HC Deb 26 November 1917 vol 99 cc1673-701

(1) If at an election for one Member of Parliament there are more than two candidates, the election shall be according to the principle of the alternative vote as defined by this Act.

(2) At a contested election for a university constituency, where there are two or more members to be elected, any election of the full number of members shall be according to the principle of proportional representation, each elector having one transferable vote as defined by this Act.

(3) His Majesty may by Order in Council frame Regulations prescribing the methods of voting, and transferring and counting votes, at any election, according to the principle of the transferable or of the alternative vote and for adapting the provisions of the Ballot Act, 1872, and any other Act relating to Parliamentary elections thereto, and with respect to the duties of returning officers in connection therewith; and any such Regulations shall have effect as if they were enacted in this Act.

(4) Nothing contained in this Act shall, except as expressly provided herein, affect the method of conducting Parliamentary elections in force at the time of the passing of this Act.

Adjourned Debate resumed on Amendment proposed [22nd November]: In Subsection (1), leave out the word "by," and insert instead thereof the words "in the Eighth and Ninth Schedules of."—[Major Chapple.]

Question again proposed, "That the word 'by' stand part of the Bill."

4.0 P.M.


The Amendment is practically to replace the Schedules in the Bill for carrying out the principle of the transferable vote by a different set of Schedules. No apology is needed for having deferred the decision of this important matter until this week. The House has already committed itself to the principle of the transferable vote, but neither in the discussions in this House nor in the Conference on which this Bill is based was it ever considered how such a principle was to be carried into effect. I may be allowed to contrast that with what happened about the principle of proportional representation. That subject was fully canvassed at the Speaker's Conference in all its bearings, and the unanimous recommendations of the Conference specified one particular kind of proportional representation, namely, that of the single transferable vote against the numerous other kinds that exist. In the case of the alternative vote the conflict of opinion was so strong and the possibility of compromise was so slight that the methods of putting the alternative vote into operation were not even considered. The decision arrived at was simply a vote on the principle, without consideration of the method of operation at all. The principle of proportional representation is quite a recent one compared with discussions on the transferable vote. These matters had been canvassed, and the difficulty had been surveyed from all sides for sixty years before the idea of proportional representation was invented. It will be within the recollection of Members that on the enunciation of that principle John Stuart Mill, in his tract on "Representative Government," committed himself to the statement that the idea of proportional representation was the greatest discovery in political science that had been made since the days of Aristotle. The reason for that very remarkable statement was that people were sick and tired of the difficulties and controversies about the transferable vote, and therefore welcomed the alternative system as something throwing new light on the problem of the representation of the people.

The question that is before the House on this Amendment is the relative merits of the plan of the Schedules for carrying out the alternative vote which are contained in the Bill, and the plan of the Schedules which are set out in the Amendment of the hon. and gallant Member for Stirlingshire (Major Chapple). According to the Schedules the candidate who is lowest on the first preferences is summarily ruled out, and the second preferences that belong to him are divided between the other two candidates One of the main objections to that pro- posal is that it entirely abolishes— "abolishes" is not too strong a word—the independent candidate. In the case of an election for one seat with three candidates, if two strong organisations each puts up its own candidate and there is an independent candidate who is acceptable all round, but naturally not so acceptable to each militant organisation as its own man, that independent candidate in the nature of things will be third on the list, and if this scheme is carried the care which the House has shown on many occasions that independent candidates should be encouraged will all be overruled, and in single-member constituencies it will be practically an impossibility for an independent candidate to present himself. He is pretty safe to be third on the first preferences, and even although both the other parties prefer to vote for him as against their own rival, he is ruled out, and on the second preference has no chance. That is an objection which will appeal to the House, considering the great trouble that it has taken to try to secure more independence in the candidates who stand for Parliamentary elections. On the other hand, the Schedules proposed in the Amendment enact that if an elector gives a second preference to a candidate he shall have a stake in that candidate to the extent of giving him half a vote against one vote for his own first choice. The result of that will be that the candidate cannot be used as a mere weapon against another party. If an elector gives him a preference at all, it means that he does something towards helping on his cause. It does not merely mean the negative position. It does not merely mean that he dislikes someone else and has a blow at him by giving a vote to a third man. It is not a mere negative weapon, but an actual preference in a minor degree. It means that the elector is willing to do something to help on the man to whom he gives his second preference.

Following out the matter, I shall confine myself to the simple case of three candidates for a single seat. The Schedules look very complex, but they have to be constructed so as to apply to any number of candidates and to all the numerous possibilities that will infrequently arise or may not arise. The case of three candidates covers all the points that are relevant.

Say the three candidates are A., B., and C. Many systems of alternative voting have been devised and examined against each other. I find that the main criterion, and to my mind the true criterion to test them, has been this: Does the system proposed allow one candidate to be elected when the votes of the electors establish that they prefer another candidate to him? That point can be ascertained from the votes. If each elector gives a vote to A., a preference to B., and omits C., it is definitely known whether he prefers A. to C. or not. I take it that if a candidate is elected and the electors prefer someone else to him, that candidate is wrongly elected. In every system of alternative voting that has yet been proposed this result will not infrequently be reached. The votes will show that often the electors certainly prefer candidate A. to candidate B., and prefer candidate B. to candidate C., but, at the same time, they prefer candidate C. to candidate A. That seems a very extraordinary statement. I am not going into it, because it is universally admitted in the discussions on the subject. I suppose that the philosophers who are in this House would tell us that it is due to the irrationality of human nature when it is acting in a mass. I believe it is due to the absurdity of the principle of alternative voting for deciding elections with a large mass of electors. However, we are committed to the principle of an alternative vote, and we have to make the best we can of this very striking paradox. The scientific method for search purposes in other regions is to choose, from the various courses that are open to us, all leading to absurd results, that one which is least objectionable. That is the only principle on which we can argue the relative merits or demerits of the Schedule in the Bill and the Schedules proposed in this Amendment. In the case of which I have spoken, namely, of three candidates, where the electors prefer A. to B. and prefer B. to C., and at the same time prefer C. to A., the only way of doing this is by turning out that candidate who, although preferred to somebody else, is less preferred than the others are. His second preference would then be divided among the other two, including the one against whom he actually had the preference of the body of electors, and a decision would be reached.

This discussion and this idea of choosing the lesser evil is of ancient date It originated, it appears, with the Marquis Condorcet, one of the most illustrious victims of the French Revolution. It is remarkable how many of the men of genius of the revolutionary period applied their minds to these problems of the representation of the people. Of course, the problem was then new in France, which was turning over to popular government for the first time, and their attempt was to settle it as far as possible by cold logic, according to the spirit of the revolutionary age. It was in their efforts that all these contradictions of which I have spoken, which render the method hopelessly bad in comparison with proportional representation, were elucidated. The distinguished men who put forward the principles of alternative voting included Borda, the inventor of the metric system of weights and measures, Condorcet, and even Laplace. They attacked the problem by pure reason in its general form. In this country we go rather by compromise such as may work simply and smoothly. This being a system which can be dicovered if you work with three candidates, I take it that in this country it would not be such an important matter if there were some difficulties in the case of four or more candidates, the case which arises very seldom.

