§ The SECRETARI of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir G. Cave)
I beg to move, "That the Lords Amendments to the Commons Amendments to the Lords Amendments be considered forthwith."
I propose to ask the House to agree to the Amendments before us, possibly with some slight modifications, with two exceptions, those relating to proportional representation and to the alternative vote. As regards those, the Government feel bound to follow the course they have hitherto pursued and leave the actual decision to the House, though I shall, of course, offer some advice to the House.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
May I appear to you, Sir, on a point of Order in regard to the treatment of these Amendments, and the course we should follow in respect of them? If this House decided to disagree with the Lords Amendments on the subject of proportional representation, as far as I am concerned, no further question would arise; but if the House should not disagree with that Amendment in toto, I desire to move Amendments to it. The object of the first—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The proper time to consider those Amendments will be when the Clerk at the Table reads out that portion of the Lords message which relates to the proportional representation Amendment. Then the right hon. Gentleman will have an opportunity of moving any Amendment he wishes before I put the Question that the House agree or disagree.
§ Sir R. ADKINS
I hope the House will forgive me if I comment on the very grave position in which this House now 2162 finds itself in relation to this Bill. We have now received back from the other place Amendments to our Amendments of great importance, which, in two matters, that of proportional representation and the alternative vote, deal with questions which have aroused the widest public interest, which sharply divide public opinion, which took up a large portion of the time of the Speaker's Conference, which affect, for good or evil, the electoral system of this country, and which, however they are decided by Parliament in the form in which the Bill will become law, must have far-reaching consequences. Therefore, I am sure the House will agree that they deserve the most careful consideration.
This Bill, unlike every other Reform Bill, leas had a non-partisan origin. [An HON. MEMBER: "Not the alternative vote!''] Not even excepting the alternative vote My hon. Friend is either misinformed or he has misinterpreted his information. Hitherto every Reform Bill has been carried by the public support of one school of political thought, with more or less acquiescence, and more or less consideration of another school of political thought which was in principle opposed to it. This Reform Bill had its origin in the work of a Conference over which Mr. Speaker presided, and it was only made possible in a time of war because it was felt in all parts of the House, and in the ether House, that if possible this question should be settled by consent and agreement. It will he remembered that that Conference, whatever its defects, and to whatever errors it gave adherence, was a Conference instinct from first to last with a desire to go not on the point of view of old-time opponents, but to arrive, if possible, at the greatest common measure of agreement, and, if possible, to produce a Report on which an Act of Parliament could be founded which would meet not with universal approval, but almost universal acquiescence. That having been the peculiar and unique origin of this Bill, we are faced to-day with the responsibility of taking a decision which may Nell become the final decision on two matters of great and acute interest and of far-reaching consequence. The position, as I understand it now, is that the Lords, although a large majority in this House voted against proportional representation, are seeking to have it 2163 restored in the Bill in a large, though limited, form, and the Lords, in face of three decisions by this House in favour of the alternative vote, are anxious to eliminate that entirely from the Bill. If this House accepted the Lords Amendments as they stand, or rejected them as they stand, you do not really help to settle this controversy, but you would get an Act of Parliament which would give occasion for public dissatisfaction for many years to come. If we repudiate the Lords Amendment on proportional representation, and say that there shall be no proportional representation of any kind, the effect would be that that form of vote to which the Speaker's Conference gave unanimous adherence, and without which the Speaker's Conference could never have reported in the complete form that it did, and a form of vote to which the House of Lords apparently attaches the greatest importance, would be struck out of the Bill, and there would be left in the country a large body of opinion, including in this House ex-Prime Ministers and other persons of great influence—
§ Sir S. ROBERTS
On a point of Order. Is the House now discussing the whole question, or shall we be able to deal with the matter in separate Amendments?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
If we have the discussion now, we shall have to have the same discussion again where the issue can be decided. The present discussion cannot be on any issue. It is only on the question whether we should consider the Lords Amendments now or reject them in toto
§ Sir R. ADKINS
I am not going to be long on this point. I hope in a few minutes, if I may have the courtesy of being allowed to proceed. to make one or two suggestions which are intended to help a friendly settlement and not to postpone it. I merely say that if proportional representation is entirely taken out of the Bill you will leave in this House and in the other House, and in the country, a body of opinion, which I believe to be large, which would be concerned to modify the Act of Parliament by introducing that principle. If, on the other hand, the principle of the alternative vote which this House passed, and which was passed in the Speaker's Conference, is left out, you would certainly have a large body of 2164 opinion in this House and in the country which would feel that the Act of Parliament was incomplete and unfair, and which would be concerned, if and when the opportunity came to them, to make that alteration as soon as possible. Is it in the public interest, if it can be avoided, that a Bill of this importance should become law leaving either of these important matters untouched, unassuaged, unhelped, with the absolute certainty that the great problem of Parliamentary representation would be left in a position in which there would be many parts of the country anxious to modify and change it? On the other hand, one can well understand that it would be impossible and improper at this stage to ignore entirely what has been done in another place, and to attempt here and now to get a widespread system of proportional representation and a universal system of the alternative vote placed in the Bill.
Therefore, with profound respect I submit that there is an intermediate course which, while it has neither the merits nor the defects of logic, may have the saving quality of making this Act easier for a larger proportion of His Majesty's subjects to acquiesce in than if you leave these two questions with a ragged end decided by acute differences of persona! opinion. The Lords now propose that proportional representation should apply to those boroughs which, under the scheme of the Boundary Commissioners. have more than three representatives. Similarly they propose that there shall be no alternative vote. If this House decided to agree with the Amendments. concerning proportional representation leaving out London—as to which there would appear to be that unanimity which distinguiushed the Greeks in their attack upon Troy—that Amendment would apply-to 112 seats out of 670. In other words, it would be applied on a scale large enough to give a fair trial to a great and important experiment, but not large enough to dominate the electoral position at any election. If, on the other hand, with regard to the alternative vote, instead of reinserting the alternative vote to apply universally, we were to apply it in a number of constituencies not larger but a little less than those covered by proportional representation, if the House were prepared to consider that application of the alternative vote— [HON. MEMBERS "No!"]
§ Sir R. ADKINS
I would like it in my Constituency. If you apply the alternative vote in this limited form, you would have another great and important experiment tried on a scale large enough to test it, but not on a scale large enough to dominate the electoral fortunes at any election, because outside London and outside those boroughs which have three or more representatives, arid apart from those few boroughs in England and Scotland which will be left with two representatives to be voted for jointly, the single-member constituencies amount in totality of representation to 103 members. If this House were willing to deal with this matter by such a compromise as I have suggested on proportional representation and the alternative vote, the result would be that none of those schools of thought and of political feeling which are divided on these questions could claim absolute victory, while two great principles would be tried in fair experiment. There would be less probability of the settlement being disturbed for years to come, and the opinions of the other House, validly expressed, and invited as they were by Mr. Speaker in the original constitution of the Conference, would receive adequate weight, and no party or school of thought could claim that they had had their own way to the exclusion of others. The result would be that none of those matters which the Speaker's Conference thought ought to be dealt with would be left undealt with. If these suggestions commend themselves to the House there will be every prospect of matters being amicably settled on a basis upon which we could agree for probably the next generation.
