HC Deb 05 November 1912 vol 43 cc1060-131

(1) The Irish House of Commons shall consist of one hundred and sixty-four members, returned by the constituencies in Ireland named in the First Part of the First Schedule to this Act in accordance with that Schedule, and elected by the same electors and in the same manner as members returned by constituencies in Ireland to serve in the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

(2) The Irish House of Commons when summoned shall, unless sooner dissolved, have continuance for five years from the day on which the summons directs the House to meet and no longer.

(3) After three years from the passing of this Act, the Irish Parliament may alter, as respects the Irish House of Commons, the qualification of the electors, the mode of election, the constituencies, and the distribution of the members of the House among the constituencies, provided that m any new distribution the number of the members of the House shall not be altered, and due regard shall be had to the population of the constituencies other than university constituencies.


I beg to move, in Subsection (1), to leave out the words "same electors and" ["and elected by the same electors and in the same manner"], and to insert instead thereof the words "local government electors but otherwise."

The Amendment which I now submit proposes to substitute for the Parliamentary register the local government register for the election of members of the Irish Parliament. The effect of carrying the Amendment will be to give votes to women for the Irish Parliament. The Irish local government register is somewhat wider than the local government register in England and Wales. It is the Parliamentary register. That is to say, the local government register in Ireland is the Parliamentary register except as regards women voters. The effect of this Amendment, roughly, will be to give votes to women on precisely the same terms as to men. I may say at the outset that I do not move the Amendment in any hostile spirit or in any way as opposing Home Rule. I have so far, as have also the other Members whose names are associated with mine in this proposal, given consistent support to the Home Rule Bill. But I move the Amendment because I think that at a time like this, when the demand of women for enfranchisement is so widespread and urgent, it is impossible to let such an opportunity as this pass without endeavouring to secure for them representation in the Parliament now proposed to be set up in Ireland. Indeed, the surprise is rather that any attempt should be made in these days to set up a now representative authority and to exclude women from representation in that authority. I do not propose to advance any argument in favour of the abstract question of votes for women. I do not think it is necessary indeed to do so in a House of Commons containing more than 400 Members who are pledged to the principle of women's enfranchisement. I shall confine myself, therefore, strictly to the proposal contained in the Amendment, namely, the enfranchisement of women for the Irish Parliament.

In one sense the claim for the enfranchisement of women under this Bill is rather stronger than the general claim for their enfranchisement—that is to say, there are those who have objections to the enfranchisement of women for an Imperial Parliament like this, but who quite approve of the enfranchisement of women for subordinate Parliaments and for local government authorities. My hon. Friend, for instance, the Member for the Bridgeton Division (Mr. MacCallum Scott), has only one objection to the enfranchisement of women for the Imperial Parliament, and his objection is that he thinks the exercise or control of political power should be in the hands of those who would have to exercise physical force in cases of necessity. Then there are those who object to the enfranchisement of women for this House because this House is concerned with great Imperial questions and with the control of the Army and Navy. Indeed, the hon. Member who moved the rejection of the Women's Franchise Bill in the early part of this Session said that if it were a pro- posal for giving votes to women for local Parliaments—that is to say, in England, Scotland, or Ireland—then his attitude might be considerably modified. I submit that the Parliament it is proposed to set up in Ireland is one to which none of these questions are delegated. The Irish party in the Irish Parliament will have no control of Imperial affairs. It will have nothing whatever to do with the Army or the Navy. Its only control over physical forces will be the same that is possessed by the municipalities of this country; that is to say, the control of the police. Indeed, there is no vital or fundamental difference between the functions proposed for the Irish Parliament and the functions of a big municipality. The hon. Member for Cork (Mr. T. M. Healy) yesterday said that this new Parliament was not a Parliament—that the work of this Parliament would be concerned with the daily life and the daily needs of humble and poor people. The London County Council looks after the daily lives and the daily needs of a population 50 per cent, larger than the population of Ireland. The local government authorities, therefore, in which women have a part in local government, deal with revenues amounting to £100,000,000 a year, about 60 per cent, of which is raised by taxation.

This Irish Parliament, too, would have to deal with the administration of those matters which vitally affect the industrial population of the country and the lives of the people. We decided a week ago, without qualification, that these matters should be left to the Irish Parliament. That is work in which women are very deeply and vitally interested. I submit, therefore, that the free participation of women in local administration, and the privilege of inviting women to take part in the election of local representatives, is an analogy which is very close indeed. This position, indeed, appears to have been accepted by His Majesty's Ministers, for in 1907, when the Chief Secretary for Ireland introduced the Council Bill, he proposed that women should take part in the election of the representatives on the council. The Chief Secretary on that occasion said:— The elective members of the council will be elected by the local government electors in the constituencies set out in a Schedule to the Bill. …. I should be sorry if women were not allowed to take part in any good work which may be within reach of anyone in their country. I hope when the right hon. Gentleman speaks in the Debate he will tell the House that he still holds the view he expressed five years ago, and that he will be sorry if this Home Rule Bill were passed and no opportunity given to women to take part in the government of their own country. At a later period the right to take part in local government, and even in such local government as is proposed to be conferred on Ireland by this Bill, was recognised by two other Members of the Government. The First Lord of the Admiralty, in the sensational speech he delivered in Dundee a few weeks ago, when he submitted his proposals for a number of subordinate Parliaments, said that here would be a splendid opportunity for the exercise of women's activities. The Lord Chancellor, speaking just about a year ago, gave expression to an opinion of a similar character. He said:— Suppose devolution takes place … It is now taking place. Suppose Imperial affairs are left to the Imperial Parliament, and local matters affecting Scotland, England and Wales are to be left to local Parliaments, are you to exclude women from these local Parliaments, which are not concerned with the Imperial Army and Navy? You cannot do it consistently after what you have done about local government and education. 4.0 P.M.

Therefore we have the express support of three Members of the present Government for my Amendment. It is important to remember that we are setting a precedent, and that if we pass this Home Rule Bill excluding women's representation it will be quoted when we come to deal with Scotland, Wales, and probably a half-dozen other sub-divisions of the country. What will happen if it is going to be left to each of these subordinate bodies to settle the question whether women should have representation or not? It means that the women's struggle is going to be carried on four, five, six, or more times over. We have an illustration of that at this very moment in the United States of America, where to-day women are voting in six States for the election of President, while in the remaining forty-two States they cannot vote. The reason for this difference has been that this question has been left to the States themselves to settle and has not been dealt with by the federal Government. I hope, if you are going to embark upon a scheme of devolution in this country, that we shall not find such a difficulty as they now have to deal with in the United States of America. I now come to the question whether there is any demand in Ireland for such a policy as I now submit. Of course, I must admit there has not been that widespread agitation for Woman Suffrage in Ireland that there has been in other parts of the United Kingdom. The same thing applies to every other popular question in Ireland, because the activities of the Irish people have been absorbed in the one question of getting Home Rule. But notwithstanding that there is a Woman Suffrage movement in Ireland which is strongly supported. Quite recently a number of demonstrations—large, enthusiastic, unanimous, and representative have been held in Ireland. One was recently held in Dublin, and these societies were represented:—The Irish Women's Franchise League, the Irish Women's Suffrage Societies, Belfast, Bangor, and Derry, the Irish Women's Suffrage Federation, the Irish Women's Reform League, the Waterford Branch of the Franchise League, the Belfast. Women's Non-militant Suffrage Society, the Suffrage Societies of Lisburn, Armagh, Newry and Warrenpoint, the Irish League of Women's Suffrage, London, and then a name which I will not attempt to pronounce because it is written in Irish, and the Irish drapers' assistants, from which delegates were present.

We shall probably be told in the course of this Debate that if there is a Woman Suffrage movement in Ireland it is confined to Dublin, yet here is this demonstration which had delegates from the counties Tipperary, Galway, Mayo, Wicklow, Sligo, Westmeath, Clave, Roscommon, Kilkenny, Kerry, Louth, and Waterford. The organised Labour movement in Ireland has unanimously passed a resolution in favour of the extension of the franchise to women in Ireland, and, even more important as being an expression representing Irish opinion, the County Councils of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, and Galway, all Nationalist bodies, have passed resolutions asking the extension of the Parliamentary franchise to women. In addition to that the City Councils of Dublin, Cork, and Limerick have done the same, but the City Council of Dublin has done more than that. Eighteen months ago the Lord Mayor of Dublin, the Town Clerk, and members of the Corporation of Dublin came to the Bar of this House. So enthusiastic are the City Corporation of Dublin about this question that they sent the Lord Mayor and his friends to this House to urge the passing of a law at once giving a measure of enfranchisement for Irish women and the women of the United Kingdom. I hope that the Committee will permit me to read two or three para- graphs from the petition which was then presented to this House, because they state the case so well for the enfranchisement of Irish women, and the general argument for the enfranchisement of women so sensibly, that it is much better than anything which I shall be able to say. The petition says, that the petitioners— desire to express their earnest hope that the present, disabilities under which the Parliamentary franchise is withheld from women in the United Kingdom may be removed. That numbers of women taxpayers subject to such disabilities are resident in the City of Dublin and elsewhere in Ireland. I may interpose this remark, that, so far as I can calculate if my Amendment is carried, it would enfranchise about 100,000 women. There are about 700,000 local government electors of whom about 100,000 are women Of these no fewer than 70,000 are women who are owning and managing their own farms and who have all the responsibilities of men in the same position. The petition goes on— that vast numbers of women, owing to the completely changed conditions of modern life, as compared with the former order of things, have been forced into the domain of competitive employment, and they are compelled to take their part in the struggle for life, and are consequently as much concerned in the influencing of legislation as men. That, as the Legislature has already conceded the municipal franchise to women in the United Kingdom, the further concession to women of the Parliamentary franchise seems but an act of natural justice whereby the may be enabled to bring about reforms affecting women as a class. That the legislation heretofore enacted in the direct interests of women has only partly dealt with their grievances, and leaves much to be done to place them on a plane of social and economic equality with men. That legislation intended to meet the growing social and economic needs of women cannot be framed so as to be useful or effective while women are debarred from exercising the Parliamentary franchise, and that by the removal of existing disabilities your honourable House would be enabled to ascertain the legislative needs of women better than under present conditions."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th May, 1911, cols. 1529–1530.] It may be asked, what about the opinion of the representatives of Ireland in this House? In 1911 when the Women's Franchise Bill was voted upon, only nine members of the Irish Nationalist party voted against it. With regard to the vote in the early part of this year, I am quite sure that it will not be denied by the Irish party that the Irish vote then given was not given at all on the merits of Woman Suffrage. It was given out of consideration for Home Rule, and therefore we are justified in thinking that the opinion of the Irish representatives on this question was given when their votes were taken directly upon it, and when only nine Nationalist Members voted against it. Now the Irish Nationalist Members either represent Ireland or they do not. Surely they are not going to say flat when there was a clear issue in this House, and the majority of them voted in favour of it, they were not voting as representing what they believed to be the opinion of the Irish people?


How many voted in favour of it?


Only nine voted against it. The Irish party I believe on that occasion contributed a larger percentage in favour of it than any other party in this House except the Labour party. What has the suffrage movement in Ireland done? It has united women of all creeds and of all parties. We had Protestant and Catholic women, Nationalist and Unionist women, all joined together in demanding enfranchisement after the Home Rule Bill has become law. Now I wish to touch upon a matter which I am quite sure will be raised later in this Debate. It will be put forward no doubt that this is a matter which ought to be left to the Irish Parliament. But we are setting up a Constitution for Ireland. What is the aim of the Constitution? We are trying to frame and to get a representative Government for Ireland. This House has certain duties and responsibilities from which it cannot divest itself. It is the duty of this House in setting up a Constitution to sec that every class and every interest in Ireland is represented, protected and safeguarded by the provisions of the Constitution. The greater part of the discussion which so far has taken place on this Home Rule Bill has been with regard to safeguards under the Bill. The hon. Member for Waterford has stated more than once that he would be prepared to grant safeguards to any dozen men in Ireland who felt that they needed safeguards for the protection of their interests, but is it only the interests of men which have to be safeguarded?

We are proposing to consider the interests of every little section and every small body of men, yet in Ireland you have a majority of women and there is to be no safeguard whatever for them in this Bill. They are to be, to use a phrase of the Bill, a transferred service. They are not considered to be so important as the Post Office Savings Bank. The Government will not trust the Irish people with the management of the Post Office Savings Bank, but they will trust the Irish Parliament with the control of nearly two millions of women. This is to be a transferred service. It is placed in the same category as drainage and the Congested Districts Board. Women under this Bill are to be placed in the same category and are to be regulated in the same way as swine fever and foot-and-mouth disease. The last shred of justification for leaving this question for settlement by the Irish Parliament disappears when the announcement was made, with regard to the election of the Senate last week. Surely, if we have a right to say that Ireland shall not determine the constitution of her Senate, we have a right to say what franchise shall be adopted, at any rate as a beginning, for elections to the Irish Parliament. This is not really a question of leaving it to the Irish Parliament at all. We cannot leave it to the Irish Parliament. We are setting it up up and what we are doing is to depart from precedent. The precedent is the adoption of the local government franchise, but we therefore are imposing upon Ireland a franchise which is not suitable to the kind of government we are setting up. As soon as we have finished the various stages of this Bill we are going to take up the consideration of a franchise Bill. That franchise Bill applies to Ireland as well as to other parts of the United Kingdom, and, of course, we must assume that both the Home Rule Bill and the Franchise Bill are going to be passed, and, if they be, then the Franchise Act is going to apply to Ireland after the Irish Parliament has been set up. The Irish Parliament is to meet in 1913, and the Franchise Act is to come into operation in 1914. Therefore, what we are going to do is to leave the Irish Parliament to settle their own affairs after three years, and then twelve months after the Irish Parliament is assembled the Act of Parliament passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom is to come into operation and alter the Irish franchise for the election of subsequent Irish Parliaments. Therefore your position is altogether untenable and illogical and inconsistent, and leaving it to the Irish Parliament means that you are going to make the Irish party settle their own franchise and let the Irish party settle the franchise of the United Kingdom. As a matter of fact, if it had not been for the vote given by the Irish Nationalists in the early part of this Session, in all human probability we should have had votes for women for the constituent parts of the United Kingdom. Therefore, the Nationalist party can really determine what the franchise shall be in the United Kingdom. They are going to have power to do that even when they get Home Rule, for there will still be forty-two Irish Members in this House, and it is not at all an improbable assumption that such a number of Members will be able to sway the balance upon this and other important questions in the future. Therefore I submit to you that on this point there is not a shred of logic or of reason in the contention that this question ought to be left to the Irish Parliament. We cannot divest ourselves of responsibility in this matter.

There are two other matters to which I wish to refer. The first three years of the Irish Parliament will be important. The hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) yesterday referred to questions such as social reform, housing, and the like, to be dealt with in the early years of the Irish Parliament. Surely those are questions with which women are entitled to deal. Irish Nationalists who are democrats certainly ought to agree that the Irish Parliament should be representative of all those whose interests may be affected by their legislation. It is important that the right trend should be given to Irish social legislation. As soon as the Irish Parliament is set up, whether they believe it or not at present, they will discover that there is a very strong feeling on this subject in Ireland, and if it were settled now it would relieve the Irish Parliament of a good deal of anxiety during the first three years. I submit that for these reasons they ought to support this Amendment. Indeed, Home Rule is a misnomer so long as those who manage home affairs have no part whatever in Home Rule. Ireland has a proud record in the past in regard to her treatment of women. Ireland threw open her colleges and schools of surgery to women in this country when they were denied entrance to the surgery schools here. Trinity College gave degrees to the women of Oxford and Cambridge when they were denied degrees at those universities. I hope Irish Members are not going to stop there, and that they are not going to sully their proud record by refusing this Amendment at a time when their long-cherished desire is going to be realised, and will not deny women a share in the consummation of this long struggle. Women have fought side by side with the men in their struggle for Home Rule, and I am sure that Irish Members will be the first to show some gratitude for the great services the women of Ireland have rendered to the Nationalist movement. This Bill should be a democratic Bill, and every section of Ireland should be represented. If my Amendment be not incorporated in the Bill, then it is not a Home Rule Bill, and the Irish Parliament cannot have the advantage which it ought to have, so long as half the population is totally unrepresented.


