§ Mr. T. P. O'CONNOR
I beg to move, "That this House do now adjourn."
Anyone acquainted with Liverpool will appreciate what a strike at the docks at Liverpool really involves. I am so conscious of the disasters which are associated with a strike in that great city, from personal experience, that I feel I would not be discharging my duty as senior Member for the City of Liverpool if I did not use every method which Parliament permitted to try and avert such a disaster. I have been called in twice at Liverpool to try and settle a strike, and I am glad to say that I have succeeded on both occasions. As I speak this evening I cannot help recalling the tragic spectacle of those miles of splendid docks of those hundreds if not thousands of ships, of those tens of thousands of working people, all remaining stagnant in, perhaps, the greatest maritime city in the world. It is my sense of the gigantic loss to the trade and to the people of Liverpool, and especially to my own constituents, that compels me to raise this question to-night. I hope I may be successful in getting some assurances from the Government which will help the desire of my hon. Friend the Member for St. Helens (Mr Sexton), who is the able and honoured Secretary of the Dockers' Union, and myself, to avert this disaster. In order to do that, I think my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary should have his mind a little refreshed by my suggesting to him the causes which lie behind the threat of a strike, and the methods by which those causes could be removed. The main cause is sympathy with the prisoners at present at Wormwood Scrubs.
1338 A large number of these prisoners are on hunger-strike, and nearly all of them are untried prisoners. The Leader of the House the other day, in a moment of frank and honourable candour, declared that no one could refuse sympathy with men who were willing to go through all the tortures and face all the perils of death by hunger in pursuit of what they regarded as a good cause. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman will deny that there has been, especially among the Irish population, an intense feeling of excitement. I read in the papers that crowds have been around Wormwood Scrubs during the last few evenings and have signified their feelings in every way that naturally occurs to Irishmen, that many of them have, as in the case of Mountjoy, found relief and hope in prayer, and that altogether there are all the symptoms that show sentiment both deep and genuine.
I hope the right hon. gentleman will not make answer to these sympathisers that the prisoners in Wormwood Scrubs are there because they are criminals, and that they are kept there for the purpose of putting down crime. My own opinion is that if one were to examine the evidence in the hands of the Government one would find very little proof in the case of any of these men of anything but what the Government may regard as unsound political opinion. Political opinion, however unsound or extreme it may be, is defended by all our traditions and principles against interference by the Government, and especially by militarism. A protest against militarism is not a moral offence, and it is not, exept under specific circumstances, even a legal offence. When you see in Ireland as you do to-day a great army with implements of war, tanks, machine guns, areoplanes, and the like, are you surprised that the people of London, Liverpool and Glasgow regard these men as the victims, not of criminal purposes, but of protest and of opinion? I wish to explain so far as I may what lies behind this very serious, and in some cases perilous, protest. What really lies behind it is the opinion of the Irishmen of Liverpool, Glasgow and London, of America and of all the world, that the tortures to which these men are subjecting themselves are justifiable and patriotic protests against the militarist government of the country, and events in Ireland are giving too much 1339 justification to this view of the action of these men. I regret to have to make the declaration, but I say it with a full sense of responsibility that militarism is running loose and wild, that there have been in Ireland within the last few weeks what I may call Amritsars on a small scale. Three men were shot down at Milltown Malbay without any excuse. Two men were killed in the same way at Ark-low. In Thurles the police ran wild, and fired into houses and the lives of the people were only saved by taking refuge in cellars. In Fermoy, for several hours, the soldiers broke loose from all discipline, and with crowbars and trench tools, from 8.30 to 10, sacked the town. These proceedings have not, so far as I know, led to inquiries.
Our people in Liverpool who are threatening this violent form of protest are protesting, not in favour of crime, but against opinion, however extreme, being regarded as crime. They know that of the sixty-nine Sinn Fein Members returned as representatives of Ireland by the opinion of the people of the country, every one of them, except seven, have been put in gaol. Will anyone declare that these sixty men are criminals, except in opinion, if opinion can be regarded as criminal, or that any one of them has made speeches in favour of or recommending assassination? Will he contend when the Dublin Corporation was elected, comprising a majority of Sinn Fein candidates, and the Government arrested within ten days a large number of these men so as to destroy their majority in the Corporation, that that was done because of criminal acts of extreme opinion? Will he tell me that the twenty-five Republican members of the other corporations in Ireland who were arrested were arrested because they were criminals? Will he tell me that on of the prisoners the Chief Secretary recently allowed to be liberated from Wormwood Scrubs, the boy Foy, was a criminal? He was 17 years of age, and he is the son of a policeman. There is an affidavit, I believe, in the possession of the authorities that he had never attended a political meeting in his life. The case was brought before the Court. I do not know whether it was because of the publicity given to the case by this action or because of some compunctious visitings in the mind of the 1340 Chief Secretary and the Home Secretary that this boy was released two days afterwards. Here is a boy, 17 years of age, the son of a policeman, who had never attended a political gathering in his life, detained for three months in gaol on suspicion of being a criminal. Is not that the reductio ad absurdum of the whole system, of which Wormwood Scrubs is simply the consummation? Would anybody say that the Lord Mayor of Dublin, who has just recently been released, and has suffered injuries to his health from which possibly he may never entirely recover, was a criminal, except opinion be criminal? I never Saw the gentleman in my life, but I understand he was known to his colleagues in the corporation for many years as a man who could be called in England of pacifist opinion. The same is said of Alderman O'Brien, who has recently been released after hunger strike. War on opinion is not war on crime. On the contrary, war on opinion is the parent and begettor of crime.
I will give a few more instances which account for the state of feeling we see to-day. Take the action of the Government, of which the Home Secretary is a distinguished Member, in dealing with certain proceedings which were inaugurated by the Sinn Fein party. They thought it was desirable—and I do not see that anyone could blame them—to take an opportunity of investigating the industrial resources of Ireland and finding out the best method for developing those resources. This movement, which was not a political movement, and in which Unionists took part as well as Sinn Feiners, was treated as a criminal conspiracy. The investigations were hampered in every way, and when the Industrial Committee of Nationalists and Sinn Feiners went to the Town Hall in Cork to continue their investigations and suggest their proposals, a body of soldiers with fixed bayonets went in, and in the presence of the Lord Mayor and Corporation, turned them out of the building. The funds of an insurance company, which surely was not a criminal conspiracy, have been seized. Domiciliary visits have taken place with a recklessness and with a series of savage incidents which are a disgrace to this country. Take the case of the treatment of Mrs. Clarke. Mr. Clarke is a Sinn Feiner who was recently elected 1341 a member of the Corporation. There was an attempt to arrest him. When the soldiers went to the house Mr. Clarke was not there, but his wife was there, and I speak on the authority of Mr. Erskine Childers, a distinguished Englishman, who says that this domiciliary visit was accompanied byA scene of repulsive brutality, all the more so in that officers set the example: Oaths, insults and threats directed at the unfortunate woman, who is kept below shivering in night attire while the ground floor is searched. Her little boy begins to scream, but she is turned back with the bayonet from going up to him. A mahogany door is wantonly smashed in, though she offers the key for it, and other vandalisms perpetrated. Then to the living rooms, where even the children's beds are searched. Then to the skylight leading to the roof, where she is forced to remain while one officer hands a revolver to another, saying, 'If he is there, use it on him.' At length away, leaving her exhausted and struggling to close the jammed hall door. 'That woman cannot close the—door now,' is the genial farewell. All this in your name, after your five years' War to save the world and humanity from the militarism of Germany.I do my best, and have done so all my life, to advance constitutional as opposed to revolutionary methods for obtaining reform in Ireland or in England. I have never lent any countenance, nor will I lend any countenance, to methods of revolution and crime for the purpose of defending the rights of the masses either of England or of Ireland, but in the face of incidents such as I have described, with militarism so rampant in Ireland, it is no wonder that millions of the Irish people, not merely in Ireland, but in England—where there are 2,500,000 of them—and in America, where there are 20,000,000 of them, have a feeling of blind resentment against the Government. Blind resentment is a very bad thing. I ask the Home Secretary, who is mainly responsible for good order in this country, is there no danger in the repercussion of these events. I do not mean amongst the Irish alone. It is possible that if they resort to violent methods militarism can put that down for the moment in blood, as it is trying to do in Ireland, and as it is by putting down Nationalism in Ireland; but it will not end there. I suggest in the presence of the Members of the Labour party, and I know I express their thoughts when I say, that in England, in Scotland and in Wales, there is no such denial of constitutional liberties as there is in Ireland. Even here, the 1342 passions of the War, and the desire for a greater share in the country for which so many millions of men have died, the recklessness in regard to human life which must come to men who have been in the trenches and on the battlefield for four or five years, have produced a dangerous feeling of unrest among certain sections of the population of this country which it is unwise to provoke.
