§ This Act in its application to Ireland shall have effect with the following modifications:—
§ (1) References to the Minister of Health or the Minister shall be construed as references to the Local Government Board for Ireland, and the reference to the Public Works Loans Commissioners shall be construed as a reference to the Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland:
§ Provided that, for the purposes of the provisions of this Act with respect to treatment for incipient mental disorder, the Lord Lieutenant, or any officer or officers appointed by him for those purposes, shall be substituted for the Minister; and the references in the said provisions to the Lord Chancellor and to the Judge or Masters in Lunacy shall respectively be construed as references to the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and to any Judge authorised to exercise jurisdiction with respect to lunatics, or the Registrar in Lunacy;
§ (2) The references to the Sections of the Public Health Act, 1875, mentioned in Part I. of the Second Schedule to this Act shall be construed as references to the corresponding Sections of the Public Health (Ireland) Acts, 1878 to 1919, mentioned in the second column of that Part of that Schedule;
§ (3) References to Sections one and twentyeight of the Housing, Town Planning, &c, Act, 1919, shall respectively be construed as references to Sections one and twenty-three of the Housing (Ireland) Act, 1919, and other references to the first-mentioned Act shall not apply; and the reference to the Lunacy Acts, 1890 to 1911, shall be construed as a reference to the Lunacy (Ireland) Acts, 1821 to 1901;
§ (4) The expression "local authority" means:—
- (a) for the purposes of Part I. of this Act, the local authority within the meaning of Part III. of the Housing of the Working Classes Act, 1890;
- (b) for the purposes of the provisions of this Act with respect to the use of local authorities' premises by Government Departments and other authorities, the council of a county or district;
- (c) for all other purposes of thi? Act, the sanitary authority;
§ (5) Where a petition has been presented under Section six of the Housing of the Working Classes (Ireland) Act, 1908, respecting a portion only of a Provisional Order made by an inspector of the Local Government Board for Ireland, that Board may divide the Order into two Orders, and the new Order containing the portion of the original Order to which the petition does not relate may be confirmed in like manner as an Order in respect of which no petition has been presented, and the new Order containing the portion of the original Order to which the petition relates may be confirmed or disallowed in pursuance of the said Section;
§ (6) The council of a county shall have power to resolve that an annual sum, of such amount as they may determine with tho approval of the Local Government Board for Ireland, shall bo raised off their county to be paid as a salary to tho surgeon of the county infirmary; and the limit imposed upon the amount of any such salary by Section eighty-six of the Grand Jury (Ireland) Act, 1836, as adapted by the Local Government (Adaptation of Irish Enactments) Order, 1899, is hereby repealed;
§ (7) It is hereby declared that the limitation in Section seventy of the Dublin Police Act, 1842, in paragraph (4) of Section ten of the Petty Sessions (Ireland) Act, 1851, or in any similar enactment, does not apply to proceedings for the recovery of sums certified to be due by the auditor at the audit of the accounts of any public body within the meaning of Section twenty-three of the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1902;
§ (8) Notwithstanding anything in Section fifty-two of the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898, but without prejudice to any judgment obtained under that Section, any provision in a contract of tenancy entered into since the passing of that Act and before the passing of this Act imposing on the landlord a liability for or in respect of poor rate shall be deemed to be valid;
§ (9) The provisions of this Act specified in Part II. of the Second Schedule thereto shall not apply to Ireland and in the application under this Act of Section ninety-five of the Public Health Acts Amendment Act, 1907, to districts in Ireland the reference to highway purposes shall be omitted from that Section.—[Mr. D. M. Wilson.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL for IRELAND (Mr. D. M. Wilson)
I beg to move "That the Clause be read a Second time."
2161 The main provisions of this Clause provide machinery to enable the benefits given under this Bill to be applied to Ireland. The Bill, as originally drafted, applied to Ireland, as any hon. Member will see by looking at the last Clause which expressly says that it shall not apply to Scotland. The machinery in the Bill, however, refers to the Ministry of Health for England and to Acts of Parliament which are probably English Acts. In Ireland we have corresponding Acts of Parliament to enable the provisions of the Public Health to be carried out there, and we have the Local Government Board which takes the place of the Minister of Health in this country. The first four Sub-sections and Sub-section (9) of this Clause are entirely machinery. Unfortunately, when I moved this Clause in Committee upstairs, we had arrived at a rather late hour on Thursday night, and it was absolutely essential that the Minister should get the Bill through that night and have it printed, so that it could come before the House to-day and be considered on Report. I met with opposition from various quarters of the Committee, but I believe that opposition was entirely due to a misunderstanding, because I do not think, if the facts were really understood, that any hon. Member would refuse to give to Ireland the machinery to carry out the benefits which have been given to England under this Bill.