I, like some of my colleagues sitting upon this bench, certainly should like to see the principle of Woman Suffrage cautiously introduced into our electoral system, and I confidently look forward very soon to have an opportunity of giving effect to my moderate and sensible views on this subject in the Lobby of this House. But we here, this afternoon, are on Clause 9 of this Government of Ireland Bill, and I should like to ask the Committee most carefully to remember that by the provisions of the Bill the Irish electoral roll will be the same as that of Members returned by the constituencies to the Imperial Parliament. That is a matter which I want to bring home to the minds of everybody in the Committee. Before many weeks are over we shall in the Imperial Parliament, in which the Irish Members are fully represented, have an opportunity, quite free from any entanglement of Home Rule or anything else, free also from what many people find trying to them, the crack of the party Whip, to decide for ourselves, one way or the other, upon a variety of questions connected with Woman Suffrage on the floor of this House. My hon. Friend below the Gangway, who has just delivered one of his well-knitted and closely reasoned speeches, referred to opinion in Ireland—Irish opinion is reflected by the representatives from Ireland, whether they sit above or below the Gangway opposite—and I may say, with the most perfect truth, that there is a great body of opinion in Ireland in favour of some measure such as he proposes. I hardly know that I should be authorised or justified from my knowledge to say exactly to what extent, but there is a large body of opinion in Ireland in favour of the principle of Woman Suffrage. [An HON. MEMBER: "No."] There is undoubtedly, unless all means of expounding opinion are, worthless—which really sometimes is almost brought home to my mind—unless what are called the ordinary channels, and indeed channels of communication at all, are not to be relied upon, I say unhesitatingly there is a body of opinion, I do not say how large, in favour of some measure of Woman Suffrage.

The hon. Member went on to say that there are a number of Irish Members below the Gangway, and I daresay above it also, who are themselves in this House advocates of some measure of Woman Suffrage. They will have, then, in a few weeks' time the opportunity to which I have referred of settling what the electoral roll is to be of the Imperial Parliament, and under the provisions of Clause 9, whatever decision we come to on that matter, automatically and at once, becomes the governing decision of the electoral roll of the Irish Parliament. Therefore, when we settle this question in a few weeks' time, we shall be settling it with the full knowledge that when the Home Rule Bill passes, anything we introduce by way of extending the suffrage to women will be the prerogative of Irish women, just as much as of those who are in England, Scotland, or Wales. The electoral roll will become augmented and increased by the addition of women to it. When we decide this question, then we shall be deciding it, not only for this country, not only for Scotland and Wales, but for Ireland, who will still have forty-two Members in the Imperial Parliament—we will settle it for the Irish Parliament itself. If, on the other hand, the opponents of Woman Suffrage should succeed—and I trust they will not—in preventing an amendment of the law, and in excluding altogether women from a moderate or extended franchise and from the operations of our electoral system, then the Irish Parliament would be in a better position than we should be in England, because, after three years, they will be able themselves, if they are so minded, and after the experience which they have gained, to add women to their electoral roll.

The question therefore we have now to consider is whether it is reasonable and just at this moment, having regard to the complicated questions which await decision en the floor of this House, and will carry with them the consequences I have referred to, to proceed to adopt the Amendment of my hon. Friend. Somewhat reluctantly I am most clearly of opinion that we ought to do nothing of the kind, and that we should allow this question to remain over for a short time to be decided on, the floor of this House, and Irish opinion in the North and South and East and West will be represented here, and Irish representatives, voting free from any party ties or other obligations, will be perfectly able to express the opinions they entertain as to this matter. Some, I know, are for it and some against it, but they will have that opportunity. Whatever this House decides with reference to our electoral roll will be binding under Clause 9 on the Irish Parliament and its electors. I do not think my hon. Friend can rely very much upon the dates that he put forward. I do not think we are in a position at the present moment to assign any date, whether 1913 or 1914, to the passing of this particular measure under discussion at the present time. I do not think that the question of date enters very materially into our consideration; but a discussion of this matter, with a full representation of Irish opinion, which I quite agree is of the utmost importance, will be obtained in this House in a very short time. That is my reason for thinking that the Government do well to resist the Amendment of my hon. Friend.

The hon. Member referred to the Irish Council Bill, and he quoted some language of mine. Of course, I do not withdraw from that language in any sense or way; not to have included Woman Suffrage in such a measure as the Council Bill would have been a retrograde step; it would have been to deprive women of the power they possess in matters of administration, and it would certainly have been a course for which I personally would never have made myself responsible. We were not then dealing with a legislative assembly or an assembly with any powers to make laws whatsoever, and therefore as women were already on the plane of recognition by common con sent and without controversy they were included. I go further in that direction, and would include women to a certain extent for legislative purposes. In the Council Bill we did not ask this House to alter its mind in any shape or way on the question of Woman Suffrage for legislative questions, but I felt perfectly justified and indeed bound, not to exclude the local government female voter from a measure which had nothing whatever to do with legislation. It was entirely confined to administrative functions. I do not want in any way to forestall the Debate which will come on on the Franchise Bill when the whole House, and all parts of the House, and the Irish Members as well as all others, will have their opportunity of expressing their opinions. I do say that now at this moment to introduce into this measure a kind of preliminary canter as to what our opinions may be on female suffrage, is an unwise and inequitable proposal, and one we should do well to reject In saying that I leave the whole question open, and I am sure we shall all rejoice when the great question of Woman Suffrage in its various shades and divisions comes on to be further discussed and voted on in a free House of Commons by all the representatives of the different nationalities who compose it. The Government cannot therefore accept this Amendment.


I rise with the very greatest pleasure to support this Amendment. I must confess the arguments of the Chief Secretary do not impress me as either logical or appropriate to the question under discussion. After all we are an Imperial Parliament, and we have now to decide what form of Constitution we should delegate to Ireland. There are 103 Irish Members in this House, and the question before us is one which we cannot decide apart from Ireland, and on which the voice of Ireland will be heard. It is a question on which responsibility attaches to Ireland with England and the other parts of the United Kingdom. I think, believing as I do in Woman Suffrage, that those of us who are in favour of it ought to vote for this Amendment. If any Member is in favour of Woman Suffrage, it seems to me he is bound to consider his responsibility in the matter, and to consider whether in drawing up a Constitution for Ireland he ought to embrace this power of giving to Ireland's women the right to vote equally with men. As I believe in Woman Suffrage, I feel bound to support this Amendment. Apart from the question of responsibility, there is the other question of tactics on the part of the Irish party. I desire to make an appeal to the Irish party on this occasion. I observe that the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. J. Redmond) is present, and I appeal to him or to any other representative Irishman as to what is their attitude with regard to this question of Woman Suffrage. If he or any other Member of the Irish party can assure this House that when the time arrives to which the Chief Secretary has alluded, namely, the greater question of the Franchise Bill, that the Irish party will approach this question quite unfettered, and that they will discuss it on its merits, and, as we believe the majority of the Irish Members are in favour of Woman Suffrage, that they will be free to express their views and give their votes on that occasion, that I believe would certainly reassure a very considerable number of Members on this side of the House.

I was very glad to note the enthusiastic support of the Chief Secretary to the principle of Woman Suffrage, and I hope that we will hear his voice as well as have his vote when the occasion arises. I say again if the Irish Party will assure this House now that they will come to this question, as I believe they will, with some regard to the merits of the question itself, that I think I would go a long way to reassure hon. Members on this side. What can be their object in opposing Woman Suffrage? I apprehend that the only opposition on the part of the Irish party is that they believe in some way or another their attitude with regard to Woman Suffrage will endanger Home Rule. I believe that I am right in that assumption, and possibly some Member of the Irish party later on will inform me whether I am right or not. That is to say, that their action both to-day and later on will be governed by the consideration whether by supporting Woman Suffrage they will advance Home Rule or retard it. I submit, particularly on this Amendment, they ought not to be governed even by that consideration, because this is essentially a local matter. It is an Amendment which ought to command the support of a very considerable number of Members on both sides of the House who may perhaps object to Woman Suffrage on the larger scale, but who may support it on this Amendment. Therefore, I hope that the Irish Members to-day will not allow any ideas with regard to Home Rule to govern their procedure, but will vote on the merits of this Amendment, namely, as to whether they believe in granting to Ireland the right of women to take part in the government of local affairs or not. The hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Snowden), in Ins very able and closely reasoned speech, as the Chief Secretary described it, showed us that this was a very essential matter for Irish women. The questions which are to be discussed by the Irish Parliament will be largely of a local and domestic character. We know that there are some two million women in Ireland, and that this proposal will enfranchise at least one hundred thousand. What is more natural than that in giving to Ireland a Constitution we should have some regard for the important part which women play in the composition of that country?

To revert to the question of the attitude of the Irish Members, while I agree that a great deal will depend to-day on which decision they take up on this question, I would submit that in voting against Woman Suffrage they are doing something which I believe, far more than they themselves imagine, although I pay my tribute to their great Parliamentary skill and ability, will raise an enemy to the cause of Home Rule which they have little idea of. They do not understand the feeling in this country with regard to this question. For the moment the more militant sections are quiescent, and a large number of other women are hoping against hope that possibly this Parliament, which, as has been pointed out, contains406 supporters of Woman Suffrage, may have the great honour and distinction of granting the Parliamentary franchise to women. If the Irish party to-day use their votes to bring about a defeat of this Amendment, and if they use their influence and vote to defeat the greater Amendment when it comes before this House later on, then I believe that they are doing and will be doing an act which, more than anything else, may retard the great ideal and great hope which they have with regard to Home Rule. The Irish party may say, How do you reconcile or make that statement? I submit if Home Rule passes—that is, if this Bill is passed and sent to the Lords, and if the Franchise Bill is passed and also sent up there, and if this Amendment is defeated, and if the greater Amendment is also defeated, that you will create, of course, as every hon. Member must know, a great body of exasperation, discontent, and unrest, among the women, not only of Ireland, but of the United Kingdom. If those scenes of which we have had experience in the past are repeated, and if Ministers of the Crown are subjected to those indignities and those outrages which we all deprecate, and which certainly no one could for a moment excuse, then those who believe in Woman Suffrage will naturally say that that intolerable state of affairs cannot continue, and people will ask: What is the real cause of the disturbance? They will in that way come to the real root cause, and if they believe in Woman Suffrage they will say, For Heaven's sake, why not grant it?

I believe, further, by such action, you will lay the foundation of a feeling which will make itself so felt in this House in the intervening two years that have to elapse before Home Rule and the Franchise Bill are passed, that a great many things may happen. Therefore, if through your action you create the discontent and dissatisfaction and unrest leading to disturbances and outrages, you are bound to have a great deal of unrest. The ordinary man, perhaps, does not feel it one way or the other, but he docs believe in dignified and orderly government, and if he observes that Ministers of the Crown are not heard with respect he resents that, because he believes the Ministers of the State should be treated with proper respect by the citizens, irrespective of their political opinions. Therefore I submit if those outrages continue, and if that unrest and undignified proceedings throughout the country continue, they will generate an opinion which will be felt in this House, and which may lead to an adverse vote here. Therefore I appeal to the Irish party that though by their action they may think they are advancing Home Rule, they may be doing the very worst thing they could do for the advancement of that cause. I therefore ask the Irish Members to weigh well their votes on this occasion. It has been pointed out that the great majority of the Irish votes are in favour of Woman Suffrage, and particularly in favour of Woman Suffrage for their own local affairs. It is on that ground that I hope they will recognise that not only does this question deserve their votes and their support, but even also in the interests of Home Rule, which I know they put first and foremost, they should give the Amendment of my hon. Friend their most hearty support.


I desire to say a very few words before this Debate comes to a close in order to explain the vote which I am going to give. In the first place allow me to say that the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Snowden) did not at all mean in proposing his Amendment any hostility to Home Rule, because we recognise thoroughly that amongst those who have ardently supported the cause of Home Rule the hon. Member for Blackburn has been always foremost. Therefore, his action will not be taken as meaning any hostility to Home Rule, but will be taken rather as an indication of the keen and consistent interest which he has always manifested in the movement for Woman Suffrage. I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman who spoke last rather relied in his speech somewhat on a tone which might perhaps be interpreted by some as meaning a threat towards those who are interested in Home Rule, if they did not support the Amendment which is now before the House. The hon. Gentleman laid some stress upon the consequences which would be likely to follow to the Home Rule movement in case an adverse vote were given en this occasion. I am sure the hon. Gentleman himself, who is such a good and tried friend of the Irish people, will recognise that an argument of that kind is the very last argument to appeal to Irishmen. Therefore, I am sure the hon. Gentleman really did not intend that part of his argument in that direction. I do not for a moment waver in the support which I have consistently given all through my life in this House to the movement to confer the franchise on women. It is considerably over twenty-five years ago since I first gave a vote in this House in favour of Woman Suffrage, and anything I have been able to do in support of that movement, inside and outside the House, I have been glad to do. Therefore I am sure the hon. Member for Blackburn and his Friends will recognise that in the attitude which I personally take up on this occasion I am actuated, not in the least degree by any desire to retard Woman Suffrage, but, on the contrary, by the firm opinion that to attempt to confer the franchise upon women by the method of this Amendment would not be successful, and would tend to prejudice the ultimate success of the movement.

What view do I, as a consistent supporter of Woman Suffrage, take on this matter? I say that this question of all questions ought to be left to the decision of the Irish people themselves. The hon. Member for Blackburn entered into some calculations as to the exact strength of Irish opinion for and against Woman Suffrage. He gave the number of votes cast against the Conciliation Bill of last year, and said also, quite truly, that a large number of Members voted in its favour. I am not prepared to gauge exactly the strength of the opinion on this question in Ireland or in the ranks of the Irish party. I am not prepared to say upon which side the balance rests, but that there is a very strong division of opinion cannot be denied. I say that the matter should be left to the Irish people, in the confident belief that an Irish Parliament would take the earliest opportunity to confer the franchise upon women. I endorse to the fullest extent everything the hon. Member for Blackburn said as to the advisability of allowing women to take a full share in all those matters of the government of the people which will be within the scope of the Irish Parliament under the provisions of this Bill; but I cannot altogether agree with him that it is the business of this House, when framing a Constitution for Ireland, to settle matters of franchise. I may be wrong, but my recollection at the moment is that in every one of the Constitutions framed by this House for the various self-governing portions of the Empire, matters of franchise, and particularly this very question of conferring voting powers upon women, have been left to the local Parliaments themselves. Throughout the length and breadth of Australia to-day women have the power to vote at elections, and that power was conferred by the various Parliaments of Australia one ofter another. It was not settled by this House, and I believe it would have been considered by the people of those States an improper thing if a matter of this kind had been settled by this House irrespective of the opinion of the people of the States. The Parliaments of Australia and other self-governing States were given the right to deal with this question, and they have dealt with it. I submit that the proper and consistent course to-day is to follow the precedents and to do what was done when establishing Parliaments in every other portion of the Empire.

The hon. Member for Blackburn said that there might be some complication if the Franchise Bill became law with the Woman Suffrage Amendment embodied in it, and if this Bill became law, without the present Amendment being adopted. I do not enter into any speculation as to the exact date when either this Bill or the Franchise Bill will actually become law; but I submit to the hon. Gentleman and his Friends that it is upon the Franchise Bill that the real opportunity will come of giving a full and free vote upon the merits of the question. I do not believe for a single moment that when the Division is taken this evening the votes of hon. Members will be confined at all to the merits of Woman Suffrage. Other motives will actuate many Members. It is because I believe that a vote taken this afternoon will prejudice and jeopardise the chances of an Amendment of this character being inserted in the Franchise Bill that I regret this Amendment of the hon. Member, though I fully appreciate the motive which has prompted his action. The Chief Secretary said that when the Franchise Bill is brought forward there will be a free and unfettered vote on the question of Woman Suffrage. That statement was received with some derision by Members of the Opposition. I really do not know why. As far as I understand, the position of the Prime Minister has always been quite clear and has never changed on this matter. As I understand, when the Woman Suffrage Amendment is proposed to the Franchise Bill, it will be loft absolutely freely to the decision of the House, the Government Whips will not be put on, and the question will be decided by the unfettered judgment of the Members of all parties.


Can the hon. Gentleman assure us that there will be no pressure put on the Irish Members themselves?


I am really at a loss to understand what exactly is meant by that question.