The method of Borda, as approved by Condorcet, is the one contained in this Amendment. There is, however, added to it a paragraph (b), in regard to which I observe there is a further Amendment to omit it. This paragraph, so far as I can make out, seems to have been added by Mr. Nanson, a professor at Melbourne. His very able paper on the subject of different kinds of voting was reprinted in Command Paper 3501, of 1907, and a good deal of the information I have just given to the House has been derived from it. The principle of preference voting is no part of the original plan of Borda and Condorcet, but something added to it some thirty years ago. I have examined the argument to find out his reasons for adding paragraph (b) to the Schedule. Paragraph (b) says that in case an elector does not choose to put down his preference, nevertheless he is to be considered as having given a preference, and that the preferences are to be divided equally between the other candidates. He lays down the position that if an elector plumps for A., it is because he cannot make up his mind to which of the other two he shall give his alternative vote. Therefore, he says, it should be divided between them. The proposition is not absurd. I have no doubt there are cases in which that would be a most admirable plan, but certainly it is not the plan that is suitable in the case before the House. I fear it shows how weak theory may be when it is extended beyond a robust sense of the facts that are relevant. According to paragraph (b), an elector who votes for A. is thus compelled by an abstract principle to support two candidates, B. and C., against his will. The principle of paragraph(b) is, I believe, unsound. Among systems all leading more or less to impossible results; the one has been chosen in which the absurdity is smallest. That consideration, worked out logically, leads to the Schedules in this Amendment, but the paragraph (b) thus added is erroneous, because this judgment, which of all the plans operates less absurdly, ought to be final. It is not allowable to get a decision by considering which of them is least absurd and then to alter this choice in a new and objectionable manner in order to mitigate one of its remaining and presumably minor defects. If you are going to choose between three, it is the least objectionable that the choice once made in logic ought to stand. It is not allowable to go on tinkering with the choice in order to patch it up further, because in doing so you will be combining other things which might make it worse compared with the previous ones against which it has been chosen. Those are my main objections. I would mention as a detail that there is another paragraph (f) in the Schedule, which describes the drawing of lots in a case of equality. That is a very small matter. The drawing of lots is rather objectionable and can be avoided. Instead of drawing lots, it is open to eliminate the candidate who has received the fewest votes on the first choice. Something of that sort would be very much better. That point, however, is a very small one. The question before the House is on the general principle of the two Schedules, because I take it that Amendments in detail can be considered subsequently. To sum up: It appears from the authorities on the subject that no method of alternative voting is anywhere near to being a sound, practical plan; they were all thus cast into the shade when proportional representation was put ,forward, and have been very little considered. During the last sixty years proportional representation has held the field. I believe the straightforward procedure, if we are going to have single-member constituencies, and the one that is probably least often at fault, is to compel the parties to reduce their differences as much as possible before the election and to put those differences that are outstanding to a straight vote, without complications or reservations of subsidiary considerations But we are now committed to a different course. The Schedule of this Amendment, improved in details, has my staunch support as being less objectionable than the one contained in the Bill.


The hon. Member who has just spoken has, as we all know, a knowledge of mathematics with which no Member in the House can compete. He has perhaps, if I may be allowed to say so respectfully, almost an excess of knowledge for the ordinary purposes of practical politics. His speech reminds me a little of a saying—I forget the name of its author—that philosophers were like the stars which give little light because they are so high. Theoretically, no doubt, it is the case that a scheme such as that now before the House is more logically perfect from the mathematical point of view than the cruder system which has always been discussed as the normal method of applying the alternative vote. If we apply it in practice, let us see to what it amounts. It amounts to this: That every person can vote in a constituency returning one member for which there are three candidates, that in the simplest case he can give one vote for the first candidate and a second vote for his next preference, which will count as the equivalent of half his first vote. I think I am correct in that. I am glad to be supported by the hon. Member (Sir J. Larmor), because that is the crucial point. You give your first vote to A., whom you wish to see elected. If you wish to give a second preference, you give half a vote to B. The effect of that is that you are, by giving your half vote to B., pro tanto voting against A., whom you wish to see elected. Your half-vote to B. and a number of such other votes may have the effect of keeping A. out altogether and getting B. elected in preference to A., which is not what you want. Therefore really the system now proposed is to enable you to undo with one hand one-half of what you have done with the other and to use your second preference not as an alternative to but as a deduction from your first preference, and it is that which, it seems to me, makes this scheme vicious in principle. The alternative vote is entirely different.

The alternative vote as ordinarily understood is this: You vote for A. and say, "That is the man I wish to see elected, but if A. has not got enough votes to get elected, if he is at the bottom of the poll on the first count, and only B. and C. are left in, then as between B. and C. I vote for B. You plump for A.; you give the whole of your first preference to A. If he cannot be elected, then as between the other two, you declare your preference for B. But under this scehme you are not allowed to plump for anyone and at the same time to give a preference for someone else, in case your first man A. is not elected. That would no doubt suit very well those hon. Members who do, not want to give a second preference. They plump for their man and do, not want to vote for anyone else, especially if they find that the other party to whom they are opposed want to vote for other people, but will be deterred from voting for them by the fact that they know that if they vote for a second candidate they will be in fact voting against their first candidate. Therefore, the effect of this scheme will really be to undo the benefit of the alternative vote, and a Labour voter, for example, who wants to give his first vote to a Labour candidate and his second to a Liberal will be deterred from doing so because he knows his second vote will count on the first count as a half-vote for a Liberal candidate, and may have the effect of keeping the Labour man out altogether. He would be willing to vote for a Liberal rather than a Conservative, but he is not willing to help a Liberal to get in as against a Labour man if he has a chance. Similarly with regard to Unionist Tariff Reformers and Unionist Free Traders. Further, this scheme, of course, is exceedingly complicated.


No, no!


Complicated for the. average intelligence.


No, no !


As hon. Members can see if they look at the Schedule which is attached to the Amendment, and very difficult to explain to the electorate. Moreover, it has never been tried in any part of the world. It was not the scheme recommended by the Royal Commission, which went into all these matters and recommended the single transferable vote, and therefore I trust the Government will stand by the rules which they themselves have laid before the House. They, of course, are the trustees of the Bill. They included in the Bill, though they left open to the House the decision, the alternative vote as recommended by the majority of the Speaker's Conference. They have laid upon the Table of the House draft rules which are the generally accepted method of applying the transferable vote, and the House having decided that it desires to see the alternative vote adopted, I trust the Government will adhere to the method it has proposed.


