§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £31,700, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1914, for Houses of Parliament Buildings." [NOTE.—£21,000 has been voted on account.]
§ Sir HENRY CRAIK
I beg to move, to reduce the Vote by £100.
I do not think it is necessary to apologise to the Committee for discussing a matter which is always of interest to the House of Commons, namely, their own domestic conditions and surroundings. I wish to refer to the subject to which I called attention in a question to the Prime Minister a few minutes ago. The Prime Minister stated that some years ago a debate took place upon the arrangement that was made for the accommodation of officials within the precincts of the House, and he stated that the House at that time 585 by a large majority—I think with insufficient consideration—approved the arrangement as an experiment which was to be judged by its results. The Prime Minister quoted in its favour words of my right hon. Friend the senior Member for the City of London (Mr. Balfour). I would, however, call attention to the words with which that speech began:—He was painfully conscious of an unusual and embarrassing amount of agreement with the right hon. Gentleman (the present Secretary of State for the Colonies).My right hon. Friend was candid enough to declare distinctly upon what that painful sense of agreement was founded. It was founded upon the common interest of the two Front Benches much more than upon the interests of the House at large. Time matter was discussed in 1906 after action had been taken by the present Secretary of State for the Colonies. We all know how much we owe to the action of that right hon. Gentleman when he was First Commissioner of Works. We were disposed to condone almost any highhanded action on his part, and what with a sense of gratitude and the success of his own blandishments, which we all know so well, we accepted an arrangement, carried out entirely upon his own initiative, which seriously affected the conditions of this House. The hon. Member for the West Derby Division of Liverpool (Mr. W. Rutherford) disputed the arrangement On the ground of privilege. That, after all, was a matter which we could not have the heart to pursue against the right hon. Gentleman to whom we owed so much. His action was condoned. The House no doubt sanctioned the arrangement, and I am not going again to raise the question of privilege. Nor am I going to raise any mere question of upholstery or anything of that sort. I am going to refer to certain minor inconveniences, and then the ultimate result of the arrangement, which I think has been a very serious detriment to public business in the debates of this House. Most private Members are conscious of a great deal of inconvenience in this intrusion into these sacred precincts, the only place where we are able to escape from the prying eye of those gentlemen of the Press who are so assiduous in the outside Lobby. There is a certain amount of inconvenience in these sacred precincts being invaded by persons who are neither officers of the House nor Members. But I am not going to make much of that. What is the real gain brought about by this change? 586 It is the reduction of a few yards in the distance which has to be traversed by those assiduous private secretaries—an institution which has been multiplied to an extent that is suprising to those who remember the House thirty years ago—in order to secure information for their chiefs to meet the exigencies of debate. That is not a very serious object, and I do not think that the House need be put to inconvenience to achieve it.
But there is something more. I speak as one who was once a gamekeeper, but who has now changed from gamekeeper into poacher. For more than thirty years I occupied a place in the Gallery at the end of the House. I know perfectly well what our experiences there were, and what object we served. In the first place, we were not there merely to serve the Minister; we were there to serve every Member of the House. All Members had free access to us, and use was constantly made of that access. It is very well to say that we can go and consult those experts now. I am a modest man, and I would not venture to intrude within those precincts. I do not know what treatment I should receive if I ventured to do so. I think it ought to be equally open to all Members of the House to consult the experts. I may, perhaps, refer to one notable occasion within my own experience. A large distribution of money had taken place. Some hundreds of thousands of pounds had been expended in certain parts of Scotland. I was perhaps more or less identified with the proposals submitted in a certain Memorandum. I listened to the debate, in the course of which an attack, in the most furious and indignant terms, was made by au Opposition Member upon every suggestion in the Memorandum. According to him nothing but pure imbecility could have suggested the plans put forward. I may say that the proposals were ultimately adopted by the House. At the end of his speech the hon. Member came down to me, and, with a frankness which was refreshing, said, "Could you give me a copy of that Memorandum? I do not think I ever saw it, and I certainly know nothing about it." His fulminations had been of the most general and airy sort. He came and obtained from the bench at that end of the House the information which he might with advantage have secured before making his speech.
There is another evil arising from the present arrangement. As the permanent head of a Department, I know that it was 587 our habit for days beforehand to coach our political chief, not for one momentary exigency, but in all the main lines of our policy. We wrote briefs for him on various subjects, and he became thoroughly conversant with the whole of the administration of his Department. That is not done now. Political chiefs do not study their briefs in the way they used to do? They trust much more to the immediate prompting on the spur of the moment from the experts at their shoulder, who can be consulted with so much ease. There is yet another evil. When we sat at that end of the House, we were under the eye of Mr. Speaker or the Chairman, and we were subject to their rebuke. I do not know what has been the experience of my hon. Friends, but it is certainly my experience that there have been, under the Gallery during debate, exhibitions of partisanship to which I have had privately to call the attention of the Chair. The particular occasion to which I refer was during the debates on the Welsh Disestablishment Bill. I believe that many of my hon. Friends had their attention called to similar displays of partisanship. But the greatest evil of all is that the arrangement is tending to make the Civil Service the mere aides-de-camp, the close partisans and allies of the Treasury Bench. That cannot but injure debate, injure administration, and in the end tend to the detriment of the Civil Service. There is nothing we have been so proud of as the independence of our Civil Service and its absolute absence from partisanship. These are traditions, let me remark to the right hon. Gentleman, which are not directed by any rules you can lay down. They are long traditions, inbred in the service, kept up by the spirit of the service. You must use every care to preserve them, for the slightest carelessness or neglect of opportunity may absolutely dissipate and destroy them. I say that because the step of bringing these officials, these experts, into parts of the House which are not under Mr. Speaker's eye or under the eye of the Chairman of Committees, brings them into almost personal contact with the Treasury Bench. I am afraid that some day we will have them, with the assent of the two Front Benches, brought in behind the Treasury Bench, and sitting absolutely on the benches of the House. There will then be very little difference in fact to now. [Laughter.] I may re- 588 mind the hon. Gentlemen who laugh at that that we would only then be following the example—which is regrettable—of certain Assemblies abroad; for instance, the French Chamber of Deputies, where, I believe, at certain stages the officials not only sit but at times even are heard. If they are to be heard, I would rather that they were heard by their own voices than by the immediate and secret suggestions and hints conveyed in the obscurity of the shadows behind Mr. Speaker's chair.
The right hon. Gentleman the senior Member for the City of London, when he spoke on this subject, while he did give, and on what were admittedly selfish grounds—being an occupant of one of the Front Benches—a certain sanction and support to this proposal, declared that he was informed—and he deprecated it very strongly—that already certain what he called, I think—[An HON. MEMBER: "Marconigrams"]—signs and Marconi telegrams had passed between the Front Bench and the technical officers in the Gallery. He said he did not think it ought to be allowed. I would ask the experience of the House whether, during the seven years we have tried this arrangement, this wireless telegraphy has not frequently occurred? I am not likely to attack Civil servants, or have a spirit of enmity towards that service in which my life has been spent, but I do know that there is one atmosphere inside the public offices and a totally different atmosphere—and few perhaps who are Members of the House can speak with as much experience as I can—in the House of Commons. These two atmospheres ought not to be mixed. By all means let us admit our indebtedness to the public officials and to the experts who guide us. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Yes. I fully agree. But remember it was my business, and it is the business of the experts now, to engross and arrange information for their political chiefs, and it ought to come to the House not directly from them but digested, transformed, and arranged in the minds of the political chiefs for the information of Parliament. These are two totally different things—
§ Captain MURRAY
On a point of Order. May I ask whether the actual position of what is called the Official Gallery has anything to do with what the hon. Member is talking about?
§ The CHAIRMAN
So far as I follow the hon. Member, the connection of his remarks is with the alteration suggested and carried into effect some years ago in the arrangements of this House.
§ Sir HENRY CRAIK
Certainly; that is perfectly plain. What I was contending was that this alteration in the position has brought a closer connection and a more immediate influence to bear of the officials upon the Debates in this House, and that that was to the detriment of the Debates, and to the detriment of the work of the House. I have put my point. I think that we run the risk of injuring the Debates in this House. I think that we run the risk of detriment to administration. A Minister now is under the temptation not to follow the lines of policy which ought to be pursued by his Department, but to answer in a scramble by the promptings of the moment, and owing to the exigency which happens to turn up during discussion upon the Estimates or upon any other subject. It does not make a man, as it used to do, master the whole policy of his Department. It is not right that immediate and ready access should be had to those whom he is in the habit of consulting to answer any question or to take part in the Debate. I aver that the result of this is hurtful to our Debates, hurtful to the administration of the country, and I think the greatest evil of all will be that it will tend to increase the partisanship within the Civil Service. I am convinced, and I think many of my hon. Friends on this side of the House are convinced, that there are temptations enough already to go in that direction. Civil servants during these last few years have been impregnated with the poison of partisanship to an extent which never was before, and this will be one of the processes by which that partisanship will be accelerated, and we may regret the day that these new arrangements in the House were ever adopted.
I have no hope that the Government will not, of course, command a majority on the present occasion, and that the plan adopted, as I say, owing to the skilful and persuasive eloquence of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies, will not be perpetuated now. I have little hope either that another Government when it conies to occupy the benches opposite will not readily fall into a very convenient arrangement for which they will 590 not have to bear the responsibility, but the fruits and advantages of which they will be only too glad to enjoy and to make use of. But there are some other people besides those who sit on the two Front Benches in this House—whoever those occupants may be for the time being. Although they will no doubt follow the custom of their predecessors—any new Government will do that, and reap the advantage of this new arrangement—yet I trust some private Members within this House will see a sufficient reason in the warnings I have uttered to protest against any further extension of this system, and to give any Government which happens to be in power fair warning that the close connection between officialism and the Treasury Bench has gone as far as it ought to go, and ought not to be allowed to go a step further, whether by the arrangements of this House or any other measures that may be taken by those who find it convenient to have experts within their reach by which to foil any attacks made upon them.
§ Mr. MILDMAY
With due deference to the hon. Member who sits behind me, and who has just sat down, I do not think there is very much in the objections which he has expressed as to the place where the permanent Civil servants sit at the present time. It must be remembered that they were not introduced into the House by the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary. They merely sat at the other end, and presumably, if we prevent them from sitting in the quarter referred to, they would resume their places at the other end of the House. Their presence would not be formally recognised, but, as in the past, they would be there all the same. I want to assist the accuracy of right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench, and if the presence of these officials contributes to increase that accuracy all the better. We have been told that there have been expressions of partisanship from the quarter referred to. I was not aware of it myself, though I am not doubting it; but perhaps in a momentary forgetfulness some individual may have given utterance to something which he afterwards would rather he had not said. Still, I think the whole House has confidence in the political impartiality of the Civil Service. There is nothing more extraordinary in our present system of government than this political impartiality of the Civil Service, and the way Civil servants suppress their political feelings on 591 all occasions in their desire to do the work of the country. But I have not risen for the purpose of dealing with that matter.
My main object was to say a word or two on what is called the great perennial grievance of the ventilation of the House. I want to know why hon. Gentlemen and the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies persist in upholding the present system whereby fresh air is pumped up through the floor of the House, because surely they must admit that, whatever may be at fault, the present system is not satisfactory. I do not see how it can be, because surely the floor of the House is to some considerable extent fouled by deposits from the boots of hon. Members. At any rate, will the possibility be considered of changing the present practice, whereby in winter months on the back benches a current of icy cold air is squirted up the legs of one's trousers? That, I believe, to be a form of torture from which the occupants of the Front Benches are comparatively immune. I hope that they will put their pride in their pockets and try the back benches on a cold day. They will then understand, I am sure, that we have very considerable cause for complaint. During the Home Rule debates in the cold weather I was in the habit of bringing a rug in the House to stop the very disagreeable draught, and I am quite sure the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies, who, I believe, initiated this practice—
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. Harcourt)
I was not responsible.
