§ (1) On and after the appointed day there shall be in Ireland an Irish Parliament, consisting of His Majesty the King and two Houses, namely, the Irish Senate and the Irish House of Commons.
§ (2) Notwithstanding the establishment of the Irish Parliament or anything contained in this Act, the supreme power and authority of the Parliament of the United Kingdom shall remain unaffected and un-diminished over all persons, matters, and things within His Majesty's Dominions.
§ Amendment proposed [18th June]: In Sub-section (1), leave out the words "His Majesty the King and."—[Mr. Hewins.]
§ Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause." Debate resumed.
§ 4.0 P.M.
Before the discussion on the Amendment is resumed, may I ask a question on a point of Order? Last night my hon. Friend who moved this Amendment limited his speech to the immediate question necessarily and obviously raised by the words on the Paper. I understand that it would be in order to travel beyond that immediate argument, and to introduce the larger question of subordinate Parliaments. I think that some Members of the Committee were under the impression that if any Member strayed into the larger question, you might rule out Amendments which deal clearly and specifically with what, after all, is one of the most important points in the Bill, namely, the subordination of the new Parliament to be created in Dublin. I want to ask whether you will inform the Committee exactly how the matter stands and how it would be best possible to secure a separate and complete discussion of the question of subordination, and also leave it open to my hon. Friend to pursue the 1682 point which was raised last night and was under discussion when the Debate was adjourned?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for putting that point of Order to me. My opinion is that I am largely in the hands of Members of the Committee in matters of this kind. As I stated, I do not feel able to rule out, on this Amendment, a wider discussion than the Mover originated; but I feel it my duty to warn the Committee that if the wider range be taken now, it might seriously prejudice, both on Clause 1, Subsection (2), and on Clause 2 itself, a number of Amendments which seem to me to-be designed to raise the question to which the right hon. Gentleman has just now referred. That is a matter for hon. Members themselves. I do not want to say that an occasional word or phrase may not go over the line, and I do not wish to take too narrow a view of the discussion. My whole desire is to assist the Committee to discuss these matters in logical order, without overlapping. I can have no-better model for this particular Amendment than the speech of the hon. Member who moved it. His point, as I understood it, was that if we pass these words now, will it prejudge the question of the relation of the local to the Imperial Parliament? That was the only question he raised. Other Members went considerably farther. If the matter were pursued at any length, it would seriously affect my ruling.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
Would it be too much to ask you to indicate to an hon. Member when he was going beyond the line?
§ The CHAIRMAN
My object is to avoid interfering as much as possible. I cannot rule that the wider discussion is out of order; it is only undesirable.
§ Mr. POLLOCK
I desire to observe the ruling which you have given, and to follow the example of my hon. Friend who moved the Amendment, the importance of which I do not think the Solicitor-General in his reply fully appreciated. The point put by my hon. Friend was, when we have passed these words in Committee, what kind of Parliament will have been established by this Clause? The House, the Constitution, and the Empire are familiar with various types of Parliament. We may discuss now, as I understand, what is the type of Parliament that we shall have set up, and 1683 consider its relations to Colonial Parliaments, without considering at all the relations between the Parliament at Westminster and the Parliament to be set up in Dublin. If I might indulge in metaphor, I should say that the point my hon. Friend wanted to develop was, are we by this First Clause setting up a satellite to this House, which will be bound to this House, and over which this House will have controlling power, or are we starting in the Imperial system a new planet which will have a course of its own? There are words perfectly well known to this House and to our Intercolonial Constitutions. There are apt words by which we can start a particular form of Constitution; there are apt words which we can use if we intend to start a federal Parliament, and apt words if we intend to establish a provincial Parliament. My hon. Friend pointed out that this Clause uses words which have been used and are apt words for establishing a Legislature such as is known in our Colonial system—apt words for establishing a federal Parliament. The point cannot be more aptly or succinctly put than by referring to the British North America Act. In Section 17 the words are:—
"There shall be one Parliament for Canada, consisting of the Queen, an Upper House, styled the Senate, and a House of Commons."
Those are substantially the words used in Clause 1 of the present Bill. Section 69 of the British North America Act says:—
"There shall be a Legislature for Ontario, consisting of the Lieutenant-Governor and one House, styled the Legislative Assembly of Ontario."
Section 71 says:—
"There shall be a Legislature for Quebec consisting of the Lieutenant-Governor and two Houses styled the Legislative Council of Quebec and the Legislative Assembly of Quebec."
By contrasting these two Sections with Section 17 it is plain that the words introduced into Clause 1 of this Bill are apt words for establishing a federal Parliament, and are not apt for the purpose of establishing a provincial Parliament. What was the answer of the Solicitor-General? He said:—It is essential, if you follow the mass of precedents in these matters, that you should show that you are constructing a legislature, self-governing it is true, "but which is subordinate to the Imperial Legislature, just as many self-governing legislatures are subordinate.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th June, 1912, col. 1608.]1684 We agree. That is a happy phrase to enshrine the exact purpose that we have in hand. If that is the purpose, why are words used which have been used in the past and are apt for establishing a federal legislature and not apt for the purpose of establishing a subordinate legislature? I cannot see that there is much difference between the purpose the Solicitor-General set out to accomplish and the purpose of this Amendment. They run almost on parallel lines. If the Solicitor-General says that the Government are endeavouring to construct a subordinate legislature, we may ask with great force why are words used which are apt for a different purpose, namely, establishing a federal legislature? I have quoted these words of the Solicitor-General because they appear to indicate that he did not fully appreciate the force of the Amendment. We have to consider at the outset not what we conceive this Parliament to be that we are setting up, but what will be the Parliament established under Clause 1; because once it has been started it must necessarily be clothed with the powers, liberties, freedom, responsibilities, and duties with which it is the constitutional custom of our Empire to clothe similar legislatures, starting under similar words. We cannot dissociate from any Parliament established under this phrase the usages, powers, and freedom attached to it by custom extending over a considerable period of time during which our Intercolonial system and Empire have developed. Therefore we must not ask ourselves what do we believe or what do the Government believe to be the effect of these words; we are entitled to take a wider view, and to consider what must be the necessary incidents that will belong to a Parliament established under these words. My hon. Friend drew attention to the fact that you must look at this matter from the historical point of view. The Solicitor-General answered him by saying, "You may be quite happy about the Parliament that is being established under Sub-section (1), because Sub-section (2) safeguards the point that you require to safeguard." The words in which my hon. Friend developed his argument are a complete answer to the Solicitor-General. He pointed out that it was declared in 1719, under a Statute of 6 George I., that the Parliament of Ireland was subordinate to and dependent upon the Imperial Parliament of Great Britain, as being inseparably connected and annexed thereto. That was a very clear statement. That, as my 1685 hon. Friend pointed out, was abolished and cleared away in 1782, when that Act was repealed. My hon. Friend showed that historically the original right of supremacy that was supposed to remain in this Parliament had been abrogated, taken away, and abolished in 1782. Therefore, he asked, how can you say that you can go back to the point where in 1719 there was a declaration of the supremacy of this Parliament? All that has been wiped off the slate of history. The Solicitor-General's answer was, "You can trust Sub-section (2)." Sub-section (2) may mean a great deal or it may mean very little. I am dealing with the answer given by the Solicitor-General. He said that there is a supremacy in this Parliament under which we can legislate for all our Colonies and for the whole Empire. I agree. There was a Bill introduced last Session bearing the names of the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General which purported to do that very thing. The second Peace Convention Conference Bill was a Bill which purported to legislate for the whole of the King's Dominions. It was not passed; it was dropped. The learned Solicitor-General did not tell us how that claim can in fact be asserted. The point, therefore, that arises is this: if by Sub-section (2) you are asserting a claim which cannot be made use of in fact, and which from the historical point of view, as developed by my hon. Friend the Member for Hereford, is unsound, what is the use of turning us from Sub-section (1) to Sub-section (2) and asking us to believe that what we are doing under Sub-section (1) is safeguarded by Sub-section (2)? It seems to me that the argument of my hon. Friend is complete and conclusive, and has not yet been answered. The Sub-section says this:—
"Notwithstanding the establishment of the Irish Parliament or anything contained in this Act, the supreme power and authority of the Parliament of the United Kingdom shall remain unaffected and undiminished.…"
What that is no one knows. Historically, my hon. Friend has pointed out it does not exist. If, therefore, we are to have when we have set up a Parliament under Sub-section (1) by these wide words, which are apt, and have been used for a particular purpose in what I may call our Intercolonial system, it may well be that that Sub-section upon which the Solicitor-General relies would not have the same 1686 purport and the same effect as it might have in relation to a Legislature established in Canada. I do not think that is what he hopes. I do not think that is what he believes. But this Committee ought to be quite certain where it stands before it passes these words and uses this phrase which are used in Sub-section (1). I have put my point, I hope, without transgressing your ruling. I have endeavoured simply to support the argument of my hon. Friend the Member for Hereford, whose point has certainly not been referred to or answered. He has indicated the importance of our recognising that there are different types of Parliament well known to the country and the Empire, and that where those words have been used certain results have followed, and may follow, whether this House may contemplate them or not. It is on these grounds and for these reasons that I submit that no sufficient answer or consideration has been given from the Government Bench to this important matter. I do ask for a further answer, and for a further answer which will show that this point has been really considered in all its bearings by those responsible for the drafting of this Bill, and that the points my hon. Friend has made has not escaped the attention of the legal advisers of the Crown. I trust that they will be able to give us some ground for the belief that when we use these words we may use them in a sense that safeguards the purpose for which they are used, and that we may afterwards not find ourselves in a difficulty because we have used words which must be interpreted by our conventions and our customs in a different sense to that originally intended.
§ Mr. LOUGH
On a point of Order. Is it not clear from the speech to which we have just listened that the widest issues are being raised? While I for one do not in the least object to that, I think it would assist the Committee very much if you, Mr. Chairman, would make that point quite clear, and then the discussion can go on.
§ The CHAIRMAN
It is really a matter of degree. I take careful note for my future guidance of the trend of the speeches and of points raised by hon. Members. I shall be guided in my subsequent decisions by the general scope of the discussion.
§ Colonel GREIG
May I ask whether the hon. Member who has just spoken did not 1687 discuss the question or whether this proposed legislature for Ireland was a satellite Parliament in its relation to the Imperial Parliament, and is that not travelling beyond the scope of the Amendment?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I say again I did not rule the discussion out of order. I shall be guided by the speeches of hon. Members in my decisions on subsequent Amendments.
§ Mr. AMERY
The only point I wish to mention is the great importance that may attach to this question. When the Imperial Conference settled on its constitution in 1907 the then Government proposed to describe the Conference as a Conference between His Majesty's Government and the Governments of the self-governing Dominions. Sir Wilfrid Laurier at once raised the objection that all claimed to be His Majesty's Governments. Mr. Deakin and Dr. Jameson supported that; and eventually the wording adopted was that it was a Conference between His Majesty's Government and His Governments of the self-governing Dominions. The only question I, for my part, wish to raise is, Do the Government intend that the Legislature set up in Ireland shall describe itself in Ireland as His Majesty's Government in the same way as the Dominion of Canada Government describes itself as His Majesty's Government in Canada?
§ Mr. HAMAR GREENWOOD
I shall be very brief. The point raised by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Hereford has been decided in the Privy Council many times. It has been decided every time that where the name of His Majesty's Government, Her Majesty's Government,
§ Lieutenant-Governor, Lieutenant-General, or King's Officer was used the result is exactly the same. As to Clause 69, dealing with the grant of a Legislature to the province of Ontario, I ask the Committee to listen to a short extract from the latest book, "The Law of the Canadian Constitution," by Mr. Justice Clement, one of the leading judges of the Dominion of Canada. He says (page 325):—
§ "Owing to the difference in the phraseology employed—"
§ That is between the King who gives the grant to the Dominion, and the Lieutenant-Governor—
§ "it has been contended that the Queen does not form a constituent part of the Provincial Legislatures—"
§ That is the case of the hon. Member, if I understand it—
§ "but in the present state of the authorities this view can hardly be said to be tenable."
§ Then the author goes on to quote Chitty on the Prerogative, and several cases already decided in the Privy Council which make the thing clear beyond question. I repeat myself here, that the name you give, whether it be King, or Queen, or Lieutenant-Governor, does not go to the substance of the matter. You cannot have a Parliament for Canada, Dominion or Province, or anywhere else unless that Parliament is composed of the King in fact— whatever the name that may be given to his representative—and at least one Chamber.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 250; Noes, 135.1691
|Division No. 101.]||AYES.||[4.22 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Brady, P. J.||Cullinan, J.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Brocklehurst, W. B.||Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)|
|Adamson, William||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Byles, Sir William Pollard||Dawes, J. A.|
|Alden, Percy||Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||De Forest, Baron|
|Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire)||Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Delany, William|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Chancellor, H. G.||Devlin, Joseph|
|Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A.||Chapple, Dr. W. A.||Dewar, Sir J. A.|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Clancy, John Joseph||Dickinson, W. H.|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Clough, William||Dillon, John|
|Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick)||Clynes, John R.||Donelan, Captain A.|
|Barton, W.||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Doris, W.|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, S. George)||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)|
|Bentham, G. J.||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)|
|Bethell, Sir J. H.||Cowan, W. H.||Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Elverston, Sir Harold|
|Black, Arthur W.||Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)|
|Boland, John Plus||Crean, Eugene||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Crooks, William||Falconer, J.|
|Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.)||Crumley, Patrick||Farrell, James Patrick|
|Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Lundon, T.||Reddy, Michael|
|Ffrench, Peter||Lyell, Charles Henry||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Lynch, A. A.||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Gelder, Sir W. A.||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Rendall, Athelstan|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Gill, A. H.||McGhee, Richard||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Ginnell, L.||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||MacNeill, John G. S. (Donegal, South)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Macpherson, James Ian||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Goldstone, Frank||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||McCallum, Sir John M.||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Greig, Colonel J. W.||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Griffith, Ellis Jones||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Samuel, J. (Stockton)|
|Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Martin, J.||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Masterman, C. F. G.||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Meagher, Michael||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Hackett, J.||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Sheehy, David|
|Hancock, J. G.||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Menzies, Sir Walter||Smith, Albert (Lanes, Clitheroe)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Middlebrook, William||Smith, H. B. L. (Northampton)|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Millar, James Duncan||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Molloy, M.||Snowden, P.|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Harwood, George||Mooney, J. J.||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Morgan, George Hay||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Wayward, Evan||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Summers, James Woolley|
|Hazleton, Richard (Galway, N.)||Muldoon, John||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Munro, R.||Sutton, John E.|
|Healy, Timothy Michael (Cork, East)||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Hemmerde, Edward George||Needham, Christopher T.||Tennant, Harold John|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Higham, John Sharp||Nuttall, H.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Hinds, John||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Holmes, Daniel Turner||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Wadsworth, J.|
|Holt, Richard Durning||O'Doherty, Philip||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||O'Donnell, Thomas||Wardle, George J.|
|Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||O'Dowd, John||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Ogden, Fred||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Hughes, Spencer Leigh||O'Grady, James||Watt, Henry A.|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Webb, H.|
|Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||O'Malley, William||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||O'Shee, James John||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Jones W. S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Palmer, Godfrey||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Jowett, F. W.||Parker, James (Halifax)||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Joyce, Michael||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Keating, Matthew||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Williams, p. (Middlesbrough)|
|Kellaway, Frederick George||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Williamson, Sir A.|
|Kelly, Edward||Pirie, Duncan V.||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Pointer, Joseph||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|King, J. (Somerset, N.)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Winfrey, Richard|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)||Power, Patrick Joseph||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, N.)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Radford, G. H.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Leach, Charles||Raffan, Peter Wilson||Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Lewis, John Herbert|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish||Clyde, J. Avon|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Bird, A.||Cooper, Richard Ashmole|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Boles, Lieut.-Col. Dennis Fortescue||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)|
|Ashley, W. W.||Bridgeman, William Clive||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)|
|Astor, Waldorf||Burdett-Coutts, W.||Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Burgoyne, A. H.||Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian|
|Baird, J. L.||Burn, Colonel C. R.||Denniss, E. R. B.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton, M.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. (Dublin Univ.)||Faber, George Denison (Clapham)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Campion, W. R.||Falle, Bertram Godfray|
|Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Carille, Sir Edward Hildred||Fell, Arthur|
|Barlow, Montague (alford, South)||Cassel, Felix||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey|
|Barnston, Harry||Cator, John||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Gilmour, Captain J.|
|Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc, E.)||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Glazebrook, Capt. Philip K.|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilton)||Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Goldman, C. S.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Chambers, J.||Gordon, John (Londonderry, South)|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.|
|Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Haddock, George Bahr||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee||Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells)|
|Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo., Han. S.)||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Stanley, Hen. G. F. (Preston)|
|Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Starkey, John R.|
|Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||M'Calmont, Colonel James||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Harris, Henry Percy||M'Mordie, Robert J.||Stewart, Gershom|
|Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||M'Neill, Ranald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Henderson, Major. H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Malcolm, Ian||Talbot, Lord E.|
|Hills, John Waller||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry||Terrell, H. (Gloucester)|
|Hoare, S. J. G.||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
|Hope, Harry (Bute)||Middlemore, J. T.||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)|
|Horner, Andrew Long||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Hunt, Rowland||Moore, William||Ward, Arnold (Herts, Watford)|
|Hunter, Sir C. R. (Bath)||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Weigall, Capt A. G.|
|Jardine, E. (Somerset, E.)||Newdegate, F. A||Winterton, Earl|
|Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Newman, John R. P.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Kerry Earl of||Newton, Harry Kottingham||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Ripon)|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Worthington-Evans, Laming|
|Kyffin-Taylor, G.||Norton-Griffiths, J. (Wednesbury)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Lane-Fox, G. R.||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Yerburgh, Robert|
|Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)||Younger, Sir George|
|Lewisham, Viscount||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Lloyd, G. A.||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Perkins, Walter F.||Hewins and Mr. Peel.|
§ Mr. SANDYS
I beg to move, in Subsection (1), after the word "and" ["an Irish Parliament consisting of His Majesty the King and two Houses, namely, the Irish Senate and the Irish House of Commons"], to insert the word "of."
§ Mr. DICKINSON
On a point of Order. May I ask, Mr. Whitley, whether my Amendment, which proposes to leave out the words "and two Houses, namely, the Irish Senate," is out of order, and, if not, whether it should not come before the hon. Member's Amendment?
§ The CHAIRMAN
It is not out of order, but the Amendment of the hon. Member for Wells comes in front of it.
§ Mr. DICKINSON
May I point out that if the word "and" in the hon. Gentleman's Amendment is left out, and the two subsequent Amendments on the Paper are carried, omitting the rest of the words, then the word "and" would not make sense. I submit to you I am right in putting down this Amendment in the form I have done. I understand your ruling to be that the word "and" referred to in the hon. Gentleman's Amendment ought to stand, and if that is so I submit, if the other Amendments were carried, the word "and" would be left standing at the end of the Clause.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I do not think I can assume that all the Amendments on the Paper will be carried. If so I should have nothing left in the Clause. We have already decided that certain words proposed to be left out shall stand part of the 1692 Clause, and clearly the next Amendment in order is that which proposes to insert the word "of" after the word "and."
§ Mr. SANDYS
I move this Amendment in order to draw attention to the fact that the precedent of 1893 has not been followed in this case. When Mr. Gladstone introduced his Bill of 1893, as it was originally laid before the House and subsequently amended, the wording of a similar Clause read, "a Legislature consisting of Her Majesty the Queen and of two Houses." I therefore move that the word "of" shall be inserted in this case, so that the Clause would run, "an Irish Parliament consisting of His Majesty the King and of two Houses," in order that the precedent of 1893 may be followed, or that we may have some assurance from the Government as to the real reason which has prompted them to make this change I should like to know why this word was left out, and especially after the change from the word "Legislature" to "Parliament," which, as a matter of fact, the Prime Minister yesterday assured us was merely a change in nomenclature and not an alteration of any substance. I think it is apparent from a perusal of the Debates of 1893 that considerable attention was attracted in the course of the discussion on the new Irish Constitution to the Canadian Constitution which was established by the British North America Act of 1867. Mr. Gladstone, in the course of the Debate, frequently referred to the Canadian Act, and it is obvious that he had that Act before him when framing his Clause, and I think we are justified in assuming that that 1693 portion of his proposals in reference to Ireland were based upon a measure establishing this new Constitution in Canada. By Clause 17 of the British North America Act it is stated,
"There shall be established one Parliament for Canada, consisting of the Queen, the Upper House, called the Senate, and the House of Commons."
I do not wish to go over the ground traversed in the discussion which took place on the previous Amendment, because the constitutional theory that the Sovereign Parliament of the United Kingdom consists of the King and two Houses sitting and acting together was accepted during that discussion without any qualification. It seems to me that in the British North America Act the reasons why this phraseology was employed was because it was intended, subject of course to certain suitable reservations, which were doubtless implied, but not directly stated in the Act, to establish a Legislature in Canada which should be, as far as Canada was concerned, a Sovereign assembly. In that same British North America Act the provinces of Canada which had previously been divided into Upper and Lower Canada were again divided into provinces.
§ The CHAIRMAN
This is a great deal to come out of the word "of." I rather think it would be better first to dispose of this, which is a purely verbal question.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Then I think I ought to direct the attention of the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford to the question.
§ Mr. SANDYS
I was not attempting to deal with the question of supremacy or subordination in any way. What I was attempting to deal with was the different phraseology employed in different Clauses dealing with the establishment of a Legislature for Canada and a Legislature for the province of Quebec. Perhaps it is not altogether a constitutional question, but a question of the phraseology used for the establishment of a Dominion Parliament. So far as the Quebec Parliament is concerned, the basis of it was set out in the Act of 1871, which ran as follows:—
"There shall be established a Legislature for Quebec consisting of the Lieutenant-Governor and of two Houses,"
1694 so that the word "of" is used in each of these cases where these subordinate Legislatures were established. The word "of" was omitted so far as the Sovereign. Dominion Parliament of the Canadian. Constitution was concerned. But the word "of" was found necessary in each case when these subordinate Legislatures were constituted. The point I wish to draw attention to is that Mr. Gladstone no doubt had the British North America Act in front of him when arranging the terms of the new Constitution in 1893, and he deliberately adopted a formula which included the word "of" rather than the formula in this Bill. Therefore I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman if he can give us some reason why the precedent of the North America Act and the previous Home Rule Bill of 1893 were not followed in this case?
§ The CHIEF SECRETARY for IRELAND (Mr. Birrell)
I can give the most solemn assurance that there is absolutely no political significance whatsoever in the omission of this word "of." The hon. Member has commented on the fact that this word appears in the Bill of 1893. I wish to point out that the absence of it now is due to an increased sense of grammatical responsibility on the part of those engaged in the actual preparation of this Bill. I myself have a strong grammatical objection on the ground of sheer redundancy to this word. If you hunt through the Colonial precedents and the Constitutions given at different times you will find a. variety of treatment in regard to this word. Sometimes it is there and sometimes it is not. It is sometimes found in the Dominion Parliament Constitution, and sometimes it is absent or to be found in the subordinate Parliaments, but if hon. Members, think that any significance is to be attached to this missing word, and you like to have it in rather than keep up the discussion I would at once accept the Amendment. I really hope it will not be thought necessary to pursue the Bill all through in the same spirit of profound suspicion when I assure hon. Members that with regard to the drafting of the Bill those responsible have not been animated by any of those ideas of side-winds or sidelights or sinister consequences in the use of our prepositions. I would sooner not accept this Amendment, but if there is any real desire after what I have said to have this word inserted I will endeavour to compound for my grammatical offences with the proper authorities.
§ Mr. WALTER LONG
The right hon. Gentleman says that his efforts and the efforts of his Friends have been directed to improving the work of 1886 and 1893. All we wish is that there had been the same allowance for the good of the country as there is for grammar. I think there is much more room for improvement in the general construction of the principles than there is in regard to the grammar. The right hon. Gentleman said we ought not to be so suspicious. Really, our objection is not to any undue suspicion on our part, but it is owing to the fact that the Government change their ground almost every day. The other day they told us that they were following the example of South Africa, and when it was pointed out that they were wrong, they said they were following the example of Canada. Now an hon. Friend of mine has examined the Canadian Constitution and we find that the Government have departed from that. Other examinations have disclosed similar laches. Our objection is not due to suspicion, but it is due to the fact that the Government have paid more attention to grammatical accuracy than to securing that the Bill will do any good either to England or to Ireland.
§ Mr. RONALD M'NEILL
Like the right hon. Gentleman, I have some interest in English style, and I wish to make an appeal to the Chief Secretary to withdraw his offer to accept the Amendment of my hon. Friend. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that if the Government will stand firm on this point I shall support them.
§ Mr. SANDYS
After the explanation given by the right hon. Gentleman I ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. DICKINSON
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words "two Houses, namely, the Irish Senate."
