§ Sub-section (3) of section three of the principal Act shall be construed as if "two weeks" were substituted for "two months," and as if the words "unless in the meantime the man has made an application for a renewal of his certificate" were substituted for the words "unless in the meantime the man has obtained a renewal of his certificate."
§ Mr. KING
I have four Amendments which are purely drafting Amendments, but I think they are worth putting forward because they call attention to the fact that in making Amendments to the principal Act sometimes the draftsman puts in "the words" before the expression 840 and sometimes he does not. I do not know whether there is any reason for that peculiar way of going on, but in order that it should be more uniform I beg to move after the word "if" ["as if 'two weeks' were substituted"] to insert "the words."
§ Mr. LONG
I cannot claim to be a draftsman myself, and I know from long experience the great knowledge of draftsmanship possessed by my hon. Friend, but I prefer the draftsmanship of the younger draftsman to that of my hon. Friend. These words were not lightly put in, and I do not think my hon. Friend ought to press the Amendment.
§ Mr. HOGGE
I think this is much more than a drafting point. We have reached 841 what to me is a most vital point in the Bill. The Amendment seeks to leave out, as if "two weeks" were substituted for "two months." The President of the Local Government Board will at all events do me this amount of credit, that I warned him on the first reading of this Bill of the difficulty that I found myself in with regard to the Munitions Act, and he will remember I gave him the reference to the Clause in the original Munitions Act, which seemed to me to affect this particular proposal in this Clause. May I very shortly recall to hon. Members what was the position under the Munitions Act. The House will remember that if a man did not get a leaving certificate under the Munitions Act, he had six weeks in which to find work before anything further could be done to him. Then we had introduced in this House the first Military Service Bill, which became an Act, and in the original draft of that Bill there was a proposal that at the expiry of six weeks every man should be deemed to be a soldier. It was pointed out in the House that these two periods of time were equal, and that therefore it might be possible—
§ Mr. R. McNEILL
I rise to a point of order. My hon. Friend is now speaking to the first Amendment to this Clause in the name of the hon. Member for North Somerset, but the Amendment which the hon. Member for North Somerset in point of fact moved was the second Amendment of that group. The Amendment which the hon. Member for East Edinburgh is now speaking to has been passed over.
§ Mr. KING
May I explain? As a matter of fact I happened to take up the Order Paper of yesterday instead of to-day's. The Order Paper of yesterday had printed these two Amendments in the wrong order, a pure mistake of the printer and not of myself. Therefore, if I withdraw this I suppose I can move the other?
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.842
§ Question proposed, "That Clause 5 stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. ANDERSON
I beg to move to omit this Clause. I do so for the purpose of raising a very important matter in regard to the time mentioned in the Clause and the desire to change from two months to two weeks the time during which a workman may secure other employment before he becomes eligible to serve in the Army. The President of the Local Government Board will remember very clearly the circumstances under which two months was the period inserted in the original measure. He will remember that there was very considerable fear on the part of large numbers of workpeople that the Act would be used for purposes that approach some form of industrial compulsion; and as a result of representations made in this House and of private deputations representing labour and trade union bodies which waited on the President of the Local Government Board this safeguard was inserted: that a period of two months would be allowed to elapse after a workman had been discharged by his employer before he became eligible to serve in the Army. That was to prevent an employer who had a grievance or a grudge against a workman, or whose workmen might be difficult from a trade union point of view—that was to prevent the employer discharging that man and sending him straight into military service. That was the pledge given to labour, and certainly it helped to make easier the passage of the first Military Service Act. But that pledge, like a good 'many other pledges and understandings, is now to be thrown into the melting pot.
