HC Deb 06 June 1917 vol 94 cc162-92

Order for Committee read.


The Instruction standing on the Paper in the name of the hon. Member for West Newington (Mr. Gilbert) is mandatory, and therefore out of order. What is proposed to be done could probably be done by way of Amendment. The Instruction standing in the name of the hon. Member for Poplar (Mr. Yeo) could also be done by way of Amendment. The third Instruction, standing in the name of the hon. Member for Whitechapel (Mr. Kiley), is mandatory and out of order, and his suggestion could probably be carried out by means of an Amendment in Committee. The same observation applies to the Instruction standing in the name of the hon. Member for East St. Pancras (Mr. Martin). That standing in the name of the hon. Member for Dartford (Mr. Rowlands) might probably be raised as an Amendment in Committee. That standing in the name of the hon. Member for the Hyde Division of Cheshire could also be dealt with as an Amendment. As it stands it is in a mandatory form, and therefore out of order. The next, standing in the name of the hon. Member for Southwark (Mr. Strauss) is in a mandatory form, and out of order, and could also be done by way of Amendment. The next standing in the name of the hon. Member for West Dorset (Colonel Sir Robert Williams) raises rather a difficult question, namely, the division of the Bill. I have referred to the chief precedents upon this, and I think they are summarized in the ruling of Mr. Speaker Peel, on the 26th July, 1894, who laid down that an Instruction for the division of a Bill was only possible "when that Bill was divided into parts, or else, comprising more than one subject matter, lends itself to such division into parts." This Bill is not divided into parts in respect of the matter to which the hon. Member for West Dorset refers, and the question I have to ask myself is, whether it lends itself to such a division into parts as he suggests, namely, by omitting Clause 4. I have come to the conclusion, after some doubt, that it does not so lend itself to division. If Clause 4 were cut out of the Bill it could not form a separate Bill by itself: it would want a considerable tail added to it. It would mean really the drafting of a new Bill, taking a slice only from this Bill consisting of Clause 4. The Bill, therefore, could not properly be divided in respect of the enfranchisement of women.


May I ask a question about the ruling which you, Sir, have just given on the Instruction as to whether a Bill lends itself to being divided into two parts? Do you take that to mean that the Bill must be capable of being divided by a clear-cut excising one complete part or that it may lend itself to being divided in regard to its containing two separate subjects which may easily be separated one from the other? For example, the Bill deals with two different franchises, one for men and one for women. Those franchises are perfectly distinct and proceed upon different principles. It would be perfectly easy to disentangle them from the Bill and to make them the subject of distinct Bills. That could be done in one or two Clauses mixed up with other parts of the Bill. The point I wish to ask is whether you take the view that the excision must be one complete Clause or several complete Clauses standing to- gether which may be excised in one lump, or that there may be two distinct principles which may easily be disentangled from one another and which may be embodied in separate Bills?


The view I take is that there must be a clean cut.


I beg to move, "That it be an Instruction to the Committee that they have power to divide the Bill into two Bills, the one dealing with the redistribution of seats at Parliamentary elections and the other dealing with the Amendment of the Law with respect to the Parliamentary and Local Government electors, the conduct of elections, and other purposes connected therewith; and that they have power to report the first Bill to the House before the other is proceeded with."

The effect of this Instruction would be to divide the Bill into two Bills, one dealing with redistribution and the other dealing with the franchise. I think it is perfectly clear that it is necessary, if the House and country are to understand what they are going to do, that my Instruction should be carried. The Bill, as it stands, does not deal in any kind of way with redistribution—that is to say, there is nothing in the Bill to show in what way or in what manner redistribution of seats is to be carried out. A White Paper has been issued which is not with the Bill, but which embodies the statements, or, rather, the agreements, which were come to in the Speaker's Conference; and I believe that a Boundary Commission has been established and is now acting upon those principles laid down in the White Paper. But that White Paper is not in the Bill, and the only part of the Bill which deals in any kind of way with redistribution is the Schedules. But the Schedules are all blank, and we do not know what is going to appear in them. When this House consented to the Second Reading they did so with blank Schedules, and it is quite possible, and I am inclined to think it is probable, that when those Schedules come to be filled up many of the Members who voted for the Second Reading, not knowing what was going to be in the Schedules, will have changed their minds. I think it is most important that this House should know what the effect of redistribution is going to be before they proceed with alterations of the franchise. There is, of course, the question of Ireland. We do not quite know whether or not we shall be enabled later on to introduce Amendments which will include Ireland in this redistribution, and we do not know, if we are able to do that, how redistribution in Ireland is going to be carried out.

Therefore, my point is this, that the Government ought to have made up their minds when they adopted the decisions of your Conference as to the appointment of a Boundary Commission that the Commission ought to have sat and the conclusion of that Commission should have been embodied in the Bill. Then, if that had taken place, when the Bill came before the House for Second Reading the House would have had the opportunity of knowing exactly what it was going to do and of expressing an opinion on these matters. I have referred to the Act of 1867 to see what took place. I think everybody will admit that that Act was not so important and far-reaching as this Bill will be if it passes into law. I wish to emphasise that no one at the present moment quite knows what is going to take place under this Bill, and no one knows—I do not think the Government know—what the result of the redistribution will be. I am perfectly certain a very large number of Members do not know, and from communications which have reached me a considerable number of Members have been startled to find, so far as it has gone, what the result of redistribution has been. In the Act of 1867 let me refer to Part II., Clause 17, dealing with distribution of seats. Section 17 enacted: From and after the end of this Parliament no borough which had a less population than ten thousand at the Census of one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one shall return more than One Member to serve in Parliament, such boroughs being enumerated in Schedule (A) to this Act annexed. Section 18 enacted From and after the end of this present Parliament, the City of Manchester and the Boroughs of Liverpool, Birmingham, and Leeds shall each respectively return Three Members to serve in Parliament. Section 19 enacted: Each of the boroughs named in Schedule (B) to this Act annexed shall be a borough. And goes on to deal with the Schedule.

