§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Mr. HAROLD BAKER
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
I think I may claim that this Bill deserves in a special degree the favourable consideration of the House. It is simple; it is strictly limited in its scope; and it meets a demand which has been urgently put forward by a considerable number of people for many years past. More than that, it is a subject with which this Parliament is peculiarly entitled to deal. At the last General Election, not to speak of previous General Elections, I doubt if there was a single Member on this side of the House who did not mention, in a hostile sense, the subject of plural voting, either in his Election address or in his speeches, or, most probably, in both. It is quite true that we did not receive from hon. Members opposite the same assistance in drawing this matter to the attention of the electors that we did in the case of Home Rule. But I think that even they will be prepared to admit that, probably without a single exception, we who sit on this side sit here as known advocates of the abolition of plural voting. This subject was very freely debated in the Parliament of 1906. The Bill then brought forward emphasised the intention of the Liberal party to deal with the question when the opportunity arose. That Bill was passed, in a Parliament of big majorities, by bigger majorities than were given to any other Government controversial measures against which the official Opposition divided. There are certain differences between the Bill I am dealing with to-day and the measure introduced in 1906. The Bill of 1906 proceeded on the principle of penalising the plural voter if he exercised the plural vote. It allowed him to be registered freely wherever he had a qualification, but it compelled him to star himself in the register of the particular constituency in which he wished to exercise his single vote, and if he voted elsewhere he was subjected to very severe penalties. Those penalties, which were 1694 thought by some too severe, were considered carefully in Committee, and reduced to appropriate dimensions.
This Bill, without any disrespect to its predecessor, offers an alternative suggestion. It destroys no qualification; it inflicts no penalty beyond the ordinary penalties that attach to any false statutory declaration. It proceeds simply by amending the registration laws. The Bill has two governing ideas. The first is that the register should be the record, and the sole record, and that everybody on the register should be entitled to vote. The second is that in the main a man should vote for the place where he resides. Normally he will vote for the place of his abode, but the Bill permits two exceptions to that rule: first, where a man is unable to do so, because he has no qualification in that place, though he has a qualification elsewhere; and, secondly, where he is unwilling to do so, because he has one or more qualifications elsewhere, and prefers to exercise one of those qualifications instead of voting for the place where he resides. In connection with those two permitted exceptions, the Bill provides means whereby a voter who wishes to avail himself of them may get on the register elsewhere. In order to do this, a voter must take certain steps. He must make a claim to the overseers of the constituency where he wishes to vote, and at the same time make a declaration to the effect, either that he has no qualification except the one for which he is claiming, or that he has other qualifications, but has disclaimed his right to vote in respect of them.
That, I submit, is the whole of the Bill; the rest is mere machinery. But let me make its working a little plainer by taking three cases, which I think are exhaustive of all possible varieties that may be met with as the result of the Bill. First, there is the case of the man who has one place of abode, and has a vote in that place. Under the provisions of this Bill he will automatically go on the register, and will have no trouble. Take next the case, not quite so simple, of the man who has two places of abode. Such a man has an alternative. He may, and if he is wise I think he will, take steps to choose for which of those places he prefers to vote. He will then disclaim the other by sending notice before the 1st September in each year. Hon. Members may ask what will happen if he does not choose to take that trouble. He will go on the register in 1695 both places in the ordinary way. If no objection is taken to his name he will get two votes, because his name is on the two registers. I quite admit that to that extent this Bill does not stop plural voting. But if there is any leakage at all it will be extremely small. I think there will be none, for this reason. It is hardly likely that a man who has allowed his name to stay on the register in both places will escape objection being taken, and if objection is made against him he runs a considerable risk of losing both votes instead of retaining one. I take the third instance, the case of a man who has several miscellaneous votes for places which are not his place of abode. If he wishes to vote elsewhere than at his place of abode, he must send in his claim to the overseers of the place of his choice before 25th July. He must make a declaration that he has abandoned his qualifications elsewhere. If he is not objected to there is nothing more to do. If he is objected to, for example, on the ground that he appears on the list of a constituency elsewhere, his declaration is primâ facie good proof of his honesty, and it may be sufficient. If, however, it is contested, and he is in the wrong, and knows he is in the wrong, he still has to 1st September to get rid of the trouble by disclaiming the vote in the place where the declaration is made. That, very shortly, comprises the main provisions of the Bill so far as they concern us this afternoon. This alternative scheme offers very considerable advantages. In the first place, it relieves of all trouble altogether the man who is willing to vote for the place in which he resides. The trouble for him only begins at the point at which he decides to transfer his vote elsewhere. In the second place, the amount of trouble a man will have is exactly proportionate to the number of votes that he has and the dispersal of his voting power. The more votes a man has the more votes he will have to disclaim. I think it is only fair that the greatest burden should be placed on the broadest shoulders. I would remind hon. Gentlemen that at present the lodger, whose shoulders are not so broad, has to claim a vote every year. It is no very great hardship the imposition of the burden of proof on the plural voter.
In the third place, there is another advantage, for the innocent plural voter is to 1696 be in no danger whatever by this Bill. There are no penalties except those which attach in all cases of the making of a false statutory declaration. It was one of the objections urged against the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman in 1906 that it made a man a felon, and that it made him liable to two years' imprisonment with hard labour, or a fine of £500, for the offence of personating himself. That is cleared from this Bill. The innocent plural voter will find himself in no danger whatsoever. Then another very great advantage is that under these provisions the register will be an absolute record of a man's right to vote. I suppose the register has always been the Bible of the election agent—the book to which he turns with, some affection and some confidence. In future he will have the additional satisfaction of knowing that line by line it is verbally inspired. That is a good thing for political organisers, for voters, and for candidates. It is a good thing for everybody, except those who live on the complications of our present registration laws. I have drawn a contrast between this Bill and the Bill of 1906. But there is absolutely no difference in principle between the two Bills. The problem is: given the existing franchises, if the whole seventeen of them in all their decay and obsolescence are left untouched, what is the most appropriate method of getting rid of plural voting? Many ways might be suggested. The Bill of 1906 proceeded to stop the plural voter on his way to the polling booth. This Bill intercepts him at an earlier stage: it stops him from getting on the register. It will simplify the whole procedure, and make it better for all purposes. That is what is contained in the first Clause of the Bill. The rest is mere machinery. I believe most of it flows absolutely inevitable from the provisions in the first clause, but it is the provisions of the first Clause that I am commending to the support of hon. Members to-day.
I should like to deal with some objections which are certain to be brought against the principle of this Bill. There is the objection that has been brought against similar Bills in the past that the whole basis of our electoral system in this country is the representation of localities and that it is impaired by this Bill. I should prefer to say that it was not so much representation of localities as the representation of the nation. But, admitting that proposition to be true, historically at any 1697 rate—and we have for it the high authority of the hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford University—I would like to point out that this Bill will actually promote and further that principle. Under this Bill inducements will be offered to people to vote for their home; for the place where they pay rates and taxes; the place where they live, and move, and have their being. It will, in fact, localise still further. In the second place, does the plural voter, in exercising his plural vote, invariably base his action on the interests of the locality in which he gives it? [HON. MEMBERS: "Certainly."] Let me give the notorious example of the Wimbledon freeholders. What is Wimbledon to them, and what are they to Wimbledon? They are very much to Wimbledon, but Wimbledon is nothing to them. I do not think that it is devotion to Wimbledon that causes them to give their votes there. It may be devotion to the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Chaplin). I have no doubt that he heartily reciprocates that devotion. But there is certainly no local connection between these freeholders and the place. They and the constituency are only a typical instance. Plural voters of that type—and I am ready to admit there are several types—are merely backwoodsmen of a minor degree, who come down—in the case of Wimbledon indeed, I do not think they even have to come down—at the time of an Election to pervert the exact opinion of the locality. More than that, they not only pervert the opinion of the locality, but they pervert any true expression of the opinion of parts of the country, or the country as a whole. There are many instances. Take one that the Prime Minister referred to recently, the fact that it is impossible at this moment exactly to discover what votes in England were cast in favour of Home Rule at the last Election. We believe, with some confidence, that if the number of plural voters were subtracted it would be found that there was an actual majority of votes cast in favour of Home Rule.
There is one case I admit that presents rather more difficulty—the case of the man who has a residence in one place and who has business interests in another. I admit that that case is on a different footing altogether to the case with which I have just dealt. My answer is that it is quite impossible in this case for you to define the kind and amount of interest that would justify giving the dual vote to such a person. The Bill deals with every such case 1698 in a broad and common-sense fashion. It will not touch constituencies which are composed of such plural voters—I mean historical constituencies which have made and are making history—like the City of London and North-West Manchester. Voters in these constituencies will be perfectly free to exercise their votes there if they choose to do so. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] I will explain. I do not think that we shall find those great constituencies composed merely of what is called a night population.
Voters who have votes in those constituencies will under this Bill be able to retain them, and for political or sentimental reasons will take steps to do so. But we say that the voter must choose, that he shall have one vote only. It is a Liberal view that you cannot subtract from or add to, you cannot multiply and cannot divide any political personality. We say that a man must exercise it whole and undivided in that place in which he conceives his main interests to be centred. There was a case I know put forward by an hon. Member of this House, still happily an hon. Member, during the Debates on the Bill of 1906. He said that you really must allow people to divide themselves, because sometimes people did not know whom they wanted to vote for, and that very often it would be convenient that a man should be represented by a Liberal in one place and by a Conservative in another. That proposition was put forward in the days when Tariff Reform was a subject of acute division of opinion among the party opposite, and I have no doubt that at that time it seemed a very fair and reasonable proposition, but, on the principle that minorities must suffer, that acute difference has now disappeared. I am not at all certain that the condition of opinion which is manifesting itself about the Insurance Act might not give some support to the argument that people who wish to vote should still be given the opportunity of voting in one place for a Conservative candidate who wishes to repeal the Insurance Act, and in another place for a Conservative candidate who wishes to put it into operation.
Another objection in connection with which there is an Amendment on the Paper is the question of redistribution. A similar Amendment was moved in 1906, and, I suppose, on every previous occasion, and it has been rightly characterised, and I certainly would characterise it on this occasion, as dilatory. In my humble judgment it is absolutely and utterly irrelevant to 1699 the subject which we are discussing. The question of plural voting is a special problem, and completely isolable from all the other points of difficulty in connection with electoral reform. If there is any connection at all, which I deny, it is this—that if you have redistribution, and if you appoint a Boundaries Commission, then it is of the utmost importance that the Commissioners should know exactly where the electors are, and the only way in which you can give them that requisite foreknowledge is by carrying out the abolition of plural voting, not simultaneously with, but prior to, bringing in a scheme of redistribution. And if the answer of hon. Members opposite to that is that the Boundary Commissioners would proceed not on the basis of the electorate, but on the basis of population, then you have destroyed the very semblance of connection between the two ideas. These redistribution amendments have a history behind them which it is valuable to look at. They have become chronic with the party opposite. Originally they were based on a desire to get rid of excessive Irish representation here. With that part of the case we are going to deal in another and a better way, and to that extent the case of hon. Members opposite is weakened. As for what is left, the abstract demand for electoral equality, the Bill will actually promote the object of the Amendment. Most of these plural voters are to be found in large swollen constituencies, such as Tottenham, Hornsey, Stretford, and places of that kind, just those places which are most likely under a Bill of this kind to lose some of their surplusage of voters. Exact electoral equality is impossible of attainment, though very desirable. After all, if you are going to get it you must not only make some provisions for minorities in constituencies, as one Amendment proposes, but you must also do something to reduce the ability of Members of Parliament to the same level. It is quite absurd to suppose that some electors at all events would not prefer 1–15,000th share in the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition than 1–500th share in an hon. Gentleman who shall be nameless. But though you cannot get electoral equality I quite agree you should go as near as possible. I am a strong advocate of the speedy redistribution of constituencies. So strongly do I feel, that I regret very much that this Amendment, which prejudices the whole 1700 case, should have been introduced. I would even be willing to insert a Preamble in my Bill providing for it. I am afraid that hon. Members have shown a very unjustifiable scepticism with regard to the value of a Preamble.
I now come to the objection that our motive in introducing this Bill is to gain a party advantage. That is not the motive, whatever may be the result. In my case I suppose I am in the unique position of being a Member on this side who enjoys a majority of the plural votes recorded in his constituency, though that majority is insignificant compared with my own majority. At any rate, I come before the House with clean hands in this respect. The retort is, however, familiar and obvious. If we are passing this measure for party advantage you equally are opposing it for the same reason. There is no presumption at all that the present state of the electoral law is just. The presumption is rather the reverse. We are proposing to remedy an injustice. We may possibly derive some party advantage in doing so. You refuse to remedy an injustice, and you may possibly derive some party advantage from adopting that course, but the balance of political morality will remain entirely on our side. I am not sure that the case is not even worse than that, because human nature is not always strong against temptation, and some hon. Members opposite will be opposing this Bill this afternoon in the effort to save themselves. How many hon. Members opposite are there whose majority is less than the plural votes which they received? How many Members on this side of the House sit here in virtue of plural votes? Not one. So I hope that no more will be heard about this question of party advantage from you who have received your seats from those votes. There is no need for the spirit of partisanship in order to find arguments against plural voting. The whole system of plural voting which this Bill seeks to destroy is not only indefensible, but is incapable of being stated in rational terms. There are rational systems in Belgium and some other places, but this is not one of them. It is difficult, try as we may, to discover any intelligible principle underlying the present system. The only definable basis is that in some vague way this is a privilege attaching to wealth, but even that will not stand close investigation. It is not based on the amount of taxation which a man pays, for although that might 1701 appear reasonable at the first glance, I do not think it would be, because it leaves out of account the large amount of indirect taxation paid by the working man. It is not based upon a man's total possessions, because a man holding simply stocks and shares does not get a vote for them. It is not based upon landed property, because a man may own two whole counties and only get one vote, although if he possessed twenty different tenancies in different places he might have twenty votes. It depends entirely upon the number of places in which a man happens to have a particular class of property. Plural voters are not mostly territorial magnates, but men whose conditions of business and casual investments have led to the splitting up of their property. It is idle to contend that there is any accurate plural representation of property in the present system, but the property basis, whether accurate or inaccurate, is altogether indefensible. I was interested to find that the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) committed himself twice to the statement that—If a man has two houses it must be taken as evidence that he has more ability and has got on in the world.The hon. Baronet put that forward as a good claim for a man possessing two or more votes, but we object to this kind of multiplication table being applied to possessions. The only parallel which I can recall is in the play "Arms and the Man," where the hero, who happens to be a Swiss hotel keeper, recites with great effect a list of the thousands of knives and forks and table napkins which he possesses. In reply to the argument of the hon. Baronet we say, "You shall not count knives and forks and spoons, or even houses, but men, and men only." Whenever this question has been considered afresh Parliament has been ashamed to introduce plural voting, and it has never been allowed to find a place in local government. Even the party opposite did not introduce it in their great Act of 1888. It has not been adopted in any single one of our self-governing Colonies, and when right hon. Members on the Front Opposition Bench promoted their Constitution for the Transvaal in 1905 they did not dare to find a place for plural voting in it. If the principle had any vitality one would have thought that it would have found a place in that Constitution. We have left the whole of that behind now. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Walton 1702 Division of Liverpool (Mr. F. E. Smith), who appears to have a very keen instinct for weak spots in a party programme, expressed the opinion that in modern conditionsthe cause of plural voting, examined simpliciter and solely with reference to its own merits, appears to be a lost one.I hope right hon. Gentlemen opposite will consider this question solely on its merits, but I am very much afraid that they intend to use their powers of argument and persuasion to prove that it is intimately connected with the one thing with which it has no connection at all. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Walton Division is quite right. The world has moved away from that conception altogether. The possession of money and land are no longer titles to political power. Political education is no longer the privilege of a small class. The active brain and strong arm constitute a form of capital which is far more important than the possession of scattered fields. There is now an opportunity of redressing these grave inequalities. It would be no answer at all for hon. Members opposite to say that there are graver inequalities still unredressed which this Bill leaves untouched. There is now the chance not only of remedying an injustice, but of abolishing an anomaly which falsifies all our electoral results and which impedes the working of our representative system. I am well aware that the plural voter has a considerable power of resistance. He is not only a backwoodsman, but also a "Die-hard," and he has friends of the same temperament in another place; but conditions have now changed and are changing, and the House of Commons has an opportunity this afternoon, which I hope it will accept, of taking the first step towards his painless extinction.
