§ Order for Third Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."
§ Mr. DENISON-PENDER
I beg to move to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."
I propose in whatever I say to say it in no party spirit. I move the Amendment which stands in my name as a substitute for that of my hon. Friend, who has not been able to be present to night. As practically a new-comer to this House, my excuse, if I may say so, for taking part in this Debate to-night, is because I happen to represent one of the Divisions of the county that is almost vitally affected by the Bill. I remember that on the former occasion of debate in this matter the right hon. Gentleman who sits for a neighbouring Division welcomed me to this House because we happened on that occasion to be in unison on this particular question. I remember, though to my regret, that he told us that he had done everything possible to prevent me being here. I think, however, that it is a great point with us that we Members who represent Cambridgeshire in this House are united against the desire. of Cambridge to become a county borough. I remember that upon the former occasion a very able speech was made by the hon. Member for West Ham, and also that a speech was delivered from this side of the House by the hon. Member for Cambridge Borough. An hon. Member said that if these two Members had been transposed we would have heard equally able speeches from a 655 different point of view. That may be the fact, but I think besides that there is in this question to-night a very great question of principle over and above the actual county re borough concerned. I think that the whole of our difficulty arises from how we translate or what interpretation we put upon the word "desirable" in Section 54 of the Local Government Act of 1888. I, for one, hold very strongly that the word "desirable" means desirable from every point of view; not from one point of view alone. In that expression of opinion I am aware that I differ somewhat from the Chairman of Committee before whom this Bill came since it was in this House last. He said that he thought that, so long as a borough expressed the opinion that it was desirable from their point of view, that the borough probably made out its case. I look at it from an opposite point of view. The interpretation that I put upon this word is that we must see that the benefits of the borough distinctly outweigh the hardships that it is going to inflict upon the county. Possibly as a member, for the last four years, of the London County Council I may be somewhat prejudiced in favour of the county council view over and above the county that I represent at the present moment, because I would remind the House that it is Parliament itself that has set up the, machinery of county councils throughout this country, and I claim the indulgence of hon. Members and their patience, and I ask them to weigh the borough claims which are going to be put forward to-night to overthrow the machinery which this Parliament has itself set up, and which I submit county council members have most loyally carried out, in spite of the additional burdens put upon them from Year to year. The particular county of which I speak to-night is Cambridge.
I think the time has now arrived when we may with justice ask what is going to be the policy of the Local Government Board in future, for I remember most distinctly that on the former occasion when this Bill was before us one of the reasons put forward in support of the boroughs' claims was, that in no single instance have the claims of boroughs been put aside. Does not that fully entitle us to ask what is going to be the future policy of the Local Government Board, because, as I have already said, I think this question to-night really turns on how we are to construe 656 the word "desirable"—whether it is from every point of view or simply because the borough has attained a population of 50,000 inhabitants that, ipso facto, it shall have its way if it applies to be made a county borough? I would submit that in this county we have several grievances put forward. In London, taking my own experience, I happen, unfortunately, to live very close to Harrod's, in Brompton Road, and I see that in the last few years they have built an enormous garage at the back of my own house, and that garage has been built entirely for the housing of those big motor-vans going out from London all over the counties, and in that way competing with local tradesmen in different parts of this country. I say that that is going on to the same extent in the county of Cambridge. In these days, I am thankful to say, there is a great deal of sympathy being shown with the industry of agriculture, and I submit that if we pass this Bill to-night, not only are we not showing any sympathy whatever with agriculture and local tradesmen and small tradesmen in the villages, but we are deliberately helping other big firms to enter into competition with small tradesmen of the villages.
I remember, too, that on the last occasion when we were debating this matter in this House the hon. Member for the Borough of Cambridge advanced as one of the reasons in support of his argument the question of the bridges within Cambridge itself, and he said that there were a lot of old bridges not up to modern requirements there. In Cambridge itself there were only two county bridges, and both these have been built with every modern requirement. They are both cast-iron, arched girder bridges. One is the Great Bridge, built in 1823, and the other the Silver Streak Bridge, built in 1841. These are the only two bridges in Cambridge. But surely if they put the blame on to the county council they should look into the matter a little further and see whether they are not themselves to blame in this matter as well. I think the county council most of all must take care of the thoroughfare through the city and the requirements of local traffic. It does not concern itself with the improvements of the city. We find that the actual breadth of these bridges—and I will take them separately—the actual breadth of the Great Bridge, taking the whole roadway extent, is 20½ feet—not very wide, I grant. If we look at the roads that lead to that bridge, I think we may say that we can show a 657 breadth of 16½ feet on the one side, and on the other side of 16 feet of road. I will guarantee to say that if the borough wishes to widen these roadways themselves, the county council will use its best influence to widen the bridges accordingly. But I do say until that is done the county council ought not to be required to widen these bridges uselessly. I know a good many Members wish to address the House on this question to-night, and I submit in conclusion that before we pass this Bill we should really weigh in our minds whether the Bill is desirable not only from the borough point of view, but whether it is going to act with greater fairness to the county as well as to the borough which is pressing for it.
§ Mr. A. W. BLACK
I rise to second the Amendment.
I have never been able to understand why the three boroughs are put into one Order. My hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield evidently appreciates it, because I believe it is common ground that his case against the boroughs of Cambridge and Luton is a very much stronger one than the case against the city of Wakefield. I propose to say a few words from the point of view of Bedfordshire. I will not cover the ground already so well traversed by my hon. Friend opposite. I want to give the House a few simple facts and to ask the House on the consideration of these facts to reject the Bill. With regard to Luton we are faced with this position—that Luton is only half the rateable value of the whole county of Bedford. The county council has worked well and amicably in the past, and county business has been ably and economically carried out. The whole principle of county government is that the weak shall help the strong and the thickly populated districts shall stand shoulder to shoulder with the scattered population. If the application of the borough of Luton is granted merely because it happens to have just over 50,000 inhabitants, the borough of Bedford will take immediate steps to qualify, and in that event the county council administration becomes absolutely impossible, and the solidarity which conies of acting together will altogether vanish. But there is another aspect of this case. The whole proceedings under these provisional orders tends to become automatic, and the merits of the question scarcely arise. The moment a borough reaches a population of 658 50,000 and puts in the application the Order is made by the President of the Local Government Board, and it is merely subject to confirmation by Parliament, and in this way, by a single stroke of the pen, the whole relation of a borough to a county may be shattered. I think that Parliament ought to reconsider the whole question of the creation of county boroughs.
It is a very serious matter, and I am perfectly certain that when this Clause was put into the Local Government Act it was never intended that it should work automatically. It is on that ground that I submit that Parliament ought to seriously consider this question, either by the appointment of a Royal Commission or a Select Committee, which could look into the whole subject from top to bottom. This Bill will seriously damage county government in the counties of Cambridge and of Bedfordshire. The case of Cambridge is stronger than that of Bedford, because, if this Order is granted, we shall still have the borough of Bedford, while Cambridge will be left practically stranded, and while county government will be damaged, I submit to this House that there will be no corresponding advantage to the boroughs concerned. Further, the financial difficulties of the situation are very real. I know I shall be told that suitable compensation will be given, but whatever compensation is awarded will not really compensate for the real loss that will accrue to the county. The counties concerned will be left with hundreds of miles of roads to maintain at a constantly and inevitably increasing cost. There is also the question of rural education. Small schools in scattered parishes are admittedly the most expensive to work, maintain, and administer, and I believe that the marriage of these boroughs with the county is an immense advantage to all concerned. For these simple and obvious but convincing reasons I ask the House to reject this Bill by a large majority.
§ Sir JOHN SPEAR
I wish to know if I should be in order in moving an Amendment, that the application of Wakefield be granted and the others refused. As a member of the Committee, I was fully persuaded that Wakefield's claim was made out, and that the others entirely failed. I am now in an awkward position. I would much prefer to be able to vote that the application of Wakefield be granted, and the others refused. Unless I can do that I shall have to vote against the Bill.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Whitley)
I am afraid I cannot help the hon. Member because the Amendment has already been moved, and I must put it.
§ Mr. PAGET
I rise to support this Bill. I would very respectfully say to my hon. Friend who has just spoken that if there are no more serious arguments against the claims of those three boroughs than those which have been urged by previous speakers, I do not despair of the result of the Division that will take place upon this Bill. The hon. Member for the Newmarket Division (Mr. Denison-Pender) referred to a speech which I made on the Second Reading, and I gather from that that his chief cause of complaint is one connected with the traffic coming out of Cambridge, and the remarks I made upon some of the existing bridges in Cambridge. He did not quote the part of my remark on that occasion to the effect that the borough had the greatest trouble in getting the Grants for the bridges when demands were made. With reference to the speech of the hon. Member who has just sat down, in which he said that it was a pity that all these three boroughs had been put into the same Bill, I can only respectfully say that that is not the fault of Cambridge, and it should mot be a serious argument against this Bill. The hon. Member used the argument that Parliament should reconsider the whole question of these Local Government Orders. I have no objection whatever to that, but I take up the case on this point on behalf of these boroughs, because they have all been put to very serious expense and a great loss of time, and it would be a very great hardship if because Parliament had not seen fit to alter the Bill, that they should lose their present status. I have the greatest admiration for the way in which our opponents have attacked us all along the line for a long time past, but I suggest that we have made some progress, and that ought to be an argument for the passage of this Bill.
