§ Sir F. LOW
I rise to move, "That this House, without modifying its often-expressed views upon the policy called Tariff Reform, is of opinion that to levy Import Duties on manufactured goods and at the same time to admit agricultural products free would be from every point of view indefensible."
This Resolution has been spoken of as a Blocking Motion, and one right hon. Gentleman, the Member for East Worcestershire (Mr. Austen Chamberlain), whom I do not see in his place at present, told his 476 constituents that it was a mean subterfuge and that notice was given of it for the purpose of burking discussion on Tariff Reform. That was said on the 14th March. The best answer to a charge of that sort is that we are here on the 2nd April discussing the question of this Motion on Tariff Reform concerning which these expressions were used. I desire in what I have to say to be as brief as possible, because this Motion is honestly made in order that those who are opposed to us on this question of tariffs may have, even in the short time at our disposal this evening, ample opportunity for stating the views which they now hold upon this matter, views which are not always the same but have changed from time to time, and as the hon. Member for Stoke-upon-Trent (Mr. John Ward) interjects, from day to day. We are anxious on this side of the House to be informed as to what may be exactly the latest and most up-to-date version of Tariff Reform. There is another matter I want to say, which must be taken as qualifying my observations on this subject. It is no one supposes that, even in the changes that have been made, it is intended by those who have advocated taxes 477 upon food absolutely and for always to abandon that idea. Nobody supposes that, but as we shall see presently they are to be at all events temporarily abandoned, and it is upon that part of the Tariff Reform question that my Motion is chiefly based. I represent a constituency which is, to a large extent, an industrial constituency. But at the same time it is the centre of a very large agricultural district, and, for its prosperity and well being, it depends very largely upon that agricultural district. I do not raise this question in any way as a matter of competition between, on the one hand, the inhabitants of towns and on the other hand, the inhabitants of the country, because we on this side of the House believe that whether you regard tariffs on imported goods for any other purpose than that of revenue, whether you look at them from the point of view of the townsman or from that of the countryman, they are equally bad. There is a quotation from Burke which very frequently, at all events I have seen it in two or three reports, occurs in the speeches made by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition. He tells us that we come to Parliament for two purposes—to do good and to prevent evil.
I will not at this moment excite the Opposition by alluding to all the good that we on this side come here to do, but there is one good that we come to do and that is to maintain the principles of Free Trade. There is another thing that we come here to do—that is, as far as lies in our power—to prevent the evils of Protection. Let us for a few minutes discuss the genesis of this matter. In the limited time at my disposal I am not going to weary the House with the statistics that have been put forward by both sides with regard to this question. The matter began, as the House knows, some ten years ago in an agitation commenced by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain). He advocated the policy as entirely one of Colonial preference. The basis of his argument at that time was that, if you want to give a preference to the Colonies, you must tax food. That is true and incontrovertible. The course of trade between this country and the great self-governing Dominions is, with trifling exceptions, practically an interchange of food and raw material for manufactured goods. For some time the matter was continued on that footing. Ultimately there was a change of leaders. Then, as 478 the House knows, the notion of a Referendum was abandoned, and of late, by a circuitous route—a road, I think, beginning at Ashton-under-Lyne, then going through Bolton, then to Edinburgh, and then again into Lancashire, at Manchester—a brand new notion of Tariff Reform has been imparted to a wondering country. What is it? should not be in order at the present moment in discussing the Amendments that are on the Paper in regard to this Motion, but there is an Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Brighton (Captain Tryon) which, I think, will be admitted on all sides is a formulation of the doctrine of Edinburgh. It is that we are toadopt Imperial preference (in so far as it can be carried out without imposing fresh duties upon imported foodstuffs) by admitting imports from the British Dominions at lower rates of duty than those levied on imports from foreign countries.I may say in passing that there is one curious omission from that. We see nothing about raw materials. I do not know whether it is by intention or whether it is a slip. It may well be that in this new edition of Tariff Reform it is intended at last to advocate the taxation of raw materials. For myself I have never been able to see why a man who was so unwise as to endeavour to tax the importation of a dead sheep should not also want to tax the importation of its wool. It may well be that that is the intention, and that we shall in the course of the Debate hear more about this part of the scheme. The Amendment goes on—impose a moderate duty, not exceeding an average of 10 per cent. ad valorem—Why exactions from the foreigner are to be limited to 10 per cent. I do not know, but no doubt we shall receive an explanation of that also—on foreign manufactured goods in order (a) to safeguard the stability of British productive industries against the attacks of artificially stimulated foreign competition; and (b) to increase the national revenue and so make funds available for the assistance of agriculture and purposes of social reform.The last three lines appear to be somewhat argumentative, but there is the scheme. The scheme is to tax manufactured goods and to admit agricultural products free. I might again say, in passing, that in the second part of the scheme we see nothing about partially manufactured goods. There is no exception for that enormous mass of products which comes into the country, no doubt in one sense as manufactured goods, but which is practically the raw material of huge industries in this country. I raise this 479 question because my Constituency is very much interested in the question of leather. The House will remember that not so very long ago there was considerable controversy about the question of leather. At first it centred round Bermondsey—we know with what result, and I think it had a good deal of effect upon the majority which I was able to obtain in the city of Norwich. No doubt that matter will also be dealt with when the supporters of this scheme come to detail to us the scheme itself and the reasons they have for putting it forward. That is the scheme which has now become, at all events for the present, the policy of Tariff Reformers. It is the latest, but I think I might safely say that it is not the last—and I say it with all respect—wriggle in what the most eloquent among the editors of Unionist newspapers has so aptly described as "the shuffle." There is one thing and one thing only clear from it—that is why I raise the question in the House to-night—it is clear that as long as this scheme is in operation, and supposing it were to come into operation, of course nobody could tell how long it would endure—so long as it is in operation the farmers of this country would be in this position: They will have to pay more for the stuff upon which they want to feed their cattle—their oil cake and so on—they will have to pay more on the implements which they have to use—I think those familiar with agricultural matters will know that the farmers use implements to a greater extent than was supposed by the right hon. Gentleman at Edinburgh, and they will have to pay more for their clothes and all that they use. Apparently they are to be left for consolation to the very vague statement at the end of the scheme with regard to funds being available for the assistance of agriculture. Of all the unsatisfactory positions in which to put the greatest industry of the country, this would be the most unfair. I take it for the moment, on the assurance of right hon. Gentlemen opposite, that Tariff Reform is a good thing. I do not believe it of course, and none of us on this side do. But of all the astonishing propositions which have ever been put before this country, the notion that the industrial classes are to be given this so-called benefit and that it is to be withheld from the agricultural classes, is one of the most extraordinary propositions which was ever put before any country in which agricultural interests are as great as they are in 480 this country. I should like to make a suggestion, especially as I see the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Chaplin) in his place, to that section of the Tory party in which for many years the farmers of this country have placed considerable trust and reliance, whether the time has not come to drop this notion of Conservative constructive policy? As far as one can see, it involves either some such scheme as Tariff Reform, which I would submit with the greatest respect to be a very rotten plank to be the first plank in any platform, or there is involved some notion of going one better upon the schemes of no doubt perfectly earnest Radicals. There is one other thing I would say to the agricultural interests of this country as represented by the section to which I refer: Do not put your trust in business men. It was a business man from Birmingham who ten years ago brought about all the trouble from which you are now suffering. It was a business man from Glasgow who formulated this scheme, with the hopeless intention of conciliating the town classes and securing if possible their votes, which now in all probability will alienate from them the sympathies of the countryside.
§ Mr. SHORTT
I beg to second the Motion.
I attach the greatest possible importance to the words of the proviso, "without modifying its often-expressed views upon the policy called Tariff Reform." In my view the position is this: That the country is under a grave danger of being persuaded to adopt as an experiment some measure of Tariff Reform, forgetful of the fact that you cannot adopt a measure of Tariff Reform and make it effective without eventually being driven to a tax upon foodstuffs, and a tax upon foodstuffs, I am as convinced as ever I was, would be disastrous to the best interests of this country. What is the position of this new procedure in the Tariff Reform movement? I do not for a moment suggest that there is any difference in the Tariff Reform movement except one of procedure. They are, as I understand it, as completely pledged to-day to a system of food taxes eventually as ever they were from the start of the movement. All they have said is "we will not impose taxes upon foodstuffs at present without giving the country an opportunity of deciding upon it."
§ Mr. SHORTT
I accept the correction. No fresh food taxes unless the country has been consulted. We are, as I understand the position, to have—I take it from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bonar Law) at Edinburgh, which I have read with great care—a moderate tax upon manufactured goods, and we are to have such Colonial preference as that moderate tax will allow, but we are to have no food taxes for the present. Not only is there no mention of raw material in the Amendment, but there was, so far as I read the right hon. Gentleman's speech at Edinburgh, no mention of raw material by him. Whether that was deliberate or whether it is merely that their position on raw material is unchanged, I do not know, but it will be very interesting for us to know. It is perfectly clear, at any rate, so far as the speech of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. F. E. Smith) could make it, that what I think I can properly call the new party position in no way prevents those who are in favour of food taxes doing their best to persuade the country to adopt them. It still remains part of their policy. If that is so, and food taxes are not to be a part of their programme if they should be returned to power, we are entitled to ask what are they going to tax? What is the tax going to be upon? We cannot get an answer, and I do not complain of that. If I were in Opposition promoting such constructive scheme as a tariff, I should feel very loth to give prematurely any details, because details, I should imagine, spell destruction more to the Tariff Reform movement than any other movement. But we can approximately estimate what the tariff will be from an investigation of what hon. Members opposite declare to be the objects of the tariff, and what they anticipate as its results. The first thing they want is Colonial preference. They want also, I understand, to secure for ourselves to a greater extent than at present our home markets, and by that means, as they say, to increase our power of production and purchase, and so extend our trade not only with the Colonies, but with foreign countries also. But I understand that the first reason for this tariff is to unite the Empire by means of Colonial preference.
