HC Deb 09 November 1916 vol 87 cc529-31

The Statutes mentioned in the Third Schedule to this Act shall be repealed to the extent mentioned, and in the said Schedule.

Clause brought up, and read the first time.

involved is great. There is a difference between the treatment of the men and that of the officers, and we feel that we ought to divide on this Amendment.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 60; Noes, 68.

Motion made, and Question proposed,. "That the Clause be read a second time."


I only formally move this Amendment, which is to remove a portion of the old oath. I have moved the Amendment, which is to come after Clause 3, with certain corrections of misprints in the Clause as it appears upon the Paper. Instead of "shall stand repealed," I have put "shall be repealed," and after the word "mentioned" I have inserted the-word "and."

Colonel CRAIG

I have not really had time to consider the question, but as far as I understand it a great many men have joined the Freemasons' Society, and I would like to ascertain whether the effect of this Amendment might not press rather hardly on those who have joined a society which, so far as I understand, he could not leave once having joined it


It is quite true that there are men in the constabulary now who have joined the Order of Freemasons, but I do not at all gather that there is any desire to penalise them, and I understand that the intention is to have a fresh form of oath which has not on the face of it that obvious inequality and that provocative exception with which the Amendment deals. I gather from the hon. Member for East Mayo that I correctly interpret his desire in this respect, and the desire of those who act with him. There is an additional reason for it which I might perhaps mention. When a man has attained commission rank he has to renew his oath with regard to that position, and obviously it would be unjust that a man who has entered the force upon certain conditions should be deprived of the just expectation of promotion because in a different time and in a different temper there was used what now seems an obsolete expression. I shall propose to insert a qualification, when we come to the Schedule, by means of words which provide that the repeal will have effect so far as respects persons who join the respective forces after the commencement of this Act. I must say I am glad to accept the proposal which the hon. Member has made.


I accept the qualification which the right hon. Gentleman has stated, and I only desire to add this one word. The attitude of the right hon. Gentleman has been most conciliatory and most fair, and I am very glad to be able to make such a concession, if concession it be. I trust the right. hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, in dealing with the present situation in Dublin, will make a new start, opening a new chapter, and adopt a tone of conciliation all round. He will find that it will pay.

Question put. and agreed. Clause added to the Bill.