HC Deb 01 August 1916 vol 85 cc72-5
The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Herbert Samuel)

I beg to move "That leave be given to introduce a Bill to assimilate the time adopted for use in Ireland to that adopted for use in Great Britain."

I wish to ask leave to introduce a one-Clause Bill dealing wth the assimilation of the time in Great Britain and Ireland. Perhaps the House will allow me to make a brief statement on the subject on the introduction of the Bill, in the hope that, perhaps, it may obviate discussion in the later stages of the Bill. As the House is aware, the clock time in Ireland is twenty-five minutes behind the time in this country. In all quarters in Ireland it has been pressed upon me that the hour should be assimilated. For the convenience of international communication almost all civilised countries in the world have adopted what is known as standard time, and the world is divided up for time purposes into zones, each of which has a time differing from the next by one hour. Eastern European time is two hours before Greenwich time, Central European time is one hour before Greenwich time, and Western European time is identical with Greenwich time. All the countries of Western Europe have Greenwich time, except Ireland. France, Belgium, Holland, Spain, Portugal, and Great Britain all have standard time according to the standard zone. Ireland alone has hitherto been in isolation. A few years ago there was a strong movement in Ireland for the unification of the time, and the Chambers of Commerce of Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Limerick, Waterford, Derry, and other towns sent in resolutions in favour of this proposal. The Associated Chambers of Commerce in the United Kingdom also resolved in favour of the proposal, and a Bill for the purpose passed the House of Lords in 1912, but it was not considered by the House of Commons. As all Members for Ireland are no doubt aware, the Dublin Chamber of Commerce has recently passed a resolution urging that the Government should make this proposal. The Belfast Chamber of Commerce has done the same, and also the London Chamber of Commerce. Several Nationalist Members of Ireland, and also Members representing Ulster counties, have asked me to introduce the Bill. The Astronomer Royal of Ireland and the Astronomer Royal of England have been consulted, and the Board of Trade, the Admiralty, the Post Office, and the Railway Executive Committee have all declared themselves in favour of this proposal. The reason why this Bill is introduced at this moment is that a convenient time for making the change is at the moment when we revert from summer time to normal time, in the early hours of the morning of the 1st October next. At that time the clocks throughout the United Kingdom will be put back one hour, and instead of making a double change in Ireland, it is suggested that if the clocks in Ireland were put back thirty-five minutes instead of one hour, then the unification long desired in Ireland would be effected without inconvenience. That would make good the previous difference of twenty-five minutes. In these circumstances I hope the Bill will meet with acceptance from the House.


I must confess that I am amazed to hear the Home Secretary's statement that he had received communications from all parties in Ireland in favour of this Bill. I cannot believe it. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that a great number of Nationalist Members had asked him to introduce this Bill. I never heard of the Bill until, to my amazement, I saw it on the Paper this morning. It certainly never came before our party. When an attempt was made previously to alter Irish time, so far as my memory carries me, it was decisively defeated by our party, who objected to it. I do not like to take up another irrecon-

cilable attitude towards this proposal. Although I am opposed to it, I should like to keep an open mind, but I am certainly absolutely astonished that the right hon. Gentleman, without consulting the Irish party at all, should put a notice on the Paper to alter the whole time of Ireland, without giving us time to consider the matter or let him know what our views are. Surely, although we are under a Unionist Administration, we have a right to keep our clocks. It is a most unfortunate development that suddenly, on the very eve of the announcement of yesterday, we should have the Home Secretary coming forward without saying "By your leave" to the Irish party, and proposing to alter the whole of our clocks in Ireland. I am afraid he is infected by the new spirit. We are not at all alarmed or terrified by the fact that we are isolated from the rest of Europe. We are isolated by what Disraeli called the melancholy ocean. We have managed to get along for 600 or 700 years—I do not know how long ago it was that clocks were invented—without assimilating our time to that of Great Britain. We have got along very well. It reminds us that we are coming into a strange country. I decline to be a party to the alteration of Irish time to English time until I have had an opportunity of consulting my Constituents, who are very good authorities, because nearly every voter I have comes across the Channel every year to cut your hay and gather your harvest and has therefore great experience in the difference of time. Having sat for thirty years for my Constituency without a contest, I have never heard a single one of my Constituents complain of the difference of time. Therefore I utterly decline to be a party to this Bill until I have had an opportunity of consulting my Constituents, and I intend to divide against it.

Question put.

The House divided: Ayes, 178; Noes, 54.