The effect of my proposal will be to establish a Parliament in Ireland consisting of the King and a single Chamber. I need hardly assure my hon. Friends on this side of the House and below the Gangway opposite that I do not bring forward this Amendment in any sense of hostility to the Bill. I have for over thirty years been a consistent supporter of Home Rule, and I have done my best in my humble sphere with other hon. Members of this House to obtain a concurrence throughout the Liberal party in favour of the bestowal of 1696 self-government upon Ireland. I bring forward this proposal because I think the insertion of a proposal for a Second Chamber is contrary to the principle of self-government on which we base our demand that this Bill should become law. The Second Chamber that is proposed will be a body with very important powers. Its members will have greater powers in the legislation of Ireland than is possessed at the present time by the Members of our own House of Lords. The powers of the Second Chamber will be complete over all measures with the exception of financial measures brought forward by the Lower House in Ireland for a certain period, and, after that period, whereas the Members of the House of Lords have nothing to say to the further progress of a measure, in the new Irish Parliament the nominated Senators will have a right to sit with the elected Members of the Lower House, and to the extent of one-fifth of that number they will decide as to whether or not the measures demanded by the people of Ireland shall become law. For the first time we are setting up in this country—and, I believe, for the first time anywhere in the Empire—a state of affairs in which the laws of the country are to be made by persons who are temporarily nominated by the power of the Sovereign. This is a perfectly new proposal, not only in this country, but throughout the Empire, and I believe there is only one exception to the rule I have laid down, and that is in New Zealand. Wherever nominated Chambers exist, with that one exception, they are nominated by the Sovereign for life, and, as a Senator nominated for life becomes independent of the Sovereign, he is capable of exercising his own discretion. The proposal to put Senators or legislators in the position in which they not only owe their nomination to the Sovereign, but also the continuance of their term of office—
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member, I think, is mixing up two questions. The only question we have now to decide is whether there should be two Houses or one. We shall subsequently come to the point, if there is to be a Second House, how it is to be constituted, but we must keep to the simple question now.
§ Mr. DICKINSON
I submit, Mr. Whitley, that you do not know the line I was going to argue the question upon—namely, that the various proposals for constituting a Second Chamber have proved that it is 1697 impossible or inadvisable to have a Second Chamber at all. If I can show that the Second Chamber and other Second Chambers which have been suggested have been abandoned, and that ultimately the Second Chamber proposed is in itself inexpedient, I think I shall have made good my case, that no Second Chamber is required in the Bill. I will try to restrict my observations and criticisms to the Second Chamber as much as I possibly can, but unless I can directly base my arguments upon that proposition, of course my case cannot be properly put before the Committee. I will try to abide by your ruling, and I hope I may proceed in the hope that I shall be able to comply with it.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I should not like to say that the hon. Member cannot argue that Second Chambers under no circumstances can be any good. That I take to be his point, but he appears to me to be going directly into the subject of the subsequent Clause of this Bill, and that would be doing just what an hon. Member opposite has been good enough to avoid, and I hope he will not develop his argument on those lines.
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Mr. DICKINSON
I want to move my Amendment in order to get rid of the Second Chamber for the considerations I have put forward, namely, that every proposal to make a Second Chamber is unsuitable, and this proposal is the worst. I would like to remind the Committee that this is a new proposal as regards Ireland. Mr. Gladstone's first Bill proposed a Single Chamber, and the legislative body for Ireland was to consist of one debating and voting body; but there was this provision, that the Second Chamber should consist of two orders. One order which was the more numerous portion was to be elected by popular election, the other smaller order being elected by what I may call, roughly, the property vote. The Members of that body sat together, but they were entitled, if either order chose, to claim the right to vote separately, and therefore no measure could pass unless it obtained the separate consent of each order. That was a proposal for a Single Chamber, and a Second Chamber elected directly by some section of the people. The second Home Rule Bill which was proposed provided for a bicameral system, but that system consisted of two Chambers, both of which were directly elected by the people, and therefore we have come to this, that we hare departed from the principles of Irish 1698 Government laid down in the two former Bills, which based the Second Chamber entirely upon the votes of the people, and we have now a new system proposed which bases the Second Chamber entirely upon nomination by the Sovereign. I hoped to be able to argue that this last resort which the Government has come to, of having to establish a Senate which is non-representative, and giving the power of legislation into the hands of people not directly responsible to the people, but owing their nomination and continuance of office to the Sovereign, is a bad principle, and hostile to all the ideals of democratic self-government in this country. Under these circumstances I submit that I am justified in suggesting to the House that there should be no Second Chamber, and that we should rely upon the absolute autonomy of the one elected Chamber. I understand that the Second Chamber is proposed because it is supposed to be a safeguard to the minority or possibly to the Protestants in Ireland. It appears to me this safeguard must inevitably become-absolutely illusory. The Second Chamber will be formed, as we know, by nomination upon the recommendation of the Chief Secretary, and after an election in Ireland the majority who are returned to the House of Commons will, if the Second Chamber is to be a safeguard to the minority, have to put into that Second Chamber a majority of their own opponents. It seems to me it is quite inconceivable that this will happen. Elections are fought upon certain definite questions of policy.
§ Sir GODFREY BARING
On a point of Order. Is not the hon. Gentleman now proceeding to criticise in detail the constitution of the Second Chamber, and is not that out of order, according to the ruling you have just given?
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member was proceeding to the subject matter of Clause 8, but, if it is merely a reference, I will not quarrel with him. I do, however, deprecate entering into the question before we reach it in its proper form.
§ Mr. DICKINSON
I can quite see your ruling, and I am sure the Committee will appreciate the difficulty in which I am put. If once we settle that we are to have a Second Chamber, then, whatever we do as regards discussing the formation of it, we shall nevertheless find ourselves in the 1699 position of having to put something in as a Second Chamber. My argument is that a Second Chamber is inadvisable under the circumstances, and I am now trying to argue it is inadvisable because it is not a safeguard. Under the provisions of the Bill, after an election has been fought out on a certain definite question and the majority has been returned in order to carry out that policy, I believe it will be totally impossible for any Member, with the very best desire and the most generous impulse, to resist the pressure which must be brought upon him to put into the Second Chamber persons of the same political complexion as the majority in the Lower House. It is impossible to contemplate that, after a party has won some great question like Protection or Land Laws or anything else, and they come to legislate upon it, they could in justice to their constituencies or in justice to the country establish a nominated Second Chamber in such a way that it would not be of the same political complexion as the Lower Chamber. I therefore believe the Second Chamber will not be a safeguard, and, on the other hand, I believe it may very materially complicate the administration of Home Rule, and very seriously endanger its prospects of success. You have put me in this difficulty. I may find myself not free to point out that in the process of constructing this Second Chamber we shall be bringing about a condition of affairs which will, in my opinion, be very deleterious to the relations between England and Ireland. The Second Chamber, if it is to be a nominated Second Chamber, will be nominated by the Sovereign, and, inasmuch as the Second Chamber will be constantly reinforced every two years by the re-election of ten of its Members, the question of its nomination by the Sovereign will be constantly recurring in Ireland.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am very sorry, but there are seven Members in different parts of the House who have put down proposals referring to Clause 8 to alter the constitution of the Senate, and, if I allow anyone to discuss that, I must allow them all. I beg the hon. Member not to go further in that direction. I must allow the same treatment to every hon. Member who may desire to follow. We must simply discuss here the question whether there should be two Chambers, or one, and not the nature of it.
§ Mr. DICKINSON
I quite accept your ruling, and I will not continue that portion of my argument. It is one which will have to be continued before the Bill is completed, and I quite agree it may perhaps be more practicable when we come to the constitution of the Second Chamber. I therefore pass on to the question of having a Second Chamber. What is the object of it? Why is it put in this Bill? It is either in order to provide a safeguard to the minority or to satisfy certain persons who imagine that a Second Chamber is a God-sent institution. I believe the day of Second Chambers is passed, and especially so with regard to Legislatures, I will not say of a subordinate kind, because I am not one of those who wish to set up a subordinate Legislature in Ireland, but of a class which has not got complete control of all the affairs relating to its country. That will be the position of the Irish Legislature. In that respect it answers to the Provincial Assemblies in different parts of the Empire. In all those cases there has been a marked tendency to abolish the Second Chamber. In Canada a Second Chamber only exists in two out of the nine provinces; in South Africa, when the Constitution was last revised at the request of the South African Parliaments, the Second Chambers in the constituent provinces of the South African Union were done away with, and in Australia, where we have still Second Chambers, there is a growing discontent with those Second Chambers. In the Blue Book which was circulated to the House only a week or a fortnight ago, and which gives an account of the proceedings of the Colonial and self-governing Dominion Parliaments in the year 1911 there were no less than three different cases mentioned— in Queensland, in Victoria, and in South Australia—where serious differences of opinion had already arisen between the Lower House and the Upper House; and in New Zealand, where we have this system of nomination every few years, the Government themselves brought forward a very far-reaching programme, including the reform of the Second Chamber. In all these cases, which are very much on all fours with the Parliament proposed to be set up in Ireland, we find there is actually existing a popular demand for the reform or the abolition of the Second Chamber.
I cannot help thinking, if we now set up in Ireland a Second Chamber in the hope that it will be a means of pacifying irritation, we shall as a matter of fact, as in 1701 these Colonies find it a fertile source of irritation, and one which cannot conduce to the success of the self-government of Ireland. A Second Chamber may indeed be advisable in the case of a federal Government, because, as in the case of Germany, South Africa, Australia, and Canada, you wish to represent the entities of the various States apart from the ordinary population of the whole country; but when you are dealing with the other Parliaments which I have said are called subordinate, and which are certainly limited in their powers, I believe there is no such demand for a Second Chamber, and a Second Chamber here would be disadvantageous to the settlement of the Irish question. Although we are now dealing with Ireland, we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that this will create a precedent of very great importance. I do not know how far it may govern the settlement of the constitution of the Imperial Second Chamber, but, if we establish this kind of Second Chamber in Ireland, it will be exceedingly difficult, when Parliaments are established in England, Scotland, and Wales, to resist the argument to be drawn from this precedent. I view with the greatest apprehension the establishment of bicameral Parliaments for local purposes in England, Scotland, and Wales. The federal system would be perfectly well organised by depending on Single Chambers appointed entirely by the electors of the country. I hope we shall bear this in mind and deal out to Ireland what we have always professed we are anxious to give her—a real measure of self-government and one which depends entirely upon the will of the representatives of the Irish people.
§ Mr. LEES SMITH
My difficulty in seconding the Amendment of my hon. Friend is that as far as I have been able to discover there is not a vestige of demand for it in Ireland itself. Under these circumstances, it appears to me the question we have to decide is not so much whether we may or may not happen on these benches to believe in a Second Chamber, but whether we believe in Home Rule. If Home Rule means anything at all, it surely means that as far as possible we should give the Irish people the kind of Parliament they want. My hon. Friend said the Irish Senate would have larger powers than the House of Lords. There I cannot agree with him. The Irish Senate will be able to delay a measure for one year. The conflict will then go to the 1702 decisive arbitrament of the Joint Session, but, with only one-fifth of the Members in that Joint Session, the influence of the Irish Senate is not likely to be overwhelming. I am bound to say it appears to me that Ireland is in more urgent need of a Second Chamber than we ourselves. The first task of an Irish Parliament will be to allay the apprehensions of a hostile minority, and I believe no feature of the Irish Constitution will be so valuable for this purpose as the Irish Senate. It is the natural protection of the minority. It can be strengthened for that purpose. During the first eight years at any rate, and with proper Amendments afterwards, provision could actually be made that the minority should be represented in the Irish Senate out of proportion to their number. My main objection to this Amendment is a simple one. I believe my hon. Friend would make again the mistake which has been so disastrous in the past, the mistake of supposing we in this House know better what the Irish people want than the Irish people themselves.
§ Mr. WALTER LONG
I confess, having regard to the extraordinary gravity of the issue raised by the Amendment, I am astonished that the Chief Secretary did not at once rise. It is quite inconceivable that this is a proposal with regard to which the attitude of the Government can be affected by the attitude taken up by different parties in this House. The proposal of the Government is that there shall be two Chambers in the new Irish Parliament, and I am sure that that was inserted after very careful consideration, because, if the Chief Secretary was right when he informed us that they had spent anxious hours over the question of the omission or the inclusion of the word "of," it is not an extreme thing to say that they must have spent equal time in the consideration of the question whether there should be a single or a double Chamber in the Irish Parliament. We ought to know before this Debate proceeds any further whether this provision has been put in to be left ultimately for discussion and decision by the House, or whether it is a part of the Bill to which the Government attach importance and by which they mean to stand. Before we can have a really useful Debate on this question we ought to know on which side the Government will range themselves.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The chief duty of a Minister in charge, in matters of this sort, is to give an opportunity for discussion. 1703 Sometimes we are accused of tyrannous conduct in asserting our will over a mechanical majority which is driven into the Lobby by persons commonly called Whips, and we are told that it is unreasonable not to allow the House some opportunity of showing itself to be a free Assembly. I am anxious to allow the House an opportunity of discussing this. After all, discussion is a right which belongs to it, and I hope at some no distant date that right may be restored to it. Hon. Members opposite cheer that. I hope if and when they come into power they will give this matter their first attention. The question before the Committee is a simple one; is there to be in the new Irish Constitution a Second Chamber, or is the Constitution to be confined to a Single Chamber? On that the Government have no doubt whatever. You may look at the question from whatever point of view you like. You may consider it from the point of view of the British Empire at large, or you may look at it from the point of view of the particular circumstances of Ireland. So far as the British Empire at large is concerned we have been engaged for many years in giving Parliamentary sanction to divers constitutions in different parts of the world, in all of which there is a Second Chamber. Quae regio in terris nostri non plena laboris. Wherever you look there is a Second Chamber, the work and responsibility of this House.
My hon. Friend behind me says that all these Second Chambers in different parts of the world are open to criticism, and do not give complete satisfaction, but the same observation may be applied to First Chambers. In all Parliamentry institutions attempts to secure complete and proper representation are open, and probably will always be open, to criticism more or less grave. I think the gravity will generally be found to exceed the levity of those criticisms. We are not at all disposed to depart from those precedents. We consider ourselves not in the least bound by them, but we feel that the weight of argument has always been in favour of a Second Chamber. I myself personally entertain that view as strongly as anyone. We are not now at liberty to consider the best way of fitting up the Second Chamber when we get it. It may, however, be open to the advocates of a Second Chamber to say it does enter into one's mind in advocating a Second Chamber that there are in all our Dominions different classes of 1704 men. There are those who are better adapted than others to what is called popular election, as at present understood. There are some men who shine as canvassers and on the platform, but who do not command absolute attention when they speak in more restricted areas. I am not complaining of the mode in which God's gifts are distributed, but for the government of the world we really honestly desire to call in to our assistance all kinds of men. I do not wish in any way to seek to put one class above another. That is one reason why people in all parts of the world, where they have a Second Chamber, have the point in mind that there are persons and characters who maybe entitled to representation and yet may not be likely, for different reasons, to appeal successfully to large-popular constituencies divided, as we hope, and indeed as I have no doubt they will be into equal electoral areas. Certain classes of men will find the same advantages offered to them whatever their constituency may be, but you will not have the kind of man who goes in for a snug little borough, and the man who is seen at his best when addressing 10,000 people; you will have people more or less of the same mould, class, character, gifts, strength of voice, with the same indomitable capacity to speak four times in the same evening, and the same capacity to ride 100 miles in motor cars. The longer one lives the more one perceives what our future is going to be and the more eminently desirable does it become to secure a Second Chamber. I wonder why hon. Gentlemen opposite acidulate their applause in such a way as to make it disagreeable to me. Do they recognise these remarks as representing their views? So much for the general question.
Then come to the case of Ireland in particular. I associate myself most completely with the observations that fell from the hon. Gentleman the Member for Northampton, that this is the time to secure for the Irish people the kind of government which they want. It is our hope, and I trust that we shall not endeavour to repeat in this Home Rule Bill one of the greatest errors we have ever committed in our past attempts to govern Ireland, and disregard Irish opinion and Irish wishes by insisting that we know what is good for the Irish people better, say, in matters of the Poor Law or the Constitution than the poor wretches themselves. I think it 1705 is a matter of great importance to consider that the Second Chamber is, as we have reason to believe, agreeable to the wishes of the people and of those who have associated themselves with the Home Rule movement. That is all that is open to us at the present moment to say. When we come to Clause 8 the hon. Gentleman will have an opportunity to find fault with the nominated Senate, to declare that it is a most undemocratic thing, and to wonder that it does not stick in our throats to make any such suggestion. These are possibilities of which, no doubt, they will avail themselves. We shall, of course, have our answer, and shall be able to put the House in possession of our views on the question. In the meantime, in answer to the perfectly straightforward question put to me by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Long), I say unhesitatingly that the Government will resist this Amendment. They are of opinion their first Clause is worded rightly and grammatically, and also politically, that the Irish Parliament shall consist "of the King and two Houses, namely, the Irish Senate and the Irish House of Commons."
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
The Chief Secretary has made a very interesting speech, and I agree in what was implied by the line he took, that you cannot decide whether you will have a Second Chamber or not unless you know what you want a Second Chamber for. But I confess when the right hon. Gentleman came to develop what he wanted it for, I thought he was very unconvincing. He wanted it to admit into the Legislature persons who are not likely to be elected to the First Chamber. No doubt that is a thing that ought to be achieved, but it should be achieved by what was very unwisely sneered at many years ago—by a fancy franchise. True a representative community, not merely per capita, but according to the different sorts of persons of whom it consists, is to have various elective classes which may send to the First Chamber a complete representation not only by head but of all varieties of thought and opinion that exist in a community, so that the representative Chamber is in the truest sense representative, corresponding in all aspects of the community to the community. That is the true way of doing what the Chief Secretary desires to do. It is not to be done by a Second Chamber, for the obvious reason that the Second Chamber is not part of the First Chamber, and therefore is not an equivalent to it. It does not make up for 1706 the defects which the right hon. Gentleman called attention to in the First Chamber. If you are to have all qualities and all types you do not accomplish it by putting one sort in one room and another sort in another. It would be of no use if the right hon. Gentleman were giving a dinner party and thinking to make it more agreeable by having both ladies and gentlemen present he put the ladies in the back dining room and the gentlemen in the front room. That surely would not give the party the unity he desired.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
The right hon. Gentleman's argument is not really sufficient to justify the efforts he put forward to show what is the purpose of a Second Chamber. There are more theories than one. One theory is that you want to have an effective check on the First Chamber. You do not adopt the pure democratic theory that all authority should spring from the First Chamber, but you say there are other qualities which ought to have a voice in the decision of questions of legislative importance, therefore you create a Second Chamber representing those classes, and thereby balancing the authority of the electorate. I do not suppose that is the theory of right hon. Gentlemen opposite. If it were it would be surprising, considering how they have treated the House of Lords in past times. It may also be that the Second Chamber is necessary because the First Chamber does not always carry out the will of the electorate. Another theory has always been that you must have a Second Chamber to see that the First Chamber, which really represents the electorate, shall not play with the electorate's views. That is another theory of the utility of the Second Chamber, and as the Bill is now framed it will not be achieved by the Bill; if the Government proposed to tolerate an Amendment in that sense later on in our discussions we should certainly be told at once whether there is to be a Second Chamber or not. If the Second Chamber is to be merely a pretence, then I think it is better not to have it. If it is not in any case whatever to thwart the First Chamber you had better not have any Second Chamber. Being in favour of a Second Chamber means this: that you think the First Chamber ought not always to get its own way, otherwise you will be silly to have it. To propose a Second Chamber merely in 1707 order to make people believe that there is a safeguard when their is no safeguard is a pretence and even a fraud, and the impression given to critics of the Bill on this side of the Committee is that the Second Chamber designed by the Government is such a pretence and fraud.
We do not see how any human being will be the better for the Second Chamber you are going to set up. If you mean, as apparently you do, that the First Chamber is to have its way in all details, and that it is never to be thwarted in carrying out any of its purposes, why in the world do you want to have a Second Chamber at all? There is no escape from the dilemma, that either the Second Chamber is an obstacle in the way of the First Chamber, or else it is a redundancy and a superfluity. That is a position which ought to be in the minds of all those who discuss this question. I shall be glad to see a Second Chamber in this Bill which will give effective weight to the wishes of English and Scottish opinion. I can conceive of that being a very useful institution in the circumstances of the case. I can conceive it as a valuable thing to have a Second Chamber which will force a reference to the Irish people on important questions, but a Second Chamber of insignificant numbers, which is merely to sit with the other Chamber when there is a disagreement, is undoubtedly a useless, and worse than useless, thing. It is merely a thing intended to be paraded on platforms to persuade the people of the country that your Bill is not so dangerous to the rights of the minority as it really is. It is provisions of this kind which justify that sentiment of suspicion of which the Chief Secretary complained a minute or two ago. When you see people engaged in fraudulent pretences you scrutinise even the word "of" with great care. When we see you hand over the whole people of Ireland, not to a single popularly-elected Chamber, but, on the contrary, make pretences which do not give real security, we are entitled to view your proposals with suspicion, and regard the Second Chamber as dangerous security which is expressed by a rotten Government.
§ The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Asquith)
The question raised by the Amendment is not the question as to how the proposed Second Chamber shall be composed—that is a matter we shall have to consider subsequently—but whether there shall be a Second Chamber at all under the new Irish 1708 Constitution. I have listened with great interest to the theory the Noble Lord (Lord Hugh Cecil) has propounded as to the uses and purposes of a Second Chamber. I am a Second Chamber man. I have declared, both here and elsewhere, that I am strongly in favour of a Second Chamber properly constituted, exercising the functions which are appropriate to such a body. The Noble Lord has presented us with a dilemma which is worthy of examination. He says—I am stating it in my own words—that if you do not have a Second Chamber which is prepared to thwart the First Chamber, the Second Chamber is a redundancy and a sham. We have had a pretty long experience in this country of a Second Chamber; the House of Lords, and I undertake to say—I am not going very far back—that during the last fifteen or twenty years, during the great bulk of which the Noble Lord's Friends were in power, the Second Chamber was a redundancy. When, during the whole of the ten years from 1895 to 1905, did the Second Chamber thwart the will of the First Chamber? When did it, during the whole of that time, compel, or threaten to compel, or show any disposition to compel, an appeal to the people from the decision of this House? The Noble Lord knows it never did anything of the kind. I do not want to diverge to a matter not strictly relevant, but one of the great reasons for the change we have had in regard to the Second Chamber system in this country is that we want to have a Second Chamber really effective for the purposes for which such a body ought to exist under a well-ordered Constitution.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
We are going to do it. We must proceed by steps. One step we have accomplished; another I hope we shall take before very long. In my view—I have always held the same view, and have often expressed it—the functions of a Second Chamber in a democratic Constitution are important. At the same time they are definite and limited. They are the functions of securing due deliberation, of securing effective revision, and when the occasion arises, as it will by the operation we propose in this Bill of a Joint Session, or any other constitutional mechanism appropriate to the purpose, of bringing together the legislative bodies of the country. There is no democratic Constitution in the world, or hardly any—there 1709 are very few in our own Empire, there are certainly none which this Parliament has created or brought into existence during the course of the last generation—in which such a Second Chamber is not provided. Our latest experiment in that direction is in South Africa, which I believe is going to be very successful. We did it first in the case of the Transvaal, and afterwards in the case of the South African Union. We brought into existence, side by side with a body very much larger, a Second Chamber moderate in number, but capable in its constitutional character of discharging exactly the functions to which I have very briefly alluded.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I am speaking now of the Union in South Africa. We believe that in Ireland, as in Australia, Canada, South Africa and other parts of the Empire, and in almost all the self-governing Colonies, a Second Chamber of such a character, operating within such limitations, charged with such functions, will be a very useful adjunct to the work of the popularly elected body. There are, indeed, circumstances in connection with Ireland which make the creation of a Second Chamber of special importance. I do not agree with the Noble Lord that you secure adequate representation of minorities and special interests by what he called "fancy franchises." On the contrary, I think that all democratic experience tends to show that, rough and ready as is our system of representation, it is the more effective the more clearly it is based upon a simple franchise and represents the majority for the time being of the inhabitants of the country. Where you have, as you had in South Africa, as you have in Canada, and in Ireland, minorities which cannot obtain through the necessarily rough and ready operation of a democratic franchise a complete expression of their views and opinions in the popular Assembly, there the existence of a Second Chamber is, I will not say a necessity, but certainly a security that the legislation and administration of the country shall be controlled with a due regard for all interests in the country. Therefore, whether you look at it from the ground of principle, or the ground of precedent, or the ground of desirability of giving to Ireland in general a really democratic Constitution with adequate safeguards for the minority, it appears to me that the pro- 1710 posal of the Government to introduce a Second Chamber into the Irish Legislature is one which ought to commend it self to the support of the great majority in this Committee. I purposely refrain from going into the question, which will have to be considered at a later stage, whether the Second Chamber here sought to be set up is one properly qualified or adequately equipped for the functions I have indicated. The question before us is much simpler—whether you ought to have a Second Chamber at all. As to that I have no manner of doubt that the vast majority in the Committee will endorse the course the Government has taken.