Last year we passed an Act giving powers for additional housing both in England and Ireland, and in that Act a grant from the public funds not exceeding £15,000,000 was authorised to carry out those powers. Ireland has contributed her share to that grant of £15,000,000, just as well as England, and is therefore entitled to be enabled to spend her share on the provision of public health and additional housing advantages so as to bring about the results desired by the Minister of Health, just the same as England. Therefore, the provisions of this Clause are really to enable us to carry out in Ireland the benefits that you have conferred upon yourselves and Ireland by this Bill. We have not the machinery for carrying out those benefits unless you give us this Clause. Those remarks refer to the first four Sub-sections and to Subsection (9) of this Clause. We say that references to the Minister of Health shall 2162 be construed as references to the Local Government Board for Ireland, and that references to the Public Works Loans Commissioners shall be construed as references to the Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland. There are other similar matters in the first four Sub-sections. With regard to Sub-section (5), when schemes are promoted in Ireland, we have very often one person, whose property is affected, putting in a petition of appeal against the scheme. Under the provisions of the Housing of the Working Classes (Ireland) Act, the whole scheme is hung up until that petition of appeal, which possibly applies only to a minute portion of the scheme is heard and decided. Under the Labourers (Ireland) Act, which enables us to house the working-classes in rural districts under a different system entirely and which is financed from a different source, we have found it necessary, expedient, and very useful, where a petition applies to only a portion of the scheme, and the rest of the scheme is unobjected to by anyone, that we should be able to put in force that portion of the scheme to which nobody objects and have merely the portion to which objection is taken held over until the matter is decided. With regard to Sub-section (6), under an old Act of 1836 the surgeons of our county infirmaries were paid a salary of £75 a year, and the object of this Sub-section is to enable the county council to increase that sum. With regard to Sub-section (7), there is a provision in our Summary Jurisdiction Acts, both in Dublin and in the counties, that proceedings before the magistrates for the recovery of certified sums must be taken within six months. We ask for an extension of that time, to enable us to take those proceedings before the Petty Sessions or before police magistrates, as that is a cheaper mode of procedure than going to the High Court.
Sub-section (8) relates to the incidenoe of rates, and remedies a real injustice. The main principle of the Local Government (Ireland) Act of 1898 was that, where councils were elected to govern local matters in Ireland, the rated occupiers who elected the councils or corporations should have the burden placed upon them of any increase in rates, and there is a Section in that Act which makes absolutely void any contract entered into by the tenant with the 2163 landlord that the rates shall be deducted from the rent. Although that was clearly the law, and was done for a perfectly good purpose, yet such is the inveterate conservatism of some people in Ireland that the landlords continued to let their premises to tenants under the old system and to agree to pay the rates. Eventually a case was brought to the House of Lords this year, and the Lords said that, notwithstanding the fact that the landlord had agreed to pay the rates, the agreement was void, and the tenant, in addition to paying the rent, would have to pay the rates. Sub-section (8) of this new Clause does away with that injustice to the tenant, so that, where tenants and landlords have entered into these agreements since 1898—perhaps without knowing the law—the landlords will have to keep their agreements and pay the rates, and not put the burden upon the tenants. I would ask hon. Members who may have opposed me in Committee to grant me this Clause, because it appears to me to be absolutely just.
§ Captain REDMOND
I should like to ask the Solicitor-General one or two questions as to which I am still not quite clear. First of all, I should like to know what proportion of this £15,000,000, which is supposed to be allocated for the purpose of the last Housing Act, is to be available for Ireland. I should also like to ask whether, if this Clause is not put into this present Bill, the result will be that the previous Act will be inoperative in Ireland, and whether we are to understand that the Sub-section with regard to contracts for payment of rates by landlords refers only to previous contracts, or means that in all future contracts the landlords shall be bound to pay the rates.
