§ This Act shall take effect on and after -the first day of January, nineteen hundred and sixteen.
§ Clause brought up, and read a first time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be read a second time."
In moving the new Clause which stands in my name on the Paper, I should like to explain the reasons why I chose that particular date. It is in order to give time for this House to redress, not only this anomaly, if anomaly it be, but other and graver anomalies. I base myself on a statement made by the Prime Minister who said that the most important subject he considered in connection with this question was Redistribution, and not the franchise question. I base myself also on the question of equality as between Member and Member in this House. Various speakers in addressing the House on this and other Bills have invariably brought in the question of equality, and this is an argument which is a commonplace with hon. Members below the Gangway, who are always talking about equality and fairplay. I hope to put it to them that by adopting this Amendment they will ensure that hon. Members of this House will have some sort of equality. It will be my endeavour to show, not only what these anomalies are of which I complain, and which I hope may be altered before this Bill comes into 2388 operation, but anomalies which are far greater than those which we are dealing with at the present moment, graver to an extent hardly possible to conceive and affecting the political situation as it is today. That is a point I shall devote most of my attention to. Let me, first of all, put before the House very briefly what these anomalies are, and in doing so I shall not endeavour to deal with them all, because they are very numerous and hon. Members opposite are acquainted with most of them. It is true that by lapse of time and for other reasons——
§ Colonel PHILLIPS
Is it in order to discuss all the anomalies of the electoral system on this Amendment
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Mr. Maclean)
That, of course, would be out of order, but so far as I can gather the hon. Member has no intention of doing so:
I have already said that I am not going to deal with all the anomalies, but I am going to deal with one or two of the most glaring cues. I wish to explain why I desire the date of this Bill put back to a day on which it would be possible to alter all these anomalies. I will endeavour to make my point clear to hon. Members, and show why I think there is some substance behind this proposal. I was stating that this House chiefly, by lapse of time, has practically become entirely unrepresentative of the political opinion evenly distributed throughout this country. It is now 2389 something like thirty years since the anomalies of this House were dealt with, and I am not prepared to say that the Bill of 1885 was absolutely perfect, but, at least, it did attempt to deal with anomalies which were grave before that Bill was passed. By the lapse of time it has come about that there is hardly a Member in this House who represents the political opinion of this particular portion of the country, if you base yourself, for instance——
§ Mr. EDGAR JONES
Surely it is not in order to go into a detailed discussion of all the anomalies that exist now [An HON. MEMBER: "Leave that to the Chairman."]
§ Mr. E. JONES
Is it or is it not in order for an hon. Member to discuss the composition of this House in regard to the anomalies of representation here?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
It all depends upon the form in which the hon. Member puts his argument. I repeat that so far I do not think the hon. Member was out of order.
I do not intend to deal with the whole of the anomalies, but I am going to give reasons for my proposal, and I cannot put down a proposition of this kind without giving some reasons for it. One of the reasons is that this house has become, through lapse of time, totally unrepresentative of the opinion of this country which is evenly divided over the whole country. It is perfectly true that some years ago we decided to deal with this question of making the House of Commons more representative, and it was a mere accident that that did not come off. That, however, does not make the question any the less urgent, and if some of these anomalies were urgent eight years ago there are now eight more good reasons why they should be dealt with now, instead of dealing with one of 2390 them from which the Government hope to reap an advantage. Let me give to the House one or two grave instances of anomalies. If I give one or two of the greater ones—and the greater ones contain the less—I shall not be under the necessity of dealing with the smaller ones. Take the boroughs as represented in England. There are 237 boroughs in England and Wales, and it will probably be a matter of some surprise to hon. Members to learn that so unrepresentative has this House become that there are only seven of those boroughs which come within 500 of the average electorate for the whole of the country. That is an anomaly which is far greater than that of a man having the power to vote twice. There are only thirteen counties in England that come up to this standard of true representation, there is only one in Ireland, one in Scotland—and that is a university—and I think I am safe in saying that there is not a single constituency in Wales which comes within the average. [HON. MEMBERS: "Cardiff."]
It is the case that hon. Members are returned by constituencies in the counties absolutely without any relation to political equality, and they exercise in this House more or less power, as the case may be, than they would under a system of true representation.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I understand that the point of the hon. Member is that the anomaly which is sought to be remedied by this Bill is not the only anomaly. He has laid before the Committee one or two examples by way of illustration of other anomalies. I would ask him not to proceed further with that, as it would obviously be out of order to go into the detail of the anomalies which he has already illustrated.
The argument which you have imagined is my argument is not the same as that which I was trying to put before the Committee My argument is not that there are other anomalies, but that there are other anomalies considerably greater than that with which we are dealing, and I am trying to put arguments which would justify hon. Members voting with me—not that the Bill shall be rejected, but that it shall be postponed.
§ The DEPUTY - CHAIRMAN
That would be a very proper argument to submit on the Second or Third Reading of the Bill, but I cannot allow the hon. and gallant Member to go into it in further detail in Committee on this specific proposal with which we are now dealing.
I have put down a new Clause to postpone the Bill to 1916. It. is not sufficient for me to say, "I propose that this Bill shall be postponed." I must put some arguments before the Committee to justify the Amendment. I think that I am entitled to show, unless hon. Members accept the fact, that these anomalies are sufficient to justify me in having put down this Clause to postpone the Bill. It is not quite a Committee point; it is, I submits rather greater.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The argument, if allowed to be developed would simply lead to a Second or Third Reading Debate. I have already allowed the hon.-Member to make his point that there are other anomalies, and to give three or four illustrations of those anomalies. I must now ask him to pass from that and take up some other point.
Naturally, I do not want to come into conflict with the Chair, and I shall pass from that point, though I am sorry I shall not be able to show exactly how the seats vary in the different counties. I must, however, beg to be allowed to make one point, because it is really the substance of my new Clause, which is not to reject the Bill, but merely to postpone it. It is impossible, through the Government's own fault, to discuss any Bill in this Parliament without realising that it hangs on every other major measure which they have brought before the House. You cannot discuss the general political situation without realising that if one of the major Bills of the Government fails, they all fail. These Bills depend, to a great extent, if not entirely, for support on an anomaly which is considerably greater and more reprehensible than anything this Bill pretends to remedy. Right hon. Gentlement opposite claim that the opinion of Ulster is in favour of them on the Home Rule Bill, but it is clear that every seat in Unionist Ulster has over 2,000 more electors than every seat supporting the Government. The Government claim the support of Ulster purely by votes in the Lobby, and absolutely ignore the greater anomaly which is going to bring them into great trouble afterwards.
§ Mr. MORRELL
Is it in order to discuss the distribution of seats in Ulster on a measure to impose a penalty on any elector who votes in more than one constituency?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I do not think that the hon. Member was in the House when a point of a similar character was raised. I will allow the hon. and gallant Member to develop his argument until I can see a little more clearly the relevancy of it, though I must warn him that at present he is giving me some doubts in the matter.
I think that those doubts arise partly from my Parliamentary inability to marshal the arguments I wish to put before the House. For the benefit of the hon. Member who has just interrupted I may explain that I am trying to develop my argument in regard to these anomalies, not merely in order to discuss the grievance as between Ulster and other parts of the Kingdom, but to show a reason for opposing this Bill, seeing that these anomalies give the Government an artificial support for their measures—a support which is not justified by public opinion in the country.
§ Mr. MORRELL
I quite understand the hon. and gallant Gentleman's point, and no doubt his argument would be in order on either of the three Bills to which he has referred jointly, but we are not discussing those Bills.