Section 21 enacted that the Boroughs of Merthyr Tydvil and Salford shall be Parliamentary boroughs. My point is that the figures on which the distribution of seats were based were included in the Bill of 1867, and that actually certain boroughs were included in the Bill which were not in the Schedule. Therefore, when the Second Reading took place, Members were more or less, or, at any rate, to a considerable extent, acquainted with what the effects of redistribution would be, which is not the case at the present moment. When we come down to the next precedent, which was in 1884, everyone will remember there was then a conflict between the two Houses. One Bill was introduced not dealing with the redistribution of seats, and the House of Lords refused to pass a Franchise Bill until a Redistribution Bill had been introduced. I venture to say in a Resolution of this sort, where there is going to be such an extraordinary change in the distribution of seats, that we ought to have known what the actual effects of this redistribution would be, and that they ought to have been embodied in the Bill before the Second Reading was passed. I presume that what will take place is that after we have passed the whole of the Bill in Committee we shall come to the blank Schedule. I presume the Schedule will be filled up, but it will be extremely difficult for this House, confronted with the Schedule which has been filled up by the Boundary Commissioners, to make any alteration unless it is possible to set up a fresh Boundary Commission to consider the alterations which have been proposed. It will be, I should say, impossible for this House properly to consider the proposals which will be put into the Schedule, because they cannot know anything about them until they suddenly appear in the Schedule. On that I should like to say this: that I do hope the Government are not going to rush this Bill through the House. I do not think we have been treated fairly by the Government in the way they have proceeded with the Committee stage within a few days of the Second Reading, our short holiday intervening in the meantime. It has been quite impossible in that short time to consider the position or to put down Amendments. Only the day before yesterday I was asked to attend a meeting of agents at Swindon to consider the effect of the redistribution in Wiltshire. The representation is going, I think, to be reduced from six seats to four. Nobody, with the exception of the agents, knew anything about the matter— find it came as a thunderclap on them—or had had an opportunity of looking into it. I come back here, and before I have had time to consult with the representatives of Wiltshire here, or my hon. Friends, I find that this Committee stage is going to be taken at once.

I trust that my Instruction will be carried. If it is, I trust that sufficient time will be given the Committee to consider these important points. My right hon. Friend is courtesy and kindness personified. At the same time, he sometimes conceals within the velvet glove the iron hand. I hope he is not going to do that now. There is no disposition on the part of the House to obstruct, but really we should have time to consider the matter. The Bill may be quite rights—it would be out of order for me to enter into that question—but whether it be right or not it ought to be considered. The people ought to consider it. This House ought to consider it. Proper time should be allowed. The Instruction, I would urge, is a most reasonable one. It will enable the House to know exactly what they are going to do when hon. Members see in black and white in the Bill what the effect of the redistribution of Beats will be. I repeat that until they do, neither the House nor the country can know what the effect upon the constituencies is going to be. In the old days it was always considered that area, as well as population, should be represented. At the present time, so far as I can see, areas get no representation; population gets the whole of the representation. The question of area is extremely important. I hardly believe my right hon. Friend will resist the Instuction, which is a very mild and— shall I say?—a sensible one.


I differ from my right hon. Friend in being a supporter of this Bill. I am anxious to see it pass with all reasonable expedition. But I as strongly as possible support the Instruction. I have an Instruction on the Paper which, if not identical in words, is identical in intention. Really, I support this Instruction in the interests of expedition itself. When we get into Committee on the Bill, it seems to me, that, as it stands, no reasonable consideration can be given to the question of redistribution without delaying the passage of the rest of the measure. I do not know whether the House has quite realised the position in which it is placed by the way the redistribution question is presented in this Bill? There is no one less likely to be a tyrannical autocrat than my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. But in point of fact on this very important matter, on the question of redistribution of representation throughout the country, he has proceeded by Executive decree. On such advice as he may have taken—we do not know where he got it—so far as we know he may have acted on his own responsibility, ho has issued a warrant to certain Commissioners, in which he has told them exactly how they are to redistribute the representation of the country. He has had no guidance from this House. He has not asked the opinion of the House as to the methods upon which that redistribution is to proceed. Not only has he not asked the opinion of the House, but he does not propose to present the procedure to the House, and so give the House the opportunity of expressing its opinion upon it— that is to say, an opinion in time to make it effective.

Let the House consider exactly how it stands. The Boundary Commissioners are, I understand, already at work. I have been told, in answer to a question, that by the time we reach the Redistribution part of the Bill the Boundary Commissioners will already have elaborated a scheme of redistribution, which will be put into the Fourth Schedule, at present left blank. Consider what will be the result when we get to that Schedule? If one looks at the Instructions, he will see that the Boundary Commissioners are told that constituencies of 50,000 are to be treated in one way, that new constituencies are to be formed, and so forth. Suppose that any Member of 1he House, or the House itself, when the Schedule is reached, desires to amend these figures, and to make the 50,000, 40,000, or 60,000? What is the argument with which he will be met—and very reasonably met? He will be told by my right hon. Friend that "there is a great deal to be said for the argument of changing the figure, but look at what the result will be. The Boundary Commissioners have gone all over the country, they have held inquiries at which local authorities have been represented, they have heard evidence from all sorts of sources, and they have distributed the seats upon the footing of the existing Instruction. Consequently, if you amend in any particular the figure upon which they have acted, you will render nugatory the whole of the labour expended by the Boundary Commissioners."

It is perfectly obvious, under those circumstances, even if the Government do not go so far as to say that they will not accept any Amendment at all, that they will be in a position to use very strong leverage upon those of us who do not want to obstruct, and who do not want to give an unnecessary amount of work to the Boundary Commissioners or throw away work already undertaken. Surely it is only reasonable, if the House at any time is to have the opportunity of reviewing, discussing, and, if necessary, amending the principles upon which Instructions have been given, that that opportunity should be given, not after the work has been undertaken and performed, but before it is undertaken and performed. It is for that reason that I think we ought to take out the redistribution part of the Bill, and deal with it entirely separately. My right hon. Friend the Member for the City of London referred to the Act of 1867, and he showed that in the Act itself were embodied some of the details which in this Bill arc treated in a different manner. I am speaking now from recollection, but I think my right hon. Friend might have strengthened his case, because if I recollect rightly, not only in the Bill of 1866, which did not become law, but also in the Bill of 1867, which did become law, the whole principles upon which the legislation was founded were previously introduced to the House in the form of resolutions, and I have suggested in a question to my right hon. Friend to-day, to which he has promised to give an answer in the course of the debate, that those Instructions to the Boundary Commissioners should first of all be introduced to the House in the form of resolutions, so that the House could discuss them freely and, if necessary, amend them, and that when the Government have informed themselves as to the opinion of the House upon the principles of redistribution, then will be the proper time to embody them in final Instructions to the Boundary Commissioners. That appears to me to be a reasonable and businesslike procedure which would obviate the clear inconvenience resulting from the present procedure, which will necessarily involve an immense waste of time and labour on the part of the Boundary Commissioners, or, as the alternative, the impossibility of the House amending those Instructions and the procedure of the Boundary Commissioners upon them. There is an additional reason, I think, for the course which I suggest. I find that there is a considerable difference of opinion among those who are interested and concerned as to the meaning of the Instructions. I suppose that the Boundary Commissioners will decide for themselves exactly what the meaning is, but among those in the country who are interested in the results, on more than one point there is a difference of opinion as to what the meaning is. Surely for that reason also it would be reasonable and convenient that the House should discuss those Instructions and obtain from the Government an authoritative statement as to what their intention is, and for the House either to agree with that view, or, if it thinks right, to give a different interpretation to the Instructions.

