HC Deb 07 August 1916 vol 85 cc695-700
The SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. Bonar Law)

I beg to move, "That the Proceedings on Government Business be not interrupted this night under the Standing Order (Sittings of the House), and may be entered upon at any hour though opposed."


Can the right hon. Gentleman state the business for the rest of the week?


The business for Wednesday will be Scottish Estimates. As to the business for Thursday, the Prime Minister will make an announcement tomorrow.


Will the second Order, the Finance (Exchequer Bonds) Amendment Bill, be taken to-night?


Will we be taking any more than the Second Reading of the Army-Act (Amendment) Bill?


After my right hon. Friend (Mr. Lloyd George) moves the Second Beading of the Army Act (Amendment) Bill, if the House permits, we will take all the Orders, with the exception of No. 5 [Dublin Reconstruction (Emergency Provsions) Bill], down to Order No. 10.


The Home Secretary told us a short time ago that if there was any opposition to a Bill that it would not be taken. Now, there is very considerable opposition to the Municipal Savings Banks (War Loan Investment) (No. 2) Bill. In these circumstances, in view of what the Home Secretary says, I presume, at any rate, the Colonial Secretary will not persevere with that Bill at the present time. There was a meeting on Thursday in the City in connection with this Bill, and a very prominent person in the City was asked to see the Chancellor of the Exchequer and to express to him the practically unanimous feeling of the City that this Bill should not be proceeded with.


By whom in the City?


By the bankers of London. Has the Chancellor of the Exchequer received that representation from the meeting in the City last Thursday?

Commander BELLAIRS

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Army Act (Amendment) Bill makes very great changes, and that very strong objection may be taken to its proceeding beyond the Second Reading stage to-day? The Bill was only placed in Members' letter boxes this morning.


I understand that it was available on Saturday. As to any opposition to the Bill, we will judge that as we proceed.


The Home Secretary said that Bills will not be proceeded with if opposed in speaking of the Time (Ireland) Bill.


I think I said that a Bill of this character will not be proceeded with if opposed.


The Bill in question for altering Irish time is for the benefit of commercial people in Ireland, and the Home Secretary says that if it is treated as controversial, as he concludes it is because a few angry politicians have put down Motions against it, it will not be pressed. May I ask him whether, on the same rule, a much more important Bill, the Dublin Reconstruction (Emergency Provisions) Bill, will be withdrawn? I can assure him that if that rule is to be laid down that the commercial men in Ireland are not to get a slight concession of this character, when every chamber of commerce and every single commercial association of every kind in Ireland have asked for it, and which was carried on the Second Reading the other day by an enormous majority in this House—if such a Bill must be treated as controversial and not proceeded with because a few Members below the Gangway put down Motions to reject it, then I say none of these Bills can be allowed to go through. These are not political matters at all, and I can assure the Government and my right hon. Friend that nothing gives less confidence towards any rapprochement in Ireland than if it is found that commercial matters are treated as though they were great questions connected with politics of some kind. Although I should be very glad to join with my fellow countrymen below the Gangway in any of these measures necessary for the general convenience of traders and commercial men in Dublin, we hope and expect that the same justice will be meted out to these commercial men when they put forward this kind of claim. I suggest to them that under present conditions, if legislation is wanted with a view to setting up certain measures for getting over the disastrous results of the rebellion in Dublin, that they should not put forward petty objections, amounting to no real objections, to such legislation as this Bill. But if that course is persisted in, none of these Bills, so far as I am concerned, can be allowed to go through.


The Colonial Secretary exempted the Dublin Reconstruction (Emergency Provisions) Bill from amongst those which he hoped to take tonight, and I notice on the Paper that there are in italics after the title of the Bill the words "(to be reported upon by the Examiners)". I would like to state that this Bill is of a most unusual and controversial character, and I would like to ask the Government if this Bill is to be taken. As I understand it, it is proposed by a public Bill to confer private Bill powers on the Corporation of Dublin. To that I am entirely opposed. Would the right hon. Gentleman state why it is necessary for the Bill to go before the Examiners? As regards what the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin said as to the Time (Ireland) Bill, certainly before the Daylight Saving Act I should not have been in favour of this Bill. But the Daylight Saving Act threw an entirely new light upon the question, and I think the hon. Members below the Gangway, to whom the right hon. and learned Gentleman referred as angry politicians, will see that the daylight saving legislation has made an entire change in the position of Ireland. I wish to ask when the Dublin Reconstruction (Emergency Provisions) Bill will be taken effectively, and to express the hope that it will be put down at such a time as to prevent us having to sit up late to discuss what is really a revolution in Parliamentary procedure.


I also wish to ask the Colonial Secretary when it is proposed to take the Dublin Reconstruction (Emergency Provisions) Bill, and whether or not it will make any difference in his view as to when it ought to be taken to know that the Examiners have reported that this is a public Bill?


As regards the time for taking this Bill, I cannot give a definite reply now. That will be announced, I think, to-morrow.


The Bill will not be taken to-morrow then?