It is very well known to the House that most searching examination was made by the officials of the Local Government Board before they consented at all to give this Provisional Order. The late President of the Board stated on the Second Reading that a primâ facie case had been made out for each of the three boroughs. He argued very fairly that this House is not the place in which it is possible to go into all the facts and figures in connection with these separate boroughs. 660 It is obvious there is not sufficient time allotted for that, and that the proper place for a discussion of that kind and for a severe examination of a Bill is in a Select Committee. I thought that on that occasion I advanced seine very substantial arguments on behalf, particularly, of the borough of Cambridge. I am not going to weary the House with a repetition of those arguments; in fact, they were advanced both before and since the Second Reading in the various circulars sent to every Member of this House. It has struck me that the main bone of contention now is the question whether the county council would be so weakened that it could not be efficiently administered if the borough were taken out of their area. That question was discussed at the time, and, as the House will very well remember, an Instruction was agreed to without a Division—it was not one which, under ordinary circumstances, could be considered favourable to the boroughs, but they made no objection—and it was that the whole of the question should be thoroughly gone into by the Committee. The Committee met and sat a good many days, and reported favourably. I am bound to say that the Report said that the county would be to a certain extent weakened by the loss of the borough assessable value, but it would not be so impaired, they said, that it could not be efficiently administered. It further went on to say that there are powers by which a proper financial adjustment could be made if this Bill were passed into law under the principles which were laid down by the Devonshire Joint Committee in 1911, and which were finally passed in the Local Government. Act of 1913. It should be remembered that the Joint Committee was set up at the request of the County Councils Association, and that association agreed with the findings of that Committee.
If the argument that the administration would be weakened by the borough being taken out is a sound one, I would respectfully urge that there are powers under the Local Government Act by which they can get more members to strengthen the county administration. The boroughs came unwillingly into the new alliance, and at considerable cost to themselves, and now, when there is a question of their going out of this alliance under this Adjustment Act, of course, if the thing goes through, they will have to meet the cost, and will have to pay very consider- 661 able damages extended over a period of years. Many hon. Members in this House believe in the principles of Home Rule. The borough is the local authority for the administration of the police, public health, sanitation, elementary education, and many other things, while the county council contributes to such things as main roads, and higher education. The County Council of Cambridgeshire has sixty-four members, of whom twenty represent the borough, but these twenty are not allowed to sit or vote on any question in regard to which the borough is not assessed with the rest of the county. The county, apart from the borough, is probably more agricultural and rural than almost any other part of the country, and yet, while the borough is one of the oldest and has the greatest university in the world, it is the county and not the borough which is the authority for higher education. If it were not so very serious it would be a farce. I might add that the university sent their representatives to support the town in their claim. I would further urge that the fact that if the borough is taken from out of the county it would be almost entirely agricultural is rather an argument for this Bill going through than against it, because in these days it is well known that agriculture is on the up grade, and that Parliament is giving more and more attention to one of the greatest of our industries.
§ Mr. PAGET
Yes, the greatest. Therefore, seeing that this county council, as I have already said, could be strengthened, they would be very much better off if they had an accession of members who would be more likely to know much more about agricultural matters than the average representative of the borough. I think hon. Members will have seen the letter and the leading article in the "Times" of 19th March, published by a curious coincidence on the morning of the day when this Debate was likely to take place. Fortunately the Debate did not take place on that day, and there has been time to investigate and meet the arguments contained in that letter and leading article. I want to state in that connection that they made a statement that the county of Cambridgeshire had already been mutilated and weakened by the fact that Newmarket and Royston had been made county boroughs. Neither of those two places are county boroughs; they are governed by urban district councils, and it is a fact that but for a very small portion New- 662 market is in the county of Suffolk, and not Cambridge, and almost all but a very small portion of Royston is in Hertfordshire, and not Cambridgeshire.
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Montagu)
Wholly in Hertfordshire.
§ Mr. PAGET
The rest of the argument, or at least that part of it which I remember, seemed to me to be strange, and really to amount to this: If a man has been caught he ought to ask the judge of the Court that his case might be postponed until he could get Parliament to change the existing law. Now, the hon. Member made a reference to one of the arguments that has been advanced all along—that all the boroughs that have asked to be made county boroughs and have complied with all the requirements of the law have had that permission granted. That seems to me a very strong argument in our favour. It seems most unjust that Cambridge should lose this Bill. I take it that the other two in that case will also lose their Bill. They have all been put to very great expense, and have suffered much loss of time, and, therefore, it seems to me this is a case in which I can appeal to the sense of justice of Members of this House. These places have met all the requirements of the Statute; the arguments they have brought forward have been seriously considered by a Select Committee which sat eleven days, and, I may again urge, repeating in substance what the late President of the Local Government Board said, that this House is not the place to discuss the details of these three different boroughs. It may justly be asked to accept the decision of the Select Committee, and, in so doing, it will only confer justice on the three boroughs concerned.
§ 9.0 P.M.
§ Mr. MARSHALL
I wish to speak particularly with reference to the case of Wakefield, a borough which I have the honour to represent in this House. Wakefield is in a very different position to the two boroughs concerning which we have had a certain amount of discussion. Its position, as has been said, is practically incontestable; and that is the view that was taken upstairs by the Committee upon this question. The Committee sat for some days considering the cases of Cambridge and Luton, and it was very much divided in regard to the merits of granting a Provisional Order in those cases—in fact it was equally divided, and it was 663 only by the casting vote of the Chairman that the matter was sent forward a further stage. In regard to Wakefield, however, the Committee was unanimously in favour of granting a Provisional Order, and the position that they took up was borne out by the facts in relation to the progress of the Order, from the inception of the movement until it reached the Committee, and particularly by the conduct of the West Riding County Council, for when notice was given to that county council that Wakefield intended to follow the example of two other large boroughs which had been successful in their application the year before, the county council deliberately decided that it would not oppose the Provisional Order contained in the Bill, and Wakefield went on with its application on that basis. Conferences were held from time to time in which it was assumed on the part of Wakefield, and conceded on the part of the county council, that no opposition would be offered. When the inspector of the Local Government Board came down and held an inquiry the county council was in the position of having firmly and definitely pledged itself not to oppose the Provisional Order, and, in fact, it did not oppose it. What has happened since that time to change the situation? Certainly the West Riding County Council is no poorer; it is not a case of more dire necessity now than it was then, for it has made good, and more than made good, by natural growth all that it lost by county borough powers being conferred on Barnsley and Dewsbury in the previous year. I do not think the hon. Member who on the last occasion opposed this Order will now advance any argument that the West Riding is short of recuperative power either in regard to rateable value or population. Of course, something has happened since the West Riding County Council deliberately took this step, and what has happened is this: Cambridge and Bedfordshire have organised an attack on the whole scheme of granting county borough powers to boroughs, and one can imagine that they persuaded the West Riding County Council, through the medium of the County Councils Association, to which they belong, that they had, in fact, a much better case than they thought they had, and they thereby brought them into this great movement. See what follows. Handicapped as they were, stultified by their own actions, they 664 came to the Committee upstairs. That Committee assumed, after hearing two witnesses only for Wakefield, that they had abundantly proved its case, and called upon the county council to make good its objection. This the West Riding Council utterly failed to do. As far as I am able to judge their case, and as far as it was stated in this House on the last occasion when this matter was before us, they do not today oppose this Order on the ground that there are any faults to be found with Wakefield's application, but they oppose, almost entirely, it on the ground that if this process goes on there will ultimately arise a situation that will be extremely dangerous to the West Riding County Council.
We know there are in the West Riding of Yorkshire three other boroughs that may possibly, in the course of the next few years, come to this House and ask for similar powers to those which Wakefield are asking. They are Keighley, which has a population of 43,000; Batley, with a population of about 36,000; and Harrogate, which is not now growing so rapidly as it did, and the population of which approaches 33,000. When one realises there is really only one borough at present within anything like measurable distance of being in a position to make this same application, I do not think the West Riding County Council can on that ground say there must be nothing more done for a long and indefinite period to give to these-boroughs what have been assumed to be certain rights and powers of autonomy which they so rightly claim at the hands, of this House. The position in regard to Wakefield is this: If to-day this Provisional Order were granted the West Riding County Council would only lose 3½ per cent. of its population and.24 per cent. of its acreage, and the latter loss, I venture to think, would, if anything, be an advantage to the West Riding, in the view of those who know the varying characteristics of this huge area. I would venture to suggest to its distinguished representative in this House that certain parts of the county would be much better for being liberated from the shackles and burden of having to look after the main roads of Wakefield. I do not know whether my hon. Friend is going to ask for any more powers for the West Riding County Council than it now possesses. I do not suppose he would get them if he did. But I do submit that the county council does nothing for the main roads of Wakefield. 665 It takes about £3,000 annually out of the pockets of the ratepayers, and spends it on county roads in other parts of the county, and I want to put it to my hon. Friend whether he thinks it fair that we should continue to pay this £3,000 every year for the upkeep of roads in various parts of the county, some more than sixty miles away, and in no sense relating to the borough of Wakefield, or having any kind of connection whatever with it.