Will the same process take place as on the Conciliation Bill, when in consequence of the pressure put on Irish Members the Bill was lost?


As far as I know, there has never been any pressure put upon Irish Members in this matter. I do not know from what direction the pressure is supposed to come, but I can assure the hon. Member with absolute frankness that this question of the franchise for women has never within my recollection been made a party question with the Irish party. I am sure the hon. Gentleman will take that from me, in spite of the various rumours as to pressure which from time to time has been circulated. If the Franchise Bill is introduced, a Woman Suffrage Amendment proposed, and the Prime Minister adopts the course which he has always undertaken to adopt, of leaving the matter to the free and unfettered judgment of the House. I am quite sure that Members of the Irish party will approach the question on its merits. A vote will then be taken on the merits of the question, which, in my opinion, cannot be the case to-day. The hon. Member for Blackburn said that the Irish people had given a lead in their treatment of women in various directions. That is true, and we are very proud of it. That fact in itself is the very best guarantee that could be given that in this matter the Irish people are to be trusted to do what is broad-minded and liberal when the opportunity is afforded to them. I would most earnestly appeal to hon. Gentlemen opposite to recognise in this matter what is after all the very first principle of Home Rule. The Irish people are certainly the people to settle this question for themselves. There may be a very wide difference of opinion as to how the matter would be dealt with by an Irish Parliament, but personally I believe it would be anxious to enlist in its support and for the government of the country every possible help that could be obtained. It is my strong conviction that an Irish Parliament would speedily follow the example of the Australian Parliaments and confer the franchise on women. At any rate, it is eminently a question to be left to the Irish people themselves. If this were an attempt to confer the franchise upon the women of the United Kingdom generally, I could better understand it; but to select Ireland, and Ireland alone, does not seem to me to be quite consistent. If the Franchise Bill is so amended as to extend the franchise to women, it will operate in Ireland as in Scotland, Wales, and England. In my opinion it is not dealing quite fairly by the question—though I am sure the hon. Member for Blackburn means to be fair—to endeavour to have it introduced, as it were, by a side wind and applied to Ireland, and Ireland alone.

5.0 P.M.

I appeal most earnestly to hon. Gentlemen opposite to give me credit for some sincerity in this matter. I have supported the Woman Suffrage movement in season and out of season for a great number of years. I am still quite unshaken in my devotion to the principle. I think the case which has been made out is unanswerable. I appeal to hon. Members to recognise that the attitude taken up by Irish Members who hold my view—and of course they do not all feel the same way—is dictated by a strong feeling that more harm than good would be done to the movement by dealing with it in the manner suggested. Hon. Gentlemen opposite, who are far-sighted politicians, must realise that it is perfectly futile to expect that the Division to-night will be taken on the merits of the question. We heard last night, as we have heard before from the Opposition, speeches and declarations to the effect that they will vote for Amendments though they do not believe in them, in the hope that they will complicate the passage of the Home Rule Bill. Hon. Memvoted for proportional representation who did not in the least degree believe in that method of election. They did so frankly in order to embarrass the Government in reference to this Bill. Who can doubt—the hon. Member for Blackburn will be the last to do so—that at half-past seven this evening the same attitude will be adopted by large a number of hon. Members? The Division, whatever the result may be, will not and cannot be a true reflection of the opinion of hon. Members upon the question of Votes for Women. A number of votes will be given for the Amendment by Members who are actuated simply by a desire to complicate and retard the passage of the Home Rule Bill. It is for that reason that I regret very much that this question, to which the hon. Gentleman the Member for Blackburn and myself are, I may say, quite devoted, should be surrounded by an atmosphere of unreality, and should be attended by circumstances which make it quite impossible for a clear decision to be arrived at. I appeal to hon. Members opposite to recognise the principle of Home Rule in this matter; to trust the Irish people in this as in other matters, and to allow the Irish Parliament to deal with this question, as other Parliaments set up by this House in various portions of the Empire have dealt with it. I ask them to recognise that the vote taken will not by any means be a vote for or against the principle of Woman Suffrage, but it will be a vote complicated largely by a strong desire on the part of many Members to leave this essentially Home Rule question in Ireland to the settlement of the Irish people.

I hope the hon. Member for Blackburn, in the cause to which he is devoted, and which I think is a good cause, will not upon this occasion allow his opinions and those of his Friends to have a Division taken which will be no real Division, but will hamper Members when the proper time comes to decide this question upon the Franchise Bill; and that he will believe me when I say that on that Franchise Bill, and then only, will a real and fair and unfettered opportunity be given to get the true decision of this House upon the question of votes for women. If he takes that view he will not press his Amendment to a Division. If he does so, I regret it will not be in my power to support him, and that upon two grounds: First of all, I believe that this matter should really be left to the Irish Parliament. That is the precedent; that is what has happened in every other similar case. No Parliament has been established where this matter has been settled by this House. It has been left to the people of the various self-governing districts. On that ground first I oppose the Amendment; and, secondly I oppose it even more strongly on the ground that I am absolutely convinced that more harm than good will be done by a Division taken to-night to the cause to which the hon. Member and myself are devoted.

Mr. W. F. ROCH

I am sure many of us who are supporters of this Amendment are grateful to the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken when he said that he realised quite well that we who supported it wore not bad friends of Home Rule. I can assure him, speaking for myself, that I only support this Amendment and speak in favour of it because of my belief that the enfranchisement of women is as fundamental a justice as is the granting of Home Rule to Ireland. I will pass in a moment or two to the arguments he used. But I would just like to say a few words, and a few words only, about the arguments of the right hon. Gentleman, the Chief Secretary for Ireland. First of all, I am sure the supporters of Woman Suffrage are glad to recognise that his faith in their cause is still undimmed, and that he has again given expression to his well-known views, in spite of somewhat unkind treatment which has been meted out to him by a portion of the women. But now both he and the hon. Member who has just spoken will forgive me for saying that when they say they are going to support Woman Suffrage on some future occasion that that is a somewhat familiar argument. Their answer is always, "It is not thus or now." In the historic words of the Liberal party we must "Wait and See." The whole basis of the argument of the right hon. Gentleman and the whole basis of the argument of the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. W. Redmond) was based upon this. They both said that in a very short time, "a free opportunity will be given to you to settle this question." I venture to submit that if I am able to show that that is just what will not arise then the whole basis of their argument goes. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman opposite and the other Nationalist Members will forgive me if I say—and I do not wish to say anything unkind even if I may seem to say so—that the hon. Member has assured us of his undying faith in Woman Suffrage. On a critical occasion this Session, when his vote would have been of great value, and his support would not have boon an academic support, he and many of his friends from Ireland, who have been with us before, for some unknown reasons—they were not given expression to—were not found in the Division Lobby when the time came. The general argument put forward against this Amendment is that a free opportunity will be given us when the Franchise Bill comes on. But will it? As my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn pointed out, for three years the Irish Parliament has no power whatever to interfere with the existing franchise. Then comes the Franchise Bill, which will establish Woman Suffrage—the very thing which they are now opposing. I venture to say if the Irish Members are going to oppose Woman Suffrage now, can we, in spite of what they say, hope that they will vote for Woman Suffrage which will apply to them under the Franchise Bill, while they are against it at the present time? That is the very great difficulty which I am in. I support Woman Suffrage, and I support this Amendment. If the hon. Members are logical and say they will not have it now, but they will only support it with their votes on the Franchise Bill, they will probably interfere—if the Bill is to apply to Ireland—with the franchise being given to the United Kingdom.

That is the fundamental difficulty with which we are met. Speaking for myself, if that were removed, it might very much affect the view I have taken upon this Amendment. I said that I would say something to the Irish Members. We have some reason to doubt what may happen. I referred a moment ago to the Conciliation Bill of this Session when old Friends were not with us at a critical time. Why? There were some hon. Members of somewhat weak faith who, because windows were broken, broke their pledges by way of contrast. Other Members, also from Ireland, could not have been offended at the unorthodox way of carrying on agitation, for of all Members the Irish Members, in view of the history of their agitations, could not have been offended or insulted at windows broken. How did they behave? Every Member sitting as a Nationalist Member for an Irish constituency who was against Woman Suffrage voted against the Bill, whilst of those who were supposed to be in favour of the Bill not a single one was found in the Lobby! I say to the Irish Members any faith is quite as strong and undimmed in Irish Home Rule as it is in Woman Suffrage, but they will forgive mc for saying that they then played a selfish game. It is just as well to talk quite frankly and not to say one thing in the Lobby or the Smoking Room and to use soft words to the Irish Members in this House. They have played a selfish game. I can assure them, not by way of making any threats, that selfish games react upon the people who play them. I say the time has now come for the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Waterford to say quite faithfully that not only that this free opportunity will be given, but that when it is given to vote hon. Members opposite will not be away in Ireland attending to their farms and such like. I do think that we are entitled to be absolutely satisfied that these genuine supporters of the movement from Ireland will not fail us when the Women's Franchise Bill comes before the House. I have said these words perfectly candidly and freely, with no feeling of hostility, but saying exactly what I mean, and I think that I have put the point which is in the minds of a great many who are supporting this Amendment, with a view to, in fairness to us, to clearing up any bitterness that may have got into the Debate.


The discussion to which we have just listened throws a most interesting light upon the difficulties of the coalition. We have heard from the hon. Gentleman the Member for Clare a very conciliatory speech directed at the hon. Members on the opposite side. He said although he was still in favour of Woman Suffrage, on this occasion he would be unable to give his vote for it. In like manner he was opposed to the Budget, but was unable to vote—


Not at all, I was not opposed to the Budget.


I do not want to misrepresent the hon. Member, but certainly he has not heard the opinions of his constituents. He knows perfectly well that the community as a whole were opposed to the Budget. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Perhaps I am travelling a little wide of the mark, but the principle of hon. Members behind me and opposite seems to me is, "You scratch me and I'll scratch you." The hon. Member opposite, under the honeyed phrases with which he commenced his speech, hid the underlying bitterness which was in his heart. He remembered well that the hon. Member for Clare and his colleagues failed him on the occasion when he hoped that they would be in the Lobby to support him on the one subject on which he feels strongly. Now we know the log-rolling which goes on on both sides of the House. But I have only risen to say that I can support the Amendment. I can claim what a great many hon. Members who sit behind me cannot, that is consistency in this matter. I have either voted or paired in favour of Woman Suffrage on other occasions. I should like to urge upon the right hon. Gentleman opposite that this is an obvious farce. We all know perfectly well this Home Rule Bill is dead, and will never come to anything. May I therefore appeal to hon. Members opposite to vote logically on this question?

We have been told, to satisfy the fears of hon. Members and the people of this country, and also the apprehensions of Ulster, that this is not to be a great sovereign independent Parliament; it is merely going to be an Assembly for settling the local affairs of Ireland. We know perfectly well that in local assemblies women are allowed to vote. If this is going to be merely a deliberative local assembly why should not the women be allowed to vote? The hon. Member for Clare, for some reason best known to himself, was certainly rather apprehensive as to how his action was going to affect hon. Members opposite. He said: "Why not allow the Irish people to settle this in their own way when they have their Parliament?" If he and his friends represent anything do they not represent the Irish people; are they not perfectly well aware of the views of their constituents on this question, and is it not possible to put into this Home Rule Bill, into which already a great deal has been put, an Amendment that women shall or shall not be allowed to vote? I appeal to the House to vote according to-their consciences on this question, and to vote logically.


The most entertaining of the speeches we have listened to, certainly the most strange, is that which was delivered a few moments ago by the hon. Member for Clare. He has reiterated, I do not know really how many times, that he is entirely devoted to the principle embedded in the Amendment—which he is about to do his best to defeat! He said that for twenty-five years he has been a consistent supporter of Woman Suffrage, and he only deserts it now when the occasion arises that he might give some effect to his belief! He appears to me to be like that type of man of whom we have heard who is assiduous in his courtship until someone in authority asks him what are his intentions, and then he blushes and runs away. After all, the only sort of objection which we have heard urged to this Amendment from the Government, and from the hon. Member for Clare, representing the Nationalist party, is that this matter is a matter which should properly be left to be determined by the Irish Parliament. If I understand aright the speech of the Chief Secretary his contention has entirely gone by the board, because the right hon. Gentleman pointed out that under the provisions of Clause 9, as it stands, if the franchise were extended to women of this country by the Government Bill—which is expected to pass during the present Session—that that extension of the franchise would take effect not merely in this country, but in Ireland as well. In that case it will not be left to be decided by an Irish Parliament; it will be inflicted upon an Irish Parliament by the Imperial Parliament. Therefore, as far as the Government themselves are concerned, it is absolutely illogical and inconsistent for them to maintain that this Parliament is not competent to deal with the question or cannot properly deal with it. We are told that in the course of the present Session the very thing may be done by this Parliament which hon. Members below the Gangway deprecate being done by this Amendment. Let us take the other supposition! Suppose the Women's Franchise Amendment, which we understand is to be proposed to the Government Bill is not carried, and I think there is very great danger it will not be carried, what would be the effect then? The effect would be that under this Bill and the Franchise Bill of the Government, we shall have denied the suffrage to the women of Ireland, and it appears to me that that position would not only be unfortunate but illogical. I can perfectly well understand it would not do to enfranchise women voters for the Imperial Parliament and deny them the franchise for a subordinate Parliament; but surely the converse is not true. It would be perfectly consistent and proper that women should be enfranchised so far as a subordinate Parliament is concerned, while denied the vote for the Imperial Parliament dealing with larger concerns. Therefore on both those grounds it would be illogical and unnecessary to take the ground that it is not for us but for the Irish Parliament to determine this matter. The hon. Member for East Clare reiterated very strongly that this was a matter for the Irish Parliament, and he went on immediately to say that as soon as it came up in the Irish Parliament he felt confident the Irish Parliament would give the votes to women. If that is the view he takes, and I suppose he speaks on behalf of his colleagues—


No, no.


Well, his view is likely to be shared by many of his colleagues, and he told us he believes the franchise would be given to women by an Irish Parliament. That is what he thinks, and if that is so, where in the world comes in his fear of doing it in advance and in this Parliament, instead of waiting for it to be done in Dublin? If the Irish Parliament representing the Irish people, are prepared to enfranchise women immediately, where is the great objection to having it done here and now? I have not heard from the hon. Member or the Chief Secretary any ground whatever of the slightest objection to this matter being done by the present Parliament. Their only excuse is that it might probably be done by the Irish Parliament. Those of us who are in favour of this Amendment perfectly well admit that it is a matter which might properly be left to the Irish Parliament; but those who are against us must go further, and show that what merely could be done by the Irish Parliament would be improper if done by this Parliament. That is what they have entirely failed to do. I think that those who hold that the Parliament we are setting up in Ireland is to be in any sense a subordinate Parliament ought to be ready to confer this franchise on women for that Parliament. They cannot object, as is objected on the larger aspect of this question, that this is an experiment which should be adopted very carefully and cautiously, because we have already experimented in regard to this very Constitution we are sitting up. It has already been pointed out in relation to other Amendments that the Constitution given to the Irish Senate is entirely experimental. We have adopted proportional representation in regard to that House. That is an experiment absolutely untried so far as our own experience is concerned. Therefore, unless this House is going to set its face absolutely on principle against the idea of enfranchising women, it surely ought to be prepared to make an experiment of this sort in relation to this subordinate Parliament.

The hon. Member for Blackburn appealed to expressions of opinion or promises with regard to devolution which have been made by more than one Cabinet Minister in the past. It was very touching to hear the hon. Member make that appeal on the ground of those speeches. I think if the hon. Member had our experience and could view the matter as we do on this side of the House, he would be less disposed to place any reliance upon promises of that sort. We on this side, from the experience we have gained, have come to know that when a promise or a pledge of that sort is given by a Member of the Government the last hope has disappeared of its being carried out. I think the hon. Member for Blackburn anticipated an objection that might be raised to this Amendment—that there was no effective demand for the franchise on the part of the women in Ireland. I think his expression was "effective demand." It is perfectly true that there has been, so far, at all events, no such noisy demand for the franchise for women in Ireland as has characterised the movement in this country.


We have had no hatchet throwing, anyhow.