It has been borne in on me, and perhaps on other Members, during the desultory Debates we have had in Committee and now on Report, that we should not have done too badly if we had divided the Bill into two and taken the franchise first and electoral reform and other Matters afterwards. Of course, now we are really rushing these very great and important subjects through the House, and we are bound to. If we do not we put off the operation of this Bill and prolong our own life, and the country does not want us to prolong our own life. As we have not divided it we ought, logically, to have decided first of all whether we want to continue the present first past the post system. A good many of us might have said we do. I imagine most of us would have said, "No. It is out of date, unfair and unjust." If we decided we would not have it we could have gone on to ask ourselves, "Can we preserve our single-member constituencies and, by the expedient of the single transferable vote, avoid the injustice, the trouble, and the out-of-dateness of our present system?" In other words, do we want to have the single transferable vote in single-member constituencies. My hon. Friend did not put it very clearly. What is called the alternative vote is not really an alternative vote at all. It is a single transferable vote in a constituency returning one member. Those of us who are proportional representationists, and I think other people who are in favour of the first past the post system, might have voted against this single transferable vote in single constituencies. If we defeated that, logically we could have gone to the system of proportional representation, which is the single transferable vote in constituencies returning more than one member. We might have decided that that was the only system. We took the last portion first. The Prime Minister made one of his infrequent appearances and told the House that we must not have proportional representation. He could not grasp it, he did not mean to grasp it, and therefore it was to go down. We remember the great difficulty we had to get the Government. to give proportional representation a run at all, though, as a matter of fact, it had been put in by a unanimous vote at Mr. Speaker's Conference.


We have disposed of that matter. It is no good raking up proportional representation. The House has. decided against it. Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman apply his mind to the matter now before the House?


On Thursday last we decided that our method of election was to be the single transferable vote in single-member constituencies. From the Paper attached to the Bill explaining it, it appears comparatively a simple scheme. Those who championed it were wise. They did not put down all the intricacies in that explanation, as we foolish proportional representationists did in ours. We were honest men. Honest men are generally fools, and we lost our case, perhaps rightly. The transferable vote supporters were wiser. They did not put down any of the difficulties at all. The ink of the Debate of Thursday is hardly dry, and we are up against one of the great unfairnesses of the tranferable vote. It is that it does not give the lowest candidate a fair run for his money, and also that the system Of crediting the second or third preference not fair. The second or third preference ought not to count the same as the original preference. Therefore, the transferable vote breaks down at once. We are told—and this is the best the alternative vote supporters can say—that at any rate if that is the case, and of course it is, that the second and third preference ought not to count as much as the first, a man who is. elected under the system of the transferable vote has some kind of majority of all those who are voting at the election. A majority of the electors have a 1, a 2, or 3 against his name, and therefore he has had a share of the support of a clear ,majority of those voting at the election. That, of course, is obviously absurd, and for this very reason the second ballot or the alternative vote or the preferential vote, whichever you. like to call it, has been found out and every country which has adopted it is now wishful to get rid of it and go to something better and something which will give fairer results.

The example that the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Major Chapple) gives of how his system would work makes it fairly .clear as far as it can be made clear. I am quite prepared to admit that you could make the alternative vote work with a certain amount of fairness if there were only two parties. If you have four candidates standing—a Conservative Tariff Reformer, a Conservative Free Trader, a Liberal who is an Imperialist, and a Liberal who is not—it is conceivable that the system of the alternative vote might work out fairly; but where you have three official parties standing it could not possibly work. The system proposed by the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Major Chapple) would go a little way to mitigate some of the hardships, but not very far. I only wish that in his schedule he had shown how the system would work with candidates of three distinct parties standing and not with two Unionists, as he calls them, standing against one Liberal. But at best this system of his can be but a mechanical and a mathematical palliative. I am sure none of us like mathematics, except my hon. Friend (Sir J. Larmor). I remember very well a nursery rhyme I was taught when a boy: Multiplication is vexation, Division is as bad, The rule of three doth puzzle me, And fractions drive me mad. Under this system we are going to have multiplication and division, and we are also, apparently, going to have fractions as well. Therefore, it cannot be said to be anything like a perfect system. The fact is that between our present system of the block vote and proportional representation, any half-way house in which we stop must be a ramshackle and uncomfortable dwelling. Whatever it is, it is bound to be unsatisfactory, and we shall not stay there long. The House is divided that we shall stay in a half-way house on our journey to proportional representation. Therefore, let us stay in the best house we can. I consider that the house we are invited to stay in by the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Major Chapple) is certainly a better house than the alternative vote as it was passed the other night, and therefore I shall support his Amendment.


The speech we have just listened to must convince the House of the extreme difficulty of this subject. We are really groping in the dark. The object of the alternative vote, or of any kindred system, is to find out the man who is least disliked. I do not think that any of the systems that I have ever heard proposed are really fair. I do not think that any of them give you what must necessarily be a true indication of the man who is the least disliked of the three candidates. If the prinicple is adopted at all, it has always seemed to me that much the fairest system is the second ballot. It seems to me that that does give you a true decision. Of course, I know the objection to the second ballot. To put it vulgarly, it would be an awful nuisance. It would be a great nuisance to the candidates, and there would be great difficulty about the expense. I think the fact that it would be so generally irksome would be enough to prevent this House from adopting that system, unless something very strong was urged in its favour. At all events, that is not the system which the House has adopted. They have adopted the system of the alternative vote. The system of the alternative vote, as expressed in the Bill, is not very clearly defined. I do not think that the two Subsections in the Schedule lay down exactly in what manner the alternative vote is to be exercised. The Rules that have been issued in the White Paper do so. It has been urged against the system advocated this afternoon under this Amendment of the hon. Member for Stirling that it is too complicated. At any rate, the present proposal is expressed in about half a page of the Orders of the Day, but the system of the alternative vote, as proposed in the White Paper, takes up very nearly three pages. Therefore, it does not seem to me that the difference of complication and difficulty is very strong either for or against these two systems.

I want to say a few words about the drawbacks of the alternative vote. I think the great drawback to it is that only the lowest man's second preferences are counted. The reason why I consider that such a drawback is that the man who under this system is eventually elected may not have a majority either of first or second preferences. I instanced in Committee figures which showed the absurdity of this principle. They are very short. Supposing there were 12,000 votes recorded. A. gets 5,000, B. 4,000, and C. 3,000. There has been an agreement that B.'s second votes go to A. and C.'s second votes go to B. Supposing C. is put out, as he would be with only 3,000 votes, his 3,000 votes go to B., who would get .altogether 7,000 votes, and B. wins. But if C., who is A.'s friend, gets second instead of third—C. getting 4,000 and B. 3,000—then B.'s 3,000 votes will go to A., and A. will win, the result being that if you want to win an election the great thing is to have your second string at the bottom of the poll. The scheme which the hon. Member for Stirling has put forward has the great advantage of giving more weight to first votes than to second votes. You may say that a man ought to include his first preferences and his second preferences—that his first preferences ought to count more than his second preferences. That Is not effected by the scheme of the alternative vote in the White Paper, but is effected by the scheme submitted in this Amendment. It also stops the absurdity to which I have just referred, and that is the necessity of your second string being at the bottom of the poll. These are two distinct advantages of the scheme embodied in this Amendment.

