. I apologise, and thank you for helping me to do something useful, instead of arguing with them. They ask for fair play. They have never given fair play. They have introduced shiploads of men to starve the wives and children of London. Because the men resent this, and are willing to make any sacrifice that they may be able to stop 962 this awful dispute, the masters think they have got the men, and can bring them to a reasonable frame of mind. The masters are not content and want to crush it out of them. God help them, and this country as a whole, if the manhood of our nation can be crushed out so easily. You can beat them for a time, but I would advise the masters, in the interests of London, in the interests of the community, and in the interests of the country we love, to make some arrangement with the men and stop the starvation that is going on.
§ Mr. POLLOCK
I am quite sure the House has much enjoyed the histrionic efforts of the hon. Member for Woolwich (Mr. Crooks). I have never seen a better display, or one more interesting, but whether it is a very convincing argument on the subject of this Motion is another question. The hon. Member (Mr. O'Grady) seemed to fail to understand the point of view which could prevail with Members on this side of the House. I want to ask him whether he would appreciate that Members on this side of the House fully appreciate the difficulty and the delicacy of the present situation. Our difficulty is this. How are you going to make agreements with the trade unions which they would adhere to in circumstances when certain difficulties arise, and from the point of view of the masters, if an agreement is to be made which can really put an end to these difficulties, they and we and the public at large ask the question, What sort of terms are to be held sacred and binding, and, when entered into by the trade union, will be adhered to? Continual hopes are expressed by hon. Members below the Gangway that an honourable way will be found out of this difficulty. We agree. Honourable on both sides. And let us find an honour which will bind both sides and both parties. But have we at present reason to believe that an undertaking or arrangement by this very union will, when circumstances of temptation arise, be adhered to?
§ Mr. POLLOCK
Will hon. Members below the Gangway appreciate that very serious difficulty and doubt have been created, not merely in the minds of Members on this side of the House, but in the minds of a still larger area of the public at large, as to what are the agreements which will be held sacred and binding upon the trade unions, and which will finally 963 put an end in an honourable way to the difficulties which have beset the country during the last few years?
§ Mr. POLLOCK
I am very much obliged, because I am quite sure that is the hon. Member's belief and hope; but may I ask him to see our point of view, and when we refer to the experience and the history of the past, we say that there is little foundation for that hope being realised. That is a different point of view. Again, the hon. Member (Mr. O'Grady) and several hon. Members opposite referred to the fact that an offer had been made to the employers of guarantees, and so on, provided they will all be bound, that they will once more make a binding agreement. But they must appreciate the very grave difficulty of the various employers, who have got very varied interests, all joined in one federation, and unless they appreciate that point they fail to appreciate one of the real difficulties of the situation. Until both sides appreciate the difficulties which belong to each side it will still be impossible, with the best hopes and aspirations in the world, to come to an end of these labour troubles, which have caused so much disaster not merely to the labour men themselves, but to the public at large. The public at large desire to see some ground and hope for a real solution to be found which shall be held binding, and shall be adhered to not only by employers, but also by the trade unionists of this country. A great many of my hon. Friends on this side represent a great deal of labour, both union and non-union labour, and it is impossible for hon. Members below the Gangway to claim that they represent exclusively all the labour of this country. We constantly have appeals made to us by what is called free labour, which I dare say the hon. Member (Mr. Ramsay Macdonald) would call blackleg labour, in order that men may have freedom to work, as they had before, without the intervention of a trade union. I would ask hon. Members opposite not to be swept away by the aspiration or hope that in the future there will be some honourable position found for labour. Labour has got to earn a character for standing by its agreements, and it must also try to appreciate the difficulties that exist on both sides. We cannot have a 964 bargain made between one. It must be a bargain between two sides.
I desire now to turn to the speech of the Prime Minister. He gave us his important testimony that in the course of his Parliamentary experience he had seldom found a Motion which had been so conclusively answered as this had been by the Home Secretary. He told us he had analysed the Motion somewhat carefully, and he gave us, as he always does, a very interesting account of his view of the law-He never pleases his own party so well as when he conducts a Debate by the method of challenge. He challenged us time and again to produce proof of this, that, and the other. He pleased his own party by that, but when he proceeds to conduct his argument by challenge he is never so unconvincing to us. There are those of us who remember his forensic efforts, and we remember that the method of challenge is a very old forensic device. What did he point out as the ground of the sufficient answer that had been given by the Home Secretary? He said the Home Secretary-had really no powers which he could have emphasised in the difficulties that he was faced with, and that he had no right to intervene for the purpose of affording protection to men who desired to work in a lawful occupation. But at the same time he admitted this, that although the Home Secretary had complete control of the Metropolitan Police, he also had a conventional authority to advise outside authorities. This Motion I suppose would have been quite right and quite in order if it had included words which called attention to the fact that the Home Secretary had not exercised his conventional authority of giving advice to the authorities who are concerned in the maintenance of order. Does he really ask the House to read this Motion in that narrow manner? Then to suppose that the public at large are ready to be satisfied because the Home Secretary, in dealing with the police who are under his jurisdiction, fails to give advice to the Essex authorities, who perhaps technically had control of the police in the county of Essex, was there ever a more narrow construction placed upon a Motion? If that is the sort of answer that the Prime Minister thinks is sufficient, I am quite satisfied that the country at large will not be satisfied. They look to the Home Secretary to exercise all his duties, and if he finds his duties in relation to the Metropolitan Police circumscribed, we ask 965 him to take a freer and more conventional view of his duties and also to exercise that conventional power which the Prime Minister says he had, and give advice to those authorities who, in the immediate neighbourhood, have got and ought to exercise the control that is required in order to enforce law and order among all the subjects of His Majesty.
The hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Ramsay Macdonald) congratulated the Home Secretary on the manner in which he had dovetailed his duties as between those who were calling him in one direction and those who were calling him in another direction. I think the right hon. Gentleman would have fulfilled his duties to the public at large much better if, instead of thinking how to dovetail his duties as between one class of voters and another, he had exercised his true functions, which are to preserve the peace of the country at large, and to bring all the forces and powers of advice he has as the central authority to bear for the purpose of ensuring that intimidation does not exist, and that those persons who are desirous of exercising their lawful right to work in a lawful occupation shall have the opportunity of doing so. The Prime Minister referred to the Featherstone case, and no doubt the way in which during his Home Secretary ship he exercised the authority he had added greatly to his reputation. But the Featherstone case was one in which an inquiry was held, and a good many propositions were laid down which are now accepted as the law of the land. One of the first propositions laid down was that when a call for help is made to refuse assistance is a misdeameanour; and when the Home Secretary knew there was likely to be a call for help, or when there was in fact a call for help on one side of the river, he had no right to accept a narrow view of his duties, to refuse assistance, and to lay blame on other authorities.
