§ Before any Order or Regulation made under this Act whereby any trade, occupation, or industry is to be restricted or suspended comes into force, it shall be laid before each House of Parliament for a period of not less than ten days during which the House is sitting, and if either House before the expiration of those ten days presents an Address to His Majesty against the Order or Regulation or any part thereof, no further proceedings shall be taken thereon without prejudice to the making of any new Order or Regulation.—[Mr. Pringle.]
§ Clause brought up, and read the first time.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a second time."
The object of the Clause is to secure in respect of Orders, with regard to trade and industry issued by the Ministry of National Service, that there shall be at least some modicum of Parliamentary control. This question of Parliamentary control was raised on the Committee stage by my right hon. Friend the Member for East Bristol (Sir C. Hobhouse), and he proposed an Amendment, the object of which was the same as that of the Clause I am now submitting. The Home Secretary was good enough to say that the matter would receive consideration, and that he would see whether it was desirable that it should be done. As the Government have failed to put anything on the Paper on this subject, we are driven to the conclusion that, after consideration, they had decided that this matter of dealing with industries is to be left to the uncontrolled action of the Director of National Service, without any check or any supervision on the part of the House of Commons. I think there is an ample case for some such provision. We have already had two extremely important Orders issued by this Ministry. The first was a list of trades, described as "nonessential," and there was great consternation in many business quarters in the 760 country owing to the omission of certain trades from that list and trades which those in them regard as absolutely essential to the national welfare. In addition, there has been issued a further list since the Committee proceedings, indicating trades in which it will be illegal in future for employers to engage men between the ages of eighteen and sixty-one. That Order has probably caused greater disturbance than the earlier Orders, because it affects alike the interests of the employers and the interests of the workpeople. In many cases employers are, as it were, in an indirect way threatened with total extinction, and, on the other hand, there is an almost complete check on freedom of contract between employer and employed.
A question was put this afternoon as to the effect of the Order upon any movement on the part of workpeople to obtain an increase in wages. The hon. Gentleman, who for the time being was replying on behalf of the Ministry, indicated that it was the opinion of the Department that nothing was being done which would check increases of wages on behalf of workers in those trades. But when the specific question was put to him as to whether, if a man was prevented from obtaining alternative employment at his own occupation, he was not thereby prevented from obtaining any increase in wages, the hon. Gentleman was unable to reply. I hope that the Home Secretary, being in a position of greater responsibility, and, presumably, being in the secrets of the Department, will be able to deal with that very simple and interesting problem. I think the fact that such questions should arise prove how important such Orders are, both from the point of view of the workpeople and of the employer. If further evidence were required as to the attitude of the employers on the matter, it would be found in the fact that to-morrow a very large and influential deputation, representing, I think, nearly every association of employers in the country, is coming to meet the First Lord of the Admiralty, the Secretary for War, and the Director of National Service. One of the subjects upon which those employers desire to make representations to the Ministers is this very question of the scheduling of essential and non-essential trades. Those gentlemen seek to obtain from Ministers an assurance that no trade will be scheduled without consultation with the 761 employers affected. I do not think that it is a satisfactory way of obtaining control. I think the only way in which those gentlemen can hope or expect to have their interests properly represented to the Government is to secure control on the part of the House of Commons.
The only method by which that control can be obtained, and the regular method which has been followed in the past, is to insert a provision in the Bill, such as that which I submit, and which is identical, I think, with a Clause in the National Insurance Act, with one exception—namely, the length of the period during which the Orders are to lie on the Table. We have purposely limited the length of the period to a period of ten days, because if a period of a month, or two months, had been inserted, it might be said by those representing the Government that all these Orders are matters of urgency, and that to insert a provision causing such prolonged delay would be contrary to the public interests. I think no case can be made against a delay which only involves ten days of Parliamentary time. Surely these matters are long enough under consideration as it is to enable them to give this period, during which Parliament may have the opportunity of giving a decision on the matter. Certainly no more drastic powers have ever, by Statute, been placed in the hands of any Minister. They mean economic life and death to vast interests and industries in this country. They involve also, indirectly, the power to reduce large numbers of workmen to a servile condition. In view of these things, this House will be abdicating its trust as the representatives of the people of this country if it does not insist by this method upon a certain amount of Parliamentary control and Parliamentary supervision over these matters.
§ Mr. WATT
I desire to second the Motion.
As the House is aware, the effect of this Bill which is under discussion is to set up a Director-General of National Service. This measure confers upon that gentleman most drastic powers, and amongst those drastic powers is the extraordinary one of being able to declare, off his own bat, which industries in the country are essential and which are nonessential. This will be a very difficult thing to do, and it will lead to great dis- 762 satisfaction throughout the country. That is evidenced by a recent speech made by Mr. Neville Chamberlain himself in the City of London, in which he said:The workman very often himself does not know whether he is doing work of national importance or not—that is to say, whether he is engaged in an essential or non-essential trade.At the same time as we call on the man we are going to send notice to the employer, and it will be open to him to make an appeal that the man shall not he taken from him on one ground and one ground only, namely, that he is already doing work of national importance. These appeals will he sent in batches to a sub-commissioner who has no bias one way or the other, and his decision will be final.It is clear from this that the sub-commissioner is to get the cases remitted to him in batches. It will be for him to decide what non-essential trades are to be restricted or suspended. Now, I represent a trading community, and many of my Constituents will fall within the category of non-essential traders. These men will have to close their mills, and they will be economically ruined on the ipse dixit of Mr. Neville Chamberlain, or the sub-commissioner to whom he may depute that particular branch of his work. The object of the new Clause proposed by my hon. Friend is to set up a Court of Appeal for these men who are engaged in what Mr. Chamberlain may call "nonessential trades." That Court of Appeal will be this House, and before the Director-General of National Service can suspend or restrict any trade in the country the Regulations under which he proposes to do so are, it is suggested, to be laid upon the Table of the House in order that hon. Members may have an opportunity of considering them. I venture to assert it is my duty, under the circumstances, to second this new Clause—my duty as representing many traders who will be in the unfortuate position of having their businesses either restricted or suspended upon the ipse dixit of one man.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir George Cave)
I do not think it would be right for me, in dealing with this new Clause, to follow my hon. Friends into a discussion of the questions of wide policy which they have raised in their speeches, or to go into the desirability or the effect of the other Clauses of the Bill. I would, however, suggest to my hon. Friend who has contended that those he represents are to be at the mercy of a sub-commissioner, that that bears no relation whatever to the actual intention of the Bill. My hon. Friend 763 knows that before a man gets to the sub-commissioner he will be a volunteer; he will have undertaken to serve the country in any way that may be thought best under the provisions of the scheme, but until and unless he is a volunteer he will not go before the sub-commissioner. I do not think I ought to go into the more general questions which have been raised. I will, therefore, only deal with the new-Clause, and, in regard to that, I have to say this: The procedure which is embodied in this proposal has, of course, been familiar to us in times of peace. But Parliament has provided, under the Defence of the Realm Act, no such procedure as is here set forth, because the very purpose of any Order under the Defence of the Realm Act is to take immediate steps in the public interest if so desired, and the whole of that intention would be defeated if this proposed new Clause were inserted in the Bill. I would point out to my hon. Friend the Member for Lanark (Mr. Pringle) that his proposal would not merely involve a delay of ten days. He proposes that the Regulations shall lie on the Table of the House for ten Parliamentary days, and that, under our present system of sitting, would mean from two to three weeks, while should the Order be issued during the Parliamentary Recess the whole of that Recess would be lost and the operation of the Order would be postponed. I cannot accept a proposal of that kind. I think the House may trust the Director-General of National Service not to misuse his powers, and I am sure it will not desire to hamper his action. The Regulation to which the hon. Member for Mid-Lanark referred was made not under this Bill at all, but under existing Acts, and nothing in the hon. Member's Clause would prevent the making of Orders of that kind. The Clause, in fact, would not effect his object, while it would seriously hamper the operation of the Bill.
§ Sir C. HOBHOUSE
The right hon. Gentleman who has just replied to my hon. Friends very wisely, from his point of view I think, confined himself to points of detail, and avoided dealing with the larger issues of policy which were raised by my hon. Friends. There is no more effective answerer of the interrogatories in this House than the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, but on this occasion he hardly did himself justice. Let me recall the arguments he put before the House. He said. "I will not deal with 764 questions of wide policy," "let us look at the Amendment as it stands," "the time is not ten days, but the new Clause will unduly delay the operations of the Director-General of National Service," and so on. But the object, I am sure, of my hon. Friends was not to interpose a fixed period of delay between the issue of an Order and action being taken upon it, but was to ensure that there should be Parliamentary control over an officer over whom, at the present moment, there is no such control. Therefore, whether it be ten days or five days, my hon. Friends do not care. What they desire is to secure an opportunity to discuss the proposals of the Director-General. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say he was sure the House could trust the Director-General not to misuse his power. To that I can only reply that it is not in the mind of any Member of this House that the Director-General will misuse his power, but we feel that he, like everybody else, may make mistakes, and it is against mistakes and not against the misuse of his power that we wish to guard.
Let me give the right hon. Gentleman an example of what has been happening since the Minister of Munitions instructed or gave power to the Director-General of National Service to restrict industries. I think it would be well worth our while examining this matter. Among the trades to be restricted is the brush-making industry, a very simple and harmless undertaking one would imagine. On the day it was announced that restrictions were to-be put on that industry I got a letter from a Constituent pointing out that German interned prisoners in the Isle of Man were being instructed at the cost of the British taxpayer in the art of making brushes; so that you are restricting on one hand British traders and operatives engaged in the brush industry and at the same time, entirely without the knowledge of the Director-General of National Service, somebody is teaching interned Germans to make brushes which are being put on the market by a firm which, in days gone by, was a large importer of German brushes in competition with the British industry. That is the information which was given me.
§ Sir C. HOBHOUSE
I accept, of course, what the right hon. Gentleman states. When I get an answer to my question, 765 however, we shall be able to judge of the view which the right hon. Gentleman takes on this matter. There is another point with regard to the restriction of these industries. You can either restrict or you can suspend industries. But that is not all for without suspension you can by mere restriction suspend an industry entirely by taking away from it one or two essential men and by preventing the employer engaging fresh hands to take their place. You can absolutely paralyse the industry in that way. You have no control in this House over the matter. You cannot touch the action of the Director-General by moving the Adjournment of the House. You cannot get at him on the Vote for his salary, because it docs not appear on any Estimate, and, as I am reminded, he is not a Member of this House. I understand, however, that one of the Labour Members is shortly to be appointed as his representative here, and then, perhaps, we may, by that means, be able to get at him. There is no machinery under which you can get at the mistakes of the Director-General. It is not at all a question of his doing anything from malice, or trade rivalry, or that sort of thing. It is the pure and honest mistakes of a man who is overwhelmed with a task which he has to do, and who is dealing with it through a class of subordinates left after the really competent men have already been swept up into some other Ministry. This Ministry is going to affect trades injuriously. British trade and British commerce is going to be left to the rag-tag and bobtail of such supervision as is still available. There is one remaining point with which I shall deal. It arises from an answer given to me this afternoon. I understand, in respect to those persons who leave their work, or who volunteer for National Service, and who come under the direction of the National Service Ministry, that if there is, in the eyes of the sub-commissioner, no employment of greater national value open to them, that the sub-commissioner for the district may say to them: "We do not want you for the work of National Service; you may go to this or that industry." I understand that that is the process.
