§ (1) A man shall be entitled to be registered as a Parliamentary elector for .a constituency (other than a university constituency) if he is of full age and not subject to any legal incapacity and—
- (a) has the requisite residence qualification; or
- (b) has the requisite business premises qualification.
§ (2) A man, in order to have the requisite residence qualification or business premises qualification for a constituency—
- (a) must on the last day of the qualifying period be residing in premises in the constituency, or occupying business premises in the constituency; and
- (b) must during the whole of the qualifying period have resided in premises, or occupied business premises, in the constituency, or in another constituency within the same Parliamentary borough or Parliamentary county, or within a Parliamentary borough or Parliamentary county contiguous to that borough or county:
- (a) a man, though he may have been residing in premises in the constituency on the last day of the qualifying period, shall not be entitled to be so registered if, on objection being made to his registration, it is shown that he commenced to reside in the constituency within thirty days before the end of the
628 qualifying period and ceased to reside there within thirty days after the time when he so commenced to reside;
- (b) the residence in a house shall not be deemed to be interrupted for the purposes of this Section by reason only of permission being given by letting or otherwise for the occupation of the house as a furnished house by some other person for a part of the qualifying period not exceeding three months in the whole; and
- (c) for the purpose of this Sub-section the administrative county of London shall be treated as a Parliamentary borough.
§ (3) The expression "business premises" in this Section, means land or other premises of the yearly value of not less than ten pounds occupied for the purpose of the business, profession, or trade, of the person to be registered.
§ Where business premises are in the joint occupation of two or more persons, and the aggregate yearly value of the premises is not less than the amount produced by multiplying ten pounds by the number of the joint occupiers, each of the joint occupiers shall be treated as occupying business premises of the yearly value of not less than ten pounds:
§ Provided that in a Parliamentary county not more than two persons, being such joint occupiers, shall be entitled to be registered in respect of the same premises unless they are bon âd fide engaged as partners carrying on their profession, trade, or business in the premises.
§ Amendments made: In Sub-section (2), paragraph (a), after the word "constituency," insert the words "as the case may be."
§ In Sub-section (2), paragraph (b), after the word "premises" ["business premises"], insert the words "as the case may be."—[Sir G.Cave.]
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
I beg to move, in Sub-section (2, b), to leave out the words " a Parliamentary borough or Parliamentary county contiguous to that borough or county," and to insert instead thereof the words " a constituency contiguous thereto."
The Clause, as it is at present, appears to me to be rather wider than was intended. You find cases in which people who travel comparatively short distances 629 do not retain their qualifications, while others who travel long distances do retain them. I think it was not intended by the Speaker's Conference that the latitude should be so wide as to enable the voter to carry his qualification from any one part of the country to another. As the Clause stands I have got here some interesting cases of succession. For instance, you can remove from Northampton to nine other constituencies and preserve your qualification, while in Cornwall you can only move into one and do so. From the west part of Lancashire and Cheshire you can go as fas ar 100 miles and yet retain your vote. On the other hand, if a man removed from Manchester to Bedfordshire, he would lose his vote. There are many other cases of that kind, and I do not think that is the intention. Either this Clause does not go far enough or goes much farther than was ever intended. If it was to enable the voter to carry his qualification from any constituency to another in the United Kingdom, I could understand it. But when these anomalies can arise it is obvious that either the point has not been completely covered or that it has been covered to a far greater extent than was intended.
§ Mr. PENNEFATHER
I beg to second the Amendment.
This is an Amendment which I venture to suggest is really a very great improvement on the words in the Bill. As the hon. Baronet has pointed out as matters stand now it would be possible for a man to move 100 miles without losing his succession, and yet another man might move only a very few miles and lose his qualification. I do not think that that anomaly was intended at the Conference. I believe that what was intended was that the voter who moved to another place more or less in the same part of the country should not lose his qualification. The Clause does not exactly carry out that idea, but goes much further in a direction which would cause great injustice and anomalies. If the Amendment is accepted it will have the effect of greatly improving the Bill, and carrying out the intentions of the Conference.
§ Mr. GULLAND
I hope that the Home Secretary will not agree to this Amendment. With a good deal of the speeches of the Proposer and Seconder I agree, and as to the suggestion that a man should have the right to carry his qualification from any constituency to any other, I think if the Home Secretary will accept such an Amendment he will probably find a large 630 measure of acceptance from the whole House—at least, judging by the speeches of the two hon. Members. We on this side will be delighted if he will put in such a provision. But the effect of the Amendment is not that at all. It is a restricting Amendment, and I think that on the Report stage we should not further restrict what we have agreed to. What was agreed to was a compromise between the larger and the smaller, and to go back and restrict the proposal to a smaller sphere from which a man can carry his qualification would be a great mistake. In Scotland, in church membership, where a member is disjoined from one church, he gets what we call "lines," which he takes to another church, and that is held good in the other church. One feels that when one has a qualification he ought to be able to take it to any part of the country. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not agree to this Amendment which would simply restrict us further.
§ Mr. HAYES FISHER
I dare say the House will remember that in Committee we had a considerable fight on this question of successive occupation. All along it has been a very debate able matter with those who take an interest in these questions. Mr. Speaker's Conference came to a compromise on the question and their proposal was introduced into the Bill. There was a good deal of support for the view which has just been expressed by my hon. Friend that it would be better that successive occupation should exist from any constituency to another constituency so that a man might live three months in one constituency and three months in another and still be qualified. But other hon. Members like my right hon. Friend the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) did not desire any successive occupation at all; they wanted in fact to abolish it. The Committee very wisely, as I think, came to the conclusion that after all it was better to follow the recommendation of Mr. Speaker's Conference, and accordingly I accepted the Bill as then framed. I take the same point again to-day. It is better to adhere to the compromise, and I hope on this Report stage the House will agree to follow the example set by the Committee. I, therefore, do not propose to accept this Amendment which, to a very considerable extent, would curtail the benefits conferred by Mr. Speaker's Conference with regard to successive occupation.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. GULLAND
I beg to move, in Sub-section (2), at the end of paragraph (b), to add the words, "or separated from that borough or county by water not exceeding at the nearest point six miles in breadth."
This matter was discussed shortly on the Committee stage and was held over to Report stage. The point I wish to bring before the House is this: we have just agreed that a man should take his qualification to a contiguous county or borough. Now there are in many parts of the country constituencies that are separated by arms of the sea and there is no provision in the Bill that a man can take his qualification with him in such cases. I have looked carefully over the map of the United Kingdom and I find that there are in England and Wales sixteen cases and in Scotland eighteen cases where this occurs. Perhaps if I give constituencies on the shores of the Firth of Forth it will more clearly explain my meaning. The Amendment if it were carried would enable a man without losing his vote to go from these constituencies to other constituencies, namely, from Edinburgh to Kirkcaldy, from Leith to Kirkcaldy, from Midlothian to Kirkcaldy, from Edinburgh to Fife, from Leith to Fife, from Midlothian to Fife, from Linlithgowshire to Fife and from Linlithgowshire to the Dumfermline Burghs. In every one of these cases there is a very large change of population continually going on from one side of the Forth to the other. In Fife you have a very large number of miners; so also you have a large number in Midlothian, and these men are constantly changing their places of work. As a matter of fact the inhabitants cross from one side to the other by the Forth Bridge every day. There is a large population and a considerable community of interests between the shores of the Firth of Forth, and therefore it seems to me it would be quite improper that the mere fact of water intervening should prevent these constituencies from being considered to be contiguous. I suggest therefore that where water intervenes the distance which should be laid down should be one of 6 miles, and I find that that would cover practically all the cases that exist round the shores of the United Kingdom. In Scotland in addi- 632 tion to the case of the Firth of Forth, there is the case of Caithness and the Orkneys, there are numerous cases on the Clyde, and there are cases on the Tay.
In England you have cases on the Mersey, on the Bristol Channel, on the Humber, on the Thames, the Tees and the Tyne. I find measuring these distances on the map that 6 miles would cover them all, but any distance less than 6 miles would not do so. I understand that in certain Acts of Parliament, dealing with territorial waters, 3 miles from low water—that is to say 3 nautical miles—is the territorial limit. Therefore, I think it would be only fair that 3 miles on each side of these respective estuaries should be considered a reasonable distance to operate in these cases. I hope I have made the matter clear. Of course the Home Secretary may have some other way of carrying this out, but I do suggest that it ought to be distinctly stated in the Bill that these should be the limits. There may be cases—it is quite likely—where, for instance, the boundaries of boroughs or counties run to mid-channel so that the boroughs or counties are actually contiguous. I do not know that there is a sufficient definition in any existing Act of Parliament to cover this, but I am quite sure that unless some provision of this kind is put into the Bill there will be greater hardships experienced when the register comes to be made up and when in the case of an election a man goes into a polling booth and learns for the first time that he is not on the register because he happens to have crossed the estuary. Under the Bill a man may go from Cape Wrath to Kingussie, a distance of 200 miles, and still be qualified, but if he goes from Kirkcaldy to Leith he loses his qualification. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will see the reasonableness of my Amendment.
§ Colonel GREIG
I support the Amendment, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will accept it. This is a matter which affects my own Constituency; it affects Greenock and Dumbartonshire and Greenock and Argyleshire, and many similar places where people are continually crossing over for the purposes of their employment. Unless this Amendment were adopted, men through changes of employment in these places would lose their qualification.
§ Captain DOUGLAS HALL
I rise to support the Amendment, which is particularly applicable to the case of the Isle of Wight. There are dockyards both on the mainland and on the Island. People are continually going from one to the other, and it would be very hard indeed for them to lose their vote because they happen to change their residence, although they still are doing exactly the same kind of work.