Is it to be said that a non-union man, a blackleg so-called by the hon. Member for Leicester, is to have no rights? Are we not to claim for him the same privileges as any Member of this House enjoys? Is it to be said that a trade unionist only is entitled to have protection for his particular views? We heard the hon. Member for Leicester giving an account of the type of persons who came in the "Lady Jocelyn"—the type of persons introduced for the purpose of providing the necessary labour for the supply of the markets of this great city. I thought it was an 966 unhappy reference he made. However unfortunate they may be, however much they may be the outcasts of society in his view, they are still entitled to the protection of the law, more even than others if they are endeavouring once more to earn their living in a lawful occupation. That is the sort of answer we are given. If that is the sort of view that is presented to us, I can well understand that there is difficulty in ending the present troubles. I can well understand also that there are great fears on the part of a large portion of the public that they have not got in the action of the Home Secretary what they are entitled to have. The Prime Minister seems to wish to confine the Motion as if we were dealing with a single area, or as if we ought to deal with a single area. The terms of the Motion are intended to apply to all persons in all areas, and we expressly by this Motion say that it is no part of the Home Secretary's duties to distinguish between cases in which he will and will not supply proper protection. If we go back to the earliest foundations of society, it is quite clear from what has happened in the past that we must ask some central authority to exercise care and protection on behalf of the community. It is only when that care and protection are exercised that the executive power may expect to have in return proper duty and allegiance paid to them by every individual citizen. It is on the ground that this Motion is wide enough to indicate the shortcomings, as we believe, in the public eye of the executive officer who is in charge on behalf of the Government that we ask the House of Commons to pass it. We say that no answer has been made to the charge brought against the Home Secretary, unless we are to construe his action in a narrow legal sense in which it ought not to be construed.
§ Mr. J. WARD
The hon. and learned Member (Mr. Pollock), in the first part of his speech, dealt with the question of the guarantees which it was possible for trade unionists to give to employers in this particular trade to induce them to makes agreements. I am afraid that during recent discussion—and especially in what is called the "capitalist Press"—too much has been made of the agreements that have been broken and of the impossibility, or the alleged impossibility, of compacts between capital and labour being kept. I would like to refer to one fact which during the discussion has not been noted by any previous speaker. The Board of 967 Trade publishes every year a book containing some thousands of agreements. As a matter of fact, if you take the building trades as an illustration, there are agreements from John o' Greats to Land's End that are religiously kept. Among the 12,000,000 or 14,000,000 of workers in the country there will be at least between 7,000,000 and 10,000,000 working under agreements signed by the representatives of the workers and the employers. Breaches of agreements between trade unions and organisations of employers are of the rarest possible occurrence. There is not the slightest doubt about that. But for some reason or other recently—I do not know whether it is for the purpose of political propaganda, such as the necessity of showing that the Trade Disputes Act is not working properly and ought to be remedied—for some reason or another the one or two cases of breaches of agreement are used continuously in the public Press and in discussions in this House, but no reference is ever made to the thousands of agreements that have been in existence for the last ten or twenty years about which there has never been any complaint. I venture to suggest that even the hon. Member for the Devizes Division of Wiltshire (Mr. Peto), who, I believe, is an official of the Free Labour Association, would not deny that grievances between employers and workmen on the scale suggested in this Debate have been of the rarest possible occurrence. They are very rare compared with the thousands of cases in which there are no disputes, and whenever there is any necessity to insist upon some extra provision in cases where breaches have taken place the matter should not be decided by the two parties in the middle of the dispute, but possibly by the intervention of third parties.
But in the dispute which we are now discussing there has been an offer on the part of the workmen's organisation to give tangible proof of their intention to abide by any agreement that the employers may make with them, but the hon. Member for Woolwich (Mr. Crooks) has stated in much more graphic language than I can employ that the employers imagine that they have the men down. They have them down, I believe, to the delight of the Opposition. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] But they are only down, take it from me, so long as the employers use their personal opportunity with reason. If it is discovered that this 968 is a wholesale attempt to ruin the organisations of the country that have done so much to raise the status of labour among our people, then it is a moral certainty that the dockers in London will not be left for long, and therefore those who think that they have won in this battle had better make terms while others are perhaps in that frame of mind, for fear that the whole of what they think they are securing may slip from their grasp sooner than they anticipate. I should imagine that all parties on this side of the House are delighted that this opportunity has been given for the discussion of this question. Hon. Members on the opposite side have urged that the Government ought to employ the military the first thing. It was at Tonypandy that complaints were made that troops were not sent in and that police were sent instead of soldiers, but occasionally that is repudiated when mentioned on public platforms in the constituencies, and therefore it is that I am delighted at last to see the Opposition toe the line on the subject of blackleg labour and the support that they think the State ought to give to it, and the promise of the kind of support that they will give to it if they ever get the chance. I think that is one of the most delightful things myself. I do not know whether the Opposition imagine that it is a good tactical position to take up, but I think time will show that it is completely the opposite. The hon. Member for West Stafford (Mr. Lloyd) said they do not care much about the people in the country.
§ Mr. JOHN WARD
Precisely so. What is the difference? [HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw."] The allegation a moment ago was that the Home Secretary was balancing his policy on a question of tactics, and the hon. and learned Member for Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Pollock) made the suggestion that the Home Secretary did not go so much on the legalities of the situation as on the process of balancing his conduct between the two for the purpose of making as far as he could a good tactical impression upon the electors of the country.
§ Mr. POLLOCK
I quoted the words of the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Ramsay Macdonald) when he said he dovetailed in between the parties.
§ Mr. J. WARD
And the hon. Member gladly adopted the suggestion, and elaborated it in the way that I have suggested; and as regards what the hon. Member for West Staffordshire said it amounts to this, "We do not care for tactics"—that is, they do not balance their policy in accordance, not with the political, but with the electoral situation. What is that in other words than merely stating that you are prepared in this situation to ignore the people of this country?
§ Mr. J. WARD
I leave it at that. I think that the hon. Member has really clinched the argument that I was just making. I would just refer to the first part of the speech delivered in proposing this Motion. The hon. Member for East Worcestershire (Mr. Austen Chamberlain) said that what he objected to was that when workmen had made a perfectly free bargain they should not be supplied with the proper protection to carry it out. The question, of course, is whether these men in this case have made a free bargain. These men, I understand, especially those who are particularly in dispute, reside upon a certain vessel that has been described several times during this discussion, and are not ordinarily employed as workmen. They are engaged regularly to go to a particular locality where there happens to be a trade dispute.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
As the hon. Member has made that statement I would ask whether the men engaged for Smithfield are regularly employed?
§ Mr. J. WARD
That has nothing to do with the question. They are not employed regularly for the purpose of entering into trade disputes and for no other purpose. That is an aggravation. That is entirely different from the case that was urged by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire, the case of the man whom he described as a poor working man who wanted to continue in his work while the Government were not prepared to give him the necessary protection. It is an entirely different thing. Consequently, I venture to suggest that it ought not to be considered on quite the same lines or the same basis. The question has been put 970 most definitely to this House, I believe, by the hon. Member for Cambridge University. "Do you agree with intimidation or assault?" I shall only answer for myself—so far as I am concerned, "No," definitely "no," and so far as the trade unions of the country are concerned, also definitely "No"; but when the passions of men are aroused—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—you have no passions. Hon. Members opposite usually, about eleven o'clock, have no passions whatever; they are quite passionless in matters of this description. When one comes to consider the enormous body of men involved in these disputes the absence of any particular cases of real violence or intimidation is proof positive that so far as the organisations themselves are concerned they do not countenance that method of proceeding in the slightest degree. Wherever intimidation or violence is used, it is unorganised; it results from the mere passions of the moment; it really has nothing to do with the issue we are considering to-night. Therefore it is well not to force the Home Secretary to make a display of force in the way suggested by the Opposition. It would be creating disturbance, it would be asking for disorder, it would be making it almost impossible to maintain order, if you were to attempt to intimidate and overawe those who come out on strike.