There has been no such noisy demand, but is it a fatal objection that there has been no noisy demand? Because if so, I should like to point out that the advocates of Woman Suffrage are then in this very embarrassing position: It is objected to give the franchise in Ireland because there is no noisy demand, while it is objected to give the franchise in this country because there has been a noisy demand. For my part, I think it would be the very best possible proof of the effectiveness of the demand that it was unnoisy but quite persistent, and the franchise should be conceded to women in Ireland, where we have not had window-breaking and militancy of that sort, in order that women might see the sort of agitation to which the Parliament of the United Kingdom is apt to pay attention and respect. On the general question, the reason why women in Ireland have even a better right to the franchise than the women in this country is this: It is quite true, of course, that a large number of women are among the employed classes in this country, but in Ireland that is perhaps true to a still greater extent. The chief industry in Ireland, as everyone knows, is agriculture, and, although I do not know the exact figures, there are a very large number of women in Ireland who are themselves owners of farms, owners in many cases of the tenant right under the Purchase Acts. One of the most important matters which is being conceded to the Irish Parliament is, of course, the control of legislation dealing with land, and it appears to me to be a most extraordinary anomaly that when you are setting up a brand new Constitution for the Irish people, large numbers of women who are concerned in the chief industry of the country should be denied any sort of voice or control in the Constitution under which they are to live. The hon. Member for Blackburn paid a tribute, and, I think, a very well deserved tribute, to the treatment hitherto afforded in Ireland to the women of that country. The hon. Member for Blackburn appealed to hon. Members below the Gangway on the ground that he did not want them to sully the record of the past with regard to their treatment of women. I entirely share and endorse his tribute, with this single exception: I am sorry to say that that record does appear to me to have been very seriously sullied in connection, and only in connection, with the political movement. It is one of the evils of passions let loose by the introduction of this Home Rule legislation. We are not likely to forget that very latest exhibition of the treatment of women in Ireland by people represented by hon. Members below the Gangway in the attacks with bludgeons and knives at Castle Dawson and elsewhere. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"] Hon. Members may say "Oh, oh!" as much as they like, and I perfectly understand that that is an episode they do not want to have repeated. Nevertheless, I am not in the least degree deterred from taking this opportunity or any other for exposing the treatment of Irish women solely in connection with this political movement. I am satisfied that hon. Members are as thoroughly ashamed of that episode as we are, but if they are anxious to have that episode and similar ones wiped out, the least they can do is to endorse the appeal of the hon. Member for Blackburn, and show that they are prepared to give to the women of their country the same rights as they give to men. There is no reason why it should not be done, and this is the opportunity they have of showing what their intentions are.


I think the spirit of the concluding remarks of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down will be an indication to many men in this House of how far this Amendment is going to be used simply as a political weapon for the purpose of inflicting injury upon the Home Rule Bill. I will not pursue that further. I did not intend to take part in this Debate, and I have only risen because of the personal appeal made to me by the hon. Member for Pembrokeshire (Mr. Roch) and the hon. Member for Coventry (Mr. David Mason). I think it would be discourteous on my part if I did not make some response to that appeal. I say quite frankly to the Committee I cannot hope to say anything fresh or original on the question. Our position has been put before the Committee by ray hon. Friend the Member for East Clare (Mr. W. Redmond) with sufficient clearness. It is impossible for any advocate for Woman Suffrage to hold that the decision on this Amendment will be a decision for or against the cause he has at heart, because there will be, as is evident from my hon. Friend's speech, a number of men who are in favour of Woman Suffrage voting against this Amendment, and a number of men who are against Woman Suffrage voting for purely wrecking purposes in favour of it. What is our position? This is purely a domestic question, and we would like, if it were possible for us to do so, to settle it for ourselves in our own Parliament. I have no means of judging the feeling in Ireland in favour of Woman Suffrage, but that opinion would speedily develop under an Irish Parliament, and under the provisions of this Bill there would be power given to the Irish Parliament to settle the question for itself. But it is said you cannot leave it over to be settled under the provisions in this Bill to an Irish Parliament because the question is coming up upon the Fran- chise Bill. Very well! If it comes up on the Franchise Bill and the Woman Suffrage Amendment is carried, then, as the Chief Secretary pointed out, it automatically becomes part of the Irish Constitution. If it is not so decided, and if this House by a majority decides against the Woman Suffrage Amendment in the Franchise Bill, would it not be an intolerably unfair thing that you should force it on Ireland alone without an opportunity being given to the Irish people to consider it. The hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. W. F. Roch) says that he does not trust the Irish Members on this matter.

Mr. W. F. ROCH

I said I looked upon them with some suspicion after what happened earlier this week.


My hon. Friend says he looks upon us with some suspicion, and apparently he is afraid that a genuine vote cannot be taken on the question, so far as my hon. Friends are concerned. The Prime Minister has declared that it shall be a free vote for the Liberal party, and the Government Whips shall not be put on. I have no hesitation in saying that it will be a free vote on the merits of the general question by the Members of the Irish party.


I am sure we are all anxious to know exactly what the hon. and learned Member for Waterford means. What I am anxious to know is whether he means that the Irish Members will vote in something like the proportion they have voted before, or in point of fact, that none of them will vote for it?


If the Noble Lord considers this matter for a moment I think he will admit that that is an extremely unfair question. I do not at the present moment honestly know what the opinion of the majority of the Irish party is on this question of Woman Suffrage. I know that last year when a vote was taken only nine voted against the Bill, and only thirty out of eighty-six voted for it. Honestly, I do not know if a vote were taken on the merits of this question how the majority of the Irish party would vote. I think I know that the position of Woman Suffrage in the minds of some Members of the Irish party, at any rate, has not been improved by some of the proceedings that have been connected with the movement, and certainly not by some of the attacks that have been made on Home Rule and oh the Irish party by those who profess to represent the women of this country. For myself I absolutely assure the House that none of those proceedings have had the slightest influence upon my mind, and I should hope will not have an influence on the minds of many Members of the Irish party. What I say is this, that the Members of the Irish party will be as free to vote on the merits of this question as the Members of the Liberal party will be under the pledge of the Prime Minister. I do not think it is fair to push me any further than that. I appeal to my hon. Friends who are in favour of this Bill not to allow themselves to be made tools of by those who are not friends of Woman Suffrage at all, but who think they see in this Amendment an opportunity of striking a blow at the Government. My position in a word is this: If the Woman Franchise Amendment is carried in the Franchise Bill automatically it applies to Ireland, whatever our views are, and if it is not put in the Franchise Bill then it is an unfair thing to force it upon Ireland before we have had an opportunity, as we would have under Home Rule, of deciding it for ourselves. I would not have inflicted these few words upon the Committee were it not that I felt I was bound, in courtesy, to make some reply to hon. Members who appealed to me.


I am rather surprised that the hon. and learned Member for Waterford on this question has thought fit to deliver a bitter attack upon my hon. Friend who supported this Amendment, whom he has charged with putting forward this Amendment purely for political purposes. Let us see what the position is. My hon. Friends who have spoken in this Debate are all of them consistent supporters of the Woman Suffrage movement, and they have voted and spoken in favour of it in this House and outside, and to accuse them because they have adopted the same attitude, of doing so for political purposes is to make a barefaced charge which is without a shadow of foundation. The Committee know that I am a determined opponent of the Woman Suffrage in regard to Parliamentary elections. Therefore I am glad that on this occasion the Government have taken the line they have, because it will prevent what I should regard as an unfair advantage being taken of this particular Bill to give the Woman Suffrage movement a privileged position which I do not think it ought to obtain. To insinuate as the hon. and learned Member for Waterford has done that hon. Members below the Gangway are being made tools of by my hon. Friend who has moved this Amendment is absurd. Where does this Amendment come from? It has been moved by an hon. Member below the Gangway opposite, and it has been; supported by the hon. Member for Blackburn in a speech of great earnestness and great ability, and also by hon. Members of the Liberal party who share his views, and to make an attack against the Unionist party and to say that this is a political move is only to make another of those baseless charges which are so often made by hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, who are constantly trying to persuade this; House that their one desire is to conciliate my hon. Friends and act in harmony with them. What the hon. and learned Member said in this respect is a very poor way of attempting to conciliate those with whom we want to work in the future government of Ireland.

As I have already said, I am opposed to Woman Suffrage in regard to Parliamentary elections, and I need not trouble the Committee with the general grounds of my opposition. I am very glad that the Government have taken the line they have. On this matter I am speaking only for myself, and although I am opposed to the extension of the franchise to women at Parliamentary elections if I thought that the hon. Member for Blackburn had accurately described the Bill we are now discussing, I am bound to say that I should be prepared to vote for the Amendment. I have always supported the granting of the franchise to women for municipal purposes, and I was a Member of the Government which passed the County Councils Bill which gave Women's Franchise in the case of county government as it was enjoying in municipalities. But is this a municipal Bill? Let us nee exactly where we stand. The hon. Member for Blackburn quoted some words used by one of the Nationalist Members in which he said that this is only a Bill to do certain municipal things. Is there any man here who ever heard of a Bill conferring municipal powers which conferred upon a municipality Customs rights, the right to control their own Post Office, and appoint their own Ministers? The thing is ridiculous. Have the municipalities of Manchester or Leeds any of those powers which will be conferred upon Ireland by this Bill? There is no comparison of any kind to be made between those municipalities. I have no doubt as regards my vote, and I may say that the description given by the hon. Member for Blackburn is not only inaccurate but misleading, because this is not a municipal Bill at all. This Bill will confer what is intended by the promoters, namely, a sovereign Parliament, and in that Parliament I shall not assent to the introduction of the franchise for women. For those reasons I shall vote against this Amendment.

I shall give that vote on my own account, and I know many of my colleagues will vote, as they have voted before, in favour of the franchise being extended to women. Hon. Members opposite who were anxious to obtain some justification for the attitude taken up by some hon. Members will derive some comfort from the speeches they have heard from the Leader of the Irish party. The hon. and learned Member has told ns that when the time comes to have Woman Suffrage debated on the Franchise Bill, that then his party will be free to vote as they like. That declaration must have made the mouths of hon. Gentlemen opposite water. How glad many hon. Members opposite would be to have the privilege of voting as they like. Now what is this unfettered Debate we are looking forward to on the Franchise Bill? We have a specimen of it here. We have been discussing a question to which hon. Gentlemen opposite attach the greatest importance. They believe it is a question that lies at the very foundation of progress, and they think it is quite as important a question as the extension of Home Rule to Ireland, and yet that is a question which is being debated on Closure by compartment rules which limit us to two or three hours of debate. If that is the idea of unfettered debate which we shall get under the Franchise Bill, I submit that you have no right to make use of this Bill to give Women's Franchise an unfair advantage. This is not the occasion when a change of this sort ought to be made if it is to be made at all. I hold that if this House is of opinion that a change so great and so far-reaching as this is to be made in our Constitution, you have no right to do it until you have given the people of this country an opportunity of saying whether they desire it to be done or not.


It is a very difficult thing for any hon. Member of this House to disregard the earnest appeal which has been made by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford, and those who have supported Home Rule for the last twenty-five years naturally pay a great deal of attention to the opinion of the Leader of the Irish party. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Well, I am not ashamed of it. I do not, however, feel that the arguments he has adduced are conclusive. We have had two lines of arguments taken up on this occasion both of which are mutually destructive. On the one hand we are told that this matter should be left over for consideration to the occasion when the Franchise Bill is considered, and on the other hand we are told that it is a matter which should be settled by the Irish Parliament. Those are two mutually destructive propositions. An hon. Member opposite said, "Supposing this question is not settled in the negative in the Franchise Bill, it will still be open to the Irish Parliament three years after it has met to confer the franchise on women." I think the hon. Member is mistaken, and if he will look at Clause 45, Sub-section (1) of the Home Rule Bill he will find it is provided that— The Irish Parliament shall not have power to repeal or alter any provision of this Act, or of any Act passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom after the passing of this Act and extending to Ireland. As I read Clause 41, if the Franchise Bill is passed without extending the franchise to women there would be no power whatsoever to the Irish Parliament to give women the franchise in three years' time or at any other time. That is a very important point, to which I wish to draw the attention of hon. Members below the Gangway and the Committee generally. It is a perfect absurdity we should settle the franchise for Ireland under this Bill, and that then it should be upset by an Imperial Franchise Bill to be discussed in a few weeks' time. The logical course would be to exempt Ireland altogether from the Franchise Bill, and that we should deal with the question of Irish franchise, male or female, under this Bill. Just imagine the confusion that may arise as the Bill stands. Supposing the Franchise Bill is passed into law by the Imperial Parliament giving female suffrage, and supposing the Imperial Parliament pass another Bill altering the franchise again, that will automatically alter the Irish franchise whatever the Irish Parliament has done. You would have a system of see-saw between the franchise established by the Imperial Parliament and the franchise established by the Irish Parliament. Surely that system could not possibly continue and ought never to exist. If I am right in my interpretation of Clause 41—


My hon. Friend has left out the special words except as is specially provided by this Act.


Yes, at the end of three years, but, in the meantime, Ireland may have female suffrage. I admit it seems to me very obscure, but I cannot for the life of me see why Ireland should not be exempt altogether from the Franchise Bill. Why should the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond) and the hon. Member for Clare (Mr. William Redmond), if the Irish Parliament is to deal with the franchise, say, "Do not deal with it to-day; wait until another occasion, when that other occasion deals with an entirely different set of circumstances." Many of the arguments which have been adduced against female suffrage have been on the ground that it would be wrong to give women the vote in matters of Imperial defence and in matters dealing with the Empire, and many of those who are opposed to it on that ground would be in favour of giving women the suffrage in the case of a Parliament dealing with subordinate matters like the Irish Parliament. When the hon. and learned Member says we are being made tools of, after all that is not an argument which can affect anyone who wants to see female suffrage introduced. We shall be glad to have all the votes we can possibly obtain on this subject, and it is not for us to go too closely into the psychology as to why votes are given in this House. Nobody knows that better than the hon. and learned Gentleman. The case of Ireland is substantially and essentially different from the case of the Imperial Parliament, and I feel very strongly that this question ought to be settled on this Bill.

The hon. and learned Member says an attempt may be made to wreck the Bill on this question. Why? Why should there not be the same freedom to vote on this question to-day as we are promised on the Franchise Bill? If the Government are right to give an unfettered vote on the important question as to whether the women of the United Kingdom are to vote for the Imperial Parliament, it seems to me absurd that we are not to have a free vote on the smaller question, whether the Irish women are to vote for the Irish Parliament. The hon. Member for Clare, who has most sincerely supported Woman Suffrage up to the present day, tells us he is convinced the Irish people want their women folk to share in their new Parliament. Then why not use this opportunity to allow them to come in now, and not in three years time? We are told it is a question for the Irish people to settle themselves, but surely hon. Members opposite are capable of settling it. They have not told us the Irish people do not want the Irish women to have the suffrage. The hon. Member for Clare said exactly the opposite. He said in his opinion an Irish Parliament would give women the vote.


I said I believed the Irish Parliament, when established, would grant the suffrage to women. I did not say the majority of the Irish representatives are in favour of it. I regret to say that is not so.


The Irish people, I suppose, will elect an Irish Parliament in favour of giving the suffrage to women, and, if the Irish people want it, I do not see why we should be prevented from carrying out what the Irish people want. After all, we have to settle the franchise. It is perfectly useless to tell us this is a question which must be left over. We are settling the franchise under Clause 9 now. How can you have a Parliament without first having an electorate, and how can you have an electorate unless you settle the franchise? We have therefore to-day to determine what that franchise ought to be and what the electorate ought to be, and, if that is the case, we are entitled to express our view whether the Irish Parliament is to be elected by the people of Ireland, men and women, or only by a section of the people of Ireland, namely, the men of Ireland. I do not see how anyone who sincerely believes in the vast importance of Woman Suffrage and who has supported it on all occasions can, whatever embarrassment may be caused, depart from their principle and neglect this opportunity of supporting the demand legitimately made by large numbers of women in Ireland and supported by a large number of the men of Ireland. Nothing struck me more when I was in Dublin on the occasion of the Prime Minister's visit than the large number of enthusiastic women in the streets and at the windows, evidently as keen on the national cause as any men. Are you going to refuse to allow all those people, after all their enthusiasm, the fruits of that for which they have fought? If so, it is not at all like the gallantry usually displayed by Irishmen towards the weaker sex. I am disappointed and disheartened that the hon. Member for Clare, in his eloquent championship of Woman Suffrage, has not carried his party with him into the Lobby unanimously in support of the Amendment.


