HC Deb 23 February 1914 vol 58 cc1492-509

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £3,100, be granted to His Majesty to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1914, for Houses of Parliament Buildings."


I beg to move, "That the Vote be reduced by the sum of £100."

I hope the Government will be able to give a satisfactory answer to the points which I am about to raise. It will be seen that the sum of £3,100 is asked for over and above the estimate which it is contemplated will be used for defraying the cost of certain works. The sum asked for shows a certain amount of carelessness on the part of those who are responsible for arranging the Estimates. The first item is £1,000 for the new staircase leading from the Lower Waiting Hall to the Terrace. The revised estimate is £2,360, and it ap- pears to me that these improvements will amount to a large sum of money. I am sure I do not know what the object of the new staircase is. It certainly is a very imposing structure, but to whom it will give satisfaction I have not the remotest idea. It appears to me that this object of His Majesty's Government is to endeavour to turn the House of Commons into, and to look upon the House of Commons as in the nature of a new restaurant or a new hotel, and to make it as attractive as they can to both the inmates of the House and to outsiders. I do not know whether it is owing to the new custom of giving £400 per year to Members that it is deemed necessary to make the place more attractive and to increase the number of aspirants who seek to come here. Whatever it is, it appears to me that the new staircase is most unnecessary, and that a vote of £2,360 to construct a staircase in the portion of the House of Commons is one to which the Committee ought not to consent. Then there is the installation of the new lift. I should like to ask who is to benefit by this lift? Personally, I have never been up in this lift and I do not know even where it goes or leads to. It appears to me there are plenty of staircases in the House of Commons which are quite good enough, and, in the interests of economy, this sum should not have been incurred. In the Estimate for the Victoria Tower Garden extension there is an error of £1,700, That emphasises the point which I endeavoured to make at the beginning of my remarks, that there is a certain amount of carelessness on the part of those Members of the Government who are responsible. I would ask some information from the hon. Gentleman as it does appear to me that the sum of money now asked for is quite inordinate in comparison with the Estimate.


I do not for a moment say that the First Commissioner of Works has not done all the things he ought to have done, but I do say that this money might have been spent much more usefully. As far as the new staircase is concerned, I think it very beautiful and useful. The new passenger lift is, I am sure, used by many Members. I do not know where the Victoria Tower Gardens are, but I notice that we are spending £7,000 on it. There is one improvement which I should like to bring about. We want to make this place as up-to-date as possible. I am sure hon. Members will agree with me that when the general public come in here to listen to our Debates, the visitor likes to see his Member in the House, and if he does not find him is somewhat disappointed. At least, he used to be so, but he is now very angry when he reflects that the Member is receiving £400 per year. What is his Member doing? He is, as a rule, going through the ordinary treadmill of life, answering letters. We have got to do it, for you must remember that most Members, when the Session is in full swing, have a twelve-hour day. We come at 11.30 to sit on one of the—


I do not quite see where this appears.


During this long day—


We must have something that bears on the money being voted.


What I desire to suggest is that the money might be spent in many better ways.


That is not in order on an occasion like this, when a Supplementary Vote is under consideration.


I find, on looking at the original Estimate with regard to the first item for a new staircase to the Terrace, that the revised total Estimate is £2,160, and that the original Estimate for this staircase was £810. There was added to that original Estimate £400, which made £1,210, and we are asked today for an additional £1,000, making a. total of £2,210. I see that the revised total amount is £2,360. It will be observed that there is considerable discrepancy with regard to that amount. It is pretty difficult to object to the phraseology in this explanation, but it shows the amount of care and attention that has been given when we hear that this money is to be paid for a new staircase from the "Lower Waiting Hall of the House of Commons." I have been all round the premises looking for such a thing as a "lower waiting hall," and all I could find was the Outer Lobby. How that comes to be described as the ''Lower Waiting Hall," or whether there is a "higher waiting hall" or not, I do not know. While we understand what the description means, it certainly does not apply strictly to any part of these premises. I differ from my Noble Friend (Viscount Castlereagh) in thinking that the new staircase was wanted. The old staircase was disgraceful, and I think we are under some obligation to the hon. Member who has charge of this subject for putting in a decent staircase. What I am objecting to is the enormous sum which the staircase has cost, and the discrepancy that has arisen, in the amount estimated and in that paid. Ten of the cottages talked about last week could have been built for the price of making this one staircase. I think the Committee on all sides will be under the impression that such a sum of money for a mere staircase is a very large amount.