§ Mr. MILDMAY
Well, whoever was, will recognise that after all the important thing is not at any rate to keep hon. Members' feet, but their heads cool. Seriously, I think that hon. Members in every quarter of the House will agree that there is a strong case for complaint with regard to the draughts in the House. We all like fresh air; I wish there was more of it in the House, but I believe that the great fault is that the Chamber is far too small for the number of individuals who have to be in it on important occasions. The condition of affairs is not to be remedied, however, by pouring in cold draughts at certain points, and I hope we may receive some assurance from those in charge that this question of ventilation will receive 592 further consideration and that the many complaints made will receive attention.
§ Dr. ADDISON
The hon. Member for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities hag criticised individuals who have to occupy positions under the Gallery of the House. I am too short a time in the House to know a great deal about these matters, but as one who has sat constantly upon this side, I must say signs of partisanship have certainly never been discernible by me. I think there must be some misunderstanding on this matter, and when we remember that it is individuals from a particular Department who sit under the Gallery and that they only come there at long intervals, it seems to me that the atmosphere of the House must be very strongly impregnated with partisanship during these few hours if it is going to influence their feelings. I rise to support the complaint of the last speaker with reference to the ventilation, and I think that complaint applies, not only to this Chamber, but to the passages and the Library, and to many other parts of the House. When one comes in here sometimes fresh from outside, one feels as if there was a sort of air blanket round one which deprives one of his usual vigour. On a cold winter's day, after sitting for hours inside this House, when people go out into the frosty air it seems to me it speaks volumes for the efficiency of the human machine, and is not a testimony to the ventilation of the House of Commons that they do not get ill. Sometimes it seems as if the air of the House and the atmosphere were charged with warm, stagnant moisture. Personally I am one of those not afflicted with the drawbacks that attach to affluence; and, therefore, when I go outside I have to use my legs and in that way one gets a certain amount of stimulus and improved circulation and breathing not always available to those who travel in motors and taxi-cabs.
I believe we have a special system of air distribution and of filtering of the air to free it from germs and all that. I do not think there is much in that. I believe we have air properly filtered and distributed according to a scientific principle, and I believe we have an instrument which does that and carries out its instructions to the letter. But it seems to me that there is something wrong with the conception that underlies the system of ventilation in this House. I believe that the air that comes into this Chamber is uncommonly pure as a matter of fact, but 593 somehow or another it is not all that could be desired. The other day, thanks to the kindness of Mr. Speaker and the Office of Works, I was able to obtain information from experiments that Professor Hill performed in this House. I must also thank my hon. Friend who represents the Office of Works for allowing that to be undertaken, and, incidentally, I am quite sure many of us feel that we owe him a debt of gratitude in providing us with a stairway down to the Terrace through which we can conduct our friends without having to apologise for the lineoleum. Coming to the air in the House of Commons, it seems to me that for a long time the air is very stagnant. I am not going to give a general lecture on the ventilation of this House, and I am sure hon. Members will acquit me of any desire to do anything pedantic. But we know that a certain amount of loss of heat from cur bodies is very essential or else we get slack when we come into warm, moist air and the skin gets moist and hot and less blood goes to the brain and we feel less active than otherwise. It is unnecessary here to go into any details, but we see the effect of it very often in those who live shut up and confined in a still moist atmosphere, for instance, compositors and clerks and people of that kind who never use more than a small part of the lungs with the result that the parts unused are vulnerable to attacks of all kinds of organisms which bring on consumption. One out of every four clerks over the age of fifteen dies of consumption, and it must be due to something or other in connection with their occupation. I believe it is due mainly to the atmosphere in which they live.
Professor Hill carried out from my instruction some experiments to show how rapidly we lose heat in this House and how rapidly the air moves. A thermometer in an ordinary comfortable room falls from 100 to 97 Fahrenheit in about three and a half minutes surrounded with a wet jacket and so on. Under the Gallery last Tuesday it took four minutes and thirty-eight seconds with one apparatus, and four minutes and twenty-eight seconds with another. The conditions under the special Gallery were with the first experiment four minutes and fifty seconds, and with the second, four minutes and thirty seconds. In the Library it took four minutes and thirty-five seconds in the first instance, and four minutes and fifteen seconds in the second instance. In the Lobby, four minutes and thirty seconds 594 and four minutes and ten seconds. That is to say, the average time it took for this thing to cool down was four minutes and thirty-two seconds, which is a whole minute longer than the average room in which we feel comfortable. You have a loss of heat from your body, and when we are sitting closely packed together, it must be very much greater, because we keep one another heated up—I do not mean by controversy but by preventing the escape of heat—and we have a diminished loss in this House of over 20 per cent. of what it would be in an ordinary comfortable room. I do not suggest that is the sole explanation of the depression many of us feel, but it is certainly an important fact and ought to be taken into consideration by soma responsible body which I hope will be appointed to consider the matter. There is abundance of illustration to show that unless we lose a certain amount of heat there is no cause for us to breathe deeply enough, and if we do not get enough of gases into our lungs, we get depressed and slack, and I believe that is what happens in this House. It is not that we want draughts. I know some hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who have an exceedingly great and legitimate objection to draughts. Some time ago I was in the room of a right hon. Gentleman, and it was very hot; there were three or four people smoking, and yet he got up and put on his coat and sat near the door.
It is not necessary in order to keep a room cool that we should get vicious draughts. I believe the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies is very adverse to draughts, but I might comfort him by saying it is not in the least necessary to produce a draught which one feels to be objectionable in order to have the air moved about sufficiently to keep it fresh and comfortable. The other day I came across a very interesting and significant piece of information supplied to me by Professor Hill. It bears out exactly this point I am trying to make about the air moving about enough, and I mention it to the House as a matter of general interest. Until quite recently the fishermen of the Lofoden Islands were accustomed to sea-fishing in open boats. In 1907 they began to use motor boats. The result was that the consumption death-rate amongst these fishermen increased from the proportion of five to twelve. The sole change that has been ascertained in their habits of life at sea is the use of these motor boats for 595 fishing. They have not the same opportunity of exercising their lungs that they had and of stirring up their circulation, and they have become subject to attacks of various diseases, and it is apparently clear that it is largely due to the lack of exercise arising from their use of motor boats. I think it might be expressed in these terms, that they breathe a great deal more stagnant air than before. To a very much smaller extent I believe the Members of this House often feel considerable depression because they are living in stagnant air. I am not an authority on these questions, and I am only taking my information second-hand, but I hope the matter will be given consideration, and I hope the hon. Gentleman representing the Office of Works will have it further investigated.
§ Sir PHILIP MAGNUS
I feel myself in accord with the hon. Gentleman opposite in this matter which he has brought before the House. It seems to me there are many causes for the depression of hon. Members in this House beside the fact that the air does not cool sufficiently quickly. The experiments of Professor Hill are likely to throw some light upon the causes which give rise to depression when a man is a long while in this House. My hon. Friend (Mr. Mildmay) said it is not a wise proceeding that air should be admitted into this House through the floor. It is quite certain that such air must contain a large number of germs which must cause that influenza which so very often attacks Members in this House. I have on several occasions, as the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary knows, drawn attention to what I cannot help regarding as the ineffective ventilation of this Chamber. But beside the fact that the air is admitted into the House through the floor, which I think is as bad an arrangement as can be imagined, the inlet of the air from outside is to the lowest part of the House and across the surface of the Thames. The result is, as everybody knows, that when a barge laden with manure is passing up or down the whole effluvia comes into the House, and everybody puts his handkerchief to his nose to stop the disagreeable smell. I cannot help thinking that the whole system of ventilation is wrong. I have consulted many eminent engineers on the subject, and they agree that to alter the whole system would be a very expensive matter. I am inclined to think, however, 596 that it might be advisable to incur that expense, in order to secure better conditions for hon. Members who are compelled to remain here for a considerable period of the year. I hope, therefore, that the present authorities will see the advantage, at any rate, of appointing a Committee to ascertain whether it is possible in any way to improve the present system of ventilation. Under the existing system, even in the height of summer, it is seldom that we can introduce fresh air through the windows, and we are told if we do so that we destroy the whole mechanical system of ventilation. I very much prefer fresh air from the upper regions than from the surface of the Thames, and I trust that effect may be given to the suggestion made by my hon. Friend.
§ Mr. PIRIE
Unlike the previous speakers, I approach this question merely as an ordinary layman who objects to having to spend a minute more than is necessary in this horrible and vitiated atmosphere. I put a question the other day to the hon. Gentleman who represents the First Commissioner of Works about the Dining Room, and he admitted that the atmosphere there was vitiated. Of all the places in this House which should be fitted with the most modern fan to keep the rooms tolerably decent, I think the Dining Room is the most important, and yet the fan there was fixed quite twenty years ago, and represents an out-of-date system. My hon. Friend admitted that the ventilation at the windows might be better, but as a rule the windows will not open, and where they do open they are so small that they will not let in any air. I do not think there is a single second-class public-house in London into which you could not go in the morning and find a sweeter atmosphere than in this place. In the Lobby in the morning you find every window shut firmly, instead of being open, as they should be, all night. What is there to prevent the policemen opening the windows as soon as the House rises, and leaving them open during the night, in order to admit some fresh air? A former Member of this House, Sir Harry Verney, wrote a very good pamphlet upon this subject, but it was put upon one side, and the Government have forgotten it, and they have also postponed the appointment of a Committee to inquire into this subject.
Whatever the system may be, it gives the worst possible results. I think it is a great pity that we happen to have a First Commissioner of Works who does 597 not himself know, from personal experience, what goes on in this House. I admit that the First Commissioner has a very admirable substitute, and I hope it will not be long before the practice of having a substitute for Ministers in this House will be put an end to. If the responsible Minister had to experience the atmosphere of the Dining Room and of this House, then we might get something done in the matter. I wish to fully recognise the great improvements which have taken place in other parts of the House under the late Commissioner of Works in regard to the comfort of Members in the Reading Rooms. I wish to point out, however, that the lights are placed in the worst possible position for Members to read, and I think a little alteration of the furniture, and placing the tables under the window, and moving the seats under the lights, would enable Members to read their newspapers in greater comfort. I would like to ask if the First Commissioner of Works is perfectly certain that the great alterations which are going on in Westminster Hall are really necessary, and what is likely to be the cost of them. There is in that hall a most elaborate scaffolding, and I quite agree that Westminster Hall must be repaired, but I wish to sound a warning note, because acts of vandalism may be carried out. I hope the First Commissioner will make certain that the great expense in this connection is really necessary.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I must say that I quite agree with the hon. Member for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities on this subject. When I first came into the House Government officials, whose presence was necessary for the assistance of Ministers, used to sit at the other end of the House, but those seats were not always kept entirely for Government officials. I myself, before I had the honour of being a Member of this House, have sat in that Gallery with Government officials, and I have often seen strangers there. I have sat there with three or four Government officials, who were then considered sufficient to advise the then Ministers of the Crown. The Gallery I refer to is outside the House, and the officials used to come in as ordinary strangers, and they had to pass the door-keepers. By changing the place for these officials to a Gallery behind the Speaker's Chair, they are now in a part of the House itself. The officials do not come in through the doorway, but through the Lobbies amongst 598 Members themselves, and it is impossible to know when you happen to be talking with an hon. Member about the iniquities of the Government that you may not be overheard by an official, who is either entering or quitting that particular Gallery, which I think opens straight into the Lobby. I do not think that is an advantageous state of things, and it is much more necessary that the House of Commons should be kept for Members than that Ministers should save a little of their time, and instead of learning their lesson in their office defer it until they are prompted by officials who are seated close to them. In the old days there might possibly be five or six officials at the most under the Gallery. I do not know how many are there at the present moment, but I should think there are twelve or fourteen, and sometimes it is crowded, and it has occurred to me that it is often crowded by officials who do not come to render assistance for the Government, but who come to hear hon. Members, like myself and others, deliver excellent speeches. But, after all, they are paid to do their work in the office, and not to come and listen to us.