§ Mr. ARTHUR HENDERSON
In rising to second this Bill, may I congratulate the Mover on his good fortune in the ballot, and also upon the excellent judgment he has shown in the choice of a question which has enabled it to be introduced so early in the Session. I should also like to congratulate the hon. Member upon the fact that he has introduced this Bill without a Preamble. I confess that I do not like Preambles, and I am disposed to think it is just possible that if it had contained a Preamble the hon. Member would have had to select another Seconder. I want, however, to make my position quite clear. I wish it to be understood that so 1703 far as we are concerned, if the Government eventually take over this measure on its passing through the Committee stage, we cannot accept that in any way as the discharge of a promise made by the Prime Minister to a deputation which I had the honour to introduce last Session on the question of electoral and franchise reform. I want that to be clearly understood, for if I thought that this Bill in any way was going to be accepted by the Government as a discharge of that pledge, I should be strongly disposed to take the opposite course to-day to that which I am taking. Not only do those sitting on the Labour Benches feel strongly with regard to over-representation of the few, but we feel equally strong with regard to the under-representation of the many. We feel that this Session ought to be used for a large extension of the franchise, not only to men, but to women also. Remembering as I do that the votes of the people of this country are governed directly and indirectly by some forty different Statutes, I must say that I am not too ready to add another to that number. That is the only objection I have to proceed by a Bill to deal with a single anomaly in our electoral and registration system as we are doing to-day. But though I would gladly welcome the speedy removal of the existing tangle of unjust anomalies and complicated franchise laws, at the same time, now we have the opportunity of voting on this important question, we ought to avail ourselves of it. It will be admitted—in fact, I think is now admitted on the other side—that our franchise laws are absurd and unfair, and that we have a system of registration that permits and encourages some of the most glaring and unjustifiable anomalies. We claim in this country to have democratic machinery of government. Well, in my opinion, we are very far from having anything like that complete control of our electoral machinery to which the people of this country are really entitled, but I submit plural voting is one of the most unsatisfactory features in connection with our present electoral system. I think it is altogether inconsistent with the principles of representative government. As the hon. Member who moved said, votes ought to be recorded more from their national than from their local value.
I would like very briefly to put before the House the effect, as we found it during 1704 the last General Election, of the operation of this system of plural voting. I have taken the trouble to go into the statistics a little, because I feel very strongly upon this subject, having for many years had to do the work of a registration agent in the Revision Courts. I always found that was one of the most unsatisfactory parts of the work we were called upon to face. I find on the register for 1911 there are 7,904,465 voters, divided into 631,783 owners, 6,804,718 occupiers, 365,391 lodgers, 55,903 freemen, etc., and 46,670 in connection with the universities. So far as plural voting is concerned, it is the constituencies in the counties that feel the question most seriously. The number of voters on the registers of our county Divisions total 3,751,039. Of these some 558,859 are ownership voters, or, approximately, 15 per cent. of the whole. How does this work out when these voters go to exercise the franchise in a certain number of constituencies? I will just take half a dozen Divisions in order to show the effect. In the Eddisbury Division of Cheshire there are 11,488 voters on the register, and there are 540 ownership voters resident outside the constituency. That is the important point to which I desire to call the attention of the House. Of these, 350 were known to have voted at the last Election, and the Conservative majority was 239. In the Bodmin Division I find there are 11,553 electors and 720 outside the constituency; 539 were known to have voted at the last Election, and the majority was 41. In the Dorset Northern Division there are 8,616 electors and 398 outside the constituency; 274 were known to have voted at the last Election, and the majority was 32. In Lancashire, Darwen Division, there are 17,732 electors and 746 outside the constituency; 671 of them voted at the last Election, and the seat was lost to the Government by a majority of 215. In the Leicester, Melton, Division there are 16,873 electors and 1,364 outside the constituency; 955 voted at the last Election, and the majority was 342. In the Norfolk Mid Division there are 9,984 electors and 488 outside the constituency; 261 voted at the last Election, and the majority was 57.
If we believe at all in the principle of representative government, I think we cannot justify such a condition of things as that which I have just named. I have already said it seems to me this is one of the worst anomalies of the many there are 1705 connected with our electoral and registration system. I should like to point out that if we were to adopt this measure and it became law, no citizen would be entirely disfranchised. That is a very important point. What we propose to do is to put into operation the principle of equality, to which the Opposition have paid some regard in the Amendment which is going to be proposed. They tell us they are not prepared to abolish plural voting until—and there is always this reservation—we redistribute the whole of the constituencies of the country and bring in another scheme and establish the principle of equality. All we propose to do, as between one side of the House and the other and as between man and man, is to put all on a principle of equality; and, so far as votes have to be given under the present law, one man shall have the same voting power as another. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] If hon. Members opposite take up the position, which I conclude from their ironical cheers they do, that is the fundamental difference between us. We say the principle of equality should begin with men, each man having only one vote. How does the present system operate? We find that one man may have his business house in one constituency and his residence in another, while a second man may have both his business premises and his residence in the same constituency, but whereas the first is entitled to two votes, the latter is only entitled to one. Again, a person may own a house in one constituency and rent a house in another. He is entitled to two votes, but a man who owns a house in a constituency and is his own tenant is only entitled to one vote. Let me give another illustration. Suppose a man has three places of business in a borough divided into three constituencies. He is not entitled to vote in all three; but if he goes out into the country, where his business may not be of the same importance to the locality—if he goes out and does what was done quite freely years ago, and secures a 40s. freehold in a colliery house he gets an extra, vote. I remember full well as a registration agent in one district where there were a large number of staid miners that for every colliery house there were two or three ownership voters. The annual value worked out at something like £6 10s., and three voters were put on with a clear 40s. charge for each. I did my best to get them off. I succeeded in a good many cases, and as I happen to represent the same constituency I have ever since reaped the advantage. But one of 1706 the most difficult tasks I had was to get them off because I had to face a firm of solicitors who threatened me with all possible pains and penalties. It is well known that the most difficult task an agent has to undertake is to prove an objection. He may have good ground for objecting to an ownership vote, but in the Registration Court he runs the risk of having to pay the costs—and they are not light—of bringing the owner from a distance. I am opposed to this system because of the protection it gives to the pluralist. Not only has he the superior advantage of being able to get on the register if he is merely in possession of a 40s. freehold, but there is another advantage. The occupier may have to go two years and five months before he is entitled to a vote. He may have lived in the locality all that time and when the Election comes on, have no vote. But what about the pluralist. Has he to wait two years and five months'? No. He comes into possession of his plural vote at the end of six months. That is the only qualifying period he has to fulfil, so long as he has a 40s. freehold. It seems to me there is nothing to be said in favour of maintaining this inequality in our electoral system.
I confess I am surprised at the attitude the Opposition are going to take up, as announced in their Amendment. They seem to object to dealing with this anomaly in our electoral system merely because it does not go far enough. They wish us to deal with the whole question of Redistribution. I see no connection between Redistribution and the establishment of the principle of equality, so far as voting power is concerned, by setting up one man one vote. I do not think that the Opposition are quite consistent in their attitude so far as this question is concerned. May I remind hon. Gentlemen, and more particularly the new Leader of the Opposition, of the position taken up by his predecessor with regard to the principle of one man one vote. At the General Election, when they were exceedingly anxious to get votes—as indeed we all are—when they evidently saw the flag of distress flying, they started to coquette with the principle of the Referendum. What did the fight hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Mr. Balfour), say on that principle. Wiring to the hon. Member for Plymouth, he said:—If the Referendum was put into operation by his party, each voter would have a right to give one vote and no more.1707 I am glad that we are moving on, and that at last the principle of equality, so far as the Elections of the country are concerned, is admitted. Provided of course that our Friends had an opportunity of putting into operation what is known as the Referendum principle, the late Leader of the Opposition was prepared to apply the principle of one man one vote. Then the noble Leader of the same party, in another place, speaking in support of Mr. Balfour's undertaking, said, at Cardiff:—Under this scheme one vote is as good as another.We on this side are not concerned with the operation of the principle of the Referendum. We do not believe in it, but we do welcome the assurance that if hon. Gentlemen ever get a chance of putting it into operation they will come to the line we are now advocating, and will agree that the vote of right hon. Gentlemen opposite, no matter what property they have, will only be equal to the vote of John Smith—the man in the street—given at the same time. Some right hon. Gentleman opposite have also proved their change of opinion with regard to this very important question, and I do not think I shall be out of place, knowing their loyalty to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, in referring to the position that right hon. Gentleman formerly occupied in reference to this question. He said:—I am in favour of the principle of one man one vote. I object altogether to the plural representation of property.I miss the cheers that would have been associated with a statement by the right hon. Gentleman supposing he had been making a speech, say, on Tariff Reform. The main argument that is used against what we are asking the House to do is that the interest which one man has at stake in the country is not equal to the interest which another man may have. We are distinctly told that the rich man has much more at stake than the poor man. I do not accept that theory. You cannot measure a man's interest in the country by the amount of the wealth he possesses or by the amount of property he may have been able to acquire. Many working men have not even the wealth to enable them to clear out of the country if the conditions are made deplorably bad for them. That cannot be said of wealthy men. More than once many of the wealthy have asserted that they would use their wealth, if the legislation was bad, in order that 1708 they might clear out. The workman cannot do that. He has got to stay where all his property is—namely, where his power to work lies, and I will venture to say that, having regard to the families that are dependent upon our working people, their interest in the country is as great as that of any rich man could really be. Some people have suggested that to adopt the proposal to have all the elections on one day would relieve us from this anomaly. I do not agree. I think that would be making the anomaly worse than it is to-day, for the simple reason that in constituencies like London and near London, in these days of express trains and motor care, if one man had ten or twenty or thirty votes in constituencies in the area round about the Metropolis, there is not a shadow of doubt that he would make use of all his opportunities to use every vote of which he was possessed. The suggestion that we should adopt the plan of having all the elections on one day as a cure for plural voting fails in my opinion, to meet the necessities of the case. I think we all know what occurred during the last two Elections, when the pluralist was never so active. In my judgment he was never so active as he was during the second of the Elections in 1910, and we heard of cases of votes being recorded by them from eight o'clock in the morning until eight o'clock in the evening. As fast as trains and motor cars could carry the pluralists they were running round to discharge what they thought were their obligations to their country by exercising every vote that they really possessed. It is satisfactory to us that with all their efforts they did not succeed. Therefore we say, having regard to all these anomalies and inequalities, that it is about time we should have the principle of equality put into operation. This Bill does it. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO, no."] This Bill does do it. No man who is entitled to his vote to-day will be without a vote, and after all that is bringing all the men who have one vote and all the men who have more than one vote upon a line of equality.
I look upon this Bill as a very much better Bill than the Government Bill of 1906. I gave a good deal of support and paid a good deal of attention to the Bill of 1906. I did not disguise the fact from my own mind, and I made it clear when I gave that support, that I thought the Government had adopted the most clumsy and most unsatisfactory way of dealing with pluralists in the Bill of 1906. I like 1709 the principle of this Bill, because the basis upon which it gives men votes is their place of abode. Primarily a voter has to be registered for his place of abode, and a man must give some justification to the authorities if he desires his vote to be registered for any other place than his place of abode. That is the principle of the first Clause of the Bill, and it is that first Clause which commends itself to me. Some of the machinery of the other parts of the Bill I would have to deal with in Committee, but because the Bill deals in a straightforward way with a glaring anomaly I have the greatest pleasure in seconding it.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I rise at this early stage for a particular purpose, which I hope the House will see is of some importance and will excuse the rather unusual course I am taking. I must say a few words before I sit down with regard to the speeches of the two Gentlemen who have moved and seconded the Bill. I do not desire to follow in detail the description of the results of our present system to which the hon. Member who has just spoken has given expression. I confess I listened with a certain amount of satisfaction to complaints from Liberal Benches of the creation of the 40s. freeholders. That was a patent invention of the Liberal party, of which I think Mr. Cobden was the originator. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."] At any rate, Mr. Cobden was the special prophet and preacher of it. It is the device which he employed and which the Anti-Corn Law League strongly urged upon all their supporters in order to press that change of policy upon the country.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
Mr. Cobden and the Anti-Corn Law League, finding this qualification in existence, made it a special part of their propaganda to induce all their friends to create 40s. freeholders wherever they could, and, having descended from a Liberal family, I myself own at least one 40s. freehold vote created for the purpose, I suppose, of perverting the Conservative feeling of the residents of the constituency. It amuses me, when this creation of the Liberal party is turned against themselves, to hear them denouncing it with so much fervour.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I do not want to dwell upon what is a small point, but I admire the frankness of the hon. and learned Member, who thinks it was perfectly right for the Liberal party to create these votes as long as it suited their purpose and perfectly natural for them to denounce them when they were turned against them. My object in rising early is because I think it is necessary for the House to be put in possession of the intentions of the Government at the earliest possible moment. The hon. Member who spoke last inquired, and I desire also to inquire, whether the Government intend at subsequent stages to make it their own. The hon. Member appealed to the Government for himself and his Friends, but he said he would not consider such action on the part of the Government as a relief from the Prime Minister's pledge to bring in a much wider measure of franchise reform. At any rate, before we proceed further in the discussion of this Bill, I think we ought to know what the attitude of the Government is towards it.
It is an altogether unusual thing for a Friday Sitting to be occupied in the discussion of a measure which is in this position. We devote Fridays habitually to measures which are not fathered by the Government and are promoted by independent Members of Parliament, and these measures run a special course thereafter of their own, full of special perils and dangers well known to all who are interested in legislation by private Members, and, consequently, in view of those special perils and dangers to which such Bills are exposed, it has been customary to give them special facilities in the short Friday afternoon Sittings; but this Bill is upon an altogether different basis. It is, in fact, part of the programme of His Majesty's Government. A Bill with a similar purpose, though not indeed in exactly the same terms, has already been before Parliament, having been introduced by them, and what is happening this afternoon is that part of the programme of the Government which has been hitherto in their charge and fathered and guided by them is being undertaken and promoted by private Members. I think that gives us a right to ask the Government, and I want a quite explicit answer, whether they are going to treat this Bill as an ordinary private Member's Bill, to which no privileges will be given by the Government, or whether they are going to treat it with 1711 special favour as a measure which, is indeed part of their programme, and for which they have at previous times made themselves responsible. In that case we ought to have that information, because it is of the highest importance to the conduct and the character of the Debate which we are now beginning.
As regards the special provisions of the Bill, assuming that you wish to carry out the purpose for which the Bill is framed, is that a reason why you should impose special inabilities and difficulties in the way of getting a vote on the man who has more than one qualification? The claim of the mover is that every man who has a qualification should have one vote. The hon. Member (Mr. Arthur Henderson) said, truly, that the interest of an individual in the country cannot be measured by the amount of property that he holds. I entirely agree. He added an interesting observation, in view of other Debates that we have had, that in some respects he thought the stake of the workman who had no capital but his labour was greater than that of the wealthy man, because if disaster overtook the country the rich man could remove himself, and, at any rate, a portion of his wealth to other places, while the workman must remain in the only place where he could employ his labour, an observation which has, at any rate, much to commend it, but which has a very interesting bearing upon the rejoicings so loudly expressed on the benches opposite on every occasion oh which the export of capital which employs that labour is mentioned in the House. I take the definition of their object from the hon. Gentleman who has spoken. It is that each man who has a qualification should have one vote, and no man should have more than one. Again I say that object is no reason for placing special difficulties in the way of a man who has more than one qualification from exercising even one vote, yet Clause 1, Subsection (2), and Sub-section (2) of Clause 4 direct that a man who has two residential qualifications must every year remember to see that his name is not on the first register in both constituencies, or, merely because he is twice qualified, he will find himself without a vote at all. I do not think that is the way to proceed if you want to give one man one vote.
