HC Deb 24 January 1913 vol 47 cc849-948

Order for Committee read.


I beg to move, "That it be an Instruction to the Committee that they have power to divide the Bill into two parts, separating the provisions relating to continuous registration of electors from those relating to the franchise."

This Instruction raises a very important question, but in view of the harsh application of the guillotine, which allows less than an hour and a half for the discussion of this important subject, I intend, for the convenience of the House, to compress my observations as much as possible, even if it whittles away some of the strength of my arguments. The case for this Instruction is very clear and explicit. The Bill which is about to be discussed in Committee contains two separate and distinct subjects. In the first place, it is proposed to reform the franchise for Parliamentary elections in this country, and, in the second place, it is intended to alter the means by which those qualified to vote are to obtain access to and be placed upon the register. It is a matter of common knowledge that the one involves deep controversial questions of principle; the other, though vital and urgent is, in a Parliamentary sense, uncontroversial, and resolves itself into merely a matter of discussion of questions of machinery. The two subjects in the Bill, although correlated, are distinct and unconnected in themselves. It is quite conceivable, for instance, that the franchise part of the Bill could be, carried in this House without any alteration in registration, without any alteration in the compilation of the lists, or without in any way changing the date on which the register comes into operation. But it is equally true that there are many in this House who, though ardent advocates, as they may be, of registration reform, view with grave doubt and apprehension some of the proposals contained in the Government's measure. May I ask the House, for a few minutes, to look at the historical precedents? Registration and the franchise have not only been looked upon as fundamentally distinct subjects; they have been regarded as problems too large to be legitimately contained within the area of one single Bill. In 1867 the alteration of the franchise was accompanied by a separate and distinct Registration Bill. In 1878 the whole system of registration was altered without in any way changing the franchise. Again, in 1884, when Mr. Gladstone introduced his Franchise Bill, it was only in the following year that the registration proposal was introduced. The invariable precedent of Parliamentary procedure has also been followed in all questions of local government. In 188S the County Electors Act, which was essentially a Registration Act, preceded the Local Government Act of th3 following year.

Whatever the arguments were for treating these subjects as distinct in those cases, they are immensely strengthened by the Amendments which have been put down by the Government, and which materially alter not only the whole character of the Bill but its scope also. I need only point to the Amendment in the name of the President of the Board of Education, who proposes to rip out of the Bill the main body of the registration proposals, to depute the decision to some obscure Department of the Government, to deprive this House of the power of considering and deciding the question of the time of registration, and deprive it of those safeguards which are necessary in the case of Orders in Council. The Bill proposes much more. It proposes, among other things, a continuous register, which in my opinion will involve the country in a vast amount of expenditure. If you are going to abandon the principle of occupation and are going in for a residential qualification and a continuous register, in spite of what the President of the Board of Education has told us that the canvass will only be required once a year, it stands to reason that if you are to check and control the departure and arrival of residents it is necessary that you should have a continuous canvass. That means the employment of a vast amount of canvassing machinery. You can, at least, no longer rely on the rate book as proof of occupation. For that reason it is necessary to maintain a continuous canvass if your register is to be of any value whatever. I have made a small calculation in order to give an illustration of what the Bill really does. I take the case of Leeds. Leeds has an electorate of 74,000, but under the extended franchise of the Bill it will have an electorate of approximately 80,000, and would involve 90,000 voters' houses. In order to canvass these 90,000 houses and pay only one single visit once a month you will need the employment of twenty-two canvassers able to visit the houses once a month, and I calculate that each canvasser will be able to canvass 300 houses a day. That would involve Leeds in an expenditure of £2,000 a year, and the same amount will have to be paid by every political party in this House. Apply the same argument to the country as a whole. You have 9,000,000 houses in this country and the expenditure which would be entailed in this particular canvass, merely for an outside canvass, would amount to over £150,000 and another £50,000 for the interior organisation. In other words, the country is to be involved in an expenditure of £250,000 a year, and a similar amount will have to be found by the political parties in this country. I do not wish to criticise the Bill at this stage. My whole object in mentioning this point is merely to point out the vast scope of this Bill and to say that it seems to me unfair and irrational that vast changes involving such vast expenditure should be passed and carried in this House without ample opportunity for discussion.

A further point I should like to make is that if my Instruction is not carried you are placing many Members of the House in an intolerable position. You will be forcing them to vote against their most profound convictions. They will either be compelled to vote against what they, in their conscience, believe to be imperatively necessary for the proper representation of the people or they will be compelled to accept Amendments which they sincerely believe to be fraught with great danger to the country. I am speaking for many Members of the House and certainly for many on this side of the House, who will not be so easily reconciled to this dilemma. The Government profess to desire the principle of one man, one vote. We on this side of the House stand for the principle of one Bill, one subject, and I think it is very necessary at this stage that we should raise the strongest possible protest against the overloading of Bills. This is not the first occasion on which the Government is coercing the House of Commons. The unjustifiable coupling of unemployment with health insurance placed Members of the House, who are strongly in favour of the one measure but who intensely dislike the inequalities of the other measure, into a position extremely difficult to explain to the country. If you are bringing measures of a different character into an omnibus Bill you are placing Members in a very difficult position. If the powers of the other House are to be reduced to impotence, and if free discussion in this House is to be curtailed, at least let the silent vote be placed upon a clear and distinct and single issue. Otherwise I contend that we are mere machines drawing salaries from the State by false pretences. If the country is no longer to know what we are voting about, at least let Members of the House understand what the clear issues are that they are voting on.