The next item is as to the installation of a passenger lift for which there is a revised total estimate of £2,400, and for which a sum of £200 is now wanted. I find that the original estimate was £2,000, and the total revised estimate £2,400, so that it is difficult to know why it is we have got only £200 here, unless it be that £160 in item No. 4 is going to be carried over to item No. 5. It is a quite a customary thing in all Departments connected with these estimates to carry over the surplus of one account to another without saying anything about it. If that is what is being done, I think it is a mistake, and that we are entitled to have the correct figure. A sum of £2,400 for a lift is an absolutely outrageous amount. I am not without some experience in such matters, and I have put an excellent lift in a building for £400. That would do everything that we want, and it is simply outrageous, because the money happens to be spent by a public Department that the putting in of a lift in this or any other building should cost £2,400. Therefore, I do think we are entitled to a little more information, and not to be merely brushed aside on a point of this kind, but should be informed why the lift should cost such an enormous sum of money. With regard to the Victoria Tower gardens, I differ from my hon. Friend, who does not know where they are. I think most of us know where they are, and it seems to me that the work that is being done there is a magnificent improvement, and will be a splendid thing for this side. I gather that there is not an error of £1,700, to which my hon. Friend referred. I have searched in vain for any earlier estimate with regard to these gardens, and I presume what is really meant is this, that the total estimate for the gardens is £5,000, and that £1,700 is the amount that has been expended up to date in the current year, and which it is sought to pass to-day. I think if those gardens are carried out on that splendid piece of land, which is now being made available for such a purpose, between the House and the Chain Bridge, that it will be a most excellent improvement, and I do not grumble at the estimate of £5,000 if it is judiciously and properly spent. There is then an item for the construction of lavatory accommodation for the engineering staff, and I presume we shall have some explanation why it was necessary, and why it was not voted in the original Estimate. There are certainly two or three of these items which do look as if they were most extravagant, and I think we are entitled to an explanation.

Sir J. D. REES

Unlike my Noble Friend (Viscount Castlereagh), I think the widening of the staircase a very great improvement, and is defensible on the ground that all structural changes should be made with a view of enabling Members to get to this Chamber, which is their duty. Very often there was such a block in the narrow staircase, that I think this is in the nature of a real improvement, and for my part I do not at all object. When you come to the question of the cost, I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for the West Derby Division of Liverpool (Mr. W. Rutherford) that it is quite excessive. Though it is desirable that the staircase should be widened, so as to enable Members to come to this House as quickly as possible when the bell rings, I do not think it is necessary to have the piece of tapestry at the top of the stairs. I do not suppose that it is very expensive, and probably it is not a Rose du Barry or an expensive piece from Duveen, but it would be more suitable for the Savoy or the Ritz than the austere atmosphere of the House of Commons. I hope the hon. Gentleman will explain what that piece of tapestry costs, and whether he really thinks it necessary, and if he thinks of extending that kind of ornament, I should like the opportunity of voting against it whenever it appears.

As regards the lift, if a lift is wanted anywhere, the governing criterion should be that it should bring Members to the Chamber itself. You do not want a lift to bring them up from the Terrace, where they may be having tea and strawberries. The lift that was wanted was one from Palace Yard to this level. I remember that when a lift was constructed in the House of Lords it was bitterly resented by some hon. Members opposite, who asked why the Lords could not walk upstairs, and the answer given was that many of them were gouty. I can sympathise with that, because it is a complaint not confined to lords. There are many Members who would have been glad to have a lift from the Members' private entrance on the ground level to this Chamber. I would have voted for such a lift with pleasure, but this seems, an excessive and unnecessary provision, especially when you consider that the lift only goes from one story to another. For £2,400 I believe you could have had a lift going up several stories, if not as high as the Clock Tower. The Government have raised expenditure under every conceivable head, and it is desirable, when we get a concrete case of this kind, that Members should express their opinion.