What are they going to tax? Here I do ask, are they going to tax raw materials or not? It is most material for every class of the community that they should know if the tariff is to be confined to that heading 482 which we find in all our records—articles which are mainly or wholly manufactured. We ought to know, and we are entitled to know that. Supposing it is to be confined to that, again we are entitled to know, are they going to discriminate in the articles included under that head as to what are raw materials, and what are manufactured? Those who make an investigation of the articles included under that head will see that a very large majority are really raw materials, and nothing else. There are brass, bronze, and copper, iron and steel products, castings, forgings, nails, pipes, and all descriptions of things which are purely raw materials. The same is true in regard to yarns, cottons, and wools. All those items included under that head are purely raw materials. Are they or are they not to be taxed? We have always been told from the commencement of this movement that raw materials are to be free. Are they going to stand by that declaration or not? It was declared by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain) at the very start that raw materials are to be free, and I think I am entitled to say in all fairness that that declaration must have been based upon this, that a tax upon raw materials is an undesirable and injurious tax. If they are not going to impose that tax, what is left which can possibly give anything in the form of a substantial preference to any of our Colonies? If we simply rely upon those things which are manufactured we shall find that the Colonies to-day export to us substantially nothing of any one of the items included under that head, and therefore, if you confine your Colonial preference to that, it would either be absolutely ineffective or else they would start in the Colonies a number of new industries to compete with British manufactures. Are they going to tax raw materials? Are they going to impose a tax which they have admitted from the start of the movement was undesirable and injurious? Are they going to swallow that tax for the purpose of Colonial preference, which they know to be bad and injurious, or are they going to confine themselves to taxes which would make Colonial preference a farce, and the open door, which they talk so much about, a sham and a mockery? They must either tax raw materials in place of foodstuffs or get no Colonial preference worthy of the name. It does not matter which they 483 do. The moment they put taxes upon any kind of manufactured goods those taxes will increase and spread and grow.
It is the experience of all protected countries that from the moment you impose a tariff it grows and extends, and that it is with the greatest possible difficulty it can be lessened, to say nothing of removed. Once you have got your tariff imposed, you have a burden you cannot get rid of without the greatest possible difficulty. It is, further, the experience of almost every protected country, with the exception of Belgium and Denmark, that the moment you tax manufactures you are eventually driven to tax foodstuffs. If the country allowed the Opposition to come back to power and impose a tariff, the country would then be faced by this position. They have to get a tariff imposed which cannot be removed without great difficulty. Experience shows that you inevitably must extend your tariff from ordinary manufactures to foodstuffs and agricultural produce. The reason is very simple. If you do not do that, you crush almost to ruin the greatest industry any country possesses, namely, the agricultural industry. I have not time at my disposal to-night to enter into details, and, therefore, I speak in generalities. The country would be faced with this position. If the Opposition were once allowed to commence a tariff they would be inevitably driven to impose food taxes, not only for Colonial preference—and without food taxes you cannot have effective Colonial preference—but also for the protection of the greatest industry this country possesses—the agricultural industry. It comes to this, that either you have a tariff which does not protect the agricultural industry, and which in consequence crushes that industry, and is therefore indefensible, or you must have a protective tax on agricultural produce, and therefore cause great suffering and throw a burden upon the country.
I am as strongly opposed to any tax on foodstuffs as ever I was, for this reason, among others: We depend for our food supplies upon the markets of the world. Without the market of the world we could not obtain the foodstuffs we require. Colonial supplies are not sufficient, and they are not sufficiently secure and steady to enable us to rely upon them always. Take the year 1908 as an example, and compare the corn imported into this country in that 484 year with the average of the years 1907 to 1911. We had in that year a shortage from Russia of 13,000,000 cwts. upon the ordinary average that country sends here; from British India we received 14,000,000 cwts. below the average usually sent; and from Australia, 5,500,000 cwts. of wheat below the average sent. Where did we go to make up that shortage? We did not make it up entirely in that year, but I do not think that was due to the fact that there were not available markets. It was partially duo to the fact that in 1908 our purchasing power was less. We had to go somewhere to make up the shortage. We did not go to Canada. It was no use to go there. We had to get 10,000,000 cwts. extra on the ordinary supplies from the United States of America, 12,000,000 cwts. extra from the Argentine, and 1,000,000 cwts. extra from Chili. Therefore, when that shortage occurred, we had to go into foreign markets to obtain the food required in this country. If you are going to have such Colonial preference as will force us largely to rely upon Colonial markets, and there comes a period of bad harvests and bad times when we cannot get the food from them, then, unless we have the foreign market to go to, we shall starve.
Another reason why we cannot always obtain food from Canada is this. I have the figures here in the report on the trade and commerce of the Dominion of Canada in reference to grain and cereals. Taking the five years 1907–1911 over 50 per cent. of the corn which Canada exports—the larger proportion coming to this country—was exported through the United States ports. Owing to ice and other hampering reasons, Canada cannot export from her own ports all the corn she does export, and the result is that over 50 per cent. has to come through United States ports. That is all very well as long as Canada and America and ourselves are on good terms, but if we start a cut-throat fight of tariffs, and if, as part of that cut-throat fight, America said, "We are going to tax any corn which comes from Canada for you to do away with your Preference," where then would be your Preference? The result is we cannot rely upon the Colonies to supply us with our food. For that reason we cannot in this country tolerate for one moment a tax upon foodstuffs. We cannot have a tariff upon other things, except for the purposes of revenue, without being driven eventually to a tax upon foodstuffs. It is essential that the country should appreciate 485 that danger in which it stands from this—I do not use the word, I hope, at all offensively—insidious new procedure in the Tariff Reform movement, this attempt to get in the thin end of the wedge, which must eventually be driven to food taxes, by a tax upon manufactured articles. I consider it a grave danger, and we are entitled to know from those who promote this movement, are they going to tax raw material? Have they departed from the old plan that raw material was to be free? Are they going to let their tariff tax be so tentative that it can be immediately removed, if found to be unworkable without the imposition of food taxes, and if they do propose that how are they going to do it? As many other hon. Members wish to speak I will simply conclude by seconding the Resolution which has been moved by my hon. Friend.
§ Captain TRYON
moved, as an Amendment to leave out from the word "House," to the end of the Question, and to add, instead thereof the words "approves a reform of our tariff which would—
I wish that not only the House but the country could have listened to the two speeches which we have just heard, not because of any criticism which I wish to make of the way in which the two hon. Members put their case, but because of the funereal silence with which the Liberal party received their remarks. We are told that we have changed our policy. I am glad to accept this definite Motion, put forward, I am sure, in all sincerity by the Liberal party, because it is one which commits the Liberal party, should they ever put a tax on manufactured goods, to tax all food of every kind coming into this country. But I think there is some change also, 486 because now we have the Liberal party saying that in common justice these duties should be put on agricultural produce. When they were first proposed by the Member for West Birmingham, the Liberal party did not tell the agricultural districts that they were a good thing. I remember that it was said in 1903 by Lord Rosebery that the effect of this 2s. duty, which was not likely to be increased, was, first, inadequate to benefit the British farmer, and that in the second place it would only "stimulate the illimitable area of competition." That was not the story they told in the towns. In the towns it was not the "illimitable competition," but it was black bread and offal. We have not heard from the opposite benches all the enthusiastic description which I expected of the condition of trade. I wonder whether it was the shadow of the coming Budget. But we have heard it in other ways. We have heard on the platforms from very wealthy Liberals, "Why change our policy when we are doing so well?" I ask to whom does the "we" refer? Because we find in the "Daily News" that "labour is not sharing in the general prosperity of the country," so that when the Liberal party rejoice at the general prosperity they deliberately leave out of their rejoicings all consideration for the working classes of this country.
- (1) Adopt imperial preference (in so far as it can be carried out without imposing fresh duties upon imported food-stuffs) by admitting imports from the British Dominions at lower rates of duty than those levied on imports from Foreign countries; and
- (2) Impose a moderate duty, not exceeding an average of 10 per cent. ad valorem, on Foreign manufactured goods in order (a) to safeguard the stability of British productive industries against the attacks of artificially-stimulated Foreign competition; and (b) to increase the national revenue and so make funds available for the assistance of agriculture and purposes of social reform."
I know a number of wealthy Liberals who are doing well under Free Trade. I am making no personal attack whatever, but we know that one of the most interesting features of the present controversy is that we have these wealthy Liberals organising their own businesses on Protectionist lines and then making speeches in favour of Free Trade on the platform. We have Gentlemen who go down to their business offices in the morning and organise trusts, and then go to Nottingham to a Liberal Conference and support resolutions against trusts. In the matter of trusts the Liberal party can speak with considerable authority. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has told us, that even in Great Britain there are millions of people who are not earning enough to sustain their strength adequately to discharge their daily tasks, and then with that statistical accuracy to which we are accustomed he says, "millions, millions." That was at Aberdeen on 29th November, but it will be interesting to know that by the time he got to Kirkcaldy next day he said that 487 we had never had in the whole history of this country a more prosperous time than we were passing through now. I do not suggest that there is anything incompatible in these two statements. I think that we get from these two statements that under Free Trade even in the best years the condition of the working classes is deplorable in the opinion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I believe that there are many on the other side of the House who have looked forward to this Debate because they think that Tariff Reformers will be in a difficulty, because it is supposed to be a good year of trade. We, at all events, are all agreed on one point, that is that we want to find out what the best fiscal system is for the country. Therefore it is some advantage to examine our condition, not merely in the years of depression, but also in those years when Free Trade may be said to be doing the best it ever will do.
So I feel that this is a moment when we welcome a Tariff debate, and we welcome it also because it gives us the opportunity of seeing how the one Free Trade country is sharing in the general prosperity compared with other nations. It is an obvious point that, if we have the best system, we ought to have the lion's share of the general good trade throughout the world. I have a number of statistics here, though I do not propose to read them to the House, but I would say that, comparing this country with our neighbour, Germany, I find that, if you take the imports of raw material, Germany has increased her imports far more rapidly than have we; that if you take the last ten years, or if you take the last twenty years, Germany's increase in imports and in exports is far greater than our own, whether you measure in proportion or percentages, or whether you measure, which I think is better, in actual amount. That does not seem to me to show that we are keeping our place in the race among the nations. If I continue that, and compare not merely the totals of trade, but also the condition of the working classes, and the change which has taken place, I find this: There was a lecture given at Newcastle by Professor Hallsworth, who holds the Chair of Economics there, and he compared the condition of the working classes and the question of wages and of prices with the conditions in other countries, and he said, with this present development in France, it would appear that wages had risen to a 488 greater extent than prices. In Germany and the United States the increase has moved very closely indeed—that means they have gone up together, I believe. But he said that in Great Britain, from 1903, the year when our movement began in this country, up to the present time, prices had risen rapidly and wages had kept down.