The Committee must feel that the right hon. Gentleman has intentionally or unintentionally given the widest conceivable scope to the Debate initiated by the hon. Gentleman who sits behind him. He has gone into the theory of what a democratic Constitution ought to be. He has surveyed history, and has come to the conclusion that the House of Lords was not of use between 1895 and 1905. That is a very controversial subject, and I do not know how far you, Sir, think we can proceed with it. I may say with regard to what the right hon. Gentleman said about the House of Lords during the ten years in which the Unionist Government was in office, that he himself explained that one of the objects of a Second Chamber is to provide for the secure working of the legislative machine, and that the legislative machine should not interfere with the security of the Constitution or any of the fundamental bases of society. If the Unionist Government in this House had proposed some of the many revolutionary measures which His Majesty's present advisers have been able to force through, they would have found the House of Lords constantly in their way. If the right hon. Gentleman wants my opinion, it is perfectly certain that the House of Lords in those ten years would have been as bitterly opposed to the measures which the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends have brought forward, from whatever party those measures came But the right hon. Gentleman left this happy, conciliatory illustration, which he threw down on the floor of the House, and travelled into a wider area and opened out wider vistas of constitutional discussion. In that the right hon. Gentleman was much less wise than the Chief Secretary for Ireland. He also made a constitutional speech. He also explained what was gained by a 1711 Second Chamber. The Prime Minister was not in the House when the Chief Secretary was speaking. I think if he had been he would have felt how much more prudent was the speech in which the Chief Secretary considered this matter than that in which the Prime Minister indulged. How reasonable and moderate were the constitutional views put forward by the Chief Secretary. He wants a Second Chamber, not to carry out the great objects mentioned by my Noble Friend (Lord Hugh Cecil), nor the rather obscurely expressed catalogue of duties which the Prime Minister wishes to put upon them. He thinks there ought to be a Second Chamber because no one will be able to obtain a seat in this House who cannot address 10,000 people, who cannot make four speeches a night, and who cannot travel many hundred miles a day. It is the aged, the infirm, the gentlemen of relatively weak organs of speech, who are incapable of representing their fellow men, who will, under the theory of the Chief Secretary, find a place in the Second Chamber. I think there is a great deal to be said for it, but how much more modest the scope of the Chief Secretary's Second Chamber than that advocated by the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister very wisely recalled our attention to the fact that the Chair had suggested that it would be improper to devote much time to the discussion to the constitution of the Second Chamber, and that our main business at present was to consider whether there should be a Second Chamber. That advice was certainly very well calculated to assist the Prime Minister, because if he had begun to think how a Chamber, nominated entirely by one Irish party, was to carry out all the list of duties which he thinks ought to fall on a Second Chamber, he would have seen the extraordinary divergence between his constitutional theory and the manner in which it is embodied in this Bill. The Chief Secretary was wiser in that respect, and his theory of a nominated Second Chamber to include the aged and infirm peculiarly appeals to me, and, for reasons on which I will not dwell, each year means more and more to myself. I am going to vote for this Amendment, not only in spite of the arguments of the Prime Minister, but largely in consequence of them. This Amendment brings out in the clearest light the two inconsistent ideals which are alternately held out before our eyes when we are discussing the Irish question. To 1712 English constituencies Gentlemen sup-porting the principle of Home Rule say, Why should not you give Ireland the right to manage her own affairs? It is a purely local matter. I believe if I had them here I could find quotations from Members of the Government indicating in the clearest manner that the work which will be left to the Irish Parliament will be subordinate work, small work, and local work. If it is local work, use for it the kind of constitution you use for local work elsewhere. You do not have a House of Lords in the county council. [An HON. MEMBER: "We have aldermen."] Does the hon. Gentleman really think, after listening to the Prime Minister's speech, that aldermen are qualified to carry out all the functions of a Second Chamber, and, if he does, why does he not vote for an Amendment putting in aldermen?
If your Bill is to be a local Bill frame it on the model on which you frame all your institutions when dealing with local affairs. Why do not the Government accept if? Because it is not a local legislature. Hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway do not want a local legislature; they want the whole machinery of separate national government. I agree with the Prime Minister, and probably with the, great majority of the House, in saying that if you are to set up all the machinery of separate representative national government a Second Chamber—not a nominated Second Chamber—probably ought to be an integral part of the Constitution that you frame. I am voting for this because I prefer the theory which says that if any change is to be made in the framework of Irish Government it should simply be a change in the direction of local government, honestly understood, which may very likely be realised some day, and not the sham national government which you propose to set up. Frame your measure according to your policy. We object altogether to putting up this elaborate framework of a national system and then denying it all the reality of national power. You say that is a fundamental inconsistency which cannot be stable, which must breed endless difficulties in future, which must change either in the direction of greater powers or diminished powers. It cannot stay where it is. If, on the other hand, you take the other alternative, if you are honest in your policy, of saying that the whole object of this measure is to increase the power of dealing with purely local matters in Ireland, then carry out the universal example of this country and 1713 make your new Irish Constitution fit in with the true policy of local government. Do not have these sham Second Chambers, these elaborate imitations of great Constitutions. Be more modest in your plans and you will be more successful in the use to which it will be put.
§ Mr. MARTIN
I wish to protest against the doctrine that we are to support the Bill as it is, not on any principle of any kind, but simply because the Nationalist party desire it. That is the apparent reason, and I take it to be the reason put forward by the Government. Then why should we have any Committee at all? I can well understand that the greatest weight will be attached, especially on this side of the House, to any argument brought forward by Nationalist Members of Parliament showing that there are peculiar circumstances in Ireland which justify a Second Chamber. But if we are to discuss this Bill at all, surely we must discuss it on general principles. While I am very strongly in favour of Home Rule for Ireland, we are not busy now carrying out Home Rule for Ireland, but we are per-forming a duty here for which we are responsible and not the people of Ireland alone. Every Member of the House is responsible for the legislation that leaves the House, and I, for one, certainly shall not support any Clause in this Bill simply because it is desired by hon. Gentlemen opposite without any reason being given why we should do it. We have not heard any yet. There may be reasons, and I certainly should be guided very strongly if there were special reasons why a general principle, of which I am very strongly in favour, should not be applied to Ireland. I think the question whether there should be a Second Chamber or not in Ireland depends very largely upon the question whether the Parliament to be called into existence there is to be a subordinate Parliament or not. I shall not attempt to deal with the arguments pro and con whether there should be a Second Chamber or not. It is making it very difficult indeed for a representative of a democratic constituency to support a Second Chamber for Ireland and at the same time to make it clear, as I think it ought to be, that this new Parliament for Ireland is to deal only with local questions affecting Ireland.
The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Birrell) told us that all precedent was in favour of having a Second Chamber. I dispute 1714 that. I say that the precedents, so far as the Colonies are concerned, are the other way. It is true that in Canada, for instance, there is a Second Chamber in the Dominion Parliament. I think it is a great mistake, but that I think is not a precedent that should apply to this case. The precedents that should apply are the kind of legislatures which we have in the provinces of Canada. I think the reason the Home Rule movement has such a very strong foothold in Canada, as it undoubtedly has—both Conservatives and Liberals are very largely in favour of it— has been the appeal made to Canada by a prominent Irishman like the hon. Member (Mr. T. P. O'Connor), who has gone there, and appealed to the Canadians on the ground that all they want in Ireland is what they have in Canada. So far as the provinces are concerned in Canada, it is true that some of them have a Second Chamber—I think two or three and that question was very much debated in the early days of Canadian Parliamentary institution. But the whole of public opinion in Canada has entirely veered on to one side, and to-day you will not find in any part of Canada any volume of public opinion in favour of having a Second Chamber in any of the provincial Parliaments. I think I can prove the accuracy of that statement by what has occurred in recent years. One province of Canada, Manitoba, started out with a Second Chamber, which was removed by the local legislature at the request of the Dominion Government. But a much stronger illustration of how public opinion is there was shown when, in 1904, two provinces were carved out of the plains of Western Canada which up to that time had been under the Dominion Government as territories. When the legislatures for Saskatchewan and Alberta came to be discussed in the Dominion Parliament there was no suggestion from any part of Canada, including those provinces which already had two Chambers, in favour of giving more than one Chamber, either to Alberta or to Saskatchewan. The feeling was so strong and so clear that it was unanimously adopted that there should be one Chamber, and one only.
I shall not attempt to go into the reasons for that, but they are allied to the one point that a local legislature does not concern itself with such broad questions as require, in the minds of some people, a Second Chamber. There are many people 1715 on both sides of politics who are in favour of a Second Chamber; but all the reasons they put forward for a Second Chamber— as, for instance, the advantage of delay in making serious changes—are reasons which militate the other way when you come to deal with a local legislature which has to deal with new questions that arise which do not require long consideration, but which do require that they shall be dealt with quickly. I say the argument which would induce one to feel favourable to such a Second Chamber as I have indicated do not apply at all to subordinate legislatures of this kind. I for one would not support for a moment this Home Rule Bill if I did not believe that it was giving to Ireland a purely local legislature to deal with local affairs. Therefore, for these reasons, I shall certainly vote for this Amendment if my hon. Friend takes it to a Division.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
The ex-Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Balfour) based his argument in favour of this Amendment, as I understood it, on this ground. He said this is to be a local assembly, dealing with purely local affairs, and he instanced, as an example, the kind of affairs that are dealt with by county councils. He said, "You have no second chambers in county councils." Well, he has forgoten the fact that the Committee has already enacted that there shall be, on and after the appointed day, a Parliament, consisting of the Sovereign, and then follow the words proposed to be left out. Therefore the Committee has already come to the conclusion that this is not to be an assembly like a county council, but that this is to be a Parliament, and the only question that arises then—and it is a most interesting question for hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway—is, do they object when they are creating a Parliament to the inclusion of a Second Chamber? Allusion has been made to the fact that every Parliament that has been created by this House for many years past has consisted of two Chambers. Parliaments were created in our own recollection in Australia and in the Transvaal, and now we have the Union Parliament in South Africa, every one of them containing a Second Chamber. In view of the ruling which you, Mr. Chairman, have given—a most reasonable and proper ruling, if I may be allowed to say so—we cannot discuss the constitution and powers of the Second Chamber. The only question that remains is, when creating a Parliament in 1716 Ireland, are you to object to a Second Chamber? My mind goes back to the discussions in 1893. Exactly the same line was taken by the Conservative party then. They were then, as now, Two-Chamber men. They were then as now vehemently against the idea of Single-Chamber Parliaments. But they took the same line as they are taking now, and, with what was described in the Debate as brutal frankness, Mr. David Plunket, then the representative of Trinity College, stated that he was going to vote for this Amendment, and I think he said for every other Amendment which he thought likely to wreck and destroy the Bill.
The hon. Gentleman who spoke last (Mr. Martin) says he is not going to be influenced by Irish opinion in this matter. [An HON. MEMBER: "No."] Well, he said something very like it. He said the fact that Ireland wanted it was not a sufficient reason for him. Let me ask hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House—let me ask my hon. Friend who moved this Amendment, and other hon. Members who take his view upon the precedent of a Single Chamber—do they not really think that in a matter of this kind it is wise to defer to the view of Ireland? Let me put this: Suppose there was under discussion at this moment, not a Home Rule Bill for Ireland, but a Home Rule Bill for Scotland; and suppose the Scotch Members came here and said they desired two Chambers, what would be thought of an Irish representative in this House putting Scotch opinion on one side, and in the name of Home Rule insisting on overriding Scotch opinion and pressing his own view? Therefore, I would appeal to hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House to allow the view of Ireland to prevail in this matter.
§ Mr. J. REDMOND
Of course, we understand that argument. The House has no doubt about it. When I speak of Ireland I speak of the overwhelming majority of the people of Ireland. In 1893 the Irish Members spoke with no uncertain voice on this matter. I was reading-the Debates again the other day. I said' then that I supported the proposal for a Second Chamber, not because it was forced upon Ireland at all, but because Ireland desired it, and because Ireland thought it would be good to have it. I say the same now. I do put this seriously 1717 to hon. Gentlemen opposite. There are special reasons why we in Ireland desire and require a Second Chamber. [An HON. MEMBER: "What are they?"] I know my views will never find an echo above the Gangway, and therefore I am not endeavouring to convert any hon. Gentleman there. I ask to be allowed to state this at any rate. My honest view is that difficulties, divisions, troubles, and bitternesses in Ireland will, under the operation of Home Rule, speedily disappear. I honestly believe that the creation of a Second Chamber will hasten the day when those differences and divisions will disappear. I said, on the Second Reading of the Bill, that if it rested with me to constitute the Second Chamber, I would have no hesitation in putting upon it a large majority of men who had not been on our side of politics in the past at all. I said so at the Dublin Convention also. That is the kind of body I look forward to see, and it is unfair to endeavour to ridicule the speech of the Chief Secretary because he said that a class of man would get into the Second Chamber who would not be elected. At the commencement of the Parliament he is perfectly right. I am convinced that in four or five years' time just the very type of which he was speaking would be elected. We want them in from the very commencement.
I do say to my Friends of the Labour party—after all, they will admit that not only in recent years, but for the last thirty years the Irish party have been the friends of Labour—that however strongly individually they may feel in favour of the abstract principle of a Single as against a Double-Chamber Parliament, when they find the whole national body in Ireland, who are as good democrats as they are, coming forward and asking, in the name of Ireland, for special reasons of their own, and to facilitate the great work before them of uniting the people of Ireland, to be allowed to have a Second Chamber, they will take great responsibility in refusing our appeal. That is all I have to say on the subject except this, that it would be indeed a strange sight to see walking into the same Lobby in support of this Amendment men who conscientiously hate Single-Chamber Government and men who say their whole principle in public life is that there must be two Chambers for every Parliament that exists, and who claim for a Second Chamber rights and powers greater than any man outside 1718 these benches would listen to for a moment. I say that would be an extraordinary spectacle to witness, and I trust, we shall not witness it, and that this manifest attempt by voting for an Amendment, they detest to defeat the Bill will be defeated itself.
§ Mr. WALTER LONG
The hon. Member for East St. Pancras (Mr. Martin) spoke not only as a Member of this House, but. as one who has served in the Canadian Parliament, and who knows, I think, a great deal about Canada. The hon. Member made a definite statement to the House. He said that many Canadians are in favour of Home Rule, but he went on to say—and he mentioned one hon. Member—that all those who had gone over from England, Ireland, or Scotland to advocate Home Rule, had made it clear that what they meant by Home Rule was the form of government enjoyed by the provinces, and not the form of government enjoyed by the Dominion. When we were debating this Bill on the Second Reading hon. Members below the Gangway more than once claimed that this friendly feeling in Canada was a striking argument in favour of the granting of Home Rule to Ireland. Surely we might have reasonably expected that when the definite statement referred to was made on the authority of one who has spent many years in Canada, the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. J. Redmond) would have taken up his challenge and made it perfectly clear either that he was wrong in the references he made to the hon. and learned Gentleman; and his Friends, or else that he was wrong-in his further contention that when you are dealing with provincial assemblies you do not require Second Chambers. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Waterford dealt with two or three different subjects, but carefully avoided the challenge thrown down by the hon. Gentleman opposite. He never attempted to come to grips with the real question of a Second Chamber.
The hon. and learned Gentleman's next demand was the most extraordinary one that this House should stand by the principle of a Second Chamber, and, especially in the case of Ireland that we should concede to Ireland what the Irish demand —a Second Chamber. That is an extraordinary demand from the Leader of the party who in the most cynical manner possible, voted in this House for the practical abolition of the Second Chamber. 1719 The hon. and learned Gentleman knows perfectly well that if it had not been for him and his friends, the destruction of the Second Chamber could not have been accomplished, and now he asks us to vote for a Second Chamber because the Irish want it. The hon. and learned Gentleman is entitled to speak for the Nationalist party, and I am quite sure that he conveyed their views. But I remember before this Bill was brought in some interesting conversation which appeared from time to time in the newspapers. I have not got them here. I am perfectly certain that I am giving an accurate account of what took place. It was plainly indicated that whereas there had been a Second Chamber in the old days, now that the Second Chamber here had been reduced to a nonentity, no Government would be likely to insert a Second Chamber in any scheme which they would produce. So this demand for Ireland for a Second Chamber is, I think, rather sudden. The hon. and learned Gentleman wound up by saying he hoped he would not see the spectacle of Unionists who were in favour of the Second Chamber voting for this Amendment with Radicals who are against it. He has been for a great many years a Member of this House, and he knows that there are only two Lobbies into one of which we must go or abstain from voting. And I will undertake to say that there is no man on this bench who has not been compelled to vote on this ground. It frequently happens that one votes for an Amendment for reasons which are different from those given by the proposer of the Amendment. The hon. Gentleman who moved it said quite frankly that he was opposed to all Second Chambers and preferred a Single Chamber system. My hon. Friends on this side of the House, and I myself, believe in a Second Chamber for a Sovereign Parliament. We do not believe in a Second Chamber for a subordinate Parliament.
The hon. Gentleman who spoke just now reminded us—the Prime Minister and the Chief Secretary conveniently forgot—that in Canada, which is the greatest example that we have of representative government, there are only two subordinate Parliaments in which they have a Second Chamber, and that in all the rest they have a Single Chamber. The proposal now before us is that there should be two Chambers, but the hon. Gentleman objects to it perfectly properly because he 1720 objects to all Second Chambers. We object to it because we say you have always pretended you are dealing with a purely local Parliament of a subordinate character for local purposes, and you will not find any cases in such a Parliament with one or two exceptions which have been referred to in which there is a Second Chamber. [An HON. MEMBER: "Australia."] The hon. Gentleman forgets entirely that the Australian case is one where you take the existing Parliaments or provinces and unite them in a federation. South Africa is a much later case than Australia. There they have subordinate assemblies, and they do not use the word Parliament, Lords, or Commons, or the name of the King, and there is no Second Chamber of any kind. You must not take Australia because it stands by itself. You must take South Africa, which is the latest precedent you will get. My reason for voting as I shall do is that if there is anything in this direction it ought to be a local Parliament. I am opposed to any Parliament. The hon. and learned Gentleman says that because the words Parliament and King have already been passed by us we are compelled to recognise the Parliament as a Sovereign Parliament. I entirely decline to recognise that. I vote for the Amendment because I believe that the policy and the Bill of the Government are a sham. The hon. and learned Gentleman made a passionate appeal to this House and to the Labour party, and talked about the strange sight which would be witnessed if hon. Gentlemen opposite who hold different views on the question of a Second Chamber from ours are found voting with as. That will not be the only curious sight if the hon. Gentleman's appeal is listened to. We shall certainly look with curiosity to see what is the view of those hon. Gentlemen who are not opposed to Single Chambers in certain instances and who times without number have declared in this House their opposition to Second Chambers of any kind. Certainly the most curious alliance on this Amendment is the one which the hon. Gentleman has suggested between his party and the Labour party, who, if they vote for this principle of the Second Chamber, will be voting contrary to the policy which they have always laid down.
§ Mr. LOUGH
In a few sentences I wish to protest against the principle which the hon. Member for St. Pancras laid down with regard to this most important 1721 question. My hon. Friend said we were not here to consult the wishes of Ireland, but to establish a general principle in which some of us believed. If this Imperial Parliament had proceeded in that way on previous occasions when it was setting up the systems of Parliaments now existing throughout the Empire, it would not have done much credit to itself as a legislative authority. The speech of my hon. Friend in support of this view in almost every sentence was opposed to it. My hon. Friend told us that sometimes in provincial Parliaments in Canada they have two Chambers. He said that in the former Parliament two methods had been adopted, that in some there were two Chambers, and in others only one. The reason is that Canada was careful to consult local opinion, and gave the assembly or institution which it was thought was best suited to the circumstances. It is the oldest provinces in Canada which have the two Chambers, yet even these oldest provinces are young indeed compared with the democracy that has to be dealt with in Ireland, for which you are framing a Constitution to-day. My hon. Friend showed us that in some there were two Chambers and others one Chamber, and in two or three he showed us instances in which they started with two Chambers and afterwards one was abolished and only a Single Chamber remained. In every one of these cases we see a tendency to consult local opinion, and that is what I venture to press on my hon. Friends to-day as the true principle which we ought to follow in discussing this question. My hon. Friend (Mr. Martin), who intervened in this Debate is always welcome, because there is a breeziness about him which smacks of the prairies on which he has spent so much of his time. I will recall one sentence of his which seems to me to possess most excellent wisdom. He said that no reason had been given why we should deal with the matter in the way the Government proposed, but that if reasons were given he would vote with us, so, in the hope of convincing my hon. Friend, who admits himself to be such a reasonable man, I will give three reasons why we should have the double Chamber in this instance.
In the first place we have in Ireland an ancient democracy, and a country where everyone admits it is exceedingly difficult to secure a good representation for all the forces that will be called into life when a Parliament assembles there. It is to meet this difficulty that hon. Gentlemen opposite have not chosen to press forward any 1722 of their personal views, but have endeavoured to devise a system that will give a good expression to the public opinion of the whole country. The second reason is that the Irish are a most imaginative people, and therefore, even if what my hon. Friend says is true, and that the Second Chamber may not be of great practical service, yet, as you were prepared to admit in some cases one Chamber and in other cases two, if you have got an imaginative people to deal with who have got a way of believing in something which may not have a great deal of force in it, and they say that they should like to have this thing, you should give them what they demand. That is another reason why we ought to be content, even those of us who are against the Second-Chamber principle, on this special occasion to move a little out of our way to gratify the Irish idea. The third reason is the Irish are a most aristocratic people. For all the humility of hon. Members opposite, in whatever parts of Ireland you go you find, I might say, the blood of kings coursing through the veins of the people.
You will do something to satisfy this ancient sentiment by creating a Second Chamber; and having given these three strong convincing reasons, I appeal to my hon. Friend not to press his conscientious objections too far, but to consider the whole circumstances and support the Government to which he generally lends such loyal service. I am going to make a quotation from Scripture, in my last appeal to hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House. There is a text which says, "In vain is the snare spread in the sight of any bird." If ever there was a snare spread in the sight of any bird it is this snare which has been spread by hon. Gentlemen opposite this afternoon. There is no hasty or un-thought-out sentence which falls from the lips of hon. Members on this side in a casual moment of which the whole party opposite is not ready to take advantage in order to destroy the good work in which we are engaged. We are not engaged in a debating society discussing this principle. We are engaged in a great and important work which we shall press on as quickly as possible. So I appeal to our whole party here to be solid if they can in support of the Government and to give effect to a solid Irish opinion which has been heard in this House on this particular point for more than a quarter of a century.
§ Mr. MALCOLM
I am afraid that though I am a Celt myself I am not sufficiently imaginative to be led by the sort of words that have been uttered by the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, or by what he considers to be the wishes of the ultra-democratic people whose veins throb with the blood of kings. I am going with my right hon. Friend to vote in favour of this Amendment. I quite understand the jeer which greeted my right hon. Friend the Member for the Strand (Mr. Walter Long) when he said it was quite possible to go into the same Lobby for different reasons. Hon. Gentlemen opposite are very good judges of the coalition vote, and the people who jeered and sneered are the hon. Members from Ireland who voted for the Budget of 1909, not because they liked it, but because they wanted Home Rule. The hon. and learned Member for Water-ford (Mr. John Redmond) in his speech appealed to the Labour Members to vote against the Amendment because it was a wrecking Amendment. We have only had three days in Committee, and it would appear that it really depends on the assistance of Ulster and on a Second Chamber if the Bill is to be passed into law. We are asked whether we are voting sincerely and honestly, and whether we really object to the inclusion of a Second Chamber. The answer is that we do not object in the least to the inclusion of a real Second Chamber, but we do object to the inclusion of a sham Second Chamber. We on this side are very sorry to note an absentee from the Treasury Bench. When this matter was discussed in 1905 an Amendment was moved by no less a person than the Vice-President of the Board of Agriculture for Ireland (Mr. T. W. Russell); and I must say I wish he had been here to take part in this Debate, and, if possible, to say the same hard things this afternoon as he said on the Amendment which stood in his name.
He said, which we entirely believe, that he could not vote for a Second Chamber proposed by a party which, in the main, did not believe in a Second Chamber. He said we ought to get rid of the idea that this was a safeguard to the minority or to the Constitution; it was a deceit and an illusion upon the English people, and one of the first shams, in the safeguard line, of which we were bound to get rid. I must say that the minority, if they have the choice, would not entrust their safety to this nominated fraud of a Second Chamber. 1724 I think we must recognise that Second Chambers are not popular upon the other side of the House, except in the hearts of those who think that they are going to get into them very shortly. The extreme left of the party opposite dislike Second Chambers altogether, and the Government appears to despise them so much that they cannot find time to pay their debt of honour by improving the Second Chamber in this country. I sincerely believe, if that be the attitude of His Majesty's Government at the present time regarding the Second Chamber in the Imperial Parliament, that I do not think any Second Chamber they set up for Ireland will endure very long. As to the Labour party, we know that on principle they entirely object to Second Chambers, and if ever they should hold the reins of Government in this country we may be perfectly certain they will act up to their honest convictions and do away with the Second Chamber in this country, while Ireland, also, would not be very long in doing away with her Second Chamber.