§ Sir C. HOBHOUSE
Or they may stay where they are. That is a power which I do not think ought to be in the hands of an official of the grade of a sub-com- 766 missioner. We do not know who these gentlemen are going to be. So far, we do not know what their powers are to be. It may be provided for in the official machinery. We do not know. There is no appeal from their decision. They will,. at their own sweet will, be able to favour one of these so-called non-essential industries at the expense of another. There is no sort of appeal from their control or their judgment. Practically you are going to hand over to their disposal a very great number of workmen, and the continuance of a great number of trades—this to the unregulated judgment of a sub-commissioner of this Ministry. I do not think that that is the kind of attitude this House ought to take up. We ought to have better-regulated machinery for dealing with this labour. In my judgment, there ought to be either a local tribunal or a local commission of more than one person— —
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Whitley)
The right hon. Gentleman is not entitled, on the proposed Clause of the Bill, to discuss the administrative way in which the powers may be used. We are concerned now with what general powers should be allowed.
§ Sir C. HOBHOUSE
Quite so. I beg your pardon for straying from the strict path of virtue in this matter. I am afraid, however, I was carried away for the moment, and I would apologise, Mr. Whitley, to you. What I wish to emphasise is this, that there is no machinery provided in the Bill for Parliamentary control. I do not complain because the right hon. and learned Gentleman told me that he would give serious consideration to this matter, and then finds that he is unable to put down an Amendment in accordance with my wishes. I do believe that if the House passes these powers, and there is no supervision of actions of the Director-General, the latter may be landed in a mess. For that we may not care. It may, however, also-land British commerce and industry in a mess. For that we care very greatly.
§ Mr. ANDERSON
I am sorry you appear to deprecate any wider discussion in regard to policy under this Clause. I suggest that these questions of wider policy are germane to the whole discussion, because it is dependent upon that as to whether there should or should not be some measure of Parliamentary control over the administration of this 767 Department. So far, both the principles and details of this scheme of National Service appear to be entirely uncontrolled so far as this House is concerned. Mr. Neville Chamberlain has the power to do anything he likes, to fix a wage for this section or that section as he likes, to carry out a scheme which is going to involve ruin to this or that business—it may be—and it is all going to be entirely outside the scope of this House to discuss and control. I say that that is not a position that this House ought to accept. We know very well that Parliament is particularly servile at the present time. Parliament is losing a large part of the self-respect that it had in the country, and until Parliament begins to assert itself a little more it will not win back that respect. Mr. Neville Chamberlain told us in a speech he made at Westminster the day before the opening of this House that it was not the Press and it was not the public who were being asked to work out this scheme. It was he. He had been asked to put it together by the Prime Minister. I dare say that that rules out the House of Commons as well as the Press and public.
We are asked not to have any control if the scheme passes. We are asked under this Bill merely to set up a Ministry of National Service, and having done that we give practically a blank cheque to the Director of National Service to do what he likes, and to act as he likes. He has got the very widest powers even under this Bill. He has got powers under the Defence of the Realm Act. In addition he can call to his aid Orders in Council. I believe personally that this present measure is but the prelude to something more, and that Parliament will find it is as unable to control the wider measure when it comes as it is to control the smaller measure. That is bound to have very wide effects upon industry, upon employment, upon labour, and upon small businesses. Parliament is entirely abrogating its functions if it is going to have all these powers taken out of its hands and decided by someone outside, no matter how able or how efficient he may be. My own view is that bureaucracy is growing far too rapidly in this country. We are more and more approaching the position of a servile State in which our whole lives are to be governed by controllers and directors, or the representatives of controllers or directors. I believe already 768 there is a real feeling of reaction growing in the country against this kind of thing, and I am convinced that it will continue growing as time goes on.
It would not matter so much if the bureaucracy were efficient. But we seem to have Prussian methods without having anything of Prussian efficiency—for very often bureaucracy is very far from being efficient. Even this scheme of National Service is now being attacked in all sorts of quarters, because those concerned see that there is nothing but mess, muddle, chaos, and confusion. The hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite will not, I know, accept that because he is very closely identified with National Service; but one has heard that matters have gone sufficently far that some of those most responsible for the scheme are actually contemplating resignation. At any rate, I do say that this matter of trade restriction is a matter which ought to be under the control and review of the House. It is going to affect the liberties and the industrial rights of hundreds of thousands of workpeople. It is going to affect any number of businesses. I am convinced that this power is far too vast to entrust to any one mind, or any one Department, unregulated and not controlled by this House. The Director of National Service, under this scheme, is going to be given control over the entire industry of the country.
My own view is that, despite all the pledges which we have received about compulsion, that although compulsion is not being brought in by the front door, compulsion will be brought in by the back door. It has often been, usually been, in the past that Ministers and the Government have at least allowed a few weeks to elapse before they turned their back upon the pledges that were made. I feel very strongly in regard to the question of restricted trades. I believe that seventy have already been listed, and that the Director-General of National Service has power to add more; that in regard to all these trades an employer who for any reason loses a workman is not able to engage a new employéunless that employé should be a woman, or a lad of less than eighteen years of age or a man over sixty-one. If any workman leaves his trade or is discharged by his present employer, that workman will not be able to get another job in the same industry except he gets the special consent of a certain special commissioner. 769 He will not be able to apply of his own free will for a job in the same trade. That is carrying things much too far. These are very, very wide powers to give to anybody. I do say that it is a menace to labour, a menace to industrial labour, a menace to the standard of labour, and it is at all events, now a weapon of very great power in the hands of an unscrupulous employer who cares to use it.
Take the case of an active trade unionist—a man who is something of a thorn in the side of his employer, a man who is always standing up for the rights of his fellows and trying to secure good or better conditions for them. If the employer dismisses that man, he can turn him out of the entire industry in which he is working. That man will not be able to get another job in the town, or, indeed, another job in his own trade from one end of the country to another. As an alternative, he will perhaps gravitate to some place where, instead of working as a skilled workman in a less essential industry, he may have to become an unskilled labourer in another industry at a guaranteed wage of 25s. a week. Judging by pre-war prices and conditions, that 25s. is worth about 16s. at the present time. If the Government wants to cause trouble they are going the right way to produce it by allowing arrangements of this kind. We were told to-day from the Front Bench that it would not be in the power of the employer under this scheme to enforce wage reductions. So far as I know there is no law to prevent an employer, if he so desires, from reducing the wage of a workman by 5s. per week. If the man resists it and leaves his employer as a protest against that reduction he would not be able to get employment in his own industry; he would have to go and apply for special permission to an official before he could even apply to go back to his own trade. I suggest that that is the beginning of tied labour, of forced labour in this country!
I have no doubt in my own mind that it will be strongly resented and resisted by organised labour when they understand what it means. The scheme will also hit the employer. He will find it very difficult to get rid of a man even whom he desires to get rid of, unless, of course, he is covinced that there is nobody else to take his place. So you will have the two, employer and employed, chained together by a common galling chain, which, so far from promoting good rela- 770 tions between the two, is going to bring about the opposite. I can imagine nothing less likely to promote good relations between capital and labour than what I have just been putting forward. I oppose this strongly because it is class legislation of the very worst description. It can only affect workpeople too, and certainly workpeople most of all, for the employer, restricted in ways which will be obvious to those who have studied the matter, can at least call to his aid women or youths under eighteen; but a workman who is restricted in this way cannot go into the same industry at all, and cannot apply for another job.
Under these circumstances I insist that the House of Commons should exercise some measure of control. I entirely agree with the right hon. Gentleman who spoke last. I am quite sure the Mover of this Clause is not particular about the ten days, or about the precise way in which control is established. All that the Clause stands for, as I take it, is that the House of Commons should have some form of control, and I suggest that that is a case which ought to be answered far better than it has yet been by the Front Bench. Following the answer, I take it, it is the duty of this House to carry the matter to a Division. You are bringing in compulsion of a most one-sided and most unfair character, and I protest very strongly against it. I think that labour is having too much of the iron heel. Labour is getting tired of the iron heel of bureaucracy, which seems to be growing and growing all the time; and I am convinced that the Government are walking along the wrong road if they are going to continue on this road of compulsion more and more towards industrial compulsion. I suggest that it is the business of this House to assert itself more strongly, and to get back to more reasonable ways in our arrangements with regard to industrial life.
§ Mr. OUTHWAITE
I am personally very glad that the hon. Member for Lanarkshire (Mr. Pringle) has moved this new Clause, and, in supporting it, I desire to refer to the china and earthenware manufacturing industry. The great district of Stoke-on-Trent, with a population of about 350,000 people, is dependent upon this industry. The mines, of course, support many people, but the coal is largely mined for potting purposes. The people of that district have been 771 patriotic to a degree. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Exactly. Why should I not say so? I think it is necessary that the House should appreciate that they have taken this attitude with regard to the War. I say that to a degree they have supported the Government in every possible way, and I desire to make this statement because I wish to go on to say that I have no doubt they will make all necessary future sacrifices. But I do not believe that they are desirous of making the final sacrifice of the destruction of their industry at the dictate of some Government official. They would be willing, I have no doubt, to accept anything the Government and this House might say was necessary, but not what some sub-commissioner, or even Mr. Neville Chamberlain himself, might say. It is because this Clause brings the fate of this industry before Parliament that I support the Clause.
I would point out already one instance that I see has arisen in this district in connection with the provision of men for the Army. I was reading the local paper this morning—I did not read it with the care I would have done if I had known this Clause was to be moved—and I saw there was a case brought before the tribunal in which the military representative claimed a man of military age from one of the great works in the district. The employer pointed out that he was a most essential man, and that all other men doing that particular kind of work had gone. They put forward this particular plea for the retention, that, if he were surrendered, owing to the Order classing the industry as a non-essential one, they would be able to get no other man, not even of military age, to take his place, and this argument so impressed, I think, the military representative, that an extension of some two months was given to this man. There is a case in which this measure for the revision of industrial service is preventing your getting men of military age, because this man could not go without the ruin of the industry, as men of non-military age cannot be got to take their place. It is very obvious to see what is going on throughout the country. While some industries have been promoted by war, and their profits increased, and they have been bolstered up by war expenditure and war demands, there are other industries which has already suf- 772 fered tremendously, and it is just those industries which have suffered so much in the past, which have been most depleted of their manhood, that are now being scheduled as non-essential, and to whom a final blow is to be given by this Bill.
There is the other point—I think, perhaps, a more important point than the profits and position of the manufacturer—and that is, as the hon. Member for Attercliffe (Mr. Anderson) has pointed out, this Bill will really make the employé in a non-essential industry the bondman of the employer. Take this particular industry of pottery. If a man is objectionable to an employer and he should be discharged, he is not to get work in any other pottery in the district. He is to be driven out of the trade altogether, though it is the only one he knows, and consequently any subsequent employment he may fall into will probably be one of which he has no knowledge, and in which he will get, therefore, a lower rate of pay, and have to abandon his home. So where it be a case of the closing down of a great industry, or where it be a question of the liberty of the individual employed in that industry, in either case the matter should not be determined by some bureaucrat. The Director-General, however able he may be, can never keep up with the work that is being thrust on his Department, and therefore must pass it on to subordinates. I say, therefore, where it be the question of the liberty of the individual, or the profits of the employer, these matters should be decided by Parliament, and not by a bureaucrat or his subordinates.