I should, I know, be wasting my time if I were to make any appeal to the Irish party. They would naturally say to me, "You are an opponent of this Bill, and anything you advocate is probably against the interests of the Bill. Therefore, the more you advocate any particular cause the more we will act in opposition to that cause." I do not propose, for that reason, to make any appeal to them. I have no right to do so; but I do want to ask one or two questions of the Irish party. The hon. Member for Clare (Mr. William Redmond) said this Amendment was supported by Unionists who are not, generally speaking, in favour of female suffrage, because it was complicating the Home Rule Bill and putting difficulties in the way of its passage. Why will it complicate the Home Rule Bill? What is there to be afraid of? What is the reason at the back of all this? What, to use a colloquial phrase, is "the real nigger in the fence?" I do not see what he is afraid of. Why are the Government putting on their Whips against this? What is at the bottom of it? What is the secret history of the opposition to this Amendment? I have not the least idea myself. I ask for information. It is not, apparently, that the Chief Secretary is opposed to it on its merits. I do not think the Chief Secretary's speech can even have convinced the Chief Secretary himself. It is quite plain he has no objection to this Amendment. He would be very glad to see it passed if left to himself. There is this curious doctrine. For some reason or other, if you give votes to women in Ireland, you imperil Home Rule. I admit, if I believed that, it might make me still stronger in support of this Amendment, but I cannot in the least see why it should imperil the Bill. I cannot in the least understand what is the reason which is supposed to actuate those who are opposed to Home Rule in voting for this Amendment.

The hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond) and the hon. Member for Clare say the proper time to raise this question is on the Franchise Bill, and you should not deal with it at all here. The hon. Member for Waterford says specifically there should be a free vote of the Irish party when we come to the Franchise Bill. I interrupted him—perhaps I had no right to do so, and I am sorry if I was discourteous—because I was anxious to know exactly what that meant The hon. Member for Clare had previously told the Committee there had never been any pressure of the Irish party in connection with the question of Woman Suffrage. He told us expressly they have always voted exactly as they thought right. It had never been made a party question. We have this strange fact: On the Conciliation Bill none of them voted for it. It will be very poor consolation to us, who really have this cause at heart and are not supporting this Amendment, if I can convince hon. Members from Ireland, because we are on this occasion opposed to Home Rule, but really because we believe women ought to have the suffrage, if we are told when we come to the Franchise Bill: "Oh, yes, the Irish Members were perfectly free, but it so happened by one of those curious brain waves which sometimes spread a uniform opinion over a body of men that they all voted one way against the Franchise Amendment, and none of them voted in favour of it." It will not matter to us whether that was the result of a Whip from the hon. and learned Member for Waterford or whether it was the result of a brain wave in the Irish party. What does it really mean? Are we going to be restored to the position in which this question was treated before the last Conciliation Bill, sometimes more and sometimes less, voting in favour of Woman Suffrage, but a certain proportion of the Irish party always voting and very often a majority voting for Woman Suffrage?


Of those voting?

6.0 P.M.


I mean of those voting. That is the real question we want answered. It is no use using phrases of an ambiguous character. If any effect is to be made on those who are supporting this Amendment dealing with the franchise grievance we must really know what is meant by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford when he speaks of freedom to vote. The hon. and learned Member is good enough to suggest that he means the same thing as the Prime Minister. I hope that no secret influence is being put on the Liberal party not to support their principles on this occasion. I am sure the Chief Secretary would not be a party to the exercise of any such influence. I am sure other Members of the Government would not approve of it. But I am not so sure of all the Members of the Government. At any rate, we do know that a number of Liberals did vote for the Conciliation Bill, although some did not who we had hoped would. We know that no Irish Member voted for it, and, therefore, it is not quite enough for us to be told that the position will be the same with the Irish as it was at the time of the Conciliation Bill, and that no change is to be made because it has never been a party question. What we want to get at is, and to this I should like a clear and straight answer—


As I understand the statement of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford, he has promised that the Members of the Irish party shall have the same liberty as the Liberals on this question. According to the declaration of the Prime Minister, we Liberals are absolutely free, and, therefore, I understand that the Nationalist Members also will be absolutely free.


I quite understand the hon. Member's point of view, but the hon. Member for Clare has said that the Irish party were as perfectly free, as the Liberal party is now, at the time of the Conciliation Bill. That is the point we want to get at. I do not question in any way any statement made by any Member of this House. At the same time, it does not matter to us Suffragists whether it is freedom from party Whips, uncoupled with intellectual bondage, or whether it is party Whip bondage, as well as intellectual. What we want to know is, Are the Irish Members, or any of them, going to support this franchise Amendment? That is the only point which it is desirable for us to ascertain without any question of chopping logic. Whether or not the Irish Members are technically free is a matter of no importance. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about your own party?"] A large number of us will support the Amendment and a large number will vote against it. My right hon. Friend the Member for the Strand Division will unquestionably vote against it; so will the hon. Member for the City of London, and so, too, will the latest recruit to the Tory party. But I know that a large number of Members will vote in favour of it. May I just say this about this Amendment? The hon. Member for Blackburn, in moving it, said it would put women and men on exactly equal terms as far as the suffrage is concerned. No doubt that is perfectly right and true, but, as a matter of fact, it is not going to enfranchise anything like an equal number of women and men. It will only enfranchise about one-eighth of the number of women as compared with the men. The real question is whether it is right for us, from any point of view, whether supporters or opponents of the Bill, that we should deal with this question now, or whether we should leave it to be dealt with by the Irish Parliament. That is the strong point which is made against it. You cannot leave it alone. You have to provide some suffrage for the Irish Parliament. If you provide the present Parliamentary suffrage, you are settling the question in one way. If you are bringing in women, you are settling it in another way. It has been pointed out that if you bring them in you cannot disfranchise them afterwards: you are doing a thing which is irrevocable. But you are doing many things equally irrevocable. There is the question of the Senate, the question of the limitation of the powers of the Irish Parliament, and I do not understand why this particular question should be singled out for exceptional treatment. Why should it be said we ought not to deal with this question, though we may deal with many other questions affecting the Constitution of Ireland?

We must act in this matter to the best of our judgment. If we think it is a desirable thing in itself, we must do it, and leave it to the Irish Parliament afterwards to alter it, should it think fit, should it ever come into existence. We are told that by doing this we prejudge the question. My right hon. Friend the Member for the Strand Division, with whose speech I do not quarrel, and who has always been an opponent of Woman Suffrage, made a perfectly frank and explicit declaration that he is opposed to this Amendment, because he is opposed to Woman Suffrage. He said, with great truth, there has been much misapprehension with regard to the Irish Parliament being on all fours with county councils in England. I cannot dispute either of his propositions. But I do submit to my right hon. Friend that the Irish Parliament is not quite in the same position, even taking the view which he takes himself, that it is much too like a sovereign Parliament—that it is not quite in the same position as the British Parliament. It is not to have any control over foreign affairs or over the Army and the Navy. Therefore to vote for Woman Suffrage in reference to that is not the same issue. The question whether we should vote for Woman Suffrage when it comes to the Franchise Bill is another issue. I confess I am really puzzled at the Chief Secretary's suggestion that we ought to wait for the Franchise Bill. Surely the time to deal with this question of the constituencies for the Irish Parliament is on the Bill, and to say that it ought to be dealt with by this curious system of legislation by reference, when we come to deal with the Franchise Bill for the United Kingdom, seems to me a most astonishing proposition to put forward.

I cannot help saying this to the many supporters of the suffrage in this Committee that there is always some reason why they should not vote for the franchise being given to women. I know the right hon. Gentleman himself has voted for it in times past, and I have every confidence he will vote for it in the future. But the general effect on the women themselves is deplorable. They come over and over again to this House, they present their demand in every kind of way, and, as long as it is a mere debating question, a mere Resolution or Bill, which is not to go any further, everybody is ready to vote for them, and it is carried by an enormous majority. But the moment there is any reality, and chance that the suffrage will become effective, there is always some excellent reason why, on that particular occasion, it is impossible to grant it. I put it to lion, and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, is this a really fair way of dealing with a great question? It happens I have to attend a great meeting of women this evening. What am I to say to them? What message am I to take from this House? Is it to be again my fate to say that everybody admits your demand is unassailable? [HON. MEMBERS: "NO, no."] Well, not everybody, but a large majority. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."] Am I to say that man after man got up and supported it, that the hon. Member for Clare and the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary are in favour of the suffrage, but yet again on this occasion, as on so many other occasions, there were fatal objections to grant- ing it? I confess I think if any body of men were submitted to treatment like that we should make allowances for great irritation on their part, and many very unjustifiable actions. I have done my very utmost, and I shall continue to do it, to prevent any breach of the law on the part of the women. I believe it to be thoroughly unjustifiable and extremely regrettable. But I must say that the House of Commons does not give us much assistance in controlling these women. If they are against the suffrage let hon. Members in Heaven's name say so; let us know where we stand; do not say "we are in favour of it in principle but in practice we must vote against it."


I think the Noble Lord had better exercise his own judgment as to the message he will take from this House to the meeting which he is to attend to-night. As regards the question before the House, if it were a question of female suffrage in general I say, without hesitation, I am against it. I voted against it in eight or nine Parliaments in addition to this Parliament, and I hope before long to have the pleasure of voting against it again. This particular form in which it now appears is not a form of franchise for this Parliament. If we were discussing a Federal Bill I should say that each division of the United Kingdom to be provided with its own Parliament should decide for itself whether or not there should be Woman Suffrage. But this is not a Federal Bill. The right hon. Gentleman opposite just now said it was not even a local Legislature, because it included a separate Post Office. I must say in passing I am against a separate Post Office, but, with one or two exceptional points like that, I count this as a local Legislature, and I could not ask for it any less powers than I would for any local Legislature either in Ireland or in my own country. As this is not a federal proposal I think it would have been wise if the Government had pledged itself so to continue devolution further in this Parliament. I, like the Noble Lord opposite, am prepared to use my own judgment on this vote. I think women ought to have the vote in local Legislatures, but, so long as war remains a possibility in the world, and I think it is likely to remain so for some time to come, I am against Woman Suffrage in a Parliament which is entrusted with the conduct of the foreign relations of an Empire like ours. I do not think it would add to the strength of this House or to the strength of the Empire, and, therefore, so far as I ever give a vote, it will be against female suffrage in this House. But in a domestic Legislature I think it would be a great advantage to have the women as voters for local purposes. Therefore I shall vote for the Amendment on this occasion. We have not any precedent in other parts of the Empire, because where female suffrage has been given, in Australia and elsewhere, it has been under a federal scheme.




Yes, it was in Australia.


I think the right hon. Gentleman is mistaken. The franchise was extended to women in various States of Australia at different times.


So far as my recollection goes—I speak subject to correction—more than one of the divisions of Australia had female suffrage before they came into the Federation.


That is so.


There is nothing of that kind here. Therefore there is no precedent for it. I do not think that any of these overseas' precedents apply, and therefore we have to judge by our own requirements. As I have said already, if this were a Federal Bill I should be in favour of Ireland deciding for herself whether or not she desired Woman Suffrage, and I should claim that also for my own country, but as this is not a Federal Bill, and as I can hardly follow all the various reasons, however interesting, which have been given for voting this way or that on the Bill, I am prepared to use my own judgment, and as I am strongly opposed to female suffrage for this House, and as I support it for local Legislatures, I shall vote for this Amendment, which applies Woman Suffrage to a local Legislature. This is the first time I have had to do it. I hope that if my position is not interesting, at any rate it is plain.


I rise to support the Amendment, and to give the Committee two or three reasons why I think all Members who are in favour of Woman Suffrage should certainly support it. The hon. Member for East Clare (Mr. W. Redmond) appealed specially to us on these benches to consider the Amendment from the point of view of Home Rule and the point of view of the Irish people settling this matter for themselves. I think that question has been argued sufficiently, and I could say very little more upon it than has already been said by other hon. Members, and nothing which would lead us much further. I should like to say that I think hon. Members from Ireland must remember that this is a matter upon which we are called upon to vote here. We have to cast a vote one way or the other, and in asking us not to vote for the Amendment they are asking us to vote against something which we believe is really fundamental to the progress of this and other nations. Already hon. Gentlemen opposite have stretched our allegiance, my allegiance, at any rate, to Home Rule very considerably. In this Bill at the present time there are several Clauses which I detest with all my soul. I hate the proposition to set up a Senate in Ireland. I dislike the proposition that forty-two Irish Members are to come here and vote on English domestic questions, while, at the same time, we are not to be allowed to vote on Irish domestic questions. These are matters I am perfectly willing to-waive—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"]—because I want to see the question settled, and I will chance what happens in regard to those questions; but when it comes down to a question of vital principle like this, hon. Members from Ireland ought to remember that there are some questions upon which those of us who really believe in them cannot give way at all. On the question whether women shall vote or not, I wonder whether anyone here realises that we have taken away the power of this House to deal with factory legislation in Ireland, and that in future that will be left entirely in the hands of the Irish Parliament. One of the reasons why I want women to have a vote in this House is because I want the women's point of view with regard to factory and industrial legislation to be heard in this House, as I do not believe it is heard now. The reason I want the Amendment carried is because I am anxious that the voice of the industrial Irish women shall be heard in the Irish Parliament. I am no more willing to leave that question to be settled later on by men in Ireland than I am willing to leave the question to be settled later here. What I mean is, that I am not willing to postpone a vote on that matter until some future time.

The other point put to us was that hon. Members will support this Amendment because it is a wrecking Amendment. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. J. Redmond) put that point of view very strongly before those who sit on these benches. As a matter of fact, upon almost every question that comes up we are asked to decide it from that point of view. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I do not think either side can throw stones at the other about it, for it seems to me that we are all very much in the same boat. It is not merely upon this side, but upon that side also. The position we find ourselves in in this House is that you very seldom are allowed to give a vote on the principle of the matter before the House. Whether the opposition comes from this side or the other makes no difference. Every now and then the Government of the day does give way on the matter. I want to press the point made from this side and also from the other side, namely, that if the Government is in earnest, and the hon. and learned Member for Waterford is in earnest, in saying that Members are free to vote as they please, why is it that on this Amendment we are not to have that freedom? There is a smaller principle involved in regard to Woman Suffrage than there is in regard to the general Franchise Bill. The point was made by the hon. Member for Swansea (Sir A. Mond) that peace and war do not come within the ken of the Irish Parliament at all, although the Bill is an extension of local government, and there is more power given than county councils have in this country. The very reason why numbers of people object to the vote being granted to women is that the Imperial Assembly has the decision of peace and war. In the Irish Parliament they will not have that decision. Therefore I do not understand why it is that the Prime Minister and the Government will not allow Members to vote to-night according to their consciences. Something was said as to the reasons which should induce people not to vote. I refer to the things that have happened outside the House. Surely no one who sits on the benches opposite is going to be so squeamish nowadays as to take one side or the other because people have done violent things. I road the other day a speech made by the late Mr. Gladstone in this House in defending some Irish people because they had done something they had no business to do, in which he said:— In every great movement there are always some people who feel so strongly that they very often do things they ought not to do. The same thing has happened here. I should like to join with the Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin (Lord Robert Cecil), and ask what does the House of Commons expect when the hon. Member for East Clare stands up this afternoon and tells us what a friend he is of Woman Suffrage, and then goes on to say he is going into the Lobby to-night to vote against, it. The one thing that the women outside who really believe in this cause and who are fighting for it are always saying is, there is not one of us in this House who can be trusted. No one has yet asked why the 400 Members who pledged themselves at the last election to vote for Woman Suffrage should not vote for it to-night. It is only party expediency and the exigencies of the Government. The women outside do not believe that any of us believe the statements we make when we are up for election. This is an excellent opportunity for getting rid of that belief, and to show that Members of this House, irrespective of what happens to the Government, will go into the Lobby for what they believe in. Whether we think it is a wrecking Amendment or not, I think it is one of the things upon which we ought to stand for principle, and whatever happens to the Government, I hope that the Members on the Liberal side, who, in the words of the "Daily News," consider that Woman Suffrage stands right in the van of the Liberal programme are going into the Lobby to-night to vote in favour of this Amendment. I always understood that Irish Members tested every question by its effect on Home Rule. I do not know whether I shall be saying something impertinent in this, but I always understood that when they voted against us when we wanted a minimum wage for miners, and on no end of other things, their excuse was that their one aim was to keep this Government in power in order to get Home Rule through. I am not out making any threats, or issuing any warnings. They have to settle for themselves what is the best policy for them, but I have to say from my small knowledge of people outside this House, that there is growing up a strong feeling of resentment that eighty Irish Members in this Parliament—


Not eighty!