I have seen gentlemen in that Gallery who were not Government officials. I made an inquiry once, and I was told the gentleman I referred to is in some degree connected with the Government, but, at any rate, he was not a Government official, and never will be, and never has been a Government official. Under the old system the officials were not introduced into the middle of the Lobbies without anyone knowing that they were strangers or how they got there. I think these are strong arguments for considering what, after all, is only a modern innovation. There are other points. I think it is now admitted that hon. Members attend this House in larger numbers than they used to do twenty or thirty years ago. The accommodation of this House is not too extensive, and during great Debates, when it really has not been necessary for any right hon. Gentleman to be prompted, the Official Gallery still remains crowded. The accommodation in this House, being by no means extensive, it is necessary that, as far as you can, you should give all the available floor space for the accommodation of Members, and we are losing a great deal by the substitution of the present Gallery for officials for the one at the other end of the House. In criticising a Minister one desires to know very often whether a 599 Minister really is efficient and gives his time to his work, and, to use a slang phrase, really understands his job. In the old days, if you saw a Minister walking down to the other end of the House, you knew perfectly well that he did not know the particular case he had to defend, and had to be prompted by officials at the other end of the House. That was patent to everyone, and it is a very good thing it should be so, because it necessitated that the Minister, in order to avoid this, should take the pains and trouble to ascertain the particular points of the case which he had to defend or recommend, as the case might be. All that has gone now, because he has only got to sit towards the end of the bench close to Mr. Speaker's chair, and then if he stands for a few moments where he is hardly observed he can obtain all his information. The result is we get information not from the Minister himself but secondhand from the officials in the box.
I remember once in Committee of Supply sitting here listening to what was going on. One of my hon. Friends advanced a certain proposition and wanted to get certain information. I will not mention any names, but I trust the House will take it from me that what I am going to say is absolutely correct. The answer of the Minister was given in a very confident and assured way, but it seemed to me to be a very extraordinary one. It was sufficient for my hon. Friend who sat down apparently abashed, but it was not sufficient for me. I knew nothing whatever about it, but I had sufficient self-possession to get up and question the right hon. Gentleman as to his answer. He gave some reply which made the matter even worse than it was before, so I put up one of my hon. Friends to continue the debate. The right hon. Gentleman then made a little sign to me, and I met him behind the Chair. He said, "Oh, look here, I have read the wrong answer." He had been to the official, who had given him two answers, and on his return from that select place he had mixed them up and read the wrong one. Being very kindhearted, I said, "Oh, all right, so-and-so, we will say nothing more about it. Of course, I shall always expect great attention whenever I rise to criticise the Estimates, but beyond that I will take no further action." I therefore asked my hon. Friends to say nothing more about it. I may say the Minister, who happened to 600 be a Radical, gave me an assurance that the point should be met and remedied. The matter passed over, and I do not know that anybody until to-day except the right hon. Gentleman and myself ever knew what took place on that occasion. I only advance that as showing that it is not a good thing for Ministers to depend too much upon information given them on the spur of the moment. If that right hon. Gentleman had thoroughly understood his subject the incident would never have occurred, or, if he had been unfortunate enough to have run counter to someone who was not of my kindness of nature, there might have been unpleasantness.
I agree with the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite that the ventilation of this House is by no manner of means efficient. Large sums of money have been spent upon it, but it does not at all follow that because you spend large sums of money you get good results. After I have sat here for a couple of hours my feet and legs get very cold and my head gets very hot, which is not conducive either to the carrying on of a debate in an efficient manner or to one's health. I have made this complaint once or twice before, but I have never succeeded in getting any redress. On one occasion, when one of my hon. Friends, who used to be Junior Lord of the Treasury but now fills the office of a Whip, ordered me to sit here from four to seven. I was obliged about seven o'clock to go out, and I caught a very bad cold in consequence. I believe a great number of Members who make a habit of sitting on this bench will agree with me that a large amount of cold air comes up, and the only effect is to make one very cold where he ought to be hot and warm where he ought to be cold. That is not a good state of things, and I think it might be remedied. Occasionally there is a very nasty smell of exhausted air in the House. There was this smell the day before yesterday. I remember certain offices which were heated with hot air, and there always used to be a nasty smell of exhausted air. It was so bad that they did away with the hot air heating and substituted hot water, which was far better, because there was never that uncomfortable smell again. I have hot water in my own house in the country, and I have no fault whatever to find with it.
I would suggest that we should endeavour, first of all, to ventilate the House by opening the windows; and, secondly, that we should endeavour to 601 heat it by hot water. We should thus avoid all this expense of pumping in warm air, and I believe we should all be healthier and more comfortable. I fail to see why on a fine day or night, when the House is empty, we should not have the windows opened. It would be far better than this system of having the dust of our feet blown into our faces. When I first came into the House we always had the windows opened. I remember that in the summer the windows on both sides used to be open, and there was no pleasanter place in London in a hot summer than the House of Commons. The Lobbies, too, were very nice because you could open the windows yourself. Now one is treated like a suffragist, and the windows are all fastened up so that you cannot open them. [HON. MEMBERS: "Forcibly ventilated."] I object to being forcibly ventilated. I hope, therefore, the hon. Member for St. George's-in-the-East (Mr. Wedgwood Benn) will not be contaminated by the presence of the Colonial Secretary (Mr. Harcourt). I do not know why the right hon. Gentleman is specially here on this Vote. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] I am not making any objection. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to see right hon. Gentlemen in their proper place. I am very glad he is here. His example might be taken by other Members of the Government. There may, however, be another reason why he is here. The right hon. Gentleman, I know, is very fond of his own child, the present system of ventilation.
§ Mr. HARCOURT
It is not mine. It was here years before ever I was appointed First Commissioner of Works.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
My recollection is that, after my short and enforced absence in 1906, I came back and found the windows which used to be opened closed. I spoke to the right hon. Gentleman, and I was received very courteously, but he told me it would interfere with his system of ventilation. I ventured to say that, after consideration of a variety of things, he would perhaps alter his system of ventilation. Then he practically said, "It shall be taken into consideration. Good-bye—mind the step," which the hon. Member for Woolwich (Mr. Crooks) is always telling us is the fate of a deputation which goes to see an official. That was my fate, although the right hon. Gentleman put it in rather more courteous terms. Nothing has been done. I may, therefore, be 602 excused for thinking the right hon. Gentleman had something to do with it. If he is satisfied with it perhaps he will tell us so, and, if not, perhaps he will assist us in getting it altered. I should like to know what is being done in Westminster Hall. I hope the spirit of reform is not going to reform the old roof, which has been there for several hundred years. If it is necessary to replace some of the timbers, I hope it will be done in a careful manner and that no more will be replaced than is absolutely necessary.
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Mr. PONSONBY
Perhaps the House will allow me on the subject of the seating under the Gallery to give my experience, as I sat both under that Gallery (the Gallery under the Clock) and that one (the Gallery before Mr. Speaker's Chair), and the contrast between the two was very marked. Before, I had to walk the whole way round to reach the seats under that Gallery (the Gallery under the Clock), and, when I was seated there and had to return to the Ministers' Room behind the Speaker's Chair, I had again to take a long walk. Later in the afternoon, if I had to return to the House, I very often found there was no seat reserved for me and I was unable to attend the Debate at all. The officials had the same thing to do. They had to walk all the way round, and they had to pass through the Lobby, where they heard a great deal more gossip than they do now, and they also found it extremely difficult to get seating accommodation if they arrived late in the afternoon, because there were only a few seats for officials, the rest being for the general public. They are now in an extremely convenient spot to be reached. The question is, Does the hon. Baronet opposite wish to receive accurate information or is it his desire to catch Ministers tripping? If he wants accurate information it is as well that Ministers, who cannot always be omniscient, should have at hand officials with figures and statistics to which they can refer and which it is to the general public advantage they should be able to quote. There can be no question about that.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
And the next thing will be that these permanent officials will sit on the bench at the elbows of Ministers.
§ Mr. PONSONBY
I do not think that that follows. They are now practically 603 outside the House; they in no way interfere with the sitting accommodation of the House. And I would draw the hon. Baronet's attention to the fact that often that Gallery which is set apart for their convenience is quite empty. Of course I am referring to the occasion of Debates when there is no special need for the attendance of permanent officials. The point, however, is a very small one. The arrangement is extremely convenient for the Government at the present time, and when we cross to the other side, if we ever do, we shall be only too glad to accord to the right hon. Gentlemen who become the occupants of the Ministerial Bench the facilities enjoyed by the present holders. I entirely agree with what has been said on the subject of ventilation, and, as other hon. Members have described their symptoms, I propose to narrate my own. The effect in my case is that I get extremely dry. After I have been sitting in this House for many hours my throat becomes absolutely parched, and I think that is due to the fact that the air we receive is so sterilised and so over-purified that it really does not refresh us in the least degree. I trust my hon. Friend will devise some system of ventilation which will give more satisfaction. I want to ask a question with regard to the erection of statues in London. As the hon. Gentleman the Member for St George's-in-the-East knows, the National Portrait Gallery has a regulation drawn up by the Trustees of the Gallery that no portrait of any prominent man shall be received until ten years after he has died. I want to ask the hon. Gentleman if it is in the power of the First Commissioner of Works to promulgate a regulation of a similar nature in regard to the erection of statues in London.
§ Mr. HICKS BEACH
The hon. Member seemed to think that the arrangement of seats for members of the Civil Service was a good one, because the officials were saved having to walk a few yards around the outside Lobby. I think that was rather an advantage. Most permanent officials and private secretaries suffer from lack of open-air exercise, but, even if they cannot walk in the open air, the old arrangement gave them an opportunity for some little exericse. We have been 604 told that these seats are always open to hon. Members in this House. I do not know how many could be accommodated there, but it appears to me a somewhat crowded space, and I rather fancy there would be disorderly scenes if hon. Members tried to force their way into that Gallery. On the other hand, I think it is a disadvantage from the point of view put forward by the Member for the City of London, because it rather tends to what may be described as a sloppy way of doing business. If a Cabinet Minister is always assured of having a permanent official at his elbow, he is not perhaps so inclined to get up his figures as he was when it was necessary for him, in full view of the whole House, to walk down to the Gallery under the clock in order to consult them.
With regard to the system of ventilation, I remember the present Colonial Secretary telling us a few years ago that it was a difficult question to cope with, as Members were divided into two classes, "Frousters" and "Rousters." I suppose I may class myself as a "Rouster." The hon. Member complains very seriously indeed of the general atmosphere of the House. It is heated very much too much, and it has a very depressing effect on Members. To a great extent it is due to the amount of attention the air receives before it is pumped into this Chamber. I remember going to see the system of ventilation adopted. We were shown how thoroughly the air was cleansed before it was pumped into the Chamber. It was washed; it had to pass through a screen of water, and there was extra special treatment on foggy days. The result is that the air we receive has the bite taken out of it. The effect is practically the same as that produced on aerated water which has been allowed to stand in an open jug on the table for several hours. The cleansing of the air is carried too far, and a Committee of experts might with great advantage inquire into the whole system of ventilation with a view to affording us some relief. I have observed in the summer months that certain windows in this House have been opened. I do not know whether it is good for ventilation, but it certainly makes a difference to hon. Members. They see a little bit of the sky, and, although it may be a delusion on their part that fresh air is coming into the Chamber, it does affect their comfort to a certain degree. It is not only in the Dining Room and the Chamber that the ventilation is so bad. I hope the hon. 605 Gentleman will turn his attention to the Committee rooms, because when there is a matter of serious contention going on in one of them the atmosphere really becomes quite unendurable, and if anyone attempts, especially in the winter months, to open the window the Members sitting close to that window promptly shut it so that no fresh air is allowed to enter the room. I trust the hon. Gentleman will set up a Committee to make thorough and complete inquiry into the whole system of ventilation, and that the result will be to add to the comfort of Members.