The case that has been made out in regard to Luton, and the case made out by the hon. Member for Newmarket (Mr. Denison-Pender) who moved the rejection of this Provisional Order, were the cases of towns that send out into the county and over the main roads of the county a considerable amount of traffic. Nothing of the kind happens with regard to Wakefield. The traffic sent out into the main roads of the West Riding of Yorkshire is sent out almost entirely from two centres, Leeds and Bradford. In regard to Wakefield, there are only eight heavy motor vehicles licensed in Wakefield. It is absurd to contend that Wakefield has any relation whatever to those parts of the county sixty or seventy miles away in the North-West, between which and Wakefield there are two large county boroughs, which cut it off from any connection therewith. If we are to wait for that period when, it may be, that a Royal Commission will have sat, although the Prime Minister held out no hope of that being the case, it may be that we shall ultimately have an inquiry into the whole relationship of counties and boroughs, but it must necessarily be a very long time. Meanwhile, the citizens of Wakefield are continually paying, although heavily rated themselves, large sums of money which they need for even the most elementary purposes which have not been attended to in the town of Wakefield. Wakefield is a very old borough, and has many of the defects of an old borough, and when it comes to wanting to remedy them and remedying them by spending every available penny out of its own rateable value, we are met by the plea of the wealthy county council that they cannot give up what is a paltry sum to them, the sum of £3,000 per annum. The hon. Member for Barkston Ash (Mr. Lane-Fox), on the last occasion the matter was considered, was pleased to make great play with regard to our population. I think he alleged that Wakefield only reached the limit by including a large number of lunatics in the county asylum.
§ Mr. MARSHALL
I cannot say how many there are connected with the prison, but probably some 400 or 500 at the outside. In any event, the population of Wakefield, according to the last Census, was 53,000, which is well over the mark. Since that time the Wakefield Corporation have been able to go more carefully into the subject of population than I was able to do when I last spoke on this subject in this House. I find that now the population of Wakefield must be over 60,000, and it is increasing with very considerable rapidity, the town itself being extremely crowded, many of the houses holding an average of five persons per house, instead of the basis upon which we reckoned when I said that the population was 56,000 or 57,000 last year, namely, a basis of just over four persons. In view of the fact that so many other speakers wish to go into the general question, I do not want to do so, but I will call attention to the fact that Sir John Horsfall, the Chairman of the West Riding County Council, speaking on this subject said that the financial loss, if any, would be a very slight one. In his evidence before the House of Commons Committee he said that the profit was over £3,000 per annum. I should say that the county council are making what to them is a slight profit, but what to us is a serious matter, a profit out of Wakefield in regard to main roads solely. I see that the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lane-Fox) shakes his head, but Sir John Horsfall said before the Committee that the profit was over £3,000 per annum.
If that is so, and I see no reason to challenge his statement, it is a very serious thing for the Wakefield people to know that for no conceivable advantage they are paying this money over to the West Riding County Council every year. I have only one other word to say, which is that the services we want to take over, the main road services, if taken over under the powers conferred upon us by this Provisional Order would be a distinct advantage. We do the repairs ourselves, and then send in, according to the usual custom, our bill to the West Riding County Council, and they pay it, so that the West Riding County Council, in regard to the main roads, do nothing for us except make a profit out of us. That is a thing which ought not to be perpetuated in a poor industrial town, which has a, rate of 8s. 10d. in the £ now, and which has, in addition to that, a very high basis 667 of assessment, which makes the rates much higher than they actually seem to be from the figure of 8s. 10d. As to education, the West Riding County Council is the authority for secondary education, whereas we should be the authority. We have an able education authority in our own town which is capable of administering the elementary education and also secondary education if it has the opportunity. I claim that on the most elementary principles of democratic government the Wakefield Corporation is now entitled to come to this House and claim that this Bill which affects it so vitally shall not be rejected at the hands of this House.
§ Mr. LANE-FOX
I wish to repudiate the suggestion of several speakers that Wakefield has not got a case, although I admit that the case of Wakefield rests on rather different grounds than that of the other two cities concerned. The hon. Member who has just sat down made a strong point of the fact that the county council did not oppose, in its initial stages, the proposition that Wakefield should assume county borough powers. That is very easily explained. I am able to speak on behalf of the county council, having been a member of it for a considerable number of years, and I need hardly say that I speak in no sense of opposition to Wakefield as a city. I have every reason to be fond of Wakefield, and no wish to oppose or injure it. The county council did not oppose the initial stages in these proceedings, because they had already come to the conclusion that it was absolutely hopeless in view of the practice that was then growing up in the Committees of this House to accept Provisional Orders from the Local Government Board as absolutely final. In view of what happened recently in the case of the granting of powers to Dewsbury and Barnsley, on very inadequate grounds, the county council came to the conclusion that it was a mere waste of money, under existing conditions, to oppose this application any further. When we found that there was a chance of success, it was mainly owing to a very remarkable speech by the Prime Minister in response to a deputation, in which he admitted that the action of the Local Government Board in granting the Provisional Order ought not to be final.
§ Mr. LANE-FOX
I am quite aware of that, but the Opposition did not actually fructify until after that speech was made. They had been considering it long before that, I admit. The speech of the Prime Minister led us, and a good many people, to suppose that Committees of the House in future would deal on the merits with each particular question, and would not accept a Provisional Order of the Local Government Board as finally settling the case. The hon. Member also dealt with the question of roads in Wakefield, and suggested that the county council was making a considerable profit out of the city. I think perhaps the less he said about the roads in Wakefield, considering that Wakefield administers and repairs its own roads, the better. We have provided the money, and though the hon. Member says we made a profit of £3,000 a year out of that, Wakefield has had the advantage of using the main roads in all this area for a considerable time, and as the city increases and develops and its trade develops, so the traffiic on the main roads will be all the heavier. I wish to deal with the main principle on which we wish to oppose the granting of these powers. The Committee did not consider the case on its merits. Under the chairman's ruling it was inevitable that the case should go against Wakefield. He ruled that granted that the borough passed a resolution in favour of this, and granted that it proved his case in the matter of population, that was sufficient. In passing the original Act in this House, by the word "desirable," it was intended to show that it was desirable from all points of view. No evidence was asked for in the case of Wakefield to show that it was desirable in the interests of Wakefield or that Wakefield would benefit by the change which is suggested.
§ Mr. HERBERT CRAIG
I am sure the hon. Gentleman does not wish to misinterpret, but he is referring to an intimation which, as Chairman of the Committee, I gave, that we could not attach very much importance to evidence offered by the county council, intended to show that the granting of county borough powers would not be a good thing for Wakefield in the face of evidence called by the borough of Wakefield to show that it was. I did not intend to go further than that, and I do not think I did.
§ Mr. LANE-FOX
I think a very small proportion of evidence was called on that point. At any rate, since that evidence was brought before the Committee a considerable number of new facts have come to light which strengthen the case very largely, in addition to the evidence brought on that occasion. We have had a considerable number of new county boroughs in the last few years in the West Riding. Before 1912 there was only the new county borough of Rotherham. Since then, in 1912, there were Dewsbury and Batley, and in 1913 the Wakefield application was made, and there is evidence of several more prospective boroughs wishing to got county borough powers in the immediate future, and also the possibility of the amalgamation of various populous urban districts, which may at any time aggregate themselves into a body which can have county borough powers. Under the figures which have actually been published in the newspapers in the matter of the extension of boroughs already created, we stand to lose in the West Riding a population of 180,000 and a rateable value of £850,000. When the hon. Member says we only stand to lose 2½ per cent. of our population he has left out of account the fact, not only that we stand to lose by the creation of the new county boroughs, but also by the extension invariably applied for as soon as they are created. Not only that, but in addition to these extensions which are asked for, already we know, though these facts have not been so fully published, that there are others which will raise the loss of the population to about 500,000, which will mean that out of a population of 1,600,000 we shall be losing 500,000.
§ Mr. HERBERT CRAIG
Does that include the Leeds and Bradford extensions, because they have been entirely abandoned for the moment.
§ Mr. LANE-FOX
The hon. Member knows perfectly well that they are not permanently abandoned. I said these extensions and losses we have to contemplate in the near future. There is also proof that Wakefield itself, if it gets county borough powers, intends to extend. I will quote from a speech of an ex-mayor of Wakefield in which Mr. Alderman Hudson on 6th May definitely stated that when Wakefield becomes a county borough that would be merely a stepping stone to 670 greater things, and that after the full realisation of their ambition there should be, no such thing as standing still. They must show the Local Government Board that they were not only capable of governing their present area, but also those outside the borders who are enjoying its wealth and prosperity. That was a reason why he considered that Wakefield, in the near future, would benefit from being a county borough. The West Riding County Council is a very progressive body. It is not one of those councils which is entirely composed of bald-headed reactionary country gentlemen who have no wish except to keep the rates down. It has a most progressive system of higher education, and it stands the risk of being left with a certain number of patches, or rural and moorland area, and having all its urban area taken away from it. What is going to be the future? We have built up a large system of county government; we have great buildings; a very large staff. We have a very complete system of higher education. We have a very elaborate and progressive system of sanitary organisation, and our sanatorium scheme is one which everyone admits to be excellent. All these things will be made impossible and crippled and done away with to a large extent if these applications continue. I do not mean to say that the mere application of Wakefield is going to have this effect, but the cumulative effects entitle us to say that before this process goes on we ought to have the whole question thoroughly gone into and the whole system of county government revised by a body competent to do it, either by a Joint Committee of the two Houses, or a Royal Commission, or something of that sort. One witness before the inquiry suggested that if this process went on the county would fall away. That is exactly what we are afraid of. I think we are entitled to come before this House and make a protest as a body, having done our best for the county. Nobody can say that we have been reactionary, and everyone must admit that we have made the best of our opportunities. Wakefield will not lose by waiting. Wakefield gave a definite pledge when we originally built our county hall there that she did not wish to become a county borough.
§ Mr. LANE-FOX
It is a pledge that many of the old members of the county council remember, but I dare say it was 671 not given in writing. If the hon. Member knew the case better he would not question the statement. I appeal to the House that before the application is granted, there should be a proper inquiry into the whole system of county government.