But what is, after all, a bigger question is: Is this anomaly, if it be an anomaly, one which ought to have a remedy, and if it ought to be remedied is this the way to 1712 treat it? I desire to speak only for myself, but I have never been much interested in the votes of people cast in a particular constituency with which, they have no kind of connection except the ownership of some property there, in the ordinary life of which they take no part, and to which they contribute nothing. But there is another class of plural voter for whom infinitely more is to be said. That is, the case of people who reside outside the borough or city and carry on their day's work within it. They have a real living interest in both places, they are intimately associated with the life of both places, in many cases they take a part in the public work of both places, and, speaking for myself again, I have always felt that there was a real claim, in an active interest in the life of the two places, to have representation in both. But even if that be not granted, even if hon. Members hold, as the Mover and Seconder do, that no man under any circumstances ought to have more than one vote, why do you pick out that one particular anomaly from so many in our electoral system and press it forward by itself without attempting to deal with any others? The hon. Member (Mr. Harold Baker) made a speech to which we all listened with pleasure, but which was marred by one slight defect. He was too obviously conscious of his own virtue, and too profoundly impressed with the moral obliquity of his opponents. That anybody could suppose that he had picked out this anomaly because it was one which he and his Friends believed to be specially injurious to their party filled him with horror, and at the same time he could not conceal from himself, or refrain from telling the House, that the only reason why we opposed the change was because we stood to lose by it. That is not the only reason. In my opinion, the effect on the fortunes of the respective parties in the House of the carriage of this Bill exactly as it stands would be infinitely less than most election agents on both sides believe. But, be that as it may, that is not the only reason. We oppose the singling out of this particular anomaly because there is no reason for treating it by itself, except the belief of the party who so seek to treat it that they can obtain an advantage for themselves by so doing, and there is every reason why, on their own principle, you should not deal with it by itself, but should couple it with other matters.
Both hon. Members professed total inability to find any real connection between the Amendment which is to be moved and 1713 the subject matter of the Bill. I should have thought there was every connection. What is the argument of those who support the Bill? It is that a man's right to vote ought to depend upon his citizenship and his possession of some qualifications. I know that there are different, opinions as to what the qualifications should be, but it ought to depend upon the citizenship and his possession of a particular qualification, and no man ought to exercise, by reason of his having duplicate qualifications or duplicate qualifications in different constituencies, more political influence than his neighbour. That is the principle on which they found their Bill, and that is the principle on which we claim that, at the same time that you equalise the voting power of the individual, you should equalise the value of the vote that he gives. What is the good of loudly professing that the principle by which you stand is that every man shall have one vote and no more when you allow voters in one part of the country to carry five time the weight by their vote that voters in another part of the country have? Why, for instance, if I may take an illustration which naturally appeals to me, should 25,000 electors in East Worcestershire have their votes cancelled by fewer than 6,000 electors in Carnarvon boroughs? On every principle oil which you claim that one man should have one vote and no more we have a right to claim that that vote shall carry one value throughout the country, and it is especially important that that principle should be recognised as between different divisions in the United Kingdom at a moment when the relations of those divisions among themselves are the subject, of Parliamentary discussion and Parliamentary legislation. The hon. Member for Barnard Castle (Mr. A. Henderson) said that opinion had moved so far on this subject that it was impossible for anybody on this side of the House to oppose the Bill in principle when my right hon. Friend the senior Member for the City of London (Mr. A. J. Balfour) had given away the case in a certain letter he wrote in regard to the Referendum. What was that letter? It contained the statement, as the hon. Member said, that if he proposed a Referendum, it would be a Referendum in which each elector would have only one vote. Yes, Sir, but in the Referendum not only would one man have one vote, but each vote would have one value. If the hon. Gentleman will go a little further to the record of my right hon. Friend the 1714 Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain) he will find that he, whilst declaring himself against plural voting, declared himself in favour of equal values of the votes. [An HON. MEMBER: "So are we all."] And so are we all. The hon. Member who moved the Second Reading said, in a flash of delightful humour, that in order to show their sincerity they will put a Preamble in the Bill, in which they will express their pious sentiments. We have no patience on this side with Preambles. Legislation by Preamble finds no favour with my Friends on this side. We have no faith in the intention of the party opposte ever to act on the Preamble, and we decline to sign their cheques in the vain anticipation that at some future time they may be prepared to take up the subject of the Preamble and legislate upon it.
We all know why this Bill is being pressed forward with such haste. It has not been an uncommon experience of a Government when they have been in power for a certain amount of time that they find the electorate get tired of them. The jury before whom they have to take their case gives verdicts against them in various parts of the country, and they set to work to challenge the jury. Really the party opposite treat the electorate of this country very much as the Chinese are reported to have treated their gods. No adulation is too gross for them as long as they support hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, but the moment the electors turn against them no abuse is too strong. I never knew a party which had so many bad losers. You can hardly open your paper the day after they have lost an election without finding that the defeated candidate, or his supporters, explain that the result was due to the bribery, corruption, drunkenness, or ignorance of the electors—these same electors who, a few weeks before, were the representatives of the great heart of the people, and of the best traditions of British citizenship, and who were the only true exponents of political wisdom. It is the old story. As soon as the Liberal party gets into difficulties it wishes to alter the electorate to which it is afraid any longer to appeal. It seeks to weigh it in its favour, so that being no longer able to obtain a favourable decision from the electors who placed it in power it may have some other electorate to which it may appeal with some better hope of success. For these reasons, when the time comes, I am going to support the Amendment of my hon. Friend. I trust 1715 we shall have, for the sake of consistency, the support of at least one right hon. Gentleman opposite, the Member for North Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell), who, I think, met a previous Liberal Bill of a similar character with exactly the same Amendment under circumstances of a Parliamentary programme not dissimilar to that when we have before us this year. But before we proceed to that Amendment, I think we ought to know the intentions of the Government, and I wish to press the right hon. Gentleman opposite for an answer to the question with which I began my speech.
§ Sir RYLAND ADKINS
I do not think the House is very much interested in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, except in so far as it relates to the curious fallacy of reasoning with which he began his remarks. He must have known, in the time of his old Liberal surroundings, and probably he will remember to-day, the great historical remark which was made by a Tory nobleman who, at the time of the first Reform Bill, told the inhabitants of Manchester and Birmingham that if they wanted votes they could go out and buy 40s. freeholds in Warwicksire and Cheshire. It is perfectly clear that this advice has been acted upon more extensively by those with whom the right hon. Gentleman is now associated than by those with whom he associated formerly. Those were the days before the ballot, and chiefly before the extension of the franchise. Whatever may be the explanation, credit is due to that party which repents first, and not to the party that declines to repent. The benefit it gets from the practice is now perfectly well known. That was the agreeable opening of the right hon. Gentleman's speech. That part of his speech in which he came nearest to the subject was that in which he contended that there is no justification for asking the House to sanction this reform unless it goes on to deal with the admittedly desirable reform of one vote one value. What the right hon. Gentleman did not point out, and what we wish to know, is whether he is able to point out that the passing of this reform would in the slightest degree prejudice or embarrass the passing of that further reform. In fact, there is only one legitimate argument, I respectfully submit, which can be brought against this reform from the point of view of those who lay the greatest stress on one vote one value. If the passing of this reform removed some 1716 grievance, under which some parties in the House suffer, and left untouched a corresponding grievance under which other parties suffer, then there would be strength in the argument for not dealing with the one without the other. But that is not the fact of the case. The supporters of the Government, to whichever party of the coalition they belong, have no reason whatever to be opposed to redistribution or the establishment of the principle of one vote one value. As far as regards England, Scotland, and Wales, the supporters of the Government stand to gain rather than lose by that. The right hon. Gentleman dissents. I should like to know whether it is from the immorality of the argument or the accuracy of the statement. I do not quite know if he dissents in regard to the immorality of the argument—
§ Sir RYLAND ADKINS
The conclusion is based on the fact that at the present time in England and Wales a majority of constituencies with 5,000 are represented by followers of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, and the abolition of these would not be of any special value to the Opposition. On the other hand, if you take constituencies of 20,000, which are the constituencies which ought to have more representatives than they have now, three-fifths of these return supporters of the present Government and only two-fifths of them return supporters of the Opposition. Therefore, if we are to test these things by their effects upon parties in this House, it is only fair to remember that it is the supporters of the Government who, as far as any test can be reasonably applied, would benefit by one vote one value, entirely apart from the question of one man one vote. The only possible exception is in the case of Ireland, and it hardly lies in the mouths of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite to bear too closely upon the case of Ireland for, I will not say the one interest of their being, but the one thing upon which they lay the greatest stress for the last twenty years in English politics, and to which they owe a considerable amount of political success and power has been the stress they lay upon the Act of Union and upon its inviolability and the impossibility of altering the Act of Union. But the Act of Union would have to be turned inside out if you reduced Irish representation in the same way as representation would be affected by redistribution 1717 in other parts of the United Kingdom. Therefore those of us on this side have not the slightest objection to deal with the question of one vote one value whenever it comes up.
It is for these reasons that I wish first to call the attention of the House to the fact that no one, and certainly not the right hon. Gentleman opposite attempted to argue that one man one vote is not in itself a proper reform and a proper step forward. In the next place no argument has been suggested that if that step were taken it would make the further reform of one vote one value more difficult to affect. On the other hand it would make it easier for the reason which my hon. Friend has given, because if you once ascertain how many people there are to exercise the vote, it is far more easy to redistribute constituencies and to carry out the equity of political and voting value. Accordingly, when a Bill is brought into the House to effect reform agreed upon in all parts of the House in principle—
§ Sir RYLAND ADKINS
I beg the hon. Baronet's pardon. He was not in his place when I made my first remark. I can conceive no reform that the greater part of the House would consider valuable that would have the support of the hon. Baronet, but with that exception Members in all parts of the House have over and over again expressed their approval of the principle of one man one vote. If that reform be no hindrance to any further reform, but would facilitate it, are we to delay the carrying out of this until another kind of reform, much more difficult to be carried out, is carried out at the same time. I have yet to learn that a man suffering from blindness and lameness if proposed to be cured of his blindness should postpone the cure until he could walk unaided to a distant hospital. There is no reason why one should not be done now, especially as it would make it easier to have the other done in the future. Does the right hon. Gentleman opposite think he is carrying the House with him when he suggests that the only reason for this Bill is because of some passing phase which depresses the supporters of the Government when one or two by-elections are lost. This reform was pressed upon the House in every variety of politial circumstances. It was pressed upon the House when hon. Gentlemen opposite were in power; it was 1718 pressed upon the House when the party now in power had the largest majority of modern times; it was pressed upon the House at every stage of the political atmosphere, and therefore it surely comes with the weight which attaches to a proposal which in all fortunes has been put forward now for many years by those who sit upon these benches, and who press it upon the attention of the House now, because in doing so, they believe that they are taking a long and a right step forward to make this House a more accurate representation of the deliberate wishes of the people of this country.
§ Sir ALFRED CRIPPS
I desire, in opposition to what was said by the hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down, to say I am opposed to the whole principle involved in this Bill. The hon. Gentleman who moved the Second Reading of this Bill is not consistent. He spoke as if he was speaking of the abolition of plural voting. How is that consistent with the question in regard to the universities? I may say at once I am one of those who do not wish the disappearance of the university vote. I think it is one of the most valuable in this country, and I hope to persuade the House, according to my view, that it is inconsistent with any proper consideration of our representative system to press forward a Bill such as this one based upon the proposition that, as a matter of principle, plural voting cannot be sustained. I am going to suggest to the House an entirely different view. When we are going to deal with the question of distribution and franchise, and to deal with that wide principle, one of the principles should be additional votes, or superimposed votes, beyond those we have at the present time. It has been pointed out again and again by democratic writers that the proposition one man one vote does not carry the proposition that one man is only to have one vote. In other words, the principle involves the idea of equality, and I will show that in a moment it is argued for by the hon. Member opposite. I want to lay that down as a proposition now. I go further than that, and I take a very Radical democratic writer, I mean the late John Stuart Mill. No one advocated more strongly than he did the necessity for the principle of plural voting. He was one of those who did not like plural voting as applied to property. That was a different consideration, he said, but he said so important do I consider the principle of plural voting when 1719 dealing with real questions of equality in connection with democratic government, that I desire even to preserve the property plural vote, because I will take no part in abolishing any plural vote, because it may interfere with the principle that belongs to franchise upon a democratic basis. Let me say one or two words more as regards the admirable distinction made by the hon. Member who moved the Bill in this House to-day. His speech was only very slightly directed to the principle of the Bill. He did suggest that those who opposed it would make suggestions and motives as against their opponents. I am not going to do that. I think the franchise and representations are matters that ought to be dealt with not by party recrimination, but are matters of such importance that they ought to be discussed on both sides in order to arrive at a true solution in a democratic spirit. But when he explained, all he told us was that the franchise at the present time was very complicated, and the hon. Member who seconded said he agreed with that from his knowledge of registration. I quite admit that. I am one of those who would like to see the franchise simplified and registration simplified. If you take the Bill, however, the effect of it is not simplification at all; its only effect would be to create further complications. I am not going into the machinery of the measure; that can more properly be discussed in Committee. But when we come to the principle laid down, we say that to penalise a man because he happens to have a plural vote appears to be a most monstrous proposition, and ought never to have been brought forward at all. I say that whether a man is the poorest man in the country, whether he be the idlest man, or the man who carries on most business, he ought to have the same facilities, the same opportunities, and the same simplification as regards recording his vote on the register or bringing it into operation when the election comes along. What this Bill really does—and this is why I object to it, not only the lines of the Amendment which I believe is going to be proposed, but on principle altogether—is that it embodies the worst form of political disfranchisement, and that is the form of specialised disfranchisement. The hon. Member who moved the Second Reading of the Bill only referred, very shortly and very inadequately, to what is the basis of our representative system. We 1720 come here, of course, as national representatives. No one denies that; but we also come here as the representatives of constituencies, and we have to see what are the conditions in which the election takes place in each particular constituency. I lay down this principle: As long as you have an existing franchise law which operates quite independently of whether a man is rich or is poor, but which gives a man certain electoral rights in certain constituencies to vote, if he complies with the qualifications, then no man ought to be specially disentitled who complies with those qualifications in force at the particular time.
That is a right, not only as regards the invividual voter, but it is of the utmost importance as regards the constituencies represented. I am going to approach the matter from the point of view that this Bill, in my judgment, is not only out of accord with the principle of equity and justice, but it is directly opposed to it. I will take the case of a particular constituency. I will take the franchise upon the property basis, the franchise on the business basis, and the franchise on the residential basis. Of course, in any particular county constituency you will find people entitled to vote in that constituency under each of those heads. On the register at the present, time you will find people entitled to vote on the property qualification; some are on the occupiers' portion of the list, and some on the residential. What I want to put is this: As long as any man, whether rich or poor, complies with the usual qualification applicable to that particular constituency, why should he not be entitled to vote and to exercise the legal right which the law confers upon him? It does not matter if he has got qualifications elsewhere; for the purpose of my present argument, the question is whether he has got a proper and legal qualification according to the general law in the constituency where he is going to vote. If once you make a differentiation it may be carried to most disastrous lengths. The principle which is followed, and that you ought to follow, is that so long as any man shows that he is qualified by law to exercise his vote in a particular locality, then he is entitled to vote in that locality, and the locality is entirely benefited. Supposing you have a locality which, we will say, is represented through the vote of 10,000 electors. Some of these are on the pro- 1721 perty list; some on the occupation list; and some on the residential list.
What right have you to say to that locality: "You are not to have the advantage of being represented, although the vote of every man in that district is on a proper legal qualification." Yet that is what this Bill does. This Bill says that although a man may be legally entitled according to our franchise law, you may step in and disqualify him because he happens to have qualifications which go into more than one district. Directly you come down to the constituency, why do you put him under that disability? When you are dealing with the principle of representation of every constituency, why should not every qualified elector be entitled to vote in order that he may have proper representation. I want to make a little clearer what was said about the business man. Let us take the position of the business man carrying on a very important business in one constituency and residing in another. The City of London is a very important illustration of what I mean. First of all, I will take the constituency where he is carrying on his business, and where I presume he is a man of large influence. Why is he not to give his vote there? Take the illustration so often brought forward in this House. You may have a contest going on even between Free Trade and Tariff Reform. Are you going to disentitle a business man, disfranchise a business man, who, according to the franchise law as it now stands, is entitled to give his vote, and who ought to have due weight in that business constituency? How can that be justified? I am not talking for the moment of a change in our franchise law. That is a different thing. You might have a change in the franchise law coming into operation, but under the franchise law as it exists the man who is qualified according to the principles of that franchise law is entitled to vote in the constituency where he is qualified. Assume that he is residing in a neighbouring county, where he takes a very large part in the local affairs. He has got a very large business in one constituency, and he may be chairman of the county council in the constituency of which I have given an example.