Another thing which I think is a great advantage is that under this scheme all the second preferences will be counted, instead of only counting the second preferences of the man who is at the bottom of the poll. It seems to me that if you are going to adopt second preferences at all, you ought to adopt them all if you want to get anything like a fair result. Examine every voting paper and count up all your first preferences and all your second preferences. I do not see the object of counting votes that are not recorded. If a man only gives a vote for one candidate, I have not been able to see the reason why you should imagine votes which are not given and divide them between the other two candidates. An Amendment has been put down to take out that Sub-section in the Rules. It does not seem to me that it is a fundamental part of the plan, and I think the plan would be very much better if that were taken out. Whatever scheme we have to give effect to this principle of the alterna- tive vote it must be complicated and difficult. I think that in some cases it must be unfair, and that it cannot really give thorough satisfaction. I should think that if you want to win an election in the future the way would be the old-fashioned way of getting more than half the votes. If you do not get more than half the votes it seems to me that none of these schemes is satisfactory, and that you might almost as well put the names in a hat and draw lots, or toss up for it. Of the two schemes before the House I certainly prefer the one proposed in this Amendment, and I shall vote for it.


I hope we shall not spend very much more time in discussing these Amendments, however important they may be. The Government allowed a free vote of the House on the question of the alternative vote, and I suppose we are bound to leave the House free to decide between the two rival methods by which effect may be given to the alternative vote. Therefore, we shall not ask the Government Whips to tell on this Amendment. I think I am entitled to express my own opinion, which is against the Amendment now before the House. I am opposed to the alternative vote, and I think the Debate on this Amendment has afforded some arguments against that particular form of voting; but if we are to choose between the old form of the alternative vote and the system now proposed, I prefer the old form. I do not think this scheme is an improvement. Moreover, this proposal has never been really debated in the country. The country knows about the alternative vote, but not about this scheme. We have had a Committee dealing with this and other proposals, and that Committee, after inquiry, reported against this principle. In the appendix of their Report they say: The failure of the present system in this respect, and the necessity of reforming it, were urged upon us strongly by representatives of party organisations on both sides. On turning, however, to the remedies proposed, we found that a really satisfactory solution of the simple problem how to discover the most popular of three or more candidates has yet to be devised. We reprint in an appendix an analysis by Professor Nanson, of Melbourne University, of the systems at present in existence, from which it appears that none can be relied upon to produce the desired result except that of his own invention, which he implicitly allows to be too complicated for big political elections. Therefore, I think we ought not without very much more discussion to accept the scheme now proposed.


I was under the impression that the Mover of the Amendment said that this scheme had been in use for some time in one of the Australian provinces. I am not aware, having read most of Professor Nanson's Paper, that he expressed an opinion that it was too complicated for Parliamentary elections. I think that there must be a mistake. I think the fact that it has been adapted in Australia shows that it is not too complicated to be used.


I quoted from the Report of the Committee, and that gives the decision at which they had arrived after considering the various schemes, Professor Nanson's included. I want to get the best Bill that I can. There are obvious difficulties about this particular form. Take the case put just now. If you adopt this form you might defeat your own candidate. Take three candidates: A. gets 550 first preferences, B. 500, and C. 100, and none of them is elected on that vote. A.'s papers show 100 second preferences for B., and B.'s papers show 100 second preferences for C. The result is that B. is elected, and elected by the votes of the supporters of A. The supporters of A. have defeated their own man by this means. It is quite plain that this is so. I really do not think the country would like a system of that kind. Again, this is not really an alternative vote. You get a double voting at the very first ballot, and you might very easily find by this means that the man at the bottom of the poll gets in easily. I think the thing is too complicated. I do not think it would work, and I cannot support it. Whatever happens to the system, I do not think these Schedules will work. If you adopt this plan you will have to deal with the matter far more carefully than it is dealt with in these Schedules.


It does not necessarily follow that these Schedules would be adopted or that we should press them.


I am quite willing to accept that assurance of my hon. Friend, that they will not insist on putting in these Schedules when we get to them, but I thought it right to give this warning at the present moment. Apart from any question of form, I do not think that this Amendment should be accepted.


The question raised by my hon. Friend has some interest for me as well as the arguments by which it is supported.

He has cited the names of Condorcet, Laplace and Borda, but precisely in their weak points, and I am reminded of the saying of Napoleon when he stated that Laplace was a failure when he appointed him Minister of the Interior, because he was constantly introducing the infinitesimal calculus into practical matters with which it had no concern. The palpable flaw of the whole argument is that into a matter so notoriously haphazard and hazardous as voting at an election it introduces highly complicated and technical measures. It is just as if one used a. chemical balance which was wrong in the pounds for weighing scrupulously the last millegrammes, or calculated with decimals some question of arithmetic where you were wrong in your integers. The matter has further interest for me in that it was introduced by Professor Nanson at the time I was at Melbourne University, and there tried on the students. The actual voting is a simple matter, but the calculation is somewhat. complex and the system fails to .introduce the psychological element. It treats this. question as if it were so much dead matter —a question of weighing atoms and so forth—but we all know that in elections many disturbing factors enter which make it possible, even of malice aforethought, to so direct the votes that the candidate whom it is not intended to win shall win. However, in my love of mathematics, believing with Gauss that mathematics is the queen of the sciences, I object to such a beautiful science being used for so notoriously haphazard a thing as an election of Members of Parliament. Professor Nanson was a man who had a faculty for chilling enthusiasm in mathematics, but who had no practical knowledge whatever outside mathematics, so that his weight and authority on this subject may be taken to be absolutely nil. The weight of Laplace also is nil on the authority of Napoleon, and the weight of mathematics is nil because it is used in all its fineness and delicacy in a matter which sins at its very base by ignoring hazards and all the psychological element which make the selection of a candidate rough, contemptible, hazardous, and often unfortunate.


I have listened with much interest to all that has been said both for and against this Amendment. The Debate goes to show the difficulties we have to face when we depart from the sound principle of electing that man who arrives at the top of the poll in the first instance. We have been told that the Amendment before the House is so complicated that directly you depart from the principle of giving the victory to the man who wins, you must have a complicated system. In my opinion, if you once depart from that fair principle, it is not only desirable, but it is absolutely necessary that you should satisfy the electors by being able to prove that the man who has been returned to Parliament has been fairly returned. With all due respect for the figures which were placed before us by the Home Secretary, I would prefer, in a matter of this kind, to be led by the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Sir Joseph Larmor) when it comes to a matter of mathematics. I know something about mathematics myself, but we all bow to the knowledge in this respect of the Member for Cambridge. University, and therefore I feel, when he tells us that the Amendment before the House would result in securing a more correct result, it is that Amendment which should receive our support. When we come to deal with the Schedules which are on the Paper, I agree it may be probably be necessary to make certain Amendments in them, but that will be a comparatively easy matter, and I do not think that any criticism of the wording of the Schedules, as they appear on the Paper, should prevent us from voting for and supporting any scheme like this that will, in fact, give us a more accurate return. Under these circumstances I shall support the Amendment.