§ Mr. CECIL HARMSWORTH
We have heard much about Wakefield and Cambridge, but very little about the progressive borough I have the honour to represent. I ventured to remark last year that in approaching this subject it was one of considerable embarrassment to myself. I am rather in the position of being pulled different ways by contending forces. I do not pretend to have the privilege of representing a compact Parliamentary borough or a compact Parliamentary area. I represent both, and my position is one of some difficulty. [An HON. MEMBER: "Vote against the Bill."] No, I shall support it. Having regard to what in this House are called the relevant circumstances of the case, I have decided to support the Third Reading of the Bill, for these reasons: The Bill has been through all the statutory stages. There has been a Local Government inquiry, as I understand. There has been the making of the Order by the Local Government Board, and the Bill has passed successfully through a Select Committee of this House. I cannot imagine any reason why the Bill should not pass other than the general reason of principle. It may well be argued whether it is in the main a good thing for these urban areas to be cut out of the county areas. I can well imagine a very fruitful discussion on that topic, but I think this is not the time or the occasion to go back to elementary first principles. This point, in my judgment, should have been decided by the Government before these Bills were introduced. It would be grossly unfair to these three boroughs to reject their Bill at this stage. They have been encouraged by the unvarying practice, as I understand, of twenty-five years to seek for county borough status, and I do not see why these boroughs should be stopped by the House of Commons on this occasion, and, least of all, the borough of Luton. Luton is a town of fast increasing population, great enterprise, and great municipal character. I am not contrasting its virtues with those of the County Council of Bedfordshire, a body for which I have a little respect. But I notice that the 672 borough of Luton is on all possible grounds entitled to the full benefit of the Act of 1888, and I do submit that this House would be doing that borough a very serious injustice if it refused a Third Reading to this Bill to-night.
Mr. BUTLER LLOYD
I have very few words to say, and I hope I shall receive the indulgence of the House in addressing it for the first time. I have the fortune or the misfortune to represent a borough council and a county council, and I am somewhat in this matter between Scylla and Charybdis, but I have made up my mind to support the Bill. I do so for several reasons which seem to me to be sufficient. The hon. Gentleman who moved the rejection of the Bill (Mr. Denison-Pender) said very truly that the word "desirable" in this Bill is a very important one. I quite agree with him, but I do not put the same interpretation on it as he does. I have the misfortune to remember the Bill brought in in 1888. I was mayor of the town I have the honour to represent, and with other representatives of boroughs we did our best to get an admittedly high standard placed upon the boroughs in the first instance. The small boroughs exercised great pressure to have a lower number, and with this success—that it was reduced to 50,000. I think that was held out as a bait or reward to boroughs, if they increased largely and showed generally that it was desirable, that they should be made county boroughs. I have often found that the county council has been rather hard on the borough council. In many cases which I could mention the county council have rather put pressure on the rates of the boroughs. There is one notable instance in the town I represent, where they would not help to improve a bridge by widening it. Although that bridge is more than sufficient for the purpose of the town itself, almost the whole of the traffic to the West of England and Wales is served by it. We could get no grant from the county for the purpose of widening the bridge, with the result that it has remained sufficient for the town itself, but absolutely insufficient for the traffic it carries to the West and North of England. I do not wish to speak of Luton or Wakefield in particular, because I know little about them, but as to Cambridge, the county council think if anyone ought to be exempted it is that town, but their arguments seem to me to be thoroughly bad.
673 First of all, we are placed in a perfectly ridiculous position as regards education in Cambridge. If Cambridge is a non-county borough, as at present, it is actually under a county council in a county where there are no large towns, where they say they cannot find efficient men to man the county council. Cambridge town shares with Oxford the high position of being the leader of higher education of the whole world, and yet it is actually subservient to the agricultural county of Cambridge. The argument against Cambridge being made a county borough, that they cannot find members in the agricultural parts of Cambridge to fill the county council, is one that I do not agree with. The members who represent the borough on the county council do not either speak about or vote for anything that concerns the agricultural part of the county. They have got their men in there, who cannot take any real part in the affairs of the county, that do not affect their own borough. Those two points are of great importance on the question whether Cambridge borough shall be included in Cambridge county? Oxford, with a smaller population than Cambridge, is not under the Oxford County Council. Those two boroughs are twins. If Oxford, with all its prestige, has this privilege, I think that Cambridge may fairly claim to be in the same position.
§ Sir A. MARKHAM
We, on this side of the House, cannot hear a single word that the hon. Member is saying.
§ Mr. STEPHEN WALSH
Questions such as those before the House to-night have great interest for a very large number of Members, and this feeling of interest shows itself in the feelings of some of those sitting upon these Benches. The whole point seems to me to be what right have we to place any check upon the public spirit and initiative of areas when they have attained a certain population, and when they do possess within themselves and are anxious to exercise the powers of local government which were given twenty-five years ago? After all, I think we have a right to get back as far as we can to the first principles that animated Parliament when they were dealing with these questions. We may differ as to what those first principles were, but, for my own part, I think we ought to see how far we agree. It is clear that in 1888 674 Parliament thought there was great chaos existing in the whole machinery of local government. They desired to bring the local government more within the reach of the people themselves than previously had been the case. Therefore they established a county system of government with certain qualifications, saying distinctly that when a particular area of government, or of modified government, had attained a population of 50,000 there at least there was a primâ facie case for that borough to become a county borough—that is to say, they held it to be desirable that such a large body of people possessing that population might be presumed to possess other capacities and other desires, and to desire to take their place in the ranks of progressive municipalities and be vested with the powers necessary to make those desires effective.
That certainly seems to me to be the essential thing in the constitution of county boroughs, and to be the essential basis upon which the Local Government Act of 1888 proceeded, because, remember, that six years later Parliament went even further. In 1894 they proceeded to give local life to even smaller bodies of people. They created parish councils, urban district councils, and rural district councils, all with the object, as it seems to me, of giving the people in the smaller areas a more vital interest in those matters that affected their every day life—education, sanitation, housing, and a hundred and one things which I need not enumerate were all to be brought in increasing measure within the scope of the people's own competence in the management of their own affairs. That seems to be a recognition of the first principle that animated Parliament when they desired to bring local government more and more within reach of the people themselves. Now the idea is put forward that when a county council is erected, and has launched out into certain lines of expenditure and administration it will lose by the creation of county boroughs. The hon. Member for Barkston Ash has said we shall lose so-and-so. What is meant by the phrase "we shall lose"?
§ Mr. LANE-FOX
What I said was that when a county council has gone to every considerable expense in building up a great scheme of government, and a great area is taken away from them, that scheme is no longer required, and there is so much lost.
§ Mr. WALSH
If the term is not used in the sense of making a definite loss in the matter on the part of a certain body of people, I do not know how it can be used at all, because there is to be financial adjustment, I take it, which would be spread over a term of years, and there is to be thorough consideration given to the fact that the county council has lost on many lines of expenditure, and they are to be, so far as account can be taken, indemnified against that kind of loss. But what vested interest is there? No body of people, however much they may desire to magnify their own affairs, has a right to say to another enterprising body of people large in population, who desire to keep pace with modern thought and conditions, who may desire perhaps to educate their people on different lines, who really do know more of the local spirit and are more susceptible to local influences, and will be able to know the local ways, that they shall not carry out their desires. What possible vested interest can there be in any county council to say that adequate expression shall not be given to these influences and these desires? We have no right to assume that there is a vested interest in the county council as regards people who do not live near that county council at all. After all, what great loss would there be in the case of Wakefield? Everybody agrees upon the desirability of that city having control of its own government. The people of that city themselves are desirous of taking a little better rank among the progressive municipalities; they want powers which they feel very well capable of exercising; they know their own conditions and desires better than outsiders; and what reason is there why these powers should not be conferred upon a city like Wakefield? What is the extent of the loss? I have just gone very roughly into certain figures, even if the term "loss" can be applied at all. Personally, I strongly contend that it does not. The population of the West Riding of Yorkshire is a little over 3,000,000. The area is about 1,700,000 acres.
§ Mr. LANE-FOX
Does the bon. Gentleman mean the West Riding of Yorkshire? If so, his figures are wrong.
§ Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
May I point out that my hon. Friend is speaking of people and the hon. Member opposite is speaking of acres.
§ Mr. LANE-FOX
I understood the hon. Gentleman said the population of the West. Riding was 3,000,000. I apologise. The West Riding area is nothing like that.
§ Mr. WALSH
It is proposed to take out of that area Wakefield which has 4,000 acres, and so far as the total area is concerned it is a very considerable slice which is being taken. The population, including the county boroughs and all the large boroughs of the West Riding, is well over 3,000,000. Supposing that we assume there is only 1,600,000 acres taking the non-county boroughs and the rural areas, is is suggested that a population of 51,512, on the latest returns, comes out of the total population. That is not a very serious slice, though it seems to me that to go into these figures at all is to divert the attention of the House from the real issue. Where a large population has been developing we have a right to assume that that population have the same desires as all other large populations—that they have the desire to keep pace with modern progress, to utilise all the advantages of civilisation, to exercise the right of governing themselves in their own affairs, and so long as they can prove themselves to be fully capable of managing their own affairs this House ought not to refuse those powers except upon overwhelming evidence. It seems to me that the same principles apply in the other cases of Cambridge and Luton, though the slices there to be taken are 677 very much bigger than is the case in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Here you have the same aggregation of people, believing that in those matters they can manage their own affairs better than people far removed from them.