There is one particular matter which is of very great importance at the present time, and which turns almost entirely upon redistribution, and that is the question of the representation of rural districts and of agriculture. It is not long since we heard in this House from the Prime Minister that the country was looking upon the agricultural industry in a very new light, and that the eyes of the country had been opened by the lessons of the War to the importance of agriculture as a national industry in a way which it had not realised up to now. Therefore, it is obvious that when we are proceeding to a thorough reconstitution of the distribution of representation in the country, I will not say that the weight of agriculture should be maintained at the present level or that it should be increased, but all I say for the purpose of my present argument is that the House and the country should have an opportunity of considering whether sufficient weight will be given to agriculture in the future, and that the House, at all events, should be enabled to express an opinion upon that very important point. It appears to me that to proceed in this manner without giving that opportunity is entirely out of the spirit of the speech which was recently made by the Prime Minister. This objection was taken on the Second Reading of this Bill, and the answer was given both by my right hon. Friend, if I remember rightly, and also by the Solicitor-General, that there was no occasion for agriculture to worry over this matter, because there was such an increased sense of the importance of agriculture prevalent among all parts of the population, that the representatives of the urban districts might be trusted to give all due weight to the agricultural interest. That is, if I may say so, a very feeble and a very partial reply. I do not know whether it is true oar not. All I do say is that that, and all other matters of the same sort, are points on which the House is entitled to give its own opinion after hearing the opinion of the Government, and after hearing such discussion as Members on one or the other side of this question can give to it. Therefore, on the ground of convenience, and on the ground that those of us who wish to assist the Government in passing this measure also wish to see all these important points adequately discussed in the most convenient manner, I earnestly hope my right hon. Friend will give a favourable ear to the Instruction moved by my right hon. Friend the Member for the City of London.


I agree with a great deal that has fallen from my hon. Friend who has just sat down. I certainly understood, after the Second Reading Debate on this Bill, that we were to have an opportunity of discussing fully in this House the Instructions to the Boundary Commissioners, and, if necessary, to have an opportunity of moving Amendments on them before they actually were put into practice. It appears that I was wrong in thinking that that was the intention of the Government. I must say that it was a surprise to me at the end of last week to see the announcement in the local paper that my own Constituency was decapitated, and that I was kindly invited to its funeral on a day towards the end of next week, for it seems to me that before that was done, before the Boundary Commissioners had actually gone so far with their work as to issue detailed lists of the way in which the counties are to be divided, this House ought to have had some say upon the principle on which these divisions were Co be made. We felt particularly sore about it in Somerset, because I think about the two first counties to come forward in this way were Cornwall and Somerset. Those were the two counties mentioned together in papers the other day. In the case of tooth counties the surplus population—I think the House understands what I mean—was over 40,000, but under 50,000. In Cornwall, it is true, it is a good deal nearer 50,000 than in Somerset, but in both cases it was over 40,000 and under 50,000. Cornwall got another member for its surplus population: Somerset did not. Somerset feels that it has more or less of a grievance, and that it is particularly hardly treated, because the fact that it has not got the surplus population actually up to 50,000 is due to the merest chance. A year or two ago the City of Bath extended its boundaries. The result has been that the City of Bath has not got another member by that extension of its boundary, but it has taken away enough population from the county to deprive the county of one member. We feel that it is a mere chance, and that it is very hard lines upon a large agricultural district.

I heartily endorse what my right hon. Friend who moved this Instruction said, that we ought at all events to have an opportunity of raising the point whether area as well as population ought not to be included in this scheme of redistribution. That was insisted upon by such an influential body as the Chamber of Agriculture, and surely we ought to pay some attention to the voice of the farmers of the nation, expressed through their own Parliament, at a time when we are expecting the farmers to do so much for the country. I am told that to alter the units will create very serious difficulties. I do not mind how it is done so long as agriculture gets a little more representation than it does under this Bill, and if I might throw out a suggestion, it would be that where you get a surplus coming at all near to 50,000, there you might stretch a point in favour of an agricultural county. At all events in that way you would get seven or eight more scats, and such counties as Herefordshire, Shropshire, Suffolk, Sussex, Cornwall and Somerset-would get one more member in that way. Those are all agricultural counties, and they would all get one more member in that way than they would get under the present scheme. I only throw that out as a suggestion. If the right hon. Gentleman has anything to offer us in this way, I am sure we shall not look a gift-horse in the mouth, and I hope he will make us some sort of concession in order to make things a bit more fair for agriculture.

The other day I tried to bring out the point that under this Bill you are not treating agriculture generously, but as a matter of fact you are not treating it fairly, because by taking the basis of 1914 you are not taking into account the increase in the population that is bound to come when these 3,000,000 extra acres are put under the plough. I think that is a thing which ought to be taken into account when this scheme is brought into effect. I believe that the principle of taking area into account as well as population, or the kindred principle of taking into account those areas which are more distant from the Metropolis, was recommended by Mill, though I have not been able to find the passage, and I am sure it was recommended by Mr. Gladstone. Consequently we have those two big authorities for the maintenance of that principle. I was told the other day by my right hon. Friend that agriculture need not be afraid because we now have the sympathy of those who represent the towns. I am grateful, and I am sure all agricultural Members are grateful, for that sympathy, and we are quite ready to take anything we can get from those who represent towns, but we cannot go on relying upon that. We do not forget that agriculture has been forgotten year after year ever since the power has largely been in the hands of the big centres of population, and we think when the time of trouble is over it is very likely agriculture will be forgotten again, unless it is able to speak, and speak effectively, for itself. My right hon. Friend used this argument with regard to agriculture, but why did he not go a little further and use it with regard to Ireland, which is given under this Bill a share of representation to which on a population basis it is quite evident—in fact, it is indisputable—she is not entitled? What is sauce for the agricultural goose should be sauce for the Irish gander. Why does the right hon. Gentleman not apply the same argument to Ireland as he applies to agriculturists? I do not want to bind myself to any particular proposal, but I ask the right hon. Gentleman to do something to assist us in this matter, and not let the agricultural community feel that by the passage of this Bill they are suffering a great injustice.