I am sorry the Government has taken the short and narrow view in regard to this proposal. The Debate has shown that the House of Commons is quite ready to brush aside the technical objections to this new Clause which has been put, forward by the Home Secretary. The Home Secretary, so far as I followed his speech, made two main objections to this proposal. He said, in the first place, that it would involve great delay, and, of course, if that were true, I think it would be a very strong argument against this proposal. But those who have made the proposal have made it clear to the House that that is not by any means an essential part of it, and that all they want to do is not to cause delay, but to have some sort of control by the House of Commons over the proposals of this new Department. Again, the Home Secretary 773 told us that the procedure which is involved in this new Clause is a peace procedure, and he said that if we look at the Defence of the Realm Act no proposal of this kind was contained there at all. That is just the very point which I think the House of Commons, with its experience of two and a half years, has a right to insist upon. The case for this new Clause has been overwhelmingly made by the blunders and the mistakes which have been committed under the operation of the Defence of the Realm Act. We know perfectly well the circumstances under which the Defence of the Realm Act was passed through this House, practically without discussion or consideration of any kind, and I say it would have been a far better thing for the conduct of the War, for the position of the Government and the administration of the affairs of the United Kingdom, if some such provision as this had been included in the Defence of the Realm Act. I would urge the House not to be led astray by past practice on these grounds, which experience has shown to be an utterly wrong and erroneous practice.
We are told that one of the great objects of the Government is to carry the country with them in their proposals for the carrying on of the War. We see that from the way the newspaper campaigns are conducted, from the way in which Ministers go up and down the country addressing public meetings and influencing public opinion to the utmost extent within their power. I have nothing to urge against that. I think that is a perfectly proper procedure, because everybody must recognise that the Government, no matter how strong individually they may be, must continue to carry public opinion behind them. But whilst they adopt that attitude towards public opinion, they adopt an entirely different and opposite attitude towards the House of Commons. They do not seek to carry the House of Commons with them in their proposals, and so, from the very first day practically of the outbreak of war, the whole tendency has been to ignore the House of Commons more and more, and to reduce its importance and significance. We see this not only in the case of the Government to-day resisting this Clause, which asks that these Regulations shall be laid before the House of Commons before they are put into operation, if it is only for twenty-four hours, but we see 774 it in every other direction as well—from the ostentatious refusal of the Prime Minister ever to put in an appearance in this House unless he is driven to do so on some important occasion. That is the principle of this new Clause, which, I think, the House of Commons will regard of value and importance. We know—the point was made on the Front Opposition Bench—that without charging malice at all against a Department like this new Department, grave mistakes and blunders have been made in the past. Have we any guarantee that similar, or perhaps even graver, mistakes will not be made in the future? Is there any guarantee in this Bill to prevent such mistakes in the future? I say that what this Clause does is to provide, where mistakes are made, for the speedy remedy of such mistakes by bringing them under the review of the House of Commons.
Let me illustrate just one point in our recent experience where it would have been very valuable and important if we had had a provision of this kind under the Defence of the Realm Act. The Government issued several Orders lately with regard to the price of potatoes. The result, as an hon. Friend says, is that there is not a potato to be had to-day. What happened? This Order was promulgated to the public, and it resulted in so much confusion and misunderstanding that the great War Cabinet itself had to spend a whole day discussing the question of potatoes. They had to make sweeping alterations in the Order made by the Department. The result of their deliberations upon it has not been by any means to improve that Order. Was there not delay there? Was there not confusion? If the Government had put the Potato Order upon the Table of the House of Commons for twenty-four hours they would have got the common sense of this House to point out its blunders and absurdities, and you would not only have had more efficiency in the Government, but you would have had an efficient Potato Order, no delay whatever, and there would have been potatoes for the public both in Great Britain and Ireland.
I say that from every point of view the case that has been made out for this new Clause to-day is overwhelmingly in its favour, and if the Government want to improve their efficiency—and goodness knows there is plenty of room for it!—the 775 Home Secretary would be well advised to reconsider the determination of the Government upon this point, and give way in some little degree to what is evidently the strong opinion of the House of Commons. Not one single speech has been made in support of the rejection of this proposal, and really to flout the opinion of the House of Commons in this way when the Proposer and Seconder of this new Clause are quite prepared to meet the Home Secretary on the question of delay, is an extraordinary proceeding which I do not believe the Government can attempt to justify. I would like to say in conclusion that I have only one objection to this new Clause, and it is this: I am very sorry indeed that the Proposer and the Seconder of this new Clause have limited it to the object they have put down, because I believe it would be eminently desirable in the interests of this country that all these Orders, no matter with what branch of this subject they deal, should be placed upon the Table and brought under the review of hon. Members of this House. I have an Amendment to a later Clause with regard to the case of Ireland, and I hope the Chief Secretary, when that Amendment is reached, is not going to follow the bad example of the Home Secretary, but will give it some reasoned consideration, which so far this Amendment has not received from the Government.
§ Sir GEORGE RADFORD
I am very grateful to my hon. Friend opposite for proposing this Amendment, and I feel sure that the House will be well advised in continuing to give it serious consideration. It is only a proposal to impose some minor measure of Parliamentary control upon the Director-General of National Service in a matter of restricting and suspending industry. That is a matter of grave importance, and it ought to be carefully considered. I make no attack whatever upon the Director-General of National Service, and I am willing to give him credit for high character, acute intellect, and beneficent intentions. But we must remember, as was said of Falstaff, who was not only witty himself, but the cause of wit in others, so the Director-General of National Service is not only omnipotent himself under this Bill, but he can confer omnipotence on the Sub-Commissioner. We have to consider what kind of power 776 we are conferring upon gentlemen who are not very eminent, or perhaps of the highest administrative ability, and we should exercise some caution in the way those individual powers are conferred. As has already been suggested, the matter would be of no importance if these powers were conferred on the Commissioner himself, but we have found in the Ministries that have been set up during the last few weeks, and which, in fact, are-being set up almost daily, that although there is every good quality inherent In the Ministry, such as intelligent capacity and other good qualities, these qualities do not reach the extremities. I have reason to doubt whether in the War Office the great intelligence which dominates that Department does not appear always to extend to the lowest extremities, and it is a grave danger we incur when we set up a Ministry which has power to make regulations in regard' to which we should be denied the opportunity of considering them for ten days, or even for forty-eight hours, in this House. I hope the Government will give some attention to this matter, and I believe that in doing so they will be gratifying not only hon. Members of this House, but they will also be doing their duty to the country.
I would like to ask what is meant by a non-essential trade. Has any definition been given of an essential industry? I have in mind not only the interests of labour and large industries like those in the Potteries, but lots of little industries throughout the country whose existence may depend upon the word of this new dictator. Because an industry is small it is not necessarily unessential, and who is there amongst the business men of this country with such omniscience and such a wide and intimate knowledge of one business and another who would be capable of giving a just judgment on a matter of that kind? I can understand that certain luxury trades could be dispensed with without any loss to the country, but it is almost impossible to lay down a schedule of industries which are not essential one to the other even in connection with armaments and munitions upon which we depend to carry on the War. We have had already some experiments in the scheduling of trades. We have had a number of lists issued, and there has been no list which has not required revision within a few weeks after 777 it has been issued. That means that mistakes were discovered almost as soon as the list was issued. Under this Bill you are proposing to put this power into the hands of one man—I admit, that he is a capable business man to whom we wish success, and he may be able as well as any other man to judge the relative merits of these various trades, but he only knows his own. trade and perhaps one or two others, and he cannot possess the wide knowledge of all the industries of the country which would enable him to prevent immeasurable hardships and injustice being done to many of the smaller industries of this country. If an archangel were made Director-General of National Service he would not be capable of doing this work properly. All this new Clause asks is: when a schedule has been published this House shall have an opportunity, if it is only twenty-four hours, of pronouncing judgment upon it before it comes into operation.
We have amongst the members of this House someone connected with almost all the industries of the country, and by our collective knowledge and experience we may be able to check mistakes which may otherwise pass unobserved. This Bill is an attempt to carry still further the process, which has been adopted ever since the War broke out, of undermining Parliamentary control. It is a further attempt to facilitate and accentuate the process of destroying the little man and building up the big man, and making it almost impossible for a man to get a livelihood at all if he does not happen to be a millionaire; a process of undermining the rights and liberties of the working classes themselves by forcing them out of their present employment in order to force them into some other employment which they do not desire under the pretext that it is necessary to carry on the War. This kind of interference with industries, so far from facilitating the progress of the War, tends to create chaos throughout the industrial world, and does not eliminate unnecessary employment which would release men for necessary employment. In this way you are creating confusion and employing men in a lot of unnecessary work which might easily be avoided. We have instituted bureaux, and these have been drawing men from other useful work. May I appeal to the Home Secretary to give us this small concession which this Clause asks for, even if the period is reduced, so that we may 778 have some opportunity of correcting the mistakes which no man is infallible enough not to make.
§ Sir WILLIAM PEARCE
I hope the Government will consider this proposal, because it is evident that there is some anxiety in the House about giving these very large powers to one man. After all, I think I am justified in saying that the best opinion which has been given on this subject says that already Mr. Neville Chamberlain has made very great mistakes. There is going to be a very important deputation to-morrow to three of the great Government Departments, asking that an industrial council should be consulted before these Regulations are enforced. I think, therefore, it is necessary that the Government should make some concession on this point, and it should be taken out of the hands of one individual, however able, to make these Regulations, which are bound to have enormous consequences upon all sorts and kinds of people.
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Colonel Sir CHARLES SEELY
It appears to me that the reason given by the Home Secretary for resisting this Amendment is not quite germane to the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman quoted the Defence of the Realm Regulations in regard to a matter upon which it was necessary to act suddenly and promptly. That was quite true. When the Defence of the Realm Act was passed at the beginning of the War the things people were doing which it was necessary to provide for was in order to prevent some enemy alien making arrangements to blow up the people of this country, and the Regulations were intended to enable the Government to do something quickly or take a decision in order to do something for the, existence and support of our troops. In such circumstances, clearly, you do not want things to lie on the Table for a week or ten days and you want to be able to act at once. What we are dealing with, however, is a different case. What you are doing in the case of this Bill is you are giving a man the power to declare that a particular industry is not essential. You do not say that the particular industry concerned is doing any injury, and you only say that it is non-essential. Under these circumstances, what harm can it possibly do to delay for a day or two the question whether it is non-essential or not? If you are going to close a dressmaker's shop or a small industry, what 779 does it matter whether you do so on Monday or on Monday week? You have two objects. One is to save money, and the other is to give you extra men for other industries. Anyone who has any knowledge of business knows that one is just as likely to lose money by acting in a hurry as by taking another week or ten days to think the matter over. I would appeal to my right hon. Friend to reconsider the question. I do not say that he should necessarily do it in this particular way, though it has always seemed to me that one of the best and most effective and valuable means of obtaining the opinion of the House on questions of this kind is by leaving these Orders to lie on the Table of the House; but if the Government do not like the plan, let them adopt some other method. I would at any rate appeal to them to make some arrangement other than giving to some individual whose knowledge of the circumstances must necessarily be small uncontrolled power to close particular small businesses without any appeal to this House, which, as was rightly said by the hon. Member who spoke last, contains in it someone connected with almost every industry in the country, some 670 Members who are in constant touch with their constituents, and who have been sent here by their constituents with the definite object and instruction of protecting them from improper Departmental action. If my right hon. Friend would think over the points of this Debate, he would realise that the Government and the Director-General of National Service would be wise in their own protection, and in order to ensure good results, to take some means of this kind to prevent the Director-General from making the very serious mistakes which he may otherwise make, and cause the very greatest injury to the industries of this country, and particularly to the small and often rather unprotected though very valuable industries which exist throughout the small towns and country districts.
I have listened with great interest to the very large number of speeches which have been made in criticism of this Bill. The last speaker was somewhat refreshing to me, for his argument appeared to be that it was much better to delay any action under this Bill by ten days or a fortnight than to do anything in a hurry.
§ Sir C. SEELY
I said rather than, make mistakes in a hurry. I have had some experience of business, and gentlemen who act in a hurry usually make mistakes.
