§ (1) For the purposes of the financial provisions of this Act there shall be established a Board to be called the Joint Exchequer Board, consisting of two members appointed by the Treasury and two members appointed by the Irish Treasury and a chairman appointed by His Majesty.
§ (2) It shall be the duty of the Joint Exchequer Board to determine any matter which is to be determined by the Board under this Act, and also to determine any other matter in connection with the Transferred Sum, or Irish revenue or expenditure, or the cost of any reserved service, which may be referred to them for determination by the Treasury and the Irish Treasury jointly, and the decision of the Board on any matter which is to be determined by them shall be final and conclusive.
§ (3) Any vacancy arising in the office of a member of the Board, owing to the death, resignation, or incapacity of any member of the Board, shall be filled by the authority by whom the member whose place is vacant was appointed.1310
The first Amendment I propose to take to this Clause is the one standing in the name of the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Walter Guinness) [Composition of Joint Exchequer Board], which will permit of general debate on both the constitution and the powers of the proposed Joint Exchequer Board. I ought to say I can only put part of the Amendment under the Rules of the House. I am unable to put Sub-section (3), part of Sub-section (5), and Sub-section (6), as they would require a Money Resolution before they could be inserted in the Bill. The hon. Member can still discuss the question of salaries in proposing the rest of his Amendment, The next following Amendment I propose to take will be that of the Noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton).
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
May I ask for the guidance of the Committee whether you can conveniently indicate which Amendment you propose to select, after the fall of the guillotine at 7.30, to Clause 24? May I, in the second place, ask you with regard to your ruling that a certain portion of the Amendment now to be proposed would require a Financial Resolution? In the Bill there is no provision whatever for the payment of any salary cither for the Joint Exchequer Board or to any officer of the Joint Exchequer Board. Are we to understand from your ruling that before any provision is to be made by the Government or by private Members for the payment of any such salary or remuneration that a Money Resolution will be required from this House?
Dealing with the second question first, certainly what I have said applies to the Government as much as to a private Member. Any proposal to put those or similar words in the Bill would involve a Money Resolution. Of course it may be possible to proceed by way of a Vote on the Estimates. With regard to the hon. Member's first question, I think I may conveniently state that on Clause 24 I propose to take first the two Amendments standing in the names of the hon. Member for South Birmingham (Mr. Amery) and the hon. Member for Hereford (Mr. Hewins), which are to be read together.
§ 4.0 P.M.
§ Mr. WALTER GUINNESS
had the following Amendment on the Paper: At the end of Sub-section (1), to insert the following words:—
"(2) The term of office of a member of the Joint Exchequer Board shall be ten years, but any member may at any time resign and any member may be removed by His Majesty for incapacity or misconduct.
"(3) There shall be paid to each member of the Joint Exchequer Board such salary as the Treasury and the Irish Treasury jointly may direct.
"(4) The Joint Exchequer Board may act by three of their number and, subject to the approval of the Treasury and the Irish Treasury jointly, may regulate their own procedure.
"(5) The Joint Exchequer Board may, with the consent of the Treasury and the Irish Treasury jointly, appoint and employ such officers and servants as they think necessary, and may remove any officer or servants so appointed and employed, and there shall be paid to such officers and servants such salaries or remuneration as the Joint Exchequer Board, with the consent of the Treasury and the Irish Treasury jointly, may determine.
"(6) The salaries of the members of the Joint Exchequer Board, and the salaries or remuneration of their officers and servants, and any expenses (other than the expenses of the issue or management of any loan undertaken by the Board on behalf of the Irish Government) incurred by the Joint Exchequer Board in the execution of their duties under this Act, to such amount as may be sanctioned by the Treasury and the Irish Treasury jointly, shall be defrayed in equal proportions out of moneys provided by the Parliament of the United Kingdom and by the Irish Parliament."
Consequent upon the ruling of the Chairman, the Amendment was moved in the following form:—
1312 "(2) The term of office of a member of the Joint Exchequer Board shall be ten years, but any member may at any time resign and any member may be removed by His Majesty for incapacity or misconduct.
"(3) The Joint Exchequer Board may act by three of their number and, subject to the approval of the Treasury and the Irish Treasury jointly, may regulate their own procedure.
"(4) The Joint Exchequer Board may with the consent of the Treasury and the Irish Treasury jointly, appoint and employ such officers and servants as they think necessary, and may remove any officer or servants so appointed and employed."
§ Mr. W. GUINNESS
The object of my Amendment is to lay down definitely the status, constitution, and salaries of the Joint Exchequer Board, matters which are left absolutely undetermined as the Bill stands. I understand from your ruling that, in discussing the Amendment, we may bring in the very relevant matter of the extensive powers of the Joint Exchequer Board. It is clear that our case for laying down the status of the Board must very largely rest on the importance of its work. I do not think it is possible to exaggerate the momentous importance of the powers which the Government propose to give to this Board. The Chancellor of the English Exchequer and the Chancellor of the Irish Exchequer will both be absolutely in the hands of the Joint Exchequer Board. It will be a kind of blind fate upon which no one can reckon. However carefully the Chancellor of the Exchequer in either country may budget, the Joint Exchequer Board will be in a position to turn all their estimates into waste-paper, and by their decisions to take away a surplus and bring about a deficit. The truth of that statement can be appreciated if the Committee will consider the very extensive powers proposed to be given to this Board. They are to determine the cost of the services originally transferred. That is a duty of enormous difficulty, because the transferred services and the reserved services are so inextricably interwoven that it is not a matter of fact, but a matter of policy where the reserve services are to stop and where the transferred services are to begin. The distinctinction between what is to be handed over to Ireland and what is to be retained may have a very important financial bearing upon both Exchequers. The 1313 Congested Districts Board, for instance, is to be handed over. A large amount of the Congested Districts Board machinery is used for the purpose of facilitating land purchase, which is a reserved service. How are you going to distinguish between the cost of the service which is to be transferred and the cost of that which is to be kept under the responsibility of the Imperial Treasury? The Board are to determine the proceeds of Irish taxes. They are also to decide whether any Irish tax is substantially the same as an Imperial tax. They are to estimate the loss to the Imperial revenue, and therefore also to the Transferred Sum, arising from the reduction or discontinuance of an Imperial tax in Ireland. They are to decide whether the 10 per cent. limit of yield from additional Irish taxes has been exceeded, and, if so, by how much? These last two powers open up a question of enormous difficulty.
We have had no satisfactory answer from the Government as to how the Joint Exchequer Board are to allocate the proceeds of taxes between the Imperial and the Irish Exchequers. When the Irish Exchequer imposes a duty or a tax which roaches the point of diminishing the yield, how are they to say whether the tax was going to fall in any case, and how are they to decide what proportion of the decrease in the yield is due to the additional tax? There is no doubt, that this power must be exercised merely on grounds of opinion, and that there will be no definite arithmetical system upon which to go. In addition to that, it has been made quite clear that on both sides of the House there is a great difference of opinion as to how the proceeds of a tax where there is an Irish surtax are to be allocated. It is impossible to see how the Joint Exchequer Board can have any light except their own ideas of policy in deciding this very difficult question. They have to decide the increase of the Transferred Sum which is to accompany any transferred or reserved service in the first instance. On that I should like to ask the Government a question which we have not yet been able to raise owing to the operation of the guillotine. In settling the Transferred Sum in the case of an original transferred service, the basis is to be the net cost to the Joint Exchequer at the time of the passing of the Act. In the case of a future transfer of a service originally reserved, the basis is not to be the cost to the Imperial Exchequer, but the estimated cost over a period of ten years, taking into consideration 1314 probable decreases. We have never had any explanation whatever as to why there should be this different basis of calculation. The Board may manage any Irish debts arising from a loan secured on the Transferred Sum. They must make estimates of the true revenue. Anyone who has listened to the Debates on this question will admit that that is a matter of enormous difficulty. The Board are to report when for three successive years Irish revenue has exceeded the expenditure on Irish services. I do not think they will have much work under that head for a considerable time to come. They are to direct the Treasury to pay cash into the Irish Treasury during the transitional period, and under the Amendments recently moved by the Government they are to protect Ireland against any possibility of protection by deciding what constitutes a reasonable difference between Customs and Excise rates so as to afford no protection to Irish industries. They have to decide whether any drawback proposed to be enacted by the Irish Parliament is excessive and confers any protection on Ireland.
From this brief enumeration the Committee will see that the powers of the Joint Exchequer Board are enormous and important, and that we ought to look very closely into its constitution. It is one of the inherent vices of this Bill and the machinery it proposes to set up that you must have somebody of this kind to decide these questions. It is unfortunate that they will not have to exercise judicial functions; they will have to decide on matters of high financial policy, and it is an inherent difficulty that there is absolutely no means of checking their decisions or of having any information as to the grounds which have caused them to arrive at those decisions. In most cases all that the two Parliaments can expect are bare figures, and no data upon which they can found their policy or expect the decisions of the Joint Exchequer Board on like cases in future years. Owing to the importance of this body it is most necessary that their status and powers should be distinctly laid down in the Bill. Unless it is put into the Bill, who is going to settle the point? This body is to be the servant of neither Parliament, but very largely the master of both. To show how anomalous the position is, I will read one or two answers given by the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer to questions on this subject. In reply to the hon. Member for Mid-Armagh (Sir John Lonsdale), who 1315 asked whether the Joint Exchequer Board would be controlled by the Imperial Parliament, the Prime Minister answered:—It will be an independent body acting independently because it performs a statutory duty.The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in reply to the same hon. Member, stated:—The Bill does not contemplate that a decision of the Joint Exchequer Board on the questions specifically referred to should be the subject of review in ordinary course by either the Parliament of the United Kingdom or the Parliament of Ireland. The provisions of Clause 1 (2) of the Bill make it clear that the Imperial Parliament, if it thought fit, would have the same power of review in these matters as it has in any other.Anybody who looks at Clause 1 (2) will see that that safeguard is absolutely illusory, and that to have any control over the Joint Exchequer Board it would be necessary to pass an Act of Parliament. It is therefore essential, as far as possible, to provide for this function in the Bill. It is obviously impossible, however you change the Bill, to get a satisfactory control in the hands of either Parliament, because another authority will be affected, and it will be impossible to compel the Joint Exchequer Board to carry out the views of one body and of one body alone. I confess that when I first looked into this Clause I was so shocked at the absence of Parliamentary control that I thought of asking the Government to accept an Amendment providing that a responsible Minister from each Cabinet should sit on the Exchequer Board, so that in each Parliament there should be some one to answer for its decisions in the same way that the Chief Secretary for Ireland now answers for the decisions of various Irish Boards. But I came to the conclusion that in matters so controversial the two Treasuries would be bound to fall out, and that if you had any provision of that kind it would inevitably lead to great friction. I was influenced also by the fact that really in these days one cannot trust our Treasury to interpret public Statutes. I know that it is the fashion for our Western civilisation to give itself airs over Oriental despotism for the greater legality of the way in which our government is carried on; but I do not think that any Oriental tyrant could show less regard for the principles of justice in the interpretation of the laws of the land than the Commissioners of Inland Revenue very often show, acting no doubt on the instructions of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. We all know that in the last two years, under the Land Clauses of the 1909 Budget, a 1316 certain society has brought eleven cases against the Commissioners of Inland Revenue for illegal exactions, and has been successful in every one of them. That is a strong reason for not allowing the Chancellor of the Exchequer to have too much to do with the decisions as to the justice of financial rectifications between England and Ireland. If you have to have this body under the machinery of the Bill, the less the Exchequer has to do with it the better. My Amendment really goes on the principle of the small choice in rotten apples. As you have got to have this body it is better to accept so vicious a principle as the lesser of two evils, and to see as far as possible that you provide against mistakes in details. I now-come to the machinery which I propose. Sub-section (2) of the Amendment lays down the term of office as ten years. This is copied from the recent precedent in the Development and Road Improvement Bill. I am not particularly anxious that the figure of ten years should be adopted, but I do ask that some definite term of office should be laid down. Sub-section (3) provides that a salary should be paid by the Treasury and by the Irish Treasury jointly. I think it would be a revelation to the House that owing to the ruling you, Mr. Whitley, gave this afternoon, apparently it would be impossible, without an Amendment, for any salary whatever to be paid to the Members of the Joint Exchequer Board.
§ Mr. W. GUINNESS
The right hon. Gentleman the Attorney-General apparently disagrees with that. I think we had a very definite ruling from the Chair that the Government was in the same position as a private Member in this respect: that it would be impossible to pay a special salary to the Members of the Joint Exchequer Board under the provisions of the Bill as it stands, moulded as it must be on the Financial Resolution. The inference from that is that the Government were going merely to detail Treasury officers as part of their ordinary work, perhaps temporarily, to fulfil the functions of the Joint Exchequer Board. I think that would be very objectionable. A body of this importance should be definitely constituted, and manned by financial experts, holding a definite status and not dependent upon the prejudices of either Treasury whose opinions they may disagree from on certain and definite and very important 1317 questions. I think to have independence in this Exchequer Board you must have a definite term of years for appointment, and you must have a definite salary, and not have mere Treasury officials seconded from their usual work. Sub-section (4) of my Amendment is to lay down a quorum. If you do not have a quorum on the Joint Exchequer Board you may find that some work is done without the other partner to the bargain being considered. You may, for instance, have a meeting deciding a very important Irish question on which perhaps the opinions of two Irish representatives only will be heard, owing to absence through illness or some other unforeseen circumstances of the other representatives. It is not unreasonable to ask that there should be a quorum of at least three in view of the fact that in the case of the Development Board, in spite of the fact that it is a homogeneous body which does not represent widely divergent interests, as in the case of the Joint Exchequer Board, you have there a quorum of three. Sub-sections (5) and (6) explain themselves. Mutatis mutandis they are practically taken from the Development and the Road Improvement Act of 1909.