§ Mr. PETO
I wish to say a few words in support of the plea put forward by my hon. and learned Friend, and I do so because, like him, I was a member of the Speaker's Conference. The outstanding fact is that it was with the universal consent of the Government and members of the previous Government that such a Bill as this would have been impossible during this time of war if it had not been for the preliminary work of conciliation and compromise which involved every member of the Conference giving up a good deal of his preconceived notions, and accepting a good deal of what he did not wholly like. Of all the unanimous recommendations of the Conference propor- 2166 tional representation was the only one which was not supported as a part of that compromise by the Government. I think that events have proved that that decision was an unfortunate one. By leaving it to the decision of the House it meant the application of all sorts of pressure from outside, particularly from those interested in the working of the party machine on one side or the other, and it has landed us in this difficulty which may, if it is not carefully handled, imperil the prospects of the Bill. Let the House consider the recommendations of the Conference over which you 'presided, which would provide experimental proportional representation for 211 seats, which would leave outside the operation of this scheme of minority representation two-member constituencies, and certain other constituencies which come to only a small total, which would apply both systems experimentally and leave it open, after experience of their working, to continue them, enlarge or repeal them. That is a view of the case that is left too much out of our consideration.
We must remember that it is impossible to arrive at any settlement which will allay all controversy on these questions if either side thinks that it can have the whole of its own way. There are Members of this House who are in favour of neither of these measures; other Members who are in favour of both; and other Members who are in favour of one, but not of the other. The House of Lards has decided by an almost equally large majority in favour of one and against the other. As this has been a matter of controversy for at least twenty-five years, as expert and weighty opinion, including the Front Bench: opposite, is very evenly divided, among people by whom on most subjects we would almost equally be prepared to be guided, it is obviously the course of wisdom that there should be a somewhat equal trial of both those systems, as to which nobody can say in advance exactly how they will work, and both of which are advocated as a method of giving more compete representation to the people in the very difficult times which lie ahead of us. The only alternative settlement that I can conceive is that which decides to try neither of them, to leave our existing system exactly as it is, to go back behind what. was even settled in the 1867 Reform Bill, when, at least, accord- 2167 ing to the light of those days and according to the controversy of that time, an attempt was made to give minority representation—to say that in fifty years' time we have arrived at a position in which we can conceive of nothing better than that we shall have an almost universal application of what is not applied in any other constitutionally governed country, 'to allow any number of candidates to stand for a single-member seat and be perfectly certain that, whatever else the result is, the person elected will not represent the views of the majority of the voters. Surely we need not go back fifty years. Having had the Conference to settle these questions, surely we can realise that if we make no attempt whatever to deal with the views of those who are in favour of one or the other of these methods, to make no trial, to have no experiment whatever to see whether these are better methods than the present, we can see that that will settle nothing, that the controversy will be left exactly where it is, that the whole purpose of the Conference over which you presided, which was to settle that acute question of electoral controversy, leaving the country free to deal with other and far wider questions, will be left exactly where it was, and that the arguments, the agitation, the pressure of all sorts for electoral reform will go on exactly as before.
I do hope that even at this eleventh hour, whatever other decision is arrived at, we shall not only consider the Lords Amendments, but consider what is the path by which we can arrive at a fair trial of both these methods, of one of which I am in favour, while I am strongly opposed to the other; but, though I am in favour of one and opposed to the other, I should not for a moment, nor would those who agree with me in favouring proportional representation, and in being opposed to the alternative vote, say, "We insist on having our plan carried out and refuse to carry out the other," and the same should apply to Members who do not agree with us, but who are in favour of the alternative vote but are opposed to proportional representation. It would be equally unreasonable if they were to say, "We will have the one and refuse the other." You cannot arrive at it by those methods, and the whole question is thrown back to 2168 what, I think, was the wise decision arrived at by the members of the Conference over which you presided—to make a reasonable trial of both these systems, recognising that either or both of them could be extended, repealed or left as it was without the slightest disturbance to the whole electoral system of registration, franchise reform, and every other part of the recommendations; and I say further that the boundaries of single-member constituencies having been eliminated if it was found, after one or two elections, that either or both of these systems were not satisfactory, they could be dropped out of our electoral system without the slightest disturbance of the arrangement arrived at by the Conference as a whole.
§ Lord H. CECIL
I do not intend to intervene in this Debate, especially after the conciliatory sentiments which have been expressed on both sides of the House, but I desire to ask a question. Is it the intention to send this Bill back to the House to-night and ask the other House to consider the Commons Amendments to the Lords Amendments to the Commons Amendments to the Lords Amendments
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Bonar Law)
It may be for the convenience of the House to state that I have been in consultation with Mr. Speaker with regard to this matter, and what we propose to do is that this House should go on with the discussion and, when we come to our conclusions, that the Bill should be sent to the other Chamber, and that Mr. Speaker should suspend the Sitting until the Amendments come back from another place. I may point out that it is really essential that we should not lose time, and as, after all, the issues are very plain, I hope that hon. Members will not be long in coming to a decison.
§ Sir H. JESSEL
We are all very anxious to come to an issue on this matter, as the question before the House is to consider the Lords Amendments in reference to proportional representation and the alternative vote, and we shall be glad to deal with the matter without delay.
§ Question put, and agreed to.2169
§ Consideration of Lords Amendments to Ammons Amendments to Lords Amendments; Lords Amendments proposed in lieu of certain Lords Amendments disagreed to by the Commons, and Lords Reasons for insisting on certain other of their Amendments disagreed to by the Commons.
§ Lords Message:
§ The Lords do not insist on their Amendment in Clause 5, Sub-section (3), at the end of paragraph (ii.) (a), to which the Commons have disagreed, but propose at the end of the paragraph to insert the following words in lieu thereof, "or (where the person serving was at the commencement of his service resident in the United Kingdom) out of the public funds of any part of His Majesty's Dominions; or in service as a merchant seaman, pilot, or fisherman, including the master of a merchant ship or fishing boat and an apprentice on such a ship or boat."
§ Sir G. CAVE
I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
The change has been made to meet a point raised by my right hon. Friend.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Lords Message:
§ The Lords agree to the Amendment made by the Commons to the Amendment made by the Lords, after Clause 6 to insert new Clause A, with the following consequential Amendment to the new Subsections inserted by the Lords at the end of Sub-section (4) of Clause 38: "At the end of first Sub-section insert the words, 'and Sub-section (4) of the said Section shall not apply.'"