The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir George Cave)

I should like to acknowledge at once the tone and spirit in which this Instruction has been moved and sup- ported. I gather from the speech of the right hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) that, as I have been assured by others, many of those who were genuinely opposed to the passage of this Bill recognise the new position that has been brought about by the vote of the House on the Second Beading, and while they do intend to put on the Paper Amendments intended to improve the Bill, there is to be nothing like a factious opposition to the passage of the Bill. I desire to meet that spirit in the right way, and I fully recognise it is my duty, and the duty of my right hon. Friend, to deal quite frankly and fairly with any Amendments put upon the Paper, and we desire to meet what is the general view of the House. My right hon. Friend opposite said something about rushing the Bill, but I assure him there has been no such intention. Full notice was given before the Recess that the Bill would be taken in Committee to-day, and the Amendments already on the Paper show that hon. Members have had ample opportunities of considering the main points of the Bill. As regards the Clause we are dealing with to-day, the main points which could be raised are all dealt with by Amendments on the Paper. Something has been said about the procedure we have followed in introducing a blank Schedule and in the appointment of Boundary Commissioners, but I ask the House what other course could have been taken? It was impossible for us to appoint Commissioners until the House had approved in principle the recommendations of the Speaker's Conference. Those recommendations were approved by a very large majority, and they included the recommendation as to redistribution. Some complaint was made as to the figures, but there was a general approval, on the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife (Mr. Asquith), of all the recommendations of the Speaker's Conference, which included those dealing with redistribution.


A Second Reading approval?

4.0 P.M.


I said a general approval. That Resolution having been passed, what were we to do? If we had waited for two or three months whilst the details were being considered and the new constituencies worked out before bringing in our Bill, we should not have met the general wish of the House. We took what I believe was the only possible course. We brought in our Bill with the Schedule blank and at the same time appointed a Commission to consider the details. Something was said about precedents, and my right hon. Friend (Sir F. Banbury) quoted the Acts of 1807 and 1884. It is not enough to quote the Acts. Before he says that there are precedents he ought to assure himself that the Bills then brought in were not in the same position as the Bill of to-day. I am sure he will find with regard to the Bill of 1884 and 1885 that the appointment of the Boundary Commissioners was made immediately on the introduction, or at all events, on the passage of the Second Reading, and that the details were filled in at a later stage. That at least is my impression. Our intention was to get the Schedule settled and put upon the Paper before we reached the clause dealing with redistribution so that Members might have time to consider the details long before they came to the actual consideration of the Schedules themselves. I think therefore that we have followed the right and proper procedure.

I recognise fully, of course, that the approval given to those recommendations was only a general or a Second Reading approval. The point as to areas is, of course, a serious point. It is not one on which I desire to say anything as to my opinion to-day. It is a point which hon. Members are fully entitled to raise and to discuss. The same point has been raised by hon. Members from Scotland who also take a deep interest in the question. There are other points of a general nature which the House might very reasonably and fairly desire to discuss, and I want if I can to give the House an opportunity, not only for discussion but for that which they desire, namely, for proposing amendments of the Instructions to the Commissioners. The question before us to-day is: What is the best way of bringing about that result? After all, this is to all intents and purposes an agreed Bill, and I know very well, that if I were to press it forward by methods usual in other cases that I should not be carrying out the general view of the House. We should like to feel that these points have been discussed and that the decision of the House upon them has been reached before the actual details were brought forward. There is this further point to be remembered. I agree with the hon. Member for St. Augustine's Division (Mr. R. McNeill) that it is very undesirable that any change should be made in the rules for redistribution after the Boundary Commissioners have proceeded very far with their work. If such a change were made when we come to the Schedule of seats it might throw out the whole of the work done by the Boundary Commission. Therefore, it is very much in the interests of those who are in favour of the Bill to get laid down at the earliest possible moment the rules of which the House approves, and by which the House will afterwards be bound.

I do not think that this instruction would produce that result. The only effect of this Instruction would be to divide the Bill into two parts. We should proceed with the Franchise and other proposals in Committee on Report and on Third Reading as one Bill, and by similar stages with the redistribution proposals in another Bill. We should still be in the same position on the other Bill as we are in to-day. We should not be able to discuss the general lines of the instructions. We should only be able to discuss the details of the Schedule of seats. You would not, therefore, reach the object which you have in view. More than that, I notice that in the Instruction actually moved, it is proposed that the Redistribution Bill should be taken first and the Franchise Bill afterwards. That means postponing the Franchise Bill, at all events, for weeks, and possibly for months to come, and I am sure that would not meet the general view of the House. I care very little about division, but I would suggest that there is a much better way of obtaining the object which hon. Members have in view. I would propose that we should put down upon the Paper a definite Motion for approval of the Instructions given to the Boundary Commissioners. Upon that Motion it would be quite open to any hon. Member to move an Amendment or a rider giving a further Instruction to the Commissioners that they are in their work to have regard to area as well as to population and dealing with matters of that kind. That would enable those who are interested in this point not only to debate their view, but to take the decision of the House upon it. At the same time I hope it will be understood that we do not desire, upon a Motion of that kind, to go into a discussion of indefinite length. I have spoken to the Leader of the House, and he will be quite able to give us a day for its discussion as early as possible, and I hope on Monday, but I trust no attempt will be made —


Shall we have an opportunity of seeing the instructions beforehand? We have not seen them so far. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, yes!"]


My hon. Friend is quite wrong.


I am sorry; I have been away.


Will the Motion embody the instructions to the Boundary Commissioners in such a manner that they will be open to amendment, or will they be merely in a general form?


The Motion will be for the approval of the Instructions to the Boundary Commissioners. There will be no need to set them out in the Motion itself. It will be open to the hon. Member or anybody else to draw up an Amendment which will make an exception of one or other of the Instructions, but I hope no attempt will be made to go through them seriatim and debate them all. I hope the House will confine itself to taking the particular points which have been raised.

I want to get before the Boundary Commissioners full Instructions at the earliest possible moment, and I should be glad, therefore, if those hon. Members who object to the present Instructions so far as they refer to proportional representation would take the same opportunity of raising that point. The Instructions given to the Commissioners contain not only directions as to population and the figures relating to that point, but also rules as to proportional representation, and it would be quite right and, indeed, necessary for those who object to the proposals to put down an Amendment on that Motion excepting or modifying the Instructions so far as they relate to proportional representation.


All on one day?


I should certainly hope that the Debate would be confined to one day.


Might I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he could not consent to have two Motions?