Are you going to deprive that man of his proper title to vote in both those constituencies? Is not a business man under the occupation vote entitled to vote, and is his vote not entitled to have great 1722 weight? Under the residential qualification, where he takes part in local government and local duties, ought he not also to have his vote, when he is qualified according to the franchise law? What I want to put to the House is that as long as you have a law of general application—and that is our franchise law at the present time—do not seek to introduce specialised exceptions for disfranchising particular men under particular conditions. If you once begin that—I am not going into questions of motive—you might have a seesaw backwards and forwards, either side seeking to take advantage by specialised disfranchisement of this kind. That is really out of accord with the whole principle of equality. Equality in the theoretical sense means nothing but equality of usage. In matters of this kind it means equality of treatment and equality of opportunity. What do I mean by that? I mean that every man has an equal right to the same vote and facilities to exercise it when qualified according to the franchise law, without any special objection or special disability of that kind. Until you change your franchise law, no principle of justice—and I join issue upon the real Preamble on this point—can be quoted to show that you ought to deprive men who are entitled to legal rights in the sense of putting them under the special disability of disfranchisement under the terms of this Bill. I do not think it matters whether you introduce the special disfranchisement by not putting a man on the register or by depriving him of the right to vote after he is put on the register. That man in respect of his qualification in the constituency is entitled to be on the register, and it does not either affect that right or that constituency because he may have corresponding rights and qualifications in some other constituency. If yon once admit what the hon. Member who moved acknowledged, that our whole representative idea comes from the locality, or, as I should put it, from the constituency, it is quite obvious that the proposal contained in this Bill is inconsistent with either equal justice or equal treatment. I challenge anyone, because we have been challenged for arguments from the other side, who takes the local or constituency view to tell us any reason why a man with the ordinary franchise should be disentitled as is proposed under the provisions of this Bill.
1723 There are two matters I desire to mention. I am not going to refer to the question of Redistribution, because I believe an Amendment is going to be moved on that basis; although I want to make it quite clear that I am not one of those who on an occasion of this kind would vote for what is a dilatory Amendment. That is not my view. I am against the whole principle, and I am desirous of expressing my opinion against the whole principle. At any rate, that is a straightforward attitude to take. In order to make my opinion clear, I put down an Amendment which did go to the whole basis of the Bill, but other Members had priority for their Amendment. There is another matter which, I think, we cannot lose sight of. What do we really mean by a representative system? Do we really mean the representation of majorities and minorities, or do we mean the representation of majorities only? That is a matter which you cannot put out of sight when you are considering a Bill such as the present one. If, of course, you are considering the mere representation of majorities and nothing else, you may proceed in some such rough way as is proposed. If you take the view that, in order to have a truly democratic system you must have equality in the sense that everyone is to be represented in an equal degree, then you can only have that by some of the systems known as proportionate representation. One of the great arguments for plural voting was that it was in a certain sense a protection against the majority. I do not take that view at all. I think it is extremely important that you should have true equality in the sense of the minority having its proportionate representation in the same sense as a majority. I will give two illustrations of what I mean. We have been told lately about the opinion of the Welsh people on a certain matter to which I do not want to refer. In 1905 there were 52,000 electors in Wales who had no representation at all. Under those circumstances it is absurd to get up and suggest that a Bill such as this goes any way in the direction of giving a fair system of representation. Nay, it emphasises what is the defect of our existing system. It emphasises the mere majority of numbers, which can never give, according to every authority, a proper system of representation at all.
One other illustration, and I take it the other way as it told in favour of the Unionist party. In the election of 1895 there was a certain number of contested 1724 elections, and in those elections the Liberals had the larger number of votes. At the same time, in those contested elections in this House the Unionists had a majority of over seventy. I do not want to tie myself down to the exact figures, but I believe they were 279 to 202. Can anyone say under circumstances of that kind that you get the true principles of representation in this country, and can anyone say that on a matter of franchise of this importance that it ought to be dealt with in a practical manner through a private Member's Bill. It is of the essence of a true solution of matters of this kind not only that it should be a Bill coming from the Government, but, if possible, the two Front Benches and the two parties in the House should be, as far as possible, agreed about it, because we do not want, and no one wants, this question of franchise and redistribution constantly brought up. We want to put the system on the fairest possible basis, and, whatever may be our political differences, to try to work it in the most satisfactory manner for our country and Empire. I am not, so far as my speech in the House is concerned, going to say one word of party. Whether this reform, or so-called reform, and I believe it is a mistake, tells one way or the other, is not what is influencing me in this matter, and I give exactly the same credit to the hon. Member who moved. I am not prepared to accept in any form what is the real principle of this Bill, namely, that plural voting is per se inconsistent with a proper representative system. I believe that in many directions plural voting increases the advantages of a true representative system, and I have given an illustration in the case of the business man who resides in a neighbouring county. I also say this, that so long as you have a franchise, and so long as every man who has got a qualification is entitled to the franchise, that it is an unfair method of legislation to seek by a special Bill of this kind to take away the franchise which the man has under the general principle applicable to the country as a whole. It is on those grounds, and, perhaps, taking a different view from some of my hon. Friends on this side, that I wish to express my views in a perfectly straightforward manner, and that, so far as I am concerned, I am opposed to this Bill and the whole principle of it. Although, of course, I will support the Amendment, yet I take a much stronger view against the Bill than is expressed in the terms of that Amendment.
§ Mr. ROWLANDS
I think we all admire the frankness with which the hon. and learned Gentleman who has just spoken has approached this question. I could not help thinking, as he went on with his speech, that he was addressing us with counsels of perfection when he foreshadowed the time when we are to see both parties agreeing to a measure which will be so perfect that it will go far and away beyond anything this Bill could possibly do in removing its qualifications. I am rather afraid that we should have to wait some considerable period before we get to that state, although we all would like to get to it if we could. The hon. and learned Member said that to some extent plural voting had helped to deal with the difficult question of the representation of minorities. I cannot follow him in that. Had he not rather in his mind the cumulative vote, which used to exist in connection with the school board elections, and gave a certain power to the minority to securing representation? Or, again, there is what existed in some of the large constituencies after 1868—the City of London, Birmingham, Glasgow, and others—where you said to the elector, "You are qualified to vote, and the City is entitled to return four Members, but you may vote for only three of them." That gave something in the way of minority representation. The remainder of that portion of the hon. and learned Gentleman's speech dealt, I think, rather with the question of proportional representation. I will not follow him into that matter, although the majority of us would like to see some system which would give fair representation to minorities. Under our existing system of almost universal single-Member constituencies it is supposed that while one party may get the advantage in one portion of the country, the other party makes it up in another section. The hon. and learned Gentleman spoke very strongly about taking away qualifications from persons, as he said this Bill would do. He went into the case referred to also by the right hon. Member for East Worcestershire (Mr. Austen Chamberlain), which, if you are to have plural voting, is perhaps the most justifiable case you can have, namely, that of a man carrying on a large business within the borders of, say, the City of London, and living in either Kent, Surrey, or Middlesex just outside. The hon. and learned Member seemed to think that it would be a great anomaly to ask that man to select in which place he would vote. But there is an enormous inconsistency in con- 1726 nection with that qualification at the present time. If it is right that such a manufacturer or merchant should have a vote for the place in which he carries on his business, why is it necessary that his residence should be within seven miles?
§ Mr. ROWLANDS
I beg the hon. Member's pardon; I was thinking of the livery vote. I will take a case outside the City of London, say Finsbury, or Birmingham, or any other large constituency. You already have these inconsistencies in regard to qualifications so that the whole argument falls, so far as its abstract reasoning is concerned, unless you are prepared to go further and say that the individual shall not be debarred by the present mileage disqualification from voting in regard to the interest he has in the locality. Apart from that, there are a number of other inconsistencies. The hon. and learned Member holds the view that the plural voter has a useful place in the community. He not only believes in the plural voter, though not necessarily on the exact qualification that exists to-day, but he would add other superimposed votes for certain sections of the community. He said he would give an idea of what those superimposed votes should be, but he unfortunately forgot to do so. I presume he meant on the lines foreshadowed by John Stuart Mill, or something like what exists in Belgium at the present time.
§ Mr. ROWLANDS
University degrees and things of that description. I do not think I can follow the hon. and learned Member in that, although from an ideal point of view, if you are to have plural votes, it would be much more useful to have something like an intellectual basis instead of the inconsistent basis existing at present, which represents neither intellect nor property, if property as such is to be represented. You have an anomalous system which is about as illogical as anything you can possibly conceive. In almost every case, plural votes, although inconsistent at the present time, were consistent enough at the time of their origin, when you had not a system of popular franchise. The old 40s. freeholder was a resident in the days gone by. He was not a faggot voter as he is in many cases today. The system was the equivalent in those days to the household suffrage that 1727 grew up after. Again, the livery franchise in the City of London is an anomaly to-day, because a great number of persons who enjoy it have no knowledge whatever of the craft of the guild. But if you go back to the time of one of the Edwards, when it was granted, it was a popular franchise; it was given to the artisans, merchants, and bankers, who were members of their respective guilds, and lived over their premises. So that while it is an anomaly to-day it was a very interesting popular franchise in those times. When you find that these things have become obsolete by developments in other directions, it seems to me that the right thing to do is to clear away the anomalies as far as possible. "But," say our friends on the other side, "you are not clearing away the whole of the anomalies." Did we ever do that in this country? Many of us would like to do it at one fell swoop. Many Members on both sides would like to clear away the many anomalies in our registration laws. I do not want the seventeen systems of qualification that are now in being. I would like to have one simple qualification based on the human being, and not any property qualification whatever, either as a lodger, a 40s. freeholder, a liveryman, or anything else. My idea is that the dignity of the suffrage should be given to the individual as an individual, and that is the ideal which sooner or later we have to arrive at in this country.
A man should be entitled to the vote because he is a man, and not because of some qualification that he may have in some place or another. I am not, because I cannot get all that I want, going to stand in the way of any reform, such as this reform, for instance, which will bring us nearer to the ideal that we want. I say that you have not only the votes given to the business man because he has two residences, but you have also got the faggot voter—a man who goes up and down the country voting in every direction. You have another great anomaly. How will you defend your property qualification in a case of this sort; you have a number of out-voters on the register at the present time who have no property whatever in the constituency in which they vote. I do not think, in the case I have in mind, that they need even come within the bounds of the constituency to record their vote. I represent a constituency that has a very large number of these voters. They become possessed of a freehold in Greenwich, 1728 or Woolwich, or in the North-West Division of Kent. These men come down to vote at Greenwich. They do not reside at Greenwich. We do not know in many cases where they do reside. Such men are very active at the time of the Election, coming down and voting for their opinions—whatever they may be.
Incidentally let me say that motor cars are a very useful factor in this matter. There were 1,300 absentee landlords on the last register but one who had residences in the Dartford Division of Kent. Five hundred had a vote for land, 842 had no interest, or property, or residence in the division. What, therefore, becomes of the great argument of interest in the locality? We had to put up for them a special polling place inside London, of which expense I paid my share with great alacrity. The outvoters in January, 1910, according to the register, those who have a local interest in North-West Kent, came from 350 other places. They came down on a constituency like birds of prey. They lived in or came from twenty-seven counties. In coming to the constituency they travelled a distance equal to the circumference of the globe. This is the sort of justification that we have heard of keeping the plural voters on who have a deep and abiding local interest in the place where their plural vote exists! I think we shall have to have some little stronger arguments. So far as I am concerned, the Bill goes a long way, but it, does not go far enough. It does not take away the qualification, but it only imposes upon the person, who desires to exercise his vote, a choice—a choice which is not given to a majority of electors in the country. They have no choice. They have to vote where they reside. We all appreciate the spirit in which the hon. and learned Gentleman who preceded me dealt with the subject. I hope I have followed in the same spirit, and I thank the House for their attention.
I beg to move, as an Amendment, to leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add instead thereof the words, "it would not be just or expedient to carry out the principle of one man one vote involved in this Bill unless the number of representatives allotted to England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland respectively were previously settled in proportion to the population of each of these parts of the United Kingdom, and the principle of equality thus secured."
1729 A similar Amendment was moved in this House some twenty years ago. Perhaps the House will excuse me if I briefly refer to what happened on that occasion, as I think it reflects very much credit on us to-day. In 1892, when Mr. Shaw Lefevre rose to introduce the Bill, he found that there was not a quorum present. Mr. Sexton suggested to the Speaker that the Sergeant-at-Arms should be sent round to Committee Rooms to see if he could persuade Members to come into the House. The Speaker, with some hesitation, adopted that suggestion, and the Sergeant-at-Arms—although we are not told by what method—persuaded some Members to come into the House. Eventually, at ten minutes to one, the House was formed. Those were the circumstances when this Bill was started. The Noble Lord, who is not now in his place, rather reflects sometimes on this House, as to the manner in which it does its duty. A similar Amendment to this was moved from these benches, but the whirligig of time has brought about changes, and the hon. Member who moved it (Mr. T. W. Russell), and who represented South Tyrone, is now Member for another constituency, and sits on the Home Rule Front Bench. It was moved in a speech which Sir George Trevelyan characterised as "fiery and burning." Though I am not going to weary the House by long extracts from that speech, I can assure hon. Members that it will well repay their study, especially those who are Home Rulers. There is a proverb which I venture to quote to the House with some hesitation, because it is in French:—On revient toujoursA ses premiers amours,Though we are not exactly told how long it takes for that interesting psychological event to take place, it probably depends upon the temperament and intervening adventures of the gallant lover. I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman intends to rise to-day to support, with another burning and fiery declaration, his old love. He will, I am sure, command great sympathy on every side of the House, because Members truly love a touch of old-world romance. On a previous occasion I am aware he urged in his defence that when he was a child he spake as a child; as this is the second occasion it would hardly be inconsistent to urge the plea of second childhood in supporting it. The hon. Member who moved the Second Reading of this Bill has said that 1730 he moved it in no electioneering spirit, but in a general desire to remove anomalies. I am not going to follow the hon. Member in that. I frankly say that one of the reasons why I move this Amendment is from the electioneering point of view. It is claimed, I do not know by what authority, but we always hear it, especially after General Elections, that the result of this Bill would be to transfer from thirty to forty seats from this side of the House to that side of the House. That may or may not be correct, but I cannot help thinking, even though I would like to give the hon. Member the credit of not moving this measure in a party spirit, that from the point of view of the proposals of the Government it is regarded and adopted in that spirit. If the hon. Member says that he does not move it in a spirit of that sort, I will give him an opportunity at once to put himself right with himself and the whole of the House. It is a very short Bill, and one more clause would not embarrass it. Will he add a clause that before this Bill comes into operation there shall be a redistribution of seats? I notice that he does not respond.
§ Mr. HAROLD BAKER
If I may be allowed to answer the hon. Member I must decline, for this reason, that I consider the subjects are totally unconnected. This Bill, in the short and simple form in which it now is, is peculiarly appropriate for Friday afternoon. To overload it with Redistribution would be to make it too large.
What I was suggesting was not to overload it by Redistribution, but simply to insert a clause that it should not come into operation until Redistribution takes place, and I am perfectly entitled, if I do not get that clause, to give my point of view when the hon. Member says that this is not an electioneering proposition. I think it is unfair and grossly and politically immoral to deal with one anomaly and leave grosser anomalies untouched. Supposing that this Bill became law, the effect, as it is claimed, will be to transfer to the other side of the House so many seats now held on this side. The hon. Member will probably say that before that takes place the Government intend to redistribute. But supposing that did not take place, and that the Bill becomes law the other anomalies would remain undealt with, and the Tory party would be caught short. It may be that 1731 hon. Members intend dealing with Redistribution before a General Election, but if this Bill were passed and Redistribution did not come in the other side would get all the advantages and we should be handicapped with all the other anomalies.