From the precedents which I have quoted I have shown, although there are no precedents for the powers which you propose to give to this Board, which is to be the arbiter of our Budgets in future, that owing to the mania of the present Government for creating Boards and Commissions of every kind, there are a good many precedents for the status and constitution of these semi-independent bodies. It is rather interesting to notice in connection with the National Insurance Act of last year that that very important body, the Insurance Commissioners, was set up without, owing to the action of the guillotine, their constitution being discussed either in this Committee or on Report. In these days, when we have got cause to be thankful for very small mercies, I suppose we ought to be rather glad of an opportunity for discussing this matter at all. I sincerely hope that the Government will accept my Amendment, or at least take some steps to lay down on definite lines the constitution and functions of this Board; that on this Amendment they may take the opportunity to clear up some ob-securities which are left as to the general powers of this very important body, and that they may also take an opportunity to explain, if they can, some of the absurdities which are involved in its creation.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
The questions that have been raised by the Amendment are no doubt important. Although they have been discussed to some extent during the discussion of the financial Clauses, it is quite correct to say that we have not been able to have a general discussion as to the constitution, the duties, and the powers of this Board. The hon. Member has put before the Committee very good grounds, as it seems to me, for a consideration of this Amendment, and he has argued his case quite clearly and forcibly. But what occurred to me, and what I suggest to the Committee, is that a complete answer is that the points raised particularly—and I hope to give some explanation as I go on—need not be dealt with in this Bill. It is quite unnecessary to provide in the Bill for, I will not say all, but some of the matters which are included in the Amendment. I will point out one when I have proceeded a little way in discussing what are the powers and functions of this Board. The hon. Member said that this Board has to deal with opinions and facts, and, he also added, matters of policy and of opinion. I agree with him that the Board will have to deal with matters of fact, and also that the Board will have to express opinions, but I do not agree that the Board will have to determine policy. That seems to us to be quite outside the functions of this Board as regulated by Statute. As was pointed out yesterday, in determining matters of fact, it may be that in some instances—I think there are instances—the Board will have to determine a matter of law. But in the main what the Board will have to answer is the question put to it as to what is the amount in certain and particular cases that come before it. They will have to answer what is the amount of the proceeds in one case, and in another what is the amount by which the Transferred Sum is to be reduced. A series of questions of that character will no doubt come before the Board. They are set out in the Bill, and I do not propose to enumerate them. The hon. Member knows they are of a varied character. Except certainly in one or two instances at the most, what the Board will have to deal with is a question of figures, and the determination of what is the answer to be made upon a calculation of a series of figures, it may be upon a compilation of statistics, and also the consideration of the various points that should be taken into account in arriving at the true answer to the question which is put.
1319 This Board is really a Board of financial experts. It is not intended in any sense to be a legal tribunal, nor is it intended to be in any sense a Board which will sit in judgment in any way upon either of the Parliaments, or both. What it is intended to be is a Board which shall determine questions of fact that must arise upon the figures, and which cannot be determined unless you appoint some such Board. In order to give effect to our views the Board is constituted of two members appointed by the Treasury of this country and two members appointed by the Irish Treasury. There will be a chairman appointed who will act in a sense as umpire. In a number of cases no doubt the Board will be agreed. In some cases there no doubt will be a difference of opinion. Where there is a difference of opinion there must be some mode of arriving at a settlement of the difference, and what is provided is the quite well-known course of having the views of either side put forward by those competent to form and express an opinion upon the facts, and after the matter has been discussed for a decision to be arrived at. In the case of a difference of opinion between the Irish members on the one side and the British members on the other, the chairman of the Board will act between the two, and he with them will decide the whole question.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
He votes with them. There are five members. The majority will decide and his opinion will prevail. He is to be the chairman. He is simply there under the terms of the Bill as one of the members of the Board, and as chairman.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
Supposing there are an equal number present and that the vote is equal, will the chairman enter the casting vote or not?
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
The only result will be that they will have to wait until there is a meeting of the full Board, or at least a sufficient number to make a majority. No difficulty would seem possible to arise in regard to that. The 1320 utmost that will happen will be that supposing the meeting consists of four members instead of five, including the chairman, and there is an equal division of opinion, you would have to wait until the fifth member came to a meeting in order to arrive at a definite conclusion.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
No quorum has been actually fixed. But I can tell the Committee that what is intended is that the quorum should be three. That is all put down by the regulations in a later Clause, Clause 44. It will have to decide various questions of this kind. The Clause was often referred to, and it undoubtedly saves a great deal of unnecessary repetition in the Bill. I am glad of that, but I should think it is quite an ordinary course, and what we propose to do by that means is to make regulations which will provide for the carrying out of these powers without the necessity of having to enumerate all of them.
§ Mr. HARRY LAWSON
May I ask a question? If two Irish members and only one English member were present and arrived at a decision, would that decision be valid without the consent of the absent members?
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I should have thought when a question of that kind arises it would not be decided by the three members, but that they would wait for another meeting.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I have no doubt they could rescind it, but it would be a very curious thing for them to come to a conclusion and then immediately to enter upon its reconsideration. I have been explaining what the situation of the Board is, and I will add this. I do not profess for a moment to be determining who are to be the members of the Board, but what we contemplate is that you should have as representatives of the Treasury upon this side, and equally, I presume, upon the Irish side, financial experts such as high officials of the Treasury—men who are accustomed to dealing with questions of this character, and who, as everybody will admit, are the best men for dealing with questions of this kind that can be found in the country. When I make that statement I will add this, dealing with that 1321 part of the Amendment which is out of order, so far as incorporation in the Bill is concerned, but which does not prevent me from discussing it, and therefore permits an answer, that although the hon. Member is quite right in saying that, in view of the Chairman's ruling that the Bill, according to the Money Resolution passed, could not provide for the payment of salaries, there is no difficulty in providing with salaries. These salaries could be voted, and will be put upon the Estimates, and would come up for discussion in this House so far as payments are concerned made out of the British Treasury, and the same thing would apply in Ireland.
But it does not necessarily follow that salaries would have to be paid and it is as well to bear that in mind, and therefore it is unnecessary to provide for them in the Bill. Suppose you had representatives of the British Treasury sitting upon this Board; they have their appointments and the time taken up in doing this work would not be such as would necessitate the appointment of permanent members to sit upon this Board. I agree at the outset some time will be taken up in bringing the Bill into operation and in determining some questions left for them to face in the first year. But once you answer the main questions here all subsequent questions that arise are by no means such as would necessitate the attendance of the members of the Board perhaps more than once in two or three months, probably it might be less, and therefore, as it seems to us, it would be rather ridiculous to appoint men with salaries under this Bill for duties that may never be necessary. I agree we have to bear in mind that the chairman is in a different category, and his position may or may not require a salary. There may be found a gentleman to do the work without it, but whether or not, no difficulty arises because the officials will be a body paid by the two Parliaments, and it would be a matter of negotiation for the two Parliaments to determine what salary is to be paid, and the proportion between the two; and each Parliament would have to vote the amount to be paid. And although I agree it is not necessary, and indeed it is not possible, to deal with this particular point upon this Amendment, it is possible for me to give the answer I have given, and to explain why it is we make no provisions for that in the Bill.
Now, if I may deal with the first part of the Amendment which provides for the 1322 term of years. For the reasons I have explained we do not want to fix a term of years. What is contemplated is that high officials will be appointed while they are officials and we do not want the term to be five years or ten years. It may be that the official would cease to be an official of the Treasury after a number of years and you may require that the person in that particular office in the Treasury-should sit upon the Board. Consequently we cannot accept the first part of the Amendment. The rest of the Amendment deals with the salaries and service and expenses. What I have already said with regard to the salaries of the members of the Board would apply equally to clerks in that service, if they are necessary. It is quite possible, no doubt particularly so at the outset, that some clerks would be requisite. That also would come upon the Estimates. I have now answered in detail each of the points raised by the hon. Gentleman upon his Amendment, but I would add some information for the Committee, not only upon the duties of the Board, but also what we propose to do with reference to questions of law which may arise. I have already dealt with this on two occasions, but I agree some what in a piecemeal manner, because one is only able to answer particular questions on particular Amendments.
I desire to make quite plain to the Committee what the position of the Government is now that we are discussing the whole question of the Clause, and what it is we are prepared to do, taking into account the suggestion of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Trinity College and also the discussions that have taken place in the Debate since. The conclusion we arrived at was that there should be on matters of law, if they arise, and if the Board's opinion is expressed on matters of law, an appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. We have already said this in terms with regard to whether or not a service is an Irish service, and we have already said it in reference to the question whether an independent tax is substantially the same tax as that imposed by the Imperial Parliament. In regard to that, as I stated yesterday, we are proposing not only that there should be the ordinary right which is given under this Bill to the Lord Lieutenant and the Secretary of State to refer the matter to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, but also that the subject shall have the right of appeal—an appeal not to be simply upon 1323 the opinion expressed by the Joint Exchequer Board, but an appeal heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council on its merits, decided according to the opinion of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council; and I think, as I explained it yesterday, the Committee was satisfied that that view did certainly redeem the promise the Government had made in regard to it.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
We shall deal with it all together, because there are various points I have not touched upon which must also be the subject of amendment when we come to Clause 29. I have now explained the position with regard to Irish services and independent taxes, but we have come, to the conclusion further that the Joint Exchequer Board in determining any one of the questions referred to it might have to determine a point of law, and in some cases I agree will have, at any rate, to interpret the Statute. In most cases it will not have to deal with questions of law at all, but in some cases it will, and if the Joint Exchequer Board has a point of law on which it is in any doubt or difficulty, and if it desires to have any opinion, what we propose is that the Joint Exchequer Board should obtain the opinion of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council on that point of law. In other words, that the Joint Exchequer Board should refer any question upon which it desires an answer to the judges of the highest tribunal—the judges as the Committee knows are the judicial committee of the Privy Council—and we shall get from that authoritative body an opinion for the Joint Exchequer Board which will admit of no doubt, and that will save, as it appears to us, a great deal of time and trouble and expense, because it will enable the Joint Exchequer Board to get the highest opinion without taking the opinion of counsel or of the Law Officers or of any lawyer, except those who are in a position to pronounce authoritatively upon it, and to set at rest any question of doubt that may exist. That is what we propose to do with the Joint Exchequer Board. The whole object of our doing that is to deal with the arguments raised quite recently.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
When the Joint Exchequer Board asks the opinion of the Judicial Committee, will they give notice that they are going to do so, so that other parties that are interested may be heard if necessary?
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
Oh, certainly, there will be a hearing, and the Judicial Committee will have the right, as I indicated yesterday, to give leave to any party who, in the opinion of the Judicial Committee, ought to be heard at the hearing so that anyone who has an objection to raise and ought to be heard can be heard by application to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The whole object of this is that as this Board may have to deal with the question of law outside the one dealing with Irish services, upon which we have expressed our view, aid outside the question of whether an independent tax is actually the same tax as that imposed by the Imperial Parliament, there might still be questions arising whether the Joint Exchequer Board has certain powers. If the Joint Exchequer Board acts in excess of its powers then it is subject to the ordinary tribunals of the law and, of course, application could be made and the Joint Exchequer Board could be restrained, as every other statutory Board could be restrained, by the Courts of Law. That, of course, only arises if the Board acts in excess of its powers.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
It can be raised either in the one Court or in the other. Eventually, of course, the higher Co art has to decide, and it is the same Court both for Ireland and Great Britain, because if it was litigated in the Irish Courts, the ultimate Court is the Privy Council, and if it was litigated in the British Courts the final tribunal is the House of Lords, which is substantially the same Court.
§ Mr. RONALD M'NEILL
Do I understand that this appeal to the Privy Council is only on the initiative of the Exchequer Board itself? Supposing that the exchequer Board decided a point of law, that it thinks it knows the law on a point, and that some persons consider themselves aggrieved by that decision, is there any other machinery to bring the matter before the Privy Council, supposing the Joint Exchequer Board did not wish to do so?
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
Certainly. Take the question whether an independent tax is exactly the same as a tax already imposed by the Imperial Parliament, for example.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
That would be a different question, and that is not by any means the same question. What I have said with regard to the subject of appeal relates to the independent tax. What I am now dealing with is the possibility of other questions arising on which there ought to be an opinion of law taken; because the Joint Exchequer Board is not a body of lawyers like the House of Lords or the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. As regards the subject, he always has the right in any Court to litigate this question when the Joint Exchequer Board has acted in excess of its powers. If the Board is properly interpreting a Statute, no question arises; but if the Board wrongly interprets a Statute, then there is power in the Courts to interfere, either by mandamus or certiorari. I am taking the instance of the Board interpreting a Statute which, in their view, gave them jurisdiction, but which, in fact, does not do so, or does so in such a way as would bring one of these Clauses into operation. I am assuming that the Exchequer Board expressed an opinion on it, but was wrong in the view taken. There is always the power of the subject to proceed in the ordinary Courts of Law; but it must always be borne in mind that what I am referring to now is a matter of appeal to the Judicial Committee, which is quite outside the appeal already given under another Clause. What we are giving now is supplemental, and when we have given this right of recourse to the Judicial Committee we have given every safeguard which can possibly be asked in reference to any legal decision of the Joint Exchequer Board. Of course, we do not intend to give an appeal on facts from the Joint Exchequer Board, and I do not suppose that anyone would ask for that. There is no other tribunal to which you could go. There is not even a Parliament to appeal to, because you would really have to appeal to two Parliaments as one sitting together. What is intended is that we should have an end put to any doubt on this question, and that is provided for in the Bill. Matters of fact are left entirely to the Board, and we do not 1326 intend to interfere either with their decisions or opinions upon matters of fact. As I have already indicated, I have confined this entirely to questions of law.
§ Mr. HUME-WILLIAMS
Do I understand the right hon. Gentleman to say that the Joint Exchequer Board must go to the Privy Council, but the subject must proceed in the ordinary way?
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
Yes, that is quite right. If the Joint Exchequer Board has to determine a number of these questions, and would like an opinion as to how to interpret a particular Clause, what we desire is that there should not be any time lost or litigation over it, but that they should be able to get an opinion without loss of time from the highest Courts.
§ Mr. HUME-WILLIAMS
But the highest Courts are open to both parties. They are open to an aggrieved subject.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
It is not a question of both parties or of an aggrieved subject. We are dealing with the view which the Joint Exchequer Board may form as to the interpretation of a particular Clause, and in order that the Board may form its opinion upon a matter of law quickly, we are giving it this opportunity of going to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. If, on the other hand, the subject is aggrieved, if his view is that the decision of the Joint Exchequer Board has travelled outside the powers which are given to them under this Bill, then, of course, he is entitled to defend any suit or litigate the matter.
§ Mr. HUME-WILLIAMS
I understand that the Joint Exchequer Board, when in doubt, are to take the opinion of the Privy Council, but the subject cannot go to the same tribunal?
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
The subject can go to the Privy Council, but no doubt he would have to go through the ordinary course, and it would be a question of law as to whether they have exceeded their powers or not. If the hon. and learned Member will just look at what the powers of the Joint Exchequer Board are he will see that it can rarely happen that a question of law can arise for their determination. They will, in the main, have to deal with figures, but if they have to decide a point on which they desire to have an opinion, we have given them the opportunity of taking the opinion of the highest 1327 authority. I do not quite follow why it is suggested the subject should have that right in the same way. The subject is not affected in the same way, and he would not be the person aggrieved. It is not like the collection of taxes from him, because those are matters which a subject has a right to litigate in the Court.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
That shows what is the difference between the hon. and learned Member and ourselves upon this subject. We do not intend that there should be an appeal on questions of that character. All we intend is that there should be an appeal on certain questions of law with the right of the Joint Exchequer Board to go to the Privy Council if it desires to obtain an opinion on a point of law.