I am an ardent and convinced advocate of a reform of the amorphous and contradictory and unjust registration laws, which I believe would be largely removed and relief given if the proposals of the Government could be fairly discussed in a separate measure or a separate part of the Bill, and to that end I have introduced a Registration Bill, backed by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Cave) and other Members, but if I thought this Bill was going to help towards that end I would give it my support so far as I could. But I believe, if my Instruction is not accepted, this registration reform will be blocked for the whole period of Parliament. You are imperilling necessary electoral reform by mixing up the important questions of registration reform with many and difficult problems in connection with the franchise, and it requires no political instinct to foresee that in these discussions you will only be ploughing the sands, and it will take two years before such a Bill is passed, if it is passed at all. Indeed, supporters of the Government are freely stating outside the House that if some of the Franchise Amendments are accepted or are not accepted the Bill is going to be dropped; and in view of the ruling of Mr. Speaker yesterday, it seems to me at least somewhat uncertain that the franchise proposals are going to be carried. Under these circumstances, are we to endure to the end all the registration and electoral anomalies and difficulties which exist in this country because the House has taken a decision on a totally different subject, and if this Bill is not to be passed in the next two years, are we to continue under the existing anomalies? This House was returned in 1910, not by the register of 1910, but by the register of 1909, compiled from the electors whom had been in their constituencies prior to 1908. You are not representing the people of 1910; you are representing the sterile vote of the people of 1908. Indeed you are not representing the voice of the people; you are only representing the voice of the people who have happened to be two years in a particular constituency and who have in other respects not offended against some of the rules of the registration laws. In my Constituency, for instance, a supporter of mine was disfranchised because during a period of illness his wife had received a single loaf from a relieving officer, and, in another case, a lodger who was living with his widowed mother and wanted to change into a residential qualification, lost his vote and was disfranchised. It is not only that. It is sufficiently well known that in most of the big industrial centres of England 25 per cent, of the electorate are being disfranchised. In spite of all the expense that we are incurring and in spite of the vast amount of time that is wasted in trying to elucidate what is now known as one of the most obscure branches of the English law, 25 per cent, of the electorate is being disfranchised by the absurd and anomalous system of our registration law. I want to get rid of these anomalies as soon as possible, and I believe, if this Bill were divided, there is not a single election agent, no matter to what party he belongs, who is not strongly urging the removal of the anomalies and absurdities of the registration law; but by lumping this question together with the important discussion involving the suffrage to women, involving the removal of the plural vote, involving the removal of university representation, involving the disappearance of the occupation franchise, involving continuous registration, you are only providing a means to enable the other House, merely on the question of time, allowing eight days only for the discussion of these subjects, to reject the Bill. Why under these circumstances should we continue to exist under this system?

I should also like to point out that even supposing this measure were carried, it would not entirely meet my point. I think it has escaped the attention of some hon. Members that the Bill is timed to come into operation in June next year. This is no mere accidental arrangement. It happens to tally with the end of a particular political Session and it is an invari- able rule which is well understood—an ancient convention if you like to call it so—that when you have introduced vast and far-reaching proposals you should immediately make an appeal to the country. Probably the Government are estimating that an appeal to the country will be made on that occasion. I am not so certain of the stability of the Government. Political exigencies might arise which would involve an earlier appeal to the country. The next election will be a momentous one for the future of the country. It is to involve a separate Irish Parliament, which is going to involve, in my opinion, a definite menace of civil disturbance in this country. It is going to deal with the question of the Disestablishment of the Welsh Church, with the question of the restitution of the Constitution—


The hon. Member is going rather far. His observations do not seem particularly relevant to his Instruction.


I only wanted to point out that in view of the great issues with which the country will be confronted, I should like to see electoral reform granted and that we should not continue under the present system. I was going on these grounds to say, that under these circumstances the country should be fully represented and we should at least endeavour to obtain a complete and unfettered expression of the opinion of the electors of this country and that the Government should consider the necessity and advisability of separating the Bill into two parts and enabling that free and unfettered expression of opinion to be given when the time arrives. For these reasons I make this special appeal to the Government to support the Bill and allow us to proceed with the one important question, that of electoral reform, which I am sure would be speedily passed with the assent of all parties.


I beg to second the Motion.

I entirely agree with the concluding part of the hon. Member's speech, in which he put forward what I think is the strongest of all the arguments he used in support of this Instruction. The main argument which he used and which I should like particularly to support is that undoubtedly these are two such wholly different questions that if they are coupled together in one Bill, which possibly may at some time be read the Third Time in this House, it puts hon. Members in a wholly unfair position in forcing them to vote against that which in many cases and certainly in my own, they may have advocated for a long time in their constituencies and elsewhere.

I do not believe there is any support for the artificial disabilities by which voters are kept from the exercise of the franchise in some cases for a period as long as two years and a half. That, I believe, is the main and most important reason that can be alleged in support of this Instruction. But there is a further consideration. I suppose there has rarely been a Bill before this House where the future course is so beset with perils, rocks, and shoals, on any one of which the ship may be wrecked and go to the bottom. On that account I think it is most unfair on the part of the Government to have, in the first instance, included matter in this Bill which is a proper subject for a wholly separate Bill, which would be practically non-contentious, and, even at this late period of the Session, they would probably have no difficulty in passing it into law. I will state three other reasons why I strongly support this Instruction to the Committee. The first is this: I find, as the hon. Member (Mr. Goldman) indicated briefly, that it is contrary to precedent, and particularly the precedent of 1884, to include the question of registration in a Bill which is already much more complex in nature than the Bill which was then before the House for the extension of the franchise. In the next place, I maintain that without the introduction of the Clause dealing with registration and the Schedules—I understand they are now to be cut out—the Bill is already far too complex, and far too overloaded with divergent and different subjects, to be the proper subject of a single Bill. I want to point out, thirdly, that the Bill is already cut into two, because of the Amendment that stands in the name of the President of the Board of Education. If the Amendment to Clause 3 is carried, it sweeps out everything dealing with the registration part of the Bill, beyond giving a mere pious expression of opinion that it is desirable to establish a system of continuous registration.

Dealing first with the precedent of 1884, I find that Mr. Gladstone in moving the Franchise Bill of that year pointed out particularly that it was not a disfran- chising Bill, and that under the Bill all the ancient franchises were left. He said:— I put entirely out of sight what are sometimes called the 'ancient right' franchises—the case of freemen, the case of liverymen, the case of burgess tenure, and whatever other miscellaneous franchises there are surviving under the old system. A little further on he said:— Now I come to the future borough franchise which we propose. We leave the ancient right' franchises, as I have already said, exactly as they are now. We touch them in no way. Then, again, he said:— Now let me say shortly, we leave the 'ancient right' franchises alone. Let me say that we disfranchise personally no one. Wherever there is a provision in the Bill which would operate against the creation of franchises hereafter, identical in principle with some that now exist, we do not interfere with the right already legally acquired, however illegitimate it may seem to be. We leave the property vote alone, and confine ourselves to the endeavour to stop the extension of fictitious votes. There was therefore a distinct limitation of the Bill of 1884, and it was not, as the Prime Minister endeavoured to indicate, a measure of greater scope and importance than the present one. It was distinctly of a more limited nature. Mr. Gladstone dealt still more clearly with the question of the complexity in a passage in which he said:— We look at the attainable; we look at the practical; and we have too much of English sense to be drawn away by those sanguine delineations of what might possibly be attained in Utopia, from a path which promises to enable us to effect great good for the people of England. This is not an exhaustive list; but to aim at an ideal franchise might draw in the question of proportional representation, the question of women's suffrage…There is also the question of voting papers; the question of the franchises of the universities, of the freemen's franchises, of the livery franchise, and the burgage franchise; and there is again the principle of whether one man should have more than one role. There is, in fact, no end to the proposals that might be raised even on the stage of the first of these three great divisions, without touching the other two. Our principle has been to inquire what was practicable; what were the conditions under which we had to move and to act in the present state of Parliament, and Parliamentary business. I think that passage will show how far from the Liberal traditions of the time of Mr. Gladstone the present Government have travelled when in the present state of Parliamentary business they cram into one Bill almost every single thing Mr. Gladstone specifically stated he intentionally left out of the Bill of 1884, because it was not practicable. We are on the top of that to have the question of registration brought in. I ask is not that a full and sufficient reason for this Instruction, so that at least part of this deck cargo, which will bring their whole ship to wreck, should be thrown overboard, and left to a separate measure. May I read to the House what Mr. Gladstone said on this very question of registration:— As to registration, all I will say is this, that our Bill is framed with the intention of preparing a state of things in which the whole occupation franchise, which, I believe, will be five-sixths of the franchise, shall be a self-acting franchise, and the labour anxiety and expense connected with the proof of title, which is, after all, according to our view, the affair of the public and the State, rather than of the individual, will, I trust, be got, rid of. But at the same time our Bill is not a complete Bill in that vital respect, and we look to the introduction of another Bill for the purpose, with which we shall be prepared immediately when the House has supplied us with the basis on which it wishes us to proceed. There we have a still more clear indication of what was the precedent of 1884. Mr. Gladstone dealt with the very question which is the subject of this Instruction. He said he would proceed with another Bill when he had the necessary information at his command. Therefore, I say that, so far as the question of precedent is concerned, the Government are, as usual, creating a new one in their haste and hurry to carry as many passengers in one omnibus as they can possibly drive through the House of Commons under procedure with which we are now so familiar.

