HC Deb 05 August 1914 vol 65 cc2030-1

Order for Third Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."

The CHAIRMAN of WAYS and MEANS (Mr. Whitley)

I wish to make an explanation. When this Bill was last before the House and was in its consideration stage, I was inadvertently led into an error which I now wish to correct. I was under the impression that the petitioners against the Bill had not been charged the usual fees of the House owing to the fact that their hearing was due to a special instruction of the House. I have since found that that was not so. I was under a wrong impression, and I find that fees were charged. I think it is due to the petitioners and their agents that I should remedy that statement on the first opportunity I have had.


I beg to move to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."

I have heard rumours that some understanding has been come to with regard to the passage of this Bill, but I do not know what the conditions are. My constituents are strongly opposed to the Bill, and after reading the Bill and hearing the arguments in previous Debates, I feel that I must move the rejection of the measure with the object of giving those interested an opportunity of making a statement upon the matter. We have been told time and again that a very large number of those who hold industrial policies in the company were under the impression that they were bonâ fide members, having certain rights. That may be right or it may be wrong, but, in view of the position taken up by the company, I think that in justice to these people who have paid their money for many years, and have been the backbone of the company, a statement ought to be made on the matter.


I beg to second the Amendment.

I certainly think that the statement which has been so honourably explained by the Chairman of Ways and Means did influence, I will not say to a considerable, but to an appreciable extent, the Vote on the last occasion. [An HON. MEMBER: "No!"] We do not attach the slightest blame to the right hon. Gentleman for his lack of information on that point. We feel that this class of legislation affects very seriously indeed the interests of vast bodies of poor people, and that, when they themselves, because of their very poverty are unable to combine so effectively as people better placed in society can, and when they are unable to present their case before the Committee with anything like the same efficiency and the same display of intellect, it throws upon this House a heavier responsibility than might otherwise be the case. It would be invidious and tiresome to go into the arguments once again, and for the purpose of finding whether a friendly arrangement has been come to, and in order not to waste the time of the House, I beg formally to second the Motion.


I do not know of any arrangement beyond this, that some hon. Members felt that the matter had been so thoroughly discussed before that under present circumstances it was not advisable to renew the discussion to-day. I do not think that I should be studying the convenience of the House if I went further into the matter. The point raised by hon. Members below the Gangway has been considered on the various stages of the Bill. Their view has not prevailed, but it has been thoroughly discussed; therefore I hope my hon. Friends will not press their Motion to a division, but will accept the verdict of the House.

Question, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question" put, and agreed to.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read the third time, and passed, with Amendments.