I am not going to discuss the anomalies of the Bill. I do not discuss, in this House as a rule, the merits of any Government Bill. What I do is to discuss the support given to a Bill, and that is an entirely different mitten I say nothing as to the merits of the Home Rule Bill, the Welsh Church Bill, or the Plural Voting Bill, and the sole object of my proposal is to postpone the coming into force of this particular Bill. I do not say in the Instruction that we do not want such a Bill, but I do submit I have shown good grounds why the. Bill should not come into operation before 1916. When we are told that Ulster is in favour of it owing to the number of seats in that province held by supporters of the Government, I reply that that number is due solely to the anomalous condition of the representation, and does not really represent the state of opinion in Ulster. Now I come to the Welsh Bill. I am not going to deal with that as a Bill. I wish to refer to the support which the Govern- 2393 ment claim that they have for that Bill by reason of the fact that twenty-seven out of the thirty Welsh Members sit on the benches behind them. Do hon. Members from Wales, however, realise that 40 per cent. of the electors of Wales are supporters of the Unionist party? This is another instance in which artificial support is created for a, Bill in this House and is quoted as justification for the measure, whereas, in the Principality itself, there is really no such justification. There is another anomaly to which attention was once called by a most conspicuous ornament on the Government Bench—I mean the First Lord of the Admiralty. Ten years ago the right hon. Gentleman, in a speech he delivered to a great demonstration in Blenheim Park, said the one thing that wanted dealing with was the representation of Ireland in the Commons House of Parliament, and what was necessary was to put every Member of the House on an equality. I submit I am entitled to draw attention to the inequality under which Members suffer in this respect.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I think the hon. and gallant Member has already sufficiently elaborated that argument, and any further reference to it will be out of order.
§ 3 P.M.
It seems to me that every time one wishes to discuss a grievous anomaly in this House it is ruled not to be in order. I hope, however, that on the Third Reading of the Home Rule Bill I shall be in order in discussing the question of Irish representation, and that on the Third Reading of the Welsh Church Bill I shall be allowed to discuss the question of Welsh representation. I submit it is time that the House dealt with these anomalies, which are admitted on all sides to exist. I have put down a Clause providing that the Plural Voting Bill shall come into operation on the 1st January, 1916, and obviously the reason is that under the Parliament Act, if this Parliament, as it can do, goes on until December, 1915, there will between now and then be ample time to deal with these questions—to deal with them in a spirit of equality as between man and man in this House. Of course, I do not for one minute say this Parliament is going to last until the end of 1915. But I have never kept back my view how these things should be remedied, and the only possible way left open to me now is to submit this 2394 Clause postponing the coming into operation of this Bill. It is very difficult to give adequate reasons for such a Clause without being able to more than hint at the fact that there are other anomalies as grave. But I do think I shall be in order if I put the case in this way: The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Education, in introducing a Plural Voting Bill on another occasion, announced that it was the intention of the Government to deal with all the anomalies to which I have been drawing attention. That is the expressed intention of the Government, and I am perfectly certain it is also the intention of the right hon. Gentleman himself. In his good faith we all agree. But when I challenged him, as he will remember, on this particular Plural Voting Bill to put that intention into the Bill he met me with a direct negative. On other occasions I have challenged the hon. Member for Accrington (Mr. Harold Baker) on the same point. I have asked him to put that intention into the Bill as an additional Clause, and I have always been told, in reply, that, although it is the intention of the Government to deal with this question, they are unable to put that intention in black and white, and it is because the Government are so shy about putting it in black and white, about inserting a, Clause providing that all these other anomalies shall be dealt with before this Bill comes into operation, that I have been obliged to submit this new Clause postponing the operation of the Bill.
Why cannot the Government accept this Clause? They tell us they mean to deal with Redistribution. We have been informed not only by the right hon. Gentleman but by the Prime Minister that they consider Redistribution to be part of this question; why is it therefore necessary to adopt this roundabout way of dealing with the difficulty? The views of the Government on this question are to me quite inexplicable, because if it is their intention to deal with this matter surely it is open to them to adopt a course which would save all sorts of misunderstandings. Let them tell us why they cannot openly express their intentions in the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman has expressed his -intention of dealing with the matter, and I should like him to accept this Clause in order to save himself trouble and make the situation quite easy for himself. The floor of this House is paved with good intentions. We had good intentions expressed by the right hon. Gentleman at 4 a.m. the other morning, when he intended to report 2395 Progress, but was stopped from carrying out his intention by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kirkcaldy Burghs (Sir Henry Dalziel).
The right hon. Gentleman has expressed the intention of the Government, and his own intention to deal with anomalies by way of Redistribution. I do not for one moment believe that that is not the right hon. Gentleman's intention, but I say that circumstances may be too strong for him, and by way of illustration I brought in the fact that the other night at that box the right hon. Gentleman expressed his intention of moving to report Progress.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
If that line of argument were allowed, we might go into the whole of the right hon. Gentleman's career. That is clearly not in order.
By accepting this Clause the right hon. Gentleman will save himself an infinity of trouble, for once the Clause is accepted the occupation of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kirkcaldy Burghs and of the hon. Member who sits beside him of keeping the Government up to the mark will be gone. Although it is not a strong line of argument, it is a reason why the right hon. Gentleman should accept the Clause. I do not base my argument for this postponement chiefly upon that. The real argument for the Clause is—everybody knows it, the Leader of the Labour party knows it as well as I do, and, professing democratic principles, must feel the force of it—that this Bill is only one and a very small part of the grave anomalies which have grown up in this House. I therefore appeal with confidence not only to hon. Members opposite, but to the Leader of the Labour party, who often takes an independent line, and to his party to support me in pressing upon the Government the desirability of accepting this Clause. If he and the Committee accept it, we shall have an opportunity of clearing off the great question of the unrepresentative character of this House. Nobody who studies the political position can doubt for one moment that before next summer the Government will not be in a position to deal with any particular Bill, but will have to deal with disturbances outside, and also put their own house in order.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
But for the hon. Member's special knowledge of this subject, I do not think anyone else would have survived so long.
I am glad to have the opportunity of putting my special knowledge before the Committee. My point, put shortly, is that we are simply dealing with the minutest fraction of the anomalies in this House. We are spending time upon this Bill when a most influential Member of the Cabinet has said that it has no ghost of a chance of ever passing. [HON. MEMBERS: "Who said that?"] The First Lord of the Admiralty. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO."] I have paraphrased his words. Let us pass the Bill as we may, let it go to the other House and come under the Parliament Act if you like, but let us pass this Clause, providing that it shall not come into operation until 1916, by which time this House will have had an opportunity of dealing with the gross and scandalous over-representation of Ireland in this House, and all the other anomalies which vitally affect the position of every Bill in this House, and, I believe, will vitally effect the position of His Majesty's Government, and very likely the position of this country.