Let me deal with the question of the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment. If the House will consider what that Amendment really is, they will see that it is already the intention of the Government to divide this Bill. They have already found out that if they leave in the Second and Third Schedules of the Bill, and if they leave in the Clause dealing with registration, they will not be able, even in this age of hustle, to get the whole of that question through in the time at their disposal. But do they propose to give us another Bill? Do they propose to follow the constitutional precedent of the greatest Prime Minister there has ever been on their own side on the last occasion when a great Reform Bill was carried through the House? Oh, dear no! They have a new method, which is simply to pass this Bill containing a Clause leaving the whole of this vast and complicated subject entirely in the hands of the Executive Government, and the House of Commons will have nothing to do with it. They say, "We shall make our own arrangements by Order in Council, and those who are aggrieved may proceed by petition." It is almost impossible to bring any pressure on the Government by that means. The principle of dividing the Bill is agreed. By this Instruction we ask the House to follow the constitutional method of letting us have a Registration Bill before the House in order that the House may consider it and vote upon it. I think that is a strong reason for dividing the Bill into two parts.

There is another, and a fourth reason, to which I wish to call the attention of the House. It is obvious that the Bill must be divided into two, for the simple reason that the Government have not left sufficient time to discuss the question of registration at all. I ask the attention of the House to the time-table. I find that the Debate on Clause 3 is to commence at 7.30, and to terminate at 10.30. That is the time allowed to deal not only with the whole question of continuous registration, but with the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment which involves legislation by Order in Council, and I cannot believe that proposal alone will be meekly submitted to in this House, or, at any rate, on this side of the House. Then there is the question of the County Courts—a wholly novel proposal, which will do away with the present judicial authority, the revising barrister. Those who wish these registration arrangements to proceed smoothly are not by any means agreed to leave an appeal only to the County Courts. There are all those contentious questions to be dealt with, and the time allowed for their discussion is three hours. The whole of them are blotted out by the proposal of the Government to deal with them by Order in Council. That alone is a proposal which will not be agreed to. It could not be fully debated in three days, let alone three hours. I have endeavoured to make good my case for supporting this Instruction. I believe there never was a more important Instruction submitted to the House, and never before has a stronger case existed for an Instruction to the Committee.

Much more might be said in support of this Amendment, but the arguments already submitted to the House are sufficient to show that we have here an already overloaded Bill, which, left to itself, without the question of registration, would be a far more complicated measure than previous measures which have been before the House. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to leave out this particular part, and that, at any rate, would leave us three hours more for the discussion of the remaining portion in this House. Yesterday the Prime Minister attempted to show that this must be a Bill of almost trivial importance, because it enfranchises one and a half million new electors. But this is not a question of a simple subtraction sum. You cannot, because you are taking away the franchise already possessed by a large number of electors, say that you have only got to consider what is the net addition, for this form of argument docs not deal with the question of enfranchisement and the taking away of the existing franchise and of the representation of universities, and now, under the right hon. Gentleman's last proposal, his Amendment to Clause 1 does away with the whole of the occupier franchise, and consequently disfranchises in the true meaning of the word all the great business centres of the country. In addition it deals with the local government franchise, and even with the disability of peers to vote for Members of Parliament.

Surely, with a load like that in one Bill, even the Government themselves cannot be anxious to cram through this question of registration, which stands on a wholly different basis from all this contentious matter, giving only three hours to debate the whole subject. The subject is one which is more acutely felt by the vast mass of the electors than half the contentious measures which have been before the House during the last few years. The electors feel it a great injustice that, when they are fully qualified to vote, even those who have got the franchise are frequently debarred from voting for long periods at a time. The slightest change in residence when searching for employment disfranchises them. I ask the House to support this Instruction to the Committee, in order that we may have some clean, clear voting, at any rate, upon one subject. Indeed, I believe that the vast majority of hon. Members on both sides are absolutely agreed that we should have before us a clear proposal for dealing with this registration question, so that we may bring to bear upon it proper free debate and criticism of whatever scheme is put before us, with the one main object of making it simple, easy and inexpensive, for every man who is qualified to vote, to exercise the franchise. That would be the honest, honourable and upright method of procedure; and we ask the Government to abandon this proposal to proceed outside the powers of the House by Order in Council. We on this side of the House are not prepared to leave this question of registration to the Government's wisdom and discretion. We believe firmly that a better scheme can be threshed out in this House by allowing full and free debate. Therefore, I beg to second the Instruction to the Committee.


The hon. Mover and the hon. Member who seconded the Instruction have been very eloquent in endeavouring to justify a different course from that which the Government are pursuing. They have alluded to precedents. The hon. Member who moved the Instruction began with the precedent of 1867–8, and he proceeded to that of 1884–5. I admit that so far as those instances can be cited as precedents, they are against the course which the Government have adopted. The hon. Member, however, did not allude to the earlier precedent of 1832. Although I admit that Parliamentary procedure and Parliamentary atmosphere were very different then from what they are to-day, yet in the Bill of 1832, after a prolonged and very strenuous fight over franchise, registration was included in the same Bill, and it was regarded as absolutely consequential to the franchise; but I do not, myself, accept that as a precedent for to-day; and for reasons which I can give, I do not think we ought to be influenced by the precedents of 1867–8 or 1884–5. In both those periods there had been a very long fight between the two great political parties. The 1867–8 Bill was passed by Mr. Disraeli after there had been a defeat of Mr. Gladstone's Government. In 1884–5 another Ministerial crisis arose, and the Bill was passed by Mr. Gladstone after another defeat. The Redistribution was carried then with the consent of the Opposition; and the measures were even passed through the House of Lords while the Ministerial crisis was going on. I do not think that any hon. Member can say that the situation which arose on those particular occasions can be accepted as bearing on the present situation. There are two great differences. The Government are now reforming the franchise without the help of the Opposition. Although hon. Members deal eloquently with the grievances of our present franchise law and our present registration law, yet whenever any real and particular proposals are made to amend them in any real direction hon. Members always have a different method by which these grievances ought to be redressed. Our proposals not only are opposed by the Opposition, but, in themselves, so far as the franchise portion is concerned, prepare the way for a scheme of registration. And another great difference between our proposals and those in the two cases of 1867–8 and 1884–5 is this, that those enfranchising laws were in their very nature complicated, and the nature of the registration was also complicated; while, on the other hand, our proposals are very simple. The registration is interdependent with our very franchise proposals.