I do not think so. As regards what has been said by my right hon. and learned Friend, I am sure he and the House will recognise that at this time of the Session the possibility of carrying a Bill will depend upon the amount of opposition it receives, unless it is one of a character so urgent that it must be taken. I shall be very sorry if this Bill does not pass, but what my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary says is that, in view of the fact that there is likely to be persistent opposition in this House, at this period of the Session it will be impossible to press the Bill through. As regards the other Bill, the same course must be adopted by the Government if there is the same kind of opposition, unless the matter is of such importance that it is essential that it should be carried before the House adjourns. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer does not agree with the statement of fact made by the right hon. Baronet opposite.


In reply to the right hon. Baronet opposite, I have to say that I have received no representations with reference to the Municipal Savings Banks (War Loan Investment) (No. 2) Bill. But as regards the views of the bankers, I saw the bankers before introducing the Bill, and I had a letter from their representative to say that they would not oppose it.


May I make a personal explanation, because my veracity has been called in question. I quite accept the statement of the right hon. Gentleman that he does not know, but I have handed him a paper now informing him that I was present at a meeting in the City of London when the Governor of the Bank of England was requested to see the Secretary to the Treasury in opposition to this Bill. But as the right hon. Gentleman says that he has not received representations and was not aware of that fact, all I can say is that, in common civility to the City of London, the Bill should be postponed for a day or two to enable him to find out.


My right hon. Friend quite agrees. If there is this opposition of which he is not aware, he quite agrees that the Bill ought not to be pressed forward to-day, and for that reason it shall not be.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Small Holding Colonies Bill meets with very serious opposition?


Perhaps the House will agree with me in thinking that our best method of judging the extent of the opposition will be to wait until we discuss the Bill.


In that case you will not get on very quickly with the other Bills ahead of it.

Division No. 30.] AYES. [4.1 p.m.
Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher Greig, Colonel J. W. Nugent, J. D. (College Green)
Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte Harcourt, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Rossendale) O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Alden, Percy Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds) Parker, James (Halifax)
Ashley, Wilfrid W. Harris, Henry Percy (Paddington, S.) Parkes, Ebenezer
Astor, Hon. Waldorf Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West) Pearce, Sir Robert (Staffs, Leek)
Baird, John Lawrence Hendry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.) Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.) Hodge, John Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)
Barlow, Montague (Salford, South) Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy Pennefather, De Fonblanque
Barren, Sir J. N. (Hawick Burghs) Holmes, Daniel Turner Peto, Basil Edward
Back, Arthur Cecil Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Prothero, Rowland Edmund
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Home, Edgar Radford, Sir George Heynes
Bellairs, Commander C. W. Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)
Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth) Hughes, Spencer Leigh Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, E.)
Bennett-Goldney, Francis Hume-Williams, William Ellis Reid, Rt. Hon. Sir George H.
Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish- Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. Roberts, George H. (Norwich)
Bird, Alfred Jackson, Sir John (Devonport) Rowlands, James
Boyton, James Jacobsen, Thomas Owen Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.
Brace, William John, Edward Thomas Salter, Arthur Clavell
Brady, Patrick Joseph Joynson-Hicks, William Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Broughton. Urban Hanlon Keating, Matthew Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Bull, Sir William James King, Joseph Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)
Byles, Sir William Pollard Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) Shortt, Edward
Byrne, Alfred Lardner, James C. R. Stewart, Gershom
Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle) Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)
Carew, Charles R. S. (Tiverton) Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert Sykes, Sir Mark (Hull, Central)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r., E.) Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury) Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)
Clancy, John Joseph Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee Thompson, Rt. Hon. Robert
Coats, Sir Stuart A. (Wimbledon) Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas Thorne, G. R. (Wolvernampton)
Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth) M'Curdy, C. A. Thorne, William (West Ham)
Crooks, Rt. Hon. William Macdonald, Rt. Hon. J. (Falkirk B'ghs.) Tickler, T. G.
Dalrymple, Hon. H. H. McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Valentia, Viscount
Dalziel, Davison (Brixton) Mackinder, Halford J. Wardle, George J.
Davies, David (Montgomery Co.) Macmaster, Donald Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay T.
Davies, Timothy (Lines., Louth) M'Micking, Major Gilbert White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J. Wiles, Thomas
Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Willoughby H. Macpherson, James Ian Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N.W.)
Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid) Magnus, Sir Philip Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)
Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.) Mason, David M. (Coventry) Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud
Esslemont, George Birnie Mason, James F. (Windsor) Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)
Fell, Arthur Meux, Hon. Sir Hedworth Wortley. Rt. Hon. C. B Stuart-
Field, William Molteno, Percy Alport Yate, Colonel C. E.
Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes Morgan, George Hay Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Forster, Henry William Morison, Hector
George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd Morton, Alpheus Cleophas TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Gilbert, J. D. Newman, John R. P. Mr. Gulland and Lord Edmund
Goldstone, Frank Nicholson, Sir Charles M. (Doncaster) Talbot.
Goulding, Sir Edward Alfred Norton-Griffiths, J.
Outhwaite, R. L. Mr. Hogge and Major Wedgwood.
Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W, Derby)



The hon. Gentleman has already spoken.


I only wish to ask a question.

4.0 P.M.


Then: are other hon. Members who have also asked questions. The hon. Member has exhausted his right. We are debating a Motion.

Question put, "That the Proceedings on Government Business be not interrupted this night under the Standing Order (Sittings of the House), and may be entered upon at any hour though opposed."

The House divided: Ayes, 136; Noes, 3.