§ Sir G. CAVE
This is a rather difficult question. There are places in England which it would be somewhat absurd to call contiguous, but which would be covered by this Amendment. For instance, there are places in South Wales, Monmouthshire, and Cardiff, which surely it would be absurd to call contiguous to Somersetshire. They are, in fact, far from being contiguous. It is the old question whether water unites or divides. There is this further difficulty about the Amendment. It is true that, as my right hon. Friend said, in some places the boundary of a county may run down into the sea some distance from the shore, and where that happens on both sides you may find that there is more than six miles of water from shore to shore, and yet they will be called contiguous constituencies. I would much rather take somewhat less than six miles as the limit. I would not strongly object to three, and that would, I think, practically cover most of the cases where there is actual propinquity.
§ Sir G. CAVE
My hon. Friend must know that better than I do. But it is very difficult to judge this matter by reference to particular cases. I would rather not accept the Amendment now, but if it is thought we ought to define it, I would rather compromise on three miles.
§ Mr. HOLT
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, to leave out the word " six," and to insert instead thereof the words " three nautical."
I regret that I could not be in my place when my own Amendment on the Paper was reached, but I was engaged on public business elsewhere. I suggest it would be much better and more convenient to measure these distances by nautical miles, and if the Government are willing to accept the principle of the Amendment of my right hon. Friend (Mr. Gulland), then in my opinion the limits should be 634 three nautical miles rather than six miles. Hence I move this Amendment of the Amendment.
§ 5.0 P. M.
§ Mr. GULLAND
It is quite right, no doubt, that in England three nautical miles would cover all the cases which really matter, but in Scotland I am sorry to say it would not. I really would ask the right hon. Gentleman to bring to his mind, as I am sure he can easily do, the difference between the map of England and the map of Scotland. The map of Scotland is indented by many of these estuaries. I see the right hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir H. Dalziel) has just come in, and I would appeal to him, because this affects him more than anybody else I see in the House. The three miles that the Home Secretary now offers would be no help at all to my right hon. Friend, because Kirkcaldy Burghs are more than three nautical miles across the Firth of Forth, and, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, there is a large population which goes between the constituencies on the south of the Firth of Forth and those on the north. He also knows very well that six miles across the Firth of Forth would enable the electors coming from Edinburgh, Leith, and Midlothian to take their votes with them, but that three miles would be of no use whatever. That would happen also in the case of Caithness and Orkney, and I think it would be rather a pity to isolate Orkney and Shetland from the adjacent islands of Great Britain and Ireland. The three miles would also not cover some of the cases on the Clyde. It would cover the cases of the Tay, but I would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman on behalf of the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde, which areas, I may say, the Government are now utilising greatly for war work. There is a large number of munition workers, shipbuilders, and people of that sort, transferring regularly from one to the other, and I would appeal to the Home Secretary to recognise all the difference it would make. If people do not transfer from one side of the Bristol Channel to the other it will not affect them, and no harm is done; but I should be very sorry that any of my right hon. Friend's constituents should be deprived of this privilege.
§ Sir C. SEELY
I think it would be rather hard that a man should be deprived of his vote for moving from the Isle of Wight to Portsmouth. I cannot speak with certainty, as I do not know the Portsmouth boundary, but I think it is more than three miles from the Isle of Wight to Portsmouth.
§ Amendment to the proposed Amendment. by leave, withdrawn.
§ Colonel GRETTON
There is one matter which will clearly require further consideration. We have to decide sooner or later from what point these boundaries are to extend; whether we are going to take high- or low-wafer mark, or some other mark below the water. It will be a most difficult question to decide, and only rise for the purpose of drawing the Government's attention to the difficulty which will arise in order that it may be considered, and, if necessary, put right in another place.
Proposed words there inserted in the Bill.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I beg to move, in Sub-section (2), after the first paragraph (b), to insert the words, " A man representing, as hereafter provided, a company, association, trade union, building society, friendly society, or any other body of persons incorporated by charter or registered under any Statute, having the requisite qualifications shall be entitled to be registered as a Parliamentary and local government elector, and references to a ' person' in this Act shall include a company or other body so registered. The board of directors, committee of management, or other governing body of any such company or other body may nominate a person being a member of such board, committee, or other governing body, or an officer of such company or other body, to exercise on behalf of such company or other body the franchises conferred by this Section, and such person shall be registered accordingly. Provided that such company or other body shall, not later than the 15th day of January and the 15th day of July in each year, have furnished to the registration officer in writing under the 636 hand of the secretary or other authorised officer of such company or other body the name of such person."
I have this Amendment in manuscript dealing with what was down as a New Clause under the heading of (Franchises. (Companies and other Bodies)). You asked me, Mr. Speaker, to move it as an Amendment to Clause 1, and I propose to move it as a new Sub-section after the word " county " [" to that borough or county "]; and in a slightly altered form. It is an important Amendment because it deals with a large number of people who if it is not accepted will be disqualified. Rightly or wrongly, the habit has grown during the last few years, and is continually growing, of people in businesses of every description and all over the country—in England, Wales, Scotland, and, I think, also in Ireland—instead of conducting their businesses under their own name, or under the name of Jones and Sons, or Jones Brothers and Company—registering themselves as a limited liability company. The effect of that is that they lose their vote. I should say in nearly every case, certainly in the large majority of cases, these particular people are large ratepayers and large taxpayers, and they should not, I think, be disqualified from exercising the right to vote because they have taken advantage of an Act passed by this House, and approved of by this House, authorising them for the. purpose of their business to form themselves into limited liability companies. The effect of this Bill, and the chief desire of this Bill, was, as I understand, not in any way to disqualify for or to restrict the franchise, but to take every opportunity of extending the franchise as far as. possible. It cannot be denied, I think,. that the people whose case I am pleading are in every way fitted to become voters of this country, and the acquisition of these people would be a source of strength. to the electorate.
I sincerely trust that the Home Secretary will see his way to accept the Amendment. I may point out to him that if he looks at pages 2,077 and 2,078 of the Amendment Paper he will see. my Amendment practically set out in words, and it is, of course, very much easier to follow if he can see it in writing than if he only hears it read. He will see that it gets. over some of the objections that used to be raised to giving the vote to companies. It used to be asked, and I think with a 637 good deal of reason, how, if you gave a vote to a company, you were to decide who was to exercise that vote? Was it to be given to the shareholders, to the directors, or to the secretary? I think my Amendment will provide the machinery for that purpose, and I venture to say that it is an extremely modest Amendment, because it confines the number of persons who may vote for any given company to one. It does not say that a company because it has a very large amount of capital and a very large number of shareholders, many officers, servants, and directors, shall be represented by a large number of people. It merely says, and the intention of it is, that any company shall be considered as one person, and that if a company fulfils the necessary qualification to entitle a person to become an elector that company shall have the right of nominating one person and only one person, and that that person shall have the power to vote as an elector. I hope the Home Secretary will very carefully consider the remarks I have made, and which I have confined in as short a space as possible, and that he will accept the Amendment. If he thinks that there are certain drafting Amendments I shall, of course, be quite willing to accept any which he thinks advisable, always providing that the principle of the Amendment is preserved.
§ Sir G. CAVE
I quite understand the arguments which have been put forward by the right hon. Baronet who has moved this Amendment. The point is, of course, an old one, and we had a discussion upon it in Committee upon an Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. G. Terrell). I have to repeat what I then said. We should by this Amendment create a new franchise which is not embodied in the Bill, and was not recommended by the Speaker's Conference, and I think we should have great difficulty in accepting that at this late stage of the Bill, especially after we have come to a decision upon it in Committee. Apart from that, however, there are certain objections to this Amendment. One effect would be that under the Amendment a company with a number of branches all over the country would be entitled to nominate a representative for each of those branches. so that you would give to a man who turned himself into a limited company the great advantage of being able to be represented in a whole number of constituencies all over the 638 country. There may be advantages in that result, but I am sure it will not be entirely satisfactory.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
That would be got over by inserting such words as, " It shall only be qualified in respect of the head office."
§ Sir G CAVE
I must deal with the Amendment as it stands. Another effect of the Amendment would be to bring politics into the boards of limited companies, and one can imagine the general. meeting of a limited company called to decide whether the hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury) should be added to the board or whether it should be the right hon. Gentleman who sits beside him (Mr. Lough)
§ Mr. HOLT
I am afraid, after what the Home Secretary has said, I cannot support this Amendment, but the speech of the right hon. Baronet, I think, has shown the absurdity of this business vote. The effect of the franchise given by this Bill is not to give two votes to the most important businesses carrying on in a certain town, but a second vote, under the pretence noted, to doubtless very worthy people, that is, stationers, hairdressers, and the like, who carry on business in the business part of each part of the town. Why they should have two votes and other men only one, I am afraid I cannot understand.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
I beg to move, in Sub-section (2, a), to leave out the words " have been " [" though he may have been residing "], and to insert instead thereof the word " be."