I think hon. Members, if they look at it, will realise how absolutely essential it is that franchise and registration should proceed simultaneously. We, for the first time, establish a system of continuous registration, and it is by a six months' period of qualification. That six months' period is not to commence at any particular date. If it commenced at a particular date, there would be much more to be said against the two provisions being included in the same Bill; but it is absolutely impossible to carry out a system of continuous registration by six months' residence qualification unless the proposals are in the same Bill. It would be quite absurd for us to propose a Franchise Bill of a continuous character without, at the same time, including in the same proposals a system by which the individual would begin the six months' qualification period from any date, and incorporating that system in the same Bill. There is no use in declaring that men are to have a vote unless machinery is put forward for that vote being registered; and unless they are registered they cannot vote. Hon. Members have condemned our proposal that registration should be carried out by rules made by Order in Council. In justifying that procedure, as I endeavoured to do yesterday, I pointed out that in all these proposals for registration reform the ordinary course has been pursued; and even the hon. Member himself alluded to his support of the Bill introduced by the hon. Member for Kingston, and that very Bill accepts the present method of procedure in connection with drafting a Registration Bill and by a particular Clause it applies to the whole of Ireland and Scotland by this very procedure of rules and the procedure by Order in Council, and he himself is one of those who come down and condemn this system while he is a party to a Bill to carry out this very procedure.


In my Bill provision was made that where authority is given to His Majesty to pass an Order in Council Members of this House shall have the right to lodge a protest against any Order in Council under the Bill.

12.0 P.M.


I do not think that the hon. Member was in his seat yesterday when it was explained that we are going to do what his party has never done in connection with a, Bill adopting this procedure. In 1898, in adopting this procedure in connection with the Registration Bill for Ireland, they did not give the House of Commons the opportunity of considering the rules passed by Order in Council. When the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Strand Division (Mr. Long), who was, I think, President of the Local Government Board, proceeded to deal with the registration of the City of London, he did not, while following this precedent, give this House the opportunity to discuss the rules to be made by Order in Council; but we have definitely stated that we not only propose to lay the rules upon the Table off the House for thirty days, but we have undertaken to give time for their discussion, and, if necessary, for their withdrawal and the substitution of others for them. We are not going to deprive this House of the opportunity of considering our proposals, because we regard them as of such importance that they ought not to be passed through by Order in Council without giving the House of Commons an opportunity to review them. There is one other subject, although I do not think I can travel very far upon it, in regard to which the hon. Member seems to be under some misconception. In illustrating the rules, he gave the case of Leeds, and he pointed out that in his judgment some burden was going to be laid not only on the ratepayers of the country to carry out the procedure necessary for the registration of voters, but that very large funds, would also be spent by the parties in looking after this new registration system. On those grounds he urged that more time should be given to discuss these rules of procedure in connection with registration. I have given the subject a great deal of attention, and while, in whatever I say, I speak with considerable reserve, yet I am quite sure that it is not easy for any individual Member to say exactly what will be and will not be the cost of carrying out the procedure. The hon. Member, first of all, has misread one of the rules which appears under Schedule 2 of this Bill. He said it was necessary to have only one canvass in the year. The rule is intended to convey the idea that one at least is necessary.

We believe that in the urban districts two or three completed registers may be necessary in consequence of the large number of removals. With two columns dropped out of the register, we believe that the cost will be a great deal reduced. We believe that they will be able to print the register with uniformity, and that in connection with the process of printing the cost will be less in the future than in the past. We are satisfied that the system can be carried out, and, though we cannot form an adequate estimate of what the cost will be, I believe that owing to the Grant which the Treasury give, we will be able to meet the additional expenditure to be incurred throughout the whole country. It may be that in urban districts the cost may be even greater, but in rural districts, on the other hand, I believe that very likely the cost will be less. I am anticipating those particular points, because I only want to put in a caveatat this moment in order that hon. Members may not mislead local authorities in the country in regard to the cost that is going to be placed upon them. If they do their work well, I feel sure that there will be no necessity to spend money for party agents to look after the register in the future. Instead of the agents being responsible for a satisfactory register the work will be undertaken by the registration authorities at the public cost, without any money being provided by political parties. That is certainly the intention, and I believe it can be carried out by the rules.


I think that if the Instruction which we are discussing at this moment, or a similar Instruction, had been discussed previously, we should not have been proceeding to dissect the corpse as we are this morning in the House of Commons. I am one of those who believe that the introduction of an extension of the franchise to women into this particular Bill is one of the extensions which is going to interfere with what everybody in this House, I think, believes ought to be done, namely, to make it possible for everyone who, at the present moment at any rate, is entitled to be on the register, to have an opportunity to record his vote in the ballot box. I do not at all found my argument upon precedents, as the hon. Member opposite did. I have no objection to becoming an ancestor, and to be quoted in the House as one of those who has created the wisdom of those ancestors, and so I am perfectly prepared to create a precedent this morning. But it does seem to me that we all understand and I think appreciate the anomalies of the present registration law. I think I myself have only been able to give two Parliamentary votes in my life—one for the late Attorney-General, who sits on the Front Opposition Bench, which I gave against him—he was successful—and the other which I gave in favour of my hon. Friend now a Member for Sutherland, but he was unable to be returned; so that I have never yet been able to really exercise what I consider is my right as an adopted citizen of this United Kingdom.

It does seem to me that, in the first intance, it is very much more important that direct expression ought to be given to the present franchise than that we should seek to complicate that franchise by additions. I think the great difficulty of knowing how to vote on the question of the extension of the franchise to women on Monday or Tuesday is one reason why some Instruction of this sort should be carried. I do not know if hon. Members have really considered what the issue may be. There are four Amendments to this particular franchise, which means that there are eighty-one possibilities of voting in the Lobby in the next three days. In saying this I want to illustrate the reason why I propose to vote for this Amendment, and to urge some reason why a division in the Bill ought to be made. This present proposal is putting us all in a false position. The order in which the Amendments as to Women Suffrage appear is putting us in a false position. I myself do not want to deny to women the opportunity of having their position discussed. For myself, I shall vote in favour of Adult Suffrage being extended both to men and women, but if I oppose what is known as the Grey Amendment, I myself, like a great many other Members of the House, am open to the charge of insincerity on the part of women, and therefore I think, in the interests of fairness to all of us who want, to look at this subject from an impartial point of view, that some consideration ought to be given to the preliminary Instructions to divide the Bill, and so avoid confusing the issue.