§ Mr. CASSEL
The case may involve a question of law as to what the powers of the Joint Exchequer Board are.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
The hon. Member is repeating what I have just pointed out. That arises in case they are acting in excess of their powers. In that case, of course, there is the right which exists for the subject in the ordinary Courts. It does not appear to us that there is any real need for any further appeal in the case of the subject, and we have given every possible safeguard which he can desire.
§ Mr. HOHLER
Under this Bill are not the decisions of the Joint Exchequer Board matters of opinion and discussion? If that is so, can the Attorney-General suggest any form in which they can come into a Court of Law? Will he point out how in any action at law the subject can ever get to the Privy Council?
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
So far as the Board give decisions on matters of fact which come before them, there is no intention that there should be an appeal. So far, however, as they are giving an opinion based upon law in which some legal question arises on which they have any doubt and desire further opinion, then they can have recourse to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. We do not give anybody the right to question the decision on matters of fact arrived at by 1328 the Joint Exchequer Board, and it is only with reference to legal facts that we are going to allow the Joint Exchequer Board to appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
We do not give the subject the right except through the ordinary recourse he has to the Courts.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
If the Board travel outside their powers then the subject has an appeal. I am waiting to hear how7 the subject will be placed at any disadvantage through not having recourse to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in cases where the Joint Exchequer Board is to have the opportunity of taking that course. I think I have now dealt with all the questions which have been raised by the hon. Member who moved this Amendment, but, if not, I am ready to answer further questions. What I am submitting to the Committee is that, having constituted this Board for the purpose of arriving at conclusions on facts, it is essential that it should remain as provided by the Bill, the sole judge of the facts; but we have altered the appeal in deference to suggestions made from the other side, and we have endeavoured to give everybody who will be affected a right of access to the Courts. So far as I can see, we have succeeded in that object; in fact, I think we have gone a good deal further than we have been asked to do, and certainly we have gone further than we have been pressed to go up to the present moment. Having considered this matter, we thought it was only fair that there should be this opportunity given to the Joint Exchequer Board, so that they might get the highest opinion, and I hope the Committee will think that we have done all that is necessary in this direction. Therefore the answer we must make to the Amendment is that we cannot accept it for the reasons I have pointed out, namely, that the various matters 1329 dealt with are to be dealt with in a different way by the Government, and it is not necessary to include them in the Bill.
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I think anybody who came into the House while the right hon. Gentleman was speaking would, after the first five minutes of his reply, have found it difficult to trace any connection between his speech and the Amendment of my hon. Friend. I do not complain of the right hon. Gentleman having taken the occasion to give us some information which is entirely outside the scope of the Amendment. My complaint would rather be a repetition of one made previously, that it now appears the proposals we are really invited to discuss are not the proposals of this Clause or even the proposals on the Paper, but some proposals which have not yet found a place anywhere on the Government Order Paper. For instance, you need cast you eye no further than the end of the second Sub-section of this Clause to find that—
"the decision of the Board on any matter which is to be determined by them shall be final and conclusive."
The right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues have already promised an appeal from the Board on certain questions. The Attorney-General has slightly enlarged that promise to-day, but even yesterday he did not think it worth while to put down an Amendment on the Paper to alter these words, which are directly contrary to the present intention of the Government, and this Clause and another have to be voted on at half-past Seven without the intentions of the Government being embodied in them. That really is not fair treatment of the House of Commons. I do not desire to follow the right hon. Gentleman into the rather technical legal questions which were raised in the latter part of his speech. They will, no doubt, be dealt with by learned Gentlemen on this side of the House who are much more competent to do so than I am, but I do not understand why the subject should not be able to appeal directly to the Privy Council under Clause 29. The Lord Lieutenant, if he thinks there is a question which the Privy Council should determine, may take that question directly to the Privy Council. Why should not the subject have an appeal directly to the Privy Council? After all, the resources of the subject are less than the resources of the Lord Lieutenant, and I do not know why he should be made the victim of more 1330 cumbrous processes of law. I do not say whether the appeal given to the subject is sufficient or not, but I should think, if ever there was a case, this was one where he should be allowed to take it direct to the Privy Council.
I want rather to call the attention of such Members as are present—not thirty at any time on the Government side of the House while the Attorney-General was speaking—to the revolution which they are making in our Constitution by the Clauses we are going to pass in the course of a few hours. Not long ago the Government carried, with great beating of drums and blowing of trumpets, the Parliament Act, and the feature on which they most prided themselves in regard to that Act was that it established without question and beyond attack from any quarter the absolutely supreme authority of this House of Commons in all matters of United Kingdom finance. No sooner have they secured by Statute the supreme authority of the House of Commons in matters of finance than they proceed to transfer that supreme authority to another body. It is the most extraordinary revolution in our Constitution we have ever known. It is more extraordinary even than the proceedings of the Parliament Act itself. You now transfer the ultimate decision in these matters from the House of Commons in some eases to an Exchequer Board, and in other cases to the Privy Council. You introduce a written Constitution, and you create an Exchequer Board on which we have two representatives and the Irish two representatives, and a chairman holds the balance. That Board will decide, as I understand the intention of the Government, without appeal to anyone except to the Privy Council, all points of law in matters of finance deeply affecting the interests both of the Irish Parliament and the Irish revenue and of this Parliament and the British revenue. I do not think that is the sort of change that ought to go through after two or three hours' discussion in a House of this kind. It really does create an authority in finance superior to the Chancellor of the Exchequer of either Parliament.
Why is it done? The reason given by the Attorney-General is as extraordinary as the choice which the Government have adopted. He says the questions are necessarily questions between two Parliaments. You cannot appeal from the one to the other, and you must create an authority-external to both of them to decide between 1331 them. Are they co-equal bodies? Is that the intention? If they are co-equal bodies, I perfectly understand there can be no appeal from the one to the other; but hitherto we have been told the one was a subordinate body and the other a superior Imperial body. I should have thought when the subordinate body clashed with the Imperial body, the subordinate body must give way and the Imperial body had the right to decide the thing as it thought proper. Not a bit of it. Where the two clash, the authority to decide is to be an outside authority. The matter is to be taken out of the hands of the Imperial Parliament on the ground that, the Imperial Parliament and the Irish Parliament being equal and rival authorities in the case, the Imperial Parliament is not fitted to judge the point at issue. That seems to me to strike at the whole basis of the Government's defence of the Bill. It is an admission that the two Parliaments are not a subordinate Parliament and a superior Parliament, but two co-equal bodies, and that when they differ neither can enforce its will upon the other, but they must refer the question to arbitration. If you once admit that in relation" to finance, it will carry you much further than finance. If you once admit that proposition it will carry you far beyond this Bill, and I have no doubt, if this Bill ever becomes law, you will be forced step by step into adopting that attitude in regard to all questions in dispute between the new Irish Parliament and what is called the Imperial Parliament.
I raise on the threshold of this Clause, as I have done on other Clauses of the Bill, an objection to the creation of the Exchequer Board. I think, if you are to have an Exchequer Board, it is very desirable you should have an appeal, at any rate, on all the subjects mentioned by the Attorney-General, and, I would add, on some others to the Privy Council. I am not quite certain whether the present method of summoning the Privy Council for appeals of this kind is altogether suitable for the new purpose to which you are putting the Privy Council. The moment you want a tribunal to judge points under the British Constitution I, speaking for myself only, am wholly in favour of taking the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as that tribunal. It acts now in that capacity in Indian, Colonial, and Dominion appeals, and I feel the tribunal which can decide these questions in regard to the Dominions is the right tribunal to 1332 decide them where such questions arise in our country. I am not quite certain that the present chance selection of members by the Lord Chancellor for a particular appeal is safely to be applied to the settlement of constitutional questions under our own Constitution—constitutional disputes very likely to which the Lord Chancellor himself may be one of the parties. I think it is at least worth consideration whether, under such circumstnees, the whole Judicial Committee ought not to be summoned for the trial of any case arising under the Statute. That is a matter, perhaps, to be discussed at a later stage. All I say at this stage is that I in no sense complain of the appeal to the Privy Council from the Exchequer Board, but I object to the setting up of the Exchequer Board.
If the Exchequer Board is to be set up, then surely my hen. Friend's case that you should strictly define its constitution is one that cannot be passed over as lightly as the Attorney-General passed it over. What does the Attorney-General do? He points to Clause 44. Does he mean Clause 44 as it stands on the Paper, or some new Clause he is going to make some time after we have added this Clause 44 to the Bill? I defy him to point to anything in Clause 44 which gives His Majesty in Council any power to make regulations for the future constitution of the Exchequer Board. The whole Clause deals only with Orders in Council for the purpose of the transitory provisions of the Act. Those are the governing words of the Clause. The Exchequer Board is not one of the transitory provisions. Though certain things are specifically mentioned in the later Sections of the Clause, no reference is made to the Exchequer Board. I do not believe the Attorney-General will say that as the Clause is now drawn he could deal with the composition of the Exchequer Board under it.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I think the Clause as it stands is certainly open to the construction that it can be done, but, as I have already said I think at a much earlier stage, there will not be any doubt about it. If you read the Clause with the first words to which the right hon. Gentleman referred and also the next part of it—
"and also for any other matter for which it seems to His Majesty necessary or proper to make provision. …"
I think there is no difficulty.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I will not go into a detailed discussion of Clause 1333 44 now because we must use such time as we have for Clause 22, and trust some day we may be able to discuss Clause 44. Even if Clause 44 did enable the Government to do it, I think it is the most unsatisfactory way of having the thing done. You are setting up a tribunal on finance superior not merely to the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the Irish Parliament or the British Parliament, but superior to this House of Commons, and by the confession of the Attorney-General you are setting it up because where there is a difference on any of these matters between the two Houses, then in the opinion of the Government this House, though nominally superior and though nominally retaining its supreme control, is debarred from exercising that control because it is a party to the suit. At least, to decide a question of that kind you are going to set up an independent tribunal which will be beyond the control of the Government, and, therefore, we ought to have the nature of that tribunal and its constitution clearly defined in the Statute. What does the Attorney-General say? That the idea of the Government is that the British Treasury will appoint officials, and it is a very natural supposition that one of those officials who will be appointed will be the Permanent Under-Secretary of the Treasury, and inasmuch as there will be a great number of questions relating to the Excise, it would be not unnatural that the chairman of the Board of Excise should be another of those representatives. What we want to know further is: Are the Government going to make these as life appointments? Where in the Bill is there any authority to revoke an appointment once made? I say there is no such authority; here is what the Bill says:—
"There shall be established a Board, to be called the Joint Exchequer Board, consisting of two members appointed by the Treasury and two members appointed by the Irish Treasury, and a chairman appointed by His Majesty."
The Clause then goes on to describe the duty of this Board, and says that in case of any vacancy arising owing to death, resignation, or incapacity, it shall be filled by the authority by whom the member whose place is vacant was appointed. Thus we have three contingencies contemplated for vacancies arising. Does that not show that my contention is right, and that we ought to have it definitely stated what the conditions of appointment are to 1334 be? The right hon. and learned Gentleman indicated that the representatives of either Treasury might be high officials who would be appointed because they held a particular office, and that it would not be the desire of the Government that they should continue to act as members of the Exchequer Board if they cease to hold those particular offices. I want to ask how is the chairman to be appointed, and how, when once appointed, he is to be got rid of? On these subjects the Attorney-General had nothing whatever to say. He suggests that we need not trouble ourselves about that. We have not such complete faith as the right hon. Gentleman naturally possesses in this Government, and, while protesting with all our power against the establishment of this Exchequer Board, this revolution in our finance, and this curtailment of the powers of the House of Commons, we say that if these things are to be done we should have the terms on which these men are to hold office, and we should also have clearly defined in the Bill the powers which they are to exercise.
§ Mr. LEES SMITH
I should like to deal with one or two of the points raised by the right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken. He argued that the fact that we are setting up an Exchequer Board, with the powers proposed to be given to it, would reduce the House of Commons to a position of inferiority; that it would be a Board superior to the House of Commons. I am bound to say that that way of looking at the subject seems to me to be rather fanciful. If we take any Constitution which is at all federal in its character, inevitably questions for determination must arise between the different parties. These questions have to be decided by some impartial authority. The right hon. Gentleman has suggested that in the case of differences between a subordinate authority and a superior authority, the question ought to be decided by the superior authority. But that would be obviously unjust to the subordinate authority.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
May I suggest that if any question arose between the London County Council and this House, it would be decided by this House, and it would not be referred to a body like the Exchequer Board?
§ Mr. LEES SMITH
I do not think that case is analogous. Let us take a parallel case. Obviously, in all federal Constitu- 1335 tions—as, for instance, in Canada, the decision is in the hands of an authority which would be impartial towards both sides. [An HON. MEMBER: "What is the authority in Canada?"] The Privy Council. [An HON. MEMBER: "The Law Courts."] That is leading to another point. The right hon. Gentleman is objecting to the constitution of the Exchequer Board as distinct from the constitution of a Court of Law. It seems to me really what we are doing in the establishment of this Exchequer Board is to create an authority which in these matters will partake of the character of the Privy Council in dealing with questions of legislation. This abnormal development of the sense of dignity by hon. Members opposite is really showing itself too consciously as being only for the purposes of this Bill. The question we have to determine is: What authority shall decide these financial points. Hon Members opposite have put forward various proposals, and one was that a body which would not only affect the policy of the House of Commons, but might influence the very foundation of its authority, should be an external authority. I have been reading the Debates of 1893, and I have noticed rather curiously that predictions of exactly the same character on this point were then made. But experience has shown that the task imposed on the Privy Council by the Bill of 1893, the task also by this Bill, has been carried out in other countries, where the situation is suitable, without creating any insoluble difficulty. As a matter of fact, you cannot attack the task imposed on the Privy Council if you attack the task of the Exchequer Board. After all, the sums of money involved will be very small compared with the total revenue of the two countries. The points on which the decisions of the Exchequer Board will be taken will depend upon quite intricate financial statistics, which form most unfavourable material for popular expressions of opinion. Hon. Gentlemen opposite have concentrated their attacks on the Exchequer Board to the powers proposed to be conferred on it. The reason appears to me to be that t he powers of the Exchequer Board seem to them formidable simply because they are new, and because the provisions cannot be compared, as in the case of the Privy Council, with results achieved under other constitutions. Apart from that, I can quite understand the point of view of 1336 hon. Members opposite, who are discussing this as a wrecking Amendment. Provided you are going to have this Bill, some authority has to be set up to determine questions of this nature, and, after all, the Government are proposing a tribunal whose constitution will be acceptable. We propose a tribunal where the Irish Parliament will be represented on practically an equality with the British Parliament. I think that the question of chairmanship has been exaggerated. I take it for granted that the chairman will be somebody who will be acceptable to both sides. That is the tribunal which we propose to set up. What tribunal do hon. Gentlemen opposite suggest? They suggest a tribunal which will not be judicial in its character, a tribunal in which Ireland, so far from being equally represented, would find its members swamped and its representation out of all proportion to population. This House would be a tribunal in which all these questions would be decided by a party vote. It would be a tribunal in which a decision would be the decision of the British Government, and the British Government is itself one of the parties to the case. If we compare our proposal with the alternative proposal put forward by hon. Members opposite it is perfectly clear to me that the suggestion they make is one of such a character that you can scarcely imagine any other suggestion which would be better calculated to poison the good relationship between the two countries.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
I confess to feeling nothing but astonishment at the last remarks of the hon. Gentleman, who does not appear to realise what Amendment is before the Committee. He appears to think that we are pressing some Amendment which is going to strike at the very root of the composition of this body.