Many a time I have said to hon. Friends of mine from Ireland, but of different opinions, "Take it from me, for I know Ireland pretty well, though I have lived out of it for many years—I was speaking of the days when we were more than 70 on these Benches—that the Irish party, from which you so violently dissent, and whose actions you so strongly disapprove; this Irish Constitutional party in the House of Commons is the only breakwater between Ireland and anarchy,'' just as a rational and powerful Labour party in this country is also the best breakwater against any gospel of anarchy in this country. All these prophecies and warnings of mine were discredited and disbelieved, but look at the number of the Irish Constitutional party on these Benches now and at the anarchy and excesses in Ireland, on the other hand. They are proofs of the wisdom of my forecast. I ask my right hon. Friend to lend his great influence towards producing a change of policy and a change of heart among his colleagues in regard to the Irish people, and to trust them to give them large and generous powers dealing with Ireland. It is only Irishmen who can establish liberty and order in Ireland. As long as such a policy is pursued as I have briefly denounced to-night, I do assure the Government that they are risking everything that is valuable in the life of the country and encouraging the growth of anarchy. You have to make your choice between two policies: The one I will call the Amritsar policy, the police of force and bloodshed. The other I will call the South African policy. There are hon. and gallant men, honest men, in this House, who under their breath are ready to claim that Amritsar is the best method of governing the Empire. But on the morrow of the War it was the link of freedom that kept all the remote parts of this mighty Empire together. The other policy is the South African policy. I quote in favour of that policy the words of the greatest South African, 1343 the man who was friendliest to this nation, who ran the greatest risks to keep up the connection between his country and this, General Smuts, who, in a pronouncement of solemn warning, declared that either this nation would give Ireland self-government or Ireland would ruin the Empire.
§ Mr. SEXTON
Nobody will accuse me of being unfriendly or antagonistic to the cause of Ireland or the legitimate constitutionally expressed opinions of the Irish people. Inside this House and outside by public utterances which are on record I have shown my sympathies with the claims of the Irish people of a constitutional character. Having said that I do not want to repeat what has been said already by the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. O'Connor). But I have a higher duty than that, and it touches me very closely indeed. This question of unrest in Liverpool is one which affects me as a responsible trade union leader there and also as a British citizen, and I want to put myself right both in this House and with my own Member and the general public when I say that as a responsible official of a trade union, which is very seriously affected by this disturbances if the disturbance does take place—and I am afraid there is some danger of it—the action will be entirely unofficial and irresponsible and will not be recognised by the authorised heads to the association to which I belong. I am vigorously opposed to the policy which is known as direct action. I will protest and continue to protest as long as I live against the industrial weapon being used for political purposes.
I am fortified in that not only by the rules of my own organisation but by the opinion of the whole trade union movement expressed at the conference recently held in London. I am opposed to it because it lets loose elements which are hard to control and the first to suffer. It is bad enough to be compelled to have to use it in industrial disputes, but it is a different thing altogether to let loose that weapon when a question of Imperial politics is in dispute. It means the end of all constitutional action. But I have even a greater argument than that. I have the honour to be the responsible officer of a trade union of something like 70,000 men in the United Kingdom who are composed of different political 1344 thoughts, and I should say that over 50 per cent. of them would be opposed to any action being taken on this question. I am elected and appointed to carry out the duties of the trade union which I represent without outraging the opinions of any one of the sections who hold different political views, and I should be false to my trust if I yielded to any threat—and I may say incidentally that I have been threatened—that unless I used the industrial power of the organisation to which I belong for certain purposes I should be in some danger. Threatened men live long. I have lived a long time myself and I have lived through a series of threats, and I refuse now to bow to the threat of any man or any section who are irresponsible and who endanger the organisation which looks to me to carry out, in an impartial and just manner, the trust imposed on me.
Having said all that, let me say again, in order to make myself perfectly clear, that I have already taken the responsibility, and will continue to take the responsibility, of advising our members in Liverpool and elsewhere not to take any notice of the agitation going on in this direction, which is contrary to the rules and the principles of the Union and contrary to the welfare of the members. To do anything else I would be false to the trust imposed upon me. While I am taking every precaution, and while my colleagues are at work to-night to prevent, if possible, any dislocation of the trade of Liverpool and other ports, I fear that the spirit of the men is getting beyond our official control. I will tell you why. There is a very large number of Irishmen in Liverpool and in other ports who have very strong opinions on this question. There are in those ports men who are not Irishmen, but are simply lovers of justice, and they are influenced by the fact that men are taken away from their homes and shoved into gaol without any charge or reason being given as to why they are in gaol, and the British spirit of fair play is inspiring these men to say, "If this happens in Ireland to-day, it will happen in England to-morrow." As a matter of fact, it has happened in England. Two of my own members and one of the Seamen's Union, who have not been in Ireland for four years, but were carrying on their simple duties as workmen at the docks at Liverpool on board ship, were suddenly arrested only two weeks ago, 1345 without any cause or explanation, and were taken to the military barracks at Seaforth, and from there were spirited away, no one knows where, neither relatives nor mates. And these are Englishmen, men who have no particular sympathy with Sinn Feinism. In fact, they have repelled the thought of being associated with Sinn Feiners. Yet they are asking themselves the question, "If this can happen to men we have worked alongside of for three or four years, what is to prevent it happening to us?"
There are members of my own in Liverpool, sons of Irishmen who came from Ireland to work at the docks. There is an honoured clergyman in Liverpool, Father Hayes, who has a relative in Wormwood Scrubs. There are men in Liverpool to-day who are brothers or relatives of those locked up in Wormwood Scrubs. They have considerable influence among their workmates, and when they tell those workmates that relatives have been torn from their homes in Ireland and deported to Wormwood Scrubs, it 'is only natural that the statement has such an effect that all the official declarations we can make are absolutely useless in the face of the stern facts. I would be the last in the world to suggest that the Government should give way to undue intimidation. I resent it myself, and I am resenting it now. I am running a big risk in taking the stand I am taking. I shall continue to resent it. But I respectfully suggest to the Members of the Government, and particularly to the Home Secretary, that there is no humiliation in recognising that the application of simple justice is no climb-down for any Government or for anyone else. A man's courage is displayed when he sees he is wrong, and confesses he is wrong.
Let me make this last appeal. My feelings are such that if I express myself freely I might possibly say too much, and I do not want to do that. I am speaking with a full sense of responsibility, and my fear is that, in spite of all I have done, in spite of all I am prepared to do to the end, to-morrow morning and to-morrow night action will be taken of such a character that to recover from its effects may take months. My members in Liverpool are divided in their political opinion, but I should say that over 50 per cent. are opposed to any idea of violence or of the using of the machinery of the union in support of Sinn Fein. A grave danger is 1346 that the men may be influenced by what they consider to be the grave injustice of the Government. While I and my colleagues on the Labour Benches are appealing to the men to rely upon constitutional action, it makes it very difficult for us when we find that our men are impressed with the idea that the Government themselves are acting unconstitutionally by arresting men and shoving them into gaol without giving them an opportunity of defence. If the men who believe that an injustice has been done to their fellow-countrymen in Wormwood Scrubs begin action to-morrow, and their influence spreads in Liverpool and elsewhere, or an attempt is made to bring out those who do not believe in direct action, there will be a physical conflict of the two sections which will assume such a character that the peace of the whole city and of industries throughout the country will be jeopardised. You will be approaching the very verge of civil war if you do not recognise the facts.
With the exception of one or two isolated and spasmodic cases this old country is jogging along satisfactorily, her trade is increasing, and prosperity is on the wave in spite of all the obstacles to be surmounted. In view of all that, is it worth while to disturb the situation, and in spite of the evidence we had in this House to-night of men who made money out of the four years' struggle attempting to evade the responsibilities in the Division that was lately taken? Luckily the good sense of the House recognised the true value of that opposition, and I am proud of it. The country, say what you will, is prosperous. We may have a huge debt, but we are going the right way of paying, that debt off. The trade of the world is at our doors and our people with very few exceptions are going on very well. There is nothing to interfere with that prospect except these petty obstacles, which I submit should be removed. Except some security is given, to the Irish population if you like, of which I am one, and which I have endeavoured in my official capacity to dissociate from my responsibility, to allay the spirit which has been aroused, then I tremble for the industrial future of this country and our influence in keeping the peace, as we all wish to do.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
I am sure that the Government will recognise that there is 1347 no reason whatever to complain of either the hone or temper of the speeches of the two hon. Members who have addressed the House. The moderation of statement and the statesmanlike outlook with which both hon. Members faced a very great problem make it, I think, easy for the House to discuss this question in a proper temper, and I hope respectfully. I do not for one moment minimise the terribly serious state of the conditions of Ireland. There is a state of affairs there which is not distinguishable from open rebellion. I quite agree that it is not practicable for the Executive to face the ordinary trials of offences by the ordinary means in Ireland at the present moment. I frankly admit that. But the condition of Ireland, I am quite certain, will not be bettered in the least degree by the continued application without any glimpse of hope of the present coercive measures insisted on by the Executive. The idea of 20 years of resolute government as a cure for Irish aspirations has completely broken down and we are faced in spite of the increased severity not only of police but of military measures with increased opposition, not only in violence, but in area. That is not the real Ireland which we see to-day any more than when one views, as sometimes some of us have, some friend of ours in a fever of delirium whose actions have to be restrained in order to prevent him doing himself harm. In such circumstances we would say, "That is not my friend, but it is the fever which is doing it, and the way to cure it is, not by tying the patient down, but to seek some curative method to remedy the disease which causes that condition."