I do not say that wages have not risen here a little, but they have not risen in the way prices have risen. The Professor said that wages have been kept down here, and that the workers have been losing. There is one point on which I believe the working classes are better off at the moment, and that is the question of unemployment. With all respect, I would commend to the attention of hon. Members on the other side of the House the figures, in this connection, as to emigration. Last year over 260,000 people left these shores. The year before over 260,000 people left these shores. Of that the Chancellor of the Exchequer said:—They are leaving their native land as if it was stricken with pestilence.It is, of course, open to him or to any hon. Member on the other side of the House to suggest that it is perhaps rather the People's Budget than Free Trade which has caused this exodus. I do not think the Chancellor of the Exchequer can be held responsible for the whole of the emigration, because, after all, these people cannot all be builders, fleeing from the latest tax upon their industry. With regard to his description of our people fleeing from a pestilence, it is a description which is obviously applied to them under Free Trade. I should like to allude to a statement of a well-known authority upon this question, the Member for East Northamptonshire (Mr. Chiozza Money), who said that if wages have fallen it ought to be the first business of a nation, not merely to restore them to their old level, but to increase them above that level. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Hon. Members opposite say, "Hear, hear." But the programme for this Session is not for the working classes; it is for the Plural Voting Bill. There are suggestions as to what can be done in this matter. There is no question that the condition of the working classes is not satisfactory. What can be done? I turn first to the suggestion, made I know in all sincerity by the Labour party, of the minimum wage. I will not discuss it—for it would not be in order to do so—at length. I will only mention it so far as 489 it affects the question of tariffs. First, the proposal of a minimum wage is a confession that Free Trade is a failure—a confession that under Free Trade the working classes cannot even get a decent living.
§ Captain TRYON
I would only remind the Labour party that they practice both Protection and Preference in Australia. The minimum wage proposal is, of course, a frank abandonment, not only of Free Trade—because that acknowledges its failure—but it is an abandonment of the whole principle of Free Trade. I would put an hypothetical case. I would put it to the Labour party in this way: Supposing, for the sake of argument, that an industry is carried on by a firm which has works both here and in Holland. I take Holland because hon. Members opposite generally describe that country, though not quite accurately, as a Free Trade country. But we will assume it to be a Free Trade country. This firm has works both here and in Holland, and I put it that the wages in both sets of works are 25s. a week. Supposing the Labour party came into power and fixed a minimum wage of 30s. in this country, what are they going to do when that firm supplies British orders from the Dutch works? If they exclude the Dutch goods they have no right to come here and talk any more about Free Trade, I would suggest that they change the title of their Bill into "The Unemployment Creation Bill." What of the remedies? We believe that the Liberal party have no suggestion of any value to remedy the state of things which has been described as unsatisfactory. I believe the Chancellor of the Exchequer had some vague idea of settling people on Scottish deer forests. I hope that anybody who believes in that remedy will go and try it. What has happened to us lately in this House? We have been challenged by the Prime Minister to put forward clearly what we propose to do. I think this Amendment which I propose is an answer to the right hon. Gentleman's challenge. I might say that I have had great difficulty in trying to see exactly what sort of answer the 490 Prime Minister would like in response to his question. I tried to look up what sort of form I ought to put my answer in, and I have examined speeches which the right hon. Gentleman has made himself. I find that he was questioned in Scotland as to what his policy was, and his answer was one which is in contrast to the clearness of our proposal. The Prime Minister said, in reply to the question:—I cannot at this moment disclose what the provisions of our land legislation will be.I am not going into the question of land legislation, but I do ask the House to notice the difference between what the Prime Minister said, when he flatly refused to say what his own Government are going to do, and our position as put forward in our Amendment. I think perhaps, in justice to the right hon. Gentleman, I ought to mention that in further response to this heckler, in Scotland, he did say:—I cannot add anything to what I have already said.That is a stirring war cry for the Government to go to the country on. I believe that this is a most serious problem, and I will put it to the House in this way: From the point of view of the working classes it is a question of wages and also a question of prices. When we propose to deal with the question of wages and to encourage people to employ our own workmen here, we are met by certain charges. We are told it is just as good to import from abroad as to make the things here. We are told that the profits would go to the manufacturer under tariff. We are told that an industry should be carried on in any part of the country or of the world which is best suited to the carrying on of the industry. Why did not the Government apply that to the Patents Act by which every one of these contentions has been falsified. I say that there is only one thing I know of which the Government has done which creates additional employment in this country, and that is their Protectionist measure, the Patents Act, which made the foreigner put up his works here, and by which the Chancellor of the Exchequer said hundreds and thousands of people were getting employment. We propose to extend that principle. Before I leave the question of wages and prices, and the question of supply and demand, I would like to call the attention of the House to what the Government is doing to deal with the question of prices. There is only 491 one thing they are doing in connection with prices, to try and lower them, and that is they are proposing to pledge the whole credit of the country and to devote £3,000,000 for the encouragement of cotton growing in the Soudan. I cannot help feeling, with all respect to him, that if the hon. Member for Norwich is so anxious that agriculture should not be left behind when manufacturers are benefiting, that it is almost a pity he did not call attention the beet-sugar industry which works around Norwich, and suggest that what was good for Lancashire might be good for his own district, and that cotton growing is not the only industry which would be benefited by the lightening of the heavy burdens now upon them. I suggest if this financial encouragement for the development of cotton growing in the Soudan is going to give a better supply of raw material, would it not be a good thing to help the agriculture of this country by lightening the burdens upon it? I notice there is also a change in the Liberal policy. We used to be encouraged to get our food supplies from America, but they do not seem to apply that with regard to cotton. I do suggest, since this is the second time within a year that the Government has intervened to help the supply of cotton for Lancashire by State action, that I think we ought not to hear much more about Lancashire being in favour of Free Trade. I, for one, from the South of England, welcome this encouragement and development of raw material, but I do not see why it should be applied to one particular industry.
Granting that we make this change, what advantages come from it? Firstly, there is the advantage of the negotiation. We believe that at the present moment we suffer under many injustices which could be removed. I find, for instance, if you sent the chassis of a motor car to Portugal that it is subject to duty. If it comes from Germany or France it is subject to £4 9s. 9d. duty, but if you can show that it comes from Free Trade England, which has thrown open its market for two generations, then, through the advantages which we get from Free Trade, you have to pay £15 10s. 6d. I do not think a disadvantage of that sort from which our workmen suffer would very long survive the application of a tariff in connection with Portugal. I have not time to deal at length with the question of negotiations, but we have seen in the case of Japan that 492 concessions have been offered to us on the strength of the tariff which is coming in this country, a mortgage in Tariff Reform already. We saw that in the case of Canada the United States gave concessions to Canada and offered concessions in connection with reciprocity which she did not give to us here. We all know that the last occasion on which we successfully negotiated with another country was when Cobden, armed with a tariff, went over to France and got large reductions in the French tariff, and great development in the trade between the two countries followed. But if we negotiate we must remember this, that our own people come first. I Myself heard the Prime Minister say in this House:—I am not aware of any demand put forward from any of these Dominions—that is all our Dominions—to make any change in our present arrangement.With all respect to the right hon. Gentleman that statement is not accurate, because at the conference which he himself attended in 1907 this resolution was passed:—The Prime Ministers of the Colonies respectfully urge on His Majesty's Government the expediency of granting in the United Kingdom preferential terms to the products and manufactures of the Colonies either by exemption from or reduction of duties now or hereafter to be imposed.That is what we propose to do, but when we make these proposals the Prime Minister suggests that on examining them in detail he finds, for instance, that in the ease of tobacco and drink, the imports into this country in a year from our Colonies only amount to the worth of £200,000, and therefore, he argues, that it is no good to give preference on those things, and the Liberal paper which reported him, I see headed our proposal, as "Ridiculous." In view of that criticism by the Prime Minister, I have a very good parallel case. In the year 1899 the West Indies had just been granted preference by Canada on sugar. In that year the exports from the West Indies to Canada of sugar amounted to £65,000. According to the Prime Minister's argument it would be a ridiculous thing to grant preference on a mere £65,000 worth; but what happened? The Canadians knew more about tariffs, and they granted the preference, and in the year 1911 that trade had risen from £65,000 to approximately £2,000,000. Our point is this: that the value of preference cannot be judged by the amount of the trade before the preference is put on. It 493 should be judged by the demand with the power to supply that demand. We hold that it is no test to take the trade at the moment that the £65,000 is the total, but that is the test the Prime Minister takes. The advantage can only be measured by comparing the £65,000 with the £2,000,000 which the trade reached. There are many other points I should like to go into, but I cannot help, while on the subject of America, alluding to the recent Presidential election in the United States. There was in that case a split vote and three candidates for the position of President, but not one of them advocated Free Trade. I know that the contention of the Liberal party is that the Republicans are the Protectionist party and the Democrats are the Free Trade party. I have not much faith in some Free Trade arithmetic, but if hon. Members opposite see what the Republican vote and Protectionist vote was in that election, then they will see, if that is the right test, that Free Trade was beaten by a million and a half of votes. I know that some Members of the Government have gone so far as to hail the election of President Wilson as a victory for Free Trade. I do not think President Wilson would have thanked them for that. That is the charge his opponents brought against him to try and stop him from being elected. He had to deny it, and he rightly denied it. He said:—Neither I, nor the Democratic party, stand for Free Trade.That is the point in regard to which the Liberal party have been rejoicing so much. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I wish the country could realise how completely out of touch Liberal Free Trade sentiment is with the opinion of all the young democracies of the Empire. Whenever you have granted self-government, Free Trade has always, in the long run, been abandoned. We know what a movement there was in the Liberal party during the proceedings on the Home Rule Bill to prevent Nationalist Members from having any chance of starting any form of Protection. That shows how little confidence the Liberal Government have in the support of Free Trade which Nationalist Members gave in the last Session. We believe that this Government, kept in office, as it is, by the votes of hon. Members below the Gangway, will be unable to maintain our present system. At any rate, we hope so. Our cause is making progress in other parts of the Empire. I do not say that there is not danger. We 494 know what danger there was in connection with reciprocity a little time ago. But our cause is progressing. The people of Canada, who, from the first, have led the way in this matter, have recently had the pleasure of finding their preferential views endorsed by the action of a number of small legislatures in the West Indies, which have passed arrangements for preference between themselves and Canada. Negotiations are at this moment going on between Canada and Australia for the completion of preference. Not only that, but within the last few months Canada has granted preference to no less than twenty-six other portions of the British Empire. So that our cause is progressing throughout the whole Empire. I will not allude to India, as I believe the hon. Member who will follow me desires to touch upon that question. We know that throughout the Empire this cause is going on. It has been treated, as it ought never to have been treated, as a party question by the Liberal party. They forget that it was a Liberal who in Canada introduced preference with this country. Hon. Members below the Gangway seem to forget that it is a Labour party in Australia which is now giving us a preference. We know that in South Africa Dutch and English are united in favour of this policy. We trust that very soon the Mother Country will come into line with the rest of the Empire, and that it will not be long before the circle is complete, and the Empire starts on its great work of mutual co-operation for the development of our trade.