§ Mr. LEES SMITH
Perhaps the hon. Member will allow me to explain. The Chairman said at the beginning of the Debate that we could take this Amendment as an opportunity for a general discussion. I therefore thought I should be right in considering the alternative proposals of a general character which have been put forward by the Opposition.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
I understand the hon. Member's point of vies, but he kept alluding to "our proposal and your proposal." Our position is perfectly plain.
§ Mr. LEES SMITH
The proposal to which I referred was actually made in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who preceded me.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
I agree that my right hon. Friend said we do not like your Joint Exchequer Board at all, that we do not like your Bill, and that we do not like your body. I agree with that entirely. The hon. Gentleman complained that we single out the Joint Exchequer Board for attack rather than making an attack on some other provisions of the Bill. My answer to that is, that we have got very little time to discuss the Bill, and that when do come to a Clause which contains something of importance, he cannot complain if we do attack it. The part of the hon. Gentleman's speech which most interested me, and which unhappily ended with a hiatus, was the part in which he began by saying that this body was one which had many parallels in Colonial Constitutions. I waited with great interest to hear the parallels the hon. Gentleman was going to give us, but we never heard one, for the very good reason that there is not a single Colonial Constitution and, so far as I know, not a single federal Constitution which contains a body anything like this one, or with anything like its powers. If the Government are going to reply later in the Debate, perhaps they will supply the example which the hon. Gentleman omitted. Dealing with the narrower subject of the Amendment, the defence made against the proposal which we put forward is, of course, the old defence which the Government invariably made when they got into difficulty with regard to any of the previous proposals. They say, "This will all be provided for under Clause 44." We have heard a great deal about that Clause, and I should like to make one or two observations upon it. The Attorney-General seemed rather inclined to deny that Clause 44 was intended to deal with transitory provisions. If the Committee will look at the Bill they will see marginal notes and cross headings. We know that marginal notes and cross headings in a Bill have no legal force, but at the same time they are very useful guides, and they are put in with the intention of guiding Members in finding their wav through the Bill.
If the Committee will look at the Bill they will see that the Clauses are grouped under the headings "legislative autho- 1338 rity," Executive authority," "Irish Parliament," and so on. When you come to Clause 38 you find a group of four Clauses dealing with general provisions. Then you come to another group consisting of Clauses 42 to 46, which includes Clause 44. What is the heading for that group? Is it "general provisions" or "special provisions"? Nothing of the kind. The heading is "Transitory." This Clause is, therefore, one which, on the Government's own showing, is marked in the Bill by the guide post "Transitory." That is the Clause upon which the Government are pinning their faith. The second observation I wish to make on that Clause is that under the natural, or, rather, unnatural, order of things devised by the Government for this Debate, we have between 7.30 and 10.30 on one evening to discuss from Clause 43 to the end of the Bill, and I see no prospect that Clause 44 will ever be brought to the cognisance of the Committee. I therefore think we are fully justified in discussing, while we have a little time, one of the points we have brought forward in the Amendment. As to the omission of any description in the Bill as to the term of office of these gentlemen who are to compose the Joint Exchequer Board, as I read the Bill, these gentlemen are not removable at all. Does the Attorney-General say that they are, and, if so, by whom are they removable? If they are removable, is there some authority, as yet unknown, which has power to dismiss them. I believe that on the strict construction of Sub-section (3) of the Clause, if one of these gentlemen was dismissed, there would be no power to fill the vacancy, because Sub-section (3) only gives power to fill a vacancy in the case of the death, resignation, or incapacity of any member of the Board. I shall be interested to hear from the Attorney-General whether these gentlemen are removable, if so, by whom, and whether, in the event of their being removable there is power to fill the vacancy given in the Clause.
As to the question of salaries the right hon. Gentleman practically admitted that the chairman would require a salary. He said there might be some public-spirited gentleman who would be willing, as in the case of other authorities created in this country, to take office without a salary. I think that is an invidious position in which to put a man. I know of no precedent. I believe that in every public Act which has been passed a salary has been stated. Whether any gentleman is public-spirited 1339 enough to discharge these duties without salary is another question, but I think a salary should be stated in the Bill. I do not believe there is any precedent in the setting up of a body of this kind under an Act of this importance for the absence of particulars as to the term of office and as to the salaries. I have taken the trouble to look at one Act affecting Ireland, passed by a Liberal Government—Mr. Gladstone's Irish Land Act of 1881. He set up a body in Ireland of great importance, the Land Commission—a body whose importance was in no way comparable to the functions which this body has to discharge. It was a purely Irish body created for purely Irish purposes, not like this body, which is to be the one determining factor between the two countries. What happened in the case of the Irish Land Commission? The term of office of the Commission is stated in the Act of 1881, the salaries are stated, the quorum is stated, the powers for the appointment and remuneration of officers are stated; and not only that, so much did Mr. Gladstone attach importance to the necessity of making the House of Commons fully cognisant of all proposals to establish Boards of this character, that he went further and set up the right of the House of Commons to ask that before a body of this kind is established they shall have the names of its members. You find in the Act of 1881 that a Judicial Commissioner and two other Commissioners are set up, and, solemnly in Section 41, it is recited:—
"The first Judicial Commissioner shall be Mr. Serjeant O'Hagan. … The first Commissioners other than the Judicial Commissioner shall be Mr. Edward Falconer Litton and Mr. John E. Vernon."
That is how Mr. Gladstone dealt with the Commissioners. What do the Government do now? They simply come down and say there shall be a body which shall have certain powers. They tell us nothing about the term of office, the status, and the salaries, and the last thing they ever think of telling us anything about is the names. I think, therefore, we are fully justified in making the complaint we do. We ventured to put a question to the Attorney-General as to a matter of procedure, but a matter not without its importance, namely, as to what is to be the position of the chairman. The position of the chairman is really very important. Is he to have a vote only as a member of 1340 the Board, or is he to have a vote as a member of the Board and a casting vote as well? If I understand the Attorney-General aright, the chairman is only to have a vote as a member of the Board. Let me put to him this question: What is to happen supposing, owing to illness, or accident, or anything you like, one Member of the Joint Exchequer Board is away? Let us say the two Irish members take one view, and the single English representative left and the chairman take another view. I understand the chairman has no casting vote in these circumstances, but only a vote as a member of the Board. I suppose the Attorney-General answers, they will have to wait until the fifth member of the Board comes back. You get this curious position, that apparently with three members of the Board present they can arrive at any decision they like because there is a quorum, but if there are four members present and an equality of voting they cannot arrive at a decision, and must wait until the fifth member comes back. I think that is absurd. As to the duties of this Board, they are anything you like. It is to determine practically any financial matter which arises under the Bill. It is to determine—
"any matter which is to be determined by the Board under this Act, and also to determine any other matter in connection with the Transferred Sum or Irish revenue or expenditure, or the cost of any reserved service."
Their powers are therefore of the widest character. We have said, and I think the Government have admitted the justice of our claim, that if this absurd tribunal is to be set up under this ridiculous Bill, there ought to be an appeal from it on questions of law. We labour under great difficulty because we have not seen the terms of the Government's Amendment, and I hope that before we reach Clause 29 as long notice as possible will be given us of the terms of that Amendment, in order that we may see how far it meets the case. If I understand it aright, the effect of that Amendment will be that as regards the question of determining what is an independent tax, and also what is an Irish service, the subject is to have the right of appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Is that right? I am not quite certain about the Irish service, but I think the right ought to be given in that case. As regards the Joint Exchequer Foard they are to have the right at any time, on a 1341 question of law, to go to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council for an expression of opinion, and that expression is to be given at a hearing at which any party interested may be represented.
We come now to the question what recourse has a subject to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council on any other point than the question of an independent tax or the question of whether a service is an Irish service or not. The right hon. Gentleman says he has an appeal to the ordinary Courts by a mandamus, but he has only got that appeal if he can show that the Joint Exchequer Board are acting outside their powers. There are cases, and there may be plenty of cases, where the Joint Exchequer Board are acting inside their powers, and yet might be wrong on a point of law and inflict substantial injustice on the subject Let me give a couple of cases. Take first of all the question of drawbacks under Clause 15. Under the Amendment which was inserted on the Motion of the Postmaster-General, the Joint Exchequer Board are to determine certain questions with regard to drawbacks. It is perfectly easy for any lawyer to raise a question—it is open to the gravest doubt—as to what are the powers which are given to the Joint Exchequer Board under this Amendment, and whether, in the exercise of those powers, the Joint Exchequer Board is or is not confined to the terms of that Amendment. That is one question of law on which a subject might be obviously vitally affected, and yet he would have no recourse to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council because the Joint Exchequer Board would be acting intra vires, but yet making a mistake on a question of law. Here is another suggestion. What about the mistake of the Joint Exchequer Board, or a mistake, as the subject thinks, in construing the Section of the Act which refers to the determination of the proceeds of an Irish tax. The Postmaster-General has suggested one way in which the Joint Exchequer Board may arrive at the proceeds of an Irish tax. He suggested that it is to be taken by determining what the existing tax brings in and then seeing what the new tax brings in and saying that the surplus is the proceeds of the Irish tax. It is quite obvious that there is another way in which it can be done by taking the amount of the tax and dividing it proportionately into the amount of the the revenue. Neither of these ways is specified in the Bill. No directions are given to the Joint Exchequer Board, and 1342 any subject might think himself aggrieved because the Joint Exchequer Board had taken one view or the other, and proceeded on one line of determination or on the other.
The right hon. Gentleman may say, how could that affect the subject? How could the subject be aggrieved by that? It is quite plain that the subject might be aggrieved by it if the Joint Exchequer Board took the view, for instance, that they could reduce the amount they were giving to the Irish Parliament, because, in order to make up the tariff, the Irish Parliament might have to impose fresh taxes on Irish subjects. Therefore an Irish subject might obviously have an interest in the right to appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. I cannot see why, if you are giving one party, the Joint Exchequer Board, the right to go to the Judicial Committee, you should not give any subject who is interested the same right. I entirely endorse everything my right hon. Friend said about the position of this Board in relation to this House. This House is setting up a new financial authority, which is to be entirely supreme over this House of Commons and over the Irish House of Commons, and I am not saying a word more than the truth in that, because on the action of this new authority which you are setting up, depend the Budgets of both Houses of Parliament. They can give a decision which will vitally influence the Budget of either Chancellor of the Exchequer. They may give a decision which upsets the whole Budget of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in England or the Chancellor of the Exchequer in Ireland, and it certainly is a very odd thing that a party which has concentrated its efforts during the past two years on depriving another place of any financial control whatever should be prepared to-entrust the complete control in certain vital matters of finance to a House of Lords of five not appointed by the House, not responsible to the House, and not controlled by the House. That is a most remarkable thing, but it is only typical of what is going on all the time. Inside this House the Government are having constant recourse to methods of despotism and outside the House they are giving the freest licence and the fullest range to what I can only describe as a system of uncontrolled bureaucracy.
Sir GILBERT PARKER
It is quite clear that this Clause is necessitated by the fact that a situation is evolved like 1343 none that has ever occurred under any other Constitution, and in order to meet a situation which has no precedent, this Board is to be created. The hon. Member (Mr. Lees Smith) said there were precedents for a Board like this, though I want to do him the justice to say I understood him to correct himself in so far as to suggest that Dominion Governments, provincial and federal, have power to submit their case to a Supreme Court. But does the hon. Gentleman mean to suggest that there is given to a provincial Parliament in any of our Dominions or to a federal Parliament an appeal on such questions as are proposed under this Bill which are to be submitted to this Joint Exchequer Board? There is no such power here. There is power given by the Supreme court to interpret Constitutions, but there is no power to deal with a question of finance on the part of the Supreme Court, and the point which the hon. Member attempted to make is absolutely without any foundation in fact or in history. As a humble Member of the House who who has sat through a great many financial Debates and has seen a great many proposals made, I think it an extraordinary thing, in view of past experience, that this proposal is made for the appointment of this Joint Exchequer Board. It is within the memory of Members of the Committee now present that the Chancellor of the Exchequer repudiated the suggestion made by hon. Members opposite that a Select Committee of this House should be appointed, a Committee of experts, who would revise the Estimates for the financial year. He said it would be interfering with the authority of the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the day and the financial authority of this House. What is proposed now is something infinitely more important. There is no man who has a more profound respect for the Civil Service in this country and for the Treasury officials than I have, but it is proposed by the Government that you should set up a Board composed of Treasury officials—for that is what the Attorney-General suggests—closely in touch with Ministers affected by questions of policy, in spite of the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman that they would only deal with questions of fact and not with questions of politics.
If the Joint Exchequer Board are to deal with the question of an independent tax, or whether a tax is similar in nature 1344 to an Imperial tax or not, and if the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer takes one point of view, and the English Chancellor of the Exchequer takes another point of view, it is quite clear. But suppose the English Chancellor of the Exchequer opposes the view of the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Joint Exchequer Board would have to decide not only upon a question of fact, but upon a question of policy, and would be influenced by questions of policy. I say that without the slightest suggestion of disrespect for or disbelief in the great expert knowledge or independence of mind of our Treasury officials. It would be imposing on expert and honourable men a task which they ought not to be called upon to perform, and that they are to have in case of difficulty an appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is an afterthought which comes from a difficulty which we all recognise and which the Government recognises, as it seems to me, rather late in the day. I think it is going to be extremely difficult if this Joint Exchequer Board is to be composed of officials of the Government—of Civil Service officials—to keep their judgment absolutely isolated and independent of all political considerations. I say that with the most sincere respect for their ability and the greatest belief in the honesty of their judgment. The fact of it is that Parliament is going to consign, not to a Court, but to a set of Civil Service officials, the authority which has been denied to Select Committees of this House, which would have the power, if appointed, to call these same Treasury officials into their counsels and to question them, had power been given to such a Select Committee to revise the Estimates.