5.0 P.M.


The principle of the alternative vote having been adopted by the House I assume we must address ourselves, whether we like the principle or not, to the task of making its application better and more suitable to the needs of the community. Notwithstanding the appeal of the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill, I feel that this matter is one of such great importance that before this Amendment of the hon. and gallant Member for Stirlingshire (Dr. Chapple) is ruled out, something ought to be said as to its comparative advantages as contrasted with those of the scheme in the draft rules. The only way one can do that is to take the criticisms that were made on various points of the draft rules and see how far they can be levelled at the hon. and gallant Member's Amendment. There was one criticism which I ventured myself to make in seconding the Amendment of the hon. Member for Ayr Burghs (Sir G. Younger). It was as to Rule 5 in the draft rules which deals with the case of a tie, not at the top of the poll, but at the bottom, and gives the returning officer the right to decide who shall be excluded and whose votes shall go to augment those of the other candidates. It is true Rule 5 says the first test is to be as to which man has got the fewer transferred votes. It says also that if the number of transferred votes be equal, or if neither have any, then the returning officer is to decide. In the course of the Debate I was told by an hon. and learned Member opposite that one need not be worried about this, as returning officers had these powers at present in the case of a tie. But my hon and learned Friend entirely overlooked the fact that what the returning officer now, in the case of a tie, has to decide is whether Robinson or Jones is to go to Parliament; whereas he will have to decide under these rules, should they come into force as at present framed, not whether Jones or Robinson is to go into Parliament, but to whom 2,000 or 3,000 second preference votes, given to other candidates, shall be transferred. To my mind that is a far greater and more vital decision to be placed in the hands of the returning officer than anything he has to do at the present time.

Another point which was raised, and which I think was not met in the Debate, was the question why the second preference votes of only the man at the bottom of the poll should be taken, in preference to the second preference votes of the men higher up. There has been no answer to that, but the hon. and gallant Member for Stirlingshire has attempted to meet the difficulty. He said, in proposing his Amendment, the only other course would be that suggested under the system of the Government, by which the man at the bottom of the poll, although he might command an absolute majority, would be struck out on the first count. The right hon. Gentleman in charge of this Bill has actually used that as an argument against this Amendment, on the ground that it might result in the election of the man who in the first instance got the fewest votes. But there is nothing in the form of the Amendment of the hon. and gallant Member which would make that possible, although that would be possible under the draft rules before the House. It is perfectly obvious, and it is admitted by the hon. and gallant Gentleman who has moved this Amendment, that the objections put forward to the alternative vote are very serious objections. It is admitted that if you are not able to get a proper system of alternative voting the man with the majority of votes may be ruled out, but the hon. and gallant Member went on to say if you take my method of counting the votes it would not be difficult to put things right. He said: The only difference between my system and that of the right hon. Gentleman is that he counts the preference votes of the last man on the poll and I count the preference votes of all at the first count. In a previous argument, which is attempted to be met by the Amendment of the hon. and gallant Member for Stirlingshire, I tried to show that the whole system was vitiated by the votes thrown away. Candidate A. at the top of the poll had 5,000 direct votes and those who support him gave 200 votes to B. and 300 to C., but 4,500 votes were wasted because the voters did not like the other men. I ventured to point out in the course of the Debate that the fact that 4,500 votes were wasted gave an undue value to the second preferences given to the other candidates. The hon. and gallant Gentleman saw that point and he attempted to meet it, but I would ask the House to see exactly how he does meet it. He said: There is the danger of plumping, cases where the electors give their first preference votes and no other. If that took place I admit that we should be no further, because the second preference votes would not be recorded. The method I have adopted of defeating plumping is that an instruction shall be given to the returning officer that all unrecorded preference votes should be divided equally amongst the candidates." —[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd November, 1917, col. 1518–19.] The hon. and gallant Gentleman meant the remaining candidates. In other words, if you detest a man so much that you will not put 2 or 3 opposite his name, you are to give him automatically half a vote. If this Amendment were to be carried and the Schedule passed in its unamended form, I could not find it in my heart to vote for it; but there is an Amendment to the Schedule, to leave out Clause (b), and, if that is done, this great vice in the Amendment as it stands at present will be removed. It is perfectly obvious that it does not meet the difficulty of plumping to say that all the votes that have not been given are to be supposed to be given and then divided among the other casndidates. That really amounts to this, that you are forcing a man to give half a vote to the other candidates for whom he does not want to vote, and are inciden- tally injuring the chances of his own candidate being at the head of the poll. The right hon. Member for Cleveland (Mr. H. Samuel) said that this Amendment was. vicious in principle. Some of us think that the whole thing is vicious in principle, but here we are up against a Hobson's choice. We have to choose between the principle of the alternative vote as interpreted in the draft rules, and the Amendment of the hon. and gallant Member for Stirlingshire; and if I am asked to make a choice between the two, I shall vote for his Amendemnt in the hope that the Schedule will eventually be amended, so that the pernicious Clause (b) giving these imaginary votes to people who are not entitled to them will be cut out. There seems to be a little controversy to-day as to whether in the course of the Debate the hon. and gallant Member stated that this new system was in operation. I think there is some ambiguity because the hon. and gallant Member in moving his Amendment talked about Western Australia. I have re-read what he said on the subject, and I think he was referring to the alternative vote system, as we have it now in the draft rules, because he said that in Western Australia there was trouble about this very matter of plumping, so much so that the Government had seriously considered introducing a measure to. force a man to vote 1 and 2 or to have his vote invalidated. He went on further to say: I am aware that it is not in actual operation anywhere."—[0FFICIAL REPORT, 22nd November, 1917, col. 1518.] The right hon. Member for Cleveland seemed to regard that as a fatal defect., We have heard about these schemes that are in practice in Lapland, Tasmania, and elsewhere, but I would much rather have a scheme that was not in operation elsewhere. I think that with the mathematical skill we have here in the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Sir J. Larmor) and other Members. We are quite Capable of working out for ourselves a good electoral system without going to Tasmania, Lapland, or anywhere else. What the right hon. Member for Cleveland considers a blot on this scheme, therefore, I regard as in its favour. I hope the House will pass this Amendment, and thus give us a better scheme of alternative vote than that contained in the draft rules; and that if this Amendment is adopted a further alteration will be made eventually in the Schedule, wiping out that proposal to create these fictitious votes in favour of men for whom the elector never wanted to vote at all. If that is done, I feel sure we shall have a better system than that under the draft rules as they exist at present.