That is all I have to say on the general case, but I wish to press once again upon my right hon. Friend a suggestion or proposal which I made some days ago and which is based on my own practical experience, and, at the risk of repetition, I want to put on record again what that experience was. After the Easter rebellion of 1916, hundreds of Irish political arrests were made under a Regulation made under the Defence of the Realm Act which enabled the executive to place in custody anyone whom they thought was under suspicion of being likely to cause any damage to the peace of His Majesty. Those are not the exact words, but that is the purport. The Advisory Committee which had been dealing for, 1348 I think, eighteen months with the question of persons of enemy nationality who were suspected of having anything to do with the enemies of this country, was asked to undertake the duty of examining into the grounds which were alleged by the Executive as reasonable cause for detaining these political prisoners in custody. It is, of course, open to any person now in Wormwood Scrubs Prison to apply to the Home Secretary that he should be brought before an Advisory Committee and have his case heard. It is quite true no such committee is at present in existence, but it could be set up. None of those internees applied, but what action was taken? I think my right hon. Friend was Home Secretary some part of the time. There was a committee presided over by a distinguished judge, Mr. Justice Sankey, with whom was Mr. Justice Younger and Mr. Justice Pim, an Irish judge, and four Members of Parliament, of whom I was one, and we sat at Wands-worth and Wormwood Scrubs. None of these men had applied to be heard by this committee, but what was done was this. They were brought before that Advisory Committee.
Before sitting there we have had the advantage of hearing what the responsible officials in Ireland had to say, first with regard to the general question and secondly with regard to the individual men concerned. We had a dossier of each one of these men. The only witnesses who were heard were, so to speak, witnesses for the prosecution, and there was no danger attending any of those officials other than the danger which they always experience in the performance of their duties in the troubled conditions of Ireland. I quite admit that there may be considerable difficulty in doing this at the present moment, but that is no reason why this process should not be repeated and why we should not get a Judge, if he will consent to do so, assisted by other persons, to go into the cases in this way. But I would suggest that on this occasion there should not be any Members of Parliament on the committee. I think there is no need for that. We should desire, of course, that the names should not be given of those who came before the committee as witnesses, and that it should be kept as secret as possible so that we should run as little risk as was necessary. If we could get one or two of the Judges, and persuade 1349 them to act, and go over first of all the documentary evidence, and then to sit at Wormwood Scrubs and to hear what had to be said by the prisoners or internees who are at these places at the present time, we should have at least taken one step in the right direction. When the committee to which I have referred sat the prisoners over and over again came and said, "We do not recognise your authority." That was their position. But owing to the skill and the urbanity of the learned Judge, Mr. Justice Sankey, although there might have been one or two exceptions, all of them, I think, ultimately consented to make their statements and freely answer questions. That is the procedure which I now suggest; I know that it does not accord with our ideas of British justice to sit in secret and to hear one side of the case, without hearing any witnesses for the defence, so to speak. But we are living in very difficult times, and my point is that it would be so much better than doing nothing and saying, "We can do nothing." We have this experience before us, and it is a remarkable experience, of letting one or two learned Judges hear what these men have to say, and I think that the Executive would be doing a very good thing if they followed the advice which I am now very earnestly pressing upon them.
What is really the driving force in this case of public sympathy with these men? It is that they have not been charged. They have had no opportunity of stating their case before an impartial tribunal. They have not been charged before any court. These men have been placed in prison. I suggest that you are placing in the hands of those who desire to make trouble a most formidable weapon, by creating sympathy with these men in the minds of the British people. We all know that nothing touches the Briton more deeply than the fact that a man is deprived of personal liberty without trial by his peers. He may be a poor man or a rich man, but he expects to be tried by his equals. I admit that it may be argued that what I have suggested is not at present a practicable proposal. I admit that it cannot be done at the present moment in Ireland. But here you have these men in England and you have experience to show that something of the kind can be done. For the life of me I cannot see why the Government should 1350 not take some action of this kind. It would be a first step, and it is these little first steps that count. You cannot expect to make a great sweep in dealing with matters of this kind, but you ought to try to make some progress, and this would be a step in the right direction. It is a chance for beginning to influence public opinion in favour of authority rather than give with two hands weapons to anarchy. I think it is possible. I appeal to the Government for some philosophic act of statesmanship, however small it may be. It is no use saying that we cannot do anything excepting to continue coercive and repressive measures. It will not do. It simply will not do at this time of day. There might have been some case for it years ago, but it will not do now. The time has gone past. I leave it there to the right hon. Gentleman (the Home Secretary). I know and he knows the truth of all I have said. I am certain that he is in sympathy with me from his knowledge of the subject. While I make this appeal, I am not asking him for a definite answer now. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why not?"] He may have to consult the Prime Minister when he comes back to-night. I urge him to consult the Prime Minister after this Debate, in view of the two speeches which we have heard and which are really worthy of the most serious consideration. I leave it there with that last appeal. It may be the last chance before this terrible weapon, which we hear threatened, begins to be used, and once that begins no man knows where it will stop. I hope he will bear in mind what I have suggested, and that even to-night we may hear that the Government will give us some hope of a better future.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I would like to bring to the notice of hon. Members a fact which concerns my own constituency. The night before last the whole of the dock labourers in the port of Hull came out on strike and remained out for 24 hours. The reason given was that an award under the recent inquiry of 16s. a day was not retrospective and did not take effect until May 10th. That was the reason given, but I want to tell the House how the men were brought out. Without any warning, a few speakers went round from dock to dock, made their speeches, and the men simply came out. That is the temper of that particular 1351 section of organised workers to whom my hon. Friend the Member for St. Helens (Mr. Sexton) referred. He will bear me out in this, because he is the principal official of the union concerned, that, although the ostensible reason for that lightning strike, which I' am glad to say was settled—I did not go up specially for that, but I arrived there last night in time to know the matter had been settled, thanks to the efforts of the officials and others—was the demand for higher wages, behind it was a general dissatisfaction, with which this treatment of these prisoners is not unconnected. There are many Irishmen amongst these workers in Hull, and each one of them at present has his feelings injured and is a centre of unrest amongst the men he works alongside of in the docks. What the hon. Member for St. Helens has said to-night, I can say, from my own personal experience in Hull last night, and from what I was told by some of the men's leaders, is not a bit exaggerated, and the situation is extremely delicate. That being the case, might I ask the Home Secretary to explain one or two things'? Up till two days ago these men in Wormwood Scrubs were receiving rather good treatment on the whole. Why has it suddenly been changed? There is a man in the prison called Reagh. [Mr. LYNN: "A German name!"] He is an Irishman. The man is dying, and I do not think it is a matter for jest. Hon. Members may laugh, but we make allowances for the last remains of the anti-Papist bigots. However, this man's sister came over this morning to see her brother, and went to the Home Office, and the Home Office gave her a permit. She went to the prison and was refused permission to see her brother. She went back to the Home Office, and the Home Office officials, who have been very courteous and sympathetic, gave her a special letter. She went back again to the prison with it, and she was not admitted. Recently also the men's solicitor, who is acting for them, has been refused permission. Why is this? Is it that the Home Office is trying to follow out one policy and is being blocked by the Irish Office? I do not expect the right hon. Gentleman to admit that, but I would like an explanation, if possible, to dispose of that theory. I am not sure that the Home Office is not quite prepared to take a step forward 1352 if it not blocked by some influence, actual like the Irish Office, or occult, which is possibly now on the other side of the floor. I hope we shall get some plea for sanity from that quarter. The statement has been made in connection with this matter that they have a Committee they can appeal to, but I am informed that the Committee they go before is a secret departmental committee, and all that happens is that the men are cross-examined, and the procedure is not that described by the right hon. Member for Peebles (Sir D. Maclean), but is more the procedure of a French juge d'examination, the French system of interrogation of a person to get him committed, and that is why these men in many cases refuse to go before that committee. Am I right in what I am saying, or is there a real committee to which these men could appeal, and which would sympathetically and thoroughly consider their cases?