§ The SECRETARY for SCOTLAND (Mr. Munro)
I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
This matter arises out of the way in which the House dealt with the Lords Amendment to insert after Clause 6 a new Clause. The Clause has two Subsections, the second of which deals with local government. As local government is dealt with in the Scottish Application Clause, and as the code in that Clause is complete, it is not desired that that Subsection should apply to Scotland.
§ Question put, and agreed to.2170
§ Lords Message:
§ The Lords do not insist on their Amendment to insert a new Sub-section at the beginning of Clause 18, to which the Commons have disagreed, but propose the following Amendments in lieu thereof: At the beginning of Clause 18 to insert, as a new Sub-section,
- (a) Any Parliamentary borough entitled according to the Fifth Schedule of this Act to return three or more members shall be a single constituency:
- Provided that a Parliamentary borough entitled to return more than five members shall be divided by the Boundary Commissioners into two or more constituencies, each returning not less than three nor more than five members: Provided also that any contested election for the full number of members for Parliament in any constituency to which this Sub-section applies shall be held on the principle of proportional representation, and each elector shall have one transferable vote.
- Provided that if within the next twenty-one days on which the Commons House of Parliament has sat after the Report is so presented, that House presents an address to His Majesty praying that any modifications should be made in the Report, the Report shall have effect as if enacted in this Act with these modifications.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I would like your ruling on a point of Order. If the House is prepared to reject this Amendment in toto, I do not want to move any Amendment to it, or to waste the time of the House in discussing alternatives. That would then be out of the question. But, if the House should not be prepared to reject the principle, can I reserve my right to move Amendments in detail, if the House accept the principle? My object is not to move an Amendment, which may be a pure waste of time, because the House may be unwilling to accept the proposition in any form.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
There is a difficulty, but I am afraid that there is difficulty whichever way you look at it. If the Motion be now made—as I understand it is about to be made—that the House doth disagree with this Amendment, then, if the. House accept the Motion, there is an end of the matter; but if the Motion he negatived by the House, is not the corollary of that, that the House agrees? Before the House agrees it is open to an hon. Member to move an Amendment or Amendments, but there might be a number of Amendments which would entirely transform the Amendment that has come from the Lords, and eventually I should have to put the Question, "That this House doth agree with the Amendment as amended," and there would be no security then that the House might not negative it. If the right hon. Gentleman wishes to move his Amendment, he must do it now. If he does not, I propose to accept the Motion, "That this House doth disagree."
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I understand, in a ease of this kind, on the consideration of the Lords Amendment, that there is no procedure similar to that which we have in the Commons, when it is moved to leave out a Sub-section, of putting the Question in such a form as would preserve the rights of Members to move Amendments to the Sub-section, if the Motion to leave it out is not carried?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The procedure hitherto adopted has not been of that kind. It has been, as I have indicated, that the Rouse is asked either to agree or dis- 2172 agree; or if there is any hon. Member who desires to move an Amendment, he must move that Amendment before the Question is put whether the House agrees or disagrees.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I am placed in a great difficulty. I did propose to move an Amendment directed towards excluding particular constituencies, or a particular constituency, for which I think I can make out a special case, and include others which I think ought to be included if any experiment of the kind were made. I do not think I ought to do that after the appeal made by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House that we should economise time, but in the event of the Motion being rejected, I will take the chances of that.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
On the point of Order, Sir. If the Question put from the Chair, "That this House cloth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment," is negatived, should there not be a substantive Motion following on that, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment," and on that Motion could not Amendments be moved?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
If I do not disagree with the right hon. Gentleman, I agree with him; but the rule has always been that the House either accepts or negatives the Motion. Otherwise, it would be practically reopening the same question that has already been considered and decided.
§ Colonel Sir HERBERT JESSEL
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the Lords Amendment, after the word "borough" ["Any Parliamentary borough entitled"], to insert the words "exclusive of the administrative county of London."
We have just heard, in the speech of the hon. Member for one of the divisions of Lancashire, that he and his Friends in this House are urging a compromise, and from what we have heard in this Rouge they do not propose to include London. I do not want to go ad nauseam over the 2173 whole arguments again. We have had fourteen Debates in the House and four Divisions, with an increasing majority in every one of the Divisions, while in the Debates it has been recognised that London did not want to have proportional representation.
§ Mr. GILBERT
I beg to second the Amendment to the Lords Amendment.
As the hon. Member has stated, this matter has been before the House on more than one occasion, and I think it was understood on the second occasion when it was before us that the Metropolitan constituencies were to be excluded, even if this concession was to be applied to other parts of the country. I would like to point out to the House that the Amendment put down on the Order Paper last Friday distinctly had words which excluded the Metropolitan constituencies, and I think it has always been understood by the hon. Members for London that if this scheme was to be put forward in other parts of the country, it should not apply to London.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I greatly regret that anything should be proposed that would reduce the already narrow limit of this Amendment. I have a strong belief that proportional representation is a real safeguard against the dangers of great political landslides, and the smaller you make the ambit of the Amendment the less will be the protection. If I rightly gauge the sense of the House, Members are opposed to the introduction of London—I cannot say the people of London are against this proposal, but the London Members are opposed to it—and in the circumstances I do not know that it is worth while to put the House to the trouble of a Division.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment to the Lords Amendment, at the end, to add the words, "and the city of Birmingham."
In view of the course which has been taken, it now becomes rather necessary for me to take the action which, in the interest of saving the time of the House, I proposed to forego. I do not presume to speak for other cities on this question, but I think I have a right to speak for Birmingham. Nobody in Birmingham has asked for this: nobody in Birmingham has ever paid any attention to it. They have regarded it as a discredited 2174 fad of a few crochet-mongers, which the general good sense of this House has never permitted to appear in legislation, and is never likely to allow to appear. Other cities may take a different line, though I think it is quite likely that they also may be desirous of presenting their special cases to the House. There was a point that fell from my Noble Friend the Member for Oxford which would seem to show that the case for all of us would receive his sympathetic consideration. He admits that he wants the experiment upon the largest possible scale, but that if there be opposition, for the sake of avoiding that opposition, he is ready to come to terms with London. My Noble Friend would not concede to sixty people what justice would also require him to concede to six people. My Noble Friend will not refuse to this small voice of Birmingham what he grants to the louder outery of London. I will not argue the whole question, but let me put the case of Birmingham. What is in store for us may, I. suppose, be judged from the Schedule which their Lordships attached to the Bill on the occasion when it last came before us. It was to divide the representatives of Birmingham into three and four-member constituencies. There is not a single representative, or authorised exponent of proportional representation, who has ever contended that a four-member constituency can give any chance of its successful operation.