If my hon. Friend had allowed me to finish, possibly I should have convinced him that I had also had some experience. I stated that the hon. Member appeared to think it was better to delay a matter for ten days or a fortnight than to do anything in a hurry which might result in a mistake. That is the opinion of the Director-General of National Service. If he has been criticised in the country and in the Press for one thing more than another it is because he has not done things fast enough. He has been rushed from every quarter, pressed and urged to get on and to do things, while, if I may say so with all respect of my chief, he is a man who will! not do things until he has taken counsel of all the experts, and until he feels that he can do so without making mistakes. The hon. Member for Limehouse (Sir W. Pearce) also made a most unfair attack upon the Director-General. He said that he had already made many mistakes Possibly, but as a proof of this the hon. Gentleman went on to say that a large-deputation was meeting several heads of the Government to-morrow7 with a view of adjusting the mistakes of the Director-General of National Service. Those may not be his exact words, but I think it is a fair interpretation of what the hon. Gentleman meant.
§ Sir W. PEARCE
It is not what I meant. The deputation to-morrow has nothing to do with any mistakes that I think the Director-General may have made. It is quite independent of them.
If the hon. Member will look at the OFFICIAL REPORT tomorrow, I think he will see that his words as near as possible were these: "The Director-General in the opinion of many responsible persons has already made many mistakes, and in point of fact a deputation is meeting several heads of the Government to-morrow."
§ Sir W. PEARCE
I am sorry if I put it in that way, and I withdraw. I did not intend to lead the House to suppose-that the deputation to-morrow had anything to do with any mistakes that I consider the Director-General may have-made.
I am very much obliged to the hon. Member for that concession. The deputation, I happen to know, is to four heads of the Government, one of whom is the Director-General, and it is on the general question of the restriction both of labour and material supplied to the engineering and kindred trades. An hon. Member opposite (Mr. Chancellor) asked a very pertinent question—What is an essential industry? The Director-General of National Service is particularly anxious that there should not be this talk about "essential and nonessential industries." He has himself on more than one occasion said that it is most difficult to define an essential industry. Both in speech and in print he has over and over again referred to industries as "industries of primary importance" and "less essential industries." There has been a list published of industries of primary importance, and there has also been published a list of less essential industries. Between these two there must be some which are neither the one nor the other, but which are important industries in this country. The whole object of this Order which has been issued about less essential industries is to prevent as far as possible them taking on more men. The hon. Member for the Attercliffe Division (Mr. Anderson) made a most eloquent speech, which I am sure quite convinced many Members that the result of this Order was going to be chaos in industry. It was going to give the Director-General power to limit wages. There is nothing in the Order about wages.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
It is quite plain that we are diverging into a Debate on the administrative functions of the Director-General. Provision has been made for that in an Estimate, and it should be discussed in Committee of Supply. We must restrict ourselves now to the legislative proposal before us as to what powers he is to have and not how he is to exercise those powers.
I am sorry if I have transgressed, but with great respect I have only been endeavouring to answer 782 questions which you have permitted to be raised in this House. I have not gone on any new ground of my own. Of course, I will abide by your ruling. As I understand it a certain Order, the Restricted Industries Order, has been issued, and hon. Members have enlarged on the fact. They prefer that such Orders should be laid on the Table in future. The Order, however, has been issued without this Bill. It has not been issued by the Director-General, but under powers which are now vested in the Government. It has really been issued by the Cabinet, after consultation with and consideration by all the Government Departments. I believe it was actually issued by the Ministry of Munitions. It must be quite clear that this Bill does not extend the power of the Government a single inch. All it does is to say that certain powers now possessed by the Government may be entrusted to the Director-General, and the chief object of the Department of the Director-General is to prevent any individual hardship, both to employer and employé, resulting from any such Order as this Restricted Industries Order. This Department is really set up for the adjustment of labour here and labour there, and for the putting right and working of these Orders which are necessary in these critical times.
§ Mr. THOMAS
I submit to the Home Secretary that he has heard sufficient this afternoon to convince him that on all sides of the House there is a general desire for Parliamentary control in this matter. We are not at the moment discussing the merits of the National Service Bill, but we are asking, before any new Orders are issued, that Parliament should have an opportunity of expressing an opinion on those Orders. Whatever may be said about Parliamentary control, the letter bag of every Member proves after all that our constituents do appeal to us above everybody else, and we must admit, if there is a real hardship or a grievance, or if the people want to ventilate their feelings, that they do look to Members of Parliament as the best people to apply to. We ought in this connection to consider one important fact. Some of the Orders apply, not only to the least important employers, but to the worst organised class of men. You have to remember that the people affected by these Orders are the least organised. The large trade unions are quite capable of taking care of themselves. The largely organised bodies have already shown that they can deal 783 with these questions, but the people affected by the questions which we are now discussing are the worst organised. I would rather put it to the Home Secretary in this way. He must remember that if his scheme is to be a success—and I hope it will be a success—it will depend entirely upon the reception that is given to it in the country and upon the way people will approach it. As a matter of fact I am addressing a meeting myself in a few hours on this scheme, and I would be bound to say, unless some guarantee is given, that Parliament has absolutely no control over this matter, and, as the hon. Member for the Attercliffe Division (Mr. Anderson)has said, the latest Order issued is a direct violation of the promise of the Home Secretary. There was a specific and definite guarantee that no industrial compulsion was contemplated or intended, but in the application of this latest Order you cannot avoid it.
§ Mr. THOMAS
In the application of it what the right hon. Gentleman intends cannot be given effect to. I know he is anxious to avoid it, but let me put it to him—and I think I raised the same point on Second Beading. A number of men apply for an advance in wages owing to the increased cost of living -quite a legitimate application. Their claim could be established on merits, but the employer says, "No; I refuse to accede to your request." The men then cannot say, "Very well, we will strike," because, if they strike, by this Order it is impossible for them to obtain employment in any other industry, because it says no man shall be employed under eighteen or over sixty. I am dealing, of course, with the particular industries that will be affected by this Order, and I have clearly pointed out that they are the less essential industries; but because they are less essential that does not dispose of the fact that under this particular Order you are penalising these men. I do submit to the Home Secretary that he need not accept the Amendment in its present form, and that if the period of ten days is too long and will seriously interfere with it, the Mover of the Amendment and those who support it are not anxious for delay or merely to upset the arrangements. It is moved with a genuine desire that if an Order is issued Parliament at least shall 784 have an opportunity of expressing an opinion upon it. Upon these grounds, and having regard to the anxiety that I have personally for the success of the scheme, and to the fair and legitimate criticism that has been applied this afternoon, I hope the Home Secretary will reconsider his position, and, if not accept the Amendment in its present form, do something to meet the objections that have been raised.
§ Mr. DILLON
I think it is a great pity that this Bill has not been reprinted, because the Bill we have before us now was that which was originally introduced, and in Committee we put in a most important Amendment, and therefore hon. Members are now at a great disadvantage. But that is not all. I think it is a very bad treatment of the House that the Orders which we are now discussing, and which are part and parcel of this Bill—really the main part of it—should not have been left in the Vote Office along with the Bill, because the hon. and gallant Member who addressed the House a few minutes ago on behalf of the Controller (Major Hamilton) put forward this amazing defence: He said there was nothing in the Bill, and, in fact, he almost said we did not need to discuss it at ail, because it adds nothing to the powers of the Government. Then he went on to say that the Order to which reference has frequently been made in the course of this Debate, and which I cannot lay my hands on, was issued, not by the Controller and not under the authority of the Bill, but by the Cabinet, through the Ministry of Munitions, and out of the powers vested in them under the Defence of the Realm Acts or the Munitions Act. AH I can say is this, that already in this Debate we have had an illustration in the speech of the hon. and gallant Member of the extraordinary mass and tangle of confusion into which the whole administration of these new Departments has been thrown. If anybody seeks to make me believe that any advantage has been gained by issuing this Order and carrying on the operations which have been carried on under it before the Bill was passed, then I say you could not possibly have a better illustration of the injury which precipitate haste is doing in these matters.
The whole country is laughing at these proceedings, and the overlapping and confusion occurring between these different Departments has become a perfect danger to the country and a laughing-stock. This 785 Order, which has already, I believe, been amended more than once, when it was first introduced undoubtedly aroused the utmost possible alarm amongst large sections of the population. We got up one morning and found in the "Times" newspaper a list of essential trades, and in that list the cotton trade was not included. The consequence was that throughout the whole of Lancashire the following day there existed the utmost alarm, and the proceedings of the Government in relation to the cotton trade since then will intensify that alarm; in fact, there was a good deal of ground given in the Debate which subsequently took place for doubt as to whether, when this Bill is passed and the Controller has full power, he will consider the cotton trade of this country an essential trade or in the first rank of essential trades. There are a variety of other trades that are seriously alarmed, and I may say that, now the Bill is being extended to Ireland, there are many trades in Ireland that are seriously alarmed.
Take the woollen trade. Is the woollen trade of this country essential? Who will answer that question? I never heard a more interesting Debate in this House than that which took place in regard to the woollen industry on the Address in reply to the Speech from the Throne. A great many men in this House who are experts in the woollen industry, and who rarely address the House, made speeches of the most extraordinary interest, in which they showed that before this Bill is passed the Controllers already in possession of the industries of this country have so hampered and harassed and annoyed the great woollen manufacturers of this? country, who are one of the main sources of its wealth, that they are threatened with the gravest possible injury, and that they have done that precisely because there was an army of young inspectors who, without the smallest atom of knowledge, were sent down from London to range about and lay down the law for one of the most technical industries in the whole world, which it has taken centuries of invention and labour to bring to its present state of perfection. Young fellows from London, knowing nothing about it, came down and undertook to instruct the woollen manufacturers of this country what yarns they were to use and how they were to make their cloth, and they put the most preposterous questions. For instance, they 786 were going to close down or restrict certain materials because they wanted the woollen manufacturers to declare whether certain manufactures were devoted to foreign trade or to home trade, and they proposed to allow those who were making for the foreign trade to go on manufacturing and to stop those who were making for home trade. As several hon. Members explained to us, nothing could possibly be more idiotic than such proposals, because the manufacturer, as a matter of fact, very generally does not know whether his cloth is going to the foreign or to the home trade, and every manufacturer in the country—or at least many of them—manufacture for both trades; and yet these young gentlemen, with whom the whole country is now swarming and who are more conceited and more dictatorial in proportion to their ignorance and inexperience, are to be let loose in fresh swarms on these most delicate questions as to what trades are essential and what trades are non-essential, without allowing the House of Commons to have a voice. What about the Irish linen trade? Is it essential or not? I defy any hon. or right hon. Gentleman on the Front Bench to answer that question.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
We really might roam the whole day if we were to enter into the administrative side of the question. We must keep strictly to the question of the power which is to be given under the Bill.
§ Mr. DILLON
But, surely, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I am entitled to illustrate what may be the result of passing the Bill without this control?
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
That is so, and the hon. Member gave a very effective illustration, if I may say so, but he takes it too far.