Some of these men in prison now, who may be dying at this moment, are lads of seventeen, and there are several of them under the age of twenty. Before hon. Members attempt to stiffen up the Government to commit the blind folly of allowing this thing to go on, I hope they will reflect on the youth of these young fellows. My hon. Friend, the Member for the Scotland Division (Mr. O'Connor), tells me there are a great many of them only 17 years of age. What is the world to think if lads of this age die on our hands? There is loyal opinion in the Colonies and in Australia and Canada which feels very bitterly about this matter, as the Home Secretary knows very well if he receives his own intelligence reports. I have always said what I am going to say now on platforms outside this House before audiences that might be described as largely composed of the left wing of the Labour movement of this country, audiences that contained many avowed and proud Sinn Feiners. I condemn as strongly as I possibly can the present system of murder that is going on in Ireland. I think the shooting down of these young policemen, mostly fellow Irishmen and Roman Catholics, is quite inexcusable, and, as I have said before, it makes the task of those who are trying their best to plead for justice for Ireland and incidentally for England, extremely difficult; but having said that, I want to point out to hon. Members that this 1353 policy, that is still being carried on by the Government, of arresting these men without charge or trial is doing no good whatever in Ireland. It is not restoring order, it is not stopping murders, and it is not stopping arson and terrorisation. It has failed utterly, and it is on the other hand rousing great masses of opinion in this country and in other countries in favour of the extreme movement in Ireland. It is possible to-day in Ireland for any shopkeeper who has a trade rival to get him put away, as the expression is, simply by going away and playing the part of a secret informer. It is possible to-day for any man who is jealous through some love affair to get anyone in Ireland who is not known as an out-and-out unionist incarcerated, and that being the case, from what I have heard I am satisfied that the majority of these men, if not all, are really excellent men who have simply been arrested on these sort of charges or because they are recognised leaders of the people. I beg the Government straight away to alter the whole policy and to give up this system of lettres de cachet, giving up this secrecy and no longer making ourselves appear uncivilised barbarians, as we do to-day, to many people who would otherwise be our friends.
There is some light on the Irish situation. I do not refer, of course, to the ridiculous measure that has been brought in by the Government, but I refer to a recent declaration in the United States of America that has not been noticed on this side, but which is a matter of profound significance. I refer to a statement of the hon. Member for Clare (Mr. De Valera) who styles himself, and is styled by many of his compatriots, "President of the Irish Republic." It is the statement that he recently made in the United States that the Irish people would be prepared to accept the same status towards this country that Cuba has towards the United States. That is a matter of tremendous importance, and I hope it has been noticed by hon. Members sitting on this side of the House, because the position of Cuba towards the United States is very analogous to the present relationship between Canada and this country. The United States has the right of supervision over foreign policy, and the right of entry in case of persecution of minorities in Cuba. I do not wish 1354 to enlarge on it, but it is a ray of light, and it is because of that I mention it in making an appeal to the Government not to spoil that small chance. An hon. Member opposite declares that this declaration has been repudiated. If so—although once made, it at any rate shows some signs of a better future—it is directly to be traced to the extraordinary stupidity and, as some of us think, the wicked attitude assumed by the Government with regard to this system of persecution and arrest of these men without trial, and I do beg of the Government now not to be afraid, but to alter this policy before tragedy happens, the effects of which may be very far-reaching indeed and very tragic to our country.
There will be general agreement in the statement I make, that every section of the House, whatever their particular views of the Irish question may be, all join in deploring the present state of affairs in Ireland. I have been in this House long enough to know and appreciate the changed atmosphere in discussions of the Irish question. There is to-day, at least, this gained, that there is common agreement that the present state of affairs cannot continue, the present form of government must cease, and some solution of the Irish problem must be found. I do not think anyone would quarrel with that general proposition, but, at the same time, we are faced this evening with a very serious situation, and it is that the Irish question is likely not only to affect and disturb, but probably to paralyse, the British Trade Union movement. I ask the House to note the statement of my hon. Friend the Member for St. Helens (Mr. Sexton). His union is the union affected. He has membership on both sides, and he himself declared to-night that, speaking as an official of the union, he not only deplored the circumstances, but he would do all he could to prevent it taking place. That was his attitude. In the same way I am directly opposed to direct action. I do not want to repeat my reasons and my views, because they are well known, and were stated quite, recently before the House. But I do ask the House not merely to deal with this situation in an abstract way. If the strike takes place and the Government then capitulate to the forces of the strike, that is the way to encourage direct action. Let us agree to face that fact. We are entitled to be 1355 heard in this House, not because we have more power or more influence, but because in many respects we have more responsibility. I know all too well how, when one gets up to state something that one knows is likely to happen, it is misunderstood, but the House do not appreciate the fact that the duty of a trade union leader is to act as a fire brigade. That is our position to-day. When we know there is likely to be a dispute that will affect other people, can we stand by without giving some words of advice? As a reference has been made to my own action in Ireland, I will deal with that. I had nothing whatever to do with the strike, was not consulted, and did not know it was likely to take place, when I found myself at Dublin on the day it took place. There was a complete and absolute stoppage. No one will dispute that.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Whitley)
The hon. Member (Mr. Lynn) must not interrupt without rising in his seat, and asking leave.
I repeat that the stoppage was complete. The feeling in the City of Dublin and in the south of Ireland, whatever may be said to the contrary, was such that I am absolutely certain, if any of those prisoners had died, nothing would have prevented bloodshed of a serious kind happening. It may be argued that it would have been better to have happened. Hon. Members may say, "Let it happen." I am only stating the fact that it would have happened, and I believe it would have had very serious consequences for the reason that it would not have stopped there. If bloodshed had taken place, if there had been an outburst, I am absolutely certain in the pre- 1356 sent state of this country the consequences would have been serious. The unrest in this country is far more marked than many hon. Members think. Do not make any mistake about it. In spite of all our efforts, in spite of all our advice, and in spite of the fact that the Unions' Executive are trying to deal with the situation, there is a spirit of unrest and dissatisfaction of a very serious kind existing in this country to-day. It is because I believe that it only requires a spark to start the flame, that I want to see the Government do the right thing. I have already said that I do not agree with direct action. I have said I deplore murder. I did not limit my condemnation of it to this House. I told the people in Ireland and in the South what were my views. I do not think there can be any excuse for it. I do not think for a moment that anyone can attempt to justify it. I know all too well that it makes it a real difficulty, for those who want to find a solution, when these horrible things take place from day to day. I fully recognise that, but to-night we are faced with this situation, that so far as the Irish trade unionists resident in England are concerned, they threaten to stop work to-morrow on this ground. They do not condone crime. They do not attempt to defend murder. What they say is: " We cannot stand by arid allow people to be arrested and punished without a charge being made against them or without trial." That is their case. Whether it is a good or bad one I do not for the moment want to argue. But I put it to the Home Secretary that they believe it. They know it takes place. Can you not clearly understand that they believe that the Government themselves are responsible for all the trouble in Ireland. I do hope that we will face the position in that spirit.
Supposing to-night the Home Secretary does not give way. Supposing a strike takes place. You will then have repeated again the same mistake, that it is only when force is used that the Government will give way. That is the exact situation. We are now speaking in advance of that, and before this strike really occurs; and I do submit that there is only one course open to the Home Secretary. It is to at least announce some change of policy in Ireland. Everyone admits that the present system has tailed; that all the coercion and repression 1357 that has been introduced and all the military instead of preventing crime as a matter of fact has aggravated it, and the thing is going from bad to worse every day. It cannot be argued that the present system can be justified. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to try a new system. I would ask him to give a better start, and start with the confidence of the Irish people. I believe a profound mistake is made in the Viceroy of England being made merely a party politician. I believe that we—
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
The hon. Member has perhaps not seen the terms of the notice of Motion. It does not deal with the matter of Irish government. It is confined on the one hand to Wormwood Scrubs, and on the other hand to Liverpool.
I agree, certainly, Mr. Whitley, and I accept your ruling, only I am trying to deal both with the cases of Ireland and of Wormwood Scrubs. I would conclude by saying that, in my judgment, the Home Secretary and the Government should devise some means whereby they can prevent this system of arrest on suspicion. Cases were brought to my notice. The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that there are people who will deliberately go and give evidence to the military and the police to get people arrested simply because they have a grievance against them. That is common knowledge. On the other hand, I know all too well the shocking position that prevents people coming forward and giving evidence even in murder cases. That is a deplorable state of affairs. I believe, however, that crime begets crime. I believe that the military system now in operation in Ireland is a complete failure. I believe there will be no solution to the difficulty until we try another policy, and that is to trust the people. I believe there can be a better atmosphere created. I believe, in spite of the dark period, we can do something to save the situation now. I am delighted that, in spite of the seriousness of this Debate, no feeling of bitterness has entered into it. I hope it will continue in that spirit, and that some announcement will be made by the Home Secretary that will ease the whole difficulty.
§ Mr. BENNETT
I am under the disadvantage of having heard only a part of 1358 the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Peebles, but I think I understand the general outline of his scheme. That is, that some extra judicial arrangement shall be made by which charges against persons arrested on suspicion shall be inquired into. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman was much in contrast to a great many of the speeches that we have heard from the other side. I wish to speak with the utmost respect of them. But it seems to me they have been delivered in utter blindness of the atmosphere of which criminal trials are carried out in Ireland to-day. I am sure that hon. Members on the other side know that it is a difficult, an impossible thing, in these days to carry-out thoroughly any prosecution for murder which has either an agrarian or political aspect. The right hon. Gentleman recognised that fact in contradistinction to other hon. Members of the House. I think that in that he has done great service. I only want to make one suggestion and that is that the Government, in considering the suggestions made by the right hon. Gentleman, will step over, so to speak, to the India Office, and make some inquiry into the procedure which was adopted in Bengal a short time ago in order to revise the cases of a number of internees. A small Commission was appointed consisting of two High Court-Judges. One was a native Indian and a very eminent man. The Commission went through the dossiers in a large number of cases. They found that, except in a very small minority of cases, there was justification for the action which the Government have taken. I will not in the least degree anticipate the result of procedure of that kind in Ireland or London. It seems to me, however, to point a way in which a certain measure of relief can be given to public feeling in this matter. The Government owe it to themselves that they should look into the suggestion made by the right hon. Gentleman, because we do not know what may be their justification in any of the cases. There may be, there probably are, a large number of cases in which the Government have been justified in the interests of public peace and safety in ordering the detention of these men As it is now, it is purely a matter of administrative discretion. They might associate with their procedure a quasi-judicial tribunal—whether it be a committee as 1359 suggested by the right hon. Gentleman, or whether it should be constituted from the High Court is a matter for the Government to consider. Speaking from these Benches, I feel it a matter of duty to support the right hon. Gentleman in the hope that something may be done, not only to do justice to those who may be interned without due warrant, but in justice to themselves, so that the Government may be able to give the public some assurance that they are acting under dire necessity.