The city of Birmingham has been for a century and more one of the most active centres of our political life. Its people have taken an active and a keen interest in public life; and I ask any man who has ever addressed a Birmingham audience whether they do not also show an intelligent interest in the affairs of our country? Our life has been enriched, our outlook has been broadened by the active, interest of the numerous men concerned with municipal and political affairs. What are you going to do? We are faced with this four-member constituency, where a contest would be rendered impossible and ineffectual for either side. That is to reduce the political life of this great community—one of the most active, most enterprising, and most intelligent that you can find anywhere—to sterility and impotence. Why is it to be done? Why are these great borough communities to be subjected to this experiment? My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary said the 2175 other day that he had a sheaf of protests from persons in London against a similar proposal, and there was not one in favour. Has the right hon. Gentleman had any representations from Birmingham in favour of it? I think not—not from anybody who is known. But why are we chosen for this experiment? Because the experiment has to be made somewhere. Is it because the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife (Mr. Asquith) has a merely philosophic interest in seeing this experiment tried? What did my right hon. Friend say the other day? He said that he was in favour of proportional representation upon an experimental scale, and he thought a case had been made out, but speaking on the manner in which it was proposed to be applied, he said:I tied that the whole of Fife, the county divisions and the boroughs are converted into one constituency. Nobody in Fife wants that. Nobody in Fife has asked for it Speaking as by a long way the oldest of the members of that ancient and famous constituency, I look with horror and more than horror at the experiences—I thought the word was "expenses," but I am not quite certain, but at any rate whether it was "experiences" or "expenses," the right hon. Gentleman goes on to say:at the experiences and difficulties which I myself and 'ay fellow members—or fellow adventurers, who no doubt will come along—would have to encounter if the whole thing were thrown into one gigantic area.Is it too much to ask my right hon. Friend, if he wants this experiment tried, that he should try it in his own constituency? There is my right hon. Friend the Member for the City of London (Mr. Balfour). He was warmly in favour of trying this experiment on the largest possible scale, but not in the City of London. Why not in the City of London? it happens that it is a two membered constituency. That is the very place to show you minority representation in perfection. You would always have one member representing each party, and the voice of the City of London would cease to count in the councils of the House. There is another reason for selecting the City of London rather than the City of Birmingham. It is also another reason for selecting the county of Fife rather than the City of Birmingham. I believe the City of London is unique in the fact that the whole of its representatives have declared themselves in this House in favour of the experiment, and we are fortunate to have a constituency both of whose representatives demand to have the 2176 experiment tried. If it is to be tried at all, then let it be tried in the City of London, where it cart be tried under favourable circumstances. But either my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary or my right hon. Friend the other Member for the City of London would as a result, I am afraid, cease to appear in this House. I should regret it, but at any rate it would not prevent the minority having an equal voice in the representation of the City of London. More than that, the City of London is, I suppose one must assume, just the place where in consequence of the higher level of intelligence, and the more widely spread activity in dealing with complicated mathematical calculation, the electors would be best able to understand the application of the principle.
Why should this question be raised again? We had disposed of it three times before it came down front the House of Lords on this extended scale. What was the one new argument. which was discovered by their Lordships in favour of the change? It was that without it agriculture would never be properly represented, and so their Lordships as a reasonable compromise and as a settlement of the question proposed to apply it to boroughs only and not to a single agricultural area. Let us have at least. one county, one agricultural area included in the experiment. Let us take the county of Fife I observe that the Noble Lords in another place echoing the opinion of my Noble Friend the Minister for Blockade, recommended this scheme to the country as our sole protection against revolution. I do not doubt. any more than my Noble Friend that we have grave and difficult times in front of us, but I am not myself much afraid of violent revolution, and I would trust for its defeat not to electoral devices intended to prevent the majority from making their views effective but to the good sense, the sense of fairness and of justice, which are characteristic of our people. If the party leaders of this great Assembly wish to try and mop up the Atlantic with a mop, let them do it. But why should we be the mop? Why should we be used as the instruments of their ineffectual campaign? It is an outrage to present such a scheme which when it was before this House on an earlier occasion, got the support of but twelve of the constituencies affected by it. The experiment is to be made on us against our will and without any mandate from any part of the country. It is to be made against the will of our constituents; 2177 it is to destroy the active political life of the great communities that we represent, which in past times has been and in future times under any fair and reasonable system will be a rich source of political interest, and I hope of political wisdom in the midst of our deliberations.
§ Sir F. LOWE
I wish to second the Amendment. I cannot see myself how the case of Birmingham differs very much from the case of London. The populations are very similar and their interests are practically identical. It is only a question of degree in the size of the two places. I most strongly object to the experiment being made at our cost at the bidding either of this House or of the other House. No one has the right to try this experiment on any constituency without the consent of its electorate and of those who represent the electorate in this House. It seems to me that every representative of a county borough whose seat is included in this experiment should rise in his place in this House and move the exclusion of the borough which he represents, and if any representative of any county borough moves that it be included in the exceptions I shall certainly support him.
§ Sir W. RUTHERFORD
I wish to know at what stage I can move the addition of the City of Liverpool to this Amendment?
§ Mr. BILLING
Having regard to the fact that there are 670 seats represented in this House, is it open to move 670 Amendments?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I have already pointed out that the Amendment now before the House must be disposed of first.
§ Mr. ASQUITH
What has fallen from the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Chamberlain) amounts almost to a challenge to me to say a word or two. He asks, Why not include the county of Fife? My objection in the speech to which he has referred to the inclusion of the county of Fife applies with equal force to any other county similarly circumstanced, and it arose entirely from the extent of the area 2178 and the nature of the population to which the principle was proposed to be applied. One could go from one end of Birmingham to the other in a taxi-cab with very little additional labour and not much additional expense. But when you come to subject an agricultural area to the experiment the conditions are totally changed. When I said that nobody in Fife wanted to be included, I was referring to the question of area, and the inconvenience which would attend the application of proportional representation to geographical units of that character.
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
Then my right hon. Friend's objection to Fife being included extends to all agricultural areas, and the more agricultural the more sparse the population, the greater the area, the greater my right lion. Friend's objection?
§ Mr. ASQUITH
I do not care to accept that as an absolutely logical deduction of what I. said: However, the inconvenience is the greater the larger and more sparsely populated the area. But I do not want to go into all these minor and local matters. What I want to suggest to the House, anxious as I think we all are that this Bill should be carried into law, is that we should not now embark on an immeasurable ocean of possible Amendments for the exclusion or inclusion of this or that constituency. According to our procedure, so far as I can discover, there is no reason why everyone of the representatives of the 112 seats should not move to exclude that particular scat, while those not now included might claim to be brought in. There is no reason why the matter should be debated in that way. My only object in rising was to appeal to the House to come to a decision as early as possible on the point whether or not we will accept, in some limited form, the principle of proportional representation. If the House is not prepared to do so, let it say so plainly, but do not let us allow ourselves to be immersed in a perfect bog of detail. Let us rather say plainly and emphatically what we desire.