§ Mr. SWIFT MacNEILL
I wish to say a few words in enlargement of a question which I asked on Tuesday. I rarely change my opinions in any matter, although there are some examples around me which tend to show that consistency is a doubtful virtue. However, here is a topic on which I have changed my opinion. When, some years ago, a proposal was made that the benches behind the Chair should be allocated to permanent officials who up to that time sat beneath the clock, I very much opposed it. But after five years' experience I have come to the conclusion that I was wrong and that the present arrangement is in every way admirable. It is admirable, too, in an artistic sense. The officials, who are emporiums of information, are placed in the background like the prompters in a theatre. No one in the audience wishes to hear the voice of the prompter. The permanent officials are in a position where it is most convenient to get from them the information which is required by the House. I do not believe very much in inspired Ministers—that is, Ministers w ho speak on the spur of the moment. I have been a Member of this House seven-and-twenty years, and I have come to the conclusion that the ordinary Minister is nothing more or less—indeed, he is sometimes considerably less—than the ordinary Member of Parliament. A Member placed at the head of a Department, knowing perhaps no more about it than an ordinary intelligent man in the street, would be very foolish indeed if he did not get the advice and the special information at the disposal of his officials. It is quite easy for a Minister to go behind the Speaker's Chair for information for which he may be asked, and which can be given him by gentlemen of trained experience. After all, heads of Departments succeed one another in the same way as the dial of a watch is changed. The dial changes, but the works remain inside the case, and the 606 permanent officials may be compared with those works. That is one of the reasons why I approve of the present arrangement.
There is another reason which I should like to mention. I have only been asked twice in my whole life to withdraw an expression, and one of those occasions was due to the use made of the bench under the Clock, which, although it was allocated to permanent officials, was not used by them alone or by men who had absolute expert experience of the subject under debate, but was, theoretically, open to strangers. It was not reserved merely for permanent officials, as it ought to be, but it was also open to persons having a particular interest in the Debate's proceeding. I came in one afternoon and saw the Welsh Members in a state of high excitement, and I saw upon that bench a Minister who had been appointed to the directorship of a public company after he had got his post in the Administration. The House was pretty empty, but the bench under the Gallery was lined with railway officials, and I saw this gentleman going up and down, and down and up—just like Job's Satan wandering up and down the world—between the Treasury Bench and the bench under the Gallery. I remember the occasion because I did not use one Parliamentary word. [An HON. MEMBER "Is it recorded?"] Yes, it is, and I will tell my hon. Friend in confidence where it is. There is another point I desire to press upon my hon. Friend who represents the First Commissioner, and I hope he will accept my apologies for not giving him notice of it. I want, as advocate of a forlorn cause, to implore him to see that the inscriptions in Westminster Hall should be in decent English. One inscription in Westminster Hall is so full of bad English that I declare you could not match it in the King's Speeches when the Tory Government were in power. I can very well understand the love, affection, and veneration with which every Englishman worthy of the name regards Westminster Hall. I have a great affection for it in the cooler light of an historian. I like the memorials in Westminster Hall, but the inscriptions on them should be in English which would not make Lord Macaulay flog his well-known schoolboy to death. Recently, and I do not know why, certainly not at the instance of the present House of Commons, who were not consulted in the matter, a slab was placed in the Hall to the memory of Warren Hastings. I would rather have had memorial slabs to 607 the memory of Burke and Sheridan, who unmasked Warren Hastings and all his doings. I came down and saw the inscription. I thought I had not read it correctly. I had mislaid my spectacles and went for them, and when I came back I saw I was quite right, and that there was the inscription:—Here Warren Hastings stood for his trial.We have heard of men standing for constituencies, but standing "for" a trial is a word not known in the English language, and would not be understood even in the Law Courts. I do not know who settled it; it is unique in itself. It is not English; it is not even slang. The writer of this inscription, whoever he was, erred from the truth with his eyes on two precedents. First, there is the memorial slab on the place where Charles I. stood on the occasion of his trial. It is there stated that—Here the King stood before his judges.The other is where Strafford is supposed to have stood making the memorable speech in his defence:Here Strafford stood during his impeachment.Who composed the inscriptionHere Warren Hastings stood for his trial"?I asked my hon. Friend about it, and he asked the First Commissioner, who, being a peer, I suppose has an hereditary knowledge of English. My hon. Friend told me that the First Commissioner of Worksthinks the inscription is not ungrammatical.I tell the First Commissioner that the term "ungrammatical" is not known in the English language. For the advantage of foreigners, some of whom know our language better than we do ourselves, and for our credit, let the word "for" be taken out, and the word "at" inserted. I shall be glad to hear my hon. Friend's explanation of the matter. We can stand for a drink, but we cannot stand for a trial. I ask that this word should be eliminated in the interests of the House of Commons, of Westminster Hall, and of foreigners who will say, "What astonishing people these are! They do not even know their own language, and cannot write inscriptions in decent English."
§ Mr. HODGE
We have heard a great deal of the ventilation of the House, and that subject has been well ventilated. I wish to turn to something else. Unfortunately all the questions I intended to raise cannot be raised upon this Vote and 608 the only point I desire to put before the representative of the First Commissioner is with regard to the contract for the cleaning of the Houses of Parliament. During last Session some of my colleagues from time to time put questions with regard to this particular contract and received in every instance very courteous replies, which were of the usual Departmental character, to the effect that the Department could not see any necessity for any change. I think that when the circumstances are narrated to the Committee they will be of my opinion that the contract ought to be abolished, and that the cleaning so far as the House of Commons is concerned, which although technically done by a contractor is under the direction of the resident engineer, should be placed under the resident engineer altogether. It is rather a curious thing that although this contract has changed hands on many occasions, the cleaners never change. It does not matter who the contractor is, the men are really the permanent employés of the Houses of Parliament. In these circumstances and in view of the fact that these men take their orders not from the contractor but from the resident engineer, I would appeal to the Department to see that the contract is abolished, and that the cleaning should be permanently put in charge of the resident engineer.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Mr. Maclean)
I do not think the subject with which the hon. Member is now dealing comes under this Vote. It comes under Class II., Vote 2.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
It all depends whether it comes under "Works and services connected with the Engineering Arrangements, and the Wages of Men in connection therewith." If that is the Class to which the hon. Member is referring he is in order, but if he is referring to the general question of cleaners, he is not in order.
§ Mr. HODGE
It is not on that point. We have had some criticism of the First Commissioner of Works with respect to the ventilation of the House. I desire to pay my tribute to him for the sympathy and spirit he has always displayed towards either those who clean the House or those who work under contracts relating to work which comes under his Department.
§ Mr. STUART-WORTLEY
I intended to wait until the Minister spoke on the subject of the modern arrangements for the accommodation of private secretaries and Civil servants, but perhaps I had better say what I have to say before the Debate wanders to subjects of a different kind. I have from the first disapproved, for what my opinion may be worth, of this new arrangement, but when I give expression to that opinion, I wish to qualify it by saying that I think this House is much indebted to the right hon. Gentleman, the present Secretary of State for the Colonies for many other excellent improvements he has made in the arrangements of this House. It is only this one with which I wish to find fault. In my opinion it goes far beyond the mere question of the structural arrangements of this House. It is not merely a case of changing the position where certain persons have to sit. My hon. Friend the Member for the Totnes Division (Mr. Mildmay) was wrong when he said it was merely a question of making these gentlemen sit in one place instead of another. As the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) said, the place where they sat before was a Strangers' Gallery, and when not wanted for private secretaries, it was accessible to strangers; therefore, by this arrangement we are not only reducing the quality of the accommodation for Members of this House, but also reducing to some extent the space available for strangers. In my early days in Parliament I was bred up to value the sanctity of those parts of the precincts of the House which are behind the Speaker's chair, that part of the precincts to which none but officers of this House or Ministers can obtain access. That was part of an arrangement by which it was secured to Members that there should be some part of the precincts where they should be entirely out of the reach of Lobbying. The hon. Member for South Donegal (Mr. Swift MacNeill) says he has changed his opinion upon this subject, and he seems to think that the proper way of treating the matter is to regard 610 these gentlemen—upon whom I do not wish to make any kind of attack; it is not necessary to my case—as if they were prompters, and that their place has been changed for the better because, as he said, it more resembles the position of a prompter's box. That is a profoundly mistaken view of the position that these gentlemen ought to occupy in regard to this House. To reduce it ad absurdum, if you want to put them in a prompter's box, you had better put them under the Table, where they can speak into the ears of Ministers who want to consult them. I hope that reduces ad absurdum the suggestion that these gentlemen are to be regarded, wherever they may sit, as prompters.
Let me give my testimony. Not only upon the occasion to which my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow University (Sir Henry Craik) referred have I heard ejaculations and interruptions of debate take place. I have heard it happen upon more occasions than that. That it should take place upon one, two, or more occasions, and whether it was influenced by party spirit or not—I do not say that it was—I say that is enough to condemn the arrangement. It is not necessary to say that the Civil servants are more likely to be influenced by party spirit by this arrangement. It is natural that advisers of Ministers should be keen in supporting the execution of the advice they have given to Ministers. That advice may be entirely independent of party considerations, and in the great majority of cases it is so independent. It is creditable to them that they should show keenness in trying to procure the execution of the advice they have probably most properly given. It is done in a way which interferes with our debates and lowers the dignity of our proceedings, and considerations preventing that are far more important than any consideration of making easier the relations between Ministers and their advisers and access from one to the other.
This arrangement has the effect of dispensing Ministers from the necessity, for which we pay them, of learning. It has to be put thus bluntly and plainly. It is not a case merely of obtaining accurate information. If it were merely a case of obtaining accurate information by this House, it must be borne in mind that there is no one to whom this House is more generous in its treatment than the Minister who, in Committee of Supply, finds himself compelled to say, "I am 611 sorry to say this question refers to a detail to which I cannot remember the answer, or of which I have not had time to learn the answer, and I hope the hon. Member will wait till the Report stage and I will give him the answer." I have never known the House show any undue severity or critical spirit to a Minister who plainly and frankly made such an answer. The danger is the substitution for accurate information of a substituted judgment in a case where the House has the right to a judgment from the Minister himself. We do not want on questions of policy the judgment of men who are not here in a representative position, and who are not sensitive to, and accessible to that public opinion which is the foundation of the jurisdiction of this House, not merely in legislative but also in executive matters. I remember, from my own experience as a Minister, that it was really a terror before one's eyes if, before one's Votes came on in Committee of Supply, one did not know one's case and had to learn it, as it was one's duty to learn the details of one's policy on the Estimates one had to defend, and one would not be able in the last hour to gain supplementary information without its being known by all present that one was so gaining it. There is perhaps one case in which an exception should be made. I now refer to perhaps the most hard worked of all our public servants, and that is the draftsmen of our Government Bills. I really think there ought to be some special arrangement made, and I believe arrangements are made in foreign assemblies, for making them readily accessible indeed to Ministers, to consult them almost instantaneously and on very short notice upon extremely difficult points of draftsmanship. I do not speak on this matter without positive experience. During the tenure of the present Ministry, not to say also possible in the case of other Ministries, there have been cases of the most deplorable ignorance on the part of Ministers even where due notice had been given of the most elementary facts in matters which they were called upon to explain, advocate, or defend. That has occurred in cases which were not those of any Member of the Ministry whom I have the pleasure of seeing before me.
§ Mr. WATT
I have had the infelicitous experience this afternoon of assuming the 612 perpendicular every three or four minutes in order to catch your eye. I concur with the hon. Gentleman (Sir H. Craik) in his observations about the transfer of the servants of the Government, Civil and otherwise, from this end of the Chamber to the other. I have been long enough in the House to remember the change and to remember the Debate which took place on that change, and to remember the conditions which were attached to the occupancy of those seats behind the Speaker's Chair. There were two conditions attached which I think have been broken. The first was that when the bench was not occupied by servants of the Government, Members of Parliament might have a right to go in there. I do not know whether any Members here present have had the temerity to go in there when the bench was only half-filled, but, as I have an unfortunate capacity of going where angels fear to tread, I on one occasion ventured in there and sat beside these officials. They did not receive me with open arms. They drew away from me as women draw away from an unchaperoned belle at a fashionable ball. They ostracised me. That was one of the conditions which was attached to their transfer to that bench. But it is seldom occupied by Members of Parliament, for they seem to be afraid of venturing in when there is nobody present, and my experience was such that I would not venture again. So the spectacle is seen of Members of Parliament occasionally in big Debates sitting on the steps of the Gangway, sitting in the Galleries, clinging to all sorts of out-of-the-way supports, while that bench is empty and reserved for these distinguished gentlemen. The other condition was that it would only be utilised by these gentlemen when the business of the House was such as to call for their assistance to Ministers. Now that has been departed from because, when these same gentlemen think there is an interesting Debate about to come on, and when the demand for seats for our distinguished constituents is very great, we cannot even supply the demand. The dress circle is full of these same gentlemen to whom I have referred and they have the advantage of getting, what is in great public demand, a seat from which they can hear the interesting Debate which is anticipated. I do not think that that is what was intended. Indeed, it is quite clear that that was not to be a term of the gift, so that I agree with the hon. Gentleman (Sir H. Craik) and the 613 hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury) in saying that the transfer from this end to that has been a dismal failure.