I think we have come to a pretty pass when the trade unions of this country use their power to threaten the Government in the conduct of the affairs of this country. I have listened with the greatest interest and respect to the speech of the hon. Member for St. Helens (Mr. Sexton)—the serious speech which he made to this House—and I do not think anyone will doubt his sincerity. I wish I could say as much in regard to the speech of the hon. Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy). Although I am a bitter opponent of the system of arrest and imprisonment without trial which the Government are pursuing to-day, I refuse to believe that men are put into prison on the grounds which have been suggested.
I believe the Government are doing what they consider best in the interests of Ireland and this country, although I think they are making a great mistake. They are losing the support of British public opinion, and what is happening in Liverpool to-day is only a legacy of the weakness and indecision which has characterised their conduct in Ireland since the Easter Rebellion. [HON. MEMBERS: "The Ulster Rebellion!"] The Ulster Rebellion was a great mistake, but the Easter Rebellion, treated as it was by the Government of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith), was a crime. I heard the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Peebles (Sir D. Maclean) say that 20 years of resolute government did nothing for Ireland, but, in my opinion, it did a great deal, and it was broken down by the weakness and indecision of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Paisley.
We are face to face at this moment with a very serious situation. Liverpool is 1360 threatened, and in London, at Wormwood Scrubs, we are having scenes so serious and, I believe, so sincere that the Government must take notice of them. In my view, the Government are always to be deflected from their purpose if the attitude of their opponents is only persistent and continuous enough. In my opinion, the right hon. Gentleman who is going to reply to this Debate will do a great service to the public feeling of this country if he will tell us exactly how these men are being treated in Wormwood Scrubs. We who believe in British justice feel that these men are not being fairly treated. No charge has been made against them; they have not been brought to trial, and do not know what these suspicions are upon which they have been arrested and imprisoned, and we are in entire ignorance as to the circumstances of their imprisonment.
The other night the Lord Privy Seal told us that they were under ameliorative treatment, and he said that they have always been under that treatment in the London prison, but they did not get it in Mountjoy until we had those terrible scenes. He also said that he would never give way and that they should die first, and 24 hours later the right hon. Gentleman had to admit that he was wrong and he had to give in. Let the Government tell the country frankly and fairly what attitude they are taking up in all these unfortunate cases. I have no sympathy with them of course, but if there is anything against them, let them be brought before a tribunal, as was suggested by the right hon. Member for Peebles, and let the public know the result of those inquiries. At the present moment the public opinion of this country and the opinion of men who like myself have been Unionists all their lives are turning from the Government and leaning, not toward Sinn Fein, but towards the men who are suffering what we regard as an unjust imprisonment at this moment. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to tell us frankly what position the Government are taking up, and if it is a position which they are likely to maintain. If we have a strike in Liverpool to-morrow and scenes of violence outside Wormwood Scrubs, we know perfectly well that rather than let one of these men die the Government will give in. That is the negation of government. We want the Government to have a policy, 1361 announce it to the country, and stick to it. Let the Home Secretary tell us the position of the Government and state how these men are being treated. Are they detained under D.O.R.A.; are they simply interned, or are they being treated as convicted felons?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Shortt)
I quite agree with what has been said by my right hon. Friend, that the hone of this Debate has left nothing at all to be desired. The subject is more than serious and grave, for it is a very painful one, and it has been approached with a due sense of all that those words mean. We have all, of course, an instinctive dislike of taking away a man's liberty unless he has had a fair trial by his peers, and has been convicted by them, but we must all appreciate that there are circumstances which are so strong and so coercive that steps must be taken, which are extremely distasteful, for the protection of the ordinary members of the community. We have had a picture of the serious effect of that as well as the serious unrest that will be caused if these men continue to be kept in prison, and if men are arrested and sent to prison without trial.
There is, however, another side to that question. We have had a very eloquent and lurid picture of a raid related by Mr. Erskine-Childers in regard to a scene at which he could not have been present, and it must have been written on hearsay. May I remind the House that those statements are flatly denied by the people concerned? Therefore, when making a statement on the authority of a person who writes from hearsay, it is only fair to remind the House that the other side deny the accuracy of it. We have not heard to-night any picture drawn of a policeman, honourably doing his duty, found with hands tied behind his back, with bandages over his eyes, and shot dead with many bullets. These pictures, which can be told in far greater numbers than pictures of raids such as that related by the hon. and gallant Member, are left out of the story. We must consider them. We are bound to do so; we are bound to support those who are loyally doing their duty in Ireland in an endeavour to maintain law and order. There is another side of the question also. It does not take 1362 many organised desperate men to terrorise a district. The average human beings who live in rural districts and in towns in Ireland are not organised. They do not organise themselves as citizen guards to protect themselves against desperadoes, and consequently as a very few desperate men have unfortunately got control of the Irish movement, and are in fact the top dogs of the movement, a very few of them can terrorise a whole neighbourhood. What is the result? The very state of things brought about by these few men themselves makes it absolutely impossible to bring anyone to trial, because it renders it absolutely impossible for anyone, except under sentence of death, to come forward and give evidence.
Are we to do nothing? Are we to allow these terrorist desperadoes who have got the whole country under their thumb, are we to allow them to constitute for their fellow desperadoes a charter of freedom of their own? Of course we cannot do anything of the sort. We are bound to face the facts as we find them. We are bound, therefore, in dealing with these men to realise two things. We have to do all we can to help peaceable members of society in Ireland. We must do all we can to uphold and protect those who are trying to do their duty. That is the position. What are we doing? May I at once say I am very grateful to my right hon. Friend for the suggestion he has thrown out? I appreciate, for I have had experience of it, the value of the work done by the committee to which he has referred, and I shall certainly propose what he suggests to my colleagues, and it will be considered. Whether it is possible or not I am not in a position now to say, but certainly I will bring it before my colleagues, and it will be considered. What is the procedure? Really, I do not think the House will ask me to waste its time by entering into many details. Of course, there is no question of acting on the mischievous and malicious statements of rival tradesmen or rival lovers.
Every attempt is made, as far as it is possible, to sift all information. The police have their dossiers. These are carefully scanned by those responsible for the deportations, and every endeavour is made to ensure that before deportation takes place the grounds for suspicion are sufficient to justify that action. It 1363 is impossible, of course, to say you have evidence which will ensure conviction. You cannot have that always. You cannot have it, because you cannot get people to come forward. But at any rate you must have sufficient to justify action of that description in circumstances of peril and danger to the State. That is what the endeavour is. There was a time, of course, when I was myself responsible, and in those days I myself personally examined every case, in order to satisfy myself that there was a good primâ facie case against the person. It might, in case of trial, have been disproved, but that is true of every primâ facie case. There might have been an answer which I had not had an opportunity of seeing, but, so far as my information went, and using every means in my power to obtain information, I was invariably satisfied that there was a primâ facie case against the individual. That, I am assured, still goes on. I hope the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) does not convey to the public meetings, which he tells us he addresses, the same mistaken information as to the facts that he has put forward in this House tonight. There is no question of any Departmental Committee. If the hon. and gallant Gentleman had read the Regulation he would have seen that he was wrong. The Regulation itself provides that, where a man is deported under it, he should have a right to go before an Advisory Committee, and that Advisory Committee is to consist of independent persons, with, as its chairman, a gentleman of judicial training, who either holds' or has held high judicial office. The position to-day is that any one of these men who chooses to do so is entitled to say, "I am here on suspicion. I say there is no ground for suspicion against me, and I claim to be heard by an Advisory Committee, with a Judge of the High Court at its head." That is what they are entitled to do. It is perfectly true that they have never done it, but have always refused to acknowledge anything connected with this country or this country's decrees, but that is the right they possess to-day.
§ Mr. SHORTT
Perhaps I am wrong in supposing my hon. and gallant Friend ought to have known it, but the Advisory Committee settle their own procedure always. There is no provision which binds them in any way. They can settle their own procedure in any way, and are entitled to do so. I have been asked about the treatment these men are receiving at Wormwood Scrubs—
§ Lord R. CECIL
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman, as I am very anxious that he shall not be misunderstood, who is responsible for the deportation? Is it the Lord Lieutenant, the Chief Secretary, or some judicial authority?