Whatever their number is—should cast their votes relentlessly on the subjects which come before us with only one object in view, that of carrying Home Rule. You may carry it through this Session, but I would point out that there are two more Sessions to come. We were told by some Irish Members on the Conciliation Committee that they were going to vote with us. There were some of them actually working on the Committee, but suddenly, for some reason or other, they withdrew, and never voted at all. There is growing up a strong feeling of resentment against the Irish party for always putting a pistol to our heads in this fashion. I am perfectly certain that if the cause of Woman Suffrage is going to be wrecked by Irish Members you will reap exactly what you sow.


The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has drawn a picture of the relations between the Nationalist party in this House and the legislation of this country which very few even of my most ardent friends from Ulster could or would have drawn without, at all events, bringing down upon their heads the virtuous indignation of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway. He has not only told us that he, for his own part, deeply resents the presence among us of a body of Gentlemen who do not vote—this is his view—upon the merits of the question which is before them, but steadily pursue a purely Irish policy in this House, using the Government of the day for that Irish policy, and supporting the Government of the day through thick and thin, whatever that Government may do, or whatever that Government may propose, so long as the Government do not give up the Home Rule policy. That is the picture which is drawn by the hon. Gentleman who, I believe, is a consistent and ardent Home Ruler.


Hear, hear.


A picture which, in its main outlines, was drawn once before this evening by the hon. Gentleman who very ably moved the Amendment at an earlier hour. He also pointed out, not perhaps with the same indignant passion which has moved the hon. Member (Mr. Lansbury), but in perfectly unmistakeable language, that we suffer at this moment under that particular Parliamentary disease, and I was glad to see that hon. Members below the Gangway opposite, when a question touches something in which they are interested, are quite as much alive to the evils and dangers and difficulties of the present Parliamentary situation as any of us on these benches. The hon. Gentleman tells us there is a growing feeling outside that we should not at the same time give to Ireland the right to manage its own affairs and the right to mismanage ours. I hope that feeling is growing and there will be an opportunity doubtless before our proceedings are finished, even under the present truncated system of Debate, for the hon. Gentleman to show how deeply he feels the evil which he has just indignantly denounced.

I need hardly say I sympathise with the hon. Gentleman in the general proposition which he has advanced and in his particular application of it; for though I am confident I am not one of the 400 who are alleged to have given a pledge on the subject at the last election I have through my whole Parliamentary life—not a short one—been a consistent and steady supporter of some moderate measure of enfranchisement. Of course, therefore, I shall vote to-day, as I have voted so often before, in favour of an Amendment which is a moderate measure of enfranchisement. I also think that many who differ from me on the broader principle might yet not feel it difficult to go into the same Lobby. I agree in fact with what fell from the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Munro-Ferguson). He is a steady opponent of Woman Suffrage as applied to an Imperial Assembly and to Imperial Affairs, but he is a strong supporter of Woman Suffrage as applied to local affairs; and he says, I think with great force, that although the Parliament the Government propose to give to Ireland is certainly much more than a county council, or a borough council, it is claimed by the very authors of the Bill and by the Gentlemen who are clamouring below the Gangway that we are not creating in any sense, either legal or substantial, an Assembly which has the elements of sovereignty in it. I believe the framers of the Bill are wrong. I believe, substantially and practically, the Parliament we are setting up has substantially a very large number of the attributes which, at all events, the Legislatures of our Dominions possess.

The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. T. M. Healy) yesterday explained that in his view the Parliament we were setting up in Dublin was not going to be an Irish reflection of this Parliament, but was going to be an Assembly dealing with very different affairs in a very different spirit— dealing, I think he said, in a humble way with the humble wants of humble people. If that view of this Bill be the correct view, I cannot understand how any man can vote against this Amendment, because even the most determined opponents of Woman Suffrage are agreed, as I understand it, that in local affairs they play, under modern conditions, not only a useful but an absolutely necessary part in the machinery of public government and administration. Those who agree with the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Munro-Ferguson), and think that whenever you come to such questions as those of the Navy, the Army, foreign policy, diplomacy, Imperial affairs, from all such matters women should be excluded, will, of course, vote against the inclusion of women in any Suffrage Bill for the Imperial Parliament. But why should they vote against this Amendment? Even those who take the darkest view of this Bill do not, at all events, suppose that the Irish Parliament is going directly to have command of drilled forces except the Irish Constabulary. We do not suppose they are going to be able to build a navy, and I do not suppose they will have foreign representatives and a separate foreign policy. If that be so, I do not understand why the most convinced opponent of Woman Suffrage in this House should feel the least hesitation in voting for this Amendment. These women are not going to launch hostile armies against foreign Powers while not themselves fighting. They are not going to use physical force on a great scale. The broad contention against female suffrage, as I understand it, has no application to this Amendment at all. It goes beside it and beyond it, and it certainly appears to me that even those who take the view of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Munro-Ferguson) might with a good conscience go into the Lobby with the hon. Gentleman who moved this Amendment. Under these circumstances, of course, I shall not hesitate. If I held this particular view against Woman Suffrage, I should still be inclined to vote for the Amendment. Holding, as I do, that that view gives too narrow an extension to the idea of Woman Suffrage, and believing that a moderate measure of female suffrage would be good all round, I, of course, having held these views and supported them consistently through all these many years, have no choice as to what Lobby I shall vote in.

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Asquith)

I had no intention of taking any part in this Debate—I think there are many reasons why I should prefer not to do so—but the very interesting and instructive speech to which we have just listened tempts me to make one or two observations relevant to the vote which the Committee is going to give. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman was present at an earlier stage of the Debate when his Friend and colleague (Mr. Walter Long) was addressing the House.


I was not.


If the right hon. Gentleman had been present he would have found by anticipation a reply to every one of the arguments he put before the Committee. It is very amusing dialetically, though I do not know that it is a very profitable way of consuming Parliamentary time, to see the agility with which hon. and right hon. Members opposite—and there is no one whose agility dialectically can compare with that of the right hon. Gentleman—can jump from one horse to another in discussing the arguments which arise upon this Bill. At one moment you have here a most dangerous rival to the Imperial Parliament. As the right hon. Gentleman tells us, he thinks that it is so full of every kind of potentiality of sovereignty that it can exercise the utmost injury to the relations of the two Kingdoms, but at another moment, as for instance in the larger part of the speech to which we have just listened, he invokes the authority of the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. T. M. Healy), and brings it down to the level of a purely local body dealing in a humble way with humble affairs, and he says, "those of you who object to female suffrage in regard to a sovereign Parliament need have no fear when you are dealing with this twopenny-halfpenny Assembly."


What I said was that those who believe that this was a local Parliament, even if they objected to female suffrage, might and ought to vote for the Amendment.


I am only pointing out the skill with which the right hon. Gentleman did this. He fished in both streams. He was attempting to angle for votes for this Amendment. I am going to point out that those who, like myself, are consistent opponents of Woman Suffrage, just, as he truly says, he has been a consistent supporter, do not base, and never have based, our objections to the enfranchisement of women for Parliamentary purposes upon the sovereign character of the Parliament for which those votes are to be given. It is the character, the scale, the quality of the affairs with which that Parliament has to deal. Here we are dealing with a Parliament which, at the least, is empowered by the first Clause in the Bill—it is a legislative body—to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of Ireland. It is a Bill which sets up an Executive responsible to that Parliament and empowered to discharge all the ordinary affairs of administration. It is in regard to a body possessed of these qualities, be our arguments good or bad, that those of us who object to female suffrage have always said, that in our opinion it is not expedient to confer the Parliamentary vote upon women. Look round the Empire. This is the only sovereign Parliament in the Empire. There is not a single case in the smallest Colony or in the largest Dominion to which this Imperial Parliament has delegated, the legislative authority in which we have made it a condition, as this Amendment proposes, to make a condition in Ireland, to the grant of that authority or that autonomy that women should be admitted to the franchise. It would be an entirely unprecedented thing in the constitutional development of this Empire, if we were to say to a community which we are endowing for the first time with full self-governing institutions, "in this vital matter of the franchise we are going from the first to insist, whether you like it or not, whether it is in accordance with the wish of the majority of your citizens or not, that women shall have the vote." I am quite certain I can appeal with confidence to all who are acquainted with our constitutional history to say that there is no parallel for such a proceeding.

I do not wish to argue the merits of Woman Suffrage. I am at issue, not only with the right hon. Gentleman, but with a very large number of my own friends and colleagues, and I am in agreement, on the other hand, with the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Walter Long) and some of those who sit on the benches behind him. But without entering in the least degree into the merits or demerits of Woman Suffrage as applicable to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, or to any other self-governing assembly in any part of the British Empire, I do venture to submit that on that principle this is a matter on which we ought to leave, in the first instance, the newly-created legislature to judge for itself. This is an Amendment that ought not to be accepted. It is quite true, as the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. J. Redmond) pointed out, that if subsequently we alter the suffrage as regards the United Kingdom, that alteration would automatically under the provisions of this Bill apply to the Irish Legislature. That would be an alteration which would be made for the Kingdom as a whole, in the first instance, and not merely under this Bill for Ireland in anticipation, possibly the mistaken anticipation, of the concluson to which Parliament may ultimately come as to the Kingdom as a whole. Let me point out further—I am not going to be rash enough to prophesy or to indicate any judgment of my own as to what is likely to happen when that question comes up for decision as it will before this Session is over—that even if this Parliament were to enact for the United Kingdom as a whole a suffrage in which women as well as men were to be entitled to the vote, it would still, under the powers of this Bill, be in the competence of the Irish Parliament, after three years, to alter the suffrage, to take it away from women, and to act in accordance with Irish opinion.


So it would be in any case if this Amendment were passed.


I agree; but with all respect, I do not think that is a very relevant interruption of the argument I am submitting. I agree that would be competent either way, but I am only pointing out that the automatic application to Ireland of Woman Suffrage, were it enacted by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, would be a matter on which, under this Bill, the Irish Parliament could alter the law and establish a system for itself. The real question for us to consider is very simple. Are we going, in the first instance, and without knowing Irish opinion in regard to the matter, to insist on a condition in the grant of self-government to Ireland which we have applied nowhere else in the length and breadth of the British Empire, and which, I think, would be eminently unjust?


The hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) complained that Irish representatives are accustomed to cast their votes with only one object in view, that of carrying Home Rule. I think the course of the Debate since he spoke will probably have caused the hon. Member to reflect that in the case of the Irish Members that is inevitable. After all, it was for that purpose we were sent here. We were not elected on the question of Woman Suffrage, we were elected to advance Home Rule, and we are bound to make that our first consideration. All our actions and personal ambitions, whether on this question or any other, must be subject to that, and it implies no dishonour on the part of any of us, but the reverse, if we have now and again to sink our own private convictions with regard to particular matters other than that in order that we may advance the cause for which we are sent here. I speak quite frankly—though I suppose in a declaration of this sort I may be under suspicion in present circumstances—and say that, like my hon. Friend the Member for East Clare (Mr. W. Redmond) I am a convinced Suffragist. I look upon this question not as one in which men are arrayed against women. I look upon it primarily as an Irish question, and I ask myself, What is it that Irish women themselves desire? From that point of view I confess I think there can be only one answer. I am bound to answer that, if I look to the desires of Irish women themselves in the matter, I cannot be constrained to believe there is among them any such demand for the exercise of the suffrage as ought to cause us to deflect our policy. It has already been pointed out in perfectly plain language in the declaration made by my hon. Friend, and later by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. J. Redmond), that when the House comes to consider this question on the Franchise Bill the Irish party, as well as every other party, will be able to vote with perfect freedom. I desire to say, for my own part, that, assuming the House is so free, and subject to what I have said as to the paramount importance of Home Rule in all our eyes it is my intention to vote for the extension of the franchise to women.

We are now dealing with a purely Irish question, and I ask is there an effective demand among Irish women for the franchise? I am bound to say that I think there is not. My hon. Friend (Mr. Snowden), who moved this Amendment, gave to the House a list of certain franchise societies which, he said, had supported a resolution in favour of the extension of the franchise to women in Ireland. I have no means of knowing, but I should be somewhat surprised if the membership of these societies was large in proportion to the general body of women in Ireland. If the franchise were to be extended under this Bill to the women of Ireland, I do not say we should be doing Irish women an injustice. I am willing to extend it. I believe it would be for the good of this country and for the good of Ireland that the franchise should be extended. I will not say, therefore, that if we were to extend it here by this Amendment we would be doing a wrong to women in Ireland, but I say we should be doing something which the great body of women in Ireland do not at present ask, and which, I think, exercising the best judgment I can, would be rather displeasing than otherwise to the majority. If I were convinced that the majority of Irish women ardently desired the franchise, I should find it, in spite of everything else, impossible to vote against this Amendment. If I believed that such a proportion of Irish women wore in favour of this proposal, as I believe are in favour of Woman Franchise in England, I should find myself in a different position; but I am as honestly convinced as I am of anything that that is not the case in Ireland. I dare say that time will come, but it is not the case at this moment, and if yon pass the Amendment you will be forcing Woman Suffrage, not only on the men of Ireland, but on the women of Ireland, I do not say against their will, but without any effective demand from them.

When I say "effective demand"—the words have been used more than once—I do not mean a militant demand. I do not call that an effective demand. I think militancy has been exceedingly ineffective except in exciting hostility to Woman Suffrage. I mean such evidence from our own experience and knowledge through conversation with men and women, as would bring any person of average judgment to the conviction that there exists in any country among the women of that country a real desire for the conferring of the vote upon them comparable to that which exists among Irishmen and women in favour of the passage of this Bill as a whole. What may come I do not know. My own belief is that this is a cause which, sooner or later, is bound to win, whether in Ireland or anywhere else. There will be a time—there are signs of it—but it is not yet, when there will be a real movement among women themselves, an effective demand, for the franchise, such as does not exist at this moment. I think my hon. Friend opposite may rest absolutely assured that Irish men, who, as he said, have a proud record in the matter of the treatment of women, who were among the first in Europe to open the doors of their universities to them, when Irish women ask for the vote will not deny it. At the present moment I am convinced that among Irish women themselves there is no such demand as should justify us in imperilling Home Rule even in the very slightest degree in order to extend the franchise to them.

7.0 P.M.


I am entirely in favour of the view put forward on behalf of the Government that this matter should be left for settlement by the Irish Parliament, if and when such an Assembly ever exists. My reason for saying so is not because I have any particular admiration for the new Parliament which is to be created, but because it will be possible to consult the electors of the country whether they wish to have Woman Suffrage or not. In this country the change may be forced on the electors without ever being consulted, because if is a question which cuts across the usual party divisions. I do not sec how with the present distribution of parties it would be possible to consult the people of the country whether they wish this change to be made or not, except by a Referendum. But in Ireland it would be possible to ask the people whether they wish such a change or not. I am inclined to agree with the hon. Member for West Donegal (Mr. Hugh Law), in the view that there is not in Ireland any extensive demand for this change. I am not expressing what my opinion would be one way or another, but I think if such a change is ever to be introduced in this or any other country, the electors should have an opportunity of expressing their view as to whether they wish the change to be made or not. I was not impressed by the argument of the Prime Minister that Woman Franchise had never been imposed upon other subordinate Legislatures formed throughout the Empire, because there is a great difference between the present case, in which Members representing the country in which the subordinate Legislature is to be set up are present assisting in their deliberations, and the case of other countries where there are no such members present. But although I do not agree with the arguments of the Prime Minister I am, as far as it is possible to conceive myself to be in agreement with the present Government, in agreement with the suggestion made on their part that the matter should be left to be settled by an Irish Parliament, if it ever exists, though it is rather difficult to understand when it is going to be settled by an Irish Parliament if the Franchise Bill comes before this House some time early in the New Year, because if that should pass it would be settled without any express reference to the people of Ireland to determine whether they are in favour of it or not. But I do not feel in the position to support the Amendment, and that disposes of the suggestion that we are always ready to support anything that may be a wrecking Amendment of the Bill.