§ Mr. HEWINS
I rise to second the Amendment. In doing so I shall confine myself to the practical aspects of the original Motion moved by the hon. Member for Norwich and the alternative Policy put forward by the Amendment of my hon. Friend. When I first saw the Motion on the Paper the opinion I formed was that the party opposite thought that they had found a good thing. They thought that they had put the party on this side of the House in a serious difficulty with regard to their agricultural policy. I am afraid that that view has not remained very long on the benches opposite, because, since I have been in the House, I have never seen so many uneasy faces as when the hon. Member for Norwich was moving, but not speaking upon, this particular Motion. I thought that hon. Members opposite were simply playing a game. I have changed my mind about that, and 495 I think we must take the Motion seriously in view of the record of the Government and the known difficulties in which they are placed. Treating this proposition as a serious contribution to the deliberations of this House, I am going to assume that the hon. Member for Norwich is really inviting his Friends to vote for this extra ordinary Motion. It is perfectly true that there are certain qualifying words. Hon. Members are not modifying the opinions which have been expressed on the policy called Tariff Reform. We all know these forms. There are several economists on the other side who know perfectly well that it is the easiest thing in the world to give a Free Trade justification for the introduction of duties. And when they are up against a difficulty, such as hon. Members opposite now have to face, why should they not do it? They have shown no Free Trade qualms in the financial provisions of the Home Rule Bill. They have voted for, and responsible Ministers on that side have pledged themselves to, the principle of bounties. Their own Free Trade papers told them that that was the supreme test, and that if they voted for bounties it proved that the Liberal party had abandoned Free Trade. They have, in their capacity as trustees for different parts of the Empire, given their approval to schemes of preference. At the present moment, as I shall show in a moment, there is a very remarkable change going on in the case of India. Responsible Ministers there, who, I presume, represent the Government here, are going straight for a policy of preference.
In these circumstances, am I to be told that I am not to treat seriously a proposition of this kind which adumbrates, at any rate, the possibility of some changes in tariffs? We are also perfectly aware that there is strong pressure being put on the Government from the other side of the House to relieve working-class consumers of the very heavy burden of the existing food taxes. Hon. Members know very well that there is not the slightest chance, apart from a system of preference, of that being done. They have been refused by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and they know perfectly well that when the Budget is introduced it will be quite impossible for any relief to be given in regard to what I my right hon. Friend the Member for the City of London (Mr. Balfour) has called "these preposterous taxes." Therefore, I think I am justified in treating this Motion with perfect seriousness. Let us 496 look at the proposition. Hon. Members opposite think that it places Members on this side in a difficulty in regard to agriculture. I am perfectly certain that everybody on this side regards agriculture as the greatest of our national industries, the basis of our efficiency, the guarantee of Empire, and an absolutely necessary condition of Defence, and that the one thing this party is never likely to do is in any degree to abandon agriculture. I will comment, first of all, upon the extraordinary restrictive effect of this Motion. Supposing it were carried, I fail to see how you could carry out a reform of our indirect system of taxation. That reform has been recommended by the most eminent Free Trade financiers. I may take, for example, the late Sir Robert Giffen. It has been pressed upon the country by everybody at all acquainted with the subject that our present system of indirect taxation is really indefensible. This restricted Motion would practically prevent any move in the direction of reform, because you cannot reform without bringing in some other indirect taxes, and the effect of this Motion would be to put food taxes on. Take another case. Look at the way, let me say the extraordinarily foolish way, in which this Motion links together duties upon manufactures and duties upon agricultural products. Are we seriously to ask the House of Commons to sanction a Motion, the upshot of which is that we are not to put a tax upon the motor cars of the rich unless we are to balance it by taxing the food of the people? This Motion says you are not to levy Import Duties upon manufactured goods unless you put duties upon agricultural products! The motion does not say what manufactured goods or what agricultural products. I am bound to point out that this Motion, if carried, at once binds the House either to remove the existing duties upon manufactures—of which we have several—or else to balance them by duties upon agricultural products. Is that a proposition that this House is seriously to consider? It seems to me ridiculously childish. I am not personally in favour of any restrictions of that kind, but really, if you are going to propose restrictions, propose those that can be carried out, and not restrictions that will make you the laughing-stock of the constituencies.
Let me take another imputation of this remarkable Motion. It implies that the proper tariff system of the United Kingdom is what tariff experts call a single 497 general tariff. The best example we have in the world, or had till quite recently, on the single general tariff was the American tariff. We are asked to sanction a proposition which throws to one side the experience of the most civilised, the most advanced country in the world—and which it has abandoned—and to fall back upon the advocacy of a single general tax! We shall make all these points perfectly clear in the constituencies, whatever hon. Members on the other side may say to-night. Take another imputation of this amazing product of Free Trade finance. In this Motion all the subsidiary agencies which are available if you once have tariff machinery in operation are neglected. A tariff country does not carry on its tariff merely for the collection of its duties. No country does that. Take our own Colonies. They have machinery against dumping. This Resolution takes no account of what you can do by negotiations. If you are going to obtain tariff advantages by negotiating upon a basis of your tariff you do not necessarily negotiate duty for duty. If I am going to obtain advantages for the export of Irish produce in the American markets I do not require an agricultural tariff; what I require is a manufacturing tariff. This Motion takes no account of that. It invites hon. Members from Ireland to vote against the method which is easily available, and which is in fact the only method by which they can get advantages in foreign markets for their goods, and for the potential export of their agricultural products. I think it is really a most remarkable proposition to place before representatives from Ireland, that they should be asked to throw to one side this tried and proved method of obtaining advantages for Irish produce in the American markets.
Let me comment finally in regard to this Motion upon the entire neglect in it of the question of preference. My hon. Friend quoted the terms of the resolutions passed at the Imperial Conference. Those resolutions required, or rather, I should say, asked this country merely to give preference in respect to the duties now in operation or hereafter to be imposed; and here you have an hon. Member proposing a general tariff, proposing agricultural duties, proposing all this machinery, and ruling out the one thing which most of us on this side really care about, that is preference within the Empire. Could you have a more striking illustration of anti-Imperialism? Really I think the most 498 interesting thing of all about this Motion is that which binds, or would bind the party opposite. There is no escape from it. Unless hon. Members opposite are prepared to say that no change is ever to be made in our present indirect system of taxation they cannot move from the present system without putting on a food tax. I think I have shown very sufficient reasons why it is absolutely essential to propose some alternative course of procedure to the House of Commons, considering the extreme gravity of the questions involved in this fiscal discussion. I do not think anybody would dispute that fiscal questions in the world at present are probably amongst the most complicated, most difficult, and most dangerous, as we saw in the case of the attempt of the United States to foist reciprocity upon Canada. The matter is most important. I cannot refrain from commenting upon the levity with which hon. Members opposite treat this question. After all, let us take the Amendment of my hon. Friend. Let us look at it in a practical spirit. What could you do supposing this Amendment were carried? You could at once fall into line with the rest of the British Empire by adopting mutual preferential trade within the Empire. Why should you not do it?
Ten years ago Canada was the only part of the British Empire which gave preference to the other parts. In the last six years, while the present Government had been in office, pledged against preference, every part of the Empire has been brought into "that great fellowship" as the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition has pointed out. I have always regretted the expression the Prime Minister used about preference in one of the debates in this House, when he described it as "a great imposture." I have always regretted that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom should express an opinion so antipathetic to the deliberate opinion entertained by every other part of the Empire. Preference has made great advances, and this very Government have had to give its sanction to a scheme of preference between the West Indies and Canada. Every portion of the Empire, every party, without respect to politics, in the Colonies have developed no other kind of fiscal system. They are all united, at any rate, on the principle of the application of Empire co-partnership in trade as well as in other matters, and in these circum- 499 stances I very much regret that the Prime Minister should take a purely partisan and prejudiced view of this great question, which appeals to so large a proportion of the peoples of the Empire, and which, as a matter of fact, is accepted by such great States as the United States, France, Germany, and other countries.
This Amendment of my hon. Friend does, at any rate, enable us to fall into line With the Empire movement. Then the second part of the Amendment of my hon. Friend suggests a way in which any deficiency of revenue that might accrue through the granting of preference upon existing duties could be found. What I would like to know from hon. Gentlemen opposite is where they find any basis of objection to selecting a number of manufactured luxuries enjoyed by the rich and putting a tax upon them. Now supposing you can do that, the objection raised by hon. Gentlemen opposite that preference upon existing duties only, benefits a certain part of the Empire really falls to the ground, because if you can do that there can be no doubt whatever that a general economic development will follow—in fact, it follows in the terms of the Resolution that that preference should be an advantage to other parts of the Empire. We therefore earnestly hope, in view of our financial difficulty, and in view of the claim made by other parts of the Empire, and in view of the advance this question has made, and in view of the claim of Liberals for some reduction of the existing food taxes, that the Government will consider the proposition contained in the Amendment of my hon. Friend. But there is one question, and a very definite and a very important question, which I wish to put to the Government at the present time, and upon which it is extremely important we should have an answer.