§ Mr. ANDERSON
Well, something like the melting pot. I shall be very glad to hear what is going to be done in regard to the matter. What we are anxious to safeguard is the position of the employed person, and I am quite sure that the President of the Local Government Board, just as little as ourselves, is anxious that employers, for any purpose of their own, shall use this Act, or that it shall operate for any purpose except military purposes. I am sure there is no one in this House who is anxious to see compulsion used for 843 any private end of any private employer. Therefore, we are anxious that the workman shall not be sacrificed in any way. The hon. Member for East Edinburgh mentioned this, that under the Munitions of War Act, if an employé for any reason leaves his work in a controlled establishment, or if he is discharged by his employer from a controlled establishment, he cannot get employment in any other establishment for a period of six weeks unless he gets the express permission of his employer or the munitions tribunal. That has a very important bearing on this question, because, in the meantime, if a man leaves his work he can be conscripted for military purposes, and the result is that that might make a man submit to all sorts of things which he would not submit to in the ordinary way. The period of two months was put in to meet this point. It was proposed at one time that six weeks should be the period, but two months was put in to meet the difficulty of the workman who desired to leave his work but who could really be kept out of work for six weeks by the employer refusing to give him a leaving certificate. That actually happened in some cases. That has been modified by the amending legislation which altered the Munitions Act. Now all that safeguard has been swept away, and the matter has been brought down to a fortnight, which seems to me to be altogether inadequate, because the workman would not have time to look round to get fresh employment before he becomes eligible to be taken by the military authorities. I am putting the difficulties honestly as I see them—
§ Mr. LONG
Surely it would be fairer to deal with the Bill and not with an imaginary case. All I desire is that the hon. Gentleman should put the case as it is in the Bill. He has just said that the two months given to the dismissed workman to get employment is reduced to two weeks. That is not so at all. Under the Bill, in the genuine case of a skilled workman—who ought to be kept because his work is wanted for the nation at home, not in the trenches—the alteration is that he is given two weeks in which to make application, and having made his application he cannot be touched by the War Office. It is not a case of reducing two months to two weeks.
§ Mr. ANDERSON
That does not seem to me to be the workman's position, and 844 it does bring it down to a question of two weeks in which he has, as the right hon. Gentleman says, to make this application. The matter is, therefore, going to be decided by the tribunal, and the tribunal is going to have the whole keeping now in regard to the workman, as to whether he is going to be permitted time to find further employment or whether he is going to be put into the Army. That does make serious differences in the status of the employed person, and with regard to all these points we ought to have a far fuller statement regarding this Clause before we allow it to pass.
§ Mr. ANDERSON
In point of fact, but here is the difference. Before, he did not require to make an application. You gave him two months in which to find other or similar employment. You are abolishing that now, and are compelling the workman in a short time to make an appeal to these tribunals. All I can say is that the experiences the workmen have had at these tribunals has not given them very great confidence.
§ Mr. HOGGE
As I was on this point, perhaps I may finish it. Taking it up where I left off, may I read the Clause in the original Act—
"Where a certificate of exemption ceases to be in force owing to the withdrawal of the certificate or failure to comply with the conditions on which the certificate was granted, or the expiration of the time for which the 'certificate was granted, the man to whom the certificate was granted shall, as from the expiration of two months after the date at which the certificate so ceased to be in force, be deemed to have been enlisted and transferred to the Reserve, in the same manner as if no such certificate had been granted; unless in the meantime the man has obtained a renewal of his certificate."
This Clause in the Bill we have in our hands suggests that instead of "months" the words should be "weeks." [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no!"] I am dealing first of all with the question of time. "Months" has to go out and "weeks." 845 has to go in. That is the period of time. Let me remind the right hon. Gentleman of the last Clause in the original Act—…unless in the meantime the man has obtained a renewal of his certificate.The renewal of the man's original certificate originally covered a period of eight weeks.
§ Mr. HOGGE
It is not a question of what it is for. We are dealing now with the facts, and I do not mind whether hon. Members differ from me as to whether it ought to be so. The facts of the moment are that originally there was this period of eight weeks over which a man could seek the renewal of his certificate. Under the Munitions Act, if he did not get a certificate he was originally deemed to be a soldier at the end of six weeks. That was increased to eight weeks, so that the six weeks in the two Bills should not be co-incident, and that no man could by any means at all be deemed to be a soldier by anything that his employer did. I want to suggest this to the House. We have heard a great deal about troubles. The minds of most Members at the moment are full of the recent trouble in Ireland. A great many Members of this House also know of labour troubles in many parts of the country. We have not heard of the Clyde trouble for some time. Why? Because at the moment there is a kind of truce of God, if one may put it that way, in which certain things are either happening or expected to happen which may make a very considerable difference in the spirit that obtains, or did obtain, upon the Clyde. I want to avoid, quite honestly— and that is the main point I want to make—giving these men any idea at all that you are trying to get at them in another way.