As for the Victoria Tower Gardens, for my part I do not think that they were required. They may be agreeable to people who live in Grosvenor Road, but very few of the inhabitants of London or of the United Kingdom live just there, and I do not think that the Gardens were really necessary as an adjunct to the amenities attached to the Palace of Westminster; nor can I see, in the absence of explanation, why separate and exclusive lavatory accommodation was required for the engineering staff. I did not know that the principle of caste or of occupation restrictions had reached such a degree that none of the accommodation already existing would be sufficient or suitable for the engineering staff. May I say, also, that it would greatly assist Members in looking up the original Estimates, and in coming to right conclusions upon these excessive amounts, if they were not disturbed by the tramp of the treading of feet on the carpet in the Library, which sound would be very much deadened if felt were placed underneath?


It was rather unfortunate that the hon. Member for St. George's-in-the-East (Mr. Benn) was not able to be in his place when my Noble Friend the Member for Maids-tone (Viscount Castlereagh) moved the reduction of the Vote. The grounds on which my Noble Friend moved the reduction were, on the whole, very adequate. He pointed out that it was most undesirable that after substantial estimates had been approved for these particular purposes, the hon. Member should come down again and demand sanction for an additional £3,000. The speech of the hon. Member for Nottingham (Sir J. D. Rees) was interesting, but in one or two respects inaccurate. The tapestry to which he referred, so far from being a charge on the public exchequer, is a loan generously made by the South Kensington: Museum until the place which it now occupies is more suitably filled by the picture representing the flight of the five Members which the hon. Member for West Wolver-hampton is going to present. Consequently the charge of reckless extravagance cannot in this particular be altogether substantiated. I would like to draw the hon. Member's attention to a question asked on this subject so long ago as the 30th June last. The hon. Member for North Somerset (Mr. King) asked the hon. Member for St. George's-in-the-East whether he can now make a statement as to the date when the new staircase and lift leading from the Dining Room Lobby to the Terrace will be completed, and whether the staircase, when completed, will have any decorative or novel features? The reply of the hon. Member was:— The decoration of the new staircase has largely been carried out with the old wood carving which had been in store. The central panel is at present occupied by a tapestry lent for the remainder of this Session by the Victoria and Albert Museum. It is intended ultimately to fill this panel with a picture by Mr. Seymour Lucas, representing the flight of the five Members. The hon. Member concluded his reply by saying:— It is hoped that the staircase itself will be open for use on Wednesday. The lift will be constructed during the Recess. I went down to-day to test the new lift, but I found that, so far from being completed, it was certainly not sufficiently advanced for use at present. I think it was unfortunate that the hon. Member, unlike his Leader, should have definitely committed himself to an exact period within which this new convenience would be completed. I am sorry that the hon. Member for North Somerset is unable to be here to-day. I well recollect his extremely interesting speech on lifts in general, and this lift in particular, when the subject originally came back. The hon. Member disapproved of the lift, and thought that Members of this House would be better—


The whole question of the lift was then before the Committee; the only question now is in regard to the additional sum required.


If the hon. Member were present I think he would be seriously perturbed by the fact that this additional money is required for a form of conveyance of which he so strongly disapproves, and I hope that, when he hears about it, the news will not in any way retard his recovery. With regard to the Victoria Tower Gardens, I certainly think that the money is being well spent; but inas- much as, on a total estimate of £5,000, an additional sum of £1,700 is required, I think the original calculation must have been extremely faulty. I hope the hon. Member will be able to explain how this very great error has arisen. I do not know whether any portion of this additional sum is to be applied to the purpose of constructing suitable railings round the gardens. I was driving past this afternoon, and I noticed that the temporary railings is a very high structure, so that those people passing through the streets or residing in the houses opposite, are unable to enjoy the view of these new gardens. I hope, therefore, that, if any portion of this sum is to be devoted to this purpose, the fence will not be of the same character as the temporary railing. An openwork fence, through which it would be possible for the general public to obtain a view of the gardens, would be found more satisfactory. I hope the hon. Member will be able to give a satisfactory explanation for these various increases. On general grounds it is very unsatisfactory that those in charge of these matters do not get proper estimates to start with. I should have thought that, in the case of the lift for instance, once knowing what you wanted—that, of course, is the first essential—it would have been perfectly easy to have gone to a reputable firm of lift constructors, and obtained from them a definite fixed estimate of the cost. If that were done, I see no reason why the sum should not be strictly adhered to. Unless the hon. Member can give a satisfactory explanation of these increases I should certainly support my Noble Friend in the Division Lobby.