The whole principle of local government, remember it is local government brought as nearly as possible to the homes of the people themselves which is in question, and where there is a definite community of interests, and the people are desirous of exercising the powers that civilisation affords, it is only on overwhelming evidence that those powers should be refused. I shall certainly vote in favour of this Bill. It has passed all its stages. It seems that there has been perfect good fellowship on the part of the authorities who find themselves at present in contention, and there does not seem to me one single objection that can be effectively urged against the powers sought in this Bill. Personally, I do not believe that there is any such thing as vested interests in the county council There will be a financial adjustment, and if the particular county council finds itself shorn of a few thousands of the population, what does that matter? After all, it is not bigness, or bulk, or aggrandisement of office, that ought to be sought after; it is the wellbeing of the whole of the people, and if the people themselves say that they are capable of doing this work, that they can look after education, rating, and sanitation, and that they can do this work better because they know the local needs better, then I think it ought not to be possible, except on overwhelming evidence, to refuse them those powers.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I have been asked by the Central Chamber of Agriculture to oppose this Bill. [An HON. MEMBER: "What has agriculture to do with it?"] Agriculture has everything to do with it, as indeed the borough of Cambridge, which is mainly dependent upon agriculture, realises. The hon. Member for Ince addressed the House with his usual eloquence and strength of advocacy, and he certainly proved a most formidable supporter of the Bill; but no convincing argument, I suggest, has been used by any supporter of the Bill in favour of its passage through this House, save the one argument that a certain mechanical treatment has been meted out in similar cases in the past, and that therefore the same mechanical treatment ought to be 678 meted out to this Bill. I should have no doubt whatever, on the merits, that this Bill would be rejected on the Third Reading if it were not, possibly, for the inclusion of Wakefield within its terms. I am not in a position to judge of the particular claims of Wakefield, but, as has been already said in this House, I have reason to believe that, if the two cases of Cambridge and Luton were to be judged on their own merits by impartial persons, the Bill could not possibly, without injustice, be given a Third Reading. The Member for Ince suggests that in every case where there was public spirit and initiative in any urban community, there was really a prima facie case for incorporation as a county borough, and that the community was entitled to have the benefits, whatever those benefits may be, of such incorporation.
According to his argument, surely every county in England and Wales and Scotland would be entitled to a Home Rule Government. If because there is public spirit or local initiative confined to a particular area in the country, that area is to have self-government, then such an argument, I venture to say, would lead the hon. Member into very dangerous and impossible places. But, he said, it was not a very serious slice that was proposed to be taken out of the county in such a case as this. Yes, perhaps the first slice is not a serious loss, but if a large number of slices are taken away from a county, including all the plums, the remaining slice is not of very much value. That is just what a good many county councils are beginning to realise to their great apprehension.
§ 10.0 P.M.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
The hon. Baronet will believe me that this is in no sense a party question. The hon. and somewhat amphibious Member for Luton and Bedfordshire, and I am not quite sure which is his strongest position that on land or water, told us that this Bill should be passed because it had already gone through all its statutory stages. That has been a purely mechanical process. He went on to tell us that it successfully passed through a Select Committee of the House. Is that an apt description of what took place? As I understand, the Committee was equally divided, and the Chairman gave his casting vote, professedly not on the merits, but in order to allow this House to deal once more with the matter in the 679 way in which the majority of the House might desire. In his judicial and impartial position he decided that the House ought to have the last word on this question. That does not indicate any very successful passage of this Bill through the Select Committee. We have got to a point in this question of county and county borough government, when I think we are justified in asking the Government to lay down some sort of principle upon which in future we shall proceed. So far, when a borough has found itself with 50,000 inhabitants, as a purely mechanical process and as of course it has invited the House to convert it into a county borough, regardless of the consequences upon the area of which it is no longer to form part. I want to appeal to the right hon. Gentleman who has just become President of the Local Government Board not to allow anything to be done which might in effect destroy the machinery of county government in the counties of England and Wales The Local Government Board has in the recent past been regarded as somewhat more concerned with urban districts, without very much knowledge of rural affairs, and without very much sympathy with the authorities which administer those affairs. I venture to hope that the right hon. Gentleman will set a precedent, as I have some reason to think he may, by showing somewhat greater sympathy, not with town conditions only, but with town and rural conditions alike, and deal with them with equality of treatment and with equity. We are approaching the stage at which, if county councils have removed from their areas bit by bit those portions which contribute most to their rateable and assessable value, county administrators will strike, and will say that it is utterly impossible to continue county government under existing conditions. So far as these county boroughs are concerned, they talk about the maintenance of their roads. I am not quite sure that they do maintain in every case their own roads, but if they do, the bulk of the traffic for which they are responsible does not pass over their roads exclusively or mainly, but passes over the main roads of the county in which they are situate. In fact, the wear and tear of those county roads is mainly caused by the populations of those urban centres which are either now county boroughs or are seeking under such orders 680 as this to become so. In the interests of future county administration, and in the interests of economic self-government, because it is not from the point of view of economy wise to separate the government of borough and county, I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman not to accept this Provisional Order Bill so far as it applies, at any rate, to Cambridge and to Luton. I venture, in conclusion, to suggest that it is not so much the public spirit and the enterprise of the inhabitants of those boroughs that dictate a policy of this sort, but rather what I may call a pardonable municipal vanity which may be carried to such extreme lengths as to render local administration impossible.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
Since I have had the privilege of occupying my present office, this controversy between the counties and the boroughs was the first matter that claimed my attention. I was naturally very anxious, if possible, to effect a settlement between these two disputing parties, and the course that most obviously appeals to anyone who seeks to find a settlement in circumstances such as these, is to adopt the easy course of appointing a Committee or a Commission before which all the parties might appear. The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken made that suggestion. It had been suggested to my predecessor, and was also suggested to myself, and it engaged the consideration of both of us. But before you appoint a Committee or Commission to investigate a matter such as this, I think that you ought to have some clear idea as to what the outcome of that inquiry might be, not any definite idea, but some general idea of what the inquiry might possibly result in. Otherwise the appointment of a Committee is a mere expedient for delay, and is little less than a shirking of responsibility. The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken said you ought to appoint a Committee in order to discover some principle on which these matters could be decided. What principle? No one yet has ever suggested to me, nor has anyone suggested, so far as I am aware to anyone, any new guiding rule that could be laid down. You might, indeed, say that, instead of a population of 50,000, a minimum of, say, 75.000 should be necessary before a borough could become a county borough. But that would not be a principle. It would not in any way deal with the objection raised on behalf of the county councils. From the point of view of the county council, as soon as you take a borough out of its area and 681 give it autonomous powers you are inflicting an injury on the county council. Whether that happens when the borough reaches 50,000 or when it reaches 75,000 matters only in this regard: That if the higher figure is chosen the blow to the county when the separation comes would be even greater than when the lower figure is taken.
Can anyone suggest a wider word which will include more completely all the elements of the case than the word which appears in the Act of 1888, which is now the guiding principle in this matter—the word "Desirable?" If it is desirable that a borough should be constituted a county borough, it should be done; if it is not desirable, it should not be done. Is it possible for any Committee or Commission to suggest any more specific term than that? All that it could suggest would be that instead of the word "desirable" you should insert the words "expedient in all the circumstances of the case." That would carry us no further. It is not the case that, as a matter of course, always when a borough reaches 50,000 it is granted a Provisional Order to constitute it a county borough, for where special circumstances arise, such as in cases in the neighbourhood of London, the Local Government Board is entitled to refuse county borough powers on the ground that in all the circumstances of the case it is not desirable that they should be granted. Could any Committee or Commission recommend a better procedure than the present for settling this matter? That procedure is that in the first instance the Local Government Board holds an inquiry in the locality, hears all the parties in the case, and forms an opinion on the matter. That opinion is not binding. It is laid before Parliament, embodied in a Provisional Order. The House of Commons appoints a Committee, which considers the matter, and the House itself, as it is doing to-night, afterwards deals with the case. Then it has to go to the other House to receive further consideration. I do not know that anyone has ever suggested a better procedure than that which now prevails. In these circumstances, my right hon. Friend and predecessor and the Prime Minister, who gave much personal attention to this matter, came to the conclusion that really a case had not been made out for holding an inquiry, because no one has suggested, to be laid before such a tribunal if it were appointed, any better proposal than that 682 which is embodied in the present law and practice. I have felt myself obliged to come to the same conclusion.
I agree that you ought to consider in these matters, not only the interests of the borough immediately concerned, but also the interests of the whole community. It is a case in which you have to try to arrive, as best you can, at the greatest happiness of the greatest number. The case for the county certainly should not be ignored. How does it work out, in fact, in the three cases with which we are hero concerned? I will take, first, the case of Wakefield, which is the clearest. It has been suggested that, piece by piece, the county of the West Riding is being eaten away by the creation of county boroughs within its area, and that the cumulative effect will eventually be disastrous. The county of the West Riding has now existed for twenty-five years, and this process has been going on all the time. The boroughs of Barnsley, Dewsbury, and Rotherham have, in fact, been constituted county boroughs and taken out of the county. If the borough of Wakefield is also taken out by Parliament, what will be the cumulative effect of all the subtraction during that period of twenty-five years? The population of the county of the West Riding when the county was first formed—that is, at the Census of 1891—was 1,351,000, and the population of the county, omitting the boroughs which have been created county boroughs in addition to the borough of Wakefield, will be 1,416,000, or somewhat more than it was twenty-five years ago. The rateable value then was £5,867,000. It will be, omitting these four boroughs. £7,827,000.