My right hon. Friend will agree that there has been so much legislation of a war emergency nature passed through this House that there are many Members of the House, including all of us, as a matter of fact, who do not really know what has been done. We know what has been done on subjects in which we are interested, but if there are subjects in which we are not interested we have to go and look up these subjects. That is putting the matter quite frankly. If 846 that is so with us, how much more is it so with the man whose time is filled up with working. I want to avoid the impression that you are cutting this down to two weeks.
§ Mr. HOGGE
I have told the hon. and gallant Member that I quite appreciate that he takes a different view of it, but I can assure him that if as poorly intelligenced a man as myself takes that view a great many workmen will not take a very much different view, and that fact has to be appreciated. If my point is wrong, we can easily settle it. Some hon. Members will put me right, and I will be ready, as I always am, to be put right. I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman further whether this involves the repeal of the Clause in the original Munitions Act. He promised me he would look into it, and I daresay he has done it, because I always get on very well with the President of the Local Government Board. I always find that he meets me very fairly and honestly, although he very often differs from me in things. He promised to look into that. It does affect the Munitions Act, and if the House agrees to this proposal there may be trouble in districts where we do not want trouble to exist. That is why I am putting the point now. I see the Minister for Education also on the Front Bench. He knows the Glasgow situation, and the Tyne situation, and the situation involved in all these factories and the Munitions Act. I think he might intervene a little in this debate. I do not really want him to intervene, because we don't want to have to stop to listen to his speech. All of us want to get done, and to get home. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I am not keeping you over-long, and I think the Minister for Education might intervene and give us his view as representing Labour in the Cabinet. Members know that there has been trouble already. The guardian of these interests inside the Cabinet is primarily the Minister for Education. We know he went in there to safeguard those interests. I think he ought to make a pronouncement from the Front Bench telling us that it is all right, that the workmen he protects inside the Cabinet are protected by this change, that it does not affect the Munitions Act, and 847 that we shall not require to repeal the Clause—I think it is Clause 7—in the Munitions Act if we adopt these words.
§ Mr. BARNES
Whatever we do with this Clause, I think that at all events we ought to try to understand it at the start, and if the House will bear with me for a minute or two I will try to put it as I understand it. The original Act, when introduced into the House as a Bill, had the period of six weeks in it. That period corresponded with the period in the Munitions Act during which a man was penalised in a sense if he could not get employment by an employer under the Ministry of Munitions. It was then pointed out that if the six weeks of the original Act remained a man being out of work after the six weeks might be pressed into the Army on the last day of the sixth week or the first day of the seventh week. To meet that objection the six weeks was extended to eight weeks, and the man was given a fortnight in which to get work in the munitions factory, so that he was only given a fortnight during which he was out of employment. That has given rise to a curious anomaly, because tribunals not only deal with munition workers but a great many other people, butchers, and bakers, and all kinds of people who come and make applications for exemption or postponement, and at first it was not observed that that two months really, gave these people a postponement to which they were not entitled. Therefore, when the tribunal gave them a month's postponement, they very soon found out the right that they had and claimed three months, and got three months. That is the origin of the trouble in which we now find ourselves, and the reason that the Amendment—I was going to say the improvement—is proposed in the Bill. To hear the speech of the hon. Member for Attercliffe (Mr. Anderson) one would think that we were simply altering the time of postponement from two months to two weeks. That is not so at all. The Bill proposes that two weeks should be substituted for two months. That is perfectly true, but it proposes also that unless in the meantime a man has made application for a renewal of certificate, any man who has been employed or is employed in a munitions factory or works of national importance can certainly make an application for renewal in a fortnight. Whether he gets it or not is another matter.