There is another question. I do not know whether I am absolutely correct in this, but I believe I am. I think every Chancellor of the Exchequer has considered it absolutely necessary to keep secret the proposals for any tax that is to be applied by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He has carefully shielded and shrouded his purposes to prevent any advantage being taken of the proposals which he would make. I should like to ask the Postmaster-General this question I am not putting it merely for the purpose of obstructing or merely in order to pick holes in the Bill. If the Joint Exchequer Board is to take into consideration all the taxes which the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer may intend to apply to Ireland, and that question is discussed by the Joint 1345 Exchequer Board, and the Joint Exchequer Board appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and the public is admitted to the consideration of that question of whether a tax of a certain kind can be applied or not, I ask the Postmaster-General if it is not the case that that secrecy which has always been considered necessary by the Chancellor of the Exchequer regarding any tax that he proposes will be violated, and very seriously violated. I see in this proposal for this Joint Exchequer Board a most curious lapse from the old, stern, rigid view taken by Chancellors of the Exchequer that their financial proposals shall be a secret locked in the mind and judgment of the Cabinet alone. If you are going to have a question of taxation discussed by the Joint Exchequer Board, and appealed to the Privy Council, with the right of entry to the public, and the protest of any individual, then, it seems to me, you have driven a coach-and-four through all the precedents that have ever controlled the actions of Chancellors of the Exchequer in the past. In view of these considerations, which I think are extremely important, I take the view that this Joint Exchequer Board when it comes into operation will be found to be a body absolutely inconsistent with the financial policy of this country. I take the view, if it is going to be composed of Treasury officials, that so far as the officials are concerned we will be placed in a false position, and that so far as this House is concerned it will be placed in a false position also. Without control and without power you would have a Government circle within deciding for the nation and for this House what financial proposals are possible and what financial proposals may be instituted. This, I believe, to be a gross breach of the authority and traditions of this House.
§ Mr. DAVID MASON
The hon. Member (Sir G. Parker) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire (Mr. Austen Chamberlain) laid considerable stress upon one point, namely, that the creation of the Joint Exchequer Board undermined the supreme authority of this House in the domain of finance. I think my hon. Friend near me very admirably answered that contention, and perhaps I may be allowed to supplement what he said. The contention of hon. Gentlemen on the other side seemed to be that the Joint Exchequer Board would be placed on a pinnacle of power far beyond 1346 and away above this House. I would point out, in the first place, that this House delegates powers, and that it cannot obviously delegate greater powers than it possesses. What this House does to-day it can undo to-morrow, and this Joint Exchequer Board will only have to do with matters essentially Irish. It will have nothing to do with the bringing forward of taxes in this House, or with any matters of policy in connection with British finance. The contention that this Board will be far and away superior to the powers of the House of Commons in these matters cannot be held for a moment. There was another point made by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Austen Chamberlain) to which I listened with very considerable interest. I do think with him that this Amendment merits very great consideration on the part of the Committee. The learned Attorney-General showed in his sympathetic reply to the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Walter Guinness) that he is not in any sense opposed to many of the sections contained in the Amendment, and probably he may on the Report stage be willing to consider some of the suggestions. The right hon. and learned Gentleman did say that they were covered by Clause 44 on which the whole matter may be gone into; but I agree with the hon. Member that if at the present time we can improve the Bill and make it the very best Bill possible we should endeavour to do that, and leave as little over to be revised later on as we can. Therefore, I hope the Government will favourably consider some of these Sub-sections. The particular ones that appeal to me are Sub-sections (3) and (4). The third Subsection says:—
"There shall be paid to each member of the Joint Exchequer Board such salary as the Treasury and the Irish Treasury jointly may direct."
I do not know whether the Chairman's ruling would affect that particular Section. It does not provide for an actual definite Grant of money, but merely provides for delegating powers to each Treasury, and there might be an Order. I should hope that that will be taken notice of by the Government. I think we ought to know something now of the remuneration to be, given to these several officials. The fourth Sub-section is as follows:—
"The Joint Exchequer Board may act by three of their number, and subject to the approval of the Treasury and the Irish Treasury jointly, may regulate their own procedure."
1347 I agree with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire, that we ought certainly in this House to definitely state what is to constitute a quorum of this body. I quite agree also as to the possibility, not an improbable one, of four members of that Board meeting together and taking a whole day to discuss very important matters of Irish finance, and then, when they come to take a vole at the end of the day's proceedings, finding they are unable to come to a conclusion because the Members are equally divided. That seems most unbusinesslike, and power should be given to the chairman to use a casting vote, which, of course, would prevent such a state of affairs. I hope that also will have the support of the Government. I do not apprehend that the Government will be adverse to these particular Sections. The Attorney-General showed, in his reply, that, while he could not accept the whole Amendment, there were certain points in it to which he was certainly sympathetic. I therefore will be only too glad to support hon. Members opposite with regard to the Sections I have mentioned, and I hope the Government may see their way on the Report stage to incorporate them in this Clause.
§ Mr. STUART-WORTLEY
The hon. Member opposite has put the case of Ministers for them better than they could do for themselves. But even as he put the case it seemed to me that he really went so far as to represent the Bill as setting up something like federal relations. Hon. Members sometimes say more than they intend, and I am not sure that he did not get so far as to suggest that we are now setting up a co-ordinate Legislature, and he suggested that we should, as a necessary consequence, set up arbitral bodies to decide between the two. What becomes of those thundering declarations of the Prime Minister as to the reservation of the absolute sovereignty of the Imperial Parliament—those declarations which practically form the sum and substance of the very few sayings of the Prime Minister whereby in two General Elections he condescended to lift the veil at all regarding any of the points concerning Home Rule? According to the hon. Member opposite this supremacy is gradually being whittled away, and it is going to be no greater than that of a Dominion authority over a provincial authority at the very best, Both the 1348 Dominion authority and the provincial authority are subject to the authority, in theory at all events, of the Parliament from which both of them derive, not only their respective authority, but also the provisions which define their relations to each other. All I can say is that this reserved supremacy seems in this matter to be evaporating, as it evaporated when we discussed the Veto, and when we discovered that the supremacy of this Parliament with regard to that important matter was going to rest on nothing stronger than Irish good will on the one hand and the Prime Minister's credulous optimism on the other.
The hon. Member's Amendment proposes that something should be done which I do not think has ever failed to be done in any similar case. I should like to know if any case can be pointed to where appointments of such extreme importance—where a body of this exceptional kind has been set up to wield powers so very unusual without almost the minutest definition as regards tenure, remuneration, method of voting, revocation of powers, and all the other things that are always found necessary in these cases. I was not present to hear the Attorney-General's speech, and I should like to know if he expressed any opinion at all in the Debate as to the effect of a Statute which simply says "may appoint." The appointment must be one of two or three kinds. It must be during good behaviour, or during pleasure, or a freehold appointment. If it is during good behaviour, are we to have any provisions, as you have in the case of the Controller and Auditor-General, or the judges, for arriving at a decision that want of good behaviour has been established I If it is to be any other kind of tenure—such tenure as during pleasure—what is to be our position as regards pensions, or the difficulties which necessarily arise when you take away appointments from those whom probably you have withdrawn from other important functions? Did anybody ever hear of the constitution of such a body as this in which there are to be two members on each side, each representing what must on some occasions be conflicting interests, without saying whether the votes of those two are to be taken as votes for countries, so to speak, or as votes for individuals? You have not defined beforehand the functions of the chairman. I think we had a remark in a previous 1349 Debate about "sloppiness." If ever there was a Legislative proposal of which that could be said., this is the Legislative proposal.
§ Mr. RONALD M'NEILL
The hon. Member for Coventry spoke in sympathetic terms of this proposal, and intimated his agreement with the Amendment in so far as it proposed that remuneration should be provided for the members of the Joint Exchequer Board, and I understood the lion. Member to throw out a hope that the Government themselves might see their way to put in a provision for such remuneration at a later stage. But surely the hon. Member must be aware that there is no later stage when that can be done.
§ Mr. D. MASON
We can give power to (he Irish Parliament to fix the remuneration the same as we fix remuneration ourselves now.
§ Mr. R. M'NEILL
I do not quite follow what bearing precisely that has on the case; but it is the unfortunate fact that we have reached a stage now when nothing can be done in this regard, and in an hour and a quarter our very last chance of doing anything of that sort will be gone. The hon. Member for Northampton, at an earlier stage of the Debate, rather attempted to minimise the criticism of these proposals, which have come from this side of the House by pointing out that similar criticisms had been levelled by the Conservative party in 1893 against the Privy Council; but I do not think that the hon. Member can have rightly followed the criticism on that occasion, because, if I recollect rightly—and I have also studied to some extent the Debates of 1893—the criticism levelled against the Privy Council in 1893 was totally different from that which we now level against the Joint Exchequer Board. There was no proposal in 1893 to throw upon the Privy Council any functions similar to those which are now to be exercised by the Joint Exchequer Board. The criticism there was: it was said that questions of appeal should go not to the Privy Council, because that was the Court for Colonial appeal, but rather to the House of Lords as being the Supreme Court of Appeal for the domestic litigation. The hon. Member also took exception to our position, because he said that our alternative was that the functions of the Joint Exchequer Board should be discharged by this House. I do not think that the hon. Member was really justified 1350 in making that criticism, because if he had listened to the speech made very recently by the Leader of the Opposition, he would have learned that what we contend—and one of my hon. Friends moved an Amendment to a previous Clause substituting this House—is that this House should have an opportunity of constantly-reviewing the actions of whatever body was charged with the actual administration which is given in the Bill to the Joint Exchequer Board, which is, of course, a totally different thing. I think that the Leader of the Opposition suggested that it would be actually done by the Treasury, and that that would bring the whole operation within the view of this House. Speaking for myself, I think the strongest possible objections to the proposals in the Bill are to be found in the fact that very intricate and complicated financial work is to be done by this body without this House having any opportunity of reviewing from time to time and criticising the methods especially by which this body has arrived at its conclusions. Let the Committee just remind themselves of what the sorts of functions are which this body has to perform. For instance, under the 24th Clause, one of the things which the Joint Exchequer Board has to do is to decide what is the true revenue of Ireland. Members of the Government tell us that that is merely a matter of fact. I do not wish to embark on the almost metaphysical discussion as to the limits between questions of fact and questions of policy which we have had in earlier debates; but even if this is purely a question of fact, it is a very difficult question of fact, and there are great varieties of methods by which the calculation might be done, each one of which is open at all events to criticism, and ought to be open to the criticism of this House. May I call to the recollection of the Committee upon this point what was said by the Primrose Committee. Talking about the true revenue of Ireland, which is now in these discussions being treated as a plain matter of fact about which no difficulty whatever exists, they say:—We now know that the exact ascertainment of true revenue is, "with existing machinery, vastly more difficult than seems to have been realised in 1893.In another place the same Committee on the same point said:—We find it quite impossible to estimate what the margin of error may be—That is in calculating—or even to suppose in which direction error may lie.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir J. Simon)
They also say that they are satisfied that the margin of error is not so wide as to affect their conclusions.
§ Mr. R. M'NEILL
Quite so. They say the margin of error does not vitiate the advice which they are able to give in their Reports, but they do say that it is a vastly difficult thing to arrive at a true calculation of what true revenue is, and therefore I think it a reasonable thing to suggest that when you set up a Board, one of whose duties will be to calculate that very thing, the true revenue of Ireland, which is open to differences of opinion as to how it shall be arrived at, with a margin of error as to which this body of experts is not prepared to specify even in what direction it is to be found, that when those calculations have been arrived at there should be some ready means of this House passing them in review and deciding whether it thinks that the calculation has been made on a proper footing. Take another of the duties of this Board. They have got to distinguish between what are Imperial services and what are Irish services; that, again, we may admit with the Postmaster General, is a question of fact, but although it is a question of fact, it is a question not only of opinion, but of very keenly controversial opinion, as to whether or not the decision arrived at is a just decision upon the question of fact. On this let me again quote what is said by the Primrose Committee. They have some very valuable comments to make on that point also. There is one especially on which I would like to call the attention of the Committee. It is on page 7 of the Report. After speaking on this point, they go on:—The principle—that is the principle which they recommend—is one that has in fact been followed by the Treasury in compiling the White Paper, and to the classification resulting from it objection has been taken by some of our witnesses.There we have a conflict between some of the expert witnesses who were called before this Committee and the officials of the Treasury which produced the White Paper, and it is noticeable that this statement of objection by these witnesses gives just that evidence upon this question which we have never been allowed to see. We have got this Report which actually states that disagreement on this very important point was expressed by some of the witnesses, and this House to this day 1352 have never had an opportunity of seeing for themselves how much force there would be in the objection of the witnesses on this same point. In another place they say:—Subsequent inquiry has shown the practically insuperable difficulty of determining a ratio between British and Irish shares of expenditure on joint services that can claim any close approach to scientific precision or command any large measure of general assent.So there, again, on this other point we have this body of experts saying as plainly as possible that there is great difficulty in these questions, which are now treated as a plain, simple matter of fact which a Board sitting for a few hours, for two or three weeks, can quite easily, determine, and which cannot do any injustice to any subject and does not call for any appeal or a review by this House. These are very difficult problems. The right hon. Gentleman the Postmaster-General, in answer to a point raised some time ago, said, "Do you think as soon as you state a problem that it is necessarily insoluble?" It seems to me that the right lion. Gentleman himself and the Government proceed on quite as unjustifiable an assumption as that. They think that if they have got a problem, all they have got to do is to set up a tribunal and immediately the problem is solved by the mere fact of their doing so It seems to me that you have got a number of very difficult problems to solve here, and although they may not be insoluble, nevertheless they ought to be solved, and when a solution has been arrived at it must be a matter of controversy and a matter of opinion. Surely, when the solution which the Joint Exchequer Board thinks the proper solution of these questions has been arrived at, it is only right that the constitutional machinery should be such that all their solutions and their methods of arriving at them should be brought into review by Members of this House. Another matter which this Board has to decide is whether an Irish tax is substantially the same in character as an Imperial tax. Again, it may be true in one sense of the word that that is a question of fact, but can anyone imagine anything which is more obviously open to differences of opinion and more obviously impossible to decide? What vaguer term could it be possible to use in a Statute of this House than the word "substantially" There is nothing vaguer than that is substantially so-and-so. What does it mean? "Subtantial justice," for instance, is a byword 1353 for bad law. What ratio dicendi have we got here when we are told that things are substantially the same? Obviously any five members might differ between the two. I do not suppose that there are any dozen men whom you could pick, qualified to judge a thing of that sort, who would not be equally divided as to whether or not legislation near the line of similarity could be said to be substantially the same in character.