§ Mr. LANE-FOX
I do not think it is quite fair to call it a period of twenty-five years. This process has only begun during the past three or four years.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
I do not think that that is quite accurate. In any case, I am only showing that the cumulative effect over a period of nearly twenty-five years leaves the county with a somewhat larger population and with a rateable value increased by something like 40 per cent. The position in the case of Wakefield is, in my opinion, quite clear, and Wakefield ought to have county borough powers. The application of Wakefield for these powers was not even opposed by the county before the Local Government Board inquiry; and when the matter went to a Committee of this House, 683 although the Committee were equally divided with respect to Luton and Cambridge, and the matter was decided by the casting vote of the chairman, in the case of Wakefield the Committee were unanimous. There are indeed some hon. Members—the hon. Member for Tavistock (Sir J. W. Spear) has shown that he is one of them—who think that Wakefield should receive these powers, but that Cambridge and Luton should not. I think that the House or some Members of it may feel some difficulty in the matter because the three cases are contained in the same Bill. In order to remove that difficulty—not in the interests of securing either the passage or the rejection of the Bill, but because I think it is fair to the House—I shall undertake, if the House rejects this Bill, at once to introduce a Provisional Order dealing with Wakefield alone, because I do not think it is quite fair that the case of Wakefield should be defeated mainly or partly because it is treated by the House at one and the same moment as the more doubtful cases of Luton and Cambridge.
§ Lord ALEXANDER THYNNE
Is it possible under the forms of the House to introduce a Bill dealing with Wakefield alone if Wakefield is included in a Bill which has been rejected by the House?
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
I have been informed that it is, but I will make further inquiry. It seemed to me that it would be very unfortunate if the House, having decided against Wakefield, possibly merely because it was combined with Luton and Cambridge in one Bill, should not have an opportunity subsequently of considering the case of Wakefield alone.
§ Mr. MOONEY
Is it not a fact that it would be entirely out of Order to introduce in the same Session a Bill dealing with the same subject as that dealt with by a Bill which had already been rejected by the House?
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
I will not reply to that on the spur of the moment. I had been previously advised that this could be done, but I will make further inquiries.
§ Sir A. MARKHAM
On a point of Order. Might I ask whether it would be in order to take the course suggested by the right hon. Gentleman?
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Whitley)
I am bound to say that I am not prepared to give an answer at a moment's notice upon a novel point of that kind.
§ Mr. MARSHALL
Would it be possible to accept the proposal standing in my name, namely, that the Bill should be recommitted with an Instruction that it should be divided into two parts, one dealing with Luton and Cambridge, and the other with Wakefield?
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
That could only be done if the present Motion to reject the Bill were withdrawn.
§ Sir RYLAND ADKINS
Supposing that the Motion which you are to put from the Chair on this proposal, that the word "now" stand part, is rejected, the effect is that the word "now" does not stand part; that would be an indication of the wish of the House not to pass the Bill as it stands. If that conclusion were come to, would it not then be in order to deal with the Instruction which the hon. Member for Wakefield desires to move?
§ Sir A. MARKHAM
Does the rejection of any Bill by this House in any way affect or curtail the power of the Local Government Board to issue a Provisional Order—a power which Parliament have conferred upon the Local Government Board?
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
As I said before, the point has been sprung upon me and I am not prepared to give a decision, but I think the hon. Member is right.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
With respect to the case of Luton, the position there is that when the county of Bedfordshire was formed the population was 160,000. If Luton is taken out, the population will be 144,000, or slightly less than the original population, whilst the rateable value, which was £759,000 originally, will be £877,000 now. The matter is very different in the ease of Cambridgeshire. There the 685 original population was 121,000. The last Census showed it to be 128,000. If Cambridge is taken out of it, the county will be reduced to a population of 73,000, all of it rural, whilst the rateable value, which was originally £652,000, and which now stands at £833,000, will be on the reduced basis £449,000, or about two-thirds of what it was when the county was originally constituted. At the same time I do not think, although these facts show that the detriment to Cambridgeshire will be much greater by the elimination of Cambridge than the detriment to the other two counties by the elimination of the other boroughs that are in question, that it proves that the county of Cambridgeshire, as it would be left, would be in any degree an impossible local government unit. For as a matter of fact there are at the present time no fewer than eleven counties in England and Wales which have a smaller population than Cambridgeshire would then have, and there are ten counties which have a smaller rateable value. I cannot believe that in a population of 72,000 there are not to be found forty or fifty men who are fully capable of carrying on the government of the county.
There is another consideration. If this county is unduly weakened by the elimination of Cambridge there is an alternative to retaining the borough within the county against its will. As part of the geographical county of Cambridge, though not as part of the administrative county, there is the Isle of Ely. That has a smaller population than Cambridgeshire would have. It is only now 69,000. It has almost exactly the same rateable value, and it would have about the same rate in the £ as Cambridgeshire would have. It is a matter for consideration whether the right course may not be to combine these two counties—the Isle of Ely contains two or three towns, not very large towns, but still towns—and to form from them one homogeneous county. They are both parts of the geographical county. I do not like to express any formal and decided opinion as to the merits, because it is a case which might possibly come before the Local Government Board to adjudicate on, after a formal inquiry. But I think it is quite clear that, if Cambridge, with 72,000 population, is too small to exercise county government powers, then the Isle of Ely, with 69,000 population, is also too small to perform the same functions. But the fact remains that in 686 the borough of Cambridge there is very strong feeling, so far as I can gather, in favour of county borough powers, and I cannot believe that it will really conduce to good local government to compel Cambridge to remain as an unwilling partner of the business of the county. The case is almost, in fact, on the border line, because there are strong arguments on both sides, and that being so, approaching the matter with an impartial mind, I have been unable to form any strong opinion, and I do not desire to make any strong recommendation to the House. But on balance my own view is that a case has, on the whole, been made out for constituting Cambridge a county borough, and, therefore, so far as I am personally concerned I shall vote for the Bill as it stands.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
I feel that if I rise immediately after my right hon. Friend nobody in the House will for a moment assume that I am speaking on behalf of His Majesty's Government. In fact, I find myself in very trying personal circumstances.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
Oh, no, but I find myself in complete harmony with the hon. Member for Newmarket, and I can only console myself by finding myself in my normal condition of opposition to the hon. Member for Cambridge. It is very regrettable that I should have to place myself in opposition to my right hon. Friend the President of the Local Government Board, but I am consoled by the fact that he did not make a strong recommendation to the House to approve of the Third Reading. I desire with all the emphasis I can command to make a strong representation to the House to reject this Bill. When I addressed the House upon the Second Reading, a very successful and by no means unpleasing taunt was made by my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, that if I had been a Member for the borough of Cambridge or for any borough, I should take a directly opposite view to the one I now take. I acquit myself on that by saying I am only the representative of part of my Constituency in this matter, because I have many constituents in the borough of Cambridge, and I regret to find myself, not only as representative, but as a neighbour of theirs, in opposition to the view they express. The case we made against this 687 Bill on the Second Reading, so far as Cambridge is concerned was, that it had for its object the taking out of a small county efficiently managed, the only town which there is in that county. The hon. Member for Cambridge talks of part of Royston and Newmarket, but the whole of Newmarket is in Suffolk for local government purposes, and the whole of Royston is in Hertfordshire for similar purposes. The only town we possess is Cambridge, and the whole of its trade is brought to it along the county roads of Cambridgeshire and the railways that run through it, and all our roads converge upon that town. Our agricultural produce is the best in England. It is bought and sold in the town of Cambridge, and the lives of the people who live in Cambridge are so interdependent upon all these circumstances that it would be a grave misfortune to separate them. We did not press our opposition to the Bill to a Division on the Second Reading because an Instruction was accepted that the case of Cambridge would be particularly considered by the Committee, and we thought that if the Committee assisted us so much the better. I say, with all respect to the Chairman of the Committee and every member of it, that that Committee has been of no assistance to us in the matter at all. Two Members of the Committee decided that Cambridge should be excluded and two decided that it should remain in the Bill. The Chairman of the Committee decided that Cambridge should remain, because the House was the proper place to express an opinion upon the matter. Therefore we have this position—that the House said the Committee was the right place, the Committee said the House was the right place, and now hon. Members have to come to a decision upon this Bill just as if we were deciding the Second Reading.
It is not a question of money, because no financial consideration can recompense us for the loss of the centre of the county of Cambridge. Every year that goes by puts upon the county council new and arduous responsibilities. We always accompany these demands with new calls upon the purses of those who live in the county. It is not enough for the Committee to say that the area still left to Cambridge is a possible area. That may be possible, if you use the term in its extremest and widest sense, but no one can say that an isolated group of villages 688 situated round a town which is not part of the county is a conveniently governable area. You are dependent for your local government machinery upon the efforts of patriotic men, and if when they have built up a government for which I challenge comparison in any part of England, Scotland or Wales, they are to have their efforts frustrated and their county disembowelled, you bring local government to a standstill, and you will not get the right men to do the work. I do not wish to speak of Wakefield or Luton, because I know nothing of their special case. The hon. Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire did address us on the case of Wakefield, and he convinced me of the merits of that case. I do not think the hon. Member for the West Riding or the hon. Member for Bedfordshire, who sedonded the Resolution, will deny that our case in regard to Cambridge is even stronger than their case. In this particular measure all three boroughs are included in one Bill, and therefore any hon. Member who objects to one must vote with us for the rejection of the Bill.