§ Mr. BARNES
In the present state of the labour market we all know that no man need be out of work for a fortnight. I want to make an appeal to the right hon. Gentleman on another point which arises on this Clause, and that is that there should be some far better provision made than there is at present for men who are in munition factories, or have just left munition factories, to be retained in civil employment where they can be most usefully employed, instead of being pressed into the Army as they are at present. I do not know who is responsible, but this is only one part of the appalling muddle which has been going on for the last twenty months. What is going on now is this: all over the country there are men employed in munition works or in railway works, who are fitters and drillers and skilled people of that sort, the kind of men whom we have been recalling from the Army in France, and bringing all the way from the west side of Canada to do this kind of work—and, may I inform the House, that those latter men cost about £25 per man to bring over from Canada. These men have been employed up to last week, let us say, at Swindon, and the railway people find that there is no longer need for them in this particular workshop. The sensible thing to be done would be to provide some efficient machinery whereby these men, instead of at once being claimed by the military authorities, should be transferred either to Gretna or Woolwich or Portsmouth, or to one of the new munitions factories of the Government, where engineers and skilled men are wanted. In some engineering establishments they are only running a single shift because they have not enough workpeople to keep their works more fully occupied. I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to see that some efficient machinery is set up and some check placed upon the military authorities. I do not blame the military authorities; they are one of the parties at the proceedings of the tribunals all over the country. The military representatives are in each tribunal to look after the interests of the Army, and are not much concerned about munition factories. Their primary object is to see that the Army gets more men. That is their business, and they do it. I have had dozens of cases sent to me by the Amalgamated Society of Engineers showing how men of this class have been taken by the military 849 authorities. As soon as they terminated their employment with machine makers and others they were immediately pounced upon by the military authorities and pressed into the Army. You are not even giving such men the right they have under the existing Act of taking their case before tribunal. It should be made clear that we are not being "bossed" by the military authorities, and that the Government are above the military authorities.
§ Sir J. SIMON
I wish to put this question to the right hon. Gentleman which is puzzling a good many people. I can put it very shortly. The right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken has explained very clearly what the effect of the proposed change would be. But how does it affect this class of case, of a man who has applied for what he probably called postponement? He applies not with the idea that he would get temporary exemption enabling him to apply again and again, but temporary postponement, so that he might not be called up for three months, say, for reasons which satisfy the tribunal. The tribunal knows that in any case he gets two months, and gives him possibly not the three months for which he asks, Tout only one month, because it says, quite rightly, that the one month when added to the two months would be fair under the circumstances. In some cases I have known on that basis that a man was only given one day, because there would be the two months in any case. How are those cases to be dealt with? If this proposal In the Bill is only going to apply to future cases I should quite understand it, but I understand that it may operate in respect of postponement granted before the Act was passed. That question has been put to me a good many times. I cannot answer it myself, and I would very much like to know what the Government says about it. Will the right hon. Gentleman, when he replies, also indicate to the Committee what the views of the Government are as to the further prolongation of this Debate?
§ Sir J. SIMON
I can quite understand the Government's desire to get the Committee stage concluded as soon as may be. Nobody, however, suggests that it can be concluded to-night. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] Well, I shall see whether my right hon. Friend suggests it. Certainly he has not done so as yet. It is, at any rate, desirable that we should know what his proposals are. I would suggest that as 850 there are new Clauses and other important matters yet to be considered, we have now reached a stage in the Bill when we might well conclude our discussions at this sitting. I do not think for one moment that my right hon. Friend has it in his mind that we should attempt to finish the Committee stage to-night, and I am sure it would be an improper proceeding to do so in view of the points that still await our consideration.
§ Mr. R. McNEILL
I wish to appeal to my right hon. Friend the President of the Local Government Board to resist the appeal of the right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken, that he should bring the discussion on the Bill to an end at this point and resume it on another day. I would remind the Committee that it is now only ten minutes to two o'clock and that there is plenty of time before us. It is, I need hardly point out, very important— I myself think it is of the highest importance—that we should get this Bill through at the earliest possible moment. May I suggest to hon. Members that while undoubtedly it is a very great hardship that we should be sitting here at this hour to debate a Bill which is necessary in order to get the men required for the Army, there are great numbers of Englishmen in France at this very moment who are probably suffering much greater hardship. I do say, and say with confidence, that if we are to do our duty towards them we shall pass this Bill with as little delay as possible. Other business in the shape of the debate on Ireland is going to intervene to-morrow, and, therefore, if we do not get through the Committee stage to-night some days will elapse before we can bring it to a close. Therefore, I think we should sit all night, if necessary, in order to finish the Committee stage.
§ Mr. LONG
Perhaps I may first be allowed to dispose of the point as to the length of our present sitting, and let me say that I have no desire whatever to keep the Committee sitting till an inordinately late hour. I am making, let it be understood, no complaint regarding the character of our discussion to-night. I do not say that there has been any improper or even undue criticism of the Government's proposals. I know that the Bill creates great interest and that it is regarded in some quarters as extremely controversial. But what I do say is that we really must make progress to-night. It is a matter more for the Committee than for the Government, and I think that many 851 hon. Members would like to see us get a good deal more of the Bill before we bring our discussions to a close to-night. I suggest that in the case of the Clause which immediately follows the one now under consideration practically everything that is necessary can be said in a very brief time, and looking at what has yet to be done, I think we might make such substantial progress as to leave us in a position to finish the Bill to-morrow after the Irish debate has been concluded. Therefore, I must ask the Committee to dispose of some more Clauses before we report Progress.