After all, men are entitled to strike and to combine together for that purpose. We have a recent illustration showing that intimidation is not entirely confined to disputes in which the working-classes are engaged, we recently have seen that one of the most noble professions, when its political passions were aroused, can intimidate, more politely I dare say than we or the class we represent, but no less effectively, and none the less severely. They have all the accomplishments and education necessary to keep them out of the meshes of the law, but intimidation is none the less there, as one can see by the manifestos and the speeches that have been delivered. It is quite clear from the Motion that has been made, and from the speeches we have heard to-day that the Opposition, for good or for evil, have thrown in their lot with the organised blacklegs. Not a word has been said today in favour of those who are asking for better wages or more settled conditions of employment; not a word of sympathy has been uttered by Members of the Opposition in favour of the men who are demanding decent wages, with proper working 971 conditions, to enable them to keep themselves and those who are dependent upon them. Not a word in their favour has been spoken; it has been condemnation from beginning to end, not altogether backed up by facts, or where there was a suggestion of facts, they were tumbled to the ground. When one considers this hostility to organised labour, and the character of the discussion to-day on the part of the Opposition, one can clearly see what the working people of the country are to expect if ever hon. Gentlemen opposite get into power, so that they can put their principles into practice. Opinions which they may to-day express harmlessly are such as it will be our business to see that they never get the chance of putting into force.
§ Mr. LESLIE SCOTT
I may at once, I believe, on behalf of those who sit on these benches, repudiate the tone of one or two of the speeches that have been delivered from below the Gangway on the other side. I speak with the deepest sense of personal conviction, and I believe I voice the opinion of my Friends on these benches. We say that in this Motion, as in every other proposal that we put before this House, we speak with the most profound sympathy for the working classes of this country in the difficulties under which they labour in their endeavour to better their position in regard to their share in the profits that flow from the general industries of this country. Two questions are involved in the Debate to-day. One is a question of vastly less importance than the other. The one of less importance is as to whether, under the circumstances of this particular dispute the tight hon. Gentleman, the Home Secretary, representing the Government of this country, has done his duty or not. I venture to think that is an absolutely minor question. The larger question is the question involved behind that, what is the true policy that the Government of this country ought to adopt in relation to what we on this side, whatever they may say below the Gangway opposite, recognise to be the particular grievances of the working classes of this country. On the minor question, as the Prime Minister said, the issue is largely one of fact as to what has taken place. On that issue, at this hour of the evening, obviously I cannot dilate. But let me say this, whatever may be said within the walls of this House, I am convinced, as the public of the city of London know, that there has in 972 fact been a large amount of serious intimidation of the labour classes, and the constitutional duty of the Home Secretary in regard to that, as the Prime Minister pointed out, is, as the chief of the Metropolitan Police and as representative of the Executive Government of this country, of great importance. The Prime Minister said that the duty of maintaining order and the prevention of outrage in the country rests upon the local police authorities. With great respect to the Prime Minister I for one, as a lawyer, challenge entirely that statement of the law. Think for a moment what the true and only corollary must be if that be correct. The necessary corollary is this, that the Executive Government of this country which, in all other matters, is responsible to Parliament, in that matter alone if disorder takes place in the country of which the Home Secretary is cognisant, and in regard to which he fails to take measures to deal with it, in that one respect the Government of this country is not to be responsible to this House. I say that is not the constitutional doctrine of this country; that the responsibility of Government to Parliament is entire, and extends to all the duties of the Executive Government, and that the duties of maintaining good order in the country are not exceptional.
I pass for a few moments to what seems to me to be a vastly more important question, and that is the true relation that the Government of this country ought to have to these great and serious questions that are disturbing the industrial peace of the country. I am referring to what is called the industrial unrest. It is customary amongst certain people to deprecate that industrial unrest, and to refer to it as a misfortune to the country. From one point of view I regard it not as a misfortune, but as a piece of good fortune. I believe it represents a genuine and earnest desire on the part of the working classes of this country to better their conditions in life. I for one am in full sympathy with that wish. If that is so, what relationship has this question to the question of strikes? It seems to me a broad question. If in a trade, such as the transport trade, you have an almost endless available supply of free labourers, and if where unionists strike that free labour is adequately protected by the Government, as I for one think it ought to be, then you arrive at a result which seems to be very serious: it is this, that strikes cannot possibly succeed. I believe that that is the question we shall have to face.
973 If adequate protection is given to free labour, which is the right of these men working as free labourers, it means that in a struggle between employer and employed the victory must inevitably be with the masters. If that be so, it explains the feelings that have been expressed from the benches opposite below the Gangway, to a large extent it explains the intensity of their hostility to free labour. It explains the desire on the part of trade unionists that the Government should not intervene to protect free labour, but should leave trade unionists to fight it by themselves. I say this country would not tolerate that solution of the industrial question. If that is so, to what result are we led? If strikes become impossible, as I believe in a great many trades they must if you give adequate protection to free labour, then we are further faced with this great question, which all of us see looming ahead in the near future, and which many of us are unwilling to face, although, I think, it must be faced. How are you going to deal with disputes arising between employers and employed throughout the industries of this country, if strikes and collective bargaining have failed as a method of solution? There is only one way of dealing with them. You will have to introduce some system of adjustment between employers and employed, under which both sides may meet in conference, and for that purpose, in order that labour should have fair conditions, I, for one, think it is absolutely essential that some standard of wages and some standard of living should be recognised as right. It is idle to suggest that an arbitrator is to do what is reasonable towards the employer and what is fair towards the men. He must be given a standard upon which he can act. That brings us face to face with this tremendous problem of the living wage. I submit that is really the problem underlying this question which has been discussed to-day. If you deal with strikes and intimidation as you ought to, then it follows that this larger question will have to be faced.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I listened with interest, but not with surprise, to the speeches of the two hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, who assumed to-night, as they always assume, that in any action we take on these questions we are animated by sympathy with the employers and have no sympathy with the workmen. That is their view. I am not surprised at the view they expressed, but I shall not take the trouble 974 to repudiate it. I should like to put to those who hold that view this conundrum: How is it that so many of us are here on these benches to speak in the House of Commons? We should not be here if the working men of this country took the view of our action which is taken by hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway. It is because they realise that we are just as much interested in the real welfare of the working classes of this country as any other section of this House that we are here. Hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway make one mistake. They think that the working classes are represented solely by that section of the working classes which is ready to obey their orders. We do not take that view. I quite agree with one remark made by the hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. John Ward). I should be very sorry if the employers thought that, because they had won a victory, as he says they have on this great question, they are entitled to ride roughshod over the trades unions. I should be as sorry to see tyranny of capital as tyranny of labour. We stand here for freedom both for capital and for labour. I recognise as fully as the Prime Minister—who expressed it so clearly this afternoon—that the duties of a responsible Government and a responsible Minister in a case of this kind are complex and difficult, and it would have been for no small reason that I asked for time for the Motion to be considered which is now before the House. The view which I take now, and took then, on the question was expressed in the speech from which a quotation was given very unfortunately by the Home Secretary. I am sure the Home Secretary had had that extract given him and had not read the speech, for to have made the quotation which he did make by itself would have been, in my opinion, as improper and dishonourable as anything could be. The view which I expressed—and I hold it now—was that at a given time a thing that a man or a firm has a perfect legal right to do he may desire to do at a time when the Government are not able to give him the protection to which he is entitled; but I went on to say that they cannot, and they must not, lay down that they will not as soon as they can give every man the right and protection necessary to enable him to carry on any legal occupation in this country.