Division No. 48.] AYES. [4.56 p.m.
Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte Beach, William F. H. Bowden, Major G. R. Harland
Agnew, Sir George William Beale, Sir William Phipson Bridgeman, William Clive
Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire) Beck, Arthur Cecil Broughton, Urban Hanlon
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Beckett, Hon. Gervate Bull, Sir William James
Baird, John Lawrence Bellairs, Commander C. W. Burgoyne, Alan Hughes
Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir F. G Bann, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth) Butcher, J. G.
Banner, Sir John S. Harmood Bennett-Goldney, Francis Byles, Sir William Pollard
Barnes, Rt. Hon. George N. Bethell, Sir John Henry Carew, C. R. S.
Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick Burghs) Bird, Alfred Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.
Barrie, H. T. Bliss, Joseph Cater, John
Cave, Rt. Hon. Sir George Hughes, Spencer Leigh Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich) Hume-Williams, William Ellis Roberts, George H. (Norwich)
Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W. Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. Illingworth, Albert H. Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Chancellor, H. G. Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh) Robertson, Rt. Hon. John M.
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth) Robinson, Sidney
Clyde, J. Avon Jones, Leil (Notts, Rushcliffe) Roe, Sir Thomas
Cochrane, Cecil Algernon Joynson-Hicks, William Rowlands, James
Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth) King, Joseph Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.
Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry (Norwood)
Coote, William Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Cory, James H. (Cardiff) Larmor, Sir J. Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe) Layland-Barratt, Sir F. Smith, Sir Swire (Keighley, Yorks)
Craik, Sir Henry Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury) Spear, Sir John Ward
Crooks, Rt. Hon. William Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt. Colonel A. R. Stewart, Gershom
Dairymple, Hon. H. H. Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston) Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)
Dalziel, Davison (Brixton) M'Callum, Sir John M. Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)
Davies, David (Montgomery Co.) MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh Sutton, John E.
Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth) Macdonald, Rt. Hon. J. M. (Falk. B'ghs) Sykes, Col. Alan John (Ches., Knutsf'd)
Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan) Macmaster, Donald Terrell, G. (Wilts, N.W.)
Elverston, Sir Harold Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J. Thomas, James Henry
Essex, Sir Richard Walter McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's) Toulmin, Sir George
Faber, George D. (Clapham) Malcolm, Ian Turton, Edmund Russborough
Fell, Arthur Marks, Sir George Croydon Valentia, Viscount
Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles Marshall, Arthur Harold Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)
Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes Middlemore, John Throgmorton Walton, Sir Joseph
Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue Morgan, George Hay Wardle, George J.
Fletcher, John Samuel Merison, Hector Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
Gilbert, J. D. Morton, Alpheus Cleophas White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
Goddard, Rt. Hon. Sir Daniel Ford Murray, Major Hon. Arthur C. Whiteley, Herbert James
Grant, J. A. Newdegate, F. A. Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Greenwood, Sir G. G. (Peterborough) Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster) Wiles, Thomas
Greig, Colonel James William Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield) Wilkle, Alexander
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale) O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.) Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N.W.)
Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) O'Sullivan, Timothy Williams, Col. Sir Robert (Dorset, W.)
Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds) Paget, Almeric Hugh Williamson, Sir Archibald
Harris, Henry Percy (Paddington, S.) Parkes, Ebenezer Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Harris, Percy A. (Leicester, S.) Pearce, Sir Robert (Staffs, Leek) Wilson, Maj. Sir M. (Bethnal Green, S.W.)
Haslam Lewis Pearce, Sir William (Limehouse) Winfrey, Sir Richard
Helme, Sir Nerval Watson Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington) Wing, Thomas Edward
Henry, Sir Charles Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham) Wood, Rt Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)
Hewins, William Albert Samuel Pennefather, De Fonblanque Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Hibbert, Sir Henry F. Perkins, Walter F. Yate, Colonel C. E.
Higham, John Sharp Phillips, Sir Owen (Chester) Young, William (Perth, East)
Hill, James (Bradford, C.) Pryce-Jones, Colonel E. Younger, Sir George
Hodge, John Radford, Sir George Heynes Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Hohler, G. F. Raffan, Peter Wilson
Holmes, Daniel Turner Randles, Sir John S. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel Mr. Gulland and Lord Edmund Talbot.
Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)
Hudson, Walter Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, E.)
Adamson, William Hackett, John O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Anderson, W. C. Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire) O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Ashley, Wilfrid W. Hayden, John Patrick O'Doherty, Philip
Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.) Herbert, Major-Gen. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.) O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North) Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. O'Shee, James John
Brady, Patrick Joseph Hogge, James Myles Pratt, J. W.
Bryce, J. Annan Joyce, Michael Pringle, William M. R.
Condon, Thomas Joseph Keating, Matthew Reddy, Michael
Crumley, Patrick Kelly, Edward Rendall, Athelstan
Cullinan, John Kilbride, Denis Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)
Devlin, Joseph Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas Rowntree, Arnold
Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Willoughby H. MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South) Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Dillon, John Martin, Joseph Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay T.
Donovan, John Thomas Meagher, Michael White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Doris, William Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Whitty, Patrick Joseph
Fitzgibbon, John Meux, Hon. Sir Hedworth Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)
Flavin, Michael Joseph Molloy, Michael
Graham, Edward John Nolan, Joseph TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway) Nugent, J. D. (College Green) Mr. Lundon and Mr. Hazleton.

Bill read the third time, and passed.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL, Mr. T. W. RUSSELL, and Mr. BRACE. Presented accordingly, and read the first time; to be read a second time To-morrow, and to be printed. [Bill 80.]