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Mr. Montagu)
I think the hon. and gallant Member will allow me to say that I can appreciate the difficulty in which he found himself to be when he sought to bring this new Clause within the ambit of discussion on the Committee stage of this Bill. On the 30th April of this year a Motion was made for the Second Reading of this Bill. Upon that occasion it would have been open to the Opposition to meet the Motion with a direct negative, or to move that the Bill be read a second time that day six months. If either of those Motions had been made and defeated, we could have claimed that the House of Commons had asserted its belief in the principle of this Bill. But that is not what occurred. What occurred was that the right hon. and learned Member for the Walton Division (Mr. F. E. Smith) moved, on behalf of the Opposition.That this House is not prepared to accept a Bill which professes to remove one only of the anomalies affecting electoral law.2397 That is the Motion upon which, on the Second Reading of the Bill, the House divided, and I think I may claim that the House on the occasion of the Second Reading decided that it was prepared to deal in a businesslike manner with one anomaly at the time, and not to refuse to correct any anomalies until the happy day dawned when they could correct them altogether. On that occasion, the proper occasion, the hon. and gallant Gentleman used that great collection of special knowledge of his, and argued his case fully, and nearly all the contentions which he has sought to put forward to-day were answered, as we think conclusively, by the speakers on this side of the House. We admitted the case for Redistribution, but our case then was that plural voting was in itself in our opinion an injustice, that an opportunity for righting that injustice had occurred, and that no hon. Member opposite would find any opposition on this side of the House when the proper opportunity came for redressing the other anomalies—in fact, we should be glad to co-operate in redressing them as the opportunity came. The House has already decided that it is right and just that we should take these injustices with which we are now dealing, pass this Bill as it is, and welcome its coming into force at the earliest possible opportunity.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
An incident of some importance in connection with this Amendment has not yet been mentioned. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Montagu) has referred to the Second Reading Debate and to the Motion which was moved by my right hon. Friend (Mr. F. E. Smith), and he has based his objection to the Amendment upon the ground that that Motion dealt with this subject, and suggested that the other and greater anomaly should first be dealt with before this particular matter of plural voting was legislated upon. He claimed that that matter was then decided, and that that ought to be taken as the decision of the House. So far I think the Committee will be with him. But he omitted a most important consideration in bringing forward that argument, and he omitted to state on what ground that decision was given, and what were the pledges given from that bench to induce the House to come to that decision. I do not think he could possibly have read the speech of the right. hon. Gentleman (Mr. J. A. Pease). That decision was come to for one main reason. The one important point in 2398 the right hon. Gentleman's speech was that these other anomalies would be removed before a General Election. That is the whole point. They have admitted that there are other and greater anomalies than this one, and I am entitled to take that as a settled matter. After enumerating these anomalies, the right hon. Gentleman proceeded to say:—There is this and there is that. There is the question of the extension of hours, and so I might go on. All these matters are matters which the Government really regard as of importance. It is their intention to deal with those subjects in a Bill before the next General Election.A plainer or more definite statement of intention than that it would be impossible to give. What fairer or more reasonable proposition could possibly be put? It simply says that the Government have given, in so many words, a definite and distinct pledge that they will deal with: all these admitted greater anomalies before a General Election, and that was the main ground upon which the Government induced the House to accept the-Second Reading. The House having accepted the Second Reading on the face of that pledge, the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Montagu) actually gets up and uses that decision as a ground for objecting to this. Amendment, which merely confirms the Government pledge and says if that pledge is not carried out this Bill will not come into operation until 1916. I cannot understand how it is possible for any right hon. Gentleman, in face of the pledge which was then given, to resist the Amendment.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
That is the effect of the Amendment. We give the Government the utmost possible time. We give them the extreme rope which they have allowed themselves, and the uttermost moment of the Parliament Act which can be extended to them is 15th December. On that ground my hon. and gallant Friend' stated that he had put down 1st January, 1916, as the date when this Act should come into operation. If the right hon. Gentleman did not understand it, it wilt be necessary to make the point clear again. The sole object of the Amendment was that the Government should have the fullest opportunity and that the fullest time should be given them within which to redeem the definite pledge which they gave the House on the Second Reading, but giving them that fullest time, if they do not fulfil that pledge, the decision which the House came to in consequence of the 2399 pledge would naturally not hold good, and consequently the Government would naturally not obtain the benefit of their Plural Voting Bill. It is not an unreasonable item in any bargain which is made between parties where a certain decision is asked for and a certain pledge is given to justify the request. The other party says, "All right, we will agree to that decision, but subject to your pledge being carried out;" and that is all we ask for, and that is all that the Amendment does. It does absolutely nothing but give the Government the fullest opportunity of carrying out that definite pledge. I do not know whether the Under-Secretary for India had this pledge in his mind when he made his speech just now. I do not think he could have used that argument if he had had it in his mind. Perhaps he or the Solicitor-General will justify to the House how it is possible to resist the Amendment, and at the same time to give the House and the country the benefit of the pledge which was made on behalf of the Government by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. J. A. Pease). May I also point out that this is not such a very serious matter to the Government from their point of view. I presume they desire this Bill to be assented to in another place, and it must be obvious to the Government that they should make the provisions of the Bill and the conditions under which it passes through the legislature fair and reasonable, and as much in accordance as possible with the pledges given to this House. I think I am correct in saying that under the Parliament Act, 30th April or 1st May, 1915—I am not sure which day—is the earliest day upon which this Bill can come into operation. [An HON. MEMBER: "30th June."] I am glad my hon. Friend corrects me. There is a moratorium of one month when the Bill does not become law, and therefore I have even understated the case. It will be the end of June, 1915, before this Bill can come into effective operation. All that this new Clause does is to postpone the Bill for six months beyond that date, assuming that the Parliament Act is brought into operation.
Does it not occur to the Government that if they want to see this Bill removed from the very unfortunate conditions of the Parliament Act, it would be wise and politic on their part to accept the Amendment, so that when the Bill goes to the other House it will be clearly stated that 2400 it is not to come into operation until 1st January, 1916. In the meantime the pledges of the Government could be fulfilled before the Bill came into operation. Under these circumstances, it is extremely possible that the other House might proceed to pass it. I have no knowledge of the view they might take in any shape or form, but it seems to me that the definite pledges given by the Government are pledges not only to this House, but to the other House as well, and it is of importance from the point of view of every one considering this legislation, that these facts should be taken into consideration, and that the definite date, 1st January, 1916, should be fixed in the Bill by the new Clause. That date follows immediately the last date upon which this Parliament can continue in existence, and it is within six months of the date fixed for the compulsory passing of the Bill under the Parliament Act. I feel perfectly certain that the Government will be wise in taking that course. I am sure they desire to give the fullest effect to the pledges given to this House. The reasons against the new Clause were stated, I must say, courteously and ably, but in a somewhat perfunctory and sketchy manner, by the Under-Secretary of State for India. He treated the matter as if it was one of very slight importance. I have tried to show that the matter is very much more important than he appeared to consider. When the matters to which I have called attention have been taken into consideration I hope the hon. Gentleman will be able later on in this Debate to give a further reply, in which the Government will be able to justify the pledges they have given.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
My hon. and gallant Friend (Major Morrison-Bell) said to the Committee quite frankly that he moved the new Clause in order that before the Bill becomes law the Govern-may have an opportunity of carrying out the other part of their policy of electoral reform which they have announced in public on more than one occasion. I hope that before the Debate on this Clause closes we shall have from the Solicitor-General some further expression of opinion as to the pledge which has been given on behalf of the Government with regard to their intentions. That pledge was given on an earlier occasion in the Debates on this Bill. All I wish to say on that aspect of the case is this: In bringing forward a measure to carry out the other half of 2401 their reform policy the Government would be conforming strictly to precedent. It is strictly in accordance with precedent that the reform of the franchise should not be brought into operation unless the question of the redistribution of seats is also dealt with. I would remind hon Members that in the passing of the three great reform Bills of last century the line pursued by Parliament was such as to justify my suggestion. In the Reform Bill of 1832 you had provisions for the reform of the franchise and for the redistribution of seats in the same Bill. In the Reform Bill of 1867 you had the reform of the franchise and the redistribution of seats again in the same Bill. In 1884, it is true, that the Reform Bill only dealt with the question of the franchise, but I would recall to the memory of the Committee that before that Bill had a chance of coming into operation a measure of Redistribution was brought forward in the beginning of December, 1884, and passed through this House. On more than one occasion it has been said by statesmen of the greatest eminence that really the questions of Franchise and Redistribution are indissolubly connected. Mr. Bright, so far back as 1859, said:—Repudiate without mercy any Bill that any Government may introduce. whatever its seeming concessions may be, if it does not redistribute the seats … The question of Redistribution is the soul of the question of reform.It do not wish to say anything further on that point. On 26th January, 1902, the Prime Minister said:—I think we are all agreed that the existing state of our representation as regards distribution is anomalous and indefensible, and calls for speedy remedy.That was said ten years ago, and it is a very good reason why this new Clause should be accepted. Another reason is this: There has been quite an opinion when this Bill was going through Committee that the offences which are to be created by it, although one might think at first sight they are very plain, are in reality somewhat complicated. It was very obscure during parts of the Debate in Committee as to whether or not a particular action would or would not be an offence. I see an hon. Gentleman present who took a strong view as to the effect of the first Clause on the creation of an offence, and the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the measure, when appealed to as to whether we who took one view or the hon. Member for North-West Lanarkshire who took another were correct, was constrained to admit that we were correct and that his hon. Friend and supporter was wrong. If hon. Members of this 2402 House who are following the proceedings with attention and watching every line of the Bill are in doubt as to whether or not a particular action is or is not an offence under this Bill, how much more in doubt on that point is the ordinary man outside! If only on the ground that time ought to be offered to the persons outside affected by the Bill to appreciate the full effect of the offences which it creates, the Amendment of my hon. Friend should be supported. It is specially important that no one should be able to say that he committed an offence under this Bill through ignorance. It is very undesirable that things should be allowed to go on in one part of the country which are not allowed in another. If, on the other hand, you take the view that the penalties ought not to be rigorously inflicted, they are penalties which I think are savage and vindictive, and they are penalties which you should not lightly risk imposing. There is a third reason which I may dismiss in a word, though it is the most important of all. This Amendment will give the country an opportunity of pronouncing on the Government and all its works, including this Bill. It has always been the theory of the Government that legislation carried in this House should have the full assent of the country, and I believe that the Government has not the assent of the country in regard to this or any other of their measures, and therefore I support the Amendment of my hon. Friend.