I have two Amendments following this one dealing with the same point. The discussion we had on the Committee stage, and the compromise arrived at, met one of the difficulties, and left the Clause as it now stands. The situation has been complicated, not by the compromise offered, but because of an addition to the Clause. No doubt it was put in as a precaution, and is a very great precaution, against any jerrymandering or swindling about a person's qualification, but it is going to make considerable difference to the registration. I can imagine the party agents, whom we are trying to keep out so far as we can in these matters, regarding it as part of their duty formally to object to every new name on the register, in order to make it perfectly certain that 639 they shall make good their objection to the man whose qualification in regard to residence they have found not sufficient. That is not the sort of thing that we want to have done. It is most undesirable that objections should be multiplied. Although it is a little difficult to understand—for the whole thing is a little complicated, and I confess I am not very clear about it myself—residence for thirty days in a constituency before the end of the qualifying period should be unnecessary in, the case of a bonâa fide occupier of a house. My suggestions, I think, would bring about a satisfactory solution of a rather difficult registration difficulty. You might lose a little protection that is given at present, but you would set against that, if this and the two following proposals can be accepted, the fact that you get rid of the other difficulties that I have pointed out.
§ Mr. GULLAND
I have listened with great interest to what the hon. Baronet opposite has said in favour of his Amendment. I think, however, the point against it really is—and I think it is really a considerable point as I understand it—that he gives the privilege to the owner, or, at any rate, to the service franchise voter, but he denies it to the lodger. That is really the whole crux of the Amendment. He says that this is the privilege to be given to the men who is an owner, or a tenant, or a Service franchise man, but the hon. Gentleman makes no mention of the lodger. Therefore by this Amendment he penalises the lodger. I do not think that that was the intention of the Speaker's Conference, or of this House in Committee. We came to the conclusion that if a man was entitled to be on the register he could be on the register, whether an owner, or tenant, or lodger. I hope, therefore, the Home Secretary will not at this point make a distinction between the lodger and other classes of voters. These very restrictions were put in, if my memory serves me rightly, to safeguard the lodger vote; so that the lodger cannot come on unless he fulfils all these difficult qualifications. It does not seem to me to be fair at this time of day to take from the lodger the privilege given to others. In regard to what the hon. Baronet said about registration there are great diffi- 640 culties in regard to that in this Bill. But I do not think that the one he mentioned is by any means one of the greatest. I do not foresee the difficulty he brings up about the party agents. The party agents are not going to object wholesale to everybody. They are not going to get people off the register. They are going to give every facility to the people to get on the register. That is the whole idea of this Bill. As I understand it, the Amendment is a restriction, and 1 hope the House will not agree to it.
Colonel GR ETTON
The right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken, it seems to me, has misunderstood, or mistakes, the purpose of this Amendment. The Bill as it stands makes it necessary for a qualification that there should be a residence in the constituency of thirty days within the qualifying period, with the proviso that the qualification shall not have lapsed. That entails that a man, or woman, should possess practically a seven months' qualification and not a six months' qualification. What this Amendment proposes to do is not to do away altogether with that qualification of residence of thirty days after the date on which registration takes place in January or July; it is a relaxation of the restrictions in the Bill. It is no use putting in the Bill something which will not be carried out, and which will prove cumbersome. The hon. Baronet has pointed out that an all-round general objection will have to be made to all these new names coming upon the register. That is a very objectionable method of procedure which entails a vast amount of work and causes a great deal of irritation I do not think that wholesale notices of objection of that kind ought to be served in order to carry out the provisions of an Act of Parliament. As regards the other proviso, the residence of thirty days before the 15th of January or the 15th of July, it is proposed to dispence with that particular qualification in the case of those permanently settled by ownership, tenancy, or by service in the constituency. There is no necessity to impose this restriction. My hon. Friend opposite proposes, and I think the House will agree, that there should be some check upon what may be called "swallow" or "fagot" voting. There should be a bonâd fide residence of thirty days in the constituency in order that the voter may qualify for his vote as a lodger. The lodger's possessions consist of what he has on his back, a pair of boots, and so 641 forth. He has not a permanent dwelling in any constituency. He is bound to dwell somewhere, but he may alter that dwelling at a week's notice, simply because that, for some reason or another, his occupation or the exigencies of his life cause him to move out of the constituency. It is also a fact that there are many persons of the criminal or semi-criminal classes who will be upon the register, and we do not want to make it easy for these persons to obtain their qualification. In this respect the Clause is of value.
§ Mr. DICKINSON
I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will not accept this Amendment unless he is very well satisfied that it will be an improvement to the Bill. I dare say the House will remember that this provision was put in after a very lengthy and complicated discussion on the whole system of successive occupation. A person may come into a new division one day before the registration at the present moment, and nevertheless can qualify under the law of successive occupation. It was pointed out in Committee that that might be all very well under the old law where most persons would be held to have a more or less permanent possession in their tenancy or in their occupation, but that it would open the door rather widely to the new type of voter, namely, the voter who is now to qualify by residence. In view of that consideration, a certain compromise was arrived at, and I think it was upon the suggestion of my hon. Friend the Member for one of the divisions of Durham that this particular proposal was put in. There were Amendments, the House will remember, to do away altogether with the possibility of a man coming in at the last moment, however bonâd fide. I think an Amendment was down in the name of the hon. Baronet who spoke just now, that nobody should be entitled to claim successive occupation in any case unless he had been there a month before the date of registration. That, of course, would have hit very hardly indeed the bonâd fide people who come to reside in the new constituency without any intention of doing anything improper with the franchise. Therefore, the suggestion was put forward that, in the case of every person who came into the new constituency within thirty days before the registration day, his permanency in occupation should be tested by the fact that he had stayed there another thirty days after 642 that date. That was the reason which operated with the Committee when we were discussing this proposal.
If we accept the hon. Baronet's proposition, a person who comes into a constituency as an ordinary resident will have to show, as I understand, that he has some definite right as a tenant of some place. and therefore my hon. Friend opposite is perfectly right when he says that we are giving this privilege of moving from one place to another and keeping the vote to those people who can show they have taken a house or the tenancy of a house. I quite admit the difficulty of it, and if the Home Secretary, no doubt having given careful attention to this, is advised that the proposal of the hon. Baronet is a better one than that in the Bill, I should be willing to bow to it, but I should rather deplore it, because I think you would find you would disfranchise a very considerable number of the working classes who would have come in within the last month before the date of registration, and although they had come in with the most bonâd fide intention of remaining there for the rest of the year, or for many years, they would be disqualified because it was shown that they were not, strictly speaking, tenants of the particular building in which they had come to reside. Therefore, my own inclination would be to urge the Home Secretary to adhere to the present system, although I quite admit it is not perfect.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The right hon. Member who has just sat down said that there may be certain hard cases if this Amendment is carried. There must be hard cases where you have to provide for an evil, and in this particular case the evil which the Committee provided for was especially in large towns—an evil which might have very considerable results where unscrupulous party agents, or unscrupulous candidates, thought it might be possible to remove a certain number of electors from one constituency to another at the very last moment, and so unfairly influence the election. I do not think for a moment that my hon. Friend desires to disfranchise lodgers as lodgers, but, unfortunately, the class of people who would come in and who would commit what, I think, everybody in the House is desirous of preventing, would be the people who would take a room. It would be very difficult for anyone to come in suddenly at the last moment and occupy a house. What would take place would be that a large number 643 of people would come in and take a room, and in that sense they would be lodgers. But it was not the intention of my hon. Friend to disqualify lodgers because they were lodgers, but merely to provide a safeguard against an evil which, I think, everyone in the House, including the right hon. Gentleman, considers is an evil which ought to be provided for.
§ Sir G. CAVE
This question of the swallow voter, as it is called, has given the House a good deal of trouble. I confess I have never been quite satisfied with what we did in Committee, not only because of the circumstances in which the changes were made, but because I do not think we found the best possible solution of the difficulty. It is quite true that my hon. Friend who moved the Amendment pointed out that under this proviso as it stands it is necessary for everybody to be objected to by party agents, and you would no doubt open the door to the very thing which all of us would desire to do away with if we possibly could. If my memory serves me, I said we would leave this matter open for the Report stage with a view to it being fully considered at that stage. That being so, I am a little disappointed at the form of this Amendment. I venture to think that the Amendments taken together do not provide a better solution than, or even so good a solution as, that which we have in the Bill. You still leave it open to a man to come to a constituency the last day but one, and to take a lodging there for a week, at the end of which he gets his vote. That is the very thing we want to prevent. It was the very thing the whole discussion turned upon. Therefore, with all respect to my hon. Friends, I think they have not yet found the right solution. I confess I am disappointed at not seeing on the Notice Paper an Amendment dealing directly with the point. If it had been proposed, say, to lengthen the period of one day to fourteen days or something of that kind, I would have asked the House carefully to consider that proposal. I put fourteen days for this reason: Take the spring register. The qualifying period runs up to 15th January. There are many persons who bonâd fide change their quarters at Christmas, and if you require thirty days' residence you would exclude those people who came in just before Christmas. If you make it fourteen days you would include those people and would not disfranchise the man who came in at Christmas, although a man 644 who came in after the 1st January would not be qualified for the vote. Possibly the point may be raised again in another place. I do not know, but, so far as to-day is concerned, I could not accept this Amendment, because I think it would destroy, although it does not intend it, the whole effect of the proviso. What I have said does not apply to the second Amendment.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
After what the right hon. Gentleman has said, I shall be very glad to withdraw this Amendment. I only wish to confirm what my right hon. Friend opposite said about the intention of this Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
I beg leave to move, in proviso (a), to leave out the words "on objection being made to his registration, it is shown that."
This would, at all events, obviate the necessity of objection being constantly raised against any new voter.
§ Sir G. CAVE
I think the House might accept this Amendment. It does not alter the franchise at all, but obviates the necessity of having an objection in every case.
§ Colonel SANDERS
Will the Home Secretary consider what the procedure would then be? How is the registration officer to know when he puts the man on that he is going to reside thirty days afterwards or not? Objection must be made.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. BUTCHER
I beg to move, in proviso (b), to leave out the word "three" ["not exceeding three months"], and to insert instead thereof the word "four."