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Mr. ANEURIN WILLIAMS
I hope the House will give me a few minutes, in order that I may put before it a few facts which I really think are bound to be brought to its attention as a result of the statements made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain). The right hon. Gentleman said—[HON. MEMBERS: "Divide!"]—that 2179 no one in Birmingham had asked for this system. He must have forgotten that one of his own colleagues in the representation of Birmingham is a strong supporter of it. [HON. MEMBERS: "Divide!"] I would also remind him and the House that the Liberal Association of Birmingham has expressed itself strongly in favour of this system, that the Labour party of Birmingham has also expressed itself in favour of the system, and that therefore when the right hon. Gentleman said that no one in Birmingham had expressed a desire for its application he was under a very serious misapprehension. It has been constantly said—[HON. MEMBERS: "Divide!"]. I appeal to the House for fair play in this matter. I am not going to detain it many minutes, but it is a very serious question, and the facts ought to be before the House. I have shown—
§ Sir H. CRAIK
rose in his place and claimed to move, "That the' Question be now put;" but Mr. Speaker withheld his assent, and declined then to put. that Question.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
I have shown that the right hon. Gentleman is entirely mistaken in saying that no one in Birmingham has asked for this system. It has been constantly stated—[HON. MEMBERS: "Divide!"] I really think this is very unfair of hon. Members. I have shown that the statement that no representatives of the boroughs are in favour of this system is entirely wrong. Both the hon. Members for Newcastle are in favour of it, three of the hon. Members for Leeds, a majority of the hon. Members for Hull, three of the hon. Members for Liverpool, four of the Dublin Members, and six out of seven of the Glasgow Members are in favour of it. [HON. MEMBERS "Divide!"] I do put it to the House that it is really a very unfair representation to say either that nobody from Birmingham has asked for the system or that nobody from the boroughs proposed to be affected is in favour of it. [HON. MEMBERS: "Divide!"] I do ask the House to consider what the next General Election will be if we go to the country either without the alternative vote or without any form of proportional representation. We have tried during this War to maintain national unity, but we shall be plunged into the most bitter and confused internecine struggle to snatch seats in the different parts of the country, whereas if 2180 we apply this system in a limited number of boroughs, the alternative vote in a limited number of boroughs and the old system in the great majority of boroughs, everybody will feel that at any rate an attempt has been made to treat the matter fairly. I believe it will have a very great effect upon the national feeling, and will enable us to maintain that national unity upon which so much will depend after the War, as it has depended during the War.
§ Mr. HEMMERDE
I wish to say only a few words.[HON. MEMBERS: "Divide!"] I am not in the least hurry, and if we are not to be allowed to debate this question for a few minutes—and I only want to speak for a few minutes—at any rate I intend to try. I want to suggest one small point in reply to what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain) said, because I think there is real substance in it. I think the point he makes about Birmingham is very real, the absurdity of having four-member constituencies, and I suggest that that might be put right, and that we might vote on the whole of this with a considerably lighter heart if, instead of putting five members in the last words of the Lords Amendment, we put seven. As a matter of fact all the well-known supporters of proportional representation say that seven is a better figure, and if you had Birmingham divided into five and seven that particular objection would at once fall to the ground. [An HON. MEMBER: "We do not want it at all!"] Neither do I, but as I believe we are going to try and reach some rational settlement—[HON. MEMBERS: "No!"]—I am perfectly prepared to support some measure of what I do not particularly like, as I have done all through the discussions on this Bill. if we are not going to come to some sort of agreement upon proportional representation, then I think we are going to have very considerable difficulties before we have finished with this controversy.
All I want to point out before we go on to these wider questions is that half the difficulties arising from proportional representation are due to the fact that the supporters will not put forward their scheme, and it goes to an Assembly who, although they have taken this up as a hobby, do not seem to appreciate the absurdity of having four-member constituencies. I wish to ask the Government, therefore, whether we cannot have some sort of light and leading from them? If they would only tell us. they would put 2181 these Amendments of the Lords into some sort of rational form we might do something. At present we are simply groping in the dark, and we may go on talking about these things all night. I do not want to do so, but I am quite prepared to do so if necessary. Cannot we make some reasonable compromise on proportional representation and the alternative vote? [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] I do not think we can, probably, because I believe proportional representation has only been put forward by the other Chamber as camouflage, simply with the object of ultimately changing it to the alternative vote, as was said by the "Times," on the day after it was put in. If we are dealing with an honest controversy, if this is not an attempt to throw out on party lines what was unanimously recommended by a Royal Commission, and if we are trying to get a settlement, let us come to it on rational lines. The first thing is to clear the air of what the right hon. Member for Birmingham said, that the proposals made with regard to his particular constituency are perfectly absurd. If the Government would be prepared to support an Amendment that these constituencies should be divided into constituencies returning not less than three nor more than seven members, we should get rid of very considerable difficulties in that
§ respect. Upon the other matters I pro. pose to say something later.
§ Sir WILLIAM RUTHERFORD
It was any intention, if this Amendment was dealt width and passed, to endeavour to include Liverpool, but I think we should be wrong. I think it is wrongs for the London Members to run away from the main issue—[An HON. MEMBER: "We are not; and we are not going to!"]—and that it will be wrong for the Birmingham Members to try and make an extension of this Amendment. Any reasonable solution would probably be in the direction of those Members who are going to vote for proportional representation having it in their own constituency, but I appeal to the hon. Member who proposed the Amendment, and to the right hon. Gentleman who has proposed the Amendment to the Amendment, to throw in their lot with the boroughs, including Liverpool, who object to this, and to throw the whole affair out as a matter of general principle. If we do not, we are going to be here for a great many hours discussing a number of similar Amendments about various places, and to waste a great deal of time while possibly not obtaining any good results.