I will come now to the criticisms which have been passed on the Clause. The hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge) has raised a question of the application of this Bill to the Munitions Act, under which a period of six weeks is granted. I have discussed this matter with the Minister of Munitions and we have ourselves examined it very carefully. As a result, I think I shall be able to show that the way in which the Clause must work will render any collision between the provisions of the Munitions Act and the provisions of this Bill extremely unlikely — I think, impossible. The hon. Member for Blackfriars has saved me the duty of putting the real effect of the proposal before the Committee, because he gave an exact and accurate description of the working of the Clause. The only criticism which remains unanswered is this. Under the old Act every workman had a statutory right to be covered for a period of two months during which he had to get employment. Now we are told that the tribunal may sit next day and refuse his appeal. May I say that I wish with all my heart that there was a chance of expeditious treatment such as that. Let us suppose that we are dealing with thoroughly genuine cases, such as we know do occur, where men lose their employment. Where they are essential to national industries, and where, clearly, they ought not suddenly to be seized for the Army until they have had a chance of re-employment, I agree that a fortnight would not be ample if it stood alone, but as the hon. Member for Blackfriars hat shown, it does not stand alone—it is only the time for making the application. When I said that the period of time was unlimited I did not use the word in its literal sense, because, of course, the tribunal could put an end to it. Let us see what happens. Given a good case, a man 852 makes an appeal to the local tribunal and it is refused. He then goes to the Appeal Tribunal and he may have the further right to go to the Central Tribunal. Is it conceivable that the statutory two months is going to be materially shortened or varied when you consider that all this procedure is open to the man for his protection at the expiration of two weeks, when all he has to do is to make an application? This provision is asked for in order to protect the skilled workman who, being improperly discharged, might otherwise be seized for the Army, and it is being used to cover a vast number of other workmen such as those described by the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Sir J. SIMON
If it does so operate in the one case, why should it not operate in the other? Why should not a fraudulent person make the same application?
§ 2.0 A.M.
§ Mr. LONG
I do not suggest that he cannot. What I say is, this is a question which must be judged mainly by the experience of the tribunals, and I am advised that this will draw a line between the skilled workman and the workman in whose case it is not intended to operate. As my right hon. and learned Friend knows by the exercise of ingenuity, especially legal ingenuity, it is possible to get through any Act of Parliament. I do not pretend that you can draw an Act of Parliament which will be absolutely watertight and not be open to some criticism, but I think this provision fairly accomplishes the purpose we have in view. The hon. Member for Blackfriars raised another question which is really only remotely connected with the one we are now considering. He stated what was true, namely, that a certain number of men have been taken from their usual employment into the Army. The trouble is that when they have been taken by the Army they have to be returned by the Army to the industries in which they are skilled in order that the works which are producing necessary materials can be carried on to the best advantage. In such cases not only is there the trouble of taking them from the works to the Army and training them to become soldiers, but you have afterwards all the trouble and; expense of bringing them back, very likely from abroad, to go on with their skilled industrial work. This is a grave inconvenience which is as much appreciated by the Army Council as it is by the representatives of the workers. 853 I do not think you can stop it by any legislation. We have got provisions in the parent Act which we thought would have stopped it. I think it really has been due to some missing link in the chain and machinery which we have devised for dealing with these questions, and I think the best plan would be, if my right hon. Friend would be good enough, to arrange for a representation to be made to me on the subject by those who are interested. The President of the Board of Education—who, I need hardly say, has been watching this subject all along—and myself would be only too glad to meet those who can put the case more fully before us, and in my view the proper way to meet it would be to have a small Committee who could advise the Conference which is sitting constantly to deal with this question. I am sure that in that way we could provide machinery which would render these unfortunate occurrences, if not impossible, at all events less likely to occur. As to the point raised by my right hon. Friend (Sir John Simon), it was my fault that that was overlooked.