§ Mr. SHORTT
It was originally the Chief Secretary alone, but now it can be either the Lord Lieutenant or the Chief Secretary, whichever of them is in Ireland at the time. They are responsible, but of course they have always at their hand, or at any rate it was so in my time, people like the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, or Judges, who could be consulted upon the point. That was frequently done in my time, and I have no doubt it is now.
§ Captain REDMOND
Has the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces in Ireland anything to say in the matter?
§ Mr. SHORTT
I am not in a position to say he has never been asked in any particular case, but certainly no more than your people know anything about. With regard to the treatment they receive here, they have never been treated as if they were convicted prisoners, nor as people awaiting trial. The system of treatment was carefully settled a considerable time ago, by arrangement, and it has been consistently carried out, certainly in this country. I cannot speak for Ireland, but we are dealing now with Wormwood Scrubs. These men are not striking against their treatment at all. The hunger strike has nothing to do with treatment. It is not a hunger strike against treatment. The hunger strike is for immediate release or to be brought to trial. I have already shown that to talk of bringing these men to trial in the state of things in Ireland is to condemn the witnesses to death. If these men choose to injure themselves, the food is there if they choose to take it.
§ Mr. MacVEAGH
Is it not a fact that the Courts are sitting every day in Ireland, judges are still going to Assize, magistrates are convicting men day after day, and courts martial have sentenced hundreds of men to imprisonment? Why, therefore, are any men detained without charge and without trial?
§ Mr. SHORTT
No one knows better than the hon. Member that you can get a conviction where the police catch a man with a lot of bombs in his possession, and no outside witnesses or evidence is required. You can get lots of cases like that. Those cases are not deported. They are tried. If we could get any of these men in the same position, with no witness required by what was found on the man himself by the police, they would have been tried long ago.
§ Mr. MacVEAGH
Is it not a fact that where there is evidence you bring them before a court-martial, and where there is no evidence you intern them in Wormwood Scrubs?
§ Mr. SHORTT
They have got exactly the treatment they were promised. They are not striking in any way with regard to their treatment. I cannot, of course, answer the questions about visitors and the particular lady who was mentioned, but all the prisoners are entitled to a certain number of visitors to see them. A room is set apart for them. Although they were described in this House as in a state of collapse and dying and so on, they have been strong enough to wreck a portion of the prison.
§ Mr. SHORTT
They have wrecked the room in which they used to receive visitors, but arrangements have been made with all speed, and I have been on the telephone with the Governor to see that it is done, to enable them to see their visitors again. They are shown, and I am satisfied rightly shown, all consideration that is possible, subject to this, that they must, at any cost, be prevented from going back and continuing their evil courses in Ireland. Subject to that any consideration that it is possible 1366 to show them is shown them every day. I do not know whether I have replied to the whole of the questions which have been asked. The Debate, as I understood it, was to raise the question of the position of affairs in Liverpool. I do not complain, but as a matter of fact the Debate has really ranged all around the conditions in Ireland, and has left Liver-pool pretty severely alone. It is quite wrong and really unfair to suggest that this movement in Liverpool is a trade union movement. It is a purely local Irish movement. It is engineered by a few of the local Sinn Fein leaders, and if we gave way to that movement we should simply be saying we care more for the work at the docks at Liverpool than we care for the lives of peaceful law-abiding subjects in Ireland. We cannot do that. The Government certainly will not yield to any sort of threat from Liverpool or any kind of declaration. What has taken place at Wormwood Scrubs, so far as the police and the people in the prison are concerned, has been very much exaggerated in the Press. There has been, practically speaking, no disorder. Last night a number of young fellows, young London men, hearing people extol those whom they believe to be murderers, and hearing people denouncing this country and the Army, naturally showed their resentment, but it, did not amount to very much disturbance and, so far as I am led to understand, the Sinn Fein processionists got the worst of it. The prisoners inside were kept down on a lower stage where they could not see out of the windows, and could not make-any signals to their friends. I have no-doubt that when the rather stupid singing of the "Soldiers' Song" and "God Save Ireland" has to be sung to the bare walls of the prison, people will cease to go there.
I do not want to lead the House to suppose that either I personally or the Government minimise the gravity of the position. The Government appreciate as-well as anybody how distasteful it is to put men in prison without trial, and nothing but the sternest necessity would cause any Member of the Government to do such a thing. But necessity is a very stern taskmaster, and one is very often driven to do things which are extremely distasteful. The most that I can say is that we have done our best to keep any promises we have made to these prisoners 1367 as to the conditions under which they are kept in prison. The one object that we have is to prevent them returning to Ireland, and to prevent them perpetrating that mischief which we have reason to suppose they would perpetrate if they were allowed to return. Subject to that, we will do our best to treat them with all reason and with all consideration, and, of course, we will do our best to look after their health so far as we are able to do it. While thanking my right hon. Friend for his suggestion, which I will bring before my colleagues, and I have no doubt they will consider it, I cannot hold out to-night any hope that the Government will refuse to take any step so long as they think that that step will conduce to the discovery of those who are perpetrating the atrocious murders in Ireland. We must attempt to discover the perpetrators of these murders, but so long as terrorism exists, so long as no man dare come forward and say that which he knows, so long as people can walk about in Ireland, well aware who perpetrated the crimes, and only too anxious to have these crimes stopped, but unable owing to the terrorism to come forward and give their evidence, and so long as we are unable to use with effect the ordinary processes of law, then we must take these extreme steps, and the terrorists themselves are the sole people who are to blame for that stern necessity.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I should have been glad not to have intervened in this discussion, but I cannot allow the speech of the right hon. Gentleman to pass without some reply. I am sick to death listening to the speeches of right hon. Gentlemen on the situation in Ireland. They talk about crime. They have not arrested a criminal yet. They have only arrested people who are not criminals. I listened with very great interest to the speech of the Noble Lord (Lord R. Cecil) the other day. He said:Since the 1st January, 1919, crime has steadily increased. If the figures had been shown month by month it would be more clear that serious crime had increased very rapidly, and still more rapidly from the date of the announcement by the Prime Minister of the Home Rule Bill.I do not go so far as the Noble Lord and say that the introduction of the Home Rule Bill has been responsible for the increase of crime, though I do confess that it is enough to make people in Ireland 1368 very angry. But what is really the deduction I draw, which I have no doubt he draws, and which every intelligent Member of this House must draw when we are told that crime and outrages in Ireland have been on the increase in Ireland to an abnormal degree during the last 12 months. It is that they have grown concurrently with the policy of the administration in Ireland. Where I join issue with them is that they say that the repression is to put down crime, and I say that the repression has created crime.
I have followed this horrible situation through all its phases during the last two years. Every Irishman who loves his country, who desires freedom and the order that should spring from freedom, must feel the tragedy of the whole situation. Certainly we do. Every decent-minded Irishman does. Every Irishman deplores it, but, do not stand there at that table or sit on those benches with white robes of innocence around you. You should rather, if you went back on your record, stand there in penitential sheets—if I were to quote some of the speeches which you gentlemen made in the earlier periods of your career. Murder was not as unpopular-then as it is now. Incitements to murder, even in this House, roused the ringing cheers of some of the indignant gentlemen who are sitting on that bench to-night, listening with tearful souls to these stories of incitement to murder in Ireland. But I do not propose to go into that. What I say is this—and I challenge any Member of the House to contradict me—at the time when your Government became most resolute there were no murders in Ireland at all. Will the right hon. Gentleman deny that? Is there anybody representing the Irish Office here? Where is Lord French? Where is the Chief Secretary? There is the Attorney-General, the spokesman of law and the advocate of order. Will he contradict the statement, which I now deliberately make, that murder, agrarian and political outrage were practically unknown 18 months or two years ago, and our country was absolutely free from assassination and outrage, because you would be satisfied now, I believe, with any form of articulate political discontent if it were free from these outrages?