I should like to ask whether tenders for either the stair case or the lift were invited from firms of repute, and whether the delay in constructing the lift has been caused to any extent by the lock-out in the building trade in London. I take it that this work has been done under the supervision of the Office of Works. If that is so, has the Office of Works attempted to enforce upon the men employed the objectionable agreement which the employers of London are attempting to impose upon them? If [...] that would, to some extent, account for the delay in finishing the work. I would like to ask, also, whether in both those cases the work has been done on schedule rates and measured up, and whether the Office of Works has exercised the same control over the men who produced the work in the workshops that it exercised over those who fixed it in the House? I am informed that to some extent the Office of Works has been doing all that it possibly could to assist the employers of London to force this objectionable agreement upon the men—


That is a matter of policy which would come on the main Estimates.

8.0 P.M.

Colonel BURN

I would like to ask the-hon. Gentleman opposite what reason there is for not installing an Otis elevator, because, then, there would be no need to have an attendant constantly present? We often sit very late at this House; why should a man or men be kept on duty at the lift all the time, with a considerable amount paid in wages? The lift that I have mentioned is very well known. They have it in several clubs. I am perfectly certain that the construction is cheaper than the lifts that require an attendant all the time. An Otis elevator would be much more convenient, I think, than the one it is proposed to put in.

Mr. WEDGWOOD BENN (Lord of the Treasury)

Perhaps I had better deal with the items in the order in which they appear in the Vote. First of all, as to the new staircase—as to its exceeding the first estimate. Although I am very sorry that the figures which were first presented 10 the House have had to be revised, I can assure hon. Members that it is highly desirable in a work of this kind, more than in some others, that it should be worthy of this, magnificent building in which we are, and that no new standard lower than that which was before us, and which had been set by the architects of this building, should be followed. The first estimate was £810. That was subsequently revised to £2,360, an amount which was found to be necessary. The reason for that was simply this: that as we went on with the staircase we saw new ways of making it a better staircase and one more worthy for the purposes it will have to serve, consequently we asked permission to spend a much larger sum of money, and we now come to this House for authority to spend that money. The design of the first staircase was for one nearly to go from the-Lower Waiting Hall, which is properly so styled, to the hall in which is the bust of Oliver Cromwell. This staircase was to follow much the same course as the other disreputable staircase which led to the terrace. When we were getting the designs out for the estimate that was sanctioned it was seen that a very much more desirable scheme could be arranged, one with a staircase with two confluent stairs down to the lower stairs. When we had arranged that and had decided on the decoration for that staircase, the hon. Member for West Wolverhampton very generously offered to the House the present of a handsome picture to adorn the staircase—then already in progress. I think the House will agree that we were acting rightly in making the staircase worthy of the picture. We were advised in the matter by the artist, Mr. Seymour Lucas, who is painting the picture, and we revised the scheme of woodwork for the staircase so that it would be an absolutely proper frame for the picture. The doubling of the staircase involves the lengthening of the skylight and the roof, and enables us at the same time to make some other alterations, to which I shall refer in a moment, so that the House will see that the whole thing, I think I may use the expression, is a progress from good to better.


Also from cheaper to dearer.


Yes, you get more value and you have to pay more for it. I hope the Committee will not think that we have been unjustified when we show a better scheme, and one that I venture to think will be worthy of this House. I come to the second item—the passenger lift. We are having a lift put in which will be capable of being worked by those passengers who occupy it. It is the intention at the same time to have an attendant. For various reasons it seems undesirable to leave the lift entirely unattended. I cannot say that the delay is very much due to the strike or lock-out, although that has been one of the contributory causes. As to the place, there is only one place in this building where you can get a lift through from the lowest floor to the top. Hon. Members have often suggested various other places where it might be constructed, but I have always been able to show them that there is only one place where you can get the shafting from the lowest floor—because this lift does not stop at the Terrace; it goes into the vaults. It comes up in a convenient spot, passing the rooms habitually used by Members, not only on the Committee Room floor, but on the floor above; and as hon. Members will see when the Votes are printed, some money is taken this year for reallocating for the use of Members the whole of the floor above the Grand Committee Rooms. These are very handsome rooms. They are built in much the same style as the rest of the House. I am informed they have been put out of use for many years because hon. Members would not take the trouble to go up and along where the staircase will open into the Hall.