It is impossible to deal with this question in an isolated manner without looking at the political situation to-day as a whole. The different portions of the United Kingdom have not got an equal number of Members according to population. See how that affects the situation in the present Parliament especially. Suppose the Lobby behind us is called the English Lobby and the opposite Lobby is called the Irish Lobby. We are going to deal with Irish legislation this year. Comparing the numbers going into the English and the Irish Lobbies you will have nearly forty votes in the Irish Lobby more than they are entitled to on the basis of population. The Irish Lobby will have, I believe, thirty-eight more votes than the English Lobby, which would count seventy-six on a Division; that is to say, in proceeding with your legislation this year, you start with so many cards up your sleeve, and the dice are loaded on this particular point. If any justification is required for anything which Ulster is doing or intends to do, it is in the fact that they are being overborne by votes for which there is no moral sanction at all. This is a vicious circle, because these votes bring pressure to bear on hon. Members opposite. I think that the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond) has never denied that he can bring pressure to bear upon the Government, and owing to these votes being given for certain Bills the moral value of those Votes will be suspect from the pressure thus brought on the party opposite. You are going to deal with the part of the question which it is claimed will transfer so many seats from this side of the House over to yours, and I say that it is unfair and immoral to deal with one part of the question which only affects yourselves and leave untouched another part of the question which is inconvenient to you at the present moment. Hon. Members must be conversant with a good many of the anomalies themselves, but I will indicate one or two of what I may call the broad effects, so that hon. Members can see what gross anomalies are still left untouched. I shall not use many figures, because they often convey nothing, and frequently they 1732 are confusing, but I will answer one or two of the objections put forward by the hon. Member for Manchester. He quoted seats under 5,000, but I have picked out for the purposes of this Debate seats under 7,000, not because I wish to pick out those which help my argument, but because the average is about 12,000, and I have picked out the seats rather over the half. How do the two sides of this House compare as regards the number of seats under 7,000? Hon. Members opposite talk as if we had all the small seats, but as a matter of fact, if you take 7,000, which is a fair number, you have just twice as many on the Government side as we have. [An HON. MEMBER: "Is that counting the Irish seats?"] Of course it is. All parts of the United Kingdom must come into one of the two Lobbies. The English Lobby has the disadvantage of being under represented by thirty-nine seats, which might count seventy-eight on a Division. You must take count of Irish over-representation, when you are going to take away the plural vote. If you take the seats under 7,000 you have ninety-four on your side, as compared with forty-six on the Opposition side.
§ Sir RYLAND ADKINS
Has the hon. Member separate figures for Great Britain as distinguished from Ireland?
Yes, I have, England and Wales have 62 seats under 7,000 votes; Scotland has 16, and Ireland 62. The party figures are 46 Unionists, 37 Liberals, and 57 Nationalists. I am simply dealing with the broad effect in the Lobby, because all legislation has to stand the test of the Lobby, and, as a matter of fact, that is the only thing that counts in this House.
Of course I have. I would not pick and choose in only one way, because I am trying to be absolutely fair. I will get on with some other anomalies of a broad nature. Let me take four large groups of votes, in order to show how these votes vary. I do not think, as a Unionist, I need apologise for attacking the over representation of Ireland. I know that Mr. Gerald Balfour, in his scheme, proposed to take away from the Unionist party twenty-two seats in Ireland.
It is only Ireland's over-representation that makes this at all practical or probable. It does not lie and it cannot lie in the mouths of Irish or Liberal members to quote the Act of Union to keep thirty-eight seats when it is only by those thirty-eight seats and having that representation that they can possibly smash the Act of Union. The very over-representation of Ireland is bringing pressure to bear on hon. Members. If the hon. Gentleman can prove to the House honestly that Home Rule was before the country at the last Election he would have a good case. The hon. Member for North Somerset, in his book, on this particular point writes:—More seriously it may be urged that the Irish Nationalist who wishes to undo the Act of Union cannot plead it in favour of his country retaining its excessive representation.I do not think they can, and it is not very logical to do it. Let me deal with four blocks of votes, which are all about the same size. I will take for comparison, Ireland, London, Scotland, and Lancashire. It is a rather curious thing that they nearly all have the same population. We now have a population of 45,000,000, and the places I have mentioned have about 10 per cent. of the population or thereabouts. It is a curious thing that the groups which have the least population have the most Members, and that principle is carried all through. Ireland has a population of 4,400,000, and she has 103 Members. London has exactly 10 per cent. and has 60 Members, or 43 less. Scotland has a population of 4,700,000 and has 72 Members. Lancashire has a population of 4,800,000 and has 58 Members. Of course Lancashire has nearly 500,000 more in population than Ireland, but has only 58 Members as compared with 103. You cannot defend that, and nobody on the Progressive side of the House will attempt to defend it. Since the Unionist party has already attacked it, there is no reason why we should not press it now and try and get it altered. Take the population of the four Kingdoms and their Members: England has 465 Members, Scotland 72, Ireland 103, and Wales 30. Wales is the 1734 only country that has its right number of Members, if you take, a population basis. England has 39 Members short, Scotland has one Member too many, and Ireland has 38 Members too many. I have shown how that affects present legislation, and it is grossly unfair to deal with this question of plural voting and leave the over representation of Ireland untouched. The First Lord of the Admiralty the other day at Belfast made use of the following sentence in connection with this Bill:—In the reduction of the Irish representation lies the only chance the Conservative party have of obtaining some offset to the abolition of the plural voter and the reform of the franchise. It would cost them nothing to act with simplicity and sincerity.I am perfectly certain the Unionist party will act with sincerity, but they will not be quite so simple as that. It is a slight offset, but a very partial one, and it is not sufficient. Nobody knows what the Home Rule Bill is going to be, but I believe it is suggested Ireland shall have seventy Members in this House. That would be five more than they are entitled to. Those five ought to belong to England, and as between Ireland and England they would count ten on a Division. It would leave England under-represented as regards the rest of the United Kingdom, whereas at present the numbers are more or less correct with regard to Scotland and Wales. The First Lord of the Admiralty seems to be quite willing to leave alone those parts of the United Kingdom where he can get most support, and to do nothing to cure the under-representation of England where this party gets its support. It is proposed, by reducing the Irish Members to seventy, to redress some of the grievances in this House, but it would not cure the under-representation of England, which is the biggest anomaly in the present situation, and I do not think anybody on this side of the House would be ready to take it as really meeting the merits of the case. This Bill, whatever its fortunes may be in this House or elsewhere, should not prevent us fighting it not only inside, but also outside the House. You may have the advantage of the physical argument of the vote in this House, but that does not count for anything outside. Opinion outside would be that it was grossly unfair to touch the representation in one sense without dealing with the whole question and dealing with Redistribution also. Whatever method you adopt to get the Bill through, it does not alter the fact that it can be most successfully fought outside. One has only to show there are greater anomalies than the one 1735 with which this Bill deals to prove it is not fair to deal with one only. The hon. Member for Barnard Castle (Mr. Henderson) said it was no answer to say we ought to have Redistribution. That, however, is the right answer. He would probably be the first to admit it was unfair to touch one part, and only the part which advantages yourselves, and leave the other part. The more flagrant anomalies are not dealt with, and that is why I move this Amendment.
§ Mr. POLLOCK
I beg to second the Amendment which has been moved in the able speech of my hon. Friend. The Bill was commended to the House on the ground that it was a simple Bill and was limited in its scope. It is very limited in its scope, and it is on that ground Members on this side of the House would desire to move its rejection. What is the argument in favour of the Bill? The hon. Member said that this Bill had been placed in the forefront in a number of election addresses, and, on that ground, it was clearly before the country at the Election and was entitled to support. That argument sounds curious when coming from those benches, because we have hitherto heard it suggested that those Bills which have not been found in election addresses are Bills which really demand support and are asked for by popular opinion. Let us see what this Bill proposes to do. It does not attempt to deal with the inequalities and anomalies of the Registration Laws, which all sides of the House would like to see remedied. The hon. Member who seconded the Motion for the Second Reading of this Bill dealt with a number of anomalies which naturally do place great difficulties in the path of the ordinary elector finding his way to the register and which prevent him using the vote which he desires to exercise. Particularly I may mention one anomaly. There is a difficulty which arises on change of residence.
The hon. Member said he moved this Bill without any desire at all to disfranchise a political opponent. I accept his statement and I believe it is equally true of every single Member on the other side. They would all disclaim a desire to disfranchise political opponents. But when you get a body or party acting together and collectively the responsibility is felt less keenly, and so we find this Bill is put forward, and, while personal motives are disclaimed, the collective responsibility for the purpose which 1736 underlies it must remain. There is one test which we can apply to the Bill to see whether there is any motive or not. It is the test which Mr. Gladstone applied when he passed this Bill in 1884. I hold in my hands a most interesting speech, made by Mr. Gladstone's Attorney-General, the late Lord James of Hereford, on 6th April, 1900. Lord James, then Sir Henry James, said that he had had the responsibility, under Mr. Gladstone, of framing the Bill and carrying it through the House, and he added:—When Mr. Gladstone's attention was called to this he agreed to legislate against the creation of such faggot votes, but he said I will not take advantage of my political strength to disfranchise any man. I cannot strike these men off the register.You will find in the Act of 1884, Section 10, the result of Mr. Gladstone's feeling on this subject, and I would venture to suggest that the words introduced into that Act should have been inserted in this Bill if the hon. Member had really desired not to disfranchise political opponents. Those words were:—No person shall be deprived of his right to vote.If hon. Members on the other side wish to be perfectly fair to political opponents they might adopt those words, and that, at any rate, would prove to hon. Members on this side that they have no political motive in bringing forward this Bill. The hon. Member told us very, little of the history of this movement, and he also told us little of the history by which we got the franchise we now possess. I am not surprised. The history of the Plural Voting Bill is recent, and we can look it up for ourselves in the Parliamentary Debates. But what was the fate of the last Bill? I think it was in 1906. In that year the same principle was enshrined in the Bill which was passed by this House and which ultimately went to the House of Lords, and Lord Courtney of Penrith said:—If the Plural Voting Bill receives its coup de grâce I shall accept the result with a not unbecoming serenity, thinking that in the end not much mischief will be done by delay, and that the interval may well be used in attempting further to direct the mind of the nation to the true solution of the whole question.Why attempt to deal with a very minute fragment of it? We all agree that the whole question should be handled, and it is on that ground that my hon. Friend moves his Amendment. He desires that the whole subject should be dealt with and not merely a fragment. What is the principle of this Bill? Hitherto I think both sides of this House have endeavoured to secure that the franchise 1737 should be, as far as possible, automatic, and that we should have as little difficulty raised as possible in the path of the voter on his way to secure the placing of his name on the register. But this Bill places a distinct difficulty and disability before a particular class of voter. It does so under Sections (1) and (2). Section (1) says he is only to be registered in respect of one "place1 of abode"; he is not to be registered as a Parliamentary elector "except in a constituency in which he has a place of abode," and so on. But first, in order to secure his right, he has to prove that he has no right to vote elsewhere or that he has abandoned his right. Under Section (2) what is his position?
At a particular time of the year when most of the electors are away on holiday—it may be at Homburg, at Blackpool, or at Margate—he is called upon to take a step which most electors would take somewhat reluctantly, especially at that time of the year, and unless he takes that particular step he automatically, if objection is taken, goes off the register. Section (2) says where he has been put upon two registers in two different constituencies, thereupon, if objection is taken, he will immediately go off. He will go off both registers unless and until he proves that he has disclaimed his right to register in one constituency. Once the objection is taken, unless or until something is done by the elector, he will be struck off the register in both constituencies. That is a good illustration of the great disability placed upon this particular class of elector who is supposed not to be in favour of hon. Members opposite. It is against the principle we have hitherto adopted in dealing with the franchise. The plan has been to make it as automatic as possible. I think that is the objection at the present time to lodger claims. They have to be renewed, and renewed every year. Under this Bill you get a still greater disadvantage created. We have already heard of what is called the voluntary constituency, the constituency under which electors are to be able to choose to what constituency they will belong or with what particular body of electors they will be associated.
You increase the possibility of voluntary constituencies here because you have a greater or less number desiring to be registered who have this right of selection in a number of places. They have more than one place in which they may choose to vote, and you will have an amount of, shall I call it registration work 1738 among agents, or shall I call it jerrymandering of constituencies, which I think both sides of the House would regard as most unfortunate. We ought to have a system as permanent as possible, but in this case you would have the possibility that when a party lost an Election in a particular Division they would say that the next time, as Mr. A. had a sale seat, some number of persons who were outvoters for that Division might vote in another Division at another time, so that they might secure the triumph of Mr. B. in the other Division. All that could happen because you make the transfer of a number of voters from one place to another possible under this Bill. That is a bad principle, and that is the principle of this Bill.
I turn from the principle of the Bill to the terms of my Friend's Amendment, in which he says that we ought to have Redistribution, so that the number of representatives in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland should be settled in proportion to the population of those parts of the United Kingdom. What is the principle on which we have hitherto gone? Is it not that we should have representation in proportion to population? I go back to, and I intend to take my stand upon, the words of a Radical statesman who had as much to do as anybody else with the Reform Bill of 1832. Lord Brougham said in 1861:—The principle which ought to govern the distribution of the representation is as nearly as possible to apportion the same number of representatives to the same number of inhabitants in any districts.And he goes on to say that you must have—of course you cannot prevent—a certain number of exceptions to this particular rule, many exceptions, and this is his statement—that in order to secure a happy representation of the State, "important professions should be represented and important classes of properties." How does this Bill propose to do that? It selects a particular body of voters who are supposed to have a particular class of property and selects them for disfranchisement.
You cannot deal with a portion of this great question. You cannot take away one of the buttresses which support the arch. I may go back to the speech of Lord James of Hereford, who said that "once you are dealing with the question, you must deal with it as a whole." In 1884, when the present franchise and system of distribution was arranged, he said that if you are dealing with any one 1739 portion of it you are attempting "to set aside the positive contract which was made by the two parties in the State, and which was approved of almost unanimously by both Houses of Parliament." What right have you got to take away one portion of the contract? What right have you to do it at all? When we come to the question of distribution and ask what right particular portions of the United Kingdom—Scotland, Ireland, Wales, or England—have to a particular number of representatives, no doubt there is great force in the principal article of the Act of Union. How does that apply? We have the speech which Lord Castlereagh made at the time, I think the number is 103 Members.
§ Mr. POLLOCK
Yes, exactly 100. It was arrived at in this way: The population of England then was supposed to be little more than double that of Ireland, or two to one, and it was known at the time of the Act of Union that the financial arrangements between the two countries were to be taken on a basis of 15 to 2 or 7½ to 1, and from these figures they took it that the proper proportion would be about 5½ to 1. There were at that time 558 Members of Parliament in England, and taking 5½ to 1 it gave you 100 for Ireland. That is the basis on which these figures were arrived at, and that figure has been continued on that basis, particularly in 1884, that no less a number should be given to Ireland on the basis agreed to by the great parties in the State, and also that the number of representatives in England should be the number at which it stands at present elected on the basis and on the franchise as they are at present. If you are going to take away that basis because you think it would be to your benefit that none should be elected by plural voting, you will take away one of the keystones of the structure and the whole question is opened. If you are not going to abide by the contract, if you are not going to give the plural vote to a particular class of property, you are no longer entitled to insist upon the particular number of representatives you have for any particular part like Ireland or Wales.
Once you bring forward this small measure, limited in its scope, as the hon. Member said, to strike out one item from the contract you then leave the whole matter open, and both sides are entitled to argue that you must adjust the basis 1740 on which we shall have the franchise given and also the number of representatives which are to be given to particular portions of the United Kingdom. You cannot deal with this matter in a piecemeal style; you must deal with it as a whole. When it has been previously dealt with, as it was—I think my hon. Friend mentioned that—by the Vice-President of the Department of Irish Agriculture (Mr. T. W. Russell) when he moved his Amendment in 1892, he very forcibly told the House that "if we are to have new constitutional machinery introduced, then we contend that, instead of tinkering with the voting machinery, we should see that the constitutional machinery we are to get is machinery that will stand wear and tear." Instead of having a small Bill introduced with a narrow scope like this, you must deal with the whole question at large; you must deal with the anomaly which at present exists, and try to make it more easy for electors to retain their qualification and exercise their voting powers. At the same time you must deal with the number of representatives who are called to this House from particular portions of the United Kingdom. You are asking us to pass a Bill, which I think is unfair in its actual terms, limited in its scope, and directed against almost a single class in the constituencies—directed against a certain number of persons who are supposed to support the Unionist party. That is not the method in which you ought to deal with a large and controversial subject. We must deal with this great question on very different lines, and therefore I desire to support the Amendment of my hon. friend, which points out a far better way and a much larger method of dealing with this very large and controversial subject.
§ The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. J. A. Pease)
Earlier in the Debate the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Austen Chamberlain) put to me a very plain question. He asked me whether the Government were prepared, in the event of the Bill receiving its Second Reading, to father the Bill. He is an old Member of the House and he knows well enough that at the commencement of a Session the Government never does, nor as far as I can tell is ever likely to, consider what advantages, if any, should be given to any private Member's Bill towards the end of the Session. The Government have not considered the question whether they should father this Bill or give special facilities to it or to any other private 1741 Member's Bill which has been or may be introduced during the next few weeks.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
Do I understand the right hon. Gentleman to mean that if the Bill were to be treated as an ordinary private Member's Bill today the Government reserve their right to make it their own Bill at a subsequent stage?