There was no outrage in the country at all until you set up at the end of the War against militarism in Europe a 1369 military machine in Ireland. Some of the men at the head of the military machine were out in France. They came home, and having failed in making war against militarism on the fields of Flanders and France, they came home to have what Lord Halsbury would have called "some sort of war line." And they are going to be just as successful and triumphant in their war in Ireland as they were in their War in France. So the little war commenced. Peaceful villages were invaded; law-abiding people's homes were searched in the dead of night; women were driven from their beds at midnight; children were taken to prison without any charge being made against them; football matches were proclaimed; Gaelic songs were treason; sports were anathema; and there was neither order nor freedom in any shape or form allowed in the country. And then you expected a people of high spirit to sit silently down and bear all this! Next you proceeded to round-up everyone whom you suspected or someone else suspected of something suspicious, and dragged them either to some prison in Belfast or here in England; and, again, you thought that these high-spirited people would remain silent. Having broken up the constitutional movement in Ireland, having driven 70 of my colleagues out of this House because we stood by you in your hour of Imperial emergency—[HON. MEMBERS: "No" and "Yes"]—I say yes. That is why I hate this Government more than the Sinn Feiners hate it. It is because of the sense of wrong, the sense of great service rendered so ill-requited. That is what makes this remnant, the miserable remnant of us left here—
§ Mr. DEVLIN
No, we are not miserable, but that is what we were called last night. At all events, I will not discuss that aspect of the matter. Seventy of us were driven from this House, our influence gone, constitutional opinion suppressed. What did you get as a result? Seventy Sinn Feiners elected in our stead. Most of those men, I believe, would have exercised a beneficent influence in preventing these outrages. You drove us out of Parliament because we helped you, and you drove them into gaol because they opposed you. I never 1370 can be patient when I think—not the disposition, but of the ineptitude and impossibility of getting men who are made responsible for the government of Ireland to understand anything of that country—their ignorance, their lack of vision and imagination, their failure to grasp even the most fundamental political-issue, their incapacity to understand the nature of the Irish people, to grapple with a single Irish problem. If Englishmen sent over to Ireland and those who sit on the Government benches, whether in one-Government or in another, were selected for the very reason that they were bound to mishandle the situation, they could not be more triumphantly successful. So when we sit here, and listen to the speeches of right hon. Gentlemen about the horrible conditions which exist in Ireland, I say that every evil which has fallen on the country and every discredit belongs to your Government and adminitration of the country; every scar that blots the fair fame of your Empire, you put it there—you are responsible for everything that has occurred in Ireland. You are responsible for the murders of policemen in Ireland—absolutely responsible, and I charge you with it.
I come to the question of what is to be done with these prisoners. I have no hesitation in saying what ought to be done—they ought to be released. They are either guilty or not guilty of some offence. They themselves do not know the offence with which they are charged, or for which they are in prison. They may be innocent or they may be guilty, but because by some tortuous process you may find one out of every twenty you suspect of doing something, or who may do something, you keep all the rest in gaol. Is that British justice; is that your conception of the spirit that ought to make the British name honoured throughout the world? These men are political opponents of mine. I have no doubt, if they ceased their activities in opposition to you, they would be all the better equipped to manifest their active opposition to us; but I am for justice to Ireland as well as for justice to England. If men are ill-treated, and are put in gaol without a charge against them, then I say that is a disgrace to the English name, and no decent Englishman ought to stand it. Therefore I say these men ought to be liberated. I want to go further. I 1371 do not believe you could justify any charge against ninety-five per cent. of these men. As an hon. Friend reminds me, the right hon. Gentleman has talked a great deal about the Advisory Committee which was -appointed after the rebellion, and said that not one of those men who were rounded up after the rebellion would have been arrested but that there was prima facie evidence that he was guilty of some offence. If there was that prima facie evidence, the Advisory Committee would have sent them back to prison, but instead of that they released nearly three-fourths of them. Therefore, there was no prima facie evidence against them. The Home Secretary need not laugh. The Advisory Committee was made up of Judges, and he need not laugh at Judges; he may be a Judge himself some day. If I in Ireland laughed at a Judge, I should get six months. The right hon. Gentleman, a potential Judge, engages in mild hilarity with the Leader of his party. It only shows you the difference in the point of view on all these questions between Englishmen and Irishmen.
The crime these men have committed is that they are Republicans. I do not think I am a Republican myself. I have a very curious view on all these questions. I believe that republics are splendid things in some countries, and bad things in other countries. I am a "believer in the might and strength and glory of the Republic of America I have the utmost reverence and affection for the great Republic of France. But I know of other republics which are not very desirable. I have a great respect for countries governed by monarchies. There are countries in Europe as well governed under the monarchial system as republics, and there are countries like England that are not well governed—not well governed so far as Ireland is concerned; but I am too much of a Home Ruler to interfere in your internal affairs. Therefore I do not think it ought to be a crime to preach Republicanism. It is not a crime in England. If I were an Englishman I would be perfectly satisfied with the Monarchy in this country, but yet I can go into Hyde Park any Sunday and hear Republicanism advocated. When I am tired of listening to speeches here, and when I want to hear a good oration, I go to Hyde Park, not that the speeches are intellectually very 1372 fine, but they spring from sincere and generous hearts, and that is a form of oratory I am not accustomed to here. Therefore I go to Hyde Park, and there I can hear powerful phillippies delivered against monarchy. Nobody interferes with them. They are left alone. They are not sent to Wormwood Scrubs. Lord French is not summoned over from Ireland with armoured cars. John Hodge's house is not searched, and his wife is not dragged out of bed at midnight. You do not the following day say that because John Hodge made a Republican speech in Hyde Park, you must not allow sports in the neighbourhood in which he lives. Nothing of that sort occurs. But because these men in Ireland are Republicans and preach Republicanism, winch they have a perfect right to do, or at all events, as good a right as orators in Hyde Park, you subject a whole nation to this form of outrageous military tyranny. If I were a strong man like the Leader of the House, or like the series of strong men who sit beside him, I would say, "Very well, let us go on with it. We will persist in it, and carry it through."
Instead of this thing succeeding in the purpose and end which you have in view, it has precisely the opposite effect. You intensify national feeling, you create antagonism, you foster a more bitter hatred among the people, and you have practically made everyone in Ireland a Sinn Feiner. I am not so sure that it is not a great mistake to think that everyone who supports Sinn Fein is in favour of an Irish Republic. The real fact is that Sinn Fein is largely made up of a series of elements in the national life of the country or, shall I say, of discontents. There is no room in Ireland for a moderate man. That is why the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Duncairn Division (Sir E. Carson) refuses even now to be moderate. I am unsuccessful as a politician, because I can never organise a rebellion. Let any moderate man come here, and he might as well beat the air as give advice as to the right thing to do. No matter what he knows about the country, nobody believes him. You have either to hit John Bull on the head to make him understand, or you have to hold a rifle at the head of a Cabinet Minister to make him appreciate the situation. On top of it all we are offered, as a final solution of the Irish problem, what some merry humorist in 1373 this House has called a Home Rule Bill. If I am asked what blessings the prospect of this magnificent measure has brought to Ireland, I will quote the speech of the Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin (Lord R. Cecil), who says that assassinations have increased since the Bill was introduced. Out of Bedlam was there ever any situation like this, in which, in order to meet a position of grave national importance, they introduce a Bill to solve the Irish difficulty, to end Irish discontent, to satisfy the passion of humanity and of democracy all the world over, a Bill which the Home Secretary declared at a meeting of his constituents would rouse the ire and indignation of every man, woman, and child in Ireland? You do not need a Coalition Liberal to ooze wisdom of that sort. To satisfy the national aspirations of a people, to create contentment where there was discontent, loyalty where there was disloyalty, order where there was disorder, goodwill and friendly feeling and brotherhood throughout the wide world, you introduce a Bill which the declared spokesman of the Government states is a Bill that will cause the indignation of every man, woman, and child in Ireland.
If the Government are the Government I take them to be, I think the best thing to do is for them to get out of the country altogether. There would be as much order in Ireland if the Government was not there as there is now when they are. [HON. MEMBERS: More.] Yes, but I am an Irishman, and I do not exaggerate. There is no co-ordination in your Dublin Castle Department, there is no unity of view between your administrators. I had a great many altercations with the Home Secretary, when he was Chief Secretary, which I have sometimes regretted since, because I do not think he is half so cruel as he attempts to appear to be, and I took him at his face value. Every Englishman who goes to Ireland always comes to the House on his first appearance as Chief Secretary, and tries to look as near like Cromwell as possible. Naturally, the right hon. Gentleman does not look like Cromwell. I never saw our deceased and departed friend, but I thought, after I had heard one or two of the right hon. Gentlemen's speeches, that he was really a tyrant. He was nothing of the sort; he was a good man 1374 struggling with Lord French. When he went to the Home Office, Lord French stayed in Ireland, and the Leader of the House says Ireland was never in as bad a position for 700 years. I was waiting for all the English Tories to shout "Hip, hip, hooray!" Really, the position, if it were not so tragic, would be absolutely grotesque. The end of it is now that, having created discontent in Ireland, arrested countless men, imprisoned children, searched homes, brought armoured cars and large processions of military into every peaceful village in the country, having created hatred against you, the end of it is that the hatreds are being transferred from Ireland over here. Your whole trade is to be dislocated, a bad spirit is to be brought into the trade union movement, the forces of constitutionalism in the Labour movement are to be up against an attempt at direct action, not upon their own concerns, but upon the concerns of Ireland; and you have disturbed the Republic of America by bringing the poison of your Irish policy into the electoral conflicts that are taking place there. [Laughter.] I do not see what there is to laugh at. If it is not true, your English newspaper correspondents in Washington are all liars, and no English newspaper correspondent in America is a liar. You have a similar condition of things in Australia and in Canada, and Englishmen had better realise and recognise what the real Irish question is. It is bigger than Ireland. It is bigger than England. It is bigger than these islands. It permeates and creeps into every branch of public utility in every land where the English language is spoken.