§ Mr. DILLON
I will not continue giving individual illustrations, but, in my opinion, the hon. Member who spoke just now—one of the Members for a London constituency (Mr. Chancellor)—pointed out that one of the great dangers that this power of issuing these lists of trades to be restricted opens up is this, that undoubtedly the great millionaire wealthy companies, who have, many of them, many shareholders in this House, and, at all events, have great resources and powerful influences, may be able to protect themselves, but the small struggling industries of the country will not be able to protect them- 787 selves, and the one and only hope they have is their Member of Parliament. If they are driven out of existence and their industries destroyed, which is exceedingly likely, without any consideration, and perhaps quite unjustly and unreasonably and without any regard to the real interests of the country, their only resource is to write to their Member of Parliament and direct his attention to the list; and from our experience of the form of the new Government every day, the power of Parliament is being restricted and handed over to the control of the enormous bureaucratic machine that we have set up to rule over us. Therefore, I think, the Amendment is one that deserves our warmest support, in order that we may endeavour to maintain some sort of protection for the people of this country, for a system which, in my opinion, is full of danger and of oppression, through the fact that bureaucracy all over the world, even the most perfect and trained bureaucracy, such as that of Prussia and of Germany, is open to great mistakes, and a bureaucracy such as we are setting up, which is wholly untrained and must be composed of ignorant and inexperienced men, is sure to make an enormous amount of blunders. I can only say, in conclusion, that we ought to learn from the enemy. We had the whole Press of this country in full chorus a short time ago declaring that we must imitate Prussia. Prussia had then started universal service, and therefore we must imitate it. As a matter of fact, it has been a dismal failure in Germany. The whole country is in revolt against it; and you had better take care, if these safeguards are refused by the Government, that you do not largely increase and render formidable for the first time the peace party in this country.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I am sorry that the Bill has not been reprinted, because the Committee stage was finished a few days ago and it undoubtedly is very awkward. With regard to the Clause before us, I would point out to the House that the Government have already made a concession to the House inasmuch as they have given an undertaking that the salary of the Minister of National Service shall be put upon the Votes, therefore the House will have an opportunity of criticising and reviewing his action when the Estimates come before it. That is a very valuable concession, for which the House ought to thank the Government.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Quite so; it is only the right of the House of Commons, but the rights of the House of Commons have been infringed very often, and no one has said so more than myself. It therefore gives me pleasure to find that the powers that be are awaking to the fact that the rights of the House of Commons have to be recognised. When I first saw this Clause I was rather inclined to think it was one that the Government might accept, but on further consideration I have come to the conclusion that they could not accept it, if only for the reason which I understand has already been given by the Home Secretary, that when the House is not sitting nothing could be done under the Bill.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
That may be. Last year we adjourned from the middle of August until the middle of September, and then from the middle of December until the middle of February. That would leave an interval of two months during which nothing could be done. In the circumstances the House would be well advised not to accept the Clause. I am not in favour of all these new offices which are going to compel people to do all sorts of things, nor am I in favour of putting the power into the hands of one man, and I have not hesitated to say so. I do not believe that these new posts will answer. That, however, is an objection on principle, and, as we have already admitted the principle on the Second Reading of the Bill, possibly wrongly, it would not be wise to hang it up and say that when the House is not sitting nothing can be done under the Bill.
§ Commander WEDGWOOD
I am quite certain that the Home Secretary and the Government will acquit me of any hostility to the Bill, because I have frequently addressed meetings in the country in favour of it, and have now just returned from my own Constituency, where I have been speaking in favour of National Service. But speaking, as I 789 must, for one particular non-essential industry, I would urge the Government to accept this Clause. The district which I represent in this House is one preeminently associated with the manufacture of pottery. That manufacture is one of the less essential industries in wartime. The manufacturers and the workpeople in that industry are prepared, if necessary, to close down that industry in order to win the War, but they first want to be convinced that it is necessary and to be able to argue their ease on the floor of this House, because action may be taken by some more or less irresponsible individual who has it in his power to strangle an entire industry. That industry has managed during the three years of the War to keep going. Their exports, particularly to the United States of America, have kept up to, if not exceeded, pre-war standards. That is an industry which is finding the sinews of war for this country. I maintain that the export trade, helping as it does the American exchange, providing as it must the money which is being so lavishly spent on the War, is, if not as essential as munition making, almost as essential as those trades which are directly interested in carrying on the War. If this Clause is not carried, this industry will be absolutely in the hands of Mr. Neville Chamberlain and his office. Honestly, I do not feel inclined to entrust an industry like that to one man without there being any power of control over him. It is all very well to say that his salary will be put upon the Estimates in future and that when those Estimates come on who shall be able to discuss his action. That will be too late. If these industries are closed down, discussion cannot effect anything.
I should like to put before the House one or two arguments respecting this particular trade which probably affect other trades of similarly nominal non-essential character in much the same way. If under this Bill you are going to take away potters of forty-five to fifty years of age, skilled men earning 45s. to 50s. per week, who have volunteered under this scheme or who are brought in under any subsequent compulsory scheme, if you take away these men, who are good men and irreplaceable, and put them to agricultural work, it is a waste for the whole of the community. It is far better that these men should be making goods which can still be sent to America in the empty ships that return to that country, goods 790 which will bring financial resources to the country. A man kept at work at a trade which he knows and in receipt of good wages is better for the country than a man at work at a very low rate of pay in a trade to which he is not accustomed. That argument applies, not only to the pottery trade, but to dozens of trades in this country. It is of vital importance that, moved by the clamour of the agricultural interest, men who have volunteered under this National Service scheme or who are brought in under a compulsory scheme should not be taken away from the trade they know and put to a trade which is very much in the limelight at the present time, but which cannot contribute so much to the strength and soundness of the country's finances and the well-being of the country as a whole.
Again, if you are going to take away men who are classed as A, I think the industry can stand it, but when you are dealing with men under forty-one years of age, men in B 2, B 3, C 2, and C 3, men fitted for Home defence it is true, men fitted for garrison duty at home, or even garrison duty abroad, it is far better, in the interest of the industries concerned, to leave those men making goods which produce money for the country than to take them away from their trades. We can just carry on without the A men. If all the men passed as fit for active service abroad are taken, that industry can carry on I believe, but if you proceed to take the other categories of men only fit for garrison duty you will automatically closedown an industry which at the present time is employing over 80 per cent. of women and boys. It would be disastrous if, acting on the powers given him under this Bill, without any consultation with Parliament, the Director-General of National Service should step in and take away men from these less essential trades, whether they be under military age and of the lower categories or over military age and volunteers, and apply them to agriculture or to munition making, at which they are novices. It is because I fear that taking place that I feel bound to support my hon. Friend in regard to this Clause 1 can assure the House that I am as anxious to see industry organised and to see this Bill passed into law as any Member on the Government Bench. I have proved that by speaking at meetings, by volunteering myself for service, and in every possible way. But to trust a Govern- 791 ment as implicitly as this Bill would have us do at the present time seems to be impossible.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. Hayes Fisher)
We have had now about two hours' Debate upon a very important Amendment. May I appeal to the House to bring this discussion to a termination pretty soon? [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"]
§ Mr. HAYES FISHER
My right hon. Friend who is in charge of the Bill has already said that he cannot accept the Amendment. My right hon. Friend and I have listened to every speech from every quarter of the House. It is impossible for me or anyone else not to have a great deal of sympathy with the general arguments that have been addressed to the House. After all, this is an emergency measure. Does it involve greater hardship than many of the processes under the Military Service Acts? We have heard a great deal to-day of the destruction of the one-man business. Who knows more than I do at the Local Government Board of the hardship created when the one man was taken from his business, which was often destroyed by that process? Why has that had to be done? Solely because of the necessities of the War. The necessities of the War are the only defence I can make either for this measure or for not accepting the Amendment.
§ Mr. HAYES FISHER
I listened to the speech of my hon. and gallant Friend, and I know with what zeal he has prosecuted the War in every possible way. He has said that he is in favour of this measure, that he desires the organisation of industry, and that he believes this Amendment would have some practical effect in protecting the particular industry with which he is more or less associated and which he thinks he ought to champion in this House. My right hon. Friend, at the beginning of the Debate, while he could not accept the Amendment, said that this was an emergency measure. It is perfectly useless to bring in measures for organising industry or restricting industry unless you can bring them into effect almost immediately, or unless they have 792 a swift operation. That is the opinion of the Government and it is the opinion of the Director-General of National Service that these powers must be exercised quickly and swiftly if they are to be of any value.
Then my right hon. Friend said if you carry this Amendment it will mean that sometimes for a period of as much as three weeks or a month the Director-General of National Service would be able to take no action of what he would think a highly valuable character in organising and restricting our industries. During a Recess it might be longer still, possibly as much as six weeks or two months, and during that time it might be futile to attempt to put these restrictions in force at all. I do not know exactly why the House should grudge to the Director-General of National Service powers which it has already given to the Director-General of Food. No Amendment of this kind will apply to measures which he concerts in the interests of the War and of our country. I sometimes hear it said that the Director-General of National Service after all is only one man, and one man can ruin individuals and can ruin industries. But so can the Director-General of Food Control, and so can others. If he wishes to use his powers harshly he can use them harshly. But after all, why should the Director-General of National Service desire to ruin industries'! He has especially stated that he does not even wish to suppress them; and although he may have to take measures which will deprive them of a certain portion of their labour, in no case does he desire to abolish them, but in every case he desires to try to keep a nucleus of those industries, so that they may be revised when the War is happily over. But, after all, the Director-General of National Service has advisers, and he is hardly likely to interfere and to restrict the industry of which my hon. and gallant Friend spoke without consultation with them. After all, these great interests and industries can approach the Director-General by means of deputation. Their spokesmen in this House will put questions. There are such things as Motions on the Finance Bill, on the Consolidated Fund Bill, and various Motions for Adjournment on which these questions can be raised. If there were any very wide action taken which deeply and prejudicially affected any large body of industries— —
§ Mr. HAYES FISHER
We are going to debate cotton on Wednesday. I do not take the same view as my hon. Friend of the powers of this House. I believe the powers of this House—I wish they were better, but they are very extensive and very formidable, and I believe if any large body of industry is likely to be affected by any restrictions proposed by the Director of National Service they will make themselves heard through Members in this House who have the ear of this House.
§ Mr. HAYES FISHER
If they are small in the aggregate their interests will be shared by a great number of Members and there will be a volume of voice in the House which I believe will reach the Government, and it will have some operative effect upon orders issued by the Director-General of National Service. No one desires more keenly than I do to preserve as far as possible the rights of the House. I have sat for far more years on a back bench than I have on the Front Bench, and I have the deepest possible sympathy with ordinary Members of the House. I have heard no suggestions this afternoon of any Amendment to the Amendment. I think there has been a general admission that if it were carried it would tie the hands of the Director-General of National Service in a way I do not think my hon. and gallant Friend would desire. The Home Secretary is unable, although he has carefully thought the matter over, to devise any other method by which this House could be enabled to raise a question which they desire to raise on the Orders of the Director-General of National Service, and therefore I think we must put our trust in the Director-General and in such processes as are still left to the House of Commons by which they can ventilate their own grievances and the grievances of those whom they represent.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
I am certain the whole House sympathises with the Front Bench. We know perfectly well the position in which it is placed. It is asking for very special powers, and it finds it impossible to defend its request in such a way as to convince the House that the request is reasonable. That is the difficulty of the situation. I should like to meet them, but in such a 794 way as would be satisfactory to the House and to the interests outside, because it is not enough merely to come and say, "We are in a war and we want exceptional legislation." Ministers must prove that the request is a necessity and not merely say that it has occurred to them as being desirable. The hon. Gentleman has reminded the House that there is no power being given to the Director-General of National Service by this Bill which is not enjoyed by some other Minister occupying the same status as he does himself. That may be so, but we have had experience, and as every new Department is created the experience we have had of the old is sufficient to make us a little suspicious of the power we are asked to give to the new. Further, the powers which Mr. Neville Chamberlain is going to exercise are very much more important than those which the Food Controller, for instance, is going to exercise. I do not think the hon. Gentleman has visualised what the meaning of this authority is in terms of actual fact. At any rate, he has not shown it by what he has said this afternoon. What is going to happen is this: One man is going to be put in absolute control of the industries of the country. He is going to be allowed to say this is necessary and this is not, this is primary and this is secondary, and he is going to be allowed to issue Orders under this Bill which mean that every man engaged in that industry,. first of all the employer and then the workpeople between the ages of eighteen and sixty, is going to obey any Order issued by the Director-General of National Service. He is going to be kept on, if he is a workman, if the Director-General thinks he ought to be; he is going to be discharged if the Director-General thinks he ought to be. The employer can take no one on unless the Director-General thinks he ought to take him on. As a matter of fact this one man, sitting in a central office in London, is going to be able to say regarding every factory and workshop in the United Kingdom, "This can be kept on, full steam ahead, with complete staffs and complete productive efficiency," or he can say it has got to be reduced to a nucleus. The hon. Gentleman used the word "nucleus" for the purpose of giving us confidence in the Director-General. Really when I read that statement that showed me that the Director-General did want controlling. For any man to have an idea that he by his obiter dictum can say, "This industry 795 can be reduced to what I call a nucleus and still go on, still keep its market, still keep its effective use of the capital sunk in it and used up in it, still keep its machinery going and its labour supply in operation, "is a proposition so absurd that no one who has thought about it would ever have used the idea at all. Therefore, from that point of view, the case for control is absolutely unanswerable.