The object of this Amendment is to allow a man to let his furnished house for a period of four months without thereby losing his residential qualification. That is really only preserving the existing law. The Bill proposes to reduce that period from four months to three months. I venture to think there is no reason for that reduction; on the contrary, I submit there is every reason for keeping the four months. To reduce the period of letting from four months to three months as the period for preserving the voter's qualification would be really a very serious hardship upon many people who are in the habit of letting their furnished houses during the summer months. For instance, many people live at seaside resorts, and they go somewhere else for four months, 645 and let their houses furnished for that period. It is a serious hardship to them if, by so doing, they lose their qualification as voters.
I think it is within the knowledge of all of us that four months is an exceedingly common time for which to let a person's house. If I may quote an opinion which I think may have some weight with my right hon. Friend, it is that of the late Home Secretary (Sir J. Simon), who is now serving with the Forces, who said that there was a great deal of force in this proposal, and he was very much inclined to support it. I agree that there is no object to be gained by making this a disfranchising Bill. Our object is to have this House elected by as many voters as possible, so that it will be as nearly as possible a fair representation of the opinion of the nation. On those grounds I ask the Home Secretary to accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. FISHER
On the Committee stage the hon. Member for York succeeded in getting this paragraph put into the Bill to the effect that a man would not lose his electoral qualification if he were to let his house for three months during the six months period necessary for qualification. Four months was originally the period fixed in the Act, but the qualifying period at that time was twelve months, and not six months, as is now proposed. My right hon. Friend accepted the Amendment for three months in relation to six months' qualification, which was even more favourable than four months in relation to twelve months. Therefore, that was a considerable concession to owners of houses who wished to let for a portion of the qualifying period during which they were supposed to reside there. Really, there is nothing much in the point. I quite agree that we do not want this Bill to be a disfranchising or a disqualifying Bill, and we want as many people as possible to have a legitimate qualification. I would like to have got the opinion of the House as to whether three or four months would be preferable, but no strong feeling has been expressed on the point, and if the House would prefer four to three months the Government see no objection to it, although it is exactly one of those matters upon which the Government desires to have the opinion of the House. As at 646 present advised the Bill must stand as it is unless there is some further indication that it is the desire of the House that this Amendment should be accepted.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
I have not had an opportunity of discussing this matter with my hon. Friend, but I think the general desire is to enfranchise as many as possible and disfranchise as few as possible. No doubt there are a considerable number of people who let their houses for perhaps four months in the year, and they must have some residential qualification. On the whole, I think we ought to be generous to this class, and the House will probably agree to accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. FISHER
As my right hon. Friends who have spoken voice the opinion of a large section of the House, the Government will accept this Amendment.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Colonel GRETTON
On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. I would like to ask a question in regard to whether the New Clause (Persons Legally Employed in all Elections not Disqualified as Voters) comes in as a proviso at the end of this Clause? The Clause really says persons shall not be disqualified from voting, and not from being registered. I suggest that this proviso should come at a subsequent place in the Bill.
§ Sir GEORGE TOUCHE
I beg to move, at the end of the Clause, to add the words:Provided that such of the freemen of the City of London as are liverymen of the several companies and entitled to vote in the election of a member or members to serve in Parliament for the City of London shall be entitled to be registered as Parliamentary electors for that constituency.Provided also that any liveryman registered under this Section may exercise the franchise indicated by such registration only as an alternative to any business premises qualification to be registered under this Act.This question came up on the Committee stage under circumstances which were not favourable for its adequate discussion, and, therefore, I ask the House to grant me its indulgence in raising the question again, especially as I am doing 647 so by a Clause which contains certain modifications with a view to meeting the objections which were, raised in the earlier discussion. I do not propose to take up the time of the House with an exhaustive historical survey of the livery vote in the City of London, but perhaps I may briefly indicate its antiquity, as it is on the ground of historic continuity, in a large measure, that I am asking the House to accept this proviso. We have to go back to very early days to trace the origin of the livery vote for Members of Parliament. In the earliest days ward representatives were summoned to the Guildhall for purposes of election. Then the number and importance of the Mysteries or Guilds or Brotherhoods, as they were called, which began to be incorporated in the reign of Edward III., made them the most fitting representatives of the City interests. In or about the year 1375 the right of election of all City dignitaries and officers, including Members of Parliament, was definitely transferred to the City Guilds, or livery companies.
Some time later the practice of summoning ward representatives was resumed, but in 1467 the masters and wardens of every Mystery of the City, "coming in their livery," were again summoned for election, and the right of the livery to vote has continued down to the present day. This has been especially recognised and confirmed by Act of Parliament, notably by an Act of Geo. I. in 1722, and in the later Reform Acts there were certain modifications with regard to residence. I think the preservation of the livery vote is not inconsistent with democratic reform. The City Guilds have been traditionally in favour of Parliamentary reform. They have been foremost in urging it in times past, and their attitude has not changed now. They recognise clearly that there is an urgent need for settling all these contentious questions about the franchise, in order that after the War the House of Commons may be free to deal with the many difficult problems with which it will be faced. We are all seeking a friendly settlement now, and for that reason we ought to be careful that any settlement come to, whether by majority votes or not, does not involve any unnecessary sacrifices. Full consideration should be given to this question of historic continuity. It is part of the price which those who prefer a mere arithmetical basis should be willing to pay for a large acceptance of their views.
648 I submit that the claim for the preservation of historic association is one which ought to be regarded with tenderness in all parts of this House. The House of Commons is the last place to which the City Guilds should appeal in vain, for they have been the champions of Parliament in the past. They have gone to the length of financing Parliament, and when they were strong and Parliament was weak they invariably threw their influence on the side of Parliament. They have always been against any encroachment on the liberties of the people. They petitioned time and again for Parliamentary reform, and they prayed for the creation of sufficient peers in order that the great Reform Act of 1832 might be passed. If any historic claim deserves consideration in this House, I think it is the claim of the City that the centuries-old right of the members of the City Guilds should not be swept roughly away.
It is always a pity to break traditions when that is not a necessity of reform. Surely it is wise, while recognising the. need for change and development, to graft the new on the old, and to satisfy the desire for a broader basis, while preserving historic continuity. The ancient ceremonies and institutions of the City of London make it a place apart. They are all linked with the nation's history, and they help to make a fitting setting for the exchange of international courtesies which do so much to cement alliances. They provide a scene of action for national. appeals and international gatherings. Time and again since the War began the Prime Minister and other statesmen, both of this country and from the Overseas Dominions, have used the platform of the old Guildhall for the purpose of sending their messages to the nation. It is recognised in this Bill that the City of London is a unique constituency. It is a wonderful place for those who know its history. It is full of memories of the great past, and it is rendering patriotic service in the present day. It is the clearing house of the world. It is the buttress of the finance of the Allies; it is the home of countless War charities, of which it is a most generous supporter; and I think it can almost be claimed that it is the nerve centre of the War. A unique constituency deserves a unique electorate. It has got one now, and it has never abused that privilege. The vote is held by men who are thoroughly representative of the City's 649 interests. Then why should it be swept away, especially at a time when you are adding millions of electors to the electoral roll—a great many of them very inexperienced? Why should you grudge the continuation of a few votes held by people who are essentially representative of the interests of which the City is the centre? These votes are not widely distributed. They are not able to influence elections here and there. They are all centred in one constituency, which is admittedly a constituency of an exceptional character, and those who possess these votes to-day are admittedly fitted to reflect that character. They are to be swept away—not because of any direct attack upon the City: I do not think anyone in the House wishes to do that now—merely because a broad general basis has been adopted. No doubt, as regards the country generally, simplification was most desirable; but no rule of that sort should be applied absolutely blindly, especially in an old country like this. A new country has to proceed on a somewhat crude and arithmetical basis, but an old country should seek to combine ancient tradition and modern reform. The basis selected by the Speaker's Conference has been shown to be one which is quite capable of variation in special cases without destroying its democratic character. That is evident by the retention and extension of the University vote.
If a vote is to be given anywhere on an educational basis, I think the City of London has a very strong claim. The City Corporation and the City Guilds have been pioneers in the cause of education. The Guilds have done and are doing a great work for education, elementary, secondary and technical. They did it long before the great value of education was generally understood. I do not wish to weary the House with a detailed account of all the educational activities of the City, but I many mention a few. The City Guilds, jointly with the Corporation, have established the City and Guilds of London Institute for the advancement of technical education, and they have endowed it. They have established Gresham College, with which the Mercers' Company is specially identified. The Corporation of London founded that splendid institution the City of London School and also the Freemen's Orphan School. The Mercers' Company, the records of which go back to the time of Henry II., has the Mercers' School at 650 Barnard's Inn, Holborn, and it founded St. Paul's School as far back as 1509. The Drapers' Company established Bancroft's School. The Skinners' Company have four schools under its administration: 1, the Tonbridge School, founded in 1553; 2, Skinners' School for Boys at Tunbridge Wells, founded in 1880; 3, Sir Andrew Judd's Commercial School, opened in 1888; and 4, a Day School for Girls at Stamford Hill, opened in 1890. Both in the past and in the present it will be observed that these City Companies are active in the cause of education. The Merchant Taylors' School was instituted in 1561. The Haberdashers' School, known as Aske's School, was founded in 1688. The Clothworkers' Company is the governing body of Mary Datchelar Girls' School at Camberwell. The Brewers' Company, "The Wardens and Commonality of the Mystery or Art of Brewers of the City of London," as it is called, founded Dame Alice Owen's School in 1613. The Leather-sellers' Company has erected a technical college, giving training in all branches of the craft, and has endowed a grammar school at Lewisham. The Coopers' Company's school was continued for nearly 400 years by the masters, wardens, and court of assistants of the Coopers' Company.