I listened with great amazement to what seemed to me the curious doctrine laid down by the Prime Minister as to the responsibility of the Home Secretary in maintaining order. If he had said that 975 the duty primarily rested with the local authorities I should have agreed with him. But he went far beyond that. He implied that the Home Secretary has no more responsibility than the mayor of a provincial town, and he rode off from the whole Motion on the ground that the things complained of had chiefly taken place, though in the Port of London, outside the Metropolitan area. I think that that is a defence unworthy of the Government and of the Prime Minister. Lawyers on this side have contradicted in the most explicit way the doctrine which he laid down. But we have to guide us testimony far more important than any legal opinion, and that is the practice, and the practice even of this Government, in the very case to which the Home Secretary referred and about which I spoke two years ago. The Home Secretary then never for a moment dreamed of denying that the responsibility was his. He accepted the responsibility, and defended the action which he took. More than that, only last year, in the great industrial dispute which then took place—I am speaking from memory, but I am satisfied that what I am about to state is correct—the then Home Secretary took the control of that dispute in his own hands. Although the Prime Minister told us that the Home Secretary is only the vehicle by which the local authorities ask for police, the then Home Secretary refused to allow the police to go when the local authority asked for them; he stopped them when the local authority wanted them, and later on he sent them on his own initiative without any action on the part of the local authority. It is idle and unworthy for the right hon. Gentleman to suggest that the Home Secretary's responsibility ends with the Metropolitan area. The Prime Minister expressed his rejoicing at the opportunity which this Motion gave. For other reasons, apart from those which concern us, I think we have reason to be glad also. One reason is that the Prime Minister most emphatically, though not in express terms, has condemned in the most explicit way the very action which it was our object in making this Motion to bring before the House. I think we have reason for satisfaction, though a very chastened satisfaction, that the Prime Minister to-day, as usual, played a part which he always plays with so much distinction in the Government of which he is the head. In his speeches he has given expression to those statesmanlike ideas 976 which carry on the tradition, not only of the Government of this country, but of every civilised country. At the same time, while he invariably expresses these pious sentiments, his colleagues, not only by their action, but by their speeches, are constantly, and without any rebuke from him, giving expression to doctrines and carrying out practices which in my belief are subversive of society.
The right hon. Gentleman told us that in his whole career he had never heard a more complete or crushing reply than that given by the Home Secretary. If it was a complete and crushing reply it was a reply to an attack that had never been made. I do not wonder that the right hon. Gentleman praises it, for with, if I may so say,' equal effect he himself rode off on precisely the same side issue. The right hon. Gentleman can surely never have read the Motion on the Paper or he would have seen that the reason we brought it forward was not because of what the Government has done in this matter, but of what they had said in regard to it. I say advisedly, that important as their action is in this matter, a declaration of policy and, as I believe, an entirely new policy, is far more important, because it is far more widely known in the country. Both of the right hon. Gentlemen who spoke to-day spoke as if the Home Secretary had said nothing unusual. Why, I myself received—and I have a list of them here—telegrams from forty or fifty societies representing employers of labour in this country, calling attention to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman on Thursday, and protesting against what they—as I—regard as a new doctrine which was laid down in that speech. There was a curious instance in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, who went out of his way to say that he endorsed everything the Home Secretary had done; but he did not say that he endorsed everything that the Home Secretary had said. The whole defence of the Government is that they have maintained the right to work within the area of London. I have received innumerable letters, many of them from workmen, signed in the presence of witnesses, pointing out the extent to which intimidation prevails within the metropolitan area. It is difficult, as the House will acknowledge, for anyone outside to appreciate what is done in cases of this kind, and if the House will permit me, I shall read part of a letter I received to-day from a friend of my own, who is 977 the proprietor of a wharf and a wharf within the metropolitan area, and which will give the House some idea of what the state of matters is which the right hon. Gentleman think so pleasant and gratifying. He says:—I am in the midst of it, loading vessels at our place with men willing to work, but literally in fear of their lives. The police inspectors deplore the weakness of the Home Secretary. They are not allowed to break up huge processions formed specifically for intimidation. Yesterday and to-day huge crowds, over one thousand strong, were allowed to stop at the wharf at the dinner hour to overawe the men. They marched right through the wharf, although their route was entirely outside it.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I am not going to give names. I am willing to give the letter to the Home Secretary.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I know why the hon. Member wants the name of the wharf, as well as he does. Possibly the Home Secretary may give it. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh."] When I said that I did not mean to make it conditional when giving the letter. I am perfectly certain he would not dream of giving it to the hon. Member if I asked him not. I am not going to dwell upon the amount of intimidation and the efforts of the Government to repress it within the Port of London, but I am going to say that the speech and the words used by the Prime Minister this afternoon are the most complete justification of the Motion which we are now moving. The right hon. Gentleman said—I did not take down his words, but I think it will be found from the OFFICIAL REPORT to-morrow that I am quoting him fairly accurately—that if there had been any discrimination this Motion would be justified, and he said also that the man responsible, whoever he was, had no right to judge whether or not the law was right or proper, that his business was to see that the law was properly carried out. Judge it by that test! When the right hon. Gentleman made that pleasing declaration that it was the practice and determination to protect all free labour within the Metropolitan area I asked him if he was aware that the Home Secretary himself had distinctly stated that he had discriminated even in the Metropolitan area.