The position in which the Committee is this afternoon is somewhat unusual. Apparently there are no party leads, even though there are going to be Party Whips, and though the Government is to put its Whips at the door Member after Member among the supporters of the Government has informed the Committee that he is going to follow his own conscience for once. In venturing to address the Committee on this subject, I, too, am speaking for myself and myself only. The whole of the party with which I am associated believe in Woman Suffrage and will support it, I believe, when the time comes, with its votes. The only question which is in some doubt in the minds of some Members this afternoon is whether as a matter of actual fact the question of Woman Suffrage is or is not raised by this Amendment. My hon. Friend the Member for Donegal (Mr. H. Law) told us that he was in a peculiar position, and according to his own speech he was. He says that if he felt there was an effective demand in Ireland for the franchise he would vote for it, but because he thinks there is not an effective demand in Ireland for the franchise he is not going to vote for it this afternoon. That is an intelligible position, but the sequel is not quite so intelligible. He says that when the Reform Bill comes on, although it is going to apply to Ireland just as much as it applies to England, he is going to vote for an Amendment to that Bill which will impose upon Irish women the necessity of voting. Surely the narrow differences of three months does not involve the quos lion of principle. If my hon. Friend is going to vote for giving the Irish women votes in January, why is he going to oppose giving them votes in November?


To vote against the Women's Amendment on the Franchise Bill would be to refuse the vote to a very large body of women in this country who do want it. A vote against this Amendment merely prevents the immediate application of the Woman Suffrage to the one portion of these islands in which, in my judgment, there is no effective demand for it. I do not think that we should be doing any wrong to the women in Ireland even if we did extend the vote to them, but I do not think, on the other hand, that we should be doing anything which the majority of them desire. I see no reason to go out of our way on this occasion to extend the vote in that particular portion of the country where the women themselves least desire it.


Surely the interruption has been very interesting. It shows that my hon. Friend is in an extremely difficult position. He would like to vote one way and he cannot. He is going to vote the other way, and he wants to give an excuse for it. There is not the least doubt from the position which my hon. Friend takes up that he is bound to vote for an Amendment to the Reform Bill excluding Ireland from its scope so far as women's franchise is concerned, and that he does not mean to do it, and he justifies his not meaning to do it by stating that even if we imposed the franchise upon Irish women we are doing them no injustice. What is left of his argument in favour of voting against this Amendment I really do not understand, fie is going to do it two or three months hence, and if he does it now he is imposing no injustice. I think I will leave him to reconcile his position as best he can. My position is quite plain. I am in favour of Woman Suffrage. If the Amendment dealt with something which was in the nature of giving powers to the Irish Parliament, I should say, as I said regarding the Industrial Legislation Amendment, that it must be handed over to the Irish Parliament. If we are going to give. Home Rule, we must give Home Rule. But this is not one of that sort of questions. Whether Irish women have the vote or not is not a question as to whether we have full confidence in the good judgment and good sense of the Irish representatives when they sit in Ireland. Whether we are going to vote in favour of this Amendment or not depends upon whether we take the view that henceforth every Constitution given by this Parliament to subordinate Parliaments is or is not going to contain a provision for Woman Suffrage. That is a totally different question, and imposes upon us a totally different responsibility from many of the Amendments that have been raised hitherto.

The Prime Minister has said that there is no precedent for this. But history has not all been written. The British Constitution is not something to which we are going to add no comma and no paragraph, and, so far as I am concerned, I will be only too delighted this afternoon by my vote to establish a new precedent, so that when further Constitutions are going to be imposed by this House it will be impossible for any Prime Minister, whether Liberal or Conservative, to say that there is no precedent so far as women's votes are concerned. We stand in this position. We are giving Ireland a new Constitution. When hon. Members go back to Ireland and ask the women to support them by canvassing and so on, they are not going to have any sort of political or conscientious scruples regarding the fitness or unfitness of Irish women to exercise the vote. They are going to ask them to do everything involved in exercising the vote except actually taking up the pencil and making a mark opposite the name of one of the candidates. Every substantial exercise of judgment, every operation that is necessary in order to exercise the vote, is done now by women in this country, in Ireland and wherever there are women's organisations supporting men. That is a fact to which we cannot possibly shut our eyes. A second fact is this: The Irish Parliament is going to be a domestic Parliament. It is going to deal pre-eminently with questions of public health, of housing, of the family, of factory legislation, and questions that deal with the building up inside Ireland of those domestic and those communal virtues in which women's experience is so very precious and so very important. If we ever can or will be justified in insisting that women's influence shall be an essential part and parcel of a Constitution proposed by this House, we are justified in insisting on it this afternoon.

Besides, there is the outside question to which the Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin (Lord Robert Cecil) has referred. This House is constantly saying that in a majority it is in favour of Woman Suffrage. I would like to associate myself with what is said in that respect. Nothing can irritate outside public opinion, more particularly the opinion of women, more than this, that when this House is constantly telling them it is in favour of the franchise for them, it is always declining to do something to show effectively that its opinion is really going to influence the Statute Book of this country. My own opinions, I hope, about what is called militancy are perfectly well known. I think it has been one of the most disastrous and most deplorable things that have happened in the whole course of this controversy. I believe that had it not broken out, had it not been pursued by means which were approaching to insanity rather than to reason, the position of women's franchise inside and outside this House would have been such, that the majority here in favour of Woman Suffrage would have been bound to have given effective voice to its opinions. This House must remember that women have got human nature as well as men, and it must know perfectly well that it is exceedingly difficult for it to explain its position to women who are insisting that the vote shall be given, except in such a way as to suggest to them that we are very dishonest representatives who are not willing to carry out our pledges. If that view becomes widespread, if it becomes general, then most unfortunate results will happen. I am bound to say that in voting as I am going to vote this afternoon, I am going to take that into account as well. I believe it is the duty of Members of this House, in giving a Constitution to Ireland, or any other country, to take upon themselves the full responsibility which they have got as the authors and originators of that Constitution. It is not a thing which is subject to the ordinary operation of Home Rule in any way. It is subject to cur responsibility, and we cannot possibly shuffle off that responsibility by saying that we will give power to that subordinate Legislature after three years to change the position. We have got this afternoon to say whether we ourselves are or are not in favour of a Constitution which grants women the franchise. If we are, we must vote for this Amendment. If we are not, we must vote against it. But because I believe that the majority of Members in this House favour Woman Suffrage I hope that this Amendment will be carried.


I do not know whether I heard the speech of the hon. Member opposite rightly, but I understood him to say at one moment that in his judgment the question now before us does not raise the subject of Woman Suffrage. But be that as it may, I cannot agree with him in that opinion. I differ with him, and, unlike the hon. Member who told us that on this occasion he spoke entirely for himself, I believe that if I asked the Committee's indulgence for a few moments to oppose by my voice as well as my vote the Amendment which is now before us, I should represent the view of men, and women too, in vast numbers throughout the country, when I say that it is my intention most distinctly to give my vote against this proposal. The hon. Member and some of his Friends appeared to agree and be greatly taken with the speech of my right hon. Friend who sits beside me (Mr. Balfour), who spoke only a short time ago. Like my right hon. Friend, I, too, listened with great interest to the speech of the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. Munro-Ferguson), with which my right hon. Friend was so taken that he said to the House, "If it be true that after all, the Parliament we are going to give to Ireland is to be only a Parliament dealing with purely local affairs, why should anyone hesitate who is in favour of female suffrage to give his vote in favour of the Amendment?" The argument of my right hon. Friend is based on an "if," and a very large "if" it is. How many Nationalist Members below the Gangway will agree with the description which is now put before them, of a Parliament to be granted to them under this Bill, that it is a Parliament to enable them to deal with purely local affairs and with nothing else. Those who believe that this is their view of the situation may do anything they please as far as I am concerned, but I believe it to be a totally and wholly misleading one.

If ever this Bill became law—I do not expect to see it myself—we shall very soon find out how totally mistaken is the description applied to the Bill on this particular occasion by various Members this afternoon. My right hon. Friend and myself, as he reminded me, have always differed on this question for a period of something like forty years. I think it was very nearly about that time that, on one occasion after a Woman Suffrage Bill had been read a second time in this House, it fell to my lot to lead another charge against it upon a stage of the Bill which at that time was open to us, namely, on the question "That the Bill do now go into Committee," and on that occasion I was successful in defeating it by a very considerable majority. I will tell Members something of great interest to many of them. I had the support of a most distinguished recruit, sitting upon the opposite side of the House, who had previously voted for and supported Bills for female suffrage. The Bill, on this particular occasion, was introduced by the late Mr. Jacob Bright, who was one of the great supporters of the movement. That afternoon I found to my surprise and great delight that I had a most powerful recruit in his own brother, Mr. John Bright, who had previously always supported this movement. With great manliness and courage he got up in his place to admit that, after full consideration, he had entirely changed his views upon this question. The ground he gave for it was that upon mature consideration he had come to the conclusion that the right to vote carried and must carry with it the right to be voted for. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why not?"]

Mr. Bright was quite right; that is what certainly many of the advocates of female suffrage have in their mind or up their sleeve, so to speak, and, with perfect logic, it must ultimately and certainly come to that. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why not?"] I am not going to enter into the question on its merits, beyond saying that though there are innumerable arguments which may be adduced in its support, there is this one which overrides all others, that it cannot stop there. Once you grant the vote to women, sooner or later you must be prepared to see them sitting in this House, on the same benches as ourselves, taking the same part in Governments and in Cabinets, and everything else in political life, on a perfect footing of equality with men. That is a position which I, at all events, am not prepared to assist or aid, nor do I believe it is in the best interests of the country. On those grounds, and more particularly on an occasion when no great question of this kind ought in my opinion to be settled by a side-wind, as it would be if we voted in its favour on this occasion, I shall give my hearty and complete opposition to the Amendment.


To my mind there appears to be so much to be said, whatever its merits, against this Amendment, that I am inclined to think that strategic motives have led to its appearance on the Paper. I am afraid that the advocates of Woman Suffrage will be tempted to stipulate, should this Amendment be defeated, that the Irish Members, and perhaps other Members who are strongly in favour of Home Rule, when this House comes to the Amendment for Woman Suffrage on the Franchise and Registration Bill, will, out of gratitude, support them upon an Amendment which would give them very much more than this Amendment does. Those of us who are Home Rulers as well as Woman Suffragists should at least remember that this Amendment tacks on a very controversial and very critical issue to the Bill before the Committee, a measure which I should have thought is already large enough and important enough of itself without being made the vehicle of another controversy. I appeal to all who are Home Rulers and inclined to support this Amendment not to endanger or subordinate the interests of a cause which, after twenty-seven years of waiting and struggling, has secured the unanimous support of the Liberal party for the sake of a measure which is very far from having secured the unanimous support of the Liberal party, and which very rightly is going to be dealt with as a separate measure.

I want to put this to the advocates of Woman Suffrage on this side of the House: Whether they will not admit that the movement in favour of Woman Suffrage is weakest of all in Ireland? I may be expecting them to admit a great deal, but when the movement in Ireland is compared with what it is in any other part of the United Kingdom it is admitted to be far weaker and more backward in that country than anywhere else. I want to know why the. Irish Parliament is to be made the first to adopt Women's Suffrage. I, like many others, take the ground that it is a matter which should be left to the settlement of the Irish people. I put it to Woman Suffragists on this side of the House that that is a very fair arrangement indeed, and it is just to those who are in favour and those who are opposed to Woman Suffrage. I regret that they have not so far seen their way to accept the very fair basis of agreement that has been laid down. After all, this Amendment must tell against the movement in favour of Woman Suffrage, because people are bound to ask themselves why it is that the advocates of Woman Suffrage are not prepared to leave it to the Irish Parliament. They will be bound to infer, of course, that the advocates of Woman Suffrage are so fearful of the Irish people that they will not leave the question to the Irish Parliament.

I thought that this Home Rule Bill was to be a full and final recognition of the fact that the system of attempting to force things upon the Irish people was an utter, a total and a dismal failure. I feel that no man who is a real Home Ruler can consistently attempt to force upon the Irish people in this Bill, which is supposed to give them self-government, that which this very Bill declares is to be left and should be left to the settlement of the Irish people. To my mind this Amendment is a denial and a flat contradiction of that essential principle of Home Rule. I come to what I consider the most objectionable part of this Amendment, and it is that the Trish people are not pressing it forward. This proposal is being pressed forward from the headquarters of the movement,

and it is a thoroughly un-Irish movement. I think that it is a complete exposure of this Amendment that not a single Irish Member either above or below the Gangway opposite has been found to propose it, or second it, or put his name on the Paper in favour of it. The very least that the advocates of Woman Suffrage could have done before they came dow nto this House and asked it to pass Woman Suffrage for Ireland, was to make sure that they could prove to this House that at least a majority of Irish Members and at least a majority of the Irish people are in favour of it. If Woman Suffrage is to come in Ireland, do not let it be imported compulsorily under this Bill to that country. If Woman Suffrage is to come in Ireland, let it be of national, natural, and indigenous growth.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 314; Noes, 141.