We are told that it is a safeguard for the minority as well as for the Constitution generally. My view is that if the Nationalist party is honest no such safeguard is necessary, but if, on the other hand, the Nationalist party is not to be trusted, no such safeguard will be of the least avail. In fact it will do what the right hon. Gentleman the Vice-President of the Board of Agriculture in Ireland said, it will double the danger by disguising it. Mr. Bryce, our Ambassador in Washington, in the course of the same Debate, declared that he wanted every Irish measure to run the, gauntlet of two Houses in Ireland; but I am afraid that after all every Irish measure, in a Parliament such as that with which we are threatened, with one House a replica of the other, would be like the Derby dog, first going up the course and then coming down. I am absolutely sure there will be no safeguard either for revision or delay in a Second Chamber. Lastly, as I want to see no Parliament in Ireland at all, consequently I want to see no Second Chamber, but by passing this Amendment we shall get rid at least of one Chamber.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
Reference has been made to the Celtic imagination, and if that imagination in this House this afternoon ran riotously we think it-could not conjure a more absurd situation than that which at present exists. I am a Single Chamber man for this country and 1725 for every other country. Hon. Members opposite believe in Double-Chamber Government. We have fought them on the subject before, and we will fight them again. When the time comes to deal with the question of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and when the Government produce the Bill which has been again promised to-day, we shall be in opposite Lobbies. What is this fight going to be about? Are we going to vote to-day for or against a Second Chamber? If we are, I know where I am; I am going to vote in favour of a Single Chamber. But we have been warned that that is not what hon. Members want. We have got the Amendment before us, and of course, when we drag the mask from their faces, they sneer and smile. But are they going to ask us to take them honestly or are they not? Are we to take them at their own valuation or are we not? Are we going to accept their speeches or are we not? I think they ought to make up their minds on this subject before they laugh. If this House is going to divide to-day upon the question of whether they are to have Single-Chamber Government in Ireland or Double-Chamber Government, then the Labour party are in favour of Single-Chamber Government. If the House is going to divide this afternoon as to whether this Bill is a sham or not, then I am not going to support hon. Members opposite. Hon. Members are polite enough to say that we must too the line.
May I—with a little more politeness, I hope, than they have exhibited—ask them to be true to their own convictions. It is all very well for them to talk about sham Bills. May we talk about sham Divisions, about sham speeches, and about sham causes, brought forward merely for partisan purposes and not for the purpose of getting the decision of the House as to whether there should be one, or two Chambers in Ireland? What hon. Members opposite are doing is a very simple thing, it was described long ago by a nursery rhymester, who wrote, "Walk into my parlour, said the spider to the fly." They think that they are exceedingly clever. [An HON. MEMBER: "No, we do not."] I am very glad to hear that. For once we have a statement that corresponds to the reality. What is the situation? An hon. Member on this side of the House moves an Amendment in favour of Single-Chamber Government. Hon. Members being able to calculate by rule of three discover that if they vote for that Amendment they are going to put difficulties in 1726 the way of Home Rule; and, consequently, all they have got to do, according to their calculations, is to put up certain Gentlemen to make certain speeches which will excuse themselves in the country from voting in favour of Single-Chamber Government. They assume that they can make false issue for other sections of the House, instead of the real issues that they themselves want.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
If the Noble Lord is angry because this little game is being exposed, the Rules of the House permit of his walking out, if he is not satisfied. So far as I am concerned, until the Chairman calls me to order if I transgress, I am going to explain the situation, not in which we are, but in which hon. Members opposite are. The alternative is this—a real Division or a sham Division. [An HON. MEMBER: "A real Division."] Then you are going to vote in favour of a Double-Chamber Government. Of course, I know it does not suit hon. Members. Their purpose is to find an excuse why they should throw over their own principles in order to put Home Rule in a difficulty. So far as I am concerned, I am not going to help them. We are asked to toe the line. I think if hon. Members would put that question to themselves and come to a conclusion about it we should have, I do not know whether I can call it an honest Division within the Rules of the House, but we should have something approaching that. If there is any virtue in the quarter from which this Amendment comes that virtue imposes responsibility on hon. Members as well as upon myself. If the Amendment coming from the Radical quarter of the House does mean that there should be one Chamber in Ireland, then hon. Members should not begin wriggling and twisting to create a political situation which is dishonest from the very beginning. All those expressions hon. Members have used to-day about sham Bills and sham proposals are an exceedingly valuable piece of self-revelation, and the intention is to have this sham Division in order to embarrass the Government and in order to kill Home Rule. I am in this position—you may call it a dilemma if you like, I do not care: If I have a clear issue between Single-Chamber Government and Double-Chamber Government, I shall vote for Single-Chamber Government. If the alternative 1727 is that laid down by the right hon. Member for the Strand, if it is a sham Division upon Single-Chamber Government versus Home Rule as a fundamental principle, then I am in favour of Home Rule.
I am sure nobody will get up and support me with more enthusiasm on this point than the right hon. Gentleman as to the unfortunate position in which we are so often placed in this House, that there are only two Lobbies. Exactly that is my difficulty to-day; that is the difficulty the right hon. Gentleman was in. I quite admit we are both in the same unfortunate position. If the right hon. Gentleman only had a third Lobby to go into and I had a fourth Lobby to go into, then we would be much easier than either he or I at the present moment. [Mr. LONG was understood to indicate dissent.] I am very sorry if I have misrepresented the hon. Gentleman, but I am not misrepresenting his words in the course of the Debate. There is the difficulty. The right hon. Gentleman did not explain it, and did not discover it. I have discovered it long ago, and I have explained it long ago. In one Division Lobby there is going to be a troop of men who are going to vote, not on this Amendment at all, but against Home Rule, as the hon. Gentleman who preceded me has explained quite honestly. Into the other Lobby there is going to be forced a body of men who are in favour of Home Rule, but because the hon. Gentleman opposite has seen fit to create a false political situation and not allow us to get a straight vote on the merits of this Amendment, then we are compelled, on the confession of the spokesman of the party opposite, to vote either for the principle of Home Rule or against the principle of Home Rule, despite the words that may be put from the Chair. All I have got to say as a very interested spectator is that to-day I have enjoyed myself immensely. I do not remember when I have spent such an entertaining and edifying afternoon in the House of Commons, and I will remain an interested spectator throughout and watch with exceedingly great pleasure the circus performances of hon. Gentlemen opposite dancing upon a tight-rope and trying to get the House and the country to believe whilst they are Double-Chamber men they are right in voting in favour of Single Chamber, and whilst they are in favour of a strong assembly controlling the acts of a popularly elected assembly, to-day they are 1728 going to abandon that principle they hold dear and vote in favour of an Amendment which is contradictory to the principles they have laid down.
§ Mr. BONOR LAW
The hon. Gentleman just before he sat down told us that he had enjoyed himself immensely. He is. a Scotchman, and it is said about us that we take our pleasures sadly. There never was a case where the measure of enjoyment was less indicated by the expression of countenance. I must congratulate the hon. and learned Member for Waterford. (Mr. John Redmond), who has left us, having done his work, on the success of the appeal which he has made to hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite. He was asked, by the hon. Member for St. Pancras, I think, to give some reason why, in the special circumstances of Ireland, they should vote for a Second Chamber there when they did not do so elsewhere. What was the reason the hon. and learned Gentlemen gave? He said the Irish party have always been the friends of the Labour party, and he implied something else— that they might cease to be the friends of the Labour party. Hence we have had the example of the enjoyment of which the hon. Gentleman spoke. The hon. Gentleman made two other observations to which I would like to draw attention. He said that we were looking for an excuse to vote against our principles. He is more lucky than we. He does not even attempt to get an excuse, but does so openly and avowedly. He made another remark; he said he was going to tear the masks from us, and that he had torn the masks from us. Again he has the advantage, for on questions of this: kind there is no mask on his party. We can always tell with the utmost certainty exactly in what way the party which he-represents will vote. They find out with great care and with great industry whether or not we are going to vote for an Amendment they say is right. When they discover that we are, then immediately conscience comes in, and they can no longer support that Amendment. That is a very-convenient arrangement to the right hon. Gentlemen who sit on the Front Bench, but as an outsider I have never been able to discover what the Labour party get out of it. We know what hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway get out of it. They drive a very interesting team, but they sit behind it. What the Labour party get has yet to be discovered, unless, indeed, the arrangement made, which we all appreciate more or less, makes it desirable that 1729 we should continue as long as possible the present Parliament, and may be considered an advantage by that party.
The hon. Gentleman made really for him, who is an excellent speaker, a very curious kind of speech. The hon. Gentleman implied that we were suddenly spreading the net in the sight of the bird against our principles. Yet somebody pointed out that we voted in precisely the same way in 1893. [HON. MEMBERS: "For the same reason."] For the same reason. I think it was for the same reason, and I shall tell the House what the reason was. At all events we have this merit, which does not apply to hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, that we have been consistent and stuck to the same reason throughout. What is the reason why we vote for this Amendment? The hon. and learned Member for Waterford said it is a case of Single-Chamber or Double-Chamber Government. It is nothing of the kind. It is a case of Double-Chamber Government where it is not necessary, whilst we are reduced to Single-Chamber Government where Double-Chamber Government is necessary. That is one reason. It is perfectly obvious, as was pointed out by one hon. Gentleman, that if this really were what it professed to be, a purely subordinate Parliament, you had no need for a Second Chamber. This House would be a Second Chamber, and in that case there would be no need whatever for a Second Chamber. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Waterford said we are committed to this because, against our will, words were put in yesterday which Gentlemen on that bench told us did not make the slightest difference, and which he tells us now do in fact constitute this as a sovereign Parliament. That is one reason why we will vote against it; but there is another, and that is the reason given by my Noble Friend below the Gangway. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, in his speech, which really charmed us all, gave us his reasons for a Second Chamber. He said that the Almighty has given us different gifts, and that if we have only one Chamber only the people of one kind of gift will get into it. But then what may happen with this curious arrangement is that you may get people in it with no gifts at all, and that is no special recommendation for a Second Chamber.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
The right hon. Gentleman says there are no Irishmen without gifts. That is a pretty broad statement, but at all events, as far as Parliamentary work is concerned, there are very few who cannot give a good account of themselves here. I do not think we could get a better example of the amount of reality there is in this than the statement which was made by the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, who says, "I am a Double-Chamber man." He has proved it; he is a Double-Chamber man, but the Double Chamber is only to be put into operation when he has ceased to control the Government, and when they no longer depend on the votes of the Gentlemen who keep him in office. I know that it is not in order to discuss the nature and composition of this Second Chamber, but of course without keeping it in our minds it is impossible to discuss the Amendment we are now considering. The right hon. Gentleman actually pretended that this Second Chamber was to be a protection to the minority. Of all the absurdities that is the most absurd. It never, under any circumstances, could protect the minority, but I can imagine circumstances under which, if the hon. Member for Cork increased his hold on such a body, a Second Chamber nominated by the Member for Waterford or the Member for West Belfast, might be a great protection to the Member for Waterford in contingencies which might arise. Never under any circumstances, could it protect the minority, because even though the whole of them voted with the minority, the minority would always be in a minority in Ireland. Those are the two reasons for which I, without the smallest hesitation, will vote for this Amendment. I do not care a fig whether hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite vote with us or against us. I shall vote for this Amendment in the first place, because the fact that you create a Second Chamber is in itself another proof, which will in the future be used for that purpose, to show that it is intended to be a Sovereign Parliament and that we have no right to interfere with it. That is one reason. The other reason is that I wish the people of this country, as far as they can ever take an interest in this Bill, and I do not think it is very far, to understand what the reality is, and I do not desire that it should be possible for right hon. Gentlemen and hon. Gentlemen to go and say, "Oh! there is a Second Chamber which 1731 will protect the minority," when there is not a man in this House who does not know that never, under any known circumstances, can it be any protection for the minority.
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. Herbert Samuel)
We know that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, is willing to make any sacrifices on behalf of the party which he leads, but we hardly expected to find him ready to die in this last ditch in support of the principle of Single-Chamber Government. I can imagine the indignation with which the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends would have denounced our Bill if we had not put a Second Chamber into the proposal for our Irish Constitution. They would have said, "Here you are carrying out in your new Constitution what is secretly in your hearts with regard to the Constitution of the United Kingdom." We, holding as we do the principle that a Second Chamber is essential to any well-regulated Constitution, will not have your Single-Chamber Government whether it be in Ireland or elsewhere. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Strand Division (Mr. Walter Long) has discovered a new constitutional principle, just in time for this Amendment, his principle being that while two Chambers are right for Sovereign Legislature, a subordinate Legislature must under no circumstances have more than one. [Mr. WALTER LONG was understood to indicate dissent.] I took down the right hon. Gentleman's words at the time. He said, "We do not believe in a Second Chamber for a subordinate Parliament. That is a new constitutional principle, which, as I say, in the nick of time, and for the first time, he and his party have discovered. Never before in discussions on Colonial Constitutions have we heard this doctrine from the Unionist party. There are in Canada subordinate Legislatures which have two Chambers. We have never until this moment heard them denounced from the benches opposite. When Australia set to work to form herself into a federation, and the Australian Constitution Act was proposed in this Parliament by right hon. Gentlemen opposite, the Unionist party never discovered at that time that a subordinate Parliament ought not to have two Chambers. [Several HON. MEMBERS: "They are not subordinate."] The Parliaments of Queensland, Victoria, and New South Wales do not stand 1732 in a subordinate position to the Union Commonwealth Parliament? That is a new and strange doctrine. All these Parliaments have two Chambers. When the Australian Constitution Act was brought before the Imperial House of Commons did we find the Government of that day saying, "We cannot pass the Bill in this form. You are proposing that Queensland, Victoria, and New South Wales should retain their Upper Chambers. We, the Unionist party, cannot have that. It smacks of the House of Lords. We must get rid of the Second Chambers for fear it should be thought that these are Sovereign instead of subordinate Legislatures." The facts of the case are very clear to the Committee today, and will be very clear to the country to-morrow. Hon. Members opposite are engaged in a most obvious party manœuvre. They are perfectly willing to subordinate and sacrifice the principles they have loudly expressed in the country and in this House in favour of a Second Chamber, in the hope, which is doomed to disappointment, that they may be able to effect in the Division Lobby a Parliamentary combination unfavourable to the Government. I think that the Tory party in the country to-morrow will regard with amazement the manœuvre of its leaders, and that plain men will have a feeling of dismay or even of indignation when they see politicians swallowing their avowed principles in this way. For our part we shall vote against the Amendment, believing that the establishment of a Constitution with two Houses is consonant with precedents throughout the British Empire, is desired by the Irish people themselves, and offers further influence and authority to the minority in Ireland.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
The right hon. Gentleman may be a great authority on party manœuvres, but he knows very little about the principles or practice of the Tory party if he imagines that the suggestions which he has put before the Committee represent the real facts of the case. He speaks as though this were our Amendment. It is not our Amendment; it is an Amendment by one of his own supporters. The right hon. Gentleman is a little unjust to the hon. Member for East St. Pancras (Mr. Martin), who, after all, has held high office in a legislature in the Dominion, and may therefore reasonably be expected to-be a greater authority than the right hon. Gentleman himself on constitutional matters in the Dominion. The hon. 1733 Member told us with perfect accuracy that there is in Canada hardly a single subordinate legislature which has two Chambers. As a matter of fact, there are only two, and they are the oldest, namely, those of Quebec and Nova Scotia. There is none in South Africa under the constitution set up by right hon. Gentlemen opposite. When the Government were setting up that constitution, did they think that two Chambers were necessary for a provincial assembly? If so, why did they not put them in? The Leader of the Labour party has by this time become pretty good in explaining why the Labour party are going to desert their principles in order to go into the Lobby with the Government. The hon. Member for Waterford does not have to go through that process. The leader of the Labour party said that he was going into the Lobby against this Amendment because he regarded it as a purely party manœuvre — again forgetting that the Amendment came from the benches opposite. We are entitled to say to the leaders, both of the Labour party and of the Nationalist party, that it is they and practically they alone in this House who have insisted more than once within the last six or seven years, that the central Parliament here should be a body with one Chamber. I remember well an occasion in June, 1907, when on Sir Henry Camp-bell-Bannerman's Resolution an Amendment to that effect was moved from the Labour Benches. What did it propose? Not that there should be two Chambers in a provincial or subordinate assembly, but that there should be only one Chamber in the central Parliament, the Mother of Parliaments itself. That Amendment was supported in the Lobby by all the Members of the Labour party, and by practically the whole available strength of the Nationalist party.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
Really the hon. Gentleman appears to misunderstand the whole point of the argument. I almost despair of enlightening him, but I will try to do so. That was a case where an Amendment was moved to the effect that in the central Parliament of the Empire we should have only one Chamber. This is a case where a proposal is made that in what is by admission going to be only one of a set of subordinated members in a federated area—and I suppose in each of those members—you are to have two 1734 Chambers. [An HON. MEMBER: "NO."] I should like to hear before the Debate closes what the Prime Minister and other Members of the Government have to say to the views of their supporter. If I understand the hon. Gentleman aright, while he proposes to have two Chambers in Ireland, he would have only one in England and apparently only one in Scotland.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
If a subordinate Parliament for England alone is set up to deal with only English affairs, I am certainly prepared to say that that body ought to have only one Chamber. I do not think there is any difference between the hon. Gentleman and myself on that point. We both agree that if you are to have provincial Legislatures your provincial Legislature ought to have only one Chamber. We may and do differ no doubt as to whether your central Legislature ought or ought not to have two Chambers. Personally I think it ought. If you say that the central body ought to have only one Chamber, you are driven by irresistible logic to say that your provincial Legislature certainly cannot have more than one Chamber. It has been suggested from the Nationalist Benches that this Amendment was unanimously insisted upon by the representatives of Ireland, that the unanimous voice of Ireland—a very newly-born voice—was calling for two Chambers in the Irish Legislature. I entirely deny and repudiate that assertion. The Prime Minister tells us that this Second Chamber is put in as a safeguard for the minority. We do not thank him for it. We never asked for it. Speaking on behalf of the minority, I say that as a safeguard it is regarded by us as purely derisory. I cannot go into the details of the Constitution, but does the right hon. Gentleman really imagine that any of his paper constitutions are going to satisfy the loyalist minority in Ireland? If hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway were really sincere in the pledges they have given and the hopes they have expressed as to the future of Ireland, no safeguards would be wanted in the Bill at all. If, on the other hand, they are not sincere or not able to carry out their pledges, what is the use of having any safeguards in the Bill? The right hon. Gentleman knows little about the opinions of the minority if he really imagines that by any such means as that he is going to wheedle us in the voting for a Second 1735 Chamber in Ireland under the impression or belief or in the hope that it will prove any safeguard whatever to the minority. We do not want to have anything to do with your Parliament in Ireland. If you have a Parliament in Ireland we do not want it to have two Chambers. We do not ask for a Second Chamber as a safeguard; and we shall not thank you for it if we get it.
§ Mr. C. ROBERTS
Although the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Mitchell-Thomson) said that he despaired of clearing up the situation, he has managed to throw a little light upon it. Whatever views hon. Members opposite may take of their action, we shall draw our own inferences. It is not a question of whether this Second Chamber is to be a sham Second Chamber or not. The sole question is whether there should be a Second Chamber in Ireland. We understand that in their view, in the given circumstances of Ireland, the first Chamber can be so fairly and honestly constituted that there is no need for any safeguards. The inference we draw from their action is that the minority are so certain of getting adequate representation it is quite unnecessary for this House to establish any Second Chamber at all. The hon. Member goes further, and tells us that in any subordinate Parliament dealing with the affairs of England, Scotland, or Wales, a body which undoubtedly would have power over local government, perhaps temperance, education and land, one Single Chamber would, in his view, be absolutely adequate. We will take note of his admission. I am bound to say that hon. Members opposite are presenting a magnificent argument in favour of a Single Chamber to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Leicester. Certainly, if it is not necessary in the given circumstances of Ireland, then I do not think in a far more homogeneous country like England they can establish any case in favour of a Second Chamber. In that case I imagine that the argument which they have advanced to this House, and the action which they founded upon it, and which they are going to support in the Division Lobby, will certainly be quoted in the future as very considerable support of those who are in favour of a Single Chamber in this House.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
If the hon. Gentleman proposes to quote anything I have said, I hope he will quote me 1736 accurately. My position, and the position I believe of most of those with whom I act in regard to Ireland, is this: We do not care a bit whether you have two Chambers or ten Chambers in this Nationalist Parliament. We refuse under the circumstances in which your Bill is brought forward to agree that it has any authority. We refuse to recognise that authority; we refuse to have anything to do with it.
§ Mr. C. ROBERTS
The hon. Gentleman is then purely supporting this Amendment as a wrecking Amendment, and not on its merits. He is supporting it as an Amendment aimed against the Home Rule Bill as a whole. I hope any hon. Members on this side of the House who are convinced Home Rulers, and who have been in any way influenced by the arguments which have been addressed to the House by the hon. Gentleman the Member for St. Pancras, will take note of that reason, which is confessed quite plainly by the hon. Gentleman. I think we may well note that inference in passing. I rose for this purpose: I think the hon. Gentleman the Member for Leicester took the line of saying that though he was himself in favour of a Single Chamber, he was unable to pursue his principles in the Division Lobby, because, as the hon. Member has just avowed, quite honestly, there is a manœuvre going on on the other side with the obvious intention of striking a blow at the principle of Home Rule. I do not think that that is a position which need be taken up by anyone who is in favour of a Single Chamber, whatever our views are, whether in favour of a Single or a Second Chamber. Hon. Members opposite say these subordinate Legislatures ought to be constituted as Single Chambers. What is their view of the American precedents? Take the State Legislatures of the American States. I do not refer to the American Union. [HON. MEMBERS: "They are Sovereign States."] They are very subordinate bodies. Do hon. Members seriously maintain that Oklahoma is a Sovereign State? It is undoubtedly a subordinate assembly. The members cannot make peace or war. They cannot deal with the Customs. They are a subordinate assembly. In every single case they are composed of two Chambers. What is the whole of American experience, taking Canada and the United States together? It is this, that you cannot lay down fixed rules. There is in certain circumstances no treason to democratic principles in supporting a Second Chamber. Most of the democratic States of the world 1737 have got two Chambers—Norway, Switzerland, France, the United States, and the subordinate assemblies in the British Empire.
Therefore I say a man can be a perfectly good democrat and support a Second Chamber apart from the question of their constitution. The essential point is the circumstances of the individual State or country with which you are dealing. If I am right in that, then I say that any hon. Member who may be in favour of a Single Chamber in the abstract, or whose hostility to another place is so great that he is driven to the idea of a Single Chamber, though he may be in favour of Single Chamber Government for this country, yet he must admit that this is a question to be determined by the circumstances of the individual country. The hon. Member for St. Pancras said that in Alberta and Saskatchewan you have a Single-Chamber system. Perhaps, but Ireland is not Alberta or Saskatchewan. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Do hon. Members deny that? In Alberta and Saskatchewan you have a far more homogeneous population, and you have circumstances there which very likely justify the Canadians in having Single-Chamber Government in those provinces. But a different set of considerations may quite reasonably, and in strict accordance with democratic principles, justify us on these benches in listening to the appeal from the Irish benches. That is the determining factor. If anybody is in doubt on this side of the House which way he should vote. I say he has got to vote as a Home Ruler. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Do hon. Members dispute that? If we, on this side of the House, believe in this principle of Home Rule, and there comes an appeal from the Irish Benches asking us to do something— [HON. MEMBERS: "Toe the line"]—well, we vote in accordance with our Home Rule convictions. We believe that this is a matter in which the decision really rests with the opinion of Ireland. If the Irish people think in their circumstances that the Second Chamber system is the best, I say we should be false to our Home Rule principles in a matter which is really indifferent, and which has to be decided according to the circumstances of the individual country—and can so be decided— if we refused to listen to those concerned.