I think that abbreviated record ought alone to satisfy the House that on an educational basis the claim of the City for the livery vote deserves special consideration. The destruction of the livery vote would be more than a break with tradition. It would alter the status of the Guilds; it would rob them of a recognised place in the scheme of public affairs, a place which they have possessed for centuries. These ancient Guilds are a national asset. They should take no small part in the reconstruction of our national crafts after the War. They are capable of doing great service. They are anxious to do it, and they are preparing to do it. Surely this is not a time when their status ought to be assailed even in an indirect manner. We are told that the vote is to be taken away as part of a compromise. The livery companies were never consulted on that compromise. It is very small satisfaction to Smith, when his rights are being taken away, to be told that it is being done by virtue of a compromise between Brown and Robinson. A great many of the livery voters do not even know that their rights are being assailed. Many of them are at 651 present serving their country at the front. One can imagine what their feelings will be when they come back and find that during their absence one of their most cherished privileges has been taken away.
Although the Bill contains no compromise at the present time, so far as the livery companies are concerned, the Amendment which I am submitting does contain a compromise which the livery companies are prepared to accept. By a resolution of the great meeting at the Common Hall they authorised me to ask for the retention of the vote, not as it exists to-day, but simply as an alternative to the business occupation vote under the Bill. The total livery vote, eliminating duplicates, is, I believe, about 6,000. Probably two-thirds of these will receive the business occupation vote under the Bill. If this Amendment is accepted, the balance will go. The livery companies do not wish it to go, but they would rather let it go and be permitted to retain the historic association than have the Livery vote destroyed altogether. If what I ask for is granted, it cannot affect the general representation of the City in any way. All it will do will be to preserve the historic continuity. It is not open to any of the objections which have been fatal to certain Amendments with which my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has shown a considerable amount of sympathy. It does not add to the number of the constituencies. It does not even add to the number of electors. All it does is to preserve the historical associations between the electorate and the ancient guilds. Surely we should keep some anomalies to link the present with the past. No question of politics is involved. It has always been the pride of the livery companies that no party politics are known within their halls. The liverymen of London, Liberals and Conservatives alike, ask this House of Commons, which is very jealous of its own traditions, to preserve their historic franchise as a symbol of the long history of the country. May I close my observations with a note from a voice which is always listened to with respect in this House and in the country, and which will carry much greater weight than anything that I can say. My right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain) has expressed regret at his inability to be here to-day, but he writes: 652I regret the proposal to abolish the livery vote and. hope that you will be successful in your efforts to. secure reconsideration of this proposal, for which I can find no adequate reasons. The democratic character of the House of Commons would not be diminished by the retention of a vote so intimately connected with the past history and present life of the City of London.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
I have great pleasure in seconding the Amendment moved in such an eloquent speech and in such well-chosen terms by my hon. Friend. I support the Amedment because it will prevent the disfranchisement of a very valuable, though it is true not a large, body of voters. It certainly does not alter the number of Members in the new House of Commons or conflict with any of the principles which we have heard discussed so often in connection with the Speaker's Conference. It simply asks for this vote as an alternative to the business occupation vote which is granted at the present time to the City and elsewhere. I am sorry to say that I am not a liveryman of the City of London, but I am and have been a residential voter of the City for thirty-five years and I am very proud of being a voter for such a great constituency. It is customary to refer—I think the hon. Member did refer—to me and my co-residents as being caretakers and porters and similar people. Be that as it may, speaking on behalf of my co-residents, and we are the only people who will be affected by this Amendment, I can say unhesitatingly that the liverymen as a body know more about the City of London and the great questions that affect the City than the residents of the City of London whose rights are preserved by the present Bill. There is no question of politics in this matter. Is it not important at the present time, if we can, to gain assistance from the liverymen? I look at the question from the point of view of the country rather than from the point of view of the privileges of the City. It seems to me to the advantage of the House and of the country to get the advice and the assistance and the interests of the liverymen of the City of London at the present time.
There are two matters I have come up against in the City which are likely to come up in this House more in the future than in the past. The first is a matter which has been taken up largely by the municipalities. I mean the provision of playing grounds. You have in the livery companies people experienced in spending 653 money on these matters, and their experience will be exceedingly valuable when such matters come before the House in the future. The second point has already been touched upon, and it is the question of education. I am inclined to go a step further than my hon. Friend. He has dealt with the schools and colleges which the City of London has from time to time founded, a great, beneficent, and important work. The liverymen of the City of London have undoubtedly been foremost in assisting education of a more experimental type in recent years. Remember how they came to the assistance of that very useful branch of secondary education, the Polytechnic of London, and the assistance which they gave to the old Polytechnic in Regent Street, by which they enlarged its beneficent work. That has been exceedingly useful. From time to time the City Guilds have found the means for scientific research. It is of great importance that you should have some body which has the money to advance such research, which results in great benefit to the community at large. We are about to consider an Education Bill of great width and complexity. Some hon. Members have talked of the proposals in that Bill as if they were quite new. Many of them are not. Many of them relate to experiments which have been tried by means of money provided by the City Guilds. It is necessary that when that Bill comes on those who represent the interests of the City of London and those who have had experience of such branches of education and have spent money on them should be able to give us their assistance. As a voter in the City of London I hope that the Government will see their way to accept this Amendment. The sentimental weight which attaches to a vote of this kind is a business asset of great value to this House and the country. I would ask the House not lightly to throw it aside, seeing that it does not depart from anything in the compromise arrived at Mr. Speaker's Conference, especially in the form in which it is now put forward. If the Government decline to accept the Amendment—I hope they will not—and my hon. Friend goes to a Division, I shall certainly support him.
§ Mr. SHERWELL
If Amendments to the Bill at this stage could be accepted on the ground of the eloquence with which they are proposed to the House this particular Amendment might easily find its way to a 654 place in the Bill. But I find it difficult to believe that, after what took place on the Committee stage of this Bill, the Government would to-day lightly be prepared to accept an Amendment of this kind. We have had a quite legitimate and very full statement of the benevolences and the philanthropic habits of the livery companies, whose members are to be enfranchised under this particular proposal. I am not quite sure how my hon. Friends, who moved and seconded the Amendment are prepared to carry that principle. Is it really to be seriously proposed to this House that we should enfranchise a man simply because he is associated with a company or corporation which very generously and philanthropically disposes in the public interest of funds, not personal to the members of the corporation or the company, over which it happens, by the accident of circumstances, historical and other, to have control? It is well known to every Member of the House that there is a large and, I am happy to believe, a growing number of public-spirited citizens who are every day bestowing large large sums of their own personal property in philanthropic, educational, and other directions. Is the House prepared to say this afternoon, as a matter of principle, that we are going to propose the enfranchisement of the philanthropic spirit? That really is the logical deduction from the arguments brought forward in support of this proposal. After all, the question is not one of the public spirit or the philanthropy of a particular individual or a particular set of individuals. It is a question of principle, namely, the grounds upon which you are to hold a man or a number of men entitled to exercise the vote. On the matter of principle, what becomes of this particular proposal? When analysed it amounts to a proposal to enfranchise a certain number of men—the actual number is quite irrelevant—who, under the principles and proposals of this Bill—and after all the provisions of this Bill embody certain agreed principles—are not entitled to the franchise. It is because I believe that the acceptance of this Amendment would involve a serious departure on a ground of principle, and a serious departure from the agreed principles upon which the whole of this legislation is founded, that I venture very strongly to express the confident hope that the Government will not, on the Report stage, overturn the decision arrived at on the Committee stage.
§ Mr. DICKINSON
I very much regret that this matter has been brought up on this occasion. It was very definitely settled in Committee by the resolute demeanour which the President of the Local Government Board then showed. The Mover of the Amendment stated that in Committee it came on under unfortunate circumstances. It is quite true that it was not discussed in Committee very much, but that was because of the attitude of the Government. If there had been any other attitude adopted by the right hon. Gentleman there would have been a great deal of discussion, because a great deal can be said on both sides in this matter. The City of London has not been badly dealt with under this Bill. It retains its two Members. It is a City containing a population under 17,000 and an electorate which might be something between 20,000 and 30,000. In ordinary normal circumstances it would have been disenfranchised altogether. Yet the recommendation came up with unanimity from the Conference to continue the special electoral privilege of the City. I have great admiration for the City, and, personally, was quite willing to let it stand out in that particularly prominent position —indeed, a predominant position over all other cities in the country. But that recommendation was accomplished with conditions, one of which was that the livery vote should come to an end. The Resolution of the Conference is very clear on this point and goes to the bottom of the whole case. After recommending the two classes of electoral qualification, residence, and the occupation of business premises, the Resolution says:The franchise based upon the foregoing qualifications shall be substituted for all the existing franchises, provided that the representation of the universities shall be maintained.Those of us who were in favour of that were willing to give the duplicate vote for the occupation of business premises, so that the business community should have rather more say in the affairs of the country than that to which their numbers would entitle them. We were willing to give the vote to the universities so that the educational community of this country should have rather more say in the affairs of the country than that to which their numbers entitle them. But we did not, we could not, and we will not, go further than that.