§ Question put, "That the words 'and the City of Birmingham' be there added to the proposed Amendment."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 260; Noes, 156.2185
|Division No. 153.]||AYES||[5.10 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Clough, William||Greenwood, Sir Hamar (Sunderland)|
|Alden, Percy||Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Greig, Col. James William|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Col. M.||Cochrane, Cecil Algernon||Gretton, Colonel John|
|Baker, Joseph Ailen (Finsbury, E.)||Colvin, Col. Richard Beale||Guest, Capt. Hon. F. E. (Dorset, E.)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)|
|Barnett, Capt. R. W.||Cory, James H. (Cardiff)||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Hall, Lt.-Col. Sir Fred (Dulwich)|
|Bathurst, Col. Hon. A. B. (Glouc., E.)||Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Hambro, Angus Valdemar|
|Bellairs, Commander C. W.||Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)||Hamilton, C. G. C. (Ches., Altrincham)|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord C. J.|
|Benn, Com. Ian Hamilton (Greenwich)||Davies, Ellis William (Eiffon)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Bethell, Sir John Henry||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)|
|Bigland, Alfred||Denison-Pender, Capt. J. C.||Harris, Rt. Hon. F. L. (Worcester, E.)|
|Blair, Reginald||Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.||Harris, Sir Henry P. (Paddington, S.)|
|Bliss, Joseph||Duke, Rt. Hon. Henry Edward||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry|
|Buscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Elverston, Sir Harold||Henderson, John M. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Bowden, Major G. R. Harland||Essex, Sir Richard Walter||Henry, Sir Charles (Shropshire)|
|Boyton, Sir James||Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Hermon-Hodge Sir R. T.|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Falconer, James||Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Brookes, Warwick||Falle, Sir Bertram Godfrey||Hewins, William Albert Samuel|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Fell, Sir Arthur||Hickman, Brig.-Gen. Thomas E.|
|Bull, Sir William James||Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E. H.|
|Burdett-Coutts, William||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes (Fulham)||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Fletcher, John Samuel||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Gardner, Ernest||Horne, Edgar|
|Butcher, J. G.||Gastrell, Lieut.-Col. Sir W. Houghton||Houston, Robert Paterson|
|Campion, Lieut.-Col. W. R.||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Hudson, Walter|
|Carew, Charles R. S. (Tiverton)||Gilbert, J. D.||Hughes, Spencer Leigh|
|Carnegie, Lieut.-Col. D. G.||Glanville, H. J.||Hunter, Major Sir Charles Rodk.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Goddard, Rt. Hon. Sir Daniel Ford||Illingworth, Rt. Hon. Albert H.|
|Cave, Rt. Hon. Sir George||Goldman, C. S.||Jackson, Lieut.-Col. Hon. F. S. (York)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Asten Maner)||Goulding, Sir Edward Alfred||Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)|
|Jessel, Col. Sir H. M.||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Starkey, Capt. John R.|
|Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Staveley-Hill, Lieut.-Col. Henry|
|Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Parkes, Sir Edward E.||Stewart, Gershom|
|Jones, W. Kennedy (Hornsey)||Pearce, Sir William (Limehouse)||Stirling, Lieut.-Col. Archibald|
|Kenyon, Barnet||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbt. Pike (Darlington)||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Kerr-Smiley, Major Peter Kerr||Pennefather, De Fonblanque||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Keswick, Henry||Philipps, Sir Owen (Chester)||Sutton, John E.|
|Kiley, James Daniel||Pollock, Sir Ernest Murray||Swift, Rigby|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest George||Sykes, Col. Sir Alan John (Knutsford)|
|Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Talbot, Rt. Hon. Lord Edmund|
|Lee, Sir Arthur Hamilton||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Terrell, G. (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Prothero, Rt. Hon. Rowland Edmund||Terrell, Major Henry (Gloucester)|
|Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Randles, Sir John S.||Thomas-Stanford, Charles|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Raphael, Major Sir Herbert H.||Tickler, T. G.|
|Lonsdale, James R.||Rawson, Col. R. H.||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|M'Calmont, Brig.-Gen. Robert C. A.||Rees, G. C. (Carnarvon, Arfon)||Walker, Colonel William Hall|
|Macdonald, Rt. Hon. J. M. (Falk. B'ghs)||Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, E.)||Walters, Sir John Tudor|
|M'Kean, John||Remnant. Col. Sir James Farquharson||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Macmaster, Donald||Rendall, Athelstan||Warde, Colonel C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Maden, Sir John Henry||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Magnus, Sir Philip||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Malcolm, Ian||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Mallaby-Deeley, Harry,||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Whiteley, Sir H. J.|
|Marks, Sir George Croydon||Rowlands, James||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Royds, Major Edmund||Wiles. Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Meux, Adml. Hon. Sir Hedworth||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dewsbury)||Williams, Col. Sir Robert (Dorset, W.)|
|Meysey-Thompson, Colonel E. C.||Rutherford, Col. Sir J. (Lancs., Darwen)||Williams, T. J. (Swansea)|
|Middlebrook, Sir William||Rutherford, Sir W. (L'pool, W. Derby)||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry (Norwood)||Wilson, Capt. A. Stanley (Yorks, E.R.)|
|Mills, Lieut. Hon. Arthur Robert||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)||Wilson. Col. Leslie O. (Reading)|
|Molteno, Percy Alport||Sanders, Colonel Robert Arthur||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Morison, Hector (Hackney, S.)||Smallwood, Edward||Wilson-Fox, Henry|
|Morton, Sir Alpheus Cleophas||Smith, Sir Swire (Keighley, Yorks)||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Yeo. Sir Alfred William|
|Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Nield, Sir Herbert||Stanier, Capt. Sir Beville|
|Nuttall, Harry||Stanley, Capt. Lord (Abercromby)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|O'Malley, William||Stanton, Charles Butt||Chamberlain and Sir F. Lowe.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis Dyke||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Lynch, A. A.|
|Adamson, William||Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||M'Callum, Sir John M.|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Denniss, E. R. B.||Macdonald. J. Ramsay (Leicester)|
|Ainsworth, Sir John Stirling||Dixon, C. H.||Mackinder, Halford J.|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Dougherty, Rt. Hon. Sir J. B.||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)|
|Anderson, W. C.||Du Pre, Major W. Baring||McMicking, Major Gilbert|
|Armitage, Robert||Ffrench, Peter||Mason, David M. (Coventry)|
|Astor, Major Hon. Waldorf||Fisher, Rt. Hon. H. A. L. (Hallam)||Millar. James Duncan|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Mitchell - Thomson, W.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Gelder, Sir W. A.||Molloy, Michael|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Goldstone, Frank||Mond. Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Grant, J. A.||Morgan, George Hay|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick Burghs)||Griffith, Rt Hon. Sir Ellis J.||Morison, Thomas B. (Inverness)|
|Barton, Sir William||Gulland, Rt. Hon. John William||Morrell, Philip|
|Bathurst, Capt. Sir C. (Wilts, Wilton)||Hackett, John||Neville, Reginald J. N.|
|Beach, William F. H.||Hamersley, Lt.-Col. Alfred St. George||Newman, Major John R. P.|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds.)||Norman, Rt. Hon. Major Sir H.|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Ogden, Fred|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Haslam, Lewis||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Bentham, George Jackson||Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Parker, Rt. Hon. Sir G. (Gravesend)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Hemmerde, Edward George||Parrott, Sir James Edward|
|Black, Sir Arthur W.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. Arthur (Durham)||Pearce, Sir Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Boland, John Plus||Herbert, Col. Hon A. (Somerset, S.)||Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M.|
|Boles, Lieut.-Colonel Dennis Fortescue||Higham, John Sharp||Peel, Major Hon. G. (Spalding)|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Hogge, James Myles||Perkins, Walter F.|
|Brace, Rt. Hon. William||Holmes, Daniel Turner||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Holt, Richard Durning||Pratt, J. W.|
|Broughton, Urban Hanlon||Hope, Lieut.-Col. J. A. (Midlothian)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Buxton, Noel||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Cator, John||Jacobsen, Thomas Owen||Richardson, Arthur (Rotherham)|
|Cautley, H. S.||Jardine, E. (Somerset, E.)||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Hugh (Oxford U.)||Jones. Rt. Hon. Leif (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Robertson, Rt. Hon. John M.|
|Cecil,Rt.Hon.Lord Robert(Herts,Hitchin)||Jowett, Frederick William||Robinson, Sidney|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Keating, Matthew||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Cheyne, Sir W. W.||King, Joseph||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Coats, Sir Stuart A. (Wimbledon)||Knight, Captain E. A.||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Scott, Leslie, (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Collins, Sir W. (Derby)||Lane-Fox, Major G. R.||Seely, Lt.-Col Sir C. H. (Mansfield)|
|Courthope, Major George Loyd||Larmor, Sir J.||Shaw, Hon. A.|
|Cowan, Sir W. H.||Lowther, Maj.-Gen. H. C. (Appleby)||Smith, Capt. Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)|
|Snowden, Philip||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)||Willoughby, Lieut.-Col. Hon. Claud|
|Spear, Sir John Ward||Wardle, George J.||Winfrey, Sir Richard|
|Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Watson, John B. (Stockton)||Wing, Thomas Edward|
|Tennant, Rt. Hon. Harold John||Weston, Colonel J. W.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Thomas, Sir A. G. (Monmouth, S.)||Wheler, Major Granville C. H.||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)||Wood, Sir John (Stalybridge)|
|Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)||Whitehouse, John Howard||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|Thorne, William (West Ham)||Whyte, Alexander F.||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Toulmin, Sir George||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N.W.)|
|Turton, Edmund Russborough||Williams. John (Glamorgan)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES. Sir R.|
|Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)||Adkins and Mr. Peto.|
§ Sir W. RUTHERFORD
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, as amended, to add the words "and the cities of Manchester and Liverpool."