Sir GILBERT PARKER
We have listened to the speech of the hon. Member opposite with very great interest, but I was rather surprised at one of his 1738 arguments. He said: "We are bound to listen to what the Irish ask for, and bound to give them what they ask for, because we are Home Rulers." That is the basis of his argument. Suppose an hon. Member came and asked now that all the reserved services under this Bill should be given over to the control of the Irish Parliament. Would the hon. Member for Lincoln go into the Lobby for that? I have never heard an argument really so utterly unsound, and so utterly out of consonance with so-called Liberal principles. Why have a Debate upon the Bill at all? Why have anything more than Second Reading? Why go into Committee if Members supporting the Government are to take the proposals of the Government just as they are, because somebody outside the Government to whom you are giving supposed benefits asks for it? Upon that basis there is no necessity for Parliamentary Government at all. One thing has emerged very clearly from the Debate this afternoon. It is clearly evident in the speech of the hon. Gentleman. It was abundantly evident in the speech of the Prime Minister to whose utterances naturally we attach very great importance. The Prime Minister had only one analogy to draw in connection with this grant of a Second Chamber to Ireland, and that was the analogy of a great Dominion, of a great federation like Canada, or a great federation like Australia. We see now very clearly exactly what the Prime Minister and his Government mean. We knew clearly what the Member for Waterford and those who support him meant, when they have told us that this would be establishing the basis of a federal system which presupposes subordinate Parliaments. We were doubtful, and we wondered, when we saw in this Bill certain indications that this Government intended to leave the door open to practically the assumption of sovereign power on the part of the Irish Parliament to be established in Dublin. But the whole Debate to-day has gone to show—and the Prime Minister's speech more than any other speech on the opposite side—that what the Government intend is to give Ireland that which in reality she wishes by her Nationalist Members, and that is practically a separate and independent Parliament.
We were challenged by the Leader of the Labour party, by the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, and others, 1739 because of the attitude we take up on this question. It is quite a simple one. If any hon. Member doubts that I go into the Lobby in support of this Amendment upon any other basis than that of absolute opposition to the granting to a subordinate Legislature, where it is not necessary, of a Second Chamber, he does me a great injustice. I go into the Lobby not because I am an anti-Home Ruler, but absolutely upon the merits of the Amendment as they have been presented and supported in speeches which I think thoroughly unsound in some particulars—as that of the Mover of the Amendment. I do not go into the Lobby for the same reason as the Mover of the Amendment goes into the Lobby. I go into the Lobby because, while I believe in a Second Chamber for each of the Sovereign States, we intend by this Bill to make Ireland a dependent province. If this Bill did not provide for the absolute revision of every Bill that passes through the Irish Parliament, with the power of veto upon that Bill, there might be something to be said for some hon. Members position. But you have an absolute check upon Irish legislation, theoretically at all events, in our Parliament. Does the hon. Gentleman the Member for St. Pancras dispute that in any local legislatures throughout the Empire where they possess a Second Chamber those Second Chambers are only preserved; they are not set up; they are only preserved in order to satisfy a certain sentiment, or what one may call a certain sentiment, of certain accumulated interests?
When we came to give a Constitution to South Africa, did any hon. Member of this House on the opposite side propose that we should give—for we had that fact under our review—any Legislature in South Africa a Second Chamber? We knew perfectly well that it was not needed. You had the Union Government. You have the First and Second Chambers with powers of revision which were adequate. I object to this Amendment because it is absolutely inadequate, and because I believe it is only intended for the advantage of the Nationalist party when they come into power in Ireland—that is to say, that they should have in that Second Chamber the obtaining of satisfactory support in the time of their trouble. If this Parliament is a super-Parliament with power of revision and veto, it is absolutely clear that in our circumstances, where the interests of the two countries are so closely 1740 united, and have been for so many years, a Second Chamber is an absolute superfluity. Take the case of Canada alone. When the Confederation was given you had two provinces constitutionally and closely united with Second Chambers. Why was a Second Chamber retained in Quebec; and why is it that it was wise that it should not be abolished? Because in Quebec you have a civic code which is thoroughly unlike the code of the rest of the provinces of Canada. It was retained in Quebec because of the intricacies of the code. In a Parliament where the French language and the English language are both spoken you have difficulties which are not encountered in other provinces of the Dominion, and, therefore, it was natural that the Senate should be retained there. But there are no such conditions in Ireland. There are neither civic conditions nor constitutional conditions which either warrant or invite the establishment of supervising chambers, the intention of which is only political, and is not constitutional, as the Prime Minister said, to give security on the one hand and to revise legislation on the other.
§ Mr. E. T. JOHN
The hon. Member who moved this Amendment moved it purely on democratic principles. My view of the question is an increasing belief in the adoption of the federal system, and this is very much involved in the Amendment under discussion this afternoon. That the Debate this afternoon should receive the approval of the Opposition is to my mind highly grotesque. I do not find it at all surprising that the Chief Secretary for Ireland should have dealt with this matter in a very humorous fashion. The Prime Minister dealt with it most seriously and announced himself the champion of the Second Chamber. I have no doubt hon. Members opposite will come to the conclusion that the Prime Minister successfully dissembles his love. I have no doubt we shall see the sincerity of the Prime Minister by and by, when we establish a Second Chamber in a federal system. For my part my position has always been that of a Single-Chamber man. I feel that that is also the view of the Labour party. On the other hand, I have come to the conclusion, and I have the example of the late Sir Charles Dilke, that a Second Chamber in a governing federated State is desirable, and even necessary. But I am convinced that in a subordinate element of a federated scheme a Second Chamber is undesirable) and while I have no doubt 1741 that in voting for such an Amendment hon. Members opposite may have some covert desire to defeat this Bill, I venture to point out that even a Unionist may conscientiously take up the opposition that Second Chambers are not necessary in subordinate legislatures. And that is the ground upon which I support the Amendment before the House. That ground is that a Second Chamber in Ireland is inconsistent with the proposition which the Government intends to submit to us later on.
I further urge that the Government is not dealing quite fairly with its own supporters. They are conceding the demand of the Irish Members and they are forcing the democratic support of the Labour party to vote absolutely against their principles. There is no necessity for a Second Chamber in Ireland. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond) has expressed the desire that certain reserve forces in Ireland should take part in the governing body of Ireland. I share the view that such men as Lord Macdonnell and Sir Horace Plunkett should find their places in an Irish Parliament, but it seems to me that the hon. and learned Member for Waterford, who has been so long the Grand Elector of Ireland, should have no difficulty whatever under the new conditions of securing Irishmen of distinction, ability and character to serve in the Irish Parliament, so there is no more necessity for this anti-democratic device which the Government, I am afraid, have, at the suggestion of the hon. Member for Waterford, adopted. The discussion on this Bill has only lasted some four or five days. Two Amendments have
§ emanated from supporters of the Government, and in each case we are told we are to regard them as wrecking Amendments. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, when submitting the Insurance Bill to this House, asked the co-operation of all parties in making that Bill an effective measure of social reform. In a measure of this character, which is to be permanent in its constitution, I submit that the Government might, at any rate, be prepared to receive favourably sympathetic proposals of their supporters, especially when based upon thoroughly democratic principles. In these circumstances I shall certainly support this Amendment.
§ Question put accordingly, "That the words 'two Houses, namely,' stand part of the Clause,"
§ Mr. GEORGE FABER (seated and covered)
I wish to ask you, Mr. Whitley, whether the Closure was moved? We could not hear on this side of the House.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The Question for Division is, "That the words, 'two Houses, namely,' stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 288; Noes, 199.1745
|Division No. 102.]||AYES.||[7.40 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Boland, John Plus||Condon, Thomas Joseph|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Bowerman, Charles W.||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.|
|Adamson, William||Boyle. D. (Mayo, N.)||Crooks, William|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Brady, P. J.||Crumley, Patrick|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Brocklehurst, W. B.||Cullinan, John|
|Alden, Percy||Brunner, John F. L.||Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)|
|Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire)||Bryce, J. Annan||Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Davies, Timothy (Lines., Louth)|
|Armitage, R.||Burke, E. (Haviland-||Delany, William|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.)||Devlin, Joseph|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Byles, Sir William Pollard||Dewar, Sir J. A.|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Cameron, Robert||Dillon, John|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Donelan, Captain A.|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Cawley, H. T. (Lanes., Heywood)||Doris, William|
|Barran, Sir John N.||Chancellor, H. G.||Duffy, William J.|
|Barton, William||Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Clancy, John Joseph||Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Clough, William||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)|
|Bentham, G. J.||Clynes, John R.||Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of|
|Bethell, Sir John Henry||Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Elverston, Sir Harold|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)|
|Essex, Richard Walter||Lundon, Thomas||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Falconer, James||Lyell, Chas. Henry||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Reddy, Michael|
|Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||MacGhee, Richard||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||MacNeill, John G. S. (Donegal, South)||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Fitzgibbon, John||Macpherson, James Ian||Roberts. Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Furness, Stephen W.||McCallum, Sir John M.||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Gelder, Sir William Alfred||M'Kean, John||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Gill, Alfred Henry||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Ginnell, Laurence||M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Rowlands, James|
|Glanville, H. J.||Manfield, Harry||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Goldstone, Frank||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Masterman, C. F. G.||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Meagher, Michael||Samuel, Sir Stuart M. (Whitechapel)|
|Greig, Colonel J. W.||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's County)||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Menzies, Sir Walter||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Middlebrook, William||Sheehy, David|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Millar, James Duncan||Shortt, Edward|
|Hackett, J.||Molloy, M.||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Hancock, John George||Mond, Sir Alfred Moritz||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Snowden, Philip|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Mooney, John J.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Morgan, George Hay||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Morrell, Philip||Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N. W.)|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Morison, Hector||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Harwood, George||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Summers, James Woolley|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Muldoon, John||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Munro, R.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Hayward, Evan||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Taylor, T. C. (Radcliffe)|
|Hazleton, Richard (Galway, N.)||Needham, Christopher T.||Tennant, Harold John|
|Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Nolan, Joseph||Thomas, J. H. (Derby)|
|Henderson, J. M'D. (Aberdeen, W.)||Norman, Sir Henry||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Higham, John Sharp||Nuttall, Harry||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Hinds, John||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Holmes, Daniel Turner||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Wadsworth, John|
|Holt, Richard Durning||O'Doherty, Philip||Walters, Sir John Tudor|
|Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||O'Donnell, Thomas||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||O'Dowd, John||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Ogden, Fred||Wardle, George J.|
|Hudson, Walter||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Hughes, S. L.||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Jardine, Sir John (Roxburghshire)||O'Malley, William||Watt, Henry A.|
|Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Webb, H.|
|Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Junes, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||O'Shee, James John||White, J. Dundas (Glas., Tradeston)|
|Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||O'Sullivan, Timothy||White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E. R.)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Palmer, Godfrey||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts., Stepney)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Jowett, Frederick William||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Joyce, Michael||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Whyte, A. F.|
|Keating, Matthew||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A (Rotherham)||Williams, P. (Middlesbrough)|
|Kellaway, Frederick George||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Kelly, Edward||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Word, N.)|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Pointer, Joseph||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|King, J. (Somerset, N.)||Power, Patrick Joseph||Winfrey, Richard|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh Central)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Young, W. (Perthshire, E.)|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Pringle, William M. R.||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Leach, Charles||Radford, G. H.|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Raffan, Peter Wilson||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Raphael, Sir Herbert Henry||Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Low, Sir F. (Norwich)|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Baird, J. L.||Bathurst, Hon. A. E. (Glouc, E.)|
|Aitken, Sir William Max||Balcarres, Lord||Bathurst. Charles (Wilts, Wilton)|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Baldwin, Stanley||Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks|
|Arisen, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Beckett, Hon. Gervase|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Barnston, Harry||Benn, Ion H. (Greenwich)|
|Aster, Waldorf||Barrie, H. T.||Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish|
|Bird, A.||Haddock, George Bahr||Nield, Herbert|
|Boles, Lieut.-Col. Dennis Fortescue||Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Boyle, W. L. (Norfolk, Mid)||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Boyton, James||Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Harris, Henry Percy||Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)|
|Burn, Col. C. R.||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Campbell, Capt. Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Campion, W. R.||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Hewins, William Herbert Samuel||Quilter, Sir William Eley C.|
|Cassel, Felix||Hickman, Col. T. E.||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hills, John Waller (Durham)||Rees, Sir J. D.|
|Cator, John||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Cave, George||Hoare, Samuel John Gurney||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Royds, Edmund|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Homer, Andrew Long||Salter, Clavell|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Hunt, Rowland||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Chaloner, Col, R. G. W.||Hunter, Sir C. R. (Bath)||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Chambers, James||Ingleby, Holcombe||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, E.)||Sassoon, Sir Philip|
|Clyde, J. Avon||John, Edward Thomas||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Joynson-Hicks, William||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'p'l, Walton)|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Kerry, Earl of||Smith, Harold (Warington)|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Kimber, Sir Henry||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Stanier, Beville|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Knight, Capt. E. A.||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Kyffin-Taylor, G.||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred||Larmor, Sir J.||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Croft, H. P.||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Stewart, Gershom|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Lewisham, Viscount||Swift, Rigby|
|Dixon, Charles Harvey||Lloyd, George Ambrose||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Doughty, Sir George||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Terrell, George (Wilts, N. W.)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Faber, George D. (Clapham)||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
|Faber, Capt. W. (Hants, W.)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.)||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)|
|Falle, Bertram Godfray||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Touche, George Alexander|
|Fell, Arthur||MacCaw, Wm J. MacGeagh||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Arthur Godfrey||Mackinder, H. J.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Macmaster, Donald||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||M'Calmont Colonel James||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||M'Mordie, Robert James||Weigall, Capt. A. G.|
|Fleming, Valentine||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||White, Major G. D. (Lanes., Southport)|
|Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude|
|Forster, Henry William||Malcolm. Ian||Winterton, Earl|
|Foster, Philip Staveley||Martin, Joseph||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Gastrell, Major W. H.||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Wood, Hon. E F. L. (Ripon)|
|Gilmour, Captain J.||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Glazebrook, Capt. Philip K.||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Goldsmith, Frank||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Moore, William||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Gordon, John (Londonderry, South)||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||Yerburgh, Robert|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)|
|Grant, J. A.||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Gretton, John||Newman, John R. P.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)||Newton, Harry Kottingham||Dickinson and Mr. Cowan.|
|Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
Question, "That the Question be now put," put, and agreed to.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Before we proceed to the next Amendment, I desire to state to the House that I am extremely sorry that a misunderstanding arose with regard to the call in the proceedings on the last Division. I put the Question as distinctly as I could, but there was a certain amount of noise in the House. Hon. Members on my left had been for some time crying "Divide, divide," and none of them rose to continue the Debate. Therefore I do not think it was unnatural on my part that, not hearing a single cry of "No," I proceeded to declare the Question carried, and proceeded to put the second Question. It is my desire if a minority, however small, 1746 desires to record its views in the Division Lobby, to give them that opportunity, and I shall always do that if I am convinced that there is such a desire. But if hon. Members raise a noise it is not my fault if my voice is not raised above it.
§ Mr. LONG
I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
I do so in order to state what occurred, and to see what steps can be taken to prevent its recurrence. It is obvious that this kind of thing may recur on any Amendment, and such recurrence involves the absolute liberty of hon. Members to record 1747 their votes against a Motion to which they object. In any words I shall utter I do not for one moment myself wish to attribute any desire on your part, Mr. Chairman, to act unfairly, because I believe that you discharge your duties fairly and justly, and I am quite convinced that this unfortunate incident is due to no effort on your part either to be unfair to minorities in the House as a whole or to fully discharge the duties of your high office. This is what occurred, and this is what I submit respectfully requires some alteration for our protection in the future. At the conclusion of the Debate the hon. Member for East Aberdeenshire (Mr. Cowan) rose to continue the Debate, and upon his rising the Prime Minister rose and made a Motion. It is quite true that the cries of "Divide, divide," and other kinds of cries made it difficult to hear what the Motion was which the Prime Minister had made, but everybody in the House knew that he was claiming his right to terminate the Debate by the imposition of the Closure.
You, Mr. Chairman, rose and put a Question, and I at once accept your statement that that Question was the Closure. Speaking for myself and other hon. Members around me, to the Question which came from the Chair, we said "No" in the most expressive and determined way. If we are told that that Question was not "That the Question be now put," but that it was the Amendment, the Closure must have been put in such a way as to make it impossible for us to assert our rights and express our opinion in the Division Lobby. There was only an interval of a few minutes between the rising of the Prime Minister and the making of his Motion and putting the Question from the Chair; but those sitting in this quarter of the House to that Motion expressed their determination of opposition. It seems to me that if the Rules of the House are to continue and the Closure is to be moved at moments when, by your own statement it is difficult to hear what has taken place, in order to protect minorities, we must have something more than the fairness of the Chairman and his desire to do his duty. It must be understood that when the Closure is moved the Chairman must take care that the Motion is submitted to the House before it is carried into effect. I am sure, Mr. Chairman, you will be the first to declare that the Closure cannot be carried by the act of the Chairman, and it must be endorsed by the House. I ask 1748 that such protection will be given to us that will make a recurrence of an incident of this kind impossible. In these remarks I do not in any way cast any reflection or the smallest stigma of any kind upon the action of the Chair.
§ The CHAIRMAN
This is a matter of order rather than a question of reporting Progress, and it is a question that I can best answer. Of course, if the right hon. Gentleman wishes to press his Motion to report Progress he can do so, but I think it is merely a question of order. I am glad this question has been raised. The Chairman frequently has difficulties to contend with in the matter of noise, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman's intervention will be of great advantage. The suggestion I have to make is that when I rise there shall be silence in the House, in order that everyone may hear what Question I put from the Chair. If this is done I can promise I will take even more care than usual that the Question shall be distinctly understood by every hon. Member in every quarter of the House.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
By leave of the House, perhaps I shall be allowed to say one word on this question. I am sure the whole House will share in the tribute which the right hon. Gentleman has paid to the impartiality of the Chair. Perhaps I may be allowed to say that when I rose to move the Closure that only one hon. Gentleman rose, and he is a supporter of my own. [An HON. MEMBER: "Not on this question."] Well, he is not always a supporter, but, at any rate, he sits on this side of the House, and he was the only Member who rose to take part in the Debate. Therefore, I was under the impression that I was making the Motion which would be universally accepted, and I remarked to one of my colleagues after the Question had been put that I thought the Committee had accepted it. The Chairman put the Question, and I thought nobody raised any objection to it, but I hear now that I was wrong, because the right hon. Gentleman opposite says that he and his colleagues objected. I quite agree that it is most undesirable to have incidents of this kind, and we should be very glad to have a Division on the Closure if anyone wants to improve his Division List and to have two Divisions instead of one. We have no interest of any sort or kind in not taking a Division on the Closure. I agree it is most desirable that there should be no misunderstanding on this point; and, if I may say so, your suggestion, Mr. Chairman, 1749 that all of us should endeavour to keep silence when you rise is one which we should endeavour to carry out.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Earl WINTERTON
With regard to my Amendment in Sub-section (1), to leave out the word "Senate," and insert the words "Legislative Council," I do not now wish to move, because that question has been disposed of by the discussion which took place last night. Perhaps I may be allowed to move the next Amendment standing in my name.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words "House of Commons" and to insert instead thereof the words "Legislative Assembly."
The words "House of Commons" have been inserted in a measure of this kind now for the first time, and they did not appear in previous Home Rule Bills. It is obviously important in discussing this Amendment that we should not deal with the more important questions of the functions of the subordinate assemblies which will arise on the Motion to leave but Sub-section (2). I am very anxious myself to avoid discussing that question, but I do want to discuss very shortly the specific question why the words "House of Commons" have been placed in this Bill instead of the term "Legislative Assembly," as in the Bill of 1893. I believe I am right in stating there is no precedent in the case of any of the Dominion Parliaments, whether Australia, South Africa, or Canada, for a subordinate Assembly being called by the name "House of Commons." The words in the Bill of 1893 are "Legislative Council" and "Legislative Assembly." I am at a loss to understand why the Government have inserted in this Bill for the first time the words "House of Commons." I venture to say with emphasis that the use of these words for the first time in the case of any subordinate legislative assembly in any part of the British Empire will lead to very great confusion of thought and may really lead to great confusion in action. It seems to me the Government have inserted these words in order to titivate the 1750 sympathies of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, who wanted the body to be set up to be independent and as far from the control of this House as possible. There was a Debate on this same point in 1893 on an Amendment to insert the words "House of Commons" instead of "Legislative Assembly," and it was pointed out by a Member of the Opposition that in Ireland there was no word for the term "House of Commons," and no word at all corresponding to it had ever been used in reference to any Parliament of Ireland, so far as it was a Parliament, which existed before Grattan's Parliament. It was further pointed out that in the Erse language, of which we often hear a great deal and which we are told has considerable literary and artistic merits, though I have never been able to ascertain them, there is no word except a very involved one, which expresses the term "House of Commons." This is an absolute innovation in a Home Rule Bill, and, as far as one can gather, the only reason for inserting the words "House of Commons" as against "Legislative Assembly," which were in former Home Rule Bills, is to encourage hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway and their supporters to suppose this assembly is to be as independent as possible. I suppose no one would wish to assert that it should have wider powers than those possessed by subordinate Parliaments in other parts of the British Dominions—by the provincial bodies in the case of Canada and by the State Governments in the case of Australia—and I shall be extremely curious to hear what reasons the Government have for inserting this term in the Bill.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
This, again, like the Amendment which the Noble Lord moved last night, is a question of nomenclature, and, as I pointed out last night, it does not affect the powers which it is proposed to confer. It is true, as the Noble Lord said, that in previous Bills the term "House of Commons" was not used, and that the term "Legislative Assembly" was. The precedents are substantially as the Noble Lord has stated. In the Parliament of Canada, the Lower House is entitled "House of Commons"; in the Parliaments of Australia and South Africa they are entitled the "House of Representatives" and the "House of Assembly"; and I think in most of the separate States of Australia they bear either one or other of those titles. The use of the term "House of Commons" is 1751 a necessary consequence of the substitution of the word "Parliament" for "Legislature." My Noble Friend, Lord Morley, in 1893, when opposing an Amendment for the substitution of the word "House of Commons" for the words then in the Bill, said:—If 'Parliament' had been adopted, there would have been some show of reason for substituting 'House of Commons' for 'Legislative Assembly.'I do not hesitate to say the fact that Ireland had a body which went by the name of "House of Commons," and which collected round itself a large number of historical associations, is one which ought to be taken into account and cannot be entirely ignored. Although I do not think the matter is one of supreme importance, yet, weighing those considerations one with another in this sphere of nomenclature, it appears to us the change we have made is one desirable, and one which could not in any way affect the real powers or authority of the body to be set up, and is in consonance with Irish feeling and Irish sentiment. On those grounds, I would ask the House to adhere to it.
§ Sir R. FINLAY
I hope the Committee will adopt this Amendment, and on the ground very pointedly stated in 1893 by Lord Morley. A discussion on this point arose in 1893 on an Amendment to leave out the words "Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly" in order to insert "to be styled the Senate and House of Commons of Ireland." The Chief Secretary for Ireland, speaking to this Amendment, said:—I hope the hon. Member will believe I am sincere in saying I am very sorry the Government cannot accede to the Amendment. My hon. Friend asks whether we can give any solid and sufficient reason for such refusal, but I think if no other reason could be found, it would be found in the fact that the night before last, the Committee negatived the use of the word 'Parliament' as a designation for the two Chambers. If 'Parliament' had been adopted, there would have been some show of reason for substituting 'House of Commons' for 'Legislative Assembly,' and a less obvious one for substituting 'Senate' for 'Legislative Council.' The word 'Parliament' is used in Canada and not in the other Colonies, for the simple reason that the Dominion Parliament is at the head of a Federation and has subordinate Legislatures under it. For that reason, among others, we object to the use of the word 'Parliament' in this Bill, and on the same ground, among others, we cannot accept 'Senate' and 'House of Commons.'I respectfully submit those words have full weight on the present occasion. It is impossible to say that because the term "Parliament" was retained in the Bill we are now for that reason to retain the expression "House of Commons." It is, as the Prime Minister says, a question of nomenclature, but questions of nomen- 1752 clature are sometimes of very considerable importance. It is the case that in previous Home Rule Bills the expression used was "Legislative Assembly," and it is the case that the expression "Legislative Assembly" is used with regard to the Assemblies in our Dominions which are called subordinate Legislatures. This Bill is so framed as to have two faces. It is intended to convey the idea to Ireland that it is a national Parliament with national aspirations and national actions, such as would be desired by those whose dearest desire they tell us is that Ireland should be a nation, and take its place among the nations of the world. On the other hand, on the platforms in this country the electors of Great Britain are told it is a mere subordinate assembly. What we ask is that the language of the Bill should be consistent with the view that is presented to the people of Great Britain, and I ask the Committee to recognise that every word Lord Morley said in 1893 holds good on the present occasion, and to accept this. Amendment.