But there is another point. The nature of the work that is going to be given to this Director-General is such that it is not enough for him to consult his expert advisers. Who are those expert advisers? Civil servants. The Civil Service is a very admirable body, but Civil servants ought never to be put in the position of a legislator, and all these lists and all these Regulations referred to in the new Clause are of the nature of legislation and not of the nature of administrative Orders. For a responsible man to remain outside this House and consult members of the Civil Service regarding the fate of those industries, regarding the use of their capital and labour, is really a demand made upon the credulity and blindness of this House far greater than has been made in respect of any Department that has been created hitherto. Therefore, this House ought to retain its control. It is said this new Clause cannot be worked. I should be far more ready to accept the force of that? objection if some steps had been taken to retain the control of the House in a different form. There is a very obvious form. Why not create a Committee of the House to advise the Director-General—a Committee which shall have a statutory standing, a Committee of Members which will not merely be called in as the Director wishes, but a Committee which will be charged with Statutory authority to revise its Regulations. I quite admit that if we are going to compel the Director to come to us here before he could issue anything it would not be effective and it would not toe efficient, but surely in this House, where there are simply scores of us wanting work that we can do—scores of Members with that grip of the general mechanism of the industries of this country which is necessary—it is not merely enough to put a man who knows cotton, a man who knows wool, a man who knows the production of pottery, and so on; we must also have men upon this Committee advising the Director-General who knows the whole of the mechanism and the 796 interlacing and interlocking of the various processes of industry in this country. Get them represented. Get your practical business man represented, who is also a Member of the House. Get a sufficiently large Committee which should be really representative of the constituencies, so that letters can pour in to its Members when any Order is about to be issued, so that all the interests of the nation will be carefully considered, and see to it that the Committee is one of experts—not merely of Civil Service experts, but of legislative House of Commons experts—and then I think, at any rate, that would be a fair means of meeting the demand that my hon. Friend has made. Unless something is done which will retain the control over these Regulations with the legislative authority, and not merely with the administrative authority of the country, I shall support my hon. Friend if he carries his new Clause to a Division.
§ Mr. J. O'CONNOR
We have just head a speech from the right hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. Hayes Fisher). If anybody were capable of persuading the House that it ought to pursue a certain course I am sure the sauve and gentle manner of the right hon. Gentleman could succeed in that. He begs the House not to pass this Amendment, but to give the power demanded by the Government, and in his own persuasive manner he endeavours to convince us that no harm will follow. But if we look at the second Clause, Subsection (2) we see that it proposes to confer upon the Government extraordinary powers. It says:
The Director-General of National Service shall, for that purpose, have such powers and duties of any Government Department or authority, whether conferred by Statute or otherwise.That is to say, they will have all the powers conferred under the Defence of the Realm Act. Will the right hon. Gentleman consider for a moment that under the Defence of the Realm Act the Government has power to imprison people without trial? Is it possible that it would be conferred upon any Government, no matter how well-intentioned they may be, that they should have the power which caused a revolution in my country—the power of lettres des cachet in France, a power which was exercised in a general manner in quite recent times in Ireland. Those 797 great powers are conferred by this Clause, yet, forsooth, we must not ask for any defence against the excessive exercise of any such powers. I know very well that the Home Secretary may be relied upon. I know his gentle nature. I know how large-minded he is, but I have seen other men in his place. I have seen other men who, when they have tried to get laws passed in this House, have assured the House that if they had to administer the Act they would never consent to the excessive use of any powers that were given. I remember the late Mr. W. E. Forster say to a friend in the Lobby once, when the Coercion Act of 1881 was before the House, that he would never dream of proposing such a measure to the House of Commons only that he himself would have the administration of it. We know how fatal were the results of that administration. He ruined Ireland, he ruined this country, and he ruined his own life. I know the right hon. Gentleman assures us that he will not exercise these terrible powers that have been given under the Defence of the Realm Act, but I submit that the right hon. Member for Fulham could hardly have contemplated the enormous power about to be conferred by this Bill when he made his speech. Therefore, on that ground and even on that ground alone, I will support the Amendment to whatever extent the hon. Member who has proposed it proposes to go.
I was very pleased to hear some of the speeches which have been delivered; for example, the speech of the hon. Member for Attercliffe (Mr. Anderson). The hon. Gentleman has made an established position for himself in this House. He has shown great ability in the discussion of the various subjects to which he addresses himself. I was pleased with his speech for another reason. He inveighed against the proposal to further establish the principles of bureaucracy in the Government of this country. Knowing well that the hon. Gentleman is a representative Socialist, I was very pleased to find that he has abandoned, so far at all events, that dreadful principle of Socialism of which I have a most wholesome fear. I remember years ago reading in that wonderful work of Bellamy's, "Looking Backward," how we were to be organised into armies of industry; how we were to be navvies, or engineers or something of that kind, and I looked with terror at that state of society being organised, because I knew very well the very humble position 798 I should occupy in such a State. Being a man who is not assertive, or in any way a man who pushes himself to the front, I knew I most certainly would not be one of the captains of industry.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Maclean)
I would remind the hon. Member that we have passed the Second Reading stage of the Bill, and are now dealing with a new Clause on the Report stage. Will he confine his remarks to the new Clause before the House?
§ Mr. O'CONNOR
I thank you, Sir, and I shall endeavour to make my observations relevant to the Amendment. The Amendment is for the purpose of establishing some control, or at all events of conserving the control of this House over the rules and regulations that are made under legitimate authority. That being so, I will not indulge in the diversion of expressing my gratification on finding that we are not to have such an organisation of labour as I feared under the state of things to which I was referring. Having it on the authority of the hon. Member for Attercliffe, I am perfectly well satisfied. The hon. Member resisted the bureaucracy idea, and that is where my relevancy comes in. I also resist bureaucracy, and I was pleased to find such an able exponent of the principles I have always professed. The hon. Member is looking forward, and not looking backward, nor is he arguing upon the principles that are to be found in some other volume of that character which I read—"News from Nowhere," I think it was called, by my old friend William Morris. The hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury), in his very useful remarks—for he always speaks with knowledge of the House and knowledge of the general principles that should govern the House—maintained that the House had sufficient control and sufficient power of examination by the ordinary means. He said that we could discuss these rules and regulations when we discussed the salary of the Home Secretary or whatever Minister will have to answer for and defend the Minister of National Service in this House, and that we should have that opportunity for discussion on the Estimates. That is utterly inadequate. That would be once a year, when the rules and regulations had been in operation for perhaps ten or eleven months. All the practices possible under those regulations may have been exer- 799 cised before we have an opportunity of opening discussion. Much as I respect the suggestions of the right hon. Baronet, I respectfully submit to him and to the House that that process of discussion would be entirely inadequate. It may be that before we have an opportunity of discussing the rules and regulations on the Estimates under the head of salaries, the War may be happily over.
§ Mr. O'CONNOR
I was presiding last Friday at a meeting outside this House, and a very eminent gentleman—a former Member of this House—who has devoted considerable time and great ability and knowledge to the discussion of the conditions under which the War is being carried on, stated it as his opinion that the War would be over by next October. I allude to Mr. Hilaire Belloc, who once adorned this House. If that is so, the claim made by the Home Secretary, and I think by the hon. Member for Fulham, certainly by the right hon. Baronet the Member for the City, that we can sufficiently discuss the rules and regulations once a year by discussion on the Estimates, would be utterly inadequate. The answer of the Government is entirely insufficient. I think that the new Clause now before the House, or something like it, is absolutely necessary, and if the hon. Member who moved it goes to a Division, I am determined to support him in the Lobby.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
After listening to this Debate I feel myself in considerable difficulty as to the action that I should take on the new Clause now before the House. On the one hand, I think we must all agree that these are matters which may require swift decision. It is difficult to say to the Director of National Service, "If you have any measure which you desire to take, you must wait until the House has had it before it for ten days; and if the House happens not to be sitting, and is in Recess, you must wait until the end of the Recess before you take the measure which you are convinced is in the national interests." On the other hand, I think there is a widespread feeling in this House that these matters affecting closely the interests of a great body of people ought not to be left to the sole untrammelled discretion of one man. The problem is to reconcile those two objects 800 which I imagine all sections of the House would equally desire to see done. The new Clause which is before us appears to me to not quite satisfactorily solve the problem, because it does undoubtedly tend to prevent that swift decision that is necessary. Therefore I should be very reluctant to go into the Lobby in support of it. I want to sec the national organisation effective and working smoothly, but the Home Secretary has not made any suggestion with a view to meeting the feeling, which is widespread in the House, that there ought not to be purely autocratic control in a matter of this kind.
I addressed some observations to the House on the Committee stage of the Bill. I was dealing then with the point that it was possible that more vigorous and more definite action might be taken by the Director of National Service than has hitherto been taken under the voluntary scheme which he has launched with so much energy. I then suggested that the restriction of employment of labour in non-essential trades should not be left to a single individual, but that he should have associated with him something in the nature of an advisory council. The Home Secretary replied that it was not really being left to a single individual because the schedule of non-essential trades had been decided upon by the Cabinet, but one cannot readily believe that the War Cabinet, charged as it is with an overwhelming volume of daily business, could possibly consider the details of these measures. It would not be reasonable to expect them to do so. I am convinced that they could not undertake such a task. So in effect it is left to one man to decide by a stroke of the pen whether any particular trade is to be regarded for the purpose of labour restrictions as essential or non-essential, and that according to the decision at which he arrives, sitting privately at his desk, the fortunes of large bodies of men, both employers and working people, are to be determined. I think that that is excessive power to entrust to any individual without any recourse elsewhere and without any appeal.
The Secretary to the Local Government Board has pointed out that under the Military Service Acts frequently there is considerable hardship to the individual, and frequently persons are compelled by law to do that which they would not wish to do, and he says that the same thing must be satisfactory in this case. But it 801 is not left under the Military Service Act to any individual to decide the fortunes of another. Parliament has specifically provided that it is not to be a matter merely for the War Office, or some military officer representing the War Office, to determine whether this man or that has a good case for exemption. It has erected by legislation a whole hierarchy of tribunals, representing the general body of public opinion, containing no military representatives at all, and representing the views of the nation as a whole, so far as they can be locally represented, and a man has a right to go to a local tribunal, and if he is aggrieved by their decision he has a right to go to an appeal tribunal, and with the leave of the Appeal Tribunal he can go to a third party in order to have his case decided. Again, under the Defence of the Realm Act, when there is a question of acquiring property, it has not been left to any Department which wishes to have the use of the property to determine by its own fiat whether it should acquire the property, but there is a Commission, which was known as the Duke Commission, which inquires into the matter. Therefore I urge on the Home Secretary the views which I expressed on the Committee stage, that before these matters are decided they should be considred by an advisory committee. It appears to me that the suggestion of the hon. Member for Leicester that this Commission should be as far as possible made representative of the various classes of persons selected by the nation and by the constituencies—I do not say necessarily that they should be elected by the House of Commons formally, but that they should be chosen among Members of the House of Commons—is a proposal which is well worthy of the earnest consideration of the Government.