I quoted the case of the "Lady Jocelyn," and the right hon. Gentleman, with that geniality he attributed to the hon. Member 978 for Merthyr, but which I find is not absent from himself, at once assumed that I knew nothing about it, and that this vessel was, not within the Metropolitan area. As a matter of fact, it was he and not I that was misinformed, and I think there is some evidence for my statement. In a public letter addressed to the "Times," which has never been contradicted, and which I may assume therefore is correct—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"] On an important matter of this kind I consider that the Home Secretary would have denied the statement if the facts had not been accurate. This is the statement made:—Referring to your letter of the 25th inst., I have this afternoon seen the Home Secretary, and he has agreed to afford protection to the men housed on the 'Lady Jocelyn' going into the Alexandra Dock, on the understanding that the men are employed exclusively in the discharge and distribution of food supplies. On this condition the 'Lady Jocelyn' will be admitted into the Royal Albert Dock.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
The 1st of June. Now what does that mean? It exactly fulfils the condition which the Prime Minister said would justify a vote of censure. I do not in the least say that I like to see labour coming from outside in these disputes. Not at all. I consider that one of the greatest evils which the Government have done by not from the first making it plain that they would give protection to men who wanted to work, is that men have been brought from the outside, and it is they who are responsible. I would rather not see this labour come in, but what has that to do with it? They have the right to bring it in, and the Prime Minister says if they have that right the Home Secretary, or whoever is responsible, is bound to give them the necessary protection. He discriminated in another way. He said if it is to discharge necessary food supplies. What business has he to make any such distinction? I quite admit that at a crisis, if there is a limit to the number and strength of the force which is available, it is right to make a distinction and to employ them first of all in these necessary food supplies. But that is a very different thing. We are here in the centre of the Metropolis of this country. The right hon. Gentleman represents society. He has a right to call upon all the forces of the Crown, he has a right to enlist every man for the service, but I say he has no right whatever in a civilised country to refuse to men who 979 desire to work their elementary right to be allowed to do so. An hon. Friend behind me pointed out what is the inevitable effect of the shilly-shallying of the Government. They, as I say, represent society, and if they do not fulfil their duty, and protect the men who deserve protection society will protect itself. That has happened in other countries. Has any hon. Gentleman read the account of the disputes in Brisbane in Queensland. Just as the chief constable asked for protection and did not get it from the right hon. Gentleman so did the local government of Queensland. [An HON. MEMBER: "They did get it."] They did not get it at the time they wanted it, and so the local government of Queensland applied to the Central Commonwealth Government for protection. There was a Labour Government in power, and the Prime Minister instead of sending protection sent a subscription to the strike fund. The Government have not done that yet. What happened? The whole of the population of Brisbane determined that if the Government would not protect them they would protect themselves, and they rose and did protect themselves. I say without hesitation, if the Government fail to do their duty, that is what will inevitably happen in this country. I say this censure is on account of what the right hon. Gentleman said, and the right hon. Gentleman who is to reply to me will have a very simple task. It is to say definitely, "Yes" or "No," whether the Government approve the doctrines laid down by the Home Secretary. On Thursday he laid down two doctrines which I consider novel. He said this:—If it was merely to provide protection for the loading of cargoes, we had such abundant demands for the London police that I could not undertake to send men for that purpose.Then he went on to say, if there were an outbreak of disorder, then he would send them. The right hon. Gentleman said the Chief Constable of Essex could not judge of his definition of what is urgent. I think he was right.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I beg the right hon. Gentleman's pardon. I know as much of this case as he does. It was Scrutton's who applied first, and he himself told us there was a telephone communication from the chief constable.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
And that was the day to which I am referring. What did the right hon. Gentleman say his idea of urgency is? "I will send protection after disorder has occurred, after the heads are broken. I have no responsibility to send it until they are broken." This is the second novel doctrine which I ask whether or not the Government endorse. The right hon. Gentleman said:—It is recognised by the House that it is the duty of Government to preserve peace and to take all necessary steps for that purpose; but when action is taken of a kind which is known to be provocative, it is too much to ask that police shall be imported from outside in order to prepare the way for provocative action.An hon. Friend on these benches said:—What provocative action?Mr. McKenna: In this case it, was not a question of protecting men who would usually be engaged at work at Purfleet, but it was a question of protecting men who had excellent opportunity for work at Newport—which is not true, as a matter of fact—but were brought in specially as strike breakers."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th June, 1912, cols. 423–4.]What are strike breakers? Every man who comes in against the union which is organising the strike is a strike breaker. This is the question I now put to the right hon. Gentleman: Does he maintain that wherever there is a strike, and where the men who have organised the strike are numerous enough and aggressive enough to prevent local men from doing the work, what the Home Secretary said that the Government are under no obligation to protect men who came from outside? These are plain questions, and we expect plain answers to them. We brought forward this Motion not in the least because of any effect it would have upon the House of Commons. We brought it forward for one simple reason. It is to make it perfectly plain that we at least will not be responsible for the conduct of a Government which does not give to every citizen what is his elementary right, the right to work if he desires to work at a legal occupation. The hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. John Ward), because my hon. Friend below the Gangway denied that we were influenced by considerations as to whether we would win votes or not, said that we were scouting the opinions of the people of this country. I say for myself, for my colleagues who sit on this bench, and I believe for every one of my hon. Friends behind me, that whether we ever obtain office or not we wish it to be clearly understood in this country that, in 981 office or out of it, we stand for freedom to work on the part of every man who desires to work.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir Rufus Isaacs)
This Debate has taken a very peculiar course. The right hon. Gentleman who moved the Motion which stood in his name attempted to prove the case by reference to facts. He spoke obviously in ignorance of some of the main facts. He spoke without understanding all that had happened, and without really being in a position in which he could criticise my right hon. Friend. When the facts had been explained, as they were by my right hon. Friend, when they had been stated, and when they could not be denied—[HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] I state when they could not be denied, and when they have not been denied, then the course of the Debate shifted entirely, and the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition has shown us quite plainly that so far as he is concerned he could not tread the same measure as the right hon. Gentleman who opened the Motion. He said this, I do not profess to give the ipsissima verba, "Our complaint is not of what the right hon. Gentleman has done, but in respect of what he has said."
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I deal first of all with the proposition put by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition. I will explain my view in plain and explicit terms. That means this, that with regard to the action of the Minister whose conduct is attacked, there is no action of which the Opposition can complain. It means that as to the Motion which has been lodged, and in respect of which the day was demanded by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, the conduct of the Minister attacked is no longer open to criticism. I had the right hon. Gentleman's assent a moment ago when I quoted his own statement, with which he agreed entirely, that his criticism was not in regard to the action of the Home Secretary, but to what he had said.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I am very glad to find that the right hon. Gentleman is at 982 last dealing with the Motion, because the Motion in point of fact starts by affirming a proposition which is not in dispute, and it then says—
"the claim of the Home Secretary to distinguish between cases in which he will afford such protection, and other cases … is unconstitutional and contrary to law."
At least let there be no confusion in the House or in the country. What I have asserted is accepted, so far as I understand, by the words that have been used by the right hon. Gentleman—that is, that you are not attacking the conduct of the Home Secretary in connection with this matter. I recollect, not many minutes before the Leader of the Opposition spoke, the hon. and learned Member for the Exchange Division of Liverpool (Mr. Leslie Scott), who was speaking on the Motion of Censure, attacking the conduct of my right hon. Friend, calling him before the House to explain his conduct and to justify what he had done, said that the conduct of the Home Secretary is quite a minor matter, that this is entirely a small question, and that he did not propose to deal with it at any length. I took down what the hon. and learned Gentleman said. The words were:—Whether the Home Secretary has done his duty or not is a minor question.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I take the hon. and learned Gentleman at his word. Then bring forward your Motion on the other.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I am asked to deal with the question which is raised in reference to the conduct of the police. It seems to me there is very little room for discussion with reference to this, because the matter is quite clear, and there is no difficulty in stating what the legal propositions are which must be applied, and, as far as I am aware, there is no difference of opinion between the two sides of the House. [An HON. MEMBER: "Oh, oh!"] Somebody seems to doubt that. I have listened to what the right hon. Gentleman said, and in so far as he was affirming the legal proposition or what was the constitutional duty of the Home Secretary, I do not think there is any division 983 of opinion. The general obligation on the police undoubtedly is to maintain order and to protect the inhabitants. The place, the time, and the circumstances, must be left to the discretion of the police authority under the Home Secretary in the Metropolitan area, and I am quite certain that nobody who understands, or who has considered the question with which we are dealing, will doubt those propositions for one moment. He must further, in order to determine the place and the conditions under which he will interfere, consider the number of police available. He must consider also the degree of danger at different points within the Metropolitan area. He must also consider the degree of importance to the public of the proceedings which it is sought to protect. All these are matters which must enter into his consideration if he is doing his duty. That he must discriminate is perfectly plain, because discrimination means that he must exercise a discretion. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I repeat that that means that he must exercise a discretion. Where I agree with hon. Gentlemen opposite is when they have said that to discriminate on political grounds was contrary to his duty. There I quite agree. But to discriminate, which is the charge made, in circumstances which are before him, and of which he must judge, is his duty, if he is regarding the public interest, which it really is his paramount duty to watch over. "What are the circumstances with which we are dealing here? I have listened to the greater part of the Debate, and, so far as I know, there has not been one single fact stated which has in the slightest degree proved that the Home Secretary has failed to do his duty in this respect. I heard the right hon. Gentleman quoting from a letter. It is always very difficult to deal with facts which are quoted from a letter, which no doubt he had only just got and which he read to the House without giving us either time, place, or circumstances. I am sure the House will see that it is impossible to deal with circumstances and facts of that character. You cannot refute what you do not know, and therefore I am entitled to say that in this Debate there has been no facts proved or put forward which justifies the statement that the Home Secretary has not performed his duty. If anyone challenges that statement, let us look at the facts. What has happened? There has been labour employed at the docks, 984 and, as we now know, there is more labour available in the docks than can actually be employed. So long as you have the lightermen out you cannot employ the men who are actually there to be employed in consequence of the order which my right hon. Friend has maintained. Therefore it would be idle to say that he has failed in any way to do what he should have done or that he has 'discriminated in this respect.