§ Mr. HAYES FISHER
I hope this. Amendment will be pressed to a Division. The Prime Minister has given us one of the worst of reasons for styling this Lower House of the Irish Parliament "House of Commons." He says that because we have used the word "Parliament"—to which we strongly objected—in a previous part of the Clause, we are therefore committed to the use of the expression "House of Commons" here. You must take into account not only nomenclature, but the powers that are to be given to the Irish. Parliament, and we should not be consistent with the policy we have tried to lay down in regard to this Bill if we did not vote in favour of an Amendment which substitutes much better words for the word "Parliament." Has the Prime Minister thought of the future, when he has, developed the whole of his policy of federalism for the different portions of the United Kingdom? Has he thought of that? After all, we are struggling here in a most difficult position, because we do not know what are the outlines of the policy that is to be one day submitted by the right hon. Gentleman, who is anxious to establish some form of federal Parliament in this country. If we give the title "House of Commons" to this Lower House in Ireland, what title is there left for the Lower House when this principle is applied, and when England has a Parliament of its own? If this Lower 1753 House established under this Bill is to be called the House of Commons, by what title will you call the Lower House of the Imperial Parliament? You will get into endless difficulties if you allow this title to be taken by the Lower Houses of the subordinate Legislatures. Here you have a great Assembly accustomed to be called by its old traditional title "the House of Commons," but it will no longer be able to be called by that old title, because the title will have to be taken for the Lower House of the English Parliament. I believe this is only one of many difficulties which confront us in considering this measure. We are told we must constantly consider it from the point of view that the Government will some day or other promote some scheme of federalism by which we may have Parliaments in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. I think the Prime Minister should give more attention to this matter.
May I say one word to the Prime Minister as to the propriety of using this title for the new Assembly? The expression "House of Commons" is one well known in constitutional law. It is given to the House, which represents the third estate of the realm, as distinct particularly from the other House, which represents the second estate, the peerage of England. By this Bill, by Clause 12, Sub-section (3), it is proposed that the peers shall be eligible for seats in either House which is proposed to be established, so that the House of Commons established by this Bill will represent not merely the Commons, but also the peerage of the United Kingdom, which is really a contradiction in terms. If you have a House of Commons which in terms represents the commoners of the country you cannot give that House power to represent the peerage of that country, and if that House represents the two estates, the Commons and the peerage, it cannot possibly be called the House of Commons. You will be running counter to the whole of our constitutional history and law if you call this legislative body a House of Commons when it does not represent merely commoners, but represents both commoners and peers.
§ Mr. CHARLES CRAIG
It seems to me that this House of Commons ought to be more jealous of the name which has made it famous all over the world. If this Amendment is carried, you are going to have a House of Commons in Ireland, and 1754 later on, if the Prime Minister's scheme of federation is carried to its logical conclusion, you will have a House of Commons in Wales, another in Scotland, and a second one in this country. Should that time ever come, it is obvious that the glory that has surrounded this House of Commons will be gone once and for all. This House ought to think very seriously before it sets up within the United Kingdom another Assembly of the same name. We do not know, it is impossible for us to know, years to come alone will tell, whether there is any seriousness in the argument put forward by the Prime Minister, that this is really the beginning of a federal system. It would be impossible to resist a claim which no doubt would be made by Scotland and Wales to have their Assembly under the federal system called by the same name as the original Chamber which was set up under that system. If we have four Houses of Commons in the United Kingdom, then the day will come when this Assembly, the model on which practically all other Assemblies in our own Empire and in other countries is based, will be forced to find another title. It will be a thousand pities to lose the sole right of the title of "the House of Commons," a House of which we are so proud to be Members, and which has set the fashion to the whole world in the matter of Legislative Assemblies.
§ Mr. WATSON RUTHERFORD
It is quite true this Amendment is merely a matter of nomenclature. It differs from the question whether any assembly in Canada or Australia should be called by the name of the House of Commons, in one very important particular which is this, that under Clause 13 of this Bill, there are to be forty-two Members returned from Ireland to this House of Commons. At the same time the Bill sets up a House of Commons in Dublin for the whole of Ireland. You will have two sets of people elected to the House of Commons from Ireland, one set going to Dublin and the other coming to London, and the whole thing will prove exceedingly difficult, complicated, and very objectionable. If there were no representatives from Ireland to be sent to this House it would be obvious that any Member of the House of Commons in Ireland would be a Member of the Dublin Parliament, but seeing that forty-two Members are to come here, it will be very difficult without explanation when referring to any person or any body in Ireland to say to which House 1755 of Commons they belong. The mere fact that forty-two Members will come to this House makes all the difference in the world in discussing the question whether the Assembly in Ireland shall be called the House of Commons. I would also ask what are the Members to be called? Are they to be called M.P. or M.I.P.? [An HON. MEMBER: "Say M.A.P."] Are they to be called by some name associated with some Member for Ireland or with the Irish division of Liverpool? I venture to think that this is not unimportant. It is an important thing at the outset of this Bill to devise a definite name and title for this proposed new House, otherwise we shall be creating difficulties for ourselves when we have a House of Commons for Scotland, or for Lancashire, or for the Isle of Man, or some of those other places where we understand the Prime Minister is going eventually to set one up. That is quite enough, without adding to the incongruity by having a House of Commons here and in Ireland, to both of which Irish constituencies will have the right to elect Members.
§ Captain CRAIG
My right hon. Friend below me (Sir It. Finlay) and my hon. Friends have brought forward strong arguments against allowing this House of Commons to share its name with any subordinate Legislature, but not one single argument has been answered. I presume that is to be the conduct of the Government all through this important Bill. It is apparent that the Government are going to hammer the Bill through, without listening to the appeals of the Opposition in any way. The truth is that the Government dare not accept any Amendment to the Bill. The Nationalist party would not accept a Bill that did not give them all the glory of a Double Chamber; they must have these words House of Commons, and you will find that they will insist that the House of Commons is to be on College Green. Those are the sentimental feelings of the Irish party, and you will find that everything the Leader of the Nationalist party says to this weakling Government must be carried out, or else they will get their marching orders. What is the object of the Government in refusing to accept words which are good enough for some of our Colonies beyond the seas? There are some legislative assemblies of which those countries are proud. Would it not be well for this assembly of Ancient Hibernians 1756 to start with a new name, one they could take a pride in from a national point of view, rather than borrowing the name of the ancient House of Commons of England? I suggest that there should be a compromise over this matter; that this body should not be called the House of Commons or the Legislative Assembly, but the House of Nationalists, because there will never be anybody but Nationalists in it. No loyalists will ever sit there; consequently the name, so far as we in the North of Ireland are concerned, is not of very much importance. But I say that, for the credit of this House, and as one who looks forward to similar conduct in the new House of Commons in Dublin, as takes place in every assembly where Nationalists predominate, it would be well for us to keep clear of the reflected discredit if we still have the same name. It would be better to let them have a name all to themselves to glory about, and to allow us to continue our name, which is entitled to some exceptional treatment when you are going to create separate Legislatures in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. If the suggestion is not acceptable to the Government, let them say what they will accept.
§ Mr. RONALD M'NEILL
There is one standpoint which has not yet been presented to the Committee, and, although it may be thought fantastic, I venture to put it forward in perfect sincerity. The Prime Minister has said that the words "House of Commons" will call up associations of Grattan's Parliament. I have no doubt that it is because Grattan's Parliament might be recalled to the recollection of Irishmen by those words that they are supported by hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway. I desire that they should not be used for the reason that I do not desire to call up the associations in Ireland of Grattan's House of Commons. I do so for a reason which may not be supported by all my hon. Friends. I am one of those Irishmen who look back with the greatest pride, veneration, and affection to Grattan's Parliament. Grattan's Parliament contained a greater galaxy of illustrious genius than any assembly of the same class and time. Hon. Members who know anything about that Parliament and Grattan, will remember his famous speech, one of the most famous examples of Parliamentary oratory on record, in which he said, with regard to his own House of Commons—I rocked its cradle, and I stood by its grave.1757 I think the institution which Grattan thus said had been buried—and I am one of those who deplore the political necessity which called for its destruction and the methods by which it was destroyed— should at this time be allowed to sleep in the grave where Grattan left it. It would be a crying shame for those who really appreciate the memory of that period of Irish history, with all its good and all its evil, if the associations of that assembly should be resuscitated and tacked on to the rebel assembly which will be manned by hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway Therefore, from the point of view of an
§ Irishman who yields to no one, either above or below the Gangway, in Irish, patriotism, in pride and affection for its great history, which has for ever passed away, I venture, notwithstanding that I may be told it is a fantastic reason for supporting the Amendment, to appeal to the Government to save us from the associations which would be called up by using the name "House of Commons."
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 253; Noes, 121.1759
|Division No. 103.]||AYE5.||[8.35 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Kelly, Edward|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||Kennedy, Vincent Paul|
|Adamson, William||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||King, J. (Somerset, N.)|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Elverston, Sir Harold||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary. N.)||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe|
|Alden, Percy||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)|
|Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire)||Essex, Richard Walter||Leach, Charles|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Falconer, James||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Armitage, R.||Farrell, James Patrick||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Low, Sir F. (Norwich)|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Lundon, T.|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Ffrench, Peter||Lynch, A. A.|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Fitzgibbon, John||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Bentham, George Jockson||Flavin, Michael Joseph||McGhee, Richard|
|Bethell, Sir John Henry||Furness, Stephen||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Gelder, Sir William Alfred||MacNeill, John G. S. (Donegal, South)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Gill, A. H.||Macpherson, James Ian|
|Boland, John Pius||Ginnell, L.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Gladstone, W. G. C.||McCallum, Sir John M.|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Glanville, H. J.||M'Kean, John|
|Brady, P. J.||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Goldstone, Frank||M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lincs, Spalding)|
|Brunner, J. F. L.||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Manfield, Harry|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Markham. Sir Arthur Basil|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Greig, Colonel J. W.||Marks, Sir George Croydon|
|Burke, E. Haviland||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Martin, J.|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Meagher, Michael|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Hackett, J.||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Cameron, Robert||Hancock, John George||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Menzies, Sir Walter|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Middlebrook, William|
|Cawley, H. T. (Heywood)||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Millar, James Duncan|
|Chancellor, H. G.||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Molloy, Michael|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)||Mond, Sir Alfred Moritz|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.|
|clough, William||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Mooney, John J.|
|Clynes, John R.||Hayden, John Patrick||Morgan, George Hay|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Hayward, Evan||Morison, Hector|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Hazleton, Richard (Galway, N.)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Muldoon, John|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Munro, R.|
|Cowan, W. H.||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Higham, John Sharp||Needham, Christopher T.|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Hinds, John||Nolan, Joseph|
|Crooks, William||Holmes, Daniel Turner||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Crumley, Patrick||Holt, Richard Durning||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Cullinan, John||Home, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||Nuttall, Harry|
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Howard Hon. Geoffrey||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Hudson, Walter||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Dawes, J. A.||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||O'Doherty, Philip|
|De Forest, Baron||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||O'Donnell, Thomas|
|Delany, William||Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||O'Dowd, John|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||John, Edward Thomas||Ogden, Fred|
|Devlin, Joseph||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||O'Grady, James|
|Dewar, Sir J. A.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||O'Keliy, James (Roscommon, N.)|
|Dillon, John||Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||O'Malley, William|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Jowett, Frederick William||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Boris, William||Joyce, Michael||O'Shee, James John|
|Duffy, William J.||Keating, Matthew||O'Sullivan. Timothy|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Kellaway, Frederick George||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Samuel, J. (Stockton)||Wadsworth, J.|
|Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Samuel, Sir Stuart M. (Whitechapel)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Scanlan, Thomas||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir E.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Pointer, Joseph||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)||Watt, Henry Anderson|
|Power, Patrick Joseph||Sheehy, David||Webb, H.|
|Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Shortt, E.||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford)||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook||White, J. Dundas (Glas., Tradeston)|
|Pringle, William M. R.||Smith, Albert (Lanes., Clitheroe)||White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E. R.)|
|Radford, G. H.||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Raffan, Peter Wilson||Snowden, Philip||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Raphael, Sir Herbert H.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)||Spicer, Sir Albert||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Reddy, M.||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Sutherland, J. E.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhougthon)|
|Redmond, William (Clare)||Sutton, John E.||Winfrey, Richard|
|Rendall, Athelstan||Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)|
|Robertson, sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Thomas, James Henry (Derby)||Young, W. (Perthshire, E.)|
|Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Roche, Augustine (Louth)||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Roe, Sir Thomas||Toulmin, Sir George||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Rowlands, James||Verney, Sir Harry||Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Goldman, C. S.||Newman, John R. P.|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Goldsmith, Frank||Nield, Herbert|
|Ashley, W. W.||Gordon, John (Londonderry, South)||Norton-Griffiths, J.|
|Astor, Waldorf||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Baird, J. L.||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Grant, J. A.||Perkins. Walter F.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gretton, John||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)||Quilter, Sir William Eley C.|
|Barnston, H.||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Hall, Marshall (L'pool, E. Toxteth)||Rees, Sir J. D.|
|Bathurst, C. (Wilts, Wilton)||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Soles, Lieut.-Col. Dennis Fortescue||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Salter. Arthur Clavell|
|Boyle, W. L. (Norfolk, Mid)||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Boyton, James||Hills, John Waller||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Butcher, John George||Hoare, S. J. G.||Sassoon, Sir Philip|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Cassel, Felix||Horner, Andrew Long||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hunt, Rowland||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Ingleby, Holcombe||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Chambers, James||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Swift, Rigby|
|Clyde, J. Avon||Knight, Capt. Eric Ayshford||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Kyffin-Taylor, G.||Terrell, G. (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Larmor, Sir J.||Thynne, Lord A.|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Lloyd, George Ambrose||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Croft, Henry Page||McCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Weigall, Capt. A. G.|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Mackinder, Halford J.||White, Major G. D. (Lanes., Southport)|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Macmaster, Donald||Winterton, Earl|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||M'Calmont, Colonel James||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Fell, Arthur||M'Mordie, Robert James||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Malcolm, Ian|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Mitchell-Thomson and Mr. Charles|
|Forster, Henry William||Moore, William||Craig.|
|Glazebrook, Capt. Philip K.||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I had arranged with my Noble Friend to move this Amendment, but I rise, on a point of Order, to ask if it is not a fact that the hon. Member whose name appears first on the Paper is called to move an Amendment?
The hon. Member whose name stands first on the paper asked me to call the Noble Lord.
§ Viscount CASTLEREAGH
I beg to move to leave out Sub-section (2).
This is an Amendment of considerable importance. I think it will be in the recollection of the House that it was my inten- 1761 tion to move to insert the word "subordinate" in Sub-section (1), and to move as a consequential Amendment the omission of Sub-section (2). But I was advised by your predecessor in the Chair (Mr. Whitley) that the best way to raise the whole of this discussion was simply to move the omission of this Sub-section. I think the Committee will agree that this is an Amendment of considerable importance, because really the whole argument which the Government have endeavoured to put forward, not only in this House, but also in various parts of this country at least, is that because there will be a subordinate Parliament, or rather because there will be so many and such adequate safeguards, that there is no need for the apprehension which so many of us feel, and which is felt in the North of Ireland. This Amendment will afford the Government an opportunity of defining their position and explaining to the Committee that they really mean the assembly which is to be set up in Ireland is to be of a subordinate character, and subject in every possible way to the supremacy of this Parliament. I should like to say that during last election the great inducement which was held out to the electors in all parts of the country to support Liberal candidates was that there was no possible danger to the Imperial Parliament as such, and that all the dangers and difficulties which could be anticipated from an Irish Parliament of an independent character could not arise by reason of the Bill which the Government have drawn up for Home Rule.
I do not think that hon. Gentlemen who sit on the other side of the House realise exactly the part they are playing. I voted against the establishment of two Houses of Legislature in Ireland, but I had not the opportunity of explaining why I voted for that Amendment. It was this: If there is any substance in the contention of the Government that the Home Rule Parliament will be a subordinate assembly with cramped and limited powers, there is no need whatever—in fact, it would be a superfluity — to establish two Houses with all the pomp and circumstance of a Parliament. Hon. Gentlemen on the other side are treading a very dangerous path when they bow to the dictates of the hon. Gentleman who leads the Nationalist party, and who, I am sorry to think, is very seldom in the House during Debates which concern him. I had the opportunity of discussing Amendments on two occasions, and the hon. Gentleman has not 1762 done me the honour of attending. On a previous occasion, when I was controverting some remarks made by him, I sent out a message to him, and he replied that he could not come, as he was otherwise engaged. I hope those who reply for the Government will define what is meant by a subordinate Parliament. I have always maintained that "nationality" and a "subordinate Parliament" are entirely irreconcilable terms. Hon. Members who speak for the Nationalist party say they claim this Parliament on the ground that Ireland is a separate nationality, and that they require this Parliament to give expression to that nationality. If there is any sincerity in the demand that expression should be given to their nationality, I maintain that this subordinate Parliament is either an absolute farce or you will have to maintain your supremacy by force of arms in part of Ireland. I ask whether the Government believe that it is possible to maintain in all ages to come this subordinate Parliament as one which is going to obey this Parliament when occasions arise of measures being passed in the Home Rule Parliament, and when there may be a deadlock between the two Parliaments, with no prospect of a settlement of the difficulty. We are told that this Parliament will be able to step in and say, "We take an entirely different view, and whatever may be the views you take they must be placed on one side." I ask the Government whether they believe that will be a satisfactory solution of the question. Do they believe that if a Parliament of two Chambers is set up, not Sovereign, but with all the appearance of a Sovereign Parliament, an assembly of self-respecting men is going to pass measures which may come in contact with the wishes and ideals of men in this House of Commons—do they believe that these men will cast aside their wishes on account of the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament?
I do not know exactly on what footing this Home Rule Parliament is going to be set up. Is it in the nature of a Colonial Parliament? Are we to see an Assembly on College Green occupying exactly the same position which is occupied by a Colonial Parliament? I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman, who is going to reply for the Government, whether he considers that the Parliament which is to be set up is to be exactly similar in its functions to the Parliaments which exist in Canada, South Africa, and Australia. There was a significant utterance lately given by Sir Wilfrid Laurier, in which he 1763 said that the Canadian navy is not bound to take part in every war in which the Empire might be involved. That opens up a very serious question. If Sir Wilfrid Laurier is right in connection with Canada it also applies to Ireland.
§ Viscount CASTLEREAGH
The right hon. Gentleman says that Ireland cannot have a navy, and he is perfectly right, but it is perfectly open for the question to be raised in the Parliament in Dublin. It is perfectly open to the Irish Parliament to put such difficulties in the way of this country in the conduct of a war as might hamper us to a considerable extent.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Mr. Maclean)
The remarks the Noble Lord is now making should be addressed to the Committee on Clause 2.
§ Mr. LONG
I understood my Noble Friend to be drawing attention to the fact that under its Constitution Canada can make certain arrangements with respect to its navy. Surely it is in order in discussing this Sub-section, which deals with the limitation of the powers of the Irish Parliament, and which does not involve the creation by Ireland of a navy for herself, to refer to the powers claimed by a Parliament which has been set up by similar machinery.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I have listened very carefully to what the Noble Lord said. I think he was referring to the possible action of an Irish Parliament if this country happened to be engaged in war. My ruling was that such a question could be properly dealt with on the next Clause.
§ Viscount CASTLEREAGH
I desire to bow to your ruling. This is a very important matter which should be discussed. There are signs that the Government are Anxious to curtail the discussion of Amend- 1764 ments which appear to be of a very important character. I am very sorry indeed that some Members of the Nationalist party who have been particularly forward in their speeches in various parts of the country are not present. It would be as well, in a discussion of this description, to know exactly the attitude which the Nationalist Members take at present. The Nationalists' demand is altered to a very considerable extent. What it is at the present moment I should very much like to know, because if we had some deliberate announcement from the hon. Gentleman who leads the Nationalist party it might have some weight with the Government when they respond to this Amendment. The demand of the Nationalist party has veered between complete independence and a sort of servile, cringing Parliament subordinate to the Parliament which exists at the present moment in this country. The hon. Member for Waterford has made various statements, some of them of a contradictory character. I only regret that apparently he does not propose to be here during this Amendment, so that we might hear exactly what his attitude is. I do not know that whatever he might say would convince hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House, because some of his utterances in various parts of Ireland and America and Australia are certainly very vividly before us at the present moment; On this question of the demand of the Nationalist party I may read a statement by Mr. Shane Leslie. It is true that that gentleman may not be very well known to many hon. Members in this House, but when I say that he is a blood relative of the First Lord of the Admiralty perhaps that will commend itself to some hon. Gentlemen. He says:—Let there be no disguise of what we are after in Ireland. We have deliberately and knowingly set ourselves, if I may use a great phrase, to break the last link which lies between Ireland and England.Those are the sentiments which he speaks before the Gaelic League in New York. The hon. Member for Waterford says this:—The ideals of the Gaelic League are the ideals which we shall struggle for in the future.9.0 P.M.
The hon. Gentleman who speaks for the Nationalist party on these benches, if he were here in his place, might say there was no intention whatsoever on behalf of the Nationalist party to carry out those ideals, which are ideals of the Gaelic League, but that their intention is to establish a subordinate Parliament, as we are told it will be, and as it has been 1765 described by hon. Gentlemen who sit on that side, and by Nationalist Members when addressing audiences throughout this country. Will they rise in their place and say that they have given up those ideals, that their intention is to carry on in the future for the united benefit of this country and Ireland a subordinate Parliament which will be subject to the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament in this country? I sincerely hope that no one will endeavour to minimise the importance of this Amendment, whether this Bill comes into force or not, and I sincerely hope that it will not. What I would like clearly to be told from the Government Benches is this: Whether they mean that there will be a subordinate Parliament; exactly what they mean by that subordinate Parliament, and how they propose to carry out what they have put into the Bill in connection with the subordinate Parliament in Ireland?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir Rufus Isaacs)
I gathered from the speech of the Noble Lord that he will be very disappointed indeed if this Amendment be accepted, and that the last thing in the world which he would desire would be to remove from the Bill the declaratory preface that this Parliament should be subordinate. I understood from the Noble Lord's Amendment that his desire was to raise a discussion on the point so that he might give his views with regard to a subordinate Parliament, and elicit opinions either from the Government or, as I gather also, from the hon. and learned Member for Waterford. But what the Noble Lord really desires is that the Sub-section should be left in. What happened when this very same subject was discussed in 1893? There it was moved that this provision should be inserted, in the Bill, and that was moved by one of the opponents of the Bill. He used those words and accepted an Amendment which was incorporated in the Bill of 1893, in deference to the very clearly expressed wish of the majority of Members of that Parliament that we should have such a declaration in the Bill. Speaking for myself I think it is very desirable that we should have it. It would have exactly the same effect, I think, in law if you left it out; still, it may well be that some argument might be raised upon it. It might be that the argument would be adduced that if you have not a provision of this kind it might be said that this was a co-ordinate Parliament, and was not a subordinate Parliament. But I should 1766 have thought that it was quite plain that any Parliament which was created by this Parliament must of necessity be subordinate to the Imperial Parliament. I should have thought that there could be no doubt about that, and, so far as I am aware, no constitutional authority asserts the contrary. The moment this Imperial Parliament creates a Parliament which is limited to a particular territory, it must be a Parliament which is subordinate to the Imperial Parliament. I am sure the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Sir E. Finlay) will agree with me that the Parliament of Canada is subordinate to this Parliament. [An HON. MEMBER: "No."] I quite agree that with regard to Canada the question does not arise, and I hope it never will arise, or that there will be any conflict of opinion. I quite agree that it is subordinate theoretically, and if we do not exercise our rights with regard to Canada it is for the very reason that the Parliament there is known to be subordinate to the Imperial Parliament theoretically, and fortunately the question is never really raised. The Parliament of Canada knows the limit of its own jurisdiction. The Bill establishes quite clearly that any Parliament which is created by this Parliament must theoretically be subordinate to the Imperial Parliament.
When we are dealing with the Irish Parliament we are dealing with a different state of things, because, first of all, we have got the declaration in the plainest and most explicit terms, and I doubt whether anybody could suggest anything more clear, that the Parliament which is created is subordinate to the Imperial Parliament. But it does not stop there. If hon. Members turn to the subsequent provision of this Bill they will see that we limit the various Acts which can be passed, and the various Acts of State which cannot be dealt with by the Irish Parliament. The provision states it in. very plain terms, and the discussion as to the phraseology can be dealt with when we come to the particular Clause. But it does not even rest there. If the Noble Lord will turn to Clause 41 of the Bill he will see that there again any doubt—I do not think there can be any doubt—is removed, and it gives as great a safeguard as can possibly be required. We have got the declaration in the first part of the Bill with which we are now dealing, and we have Clause 41. I cannot conceive how anybody can doubt that the Parliament which is being created is not a co-ordinate 1767 Parliament, but is a subordinate Parliament. It is necessary to call attention to what is in the Bill as bearing on the point raised by the Noble Lord. If the Irish Parliament should enact laws which are outside their powers they become null and void. It is quite clearly stated in the Bill, and it was discussed on the Second Reading. The right hon. and learned Gentleman (Sir R. Finlay) will remember quite well that some doubt was expressed as to the value of the safeguards, but in any event what can be done within the four corners of the Bill has been done in this particular Bill, in order to safeguard the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament. I doubt whether any constitutional lawyer or any lawyer who has given his attention to this subject will venture to rise in this House and say that in his opinion, notwithstanding all we have done, the Parliament created under the Bill will be a co-ordinate Parliament and not a subordinate Parliament.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
The hon. Gentleman has great courage, and I should like him to deal with the particular Clause to which I have referred. I must wait for that, however. All I can say is that the greatest care has been taken by those responsible for the Bill. Whatever other questions may be left open, whatever other questions may be discussed upon this Bill, we shall have made it perfectly plain that the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament is paramount and unimpaired by any Clause or Sub-section in this Bill. I think I have answered the point raised by the Noble Lord.