§ Mr. SHERWELL
I confess that the explanation of the right hon. Gentleman makes me more than ever sceptical as to the precise value of this proposal. Either it shortens the period that is allowed under the original Act or it gives a period which will be roughly corresponding to that which is allowed under the existing Act. If the former be true, if it really does secure a shortening of the period allowed under the existing Act, then it encroaches on the safeguards that have been given under that Act, and anybody who recalls the discussion on this question when the original Act was passing through the House knows how deep and widespread was the concern of the Committee as to the possibility of the danger against which we are now protesting. If, on the other hand, under this new provision you give practically the same period, or make possible the same, period as is now allowed, by a different machinery, then I confess I do not see the slightest gain in making the alteration. But, as a matter of fact, is there any real ground for the 854 suggestion made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Blackfriars and endorsed by the President of the Local Government Board? They seem to suggest that there is very considerable danger in. the substitution of the words "has made an application for the renewal of his certificate" for the words "unless in the meantime the man has obtained a renewal of his certificate," but I believe that they entirely overlook the fact that in the preceding Clause we have made the application for renewal absolutely dependent on the leave of the tribunal.
§ Mr. SHERWELL
It may be in all cases according to the wording of the Clause. It may cover every application for renewal, so that you are now claiming as a great danger that you are substituting: certain words which, by the previous Clause, are dependent on the discretion of the tribunal. I must say that I have a very real sense of misgiving about this change. It is a change made in an arrangement arrived at after serious discussion by this House, and it makes one increasingly nervous about the future when we find that an arrangement arrived at after so serious a debate has, within a few weeks, been so lightly turned down.
Mr. T. WILSON
I am sorry the Government have thought it necessary to introduce a Clause of this kind. I cannot quite accept the specious pleading of my right hon. Friend here (Mr. Barnes) with regard to the meaning of this Clause. If it is not going to shorten the period it is, practically speaking, unnecessary. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to reconsider his decision to put this in the Bill. There are claims and claims; there are appeals and appeals. There are genuine claims and bogus claims; I do not know whether it is possible to separate them. If the right, hon. Gentleman insists on putting this Clause in the Bill it will probably lead to industrial trouble. The tribunals will by their decisions invite industrial trouble. Every Member on the Treasury Bench should know the state of affairs in the munition areas at the present time. If they do not it is not because they have not been told about it. I have received letters week after week in connection with the state of affairs in the munition areas. I warned the Munitions Department months before in regard to what was likely 855 to happen on the Clyde. It happened. I warn the Government again now that if they put this Clause in they will have industrial trouble which will a cause a great deal more danger to our cause in the War than allowing the original Clause to stand. I hope the Government will seriously consider their position. Industrial trouble at the present time would be a calamity, not only in this country, but to our Allies, and anyone who puts anything in an Act of Parliament which is likely to cause industrial trouble is not doing a good service to this country.
§ Mr. BARNES
I think the President of the Local Government Board missed one point which is rather confusing the minds of my hon. Friends behind me. They ask what is the good of the change. I might say to them if they accept the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, what is the fuss about? But, if I might say so with respect, that is not the position. A man has, whatever time it takes, to go through the course. It may be four, five or six weeks. If it goes through the course and to the Central Tribunal it will be two months, and then there will be no difference between the present Bill and the previous measure. But there is one thing that the President of the Local Government Board has failed to realise, and that is that whatever takes place at the last tribunal reached by the man, and the decision given there, the man has two months in addition to whatever time he may be given there. That is the reason for the change in the Act.
§ Mr. HOGGE
Might I suggest to my right hon. Friend that if what he says is correct it would remove altogether my difficulty if we were to make this inapplicable to all those who come under the Munitions Act. That would leave his new proposal applicable to all other cases, and would meet the cases which I think he is entitled to meet. I agree with him thoroughly that that eight weeks in the first Military Service Bill was a mistake in the sense that it applied to everybody after it became an Act, whereas it was only
§ intended to apply to those under the Munitions Act. If he would say quite frankly that to make it plain in this new Clause that this "two weeks" is to apply to everybody except those who are under the Munitions Act, then you separate the difficulty of the Clause, and remove all fears. May I then ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he would be prepared to consider this question, as he himself agrees that under the Munitions Act there is the six weeks now. If I may also put this as a point of Order, what would be the position supposing this becomes law? We have an existing Act, called the Munitions Act, which gives these men six weeks. Will this Bill, when it becomes an Act, override the power in the Munitions Act? I foresee all kinds of difficulties.