I want to know from the Government what they are going to do about India. The representative Councils they have granted to India have not had precisely the effect that the Government anticipated, and these Councils, and I think very properly, take advantage of their positions to give expression to their economic aspirations. The strongest pressure was brought to bear upon the Government last year that they should consent to India having a protection for her tobacco industry. That pressure has become greater and greater every year, 500 and as we have seen from a telegram in the papers, the Finance Minister in India has indicated what is, I think, most important, that the great difficulty you have to face is, the known strength of the purely protective movement. And Sir Guy Fleetwood Wilson, drawing a proper distinction between pure Protection and preferential policy, declared that India aimed at the adoption of an immediate system of preference and falling into line with the rest of the British Empire. Now I want to know what the Government's attitude is to that. We in this Amendment brought forward a practical scheme which will enable the Government at once to deal with it. Are they going to deny all advances in that direction, and are they going to force India back into a pure Protectionist propaganda, with all the great consequences to the trade of Lancashire and other parts of the Empire? I do not ask them for one moment to make any definite proposals or promises or to go so far as that, but I ask them to go so far as to treat this as a serious question and to give it very serious consideration. That is all we ask for. It is an extremely important matter, the future of India depends upon it and the future of Lancashire depends upon it.
I am not putting this forward in any party sense, because it is well known I have throughout my career advocated preference upon non-party lines. I have never seen any reason why it should be a party question, because it is not a party question in any part of the Empire. I only ask the Government to give the matter their most serious consideration. India cannot remain as she is. It is extremely likely that in view of the conditions prevailing in the Far East it is impossible that the Government can remain in its present condition maintaining Indian tariff system precisely upon the same lines. That being so, India can only move in one or two directions. India has got to be protectionist or else she has got to fall into line With the preferential movement. If India adopts a protectionist policy and you gave India the power to exercise the greatest pressure upon the Government, if she is forced into a purely protectionist policy I ask, What are you going to say to Lancashire? On the other hand, all you have to do at the present time is to promise to give careful consideration to the alternative method embodied in the Amendment of my hon. Friend.
501 If hon. Gentlemen opposite will believe me, I do insist upon this not in any party spirit, but because I am very much alive to the dangers of the present situation in certain parts of the British Empire. I am most anxious that this question should be faced in an impartial and unbiassed spirit. I do not think the Government ought to shut their ears to what we have to say, or ought to refuse to consider quietly and considerately a proposition which after all is to be found in existence in all parts of the British Empire. After all is said and done, they are considering the principle of Empire co-partnership in regard to our defences and they have themselves promised to consider it in regard to numerous other questions. Is it unreasonable to ask them to consider it this far. I am not asking them to put on additional duties in order to give preference. What I am asking them is to consider in an impartial spirit the principle of Empire co-partner-ship. Having duties as you have at the present time, they ought to be willing to say that they accept the principle of Empire co-partnership and that they are willing to treat the British Empire better than the foreigner. That is all I ask. I do venture to say to the Government I am not asking them to adopt the full programme that we produce. Let us leave that on one side, and let us consider if you like in the future any future methods appropriate to the nature of Tariff Reform in a national sense. I beg them to do what they can do, and what, if they do not do, will deserve the greatest blame. All I ask them now is to adopt a principle of universal application and universal acceptance, wherever there is a British race in regard to the tariffs which we have at present If they do that, they will at once meet many of the difficulties felt by hon. Gentlemen on their own side with regard to the incidence of the present food taxes. Those taxes are quite indefensible. What you can do is to give material advantages to the consumers in this country by removing those duties or modifying them, so far as imports from the Colonies are concerned. If hon. Gentlemen will only help this Empire movement and realise that what is actuating us is not merely any material advantage, but we do it, believing that there is some great power behind the British Empire driving it along, and that this vast human aggregation is not the result of chance, and we are trustees for it. If they will only realise that, fall into line with the rest of the Empire, and co-operate with us in that 502 way, I feel certain their action would receive approval throughout the Empire.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir John Simon)
The Resolution which was so ably moved and seconded by my two hon. Friends, behind me deals—as indeed, the Amendment also deals—with one portion only of the vast field of tariff controversy. The Mover, as it seems to me, acted wisely in selecting his ground, for not only is it necessary, if we are to address our arguments to the same points, that there should be some limits within which those arguments range; but the exact ground which he chose is, as we all know, the ground on which Tariff Reformers have recently been conducting what I may call their autumn manœuvres. What is very extraordinary is that both the hon. Gentleman who moved and the hon. Member who seconded the Amendment—whose speeches have been interesting and weighty—are perfectly aware of the fact, and yet they have contrived to occupy their portion of the evening without once referring to the change which was announced by the Leader of the Opposition at Edinburgh. Is that a small matter? The right hon. Gentleman at Edinburgh explained that he had seriously considered whether he must not resign over it, and yet the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken, being a very great authority and speaking with knowledge on this matter, has not a word to say on the subject. If anything could add to the strangeness of the way he has dealt with this matter, it would be found in an Amendment on the Order Paper. Although you, Mr. Deputy-Chairman, called upon the hon. Member for Brighton (Captain Tryon) to move this Amendment, that is not the first Amendment on the Paper. The first Amendment stands in the name of the hon. Member who spoke last (Mr. Hewins), and if our Parliamentary forms have any meaning at all, his Amendment means this, that if my hon. Friend? the mover of the Resolution would be so good as to remove from his Resolution the words referring to the oft-expressed views of the House on Tariff Reform, there is nothing in the present Resolution to which the hon. Member objects.
§ 10.0 P.M.
§ Sir J. SIMON
I understood the hon. Gentleman did indicate that that was his view, and I quite agree with him. So far 503 as anybody can gather his intention from the proposal he puts on the Paper—I do not say now, because there are changes of method—at any rate that was his view when he put it on the Paper. Within the short time I propose to address the House, I will limit myself within the ground which is marked out both by the Resolution and the Amendment. Let me say first, in order to avoid any possible misapprehension—and I am surprised that so acute and well-informed a student on this subject should be under any misapprehension—that Free Traders are prepared, at all times, to express their reasoned and determined opposition to Tariff Reform, whatever be the guise in which, from time to time, it is proposed. It may be recommended to us as a sacrifice, which patriotic, but long-suffering citizens will make in the cause of Empire; it may be recommended to us as a matter of personal profit, which every good business man would be anxious to secure; it may be recommended to audiences in towns on the ground that it would secure more abundant supplies of the first necessaries of life; it may be recommended to audiences in rural districts on the ground that it would protect agriculture from the evils of unrestricted competition, but whatever may be the form it may assume from time to time in the mouths of those who put it forward, we Free Traders at all times, and in all places, are prepared to show our unalterable opposition to it. In the same way, let me say a word as to the view which Free Traders take of the position which Tariff Reformers are occupying. I heard what the Seconder of the Resolution said, and I think the House will agree with him in this. He said he entirely accepted the sincerity of the declarations made by hon. Gentlemen opposite that, whatever may have happened during the last few months to their tariff proposals, it was only an adjustment of detail, and it did not betoken the least in the world the abandonment of any portion of their fiscal faith, and they still were, what they always had been, convinced believers in the whole Tariff Reform policy as expounded by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham. Let me say, and I say it without any affectation, that I quite accept and understand so far as I am concerned the declarations which they make, and I hope I shall say nothing which seems to suggest that I do not accept them in all complete good faith. The right hon. 504 Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire (Mr. Austen Chamberlain)—I am sorry not at the moment to see him in his place, because I wanted to ask him to permit me to express our congratulations on his attainment of his Parliamentary majority—put the matter very clearly a short time back. He said with a directness and a fearlessness which is some argument for the hereditary principle:—I am a food-taxer,meaning thereby that he was convinced it was in the interests of this country, and it was for the benefit of the Empire as a whole that we should place an import duty upon food stuffs which now come into this country free of any duty at all—[An HON. MEMBER: "From foreign countries."] I meant it in that sense, from foreign countries. That is what he said, and that is what he meant. It is in that sense that we have been in the habit from time to time of calling hon. Gentlemen opposite "food taxers," and, change of method or no change of method, of course we shall continue to do so. They have not changed in the slightest degree, as they themselves have been most anxious to show, anything of real importance. They have changed their leader, and they have changed their method, but so far as their fiscal principles are concerned they continue to be exactly what they always were, and it is in that spirit I can assure them that Free Traders will continue to deal with them. While there is no room for misunderstanding there, it is a little difficult for us to understand—perhaps the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bonar Law), who, I believe, is going to speak later, will allow me to submit the matter to him—and we think there may be others not of our party who also find it difficult to understand exactly what is the justification for the change of method itself. Free Traders do not believe that a system of tariffs confers these advantages which the votaries of Tariff Reform honestly believe it does confer but take it from their own point or view, and take two or three contentions most commonly put forward by Tariff Reformers to justify their own proposal. They tell us that a scientific tariff applied to a British industry will raise the wages of those who are employed in that industry. If that be true, what is the class of labour in this country whose wages stand most urgently in need of being raised? Precisely that very class of labour in regard 505 to which the right hon. Gentleman does not, indeed, permanently deny the advantages of this lever for a rise in wages, but, at any rate, says he feels obliged to postpone and delay its beneficent operation.