Division No. 291.] AYES. [7.30 p.m.
Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour) Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar) Farrell, James Patrick
Acland, Francis Dyke Byles, Sir William Pollard Ffrench, Peter
Addison, Dr. Christopher Carr-Gomm, H. W. Field, William
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich) Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward
Agnew, Sir George William Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert
Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire) Chaloner, Col. R. G. W. Fitzgibbon, John
Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud) Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.) Flavin, Michael Joseph
Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R. Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Fleming, Valentine
Armitage, Robert Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. France, Gerald Ashburner
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Clancy, John Joseph Gelder, Sir W. A.
Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J. Clough, William George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd
Baker, H. T. (Accrington) Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham Gibbs, George Abraham
Baldwin, Stanley Collins, G. P. (Greenock) Gilmour, Captain John
Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark) Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Gladstone, W. G. C.
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Glanville, H. J.
Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple) Condon, Thomas Joseph Glazebrook, Capt. Philip K.
Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset) Cornwall, Sir Edwin Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford
Barnston, Harry Cotton, William Francis Goldsmith, Frank
Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick) Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)
Barran, Rowland Hurst (Leeds, N.) Craik, Sir Henry Greig, Col. J. W.
Barton, William Crawshay-Williams, Eliot Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward
Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks Crumley, Patrick Griffith, Ellis J.
Beauchamp, Sir Edward Cullinan, John Guest, Hon. Major C. H. C. (Pembroke)
Beck, Arthur Cecil Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth) Guinness, Hon. W.E. (Bury S.Edmunds)
Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts., St. George) Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)
Bennett-Goldney, Francis Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan) Hackett, John
Bentham, G. J. Dawes, J. A. Hall, Fred (Dulwich)
Beresford, Lord Charles Delany, William Hall, Frederick (Normanton)
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)
Black, Arthur W. Dillon, John Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)
Boland, John Pius Donelan, Captain A. Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)
Booth, Frederick Handel Doris, William Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence
Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North) Du Cros, Arthur Philip Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)
Brady, Patrick Joseph Duffy, William J. Harrison-Broadley, H. B.
Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley) Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)
Brocklehurst, W. B. Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.) Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Brunner, John F. L. Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor) Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)
Bryce, J. Annan Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.) Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry
Buckmaster, Stanley O. Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.) Hayden, John Patrick
Burdett-Coutts, W. Essex, Richard Walter Hayward, Evan
Burke, E. Haviland- Esslemont, George Birnie Hazleton, Richard
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Faber, George Denison (Clapham) Helme, Sir Norval Watson
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Falconer, James Helmsley, Viscount
Henderson, Major H. (Berkshire) Menzies, Sir Walter Roe, Sir Thomas
Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.) Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas Ronaldshay, Earl of
Henry, Sir Charles Molloy, Michael Rose, Sir Charles Day
Hewins, William Albert Samuel Molteno, Percy Alport Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Higham, John Sharp Money, L. G. Chiozza Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.
Hill, Sir Clement L. Mooney, John J. Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)
Holmes, Daniel Turner Morrell, Philip Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L (Cleveland)
Holt, Richard Durning Morrison-Bell, Major A, C. (Honiton) Samuel, J (Stockton)
Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Muldoon, John Samuel, Sir Stuart M. (Whitechapel)
Horne, Charles Silvester (Ipswich) Munro, R. Scanlan, Thomas
Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C. Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E.
Hughes, S. L. Nannetti, Joseph P. Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)
Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus Needham, Christopher T. Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh) Neilson, Francis Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.
Jessel, Captain H. M. Nolan, Joseph Sheehy, David
Jones, Rt.Hon.Sir D.Brynmor (Sw'nsea) Norton, Captain Cecil W. Simon, Sir John Allsebrook
Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil) Nuttall, Harry Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'p'l, Walton)
Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Smith, Harold (Warrington)
Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East) O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)
Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Jones. W. S. Glyn- (Stepney) O'Doherty, Philip Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Joyce, Michael O'Donnell, Thomas Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert
Keating, Matthew O'Dowd, John Staveley-Hill, Henry
Kebty-Fletcher, J. R. Ogden, Fred Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)
Kellaway, Frederick George O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.) Sutherland, John E.
Kelly, Edward O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.) Talbot, Lord E.
Kennedy, Vincent Paul O'Malley, William Tennant, Harold John
Kilbride, Denis O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.) Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Lamb, Ernest Henry O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Thynne, Lord A.
Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon,S.Molton) O'Shee, James John Toulmin, Sir George
Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) O'Sullivan, Timothy Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Lardner, James Carrige Rushe Outhwaite, R. L. Tryon, Captain George Clement
Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.) Palmer, Godfrey Mark Wadsworth, John
Lee, Arthur Hamilton Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend) Walsh, Stephen (Lancs, Ince)
Levy, Sir Maurice Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek) Walters, Sir John Tudor
Lewis, John Herbert Pearce, William (Limehouse) Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)
Lloyd, G. A. Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham) Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)
Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R. Phillips, John (Longford, S.) Waring, Walter
Long, Rt. Hon. Walter Pirie, Duncan Vernon Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay
Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas Power, Patrick Joseph Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
Low, Sir F. (Norwich) Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.) Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Lundon, Thomas Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham) Webb, H.
Lyell, Charles Henry Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.) White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
Lynch, A. A. Pringle, William M. R. White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo.,Han.S.) Radford, G. H. Wiles, Thomas
Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Raphael, Sir Herbert H. Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset, W.)
McGhee, Richard Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel Williamson, Sir Archibald
Mackinder, Halford J. Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields) Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
Macmaster, Donald Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough) Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)
Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J. Reddy, Michael Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South) Redmond, John E. (Waterford) Winfrey, Richard
Macpherson, James Ian Redmond, William (Clare, E.) Winterton, Earl
MacVeagh, Jeremiah Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.) Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)
M'Callum, Sir John M. Rees, Sir J. D. Wood, Rt Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)
Manfiield, Harry Kendall, Athelstan Yate, Col. C. E.
McKenna, Rt Hon. Reginald Richardson, Albion (Peckham) Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)
Marks, Sir George Croydon Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Young, William (Perthshire, E.)
Martin, Joseph Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs) Younger, Sir George
Mason, James F. (Windsor) Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G. Robinson, Sidney TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.
Meagher, Michael Roche, Augustine (Louth) Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.
Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Roche, John (Galway, E.)
Adamson, William Brace, William Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Bull, Sir William James Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)
Aitken, Sir William Max Burgoyne, Alan Hughes Crooks, William
Amery, L. C. M. S. Burn, Colonel C. R. Denniss, E. R. B.
Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.) Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred Doughty, Sir George
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.) Cassel, Felix Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)
Banner, John S. Harmood- Castlereagh, Viscount Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)
Barlow, Montague (Salford, South) Cave, George Fell, Arthur
Barnes, G. N. Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood) Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles
Barrie, H. T. Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford Univ.) Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes
Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton) Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin) Gilhooly, James
Beale, Sir William Phipson Chambers, James Gill, A. H.
Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth) Chancellor, Henry George Goldman, C. S.
Betheil, Sir J. H. Chapple, Dr. William Allen Goldstone, Frank
Bird, Alfred Clynes, John R. Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)
Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith- Cooper, Richard Ashmole Goulding, Edward Alfred
Bowerman, C. W. Courthope, George Loyd Greene, Walter Raymond
Boyton, James Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.) Haddock, George Bahr
Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth) Malcolm, Ian Stanier, Beville
Hamersley, Alfred St. George Markham, Sir Arthur Basil Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)
Hancock, J. G. Mason, David M. (Coventry) Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)
Hardie, J. Keir Mond, Sir Alfred M. Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Harris, Henry Percy Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C. Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Healy, Timothy Michael (Cork, N.E.) Newdegate, F. A. Thomas, J. H.
Hemmerde, Edward George Newton, Harry Kottingham Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)
Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Norman, Sir Henry Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)
Hill-Wood, Samuel O'Brien, William (Cork) Thorne, William (West Ham)
Hoare, S. J. G. Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A. Touche, George Alexander
Hodge, John Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William Walrond, Hon. Lionel
Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian) Parker, James Halifax Walsh, J. (Cork, South)
Hudson, Walter Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M. Walton, Sir Joseph
Hume-Williams, W. E. Pointer, Joseph Wardle, George J.
Ingleby, Holcombe Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central) Watt, Henry A.
John, Edward Thomas Pryce-Jones, Col. E. (M'tgomy B'ghs) Wheler, Granville C. H.
Jowett, F. W. Randles, Sir John S. White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)
Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr Remnant, James Farquharson White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E.R.)
Kimber, Sir Henry Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven) Whyte, A. F. (Perth)
King, J. Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall) Wilkie, Alexander
Lansbury, George Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke) Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle) Rolleston, Sir John Wolmer, Viscount
Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th) Rowntree, Arnold Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Lewisham, Viscount Rutherford, Watson (L'pool., W. Derby) Worthington-Evans, L.
Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.) Salter, Arthur Clavell Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester) Sanders, Robert Arthur Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
M'Curdy, C. A. Sheehan, Daniel Daniel Yerburgh, Robert A.
M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.) Sherwell, Arthur James
M'Laren, Hon. F.W.S. (Lincs.,Spalding) Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.
McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's) Spear, Sir John Ward Snowden and Mr. Dickinson.

It being after Half-past Seven of the clock, the CHAIRMAN proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of 14th October, successively to put forthwith the Questions on an Amendment proposed by the Government, of which notice had been given, and the Question necessary to dis-

pose of the business to be concluded at Half-past Seven of the clock at this day's sitting.

Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 310; Noes, 215.

Division No. 292.] AYES. [7.40 p.m.
Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour) Burns, Rt. Hon. John Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)
Acland, Francis Dyke Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)
Adamson, William Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar) Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)
Addison, Dr. Christopher Byles, Sir William Pollard Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Carr-Gomm, H. W. Essex, Richard Walter
Agnew, Sir George William Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich) Esslemont, George Birnie
Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbarton) Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood) Falconer, James
Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud) Chancellor, Henry George Farrell, James Patrick
Armitage, Robert Chapple, Dr. William Allen Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Clancy, John Joseph Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson
Baker, Harold T. (Accrington) Clough, William Ffrench, Peter
Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.) Clynes, John R. Field, William
Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark) Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock) Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward
Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple) Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Fitzgibbon, John
Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset) Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Flavin, Michael Joseph
Barnes, George N. Condon, Thomas Joseph France, Gerald Ashburner
Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick B.) Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Furness, Stephen
Barran, Rowland Hurst (Leeds, N.) Cotton, William Francis Gelder, Sir William Alfred
Barton, William Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd
Beale, Sir William Phipson Crawshay-Williams, Eliot Gill, Alfred Henry
Beauchamp, Sir Edward Crooks, William Ginnell, Laurence
Beck, Arthur Cecil Crumley, Patrick Gladstone, W. G. C.
Benn, W. W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.) Cullinan, John Glanville, Harold James
Bentham, George Jackson Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford
Bethell, Sir John Henry Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth) Goldstone, Frank
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)
Black, Arthur W. Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardiganshire) Greig, Colonel James William
Boland, John Pius Dawes, James Arthur Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward
Booth, Frederick Handel Delany, William Griffith, Ellis Jones
Bowerman, Charles W. Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)
Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North) Dickinson, W. H. Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)
Brace, William Dillon, John Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)
Brady, Patrick Joseph Donelan, Captain A. Hackett, John
Brocklehurst, William B. Doris, William Hall, Frederick (Normanton)
Brunner, John F. L. Duffy, William J. Hancock, John George
Bryce, John Annan Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)
Buckmaster, Stanley O. Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley) Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)
Burke, E. Haviland- Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.) Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)
Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G. Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)
Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.) Meagher, Michael Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)
Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Robinson, Sydney
Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry Menzies, Sir Walter Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Hayden, John Patrick Molloy, Michael Roche, Augustine (Louth)
Hayward, Evan Molteno, Percy Alport Roche, John (Galway, E.)
Hazleton, Richard Mond, Sir Alfred M. Roe, Sir Thomas
Helme, Sir Norval Watson Money, L. G. Chiozza Rose, Sir Charles Day
Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.) Mooney, John J. Rowlands, James
Henry, Sir Charles Morrell, Philip Rowntree, Arnold
Higham, John Sharp Muldoon, John Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Hodge, John Munro, Robert Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.
Holmes, Daniel Turner Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C. Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Holt, Richard Durning Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C. Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Horne, Charles Silvester (Ipswich) Nannetti, Joseph P. Samuel, Sir Stuart M. (Whitechapel)
Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Needham, Christopher T. Scanlan, Thomas
Hudson, Walter Neilson, Francis Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.
Hughes, Spencer Leigh Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster) Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)
Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus Nolan, Joseph Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.
Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh) Norman, Sir Henry Sheehy, David
John, Edward Thomas Norton, Captain Cecil W. Sherwell, Arthur James
Jones, Rt.Hon.Sir D.Brynmor (Sw'nsea) Nuttall, Harry Simon, Sir John Allsebrook
Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil) O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)
Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)
Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East) O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe) O'Doherty, Philip Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) O'Donnell, Thomas Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert
Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts., Stepney) O'Dowd, John Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)
Joyce, Michael Ogden, Fred Sutherland, John E.
Keating, Matthew O'Grady, James Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Kellaway, Frederick George O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.) Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Kelly, Edward O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.) Tennant, Harold John
Kennedy, Vincent Paul O'Malley, William Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Kilbride, Denis O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.) Toulmin, Sir George
King, Joseph O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Lamb, Ernest Henry O'Shee, James John Verney, Sir Harry
Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon,S.Molton) O'Sullivan, Timothy Wadsworth, John
Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) Outhwaite, R. L. Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)
Lardner, James Carrige Rushe Palmer, Godfrey Mark Walters, Sir John Tudor
Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West) Parker, James (Halifax) Walton, Sir Joseph
Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld,Cockerm'th) Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek) Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)
Leach, Charles Pearce, William (Limehouse) Wardle, George J.
Levy, Sir Maurice Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M. Waring, Walter
Lewis, John Herbert Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham) Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay
Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas Phillips, John (Longford, S.) Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich) Pirie, Duncan V. Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Lundon, Thomas Pointer, Joseph Watt, Henry A.
Lyell, Charles Henry Pollard, Sir George H. Webb, H.
Lynch, Arthur Alfred Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H. White, J. Dundas (Glas., Tradeston)
Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Power, Patrick Joseph White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E.R.)
Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central) White, Patrick (Meath, North)
McGhee, Richard Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.) Whyte, A. F. (Perth)
Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J. Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham) Wiles, Thomas
MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South) Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.) Wilkie, Alexander
Macpherson, James Ian Pringle, William M. R. Williams, John (Glamorgan)
MacVeagh, Jeremiah Radford, George Heynes Williamson, Sir Archibald
M'Callum, Sir John M. Raphael, Sir Herbert Henry Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
M'Curdy, Charles Albert Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields) Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs, N.)
M'Kean, John Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Reddy, Michael Winfrey, Richard
M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.) Redmond, John E. (Waterford) Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)
M'Laren, Hon. F.W.S. (Lincs.,Spalding) Redmond, Wiliam (Clare, E.) Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)
M'Micking, Major Gilbert Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.) Young, William (Perth, East)
Manfield, Harry Rendall, Athelstan
Markham, Sir Arthur Basil Richardson, Albion (Peckham) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.
Marks, Sir George Croydon Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.
Martin, Joseph
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Barrie, H. T. Bull, Sir William James
Aitken, Sir William Max Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton) Burdett-Coutts, William
Amery, L. C. M. S. Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks Burgoyne, Alan Hughes
Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R. Beckett, Hon. W. Gervase Burn, Colonel C. R.
Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J. Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth) Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. (Dublin Univ.)
Baird, John Lawrence Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich) Campion, W. R.
Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.) Bennett-Goldney, Francis Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred
Balcarres, Lord Beresford, Lord Charles Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.
Baldwin, Stanley Bird, Alfred Cassel, Felix
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith- Castlereagh, Viscount
Banner, John S. Harmood- Boyton, James Cator, John
Barlow, Montague (Salford, South) Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell Cautley, Henry Strother
Barnston, Harry Bridgeman, William Clive Cave, George
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Hill Wood, Samuel Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University) Hoare, Samuel John Gurney Rees, Sir J. D.
Chaloner, Col R. G. W. Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy Remnant, James Farquharson
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.) Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)
Chambers, James Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian) Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Horne, William E. (Surrey, Guildford) Rolleston, Sir John
Clay, Captain H. H. Spender Horner, Andrew Long Ronaldshay, Earl of
Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham Houston, Robert Paterson Royds, Edmund
Cooper, Richard Ashmole Hume-Williams, William Ellis Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)
Courthope, George Loyd Ingleby, Holcombe Rutherford, Watson (L'rpool, W. Derby)
Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.) Jessel, Captain Herbert M. Salter, Arthur Clavell
Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe) Jowett, Frederick William Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)
Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet) Joynson-Hicks, William Sanders, Robert A.
Craik, Sir Henry Kebty-Fletcher, J. R. Sanderson, Lancelot
Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred Kimber, Sir Henry Smith, Harold (Warrington)
Croft, Henry Page Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Snowden, Philip
Dalziel, Davison (Brixton) Knight, Captain Eric Ayshford Spear, Sir John Ward
Denniss, E. R. B. Lansbury, George Stanier, Beville
Doughty, Sir George Larmor, Sir J. Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)
Du Cros, Arthur Philip Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle) Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)
Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M. Lee, Arthur Hamilton Starkey, John Ralph
Faber, George D. (Clapham) Lewisham, Viscount Staveley-Hill, Henry
Faber, Captain W. V. (Hants, W.) Lloyd, George Ambrose Stewart, Gershom
Falle, Bertram Godfray Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury) Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)
Fell, Arthur Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey) Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)
Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R. Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)
Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Long, Rt. Hon. Walter Talbot, Lord Edmund
Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)
Fleming, Valentine Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston) Thomas, James Henry
Fletcher, John Samuel Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.) Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)
Gastrell, Major W. Houghton Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich) Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)
Gibbs, George Abraham Mackinder, Halford J. Thorne, William (West Ham)
Gilmour, Captain John Macmaster, Donald Thynne, Lord Alexander
Glazebrook, Captain Philip K. McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's) Touche, George Alexander
Goldman, Charles Sydney Malcolm, Ian Tryon, Captain George Clement
Goldsmith, Frank Mallaby-Deeley, Harry Valentia, Viscount
Gordon, John (Londonderry, South) Mason, David M. (Coventry) Walrond, Hon. Lionel
Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton) Mason, James F. (Windsor) Walsh, J. (Cork, South)
Goulding, Edward Alfred Middlemore, John Throgmorton Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)
Greene, W. R. Mildmay, Francis Bingham Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)
Gretton, John Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas Wheler, Granville C. H.
Guinness, Hon. W.E. (Bury S.Edmunds) Moore, William Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Gwynne, R. S (Sussex, Eastbourne) Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton) Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud
Haddock, George Bahr Mount, William Arthur Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks, E.R.)
Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight) Neville, Reginald J. N. Winterton, Earl
Hall, Fred (Dulwich) Newdegate, F. A. Wolmer, Viscount
Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth) Newton, Harry Kottingham Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)
Hamersley, Alfred St. George Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield) Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington) Nield, Herbert Worthington-Evans, L.
Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry) Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A. Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Hardie, J. Keir Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William Wright, Henry Fitzherbert
Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend) Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Harris, Henry Percy Parkes, Ebenezer Yate, Colonel C. E.
Harrison-Broadley, H. B. Perkins, Walter Frank Yerburgh, Robert A.
Helmsley, Viscount Peto, Basil Edward Younger, Sir George
Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Pole-Carew, Sir R.
Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon) Pollock, Ernest Murray TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Major
Hewins, William Albert Samuel Pryce-Jones, Col. E. White and Mr. MacCaw.
Hill, Sir Clement L. Randles, Sir John S.