I think it would be impossible to have two Motions, but you might have two Amendments. If hon. Members desire to debate these matters separately, they can put down their own Amendments; but my Motion must be one of approval of the Instructions as a whole, and I hope that these two great points may be dealt with on one day. I think the whole House has made up its mind on. these matters. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no!" and other HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear !"] Most of us, at any rate, have made up our minds, and are quite ready to give our decision, and I hope that a decision may be given on those two-matters on the same day. I hope it will be thought that we have fairly met the desire of hon. Members to raise these serious points, and, if it is generally approved, I should propose to put down my Motion to-day, so that it may be on the Paper to-morrow, and Amendments may be put down to it I trust when that suggestion has been considered and dealt with this particular Motion may be withdrawn.


If it takes the form of an ordinary Motion, with Mr. Speaker in the Chair, would it be possible to move more than one Amendment? It could not, as I understand, be subject to a number of Amendments.


Of course, if anyone moved to leave out words of the Motion and substitute others, there would be a difficulty; but it would be quite possible to-move one or two riders or exceptions to-the Motion for approval.


If the redistribution Clauses of this Bill are to depend upon the Instructions, would it not be desirable to postpone the consideration of the Bill until the Instructions have been approved by the House?


It must be some time before we come to the redistribution Clauses.


If these Instructions are approved, are we to be understood to be committed to proportional representation, because I imagine there are many of us who wish to fight that line by line, and we cannot be committed to-that principle by the decision of the House upon the Instructions.


It cannot bind hon. Members, but there will then be definite Instructions to the Boundary Commissioners.


I desire to move an Amendment with regard to areas and another Amendment with regard to proportional representation, but I myself can only move one Amendment if there is only one Motion.


My right hon. Friend's manner is so conciliatory that it is difficult to deal with his proposal in terms sufficiently direct to express its profoundly unsatisfactory character. I do not think that I ever heard a proposal more contemptuous of the House of Commons. Here is a measure of the utmost possible importance, and we are to be asked to discuss in a single day a Resolution pledging the House to the whole of this elaborate proposal. Was there ever a suggestion made in the likeness of a concession which was so contemptuous of the arguments which have been addressed to the House in support of this Instruction? I think my right hon. Friend is quite wrong about the question of precedents. I think, if he will look into it, he will find that on previous occasions the Bill, when it was introduced, contained the names of the new constituencies which it was proposed to set up. The actual boundaries were postponed until the Boundary Commission had reported upon them, but the general outline, more than the outline, all the details, except the geographical details, were in the Bill. That was the case in the Bill of 1884 and 1885, and that is quite a legitimate course. It is now proposed that the Boundary Commission should take the whole of the work out of the hands of the House of Commons. We are offered a single opportunity in one day of expressing an opinion upon the principle. Everyone who knows anything about Parliamentary discussion knows what an absurdity such a discussion would be. The time would be taken lip by one Amendment dealing with one point, and there would be no further discussion of any sort or kind. That is not the proper way of treating Parliament on a question such as this. We have a right to discuss every line and every word, and it is not consistent with the self-respect of the House of Commons that it should be offered terms such as the Government propose to offer. This is, under the thinnest guise, government by decree. Whatever the Government think proper to lay before us we are to accept, and there is to be a pretence of discussion which despots have always liked to give to the sham Parliamentary institutions which have existed. For instance, Napoleon III. was always careful to have his proposals discussed by the Assembly, but there was no reality of Parliamentary discussion. Under the present Government there is no reality of Parliamentary government.

The proper course in this matter is to accept this Instruction, then to pass the redistribution part of the Bill, when you have your scheme ready, through the Committee pro formâ, putting in in that formal Committee stage all the details of your Bill, and then to recommit the Bill for discussion. There are plenty of Parliamentary precedents for such a course. It has been commonly followed, and it is an extremely convenient proceeding. That is the proper course, and it could be taken if the Government would accept this Instruction. I do not care whether the discussion of redistribution or or the franchise proposals is taken first. My right hon. Friend could probably be met on that point, but it is very important that the redistribution part of the Bill should be properly discussed, and, for that matter, that the franchise part should be properly discussed, and that sufficient time should be given for the discussion of both parts. My right hon. Friend made one point with regard to proportional representation. I am a very strong supporter of proportional representation. I should like to see it extended not only to boroughs, but to counties. I am not going to argue that point now, but it is a point upon which the House of Commons should have an opportunity of expressing an opinion. It might be done by bringing again into existence the constituencies which existed before 1885. I do not say that that would be an absolutely complete system, but it would cover nine cases out of ten. I should like to have the judgment of the House upon that, and from every point of view it is desirable that it should be considered. How is it to be considered on my right hon. Friend's Resolution? How many minutes should I have —indeed, how many seconds? My right hon. Friend knows perfectly well that his proposal is a sham and a pretence. What we want is a proper Parliamentary discussion upon the Bill, not a pretence of a discussion upon a Resolution. We want to have the points fully before us and a proper opportunity of moving Amendments in the places in the Bill to which the Amendments belong. This Bill is framed in such a way that its obscurity makes its discussion very difficult. For what reason I do not know in the least, some of its proposals are put into the Schedule and some into the Bill itself. If you want to find out the proposal regarding absent voters or a reference to the absent voters' list, you have to hunt about until you find some reference to it in the Schedule. This Bill is said to be a monument of skilful Parliamentary drafting. So it is, if the object be to prevent the House of Commons from having proper Parliamentary control over legislation. If it is honestly meant—which I do not believe it is—to be a Bill over which Parliament should exercise proper Parliamentary control, then it is one of the worst drafted Bills ever presented to Parliament. Let it be separated into two Bills, and let each Bill be subjected to minute scrutiny by a Committee of the House of Commons. That is the proper Parliamentary way of dealing with it. We have had enough of these efforts to impose upon us whatever decrees the Government think fit to impose.


May I ask the Home Secretary whether in the case he mentioned, if we carried and added Instructions to the Boundary Commissioners, they would be covered by the words he used in regard to Amendments; and, further, will he take care that we have proper time to move our Amendments?


I think I can answer "Yes" to both those questions.


I am not sufficiently aware of the procedure which my Noble Friend (Lord Hugh Cecil) has been discussing to know exactly what the course of the discussion will take in regard to the Instructions to the Boundary Commissioners. What we do want and must have is an absolutely free hand in discussing these proposals. We ought not by any sort of procedure to make it impossible to move Amendments, because there are many points in these Instructions which certainly will not suit Scotland. The Instructions are far too rigid, they lack elasticity, and they will disregard, as they ought not to do, existing populations and prospective increases in population which within the knowledge of everyone will take place almost immediately. There are two or three counties in Scotland which will lose their representation because of having only some 2,000 below the necessary Limit of 50,000. Thousands of acres of grass lands are being broken up in these counties at this moment, and in a very short time the present number of population will be obsolete and they will reach the limit of 50,000, which will entitle them to retain their representation. The Commissioners ought to have power to consider these matters. Again, the grouping of burghs, according to these Instructions, must take place within a county in which the principal burgh is situated. That, as a general rule, will be found to operate perfectly well. It is quite fair and certainly it is desirable, but I have in mind two cases of two of the most important towns in Scotland, both very similar in character and not very far from one another, one of which will lose the representation it now has and the other, being one of a group, will be regrouped. If I were a Boundary Commissioner I should have the strongest inclination to group them together, but they happen to be in two different counties and they cannot be grouped together. There is a community of interest and sufficient contiguity to make that desirable. I do not propose to mention the names. It is desirable that in that respect there should be Amendments. I am only concerned to say to the right hon. Gentleman, who, I am sure, will meet us in every way he possibly can, that so long as he in some way or other gives us an opportunity to discuss these points, we shall be very grateful to him for the chance.