I am informed that the lift will be ready in a week or two. I would point out to hon. Members that the work was proceeded with in the Recess, and it was hoped that it would be ready for the opening of Parliament. When I made a statement on this subject before I did not absolutely commit myself to the date when the work would be finished. An hon. Member suggested that we should in the matter of the staircase have gone to a firm of repute and have got an estimate for the work. We did go to a firm of repute, and we did get an estimate for it. Out of the £2,487 the total cost, £1,992, is for expenditure on a competitive tender, and the other £400 for various services for which it was impossible—in fact, it would have been very uneconomical—to have obtained a tender—for instance, the reconstruction of the little room which will form an ante-room, and the alterations on the second floor, where the lift will lead to the Committee Rooms. As regards the lavatory accommodation for the engineers, I can only say that there are no less than 140 men employed about this building, either on the staff or by contractors, and the washing accommodation only consists of eight basins. I am sure no hon. Member wishes to interfere with the small sum of money which is really necessary for a matter of this sort, so that the men may work in comfort. As to the last item, that referring to the Victoria Tower Gardens, hon. Members have been under a, misapprehension. Perhaps the explanation on the Vote is not full enough. Under the Westminster Improvement Act, 1900, the Victoria Tower Gardens are to be laid out by the Office of Works at the expense-of the London County Council, and are afterwards to be maintained by the Office of Works. In laying down the cost a sum not exceeding £5,000 is to be repaid by the London County Council. We were under the impression that it would be impossible to spend any of that money this year, but I am glad to know, and hon. Members will be very glad to hear, that the work has been pushed forward, and that it is possible to spend £1,700 this year in the laying out of these gardens, which we hope will be ready a little later in the year. That money is not money which will fall on the taxpayer, but is merely £1,700 out of the £5,000 which will be subsequently repaid and will appear as a Provisional Vote on the Office of Works Vote.


There was a question asked on the Labour Benches which I should be very glad myself to hear the answer to. The hon. Member (Mr. Tyson Wilson) asked whether the delay in completing the lift was in any respect due, in the first place, to the lock-out; and, secondly, what action, if any, was taken by the Government in connection with the lock-out. This matter seems to me to be one of some importance, and to go far beyond the question as to what we should or should not spend upon this alteration. It is a relevant question, because delay means expenditure, and this expenditure is partly responsible for the Supplementary Estimate which we have to consider. If the cost of delay is due to some action that the Government have taken in connection with this dispute, then I do think that this Committee ought to be informed of the fact. I do not wish for a moment—I am sure it would not be in order—to go into the merits or demerits of the dispute, but the question whether the Government have taken part in it, and have taken part, either for or against the men or employers, is one of very great importance, and one which we certainly are entitled to put to the Government. I cannot help thinking that the Government have shown something in excess of their habitual contempt for the protests of individual Members in declining to make any reply to the question.


May I supplement the question put by the hon. Member for Liverpool, and ask how the hon. Gentleman accounts for the figures in connection with the Estimates for the staircase? We are told that the staircase total was £2,360, and we are asked now for £1,000–that leaves £150. Is the reason for that £150 being left the fact that it is not going to this year's expenses? There is a similar case in respect to the lift.


I am afraid I shall have to go to a Division. The hon. Gentleman's explanation leads me to say that here is another example of the way the finances of this country are managed. There seems to be no consecutive plan or principle on which they work.


May I ask the hon. Gentleman whether the money is not already practically spent?


This money is required to be spent before the 31st March.


It is practically spent, and one of the strongest complaints we can fairly make is not so much as to the amount of the expenditure, as that the Department goes on spending the money and then comes to us afterwards. It really leaves us quite helpless. I know it is the constant practice of the Departments to do that, and then it is made a party matter to get the Vote through, whether right or wrong. I doubt whether Departments ever carry out any work without exceeding the estimate. It appears, from my experience in these matters, that the officials, when they first estimate the amount, do not put down the larger sum for fear they would get nothing at all; they go on spending and they come to us afterwards. I do not suppose that anything I say will induce the Department to economy, but certainly considering the cost of the government of the country it is time for some economy. I do hope that this Department will try if they cannot employ officials who will give them honest and straightforward estimates before they do the work. I have no doubt this will be shoved through to-night whether I like it or not, and perhaps I. may have to vote for it.