§ Sir A. MARKHAM
I would ask the Committee to consider whether this is an honest or a dishonest Amendment. If hon. Members are anxious to see Redistribution following at the same time that plural voting is abolished they know perfectly well that they have only to go to the Government and make a bargain towards that end being accomplished. My Constituency is entitled to two Members. I want to see Redistribution which is far more pressing in the county which I have the honour to represent; but let the Committee remember that the House has time after time decided in favour of the principle of the abolition of plural voting, and that it has only been by the action of the House of Lords that this measure has not been carried. If hon. Members were really honest and this Amendment were really an honest Amendment——
I think that the hon. Gentleman will consider that I put this Amendment down perfectly 2403 honestly, and I hope that he considers that I put this Amendment down with the absolutely honest intention of dealing with the whole question together, and not merely with the little bit that suits the Government.
§ Sir A. MARKHAM
I am sure that nobody can be more honest and sincere in his convictions on this particular question than my hon. Friend who has made a special study of it, but I say that Members of this House may be honest individually, yet When they act collectively honesty goes by the board. This Amendment is a dishonest Amendment. If the party opposite are sincere in the desire to abolish plural voting and they want to have Redistribution of seats at the same time, they have only got to go to the Government and say so, and the necessary arrangements could be made, so that by 1st January, 1915, it would be perfectly possible to have a Redistribution of seats. But hon. Members have no intention of agreeing to anything of the sort. They do not want the abolition of plural voters simultaneously with the passing of a Redistribution Bill, which would be perfectly easy if they were honest in their intention.
§ Mr. STEEL-MAITLAND
We on this side of the House have some reason to complain that to the arguments that have been presented no reply whatsoever has been received. I hardly think, with all due reference to the Under-Secretary, that he has really read the promises and statements of intention which have been made by the President of the Board of Education during the First or Second Reading of the Bill. The hon. Member who spoke last asked whether this was an honest or dishonest Amendment, and said that if it was an honest Amendment we should go to the Government and say, "Produce your Redistribution Bill. It will be got through quickly, and, therefore, both these measures, which are so desirable, will be carried into law without delay." Was there ever a more preposterous theory of legislation under our present Parliamentary system? The hon. Member, by inference, admits himself that the Government are not justified in introducing this Bill in priority to a Redistribution Bill. Then he says that if we on this side are to be justified we are to go to the Government and say, "Let us alter the course of your legislation for you, let us take your responsibility upon our 2404 shoulders, and let you introduce a Redistribution Bill and we will support it." If there is any real responsibility upon the Government, whatever it is, they should themselves produce measures and take the full responsibility for the priority which they give to any of them. There are two ether points which I wish to submit to the Under-Secretary of State for India, if he is representing the President of the Board of Education on this Bill, and to which I desire some answer. In the first place, priority was claimed for this measure by the President of the Board of Education on the ground that it would enable the Government to perceive how the electorate was distributed before a Redistribution Bill was brought in. That was the ground on which he claimed priority for this Franchise Bill, namely, that it would facilitate a measure of Redistribution afterwards. But this Bill which you have brought in does not facilitate Redistribution afterwards. It will not afford information of any sort as to how votes will be distributed so as to make Redistribution easier. One of the main arguments therefore which the President of the Board of Education adduced for -priority of this measure is completely falsified by the nature of the Bill which he has brought in. The other point to which I refer is one on which we, on this side, deserve a more intelligible answer than that which we have hitherto received. In his opening speech on the Bill the President of the Board of Education made these remarks:—The question, therefore, I presume that they, the Opposition, would like to put to me is this: 'Why introduce legislation merely to help one party in the State from an electoral standpoint, and defer registration, electoral reform, and Reconstitution of the House of Lords, and Redistribution—subjects on which there might be a greater consensus of opinion in all quarters of the House?That was the question which the right hon. Gentleman put in the mouth of the Opposition, and here is his answer to it:My reply to any such question would be that during the lifetime of the present Parliament we intend to proceed with those reforms.That was a statement of intention, which. I suppose, might quite well be regarded as a debt of honour. All we say is that if we-put that question, we are entitled to have the answer translated from being a debt of honour to a debt which is recoverable at law. If there was any sincerity in the statement of the President of the Board of Education at all, a measure of Redistribution should be passed to come into operation at the same time 2405 as a measure of this kind Unless we have some more satisfactory reply from the Under-Secretary of State in regard to that definite statement of intention by the President of the Board of Education, I think we have good ground for pressing this Amendment.
§ Sir J. SIMON
The hon. Gentleman who supports this Amendment has said, as have other speakers on that side of the House, that he would be quite satisfied if this Bill contained a condition that it is not to become law until a Redistribution proposal also becomes law.
§ Mr. STEEL-MAITLAND
The right hon. and learned Gentleman is mistaken. I never made any statement of that kind. The statement was one which I quoted as having been made by the President of the Board of Education, announcing the intention of the Government on the subject of electoral reform. I have not said anything with regard to myself, and have merely asked that the Government should act up to their own statements.
§ Sir J. SIMON
I was making an entirely un provocative remark, and I did not intend to be provocative. I would point out to the hon. Gentleman that I have been here during the whole of this Debate, and in what I said I was referring not so much to what he said as to what was said by other hon. Gentlemen who have taken part in the discussion, and who suggested that this Clause should be accepted, because it would secure that Redistribution proposals would come into effect at the same time, and not later than this Bill when it becomes law. I began that way because I did not wish to be provocative, for I do not understand, nor do I take any particular interest in that particular kind of electoral controversy which consists of accusing people without any justification of breaking their word. When hon. Gentlemen opposite suggest that this Bill could only become tolerable to them if It contained the condition that it should not become law until Redistribution was brought forward, do they see what it is they are really suggesting? They are suggesting to us that it should be in the power of the Conservative party to prevent plural voting from being abolished. Let me remind hon. Gentlemen opposite, 'who do not seem to me always to have in mind the history of this matter, what the history of it is. In 1906 the first thing which Parliament did, was to endeavour to carry into law a Bill to abolish plural voting. It 2406 was the opinion of the mass of the electors of this country that one man one vote was a desirable thing, and whatever may be said about other topics, nobody can suggest that the greatest frankness was not displayed by those who supported the proposal. When it was first introduced in 1906 the Bill was debated line by line in this House, and it then went to the House of Lords. Owing to the overwhelming authority which the Conservative party was able to exert in the House of Lords, it was rejected there in the course of a few hours. But since then there has been a good deal of political history, and we have at any rate secured the Parliament Act, by which we will see that this Bill becomes law, even though a Liberal Bill. If hon. Gentlemen do not like it in the year in which it is first passed by this House, it at any rate will become law two years afterwards. The hon. Gentleman and his Friends blandly say, "Why do you not put in the Bill a provision that it shall not become law until the House of Lords assent to Redistribution proposals?" I note that the hon. Gentleman who spoke earlier in the Debate is already in a position to tell us that the House of Lords will reject this Bill. What was in his mind, I suppose, was that this Bill, under present circumstances, could not become law until the middle of 1915.