I think the hon. and gallant Member who moved this amendment (Major Chapple) is to be congratulated on one thing at least, and that is on apparently having converted large numbers of Members of this House to a more democratic form of voting. It is very astonishing to me to find Members of this House who opposed, first of all, proportional representation, and who opposed in the second place the alternative vote, now pressing forward this particular Amendment. I believe that the Amendment was moved honestly and straightforwardly by the hon. and gallant Member for Stirlingshire, but I doubt very much whether the same honest advocacy can be attributed to some of the hon. Members who have associated themselves with him in regard to this Amendment. It seems to me that what is being done now is an attempt to wreck the whole thing in regard to the alternative vote. We are not even going to have the Amendment in its full form. The moment this is carried further Amendments are going to be moved which will make the whole proposal meaningless and worthless. There is no doubt as to the intention, because the hon. Members who are now supporting this have been the Members who have opposed every im-

proved form of voting. They have opposed every proposal in that direction, and indeed some of them—

General CROFT

The hon. and gallant Member for Enfield (Major Newman) has always been with me in favour of proportional representation.


I exclude the hon. and gallant Member. I did not know he was behind this proposal, and I was certainly not referring to him, as I had not heard his speech. I am referring to those Members of this House, and only to those Members, who have voted against any change in that direction, and who are now supporting this Amendment. My remarks only apply to them, to such as the hon. Member who has just spoken (Captain Barnett). I say I believe that from their point of view they are actuated very largely by the idea of party advantage, and I think it is time that we gave the people of this country honestly a chance to express their views, not from the standpoint of party advantage but from the standpoint of real democracy, of finding out the best way of expressing opinion and leaving them to express it. It is because I am convinced that this Amendment is not being pushed forward in that way that I hope it will not be supported, and that hon. Members will vote against it.

Question put, "That the word 'by' stand part of the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 121; Noes, 137.

Division No. 119.] AYES. [5.9 P.m.
Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis Dyke Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Willoughby H. Hogge, James Myles
Ainsworth, Sir John Stirling Dougherty, Rt. Hon. Sir J. B. Holmes, Daniel Turner
Aiden, Percy Edwards, clement (Glamorgan, E.) Holt, Richard Durning
Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire) Essex, Sir Richard Walter Holt, Richard Durning
Arnold, Sydney Ffrench, Peter Hughes, Spencer Leigh
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Field, William Illingworth, Rt. Hon. Albert H.
Barran, Sir Row. Hurst (Leeds, North) Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes (Fulham) Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)
Barton, Sir William Fitzpatrick, John Lalor Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)
Beale, Sir William Phipson Fleming, Sir J. (Aberdeen, S.) Jones, W. Kennedy (Hornsey)
Beauchamp, Sir Edward Gilbert, J. D. Joyce, Michael
Bethell, Sir J. H. Glanville, Harold James Keating, Matthew
Blake, Sir Francis Douglas Goddard, Rt. Hon. Sir Daniel Ford Kellaway, Frederick George
Bliss, Joseph Greenwood, Sir G. G. (Peterborough) Kiley, James Daniel
Boland, John Pius Greenwood, Sir Hamar (Sunderland) Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)
Brace, Rt. Hon. William Greig, Colonel J. W. Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert
Brady, Patrick Joseph Guest, Capt. Hon. Fred. E. (Dorset, E.) Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas
Brunner, John F, L. Gulland, Rt. Hon. John William London, Thomas
Bryce, J. Annan Hackett, John Macdonald, Rt. Hon. J. M. (Falk.B'ghs)
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire) McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald
Carew, C. R. S. Harris, Percy A. (Leicester, S.) McMicking, Major Gilbert
Cave, Rt. Hon. Sir George Haslam, Lewis Macpherson, James Ian
Clough, William Hayward, Major Evan Mallalieu, Frederick William
Clynes, John R. Hemmerde, Edward George Marks, Sir George Croydon
Collins, Sir W. (Derby) Henderson, Rt. Hon. Arthur (Durham) Molloy, Michael
Crooks, Rt. Hon. William Henderson, John M. (Aberdeen, W.) Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred
Crumley, Patrick Henry, Sir Charles (Shropshire) Morgan, George Hay
Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy) Hinds, John Morison, Hector (Hackney, S.),
Davies, David (Montgomery Co.) Hodge, Rt. Hon. John Morton, Alpheus Cleophas
Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert Richardson, Albion (Peckham) Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
Nolan, Joseph Robertson, Rt. Hon. John M. Watson, J. B. (Stockton)
O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Rowlands, James Watt, Henry A.
O'Grady, James Runciman, Rt. Hon. W. (Dewsbury) White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
Outhwaite, R. L. Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland) Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Palmer, Godfrey Mark Shaw, Hon. A. Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)
Parker, James (Halifax) Smallwood, Edward Wiles, Rt. Hon. Thomas
Pearce, Sir William (Limehouse) Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)
Peel, Major Hon. G. (Spalding) Sutherland, John E. Yeo, Alfred William
Pratt, J. W. Tennant, Rt. Hon. Harold John Young, William (Perthshire, East)
Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central) Thorne, William (West Ham)
Pringle, William M. R. Toulmin, Sir George TELLERS FOR THE AYES,—Mr.
Rea, Walter Russell Walton, Sir Joseph A. Williams and Mr. Anderson,
Rees, G. C. (Carnarvonshire, Arion))
Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte Gastrell, Lieut.-Col. Sir W. Houghton Norton-Griffiths, Sir John
Allen, Major W. J. Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.
Anstruther-Gray, Lieut.-Col. William Goldsmith, Frank Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William
Archdale, Lieut. Edward M. Goulding, Sir Edward Alfred Pease, Rt. Hon.Herbert Pike(Darlingt'n)
Baird, John Lawrence Gretton, John Perkins, Walter F.
Baldwin, Stanley Guinness, Cp. Hon. Rupert (Essex,S.E.) Peto, Basil Edward
Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir F. G. Guinness, Hon. W. E.(Bury S. Edmunds) Philipps, Captain Sir Owen (Chester)
Barnett, Captain R. W. Haddock, George Bahr Pollock, Sir Ernest Murray
Barnston, Capt. Harry Hall, Lieut.-Col. Frederick (Dulwich) Quilter, Major Sir Cuthbert
Bathurst, Col. Hon. A. B. (Glouc., E.) Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord C. J. Ratcliff, Lieut.-Col. R. F.
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Hermon-Hodge, Sir R. T. Rawson, Colonel R. H.
Bellairs, Commander C. W. Hewins, William Albert Samuel Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth) Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy Rothschild, Major Lionel de
Benn, Com. Ian Hamilton (Greenwich) Hope, Lt.-Col. J. A. (Edin., Midlothian) Rutherford, Sir John (Lancs., Darwen)
Bird, Alfred Hope, John Deans (Haddington) Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)
Blair, Reginald Horne, E. Samuels, Arthur W.
Bowden, Major G. R. Harland Houston, Robert Paterson Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry (Norwood)
Boyton, James Hunt, Major Rowland Sanders, Col. Robert Arthur
Brassey, H. L. C. Hunter, Major Sir Charles Rodk. Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir F. E. (Liverpool)
Bridgeman, William Clive Ingleby, Holcombe Spear, Sir John Ward
Brookes, Warwick Jackson, Lt.-Col. Hon. F. S. (York) Stanier, Captain Sir Beville
Bull, Sir William James Jessel, Colonel Sir H. M. Starkey, Captain John R.
Burdett-Coutts, W. Joynson-Hicks, William Staveley-Hill Lieut.-Col. H.
Butcher, John George King, Joseph Stewart, Gershom
Campion, Lieut.-Col. W. R. Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Stirling, Lieut.-Col. Archibald
Carille, Sir Edward Hildred Larmor, Sir J. Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Aston Manor) Lindsay, William Arthur Talbot, Lord Edmund
cheyne, Sir W. W. Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury) Terrell, Major Henry (Gloucester)
Clive, Col. Percy Archer Locker-Lampoon, G. (Salisbury) Thomas-Stanford, Charles
Clyde, J. Avon Long, Rt. Hon. Walter Tickler, T. G.
Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham Lansdale, Sir John Brownlee Touche, Sir George Alexander
Coats, Sir Stuart A. (Wimbledon) Lowe, Sir F. W. Walker, Colonel William Hall
Colvin, Col. Richard Beale Loyd, Archie Kirkman Warde, Colonel C. E. (Kent, Mid.)
Cory, James Herbert (Cardiff) McCalmont, Brig.-Gen. Robert C. A. Watson, Hon. W. (Lanark, S.)
Craig, Colonel James (Down, E) MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh Wheler, Major Granville C. H.
Craik, Sir Henry Mackinder, Halford J. White, Col. G. D. (Lanes, Southport)
Croft, Brigadier-General Henry Page Macmaster, Donald Whiteley, Herbert James
Dalrymple, Hon. H. H. Malcolm, Ian Wilson, Colonel Leslie 0. (Reading)
Dalziel, Davison (Brixton) Mason, James F. (Windsor) Wilson-Fox, Henry
Dixon, Charles Harvey Meux, Adml. Hon. Sir Hedworth Wolmer, Viscount
Duke, Rt. Hon. Henry Edward Mitchell-Thomson, W. Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Du Pre, Major W. Baring Mount, William Arthur Worthington Evans, Major Sir L.
Faber, George Denison (Clapham) Neville, Reginald J. N. Yate, Colonel Charles Edward
Fell, Arthur Newman, Major John R. P.
Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue Newton, Major Harry Kottingham TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir
Fletcher, John Samuel Nicholson, William (Petersfield) George Younger and Mr. Pennefather.
Foster, Philip Staveley Nield, Herbert