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
It has not been the custom for a Government to adopt a private Member's Bill except with the general consent of the House. That is not to be obtained for this Bill and I wanted to know whether, in spite of its having no such general consent, the Government intended to retain the right to adopt it at a subsequent stage?
§ Mr. PEASE
The Government desire to retain all their rights in regard to this and every other private Member's Bill which they can exercise towards the end of the Session. All I can tell the House now is that they have no more and no less intention of giving facilities to this than to any other private Member's Bill. If this Parliament permits the present registration system to continue without a real effort it would be a lasting reflection upon the intelligence and the common sense of Members in this House. I believe, when the Government Bill, which has been promised by the Prime Minister, is introduced it will be found to be a simple and a better measure than the one now before the House. It will deal not only with anomalies connected with registration, but also with the franchise, and, consequently, these anomalies being removed at the same time and in the same measure, it will be a more effective reform. On behalf of the Government, we accept the principle of the Bill, and so far as this measure goes in itself, and by itself, being passed into law, I admit it would have the effect of carrying into law a much needed and long-delayed reform, and one which has our hearty sympathy. We have (been attacked this afternoon for our advocacy of this Bill, especially by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Austen Chamberlain), that at a time when he thinks we are not in great electoral favour outside we rush in to tinker the register in the interests of our party. As far back as 1892 Mr. Gladstone, in his famous Newcastle speech, included this 1742 item as one of the pla[...]s of the Liberal party, and the very first act which we passed through this House by an unprecedented majority in 1906 was one to abolish plural voting. This is a subject which Liberals have taken up for twenty years, and it is really a matter of amazement to me that the anomalies which exist under our present system have been stood by the people of the country so long. People seem to get accustomed by long usage to evils and they fail to see often the true aspect and realise the imperfections to which a particular evil may give rise. We have all realised in our own country life how often a polluted water supply, when condemned by a sanitary authority, is resented by the residents in a village, and in the same way I feel that the electors in the country and the Members of this House have tolerated too long an illogical, antiquated, and anomalous system.
May I give one or two illustrations? The plural vote exists, not really on any sound principle which would enable those who have the greatest stake in the country to have the greatest number of votes. A large shopkeeper in London, with a property valued at £120,000, will possess one vote in connection with his premises. There may be another shopkeeper who has ten shops in London valued at £10,000 apiece, aggregating £100,000 worth of property, and yet he may have ten votes, while the man with £120,000 worth of property will only possess one. Let me give another illustration. Chertsey in 1885, the date of the last Redistribution Bill, was given one Member, with a population of just over 52,000. Wimbledon was also given one Member, with a population of just over 50,000. To-day the Chertsey electorate is 17,400, and the Wimbledon electorate is just over 31,000. What really took place in 1885 was that, in spite of the directions of this House, the Commissioners placed something like 5,000 voters in Wimbledon, who were only qualified because they happened to be property owners in the borough in London—property owners all south of the River, Southwark, Brixton, Camberwell, and all the others all now vote in Wimbledon—and yet these electors have no interest whatsoever in Wimbledon. They have nothing to do with Wimbledon, and yet they come down when an election is held in order very often to counteract or override the views of the majority of the electors in the constituency. If I take the case of Bootle, I do not know whether the 1743 Leader of the Opposition would have been returned at the last General Election if we had not had the plural vote. He was returned by 2,200 votes, but 2,500 votes could be cast in that constituency, not because they are property owners even in the division, but because they happen to be property owners in the city of Liverpool!
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
Is the right hon. Gentleman prepared with information as to the number who voted? I can undertake to tell him that not a half of them voted, and of those a large proportion voted for the candidate on his side.
§ Mr. PEASE
I do not want to make any personal reflection or to suggest that the right hon. Gentleman would not have been returned. I only wanted to point out that the number of plural voters who have no interest in the Bootle Division was greater than the majority by which the right hon. Gentleman was returned. I would instance also the constituency of Hornsey, where there are 1,300 voters with no connection with the county Division. In the City of London a polling booth is placed at the disposal of the City magnates who happen to have qualifications in the Division. I speak perhaps more feelingly of the abuses of plural voting than possibly any Member of this House. I was defeated, in 1900, in the Tyneside Division, and my opponent, with whom I was always on the very best of terms, admitted to me that, although in every single polling district I had a majority of the electors, between 1895 and 1900 he had succeeded in placing 700 additional plural voters on the register of that constituency. At that election 27 per cent. of those on the register were voters who had ownership qualifications, and 22 per cent. were not resident, but had qualifications which had been secured by ownership of property in Newcastle, Tynemouth, and North Shields. In order to secure the 700 additional votes a great many strategies were resorted to. The directors of large brewing firms which owned public-houses were placed on the register in respect of each public-house. The Theatre Royal was divided into shares, and each man who purchased a box, which was supposed to be of the value of 40s. freehold, was allowed by the registration officer to be placed on the register in respect of his share. A large number—I will not say a large number, but several men—in order to qualify as 1744 property owners and vote in Tyneside actually purchased the sites for their own burial in the Jesmond Cemetery.
No Member of this House can really justify a system of that kind. I make no attack on my opponent. It is a perfectly fair game under the present system, but it is a system which ought to be exposed, and I am glad that my hon. Friend has introduced this Bill in order that we may expose it once again. An hon. Member opposite alluded to his motive as being admittedly an electioneering one. We have, as everyone knows in this House, a retort to the argument that if this Bill passes into law our party would benefit, that if it is not passed into law it will equally help your party. But the question really is, Which is the fair and right system? The principle of the Bill is that every qualified citizen should possess one vote only in the affairs of the State, irrespective of the multiplicity of qualifications he may possess. The Noble Lord the Member for the Hitchin Division (Lord R. Cecil), in the Election last year, referring to his opponents, said, "By all means let them have one man one vote. No Unionist will object." We have had one or two objections from Unionists this afternoon. It is only fair to the Noble Lord to say that he went on in the same sentence to urge the necessity of its being accompanied by a Redistribution Bill. The position, however, has been somewhat altered since the last time we debated this question in this House. By the adoption of the policy of the Referendum the principle of plural voting was given up by the leaders of the Conservative party. Lord Lansdowne in his advocacy of the Referendum, in a speech at Cardiff, used these words:—What seems to me a very considerable advantage is that if you take a Referendum of the electors, one vote is as good as another.By inference that condemns the plural voter. Then the late Leader of the Opposition in this House, speaking on 25th April, in advocating a register from which plural voting was to be eliminated, used these words:—You get as near as you ever will get to the sheer, unadulterated opinion of the people of this country.I thank him for that word, because he has admitted that the present system is adulterated by plurality, and that if you want to secure the true opinion of this country, you must abolish plural voting. I must say there is no democratic or any other country, nor is it conceivable any individual, would ever have suggested 1745 a system of the kind such as now obtains here. The Opposition are proposing to vote against this Bill on the ground that it cannot be accompanied by a Redistribution Bill which would at the same time secure one vote one value. I would remind the House that the Government are already pledged to introduce a Redistribution Bill. Speaking of the franchise and Redistribution Bill shortly to be introduced by the Government, the Prime Minister's words in this House last November were these:—The Bill will be followed by an equitable redistribution of representation.[HON. MEMBERS: "When?"] It will follow as a corollary. One man one vote must, I think, precede Redistribution, and I shall try to give one or two reasons for that proposition. If we are going to abolish plural voting and to simplify the franchise, we ought to see how the electors in the constituencies are going to be created before we proceed with any system of Redistribution. The Opposition this afternoon has spoken as if the question of Redistribution was one to which their party was committed and to which ours was not. Personally, in my Election address as far back as 1895, I advocated one vote one value and a redistribution of seats, and I am as anxious as any Member of this House to see an equitable Redistribution Bill passed through before we again go to the country. Another reason why this Retdistribution is postponed at present is that until we have the Home Rule Bill introduced, and I hope passed through this House, it is impossible for us to see what the effects of the proposals in that Bill will have upon the numbers of this House, and therefore we cannot undertake any Redistribution at all till we know how many Members from Ireland may be left in this House after that Bill is passed.
If population were to be the guide, Ireland would have sixty-five Members in this House, and the balance, if we were going to readjust according to population, would go almost exclusively to England. May I point out one or two of the difficulties in connection with Redistribution so ably advocated by the Opposition this afternoon. Middlesex, if you also included the two great constituencies of Romford and Walthamstow, should have by virtue of their population, under a fair Redistribution, nineteen Members instead of eight. They would be entitled to eleven more seats. How are you going to secure that increase in the Members of those 1746 constituencies unless you have some general agreement in advance amongst all parties in this House? Let me take another illustration. Cornwall and Devonshire now possess twenty Members, but under a Redistribution scheme based upon population they would be only entitled to fifteen seats. There would be a good deal of log-rolling by the Members for Cornwall and Devon to prevent, any reduction of their representation in the western counties, and unless both sides of the House and all parts of it are agreed on the principle of Redistribution the twenty members in Cornwall and Devon will unite as one man to prevent Middlesex and Romford and Walthamstow from being fairly represented. I believe a Redistribution can only be effectively brought about by agreement in regard to numbers, and in regard to the principal lines on which it should take place. Those Members who have read the life of the Duke of Devonshire will remember that in 1884 an arrangement was arrived at behind the scenes upon lines agreed upon before any conclusion was come to, and the very reason that the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Balfour) was rejected in 1905 was because there was no arrangement entered into with regard to his Redistribution proposals.
In 1885, when the constituencies were last redistributed, if you take the constituency with the largest population and the one with the smallest, the proportion, was as 108 to 1. After Redistribution it fell to a proportion of 5.8 to 1. In 1905, when the late Government proposed to redistribute, it had risen from 5.8 to 1 to 16.5 to 1, and all that was proposed in the Bill of the late Conservative Government was to redress the balance to 7.3 to 1, and it was because Members of the party opposite could not agree in regard to Redistribution that it became abortive. Now we come back to the position when the anomaly is as much as 33 to 1. I believe it is full time these anomalies should be redressed. I agree with the hon. and learned Member who last spoke that we ought to have a much more automatic machine. I believe we ought to have not only an automatic machine in regard to the voter being able to secure his place on the register, but we ought to have a system such as they have in California where there is an automatic revision after the Census has taken place.
We have sometimes been taunted that we only advocate this constitutional change 1747 when we wish to neglect social reform. I do not think that taunt has been levelled at us to-day. After the advances we have made in the direction of social reform I hope we shall hear no more of that taunt in the future. We genuinely believe that the principles of this Bill should be adopted. It does not disturb any of the existing franchises. Every elector will continue to be free to exercise his inclination as to where he votes, but he is restricted to the exercise of one vote, and one vote only. This measure, in some respects, I agree, has advantages over the measure which was introduced by the Colonial Secretary when he was at the Office of Works. It is an improvement in the fact that the names on the register in his Bill did not correspond with the right to vote, whilst they would do so under the provision of this Bill. No new questions whatever under the provisions of this Bill would be put to the voter. That is another advantage. Under the Bill introduced by my right hon. Friend in 1906 certain additional questions might be put to any elector who came to the polling booth, which cannot be asked under the provisions of this Bill. Another advantage is that no new offence is created under the provisions of this Bill. The principle of the Bill, as I have said, is that the number of votes of every qualified elector shall be the same throughout the whole country. We are trying to support a principle of equal rights for all citizens, and in the name of justice, especially to the poorer electors, I ask this House to pass this Bill a second time this afternoon. The poor have much more stake in relation to their humble positions than the rich electors, whose position and wealth give them influence that renders their votes of much less import to themselves and their families, and I ask the House, in the interests of justice, to allow this Bill to be read a second time.
§ Mr. STAVELEY-HILL
I would like to refer, in the first instance, to what has fallen from the right hon. Gentelman from whom we have learnt something, because, whether intentionally or by accident, he referred to the Bill of the hon. Member opposite as "our Bill." We now know that it is introduced under the ægis of the Government. But the right hon. Gentleman said something which astonished me more than that.
§ Mr. PEASE
The Bill is not a Government Bill. The Government have never had the Bill before them, and it was merely a slip which I made to which the hon. Member refers. I am aware that my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General, as I saw in the newspapers, has been consulted in regard to the provisions of this Bill, but it has never been a Government Bill at all. It was a mere slip of mine.
§ 4.0 P.M.
§ Mr. STAVELEY-HILL
I understand, from what the right hon. Gentleman says, that we may leave the matter where it is without further argument on one side or the other. But I was going to refer to a statement of the right hon. Gentleman which astonished me more than that. In answer to my hon. Friend's Amendment, he said the question of Redistribution could not be dealt with, because His Majesty's Government could not be aware, or fully aware, of the facts which would enable them to bring in a Bill, until they knew what was the result of the measure passed in regard to a certain part of the kingdom. It is rather late in the day to say that they are not aware of the facts, because they must know by now perfectly well what they intend to do under the Home Rule Bill. Then the right hon. Gentleman said that the Opposition had given away the case of one man one vote, because we had adopted the suggestion of the Referendum. There is not the slightest ground for that contention. The great principle with those who have adopted the idea of the Referendum is that it would be upon some specific question on which we want the vote of the electorate of the whole country. But when you come to the general issues raised at an Election—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Yes, at a General Election, you have not merely one specific question, but a number of issues on which a decision is to be given. At the time of an Election many questions are raised, and the Referendum in itself contains one vote one value. On reading this Bill, one sees that rights are to be taken away for something in the future which is indefinitely given by this measure. It might be described, and rightly described, by the friends of freedom as a Bill to prevent registration in more than one constituency. I suppose on the other side of the House we shall be told that this Bill is a Bill to prevent registration in more than one constituency. With great respect to the hon. Gentleman who moved the Second 1749 Reading of the Bill, I look upon it as one of those many instances we have in this House and elsewhere of what I may call amateur reform, because it confers nothing upon anyone. In these days of legislation it is a somewhat happy incident that it does not do anything at somebody else's expense. But it takes away privileges which have been enjoyed for centuries, and take care you confer something which is of equal value to those persons. The House of Commons, as representing the nation, should have some regard to the historical aspect of matters which it discusses. In a Bill of this sort you cannot deal with the franchise of the country in this piecemeal manner; it must be coupled with something much larger before it can be accepted by the constituencies. You may say what you like about it from your own point of view, but this Bill is for the interests of one party, and one party alone. You do not look at the historical side of the question, nevertheless the history remains whatever may happen to your legislation. History will tell you that by custom, at any rate, the freehold franchise has existed from the time of the Anglo-Saxons; it was formally enacted by Henry VI. and has never been altered. If you are going to take away those rights, why do you not do it in the form of the repeal of the Statutes which have created those rights? The Clauses of this Bill, after all, very much resemble the resolutions of a debating society, for it can go no further, and I do not believe will be any more effective. You deny the historical argument, but surely in this House to-day there should be some respect paid to it. Even the late Mr. Gladstone, in 1884, allowed faggot votes to remain—faggot votes which we do not defend now. We agree that there are anomalies which require remedy, but we do not agree with a measure which seeks to create a party advantage without creating, in any way, any great national advantage at all.
As far as I can make out, from reading the Bill, the party opposite are pursuing a course which is not unusual. When it comes to any question to be decided the officials will come in again. I see in a later Clause the words, "shall be construed as one with existing laws," and I presume that may give some appeal against hardship, but to whom? This Bill is described as an enabling measure in this sense, that it will enable Radical agents to remove opponents' names and to create the utmost confusion in carrying 1750 out that process. The right hon. Gentleman used the words, "What we are seeking is a fair and right system." If you are seeking a fair and right system, seek symplicity and not confusion. You will not find simplicity in this Bill, because in Clause after Clause you restrict your voter to his place of abode. If you restrict your voter to his place of abode and eliminate the place of business, what is to happen in the City of London, in the Strand, Westminster, and elsewhere? They are Unionist seats, and it does not very much matter to the other side; but if the unfortunate voter wishes to register elsewhere for ownership or business premises he must prove that he has no other rights or has abandoned them. Hon. Gentlemen opposite know as well as we know and all of us in the House know, how very careless the ordinary elector is as to his qualifications. Therefore the first result of any such legislation is that you will have disqualification by the thousand. The second Clause asks for a schedule of qualifications. I can see the unfortunate elector sitting down with an avalanche of visitors, and many unwelcome, to ask him what his qualifications are. Those who have any experience of electioneering or registration know perfectly well that a limitation of time of six days for printing and publishing is far too short, because nobody could possibly in the time deal with such an important question as that. I consider that the penalty for claiming a vote and abandoning the declaration is extremely unfair. What is to happen to the man who has a business in one part of England and who happens to be an unmarried person living with his parents in another part, and paying rates? He is entirely left out because he is registered at his place of abode, and therefore gets no advantage under this Bill. If the Government is sincere in this question, and the question of their sincerity is no business of mine, if the right hon. Gentleman is accurate in saying that they desire to find a fair and right system, I would suggest that they would find it if not in the words, at any rate suggested in the Amendment of my hon. and gallant Friend, and that they should not seek to jerrymander the constituencies for party purposes, but should ascertain really and truly by what means the best value can be given to the vote, and when they have it, for national purposes and not for party purposes, to carry it out. If that is done and 1751 if they are the party in power, I believe they will have the whole-hearted support of the party on this side.