§ Sir J. SIMON
Here is a Bill which, in the ordinary course of events, should become law during the present Session. If it is going to become law in the present Session, where is the breach of honour, because the President of the Board of Education said it is the intention of the Government to propose other electoral reforms in the life of the present Parliament? Where is the breach of honour? There is nothing of the sort unless you proceed on the assumption which consciously or unconsciously you do proceed upon, that, thanks to the influence of the Conservative party on the House of Lords, the Parliament Act will be necessary. I come to the observation which was made by the hon. Gentleman who spoke last. He is so good as to talk about breach of faith and all the rest of it. That language is very high language. I confess I think it would be more effective if it was reserved for an occasion when it might be conceived that it would be merited. What is the 2407 situation here? The President of the Board of Education at no stage and in no speech has ever given any such pledge. What he did say was that it was the intention of the Government to make these proposals, but to pledge the Government that those proposals would pass into law would involve an undertaking as to what the House of Lords would do without any of the restraint of the Parliament Act, which it is not very likely the President of the Board of Education would give. In the very speech to which the hon. Gentleman referred and in the very next sentence of the Minister of Education and which, unfortunately, the hon. Gentleman did not quote, the intention I have just expressed is contained, and in which he said that he gave no pledge because, of course, it was impossible, and always must be impossible, for us to give such a paldge.
He went on to say if those intentions for any reason fail to be realised, at any rate the abolition of the evil of plural voting, as we believe it to be, does not aggravate or intensify any other anomaly that you may have to complain of. Other anomalies no doubt there are. I have a constituency which requires the abolition of plural voting to be applied and also Redistribution to be applied. The plural voter is not found in the small constituency; he is found in the big constituency. Wimbledon, Romford, Walthamstow, and the City of London are not small constituencies, but big constituencies, and if you have two anomalies, both of them admitted to exist but which, at any rate, have not got this character that as long as they exist together one tends to correct the other, there is no reason or common sense why you should not correct one of them before you correct the other. The suggestion which is made so cheerfully by hon. Gentlemen opposite that there is any breach of honour or of a representation or understanding, is a suggestion which is quite without foundation, and which, I confess, I a little resent. What it is fair to say is that the Government have made a declaration as to the intentions which they have, but you are not at liberty to say that the Government have given a pledge that they will not do one thing without the other, for that is the very thing they are doing. On the assumption which the hon. and gallant Gentleman invites me to make, that so far as he is aware there is no application of the Parliament Act necessary for this measure, and that it will pass, as 2408 Conservative measures usually do, in the course of a Session, I say it is high time that the plural voter was abolished and that there is no justification at all for this Amendment.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I had not the advantage of hearing anything but the end of the speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, but what I did hear seems to me quite sufficient to explain the rest of his speech. The right hon. Gentleman was dealing with a consideration in regard to this Bill with which we are all familiar. All on the bench opposite have admitted that this touches a comparatively small part of the evils of our electoral law, and more than once, not only the Minister for Education, but every other Minister who has spoken on this subject, has told us that it, is their intention to deal with the other anomalies as they consider them to be. If that is their intention, I put to the right hon. and learned Gentleman this question: If they fail to carry out that intention, what harm is there in postponing the dealing with this particular anomaly until they are able to deal with the whole of the anomalies admitted by their own side?
§ Sir J. SIMON
"If they fail to carry out their intention"—you mean if they fail to carry a Redistribution Bill into law. The House of Lords could prevent us carrying it into law.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
Can they? Then why can they not prevent you carrying this. [An HON. MEMBER: "The Parliament Act."] Why not deal with the others in the same way?
§ Sir J. SIMON
That requires some answer. Does the right hon. Gentleman represent, if we introduce Redistribution proposals in this Session that he will facilitate the passing of both these Bills this year?
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I can certainly promise we shall facilitate the passing of Redistribution quite as much as we shall facilitate the passing of this Bill. But, really, what does the right hon. Gentleman mean? What he is doing does not depend, I presume on us, it depends on what they themselves think to be right. If therefore they think it right to deal fairly with our whole electoral system, why do they not adopt the same methods with the other part as they chose with regard to this part. 2409 The real point which I wish to put before the Committee, and for the sake of putting which rose, is this: The right hon. Gentleman says this anomaly stands by itself, that it will not be affected in any other way by any of the other anomalies. I utterly deny that. I claim that Redistribution from our point of view, the need of it, represents a greater evil than the one with which he is now dealing. I claim, further, in remedying this particular evil, they are leaving unredressed an evil, which is made worse by the measure which they are now carrying. Surely that must be true. Take the position in Scotland. At this moment we have 40 per cent. or thereabouts of the total electorate, while we return only seven or eight Members. We have been told that the plural voter is a great evil in Scotland.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I really do not think I should be right in allowing the merits of Redistribution to be raised here. I think that point already arose about an hour ago, and this is not a proposal in order to argue the merits of Redistribution.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I had no intention of dwelling on the matter, but I think you will on consideration agree that as the right hon. and learned Gentleman has claimed that this anomaly does not affect any other, If I am going to reply, I must be allowed at all events a few sentences to deal with it. We return seven or eight Members in Scotland. Hon. Members opposite claim plural voting to be a great evil in Scotland. We obviously do not get our share of the representation now. If this Bill becomes law we will get a smaller show, and obviously the passing of the Bill will make the other anomaly greater than it is. But what is the use of arguing the matter. The Prime Minister himself, in speaking on the General Franchise Bill, made this admission. He said that there are anomalies which tell against that party and anomalies which tell against this party, and among the anomalies which tell against this party was this particular one. He gives up the Bill with which he was dealing, and by the strangest of strange coincidences the only anomaly with which he deals is the only one which, on his own admission, is to the advantage of the party to which he belongs.
§ Mr. HENRY TERRELL
We object to this Bill not because we object to doing away with the anomaly of plural voting, but because we object to doing away with this anomaly, and at the same time leaving other anomalies untouched. It is not a case of this House having determined to do that which is just and right in forcing through this Bill unaccompanied by Redistribution. The House has done nothing of the kind. The majority of this House thought that they would gain a party advantage by it, and, thinking that, they passed the Second Reading of this Bill. What we object to most of all is that Ministers should make statements in the House and in the country as to their intention, and then oppose this Amendment which is directed towards enabling them to give effect to what they have said is their intention. The Solicitor-General purported to quote from a speech of the President of the Board of Education. I think he quoted from memory; I have now the words before me. The right hon. Gentleman said:—I hope the House will accept my word when I say it is our intention, before the General Election, to introduce a measure of this kind to deal with franchise reform. We intend to deal with that, and we also intend to deal with Redistribution upon a basis which I believe will command the general assent of the whole country."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th April, 1913, col. 1238, Vol. LII.]That is the intention of the Government according to the President of the Board of Education. Just before that he stated that if any unforeseen circumstances did occur and this Bill were passed into law unaccompanied by Redistribution certain results would follow. Surely, that is a distinct statement by a Minister that it was the intention of the Government before the next General Election to introduce a Redistribution Bill. That is all we are asking them to do. This Amendment is simply to give the Government an opportunity of redeeming that pledge. But they do not want that. They want to force this measure through and then come to the General Election without Redistribution and with the advantage which such a course gives them. But it does not remain there. Not very long ago the Secretary for War went through a by-election. He then announced over and over again, and placarded the constituency with the words, "One man, one vote; one vote, one value." What did that mean? That was the policy he was advocating. That was what he said the Government intended to do. But they are now opposing this Amend- 2411 ment which is necessary to be accepted if the Government really intend to carry out the pledges they have given to the House and the announcement of intentions which they have made to the country. It is really extraordinary that the Government should oppose an Amendment which merely postpones the operation of this Bill to a date which is necessary if they really intend to redeem the pledges they have given. If those pledges were merely given to allay the minds of people who were interested in the subject, and to make them believe that there was an intention on the part of the Government which the Government
§ never intended to fulfil, I could understand it. But if the Government really intended the pledges to be understood by this House and by the country in the only way in which they could be understood, and if they are going to give effect to those pledges, it is absolutely necessary that they should accept this Amendment.