Take another constant assertion in the mouths of Tariff Reformers of all and every school. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Brighton (Captain Tryon) made an incidental reference to it in his interesting speech. We do not agree with them, but they say, and no doubt believe it fully, that a scientific tariff applied to an industry will create more employment in that industry. In which department of our industrial life here at home is there the most obvious room for more employment? Hon. Gentlemen who swallow without so much as wincing the Edinburgh proposal, though they believe that the application of the tariff is going to increase the number of jobs for people looking for work, obstinately refuse to confer that advantage upon our sparsely populated countryside. They are actually going to create more jobs in the town in order that the agricultural labourer may desert the countryside, and this though all the time they have within their grasp the method which is capable of producing this beneficent change. Let me take a third illustration of the same difficulty we feel. Hon. Gentlemen opposite take the view that a system of tariffs applied to an industry means greater prosperity in that industry. Consider what is involved, then, in saying that you will at the earliest possible moment apply this specific to the great urban industries of Lancashire and Yorkshire, and refusing to apply it to the farming industry of the country! I do not know what is the answer of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wimbledon (Mr. Chaplin), whose sincerity as a Tariff Reformer no one questions, but, for ourselves, speaking in the spirit of an anxious inquirer, we want to know, and we are entitled to know—if indeed, there be an answer—what the answer is when we inquire why this special boon should be refused to the agricultural industry of this country at a time when it is going to be conferred upon everybody else.
Let the House observe what is the situation at this moment when this modification is proposed. Last year, by common consent, was a boom year in the great urban industries of this country. Last year, as compared with ten years ago, we had the iron trade, which was thought to be going, with exports increased by 506 £19,000,000; we had wool, which was believed to be threatened, with exports which had risen from £10,000,000 to £28,000,000; and we had cotton, which we were assured would go, increased from £72,000,000 to £122,000,000. That was the condition in the industries which are going to have the immediate application of this specific, but what was the situation last year in the industry of agriculture? There were floods in the Eastern Counties, and it was a trying year, by common consent, from many points of view. There was severe disappointment in more than one of our staple crops. Yet these people are to be selected for the special insult, not only of being refused the benefit—which it is to be in your power to confer at the same time as the benefit you confer on the towns—but of actually running the risk of paying more for the things they buy from those who manufacture them. I respectfully submit those difficulties to the right hon. Gentleman opposite, because, after all, the change of method is a thing which he himself has expounded. It is a difficulty which we should like to have a little more fully explained. Take, for a moment, a wider range, and consider the subject which the hon. Gentleman who spoke last — we all recognise the devotion with which he spoke of it — feels so supremely important—the whole case of Imperial preference. Is it disputed by hon. Gentlemen opposite that if you defer taxes on those foodstuffs at present untaxed, you defer Imperial preference? Is it denied by any hon. Gentleman opposite that if you postpone your once proposed taxes on imported foreign corn, you are postponing a thing which is indispensable if you are to have reciprocal commercial relations with the Dominions across the sea? It cannot be disputed, for the best of all reasons; first, because hon. Gentlemen have repeatedly said that must be the result, and, secondly, because it is true.
So recently as last December—on 4th December—Lord Lansdowne, dealing with this very subject, asked this question at a great meeting of Unionists in London: "Why is it that we are so tenacious upon this subject of the 2s. duty on wheat?" Having asked the question he answered it, and his answer was, "Because we believe it to be indispensable if we are to have reciprocal commercial relations between this country and the great Dominion of Canada." Then Lord Lansdowne went on to inquire of his enthusiastic audience 507 whether they were going to run away. If 4th December in last year is too distant a date to which it is fair to go back, let me take the Ashton speech on 17th December. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition went there and said it was wholly untrue to suggest that he and his friends were abandoning the food duties, and he gave two reasons. One of his reasons—I will not refer to that now—had something to do with the flag. The other reason proves out of the right hon. Gentleman's own mouth that those who now move this Amendment so far from promoting Imperial preference are, if they share his opinion, knowingly deserting it. His further reason why they certainly could not abandon food taxes, was that he and his friends regarded them as essential to secure and further promote those reciprocal trade relations they desired to see. Nobody can doubt the sincerity of those declarations last December. But the point is, if they were sincerely made then, why are they not with equal sincerity made now? In point of fact, nobody who examines the facts and figures here can doubt that those who postpone taxes upon imported foodstuffs are postponing Imperial preference. The hon. Gentleman who moved this Amendment made some reference to figures. Let me remind him of the essential figures. He proposes to adopt Imperial preference, in so far as it can be carried out, without imposing fresh duties upon imported goods, and I assume he also means without imposing fresh duties upon raw material. Why, Sir, you might just as well solemnly come forward and suggest that you should make omelettes, in so far as they could be made, without breaking eggs.
Take the undisputed figures of the last available year. Our net imports from the great Dominions, from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa were £69,000,000. Of what do those £69,000,000 consist? They consist, in the first instance, of £41,250,000 of food. They consist, in the second place, of £24,000,000 of raw materials. Add together your £41,250,000 of food and your £24,000,000 of raw materials, and you have got rid of £65,250,000 out of the £69,000,000 before you can so much as start a preference. The hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment, argued that, after all, every little helps. Of what does the little consist? There is left, after the £65,250,000 508 has been taken out, the amount of £3,750,000. Of this £3,750,000, £3,000,000 is under the class of goods which, though partially manufactured, are not immediately available for use or consumption. They consist of copper and lead coming from Australia—the two things together amounting to £1,000,000—they consist of leather, chemicals, and wood-pulp coming from Canada. Once you have removed them also, as I presume you intend to do, from the category of possible preferential treatment, you are actually left, those of you who propose Imperial preference in so far as it can be carried out without imposing duties on food stuffs or raw materials, with a matter of £200,000 or £300,000, by operation upon which you propose to cement the Empire. Let me take the other half of the Amendment which the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friend have recommended to the House. In the second place they propose to impose an import duty not exceeding an average of 10 per cent. ad valorem on foreign manufactured goods imported into this country. Have they formed any sort of estimate of the sum of money that is going to produce?
§ Sir J. SIMON
The hon. Baronet sets us a high standard. There is this distinction between the two cases: Increment Duty tends to increase as time goes on. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!" and an HON MEMBER: "That is why they do not like it."] After all, taxes on foreign manufactured goods are, among other things, designed to reduce the amount that is imported. Here, again, the only figure it is necessary to bear in mind to judge of the business good sense of what the hon. Member for Hereford (Mr. Hewins) called their practical scheme, is the figure with which you start, and the heads under which it has to be discounted before you arrive at your revenue. The figure with which you start seems at first quite a big one. The figure for the last available year of imported manufactured goods, foreign and Colonial together, is something like £163,000,000. But, first of all, some £27,000,000 of these are re-exported again in the same state. You are not going to got any revenue out of these, and when you have done that two-thirds of what are left are not goods which are used in the condition in which they come in, but are goods which are 509 themselves the material for further processes in this country. And when, in addition to that, you have allowed for rebate, which I presume is to be admitted in the case of goods which contain any elements which have paid duty as they came into this country, when you have allowed for exclusion, such as it is, of this not very large amount of Colonial manufactured goods, when you have allowed for the effect of your tariff in restricting the amount which you will import, and when you have allowed for the expense of collecting it, I do not think there is any hon. Gentleman opposite who could produce any calculation which would show that you could pay for two "Dreadnoughts" out of the sum of money which would be left.
This is what is recommended to us first of all, because it is to safeguard the stability of British productive industry; and, secondly, it is to increase our national revenue. Safeguard the stability of British productive industry! Hon. Gentlemen who have examined the figures will know that the census of production shows that completely manufactured goods are produced in this country to the amount of £735,000,000 worth every year, and the total amount of completely manufactured goods which are brought into this country from foreign countries is £50,000,000. Are we really to be told that the import of £50,000,000 worth of manufactured goods has got to be dealt with by the method of this Amendment in order that we may secure the stability of an industry which produces £735,000,000.
The precise form in which the policy of tariffs is from time to time presented may change, but I entirely recognise and acknowledge that the substance behind it is the same and the only proposition I make about the present proposal is that it is, of all the different Protean shapes which tariffs from time to time take, the one which is the most obviously indefensible. What will it do? So far as the Dominions beyond the seas are concerned it would pretend to grant the Colonies a preference which would have no real substance. It would select certain very small classes in the Dominions for a favour which it denies to the bulk of our fellow subjects beyond the seas. As regards our conditions at home, it would benefit certain employers in the United Kingdom who need assistance least without helping in the least those agriculturists who may be supposed to need help most, and, finally, it would disorganise the 510 basis of British industry without raising any proportionate amount of revenue. In conclusion, I will put one question which the right hon. Gentleman will deal with or not as he thinks fit. The change of method is admitted and understood. Why was it adopted? It is not due to any change in the fiscal principles which the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends hold. It cannot be tactics. The right hon. Gentleman the other day spoke in very strong terms of His Majesty's Government because he said they never seemed to frame any proposal except with the idea of winning the next General Election. It cannot be that, and therefore with great respect I conclude by asking the question, "Why did you do it?"
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I should like, if I may at the beginning, to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on the speech he has just delivered. He has changed an atmosphere of gloom and sadness into one of jubilation for the moment, and it is entirely the result of Parliamentary gifts which have never been better displayed. The right hon. Gentleman has taken advantage of both worlds in a way which I never saw equalled by any previous speaker. He told us, for instance, at the beginning of his speech, that he and his friends would treat our policy as if there had been no change. I believe they will, and they will not be very scrupulous in the way they do it. He told us that there had been no change, and then he proceeded to spend more than half of his speech in showing what tremendous hardships we were inflicting because of our change of procedure. The right hon. Gentleman dealt with a great many points which, if I had time, I should like to deal with. I will deal with one. He said, "You say it is going to raise wages. Why did you not raise agricultural wages?" The right hon. Gentleman forgot his most recent speech on the fiscal question, which was immediately after what he called our change of procedure. He had not then adapted his guns to the new situation. This is what the right hon. Gentleman said, "The price of bread in America is dearer, not because of a tariff on food, but because of a tariff on manufactured goods." It is the tariff on manufactured goods that has raised the price of food. What does that mean? It means one thing, and one thing only, namely, that an industrial tariff raises wages, and by raising wages all round, it raises the price of bread.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
The right hon. Gentleman seems to think that I was putting something in his mouth which he did not say. What else can it mean? What can raise the price of bread unless it is the rise in the wages of the people who consume it? My answer is simple. It is this: In our belief, and it is the experience of every other country, an industrial tariff does tend to raise the whole level of wages, not in one industry, but in all industries, and the agricultural industry benefits by that. The right hon. Gentleman, like everybody who has spoken, has dealt a great deal with our change of procedure. I have never denied that there has been a change, and I have never minimised it. I think I am entitled to say, and I can say with accuracy, that if at any time since this controversy began we had been told that we should get with certainty what our policy is, and that we could not get the other, we would gladly have accepted it on the terms of our present policy. The right hon. Gentleman talked about our change of procedure in his inimitable manner. I remember listening to a speech of his in which his heart was opened to us all. He told us that ever since he had been a Member of this House he and the whole Liberal party had been burning to carry Home Rule. Then why did they postpone it after the Election of 1906? Perhaps the next time he speaks the right hon. Gentleman will explain his motives with respect to that procedure. I do not deny that there has been a change with us, but has there been no change by the party opposite, for instance, with regard to this question? I think there has. I have listened, I think, to every debate on this subject, or almost every one, while I have been a Member of the House, and I have taken part in a good many. And I am sure that everyone with the same experience will bear me out when I say that the main ground of attack upon our proposal was that we proposed to put a tax upon food, and now the Government, having had and taken ample time to consider the best method of attacking us, bring in a Resolution which condemns us because we do not propose to put a tax upon food.