In supporting the proposal of my hon. Friend, I wish to address a few observations to the House in the limited time now at our disposal. The hon. Member who has just sat down has indicated a doubt which I think must have been felt by many Members in different parts of the House, and, if I understood him aright, he indicated that, whilst sympathising generally with the proposal of my hon. Friend, he did not propose to support him in the Division Lobby.


I am going to do it.


The hon. Gentleman is better than his speech led me to anticipate, but it would appear that the House did not feel in the mood to give to the observations made by my hon. Friend that attention which on their merits they deserved. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Education has given the reason why in his judgment the Instruction ought not to be adopted. In my judgment those reasons were entirely inadequate. In the first place, the right hon. Gentleman said, and I think it was his principal argument, that in the case of a Bill of this kind, where two subjects are so directly and necessarily connected, it is essential that the provisions for registration should be included in the Bill, so that the two proposals could be simultaneously effective. The object of the Instruction is perfectly simple—it is that the two subjects should be discussed in a manner which would enable the House of Commons to give separate and individual consideration to each subject. That alone is the object of this Instruction. The method which has been adopted by the Government makes impossible any individual consideration of each, and, what is far more serious, makes it impossible for the House of Commons to give any adequate consideration at all to the proposal for registration. The right hon. Gentleman said that we are always stating that we are in favour of registration, but that whenever the Government bring forward a proposal we always oppose it. I do not think that is an accurate statement. Whenever registration proposals that had for their single object making it easier, in the excel-cellent phrase of the hon. Gentleman opposite, for those in the enjoyment of the vote to exercise the right of voting, then, I say, such a proposal has never been opposed on this side of the House, and I challenge the right hon. Gentleman to mention any occasion on which we have done so.

What is the position in which we find ourselves to-day? With the single exception to which the right hon. Gentleman referred, the exception of 1832, I believe I am correct in saying that there is not a single case of a reform of the franchise in which the Bill at the same time did not provide for the separate treatment of registration. Surely that circumstance should make the House pause before rejecting the proposal put forward by my hon. Friend. Are there, then, any reasons in this case which will make it right that Parliament should adopt a different course to-day from that which has been adopted for forty years? So far from there being any particular circumstances to justify the adoption of a different course, there are overwhelming reasons why we should adhere to the course which has been followed in the past. What are they? The right hon. Gentleman has spoken on the subject of expense in a spirit of cheerful optimism as to what the cost is likely to be of these new registration proposals. I do not suggest for a moment that the party agents who advised him are less capable than the party agents who advised Members on this side. I think they are equally experienced in the matter to which they devote their business lives. I can tell the right hon. Gentleman this, that the view which he has just given to the House on the question of expense is not shared by a single responsible agent who advises the party to which I belong. I doubt whether he can produce any experienced, responsible agent who will say that in his judgment, as far as expense is concerned, the effect of this Bill will be to reduce the expenditure, as to which the right hon. Gentleman is so sanguine. I believe, and all those who have been consulted and who are in a position to give us on this side expert advice on the subject, share that belief, that this Bill will add enormously to the expense of registration on every individual Member of this House who will offer himself as a candidate at the next election.

The very fact that this point should be in such sharp controversy supplies, in itself, an overwhelming reason why the Instruction of my hon. Friend should be adopted. What opportunity will there be of discussing it. It is a point which deeply concerns every Member of this House. We all know there will not be any opportunity; but if this Instruction were adopted, we could discuss the matter. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of another proposal which is to be brought forward in Committee, and which substitutes Orders in Council for the responsibility of the House of Commons in these matters. I rather gathered from his speech that in his opinion these matters were so complex and so important that they should be dealt with by Order in Council. As a matter of fact, the proposal originally contained in the Bill was that they should be dealt with by the House of Commons. If that is the attitude of the right hon. Gentleman now, I should like to ask him why this proposal was not originally contained in the Bill. It is perfectly obvious that in the opinion of those who framed this Bill it was desirable that matters so directly appertaining to the position of individual Members of the House of Commons and to the franchise, should be retained within the control of the House of Commons. Why has it been altered? Does anybody believe it has been altered in obedience to the considerations which the right hon. Gentleman has stated? Does anybody really believe that it has been altered because it is a proposal in a private Bill introduced by an hon. Member under circumstances wholly dissimilar from those of the present proposal? Everybody knows that is not so. The only reason the alteration has been made is not because the Government do not still adhere to their view that the convenient method is that these things should be discussed by Parliament, but because the Government knew there was no chance of securing adequate discussion for these long Schedules in the amount of time given.

Let us, at least, be told the truth that we are asked to commit these functions to be dealt with by Orders in Council, not because the Government think it is right, but because it is the only means by which they can gain for this Bill the advantages of the Parliament Act. What is the use of the right hon. Gentleman attempting to comfort us by telling us he is going to introduce provisions to make it possible to discuss these Orders in Council? Is he going to devise any machinery to enable us to amend or alter them? There are not so many Members of the House of Commons who have so much leisure as to make them desire to discuss a thing which they have no power to alter. The point on which the right hon. Gentleman gives us no assistance is to show how we shall retain control under the substituted system over matters which concern us and over which we should never permit ourselves to lose control. I say that only if this proposal is adopted will there be any discussion at all on registration. Having regard to the multiplicity and obviously greater importance of the franchise proposals in this Bill, almost the whole of the time that has been given under the guillo-time proposals will be monopolised by discussions dealing with the franchise. If the House of Commons is prepared to trust the Government, which has already profoundly modified its proposals as to registration, to introduce proposals now which in a form would prevent them being discussed and prevent any Amendment, then let the House vote against the Instruction. If there are still among hon. Members those who are not prepared to write a blank cheque in favour of the Government and who still believe that the House of Commons should retain some function in relation to criticising legislative proposals, then I confess myself wholly unable to conceive any ground on which they can refuse to follow the example of the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken, and refuse to vote for the Instruction.