§ Mr. PEASE rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 252; Noes, 143.2413
|Division No. 175.]||AYES.||[4.10 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Kelly, Edward|
|Adamson, William||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan)||Kennedy, Vincent Paul|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Kilbride, Denis|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Esmonds, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||King, Joseph|
|Alden, Percy||Essex, Sir Richard Walter||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Esslemont, George Birnie||Lambert, Richard (Wilts. Cricklade)|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Falconer, James||Lardner, James C. R.|
|Arnold, Sydney||Ffrench, Peter||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)|
|Asquih, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Field, William||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Fitzgibbon, John||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert|
|Barnes, George N.||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Barran, Rowland Hurst (Leeds, N.)||Ginnell, Laurence||Lundon, Thomas|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Gladstone, W. G. C.||Lyell, Charles Henry|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Glanville, H. J.||Lynch, A. A.|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Goldstone, Frank||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George)||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||McGhee, Richard|
|Black, Arthur W.||Greig, Col. J. W.||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.|
|Boland, John Pius||Griffith, Ellis Jones||Macpherson, James Ian|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||M'Callum, Sir John M.|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Hackett, John||M'Curdy, C. A.|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Hancock, J. G.||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Marks, Sir George Croydon|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Marshall, Arthur Harold|
|Burke, E. Haviland||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Martin, Joseph|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Mason, David M. (Coventry)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Hayden, John Patrick||Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Hayward, Evan||Meagher, Michael|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Hazleton, Richard||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Median, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Mcnzies, Sir Walter|
|Clough, William||Henry, Sir Charles||Millar, James Duncan|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Molloy, Michael|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Higham, John Sharp||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Hinds, John||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred|
|Cotton, William Francis||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Money, L. G. Chiozza|
|Cowan, W. H.||Hodge, John||Montagu, Hon. E. S.|
|Crooks, William||Hogg, David C.||Mooney, John J.|
|Crumley, Patrick||Hogge, J. M.||Morgan, George Hay|
|Cullinan, John||Holmes, Daniel Turner||Morrell, Philip|
|Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)||Holt, Richard Durning||Morison, Hector|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Horne, Charles Silvester (Ipsw'ch)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Muldoon, John|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Hudson, Walter||Munro, Robert|
|Dawes, James Arthur||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.|
|De Forest, Baron||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Murphy, Martin J.|
|Delany, William||Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||Nolan, Joseph|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Dickinson, W. H.||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Norton, Captain Cecil W.|
|Dillon, John||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Nuttall, Harry|
|Doris, William||Jowett, Frederick William||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Duffy, William J.||Joyce, Michael||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Keating, Matthew||O'Doherty, Philip|
|O'Donnell, Thomas||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|O'Dowd, John||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Thorns, William (West Ham)|
|O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)||Toulmin, Sir George|
|O'Malley, William||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Verney, Sir Harry|
|O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Robinson, Sidney||Walsh, Stephen (Lanes., Ince)|
|O'Shee, James John||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|O'Sullivan, Timothy||Roche, Augustine (Louth)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Outhwaite, R. L.||Roe, Sir Thomas||Wardle, George J.|
|Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Rowlands, James||Waring, Walter|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Scanlan, Thomas||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Philipps, Colonel Ivor (Southampton)||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)||Webb, H.|
|Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Seely, Colonel Rt. Hon. J. E. B.||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Sheeny, David||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Sherwell, Arthur James||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)||Shortt, Edward||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Allsebrook||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Pringhe, William M. R.||Smith, Albert (Lanes., Clitheroe)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Hadford, G. H.||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)||Wilson, W T. (Westhoughton)|
|Raffan, Peter Wilson||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)||Wood, Rt Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|Reddy, Michael||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)||Young, William (Perthshire, East)|
|Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Sutherland, John E.||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Redmond, William (Clare, E.)||Sutton, John E.|
|Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Richardson, Albion (Peckham)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Glazebrook, Captain Philip K.||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Goldsmith, Frank||Newman, John R. P.|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Astor, Waldorf||Grant, J. A.||Paget, Almeric Hugh|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Gretton, John||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Barnston, Harry||Guinness, Hon.W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)||Peel, Lieut.-Colonel R. F,|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Haddock, George Bahr||Perkins, Waller Frank|
|Bern, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Hall, Frederick (Dulwich)||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Bigland, Alfred||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Rawson, Colonel Richard H.|
|Blair, Reginald||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Harris, Henry Percy||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Ablngdon)||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Rutherford, John (Lanes., Darwen)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hoare, S. J. G.||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Burn, Colonel C. R-||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Sandys, G. J.|
|Butcher, John George||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Home, E. (Surrey, Guildford)||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Campion, W. R.||Houston, Robert Paterson||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk.||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Cassel, Felix||Ingleby, Holcombe||Stewart, Gershom|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Joynson-Hicks, William||Talbot, Lord E.|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Kerry, Earl of||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Keswick, Henry||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.),|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Knight, Captain Eric Ayshford||Touche, George Alexander|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Tuillbardine, Marquess of|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)||Walker, Colonel William Hall|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Lloyd, George Ambrose (Stafford, W.)||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Croft, H. P.||Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Dairymple, Viscount||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Warde, Colonel C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lieut.-Colonel A. R.||Weigall, Capt. A. G.|
|Denison-Pender, J. C.||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee||Weston, Colonel J. W.|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm, Edgbaston)||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Doughty, Sir George||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Duncannon, Viscount||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Macmaster, Donald||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Fell, Arthur||M'Calmont, Robert C. A.||Worthington-Evans. L.|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Fletcher, John Samuel||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Younger, Sir George|
|Forster, Henry William||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas|
|Gardner, Ernest||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir|
|Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||H. Samuel and Mr. Stanier.|
|Gilmour, Captain John||Mount, William Arthur|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the Clause be read a second time."2414
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 146; Noes, 256.2417
|Division No. 176.]||AYES.||[4.20 p.m.|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Glimour, Captain John||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Glazebrook, Captain Philip K.||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Archer-Shee, Major||Goldsmith, Frank||Paget, Almeric Hugh|
|Ashley, W. W.||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Astor, Waldorf||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Baird, J. L.||Gretton, John||Peel, Lieut.-Colonel R. F.|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Barnston, H.||Haddock, George Bahr||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Bern, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Hall, Frederick (Dulwich)||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Hall, Marshall, L'pool, E. Toxteth)||Rawson, Colonel R. H.|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bigland, Alfred||Harris, Henry Percy||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Blair, Reginald||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Ablngdon)||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hoare, S. J. G.||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Home, E. (Surrey, Gulidford)||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Butcher, John George||Houston, Robert Paterson||Stanier, Beville|
|Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Hunter, Sir C. R.||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Campion, W. R.||Ingleby, Holcombe||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Jessel, Captain H. M.||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Cassel, Felix||Joynson-Hicks, William||Stewart, Gershom|
|Cautley, H. S.||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Talbot, Lord E.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Kerry, Earl of||Terrell, George (Wilts)|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Keswick, Henry||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Knight, Captain Eric Ayshford||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Touche, George Alexander|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts, Mile End)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Lloyd, George Ambrose (Stafford, W.)||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Croft, Henry Page||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Dairymple, Viscount||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lieut.,Col. A. R.||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Lonsdale, Sir J. Brownlee||Welgall, Capt. A. G.|