I have no doubt that in both cases they chose what they thought was the strongest ground, and this, after careful deliberation and consideration, is the best alternative they had for their old cry. I think 512 that if anything could give satisfaction to those of us who do not like the change, it must be the substitution for "dear bread, the hungry forties, black bread, offal," and all the rest of it, of this charge that "you wretched people are not going to tax the food of the people." My hon. Friend dealt with the particular Motion. I shall not take up much time with it, but I do venture to say that it is something entirely new, both to political parties and to economists. No economist who ever lived would make himself responsible for such a Resolution as this Government are going to vote for. I quite admit that if the proposal of this Resolution was a general expression of opinion, that if there is an industrial tariff, it is also advisable to have an agricultural tariff, everybody I think would be willing to vote for it. But that is not what it means. It has no qualifications. It says quite definitely that if you put any duty on manufactured goods at all, however small it is, and whatever the purport, even though it is entirely for revenue, then you are bound to put a corresponding duty upon agricultural produce. Just consider where that carries you. It is certainly intended to condemn our policy, but it condemns something else. Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that the fiscal system, which is definitely condemned in this Motion, is the fiscal system which prevails in India at this moment, where there are duties on manufactured goods, and practically no duties on agricultural produce?
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I think that the hon. Member will find he is mistaken. Here is this Government, which is going to vote for a Motion, which condemns the fiscal system of India, for which it is responsible. Yet I venture to say that not one of its Members has the smallest intention of acting up to the spirit of the Resolution for which they are going to vote. The object of the Motion, and the object of our Amendment, from another point of view, are the same. The Motion is to condemn, and our Amendment is to support our proposal. From that point of view, are the same. The Motion is to the question. Our proposal has been attacked on two main grounds. The first is that our proposal is in itself absurd, and that to impose an industrial tariff without an agricultural tariff is unprecedented and unfair to agriculture. Let me examine those propositions. Whether it is absurd 513 or not must always be a question of argument, and we might go on for a long time without arriving at any conclusion. I do not think so, and for this reason. I have always, since this controversy began, believed that there is in reality no conflict between Free Trade and Protection, and I am not alone in holding that belief. A great economist, who is described by Lord Haldane as the greatest living economist, said many years ago that among scientific men there is no conflict between Free Trade and Protection. He did not mean that either had won the victory; he meant simply that science had established the fact that there is no fiscal system which is suitable to all countries at all times, that the system must vary to suit the varying conditions not only of the country where it is imposed, but the rest of the world with which that country trades. That is my belief. I say at once that if it is necessary or even desirable to have a tariff at all, you have got to take into account the special conditions of the country where the tariff is imposed. I do not think it is absurd to say, in a country like ours, where industry so largely predominates over agriculture, that it is not reasonable to suggest that we should have the same kind of tariff as the tariff that exists, for example, in the United States, or France, or even Germany, where agriculture occupies so large a proportion of the population. I do not think it is absurd. But now I put this question to hon. Gentlemen opposite: What is the country in the world to-day which, economically and industrially, most nearly resembles the United Kingdom? It is Belgium, which has the very system which is now condemned as absurd and indefensible. It is precisely the system which has been in force in Belgium, and which has worked well there. But I shall read what is said about it by our own Consul-General. He said:—Belgium is supposed to be a protected country, but the truth in regard to the Belgian tariff is that it is imposed with a view to protecting certain manufacturing and other industries, while admitting the free importation of practically all the necessaries of life.That very system, which you declare to be absolutely absurd, is a system which exists to-day in a country which most nearly resembles our own. The next proposition I wish to deal with is that our proposal is unfair to agriculture. Let us consider in what way it is unfair. There is a distinction which I would like hon. Gentlemen to make. It is one thing to say that if there is a tariff at all a tariff on agriculture 514 will also be beneficial. That is one thing, and I largely agree with it. But it is another and a very different thing to say that if you put on an industrial tariff you will actually injure agriculture. The two things are quite distinct. In all the arguments I use to-night I shall deal only with the proposals which we will be enabled to carry if, supposing what hon. Gentlemen opposite regard as impossible happens, that we obtain power as the result of the next election. I say it would be no answer to people engaged in agriculture to say that later on something would be done which would give them benefit. I say at once that if our proposals meant an injury to agriculture at the time they are put on, then they would be justified and right in doing their best to prevent those proposals from being carried out. I am not going to deal with the effect of the rise in prices. That is a question we could argue until Doomsday. But probably hon. Gentlemen opposite will admit it is slightly exaggerated. Let us just consider this fact in connection with this. Any rise in prices due to an industrial tariff can only keep out goods which come from a country which is more protective, has a higher tariff, than is proposed to be imposed in this country. If, therefore, those goods can come, in spite of that tariff, at lower prices than they are produced here, what reason have you to suppose that with free competition at home there will not be some possibility of producing cheaply at home, and that there will be very little or no rise in prices as a consequence. But that is not the only point I wish to put from this point of view. Agriculture has only in this country one market, that is the home market. Of course, hon. Gentlemen who say that a tariff will not improve general conditions in this country and will not increase production, are quite entitled to say that agriculture will get no benefit, but I am not appealing to them. If anyone believes that will be the effect; that it will mean greater production, then it must mean a better market in the only place where agriculture can have its market, and that is the home market.
I venture to say, therefore, in my belief, agriculture would not be injured even by the adoption of our proposal, but I think it is entitled to something more than that. It is a fact that Belgium, in spite of having hardly any duties on food, and almost none on the necessaries of life, has a most prosperous agriculture, and it 515 has increased in prosperity since they adopted a tariff. Why? She has no advantages over us in climate and soil. She has one great advantage which I hope to see established in this country, that a good deal of the agricultural land is owned by smallholders who till the soil. But there is more than that. The Belgian Government, like other Governments, like the Danish Government, and as has been done in Ireland by the Agricultural Organisation Society, the Belgian Government has done a great deal to help agriculture in such things as the fostering of beetroot sugar and many other ways. But it has another and far greater advantage. The burdens upon agriculture in Belgium are extremely low, and have been deliberately kept low. What is the position of agriculture here. It is not merely that the State has neglected it—that is the least of it. Parliament, Session after Session, has deliberately imposed new and heavy burdens upon agriculture, and what is the result? The result is, in my belief, that at this moment agriculture suffers more from local taxation than any other industry in this country. I say that that ought to be remedied. I know that is a big question. We all know that local rating on land is not on a fair basis. The present Government four or five years ago promised to remedy it. They have not done so. They have done something much simpler. It is far easier to destroy than to construct. They have not done it. We may find it a big question also. But I want to make this perfectly clear and definite, that the question of the burdens upon agriculture is regarded by us as something quite apart from this general question of local rating, and I say distinctly this, that simultaneously with the adoption of an industrial tariff, if we are ever in a position to impose it, simultaneously we shall use part of the revenue derived from that tariff in order to lower the heavy burdens on agriculture. We have seen the best card the Government can play in regard to this question. They are going to try to win in the agricultural constituencies. I am sure they will try, but I am not afraid of the result. In this respect they are a lady with a past. What have they done for agriculture? From beginning to end they have never done anything except add new burdens and resist proposals to lower existing burdens. They resisted to the utmost the Relief of Agricultural 516 Rates Act. I suppose the majority of them are hostile to it to-day, but they have not the courage to take it off. In judging between them and us, I am not in the least afraid of what the decision of the farmers of Great Britian will be.
The other main charge against our proposals has reference to preference. I wish I had longer time to deal with that, but I will make the best use I can of the few minutes that remain. I am, and have always been, in favour of Imperial preference, for two reasons. In the first place, because I believe that it will tend to consolidate the union of the Empire. One of my main reasons for believing that is that for a full generation every one of our self-governing Dominions—whatever Government was in power—Liberal, Conservative, or Labour—has taken the view that it would tend to have that result. I have all the resolutions here, but I have not time to read them. From the conference at Ottawa down to the most recent conference, they have all expressed the same view. I am sure that we all, or at any rate most of us, desire to see greater union throughout the Empire. I was pleased to hear the Prime Minister, last year I think, when discussing this question from the point of view of the Navy, say that he desired greater co-operation in peace as well as in war. I think he is right, for if you do not get the co-operation in peace you never will get it in war. Here is the fact: for all these years Government after Government has urged it upon us. Surely the simple fact that they have done so should make any Government very slow in refusing to consider the request which is made. The other reason why I am in favour of preference is that I believe it is vital to the trade of this country. I cannot go into the figures, but I doubt whether hon. Members really realise how much we are dependent upon the Colonies for the sale of our manufactured goods. At this moment they take something like 40 per cent. of our exports. Nobody doubts that preference at present is an enormous advantage in keeping and increasing our trade. That was admitted in the fullest way by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who said it was an enormous advantage to us. Surely it is worth our while to try to keep that advantage if we can do it without injury to ourselves.