§ Mr. DILLON
I would not have intervened in this Debate had it not been for the fact that the hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment (Major Morrison-Bell) based, I think, his entire speech on the well-worn topic of the over-representation of Ireland. I must say that in all my experience of the House of Commons I never listened to a stronger separatist speech than that delivered by the hon. Gentleman. He spoke throughout the whole of his speech of Scotland and Wales and Ireland as if they were not only separate parts of this kingdom, but parts which were bound to be jealous of each other. He continually referred to the "Irish Lobby" in this House and the "English Lobby," assuming as a matter of course—and he really based his speech on this assumption—that Ireland and England under the Union are always to be in a position of hostility and opposition to each other. I accept that verdict of the hon. Member on the effects of the Union with considerable interest. He went on to argue—a very plausible argument I have heard often made in the House of Commons—that justice to England demands that there should be Redistribution at the same period as the abolition of plural voting, the defence of which is now practically abandoned by hon. Members on this side, in proportion to population. Yes, but when did that principle take hold of hon. Members in this House. Time was when Ireland demanded Redistribution in proportion to population. Daniel O'Connell demanded it, and when Daniel O'Connell stood up in the House and demanded Redistribution in proportion to population, Ireland would have had 220 Members in proportion to population instead of 100. Then the principle did not appear to recommend itself to hon. Members. But when by a long course of misgovernment you have thrown Ireland back in the race, and outstripped her so enormously that, instead of having, as we then had, one-third of the population of the United Kingdom, we have only something like one-seventh or one-eighth, hon. Members find out that political power ought to be redistributed in proportion to population. Where is the justice of such a demand? The hon. Member went on to say that this had always been a plank in the platform 1752 of the Tory party, and that during the late Administration Mr. Gerald Balfour introduced a Resolution demanding that there should be Redistribution, and that some thirty seats should be taken from Ireland. But he did not succeed in taking those seats. There has been more than one Redistribution since the Union, and precedent is against this contention. There have been many Reform Bills and, I think, three Redistributions—certainly two. In 1884 Ministers, when they came to handle this problem, recognised the fact that so long as Ireland, against the will of the majority of her population, was held to the Act of Union, at least she was entitied to benefit by its Articles. The question was carefully considered by Mr. Gladstone, and no attempt was made to carry the principle of Redistribution so far as to interfere with the representation secured to Ireland by the Act of Union.
Hon. Members say that Irish representatives have no right to plead the Act of Union, because they seek to destroy that Act, by the very over-representation which it gives. That is a very curious line of argument. You bind Ireland to the Act of Union against the will of the majority of the people of Ireland. That is admitted by everybody in this House. Even Ulster will admit that we are tied by the Act of Union, and that that Act was a treaty between the two nations to which we were not a willing party. You bind us to the Act of Union by force and against the will, persistently expressed for upwards of a century, of the majority of the people, and now the hon. Member for Honiton proposes to turn round and say, "We will bind you to the Act of Union, but we will deny you the benefits secured to you under that Act." That is an immoral doctrine, and it is most immoral coming from the mouth of Unionists. The moment Unionists say to the people of Ireland, "The Articles of the Act of Union have no moral binding power upon us," they give away their entire case. It is no argument against me to say that one of the Articles of the Act of Union was broken when the Church of Ireland was Disestablished, because that was done on the demand of the great majority of the Irish representatives. But to break an Article of the Act of Union to the detriment of Ireland and against the protests of her representatives would be an act of broken faith, if you intend to maintain that Act and refuse to us our claim to have it modified in favour of Ireland. "Now," says the hon. Member, "we want 1753 to know what the Government proposes in regard to the future representation of Ireland under the new scheme." If he will wait a very little time he will see. Long before this Bill can come to its final stage he will see. We expressed our willingness, so long ago as the year 1885, a quarter of a century ago, to be content with no representation in this House if you give us power to manage our own affairs in Ireland. Perhaps the Tory party will consider that offer of no representation as somewhat of a bribe. Certainly, from some of the observations that I have heard from hon. Members, it would be a great bribe to get, rid of us altogether. We offered that in 1885. We have never gone back on our offer. We are still willing to accept Redistribution on the principle of population, provided we get liberty to manage our own affairs. Therefore I think the Debates on the Home Rule Bill will throw a great deal of light upon this matter.
One word in conclusion on the general bearing of this matter. Hon. Members on this side of the House are entirely wrong in the assumption which underlies some of their speeches. Setting aside the Irish question, let me tell hon. Members that, in my judgment, and I have had a great deal of experience in this House, you will never succeed, much as you desire, in reducing the representation of Ireland unless at the same time you modify the Act of Union in favour of the wishes of the Irish population. It is an impossible task. It is an outrage and a breach of faith, and you will never succeed in doing it. Assuming that we retain our hundred Members—as we will until you give us some form of Home Rule—are hon. Members on this side justified in assuming that Redistribution in Great Britain would balance the advantage, from their point of view, of one man one vote? I think Redistribution would be an advantage to the Radical party so far as Great Britain is concerned. If you were able to take in Ireland you might redress the balance, but apart from that, Redistribution will affect Great Britain alone. I have seen one Government broken on the question of Home Rule, and I do not believe that there is the least chance of a Government interfering with the Irish representation except by Home Rule. Therefore I say that Redistribution would only apply to Great Britain. My own humble opinion, for what it is worth, is that Redistribution in Great Britain would only tilt the balance more in favour of, as I call it, the party of progress.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Like my hon. and gallant Friend, I am utterly opposed to the principle of this Bill. Even if the suggested Amendment went to the root of the matter, I would still object. At the same time I am going to vote for the Amendment because, after all, it ensures that the words proposed to be left out do not stand part of the question. May I say to the hon. Gentlemen the Member for Mayo, that personally I should regret very much the absence of hon. Members below the Gangway.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The hon. Member will not surely disagree with me because I happen to differ from my party on that point. In regard to the Bill before us, may I point out a really curious phenomenon which arose in the speeches of the Mover and the Seconder of the Bill? The hon. Gentleman who moved the Bill said that the last thing in his mind was that there should be any advantage to his own party in the matter. I rather understood him to query whether there would be any advantage to his own party, because he told us that he himself was returned by the votes of plural voters. The hon. Gentleman below the Gangway rather gave the show away, because he commenced his speech by quoting a large number of instances in which the Radical party was defeated by a small number of votes—that number of votes which illustrates the principle of freehold voters who had voted. Therefore it was evident that the very first thing that occurred to his mind was the defeat of his party at certain Elections owing to plural voters, and the real reason at once became apparent, that the plural voter, owing to the superior intelligence of people who own property, is nearly always Conservative, and consequently is objected to by hon. Members below the Gangway. In introducing the Bill, the hon. Member was extremely kind to the constituency which I represent. He called it ancient and historic, and I gathered from the manner in which he used those words that they did not convey any feeling of disapprobation to his mind. I rather thought, in the view of hon. Members opposite, that ancient and historic constituencies were things that ought to be swept away. The hon. Member said that that honourable and ancient constituency was a good example of plural voting.
§ Mr. HAROLD BAKER
I only said that voters might take steps to retain their vote in the constituency in which they preferred to keep it.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I think that the hon. Member did say that it was a good instance, and that there were people who had great business interests in the constituency, who lived somewhere else. He is taking an extraordinary way of showing his interest in those places. The City of London and the places where the voter has his business are the very places where it would be most difficult to obtain a vote under this Bill. If you have two abodes, one in London and one in Surrey, you will naturally be put on the register for both unless someone objects. But if you represent a large house in the City of London you will not be put on the list for that constituency unless you show to the satisfaction of the registration authorities of the City of London that you have abandoned your claim in Surrey. That is throwing upon the people who, according to the hon. Member are the most entitled to consideration, a burden and trouble which are not thrown upon other people.
§ Mr. SWIFT MacNEILL
Is the hon. Baronet aware that in his own constituency there are more voters than the entire population of the place?
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I do not know. The day population of the City of London is over 300,000, and they are all most intelligent and hardworking people having a stake in the country. I know there are a large number of caretakers, washerwomen, and others, and probably they are the people hon. Members below the Gangway would like to appeal to. I know that there are great anomalies in our electoral system, and I know there are arguments to be used against plural voting, and they have already been used. I know that a man who possesses £100,000 worth of property in one county may have only one vote, whereas a man with ten properties worth £1,000 each in different constituencies gets ten votes. I do not understand the illustration which has been given of a landowner owning two counties having only one vote, because, unless he was a peer, he would have two votes. No doubt anomalies do exist, but that is no reason why you should create further anomalies.
What is the reason for the plural vote? It is the outcome of the old Liberal 1756 doctrine that representation and taxation should go together. Where a man had a property in a particular constituency or county on which he paid rates and taxes he was entitled to a vote, and that has been the whole foundation of the matter. Why should that foundation be altered? I know this sentiment will not be received with universal approbation, but I think that a man who has succeeded in life and who by his own industry, brains, and talents has acquired one property in one county and another property in some other county is entitled to be represented in both places. Even if he has succeeded to a property, and has been wise enough to preserve it and not dissipate it in extravagance and riotous living, he also is entitled to a vote in each constituency in which he has property. I think you secure a better representation in the interests of the country if you allow the people who have a stake and interest in the country to have a preponderance of voting power. I do not think the counting of heads is the only or the proper way to select representatives for this great assembly. There are other disadvantages connected with this Bill, and one is that it is a private Member's Bill which would automatically go upstairs to a Grand Committee. I remember when the late Sir Henry Camp-bell-Bannerman introduced this new rule, the question was asked what would happen if a franchise Bill was introduced by a private Member, and we were practially told that no Government would send a franchise Bill to a Grand Committee. I believe an Amendment was moved, and it was either refused or rejected on the ground that it was unnecessary. It so often happens that before a given event occurs we are told that if such a thing did occur of course the Government would do the right thing. I want to ask the hon. Member opposite whether he intends to move that this Bill be referred to a Committee of the Whole House?
§ Mr. HAROLD BAKER
If I have the opportunity I shall move, "That the Bill be committed to a Committee of the Whole House."
§ Sir F. BANBURY
That does not in any way alter my opposition. It will have this effect. If unfortunately the Second Reading of the Bill is carried, then everyone in this House will have an opportunity of expressing his opinion upon it, whereas if it goes to a Grand Committee upstairs it is evident only those Members who attend the Grand Committee will have the opportunity of expressing their opinions. It has been said, and I think with a certain amount of truth, that the Radical party have, always endeavoured in recent years to bring in a Bill of this sort, but to my mind they have never advanced any real argument in favour of it. All their arguments have been devoted to the fact that there is a certain class, which they call a privileged class, whose votes are generally given against them. Because of that, they are going to bring in a Bill which practically disfranchises one class only, and that class mainly consisting of their opponents. The Government are going to bring in a Bill which will deal with the whole question of the franchise and redistribution, or at least we suppose it will, and I should have thought it would have been better if the whole question had been left till then and had not been tinkered with in this particular manner. Apparently, we are not going to be allowed that privilege. I am totally opposed to this principle. I believe the old principle (hat the man who has property should be allowed to vote for it is the right one, and I believe it will be an evil day for the country when those men who have neither shown by their success in life, either in business or in any other branch of it, that they are capable of exercising the vote in a proper manner, are allowed to have the vote merely because they happen to have been called into the world.
§ Sir W. BYLES
I do not believe the attitude of the Opposition generally is the attitude which has been expounded by the hon Baronet who has just sat down. I have always understood that the Conservative party in this country was quite prepared for one man one vote, provided they could also get one vote one value. I have heard that argument and read of it as being used on the Tory platforms hundreds of times, and so far as this Debate has gone I have not heard anyone else hold the view which has been so boldly expressed by the last speaker, that the Tight to the franchise should rest upon property. I think that is pretty well 1758 expounded in our electoral system. The hon. Baronet admits there are many great anomalies in our electoral system, and I believe the party opposite are prepared to discuss one man one vote if they could also get one vote one value. I therefore hope they will at least give this Bill a Second Reading now the important fact has been brought out that it will be discussed in the Committee of the Whole House. I do not think the party opposite need object to it on Second Reading, seeing that it will be discussed in all its details by Members on both sides of the House. Perhaps I may be allowed to recall one personal reminiscence to justify at any rate my own strong support of this principle of one vote one value. In 1895 there was a General Election at which there was a great Tory revival. The Tory party came out with profuse promises of social reform, and they asked for a vote for an electoral system which would bring about one vote one value. At that election I was defeated in a very large constituency by a very narrow majority. There were 16,000 on the register, and 4,000 of them were property owners in adjacent towns, and they had already, three days before, registered their votes for their borough Member. Having elected their Member for their borough, they came into my Division and defeated me. I am quite certain that my opponent at that election, who is now again a Member of the House, although not for that constituency—I do not see him in his place—would acknowledge that he was elected by the plural vote, by the votes of men who had already registered their votes in an adjacent town. But for the plural vote he would not have-been elected for that Division. That convinced me of the injustice of the system. There are many fair-minded men on the other side, and I will put it to them, plainly, supposing it is established that a large majority, substantially, of the actual resident voters in the constituency desire A for their representative, is it not rather a hardship that B should be elected? I think that must be admitted by very many Members on the opposite side.
The principal argument that has been addressed to the House during this Debate—so far as I have been enabled to hear the Debate—has been that you ought not to introduce a partial reform of our electoral system, but that you ought to accompany it with a Redistribution Bill. That 1759 was the argument of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire (Mr. A. Chamberlain). He knows, and all experienced Members of the House know, that you must make two bites of the cherry. You cannot possibly get a vast scheme of electoral reform by one Bill. It has never been done, and it cannot be done, neither in electoral reform nor in other reforms. We have to be content with piecemeal reform. There are a great many other reforms which I would like to have seen dealt with in a more comprehensive manner, but reformers must be content with a little at a time. I am very glad my hon. Friend the Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) reminded the House that a Redistribution Bill is not to be counted upon by the Opposition as an asset of value only to them. I believe a Redistribution Bill, when it comes, will really give more seats to the Liberal party or Progressive party, because it is in places where there is a dense population that you generally have a progressive sentiment strongly. Therefore, I believe that in places with 10,000 and large populations we should have a large increase, if we lose in the small boroughs, which will be disfranchised. At any rate, I repudiate absolutely the notion which was the substance of the last speech, that the right to vote in this country should rest upon property. I think we have done with that. I think that men who have not large properties have nevertheless large stakes in the country, and are just as much entitled to express their view as to what Government they should live under as are the holders of broad acres. I would appeal once more to the whole House that they would at least give this Bill a Second Reading, and let the whole subject be debated on the floor of the House and thus, whether it be finally passed or not, it will bring forward into the public mind the justice and reality of the reform which is now proposed.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I should be willing to respond to the appeal the hon. Gentleman has just made if I did not think it could be clearly and conclusively shown that this Bill, so far from making our representative system a little better, would not only, according to the principles held on this side of the House, but according to the principles held on that side of the House, make our representative system positively worse. I think that can 1760 be shown, and I hope before I have finished to absolutely demonstrate it so that no one can dispute it. I should like to draw attention to a point that was made very early in the discussion. We have had an interesting Debate, and perhaps the most interesting thing that has been said is the observation of the hon. Member who seconded the Second Reading (Mr. A. Henderson), who said that although he supported this Bill he did not regard it as in any sense taking the place of the Bill promised by the Government, and he said that if this Bill were taken up by the Government he would still expect them to fulfil their pledge in respect to that. I think we ought to be told much more definitely than we have been told what the Government intend to do in the matter. Are we engaged upon an interesting, but, after all, academic disquisition on the principles of representation, or are we engaged on the first manœuvre to enable the Government to break their pledge without suffering electoral damage? Is this political disquisition or the first stage in a trick of legerdemain? That is a point which ought to be cleared up. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Pease) said the Government had not considered the Bill. That may very possibly be so. No doubt the Government have been very busy with other matters. But I should like to ask the Mover of the Second Reading whether he did not communicate with Members of the Government and consult with them before he elected to bring in the Bill.