I found it somewhat difficult to understand what the latter part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech meant to deal with, when, after the statement which I have just quoted, he referred again to the failure to protect, and dealt with that in connection with these men. I have stated what my view is with regard to it. I have stated what I understand to be the law, and, so far as I judge it, and I listened to every word that the Home Secretary said, there is not a particle of difference between us. [An HON. MEMBER: "On Thursday."] I do not shirk that at all. The right hon. Gentleman made a statement on Thursday and he explained to-day that when he came into the House he was dealing with a state of facts which was in his mind, but which were apparently not facts which the hon. Baronet had dealt with in his absence.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
If my right hon. Friend has one state of facts in mind and makes a speech which is relevant to that state of facts he is perfectly justified in saying, as he has said, in reference to all he was dealing with then, that he adhered to every word, but at the same time he has not said a single word to-day in explanation of his position as Home Secretary, with which I should dissent or from which I do dissent. I agree with every statement he has made with regard to his position as Home Secretary. Again, I am speaking of what was stated to-day after we had had a considered Motion. I want to know what does the right hon. Gentleman mean when he has told us that in some way or other the Home Secretary is failing in his duty with regard to these matters. I want to know what he would do in circumstances similar to those in which the Home Secretary was placed. I am now 985 dealing with his statement to-day. Supposing you have this condition of things—supposing you have what I consider an emergency created, a strike in which there are a number of men with heated passions, and, at the same time, the absolute necessity of protecting the food supply of the Metropolitan area, and a limited number of policemen to deal with that protection—all those policemen, or a vast number of them, available to see that food is brought into the Metropolitan area—and supposing you have a state of things such as was described during the earlier part of the Debate in which some men who are known to act as a great provocation, whether rightly or wrongly I am not going to argue, and who wanted to come into the docks, are you to withdraw your police from the protection of the food supply in order to allow these men to come in? [An HON MEMBER: "Call up your reserves."] Does the hon. Gentleman mean call up the reserves of the police? [An HON. MEMBER: "Yes."] They were called up, and they were all available. I want to know if the action which you would take under the conditions or circumstances I have described, would be to call up the military forces of the country? Is it to be the policy of the right hon. Gentleman that in such circumstances
§ soldiers are to be requisitioned? As I understand the proposition which he put when discussing this very question in June, 1910—dealing with the same circumstances as have arisen to-day—it was the proposition as I have stated it. He agreed with it, and all I have to say. after listening to what he said tonight, is that unless it is his policy in such circumstances—notwithstanding that the police may be needed for the food supply, and wanted to protect the Metropolis in every district, and to protect the inhabitants against burglary and other crimes—to call up the military forces to assist, he would be widening immensely the area of disturbance and would be adding to the unrest instead of stopping it. My view in regard to the matter and in regard to the whole of this Debate, as I understand the statement made earlier in the Debate, is that there never has been on a definite and precise Motion brought before the House of Commons attacking the conduct of a Minister—
§ Question put, "That the Debate be now adjourned."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 261; Noes, 336.989
|Division No. 93.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Bull, Sir William James||Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)|
|Aitken, Sir William Max||Burdett-Coutts, William||Denniss, E. R. B.|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Burgoyne, Alan Hughes||Dixon, Charles Harvey|
|Arson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Burn, Colonel C. R.||Du Cros, Arthur Philip|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Butcher, John George||Duke, Henry Edward|
|Archer-Shee, Major M.||Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. (Dublin Univ.)||Faber, George D. (Clapham)|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Campbell, Capt. Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Faber, Captain W. V. (Hants, W.)|
|Astor, Waldorf||Campion, W. R.||Falle, Bertram Godfray|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Fell, Arthur|
|Baird, J. L.||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Cassel, Felix||Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert|
|Balcarres, Lord||Castlereagh, Viscount||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Cator, John||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, London)||Cautley, Henry Strother||Flannery, Sir James Fortescue|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Cave, George||Fleming, Valentine|
|Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Fletcher, John Samuel|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Forster, Henry William|
|Barnston, Harry||Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Foster, Philip Staveley|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Gardner, Ernest|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. (Glouc., E.)||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Chambers, J.||Cibbs, G. A.|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Gilmour, Captain John|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Glazebrook, Capt. Philip K.|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Goldman, Charles Sidney|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Clyde, James Avon||Goldsmith, Frank|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Gordon, John (Londonderry, South)|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Beresford, Lord Charles||Courthope, George Loyd||Grant, J. A.|
|Bigland, Alfred||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Greene, Walter Raymond|
|Bird, Alfred||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Gretton, John|
|Boles, Lieut.-Colonel Dennis Fortescue||Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith||Craik, Sir Henry||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)|
|Boyle, W. L. (Norfolk, Mid.)||Crichton Stuart, Lord Ninian||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)|
|Boyton, James||Cripps, Sir C. A.||Haddock, George Bahr|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Croft, H. P.||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Dalrymple, Viscount||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)|
|Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)||Macmaster, Donald||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Hambro, Angus Valdemar||M'Calmont, Colonel James||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington)||M'Mordie, Robert||Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells)|
|Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Magnus, Sir Philip||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Harris, Henry Percy||Malcolm, Ian||Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'p'l., Walton)|
|Helmsley, Viscount||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||Stanier, Beville|
|Hickman, Col. Thomas E.||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Hill, Sir Clement L. (Shrewsbury)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Hills J. W.||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Hill-Wood, Samuel||Moore, William||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Hoare, Samuel John Gurney||Morrison-Bell, Cant. E. F. (Ashburton)||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Stewart, Gershom|
|Hope, Harry (Bute)||Mount, William Arthur||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, N.)|
|Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Swift, Rigby|
|Horne, Edgar (Surrey, Guildford)||Newdegate, F. A.||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Homer, Andrew Long||Newman, John R. P.||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Newton, Harry Kottingham||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Hume-Williams, Wm. Ellis||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Terrell, G. (Wilts, N. W.)|
|Hunt, Rowland||Nield, Herbert||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath)||Norton-Griffiths, J.||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
|Ingleby, Holcombe||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Down, N.)|
|Jackson, Sir John||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, E.)||Paget, Almeric Hugh||Tobin, Alfred Aspinail|
|Jessel, Captain Herbert M.||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)||Touche, George Alexander|