This affords a very bad example of the Instructions we have brought forward to impede the progress of Government Bills. The two speeches, which occupied forty-five minutes, did not, so far as I could see, contain any argument worthy of the serious attention of the House. My hon. Friend on this side who supported the Instruction appears to have done so with the object of delivering a speech out of due season with regard to Women Suffrage. The title of the Bill should have protected us from such an Instruction, as it declares that the Bill is to be both for registration and franchise. Under those circumstances, it seems to me most daring to have proposed the Instruction. This is a very bad example of a proceeding which we very frequently have in this House of a jealous parent who thinks he has got some proposal which he thinks is better than the one which the House is discussing, and so he gets up and becomes an obstructor. He will not assist the proposal brought forward, although it is quite analogous to the object which he has in view, and he becomes its most formidable enemy, because it is not brought forward in a shape of which he approves. The hon. Member who moved the Instruction has himself a Registration Bill, to which he referred. Will anyone believe that the object of the hon. Member's Bill is the very object which my right hon. Friend wants to secure in the Bill before the House?


Not in the Bill.


I will deal with that point later. The hon. Member who moved the Instruction and who has that Bill of his own is the first to rush into the arena to object to these things, which he wishes to be done, being carried out by the Government, because they are proposed in a form slightly different from his. I do not think the House ought to give the slightest support to a proposal of this sort, and, least of all, because it comes from the hon. Member. His Bill is a Bill for reducing the period of qualification and for establishing a six months' period of registration, and, finally, the last Clause says that it is all to be done by Orders in Council. The hon. Gentleman who seconded, and who spoke under some difficulties from a remote corner of the House, evidently was not perfectly informed of the previous proceedings of the hon. Member whose proposals he seconded. I would suggest how desirable it would be for him, before he seconds the hon. Member, to see the Bill of which he is the parent, and in this Bill he will see all about the Orders in Council and the six months' qualification, and almost every good thing the Government are trying to do. How anomalous this proceeding is. There is no good in the right hon. Gentleman on

the Front Opposition Bench trying to make a tragedy of the thing. An hour and a half has been wasted, as it so often is, by Gentlemen opposite bringing forward unreal proposals. At any rate, this proposal is one which I think no one who treats this matter seriously will think worthy of a moment's consideration.


I wish to combat an assertion made by my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh East (Mr. Hogge) that we are now discussing a corpse. If this Bill is only a corpse it is certainly a very interesting corpse, a which the whole country takes a very strong and vital interest. I believe that while there is life there is hope. Many corpses have been given up for dead by medical men, and there is in the case of many very great fear of premature burial. I do not believe that this corpse is a corpse. I believe that it is worth fighting for, and that it is worth putting a great deal of life into, and I intend to make it a live means of the franchise both to men and to women.

Question put, "That it be an Instruction to the Committee that they have power to divide the Bill into two parts, separating the provisions relating to continuous registration of electors from those relating to the franchise."

The House divided: Ayes, 120; Noes, 276.

Division No. 557.] AYES. [12.28 p.m.
Aitken, Sir William Max Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Joynson-Hicks, William
Amery, L. C. M. S. Craik, Sir Henry Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr
Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R. Cripps, Sir C. A. Kerry, Earl of
Archer-Shee, Major Martin Duke, Henry Edward Keswick, Henry
Baird, J. L. Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M. Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement
Balcarres, Lord Faber, George Denfson (Clapham) Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts, Mile End)
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.) Falle, B. G. Lewisham, Viscount
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Fell, Arthur Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)
Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc, E.) Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.
Bathurst, C. (Wilts, Wilton) Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue Lyttelton, Rt.Hon.A. (S. Geo., Han.Sq.)
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Fletcher, John Samuel Mackinder, Hallord J.
Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth) Forster, Henry William Macmaster, Donald
Bennett-Goldney, Francis Goldsmith, Frank M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)
Bird, A. Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton) Magnus, Sir Philip
Blair, Reginald Grant, J. A. Malcolm, Ian
Boles, Lieut.-Col. Dennis Fortescue Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne) Mallaby-Deeley, Harry
Boyton, James Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight) Markham, Sir Arthur Basil
Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell Hall, Fred (Dulwch) Mildmay, Francis Bingham
Bridgeman, W. Clive Hamersley, Alfred St. George Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.
Burdett-Coutts, W. Harrison-Broadley, H. B. Newdegate, F. A.
Campion, W. R. Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.) Newman, John R. P.
Carlite, Sir Edward Hildred Hewins, William Albert Samuel Newton, Harry Kottlngham
Cassel, Felix Hill, Sir Clement L. Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)
Cantley, H. S. Hills, John Waller Nield, Herbert
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Hill-Wood, Samuel Orde-Powiett, Hon. W. G. A.
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University) Hogge, James Myles Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William
Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin) Hohler, G. F. Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Chaloner, Col. R. G. W. Horne, Edgar (Surrey, Guildford) Quilter, Sir William Eley C.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.) Hume-Williams, William Ellis Rawson, Col. R. H.
Clive, Captain Percy Archer Hunt, Rowland Rees, Sir J. D.
Cory, Sir Clifford John Hunter, Sir C. R. Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.) Ingleby, Holcombe Rolleston, Sir John
Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe) Jessel, Capt. H. M. Rothschild, Lionel de
Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood) Tobin, Alfred Aspinall Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Sanders, Robert A. Tryon, Capt. George Clement Worthington-Evans, L.
Sassoon, Sir Philip Tuillbardine, Marquess of Wright, Henry Fitzherbert
Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'p'l, Walton) Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford) Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Stewart, Gershom White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport) Yate, Colonel Charles Edward
Swift, Rigby Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central) Wills, Sir Gilbert TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Goldman and Mr. Peto.
Talbot, Lord E. Winterton, Earl
Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour) Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South)
Acland, Francis Dyke Ffrench, Peter Macpherson, James Ian
Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D. Field, William M'Curdy, C. A.
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Fitzgibbon, John M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)