My right hon. Friend the President of the Local Government Board, throws out the suggestion that it might be possible if Cambridge was lost to the county of Cambridgeshire that we might be able to amalgamate with the Isle of Ely. I would suggest to him that we would rather see the proposal for amalgamation before we consent to the loss of Cambridge. The rearrangement of these historical boundaries, and the ending of the separate corporate existence of places like Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely, is likely to be a much more difficult matter than my right hon. Friend supposes. The proposal before us is for the exclusion of Cambridge. Upon that question it seems to me that our position is unique. It is the only case which anybody can quote in which the single town, the centre of the whole county, is proposed to be taken out of the county, and I confidently appeal to the House to reject this Bill on the Third Reading.
§ Mr. G. THORNE
I would ask for sympathy in endeavouring to follow the very eloquent and effective speech which has just been delivered from the Front Bench, but I would ask the House to contrast that speech with the speech delivered by the President of the Local Government Board with all his official responsibility. The President of the Local Government Board spoke with absolute impartiality. He 689 spoke purely from the standpoint of good government. He was not impelled in the slightest degree as was manifest throughout the whole course of his speech by any individual feeling in regard to the particular matter in dispute. The hon. Member who has just sat down spoke in a very different style. He spoke with considerable feeling, very natural feeling, but with also a natural bias. I am one of those who have nothing to do with either of the counties or with either of the boroughs which are now under the consideration of the House. I endeavour to approach the question as far as I can purely from the standpoint from which it was approached by the President of the Local Government Board in the interests of local government, and with that object I support very warmly its Third Reading. The President of the Local Government Board has not left it at all clear what will happen if the Bill should be rejected even as regards the one particular borough of Wakefield which, apparently, all the House seems to desire should have its way. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] The only safe thing, I submit, for this House at this stage is to pass the Third Reading of the Bill as the natural and proper sequence to the whole of the proceedings which have already taken place. We have had the Second Reading of the Bill carried in this House. It has followed its regular process in going to the Committee upstairs. It has now come down here having passed the Committee stage, and it seems to me that it ought fairly to receive a Third Reading from this House.
The chief argument, so far as I have been able to follow the course of the Debate, and I have endeavoured as honestly as I can to follow it from the standpoint of what is best in the interests Of good government, which has been made against the claim for Cambridge to be a county borough seems to me throughout to have been advanced purely from the county standpoint, and not at all from the borough standpoint. The borough claim as the best method of governing their own city to have absolute self-government, and the county say that in the interests of the county the borough should be included in county government. It seems to me that if it be vital for the interests of Cambridgeshire that Cambridge city should form a part of the county government, then Cambridge city ought to take a far more prominent part in the county government than it does. I submit that it is not for the 690 county council to demand so much in support of county government when it places the city in a subordinate position. Take two or three facts that arise out of these considerations as between the borough of Cambridge and the county. One significant instance is manifest at once, even in regard to the cost of the proceedings now being brought to a close. Whatever the result may be the borough of Cambridge will have to pay all its own costs, and it will, in addition, have to pay its share of the county's costs. Supposing that the county costs be equal to the borough costs—and we may assume that to be the case—the result of these proceedings will be that the unfortunate borough of Cambridge, if it loses or if it wins, will have to pay three-fourths of the total cost, while the county will have to defray one quarter only. It is easy to see why the county council are making not a specific objection, but a general case against the claims of boroughs. I submit that this is not fair in relationship as between the two.
If the retention of the borough of Cambridge is so vital to the interests of Cambridgeshire, let the borough take a larger and more effective part in the government of the county. As a matter of fact, by reason of the conditions which exist, it takes a subordinate part. It has only a minority representation, and it is always outvoted on matters in which it is peculiarly interested, and, what is infinitely worse in the interests of good government, of the twenty men who are compelled to go to the meetings sixteen earnestly desire to be relieved of the duty and responsibility for county administration. The proceedings are largely connected with the county itself and have no interest for the borough, whose representatives consequently have to be silent upon them. This is not fair, and it is not in the interests of good government. The whole course of the arguments to-night show that the claims of the county, as made here, have been in the interests of the county and adversely to the true interests of the borough, and that the interests of local government in boroughs can only be properly secured when they have the control of their own affairs. That is all they ask. They would leave it to the county to look after county affairs. In my opinion, a good case has been made out for the whole of the Bill, and I trust, therefore, it will be given a Third Reading.
§ Mr. H. CRAIG
Having acted as chairman of the Committee which considered this Bill upstairs, I do not feel called upon to offer any apology for having, in regard to the Cambridge and Luton Orders, given my casting vote in favour of the Preamble of the Bill. I understand that the forms and established practice and usage of this House provide that where a Committee on a private Bill is equally divided, the chairman should give his casting vote in such a way as to keep the Bill alive and to give the House as a whole an opportunity of further considering the measure. That was the principle on which I gave my casting vote, but it was not the principle on which I gave my original vote. I gave my original vote in favour of the Bill because I believed in it. But speaking for myself and myself only, I may go further and say that having regard to the very far-reaching consequences which will follow our decision upon this Bill, I would like to echo the language of the Chairman of the Local Legislation Committee in the case of the East Ham Bill last Session, and say I thoroughly welcome the reconsideration by this House as a whole of the decision at which the Committee upstairs arrived. I may remind the House that we passed the Bill after hearing evidence on eleven days—two being devoted to the Wakefield case, and here is the volume of evidence offered by the witnesses.
I do not propose to deal at any length with the evidence which was given before us upstairs. I would rather invite the attention of the House to those larger issues which I believe to be involved in the decision at which we are about to arrive. I would remind the House, first of all, that under Section 31 of the Local Government Act, 1888, every borough which on 1st June of that year possessed a population of 50,000 was put into the Third Schedule of that Act as a county borough. It cannot be disputed that had these boroughs possessed then the population which they possess now, they would, without any Local Government Board inquiry, without any Provisional Order, without any consideration before a Private Bill Committee upstairs, have been scheduled as county boroughs. That is a point which has always to be borne in mind when we are considering the facts that have grown up under the further part of the Act. Sixty-one county boroughs were included in Schedule III. when the Bill was set up. There is a provision in that Act for 692 the further creation of county boroughs. It was laid down that whenever a borough reached a population of 50,000 it could apply to the Local Government Board for a Provisional Order. The Local Government Board had then to hold a local inquiry, and then grant a Provisional Order, which did not come into force until it had been confirmed by Parliament. Under the working of that Section of the Act, since the year 1888—that is, in the past twenty-five years—there have come into existence seventeen other county boroughs, in addition to the sixty-one scheduled in the Act. In no single case where a Provisional Order has been granted by the Local Government Board has the subsequent confirmation of that Order by Parliament been refused. I do not think that with the exception of boroughs, such as East Ham, coming within the Metropolitan ambit, the Local Government Board has ever refused a Provisional Order. But where the Local Government Board have, as in this case. after holding a local inquiry, granted a Provisional Order, that Provisional Order has never been refused confirmation by the House. Further, this is the first occasion upon which it has ever been challenged in a Committee upstairs.
It follows from that that if the House now rejects the Third Reading of this Bill it is establishing a new precedent which will upset what has become the established procedure under this Act. I would again remind the House that this is an Act which was passed by the Conservative Government in 1888. That would be upset after twenty-five years of established and uninterrupted usage. In my opinion the rejection of this measure would inevitably create a new arid very serious situation. It would bring to a standstill the operations of Section 54 of that Act. No further county boroughs could be created, as is contemplated by that Act, if this Bill is rejected, and it is allowed to go forth that whenever a county council can show that it is prejudicially affected by the withdrawal from its area of a county borough, that is a reason for refusing to the borough what has been granted to seventy other boroughs. How could you justify denying to Cambridge what you have given to Dewsbury? What is the answer! At any rate, I am glad to think the decision upon this momentous issue will be a decision taken by the whole House, and not by a small Committee.
693 If I may turn to individual orders, with regard to Cambridge, while it is manifestly true that you cannot abstract from the administrative county of Cambridgeshire the borough of Cambridge without halving the rateable value of the administrative county, and without depriving the county council of the services of those of its members who are resident in the borough of Cambridge, yet I invite the House's attention, and this, that it was put to the Chairman of the Cambridgeshire County Council specifically, "If Cambridge is divided from your area, are you prepared to say that it will be impossible for the county council to continue their administration of the remainder of the county council area?" The Chairman carefully guarded himself from assenting to that proposition, and, indeed, it was given in evidence upstairs that already in the immediate neighbourhood of Cambridge there are three administrative county councils which possess a smaller area, a smaller population, and a smaller value than would the administrative county of Cambridgeshire if you took the borough of Cambridge out of it. I agree with the suggestion of my right hon. Friend that it would seem to be a more appropriate remedy, if you are going to diminish the powers of the county council and the ability of the county council to administer that area by abstracting Cambridge, to consider the question of removing the archæological division which gives two county councils in the geographical county of Cambridge and of coupling up the Isle of Ely with the Cambridgeshire County Council rather than refuse to give to Cambridge what you have already given to Oxford. As regards Luton, I must confess, having heard the evidence in that case, it seemed to me impossible to distinguish the case of Luton from that of almost every other borough of a similar size which has come before this House and asked for the confirmation of a Provisional Order. It is a rich and growing manuturing town in the corner of the county of Bedfordshire.