§ Mr. DICKINSON
Am I at liberty to discuss that question? My hon. Friend may be pretty well certain that if this proposal had been accepted by the Conference we should not have come to a unanimous decision on the question or the City of London. It is part and parcel of the system recommended by the Conference and the system adopted by the Government in tins Bill. The City of London does not stand alone in this respect at all. There are a great number of people in the country all of whom have been disfranchised by this Bill, and in whose support nobody has raised any voice. There are over 6,000 freemen and liverymen in the City of London, but there are over 21,000 freemen in various cities in the Kingdom. In some cities the freemen form a considerable portion of the electorate. In Norwich there are 800, in Nottingham 500, in York 1,400, and in Coventry over 2,000. My hon. Friend has to make a very special case in support of his proposal that the liverymen and freemen of the City of London should retain their rights as freemen whereas the freemen in other cities are to lose them. Why should these particular most worthy gentlemen have this separate privilege? I have nothing to say against the liverymen. The livery companies have had their moments of great repute and their moments of great disrepute. During the last twenty or thirty years they have done a great public work. But the individual members of these companies have no particular claim to any special electoral rights over anybody else. How do they become members? By servitude in certain cases; by purchase, I believe, in many cases, and by birth. They all have their ordinary vote under this Bill wherever they reside, or have an occupation of business premises. I see no reason why these individual gentlemen, excellent though they may be, should have this particular privilege.
Moreover, it is a curious thing that when you look into the Amendment you cannot see what reason there can be for giving them the vote in this particular form. If I understand the Amendment, it provides that a liveryman in the City of London is to have his name on the register of electors in the City of London, but is not to vote in the City of London unless he has a £10 business premises qualification either there or somewhere else. As far as I understand the Amend- 657 ment, it means that every liveryman in the City of London shall be placed on the register of electors for the City of London, and, if he has a business occupation qualification in Epsom, he shall be allowed to vote in the City of London; but that if he has no business qualification in Epsom, or anywhere else, he is not to be allowd to vote anywhere at all. I do not see what advantage that is going to bring to anybody. It is going to give these particular individuals the right to choose whether they will vote where they have their proper qualification or in the City of London, but it does not give one of them the right to vote in respect of his qualification as a liveryman. It is a new proposal altogether. Every graduate of a university is given the university vote, and if he has a residential vote somewhere else he can exercise his second vote; but that is not going to be the position as I understand it under this Amendment. I hope this proposal will not be pressed. It was made the subject of a unanimous recommendation of the Conference and it was decided in Committee. If it is introduced on the Report stage it seems to me to be opening the door to a vast amount of difficulty, especially with regard to freemen in the other cities of the country.
§ Captain BARNETT
The right hon. Gentleman has referred to what happened on the Committee stage of the Bill. I was present during those proceedings which impressed him as being so comprehensive. There were only eight Members present, including my hon. Friend (Mr. Touche) who made a very eloquent speech to empty benches. I followed him with a few halting sentences, and the matter was over in fifteen or twenty minutes, with no discussion whatever. To suggest that it was dealt with in any proper way or that the ancient rights, liberties and franchises of the City of London, which have existed for four or five hundred years, should be swept away in a desultory conversation of that kind is an insult to the intelligence of the House. We have been told that a great many freemen in the country are being disfranchised. That is true. That is the argument of compromise. I fail to see how there is any compromise in depriving someone else of his vote in Liverpool or Manchester and telling me I ought to be satisfied to be deprived of my vote. I am a very humble member of the Livery of the Worshipful Company of Turners. My purpose in 658 mentioning that is not one of ostentation, but to reinforce the argument of my hon. Friend (Mr. Touche), who pointed out the great educative work which is being done by the City companies. For years past the Worshipful Company of Turners has been teaching turning. It has been presenting lathes all over the country to the industrial schools. We have felt in our pockets to some extent, for one Worshipful Master after another has appealed to us to subscribe for lathes to be given to the industrial schools and reformatories throughout the country. We have also held exhibitions of turning. What has been the result of that? The art of turning, never more important than in this War, when munitions are so largely dependent on the skilful use of the lathe, is better known throughout England at present than it has ever been, and those men who were trained in the industrial schools and reformatories in the country to the use of these lathes have been doing yeoman work for the Ministry of Munitions. That is only one small illustration of the great and beneficient work of education which has been done by the City companies. It is not necessary to repeat the catalogue of the great schools which they have founded. Their fame has gone out into the land. When it comes to the hon. Member (Mr. Sherwell) telling us that we are asked to enfranchise the philanthropic spirit, we are asked to enfranchise nothing of the kind. We are not asking to enfranchise people, because they give £20,000 to education or £5,000 to hospitals. We are asking the Government most strongly not to enfranchise City companies, but to leave them the old franchise which they have had for hundreds of years, a franchise which our Prime Minister, in my own hearing, swore six months ago to defend. We are asking for the maintenance of ancient rights which, we have been told, have never been abused. There is no reason why anyone should be disfranchised by this great measure. I yield to no one in my admiration of it, but I think it would be a great pity if it is remembered hereafter as a Bill which preserved the full right of voting to the conscientious objector and robbed the City of London of its ancient livery vote.
Mr. T. WILSON
I hope the Mover of this Amendment will not press it. It was with a considerable amount of misgiving, and of reluctance as well, that we did not oppose the recommendation of the 659 Speaker's Conference that the City of London should retain two members. It has two members, but it is not satisfied, and I believe if, in another stage of the Bill, they got the liverymen included in the franchise they would not be satisfied, but would come forward with some further Amendment to give a dual vote to more people residing in the City of London and outside it. There are quite a number of towns and cities in the United Kingdom which would make the same claim. We recognise that the Bill is a democratic measure. We do not want to retain any of these old-fashioned claims to be on the register if we can possibly help it. I hope the Government will refuse to accept the Clause as moved. If it is inclined to accept it, we—I am speaking on behalf of the Labour party—shall have to consider whether we will move an Amendment to the Schedule with regard to the City of London retaining two members. It is going too far to ask the House of Commons to accept an Amendment of this kind. I fully recognise that sentiment plays a great part in the affairs of this country, but for goodness sake do not let us allow it to become sloppy sentiment, and I am afraid it is inclined to do that now.
§ Mr. BUTCHER
I cannot share the regret of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Dickinson) that the House is given an opportunity of considering this question—an opportunity which it has never had up to this moment, because when the question came on in Committee there was no discussion and no expression of opinion at all—and it is a perfectly sound constitutional view that when you have not an opportunity of raising a question in Committee you are bound, if you believe in your case, to raise it on Report. The right hon. Gentleman made a speech which appeared to me to disclose the existence of the extremest type of the Conference mind, which is wholly unimaginative. It proceeds upon a proposed verbal construction of the Conference, and having established, or sometimes invented, principles on which that Conference is supposed to have acted, you could always reject, according to them, any proposition to amend the Bill. You could say, "I was against the principle of the Conference," like the hon. Member (Mr. Sherwell), or you can say, "It is against the verbal text of the Conference," as the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Dickinson) said. From either 660 of those two points of view, of course, the argument is answerable. But if that is the real point of view from which to approach the Bill, why are we here at all? Why did we not vote for the Bill en bloc and say there is an, end of it? It has been admitted by everyone whose opinion is worth having that we are entitled to a certain extent to revise some of the textual provisions of the Bill in order to make them better and to make the franchise a better representation of the people in some cases than it is at present. I support this franchise—first, because it embodies a great historic tradition, and, secondly, and perhaps even more, because it has proved to be a most valuable franchise in itself. It has existed for 500 years. That in itself, according to some views, is no reason why it should be continued. It might even be urged as a reason for abolishing it. I am not sure that there are not murmurs which would indicate that that is the view of some hon. Members opposite. But in the case of a franchise which has existed for five hundred years it, at any rate, affords an opportunity of testing its value, and the test of five hundred years proves that this franchise has been well exercised. The history of the City of London in its Parliamentary and municipal aspects is, to a great extent, the history of civil freedom in this country. Who are the men who have sent these representatives to Parliament? Largely, though not entirely of later years, these very liverymen whom you now propose to disfranchise. That is one reason why you should continue it. Let me suggest another. These liverymen have large and substantial interests in the City of London and are representative of almost every branch of the finance, the industry, and the enterprise of the City, and their voices have a right to be heard when the City of London is called upon to express, through its representatives, its opinion upon great national questions.
Let me suggest one other reason. In the City of London, and elsewhere no doubt, but in London especially, is the seat of great numbers of great commercial enterprises—joint stock companies, and the like. These joint stock companies, however vast their enterprise and however beneficent their operations, have no vote attached to them. Some of us think it is wrong. I do. But we are not proposing to alter that at this moment. What is important to bear in mind is that many of these liverymen are directors or occupy promi- 661 nent positions in these companies, and if you preserve the livery vote you give to these great associations which have done so much for the industrial position of this country a direct chance of their voice being heard when it comes to an election. That is a ground which in itself gives some reason for supporting this vote. But if there is no reason—and I cannot discover any—for disfranchising these liverymen, why should you disfranchise them? One of my hon. Friends made a very good point when he said it was a question of disfranchisement in answer to the hon. Member for Huddersfield, who talked about it as an enfranchisement. When it comes to a question of disfranchisement, surely you ought to produce some adequate reason for it? Can there be or has there been any reason brought forward for that measure of disfranchisement, except that it would impinge against the dead uniformity, the far too great dead level of uniformity which, as I think, takes far too little account of historic traditions and distinctions which ought to be preserved and ought to be respected by this House when it comes to a measure of this kind. Under that dead level of uniformity many seats and franchises have disappeared, and now it is proposed to use that abuse of principle, if I may call it so, by saying that in no circumstances must you extend the franchise laid down in this Bill, however valuable the franchise to be abolished may have been and however historic or beneficent it may have been. I ask the Government to take account of these things and to concede something—it is not a very great concession—to historic traditions and to a great past, and in that way, without impinging upon any legitimate underlying principle of the Bill, or any basis upon which it has been recommended by the Conference, to improve the Bill and to preserve the enfranchisement of a body of voters who have deserved well of this country in the past.