Alden, Percy Flavin, Michael Joseph M'Micking, Major Gilbert
Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud) George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd Marshall, Arthur Harold
Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A. Gilhooly, James Martin, J.
Baker, Harold T. (Accrington) Gill, A. H. Mason, David M. (Coventry)
Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.) Ginnell, L. Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.
Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple) Gladstone, W. G. C. Meagher, Michael
Barnes, George N. Glanville, H. J. Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)
Barton, William Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford Middlebrook, William
Beale, Sir William Phipson Goldstone, Frank Millar, James Duncan
Beauchamp, Sir Edward Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough) Molloy, Michael
Beck, Arthur Cecil Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland) Molteno, Percy Alport
Benn, W. W. (Tower Hamlets, S. Geo.) Greig, Colonel J. W. Mond, Sir Alfred Moritz
Bentham, George Jackson Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Money, L. G. Chiozza
Bethell, Sir John Henry Griffith, Ellis Jones Mooney, John J.
Boland, John Plus Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke) Morgan, George Hay
Booth, Frederick Handel Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway) Worrell, Philip
Bowerman, C. W. Hackett, J. Morison, Hector
Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North) Hancock, John George Morton, Alpheus Cleophas
Brady, P. J. Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale) Muldoon, John
Brocklehurst, William B. Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Munro, R.
Brunner, J. F. L. Hardie, J. Keir Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.
Bryce, J. Annan Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds) Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)
Burke, E. Haviland Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire) Nolan, Joseph
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) Norman, Sir Henry
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.) Norton, Capt. Cecil W.
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk) Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Nugent, Sir Walter Richard
Byles, Sir William Pollard Hayden, John Patrick Nuttall, Harry
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Hazleton, Richard O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Cawley, H. T. (Heywood) Helme, Sir Norval Watson O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)
Chancellor, H. G. Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.) O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Chapple, Dr. William Allen Henry, Sir Charles O'Donnell, Thomas
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Men., S.) O'Dowd, John
Clancy, John Joseph Higham, John Sharp O'Grady, James
Clough, William Hinds, John O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)
Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock) Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich) O'Malley, William
Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Howard, Hon. Geoffrey O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Hudson, Walter O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Cotton, William Francis Hughes, Spencer Leigh O'Shee, James John
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh) O'Sullivan, Timothy
Crawshay-Williams, Eliot John, Edward Thomas Outhwaite, R. L.
Crooks, William Jones, Rt.Hon. Sir D.Brynmor (Swansea) Palmer, Godfrey Mark
Crumley, Patrick Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil) Parker, James (Halifax)
Cullinan, John Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East) Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)
Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy) Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe) Pearce, William (Limehouse)
Davles, Ellis William (Eifion) Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)
Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth) Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney) Phllipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Jowett, Frederick William Phillips, John (Longford, S.)
Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardiganshire) Joyce, Michael Pirie, Duncan Vernon
Dawes, J. A. Keating, Matthew Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
De Forest, Baron Kennedy, Vincent Paul Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)
Delany, William King, J. Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)
Denman, Hon. R. D. Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S.Molton) Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)
Devlin, Joseph Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) Primrose, Hon. Neil James
Dewar, Sir J. A. Lardner, James Carrige Rushe Pringle, William M. R.
Dickinson, W. H. Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West) Radford, G. H.
Dillon, John Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rid, Cockerm'th) Raffan, Peter Wilson
Donelan, Captain A. Leach, Charles Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)
Doris, William Levy, Sir Maurice Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)
Duffy, William J. Lewis, John Herbert Reddy, Michael
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.) Low, Sir F. (Norwich) Redmond, William (Clare, E.)
Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor) Lundon, Thomas Redmond, William Arthur (Tyrone, E.)
Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.) Lyell, Charles Henry Rendall, Athelstan
Esmonde, Sir T. (Wexford, N.) Lynch, A. A. Richardson, Albion (Peckham)
Essex, Sir Richard Walter Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)
Falconer, James McGhee, Richard Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Farrell, James Patrick Maclean, Donald Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)
Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles Macnamara, Rt. Hon. D. T. J. Roberts, Sir H. (Denbighs)
Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford) Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.) Webb, H.
Robertson, John M. (Tyneside) Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West) Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Robinson, Sidney Sutherland, J. E. White, James Dundas (Tradeston)
Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke) Sutton, John E. White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Roche, Augustine (Louth) Taylor, John W. (Durham) Whitehouse, John Howard
Roche, John (Galway, E.) Taylor, Thomas (Bolton) Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Roe, Sir Thomas Tennant, Harold John Whyte, A. F. (Perth)
Rowlands, James Thomas, J. H. Wiles, Thomas
Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland) Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton) Wilkie, Alexander
Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees) Thorne, William (West Ham) Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)
Scanlan, Thomas Toulmin, Sir George Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)
Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E. Trevelyan, Charles Philips Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs, N.)
Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton) Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Sheeny, David Walsh, Stephen (Lancs, Ince) Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)
Sherwell, Arthur James Walters, Sir John Tudor Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)
Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Allsebrook Walton, Sir Joseph Young, William (Perth, East)
Smith, Albert (Lancs, Clitheroe) Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent) Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Smith, H. B. L. (Northampton) Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.) Waring, Walter TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.
Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)