As regards the case of the borough of Wakefield, that was a case upon which the Committee upstairs was unanimous. I do not entirely agree with my right hon. Friend the President of the Local Government Board that that is an easier case. I think if it is once allowed to go forth that there has been a change of policy, 694 and county boroughs are to be created and rich rateable units abstracted from their area, the County Council of the West Riding have more serious grounds for complaint than the County Council either of Cambridgeshire or of Bedfordshire, and for this reason: If you abstract from Cambridgeshire the borough of Cambridge, and if the county council are left with the remaining area, they have not to face in any reasonable period of time the prospect of the creation of any other county borough. The same remark applies to Bedfordshire; but the West Riding of Yorkshire are faced with a continuous increase in the number of county boroughs which will try to be created within their area. Therefore the position of the County Council of the West Riding would be more serious than that of the other two county councils which have been referred to in this Debate. I believe that the only safe line to go upon is to recognise that Parliament has treated the problem of urban government and rural government as two separate problems. It has laid down by the Act of 1888, or had meant to lay down, that while the county council was the proper authority for rural government, the borough council was the proper authority for urban government. That Act meant to provide that where an urban area reached a population of 50,000, there should be power for that area to become self-governing, possessing county borough powers.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
You, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, could not decide the point which I raised earlier in the Debate in Mr. Speaker's absence. I have consulted Mr. Speaker upon the point, and he is of opinion that the course I suggested would be in order—that is to say, if the House decided to reject this Bill it would be competent for the Local Government Board to introduce another Bill dealing with Wakefield alone, and that Bill, in his opinion, would not be the same Bill as that which the House had already rejected. I have to say, that if the House were to reject the Bill the Local Government Board would introduce a Bill for Wakefield.
§ Lord ALEXANDER THYNNE
I would ask whether, if the course indicated by the right hon. Gentleman were followed, it would not be necessary for the Bill to be committed to a Committee upstairs, with the result that Wakefield would be put to heavy expense in conducting proceedings before the Committee?
§ Mr. MOONEY
If the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion is carried, is it not a fact that he would have to introduce the Bill in the ordinary way, and that all those opposing would be in exactly the same position as they would be in if the House carried the Motion against the Third Reading of this Bill?
§ Mr. H. CRAIG
On a point of Order. Supposing this Bill be rejected on the Third Reading, by what process is the House to ascertain that it was rejected in respect of Luton and Cambridge and not Wakefield?
§ Sir RYLAND ADKINS
I hope the House will allow me to say a word or two on behalf of a contention on which the counties of England and Wales are unanimous in respect of this Bill. I ask the House to note that, if these Bills are rejected, the case of Wakefield could still be considered. Therefore, Members of this House who agree that the Cambridge and Luton proposals are most unjust are free to vote for their rejection without the consequences adumbrated by hon. Members. May I point this out: That in 1888 county councils were established, not as my hon. Friend here imagines, as a form of rural government, but as a form of government in English counties for both rural and urban districts, on the ground that you get the best kind of local government if you have men of experience in urban work and rural work working together for an area which is constantly changing; and if the Cambridge Order becomes law, you will create in Cambridgeshire the only area in England which is wholly and exclusively rural, and you will be put in a position in which you can have no guarantee that any man of experience in urban local government would have any opportunity of helping in the administra-
§ tion of that county; and if you pass the Luton Bill, you will deprive the government of Bedfordshire of a very large proportion of its most useful members. On the faith of the Act of Parliament of 1888 there has, been built up in the English counties an elaborate form of local government which develops every year. It is in the interests of those poor people who live in remote villages in areas where there is neither wealth nor accessibility to give them the advantages open to people in large towns, that you should have an area large enough with rateable value big enough, and variety of experience adequate enough, to enable them to have the same assistance in life as the more fortunate dwellers in cities and large towns. I appeal to hon. Members in whatever part of the House they sit to take no sides, because it is a new condition of things. These are the first cases in which the creation of county boroughs would leave counties injured and wrecked in different parts of England. You may vote against this Bill without in the least saying that no county boroughs are to be created. By all means create them if their creation is desirable, but do not destroy a county to make a borough, for in Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire, Cambridge and Luton, as they grow, will rightly dominate the counties with which they are situated.
§ Mr. MARSHALL
rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put;" but Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question. Debate resumed.
§ Sir A. MARKHAM
Representing a county constituency which is composed in the main of industrial workers, I may point out that those workers are divorced from every part of local administration work on the county councils, because they are unable to meet the expense of the councils, and our county councils are a pure body of Tory administrators.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 183; Noes, 237.699
|Division No. 56.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Bentham, George Jackson|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Barnes, George N.||Bigland, Alfred|
|Alden, Percy||Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Bowerman, C. W.|
|Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire)||Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Boyton, James|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George)||Brace, William|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Hinds, John||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hodge, John||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Hogge, James Myles||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Holmes, Daniel Turner||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Robinson, Sidney|
|Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Hudson, Walter||Rowlands, James|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hunter, Sir C. R.||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Clynes, John R.||Jessel, Captain H. M.||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||John, Edward Thomas||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth)||Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Sandys, G. J.|
|Cowan, W. H.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)||Jowett, Frederick William||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Kellaway, Frederick George||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'p'l., Walton)|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Larmor, Sir J.||Snowden, Philip|
|Dawes, J. A.||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|De Forest, Baron||Lewisham, Viscount||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Sutton, John E.|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Locker-Lampoon, G. (Salisbury)||Swann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.|
|Dixon, C. H.||Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||Swift, Rigby|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||McGhee, Richard||Thomas, James Henry|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Essex, Sir Richard Walter||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Thynne, Lord A.|
|Fell, Arthur||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Morrell, Philip||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Morison, Hector||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Wadsworth, J.|
|Gill, A. H.||Needham, Christopher Thomas||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Glanville, H. J.||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Wardle, George J.|
|Goldman, C. S.||Norton-Griffiths, J.||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Goldstone, Frank||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||O'Donnell, Thomas||Wiles, Thomas|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Grant, J. A.||Outhwaite, R. L.||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Gulland, John William||Parker, James (Halifax)||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Parry, Thomas H.||Wilson, W. T (Westhoughton)|
|Hall, Frederick (Normanton)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Wilson, Captain Leslie O. (Reading)|
|Hancock, John George||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Winfrey, Sir Richard|
|Hardie, J. Keir||Pointer, Joseph||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Pratt, J. W.||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Worthington Evans, L.|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Radford, G. H.||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Rawlinson, Sir John Frederick Peel||Yeo, Alfred William|
|Hemmerde, Edward George||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Hewart, Gordon||Rees, Sir J. D.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Richards, Thomas||Paget and Mr. Marshall,|
|Higham, John Sharp||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Cotton, William Francis|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Courthope, George Loyd|
|Adamson, William||Boland, John Plus||Craik, Sir Henry|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Booth, Frederick Handel||Crooks, William|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Crumley, Patrick|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Brady, P. J.||Cullinan, John|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Bridgeman, W. Clive||Dairymple, Viscount|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Brunner, John F. L.||Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)|
|Arnold, Sydney||Bryce, J. Annan||Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)|
|Astor, Waldorf||Burn, Colonel C. R.||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Delany, William|
|Baker, Sir Randall L. (Dorset, N.)||Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Devlin, Joseph|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Cator, John||Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Willoughby H.|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Cautley, H. S.||Donelan, Captain A.|
|Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Doris, William|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Duffy, William J.|
|Barnston, Harry||Clancy, John Joseph||Du Pre, W. Baring|
|Barran, Sir J. (Hawick Burghs)||Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)|
|Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc., E.)||Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)|
|Bathurst, C. (Wilts, Wilton)||Clough, William||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Cory, Sir Clifford John||Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke|
|Field, William||Lundon, T.||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Fitzgibbon, John||Lyell, Charles Henry||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Lynch, A. A.||Salter, Arthur Clevell|
|Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, S.)||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Gardner, Ernest||Macpherson, James Ian||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Gelder, Sir William Alfred||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Gilmour, Captain John||M'Callum, Sir John M.||Seely, Colonel Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Sheehy, David|
|Goldsmith, Frank||M'Laren, Hon. F.W.S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Greig, Colonel J. W.||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Gretton, John||Manfield, Harry||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Mechan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)||Stanier, Beville|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)|
|Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)||Molloy, Michael||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Molteno, Percy Alport||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Hackett, J.||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Sykes, Sir Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Hamilton, C. G. C. (Ches., Altrincham)||Mooney, John J.||Talbot, Lord E.|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Mount, William Arthur||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
|Harris, Henry Percy||Murphy, Martin J.||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)|
|Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Newdegate, F. A.||Touche, George Alexander|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Newton, Harry Kottingham||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Hayward, Evan||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Hazleton, Richard||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Nolan, Joseph||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Henderson, Sir A. (St. Geo., Han. Sq.)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Waring, Walter|
|Henry, Sir Charles||Nuttall, Harry||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Hills, John Waller||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Hohler, G. F.||O'Doherty, Philip||Watson, Hon. W.|
|Holt, Richard Durning||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Webb, H.|
|Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||O'Malley, William||Weigall, Captain A. G.|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Weston, Colonel J. W.|
|Hunt, Rowland||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||O'Shee, James John||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Jones, Leif (Notts, Rushcliffe)||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Jones, W. S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N.W.)|
|Joyce, Michael||Pearson, Hon. Weetman, H. M.||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Joynson-Hicks, William||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Kelly, Edward||Peel, Lieut.-Colonel R. F.||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Perkins, Walter F.||Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks, E.R.)|
|Kilbride, Denis||Philipps, Colonel Ivor (Southampton)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molten)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.W.)|
|Lane-Fox, G. R.||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Lardner, James C. R.||Pringle, William M. R.||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Quilter, Sir William Eley C.||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts, Mile End)||Rawson, Col. Richard H.||Young, William (Perthshire, East)|
|Leach, Charles||Reddy, M.|
|Lee, Arthur Hamilton||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)||Denison-Pender and Mr. Black.|
|Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Rendall, Atheistan|
§ Words added.
§ Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to. Second Reading put off for six months.