Therefore the objection which I have to the constitution of this Board is mainly upon the ground that they have these functions to discharge, all of which are largely matters of opinion, and might be very hotly debated, and upon the decision of which the rights of subjects depend and the correction of financial methods must depend—that they have these financial duties to perform without being in any sense responsible to this House. There is one other point which I wish to bring to the attention of the Government one which I think remains in doubt. Supposing the Exchequer Board does not, hi point of fact, at the proper time, or at all, discharge some duty which is thrown upon them by the Statute, is there any machinery provided by which they can be compelled to do that duty; is there any way by which they can be compelled to take up the duty thrown upon them by the Statute, and carry it out? Take the duty under Clause 26, when they have to consider from three years to three years the conditions of the financial relations of the two countries with a view to revision. On that point I put a question to the Prime Minister earlier in the Session, and I would like to remind the learned Attorney-General of the answer which the Prime Minister gave me. On the 13th May I asked the Prime Minister—Whether the English High Court of Justice will have jurisdiction to issue writs, mandamus find certiorari in relation to acts or omissions of the Joint Exchequer Board proposed to be established by the Government of Ireland Bill; and, if not, what Court will have jurisdiction over the Board?The Prime Minister gave me an answer which I need not read, as it is rather a long one. It was to the effect that of course under the common law there would lie control, and the learned Attorney-Gneral endorsed that the other day. I asked the right hon. Gentleman a further question:—Whether, in view of the possibility of varying jurisdictions, he will put into the Bill some Clause which will make it clear as to whether the High Court in England or the High Court in Ireland will have jurisdiction?1354 The Prime Minister replied:—I am advised that it is not likely to arise, but when we reach that point in Committee I will consider the matter."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 13th May, 1912, col. 786, Vol. XXX VIII.]We have arrived at that point in Committee, and although the promise of the Prime Minister, I agree, does not go any further than that he will consider the matter, which after all does not mean very much, it is a point which I would like to bring to the attention of the learned Attorney-General, so that when he comes to reply he will say whether he still thinks, as the Prime Minister apparently thought in May, that it was a point worthy of considering, and, if so, whether he will do something to meet the point, either now or at a later stage?
§ Mr. PRINGLE
The earlier part of the discussion was upon the constitution of the Joint Exchequer Board, and the later part has been devoted to the functions of that body. Very lurid pictures have been drawn of the anomalous state of things that is coming into existence when this Joint Exchequer Board is set up. We have been told that the House of Commons is adbicating its functions and its supreme authority in finance, and that henceforth, instead of having the House of Lords at the other end of the passage, we are to have a House of Lords of five members to supervise the financial arrangements made by this House. I have listened very carefully to all the arguments put forward by the Opposition speakers, and I have not found a title of evidence put before the Committee to indicate that in any substantial degree will the supremacy of this House, in relation to finance, be interfered with in any way. In not one single instance has it been shown that the taxing capacity of the House of Commons will be interfered with by the Joint Exchequer Board. That Board will have very important functions, but their powers will be under the limitations of the taxing powers of the Irish Parliament.
I am anxious to discover any tax which could not be imposed by the Imperial Parliament because of the action of the Joint Exchequer Board. Unless it can be shown that the powers of this House are interfered with, and it has not yet been shown, then I say there is no foundation whatever for the suggestion that we are diminishing or abdicating the supremacy of the House of Commons over finance. There are certain other points which have 1355 been brought forward in the course of debate. The hon. Member for Gravesend (Sir G. Parker) discovered one grave source of difficulty. He said that in the past Chancellors of the Exchequer had found it necessary to preserve the utmost secrecy in relation to future financial arrangements, and that before a Budget was put forward every Chancellor concealed his proposals, and that if it is necessary under the Bill that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should consult the Joint Exchequer Board in relation to taxes to find out whether these taxes could be legally imposed under the Government of Ireland Act, then this secrecy would be done away with, and the position would be impossible. There would be some force in this contention if the powers of the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer extended to the imposition of new Customs Duties. It is only in relation to new Customs Duties that there is any necessity for secrecy on the part of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. There is really no necessity for secrecy in relation to internal taxes.
The hon. Gentleman went on to enumerate a number of the functions of the Joint Exchequer Board, and said they were functions of extreme difficulty. Everybody admits that they are functions of extreme difficulty, and it is for that reason that it has been found necessary by the Government to set up a special body to discharge those difficult functions. But they are not functions which it is impossible to discharge. He quoted, by way of example, the fixing of the true revenue. The hon. Gentleman said that it was very difficult to determine the true revenue, but I would point out that under the provisions of the Bill there will be more efficient machinery in the shape of better registration of imports into Ireland, which will render it easier to determine what the true revenue of Ireland is, so that it will be a considerably easier function to discharge when the Bill is passed into law. It has been said by hon. Members opposite that the Government are very fond of setting up all sorts of bureaucratic boards. We are told that this proposal of a Joint Exchequer Board is on all fours with the Development Board and the Road Board. I was not a Member of this House when the Development Board was brought into existence, but my recollection is that the Development Board was forced upon the Government by the Opposition.
My recollection is that when the Bill was first introduced the functions were to be 1356 performed by the Treasury with the advice of an Advisory Committee. As a result of criticisms in the House of Commons, particularly on the part of the Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin (Lord Robert Cecil), the Government accepted the principle of the Board, and, mark you, a Board very similar to this which is now proposed, a Board independent in character. It was expressly provided that the salaries of that Board should not be on the Estimates, so as to take it altogether out of the hands of Parliament. So here we have the present Government, at the instance of the Opposition, setting up a Board very much like this which is now the subject of discussion, and which takes away the financial supremacy of the House of Commons—precisely the gravamen of the charge made against the Government this afternoon. It does not lie with the Opposition, therefore, to make this charge on the present occasion. I admit, however, that there is something shadowy in the constitution of the Board as laid down in the Bill, but I hope before the Bill leaves this House that the Government will have devised a plan which will meet the criticisms that have been raised in the course of discussion. I think that many of the suggestions contained in the Amendment are worthy the attention of the Government, and if those points receive the attention which they deserve, the Joint Exchequer Board will be set up in such a form that it will be admirably fitted to discharge the difficult functions which are laid upon it.
The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down tried to persuade us that there was no real constitutional issue raised by the creation of this body in connection with finance, because if T caught the purport of his argument correctly, no charge could be placed on any subject by the action of the Board. I think that was his argument.
I thought that was what it came to. If so, he must, I think, on reflection, see that as a matter of fact this Board has the power to determine what taxes shall be paid in certain cases by His Majesty's subjects. They can raise taxation in one country and they can diminish taxation in another country, simply by their own decision, unappealable against in those particulars, under the powers given them by this Bill. In these circumstances it seems to me that when my right hon. Friend the Member 1357 for East Worcestershire (Mr. Austen Chamberlain) pointed out to the Government that while they were so sensitive about the supremacy of this House in matters of finance that they would not allow even the limited powers, which the Constitution up to 1910 undoubtedly permitted to the House of Lords, to survive, because they might interfere with the exclusive jurisdiction of this House in matters of finance; yet the same Government, which thought that the House of Lords was unworthy to exercise those powers, has come down with a proposal that they should be exercised by five gentlemen, two of them Treasury officials appointed by the Government, two other officials, presumably Irish Treasury officials, appointed by the Irish Government, and the fifth appointed in the manner prescribed by the Bill—that the Government, which thought the House of Lords was unworthy to touch finance, should think that this body is capable of touching finance without any appeal, not even an appeal to the country, is certainly one of the most singular legislative paradoxes which has ever come before the attention of the House in our time.
Before I deal with the larger aspect of the question, the constitutional aspect, may I call the attention of the Committee again to the extraordinary manner in which the Government have thought fit to treat the House of Commons and this Committee with regard to the subject of this Clause. They are going to pass under the Closure in about three-quarters of an hour a Clause which states, in the form in which they are going to pass it, that the decision of the Board they are setting up, "On any matter to be determined by them shall be final and conclusive," and they have tabled no Amendment to modify those words. They have stated that they do not mean to hold by them. They stated, I think it was two days ago, that they had come to the conclusion that they could not stand by them. Does anybody believe if we were not working under the gag that the Government would have treated, I will not say the Opposition, but the Committee, with the ordinary decencies of debate, and that they ought to have put down Amendments to the Clause bringing it into the shape in which they state they think it ought to be, and that we should never have seen the Attorney-General coming down and asking the Committee under Closure to vote for a Clause he himself is going to modify.
1358 I think of all the many evils which this system of ruthless and indiscriminate Closure brings, the fact that it makes His Majesty's Government perfectly indifferent to the ordinary decorums of legislation, and that they can come down without their Amendment, and that they can make what speeches they like and leave out answering all the arguments that they think inconvenient, and that they can devote their arguments to those they think they can answer—very often erroneously—and that they can concentrate their attention on those alone, knowing that whatever muddle they may get into between a quarter to four and half-past seven, everything will be wiped out when you, Sir, rise in obedience to the Orders of the House to put the Question, I think that is most demoralising to the House. I think that is admitted by the Government themselves; but they have not yet reached that stage of moral consciousness to show them that it is not only demoralising to the House but utterly demoralising to themselves. Let us ask in what condition the Clause is going to be left. The Clause is going to be left in the condition in which it is on the Paper. There are no Amendments going to be moved, not one. What is the Clause which is some day going to be inserted in the Bill? Am I wrong in thinking that the Clause is not going to stand as it is.—[Sir RUFUS ISAACS made some observations which were inaudible.]—I am right. We are not asked to discuss the Clause as it is going to be voted on, nor are we discussing the Clause as it will be when Amendments are handed in. We are not discussing the Clause as it is, we are not discussing the Clause at it would be, if there were Amendments down, but we are discussing the Clause as it is some day to come out of the legislative workshop of the Government. We do not know exactly what it is to be; we know roughly that it is not the Clause which is going to be passed in Committee, or which is going to be reported to this House. What is the Clause? I am not referring to the Clause on the Paper, but, as I understand, the Clause which the Attorney-General has foreshadowed.
This Debate has largely turned on questions of appeal. On what is appeal refused? Appeal is refused on two matters. Of course, it is refused upon everything which is decided to be a question of fact. Questions of mixed law and fact have not been treated on by the Attorney-General, and I do not know how they are going to be decided, but any question the Attorney- 1359 General thinks is a question of fact is to be decided without appeal by this tribunal. Let me mention two of those points which are described as questions of fact to be decided without appeal. They have both been mentioned by my hon. Friends and dwelt upon, and I do not think any satisfactory answer has been given to the argument advanced. The first is the question of true revenue. My hon. Friend who spoke a moment ago (Mr. Ronald M'Neill) pointed out that in the opinion of the Primrose Committee this raised questions of the extremest difficulty, and there is not the least doubt about that. Will anybody say those difficulties are merely difficulties of fact, and that they do not involve directly and indirectly questions of law. They involve, among other things, questions of domicile, Questions of domicile are questions of extraordinary difficulty. I am informed that questions of domicile raise points which, if the interests at stake are sufficiently large, constantly have to go right up to the ultimate tribunal of the House of Lords. These people are to decide questions of domicile without any appeal at all. How on earth can you say that these five gentlemen, none of whom, so far as we know, are to have any legal training whatever, are competent to decide questions of domicile. I understand, for example, the question of domicile involves, what I suppose is a question of fact, the decision whether a person means to return to a place. For example, in the case of my right hon. and learned Friend (Sir E. Carson) whether his domicile is Ireland or England. I suppose, if a question of that sort came up, they would have to decide whether, if this Bill finally became law and was finally acquiesced in by my right hon. and learned Friend, he would have any intention of reverting to Ireland as his domicile. Those gentlemen, I understand, are to competent to deal with figures, and to be financial experts and nothing else. I do not know that they are specially qualified to deal with the psychology of my right hon. and learned Friend. I do not think anybody-can deny that these questions of the true revenue of Ireland really do raise most difficult questions of law and other questions.
There are other questions of equal importance which, I admit, raise no question of law, and on which these men are to be absolutely supreme. There is the point my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition and my right hon. Friend the 1360 Member for East Worcestershire (Mr. Austen Chamberlain) and others, and I am not sure I am not one of them myself, have-dwelt on before in this discussion. It is the settlement of the drawback which is to prevent a particular duty having a protective effect. An error in that has prodigious financial consequences, and I would recommend that to the hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down. It may make the whole difference as to whether the Irish manufacturer has an advantage over the British manufacturer or the British manufacturer over the Irish manufacturer. But the whole of that tremendous question, with its great difficulties, is to be handed over to those five gentlemen, those five financial experts, and on that there is to be no appeal. The Attorney-General repeated over and over again that that is a question of fact, and on questions of fact no appeal lies. Can anybody say that we in this House are not handing over to a body, which, once we have created, is beyond our own control, and which will be supreme over this House and over the Irish House in regard to those great matters which I have mentioned; can anybody deny that we are derogating from our own financial supremacy, and that that derogation is the work of those whose proudest boast in the country is that they have completed the task begun in the Long Parliament, and made this House the supreme and sole arbiter of the financial destinies of the country. I have mentioned, and not for the first time. I think, those two great questions on which there is no appeal, and we have had no adequate answer.
Then consider the question on which there is an appeal promised by the Government to be embodied in another Amendment though not to be introduced into the Clause with which we are dealing to-day. There is to be apparently an appeal to the Privy Council which anybody may start as to whether a tax is identical in the two countries. Anybody may start that and may go straight to the Privy Council without any preliminary-excursions into the subordinate Courts. I cannot understand why that distinction is drawn. If it is proper that an aggrieved subject should go straight to the highest Courts of Appeal if he thinks his interests are injured in one case, I do not quite know why the Government should have refused similar rights in other cases. The fact is in this extraordinary jumble in which this Clause will be, when all the 1361 Government Amendments are left out, this is subject not only to appeal by the Board themselves but any aggrieved subject may go to the Privy Council and may say: Is this tax or is it not identical with another tax put on by the English Chancellor of the Exchequer. That is most arbitrary and exceptional; arbitrary I mean in the sense of illogical to the general scheme of the Clause which the Government has foreshadowed. Then we leave the subject upon which anybody, the Board themselves or an individual, may appeal straight to the Privy Council, and we come to the subjects on which the Board and the Board only may appeal direct to the Privy Council. They are subjects on which the Board happens to be in doubt as to what the law is. I understand that doubts in no other part of the world will compel the Board or move the Board to go to the Court of Appeal. The Attorney-General may have all the doubts in the world as to some decision come to by the Joint Board. He may be backed up by the Solicitor-General and in fact, the Treasury may be of the same opinion, but it makes no difference unless this august, body themselves have doubts about their own legal infallibility, there is nothing on earth which can make them ask the highest tribunal in the land what the law really is. I call that grotesque, because these are not even lawyers. They are accountants, and there is no proof that they will be modest accountants. They may be accountants with a very high opinion of their own legal capacity, and the opinion of the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General and the Cabinet may be regarded by them as so much waste paper, strong in the entrenchment which you are so laboriously putting up around them; unless, in some unexpected moment of diffidence, they think themselves not wholly competent to decide delicate questions of law. That is the second branch of the subject on which there may be an appeal. What is the third branch? There can be an appeal by any subject who thinks the Board has gone beyond their legal powers. Here we come back to our old friend, the common law, upon which the Attorney-General was so admirably eloquent a few nights ago. I have already pointed out that it is rather absurd to compel the subject to go to all the cost of litigation from the lowest Courts to the highest when he thinks himself aggrieved in ordinary cases, while he may go 1362 straight to the highest Court when he thinks himself aggrieved as to the classification of taxes between England and Ireland. However, the Government think that the ordinary law is the better remedy in this case. I am no authority on legal questions; I get my law entirely from the Attorney-General, and I may have mistaken the purport of his observations. But I understood that any Irishman who thought himself aggrieved by a decision of the Board might begin legal proceedings in the Irish Courts, and that the case would go on in the ordinary course until it reached the Privy Council; and that an Englishman aggrieved might follow the same example, begin in the lowest Courts, and go on from Court to Court until he got to the House of Lords.