|Joynson-Hicks, William||Parkes, Ebenezer||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Kerry, Earl of||Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Keswick, Henry||Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Kimber, Sir Henry||Perkins, Walter Frank||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Peto, Basil Edward||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Knight, Capt. E. A.||Pole-Carew, Sir R.||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid.)|
|Kyffin-Taylor, G.||Pollock, Ernest Murray||Weigall, Captain A. G.|
|Lane-Fox, G. R.||Pretyman, Ernest George||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Larmor, Sir J.||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Quilter, Sir W. E. C.||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)||Ratcliff, Major R. F.||Winterton, Earl|
|Lee, Arthur Hamilton||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Lewisham, Viscount||Rawson, Col. Richard H.||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Lloyd. George Ambrose||Rees, Sir J. D.||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Remnant, James Farquharson||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Locker-Lampson, O, (Ramsey)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Rolleston, Sir John||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Ronaldshay, Earl of||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee||Rothschild, Lionel de||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Lowe, Sir F. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Royds, Edmund||Yerburgh, Robert|
|Lowther, Claude (Cumberland, Eskdale)||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)||Younger, Sir George|
|Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.)||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Salter, Arthur Clavell||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Mackinder, Halford J.||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)||Eyres-Monsell and Major Henderson.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Black, Arthur W.||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Boland, John Pius||Condon, Thomas|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Booth, Frederick Handel||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Bowerman, C. W.||Cowan, W. H.|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Brace, William||Crawshay-Williams, Eliot|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Brady, Patrick Joseph||Crooks, William|
|Alden, Percy||Brocklehurst, William B.||Crumley, Patrick|
|Allen, A. A. (Dumbartonshire)||Brunner, John F. L.||Cullinan, John|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles Peter (Stroud)||Bryce, J. Annan||Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)|
|Armitage, Robert||Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Burke, E. Haviland||Davies, E. William (Eifion)|
|Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A.||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan)|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||Dawes, J. A.|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Byles, Sir William Pollard||De Forest, Baron|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Cameron, Robert||Denman, Hon. R. D.|
|Barnes, G. N.||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Devlin, Joseph|
|Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick)||Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Dewar, Sir J. A.|
|Barran, Rowland Hurst (Leeds, N.)||Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Dickinson, W. H.|
|Barton, William||Chancellor, Henry George||Dillon, John|
|Beale, W. P.||Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Donelan, Captain A.|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Doris, William|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Clancy, John Joseph||Duffy, William J.|
|Benn, W. W. (T.H'mts, St. George)||Clough, William||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)|
|Bentham, G. J.||Clynes, John R.||Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)|
|Bethell, Sir J. H.||Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||Lewis, John Herbert||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Logan, John William||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields).|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Lundon, Thomas||Reddy, Michael|
|Essex, Richard Walter||Lyell, Charles Henry||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Falconer, James||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||McGhee, Richard||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Maclean, Donald||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)|
|Field, William||MacNeill, John G. S. (Donegal, South)||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Fitzgibbon, John||Macpherson, James Ian||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Furness, Stephen||M'Callum, John M.||Roch, Walter F.|
|Gelder, Sir William Alfred||M'Curdy, Charles Albert||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Gill, Alfred Henry||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Ginnell, Laurence||M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Rowlands, James|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Glanville, Harold James||Manfield, Harry||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Martin, Joseph||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on Tees)|
|Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Greig, Colonel James William||Masterman, C. F. G.||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Meagher, Michael||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.|
|Griffith, Ellis James||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim)||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)||Sheehy, David|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Menzies, Sir Walter||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Hacket, John||Middlebrook, William||Shortt, Edward|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Millar, James Duncan||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Molloy, Michael||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Hardie, J. Keir||Mond, Sir Alfred M.||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Snowden, Philip|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Mooney, John J.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Morgan, George Hay||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E)||Morrell, Philip||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)|
|Harwood, George||Morison, Hector||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Summers, James Woolley|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Muldoon, John||Sutherland, John E.|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Hayward, Evan||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.||Taylor, T. C. (Radcliffe)|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Tennant, Harold John|
|Hemmerde, Edward George||Needham, Christopher||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Nolan, Joseph||Thomas, J. H. (Derby)|
|Henry, Sir Charles||Norman, Sir Henry||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)||Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Higham, John Sharp||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Hinds, John||Nuttall, Harry||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Hebhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Hodge, John||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Hegge, James Myles||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Wadsworth, J.|
|Holmes, Daniel Turner||O'Donnell, Thomas||Walters, Sir John Tudor|
|Holt, Richard Durning||O'Doherty, Philip||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||O'Dowd, John||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Horne, Charles Silvester (Ipswich)||O'Grady, James||Waring, Walter|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Hudson, Walter||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Hughes, Spencer Leigh||O'Malley, William||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Webb, H.|
|Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|John, Edward Thomas||O'Shee, James John||White, J. Dundas (Glas., Tradeston)|
|Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||O'Sullivan, Timothy||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Whyte, A. F.|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Jowett, Frederick William||Phillips, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Joyce, Michael||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Keating, Matthew||Pirie, Duncan Vernon||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Kellaway, Frederick George||Pointer, Joseph||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Kelly, Edward||Pollard, Sir George H.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Winfrey, Richard|
|King, Joseph||Power, Patrick Joseph||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|Lamb, Ernest Henry||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Price, Sir R. J. (Norfolk, E.)||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Lansbury, George||Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Primrose, Hon. Neil James||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'h)||Pringle, William M. R.||Illingworth and Mr. Gulland|
|Leach, Charles||Radford, George Heynes|
Question, "That the Question be now put," put, and agreed to.