But the argument used against us is that we have by our proposals absolutely done away with any chance of preference. That 517 is the argument. I have two things to say with regard to it. First of all, ought not the Colonies to be as good judges of that as right hon. Gentlemen opposite? What have they asked from us? In Conference after Conference the same words have been used. The words were read by my hon. Friend. Theyurge His Majesty's Government to give a preference to the products and manufactures of the Colonies either by exemption from or reduction of duties now or hereafter imposed.What we propose to do is to give the Colonies at once precisely what they have asked for in these resolutions. We are going to give them a reduction of or exemption from duties now imposed or hereafter to be imposed. The right hon. Gentleman, of course, thinks he knows what is good for the Colonies far better than the Colonies themselves. The request surely is not to be treated as if it were not of any value, if the Colonies think, rightly or wrongly, that it is of value! In reality the difference in this matter is a difference of principle. At the Colonial Conference of 1907 the Prime Minister was urged—and he knows it, in his presence—by one of the Colonial Prime Ministers to do what we say we will do. What was his answer? It was this: "It means that we are to consider the question of whether we are to treat foreigners and our Colonists as if they were different; and that we consider we are not able to do." That the right hon. Gentleman considers they are not able to do. We are able to do it, and we will do it! That is the difference between us. I was really amazed to hear the Solicitor-General repeat the kind of argument which was used by the Prime Minister. He takes existing statistics, and judges of the value of preference by them. He did that after the illustration given by my hon. Friend.
§ What was it? The Prime Minister did not hear it. Canada gave a preference on sugar. At the time it was given the imports to Canada were £60,000. In a few years, as the result of preference, they had risen to £2,000,000. Is it not therefore utterly absurd to judge of what the trade will be after preference by statistics for the earlier period? I would put this question really seriously to the House: All these years the Colonies have desired to do this; up till now there has never been a Government in this country which was prepared to consider their proposals. Suppose that is changed? Suppose a conference meets where not only the representatives of every Colony, but the representatives of the United Kingdom also desire to make such arrangements, are not going out of their way to find difficulties and to criticise, but are taking the best method they can to secure the desired result. Does anybody doubt that in those circumstances it will be possible to produce a system that will benefit not only the Empire, for this is also essential, which will be of advantage to the United Kingdom as well, and for which—what is equally important—it will be possible to get the support of the people of the United Kingdom to carry into effect?
§ Captain TRYON
rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put," but Mr. DEPUTY-SPEARER withheld his assent, as it appeared to him that the House was prepared to come to a decision without that Motion.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 279; Noes, 196.521
|Division No. 20.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Bethell, Sir J. H.||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Black, Arthur W.||Crawshay-Williams, Eliot|
|Adamson, William||Booth, Frederick Handel||Crooks, William|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Bowerman, C. W.||Crumley, Patrick|
|Alden, Percy||Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbarton)||Brady, P. J.||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Bryce, J. Annan||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)|
|Arnold, Sydney||Burns, Flt. Hon. John||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Burt, Rt. Hon, Thomas||Dawes, J. A.|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, N.)||Delany, William|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Byles, Sir William Pollard||Denman, Hon. R. D.|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Dewar, Sir J. A.|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Dickinson, W. H.|
|Barnes, G. N.||Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Donelan, Captain A.|
|Barran, Sir J. (Hawick)||Clancy, John Joseph||Doris, William|
|Barton, William||Clough, William||Duffy, William J.|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George)||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Bentham, George Jackson||Cotton, William Francis||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||King, J.||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)||Radford, G. H.|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Essex, Sir Richard Walter||Lardner, James C. R.||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Falconer, J.||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Reddy, M.|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Levy, Sir Maurice||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Lundon, T.||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Field, William||Lyell, Charles Henry||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Fitzgibbon, John||Lynch, A. A.||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|France, G. A.||McGhee, Richard||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Furness, Stephen||Maclean, Donald||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Gelder, Sir W. A.||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd||Macpherson, James Ian||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Gill, A. H.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Robinson, Sidney|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||M'Callum, Sir John M.||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Glanville, H. J.||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Goldstone, Frank||Manfield, Harry||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Rowlands, James|
|Greig, Colonel James William||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E.|
|Guest, Major Hon C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Meagher, Michael||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Gulland, John William||Middlebrook, William||Sheehy, David|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Millar, James Duncan||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Allsebrook|
|Hackett, J.||Molloy, Michael||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Hail, Frederick (Normanton)||Molteno, Percy Alport||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Montagu, Hon, E. S.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Hardie, J. Keir||Mooney, John J.||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Morgan, George Hay||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, W.)|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Morrell, Philip||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Morison, Hector||Sutton, John E.|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Muldoon, John||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Munro, Robert||Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Murphy, Martin J.||Thomas, James Henry|
|Hayward, Evan||Murray, Captain Hon. A. C.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Hazleton, Richard||Needham, Christopher T.||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Neilson, Francis||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Henry, Sir Charles||Norman, Sir Henry||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Norton, Captain C. W.||Wadsworth, J.|
|Higham, John Sharp||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Hinds, John||Nuttall, Harry||Walters, Sir John Tudor|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Hogge, James Myles||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Holmes, Daniel Turner||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Holt, Richard Durning||O'Doherty, Philip||Waring, Walter|
|Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||O'Donnell, Thomas||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||O'Grady, James||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Hudson, Walter||O'Malley, William||Watt, Henry A.|
|Hughes, S. L.||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||White, J. Dundas (Glas., Tradeston)|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Jardine, Sir John (Roxburgh)||O'Shee, James John||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|John, Edward Thomas||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Whyte, A. F.|
|Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Sw'nsea||Outhwalte, R. L.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Parry, Thomas H.||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Phillpps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Jowett, Frederick William||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Joyce, Michael||Pirie, Duncan V.||Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)|
|Keating, Matthew||Pointer, Joseph||Young, W. (Perthshire, E.)|
|Kellaway, Frederick George||Pollard, Sir George H.||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Kelly, Edward||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Sir F. Low and Mr. Shortt.|
|Kilbride, Denis||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Benn, I. H. (Greenwich)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Bennett-Goldney, Francis|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Barnston, Harry||Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-|
|Baird, J. L.||Barrie, H. T.||Bigland, Alfred|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Bird. A.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Blair, Reginald|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Boyton, James||Haddock, George Bahr||Peel, Lieut.-Colonel R. F.|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hall, Frederick (Dulwich)||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Burgoyne, A. H.||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Pretyman, E. G.|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Quilter, Sir William Eley C.|
|Butcher, John George||Harris, Henry Percy||Randles, Sir John S.|
|Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. (Dublin Univ.)||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Campion, W. R.||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Rawson, Colonel Richard H.|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Hibbert, Sir Henry F.||Rees, Sir J. D.|
|Cassel, Felix||Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Cator, John||Hoare, S. J. G.||Royds, Edmund|
|Cautley, H. S.||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Cave, George||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Horne, E. (Surrey, Guildford)||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Houston, Robert Paterson||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk.||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Ingleby, Holcombe||Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'p'l, Walton)|
|Clyde, James Avon||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)||Stanier, Beville|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Joynson-Hicks, William||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Kerry, Earl of||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)||Keswick, Henry||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Kimber, Sir Henry||Stewart, Gershom|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Knight, Captain Eric Ayshford||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Kyffin-Taylor, G.||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Dalzlel, Davison (Brixton)||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Thynne, Lord A.|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Colonel A. R.||Touche, George Alexander|
|Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee||Valentia, Viscount|
|Falle, Bertram Godfray||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Walker, Colonel William Hall|
|Fell, Arthur||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Macmaster, Donald||Warde, Colonel C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||M'Calmont, Major Robert C. A.||Weigall, Capt. A. G.|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Fitzroy, Hon. E. A.||Malcolm, Ian||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry||Wills, Sir Gilbert|
|Fleming, Valentine||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Forster, Henry William||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Gardner, Ernest||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Gilmour, Captain John||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Glazebrook, Captain Philip K.||Mount, William Arthur||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Goldsmith, Frank||Newdegate, F. A.||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Newman, John R. P.||Younger, Sir George|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Grant, J. A.||Nield, Herbert|
|Greene, W. R.||Norton-Griffiths, J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Lord E. Talbot and Mr. Pike Pease.|
|Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G A.|
|Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)||Paget, Almeric Hugh|
§ It being after Eleven of the clock, and objection being taken to further proceeding, the Debate stood adjourned.
§ The Orders for the remaining business were read and postponed.
§ Motion made, and Question postponed, "That this House do now Adjourn."—[Mr. Gulland.]
§ Mr. KING
I think it is extremely unfortunate when an hon. Member is here in his place and very anxious to get his Bill through that he should find, owing to the noise and disturbance of Members leaving 522 the Chamber, that the Order has been called and he does not even know for what day it has been put down.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I suggested to him that he should do so, and that is why I called upon him. The hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. J. Ward) has a prior claim on the Motion for the Adjournment. I understand the hon. Member's point. I recommend him on occasions when a large 523 number of Members are leaving the House to come nearer to the Chair. If there is no response when an Order is called, it is postponed by the Clerk at the table.
§ Mr. JOHN WARD
There is a subject to which I wish to draw the attention of the House, but I am not sure whether I have half an hour from now or only until half-past eleven. [An HON. MEMBER: "Half-past eleven."] Then it is a moral certainty that the time at my disposal will render it scarcely possible for the Financial Secretary to be able to reply and, indeed, almost impossible for me to make the full statement I proposed to make. I gave notice three or four evenings ago of my intention to raise the question, but somehow someone has on each evening 524 managed to get before me, and as I do not intend to make half the statement I desire to lay before the House or to get the reply postponed I now give notice that to-morrow I will introduce my subject, and I hope no one will forestall me.
§ Mr. REMNANT
I am sorry to see that the Patronage Secretary has gone out. I wish to call attention once more to the question of this system of obstruction and objection to the Police Weekly Rest Day (Scotland) Bill.
Notice taken that forty Members were not present. House counted, and forty Members not being present—
The House was adjourned at Twenty minutes after Eleven o'clock.