Question proposed, "That the words `in the Eighth and Ninth Schedules of' be there inserted in the Bill."


Should I be in order in moving the insertion of these words in the Definition Clause in the Bill—Clause 34?


The right hon. Gentleman can move to omit words "in the last Schedule," in order to insert a definition in Clause 34 of the Bill. Undoubtedly it would not now be open to the right hon. Gentleman to move on Clause 34 the pro posals of the Home Secretary, which the House has negatived. It will be necessary to insert something in the nature of the proposals of the Eighth and Ninth Schedules. That is what the House has determined. Whether it goes in in the form proposed by the hon. and gallant Gentleman, or in some other form in Clause 34, it would not be open to him to insert the White Paper circulated by the Home Secretary.


The White Paper is not made part of the Bill.


After the decision to which the House has come it cannot now be made part of the Bill.


I think we can just as well discuss the matter on the Eighth and Ninth Schedules as on Clause 34.


Of course, the Eighth and Ninth Schedules and Amendment are open to discussion.

Question put, " That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 145; Noes, 122.

Division No. 120.] AYES. [5.21 p.m.
Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte Gardner, Ernest Nield, Herbert
Allen, Major W. J. Gastrell, Lieut.-Col. Sir W. Houghton Norman, Sir Henry
Anstruther-Gray, Lieut.-Col. William Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham Norton-Griffiiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir J.
Archdale, Lieut. E. M. Goldsmith, Frank Orde-Powiett, Hon. W. G. A.
Ashley, Wilfrid W. Goulding. Sir Edward Alfred Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William
Baird, John Lawrence Gretton, Colonel John Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike (Darlingt'n)
Baldwin, Stanley Guinness, Capt. Hon. R. (Essex, S.E.) Perkins, Walter F.
Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir F. G. Guinness, Hon.W.E . (Bury S. Edmunds) Peto, Basil Edward
Barnett, Captain R. W. Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne) Philipps, Sir Owen (Chester)
Barnston, Capt. Harry Haddock, George Bahr Pollock, Sir Ernest Murray
Bathurst, Col. Hon. A. B. (Glouc., E.) Hall, Lieut.-Col. Frederick (Dulwich) Quilter, Major Sir Cuthbert
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Hambro, Angus Valdemar Ratcliff, Lieut.-Col. R. F.
Beilairs, Commander C. W. Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord C. J. Rawson, Colonel R. H.
Been, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth) Hanson, Charles Augustin Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Been, Com, Ian Hamilton (Greenwich) Hermon-Hodge, Sir R. T. Rothschild, Major Lionel de
Bird, Alfred Hewins, William Albert Samuel Rutherford, Col. Sir J. (Lancs., Darwen)
Blair, Reginald Hohler, G. F. Rutherford, Watson (L'pool W. Derby)
Bowden. Major G. R. Harland Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Samuels, Arthur W.
Boyton, J. Hope, Lieut.-Col. J. A. (Midlothian) Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry (Norwood)
Brassey, H. L. C. Horne, Edgar Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)
Bridgeman, William Clive Houston, Robert Paterson Sanders, Colonel Robert Arthur
Brookes, Warwick Hunt, Major Rowland Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir F. E. (Walton)
Bull, Sir William James Hunter, Major Sir Charles Rodk. Spear, Sir John Ward
Burdett-Coutts, William Ingleby, Holcombe Stanier, Captain Sir Beville
Butcher, J. G. Jackson, Lieut.-Col Hon. F. S. (York) Starkey, Capt. John R.
Campion, Lieut.-Col. W. R. Jessel, Colonel Sir H. M. Staveley-Hill, Lieut.-Col. Henry
Carew, Charles R. S. (Tiverton) Joynson-Hicks, William Stewart, Gershom
Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred Kerr-Smiley, Major Peter Kerr Stirling, Lieut.-Col. Archibald
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Aston Manor) King, Joseph Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)
Cheyne, Sir W. W. Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Talbot, Lord Edmund
Clive, Col. Percy Archer Larmor, Sir J. Terrell, Major Henry (Gloucester)
Clyde, J. Avon Lindsay, William Arthur Thomas-Stanford Charles
Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury) Tickler, T. G.
Coats, Sir Stuart A. (Wimbledon) Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee Touche, Sir George Alexander
Colvin, Col. Richard Beale Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Egbaston) Walker, Colonel William Hall
Cory, James H. (Cardiff) Loyd, Archie Kirkman Watson, Hon. W. (Lanark, S.)
Craig, Colonel James (Down, E.) McCalmont, Brig.-Gen. Robert C. A. Wheler, Major Granville C. H.
Craik, Sir Henry MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh White, Col. G. D. (Lancs., Southport)
Croft, Brigadier-General Henry Page Mackinder, Halford J. Whiteley, Herbert James
Dalrymple, Hon. H. H. Macmaster, Donald Wilson, Colonel Leslie 0. (Reading)
Dalziel, Davison (Brixton) Malcolm, Ian Wilson-Fox, Henry
Dixon, C. H. Mason, James F. (Windsor) Wolmer, Viscount
Duke, Rt. Hon. Henry Edward Meux, Adml. Hon. Sir Hedworth Weed, John (Stalybridgel
Du Pre, Major W. Baring Mitchell-Thomson, W. Worthington Evans, Major Sir L.
Faber, George D. (Clapham) Mount, William Arthur Yate, Colonel C. E.
Fell, Arthur Neville, Reginald J. N.
Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue Newton, Major Harry Kottingham TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Sir G.
Fletcher, John Samuel Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield) Younger and Mr. Pennefather,
Foster, Philip Staveley
Ainsworth, Sir John Stirling Collins, Sir W. (Derby) Guest, Capt. Hon. F. E. (Dorset, E.)
Alden, Percy Crooks, Rt. Hon. William Gulland, Rt. Hon. John William
Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire) Crumley, Patrick Hackett, John
Arnold, Sydney Dalziei, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy) Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)
Barran, Sir Rowland Hurst (Leeds, N.) Davies, David (Montgomery Co.) Harris, Percy A. (Leicester, S.)
Barton, Sir William Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Willoughby H. Haslam, Lewis
