HC Deb 14 August 1919 vol 119 cc1787-91

Lords Reason for disagreeing to one of the Commons Amendments to the Lords Amendments and Lords Amendment to Commons Amendments to Lords Amendments to be considered forthwith.—[Mr. Shortt]

Lords Reason for disagreeing to one of the Commons Amendments to the Lords Amendments and Lords Amendment to Commons Amendments to Lords Amendments, considered accordingly.

Lords Reason for disagreeing to Commons Amendment to new Clause B, inserted by the Lords, considered.


I beg to move,. "That this House doth insist upon the said Amendment."

I shall move later, after the word "Trade"["Board of Trade"] and after the word "Labour"[Ministry of Labour''] to insert the words "after consultation with the interests concerned."

The object of that provision is that the Minister, in appointing the representatives of the various interests, shall take into consultation with him those who are best qualified to give him advice as to the choice of representatives. I think the words employed meet that desire on the part of the House of Lords, so far as the reasons given are concerned. There is just the same independence in the Committee as appointed by the Minister, and I think in every way the legitimate desires of the House of Lords are met, while at the same time there is preserved what the House of Commons has determined upon already.


May I ask how this Amendment will affect the position of the Associated Chambers of Commerce?


They would naturally be consulted.


As far as I can see the Associated Chambers of Commerce are by this proposal absolutely excluded from all connection with this Committee. The Lords proposed, and I still think it is right and reasonable, and I can only regret the decision of the Government to take what seems to me a perfectly obvious view—the Lords provide, in what I believe is a reasonable manner, a proper Committee, namely, a Committee appointed by the bodies best qualified to advise the Minister and to prevent the Committee from being a mere replica of the Minister's desires. My right hon. Friend has great gifts, but he has a passion for power. He comes into politics with the whole pre-conception of a man who has been accustomed to order people about in his own business. I am quite sure that that is wrong, and that this Bill will break down because it is too autocratic in its character, and because it defies the democratic constitution of the country and the democratic tendencies of the people. The right hon. Gentleman was probably reluctant at agreeing to this Committee being appointed to check the proceedings, and he has "diddled" the House by inducing the promoters of that Committee to agree to a Committee which will be a pure replica of the Minister's desires. I quite admit that the words inserted are an improvement on the original wording, but, after all, merely to say that the interests concerned are to be consulted before the Minister appoints the committee does not carry us very far, because, having consulted them, he may disregard their advice altogether. The only really secure way of obtaining an independent and partial Committee was by some such design as the Lords proposed. If there was an objection in detail to their proposal it should be shown that some other body ought to have been in charge of the selection. That would have been reasonable. But the right hon. Gentleman has always taken the opposite view that anything that interferes with his autocracy or can possibly put a check on his views is wrong, and on that ground he has always consistently opposed this. I am sure he is wrong, and I am sure he, or possibly his successor, will regret it.

The MINISTER (Designate) Of TRANSPORT (Sir E. Geddes)

My Noble Friend has devoted his remarks to condemning the alleged autocracy of myself. He has said that in appointing this Committee I have— think he used the word "diddled" the House. He suggests that I appoint these representatives. He says that that is the manifestation of this alleged autocracy and desire for unbounded power on my part. In neither of the cases with which we are dealing do I appoint the Committee at all; they are appointed by the Minister of Labour and the President of the Board of Trade. The democratic principles of the House of Lord's are not as we'll manifested as they might be.


The answer of the right hon. Gentleman is in my opinion inadequate. Does he suggest that there is no understanding between himself and the Board of Trade and the Ministry of Labour—no joint responsibility of the Government as a whole? My Noble Friend the Member for Hitchin is right. The Government of their own will and discretion, consulting among themselves, ought to appoint this advisory committee. This matter goes a good deal further than some hon. Members present may realise. All the power of the railway and canal commissioners is destroyed in regard to protecting traders on questions of railway