|Denison-Pender, J. C.||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Weston, Colonel J. W.|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Doughty, Sir George||MacCaw, William J. McGeagh||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Duncannon, Viscount||Macmaster, Donald||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Ripon)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||M'Calmont, Major Robert C. A.||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Fell, Arthur||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry||Worthlngton-Evans, L.|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Yate, Col. Charles Edward|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Younger, Sir George|
|Fletcher, John Samuel||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)|
|Forster, Henry William||Mount, William Arthur||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Major|
|Gardner, Ernest||Newdegate, F. A.||Morrison-Bell and Mr. Grant.|
|Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Newman, John R. P.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Adamson, William||Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Cewley, H. T. (Heywood)||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)-|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Chancellor, H. G.||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)|
|Alden, Percy||Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Clancy, John Joseph||Essex, Sir Richard Walter|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Clough, William||Esslemont, George Birnie|
|Arnold, Sydney||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Falconer, James|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Ffrench, Peter|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Field, William|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Cotton, William Francis||Fitzgibbon, John|
|Barnes, George N.||Cowan, W. H.||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Barran, Rowland Hurst (Leeds, N.)||Crooks, William||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Crumley, Patrick||Ginnell, L.|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Cullinan, John||Gladstone, W. G. C.|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)||Glanville, H. J.|
|Benn, W. W. (Tower Hamlets, S. Geo.)||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Goldstone, Frank|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Davies, Timothy (Lincs, Louth)||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)|
|Boland, John Pius||Dawes, J. A.||Greig, Colonel J. W.|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||De Forest, Baron||Griffith, Ellis Jones|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Delany, William||Guest, Hon. Frederick (Dorset, E.)|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)|
|Brady, P. J.||Dickinson, W. H.||Hackett. J.|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Dillon, John||Hancock, John George|
|Brunner, J. F. L.||Donelan, Captain A.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Doris, William||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Duffy, William J||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Martin, J.||Richardson, Albion (Peekham)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Hayward, Evan||Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G,||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Hazleton, Richard||Meagher, Michael||Roberts, Sir J. H. Denbighs)|
|Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrlm, N.)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W)||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Henry, Sir Charles||Menzies, Sir Walter||Robinson, Sidney|
|Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Hon., S.)||Millar, James Duncan||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Higham, John Sharp||Molloy, Michael||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Hinds, John||Molteno, Percy Alport||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Mond, Rt, Hon. Sir Alfred||Rowlands, James|
|Hodge, John||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Hogg, David C.||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Hogge, James Myles||Mooney, John J.||Scantan, Thomas|
|Holmes, Daniel[...] Turner||Morgan, George Hay||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E.|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Morrell, Philip||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Home, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||Morison, Hector||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Sheeny, David|
|Hudson, Walter||Muldoon, John||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Munro, R,||Shortt, Edward|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R, C.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Allsebrook|
|Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||Murphy, Martin J.||Smith, Albert (Lanes., Clitheroe)|
|Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Nolan, Joseph||Smith, H. B. L. (Northampton)|
|Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Norman, Sir Henry||Smyth Thomas F. (Leitrlm, S.)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts.,Stepney)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Jowett, Frederick William||Nuttall, Harry||Sutton, John E.|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Keating, Matthew||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Kelly, Edward||O'Doherty, Philip||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||O'Donnell, Thomas||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Kilbride, Denis||O'Dowd, John||Toulmfn, Sir George|
|King, J.||O'Grady, James||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon,S.Molton)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||O'Malley, William||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs, Ince)|
|Lardner, James C. H.||O'Neill, Dr, Charles (Armagh, S.)||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||O'Shee, James John||Wardle, George J.|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Waring, Walter|
|Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Outhwalte, R. L.||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Lundon, T.||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Webb, H.|
|Lynch, A. A.||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|McGhee, Richard||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr, T. J.||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Macpherson, James Ian||Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|M'Callum, Sir John M.||Pringle, William M. R.||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|M'Curdy, C. A.||Radford, G. H.||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Raffan, Peter Wilson||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|M'Laren, Hon. F.W.S. (Lincs..Spalding)||Reddy, M.|
|Markham, Sir Arthur Basl||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Marks, Sir George Croydon||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Marshall, Arthur Harold||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E)|
§ The CHAIRMAN
The next Clause that I find to be in order is one handed in by the hon. Member for St. Pancras (Mr. Cassel).
§ Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
Might I ask you whether it would be possible for you to give us some indication which of the remaining new Clauses are in order?
§ The CHAIRMAN
The next two Clauses on the Paper ["Commencement of the Act "] deal with the same matter as that which has already been decided. The Clause offered by the hon. Member for the Hexham Division ["Votes given illegally to be cancelled"] is outside the scope of the Bill. The new Clause of the hon. Member for Salisbury ["Election Peti- 2418 tion"] was set down as an Amendment to. Clause 1, and would have been in order there, and therefore is not the subject-matter for a new Clause. Then there come-three Amendments in the name of the hon. Member for East Down: "This Act shall not apply to Ireland. "This Act shall not apply to Scotland." This Act shall not apply to the Isle of Wight." I think that those three Clauses convey the answer to the question. In Clause 1 we decided that. this Act should apply to a General Election of Members for the Parliament of the United Kingdom. [Holy. MEMBERS: "No."] The question of inserting the words "United Kingdom" was raised, and it was declared legally that the word "Parliament" there was equivalent to what is 2419 called the Parliament of the United Kingdom. In any case, these Amendments are clearly inconsistent with Clause 1 of the Bill, because that deals with persons and what they may or may not do.
On the point of excluding Ireland, I wish to ask whether, in moving that particular Amendment—I agree with regard to the Scottish and the Isle of Wight Amendments there may be some other difficulty arising which you have in your mind—but with regard to Ireland I only wish to ask whether this is not establishing a precedent; whether in every other Act which has been before this House it has been in order to discuss whether it shall or shall not apply to Ireland; and whether, if your view is it is not in order, that will not constitute a precedent for future occasions?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think the distinction is quite clear. The hon. and gallant Member is quite correct that, in most cases, a new Clause of that kind is in order. But he will probably agree with me, arguing from Scotland and the Isle of Wight to Ireland, that it is inconsistent with what we have already passed in Clause 1.
§ Mr. NEWMAN
Then do I understand that the hon. and gallant Member is precluded moving the Clause that the Act shall not apply to Ireland, because he has brought in the Isle of Wight and Scotland?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I was only helping the hon. Member to see my point, and I think he does see it. The Clause is out of order for the reasons I have stated.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
The electoral conditions in Scotland differ very much from those in England. We are in the habit of having separate Bills in this House dealing with Scotland, and surely that is a reason for a Clause excluding Scotland being in perfect order?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I do not think so, because what we have decided in Clause 1 clearly excludes an Amendment in the form of a new Clause of this kind.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
May I put this point? Is it perfectly clear that your ruling is that, as Clause 1 has been passed, it applies to all Parliaments in the United Kingdom?
§ The CHAIRMAN
It applies to the election of the present Parliament of the United Kingdom, and that is what we are dealing with in this Clause.
§ Mr. CASSEL
Assuming that the House wished to apply this Bill to the whole of the United Kingdom except Ireland, if on Clause 1 any Member of this House had proposed as an Amendment that this Act shall not apply to Ireland, would you not in that case have said that that was a matter which should be raised by a new Clause? The difficulty I feel is this—and I ask your guidance upon it—assuming that the House of Commons desires that this principle should apply to the whole of the United Kingdom except Ireland, how by any possibility could it give effect to that if you said that this ought to come as an Amendment to Clause 1? I should have thought that, if such an Amendment had been moved, you would have said, "You must follow the usual precedent in all Acts of Parliament in which Ireland or Scotland are excepted."
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. and learned Member will see, if he looks at the Bill, that Clause 1 provides that a person shall not vote in a General Election for Parliament—that is to say, this Parliament as it exists—and I do not see how, if the Act with this Clause in is not to apply to Ireland, it is in order to accept a Clause dealing with an area whereas what has been decided deals with what a person may do.