I do not propose to waste the time of the House by repeating arguments already used, and I simply move.
§ Sir G. CAVE
In debating this matter last week, I said that if a proposal for proportional representation were sent down to this House, as it has been sent down, in a form applying it to boroughs only, we should exactly have this kind of discussion, and that we should have Member after Member rising to move the exclusion of the borough in which he Was interested. That has happened, and, of course, it is quite easy for the House to go on moving Amendments of this kind, and to spend the whole afternoon, or the whole day, in that way. I venture to think that the Division which has just taken place carries a natural conclusion. Am I not probably right in saying that all those Members who are opposed to proportional representation in the boroughs as it comes to us from another place supported that Amendment?
§ Sir G. CAVE
At all events, am I not right in saying that those who voted for that Amendment are opposed to the Lords Amendment as it came down to the House? There may he other hon. Members who take the same view. If that is so, the House has really come to a decision, and the better course would be now to take a Division upon the main question of agreement or disagreement with the Lords Amendment. I have always thought that any proposal of this kind
§ of a partial character, a proposal to apply this principle to the boroughs only, or even to a certain number of boroughs only, which might be specified in the Amendment, ran the risk of being met and dealt with in this way. I think it is open to the advocates of this principle to reformulate their proposals at some future time in such a form as to bring them before the House in a manner which might be acceptable. But I have a strong feeling that if this kind of thing goes on we run the risk of losing very much more than the principle of proportional representation, and that we are bringing the Bill itself into great danger. Speaking for myself, I think the wisest course for the House would be to disagree with the Amendment of the Lords.
§ Sir H. JESSEL
In consequence of what the right hon. Gentleman has said, I wish to withdraw my Amendment, in order to let the House go to a Division on the main question.
§ Amendment to time proposed Amendment, as amended, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Proposed Amendment, as amended, to the Lords Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. BURDETT-COUTTS
I beg to move, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
I desire to avail myself of the occasion to reply to what was said by the Minister of Blockade on Wednesday last about the opposition to proportional representation having been the result of party machinery. I can assure the House that is not so.
§ Question put, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 238; Noes, 141.2189
|Division No. 154.]||AYES.||[5.25 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)|
|Ainsworth, Sir John Stirling||Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Baldwin, Stanley|
|Alden, Percy||Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Col. M.||Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)|
|Barnett, Captain R. W.||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord C. J.||Peel, Major Hon. G. (Spalding)|
|Bathurst, Col. Hon. A. B. (Glouc., E.)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Pennefather, De Fonblanque|
|Bellairs, Commander C. W.||Harris, Rt. Hon. F. L. (Worcester, E.)||Philipps, Captain Sir Owen (Chester)|
|Been, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Harris, Sir Henry P. (Paddington, S.)||Pollock, Sir Ernest Murray|
|Bentham, George Jackson||Harris, Percy A. (Leicester, S.)||Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest George|
|Bethell, Sir John Henry||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Bigland, Alfred||Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Black, Sir Arthur W.||Henderson, John M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Blair, Reginald||Henry, Sir Charles (Shropshire)||Randles, Sir John S.|
|Bliss, Joseph||Hermon-Hodge, Sir R. T.||Raphael, Major Sir Herbert H.|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith||Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon||Rawson, Colonel Richard H.|
|Bowden, Major G. R. Harland||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Rees, G. C. (Carnarvonshire, Arfon)|
|Boyton, Sir James||Hickman, Brig.-Gen. Thomas E.||Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, E.)|
|Brassey, H. L. C.||Higham, John Sharp||Remnant, Col. Sir James Farquharson|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E. H.||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Brookes, Warwick||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Bull, Sir William||Horne, Edgar||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecciesall)|
|Burdett-Coutts, William||Houston, Robert Paterson||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Hudson, Walter||Rowlands, James|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Royds, Major Edmund|
|Butcher, John George||Hunter. Major Sir Charles Rodk.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dewsbury)|
|Campion, Lieut.-Col. W. R.||Illingworth, Rt. Hon. Albert H.||Rutherford, Col. Sir J. (Lancs., Darwen)|
|Carew, Charles R. S. (Tiverton)||Jackson, Lieut.-Col. Hon. F. S. (York)||Rutherford, Sir W. (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Carnegie, Lieut.-Col. D. G.||Jacobsen, Thomas Owen||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Jardine, Sir John (Roxburgh)||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Cava, Rt. Hon. Sir George||Jessel, Col. Sir H. M.||Sanders, Col. Robert Arthur|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J.||Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Shaw, Hon. A.|
|Cheyne, Sir W. W.||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, E.)||Smallwood, Edward|
|Clough, William||Jones, W. Kennedy (Hornsey)||Soames, Arthur Weliesley|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Cochrane, Cecil Algernon||Kenyon, Barnet||Stanier, Captain Sir Beville|
|Collins, Major Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Kerr-Smiley, Major Peter Kerr||Stanley, Capt. Lord (Abercromby)|
|Colvin, Col. Richard Beale||Keswick, Henry||Stanton, Charles Butt|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon, Sir J.||Kiley, James Daniel||Starkey, Capt. John R.|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Staveley-Hill, Lieut.-Col. H.|
|Cory, James H. (Cardiff)||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Stewart, Gershom|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Lee, Sir Arthur Hamilton||Stirling, Lieut.-Col. Archibald|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)||Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Strauss, Edward E. (Southwark, West)|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Sutton, John E.|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eiffon)||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Swift, Rigby|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Lonsdale, James R.||Sykes, Col. Sir A. J. (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||M'Callum, Sir John M.||Talbot, Rt. Hon. Lord Edmund|