I wish to support the Instruction —


I think the hon. Member has already spoken.


I only asked a question.


It occupied two minutes.


I desire to ask the Home Secretary a question with regard to the Instructions to the Commissioners dealing with the redistribution proposals in London. Paragraph 3 of the Instructions to the Commissioners states that a county or borough with a population of 50,000 but less than 70,000 shall continue to have separate representation. From inquiries I have made I understand that that Instruction applies to complete boroughs and not to divisions of boroughs?


The hon. Member cannot argue the matter at this stage. We are now considering the question of dividing the Bill.


What I want to know is, How this can be raised on the Resolution which the Home Secretary proposes to put down on Monday next? It is a very important matter so far as London is concerned, and perhaps if you, Sir, will allow me to finish the question, we may get an answer. The point is that in London we have several divisions of boroughs which come between the 50,000 and 70,000, which I take it will be disfranchised. We should like to raise that point on Monday. What I want to ask the Home Secretary is, How can we raise it on his general Resolution?


Unlike the Noble Lord (Lord Hugh Cecil), I supported the Second Beading of this Bill on the understanding stated by the Colonial Secretary that particular points, such as redistribution and the vote for the soldiers and sailors, would be met on a future occasion. I do not pretend to be a professor with regard to Parliamentary procedure, but it seems to me that the proposal the Home Secretary has made will not give those of us who hold strong views as to the points of rural areas and of proportional representation the opportunity we desire. It cannot be possible in a single day to discuss the whole of those two large questions from the point of view of redistribution. I would suggest to the Home Secretary that he should reconsider his offer and adopt the Instruction which is on the Order Paper in my name, which proposes to divide the Bill, taking the redistribution part first, so that the House will have an opportunity of discussing the whole question of redistribution before going on with the other parts of the Bill. I make that suggestion chiefly on account of the very strong feeling which I know prevails among agriculturists in the country. I am authorised by the Central Chamber of Agriculture to emphasise the very strong feeling with which they view these proposals. The House of Commons is now going to the agricultural community and asking them to do all sorts of things in the interest of the nation. I do not blame anyone, but so long ago as the third week in February the Prime Minister adopted the attitude of showman, which no doubt was necessary, in order to inspire and instil enthusiasm in the agricultural community. Before many weeks had gone by a great deal of the enthusiasm of the expectant audience had evaporated. The stage manager, in the person of the President of the Board of Agriculture, is still on the stage without either performers or scenery.


What the hon. and gallant Gentleman is discussing is another Bill.


I was trying to point out the reason why at least one whole day should be given in order to discuss the redistribution of seats as affecting the agricultural community. All I would ask is that the Home Secretary should now reconsider his offer, and allow us at least ample time to discuss the whole of the redistribution proposals, and not allow the Boundary Commissioners to go on expeditions to tear up boundaries without allowing the House of Commons an opportunity, not for a general discussion, but a detailed discussion of the points affecting the whole of the rural areas. You are now proposing to reorganise and alter the system of Parliamentary representation in an industry which has always been important, and which, in the interests of the nation, is going to be far more important. I, therefore, appeal to the Home Secretary to reconsider the matter, and to allow us to take the Redistribution Clauses before going on with the rest of the Bill.

The SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. Long)

My hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Weigall) has not fully appreciated the offer made by the Home Secretary. Those who have spoken recently are not pressing for the division of the Bill, and my hon. and gallant Friend is not pressing that suggestion. What they ask is that the two main questions should be adequately discussed—first, the operation of the Instructions to the Commissioners, contained in the White Paper, in regard to the less populous areas and rural areas, and, secondly, the question of proportional representation. My hon. and gallant Friend and others who preceded him have assumed that one day will be insufficient for these discussions. What the Home Secretary said was that he proposed to put down a Motion for Monday which he will take care, so far as it is humanly possible to do it, opens the ground for discussion upon these points which have been raised, and in regard to the representation of area as opposed to representation solely of population, I am very hopeful that an arrangement may be come to which will obviate any prolonged Debate. Until the words are on the Paper and until my hon. Friends have been able to consider them and see how far they meet them, or what they require in addition, I submit that any calculation as to time is altogether premature. The second subject raised is that of proportional representation, and the right hon. Gentleman (Sir T. Whittaker) asked whether by taking a Debate on Monday, with suggested Amendments in regard to proportional representation, the whole question will be prejudged. Most certainly not. Certain Members wish to make certain suggestions on the assumption that ultimately proportional representation will be contained in the Bill. But proportional representation will be raised definitely when we come to Clause 15, and those who desire to oppose it, or to amend it, will have every opportunity. Therefore it is not necessary to-day to assume that one day will not be sufficient for a discussion of these two very important points.


My right hon. Friend is assuming that there are only the two points which have been raised. I myself could raise a dozen points on these Instructions, all of which require debate.


Members of far less ability than my hon. Friend could raise enough points to make the passage of the Bill impossible. He has said most emphatically that he does not desire to do anything of the kind, and I know he speaks as a genuine supporter of the Bill, but it is only by a certain amount of self-suppression that we shall be able to pass a Bill of this kind, in regard to which there is not a Member in the House who could not put down pages of Amendments which might be well worthy of consideration. But my hon. Friend has misunderstood me. I am not saying definitely that all these subjects have to be settled on Monday. Let us wait till Monday comes and take the Debate with a desire to finish on Monday if it be possible so to do. My Noble Friend says this Bill has been drafted with a desire to prevent the House of Commons understanding it or discussing the points which are of the most importance. This Bill, if ever there was one, has been drafted with a desire that it should be concise, that it should put the proposals it contains frankly and fully before the House in the simplest language, and that it should be easily understood. This is not the Bill of the Government in any ordinary meaning of that phrase. Its history is perfectly well known to the House. I dare say he has the lowest opinion of my veracity, but I can really assure him, as one of those who was responsible for it, that he is mistaken in the somewhat sinister view which he holds as to our intentions. We may have failed in carrying out our intentions, and I dare say he will tell me a certain place is paved with good intentions and probably he would consign me to that place if it were not that his good manners forbid his doing anything of the kind. Really the Bill is not so difficult to understand as he suggests. I ask the House now whether we might not proceed to the Committee stage, and if on Monday we are unable to deal with these important questions I am sure the Leader of the House will give us more time. But let us assume that Monday will be sufficient, and on that assumption let us do our best on Monday to cover the ground which has been opened to-day. I believe it will be found, when the Motion is on the Paper, that one of the most important subjects of discussion will occupy a very short space of time.