§ Sir R. FINLAY
I think that in the remarks of the right hon. and learned Gentleman there are two things absolutely separate. One is the question of what are the checks upon the Irish Parliament. He has referred to that at some length, and he has pointed to provisions dealing with the Irish Parliament if they legislate on any subject beyond their powers. That is not the question we are upon at all. What we are concerned about, and what the electors of Great Britain are concerned about, is to see that there is an effective check supplied by the supremacy of this Parliament with regard to the abuse of powers in regard to matters which the Parliament in Ireland believe to be within their powers. I cannot understand why the right hon. 1768 and learned Gentleman introduced the reference to a Section dealing with a totally different matter, when the whole question with which we are concerned here is as to whether the Sub-section adequately expresses the entire subordination of the Irish Parliament to the control of the Imperial Parliament in matters which do fall within its jurisdiction. That is the question and the only question, and I cannot help thinking that this Sub-section is an illusory Sub-section, for this reason: What you want is a plain and specific provision that the Irish Parliament is subordinate to the Imperial Parliament. Why not say that in plain words? Why is it that we are put off with a reference to the whole of the British Dominions? The inference is irresistible that the relation of the Imperial Parliament to the Irish Parliament is to be exactly the same as its relation to the Parliament of Canada, to the Parliament of Australia, and to the Parliament of South Africa. Why is it that instead of using plain language directed to the subject under discussion, namely, the subordination of the Parliament in Dublin to the Parliament here, this Sub-section is introduced saying:—
"(2) Notwithstanding the establishment of the Irish Parliament or anything contained in this Act, the supreme power and authority of the Parliament of the United Kingdom shall remain unaffected and undiminished over all persons, matters, and things within His Majesty's Dominions."
What has the rest of His Majesty's Dominions got to do with it? Tell us what you really mean with regard to the Irish Parliament. The use of this expression provokes the suspicion that it is intended that this supremacy, complete in theory, shall be nothing in practice at all. The Attorney-General will not deny that if the Parliament of Canada, the Parliament of Australia, or the Parliament of South Africa passed any measure affecting matters within their powers we could not in practice claim by an Act of the Imperial Parliament to over-rule that decision come to by their own Legislature. In theory the supremacy is there, but will any right hon. Gentleman on the Front Bench get up and say it could be exercised. You would provoke a storm which would teach you not to attempt the experiment a second time.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware those are the very words that were introduced in an Amendment 1769 by Sir Henry James, and for which I have no doubt the right hon. Gentleman voted?
§ Sir R. FINLAY
I happened not to be in Parliament at the time and therefore I could not vote. I entirely disapprove of the words. I think they are illusory and they were not regarded, I am told, by my right hon. Friend who was in the House at the time, as satisfactory at that time. I entirely object to our being told that because a right hon. Friend of mine proposed these words in 1893 that therefore they are to be regarded as canonised and are to be adopted in 1912. We are entitled surely to criticise the words upon their merits. The right hon. Gentlemen on the bench opposite know perfectly well that the theoretical supremacy over the Parliaments of our Dominions is one that could not be exercised in practice. You would have the bond between the Mother country and the Colonies severed. Knowing that, why is it not stated plainly that this Irish Parliament is subordinate to the Imperial Parliament in regard to all matters? Why, instead of doing that, do you put us off with a general explanation relating to the whole of the British Dominions, when you know perfectly well that that proposition may be asserted without being in practice worth anything. I most respectfully say this Amendment ought to be accepted because if it is accepted it would remove one of the shams which are to be found in this particular Bill.
There is another objection to this Subsection and that is that it goes beyond the scope of the Bill altogether. This is a Bill proposing to make provision for the Government of Ireland. What have we got to do in such a Bill as that inserting declarations as to the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament in other parts of His Majesty's Dominions. Let us confine ourselves to the business in hand. The reason why the Government have adopted these words is perfectly plain. They thought it would hurt the feelings of their Irish supporters to have a plain declaration that the Irish Parliament was subordinate to this Parliament and liable to be over-ruled by it. In order to save the faces of their supporters on the benches opposite they put in this general reference to the whole of His Majesty's Dominions. I submit that this Sub-section is absolutely unsatisfactory, that the way in which it is framed stamps as unreal those professions that you are making from every platform in 1770 England and Scotland as to their being an effective subordination of the Irish Parliament to the Imperial Parliament, and that the words of the Sub-section are really beyond the scope of the Bill.
Sir GILBERT PARKER
I did not hear the whole of the speech of the Attorney-General, but I could see from what he did say what was the general tenour of his speech, and that really it was a continuation of the speech of the Prime Minister. The defenders of this Bill in maintaining the absolute superiority that exists continually make references to the Dominion of Canada, the Union of South Africa, and the Commonwealth of Australia. In supporting what my right hon. Friend below me has just said, I ask the Attorney-General has he made himself acquainted with the relations between the Federal Parliament at Ottawa and the Provincial Legislatures, and if he has taken note of the number of occasions on which the Parliament of Canada has vetoed, reserved, or disallowed Bills of the Provincial Legislatures. In the case of British Columbia alone, if the right hon. Gentleman had looked into it, he would have found that within the last seven years one Bill from British Columbia has been sent up eleven times, and been disallowed eleven times by the Dominion Parliament, and other Bills have been sent up by the Provincial Legislature of British Columbia which have been disallowed. The same thing has occurred in regard to the Provincial Legislature of Manitoba, and in regard to Quebec. In those three cases in particular there have been a great number of instances in which Bills have been disallowed by the central Government. Does the right hon. Gentleman really mean to suggest that this Parliament would, without the very gravest difficulty, continually disallow Bills passed by the Irish Legislature, or Irish Parliament, or House of Commons, as you choose to call it.
The right hon. Gentleman is putting the argument on a wrong basis entirely. He is contending that we have over the Dominion a vetoing, disallowing, or reserving power; but, as my right hon. Friend has said, there have been very very few cases in which that disallowance has occurred. There has been one case, of course, the Copyright case, but that disallowance was connected with a very grave protest on the part of the Canadian Government, and the result was that the 1771 Canadian Government maintained its right as the right hon. Gentleman knows, to legislate for itself, and decline to permit the Government of this country to exercise the right and continue to exercise the right of veto. The right hon. Gentleman is, unintentionally I know, misleading the House, but he is misleading the House. The two things are not on all fours, the position of the Dominion Government or the Commonwealth or Union Government in regard to this Parliament, and the relation of provincial Parliaments, like that of British Columbia to the Parliament of Ottawa, or the relation of the Government at Pietermaritzburg to the Government at Pretoria. What I want to see, as my right hon. Friend has clearly denned, is phraseology which will make it perfectly clear that the position of the Irish Parliament is not the same in its relation to this Government as the position of the Dominion of Canada, the Union of South Africa, and the Commonwealth of Australia is to this Government, because we could not exercise with either of those three great federations or unions the same power that the right hon. Gentleman says we may exercise under this Bill towards the Irish Parliament or House of Commons, as it has been styled. I repeat that if the Government will only take into consideration the relations that exist between subordinate and provincial Parliaments and the central federal Governments in the Oversea Dominions, they will cease to use those as an analogy. The Attorney-General knows as well as anybody in this House that we cannot exercise over the Governments of the Oversea Dominions these rights which he says we may exercise over the Irish Parliament. If that is the case, and he means that the Parliament in Dublin is to be in the same position as the Parliament at Regina, or Victoria, or Melbourne, what possible objection can he have to defining clearly the exact position that that Legislature is going to hold in relation to this Legislature? To speak in general terms about this Parliament being supreme is not sufficient. It is exactly what we are told in regard to the Oversea Dominions. We are supreme, but without the moral right to exercise our authority except in case of the very gravest danger to the Empire or where the laws of the Oversea Dominion cut across our Imperial law. If that is the case, why do the Government object to our being permitted to state 1772 clearly in this Sub-section what the Government say they mean—that is, to establish a subordinate Parliament over which this Parliament will have absolute control?
§ Mr. MOORE
We have heard a great deal this afternoon about the reality of things, sham arguments, and so on. I think we are entitled to look at the reality of the question behind the drafting of this Sub-section. As far as the Clause goes, it says that the Powers of the Imperial Parliament are to remain unaffected and undiminished over all persons, matters, and things. That is supposed to be equivalent to using the word "subordinate." I do not see what is to prevent the Irish Parliament from claiming a collateral right equally supreme. In the case of Miss Malecka the British Government claimed all its rights undiminished over her as a British subject, and the Russian Government did the same regarding her as a Russian subject. Both Governments claimed undiminished rights. You are going to set up this tribunal, but you do not say that the Irish Government are to be subordinate. You merely say that as far as you are concerned, you will maintain the same undiminished rights. If you mean the Irish Parliament to be subordinate, you ought to limit its powers. We know, however, that you do not mean it to be subordinate. For the purposes of argument on Radical platforms, you are giving Ireland a Parliament—I suppose to be opened by the King—with a Senate and House of Commons; you are aping this institution in every way; but in the same breath you say that its little more than a county council with local government powers. Having gone out of your way to make it as like Parliament as possible, you are afraid to take the logical step and say boldly that it is subordinate. Why is that? It is because the Coalition are in great difficulties over this matter. In England and Scotland it is represented that only a subordinate Parliament is being set up to deal with Irish local affairs; but that is not the argument of hon. Members below the Gangway. They dare not go to any town in Ireland and say that they have got a subordinate Parliament. When they are on Nationalist platforms they say that they have wrested from this House all they ever aspired to, that they have an independent Parliament which will at last give free vent to Irish national aspirations. We know what those aspirations are. I would like the right hon. Gentleman to 1773 consider how they can be carried out under this Bill. The hon. Member for Waterford has said:—Our ultimate aim is the national independence of our country. The national movement is the same today as it was in the days of Wolfe Tone: it is to overthrow the foreign domination in our land, and to put Irishmen in charge of their own affairs. Our object has always been the same.Does that suggest a subordinate Parliament with all these rights and powers reserved? Is it any wonder that we should look at the reality of things, and ask whether this is a subordinate Parliament, or whether it is a fulfilment of the "national aspiration" for a free and independent Parliament? My Noble Friend (Viscount Castlereagh) was quite right in raising this question. But it is not merely a matter for my Noble Friend. The Liberal party themselves have expressed their views through the Nobleman who now leads them in another place. Lord Crewe. in 1902, said that he would never be a party to a proposition which placed Ireland in a position of practical independence such as that possessed by New Zealand. Does this Bill place Ireland in a position of practical independence such as they have in New Zealand? Lord Crewe said further that the circumstances of the two places were entirely different in a large number of respects. I should like the Government to tell us whether that declaration of Liberal policy is being observed by them now? This Parliament is described in England as subordinate, and in Ireland as independent. Surely it is important to ascertain which description is correct. The Clause itself says nothing. It simply declares that the present jurisdiction of the Imperial Parliament will continue, but says nothing about setting up any equal authority. The Attorney-General says that we have no trouble with Canada on this question of supremacy, because Canada know their limits.
§ Mr. MOORE
The right hon. Gentleman suggests that Clause 41 settles the matter of subordination. I cannot follow that argument. It might just as well be the result of a treaty between two nations. This is represented in Ireland as the result 1774 of one nation's successful exaction from another nation. There is nothing in the Bill to prevent that theory being set about on the other side of the Channel. Is there any hope that limits will be fixed in regard to hon. Members below the Gangway? They call themselves a nation, and declare that there is no limit to the march of a nation. I have seen no limits to the amount that they can gain by putting pressure upon a Government which is dependent on their votes. I do not think there will be any limit. We are told that this Clause is one of the safeguards for the minority. The safeguards for the minority depend on how far any verbal safeguard in the Bill is going to be put into force. You say that you reserve to yourselves a supremacy. Where is your Executive to enforce it? You will have no Executive in Ireland to enforce it. You will have transferred it to a Parliament which you now say is to be subordinate. If you declared that that Parliament in its own jurisdiction was to be collateral with this Parliament a very strong argument in support of the statement would be that you have handed over to hon. Members below the Gangway a complete Parliament and Executive. While you do that you will turn around and say, for English consumption, "Look what a safeguard there is for the Irishmen minority. We have put in the Bill that the Irish Parliament"—no, we have not put it in the Bill that the Irish Parliament is subordinate—"but that the Imperial Parliament is supreme." What a nice guarantee it is! Without an Executive how are you going to enforce that supremacy? We know perfectly that you will never try to enforce your supremacy if it is a matter in which the Irish Unionist minority is involved. As the law and Constitution stand at present, you have the Chief Secretary, who has been in charge of Ireland for the last six years; he has never lifted a finger to save a Unionist against a Nationalist, and he knows that perfectly well.
§ Mr. MOORE
Well, the right hon. Gentleman ought to know it by this time. I am sorry that the Government do not, in spite of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Waterford, by terms in the Bill, make it clear that the proposed Irish Parliament is subordinate. They profess that in England; the hon. and learned Member does not profess it in Ireland, where it does not suit him.
§ Mr. HAMAR GREENWOOD
On this question of a subordinate Parliament, I admit at once, and everybody who knows anything about the working of the Constitution of the Empire here and in the Dominion, knows that this Sub-section is simply declaratory, and makes clear, I suppose, to timid people, what the law is. No Parliament that can be set up by this Imperial House can be equal to the Mother of Parliaments.
§ Mr. HAMAR GREENWOOD
That is the whole of the argument. The contention is that the Irish Parliament will not be subordinate.
§ Earl WINTERTON
Will the hon. Gentleman maintain the view that he has just expressed, that no Parliament set up is equal to the Mother of Parliaments for practical purposes on platforms in Canada?
§ Mr. HAMAR GREENWOOD
Certainly. Any Canadian would maintain that position, and be proud to admit the supremacy of this Parliament in which we are.
§ Mr. HEWINS
Did Sir Wilfrid Laurier maintain that proposition in London at the Imperial Conference?
§ Mr. HAMAR GREENWOOD
Certainly. The proposition of Sir Wilfrid Laurier was this: that within the confines of the Constitution granted by this Parliament to the people of Canada he and his Parliament is sovereign. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I recommend some text-books to hon. Members opposite, Clement on "The Law and Constitution of Canada," and other works. I submit this proposition to the Attorney-General in the last Conservative Administration, namely, that in law and in practice the Parliament of Canada within the strict limitations of its Constitution of 1867, and with subsequent amendments, is a sovereign Parliament.
§ Mr. HAMAR GREENWOOD
Every Parliament set up by this Mother of Parliaments is sovereign within the terms of its Constitution. The Parliament of British Columbia is sovereign within the Constitution of British Columbia. The Parliament of British Columbia has the power to take ten acres of land from Jones and give it to Smith without compensation. This Parliament under the Act of 1867 sets up 1776 a sovereign Parliament in Canada. I quite understand the misapprehension over the word "sovereign." The word "sovereign," as applied to this Parliament, means absolute sovereignty. The word "sovereign" applied to every other Parliament within the Empire is limited by the terms of the Constitution that has been granted to it by the Parliament of England. I should think that that was a commonplace to anyone who has read a textbook on the Constitution of the British Empire. To return to my original point, no Parliament can be set up by this Parliament of the Mother-country that is not subordinate. It is subordinate in two principles. First, the Parliament here can repeal the Act that constituted the Parliament in Ireland or elsewhere. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] Of course it can. I will refer hon. Members to a great anti-Home Ruler, Professor Dicey, who says this Parliament can do anything except make a man a woman or a woman a man. I recommend hon. Members opposite to read the book of Professor Dicey on "The Law and the Constitution. I repeat that this Parliament, if the Home Rule Bill becomes law, and when right hon. Gentleman's hopes have been realised, and they who now sit on the opposite benches sit on these, that they can repeal the Home Rule Act and make it null and void.
§ Mr. HAMAR GREENWOOD
That means, according to the learned Professor, that you can limit the power of this Imperial House. You cannot do that. Might I ask the hon. Gentleman for his authority for that statement, apart from his own assertion?
§ Mr. HAMAR GREENWOOD
I challenge anybody to put forward during the rest of this Debate the contrary opinion to this, namely that you cannot bind the powers of this House even by its own Resolutions or by its own Acts of Parliament. The very essence of this Parliament is that it is absolute in its sovereignty, and from that the deduction comes that every Parliament set up by this absolutely Sovereign Parliament is limited in its powers and strictly confined within the terms of its constitution.
§ Mr. HAMAR GREENWOOD
I am referring to Parliament, and when I say Parliament I mean Commons, Lords, and King.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
You say the Government cannot limit their own power. What about the Parliament Act?
§ Mr. HAMAR GREENWOOD
The Noble Lord has delivered himself into my hands. You can repeal the Parliament Act to-morrow if you get a majority in this House. You would not need it in the next. The Parliament Act is an expression of the opinion of this House while that Act is supported by a majority of this House, and the other. I apologise to anyone who has read the elementary books on constitutional law for saying again the power of the Parliament of England is absolutely Sovereign and cannot be limited even by itself. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO."] I wait for the authority for that dissent. I would quote again Dicey on "The Law and the Constitution," Sir William Anson on "The Constitution," or any other writer who may be taken seriously. It is a great pleasure for me to get an occasional interruption especially when it assists a speaker. I say the Parliament in Ireland to be set up under this Bill is a subordinate Parliament, and is carefully made subordinate, in the terms of Clause 2 where it is said that that Parliament "shall have power to make laws for the peace and order, and good government of Ireland within the following limitations." These limitations are set out in Clause 2, Sub-section (1), and the following Sub-sections, and these limitations make the power of the Parliament in Ireland less than the powers now enjoyed by the Parliaments of Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, or even Newfoundland. Let me compare its powers with the powers of the Canadian Parliament. The Parliament of Canada has full power to deal with its own army; it has power to deal with certain treaties; it can make treaties in reference to commerce, and set up what commercial duties it likes. It deals with lighthouses, coinage and trade marks. None of these things come within the purview of the powers of the Irish Parliament, so I repeat that the Irish Parliament is so subordinate a Parliament that is more subordinate than any of the great Parliaments, set up by this House, in our Colonies.
§ Mr. HAMAR GREENWOOD
If you-give me the opportunity, I will say it at the Ulster Hall with pleasure.
§ Mr. HAMAR GREENWOOD
I submit that what I have said would convince any one open to conviction that the powers of the Irish Parliament are so subordinate that they are much more delimited than those given to the Dominion of Canada.
§ Mr. HAMAR GREENWOOD
No, I admit they are not so delimited as the powers of the provincial Parliament of British. Columbia. I do not compare the province of British Columbia with this great historic Ireland, and one of the finest things in the history of this mother of Parliaments is this, that it always declines to standard is the grants of self-government. The salvation of the English Parliament-is that it has never been logical in reference to the oversea Empire, and the same Parliament that is suitable to British. Columbia, Newfoundland, or New Zealand, would not be a Parliament that might suit the case of Ireland.
§ Mr. HAMAR GREENWOOD
I must leave the Transvaal to speak for itself. I think I am right in saying, not only is this Home Rule Bill setting up a subordinate Parliament, but it is setting up a Parliament so subordinate that it has much less, power than any of the Parliaments of our great Dominions. The point is often made, and it is an effective point to make, that the veto power, admittedly strong in theory, is never, in fact, exercised by the Executive in this country. I will give the reason for that, and it is a reason I believe that will apply in the case of Ireland. By no terms of an Act of Parliament can you bind millions of men, wherever they live, to do exactly what you like at all times. The whole Imperial structure is built up on the understanding that those who enjoy the privilege of self-government are not lunatics in straight-jackets. They have elastic constitutions, and they act up to the spirit of them. It is impossible to make a lettered Constitution that will be anything like as good. When a Bill is about to be introduced into the Parliament in Canada what may in the view of the Ministry—because I confess the 1779 powers of the Governor are not a serious factor—the Prime Minister of the Ministry in power, if he thinks the Bill about to be introduced conflicts with Imperial interests, would have the Bill sent over through the Governor of the Dominions to the Colonial Office here, and that has not infrequently been the case, in order that the view of the Imperial Executive might be obtained as to whether that Bill would conflict with the wider and greater interests of the British Empire. That fact shows the spirit that exists throughout the British Empire, because the matter can be settled before it comes to be treated as a party question in the Dominion. I think hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, on the Single Chamber business, had all the argument on their side, but upon this question as to the subordination of the Irish Parliament I repeat no words can add to the outstanding fact that the sovereignty of this Imperial Parliament and this Executive over all Parliaments exists, and the subordination of the Irish Parliament is much more pronounced, and is, in my opinion, a greater subordination than I ever believed would be acceptable to the majority of the Irish people.
§ Earl WINTERTON
As far as I was able to follow the arguments of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down on the sovereignty of this and other Parliaments throughout the Empire, it amounted to this, that nothing could limit the powers of this Parliament to make any laws in terms. What relevance or application the hon. Gentleman saw in the statement he quoted, with the air of one addressing a lecture class—a quotation that must be known to every hon. Member—that Parliament could do everything except make a man a woman or a woman a man, I am quite unable to make out. Of course, it is true that this Parliament in theory has absolute control over the Parliaments of every country in the British Empire. Is there any hon. Member in this House who is prepared to get up—and I appeal, to the Nationalist party, and to the hon. Gentleman himself, who is Canadian born, especially—and say that this Parliament could abridge one jot or title of the rights of the Canadian Parliament without the secession of Canada from this country? I say anyone who gets up and says the Canadian Parliament is not in fact independent, is a political farceur. No one knows that 1780 better than the hon. Gentleman opposite, and the whole argument of the hon. Gentleman on that point is a mere quibble. He knows that the Canadian Parliament, and the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, and the Union of South Africa, are, in fact, independent. That is admitted upon all sides. It is not a question that is disputed. The point which we want to get at, and to which the hon. Gentleman never addressed himself at all, is, are you attempting to set up by this Subsection, which we propose to leave out, a Parliament in reality subordinate to the Imperial Parliament, or an independent Parliament equal to those set up in the Dominions. That is the only point. It is a very old question. It has been asked of those who represented the Government when a Home Rule Bill was introduced in 1886 and in 1893, and was again asked upon the Second Reading of this Bill. The question is what do you mean by subordinate Parliaments? Is it to be a Parliament on the Colonial or Dominion pattern, or a sort of hybrid Parliament? We want to know what the Government and the Nationalist party mean by it, and how they are able to reconcile the statements they have made, as the Prime Minister says, persistently and insistently on every platform in Ireland and America for the last twenty years when they demand a sovereign Parliament. What they are seeking is something vastly different. Thousands of quotations have been made use of in this connection. I would like to refer to a very important Debate which occurred on the Bill of 1893, which took place at the beginning of June nineteen years ago, and it exactly expresses the position to-day. These are the words used by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain):—They may have changed their mind entirely since 1802, and they may now be prepared to accept a subordinate Parliament with an English veto; but they have not said so, and in 1802 they said they would never accept such a proposal, although they still ask the House of Commons to believe that they will do so.Those words exactly apply to the situation to-day, and no hon. Gentleman below the Gangway who is entitled to speak on behalf of the Nationalist party ever said that he would be satisfied with one jot or title less than the case that was made out by Mr. Parnell. The words of Mr. Parnell have been quoted, and the hon. and learned Member for Waterford has said that he and his party stand where Mr. Parnell stood. [NATIONALIST MEMBERS,: 1781 "Hear, hear."] Then that fact is admitted. At Ennis, in 1891, Mr. Parnell said:—We have shown the world that Ireland now, as always, stands fast to her claim to be sovereign within her own kingdom and country, and that she refuses to admit any English people or obey the orders of any English Minister, taskmaster, or dictator.10.0 P.M.