§ Mr. HAROLD BAKER
I did nothing of the kind. I had no communication with any Member of the Government on the subject until after I announced that I intended to bring in a Plural Voting Bill.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I understand the hon. Member had the assistance of the Solicitor-General in drafting the Bill.
§ Mr. HAROLD BAKER
I had assistance volunteered from a great many quarters, and a great many Bills were offered to me, but I exercised a perfectly free right of choice, and the Bill was not in any way forced upon me.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
It was, as a matter of fact, drawn with the assistance of the Solicitor-General. I think that raises the presumption that in the mind, at any rate, of the Solicitor-General there was a possibility that the Government might take up the Bill at a later stage. They can only take the Bill up for one reason, that they 1761 do not propose to carry out the pledge which the Seconder intends to hold them to. I do not know how he intends to hold them to it. We often hear that the Labour party are going to do something very vigorous some day, but that day never comes. The Bill cannot possibly be taken up by the Government except for the motive that they intend to break the pledge which the hon. Member intends to hold them to. He occupies a rather strange position in seconding the Second Reading of the Bill. In vain, we are told, is the net spread in the sight of the bird. It is a stall greater refinement of folly to be actually engaged in making the net in sight of the bird. I quite believe the hon. Member can look after himself, but I think the advocates of Women's Suffrage have a great grievance in this matter. They are blamed, very properly, for the violence with which they advocate their cause, but is there a more provoking thing than to be encountered, not by a frank resistance, but by all those manœuvres behind the scenes by which the Government, in order to get themselves out of an awkward situation, propose to shelve their Bill and yet get this Bill, out of which they want to get electoral advantage. Is not that the sort of thing that drives these people to the courses of violence which we all regret? They will have the gravest cause of complaint if the Bill is taken up and if the Government Bill is shelved in order to get them out of the difficulties caused by the differences in their own ranks.
I agree with the hon. Gentleman (Sir William Byles) that I should not myself oppose this Bill on the ground of the claims of property to representation, but I think he has overlooked another and an independent ground for opposing the Bill, the ground of local representation. It is one thing to say that a man is not entitled to have two votes if he has more property than another, it is another thing to say a man who is a member of two local communities should not act as a member of each local community when it sends a Member to Parliament. That is the old theory, and I think it is quite true. Of course, there are cases where the thing has become an absurdity, and if this Bill only dealt with gross cases of that kind I could understand its advocacy. But the commoner case is the perfectly natural one. It is the case of a man who has a villa in the country and an office in the town. That man is a real member of two 1762 communities. He takes an interest in the local affairs of the place where his house is and in the place where his office is.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
That seems to me not unreasonable. He is taxed for both. He pays in the form of rates, and if any beneficent enterprise is undertaken he is applied to for a subscription. He lives in the fullest sense the life of the two communities, and I do not think it is unreasonable in that sort of case that he should have a vote for both communities. I am quite content, and I believe hon. Members on either side would be content, to adopt almost any principle that will be applied fairly and equitably against both political parties. What we protest against is that you apply the scheme just so far as suits your purpose and not an inch further. You may look on the representative system in two lights. You may think of a House of Representatives as being an assembly of persons elected to speak the mind of their constituents. I do not think that system can be made to work in theory. You get a mass of incongruities and absurdities. Still, it is what underlies a great many of the phrases which we use in this House, "a Member representing a constituency," and so forth. But the electoral system, as it is now, and as it would be under the Bill, grossly fails to be fair if you adopt that theory, because if that were the theory all the electors of the country are entitled to an equal right to be represented as by an ambassador or as by a delegate to this House, and not only are there all the anomalies to which attention has been called, but there is also the difficulty that the minorities in every constituency are not represented at all. In Salford there is a large Conservative minority. They are voiceless. There is no one to represent them. If you adopt the theory that everybody's voice is to be heard in this Assembly by an ambassador, you must have some redistribution of representation. You must have proportional representation. You must have some way of representing minorities as well as majorities. The Conservatives who live in the Salford Division have no representation at all. [An HON. MEMBER: "Liberals are not represented in other places."] That does not make it any better. The point is that there are great masses of unrepresented people on this theory of representation. Then you have I the theory that representatives in this 1763 House do not represent particular constituencies, but that they are chosen by particular constituencies to represent the whole country. That is, I believe, the ancient and sound principle of representation. It may be unintelligible to modern minds. We all recognise that when the Marylebone Cricket Club select a representative team it does not mean that the team represent a local club, but it means that they are chosen as the representatives of the best cricket in the country. And so Members of the House of Commons should be taken as representing the best men in the country. They are the commons of England by representation—the microcosm of the whole commonalty of the realm.
No doubt there are minor anomalies. It does not matter much whether the majority of the voters who elect Members are a larger number in one place and a smaller number in another if the result is good and if the House of Commons on the whole is a fair representation of the country. Here, again, you come to the advocates of proportional representation. What do they find as to the House of Commons as a whole? They find that it is grossly misrepresentative of the country as a whole. That is the most serious discrepancy as regards the present House of Commons. It has, or when it was elected it had a Liberal majority of 128, but on the principle of proportional representation it ought to have had only thirty-eight. What are you going to do? You are going to turn a majority of 126 into 150, while you ought to have only a majority of thirty-eight. You are going to make the representative system worse and not better. You are not going to make the House more representative. Of course, the reason why you are going to do it is that you are making a correction on one side and leaving an incorrect state of things on the other side. Everyone can understand that if there was put into your hand a credit and a debit account with inaccuracies on both sides, and you proceed to correct the account on the principle of correcting only one side and refusing to correct the other, you make the matter not better but worse, you make the mistakes greater than before. That is what you are doing. I really think it is one of the most shameless pieces of impudent gerrymandering. You are presenting a Bill which you know very well, and which avowedly, will give your- 1764 selves a great electoral advantage. The present system gives you an electoral advantage, and you are so unashamed that with this advantage that you already possess you come here and have the impudence to ask for an increase in that unfair advantage more favourable to unrepresentation and more in favour of your own foolish position. We ask that there should be fair play between the two parties, and that if you adopt the principle of proper representation you should carry it out in a logical and fair way. We shall resist to-night, and for the future, to the utmost of our power any attempt to correct anomalies in the electoral system dictated by purely partisan motives and which would make the net result no better, but worse.
§ Viscount HELMSLEY
I expected that in the course of the Debate we should have been favoured with a few remarks from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell), because as was mentioned earlier in the Debate to-day the Amendment moved to this Bill was taken almost word for word from the Amendment moved by him some years ago in this House. I think it would be especially interesting to observe the way in which he would have answered the questions put by the hon. Member for East Mayo. The right hon. Gentleman spoke in this House in 1892 on exactly the same Motion as we are discussing to-day. He said:—It cannot be more unfair to bring the Irish representation into harmony with the population of the country, than if they were to attempt to change the representation between England and Ireland, on a representation so flagrantly unjust.And later on he said:—It cannot be fair in the right hon. Gentleman's opinion to touch the representation of Ireland in the Circumstances. I hold it would be unfair and positively unjust to proceed to the discussion of any question involving the relations of Ireland and England with representation so flagrantly unjust to the Unionist party as it is at present.I must confess I had hoped, before the Debate concluded, we should have had some observations from the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 224; Noes, 146.1767
|Division No. 29.]||AYES.||[5.0 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)||O'Dowd, John|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Ogden, Fred|
|Adamson, William||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||O'Grady, James|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Helme, Norval Watson||O'Malley, William|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Higham, John Sharp||O'Shaughnessy, P, J.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Hinds, John||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Alden, Percy||Hodge, John||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Holmes, Daniel Thomas||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Holt, Richard Durning||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||Pointer, Joseph|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick)||Hudson, Walter||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Beale, W. P.||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)|
|Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts., St. George)||Johnson, W.||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Radford, G. H.|
|Black, Arthur W.||Jones, William Carnarvonshire)||Raphael, Sir Herbert Henry|
|Boland, John Pius||Jowett, Frederick William||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Joyce, Michael||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Keating, Matthew||Reddy, Michael|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Kellaway, Frederick George||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Kemp, Sir G.||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar)||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Kilbride, Denis||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)|
|Cameron, Robert||King, J. (Somerset, North)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Lamb, Ernest Henry||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Lansbury, George||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Leach, Charles||Rowlands, James|
|Clough, William||Levy, Sir Maurice||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Lewis, John Herbert||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Compton-Bickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Lundon, Thomas||Samuel, J. (Stockton)|
|Cotton, William Francis||Lyeil, Charles Henry||Scanian, Thomas|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.|
|Crooks, William||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Crumley, Patrick||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||McGhee, Richard||Sheehy, David|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||MacNeill, John G. S. (Donegal, South)||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Delany, William||Macpherson, James Ian||Smith, H. B. (Northampton)|
|Devlin, Joseph||M'Callum, John M.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Dewar, Sir J. A.||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Dickinson, W. H.||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Dillon, John||M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Thomas, J. H. (Derby)|
|Doneian, Captain A.||M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Doris, William||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Duffy, William J.||Manfield, Harry||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Masterman, C. F. G.||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Meagher, Michael||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Essiemont, George Birnie||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Wardie, George J.|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Menzies, Sir Walter||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Millar, James Duncan||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|France, Gerald Ashburner.||Molloy, Michael||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Gill, A. H.||Molteno, Percy Alport||Webb, H.|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Glanville, H. J.||Mooney, John J.||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Goldstone, Frank||Muldoon, John||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Neilson, Francis||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Nolan, Joseph||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Guiland, John W.||Norman, Sir Henry||Winfrey, Richard|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Hackett, John||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Young, William (Perthshire, E.)|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. H. Baker and Mr. Arthur Henderson.|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Baird, John Lawrence||Barnston, Harry|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Baicarres, Lord||Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. (Glouc. E.)|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Baldwin, Stanley||Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks|
|Astor, Waldorf||Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Beckett, Hon. Gervase|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Grant, J. A.||Mount, William Arthur|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Bigland, Alfred||Haddock, George Bahr||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Nield, Herbert|
|Boyton, J.||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington)||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Harris, Henry Percy||Paget, Almeric Hugh|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Helmsley, Viscount||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Burgoyne, Alan Hughes||Henderson, Major H. (Berkshire)||Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Campion, W. R.||Hill, Sir Clement L.||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Quilter, Sir William Eley C.|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Hoare, S. J. G.||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Cassel, Felix||Hohler, G. F.||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Horne, Wm. E. (Surrey, Guildford)||Remnant, James F.|
|Cator, John||Horner, Andrew Long||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Cave, George||Houston, Robert Paterson||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hume-Williams, Wm. Ellis||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath)||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Ingleby, Holcombe||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, E.)||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Chambers, James||Jessel, Captain H. M.||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Swift, Rigby|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Larmor, Sir J.||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)|
|Croft, Henry Page||Lee, Arthur Hamilton||Touche, George Alexander|
|Daiziel, D. (Brixton)||Lewisham, Viscount||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Dixon, Charles Harvey||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Fell, Arthur||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.)||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Mackinder, Halford J.||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Macmaster, Donald||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Forster, Henry William||M'Calmont, Colonel James||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Gardner, Ernest||Magnus, Sir Philip||Younger, Sir George|
|Gilmour, Captain John||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry|
|Goldman, C. S.||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Major Morrison-Bell and Mr. Pollock.|
|Goldsmith, Frank||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas|
|Gordon, John (Londonderry, South)||Moore, William|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."1768
§ The House divided: Ayes, 223; Noes 142.1771
|Division No. 30.]||AYES.||[5.9 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Esslemont, George Birnie|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Farrell, James Patrick|
|Adamson, William||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Clough, William||France, Gerald Ashburner|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Gill, A. H.|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Gladstone, W. G. C.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Glanville, H. J.|
|Alden, Percy||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Cotton, William Francis||Goldstone, Frank|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Crooks, William||Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Crumley, Patrick||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward|
|Barnes, G. N.||Daiziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Griffith, Ellis J.|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick)||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Guest, Hon. Major C. H. C. (Pembroke)|
|Beale, W. P.||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Guiland, John William|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Delany, William||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Devlin, Joseph||Hackett, John|
|Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts., St. George)||Dewar, Sir J. A.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Dickinson, W. H.||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Dillon, John||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds.)|
|Boland, John Pius||Doneian, Captain A.||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire).|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Doris, William||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Duffy, William J.||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar)||Elibank, Rt. Hon. Master of||Helme, Norval Watson|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Higham, John Sharp|
|Cameron, Robert||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Hinds, John|
|Hodge, John||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Ree, Sir Thomas|
|Holmes, Daniel Thomas||Menzies, Sir Walter||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Millar, James Duncan||Rowlands, James|
|Horne, Charles Silvester (Ipswich)||Molloy, Michael||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Molteno, Percy Alport||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Hudson, Walter||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Hughes, S. L.||Mooney, John J.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Morgan, George Hay||Scanian, Thomas|
|Johnson, W.||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E.|
|Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Muldoon, John||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Joyce, Michael||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Sheehy, David|
|Keating, Matthew||Neilson, Francis||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Kellaway, Frederick George||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Kemp, Sir G.||Nolan, Joseph||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Norman, Sir Henry||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Kilbride, Denis||Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|King, J. (Somerset, North)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Lamb, Ernest Henry||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Thomas, J. H. (Derby)|
|Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Lansbury, George||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Leach, Charles||O'Dowd, John||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Ogden, Fred||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Lewis, John Herbert||O'Grady, James||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||O'Malley, William||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Lundon, Thomas||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Lyeil, Charles Henry||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Wardle, George J.|
|Lynch, A. A.||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|McGhee, Richard||Pointer, Joseph||Webb, H.|
|Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|MacNeill, John G. S. (Donegal, South)||Power, Patrick Joseph||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Macpherson, James Ian||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|M'Callum, John M.||Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Pringle, William M. R.||Wiles, Thomas|
|M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)||Radford, G. H.||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|M'Laren, Walter, S. B. (Ches., Crewe)||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Manfield, Harry||Reddy, Michael||Winfrey, Richard|
|Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Marks, Sir George Croydon||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Young, William (Perthshire, E.)|
|Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Masterman, C. F. G.||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. H. Baker and Mr. Arthur Henderson.|
|Meagher, Michael||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Chambers, James||Hill, Sir Clement L.|
|Archer-Shee, Major M.||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hill-Wood, Samuel|
|Astor, Waldorf||Courthope, George Loyd||Hoare, S. J. G.|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy|
|Baicarres, Lord||Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Horne, E. (Surrey, Guildford)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Craik, Sir Henry||Horner, Andrew Long|
|Banbury, Sir Fredrick George||Croft, H. P.||Houston, Robert Paterson|
|Barnston, Harry||Daiziel, Davison (Brixton)||Hume-Williams, W. E.|
|Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Giouc, E.)||Denniss, E. R. B.||Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath)|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Dixon, C. H.||Ingleby, Holcombe|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, E.)|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Fell, Arthur||Jessel, Captain H. M.|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Larmor, Sir J.|
|Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid.)||Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)|
|Boyton, James||Forster, Henry William||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Gardner, Ernest||Lee, Arthur Hamilton|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Gilmour, Captain John||Lewisham, Viscount|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Goldman, C. S.||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)|
|Burgoyne, Alan Hughes||Goldsmith, Frank||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Gordon, John (Londonderry, South)||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Campion, W. R.||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Grant, J. A.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)|
|Cassel, Felix||Haddock, George Bahr||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)||Mackinder, Halford J.|
|Cator, John||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Macmaster, Donald|
|Cave, George||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||M'Caimont, Colonel James|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford Univ.)||Harris, Henry Percy||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Helmsley, Viscount||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Quilter, Sir William Eiey C.||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Moore, William||Ratcliff, R. F.||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Remnant, James Farquharson||White, Major G. D. (Lancs, Southport)|
|Mount, William Arthur||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude|
|Newton, Harry Kottingham||Smith, Harold (Warrington)||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Spear, Sir John Ward||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Nield, Herbert||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Staveley-Hill, Henry||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Paget, Almeric Hugh||Swift, Rigby||Younger, Sir George|
|Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)||Talbot, Lord E.|
|Peto, Basil Edward||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Sanders and Major Henderson.|
|Pollock, Ernest Murray||Touche, George Alexander|
|Pretyman, Ernest George||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
Bill read a second time, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House for Monday next.