I beg to move, That it be an Instruction to the Committee that they have power to divide the Bill into two parts and to report them as separate Bills to the House, one relating to the abolition of university representation and the other relating to the alteration of the law in regard to the Parliamentary and local government franchise and registration. I understand that there can be a Division, but no debate.

It being after half-past Twelve of the clock, Mr. SPEAKER proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of the 23rd January, to put forthwith the Question on any Instruction which was in order and which was moved.

Question put.

The House divided; Ayes, 122; Noes, 231.

Division No. 558.] AYES. [12.37 p.m.
Aitken, Sir William Max Gardner, Ernest Newman, John R. P,
Amery, L. C. M. S. Gastrell, Major W. Houghton Newton, Harry Kottingham
Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R. Goldman, Charles Sydney Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)
Archer-Shee, Major Martin Goldsmith, Frank Nield, Herbert
Baird, J. L. Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton) Norton-Griffiths, J.
Balcarres, Lord Grant, J. A. Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.) Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne) Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight) Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc, E.) Hall, Fred (Dulwich) Peto, Basil Edward
Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton) Hamersley, Alfred St. George Quilter, Sir William Eley C.
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Harrison-Broadley, H. B. Rawson, Col. R. H.
Bennett-Goldney, Francis Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.) Rees, Sir J. D.
Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish- Hewins, William Albert Samuel Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Bird, A. Hill, Sir Clement L. Rolleston, Sir John
Blair, Reginald Hills, John Waller Rothschild, Lionel de
Boles, Lieut.-Col. Dennis Fortescue HiII-Wood, Samuel Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)
Boyton, James Hohler, G. F. Sanders, Robert A.
Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell Horne, Edgar (Surrey, Guildford) Sassoon, Sir Philip
Bridgeman, W. Clive Hume-Williams, William Ellis Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E, (L'p'l, Walton)
Burdett-Coutts, W. Hunt, Rowland Stewart, Gershom
Campion, W. R. Hunter, Sir C. R. Swift, Rigby
Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred Ingleby, Holcombe Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)
Cassel, Felix Jessel, Capt. H. M. Talbot, Lord E.
Cautley, H. S. Joynson-Hicks, William Terrell, H. (Gloucester)
Cave, George Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr Tobin, Alfred Aspinall
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Kerry, Earl of Tryon, Captain George Clement
Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin) Keswick, Henry Tullibardine, Marquess of
Chaloner, Col. R. G. W. Knloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.) Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts, Mile End) White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)
Clive, Captain Percy Archer Lewisham, Viscount Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.) Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury) Wills, Sir Gilbert
Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe) Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R. Winterton, Earl
Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.) Wolmer, Viscount
Cripps, Sir C. A. Lyttelton, Hon J. C. (Droitwich) Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Duke, Henry Edward Mackinder, Halford J. Worthington-Evans, L.
Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M. Macmaster, Donald Wright, Henry Fitzherbert
Faber, George Denison (Clapham) M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's) Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Fell, Arthur Magnus, Sir Philip Yate, Col. Charles Edward
Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes Malcolm, Ian
Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue Mallaby-Deeley, Harry TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Lord Hugh Cecil and Sir H. Craik.
Fletcher, John Samuel Mildmay, Francis Binnham
Forster, Henry William Newdegate, F. A.
Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour) Gill, A. H. Molteno, Percy Alport
Acland, Francis Dyke Ginnell, L. Mond, Sir Alfred Moritz
Addison, Dr. Christopher Gladstone, W. G. C. Money, L. G. Chlozza
Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D. Glanville, H. J. Mooney, John J.
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford Morgan, George Hay
Alden, Percy Goldstone, Frank Morrell, Philip
Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud) Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough) Morison, Hector
Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A. Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland) Morton, Alpheus Cleophas
Baker, Harold T. (Accrington) Greig, Colonel J. W Muldoon, John
Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.) Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Munro, R.
Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple) Griffith, Ellis Jones Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.
Barnes, George N. Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke) Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.
Barton, William Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway) Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Don caster)
Beale, Sir William Phipson Hackett, J. Nolan, Joseph
Beauchamp, Sir Edward Hancock, John George Norman, Sir Henry
Beck, Arthur Cecil Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale) Nugent, Sir Walter Richard
Benn, W. W. (Tower Hamlets, S. Geo.) Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Nuttall, Harry
Bentham, George Jackson Hardie, J. Keir O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Bethell, Sir John Henry Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds) O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)
Boland, John Pius Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire) O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Booth, Frederick Handel Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) O'Donnell, Thomas
Bowerman, C. W. Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.) O'Dowd, John
Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North) Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) O'Grady, James
Brady, P. J. Hayden, John Patrick O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)
Brocklehurst, William B. Hazleton, Richard O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)
Brunner, J. F. L. Helme, Sir Nerval Watson O'Malley, William
Burke, E. Haviland- Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.) O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Henry, Sir Charles O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.) O'Shee, James John
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk) Higham, John Sharp O'Sullivan, Timothy
Byles, Sir William Pollard Hinds, John Outhwaite, R. L.
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. Palmer, Godfrey Mark
Cawley, H. T. (Heywood) Hogge, James Myles Parker, James (Halifax)
Chancellor, H. G. Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich) Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)
Chapple, Dr. William Allen Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Pearce, William (Limehouse)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Hudson, Walter Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)
Clancy, John Joseph Hughes, Spencer Leigh Philipps, Col. Sir Ivor (Southampton)
Clough, William Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh) Phillips, John (Longford, S.)
Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock) John, Edward Thomas Pirie, Duncan Vernon
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Jones, Rt.Hon.Sir D.Brynmor (Sw'nsea) Ponsonby, Arthur A. W, H.
Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil) Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East) Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk. E.)
Cory, Sir Clifford John Jones, Leil Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe) Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)
Cotton, William Francis Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Primrose, Hon. Neil James
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney) Pringle, William M. R.
Crawshay-Williams, Eliot Jowett, Frederick William Radford, G. H.
Crooks, William Joyce, Michael Raffan, Peter Wilson
Crumley, Patrick Keating, Matthew Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)
Cullinan, John Kennedy, Vincent Paul Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)
Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy) King, J. Reddy, M.
Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon,S.Molton) Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth) Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) Redmond, William (Clare, E.)
Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardiganshire) Lardner, James Carrige Rushe Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)
Dawes, J. A. Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West) Rendall, Athelstan
De Forest, Baron Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th) Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)
Delany, William Leach, Charles Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Denman, Hon. R. D. Levy, Sir Maurice Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)
Devlin, Joseph Lewis, John Herbert Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)
Dewar, Sir J. A. Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)
Dickinson, W. H. Low, Sir F. (Norwich) Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)
Dillon, John Lundon, T. Robinson, Sidney
Donelan, Captain A. Lyell, Charles Henry Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Doris, William Lynch, A, A. Roche, Augustine (Louth)
Duffy, William J. Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Roche, John (Galway, E.)
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) McGhee, Richard Roe, Sir Thomas
Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.) Maclean, Donald Rowlands, James
Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor) Macnamara, Rt. Hon. D. T. J. Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid) MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South) Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.) Macpherson, James Ian Scanlan, Thomas
Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.) M'Curdy, C. A. Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E.
Essex, Sir Richard Waiter M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.) Scott, A. MaoCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)
Falconer, James M'Micking, Major Gilbert Sheeny, David
Farrell, James Patrick Markham, Sir Athur Basil Sherwell, Arthur James
Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles Marshall, Arthur Harold Simon, Rt. Hon Sir John Allsebrook
Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson Martin, J. Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)
Ffrench, Peter Mason, David M. (Coventry) Smith, H. B. L. (Northampton)
Field, William Masterman, Rt. Hon, C. f. G. Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward Meagher, Michael Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert
Fitzgibbon, John Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)
Flavin, Michael Joseph Middlebrook, William Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)
George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd Millar, James Duncan Sutherland, J. E.
Gilhooly, James Molloy, Michael Sutton, John E.
Taylor, John W. (Durham) Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent) Wilkie, Alexander
Taylor, Thomas (Bolton) Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton) Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)
Tennant, Harold John Waring, Walter Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)
Thomas, J. H. Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney) Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)
Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton) Webb, H. Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Thorne, William (West Ham) Wedgwood, Josiah C. Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)
Toulmin, Sir George White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston) Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)
Trevelyan, Charles Philips White, Patrick (Meath, North) Young, William (Perth, East)
Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander Whitehouse, John Howard Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince) Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Walters, Sir John Tudor Whyte, A. F. (Perth) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.
Walton, Sir Joseph Wiles, Thomas

Notice had been given of the following I proposed Instructions:—


"That it be an Instruction to the Committee on the Bill that they have power to divide the Bill into two Bills, the first dealing with the abolition of plural voting and university representation, and the second dealing with other alterations in the parliamentary and local government franchise and with the registration of parliamentary and local government electors."

Viscount WOLMER

"That it be an Instruction to the Committee that they have power to insert provisions for the proportional representation of the parliamentary electors by assigning to each elector a single transferable vote and by uniting constituencies in a manner convenient for securing the effective and proportionate power of that single transferable vote."


"That it be an Instruction to the Committee that they have power to divide the Bill into two parts, separating the provisions relating to registration of electors from those relating to the franchise."


"That it be an Instruction to the Committee that they have power to divide the Bill into two parts and to report them as separate Bills to the House, the first relating to the I abolition of university representation and the second relating to the alteration of the Law in regard to the parliamentary and local government franchise and registration."


"That it be an Instruction to the Committee on the Bill that they have power to divide the Bill into two parts, as follows: (1) a Bill to amend the Law in respect of the parliamentary local government franchises and the registration of parliamentary and local government electors; and (2) a Bill to provide for the abolition of university constituencies."


The other Instructions standing on the Paper are either out of order, or are covered by the decision to which the House has already come.

Bill considered in Committee.

[Mr. WHITLEY in the Chair.]

  1. CLAUSE 1.—(Parliamentary Franchise.) 30,915 words