After such words as those, how can the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken say that this House has absolute supremacy over any law made by an Irish Parliament? We have made absolute supremacy, but, if the words of Mr. Parnell are adhered to, we can only make any such alterations in laws passed by an Irish Parliament at the risk of civil war. Does any responsible person in this House suggest that if you once give powers of this kind, which we believe are going to be put into the hands of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, you can take away those powers without a revolution? Can anyone conceive any powers which have been given to the Dominion Parliament being taken away without the danger of their secession from the British Empire? If this proposal is carried out we have either to allow Ireland to be virtually independent in a few years' time or else suppress the Irish Parliament altogether. The hon. Member for Cork City (Mr. W. O'Brien) said:—I take it we are all united in demanding that the Irish Parliament, while it acts within its own province, shall be as free from Imperial meddling as the Parliaments of Australia or Canada.The hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon), speaking at the time of the last Home Rule Bill, said:—Then we will try Gladstone, if his Bill gives over the government of the country into the hands of the Nationalists, as I believe it will. If it does not we shall go on until we have wrung from the British Parliament complete emancipation and the right to manage our own affairs.What is being demanded by hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway to me seems in credible. They are demanding as full a measure of independence as that which is possessed by the Parliament of South Africa. I ask any reasonable man in this House or out of it, if this measure is granted, whether it would be possible for any subsequent Parliament to take away such powers without a revolution? The hon. Gentleman opposite in referring to sovereignty said something about specific cases in which this Parliament had interfered with the powers of Colonial Parliaments. He ought to know quite well that there has been no case of any importance during the last twenty-five years. The only case that can be quoted is Natal, which stands by itself, because Natal at that 1782 time, which was the first year of the present Government's term of office, was unhappily small and weak in numbers and population, and the present Government endeavoured to interfere, in my opinion most unjustly, in the internal affairs of that province. Anyone familiar with South African history and affairs, or who has been to South Africa, knows that if the Government had really carried out what appeared to be their intention when that controversy was first started, every other Colony in South Africa would have been absolutely unanimous in demanding the withdrawal of the offensive attitude taken up by the Government of this country, and unless they had done so there would have been a refusal to carry out the demands of the Imperial Government. There is no case to-day in which this Government would dare to interfere in the affairs of any self-governing Parliament. The hon. Member opposite said that tins Parliament had never set up a Parliament with equal powers to its own, but I challenge him to go on any Canadian platform and say that the Dominion Parliament, for all practical purposes, is not independent. I challenge him to deny that statement on any Canadian platform. He would not make any such statement in Canada. This Bill raises the whole question whether you are going to set up only a glorified county council in Ireland or a Parliament which, for all practical purposes, will have authority and powers equal to this Parliament. If the Government is prepared to set up a practically independent Parliament at our gates, then let them realise before they vote on this Amendment what they are doing, and let the responsibility for any subsequent civil war that takes place rest upon them and those who support, them.
§ Mr. AMERY
The objection we on this side of the House feel to this Sub-section is that it is in fact meaningless, and in intention misleading. It is meaningless in fact because it only asserts the supreme authority of this Parliament over the Empire. Nobody doubts that in theory the Imperial Parliament of this Empire is not only supreme over all parts of the Empire, but can revoke any power they have given. That supremacy is as small in practice as it is wide in theory. The supremacy which in theory no one disputes, in practice is one which is not exercised over any one of the great self-governing Dominions. There is another form of supremacy which is a real supremacy. The supremacy which 1783 the Canadian Government retains over the territories of Alberta and Saskatchewan since it has given self-government to those provinces is real. The question we want to get at is whether this Government is setting up a Legislature which is to be subordinate to the Legislature of the United Kingdom in the sense that the Legislature of Saskatchewan is subordinate to the Dominion Parliament of Canada, or whether it is going to set up a body which is only going to be subordinate to this Parliament in the sense that the Canadian Parliament is subordinate to it?
We are face to face in these discussions with a confusion which is deliberately encouraged by hon. Gentlemen opposite. It arises from the fact that this House legislates in two different capacities. It is both the supreme Parliament of the Empire and the domestic Parliament of the United Kingdom. In Canada you have three Governments. You have the supreme Imperial Government, supreme in every respect and uncontested in theory, with powers, which as the learned Solicitor-General informed us yesterday, it cannot even abnegate, but which in practice are limited to control over the foreign relations of the Dominion; you have the real authority of the Parliament of the Dominion, and you have below that in the second degree the subordinate Legislatures of the provinces. Here in this House the two first functions are confused. What we want to get at is whether the United Kingdom is to be maintained or not. This Sub-section does not in any sense of the word maintain the unity of the United Kingdom. It simply states that Ireland is not actually going out of the Empire. What we are trying to establish is whether the United Kingdom is to be broken up or not. The question is not purely one of theory. It is a matter which will become vital. The question is whether the Irish Legislature is going forward, or whether it is intended it shall go forward towards at least the independence which the Canadian Parliament enjoys, or whether we are going to maintain in its strictest form the United Kingdom. When you have a Federation of the Empire, will Ireland be a part of that Federation? Will it be a separate unit, such as Canada or New Zealand, or will it be an integral and subordinate part of the United Kingdom, and the United 1784 Kingdom alone the unit in the Imperial Federation? That is the point on which we wish to have a clear exposition from the Government. We wish to know whether Ireland is to be set up as a Government simply subordinate, as is the Government of Canada, with the general shadowy suzerainty of the Empire, or whether it is to remain in substance and fact an integral part of the United Kingdom?
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I have been struck in listening to these Debates with what seems to me to be a fundamental misunderstanding, or misconception, or confusion of thought—I do not know how to describe it exactly—which prevails-upon the other side of the House regarding this matter. No one can read this Bill without perceiving there are two entirely different theories which underlie it. The machinery of the Bill—the Parliament, the two Houses, the King, and all the rest of it—provides for a Legislature on the model of a Sovereign Legislature, but the powers of the Parliament are to be very narrowly restricted, according to the face value of the Bill. I want to know what is really the theory on which we are proceeding? The Irish Nationalist party, by their very name, proclaim their theory and principle is that Ireland is a nation. That has always been their doctrine. If that is so, I am really forced to repeat the question which has been put once or twice: What do you mean by a nation? It is really essential, if hon. Members opposite are going to face this problem honestly and fairly, that they should give their minds to understanding what they mean by a nation. It is quite evident, as was pointed out by my right hon. Friend the senior Member for the City of London (Mr. Bal-four) that there are many forms of local patriotism. You have a man who is proud of being a member of a county, or of residing in a town; but he never thinks of describing that county or town as a nation. When a man describes the community to which he owes this corporate feeling as "a nation," what does he mean? What is the underlying thought in his mind which corresponds with those words? What is the thing or idea which moves him, and which rests at the bottom of his expression? No one really can doubt what is meant is substantial independence.
When we talk of nationality we mean a community which is substantially independent. That is a very important thing 1785 for us to bear in mind. If we are proceeding on the principle that we are going to give a Constitution to Ireland which will be suitable for a community substantially independent we are doing one thing. If we are going to give Ireland a form of government which is suitable to a community which is an integral part of another nationality—another Sovereignty that is an entirely different thing. Unless we really grasp that distinction and make up our minds which we mean, we are bound to turn out not only bad legislation but to lay the seed of future disputes and ultimately of civil war. It is vital we should understand what we mean. The Government persistently decline to say what they mean, and it is utterly unworthy a Government dealing with a serious question like this that they should not tell the House quite frankly which of the two solution they intend. If they intend a mere reform of local government in Ireland then the greater part of their machinery is utterly unsuitable, and this Sub-section is unnecessary and should be struck out of the Bill. If they do not intend that, they should tell us so. It is not fair to the House or to the people of this country that they should have legislation of this kind promoted without a clear understanding as to what it is exactly tending to. No better illustration could be given of the difficulty than this particular Subsection. We are solemnly stating that, notwithstanding we have passed the first Sub-section, the supremacy of the House is to be unaltered. If you are merely reforming local government in Ireland, if you are merely setting up an enlarged county council, or something of that kind, there is no question affecting supremacy, technically or actually and here I do not quite agree with the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Hamar Greenwood)—you do not interfere with but you preserve the entire control of this House But if you are really setting up a Legislature which is to be substantially independent, with a kind of shadow of Sovereignty preserved to this country, then this Sub-section becomes not only irrelevant but misleading.
It is essential that hon. Members should face this question. I confess having listened carefully to almost all that has been said on this subject. It appears to me that hon. Members have not yet made up their minds as to what they mean by assenting to Home Rule. Is it an answer to the demand, Ireland a nation, or is the demand Ireland a province? That is the difference. If the demand is Ireland a 1786 nation, then a nation means substantial independence, or it means nothing. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury in the Second Beading Debate on the Welsh Church Disestablishment Bill gave a high-flown description of the feeling of nationality—he spoke of it as the feeling a man has for his love or his God— or some nonsense of that kind. That is a kind of literary extravagance which does not appeal to me. I am not speaking of that kind of theoretic or literary nationality; I am speaking of a political conception which underlies the word "nation" I say it is absolutely playing with words, and playing with the desires of hon. Members from Ireland, and with that stern resolve of the people of this country, if you do not recognise that the demand that Ireland should be treated as a nation means, and can only mean, that they shall be given substantial political independence under the Sovereignty of this country. I hope that before the Debate on this Amendment closes we shall have an authoritative declaration by the Government of what they really do mean, and how, whichever view they adopt of that very important and fundamental question, they can possibly justify either their own machinery or the powers which they propose to entrust to the Irish Parliament. For these reasons I shall certainly support this Amendment.
§ Mr. JAMES MASON
The speeches which have been made so far indicate that the effect of the Sub-section is not quite understood, and that the intention of the Sub-section is not understood. The words used deal with persons, matters and things in Ireland, and are put into the Bill and offered to the minority in that country as a safeguard. The hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Hamar Greenwood) confined his remarks to the theoretical supremacy of this Parliament over all other Parliaments in the Empire. He seemed to think he had proved quite enough when he showed that the Irish Parliament would enjoy even less liberty than the Parliament of the Dominion of Canada. What use is that to the people of Ireland as a safeguard against any kind of treatment that they fear? My hon. Friend the Member for Gravesend (Sir G. Parker) said that this Parliament had over the Dominion Parliament of Canada something more than a mere theoretical supremacy, because he said Parliament could but interfere when grave Imperial questions were in danger. Of what use is such an 1787 interference as that to satisfy the people who look upon this Sub-section as some real security to the people of Ireland against excesses on the part of the Irish Parliament? These arguments as to the supremacy being equal to that over the Dominion Parliament are entirely by the way. The real question is not whether the supremacy is to be such as can be exerted in theory or in practice over the Parliament of Canada, but whether it is to be something in the nature of the supremacy which now exists over any other part of the United Kingdom. It is quite obvious that unless the supremacy is something more than that which is exercised over other parts of the Dominion it is valueless for the purposes of a safeguard. The whole case of the Government, when put before the electors of this country, is that the protection of this Parliament will be available to the minority in Ireland in the future just as it has been in the past. It insinuates that that is the meaning, but it goes on to say it shall remain the same as it is within His Majesty's Dominions. But when the Government are dealing with the Irish Nationalists it seems to me their meaning is not quite the same as when they are speaking to the electors of this country. After all, they say that the Irish Parliament is to have entire control over purely Irish affairs. I think it may be reasonably said that the relations of Ulster to the rest of Ireland are purely Irish affairs, and if that is to be one of the cases in which no interference at any time and under any circumstances is possible, this protection of the minority in Ireland is merely a delusion and a snare. But what are the views which are held on that side of the House in regard to this matter? Only last night the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Buckmaster) said:—I say the safeguard of this Bill is the strong Protestant feeling in this country coupled with our old and hereditary hatred of religious persecution.And he said a few lines previously:—Even if you were to assume the Government of the day were so cowardly and supine that they would decline to exercise the powers this Bill reserves to them to remedy at once any act of oppression, I say if Ministers were cowardly enough to abstain from doing that, the power and strength of the people of this country would sweep that Government from power."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th June, 1912, col. 1513.]Evidently it is the idea of the hon. and learned Gentleman that the Government would interfere in a case of oppression— that is to say, in the case of what he considered unjust action on the part of the Irish Government in a purely Irish matter. But 1788 what was the view of the Foreign Secretary on the Second Reading? It was very different from that which I have just mentioned. He said:—I admit that while we preserve the Imperial supremacy for the purpose of this Parliament here over Irish affairs, we snail have in practice to go out of our way to exercise that supremacy. Hon. Members for 'Ireland may rely with perfect confidence upon this that once a Bill of this kind is passed this House will be so-occupied with the affairs which are proper and important to it that it will not go out of its way, unless there is some very extreme case, to interfere in Irish affairs.That does not look as if there was very much prospect of this House really retaining that supremacy over the internal affairs-of Ireland according to the Foreign Secretary. It seems to me that these two views held on that side of the House are to a very great extent conflicting. It is quite evident that the object of hon. Members below the. Gangway is that this supremacy-should indeed not be effective. We have had statements made by their party all through maintaining that the object of their movement was that Ireland should be a nation. But when Mr. Parnell first expressed that view he always said it was-encouraging Mr. Gladstone towards the point of establishing a prosperous, free, and happy Irish nation. The power that Mr. Parnell had then of encouraging Mr. Gladstone was very much the same power that the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. J. Redmond) now has of encouraging the Prime Minister. I think the Irish Members will take very good care that the supremacy of this Parliament is indeed not greater, if they can help it, than that which they now can exercise over one of the Dominion Parliaments of the Empire. The question arises what necessity is there for this Parliament maintaining a really effective authority over the Parliament in Ireland. I think it is quite plain that our fears are not groundless. We have quite evidence enough to prove to us that once the Nationalist Members get their Parliament and have the power, they intend to get their opponents' heads under their armpits and punch them. The hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) once said—When we get out of this trouble, we will remember who were the people's friends and who were their enemies, and we will deal out our rewards to the one and our punishment to the other.I think that and various other threats which have been used should lead us to believe that the words he used some time ago, and repeated only so recently as last year, show that he regards it as possible that the Parliament will have power to punish its enemies. He said:—He did not believe that the wit of man or the skill of statesmen could devise guarantees in an Act of 1789 Parliament which could protect people who persisted in resisting the will of the great majority of their countrymen.I agree it is beyond the wit of this Parliament under existing conditions to devise guarantees which will project the minority in Ireland against persecution by their opponents when they get the power into their own hands. I believe it is impossible to introduce into this Bill really adequate safeguards and securities, still I assert without the slightest fear of contradiction that, even though we believe that safeguards are almost impossible to devise, it is nevertheless our duty to impress upon the Government that they should accept Amendments and show that they honestly desire to insert, so far as they possibly can, words which will carry out the safeguards, and that it is their duty to do all they can to make the safeguards as effective as possible.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir John Simon)
The Debate on this Amendment is certainly a curious one. The proposal before the Committee, as presented by the Noble Lord (Viscount Castlereagh), a Member of the Unionist party, is to omit from the first Clause of the Bill the second Sub-section. That is to say, he is proposing to cut out from the first Clause of the Bill a provision which in its express terms declares that it continues the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament. I have not observed that he proposes to omit these words in order to insert anything in their place. The Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin just now denounced this provision as not only irrelevant but misleading.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
If the Government desire to set up an independent Legislature statutorily independent of this country, then it would be irrelevant and misleading.
§ Sir J. SIMON
I listened carefully to what the Noble Lord said, and I think that he will concede that we are justified in explaining that the object which we have in view, broadly speaking, is to set up a Legislature which from that point of view is not dissimilar from the proposal of 1893. This proposal was not to be found in the Bill of 1893, when it was introduced, and it was inserted in the Bill upon the suggestion of so eminent a Unionist and so great a lawyer as the late Sir Henry James.
§ Sir J. SIMON
I am obliged to the Noble Lord. It was not the misleading proposal, of some individual. It was accepted by the unanimous opinion of the whole Unionist party. That was the proposal which the Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin, says is irrelevant and misleading. But I desire-to approach the main argument which has been put forward by the other side. It is said, "you are proposing here to devolve upon us a measure of legislative executive autonomy; in what class or category do you put it?" I look over the British Empire and I find various examples of the devolution of autonomy, not all of equal extent or equally unlimited. The question put by hon. Gentlemen opposite is a very fair question: "How do you classify the Constitution proposed by this Bill having regard to the different subordinate Constitutions of the British Empire?" I have one or two observations on that. First of all I would suggest to the Committee that there really is a fallacy involved in the view which lies at the back of that question, in this respect. It is not true that the different subordinate Legislatures of the British Empire were in their origin classified under heads of comparative independence. That which we so constantly say of our Constitution in this country, that it is unwritten and has grown, is in fact, as every constitutional lawyer and historian who really studies the nature of the British Empire knows, equally true of these other countries. They do not give precisely the same illustrations, in their details, but the statement is equally true in substance and spirit of the British Empire beyond the seas. There is one instance which is often forgotten which is relevant on this point. It is very often supposed by people who speak about the British Empire that what is called responsible Government in the different parts of the Empire was conferred by some Act of the legislature of this House, full grown as was Athene when she sprang from the brains of her one and only parent. It is quite untrue. In the North American Colonies they were given, it is true, not responsible government, but representative institutions; they were given, that is to say, a Parliament to which they sent people by means of election. But that which is really essential to self-government, the responsibility of an Executive to Parliament, the dismissal of an Executive because it loses the confidence of Parliament—that was not conferred upon them by any Act of the Imperial Legislature. It 1791 was a thing that grew, and it grew according as it was found that experience of their own exercise of the privileges that had been given entitled them to be trusted. That justifies me in saying that there is a fallacy involved in the view that the different Constitutons of the British Empire can be classified and labelled for all time as belonging to this or that degree of comparative independence.
The truth is that the extent to which any part of the British Empire has legislative independence does not depend upon some instrument or Constitution passed by this House, as we propose to do by this Bill now, but it depends upon the experience which they and we alike have had of the way in which they have used the powers we have given to them. I make what may be and will be regarded by hon. Gentlemen opposite as a concession to their point of view, but I make it frankly and candidly. I think any fair-minded man who believes in the principle of the Bill and desires to justify it, ought to admit that that which we are proposing for the government of Ireland is not comparable from every point of view with those circumstances of legislative autonomy which may already be found in the British Empire. I think that is perfectly true. If that be the argument against such a proposal as this, it is an argument which I can quite see may he urged for what it is worth. But what is the distinction? There is one overwhelming distinction which really transcends the argument which we have had in the course of this Debate. So far as my recollection goes and my knowledge extends, in cases where we have conferred what is called self-government on some portion of the British Empire, we have conferred upon the areas concerned the power to legislate for the peace, order, and good government of the area without restriction of subject. Though there is no express restriction of topics, that does not say there may not be some other matters of prerogative which are impliedly excluded. It is a very difficult question, and one on which authorities may differ; but it is to be observed that in the cases we have had in our British Empire we have conferred this power of legislation for peace and order and good government in the area without excluding certain specified topics.
§ Earl WINTERTON
There is the instance of South Africa, where Basuto- 1792 land was expressly excluded from the powers of the Parliament though within this area.
§ Mr. HENRY TERRELL
With regard to the Dominion of Canada, the Act of 1867 excluded from the powers of the Dominion Parliament certain specified subjects.
§ Sir J. SIMON
It is certainly true that in British North America there was a distribution of powers, but if you add all those powers together, you will find that they extend to any conceivable topic so long as it concerns the peace, order, and good government of British North America. I quite concede that the Noble Lord does indicate a special exemption, though I think the House will agree that it does not alter in substance the argument I have addressed. Those two considerations, as I conceive, do justify me in saying that there is a fallacy involved in the challenge, though I am sure it is put forward in sincerity, when we are asked in which of the existing categories of the British Empire do you place the Irish Constitution. I say there is a double fallacy, because, first of all, that seems to assume that you define the extent of the practical independence of the self-governing area in your instrument of Constitution which it gets. That is not true, and, secondly, it disregards those considerable distinctions between the Irish case and those other cases which I frankly state make the Irish case not strictly coin-parable. Though I make these two arguments to the House because I believe them to represent important aspects of this matter, that is not because of any unwillingness on our part to realise what is at the bottom of the challenge put forward by hon. Gentlemen opposite. It cannot be too clearly understood that the view which we take of our proposals for Ireland is not to confer upon Ireland what somebody else has called a glorified county council—not at all. I think an hon. Gentleman below the Gangway referred to Jamaica. It is not our intention to confer upon Ireland the Constitution of Jamaica or the position of Jamaica. As we conceive, the extent to which in practice and experience the Irish. Government which this Bill sets up, will find itself uncontrolled and uncriticised depends, as in every other case throughout the British Empire, on the 1793 use which it makes of those powers. Hon. Gentlemen have spoken of Canada and of Australia and of South Africa as though they had got some special privilege which does not attach to other parts of the British Empire beyond the seas. Does anybody really say that an attempt by this country to interfere with the Legislatures of Newfoundland, or New Zealand, to interfere without cause, when there was no Imperial necessity to interfere, would not be just as great a breach of what has come to be the spirit of the British Constitution as though we were to interfere with Canada or South Africa or Australia? Does anybody suggest that the year before the Australian Federation took place we should have been justified in claiming to interfere without good Imperial cause with one of the great States, such as New South Wales or Victoria? Nobody suggests that.
The idea that you can put those three Federations in one class and other things in another class is the sort of idea which was expressed long ago by those who thought self-government was inconsistent with Imperial supremacy, and who never could believe that the great strength of British Constitutions is not that they are formed in some fixed mode, but that they grow in accordance with the competence and judgment of the people. I am not ashamed to stand here and say if it were the fact that in the case of our great self-governing Colonies there had been gross abuse of power, if they had shown themselves unwilling to recognise the fair claims of minorities within their borders, if they had used the privileges which were conferred upon them to the detriment of this Empire, in my judgment, not only should we have had the technical right to interfere, but we should have been substantially right. It is just because they have recognised, and they do recognise, that trust involves and is co-relative with good faith, it is just because they, in fact, recognised that, we are so confident that a similar result is going to arise in the case of Ireland.
§ Sir J. SIMON
I conclude by this observation. I shall be deeply interested to see whether on this Amendment also we are really going to have the Members of the Unionist party, Gentlemen who are particularly concerned to assert the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament, 1794 voting for a proposal to cut out of this Bill the provision which has been put into it in order that no man, however misguided or credulous, however uninspired with the spirit of free institutions, might suppose the Irish Parliament was not subordinate to the British Parliament.
§ Mr. WALTER LONG
The Solicitor-General was interesting, as he always is, but he has failed altogether to come to grips with the question raised by this Amendment, and we are no clearer than we were before as to the real position of the Government. With only one point in the Solicitor-General's speech did I find myself in complete agreement. He was telling us in his usual eloquent fashion what were the failings of some of us on this side of the House, and he said that we seemed to think that these Constitutions were suddenly created in some wonderful way. He used the illustration of the parent. That illustration was absolutely suitable to the case, because, although he was expounding the policy of the Government and indicating what he believed the future would be, in this particular case the real parent of the Bill dictates what the policy of the Government shall be, and is the one person really competent to make a declaration on the subject. I do not wish to hurt the feelings of the tenderest mind amongst Members opposite, but it is the simple fact that there is only one person in this House competent to say what is likely to be the future of this Bill. I will tell the Prime Minister why. The Solicitor-General proved it by his speech. He has told us that the whole of this Bill is based on the experience of this country in regard to our Colonies. Whilst he claims that we should learn from our experience of the Colonies, does he deny that we should also learn from our experience of what the men who have hitherto controlled the politics of Ireland have said as to their intentions in the future? For this reason, I say that the only man who can tell the Committee with any approximation to the truth what is likely to be the use made of the instrument you are creating is not the Solicitor-General or the Prime Minister, but the man into whose hands you are deliberately proposing to hand the whole future government of Ireland.
The learned Solicitor-General said that my hon. Friend did not propose any substitute for this Sub-section. Then he went on to make a very curious reference to the 1795 position of the Opposition on this Subsection. He said the history of this Sub-section was peculiar, because a distinguished Member of this House, a great lawyer and a Member of our party, had to do with it. The Solicitor-General asked the House to take it from him that an Amendment introduced with the consent of the Government into the Bill by a Member of the Opposition is to be held as representing what the Opposition would do if they had a free hand to put in their own form of words.
§ Sir J. SIMON
That was not my point. My point was that it did seem a little odd that an Amendment with that history should be described as irrelevant and misleading.
§ Mr. LONG
The right hon. Gentleman does not do me justice. I did appreciate the point. His interruption does not in the slightest degree alter the effect of what I said. His criticism is—and these are serious matters, and of the first import to us—and it is not a mere question of chopping logic or fighting about words— the criticism of the Government, as expressed by the Solicitor-General is that we to-day described as worthless an Amendment which was inserted in the Bill of 1893, at the instance of a Member of the Opposition. But let the Committee remember, as anyone who has any experience of fighting a Bill through this House knows, that if a Member of the Opposition desires to get an Amendment inserted he can only secure the acceptance of it by making that Amendment sufficiently agreeable to the Government of the day. If the Solicitor-General's argument is worth anything it means that the Amendment having been inserted in the Bill the Members of the Opposition regard it with satisfaction. What does that carry with it? Does it not carry with it, according to all Parliamentary practice, when the Bill has been so amended that the Opposition regard the change as satisfactory and their opposition to the Bill is materially altered? What was the attitude of the Opposition to this Bill, with this Amendment? Was it lessened in the smallest degree? Is there a single speech of that time by a Member of the Opposition that can be quoted to show that the Opposition believed that the real interests of the State had been conserved? Not at all! The action of the Opposition was at that time to fight the Bill, after, as before, the 1796 Amendment. What is more, we opposed the Third Reading of the Bill in this House, and the House of Lords rejected it, and their action was confirmed by the country.
§ Mr. LONG
The hon. Gentleman was one of the most patient and determined of supporters of Home Rule in the 1892 Parliament; and he was subsequently one of the victims.
And, it being Eleven of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his report to the House.
Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Monday next, the 24th instant.