§ Mr. H. SAMUEL
The hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down, like the Mover of this Amendment and other hon. Members who have spoken in its support, has made a very attractive speech in favour of what I venture to term a very unattractive proposal. He and others have drawn upon our gratitude for the philanthropy and public spirit which has been shown, particularly in recent years by the City guilds, and they seek to turn that gratitude into votes. One of the great 662 virtues of the recommendations of your Conference, Mr. Speaker, is that it makes. for a simplification of the franchise. It sweeps away for the most part fancy franchises, and, among others, this very anomalous privilege of the franchise enjoyed by the liverymen of the City of London. As the right hon. Member for St. Pancras (Mr. Dickinson) has pointed out, if you restore the franchise to the liverymen of the City of London how can you refuse to do the same for other liverymen in other parts of the country? There is an Amendment on the Paper to-day proposing that the liverymen of Oxford should have their franchise maintained. If the present Amendment is passed, what answer can we give to my hon. Friend the Member for the city of Oxford - why we cannot accept his Amendment?
§ Mr. BUTCHER
Are there any liverymen outside the City of London? There are freemen, but are there any liverymen?
§ Mr. SAMUEL
The distinction is a somewhat fine one. They are persons who have exceptional franchises by virtue of holding certain posts in connection with the Corporation, or, in the case of London, in, connection with the guilds, and I think that the freemen of the city of Oxford would have great cause for complaint if this House, having accepted this Amendment, were to reject the next one. Similarly there are cases, as my right hon, Friend (Mr. Dickinson) has said, all over the country. There are 15,000 voters outside London who hitherto have had this. privilege. The hon. Members who have supported this Amendment have done it on what is termed historical continuity. Every anomaly can be defended on the ground of historic continuity. If we were to accept that as a basis for legislation we should still have an electorate such as. it was 100 years ago. The speeches which have been made to-day in support of this Amendment are really echoes of the speeches made in 1831 and in 1816, and I am afraid they must be dealt with in the same ruthless and stern spirit with which our predecessors treated similar ad miseri cordiam appeals to gratitude and goodwill when previous Reform Bills were before the House. When we refused only the other day to allow the eloquent plea of the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Butcher), on behalf of the ancient city of York, which was supported on very strong historic claims, and when we are proposing 663 to disfranchise ancient cities like Canterbury and Winchester, once the capital of England. we must steel our hearts and not allow this privilege to continue.
The hon. Member who moved the Amendment said truly that the City Guilds in the past had been great benefactors to education. Is it really a reason because the Brewers' Company, which the hon. Member quoted, founded a school in 1617 that the liverymen of the Brewers' Company should have a special vote for Parliament in the year 1917? We do not even give a special franchise to the pious founders of the present day. A man may found an important school in any part of the country, but no one would think of giving him a vote for that reason. Why, then, should we give a vote to people who are but representatives in apostolic succession to men who centuries ago built schools which rendered useful service to the educational system of the country? If these liverymen are residents in the City of London now, they will have a vote by that residence, or, if they have a business in the City of London, they will have votes for their business premises. The only persons whom the hon. Member wishes to enfranchise are people who have neither residence nor business in the City of London, but who by purchase, or inheritance, or in some other way, happen to have a share in one of the City Guilds. They may be spectacle makers who know nothing about spectacle making, or cord-wainers who do not know what cord-waining is—I do not know—and yet they are to have a larger measure of political authority in this country than their fellow citizens Another hon. Member for St. Pancras (Captain Barnett) has been good enough to take a share in presenting lathes to reformatory schools as a member of the Turners' Company. As one interested in reformatory schools, I am most grateful to him for having done that; but that is no reason why he should have an extra vote for Parliament, admirable though his work for the reformatory schools has been. Having regard to these facts, I trust the House will adhere to the attitude which they took up in Committee. If this privilege is conferred it must necessarily open up the question of plural voting, to the continuance of which many of us agreed reluctantly on condition that all fancy franchises were done away with, and that 664 the plural vote was to be limited to the dual vote. That question will have to be reconsidered, to see how the matter stands, if this Amendment is adopted. For these reasons I hope the House will adhere to the decision arrived at.
§ Mr. R. McNEILL
I am extremely disappointed with the speech of the right hon. Gentleman. I was hoping that when he rose to address the House he was going to use the great influence which he exercises over his Friends to say how utterly unreasonable was the resistance to this Amendment. I had thought that the right hon. Gentleman would have shown more imagination, and that that would have led him to show more sympathy to the Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman said—and I think his words were intended to convey something of a menace—that if this Amendment were accepted it would necessitate reconsideration of the whole question of plural voting. I could understand that threat if this Amendment proposed to extend in any way the plural vote. I could understand the right hon. Gentleman's allusion to the fancy franchise, and I could understand the opposition of hon. Members, if this Amendment proposed in any way to stray further in the direction of plural voting; but it does nothing of the sort. There is nothing in this Amendment which will add to the plural voting which has been already accepted in the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman said that when we defended an Amendment of this sort on the ground of historical continuity, that any anomaly might be defended upon the same grounds. I would not defend a proposal in a Reform Bill on the ground of historical continuity or association if there was any sort of an abuse involved in it. I would not vote to bolster up anything which might be considered from the most advanced standard an abuse or an anomaly on the sole ground that it embodied some historical association. The reason why we wish this livery vote to be retained is, that while it symbolises of historical association, which I should have thought would have appealed to the right hon. Gentleman, it does so without in any sense bolstering up an anomaly or an abuse which upon any ground of merit anyone could object to.
The hon. Member who spoke from the Labour Benches (Mr. Tyson Wilson) talked about the necessity for adhering to the principle of the Bill. Surely the hon. 665 and learned Member for York is right when he says that there is no particular object in establishing and maintaining a dull level of uniformity for itself alone. Uniformity and principle are all very well, and are perfectly right if they have some intelligible object, or if they embody something which is in itself valuable, but there is no intention in this Amendment of invading in any real sense the principle of the Bill. When the right hon. Gentleman joins with others in saying that if this Amendment were accepted, it would be impossible to resist similar proposals from other cities, that argument is of no weight whatever. There is not a man in this House, whether he represents ancient cities like Oxford, York, Winchester, or Canterbury, but would admit that great as are the historic traditions of those cities, they cannot be brought into comparison with the historic associations of the City of London. I defend this Amendment, and am willing to support it, if necessary, in the Lobby, entirely upon sentimental grounds, and I think it is because the sentiment is so strong, and because there is no other ground for defending it, that it ought to be accepted. When an hon. Member opposite, supported by the right hon. Gentleman, talks about the endowment of schools, Of the disbursement of money not being a good title to the vote, everybody absolutely agrees with that. Possibly it would have been better if these grounds had not been mentioned in the Debate; but I understood my hon. Friend the Proposer of this Amendment, and others who supported it, referred to the past dealings of the livery companies in matters such as education, charity, and so forth, not to show that those things in themselves entitled these men to the vote, but in order to show by the history of the companies the great part they have taken in the public life of the country, the great history which lies behind them, in order to induce the House, if possible, if it pays any attention to these considerations not to break that continuity, and to make what is avowedly an exception in favour of these companies, and to keep alive their ancient and honourable history. It is on those grounds that I defend this Amendment. There are hon. Members here who would like to destroy a franchise of this sort merely because it is ancient. I think that my right hon. Friend behind me seemed to display that attitude, and I 666 think that my hon. Friend the Member for York was within his right in speaking of my right hon. Friend as showing a very unimaginative mind in the matter. There are, of course, persons who from time to time, if they have to restore a building, would from the pure joy of the thing take down a piece of Norman stonework and replace it with corrugated iron, and, if the sole object is to keep out the wet, it is quite open to question whether corrugated iron is not the better material of the two. But those who have any regard for the beauty and picturesqueness of antiquity and history will be inclined, when they can do so without injuring the structure, to maintain what is ancient and beautiful. On those grounds, I support the Amendment, and I hope that the House will do the same.
§ Mr. GLANVILLE
I do not know whether the House is aware of it, but, I think it was in 1883, there was a Royal Commission on the City livery companies, and the revelations of that Commission are still lingering in the minds of those who read them. It was clearly shown that with enormous revenues, amounting to many millions, a very small proportion of the money was properly expended. A hundred thousand pounds a year was expended on refreshments. The members of the livery companies have met and come to a decision on this question. I was wondering as to what they did at that meeting, whether it was before they had the refreshment or not. I would wish this fact to be understood. After the Report of the Royal Commission the City livery companies thought it advisable to a certain extent to reform themselves, and then they voted considerable portions of the moneys which they controlled for the purposes of education, and since that date a very large proportion of their revenue has been set aside for educational purposes, while a considerable portion of their revenue is diverted in another direction. Now we come to the question of the livery vote itself. The voters number 6,000 or 8,000 men who are not connected in any way with the various trade organisations to which they are supposed to belong. They handle the funds. Even if they handle every penny properly, they ought not to have such control, which belongs properly to the whole trade organisations of London—to the whole of London. I speak as a Londoner who feels that his money is being controlled by men who 667 have no right to control it. We are told that many of them have no connection whatever with the City of London. If they had any connection it would not be necessary for them to have this Amendment to give them the vote. The Mover of the Amendment said that about one-third of 6,000 would get votes, which at present they do not get, if this Amendment were carried.