|Denison-Pender, Capt. J. C.||M'Calmont, Brig.-Gen. Robert C. A.||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.||Macdonald, Rt. Hon. J. M. (Falk. B'ghs)||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Duke, Rt. Hon. Henry Edward||Macmaster, Donald||Thomas, Sir A, G. (Monmouth, S.)|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Macpherson, James Ian||Thomas-Stanford, Charles|
|Essex, Sir Richard Walter||Maden, Sir John Henry||Tickler, T. G.|
|Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Tootill, Robert|
|Falconer, James||Malcolm, Ian||Tryon, Capt. George Clement|
|Falle, Sir Bertram Godfray||Mallaby-Debiey, Harry||Walker, Col. W. H.|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Manfield, Harry||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Fiennes, Hon. Sir Eustace Edward||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Walters, Sir John Tudor|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes (Fulham)||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Fletcher, John Samuel||Meysey-Thompson, Colonel E. C.||Warde, Colonel C. E. (Kent, Mid.)|
|Gardner, Ernest||Middlebrook, Sir William||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Gastrell, Lieut.-Col. Sir W. Houghton||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannon)|
|Gelder, Sir William Alfred||Molteno, Percy Alpert||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Gibbs, Col. George Abraham||Morison, Hector (Hackney, S.)||Whiteley, Sir H. J.|
|Gilbert, J. D.||Morison, Thomas B. (Inverness)||Wiles, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Glanville, Harold James||Morton, Sir Alpheus Cleophas||Williams, Col. Sir R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Goddard, Rt. Hon. Sir Daniel Ford||Munro, Rt. Hon, Robert||Williams, Thomas J. (Swansea)|
|Goldman, Charles Sydney||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Goulding, Sir Edward Alfred||Nicholson, Slr Charles N. (Doncaster)||Wilson, Capt. A. Stanley (Yorks, E.R.)|
|Greene, Lieut.-Colonel Walter Raymond||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcester, N.)|
|Greenwood, Sir G. G. (Peterborough)||Nield, Sir Herbert||Wilson, Col. Leslie C. (Reading)|
|Greenwood, Sir Hamar (Sunderland)||Nuttall, Harry||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Greig, Colonel J. W.||O'Malley, William||Wilson-Fox, Henry|
|Gretton, Col. John||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Winfrey, Sir Richard|
|Guest, Capt. Hon. Fred. E. (Dorset, E.)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Guinness, Capt. Hon. R. (Essex, S.E.)||Parkes, Sir Edward E.||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Haddock, George Bahr||Parrott, Sir James Edward||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Pearce, Sir Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Younger, Sir George|
|Hall, Lt.-Col. Sir Fred (Dulwich)||Pearce, Sir William (Limehouse)|
|Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.— Sir|
|Hamersley, Lt.-Col. Alfred St. George||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbt. Pike (Darlington)||T. P. Whittaker and Sir F. Lowe.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis Dyke||Armitage, Robert||Baird, John Lawrence|
|Adamson, William||Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond)|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Astor, Major Hon. Waldorf||Baring, Sir Geoffrey (Barnstaple)|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Pratt, J. W.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. George N.||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick, Burghs)||Haslam, Lewis||Richardson, Arthur (Rotherham)|
|Barton, Sir William||Henderson, Rt. Hon. Arthur (Durham)||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Bathurst, Capt. C. (Wilts, Wilton)||Herbert, Col. Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Robertson, Rt. Hon. J. M.|
|Beach, William F. H.||Hogge, James Myles||Robinson, Sidney|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Holmes, Daniel Turner||Rothschild, Major Lionel de|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Holt, Richard Durning||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hope, Lt.-Col. J. A. (Edin., Midlothian)||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Hume-Williams, W. E.||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Boland, John Pius||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Boles, Lieut.-Col. Dennis Fortescue||Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Smith, Capt. Albert (Lancs., clitheroe)|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid.)||Jowett, Frederick William||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Northampton)|
|Brace, Rt. Hon. William||Keating, Matthew||Snowden, Philip|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||King, Joseph||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Broughton, Urban Hanlon||Knight, Capt. Eric Ayshford||Tennant, Ht. Hon. Harold John|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk)||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Lane-Fox, Major G. R.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Cator, John||Larmor, Sir J.||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Cautley, H. S,||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Hugh (Oxford U.)||Lowther, Maj.-Gen. H. C. (Appleby)||Turton, Edmund Russhorough|
|Cecil, Rt.Hon.LordRobert(Herts,Hitchin)||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Wardle, George J.|
|Coats, Sir Stuart A. (Wimbledon)||Mackinder, Halford J.||Watson, John Bertrand (Stockton)|
|Collins, Sir W. (Derby)||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)||Weigall, Lieut.-Col. W. E. G. A.|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John (St. Ives)||McMicking, Major Gilbert||Weston, Col. J. W.|
|Courthope, Major George Loyd||Marriott, J. A. R.||Wheler, Major Granville C. H.|
|Cowan, Sir W. H.||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)||Millar, James Duncan||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Mills, Lieut. Hon. Arthur R.||Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Mitchell-Thomson, W.||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N.W.)|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Molloy, Michael||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Dixon, C, H.||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Dougherty, Rt. Hon. Sir J. B.||Morgan, George Hay||Willoughby, Lieut.-Col. Hon. Claud|
|Du Pre, Major W. Baring||Morrell, Philip||Wing, Thomas Edward|
|Fell, Sir Arthur||Mount, William Arthur||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Ffrench, Peter||Norman, Rt. Hon. Major Sir H.||Wood. Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Field, William||Ogden, Fred||Wood, sir John (Stalybridge)|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. H. A. L. (Hallam)||Ormsby-Gore. Hon. William||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Parker, Rt. Hon. Sir G. (Gravesend)||Wright, Captain Henry Fitzherbert|
|Goldstone, Frank||Parker, James (Halifax)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Griffith, Rt. Hon. Sir Ellis J.||Perkins, Walter F.|
|Gulland, Rt. Hon. John William||Peto, Basil Edward||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Major|
|Hackett, John||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Newman and Mr. Anderson.|