May we be told that the Commissioners will not hold any further inquiry till after this Debate?


I think the acceptance by the Government of the Instruction is the best way to give the House a proper opportunity of discussing the Instructions to the Commissioners. If the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill cannot see his way to agree to that, I hope he will be able to suggest some other way than that which he has put forward, so as to enable hon. Members to bring forward Amendments on points of great public interest. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Long) spoke as if there were only two questions which had to be considered in this Debate. But there are other questions. There are questions such as those which are now being dealt with by the Boundary Commissioners. For instance, the Commissioners have already proposed to deprive the ancient City of Chester of separate representation in Parliament, a privilege which it has enjoyed for many centuries, and intend turning it into a Division of the County. In the Instructions to the Boundary Commissioners the right hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury) is protected by a special Clause. I should like to have an opportunity of moving an Amendment to the Instructions to the Boundary Commissioners so as to protect not only the City of London, but the City of Chester, the City of Worcester and the City of Canterbury. These Instructions to the Boundary Commissioners, as drawn take away the right of returning a Member of Parliament for the three old Counties of Cities. There are only three which are affected by the Bill….. I am speaking of a matter of which I know, and there are only three such Counties of Cities affected by this Bill. The City of London has been protected by the Government, and I want an opportunity of moving an Amendment with a fair chance of its being considered, and I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to give me that opportunity. I do not ask for more than that. I hope he will give the matter his favourable consideration.


As far as I under I stand it, the matter has come down now to a question of procedure, but it is a very important question of procedure and it involves very far-reaching results. These Instructions involve important questions of detail. The House of Commons has never sanctioned them or discussed them in any way, and the question before the House is whether it shall discuss them by a Motion with Amendments or in Committee. During the last ten years I have taken part very actively in matters of Parliamentary procedure and I do not think anyone can doubt that the best way to decide this question is by discussion in Committee, and not by a Motion with Amendments, in which case the Members of the Front Bench talk at great length and with great persuasiveness and politeness on the

general question. The question of counties and cities can only be dealt with by discussion in Committee, when Members have the opportunity of speaking, if necessary, more than once. Though it seems only a small matter of procedure, it is important. If, as the Home Secretary says, we have all made up our minds on this point, why have a discussion? Why have a House of Commons at all? That is not my view, and it seems to me that the Government is certainly taking away a very great part of the duty of the House of Commons when they suggest that we are agreed upon this matter of proportional representation. I do not know which way the House is agreed upon it. It seems to me to be making a very large draft upon the House of Commons. I suggest that we ought to have an opportunity of discussing these Instructions in Committee, dealing with these questions of principle, and so make this a Bill which the House understands, because, despite what my right hon. Friend said about the simplicity of the Bill, I have had an opportunity of talking to two or three members of the Conference, and I can assure the House that their views are not absolutely clear upon many of its points. We should make sure also that, the House of Commons approves the details of the Bill as well as the general principle.

Question put, "That it be an Instruction to the Committee on the Bill that they have power to divide the Bill into two Bills, the one dealing with the redistribution of seats at Parliamentary elections, and the other dealing with the Amendment of the Law with respect to the Parliamentary and local government electors the conduct of elections, and other purposes connected therewith; and that they have power to report the first Bill to the House before the other is proceeedd with."

The House divided: Ayes, 65; Noes, 217.