§ Original Question put, "That it is the duty of the Government to afford all possible protection to men who desire to work992
§ in a lawful occupation, and that the claim of the Secretary of State for the Home Department to distinguish between cases in which he will afford such protection, and other cases in which he will supply it only after a breach of the peace has occurred, is unconstitutional and contrary to law."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 260; Noes, 337.995
|Division No. 94.]||AYES.||[11.15 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred||Kerry, Earl of|
|Aitken, Sir William Max||Crott, Henry Page||Keswick, Henry|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Dairymple, Viscount||Kimber, Sir Henry|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Denniss, E. K. B.||Knight, Captain Eric Ayshford|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Dixon, Charles Harvey||Kyffin-Taylor, G.|
|Ashley, W. W.||Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Lane-Fox, G. R.|
|Astor, Waldorf||Duke, Henry Edward||Larmor, Sir J.|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Faber, George D. (Clapham)||Law, Rt. Hon. A Bonar (Bootle)|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Faber, Captain W. V. (Hants, W.)||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Falle, Bertram Godfray||Lee, Arthur Hamilton|
|Balcarres, Lord||Fell, Arthur||Lewisham, Viscount|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Lloyd, George Ambrose|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)|
|Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Barrston, Harry||Fleming, Valentine||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)|
|Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc., E.)||Forster, Henry William||Lowther, Claude (Cumberland, Eskdale)|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Foster, Philip Staveley||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.)|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Gardner, Ernest||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Mackinder, Halford J.|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Gibbs, George Abraham||Macmaster, Donald|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Gilmour, Captain J.||M'Calmont, Colonel James|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Glazebrook, Captain Philip K.||M'Mordie, Robert|
|Beresford, Lord Charles||Goldman, Charles Sydney||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine)|
|Bigland, Alfred||Goldsmith, Frank||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Bird, Alfred||Gordon, John (Londonderry, South)||Malcolm, Ian|
|Boles, Lieut.-Col. Dennis Fortescue||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Grant, J. A.||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Greene, W. R.||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.|
|Boyton, James||Gretton, John||Middlemore, John Throgmorton|
|Brassay, H. Leonard Campbell||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S. E.)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas|
|Bull, Sir William James||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Moore, William|
|Burdett-Coutts, William||Haddock, George Bahr||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)|
|Burgoyne, Alan Hughes||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)|
|Burn, Colonel C. B.||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Mount, William Arthur|
|Butcher, John George||Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)||Neville, Reginald J. N.|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. (Dublin Univ.)||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Campbell, Capt. Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington)||Newman, John R. P.|
|Campion, W. R.||Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Carllie, Sir Edward Hildred||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Harris, Henry Percy||Nield, Herbert|
|Cassel, Felix||Helmsley, Viscount||Norton-Griffiths, J.|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Cator, John||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Hickman, Col. Thomas E.||Pagét, Almeric Hugh|
|Cave, George||Hill, Sir Clement L. (Shrewsbury)||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hills, J. W.||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Pease. Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Hoare, Samuel John Gurney||Peel, Captain R. F. (Woodbridge)|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Chambers, James||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Home, William E. (Surrey, Guildford)||Pole-Carew, Sir R.|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Horner, Andrew Long||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Houston, Robert Paterson||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Clyde, James Avon||Hume-Williams, Wm. Ellis||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Hunt, Rowland||Quilter, Sir William Eley C.|
|Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath)||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Ingleby, Holcombe||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Jackson, Sir John||Rawson, Col. Richard H.|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, E.)||Rees, Sir J. D.|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Jessel, Captain Herbert M.||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Joynson-Hicks, William||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Ronaldshay, Earl of||Steel-Maitland, A. D.||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid.)|
|Rothschild, Lionel de||Stewart, Gershom||Weigall, Captain A. G.|
|Royds, Edmund||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Rutherford, John (Lanes., Darwen)||Swift, Rigby||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Salter, Arthur Clavell||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)||Winterton, Earl|
|Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)||Talbot, Lord Edmund||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Sanders, Robert Arthur||Terrell, George (Wilts, N. W.)||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon),|
|Sanderson, Lancelot||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Sandys, G. J.||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. (Stuart-|
|Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||Thynne, Lord Alexander||Wright, Henry Filzherbert|
|Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (Liverp'l, Walton)||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Smith, Harold (Warrington)||Touche, George Alexander||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Spear, Sir John Ward||Tryon, Captain George Clement||Yerburgh, Robert|
|Stanier, Beville||Tullibardine, Marquess of||Younger, Sir George|
|Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)||Walker, Col. William Hall||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|Starkey, John Ralph||Walrond, Hon. Lionel||Eyres-Monsell and Major Henderson.|
|Staveley-Hill, Henry||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds.)|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Cowan, W. H.||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire).|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Craig, Herbert James (Tynemouth)||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Crooks, William||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Crumley, Patrick||Harwood, George|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Cullinan, John||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)|
|Alden, Percy||Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Alien, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire)||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Hayward, Evan|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Helme, Norval Watson|
|Armitage, Robert||Davies, Sir W. Nowell (Bristol, S.)||Hemmerde, Edward George|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan)||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A.||Dawes, James Arthur||Henry, Sir Charles S.|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||De Forest, Baron||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Higham John Sharp|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Devlin, Joseph||Hinds, John|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Dewar, Sir J. A.||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Dickinson, W. H.||Hodge, John|
|Barnes, G. N.||Dillon, John||Hogge, James Myles|
|Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick)||Donelan, Captain A.||Holmes, Daniel Turner|
|Barran, Rowland Hurst (Leeds, N.)||Doris, William||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Barton, William||Duffy, William J.||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)|
|Beale, W. P.||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Home, C. Silvester (Ipswich)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||Hudson, Walter|
|Benn, W. W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Hughes, Spencer Leigh|
|Bentham, G. J.||Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus|
|Bethell, Sir John Henry||Elverston, Sir Harold||Jardine, Sir John (Roxburgh)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary)||John, Edward Thomas|
|Black, Arthur W.||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)|
|Boland, John Plus||Essex, Richard Walter||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Esslemont, George Birnle||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Falconer, James||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)|
|Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.)||Farrell, James Patrick||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)|
|Brace, William||Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney)|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Jowett, Frederick William|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Ffrench, Peter||Joyce, Michael|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Field, William||Keating, Matthew|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||Kellaway, Frederick George|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Fitzgibbon, John||Kelly, Edward|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Kennedy, Vincent Paul|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Furness, Stephen||King, Joseph|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Gelder, Sir William Alfred||Lamb, Ernest Henry|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.)||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||Gill, A. H.||Lansbury, George|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Ginnell, Laurence||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe|
|Cameron, Robert||Gladstone, W. G. C.||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Glanville, Harold James||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rid, Cockerm'th)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Leach, Charles|
|Cawley, H. T. (Heywood)||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Greig, Col. James William||Logan, John William|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Claney, John Joseph||Griffith, Ellis Jones||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)|
|Clough, William||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Lundon, Thomas|
|Clynes, John R.||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Lyell, C. H.|
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Hackett, John||Lynch, Arthur Alfred|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Hardie, J. Keir||McGhee, Richard|
|Maclean, Donald||O'Shee, James John||Smith, Albert (Lanes., Clitheroe)|
|Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)|
|MacNeill, John G. S. (Donegal, South)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Macpherson, James Ian||Parker, James (Halifax)||Snowden, Philip|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|M'Callum, John M.||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|M'Curdy, Charles Albert||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N. W.)|
|McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Summers, James Woolley|
|M'Laren, Hon. F.W.S. (Lincs,. Spalding)||Pirie, Duncan V.||Sutherland, John E.|
|M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Pointer, Joseph||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Manfield, Harry||Pollard, Sir George H.||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Marks, Sir George Croydon||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Tennant, Harold John|
|Martin, J.||Power, Patrick Joseph||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Thomas, James Henry (Derby)|
|Masterman, C. F. G.||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhamptom)|
|Meagher, Michael||Priestley, Sir A. (Grantham)||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Meehan, Patrick (Queen's Co.)||Primrose, Hon. Neil James||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Menzies, Sir Walter||Pringle, William M. R.||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Middlebrook, William||Radford, George Heynes||Verney, Sir Henry|
|Millar, James Duncan||Raffan, Peter Wilson||Wadsworth, J.|
|Molloy, Michael||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.||Walters, Sir John Tudor|
|Mond, Sir Alfred M.||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Money, L. G. Chiozza||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Reddy, Michael||Waring, Walter|
|Mooney, John J.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Morgan, George Hay||Redmond, William (Clare)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Morrell, Philip||Rendall, Athelstan||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Morison, Hector||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)||Webb, H.|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Muldoon, John||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||White, J. Dundas (Glas., Tradeston)|
|Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.||Roberts, Sir J. (Denbighs)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Needham, Christopher P.||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)||Whyte, A. F. (Perth|
|Nolan, Joseph||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Norman, Sir Henry||Roche, Augustine (Louth)||Wilkle, Alexander|
|Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Roe, Sir Thomas||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Rose, Sir Charles Day||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Nuttall, Harry||Rowlands, James||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Rowntree, Arnold||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.||Winfrey, Richard|
|O'Doherty, Philip||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|O'Donnell, Thomas||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|O'Dowd, John||Scanlan, Thomas||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|O'Grady, James||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E.||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)||Sheeny, David|
|O'Malley, William||Sherwell, Arthur James||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Shortt, Edward||Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
§ And, it being Half-past Eleven of the clock, Mr. SPEAKER adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.
§ Adjourned at Half after Eleven o'clock.