But there is another matter to which I should like to draw attention. I asked the hon. Gentleman a question yesterday as to accommodation for the ancient game of billiards in this House, and I regret to say that his response was not encouraging. I understand that the game of billiards is contrary to his high moral standing, and that he disapproves of the game, and a fortiori disapproves of it in the precincts of this sacred House. He wishes the outside public to continue to be deluded into thinking that the Members of this House, from a quarter to three every afternoon till eleven, are listening to the words of eloquence which are poured forth from these benches. I do not think the public are so deluded. It is not generally believed that we are present in the Chamber all the hours that we have to be in the precincts. I think that the view that is taken outside is that when we hear the call from you, "The Clerk will now proceed to the Orders of the Day," then when the flood of oratory rushes in the flood of Members rushes out. So that if that be so, if it be known outside that that is so, why should recreation be in any way limited for Members of Parliament? Why should my hon. Friend, in his position of dictator of what games are to be played here, say that the homely game of chess and the highly intellectual game of dominoes should be permitted but other games should not be permitted? I do not see why my hon. Friend should have refused the suggestion that this game should be introduced, seeing that games are and have been played for some years. I hope he will reconsider the matter and will realise that his standard of morality in that respect is perhaps not the standard of the majority of Members and that a number of them are desirous of having this game.
Mr. FREDERICK HALL (Dulwich)
I agree with the hon. Member in not thinking it necessary that simply the game of chess and draughts should be permitted in this House. I cannot help thinking that a little more advantage might be given to hon. Members who have to sit here and listen to dull and uninteresting Debates. But what I am particularly desirous of bringing before the hon. Member is a question with regard to the grille. I may be written down as a Suffragette. I am under no circumstances in favour of any question with regard to the Suffrage movement, but 614 I have thought, when I have been upstairs in the place supposed to be the Ladies' Gallery, that some very great improvement might be introduced in order, at all events, that that dull, dismal, heavy place might be improved. I do not see the necessity for that heavy grille being there. Practically every lady who goes into that gallery is in a prison. I do not think it is necessary that we should impose such an embargo upon ladies who visit the House, and I hope the hon. Gentleman will give that his consideration. There is another question, also on behalf of the ladies. I am perhaps treading on thin ice because, under certain circumstances, I have not given that support which might be desired, but there is, practically speaking, no reasonable accommodation for those Members who employ the services of ladies as their secretaries. There is at the end of Westminster Hall one huge room where hon. Members will find six or eight ladies who come to do their work at the House of Commons. If, however, it happens, as it does occasionally, that there is a meeting of Members of the House of Commons, those ladies, though the Members may be going into some important details, have to go outside and stand at the door. I think, taking into consideration the number of ladies who are earning their living by secretarial work for Members of the House of Commons, the time has come when there should be for them the same recognition as there is, poor though it be, for male secretaries. There should be a room set apart in which the lady secretaries could be accommodated.
My hon. Friend the Member for Donegal said that, so far as he was concerned, he was in favour of information being obtained from the fountain head. I entirely agree with him, though I do not agree with him as to who is or should be the fountain head. I consider that the Ministers who sit on the Front Bench are the Gentlemen to whom we should look for information and not to the permanent officials. Surely the country recognises that Ministers themselves ought to be the fountain of information. There are times when it is not possible for them to deal with every point as it comes on. But there has never been a question raised with respect to which the Minister has stated that he had not the information before him when the House has not dealt with him in the most magnanimous manner. Therefore, I think we should 615 put forward every possible effort to see that the government of the country is carried on by the Ministers who have been elected to the House by the votes of the electors. I am entirely averse—I say this with all deference to the officials for whom I have the greatest respect, and towards whom I have no feeling of antipathy—to the government of this country being placed in the hands of paid officials. It is to the Ministers we look to carry on the business of the country. If a Member of the House of Commons goes into the Officials' Gallery, I do not think he should be received in the way stated by my hon. Friend. I have not myself attempted to tread there, and I do not intend to do so, but I think the Members of the House should have all the accommodation that can possibly be given to them. I fully recognise that it is necessary under certain circumstances that some of the officials should be handy in case of any specific information being desired. Speaking generally, I am averse to Ministers having to seek their information from officials in this House. I trust the hon. Gentleman will give his attention to the matters of which I have spoken.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD BENN (Lord of the Treasury)
It will, I think, be for the convenience of the Committee if I answer some of the questions which have been put by hon. Gentlemen opposite. I cannot offer any more encouragement than I did in the answer I gave yesterday about the provision of a room for billiards. Of course, personally, I am the servant of the House of Commons entirely, and I fully share their wishes in most matters, but I do not think there is any sign whatever of a general desire on the part of hon. Members for the provision of a billiard room. I am afraid I cannot hold out any hope to the hon. Member (Mr. Frederick Hall) in reference to the grille in front of the Ladies' Gallery. It is an architectural feature of the House, and I think if the hon. Member were to take the opinion of the ladies who come to the Gallery, he would find that a considerable majority of them are not in favour of the alteration he proposes.
§ Mr. BENN
I am stating the information which I have been able to accumulate on the point, and it is quite the opposite of that stated by the hon. Member. As to secretaries, I am in hopes that some more 616 accommodation may be provided this year as the result of certain rearrangements which are being made with respect to existing rooms. Some of these rooms, I hope, may be used in the way the hon. Gentleman suggests. An hon. Friend below the Gangway yesterday raised the question of the engineering contract for this building. The contract is being carried out by a firm who work on the basis of a percentage on the wages paid to the men, and although the percentage is very small, they superintend all the labour and carry it out to the satisfaction of the Office of Works, and I hope also to the satisfaction of hon. Members. There is no question of the men not being paid a fair rate of wages. I do not think that my hon. Friend makes that suggestion, and as we find it more convenient, and probably more economical, to carry out the work in this way, perhaps he will allow the arrangement to remain as it is. There were only two other matters raised with respect to the House. The first referred to ventilation, and the other to the position of the Officials' Gallery. As to ventilation, those who have followed the Debate will see at once what is the real difficulty of ventilating this House to the satisfaction of hon. Members. You have a large number of Members who view the question from different standpoints, and who take opposite views as to the form of ventilation which should be adopted. The hon. Member for Tewkesbury (Mr. Hicks Beach) thought the House is too hot, while the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London complained of cold draughts.
§ Mr. BENN
Whatever may be said about the air in the House, I do not think you can say that it is stagnant, because it is changed every few minutes. As to the windows, I should be very sorry indeed to deprive any hon. Member of the satisfaction they may derive in contemplating the blue sky through the windows. This House is ventilated from the floor to the ceiling, where there is an exhaust fan drawing the air out through the illuminated bays. If the fresh air came in at the windows and went out at the ceiling, there would be no opportunity of escape from the air we contaminate, if we contaminate any. The hon. Baronet objects to the air coming in from below, and he pointed out that we get in that 617 way the smell from underneath. The hon. Member for Tewkesbury likes it, and thinks it gives bouquet to the air. We have had tests made, and we find that the air at the top of the Victoria Tower is very much more impure than the air of the Terrace level. If we took the air from the top we should have air containing soot, and instead of being subject to the odour which might be passing underneath, we should have impure atmosphere. As to what has been done, I have here a list of the amounts of money which have been spent in pursuing the investigation of this matter, not only by this Administration, but by preceding Governments. A Committee sat and had the advantage of the very great knowledge of a great ventilation pundit—Dr. Gordon.
§ Mr. BENN
The Committee reported, large sums of money have been spent, and continuous efforts have been made to improve the ventilation of the House. I would like to say, in reply to the criticisms that have been made, that my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Kincardine (Captain Murray) has been interesting himself in this matter. He circulated a memorial for presentation to the First Commissioner of Works proposing some form of inquiry into the matter. If the House desires it, the First Commissioner will offer no objection to the appointment of a Committee. This matter will then be gone into and improvements could be suggested.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I do not think the hon. Gentleman has dealt with the point I have raised, and it is really a serious one. It is really most unpleasant to sit here in the draught to which I have alluded. Could not something be done to stop it?
§ Mr. BENN
The hon. Member will understand that the temperature in this House is about 62 degrees Fahr., and if you were to raise it, it would be very much too hot for us to endure. Experiments have been made, and I assure hon. Members that, if we can add to their comfort in the way suggested, we will do it. As to the position of the Gallery occupied by members of the Civil Service who come down here for the purpose of giving information to Ministers, I think the sole criterion in this much-debated matter should be the interest of Members of this 618 House, and not that of officials. I shall deal with the subject purely on that basis. First of all, as to accommodation, I have to say that while hon. Members on this side lost a certain number of scats at this end, they gained two additional seats at the other end, so that their accommodation has been increased in quantity, whatever may be said as to quality. The officials have seats near the Sneaker, and though they cannot speak, they can answer questions when applied to by Ministers.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Mr. BENN
The hon. Member for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities (Sir H. Craik) said it was very inconvenient for hon. Members desiring to seek information from public officials, that they should have to come to the Government side of the House to secure it. I would remind him that if the officials were to be underneath the Strangers' Gallery, Members of the Opposition would have to come to the Government side in order to secure information, and it does not seem to me that there is anything material in that point. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London, when Leader of the Opposition, supported the change that was made, believing that it was for the interest of Members of this House that they should have readily available the facts of the case under discussion. It is impossible that Ministers could have at their finger-tips every little item of £20 appearing in the Estimates, and it is desirable that the officials who understand these matters should be immediately available to give the facts. I would remind the House on this point that, on a specific Motion made seven years ago, the House approved of the change, and I would invite the House not to go back on its previous decision.
§ Sir W. BYLES
I would ask the hon. Member to deal with the very serious arguments advanced by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield upon this very subject of the consultations with permanent officials.
§ Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
With regard to the movement of the permanent officials from one end of the House to the other, the House will quite understand, on the 619 first opportunity of reviewing the decision come to seven years ago, that the approval which the House gave seven years ago was given after the change had taken place. The Ministry of the day made the change, and the House gave a sort of an ex post facto approval to it, but with a very distinct condition contained in a speech of the right hon. Gentleman who is now Secretary of State for the Colonies, that these seats should be available for Members of the House when they are not being used for Civil servants. I think that the implication was, that when they were not being used by Civil servants, or necessary for the information of Ministers when Votes were under discussion. With the very greatest respect for the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken, there is no more efficient Minister who ever takes charge of maintaining before this House a Vote of this kind, and yet he finds it necessary to have no fewer than twelve or fourteen Civil servants to assist him.
§ Mr. BENN
I am very anxious that any information which hon. Members ask for should be immediately available. I have done my best to inform myself on all matters coming before the House, but there may be others on which I shall be asked questions, and there are eleven Votes in Committee of this Department which are all down on the Paper.
§ Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
I am complimenting the hon. Member who, I feel sure, with the ability which he has so often shown here and in his speeches, knows all the details of the Votes so fully that it could not be necessary for him to have twelve or fourteen Civil servants here to help him. He has shown to-day that he has not needed any of these officials. The serious point of the Debate was raised by my right hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, that Ministers really do not properly get up their points when they come down to speak in this House. We are the representatives of the people and Ministers are representatives of the people. We are a governing body, and yet more and more one finds in all the Departments of the Government that we are being governed by permanent officials. We are sent to this House not merely to legislate. We are sent as an administrative body as well, to check and control the administration of all the great spending Departments of this State, as well as to take part in legislation, and we find that 620 the whole trend of modern legislation has been to throw control out of the House of Commons into the hands of permanent officials. I am not going to say a word against the permanent officials. On the other hand, I am not going to apologise to them for making these remarks. They are our servants, and we are entitled to criticise them. I do not specially wish to criticise the way in which they give their information, but I do criticise very strongly the open way in which Ministers go up and consult these officials about matters which they ought to know themselves. I trust that we shall not come to the position which I believe obtains in some. Parliaments in foreign countries. I think I am right in saying that in France the permanent Civil servants have the right to come into the Chamber and explain their views. I hope that it will be very many years before such a thing obtains in this, House.
