HC Deb 09 August 1920 vol 133 cc137-9

Again considered in Committee.

[Sir E. CORNWALL in the Chair.]

Question again proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

Amendment negatived.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 8 (Certificate of population) and Clause 9 (Short Title) ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Bill reported, with an Amendment.

As amended, considered.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."


I do not rise to oppose the Bill, because after listening to the Debate I have come to the conclusion that there is probably quite a good case for the Government in favour of proceeding with this Bill. I do not think it has been put, but I think if their case were put it would run something like this: This is a Bill for ascertaining the number and the condition of the people in Ireland. The Government is embarking on a policy in Ireland which is bound to have a considerable effect both on the number of the population and upon their condition. Probably they are going to hang a good many people in Ireland. They may probably, I think, shoot a good many; and it is not at all unlikely that the policy which has been pursued by the Government there may lead to some incidents such as those which characterised the recent events in the Punjab. We may have an Amritsar there. That, of course, is bound to have its effect upon the condition of things there. The number of widows in Ireland will be increased, and the number of fatherless children, and that being so it does, I think, follow that this census should proceed in the interests of future historians, and as a scientific record of the effect of policy. From that point of view, I think the Government have some weight behind them in pressing forward this Measure. When the future historian of Ireland comes to write a record of this Government's policy, it will be a matter of scientific satisfaction that he is able to take the year 1921 and show what was the condition of things then and compare it with the result of the policy of the Government in Ireland.


I just rise to say a word with regard to the passing of this Bill. I have not been present at the discussions, and so am not in a position to say whether it is good, bad, or indifferent. My point is with regard to expenditure. We can vote two or three millions in the course of ten minutes, and so, possibly, the sum required for working this Bill and for the printing of the census papers will not seem very large, but in view of the fact that they will most certainly be made bonfires of it is a ridiculous waste of time to go further. Irish people, whether we like it or not, are not in the frame of mind where communications, whether accompanied by a stamp or not, are likely to add to the merriment of the people before they come to the tragic side, and for that reason, and for the reason that we might save several thousand pounds if the Government withheld the taking of the census, or withheld the order for printing the papers, and also with a desire to save the Government from further ridicule amongst the people of Ireland, I have thought it well to say these few words.

Captain LOSEBY

I merely rise to put in a protest, as strong a one as I am capable of, against the type of speech that has come too frequently of late from the Opposition. I want to be allowed to describe the speech by the hon. and gallant Member who spoke last but one (Major Barnes) as disgraceful and contemptible. I want to say that because it is coming too frequently. Is it right for an hon. and gallant Member to get up in the House simply and solely to put salt into wounds? He could have had no other object. I will rise in my place and I will protest every time when hon. Members opposite pursue tactics of that contemptible description. I find it hard to contain my indignation, but I did want to make that protest.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

I have made several speeches on the Census Bill. I was here and heard the Second Beading when the hon. and gallant Member opposite (Captain Loseby) was in bed—it was several nights ago—and I spoke against voting £90,000. I do not think he was there then. Since he has been here to-day he seems to have found it a very interesting Debate, and he has made an extraordinary speech. I only hope that some Member of the Government will give the hon. and gallant Member a post as Private Parliamentary Secretary, or something of that kind.