§ Mr. GLANVILLE
I am sorry that I misunderstood that point. Why give votes to these liverymen when they get votes in the ordinary way in the City? Nearly all of them are connected with the City. We have been told of the magnitude of the City of London. We all appreciate the position of the City of London in the financial world and in the Empire, but you have got in the City of London about 30,000 of them who will have a chance of voting in the ordinary way. Why should these liverymen be in any way brought into the question. They are an anachronism. They may have been all right 700 years ago, when they did not know where to get voters or how to get them. They are not wanted now, and they should disappear from our English electoral system. We have quite enough anomalies left in this Bill now. We have plural voting in all its glory. Plural voting is increased in some directions. We certainly .do not want the very worst type of plural voter to be left. I do not see why they should be trusted with votes when they cannot be trusted with public funds.
§ Sir G. CAVE
This Amendment is very strongly supported, and there is a very strong feeling behind it. To begin with, it is an Amendment which comes from the City of London, to which all of us desire to do honour, and with which many of us have personal relations which we would not willingly break. I have the very greatest possible respect for the City Guilds. They have done year after year admirable service to education, charity, and other public causes in this country. The Amendment was recommended by the hon. Member for North Islington in a speech to which all who beard it listened with the greatest respect. My hon. Friend made the very best case that could be made for this Amendment, and I know that for a time some Members 668 of this House who until then had been disposed to take a different view were shaken in their opinion. There was much force also in the sentimental reasons urged by my hon. Friend the Member for St. Augustine's in favour of this Amendment, and it would have been a real pleasure to me if, finding in this House a general assent to this proposal, I had been able myself to, agree in this case to an exception from the general scheme of the Bill. But we are not here for pleasure. I do not even hold my office for pleasure. We often have to sweep aside considerations of personal liking, and from time to time during the progress of this Bill I have had to harden my heart to some of my hon. Friends and refuse pleas which on sentimental grounds appealed strongly to me. I had to oppose the claims of the city of York and the claims of the county of London. On this Amendment also I find myself bound by the conditions under which we are working.
I do not quote the Report of the Conference as binding us in every one of its details, and there are occasions when the recommendations of the Conference have been altered by general assent. But we are dealing here, in this Amendment, with one of the main principles embodied in the Report of the Conference, that in the new franchise system the three franchises which are to remain shall take the place of all other franchises. That has been the Report of the Conference expressed in terms which nobody could mistake, and with which the Amendment now before the House does not comply. If, notwithstanding that fact, we had found anything like a general assent in this House to this proposal, one might have taken a different view, but when we find Members strongly opposed to this proposal, when we find Members of the party opposite opposed to it, when we find the Labour party by their spokesman strongly resisting the Amendment and saying that if it were passed they would have to reopen the question, which I hope is closed, of the double membership of the City of London, then it appears to me that a serious position arises, and I do not think that that would be according to the interests of the City of London itself if we did accept a proposal of this kind. I doubt very much, as I read this Amendment, whether it would have practically any great effect on the list of voters for the City of 669 London. I believe that most of those who are in all essentials Londoners, have already under this Bill a vote for the City of London. The great bulk of the liverymen are business men in the City of London. They have got the vote already. It will not matter to them whether they vote as business men or a liveryman. Therefore, I do not think that this Amendment would make any large addition to the voters of the City. Many of those who would be added would not be City men in the full sense of the word. It cuts both ways, but to that extent it shows that we are not really refusing anything of any great substance.
That brings me to another point. I find very great difficulty in construing this Amendment. I have read it more than once, and frankly I do not know what the proviso means. It says that the liverymen who are entitled to vote in the election of Members for the City of London shall be entitled to be registered as Parliamentary electors for that constituency. Provided that any liveryman registered under this Section may exercise the franchise indicated by such registration only as an alternative to any business premises qualification to be
§ registered under this Act. That means, I take it, that every liveryman shall be registered, but that he shall not vote if he has a business qualification; and I really do not know—I am really not quite sure—how you are to enforce the proviso. How are you to tell, when a liveryman comes to vote, whether he has already voted for business premises in some other part of the country? It seems to me that this Amendment has not been fully thought out, and really is unworkable. Even if it were put in workable form, so that we could understand what it means, I do not think it would be possible to give any effect to the proviso. What my hon. Friend really wants is an alternative registration. However, I will not go into that, as it is not part of the Amendment. I hope I have not expressed any hostility to the feeling underlying this Amendment; but, having thought it out very carefully before to-day, and during the Debate, it seems to me that if I were to accept it I would be departing from the view which has guided the Government throughout the Bill.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 48; Noes, 167.671
|Division No. III.]||AYES.||[7.18 p.m.|
|Archdale, Lieut. E. M.||Gardner, Ernest||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Barnett, Captain R. W.||Goulding, Sir Edward Alfred||Nield, Herbert|
|Bathurst, Col. Hon. A. B. (Glouc., E.)||Gretton, Colonel John||Norton-Griffiths, Sir J.|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||O'Malley, William|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord C. J. (K'ton)||Pearce, Sir Robert (Staffs., Leek)|
|Blair, Reginald||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Boyton, James||Harris, Henry Percy (Paddington, S.)||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Burdett-Coutts, William||Hope, Lt.-Col. J. A. (Mid.)||Sanders, Col. Robert Arthur|
|Butcher, John George||Hunt, Major Rowland||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Thomas-Stanford, Charles|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee||Tickler, T. G.|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Wilson, Col. Leslie C. (Reading)|
|Coats, Sir Stewart A. (Wimbledon)||Marriott, J. A. R.||Yate, Colonel Charles Edward|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John (St. Ives)||Meux, Adml. Hon. Sir Hedworth||Younger, Sir George|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Morgan, George Hay|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Sir G.|
|Fell, Arthur||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Touche and Mr. Rawlinson.|
|Adamson, William||Brunner, John F. L.||Currie, George W.|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Bull, Sir William James||Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)|
|Ainsworth Sir John Stirling||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)|
|Alden, Percy||Buxton, Noel||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Campion, Lieut.-Col. W. R.||Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas|
|Arnold, Sydney||Cave, Rt. Hon. Sir George||Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Willoughby H.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Cawley, Rt. Hon. Sir F. (Prestwich)||Doris, William|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Chancellor, Henry George||Dougherty, Rt. Hon. Sir J. B.|
|Barnston, Capt. Harry||Cheyne, Sir W. W.||Duke, Rt. Hon. Henry Edward|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick Burghs)||Clough, William||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Clyde, James Avon||Edge, Captain William|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Clynes, John R.||Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Bentham, George Jackson||Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Essex, Sir Richard Walter|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Collins, Sir W. (Derby)||Falconer, James|
|Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Colvin, Col. Richard Beale||Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Finney, Samuel|
|Brace, Rt. Hon. William||Crooks, Rt. Hon. William||Fisher, Rt. Hon. H. A. L. (Hallam)|
|Broughton, Urban Hanlon||Crumley, Patrick||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes (Fulham)|
|Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||MacCaw, William J. MacGaagh||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Fleming, Sir John||Macdonald, Rt. Hon. J. M. (Falk.B'ghs)||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Galbraith Samuel||Macleod, John Mackintosh||Seely, Lt.-Col. Sir C. H. (Mansfield)|
|Gibbs, Col. George Abraham||Macmaster, Donald||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Gilbert, .J. D.||McMicking, Major Gilbert||Shortt, Edward|
|Glanville, Harold James||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Smallwood, Edward|
|Greenwood, Sir G. G. (Peterborough)||Mallalieu, Frederick William||Snowden, Philip|
|Greig, Colonel J. W.||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Stanton, Charles Butt|
|Griffith, Rt. Hon. Ellis Jones||Millar, James Duncan||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Guest, Capt. Hon. Fred. E. (Dorset, E.)||Molteno, Percy Alpert||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West),|
|Gulland, Rt. Hon. John William||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Hackett, John||Morison, Hector (Hackney, S.)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Mount, William Arthur||Thomas, Sir A. G. (Monmouth, S.)|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Norman, Sir Henry||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||O'Grady, James||Tillett, B.|
|Harris, Percy A. (Leicester, S.)||Outhwaite, R. L.||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Haslam, Lewis||Parker, James (Halifax)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Hemmerde, Edward George||Parrott, Sir Jomes Edward||Watson, John B. (Stockton)|
|Hodge, Rt. Hon. John||Pease, Rt. Hon.Herbert Pike(Darlington)||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Peel, Major Hon. G. (Spalding)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Perkins, Walter Frank||Whiteley, Herbert James|
|Jacobsen, Thomas Owen||Peto, Basil Edward||Whyte, Alexander F.|
|Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||Philipps, Sir Owen (Chester)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Pratt, J. W.||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N.W.)|
|Jones, Rt. Hon. Leit (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Pringle, William M. R.||Williams, Col. Sir Robert (Dorset, W.)|
|Jowett, Frederick William||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Joyce, Michael||Raffan, Peter Wilson||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Keating, Matthew||Rees, G. C. (Carnarvonshire, Arton)||Winfrey, Sir Richard|
|kellaway, Frederick George||Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, E.)||Wing, Thomas Edward|
|King, Joseph||Rendall, Athelstan||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|Lamb, Sir Ernest Henry||Richardson, Arthur (Rotherham)||Yeo, Alfred W.|
|Larmor, Sir J.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. George H. (Norwich)||Young, William (Perthshire, East)|
|Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighe)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Robertson, Rt. Hon. J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Robinson, Sidney||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Colonel|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Rowlands, James||Craig and Sir Edwin Cornwall.|
|Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dewsbury)|