We have almost practically got it now. We have got the views of Civil servants given to us, merely filtered through the voice of Ministers opposite. It is not the views of the Ministers we get. We see them go up there and we get not their views and opinions, but the views and opinions of the permanent Civil servants. The permanent Civil servants control the administration, and through the administration they control the Government and the affairs of this country. I want, as a simple, ordinary, non-official Members of the House of Commons, to raise my voice in support of the rights of the House of Commons to control and not be controlled by the bureaucracy. With regard to the grille, I am not what is called a ladies man in any way whatever. I have taken no part in the Suffragette Debates one way or the other, but I differ, with very great respect, from the hon. Member opposite when he says that the majority of the ladies who attend up there desire to maintain the grille. I can only say that I have never yet met one single lady who approves of the accommodation in the Ladies' Gallery. It may be a question whether it is desirable to have them hear our Debates or not, but we have decided that they may come, and, if they do, we certainly ought to provide some better accommodation than at present exists; and to ask ladies here, to issue tickets for them to come here, and then to put them behind a grille like that is absurd. My hon. Friend the Member for the City of London says that it is rather nice. I 621 would advise him to go and sit there for half an hour, and if he did not get cold feet, he would certainly get a very hot head indeed. The atmosphere up there is abominable, and I would ask the hon. Member opposite, when he is going to consider the question of the ventilation of the House, to go and sit up there for a quarter of an hour, and at the end of that time he will be perfectly certain that, whatever portion of the House wants ventilating, there is a very strong need for some alteration being made in the Ladies' Gallery.
§ Mr. KING
There are quite a number of points which I think appropriate to be mentioned here which have not been touched upon, and all the more so because I notice that, though some questions are somewhat acrimoniously debated here this afternoon, they are not the questions about which a great deal of trouble was raised a year ago. I congratulate the hon. Member for St. George's on the fact that he has had no difficulty whatever about those questions about which there was such argument and opinion and diversity of views a year ago. Let me remind hon. Members about the discussion which we had then as to whether we should have gas or electricity as the illuminant of our Chamber. I was entirely in favour of electric lighting here instead of gas, and I notice from the figures in the list that there has been less gas but more light, and that an economy has been effected at the same time. There has been an economy of £1,100, so that really nobody can say that we have an extravagant Government. Why was not this dragged forth to the light by the hon. Member as an effect of this economy? I believe he will like me to refer to this question of the new staircase, which is now being made. I consider that a great improvement and a great amenity. It is an absolute pleasure to go down to the Tea Room, and what it will be when it is completed I do not know. I think it will be one of the great beauties and conveniences of this House. I hope that it will be finished without any great delay, but I cannot congratulate him on taking £2,000 in this Vote in order to restore a passenger lift, and I think that we ought to have more information about that. Where is this passenger lift to be installed? I believe that the one lift which we have from the vicinity of the Dining Room up to the Committee Room corridor is quite enough.
I do not think that we want any more lifts here. I believe that one of the best 622 exercises in which a person of sedentary habits can indulge is to walk upstairs, and personally I go up and down these stairs very frequently as a mere matter of pleasant and healthy exercise. If the hon. Member is going to throw temptation in my way by having a very convenient and luxurious lift, I may possibly in my lazy moments seize the opportunity, but when it comes to the end of the Session, and I consider how much my health has been improved or maintained, I shall not thank him for this luxury. I hope that it will be some time before this lift is installed. There is another point touching the amenities and conveniences of this House. We want, I believe, as much as a room for our secretaries, whether they are gentlemen or ladies; more accommodation for newspapers. The Newspaper Room is absolutely the worst room in this House. As one hon. Member has already stated in the course of this discussion, it is very inadequately lighted. It is very draughty, and very often if you get into a good position you are baked on one side, and frozen on the other side, of your body. Very often it is overcrowded, and you go into the Newspaper Room, hoping to read the newspapers, and you come out feeling that there is no opportunity to get a comfortable, well-lighted seat. Besides this, it is a passage to the Tea Room. I suggest that before long a new Newspaper Room altogether ought to be provided, even if it were necessary to make very serious alterations in the offices or rooms of Ministers.
I am not at all sure that I would not turn a Minister out of one of his comfortable apartments in order to have the necessary accommodation, and I should especially like to press for shelves in which some of the most important newspapers might be filed for a week or a month past. Great papers like the "Yorkshire Post" or the "Manchester Guardian," and some of the leading London newspapers, ought at least to be filed for a week past. They often contain most important reports and information which are wanted in the course of a discussion, and there is no means of getting at them. I believe that a file of newspapers is kept in many of the other Parliaments of the world. Take the German or French Parliament. There you see the important newspapers of the day filed for the Session. They say that "Punch" is the only paper filed in the Newspaper Room. I do not want to say anything against "Punch," but I do hope 623 that our reading of newspapers is not always of a light and frivolous character, but is often directed to a serious study of the questions of the day. There is one more point which has not yet been touched on. I want to see as soon as possible the erection of Rodin's beautiful bronze figures, the "Burghers of Calais." We took the money a year ago to erect that magnificent group, but the work has not yet been done, and we have to revote the money over again this afternoon. If the hon. Member makes any further reply, I hope that he will give us a little information, and say when he expects that this beautiful group may be erected, and at the same time refer to some of the other points which I have brought forward.
§ Colonel YATE
I also should like to congratulate the hon. Gentleman who represents the First Commissioner of Works, on the provision of £2,000 for the purpose of constructing lifts in this House. I would like him to tell us what lifts he is going to give us. I hope we may not only have a lift from the Cloak Room downstairs up to the Gallery, but that we shall have one on the other side from the Dining Room downstairs to bring us up to this floor and also to the Committee floor. We want a lift which would take us from the level of the Terrace right up to the level of the Committee Rooms. I hope the hon. Member will take that suggestion into consideration, and if he cannot provide all that out of the £2,000, I trust he will bring forward a Supplementary Estimate, and get the work done as soon as he possibly can. I would also like to say a word in support of what has been said in regard to the ventilation of the Ladies' Gallery. I think that those who have been in that part of the House all realise that it requires proper ventilation. Another point to which I desire to call the hon. Gentleman's attention is this: We are allowed to take ladies up to the Gallery, where they are able to take their seats before prayers, without any objection. But in regard to the Strangers' Gallery, if I bring my wife and my brother with me, she can take her seat in the Ladies' Gallery before prayers, whereas my brother has to stand outside until prayers are over. I would like to ask the hon. Gentleman whether there is any objection to visitors being admitted to the Strangers' Gallery before prayers—
§ Colonel YATE
I will not pursue my observations on that point, but I trust that the hon. Gentleman will take the matter into consideration and see those who are in authority with a view to ascertaining whether what I suggest is possible.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
I think perhaps the House generally has no ground to complain of the way in which the accommodation of Members has been looked after by the hon. Gentleman opposite, and by his predecessor the Colonial Secretary. On the contrary, a very great deal has been done in improving the accommodation of the House, owing to the very great attention paid by those Gentlemen. There is a small matter to which I wish to call the attention of the hon. Member. The Library corridor has long been the only place in which independent Members so-called—who are not provided with any kind of room—can consult, free from disturbances and distractions. Within the last few weeks a Stock Exchange ticker has been put there, and it is a source of great annoyance. There is ample room for it elsewhere, and the Dining Room corridor would be a suitable place. The Dining Room corridor is not used by those who have to hold consultations, and I suggest that the proposal I make would be for the convenience of those who have to use the Library corridor for their consultations. They should not be disturbed by the eternal click, click, click, which is an annoyance that ought to be done away with. For myself, I hate the entire invention, and I certainly should like to see it put in the Cloak Room, or, if possible, some still more remote portion of the House. I hope that this new instrument of torture will be removed somewhere else. Otherwise, we shall have to apply to the Government for some place where our consultations can be held. A rather curious phrase fell from the hon. Member for St. George's (Mr. Benn), a phrase which is quite new to me. He spoke of the "Official Gallery." I maintain that there is no such place in this House. I quite recognise the necessity of Ministers having officials to consult within the precincts of the House. Nor do I take a severe view of the fact that Ministers bring officials to this House.
625 I very often think that it is a most useful thing that these officials should have an opportunity of listening to the views of Members, and of hearing the questions which are asked. Certainly my experience is that those Civil servants, instead of contracting the liberties and freedom of Members of the House, are very often of the greatest assistance to the House. I do not complain at all of the fact that they should have a proper and suitable place within the Assembly, but what I do object to is this strong arrogation of power to provide this accommodation in the way in which it has been given. No Minister, I care not who he be, should have the right, on his own initiative, to allow these gentlemen to come into our Lobbies and into our Gallery. Formerly the custom was that those officials sat in the Gallery at the other end of the House, and the Minister, by a system of reservation, had the opportunity of putting some high-placed gentleman there, but there was some check upon the amount of room allowed to be occupied. That is not so now. When the space under that Gallery was not occupied we had the right of passing strangers into that part of the House, and it was a most valuable addition to the accommodation for strangers. The result of giving officials what has been called the Official Gallery is that we are deprived of accommodation which we had previously for our constituents, who do not understand that the accommodation afforded by these Galleries is extremely limited, and they go away dissatisfied. While I do not join fully in the complaint that has been made, I do condemn the creation of that Official Gallery. It is, I think, a regrettable misfortune, and I hope the gentlemen will be allowed to go back to their place at the other end.
There is another reason in support of my suggestion. It is that when those officials were under the other Gallery Ministers made up their cases better. But now they pop round in the most grasshopper sort of way to consult the officials. We see them running away from the Treasury Bench and going behind the Chair in a way that was never seen in former times. I remember very well that when a Minister had to consult an official at the other end of the House he did so furtively, as though he was doing something that was irregular. When a Minister was challenged I have seen him creeping up the floor as if he were almost ashamed to consult the officials. Consultations are necessary, and abso- 626 lutely necessary, in cases of drafting, and it is no doubt a convenience to Ministers to have them nearer at hand. But the present arrangement leads, I think, to slipshodness on their part. I am not saying that there is any amount of slipshod work, nor am I blaming anybody; but I think that it would be better if those officials were put back in their old places. I do not say that there should not be proper provision made for those officials, and I think the Ministers should have the right to pass in those whom he trusts and whom he wishes to consult. But the present system of indiscriminately filling up the Official Gallery is a deplorable change, though I am very sorry to have to offer any criticism, having regard to what has been done by the hon. Member representing the First Commissioner of Works and the Colonial Secretary in effecting improvement for the accommodation of Members.
§ Sir JOHN JARDINE
I think, without touching on the question of women's votes, that the present House of Commons is to be congratulated on having paid so much attention to the comfort of ladies who wish to attend the Debates in this House. I am sometimes favoured with their visits, and, on this burning question of the grille, on which there are differences of opinion, my impression is that the ladies do not like the grille, and would like to see it abolished. To put it in the words of the poet, "They are content to see, and happy to be seen." We would all be the better, I believe, if we had these visions before us. We have been talking this afternoon about ventilation. I think it is quite in accordance with the speeches and information given before that I should put this question: I want to ventilate in the interests of the Ladies' Gallery, and I desire to know whether it is true or not, as I have been credibly informed, that the bad air of this part of the House is ventilated into the fans in some way by pipes, or something going through the Ladies' Gallery, thus adding to the intolerable heat and closeness of which hon. Members have complained to-day?
§ Sir J. JARDINE
I am extremely glad to hear it. In the interests of the fair sex I wish to bring another slight grievance to the notice of the hon. Gentleman, an annoyance which I know rankles in their minds, that under the present system 627 they are suspected and not allowed to get into the House, nor to come even with their husbands who are Members of Parliament, into the inner circles of this Assembly, and they have to wait outside there in St. Stephen's Hall—
§ The CHAIRMAN
That question does not arise on this particular Vote. It is not under the control of the Commissioners of Works.