§ Mr. HOGGE
I am sorry I put it to you, Sir, because it is not your duty to express an opinion on a point of law. Might I then ask the Solicitor-General whether he can make us quite clear on that. Suppose this becomes an Act of Parliament, will the time inside this override the time in the Munitions Act? I think we are entitled to know that as a House. May I, therefore, have answers to these two questions? Will the President of the Local Government Board, seeing that he does not want these two weeks for the Munition workers, exempt the Munition worker from this part, and will the Solicitor-General tell us how the two things would be if this Bill becomes an Act?
§ Sir G. CAVE
I think the two things are quite consistent, because the six weeks are given for one purpose and the two weeks for quite another, and there is not the least discrepancy between the Munitions Act as it stands to-day and this Bill if it becomes law. As regards the other point, my right hon. Friend cannot see his way to accept the proposal.
§ Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 126; Noes, 13.857
|Division No. 14.]||AYES.||[2.15 a.m|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis Dyke||Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick Burghs)||Bridgeman, William Clive|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Bathurst, Col. Hon. B. (Glouc., E.)||Brookes, Warwick|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Broughton, Urban Hanlon|
|Amery, Captain L. C. M. S.||Beck, Arthur Cecil||Brunner, John F. L.|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Bellairs, Commander C. W.||Bull, Sir William James|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Bigland, Alfred||Carew, Charles Robert S.|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Boyton, James||Cator, John|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. George N.||Brace, William||Cave, Rt. Hon. Sir George|
|Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Horne, Edgar||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Chapple, Major William Allen||Hunt, Major Rowland||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Hunter, Major Sir Charles R.||Robertson, Rt. Hon. J. M.|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Illingworth, Albert Holden||Robinson, Sidney|
|Coats, Sir Stuart A. (Wimbledon)||Jacobsen, Thomas Owen||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Cory, James Herbert (Cardiff)||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Joynson-Hicks, William||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Dalrymple, Hon. Hew Hamilton||Larmor, Sir Joseph||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glasgow)|
|Dixon, Charles Harvey||Llayd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Shortt, Edward|
|Duke, Rt. Hon. Henry Edward||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir F. E. (L'pool)|
|Edge, Captain William||Mackinder, Halford J.||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Fell, Arthur||M'Laren. H. D. (Leics.)||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Macmaster, Donald||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Sykes, Col. Alan J. (Knutsford)|
|Forster, Henry William||Maitland, A. D. Steel-||Tennant, Rt. Hon. Harold John|
|Foster, Phillip Staveley||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Terrell, George (Wilts, N. W.)|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Goldman, C. S.||Mills, Lieut. Arthur Robert||Touche, George Alexander|
|Goulding, Sir Edward Alfred||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Grant, J. A.||Newdegate, F. A.||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Greig, Colonel J. W.||Nicholson, William G. (Peterefield)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Gretton, John||Norton-Griffiths, Lt.-Col. J.||Whiteley, Herbert J. (Droitwich)|
|Griffith, Rt. Hon. Ellis Jones||Parry, Thomas H.||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N. W.)|
|Gulland, John William||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Williams, Thomas J. (Swansea)|
|Hamilton, C. G. C. (Ches., Altrincham)||Pennefather, De Fonblanque||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Perkins, Walter F.||Wills, Sir Gilbert|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Philipps, Captain Sir O. C. (Chester)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Harris, Henry Percy (Paddington, S.)||Pollock, Ernest Murray||Worthington Evans, Major L.|
|Harris, Percy A. (Leicester, S.)||Pratt, J. W.||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. Arthur (Durham)||Pretyman, Ernest George,||Younger, Sir George|
|Henderson, Lt.-Col. Hon. H. (Berks)||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.|
|Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Raffan, Peter Wilson||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Geoffrey Howard and Mr. J. Hope.|
|Hope, Lieut.-Col. J. (Midlothian)||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Bliss, Joseph||Morrell, Philip||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Outhwaite, R. L.||Wilson (W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Hogge, James Myles||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Jowett, Frederick William||Sherwell, Arthur James||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Leif Jones and Mr. Anderson.|
|King, Joseph||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John A.|
|Mason, David M. (Coventry)|
Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.