Division No. 107.] AYES. [10.18 p.m.
Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher Davies, T. (Cirencester) Jodrell N. P.
Atkey, A. R. Davison, J. E. (Smethwick) Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington).
Baldwin, Stanley Dawes, J. A. Jenes, J. Tewyn (Carmarthen)
Barnes, Rt. Hon. G. N. (Gorbals) Dewhurst, Lieut.-Commander H. Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander
Barnes. Major H. (Newcastle, E.) Doyle, N. Grattan Kenyon, Barnet
Barnett, Major Richard W. Edwards, C. (Bedwellty) King, Commander Douglas
Barnston, Major Harry Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon) Law, Rt Hon. A. Bonar (Glasgow)
Bell, James (Ormskirk) Entwistle, Major C. F. Lewis, T. A. (Pontypridd, Glam.)
Blades, Sir George R. Eyres-Monsell, Commander Lindsay, William Arthur
Borwick, Major G. O. Finney, Samuel Long, Rt. Hon. Walter
Boscawen, Sir Arthur Griffith- Foxcroft, Captain C. Loseby, Captain C. E.
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. C. W. Geddes, Rt.Hon. Sir E. (Cambridge) Lunn, William
Blowyer, Capt. G. W. E. Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham Malone, Colonel C. L. (Leyton, E.J
Brackenbury, Captain H. L. Gilmour, Lieut-Colonel John Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.
Briant, F. Goff, Sir R. Park Murray, Lt.-Col. Hon. A. C. (Aberdeen).
Bridgeman, William Clivs Green J. F. (Leicester) Murray, Dr. D. (Western Isles)
Broad, Thomas Tucker Greenwood, Col. Sir Hamar Nall, Major Joseph
Bromfield, W. Gregory, Holman Neal, Arthur
Brown, T. W. (Down, N.) Griffiths, T. (Pontypool) Newbould, A. E.
Bruton, Sir J. Grundy, T. W. Onions, Alfred
Butcher, Sir J. G. Guinness, Capt. Hon. (Southend) Parker, James
Carew, Charles R. S. (Tiverton) Hallas, E. Parry, Major Thomas Henry
Carr, W. T. Hamilton, Major C, G. C. (Altrincham) Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike
Casey, T. W. Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.) Perkins, Walter Frank
Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood) Hilder, Lieutenant-Colonel F. Pollock, Sir Ernest Murray
Clyde, James Avon Hills, Major J. W. (Durham) Pratt, John William
Cobb, Sir Cyril Hirst, G. H. Prescott, Major W. H.
Courthope, Major George Loyd Holmes, J. S. Purchase, H. G.
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish University) Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Rattan, Peter Wilson
Cowan, Sir H. (Aberdeen and Kind) Hudson, R. M. Raw, Lieut.-Colonel Dr.
Cozens-Hardy, Hon. W. H. Hughes, Spencer Leigh Richardson, Alex. (Gravesend)
Craig, Col. Sir James (Down, Mid.) Hunter-Weston, Lieut.-Gen. Sir A. G. Richardson, R. (Houghton)
Davies, Alfred (Clitheroe) Hurd, P. A. Rose, Frank H.
Davies, Sir Joseph (Crewe) Jameson, Major J. G. Royce, William Stapleton

rates and facilities. The Railway and Canal Commission now deals only with undue preference between one trader and another. As regards the provision of rates and facilities, the Minister is in arbitrary and autocratic control, except that there is this Advisory Committee, which is most inadequate and feeble. It has no value whatever unless it is an independent body which can express independently to the Ministry and the Government what the position is in any particular case. The Bill itself gives no powers to any trader to deal with this Advisory Committee. It can only be called together at the will of the Minister. It is agreed that the Railway and Canal Commission has lost much of its earlier efficiency, but the Commissioners had a great authority, and of course they thoroughly understood the general procedure. That is now all swept away, except as regards undue preference as between one trader and another. I think the House will be wise to accept the advice of the Home Secretary. What is wanted is that the Advisory Committee shall be a really advisory body and not, the mere creature of the Government, Therefore I hope the House will not disagree with the Lords Amendment.

Question put, "That this House doth insist upon the said Amendment."

The House divided: Ayes, 134; Noes, 18,

Samuel, S. (Wandsworth, Putney) Stewart, Gershom Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
Sanders, Colonel Robert Arthur Sugden, W. H. Wignall, James
Scott, A. M. (Glas., Bridgeton) Surtees, Brig.-General H. C. Wild, Sir Ernest Edward
Seddon, J. A. Sutherland, Sir William Williams, Lt.-Col. Sir R. (Banbury)
Sexton, James Taylor, J. (Dumbarton) Woolcock, W. J. U.
Short, A. (Wednesbury) Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.) Worstold, T. Cato
Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T., W.) Tryon, Major George Clement Worthington-Evans, Sir L.
Sitch, C. H. Vickers, D. Younger, Sir George
Smith, W. (Wellingborough) Waddington, R.
Stanler, Captain Sir Beville Wallace, J. TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Lord E.
Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Preston) Walton, J. (York, Don Valley) Talbot and Captain F. Guest.
Stephenson, Colonel H. K. Ward-Jackson, Major C. L.
Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte Chadwick, R. Burton Nicholson, W. (Petersfield)
Austin, Sir H. Curzon, Viscount Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Gould, J. C. Remer, J. B.
Bellairs, Com. Carlyon W. Gretton, Colonel John Samuel, A. M. (Farnham, Surrey)
Betterton, H. B. Guinness, Lt.-Col. Hon. W. E. (B. St. E.)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Aston Manor) Johnstons, J. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin) Larmor, Sir J. Pennefather and Sir Arthur S. Benn

Commons Amendment amended, by inserting after the word "Trade," the words "after consultation with the interests concerned," and, at the end thereof, by adding the words "after consultation with the interests concerned."—[Mr. Shortt.]