The Attorney-General was good enough to suggest, though I thought that even my very modest store of legal knowledge detected a slight exaggeration, that, after all, the Privy Council and the House of Lords were very much the same thing. I should have thought that they were not quite the same thing, and not even very much the same thing. Supposing, as is extremely likely, that an Englishman and an Irishman are both aggrieved at the same decision of the Joint Board; one begins proceedings in the Irish Courts, the other in the English Courts; you have the two chains of appeal, until finally the House of Lords is asked to decide on the English ease and the Privy Council on the Irish case. I do not know that there is the least security that they will come to the same decision. There may indeed be one possible security, and that is that it is the Lord Chancellor who nominates the particular members who will serve on the Privy Council. That may secure that the members of the Privy Council agree with the Lord Chancellor, but it is no security whatever that they will agree with the majority of the House of Lords. The House of Lords, I understand, decide a case by the majority, whereas in the Privy Council the decision is always given as the judgment of the Court. In the House of Lords each separate Law Lord, I understand, gives his own reasons for his decision. Could anything be more awkward than these two appeals, decided by different Courts at the same time—one by a majority, the other by a unanimous Court—in one case each judge giving his reasons, in the other not? The Attorney-General said that the two Courts are very much the same. Their procedure is different, their constitution 1363 is different, and apparently they decide these cases for two different nations. While the Attorney-General was gliding with such charming ease over all these difficulties I was attempting to grasp the full complexity of the system as he explained it to us, but I got more and more puzzled, and what little reflection I have been able to give to his speech of an hour and a half ago has not enabled me to see anything in the nature of logical and artistic simplicity in the scheme which he has laid before the Committee. May I ask one question upon this remedy of the subject against the overstepping of its powers by this Board? The Attorney-General said that it is to be by mandamus. Are we to understand that this is a corporate body which can be sued?
I admit that I am entirely out of my depth in dealing with questions of this kind, but we are left in such extraordinary doubt by this Clause as to what the legal constitution and character of this body is, that the question really ought to be asked and answered whether this is a continuous Board which can be served with a mandamus or not. On that point I do not see that any light has been thrown by the Government so far. But that is only a question. The question, however, brings me to a criticism which, I think, meets with some sympathy from hon. Gentlemen opposite. They have, at any rate, suggested that we ought to know something more about the salary and status of this Board, and exactly what its character is. The last Sub-section reads as if these gentlemen were to be appointed for life and practically to have the status of judges—or, at all events, a fixed status quite outside and irrespective of any action the Government might take. So, at all events, I read the Sub-section. But that is not consistent with the general tenour of the speech of the Attorney-General, who most clearly implied in the course of his speech that two at least of these members were to be Treasury officials. Certainly, if all be wants is financial competence, he could so to no better source. As far as I am aware, there is no salary taken for these officials in the Bill. Therefore their duties are to be carried out as part of their ordinary official duties: one morning they will work in the Treasury preparing 1364 the next Budget of the British Chancellor of the Exchequer; the next they will go into another room, meet their three colleagues, and become members of this corporation which apparently can be sued. I think that is a very difficult and absurd arrangement. May I ask whether the Government would think themselves justified in giving advice to these officials? Are they to act under instructions? If they are not to act under instructions, and if the two Irish gentlemen are not to act under instructions of the Irish Government, their position will be anomalous. If they are to act under instructions of their respective Governments, all judicial character is entirely removed, and they become merely delegates of their respective Governments—two British delegates, two Irish delegates, and a gentleman appointed by the Crown, whose qualifications have not yet been stated, who is to be in the happy position of holding the balance between these two sets of emissaries.
The hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Lees Smith) said that whenever you had a federal Constitution you must have a Court of Appeal. I do not think, by the way, that the Government love Courts of Appeal, who in certain respects and upon certain subjects are practically the highest authorities in the country, the governing power of the country, higher than Kings, Lords and Commons. But at all events, the hon. Member for Northampton said that you must have some Court of Appeal if you have federal government, and that it must be an impartial Court of Appeal, separated both from the interests both of one party and of the other, and having a status which would command respect. But if four of these gentlemen are to be mere delegates of their respective Governments, if they are to be officials taken from Departments in Ireland or in Whitehall, as the case may be, and asked to go and defend a certain policy upon this Board, is that the kind of Court of Appeal of which the hon. Member for Northampton was thinking when his prophetic gaze looked forward to a federal system being adopted throughout the United Kingdom, with the necessary arbitrators in the shape of some body of gentlemen of eminence We do not know what their status is to be. They have not a salary. If they are to have a salary, we do not know whether it is to be secured as judicial salaries are secured. We are left completely in the dark. Although the Government have 1365 had several opportunities of telling us all these things, they have neglected to put down Amendments which the course of argument up to the present time has induced them to believe are necessary to make this Clause tolerable; they have not explained the Clause or justified it; they have not looked forward to these difficulties at later stages of the Clause. They have been content with the greatest, the best, the most unanswerable Parliamentary argument which the ingenuity of man ever devised—the Closure.
This is only another proof of the preposterous method in which this Government set about Constitution making. This is the first step towards that great symmetrical federal structure which is gradually to arise upon the foundations of this Bill. The first attempt they have made to provide that Court of Appeal, which the hon. Member for Northampton thinks is so necessary, is to give us five gentlemen, two of them appointed by the Imperial Government, and two by the only subordinate State which they have yet been able to create, with no arrangements such as other countries have made to see that great dignity, authority, and impartiality shall surround this Court of Appeal, which is the ultimate arbiter of your constitutional destinies. The precursors of this final Court of Appeal are to be four public officials taken from the permanent Civil Service of the country. This is not the way to treat either the Committee of the House of Commons or the constitutional questions which the Government have chosen to raise in connection with this Bill. It cannot even satisfy the hon. Member for Northampton. There is no security for the impartiality which he desires; there is no evidence, in fact, that they want impartiality. And they may not! Their view may be that it is better to have two advocates from Ireland and two advocates from England, with an umpire standing in between. We do not know. As between these two vitally different policies we do not a bit know which is the policy of the Government. It is not for want of asking. After these days of debate, when this matter has been riddled with criticism from both sides of the House, it is odd that no attempt has been made, either by the Law Officers or by the Cabinet Ministers in charge, to deal with the larger aspects of this question. It remains a standing proof that if we ever are to have federalism established in these Islands we shall have to look to better 1366 architects than those at present attempting to raise the first stage of this extraordinary fabric.
§ Sir E. CARSON
May I, just before the right hon. Gentleman replies, put one question on a point which has been raised by my right hon. Friend? It is in relation to the Joint Exchequer Board. What is it? What is its existence? It is not, according to this Bill, a corporation; therefore it has not a perpetual succession. There is no permanent succession, so far as I can see, in the Joint Exchequer Board at all. This Amendment of my hon. Friend aims at setting up a general scheme for the appointment of members of the Board, their staff, for the term in which they have to occupy office, and so on. That would establish something in the nature of a permanent Board. We were told in the course of debate to-day that this Board would not be a perpetual matter at all; that there might be times when it would not have to be set up for six months, and that when it was set up it would be set up, as my right hon. Friend has remarked, of two Treasury clerks in England and two from Ireland; and that the Government would appoint someone else, but that they would not be necessary to the Board.
§ Sir RUFUS ISAACS
I never said so If the right hon. and learned Gentleman is quoting me that is nothing like what I said.
§ Sir E. CARSON
The right hon. Gentleman was not here. What I understood the Attorney-General to say was that it would not necessarily be the same persons that would decide the same cases that arose from time to time. They would, he said, not be specific people—he certainly did not mention specific people—who would from time to time constitute the Board. In point of fact he told us that Sub-section (3) did not give anything like a life office and did not create any term. We rather thought it did. He said it did not. What have you got then? You are making this Board, which is not a corporation and which has not a succession. You appoint, or at all events can appoint, merely if a particular question arises. [HON. MEMBERS: "Order," and "Time."] It is not my fault that the time is short. [An HON. MEMBER: "You said you wanted to ask a question."] I will only say one word. What I want to know as regards this matter is that when this Board which is constituted for a particular occasion is functus officio, what Board or staff or person is there who can be sued by mandamus?
§ The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. Herbert Samuel)
There are questions raised by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London which might perhaps be within the competence of a layman to attempt to answer, although I feel even more than the right hon. Gentleman a diffidence in treading where lawyers sometimes fear to tread. There are four objections which the right hon. Gentleman and the Opposition generally have raised to our proposal. In the first place, the Opposition object to the constitution of the Exchequer Board at all. In the second place, they say that its powers are excessive. They declare that from those powers there ought to be an adequate appeal which is not given in the Bill. Lastly, they say that the procedure of the Board should be more fully defined. With regard to the first point, the necessity for having the Exchequer Board at all. Apart from certain occasions on which I. agree the Board will have important functions, the Board will be called upon to do day by day work, and that work will be this: To say to the Irish people, "So much of the yield of your taxes, so much of your revenue is drawn from Ireland, so much is the cost of Irish services." The whole financial arrangements of the Irish Exchequer are to a much greater extent dependent upon the decisions of the Joint Exchequer Board than the financial arrangements of the Imperial Exchequer.
Of course this Parliament might say in the Bill, "We will determine for you these matters affecting your finance so closely; this Parliament here shall keep control over the decision of this statistical and to a great extent arithmetical questions." But if this Parliament kept control it would of course mean that the Treasury would keep control, for, as has been pointed out, it is out of the question to suggest that anybody such as this Parliament, composed of 670 Members, could possibly go into those details into which the Exchequer Board has to inquire. An arrangement of that kind which would leave these matters, which are of such great importance to the Irish Parliament and the Irish Exchequer, entirely in the hands of the Imperial Treasury, would indeed be likely to give rise to friction between the two Governments. Although we regard our Treasury with complete confidence, in Ireland for many a long year 1368 the Treasury, I am afraid, has been regarded in some quarters with a certain degree of suspicion, and I think it is a right, generous and proper thing for this Parliament to say, "As we are giving Home Rule to them, we may not keep the determination of these questions strictly in our own hands; we think it more right and proper to let them be decided by representatives of the Imperial Treasury and representatives of the Irish Treasury sitting at the same table, with an independent chairman to give his opinion on points of dispute." Hon. Members opposite say that that is a surrender of the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament. Not so!. They say that these five Gentlemen are placed above the Constitution. That is not so. Because in the last resort, if this Parliament thought that the Exchequer Board was acting wrongly or improperly, it could—though I agree it is not the course which will ordinarily be taken—and it would be an extreme step—it could as it wished under the powers reserved to it in Clause 1 overrule the Joint Exchequer Board. Of course that is not contemplated; it is not contemplated by the Bill. These matters are left to be decided day by day by the Joint Exchequer Board, and they will be decided by them, and Parliament will not intervene.
But Parliament does not surrender the right, the constitutional right, if it so-wishes, to exercise an overruling power. Then hon. Members have said that the mere fact that an outside body is brought in to arbitrate, as a quasi Court of arbitration shows that the Parliaments are coequal, and that the one is not subordinate to the other. In all our Colonial Constitutions, although there is no Joint Exchequer Board—there is no need for it, the point does not arise—the Constitutions are different. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] That is obvious on the face of the Bill. Though there is no Joint Exchequer Board, constantly year by year the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Canada may find itself engaged in litigation with the Parliament of one of the provinces, or in Australia, before the Privy Council.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
I am dealing with the question of principle. Hon. Gentlemen have said that the mere fact that, we are not deciding these things ourselves, 1369 by our own fiat, shows that the Irish Parliament is no longer a subordinate Parliament. My answer to that is that in the great federations in our Empire, where you have Parliaments which are acknowledged on all hands as regards one another to be superior and subordinate Parliaments, you do have differences between them, and settled, not by the Parliament of Canada or by the Parliament of Australia as against one of the provincial Parliaments, but settled by an outside tribunal. Secondly, with regard to the powers of the Hoard, the right hon. Gentleman has raised this matter to the level of a large constitutional issue. He says that the powers conferred upon the Board are greater, or as great, as we have taken away from the House of Lords. What are they I "What are the right hon. Gentleman's instances? In regard to independent taxes, and, as to whether or not a tax is an independent tax or a substantial sum. That is indeed an important issue. On that we give an appeal to the Privy Council, and on that notice has already been given of Amendment. His next instance was that this Parliament has to decide as to what is true revenue, and that the Exchequer Board has to decide the true revenue from Ireland. But the Board have only to decide that for the purposes of Clause 26. Whether or not the individual person is liable to an Irish tax or not, is not within their province. They would not be called upon to decide whether the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Trinity College is domiciled in Ireland or not.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
They have to decide what are the proceeds of the Irish tax. They cannot decide whether of not any individual person is liable to pay that. They are not called upon to act the part of an ordinary Court of Law and say whether or not a person is rightly subject to a tax of the Irish Parliament.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The matter does not rest with them. As to other aspects I agree that within limits strictly defined they have to decide whether or not a certain drawback is of a suitable amount. Who decides such questions now? It is always left to experts to decide. It is left to experts to decide and to suggest the right drawback. It is left to Parliament to decide policy, because 1370 Parliament can decide whether it wishes the drawback to have a protective effect. But it will always be left to the expert advisers of the Treasury to decide whether, given a policy, the drawback is to be precisely equal in effect to the duty and whether or not a particular sum is adequate for the purposes. With regard to appeals, that question arises under Clause 29. We have not put down an Amendment to this Clause dealing with the questions of appeal, because that Amendment could not be properly made on this Clause. The words, "That the opinion of the Joint Exchequer Board shall be final and conclusive," may have to be omitted or may have to be modified. Whether they are omitted or whether they are modified depends upon the form which the Amendment takes to Clause 26.
It being half-past Seven of the clock, the Chairman proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of the 14th October, to put forthwith the Question on the Amendment already proposed from the Chair.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN (seated and covered)
May I ask you, Mr. Whitley, on a point of Order, whether, if we pass the words in Sub-section (2) "The decision of the Board on any matter which is to be determined by them shall be final and conclusive," it will be open to hon. Members at a later stage to move an Amendment giving an appeal from their decision.