§ Sir J. JARDINE
I was not aware of that, and I shall leave the rest of my remarks on that point to private intimation. I pass from that to the more important subject of debate, namely, the use of the official quarters behind the Chair. I, who have served for many years in the Civil Service, and who have served in many places, responsible to Ministers and members of the Cabinet in India, would fain say that although those high officials made the utmost use of information supplied to them by their secretaries by means of précis writing and other things, they always exercised their own judgment on the matters which were in question. It would be foolish for anybody to suppose that they were in the hands of their subordinates, however high in the official hierarchy, and however experienced and capable those men might be, and the Ministers always exercised their own judgment in matters, their time being saved by the expertness of the Civil servants in the various Departments. So far as I have noticed during the three Parliaments I have had the honour to sit here, Ministers have never shown any signs of being under the dominion of the gentlemen of the various Departments who occupy that Gallery, while the time of Ministers must be very greatly saved. Right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench do not carry in their heads, when dealing with financial questions, all the figures; or when they are sometimes dealing with foreign questions, they cannot carry in their heads the exact boundaries between two territories, and it is therefore highly convenient to have a map at hand, and some expert in the Civil Service whom to consult. Innumerable matters of that kind must occur to the mind of everybody. I therefore think on that, as well as on other matters, and this question of the grille, that my hon. Friend has well answered the questions that have been put.
§ Mr. DOUGLAS HALL
I would ask the hon Member, when he is taking into consideration, as he has promised, the provision of sound proof compartments for Members, where they can dictate privately to their secretaries, that he will not put them too far away, because, probably, we shall want to use those rooms when the House is constantly dividing. I gathered from his answer that Westminster Hall was mentioned, but that is a very long way to come when the Division bell rings, and I think they should be placed within easy access of the Division Lobbies. I would also like to suggest, if he is able to get any more room in the House, that he ought to do something to improve the present Dressing Rooms downstairs. They really are a scandal. They are worse than any public school, and ought to be improved in some way. Very often Members are obliged to change there, owing to the exigencies of Parliamentary life, and the crowding and discomfort down there would, I think, on a crowded night, scandalise any person who saw it. I would ask the hon. Member to give his consideration to this matter.
§ Sir J. D. REES
I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on his statement with which I find little fault, and especially upon the new staircase down below, which I think a great improvement. I think he is also particularly to be congratulated on having hardened his heart and refused to provide billiards and other amusements, and inducements to Members and supporters of the Government to attend this House, an attendance which might be very much needed, and which should not be provided at the public expense. As regards the Gallery for officials, may I ask is it the case that private Members of the House are entitled to consult the officials who attend here for the purpose of assisting Ministers, and are they at liberty to ask them questions. I can hardly believe it, although I would gather that it was so from speeches that have been made, but for other reasons I think obviously it cannot be so. If it were the case, private Members might request the presence of important public officials, and many Members might beseech them for materials for speeches or with calls for information. I take it that the assumption which underlay some of the speeches that the officials in the Gallery are available for private Members is erroneous.
§ Sir J. D. REES
I know that, but the hon. Gentleman has beside him a very experienced right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Harcourt), who himself fulfilled with extreme efficiency the Office of Works, and was most attentive to Members of this House. He could tell whether or not private Members were supposed to have a call on the attention of the officials.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
I desire to ask whether the Office of Works is in any way responsible for the conduct of Members of this House or for the conduct of officials in the Gallery?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I could not, of course, allow a debate on that point, but the question I think arises in some degree out of what we are discussing.
§ Sir J. D. REES
I do not intend to argue the matter. I was a Member of the House when they were moved from the Gallery they then occupied to the one they now occupy. I must say, though I differ in this from some of my hon. Friends, that it seems to me obvious that, if they are to come here at all, it is best they should come to the place in which they can be of most use to Ministers. The other argument seems to me hardly tenable. It is quite true a Minister must simulate omniscience, but there is no reason why the importance of the permanent official should be dissimulated on that account, nor should there be any shyness about Ministers consulting them, because it is obvious, no matter how well Ministers may get up their case, they are fed by information from permanent officials, and I cannot see any objection to their being able to refresh themselves as regards their briefs from time to time. If it really were the case, as was suggested, that this led to a development of something like a party spirit in the public service, that would indeed be deplorable, and a disaster of the first magnitude. I have the highest confidence in our public officials, and think too highly of them to believe that they are likely to succumb to the temptations to which they are exposed. I should like to defend the English of the First Commissioner of Works. An hon. Gentleman beside me, with a great deal of confidence—I will 630 not say of arrogance—declared that the description in Westminster Hall, stating that—Warren Hastings stood for his trialwas bad English. I submit it is perfectly good English. I know what the hon. and learned Member had in his mind. It was the ordinary expression "stood his trial," like "stood a drink." Those are not classical expressions. It is quite true custom has sanctioned their use, but I feel quite sure Gibbon if he had had the chance would have said, "Warren Hastings stood for his trial," though Justin McCarthy or some other recent historian might say, "Stood his trial." It seems to me to be a pity that an attack of that sort, which is wholly unjustifiable, should be made. As regards the question of ventilation, I have often addressed the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Harcourt) in the past. I submit we hear familiar explanations to-day about the necessity for bringing up the air through the dust-laden floor, and the necessity for keeping the windows shut, though they might, at any rate, give some semblance of fresh air. There was a defence made of the character of the air in this Chamber, but it is perfectly odious, and it so exhausts and depresses everybody who is exposed to it, that, after sitting here until eleven o'clock, it is only a night on Hampstead Heath, or on the Alpine heights of Harrow-on-the-Hill, that is likely to bring any Member of Parliament to the scratch next morning. So odious is the atmosphere here that an open window with a whiff of Wandsworth or a breeze from Bermondsey would be a positive delight to the jaded legislator. I hope time Committee will be set up on this question. We hear about the air going through so much cotton wool, but the fault is that all the bite and all the virtue is taken out of it, and that it reduces Members of this House to the condition of the anæmic plants you sometimes see in glass cases in windows. We are told how fortunate are Members, but in the happy valley of Rasselas the people were not satisfied until they got away. There is not enough movement and change in this atmosphere. An Englishman is brought up in a changing climate, and everything is disagreeable to him in the atmosphere provided here. I desire to ask a question about the clock, "Big Ben." I see a sum provided on page 18 (b) Maintenance and repairs, for last year of £10,950, which, as I understand, was spent upon "Big Ben," and in this year there is a sum of £10,800.
§ Sir J. D. REES
What is the item "Internal and external repairs and miscellaneous charges, £10,800."
§ Sir J. D. REES
It is very misleading. It might be put far more clearly. Nobody would think it applied to the repairs of the whole of the Palace of Westminster. Let me say a word about the grille. I hope it will be left as it is. I was sitting in this House one night when the proceedings were interrupted by papers being thrown down on to the floor of the House, and when there were shouts disturbing the proceedings of the House. I went up there and a lady had chained herself to the grille, and she and the grille were carried away together. If you removed the grille there would be an open means by which anything might be thrown from the Gallery down on to the floor of the House. I deprecate that, and having been a witness to that disgraceful scene I am glad there is a grille, and until we are free from the attentions of the ladies who are known as suffragettes I hope the grille will be maintained in its present position.
§ Mr. LYELL
I have heard a large number of speeches for and against the proposition that the officials should sit at one or other end of the House. I am reminded of nothing so much as of the celebrated conflict in Gulliver's Travels of the "big enders" and the "little enders." It seems to me that the last hon. Member hit the mark in his statement that, given that officials were to assist Ministers by their presence in this House, then obviously it is the most sensible thing to put them in the place where Ministers can most rapidly get at them. It is not often I find myself in complete agreement with any remarks of the hon. Member, but on this occasion I do. Certain exception has been taken to the presence of those officials on the ground 632 that Ministers are continually consulting them, and that in some way or other responsibility is destroyed. I think Ministers may be allowed to have opportunities of verifying details which it is impossible for them to carry in their heads. In all circumstances they have always been ready to shoulder a full measure of responsibility, and to shield any official who advises them in the most complete, frank, and full way. The hon. Member who spoke last raised the question whether he or any other private Member was entitled to go to the Official Gallery to the official for advice. I am perfectly certain if he goes, no matter who the official may be, that he will be received extremely courteously, and whether he gets an answer to his question depends obviously on a great many other circumstances, it must be remembered that the officials under the Gallery own as political chief the Minister whose Department is concerned in the discussion, and to him alone they owe allegiance. They owe no such allegiance to any private Members.
§ Mr. LYELL
They owe allegiance to nobody except the political chief of the Department to which they belong. I wish to refer also to the question of Westminster Hall. In Westminster Hall we have what may fairly be described as a unique national possession. It is almost in the state in which it was left by the builders under Richard II. I believe it is the fact that the roof is in almost exactly the same condition, and that very much of the original timber remains. To my mind, the whole appearance of the Hall is debased by the modern statues and the modern methods of lighting. Perhaps my hon. Friend can tell me when the statues were erected and the lighting arranged for. The statues do not appear to me to have any merit, either historic or artistic, while the chandeliers are certainly out of keeping with a great mediæval hall. I do not know what was the original method of lighting the hall, but I am certain that in these days when electric lighting has reached such a pitch of perfection it would be quite possible for the First Commissioner of Works, at a comparatively small cost, to reproduce with a very fair accuracy the medix00E6;val lighting effects in the Hall. I hope the hon. Gentleman will consider this point and also that of finding a more appropriate place for the statues.
§ Mr. GRANT
I am disappointed with the hon. Gentleman's reply with regard to the ventilation of the House. He told us that some people find the House too hot, and that others find it too cold. He might have told us that he can find hardly anybody who is satisfied with the present condition of affairs. I hope that something will be done to do away with the great discontent which is felt on all sides. I wish to refer to an item under "Maintenance and Repairs" for the salary of the assistant architect and surveyor. I do not know whether this official is under the Board of Works, nor do I know what his duties are. From the amount of the salary I presume that he is not an architect of very great standing, and that he does not have any very great responsibility. I do not understand why we should have an assistant architect and surveyor while the building is under the control of the Office of Works. Is the building entirely under the control of the Office of Works, or has this official any control over what is done? I agree, to a very large extent, with the remarks of the hon. Member opposite about Westminster Hall. Any work or any alteration in connection with such an historic hall is so important that I hope there is some further control than that of an official of the standing represented by the salary to which I have referred. The item for horticultural work amounts to £745, and represents an increase of some £160 on last year. That is a great deal to pay for looking after what are more or less plots of grass. Reference has been made to the decaying of the stonework of the whole building. That decay is very obvious. I understood that there was a Committee considering the matter. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman can inform us whether anything is being done, and, if so, what, to arrest the process of decay.
§ Sir W. BYLES
I wish to ask the Office of Works to give serious consideration to the suggestion that a lift should be put outside the newspaper room in the well of the staircase leading down to the public smoking room and up to the Committee rooms. There is no portion of the precincts of this House more frequented, and I feel perfectly certain that some day or other the House of Commons will be provided with a lift there. There is in the Estimates an item of £2,000 for the installation of a lift. I do not know where that lift is to be put, but, wherever it is, it could not be so convenient as one at the place to which I refer.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I wish to thank the hon. Gentleman for his kindness in saying that he will endeavour to stop the cold draught which rises from the floor. I would remind him, however, that he did not answer my questions as to what was being done with the roof of Westminster Hall. I attach very great importance to the preservation of that roof, and I would press for information on the point. I do not agree with the hon. Member opposite that we should attempt to go back to the medix00E6;val style of lighting. Even if we succeeded in producing something like it, it would only be a sham, and it would cost a considerable amount of money. I would prefer to see it left in the state in which it has been for a considerable time. I do not think that the hon. Gentleman gave a sufficient answer to our objections in reference to the Gallery. No doubt the present arrangement is for the convenience of Ministers. We, however, were thinking not of the convenience of Ministers, but of the efficient discharge of business. We hold that the efficient conduct of business is to some extent injured by the change that has been made. However, I suppose it is not much use discussing the point, as it is no doubt a convenience to both Front Benches. There is an old saying that when both Front Benches combine, private Members on both sides ought to combine also. I do not know whether that will take place to-day.