I hope that the hon. Gentleman will reply to the questions put by the Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin (Lord Robert Cecil) as to the effect of the lock-out on the expenses of this work. I should like also to record my protest against the expenditure of this sum on the staircase. This is a year in which we are told economy must be practised in every direction. It is true that this is a comparatively small sum, but if we ask an increase for any of those who are employed by the Government, whether in the postal or other service, or that a proper amount be spent upon the Navy to protect the country from foreign aggression, we are always told there is no money.

But here we are spending £2,300 on a staircase in a year when such pretexts are put forward when demands are made for necessary expenditure. I say this is a matter against which we ought to enter our protest.


There is a sum of £200 on Item A for the engineering staff. The hon. Gentleman said there are 140 men employed in that department. Are they permanently employed? or are they temporary? If these men are only temporary, why spend this money when you might have had, not as artistic, but equally useful basins cheaper. I think this is a large item if the staff is only temporary.


I gave the number of men at present employed upon the building as 140. That is 70 men on the staff and 70 contractors' men. At present they have only eight basins. I do not suppose the Committee would interfere with the spending of a small sum like this for this purpose. As regards the Noble Lord's question, I am sure it would not be in order for me to explain at length what the position actually is in reference to the building dispute. It was not through any o want of respect that I did not do so. The lift would not be affected by the dispute. Speaking generally the action of the Office

of Works in reference to the building trade and lock-out is one of complete neutrality.


I want the hon. Member to reply to my question as to why the Department did not come to this House first for this money?


What about the question as to the extra £200?


As regards the lift, £2,000 was voted in 1913–14; £200 further is now asked for, and £200 to complete the job will be included in the Estimates for next year.


I shall support my Noble Friend in the Lobby if he goes to a Division on account of the very unsatisfactory replies the hon. Gentleman made in reference to the staircase. The Office of Works seems to have no settled plan or scheme in framing estimates; they simply make up their minds as they go along. That is not the way any of us would like to carry on our own business.

Question put, "That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £3,000, be granted to His Majesty for the said Service."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 65; Noes, 227.