§ Mr. CASSEL
Upon that point, may I respectfully put to you that the words, "this Act shall not apply to Ireland" will be interpreted as meaning that this Act shall not apply to constituencies in Ireland. Although Clause 1 deals with persons, it deals with persons exercising rights in constituencies, and the effect of this new Clause would be to deal with those persons when exercising their rights in Irish constituencies. The object of the Clause is not to apply that principle, which I agree applies to persons, because it is only persons who can vote, but to say that persons voting in Irish constituencies shall not have the same principle applied to them as is applied in Great Britain.
§ Mr. BUTCHER
May I submit that this Clause is clearly not inconsistent with the title of the Bill, which is— "to impose a penalty on an elector who votes in more than one constituency at a General Parliamentary Election,"
2421 because it would be quite consistent with the title of the Bill to say that the penalty of prohibition in this Clause shall not apply to a portion of the United Kingdom. Therefore if it is not inconsistent with the title of the Bill it is not inconsistent with any other part of the Bill, because the Committee expressly refused to put into Clause 1 of the Bill the words "Parliament of the United Kingdom." If those words had been put into Clause 1 it might be said with some plausibility that we could not exempt Ireland, but inasmuch as the Committee has expressly refused to put the words "of the United Kingdom" into Clause 1 of the Bill, I submit to you that it must be open to us to exclude a particular area if the Committee so desires.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think the Committee will see, by simply looking at the proposals on the Paper. "This Act shall not apply to Ireland," "This Act shall not apply to Scotland," "This Act shall not apply to the Isle of Wight," "This Act shall not apply to Wales," that they are all inadmissible.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I only wish to understand exactly what your ruling is. So far as I can see it would have been in order in any Bill to say that it should apply only to a certain portion of the United Kingdom and that another portion should be left out. As I understand your ruling, it is because Amendments are put down, which, taken together, exclude the whole of the United Kingdom, that therefore none of them is in order. It must be in order, if the Committee so decides, to leave out, say, Ireland, which is not effected by the fact that some other Amendments propose to leave out another part. As regards the point you made earlier that the Government themselves have given a legal opinion that the Bill applied only to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, I heard that point put to the Solicitor-General as a Law Officer, and he did say that in his opinion, without being too dogmatic, he took that view. As that is obviously all that the Law Officer could have said, I submit it must be admissible to move to exclude Ireland.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think the right hon. Gentleman misunderstands what I have said. It does not mean that because a series of new Clauses has been put down which separately would have been in order 2422 they collectively have ruled out each other. Certainly not. The mere fact that if one is in order the others all are in order is, I think, clear enough. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] I have tried to explain to the House that this is a Bill dealing with persons, and not with areas, and persons acting as electors of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and I think it is inconsistent with the first Clause to propose here to leave out Ireland, or the Isle of Wight, or Scotland, or Wales.
§ Mr. LAURENCE HARDY
I understood you to rule that this Bill is entirely confined to persons. I would only point out that already to-day you yourself ruled in order a new Clause which dealt with the area of the City of London. That was only a small item, still it was an area which it was proposed to exclude from the operation of the Bill. If one area is excepted is it not possible to except the larger area?
§ The CHAIRMAN
If the hon. Member was present he would have heard me say I had serious doubts as to whether I ought to admit that new Clause. That was at first also down in the form of an Amendment to Clause 1, and two days ago when the hon. Baronet came to me and discussed the matter with me, I gave what I regarded as a personal undertaking that I would take the matter as a new Clause, and therefore I did not feel justified in going back on it. The next Amendment. in the name of the hon. Member for the Enfield Division ["Determination of Act"] proposes a conditional repeal of the Act depending on some future Act. That is a thing which must be done when the second Act is brought forward, and not in this Bill. The next Amendment, in the name of the hon. Member for the Wells Division ["Exemption of members of Territorial Force"], is an exemption which could have come on as an Amendment to Clause 1 in the same way as the one in connection with business premises. The new Clause of the hon. Member for Central Sheffield ["Exceptions for special classes of electors"] also is a special exemption.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
Might I submit in consequence of the statement made at the beginning of business, that your ruling imposes an obligation on the Chairman when the Amendments are gone through under the operation of the new Standing Order, to say whether they are ruled out 2423 on merits or whether they are passed over. Otherwise it is impossible for Members to know whether they can bring them in again as new Clauses or not.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I do not think I could take it upon myself to do that. If I did, I should be coming in conflict with the Standing Order, which simply says that where the Chairman has doubt, he may call upon the Member concerned to explain his Amendment before deciding whether to select it.
§ Mr. J. HOPE
But you will realise the great practical inconvenience that Members will be subject to, if they do not know whether their Amendments are passed over as being out of order or are passed over at the discretion of the Chairman, with a view to new Clauses. They will not know whether they ought to be put down as new Clauses.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I take it the hon. Member, who knows the practice of the House so well, will realise that this is probably the first occasion on which a whole series of Amendments to the Clauses of a Bill have been sought to be recreated in the form of new Clauses.
§ Mr. BUTCHER
Does the fact of a provision being a possible subject for Amendment preclude it being a right subject for a new Clause. In other words, is it not quite possible that a particular provision may be put into a Bill either by way of Amendment to a Clause or by way of a new Clause? It is of great importance from this point of view, that in this Bill, as in many others, the House has not had an opportunity of considering certain proposals by way of Amendment.
§ The CHAIRMAN
On the point of Order. I cannot see that that is relevant. The new Clause in the name of the hon. Member for Penryn and Falmouth ["Remission of penalties"] deals with a matter which was decided by the Committee on an Amendment to Clause 1.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
I think I was present during the whole of the Debate, and what was raised was the general question of the severity of the penalty. Another point raised was that part of the penalty was not variable at the discretion of the Court It was never suggested during the Debate in my hearing that power should not be given to the Court to vary the one particular part of the penalty which was in- 2424 variable. I do not think that point was raised. There were three points in regard to the penalty—one was a fine which was invariable, the second was imprisonment which was invariable, and the third——
§ The CHAIRMAN
I have stated that the subject dealt with in the new Clause was subjected to discussion on an Amendment. I was going on to say that it was obviously a case for Amendment on the Clause, and therefore the new Clause comes under what I have already said. The next two new Clauses ["Residence" and "Business premises"], are exemptions similar to some with which I have already dealt.
§ Sir A. GRIFFITH-BOSCAWEN
May I point out that the question raised in my new Clause ["Business premises"], was not dealt with in the Committee stage. There was an Amendment on the Paper, but it was passed over. Cannot I therefore move the new Clause?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I dealt with that just now. As a matter of fact the question was subjected to debate on an Amendment which was moved. What I have already said covers the next six new Clauses on the Paper. The Clause standing in the name of the hon. Member for the Enfield Division ["Names of plural voters to be ascertained by Local Government Board"] is outside the scope of the Bill.
§ Mr. NEWMAN
May I point out that the very same Clause was debated in 1906 on the Committee stage and the Report stage of the Bill then proposed?
§ The CHAIRMAN
That was a Bill of a very different nature from this. The new Clause in the name of the hon. Member for Tewkesbury ["Provision as to persons asking for ballot or voting paper in more than one constituency"] is not in order. The next one ["Mitigation or remission of incapacities"] is clearly a matter for an Amendment on Clause 1, and not a separate Clause.
§ Mr. GOLDSMITH
I think the point raised by the new Clause was not decided by the Committee during the discussion of the Clauses in the Bill.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I quite agree that it has not been decided during the discussion of the Clauses. The hon. Member can put it down as an Amendment on Clause 1 on the Report stage. The Clause standing in 2425 the name of the hon. Member for the Central Division of Sheffield ["Provision as to persons voting for Members of the House of Keys"] is covered by what I have already said. The same remark applies to the new Clauses with reference to "Provision as to persons voting for elections for the States of Jersey," and "Exemption as to persons voting for elections to the States of Guernsey." The last one on the Paper in the name of the hon. Member for the St. Augustine's Division and two other Members in dealing with future legislation. We cannot do that in this Bill.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
In view of your ruling that the portion of this Clause dealing with future legislation is out of order, will the same objection apply at a subsequent stage of the Bill?