Beauchamp, Sir Edward Dougherty. Rt. Hon. Sir J. B. Hayward Major Evan
Bethell, Sir John Henry Essex, Sir Richard Walter Hemmerde, Edward George
Blake, Sir Francis Douglas Ffrench, Peter Henderson, Rt. Hon. Arthur (Durham)
Bliss, Joseph Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes (Fulham) Henderson, John M. (Aberdeen, W.)
Boland, John Plus Fitzpatrick, John Lalor Henry, Sir Charles
Brace, Rt. Hon. William Fleming, Sir John Hinds, John
Brady, Patrick Joseph Gilbert, J. D. Hodge, Rt. Hon. John
Brunner, John F. L. Glanville, H. J. Hogge, James Myles
Bryce, J. Annan Goddard, Rt. Hon. Sir Daniel Ford Holmes, Daniel Turner
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Greenwood, Sir G. G. (Peterborough) Holt, Richard Durning
Cave, Rt. Hon. Sir George Greenwood, Sir Hamar (Sunderland) Howard, Hon. Geoffrey
Clough, William Greig, Colonel James William Hushes. Spencer Leigh
Illingworth, Rt Hon. Albert H. Morison, Hector (Hackney, S.) Smallwood, Edward
Jardine, Sir .1 (Roxburgh) , Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert
Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, E.) Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert Sutherland, John E.
Jones W. Kennedy (Hornsey) Nolan, Joseph Tennant, Rt. Hon. Harold John
Joyce, Michael O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Thorne, William (West Ham)
Keating, Matthew O'Grady, James Toulmin, Sir George
Kellaway, Frederick George Outhwaite, R. L. Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)
Kiley, James Daniel Palmer. Godfrey Mark Walton, Sir Joseph
Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) Parker, James (Halifax) Waring, Major Walter
Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert Pearce, Sir William (Limehouse) Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas Peel, Major Hon. G. (Spalding) Watson, John B. (Stockton)
Lundon, Thomas Pratt, J. W. Watt, Henry Anderson
Lynch, A. A. Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central) White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
M'Curdy, Charles Albert Pringle, William M. R. Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Macdonald, Rt. Hon. J. M. (Falk.B'ghs) Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough) Whyte, Alexander F.
McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Rees, G. C. (Carnarvon, Anfon) Wiles, Rt. Hon. Thomas
McMickIng, Major Gilbert Richardson, Albion (Peckham) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Macpherson, James Ian Robertson, Rt. Hon. John M. Wood, Rt. Non. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)
Mallalieu, Frederick William Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke) Yeo, Alfred William
Marks, Sir George Croydon Rowlands, James Young, William (Perth, East)
Molloy, Michael Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dewsbury)
Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. A
Morgan, George Hay Shaw, Hon. A. Williams and Mr. Anderson.

Question put, and agreed to.


I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (2), to insert, (3) At a contested election for a university constituency in England or Ireland the voting paper shall be signed by the voter in the presence of one witness who personally knows the voter and attests the fact of the voting paper having been signed by the voter in his presence at the place therein mentioned by signing his name thereto, and adding his designation and place of residence. The object of this Amendment is to simplify procedure in connection with university elections. Under the present system of voting it is necessary for a voting paper to be witnessed by a magistrate belonging to the district in which the elector resides. This is a very troublesome matter, and everybody is agreed that it should be simplified. The proposal in the Amendment is a proposal that has been working in the Scottish university, and has given rise to no trouble whatever. I propose to extend it to all universities.


I beg to second the Amendment.


I do not object to this Amendment, and shall accept it to-day. but I should like to add that we hope in another place to insert a Clause of a more comprehensive character, dealing with the whole question of the universities. I shall be glad to show the hon. Gentleman a copy of the Clause. I accept the Amendment so far as it goes.


I am surprised that a Clause which is to be introduced is to be shown to one hon. Member. I think that a new Clause in a Bill like this should be shown to the House, and not to one hon. Member. At the very least the right hon. Gentleman might publish it in the White Paper, and I hope we shall get some assurance that this is not going to be carried out in some hole-and-corner way.


Before the Home Secretary puts it in the Bill, might I point out that in the Sixth Schedule, paragraph 5, says: In order to provide for election and voting in any university constituency constituted under this Act, where the election and voting in the constituency are not regulated under existing Acts, the Local Government Board shall apply thereto such provisions of any existing Acts relating to elections and voting to any university constituency in Great Britain. I understand that the hon. Gentleman who moves this Amendment proposes to introduce what, in fact, is the practice in the Scottish universities, and, if that be so, surely there is already provided, without this Clause, in the Schedule, the very thing which the hon. Gentleman is asking to do. In any case, does not the Schedule deal with the methods of voting in universities, and would not that be the place for such an Amendment?


You could not put it in the Schedule without its being provided for in the Clause. I shall deal with the other universities, and, in the meantime, accept the hon. Member's Amendment. As to what was said by the hon. Member (Mr. King), it was my intention to show the Members for the universities a copy of the Clause, and I shall also be glad to show it to any hon. Members who wish to see it.


When the right hon. Gentleman introduces the Clause, will it also deal with the universities of Scotland, or will it be confined to England and Ireland alone?


I only wish to put this matter in the proper form, and hon. Members will have an opportunity, if they wish, of seeing the Clause.

Amendment agreed to.