Division No. 12.] AYES. [8.20 p.m.
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Gardner, Ernest O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)
Archer-Shee, major Martin Gilmour, Captain John Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William
Baldwin, Stanley Goldman, C. S. Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Barnston, Harry Gordon, John (Londonderry, South) Pollock, Ernest Murray
Bigland, Alfred Greene, Walter Raymond Randles, Sir John S.
Bridgeman, William Clive Harris, Henry Percy Rees, Sir J. D.
Burn, Colonel C. R. Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon) Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Campion, W. R. Kills, John Waller Sanders, Robert Arthur
Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy Sanderson, Lancelot
Cassel, Felix Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Sandys, G. J.
Castlereagh, Viscount Homer, Andrew Long Stanley, Major Hon. G. F. (Preston)
Cautley, H. S. Houston, Robert Paterson Stewart, Gershom
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University) Ingleby, Holcombe Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)
Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin) Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury) Talbot, Lord Edmund
Clive, Captain Percy Archer Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey) Touche, George Alexander
Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh Valentia, Viscount
Courthope, George Loyd Macmaster, Donald Walker, Colonel William Hall
Dalrymple, Viscount M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's) Wheler, Granville C. H.
Dalziel, Davison (Brixton) Magnus, Sir Philip White, Major G. D. (Lanes., Southport)
Donniss, E. R. B. Middlemore, John Throgmorton
Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M. Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.
Fell, Arthur Newman, John R. P. Mount and Mr. Perkins.
Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey Nield, Herbert
Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour) Beauchamp, Sir Edward Brady, Patrick Joseph
Acland, Francis Dyke Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George) Brocklehurst, William B.
Addison, Dr. Christopher Bird, Alfred Brunner, John F. L.
Agnew, Sir George William Black, Arthur W. Bryce, J. Annan
Ainsworth, John Stirling Boland, John Plus Buckmaster, Sir Stanley O.
Alden, Percy Booth, Frederick Handel Burke, E. Haviland-
Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud) Bowerman, Charles W. Burns, Rt. Hon. John
Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.) Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North) Byles, Sir William Pollard
Barnes, George N. Bract, William Carr-Gomm, H. W.
Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich) Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East) Pratt, J. W.
Cawley, Harold T. (Lanes., Heywood) Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)
Clancy, John Joseph Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney) Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)
Clough, William Jowett, Frederick William Radford, G. H.
Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth) Joyce, Michael Rattan, Peter Wilson
Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Keating, Matthew Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)
Condon, Thomas Joseph Kellaway, Frederick George Reddy, Michael
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Kelly, Edward Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Cotton, William Francis Kennedy, Vincent Paul Richardson, Albion (Peckham)
Crooks, William Kenyon, Barnet Richardson, Thos. (Whitehaven)
Crumley, Patrick Kilbride, Denis Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Cullinan, John Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Morton; Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)
Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) Robinson, Sidney
Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth) Lardner, James C. R. Roche, Augustine (Louth)
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West) Rowlands, James
Dawes, James Arthur Leach, Charles Powntree, Arnold
Delany, William Levy, Sir Maurice Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.
Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Devlin, Joseph Lundon, Thomas Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Dillon, John Lyell, Charles Henry Scanian, Thomas
Donelan, Captain A. Lynch, Arthur Alfred Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)
Doris, William Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester) Sheehy, David
Duffy, William J. Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J. Sherwell, Arthur James
Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley) Macpherson, James Ian Shortt, Edward
Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid) MacVeagh, Jeremiah Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Allsebrook
Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.) McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Smith, Albert (Lanes., Clitheroe)
Essex, Sir Richard Walter M'Laren, Hon. F.W.S. (Lincs., Spalding) Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Falconer, James M'Micking, Major Gilbert Snowden, Philip
Farrell, James Patrick Marks, Sir George Croydon Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)
Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles Meagher, Michael Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)
Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Sutton, John E.
Ffrench, Peter Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix) Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Field, William Molloy, Michael Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)
Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward Molteno, Percy Alport Thomas, J. H.
Fitzgibbon, John Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Flavin, Michael Joseph Montagu, Hon. E. S. Thorne, William (West Ham)
Furness, Sir Stephen Wilson Mooney, John J. Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Gelder, Sir W. A. Morgan, George Hay Verney, Sir Harry
Gill, A. H. Morrell, Philip Walton, Sir Joseph
Ginnell, Laurence Morison, Hector Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)
Gladstone, W. G. C. Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Wardle, George J.
Glanville, Harold James Muldoon, John Waring, Walter
Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay T.
Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland) Nannetti, Joseph P. Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
Gulland, John William Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster) Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway) Nolan, Joseph Watt, Henry A.
Hackett, John Norman, Sir Henry Webb, H.
Hancock, John George Norton, Captain Cecil W. White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Nugent, Sir Walter Richard White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E.R.)
Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds) O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West) O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)
Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.) O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Wiles, Thomas
Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry O'Doherty, Philip Wilkie, Alexander
Hayden, John Patrick O'Donnell, Thomas Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N.W.)
Hayward, Evan O'Dowd, John Williams, John (Glamorgan)
Hazleton, Richard O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.) Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)
Henderson, Arthur (Durham) O'Malley, William Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Henderson, John M. (Aberdeen, W.) O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughten)
Higham, John Sharp O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Winfrey, Sir Richard
Hinds, John O'Shee, James John Wing, Thomas Edward
Hothouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. O'Sullivan, Timothy Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)
Hodge, John Palmer, Godfrey Mark Yeo, A. W.
Holmes, Daniel Turner Parker, James (Halifax) Young, William (Perthshire, East)
Holt, Richard Durning Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek) Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Hudson, Walter Pearce, William (Limehouse)
Hughes, Spencer Leigh Phillips, John (Longford, S.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.
Johnson, W. Pirie, Duncan V. Illingworth and Mr. Geoffrey Howard.
Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil) Pointer, Joseph

Original Question put, and agreed to.


I want to give my hon. Friend a chance of replying to my question. As a matter of right, we are entitled to information on these matters, and, above all, are entitled to see, if possible, that we have a better system in the future whereby we shall have an opportunity of preventing these increases. Under ordinary circumstances when these Votes are made a party question I vote for them; but there is no reason why they should be made party matters.


I apologise to my hon. Friend for not replying to his question. The fact is that we asked for the amount that we thought we should require, and immediately we found that we wanted more money at the first opportunity we came to the House to ask for it. That is what these Supplementary Estimates are for. I regret that the original estimate was exceeded, and our Department will use every endeavour to avoid such excesses in the future.


A mistake has been made in one item of not less than 34 per cent. Surely those responsible for the estimate last year must have had in mind what was required, and they must have got an estimate. How did this increase arise? Did the Department not have any contract, or did they work it out at the Office of Works?


I am sorry the hon. Gentleman was not present when I made my reply, because the point he raises has been fully answered.