§ Mr. T. P. O'CONNOR
I would not have taken any part in this Debate had it not been for the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester. The House knows that I have often advocated the setting up of Commissions in this House, and as my hon. Friend has made the suggestion in connection with this Bill I desire to say a few words. I hope that the Home Secretary will not dismiss the suggestion without serious consideration. I will not go into the general question. The Home Secretary is already conscious of the fact—I dare say his mail bag has told him so—that there is a very widespread amount of apprehension which this 802 Bill has created in the country among people engaged in the industries of the country. I already have received very strong representations with regard to some of the trades which I shall do myself the honour of sending to the Home Secretary for consideration. But the fact that the Director is not a member of this House I think adds enormously to the argument that his power is, to a certain extent, much more absolute than that given to any other Controller-General. My right hon. Friend who has just spoken has established the clear difference between these powers and the powers of the Director-General of recruiting, which were put forward by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary, who spoke lately, as an argument in favour of this Bill.
I can see the objections which may be made to the Amendment now before the House. I can only vote for it myself because we cannot get any better, and as a protest against what I think is unduly autocratic power. Then take the other proposal. I personally am in agreement with the opinion of the Home Secretary, which I think is the opinion of everybody in this House, that everybody ought to be doing something to advance the vigorous prosecution of the War. Therefore it is not from that point that I find objection to this proposal, and I find it still less from the point of view of the personality of the Controller, who is a gentleman of ability and experience; but if an archangel were appointed Controller I think that that would be undue power to give to him practically to put any man he liked out of business in the country. I do not say that he would do it capriciously. I am sure that he would do it considerately. But it is a risk which we ought not to ask the great and the small industries of this country to incur. My right hon. Friend who has just spoken has recommended an Advisory Committee. I dare say that the Home Secretary would not in principle be opposed to that. Therefore the point at issue, I take it, at this moment is the particular form which the Advisory Committee should take. My hon. Friend the Member for Leicester proposes a Committee of this House. I put it to the Home Secretary—could there be devised a more practicable, a more defensible, and a more efficient council to aid the Controller-General than a council consisting of Members of this House? In the first place, on that council you can get representatives 803 of all sections and of all the great industries of the country, men who are more intimately associated with the Labour party and trained Parliamentarians of all kinds. But the proposal of my hon. Friend is not as I understand it, that this Committee of the House of Commons should have the right to interrupt the procedure and the action of the Controller-General. This proposal is that this Committee of the House of Commons should have the right to watch the Controller, and question him and, if necessary, object to the administration of the Act.
I will not go into the general question of Commissions of this House. My views about them are well known. They have often been expressed in this House, and probably it would be out of order for me to go into the matter now, but I attach great importance to another argument of my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester. Everybody, I have said, ought to do something. The people in the whole Empire who are, more than any other body of men in the Empire, precluded from doing their share of work in the War, are the Members of this Assembly. It is a fact that many of them are on Committees, and many of them are doing excellent work. But I do not think that the Home Secretary, owing to his official position, is so well acquainted with what I may call the green room of the House of Commons, where private Members meet, as I am at this moment, and I am sure that he will not contradict my statement that you will find men wasting time in the smoke room, in the library even, in the news room, and in the tea room—some of the finest brains in this House wasting time there when they are both able and willing to do service to the country. That is the main argument which I have always urged for Commissions, but I think that now the Home Secretary has an excellent opportunity of getting out of what may appear to be a difficulty by accepting this proposal.
Sir G. CAVE: It is only with the indulgence of the House that I can speak again. I would like to do so in order to meet the suggestion which has been made quite recently in the Debate by the hon Member for Leicester (Mr. Ramsay Macdonald), the right hon. Member for the Cleveland Division (Mr. H. Samuel), and the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. T. P. O'Connor). I think that I am entitled to point out that hon. Merabers appear to agree with me that 804 the Clause in its present form is unworkable and the appointment of an Advisory Committee to work with the Director-General has been suggested. The hon. Member for Leicester made the suggestion in this form, that it should be a Committee of this House, having certain definite powers, so that its decision should be binding upon the Director of National Service. I could not possibly accept, and I do not think that any Government would accept any proposal in that form. A Minister must be responsible for his acts, and to suggest that he should submit his action to a Committee of this House, and be absolutely bound by their decisions, I believe would make the administration of his office absolutely impossible. I was sorry to hear the hon. Member for the Scotland Division refer to a room outside the precincts of this House as the green room of this House. It looks as if our proceedings partook of a theatrical nature.
§ Sir G. CAVE
I will not comment on that. That means that there should be appointed by the Director of National Service an Advisory Committee, which I take to be a Committee to advise him as to the exercise of these powers. I feel the force of the suggestion on which I have had an opportunity of consulting with Mr. Neville Chamberlain, who thinks it well worthy of consideration. He proposes to appoint a Committee to advise him on these matters, a Committee on which Members of this House will serve, while, at the same time, I do not think he should be debarred from appointing persons who may be experts in these matters although not Members of this House. I trust, therefore, that the appointment of such an Advisory Committee, to which the Director of National Service intends to submit proposals before taking action, will meet the case, and that the Amendment will not be pressed.
§ Sir HENRY CRAIK
I have listened throughout the whole Debate, and, while I do not deny the difficulties raised on the other side, and the doubts and fears expressed, yet I feel that we must consider the exigencies of the present situation. For myself, I look upon the suggestion made by the right hon. Member for the Cleveland Division (Mr. Herbert Samuel) 805 as one offering a very fair compromise, and I recognise the spirit in which the Home Secretary has met it. I regret it in some respects, however, because I think that in the administration of an important new function like this there should be absolute individual responsibility in regard to any vital step that is taken. I clearly understand the Home Secretary when he says that it would be impossible for a Minister to submit to a Committee of the House of Commons. That would really mean government by committee and not government by the Minister at all. On the other hand, however, an Advisory Committee might be appointed, to whom the Director of National Service could submit his proposals and hear their views. I am quite sure that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary does not in the least intend to break our long-standing traditions by diminishing the final responsibility of the Minister himself. Of course, the Director of National Service must hear the views of the Advisory Committee; he must allow them to express their opinion on the matters in hand; but the final decision and the final responsibility, according to all the traditions of Government administration heretofore, must rest with him. That is the case with the Secretary of State for India, who consults his Council, but on him alone rests the final decision. It would be an absurd, impossible, and unheard-of thing if you had any committee or advisory body which could be in a position to order the Minister to take some steps which they thought proper or refrain from taking some steps which he thought proper. Some such Committee as is now suggested would, I think, be of use to the Director of National Service, and I do not think that any Minister would act without some such Advisory Committee. I do hope, therefore, that the suggestion of the right hon. Member for the Cleveland Division is one which the House will accept. It would not diminish in the least degree the personal responsibility of the Minister or subject him to a chance of being out-voted by the Committee. With that compromise, I think the Home Secretary has gone a very long way to meet the case which has been brought forward by those who have doubts in the matter, doubts which I do not share. But even if they have some foundation surely the proposal adumbrated from the Front Bench and accepted by the Home Secretary is a fair compromise which the House might adopt.
§ Mr. FIELD
The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has reminded the House that the Home Secretary has accepted a compromise, but in my view there can be no compromise in a matter of this sort, for it is a question as between whether this House is to have control of a national matter or an individual will be allowed to control it. The very essence of the constitution is that you cannot have in the same person jurisdiction and administration. It is proposed that the Director of National Service in his own person must unite both a jurisdiction and administrative function, and the House of Commons will practically have no control over his action. I for one am not at all prepared to accept that, though I will not reiterate the arguments from all sections of the House which support my view. I would remind the Home Secretary that not one independent Member of this House has advanced an argument in support of the new proposal—whether Opposition or supporters of the Government, or independent Members of the House of Commons, not one Member has coincided with the view of the right hon. Gentleman. We live now, in the House of Commons, under a Cabinet of coercion. That is absolutely so. What is called a Government under a Coalition system is really an oligarchy which governs the House of Commons according to its own will. It is a kind of personal dictatorship, and Members of the House of Commons are just cyphers sitting behind their leader. I believe myself that the common sense and democratic feeling of the community are being directed more and more to the proceedings of this Government, which is assuming a position that is really not Parliamentary at all. The Czar of Russia probably has not the powers in his hand which the Coalition Government are exercising every day. I would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to listen to the common-sense proposal made by the hon. Member for Leicester. None of us wants to interfere with the proper working of a system which will utilise to the best advantage the resources of the people and of the country; at the same time I hope that hon. Members who support the Amendment, will, if necessary, go to a Division, and I think the Government will be surprised to find how considerable is their number.
§ Mr. HOGGE
I cannot, on behalf of my hon. Friend, accept the suggestion which 807 has been made by the Home Secretary, in order the meet the criticism in the House by agreeing, to agree to the appointment of an Advisory Committee. What one feels about it is simply this: First of all, the House of Commons had no choice in the appointment of the Director of National Service, and he, having been appointed, is to be put into a position of being able to choose his own Advisory Committee. This is the first illustration of the Prime Minister's method, which was suggested to the House of Commons when he became head of the Government, namely, to set up in this House the French system of committees. We were told that powers were to be delegated to this House of Commons and that all our services, whatever they were worth, were to be used in various Committees in association with Ministers. The very first opportunity that has presented itself to this Government of having an example of how that can be worked has been turned down by the Home Secretary, and in its place, forsooth, we are to have an Advisory Committee of co-opted Members, chosen by the Director of National Service, who is not in this House, and who will surround himself with all the tame cats who have not yet got places on Advisory Committees. Recollect what happened on the Front Bench to-day, at Question Time, when we had a statement from the Secretary to the Food Controller to the effect that if we had any ideas about sugar, or any suggestions to make about sugar, the Food Controller would be very glad to see us in some Committee Room in the House of Commons. The Food Controller was ill about a fortnight or so ago, and we had to wait until he was better before he could address himself to the question of sugar. Then the hon. Gentleman, who represents him in this House, comes with the suggestion that if we have any ideas on sugar, we can meet the Food Controller in a Committee Room. That is the value that is placed upon the advice that may be given by Members of this House to any of those particular Ministers. This Advisory Committee would not be anything else than a shield to protect the Director of National Service from criticism; it would remove the responsible man from any criticism which is left to this House. For that reason I am against it.
808 The whole of the proceedings this afternoon and the whole of the replies that have come from that Front Bench have been farcical. This week the Director of National Service is summoning to London a Conference of the Trade Unionists from all over Great Britain. I do not know whether he has included Ireland or not. All those trade union delegates who are to meet the Director of National Service will have their railway fares paid, and their living expenses paid in London; and the reason that is alleged for bringing them to London is that the Director of National Service wishes to modify some of the provisions of his Regulations, but thinks he had better consult them—that is to say, the Director of National Service is prepared to consult with trade unionists at the House of Commons, paying their first-class fares and their hotel expenses, while at the same time there are trade unionists in this House who could give him help that would not cost anything. The whole thing is a farce. I do not want any Advisory Committee; I do not want any Dictator of National Service; the Dictator of National Service is interfering with things that he knows nothing at all about. But over and above all this, there are questions which must be considered by this House of Commons, and the Director of National Service knows that himself. The Director of National Service in a Committee Room upstairs told us that any sudden destruction of capital was bound to disturb credit, and the probability was that it would injure a wider circle than the trade affected, and that even trades which seemed most nonessential and the manufacture of luxuries were concerned with exports which enabled them to pay for munitions, and affected other things which they imported from foreign countries, and they must not lose sight of the fact that after the War we shall want to build up our industries as quickly as possible in order to recover from its effects, and that that would not be possible if there were no nucleus of their trades left. I think I know, and other hon. Members know, many business men who may be designated successful business men. I have never known a successful business man yet who did not achieve his success in business by attending to his own business and devoting his energies to the business and concentrating upon it. It is absolutely impossible to get either a Director of National Service alone or with an 809 Advisory Committee that could have adequate and full enough knowledge to determine which trades are essential and which are non-essential. Therefore, to prevent the Director of National Service doing infinite economic harm to this country, this House of Commons ought to keep within its own hands the control, and in order to find out how many Members of the House agree that the House should be supreme in a national matter of this importance we intend to go to a Division.