I should like to congratulate the hon. Gentleman on his refusal to remove the grille. Those hon. Members who ask for the removal of the grille must, I think, have forgotten what occurred in ancient days when there was no grille, and ladies were allowed in the open Gallery. There was a tremendous scene one evening. I am sorry the Chancellor of the Exchequer is not here, because certainly one duchess led the rioters. [An HON. MEMBER: "That was not in this building."] No, it was in the old building. But that does not alter my case. It was in consequence of that disturbance, which lasted four or five hours, that alterations were made in regard to the admission of ladies. If there were no grille, good-looking Members like my hon. Friend beside me would be continually looking up for the approval of the ladies in the Gallery. The consequence would be that we should have a number of speeches made with the view, not of influencing the opinions of Members, but of attracting the attention of the ladies there. We might even have handkerchiefs fluttering 635 or gloves dropped on the benches below, and that sort of thing would take away from the seriousness of this Assembly. My hon. Friend referred to the item for horticultural works. I do not see how we can spend 750 on horticultural works. There are only a few plots of grass.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
That makes a difference. Still you can get a great many gardeners for £750 a year. The hon. Gentleman was congratulated upon the reduction in the cost of gas and electric current. I am afraid I cannot join in those congratulations. It looks as if in previous years there must have been very great waste.
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
That alters the case. Speaking generally, I think that both the Colonial Secretary and the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Benn) are to be congratulated on the way in which they have attended to the comfort of Members during the last six or seven years. I have not had to find fault with what they have done, always excepting the ventilation. I am inclined to think they have done rather too much, and have spent a little too much money. It would perhaps have been better if we had not been made quite so comfortable, so that Members would have been more inclined to attend the Debates in the House. The only other thing that I want to mention, and that complaint has been made about, is the Newspaper Room. What has been said is no doubt true, but it must be remembered that this place is limited. It is quite impossible, however much we may desire, to do all that might be wished. With the exception of the few items I have mentioned, I think the right hon. Gentleman and the hon. Gentleman are to be congratulated on the position in which matters are.
§ Lord A. THYNNE
I want to ask the hon. Member for St. George's to clear up one point, rather important, to private Members on both sides of the House, and which arises out of a speech made by an hon. Member opposite. The hon. Member for St. George's justified the placing of certain Government officials, certain Civil servants, in a particular quarter of the House, and he asked the House to accept the Vote on the ground that private Mem- 636 bers had an equal right to go and consult these permanent officials.
§ Lord A. THYNNE
Well, perhaps not an equal right, but have a right, to obtain information. The hon. Member behind him said that private Members might go and ask for the information, and that they would probably get a courteous answer, but that they were very unlikely to get the information they sought. That is very important for private Members of this House. I would like to know which of the hon. Members is right, and whether we, as private Members, are entitled or not—
§ The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Whitley)
I think that is a question which the hon. Member in charge of this Vote has answered as far as his office is concerned. The general question does not come under this Vote.
§ Lord A. THYNNE
But, Sir, on a point of Order. The hon. Member in charge of the Vote asked us to assent to this arrangement on the ground that it was for the convenience of private Members as well as for the convenience of Ministers.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Gentleman gave an answer as regards the particular officials for whom he is able to speak: obviously he could say no more.
§ Sir WILLIAM BULL
In the year 1853 a standard yard measure and a standard pound weight were embedded in the walls of the Grand Staircase leading up to the Committee Rooms. I understand that every ten years—that is, in '63, '73, and so on—they were to be examined. I shall be glad to know whether they have been or will be examined this year, whether there will be any ceremony in connection with the function, who are the officials to be present, and whether the standard yard measure and the standard pound weight are compared with those in the Guildhall or at Windsor Castle?
§ Mr. STUART-WORTLEY
I do not know why the hon. Member opposite should be in such a hurry to close the discussion on this Vote. He must know perfectly well that those in charge are not only willing but anxious to give an answer to the profoundly interesting questions as 637 to what is being done. The question in relation to Westminster Hall has not been answered. When the hon. Member has been longer in the House he will know better.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think I must point out that under the Standing Order of the House, once the Question has been put, it is well within the competence of any Member in any part of the House to move that the Question be now put; of course, it depends upon the Chair as to whether or not the Motion is accepted.
§ Mr. STUART-WORTLEY
I submit there remains the question of the discretion with which that right is exercised. I wish to ask the hon. Member in charge of the Vote a question, If he cannot answer it to-day I shall not require him to go to those under the Gallery and get an answer. I shall be perfectly content to have the answer either on Report or subsequently. Under Sub-head C there is the maintenance and repair of Abingdon Street, St. Margaret Street, Old and New Palace Yard, etc. The hon. Member may remember that all these are in connection with the improvements to the Embankment. When the approaches to this House on the south side were made it was generally understood that the piece of very rough and disagreeable roadway that was still existing should be improved in the way that those parts of the road have been improved which are under the jurisdiction of the London County Council. There remains a certain length of road which is paved with old-fashioned granite setts—which some people call "cobble stones"—which are not worthy of the surroundings of this House. I want to know whether the expectations raised at the time I refer to, that that difficulty should be improved away, can now be fulfilled. It is entered upon this Vote, and points to the fact that the maintenance of that particular part of the roadway is vested as an obligation in the Office of Works, and not in the London County Council.
§ Mr. BENN
I hope that when I deal with the points which have been raised, that the House will see fit to give me this Vote in order that we may get on with the new works which are referred to in the Vote, and which cannot be entered upon before the Committee stage of this Vote has been passed. With regard to the observations of several Members, the difficulty about the provision of a lift has been 638 to find some place where we can get up from the bottom to the top of the building in one shaft. You cannot do that under the stairs which go from the Committee corridors, so that rules that part of the House quite out of the question. Fortunately in making the new Palace staircase we have found a place where we can get from the cellar right away to the Committee corridor in a comparatively accessible place. Consequently we decided to put the lift there. I hope, therefore, it will be found a convenient place. Hon. Members in taking ladies to the Dining Room from the Ladies' Gallery, will be able to put them into the lift at the foot of the stairs, and allow them to go to the Committee Room corridor, instead of making a long detour as at present. Hon. Members mentioned the question of the sound-proof boxes. We will see whether such may be fitted up in connection with the Westminster Hall improvements. But I must ask hon. Members to remember that we have stone buildings, which are not elastic, and it is hard to find all the accommodation required. In respect to the question put by the hon. Member behind me as to the statues in Westminster Hall being incongruous, I agree. They were not meant to be placed there at all. They were intended for somewhere else, but it is very hard to know where to put them. If the hon. Member suggests some suitable place the First Commissioner will be quite willing to have them removed. An hon. Member asked concerning Westminster Hall. In another place we have taken £600 for this continuing service. We propose to make various repairs that may be necessary this year.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I was not objecting to the amount; I only wanted to know what, actually is to be done.
§ Mr. BENN
No, I perfectly understood that; but I am just mentioning in this connection the work of Mr. Collins, the architect, and Mr. Ridge, his assistant.
639 The stone work of this building is constantly being watched by the architects, and sums are included in the Estimate so that the architects may make good any decay which may make itself felt. As to the question put by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, we are waiting for the Westminster improvements to be completed, in which case the county council will have the duty of making good a certain part of the street, and the remainder will be done by us. There is only one other question, the one put by the hon. Member for Hammersmith. There is a standard yard measure and a standard pound weight in the wall in the grand staircase. There is not an exactly statutory obligation to examine these, but they have been practically examined every twenty years, and this year happens to be the twentieth year. The officials concerned are the Speaker of the House of Commons, the President of the Board of Trade, and the First Commissioner of Works, who merely comes in in his capacity as causing the removal of the stonework to get the measure and the pound weight out. The comparisons are not made with the standards referred to
§ by the hon. Member, but with the ordinary standards which are kept in a specially constructed chamber called King John's Jewel Tower, opposite the Victoria Tower. I think that disposes of all the points subsequent to those I answered earlier in the evening. We must get these Votes to-day if we are to get on with the new works which are absolutely essential for the efficiency of the public service. I would suggest to hon. Members that that will be a convenient course—to reserve fuller criticism for Class II., Vote 26, which includes the salary of the First Commissioner and gives a perfectly wide range for criticism.
§ Sir W. BULL
May I ask the date when the inspection and comparison of the standards will take place?
§ Question put, "That a sum, not exceeding £31,600, be granted for the said Service."
§ The Committee divided; Ayes, 56; Noes, 230.641
|Division No. 21.]||AYES.||[7.13 p.m.|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Barrie, H. T.||Fletcher, John Samuel||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Gibbs, G. A.||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Gilmour, Captain John||Rawson, Colonel Richard H.|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Goldsmith, Frank||Royds, Edmund|
|Boyton, James||Grant, J. A.||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Bull, Sir William James||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Stanier, Beville|
|Butcher, John George||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Stewart, Gershom|
|Campbell, Capt. Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Hall, Frederick (Dulwich)||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Henderson, Major H. (Berkshire)||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Cassel, Felix||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Touche, George Alexander|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Clyde, James Avon||Houston, Robert Paterson||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Hunt, Rowland||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||M'Calmont, Major Robert C. A.|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Sir H. Craik and Sir F. Banbury.|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Mount, William Arthur|
|Fell, Arthur||Newman, John R. P.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Benn, W. W. (T. Hamletts, St. Geo.)||Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Bentham, George Jackson||Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)|
|Adamson, William||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Byles, Sir William Pollard|
|Addison, Dr. Christopher||Boland, John Pius||Carr-Gomm, H. W.|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Booth, Frederick Handel||Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Bowerman, C. W.||Chancellor, Henry G.|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Chapple, Dr. William Allen|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Brady, P. J.||Clancy, John Joseph|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Brunner, J. F. L.||Clough, William|
|Barnes, G. N.||Bryce, J. Annan||Condon, Thomas Joseph|
|Barran, Sir J. (Hawick Burghs)||Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.|
|Barton, W.||Burke, E. Haviland-||Cotton, William Francis|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Crooks, William|
|Crumley, Patrick||Jones, J Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Jones, Leif Stratton (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Pointer, Joseph|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Jowett, F. W.||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Dawes, J. A.||Joyce, Michael||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Delany, William||Keating, Matthew||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Kellaway, Frederick George||Radford, G. H.|
|Dewar, Sir J. A.||Kelly, Edward||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Reddy, Michael|
|Doris, William||Kilbride, Denis||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Duffy, William J.||King, Joseph||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Lardner, James C. R.||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Essex, Sir Richard Walter||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)|
|Falconer, James||Levy, Sir Maurice||Robinson, Sidney|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Lundon, T.||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Lyell, Charles Henry||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Lynch, A. A.||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Field, William||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Rowlands, James|
|Fitzgibbon, John||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South)||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Furness, Stephen W.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Scanlan, Thomas|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||M'Callum, Sir John M.||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.|
|Gill, A. H.||M'Curdy, C. A.||Sheehy, David|
|Ginnell, Laurence||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Glanville, H. J.||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Smith, H. B. L. (Northampton)|
|Goldstone, Frank||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Greig, Col. J. W.||Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Meagher, Michael||Sutherland. J. E.|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Sutton, John E.|
|Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Millar, James Duncan||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Molloy, Michael||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Molteno, Percy Alport||Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)|
|Hackett, J.||Mooney, John J.||Thomas, James Henry|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)||Morgan, George Hay||Toulmin, Sir G.|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Morison, Hector||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Hardie, J. Keir||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Muldoon, John||Wadsworth, J.|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Munro, R.||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Murphy, Martin J.||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire)||Needham, Christopher T.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Norman, Sir Henry||Watt, Henry A.|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Norton, Captain Cecil W.||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Nuttall, Harry||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Hazleton, Richard (Galway, N.)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Hemmerde, Edward George||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir T. P.|
|Henderson. Arthur (Durham)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Whyte, A. F.|
|Higham, John Sharp||O'Doherty, Philip||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Hinds, John||O'Donnell, Thomas||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||O'Grady, James||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Hodge, John||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Hogge, James Myles||O'Malley, William||Wing, Thomas|
|Holmes, Daniel Turner||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Shee, James John||Young, William (Perthshire, E.)|
|Hudson, Walter||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Hughes, S. L.||Outhwaite, R. L.|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Parry, Thomas H.|
Question put, and agreed to.