I can only be guided by what I heard. I have seen no Amendment. I have some doubt whether it could be raised at this stage or on Report stage, but I cannot give a decision upon the point until I have seen the Amendment.
§ Mr. BUTCHER
May I ask you, Sir, whether, in view of the uncertainty as to whether we could correct what the Government admits wants correction with regard to whether the decision of the Board is to be final and conclusive, would not the proper course be to postpone the Clause?
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."1372
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 191; Noes, 322.1375
|Division No. 350.]||AYES.||[7.30 p.m.|
|Aitken, Sir William Max||Goldman, Charles Sydney||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Goldsmith, Frank||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Gordon, John (Londonderry, South)||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Baird, John Laurence||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Balcarres, Lord||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gretton, John||Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lend.)||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S. E.)||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Pole-Carew, Sir R.|
|Barnston, Harry||Haddock, George Bahr||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Barrie, H. T||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Hamersley, Alfred St. George||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Quilter, Sir William Eley C.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Rawson, Col. R. H.|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Rees, Sir J. D.|
|Beresford, Lord Charles||Helmsley, Viscount||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Bigland, Alfred||Henderson, Major H. (Berkshire)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Bird, Alfred||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Blair, Reginald||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Boles, Lieut.-Col. Dennis Fortescue||Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Royds, Edmund|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Hill, Sir Clement L.||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Hills, John Waller||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Boyton, James||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Burn, Col. C. R.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Butcher, John George||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Campbell, Capt. Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Home, Wm. E. (Surrey, Guildford)||Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'p'l, Walton)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. (Dublin Univ.)||Horner, Andrew Long||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Campion, W. R.||Houston, Robert Paterson||Stanler, Seville|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Hunt, Rowland||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Cassel, Felix||Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk.||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Ingleby, Holcombe||Steel-Maitland, A.D.|
|Cave, George||Jessell, Captain H. M.||Stewart, Gershom|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Swift, Rigby|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Kerry, Earl of||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Keswick, Henry||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Kimber, Sir Henry||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Chambers, James||Kintoch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Terrell, George (Wilts, N. W.)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Larmor, Sir J.||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)|
|Clyde, James Avon||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)||Touche, George Alexander|
|Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Lee, Arthur Hamilton||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Lewisham, Viscount||Valentia, Viscount|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. S.||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Doughty, Sir George||Lowe, Sir F W. (Edgbaston)||Wills, Sir Gilbert|
|Eyres-Monsell, B. M.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo., Han. S.)||Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks, E. R.)|
|Faber, George D. (Clapham)||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Fell, Arthur||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Mackinder, Halford J.||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Fletcher, John Samuel||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Forster, Henry William||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Yerburgh, Robert A.|
|Foster, Philip Staveley||Moore, William||Younger, Sir George|
|Gardner, Ernest||Mount, William Arthur|
|Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Neville, Reginald J. N.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Gibbs, G. A.||Newman, John R. P.||Astor and Mr. Walter Guinness|
|Gilmour, Captain John||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Barran, Rowland Hurst (Leeds, N.)|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A.||Barton, William|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Beauchamp, Sir Edward|
|Adamson, William||Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Beck, Arthur Cecil|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Bentham, George J|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Bethell, Sir John Henry|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbarton)||Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Barnes, G. N||Black, Arthur W.|
|Arnold, Sydney||Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick)||Boland, John Pius|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Murray, Capt. Hon. Arthur C.|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Nannetti, Joseph P,|
|Brace, William||Hayden, John Patrick||Needham, Christopher T.|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Hayward, Evan||Nellson, Francis|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Hazleton, Richard||Nolan, Joseph|
|Bryce, John Annan||Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Norton, Captain Cecil William|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Hemmerde, Edward George||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Nuttall, Harry|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Henry, Sir Charles||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||Higham, John Sharp||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Hinds, John||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||O'Donnell, Thomas|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Hodge, John||O'Dowd, John|
|Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Hogge, James Myles||Ogden, Fred|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Holmes, Daniel Turner||O'Grady, James|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Holt, Richard Durning||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Home, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||O'Malley, William|
|Clough, William||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Hudson, Walter||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||O'Shee, James John|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||John, Edward Thomas||Outhwaite, R. L.|
|Cotton, William Francis||Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Sw'nsea)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Crooks, William||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Crumley, Patrick||Jones, Leif Straiten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M.|
|Cullinan, John||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rothernam)|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney)||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Jowett, Frederick William||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Joyce, Michael||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardiganshire)||Keating, Matthew||Pointer, Joseph|
|Dawes, James Arthur||Kellaway, Frederick George||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|De Forest, Baron||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Delany, William||King, Joseph||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Dickinson, W. H.||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)||Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)|
|Dillon, John||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Leach, Charles||Primrose, Hon. Neil James|
|Doris, William||Levy, Sir Maurice||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Duffy, William J.||Lewis, John Herbert||Radford, G. H.|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Rattan, Peter Wilson|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Lundon, T.||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Lyell, Charles Henry||Reddy, Michael|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Essex, Richard Walter||MacGhee, Richard||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Falconer, James||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Richards, Thomas|
|Farrell, James Patrick||MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South)||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Macpherson, James Ian||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Ffrench, Peter||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Roberts, C. H. (Lincoln)|
|Field, William||M'Callum, Sir John M.||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||M'Curdy, Charles Albert||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Fitzgibbon, John||M'Kean, John||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Robinson, Sidney|
|France, Gerald Ashburner||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Gilhooly, James||M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lincs, Spalding)||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Gill, Alfred Henry||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Ginnell, Laurence||Manfield, Harry||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Rowlands, James|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Martin, Joseph||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Griffith, Ellis Jones||Meagher, Michael||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Scanian, Thomas|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Menzies, Sir Walter||Seely, Rt. Hon. Colonel J. E. B.|
|Gulland, John William||Millar, James Duncan||Sheehy, David|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Molloy, Michael||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Hackett, J.||Moltene, Percy Alport||Shortt, Edward|
|Hall, F. (Yorks, Mormanton)||Mond, Sir Alfred M.||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Hancock, John George||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)||Mooney, J. J.||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton).|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Morgan, George Hay||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Morrell, Philip||Snowden, Philip|
|Harvey, A. G. G. (Rochdale)||Morison, Hector||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Muldon, John||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, W.)|
|Sutherland, John E.||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Sutton, John E.||Wardle, George J.||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Waring, Walter||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Tennant, Harold John||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Thomas, James Henry||Watt, Henry A.||Wilson, W. T (Westhoughton)|
|Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)||Webb, H.||Winfrey, Richard|
|Toulmin, Sir George||Wedgwood, Josiah C.||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Trevelyan, Charles Philips||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander||White, Patrick (Meath, North)||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Verney, Sir Harry||Whitehouse, John Howard||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Wadsworth, John||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas|
|Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)||Whyte, Alexander F.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Walters, Sir John Tudor||Wiles, Thomas||Illingworth and Mr. Wedgwood Benn.|
|Walton, Sir Joseph|
§ The CHAIRMAN then proceeded successively to put forthwith the Question on any Amendments moved by the Government, of which notice had been given, and the Questions necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded at half-past1376
§ Seven of the clock at this day's sitting.
§ Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 319; Noes, 193.1379
|Division No. 351.]||AYES.||[7.40 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Crooks, William||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)|
|Adamson, William||Crumley, Patrick||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Cullinan, John||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbarton)||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry|
|Arnold, Sydney||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardiganshire)||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Dawes, James Arthur||Hayward, Evan|
|Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A.||De Forest, Baron||Hazleton, Richard|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Delany, William||Helme, Sir Norval Watson|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Hemmerde, Edward George|
|Balfour, sir Robert (Lanark)||Devlin, Joseph||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Dickinson, W. H.||Henry, Sir Charles|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Dillon, John||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)|
|Barnes, George N.||Donelan, Captain A.||Higham, John Sharp|
|Barran, Rowland Hurst (Leeds, N.)||Doris, William||Hinds, John|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick)||Duffy, William J.||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.|
|Barton, W.||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Hodge, John|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Hogge, James Myles|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Holmes, Daniel Turner|
|Bentham, George J.||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Bethell, Sir J. H.||Elverston, Sir Harold||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Esmonds, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Home, C. Silvester (Ipswich)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Boland, John Pius||Essex, Richard Walter||Hudson, Walter|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Falconer, James||Hughes, Spencer Leigh|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Farrell, James Patrick||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||John, Edward Thomas|
|Brace, William||Ffrench, Peter||Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Sw'nsea)|
|Brady Patrick Joseph||Field, William||Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Bryce, John Annan||Fitzgibbon, John||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||France, Gerald Ashburner||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Gill, Alfred Henry||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (Stepney)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Ginnell, Laurence||Jowett, Frederick William|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||Gladstone, W. G. C.||Joyce, Michael|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Glanville, Harold James||Keating, Matthew|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Kellaway, Frederick George|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Kennedy, Vincent Paul|
|Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Kilbride, Denis|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||King, Joseph|
|Chapple, Dr. William Alien||Griffith, Ellis Jones||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Guest, Hon Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Lardner, James Carrige Rustic|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)|
|Clough, William||Gulland, John William||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)|
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Leach, Charles|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Hackett, John||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Hall, Frederick (Normanton)||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Hancock, J. G.||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Cotton, William Francis||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)|
|Lundon, T.||O'Shee, James John||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Lynch, A. A.||Outhwaite, R. L.||Smith, H. B. L. (Northampton)|
|Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Parker, James Halifax||Snowden, Philip|
|McGhee, Richard||Pearce, Robert (Stalls, Leek)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)|
|Macpherson, James Ian||Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M.||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Sutherland, J. E.|
|M'Callum, Sir John M.||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||Sutton, John E.|
|M'Curdy, Charles Albert||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|M'Kean, John||Pirie, Duncan V.||Taylor, T. C. (Radcliffe)|
|McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Pointer, Joseph||Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)|
|M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)||Pollard, Sir George H.||Tennant, Harold John|
|M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Thomas, James Henry|
|Manfield, Harry||Power, Patrick Joseph||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Marks, Sir George Croydon||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Marshall, Arthur Harold||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Martin, Joseph||Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Verney, Sir Harry Wadsworth, John|
|Meagher, Michael||Primrose, Hon. Neil James|
|Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Pringle, William M. R.||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Menzies, Sir Walter||Radford, George Heynes||Walters, Sir John Tudor|
|Millar, James Duncan||Rattan, Peter Wilson||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Molloy, Michael||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Molteno, Percy Alport||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Wardle, G. J.|
|Mond, Sir Alfred||Reddy, Michael||Waring, Walter|
|Money, L. G. Chiozza||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Mooney, John J.||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Morgan, George Hay||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Morrell, Philip||Rendall, Athelstan||Watt, Henry A.|
|Morison, Hector||Richards, Thomas||Webb, H.|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Muldoon, John||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Murray, Capt. Hon. Arthur C.||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Nannetti, Joseph||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Needham, Christopher Thomas||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)||Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)|
|Neilson, Francis||Robinson, Sidney||Wiles, Thomas|
|Nolan, Joseph||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Norton, Captain Cecil William||Roche, Augustine (Louth)||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Roche, John (Galway, E.)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Nuttall, Harry||Roe, Sir Thomas||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Rose, Sir Charles Day||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Rowlands, James||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs, N.)|
|O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Rowntree, Arnold||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|O'Doherty, Philip||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.||Winfrey, Richard|
|O'Donnell, Thomas||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Ogden, Fred||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|O'Grady, James||Scanian, Thomas||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)||Sheehy, David|
|O'Malley, William||Sherwell, Arthur James||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Shortt, Edward||Illingworth and Mr. Wedgwood Benn.|
|O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Aitken, Sir William Max||Burn, Colonel C. R.||Doughty, Sir George|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Butcher, John George||Eyres-Monsell, B. M.|
|Ashley, W. W.||Campbell, Capt. Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Faber, George D. (Clapham)|
|Astor, Waldorf||Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. (Dublin Univ.)||Fell, Arthur|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Camplon, W. R.||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey|
|Balcarres, Lord||Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A, J. (City, Lond.)||Cassel, Felix||Fleming, Valentine|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Castlereagh, Viscount||Forster, Henry William|
|Barnston, Harry||Cave, George||Foster, Philip Staveley|
|Barrie, H. T.||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Gardner, Ernest|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Gibbs, George Abraham|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Gilmour, Captain John|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Goldman, C. S.|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Chambers, James||Goldsmith, Frank|
|Beresford, Lord Charles||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)|
|Bigland, Alfred||Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Bird, Alfred||Clyde, James Avon||Gretton, John|
|Blair, Reginald||Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S. E.)|
|Boles, Lieut.-Col. Dennis Fortescue||Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur C. T. Griffith-||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim S.)||Gwynne, R S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Craiq, Captain James (Down, E.)||Haddock, George Bahr|
|Boyton, James||Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)|
|Bridgeman. William Clive||Denniss, E. R. B.||Hamersley, Alfred St. George|
|Bull, Sir William James||Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington)|
|Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (St. Geo. Han. S.)||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Stanler, Beville|
|Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Helmsley, Viscount||Mackinder, Halford J.||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Henderson, Major H. (Berkshire)||M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Stewart, Gershom|
|Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Hill, Sir Clement L.||Moore, William||Swift, Rigby|
|Hills, John Waller||Mount, William Arthur||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Hill-Wood, Samuel||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Newman, John R. P.||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Hope, Harry (Bute)||Newton, Harry Kottingham||Terrell, George, (Wilts, N. W.)|
|Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)|
|Home, William E. (Surrey, Guildford)||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Horner, A. L.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Touche George Alexander|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Parkes, Ebenezer||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Hunt, Rowland||Peto, Basil Edward||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Hunter, Sir Charles R.||Pole-Carew, Sir R.||Ward, Arnold (Herts, Watford)|
|Ingleby, Holcombe||Pollock, Ernest Murray||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Jessel, Captain Herbert M.||Pretyman, Ernest George||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Quilter, Sir W. E. C.||Wills, Sir Gilbert|
|Kerry, Earl of||Rawlinson, Sir John Frederick Peel||Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks, E. R.)|
|Keswick, Henry||Rawson, Colonel Richard H.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Kimber, Sir Henry||Rees, Sir J. D.||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripen)|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Remnant, James Farquharson||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Lane-Fox, G. R.||Rolleston, Sir John||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Larmor, Sir J.||Rothschild, Lionel de||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Royds, Edmund||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts, Mile End)||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Lee, Arthur Hamilton||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)||Yerburgh, Robert A.|
|Lewisham, Viscount||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)||Younger, Sir George|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Lockwood. Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||J. Gordon and Mr. S. Roberts.|
|Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'p'l, Walton)|