Therefore my advice to the right hon. Gentleman would be this. Release these Sinn Fein prisoners. Let them out, not only in Ireland, but in England. Let that be a commencement. The minute you stop these oppressive measures, assassination, in my opinion, will cease. You have driven discontent beneath the surface. When Mr. Parnell was put in gaol by Mr. Gladstone, in 1882, he was spending half his time in trying to save a crushed and almost dying peasantry from cruel wrongs—what the Lord President of the Council declared to be the most iniquitous land system in the world. When Mr. Parnell was trying to destroy that system and trying, as we have been, to 1375 keep the agitation on constitutional lines, he was thrown into gaol. He said, "You put me in prison, but Captain Boycott will get busy when I am there." If public opinion is wrong, the people are not fools. They will recognise it. If it is right, it ought to be an enduring force. The result of the oppression of opinion is a continuance of these deplorable incidents, of which everyone is ashamed. Murder and assassination will go on. There is no use in blinking the fact that it will go on. If you continue your raids, the people will become more bitter. Every method you have tried will fail. Will it be denied now that it has failed? Will it be denied from those benches? The Leader of the House the other night said—I wish he had realised it two years ago—no army, no regiment and no series of regiments can repress a people or solve the Irish question. If armies cannot settle it, do you think a few armoured cars, or aeroplanes, or tanks, or any of those machines which you have used in trying to repress it in the past, can settle it? Get back, I say, to the recognition of the right of popular opinion to be expressed. The largest freedom and good institutions are safer where public opinion is most freely and articulately expressed. Get back to that again, and when you have got back to that, when normality comes to the nation and has come to you—which is equally important —then settle down to think out the solution of this Irish problem, not upon lines conceived by political expediency or Parliamentary dodges, balancing and trying to satisfy conflicting elements, but by some great and bold and generous measure of freedom that will not only satisfy the aspirations of the Irish people themselves, but will touch the imagination of the whole English-speaking world that is looking with longing eyes to the close of this age-long and tragic story of the relationship between these countries.
§ Mr. BILLING
Let me endeavour before the Debate is over to bring back the mind of the Home Secretary to the Motion. That was whether or not it was advisable, or expedient, to release these prisoners. My knowledge of the Irish situation is neither greater nor less than that of the majority of hon. Members—gathered as to one half from what we read in the newspapers, and the other half from the two very extreme points of 1376 view that we have listened to in this House. Of one thing there is no possible doubt—what the Government themselves intend to do. I do not wish to say that the Leader of the House misled us in any way the other night when he said the Government stand or fall by the retention of certain prisoners. To-night the Home Secretary has told the House that the Government intend to stand or fall by the retention of these men in Wormwood Scrubs. If I might offer a little advice to the Government, it is this. Do not make these statements unless you intend to stand by them; otherwise you create the very crisis from which you think your friends are going to save you. The Irish opinion is this: that provided they kick up sufficient disturbance they will get what they want, and the prisoners will be released. There are points of view to be considered apart from that of the Irish question. The Irish situation has been, as the Motion proves, gradually brought into the industrial problems of our country, to add to their confusion. It is understood that unless these prisoners are released the dockers at Liverpool and other ports, who are also members of trade organisations, will cease work. Most probably there will be strikes in consequence, and there will also be a continuance of hunger-striking. In respect of this latter, does the Government intend to allow these men to die in Wormwood Scrubs? If they do, that is their policy. If they do not intend to allow them to die, I wish the Government would here and now take this opportunity of reconsidering their decision. It is, indeed, a paradox that there is sitting on the Treasury Bench now one of the members of the Liberal party who has been served by the Irish party for ten years faithfully and well, and they have gone blindly into the lobbies in support of the Government, which was leading them blindfold to destruction, without giving this country or any other the least consideration. The Liberal party was going to liberate Ireland at all costs. It was the Irish party that led us blindfolded into the War from which we have victoriously emerged. We all hold strong opinions about that. We all know what created the Ulster and other incidents when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith) was responsible. We know that it was the right hon. 1377 Gentleman's weakness on one occasion in connection with the importation of arms into Ulster that is mainly responsible for the whole position in Ireland to-day. I appeal to the Government not to continue a policy of expediency in Ireland. The Irish people have been tricked by every political manœuvre which this House can put into operation, and they have given up any hope of attaining their end by political methods, because it is essential that there should be mutual trust, whether in honour or dishonour.
The Irish people have been exploited for ten years, and they feel that it is no use trusting the House of Commons to give them what they want by constitutional means. Now it is a question whether the Government intend to continue to rule Ireland by expediency, by
§ means of threats, to be given way to at the last moment. There are supporters of the Government and others who fear that the weak administration of the Government is responsible for our main trouble there, just as our industrial troubles are due to the weakness of the Government, which always succumbs to pressure. Does the Government intend to hold to their policy if we have a general strike or if these hunger strikers die in prison, or does the Government intend to capitulate? If so, let them do it now, instead of doing it in a week's time in disgrace.
§ Question put, "That this House do now adjourn."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 52; Noes, 147.1379
|Division No. 96.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. F. D.||Harbison, Thomas James S.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.)||Hirst, G. H.||Rose, Frank H.|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Irving, Dan||Sexton, James|
|Billing, Noel Pemberton-||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Jones, William Kennedy (Hornsey)||Spencer, George A.|
|Bromfield, William||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Swan, J. E.|
|Cape, Thomas||Kenyon, Barnet||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)|
|Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield)||Lawson, John J.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Casey, T. W.||Lunn, William||Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, I nee)|
|Davies, A. (Lancaster, Clitheroe)||Lyle-Samuel, Alexander||Waterson, A. E.|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Mills, John Edmund||Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Morgan, Major D. Watts||Wilson, W. Tyson (Westhoughton)|
|Entwistle, Major C. F.||Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness and Ross)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Finney, Samuel||Myers, Thomas|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Newbould, Alfred Ernest||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Gould, James C.||O'Grady, Captain James||Mr. T. P. O'Connor and Mr. T. Griffiths.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Hallas, Eldred||Redmond, Captain William Archer|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Hanna, George Boyle|
|Allen, Lieut.-Colonel William James||Davies, Sir David Sanders (Denbigh)||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)|
|Astor, Viscountess||Davies, Sir William H. (Bristol, S.)||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)|
|Atkey, A. R.||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Dawes, James Arthur||Hinds, John|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Dixon, Captain Herbert||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard|
|Barlow, Sir Montague||Doyle, N. Grattan||Hope, James F. (Sheffield, Central)|
|Barnett, Major R. W.||Edge, Captain William||Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. A. (Midlothian)|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Hope, J. D. (Berwick & Haddington)|
|Barrie, Charles Coupar||Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Jameson, J. Gordon|
|Barrie, Hugh Thorn (Lon'derry, N.)||Eyres-Monsell, Commander B. M.||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Falcon, Captain Michael||Jodreil, Neville Paul|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Fildes, Henry||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Borwick, Major G. O.||Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Kidd, James|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Law, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.)|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)|
|Britton, G. B.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Lewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)|
|Bruton, Sir James||Gange, E. Stanley||Lindsay, William Arthur|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Gardiner, James||Lloyd-Greame, Major P.|
|Burn, Col. C R. (Devon, Torquay)||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Lort-Williams, J.|
|Campbell, J. D. G.||Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel John||Loseby, Captain C. E.|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Glyn, Major Ralph||Lynn, R. J.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Birm., Aston)||Green, Albert (Derby)||McLaren, Robert (Lanark, Northern)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)||M'Lean, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. W.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)||Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Macleod, J. Mackintosh|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Greig, Colonel James William||Macmaster, Donald|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Gritten, W. G. Howard||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)|
|Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Macquisten, F. A.|
|Coote, William (Tyrone, South)||Hailwood, Augustine||Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Hamilton, Major C. G. C.||Matthews, David|
|Moles, Thomas||Raw, Lieutenant-Colonel N.||Sturrock, J. Leng|
|Molson, Major John Elsdale||Reid, D. D.||Sugden, W. H.|
|Montagu, Rt. Hon. E. S.||Remer, J. R.||Sutherland, Sir William|
|Moreing, Captain Algernon H.||Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)||Thomas-Stanford, Charles|
|Morrison, Hugh||Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert||Rogers, Sir Hallewell||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)|
|Murchison, C. K.||Roundell, Colonel R. F.||Waddington, R.|
|Murray, Major William (Dumfries)||Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)||Weston, Colonel John W.|
|Nail, Major Joseph||Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert A.||Wheler, Major Granville C. H.|
|Neal, Arthur||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Whitla, Sir William|
|Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Seddon, J. A.||Williams, Lt.-Com. C. (Tavistock)|
|Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry||Shaw, William T. (Forfar)||Winterton, Major Earl|
|Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike||Shortt, Rt. Hon E. (N'castle-on-T.)||Wood, Sir J. (Stalybridge and Hyde)|
|Pennefather, De Fonblanque||Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)||Worsfold, Dr. T. Cato|
|Philipps, Sir Owen C. (Chester, City)||Smith, Harold (Warrington)||Young, Lieut.-Com. E. H. (Norwich)|
|Pollock, Sir Ernest M.||Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander||Young, W. (Perth & Kinross, Perth)|
|Purchase, H. G.||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. G. F.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Raeburn, Sir William H.||Stanton, Charles B.||Lord E. Talbot and Mr. James Parker.|
|Rankin, Captain James S.||Stewart, Gershom|
Bill read a Second time, and committed to a Standing Committee.