§ Sir G. CAVE rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ Mr. BILLING
(seated and covered): Is it in order that a Division should be called before every Member who wishes to take part in the Debate has the opportunity of doing so?
§ The House divided: Ayes, 177; Noes, 80.811
|Division No. 6.]||AYES.||[6.49 p.m.|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Nuttall, Harry|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Fletcher, John Samuel||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Forster, Henry William||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Gibbs, Col. George Abraham||Paget, Almeric Hugh|
|Archdale, Lieut. Edward M.||Gilbert, J. D.||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Goulding, Sir Edward Alfred||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Grant, J. A.||Partington, Oswald|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Greenwood, Sir G. G. (Peterborough)||Pearce, Sir Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir F. G.||Gretton, John||Pearce, Sir William (Limehouse)|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Gulland, Rt. Hon. John William||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. George N.||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Barnett, Capt. Richard W.||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick Burghs)||Hamilton, C. G. C. (Ches., Altrincham)||Philippe, Maj.-Gen. Ivor (Southampton)|
|Barton, William||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Bathurst, Col. Hon. A. B. (Glouc, E.)||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Pratt, J. W.|
|Bathurst, Capt. C. (Wilts, Wilton)||Harris, Rt. Hon. F. L. (Worcester, E.)||Prothero, Rt. Hon. Rowland Edmund|
|Beale, Sir Willian Phipson||Harris, Henry Percy (Paddington, S.)||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E,|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Haslam, Lewis||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Holme, Sir Norval Watson||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Bellairs, Commander C. W.||Henry, Sir Charles||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Bethell, Sir John Henry||Hewart, Sir Gordon||Rowlands, James|
|Bird, Alfred||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Rutherford, Sir John (Lancs., Darwen}|
|Bliss, Joseph||Hills, John Waller||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Bowden, Major G. R. Harland||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Boyton, James||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Brace, Rt. Hon. William||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir F. E. (Walton)|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Smith, Sir Swire (Keighley, Yorks)|
|Brookes, Warwick||Illingworth, Albert H.||Stanier, Captain Seville|
|Broughton, Urban Hanlon||Ingleby, Holcombe||Stewart, Gershom|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Jackson, Lt.-Col. Hon. F. S. (York)||Sutherland, John E.|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Swann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Swift, Rigby|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Kellaway, Frederick George||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcilffe)|
|Cave, Rt. Hon. Sir George||Klley, James Daniel||Tennant, Rt. Hon. Harold John|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molten)||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Chatoner, Colonel R. G. W.||Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Thomas, J. H.|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Tickler, T. G.|
|Coats, Sir Stuart A. (Wimbledon)||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lieut.-Colonel A. R.||Tootill, Robert|
|Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth)||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Collins, Sir W. (Derby)||M'Calmont, Lieut.-Col. Robert C. A.||Turton, Edmund Russberough|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hen. Sir J.||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Wardie, George J.|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Macdonald, Rt. Hon. J.M. (Falk. B'ghs)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)||Mackinder, Halford J.||Whiteley, Herbert James|
|Craig, Colonel James (Down, E.)||Macnamara, Rt Hon. Dr. T. J.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Craik, Sir Henry||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's).||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Croft, Lieut.-Col. Henry Page||Macpherson, James Ian||Wilson, Lt.-CI.Sir M.(Beth'l Green.S.W.)|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Malcolm, Ian||Wilson-Fox, Henry|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Winfrey, Sir Richard|
|Denison-Pender, J. C.||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Wing, Thomas Edward|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred||Yate, Colonel Charles Edward|
|Dougherty. Rt. Hon. Sir J. B.||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert||Young, William (Perthshire, East)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Younger, Sir George|
|Edge, Captain William||Newman, John R. P.|
|Fell, Arthur||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Ferene, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Nield, Herbert||Lord Edmund Talbot and Mr.|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. H. A. L.||Norman, Sir Henry||Primrose|
|Anderson, William C.||Boland, John Plus||Byles, Sir William Pollard|
|Arnold, Sydney||Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Byrne, Alfred|
|Billing, Pemberton||Buxton, Noel||Chancellor, Henry George|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Joyce, Michael||O'Connor, John (Klldare, N.)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Keating, Matthew||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Cosgrave, James||Kilbride, Denis||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Crumley, Patrick||King, Joseph||O'Dowd, John|
|Cullinan, John||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||O'Malley, William|
|Devlin, Joseph||Lardner, James C. R.||O'Shaughnessy. P. J.|
|Dillon, John||Law, Hugh, A. (Donegal, West)||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Donovan, John Thomas||Lundon, Thomas||Outhwaite, R. L.|
|Doris, William||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Duffy, William J.||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Redmond, William A. (Tyrone, E.)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||McGhee, Richard||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Ffrench, Peter||MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South)||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Field, William||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Sheehy, David|
|Fitzpatrick, John Lalor||Maden,—||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Mallalieu, Frederick William||Snowden, Philip|
|Glanville, Harold James||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Meagher, Michael||Watt, Henry A.|
|Hackett, John||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim N.)||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Hazleton, Richard||Molloy, Michael||Whitty, Patrick Joseph|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Mooney, John J,||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Hogge, James Myles||Morgan, George Hay|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Muldoon, John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hudson, Walter||Nolan, Joseph||Captain Donelan and Mr. Patrick|
|Jowett, Frederick William||Nugent, J. D. (College Green)||O'Brien|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the Clause be read a second time."812
§ The House divided: Ayes, 97; Noes, 162.813
|Division No. 7.]||AYES.||[6.58 p.m.|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Hinds, John||Nuttall, Harry|
|Anderson, W. C.||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Arnold, Sydney||Hogge, James Myles||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)i|
|Billing, Pemberton||Holt, Richard Durning||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Roland. John Flus||Hudson, Walter||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Jowett, Frederick William||O'Dowd, John|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Joyce, Michael||O'Malley, William|
|Buxton, Noel||Keating, Matthew||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Kilbride, Denis||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Byrne, Alfred||Kiley, James Daniel||Outhwaite, R. L.|
|Chancellor, Henry George||King, Joseph||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Lardner, James C. R,||Radford, Sir George Heynes|
|Cosgrave, James||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Crumley, Patrick||Lundon, Thomas||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Cullinan, John||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Rowlands, James|
|Devlin, Joseph||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Dillon, John||McGhee, Richard||Seely, Lt.-Col. Sir C. H. (Mansfield)|
|Donovan, John Thomas||MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South)||Shaw, Hon. A.|
|Doris, William||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Sheehy, David|
|Duffy, William J.||Mallalieu, Frederick William||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim. S.)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Snowden, Philip|
|Ffrench, Peter||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Sutherland, John E.|
|Field, William||Meagher, Michael||Thomas, J. H.|
|Fitzpatrick, John Lalor||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Gilbert, J. D.||Molloy, Michael||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Glanville. Harold James||Mooney, John J.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Goldstone, Frank||Morgan, George Hay||Whitty, Patrick Joseph|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Morison, Hector||Wilson, W.T. (Westhoughton)|
|Hackett, John||Muldoon, John|
|Harris, Percy A. (Leicester, S.)||Nolan, Joseph||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Nugent, J. D. (College Green)||Mr. Pringle and Captain Donelan|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Beale, Sir William Phipson||Broughton, Urban Hanlon|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Brunner. John F. L.|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Beck, Arthur Cecil||Bryce, J. Annan|
|Archdale, Lieut. Edward M.||Bellairs. Commander C. W.||Burn, Colonel C. R.|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Cave, Rt. Hon. Sir George|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Bethell, Sir J. H.||CeciI,Rt.Hon.Lord Robert(Herts.Hitchin)|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir F. G.||Bird, Alfred||Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Bliss, Joseph||Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. George N.||Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Coats, Sir Stuart A. (Wimbledon)|
|Barnett, Capt. R. W.||Bowden, Major G. R. Harland||Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth)|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick Burghs)||Boyton, James||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.|
|Barton, William||Brace, Rt. Hon. William||Cornwall Sir Edwin A.|
|Bathurst, Col. Hon. A. B. (Glouc, E.)||Bridgeman, William Clive||Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)|
|Bathurst, Capt. C. (Wilts, Wilton)||Brookes, Warwick||Craig, Col. James (Down, E.)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Croft, Lieut.-Col. Henry Page||Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Pratt, J. W.|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Illingworth, Albert H.||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Ingleby, Holcombe||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Denison-Pender, J. C.||Jackson, Lt.-Col. Hon. F. S. (York)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)|
|Dougherty, Rt. Hon. Sir J. B.||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Duke, Rt. Hon. Henry Edward||Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Rutherford, Sir John (Lancs., Darwen)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Kellaway, Frederick George||Futherford, Watson (L'pool,W. Derby)|
|Edge, Captain William||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon,S.Molton)||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Fell, Arthur||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Colonel A. R.||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. H. A. L.||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||M'Calmont, Col. Robert C. A.||Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir F. E. (Walton)|
|Fletcher, John Samuel||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Smith, Sir Swire (Keighley, Yorks)|
|Forster, Henry William||Mackinder, Halford J.||Stanier, Capt. Beville|
|Gibbs, Col. George Abraham||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Stewart. Gerhom|
|Goulding, Sir Edward Alfred||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Swift, Rigby|
|Grant, J. A.||Macpherson, James Ian||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Greenwood, Sir G. G. (Peterborough)||Maden, —||Tennant, Rt. Hon. Harold John|
|Gretton, John||Malcolm, Ian||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Gulland, Rt. Hon. John William||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Tickler, T. G.|
|Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred||Touche, Sir George Alexander|
|Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Munro, Rt. Hon- Robert||Turton, Edmond Russborough|
|Hamilton, C. G. C. (Ches., Altrincham)||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||. Newman, John R. P.||Whiteley, Herbert J.|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Wiles, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Harris, Rt. Hon. F. L. (Worcester, E.)||Nield, Herbert||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Harres, Henry Percy (Paddington, S.J||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Wilson, Lt.-Cl.Sir M.(Beth'l Green.S.W.)|
|Haslam, Lewis||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Wilson-Fox, Henry|
|Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Paget, Almeric Hugh||Winfrey, Sir Richard|
|Henry, Sir Charles||Parker, James (Halifax)||Yate, Colonel Charles Edward|
|Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Hon., S.)||Partington, Oswald||Young, Willian (Perthshire, East)|
|Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Pearce, Sir Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Younger, Sir George|
|Hewart, Sir Gordon||Pearce, Sir William (Limehouse)|
|Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Hills, John Waiter||Perkins, Walter Frank||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Hodge. Rt. Hon. John||Peto, Basil Edward||Lord Edmund Talbot and Mr.|
|Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Philippe, Maj.-Gen. Ivor (Southampton)||Primrose|
|Howard. Hon. Geoffrey|