Division No. 43.] AYES. [4.43 p.m.
Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte Broughton, Urban Hanlon Fell, Arthur
Banner, Sir John S. Harmood- Burdett-Coutts, W. Fletcher, John Samuel
Barrie, H. T. Carnegie, Lieut.-Colonel D. G. Forster, Philip Staveley
Beach, William F. H. Cautley, H. S. Goulding, Sir Edward Alfred
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University) Greene, Lieut.-Col. Walter Raymond
Benn, Com. Ian Hamilton (Greenwich) Coats, Sir Stuart Gretton, Colonel John
Bird, Alfred Coote, William Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)
Blair, Reginald Cory, Sir Clifford John (St. Ives) Haddock, Major George Bahr
Bowden, Major G. R. Harland Dixon, C. H. Hall, Frederick (Dulwich)
Boyton, James Faber, George Denison (Clapham) Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord C. J.
Harris, Henry Percy (Paddington, S.) Marriott, J. A. R. Stirling, Lieut.-Col. Archibald
Hinds, John Meux, Hon. Sir Hedworth Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)
Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E. H. Meysey-Thompson, Colonel E. C. Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)
Houston, Robert Paterson Newman, Major John R. P. Thomas-Stanford, Charles
Hunt, Major Rowland Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield) Walker, Colonel William Hall
Ingleby, Holcombe Pennefather, De Fonblanque Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)
Jackson, Lt.-Col. Hon. F. S. (York) Philipps, Captain Sir Owen (Chester) Warde, Colonel C. E. (Kent, Mid)
Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East) Pryce-Jones, Colonel E. Weigall, Colonel William E. G. A.
Johnston, Sir Christopher Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel Yate, Colonel Charles Edward
Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Samuels, Arthur W.
Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury) (Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee Sharman-Crawford, Colonel R. G. Sir F. Banbury and Sir F. Lowe.
McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's) Stewart, Gershom
Adamson, William Greig, Colonel J. W. Nuttall, Harry
Ainsworth, Sir John Stirling Gulland, Rt. Hon. John William O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)
Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire) Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway) O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Anderson, W. C. Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence O'Dowd, John
Archdale, Lieut. Edward M. Harris, Percy A. (Leicester, S.) Orde-Powiett, Hon. W. G. A.
Arnold, Sydney Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West) Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William
Ashley, Wilfrid W. Haslam, Lewis Outhwaite, R. L.
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Healy, Maurice (Cork) Paget, Almeric Hugh
Baird, John Lawrence Helme, Sir Norval Watson Parker, James (Halifax)
Baldwin, Stanley Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.) Parkes, Ebenezer
Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset) Hewart, Sir Gordon Parrott, Sir James Edward
Barnett, Captain R. W. Hewins, William Albert Samuel Pease,Rt. Hon.Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick Burghs) Higham, John Sharp Peto, Basil Edward
Beale, Sir William Phipson Hill, Sir James Philipps, General Ivor (Southampton)
Beauchamp, Sir Edward Hills, Major John Walter Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
Beck, Arthur Cecil Hodge, Rt. Hon. John Pratt, J. W.
Bellairs, Commander C. W. Hoimes, Daniel Turner Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)
Bentham, George Jackson Hoit, Richard Durning Pringle, William M. R.
Bethell, Sir J. H. Hope, Harry (Bute) Radford, Sir George Heynes
Black, Sir Arthur W. Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Rawson, Colonel R. H.
Bliss, Joseph Hope, John Deans (Haddington) Rea, Walter Russell
Brace, Rt. Hon. William Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Rees, G. C. (Carnarvonshire, Arfon)
Bridgeman, William Clive Hughes, Spencer Leigh Reid, Rt. Hon. Sir George H.
Bull, Sir William James Hunter, Major Sir Charles Rodk. Rendall, Athelstan
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Illingworth, Rt. Hon. Albert H. Richardson, Arthur (Rotherham)
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh) Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)
Cave, Rt. Hon. Sir George John, Edward Thomas Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Cawley, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil) Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Aston Manor) Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Notts, Rushcliffe) Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Chamberain, Rt. Hon. J. A. Jowett, Frederick William Robertson, Rt. Hon. John M.
Chancellor, Henry George Kellaway, Frederick George Robinson, Sidney
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Kiley, James Daniel Roch, Walter F.
Clancy, John Joseph King, Joseph Rowlands, James
Clough, William Knight, Captain E. A. Rowntree, Arnold
Clyde, J. Avon Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) Rutherford, Sir John (Lancs, Darwen)
Cechrane, Cecil Algernon Layland-Barratt, Sir F. Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry (Norwood)
Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth) Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Collins, Sir W. (Derby) Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury) Scott, A. Maccallum (Glas., Bridgeton)
Cornwall Sir Edwin A. Long, Rt. Hon. Walter Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Cory, James Herbert (Cardiff) Loyd, Archie Kirkman Seely, Lt.-Col. Sir C. H. (Mansfield)
Cowan, Sir W. M. Lundon, Thomas Shaw, Hon. A.
Craig, Colonel James (Down, E.) Macdonald, Rt. Hon. J. M. (Faik.B'ghs) Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Alisebrook
Croft, Brigadier-General Henry Page Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester) Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir F. E. (Walton)
Crooks, Rt. Hon. William M'Kean, John Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)
Currie, George W. McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Smith, Sir Swire (Keighley, Yorks)
Dalrymple, Hon. H. H. Mackinder, Halford J. Snowden, Philip
Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) Macleod, John Macintosh Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Macmaster, Donald Stanton, Charles Butt
Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas McMicking, Major Gilbert Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)
Denniss, E. R. B. Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J. Swift, Rigby
Dickinson. Rt. Hon. Willoughby H. Macpherson, James Ian Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Doris, William MacVeagh, Jeremiah Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Dougherty, Rt. Hon. Sir J. B. Mallalieu, Frederick William Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid.) Manfield, Harry Tickler, T. G.
Elverston, Sir Harold Marks. Sir George Croydon Tootill, Robert
Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles Marshall, Arthur Harold Toulmin, Sir George
Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson Martin, Joseph Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Finney, Samuel Mason, David M. (Coventry) Turton, Edmund Russborough
Fisher, Rt. Hon. H. A. L. (Hallam) Middlebrook, Sir William Walton, Sir Joseph
Fisher, Rt. Hon. W Hayes (Fulham) Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Wardle, George J.
Fleming, Sir J. (Aberdeen, S.) Money, Sir L. G. Chiozza Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
Forster. Rt. Hon. Henry William Morrell, Phillip Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Wedgwood, Commander Josiah C.
Gilbert, J. D Muldoon, John White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
Goddard, Rt. Hon. Sir Daniel Ford Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert Whitehouse, John Howard
Goldstone, Frank Neville, Reginald J. N. Whiteley, Herbert James
Greenwood, Sir G. G. (Peterborough) Nolan, Joseph Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth) Williams, Thomas J. (Swansea) Younger, Sir George
Wiles, Rt. Hon. Thomas Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton) Yoxall, Sir James H.
Wilkie, Alexander Winfrey, Sir Richard
Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N.W.) Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Williams, John (Glamorgan) Yeo, Alfred William Lord Edmund Talbot and Captain Guest.
Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough) Young, William (Perthshire, East)
Williams, Col. Sir Robert (Dorset, W.)

The Instruction standing on the Paper in the name of the hon. Member for St. Augustine's (Mr. R. McNeill) is practically the same as that just disposed of. So is that standing in the name of the hon. Member for Bridgwater (Colonel Sanders). With regard to the Instruction standing in the name of the hon. Boronet the Member for Ayr Burghs, the hon. Baronet suggests that the Instructions to the Commissioners should be included in the Bill. These Instructions would not have any legal validity until the Bill obtained the Royal Assent, but before the Bill can obtain the Royal Assent the work of the Commissioners has to be inserted in the Bill. The Instruction standing in the name of the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Rutland (Colonel Gretton) is practically the one we have discussed. That standing in the name of the hon. Member for Egremont (Mr. Grant) raises the same question as that of the hon. Member for West Dorset (Colonel Sir R. Williams). The Instruction standing in the name of the hon. Member for Tam-worth (Mr. Wilson-Fox) is unworkable for the same reason that that in the name of the hon. Baronet the Member for Ayr Burghs is unworkable. The Instructions standing in the names of the hon. Members for Grimsby (Mr. Tickler), Liverpool (Sir J. Harmood-Banner), Yarmouth (Mr. Fell), Wirral (Mr. Stewart), and Elgin and Nairn (Sir A. Williamson) might all be inserted as Amendments in Committee. That standing in the name of the hon. Member for East Grinstead (Mr. Cautley) also provides that Instructions should be given to the Boundary Commissioners by the Bill, but those Instructions could not be in force until the Bill obtained the Royal Assent. The Instruction standing in the name of the hon. Member for Horncastle (Colonel Weigall) is the same as that which we have already discussed. As to that standing in the name of the hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Montague Barlow), we could not cut proportional representation out of the Bill and deal with that as a separate measure, because the Bill does not naturally so divide itself. That standing in the name of the hon. Member for Devonport (Sir C. Kinloch-Cooke) could be raised as an Amendment. The Instruction standing in the name of the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Rawlinson) really leads to an unlimited postponement of Clause 1, and makes no provision for the rest of the Bill.

Bill considered in Committee.

[Mr. WHITLEY in the Chair.]