To my mind it seems rather curious that, within a few weeks of the passing of a Government of Ireland Bill, such a Clause as this should be introduced. The Solicitor-General told us that he was unfortunate in the Committee, of which I was not a member. He said that he came in too late, but it seems to me that here he has come in too early. We really ought to consider this particular Clause after we have considered the whole of this Bill on Report. I quite admit that it is an important Clause, but it is not the whole Bill, or 2164 anything like it, nor has it anything to do with the Amendments which may be carried here in this House against the Committee. By the casting vote of the Chairman, a Clause enabling the members of local authorities to be paid for their services was deleted in the Committee, and I understand that certain hon. Members are going to move the insertion of a similar Clause in the Bill at this stage. If that is carried, it will make a great difference to the Bill and to the expenses of the ratepayers.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
To relieve the hon. and gallant M'ember's mind, I may say that that Clause will be out of order on Report.
I am very glad to hear that. It removes a great danger in the application of this Bill to Ireland. This Bill, although it may have been asked for in England, Scotland, and Wales, is not asked for in Ireland, and it seems to me that, within such a comparatively short distance of giving Ireland its own Governments in the North and in the South, it would be better to let them agree to the provision of a Ministry of Health, and not to impose this measure upon them.
§ Colonel ASHLEY
I want to draw the attention of the House to the way in which this Clause is drawn up. It makes it absolutely impossible for any man, unless he spends, I should say, three or four hours in looking up authorities, to get the slightest idea of what the Minister of Health wants to do. I would ask the House for a moment to read with me Subsections (2) and (3). Sub-section (2) says:The references to the Sections of the Public Health Act, 1875, mentioned in Part I. of the Second Schedule to this Act shall be construed as references to the corresponding Sections of the Public Health (Ireland) Acts, 1878 to 1919, mentioned in the second column of that Part of that Schedule.Does anyone in this House really know what that means? Possibly there may be skilled lawyers who have some knowledge of it, but I am certain that no ordinary Member of this House knows what it means, or could possibly find out without spending at least an hour in looking up the Sections referred to. Then Subsection (3) says:References to Sections one and twenty-eight of the Housing, Town Planning, &c., 2165 Act, 1919, shall respectively be construed as references to Sections one and twenty-three of the Housing (Ireland) Act, 1919, and other references to the first-mentioned Act shall not apply; and the reference to the Lunacy Acts, 1890 to 1911, shall be construed as a reference to the Lunacy (Ireland) Acts, 1821 to 1901.Therefore, you have to look at the Lunacy Acts relating to Ireland over a period of 80 years in order to get the slightest idea of what this Sub-section means. The same thing applies to Subsections (7) and (8). It is clearly impossible for hon. Members who are busy men to devote their time to digging out and mugging up these authorities, and it is about time that the House of Commons made a definite stand and refused to pass any Clause which embodies such legislation by reference. Till that is done, the Government and their legal advisers will continue to put Clauses before us in this form, containing things of which we have not the slightest idea; and when, after they are passed, it becomes apparent that things have been done of which the House does not approve, the Government will say, as they have done in the past, that the House passed them, and therefore cannot repeal them. I feel so strongly about this Clause that, if any other hon. Member will divide against it with me, I will go to a Division on it—not because I have the slightest objection to the Clause, for I have no idea what it means, but because I object to this slipshod way of passing legislation.
§ Sir E. CARSON
I have a great deal of sympathy with the observations of my hon. and gallant Friend who has just addressed the House. Indeed, I myself, during this Session, have drawn attention on more than one occasion to the increasing burden which is put upon Members in regard to understanding Bills. I do not believe that there has ever been a Session in which there has been more legislation by reference. This controversy has been going on in this House ever since I came into it twenty-eight years ago, and I remember, on one occasion, the late Mr. Joseph Chamberlain ridiculing the whole system of legislation by reference, and paraphrasing "The house that Jack built," by saying, "This is the Act that repeals the Act that sets up the Act," and so on. That has been increasing year by year. I do not believe 2166 that there is any other Legislature that does its work in the same way. If we were a business-like Assembly, which we never pretend to be, we should do what is done in some of our Colonial Legislatures, and was done for a little while here, that is to say, whenever you set out a Section to an Act which has been incorporated, it should be furnished to the House in the White Paper or in some sort of appendix to the Bill. Until that is done, it will be impossible for Members to examine these Clauses in the way in which they ought to be examined. My hon. and gallant Friend has said that he could do this in an hour. I could not. While, however, I have not the slightest hope that we are going to get away from this method of dealing with Bills, I hope that the House will not make its first effort at resentment on this Clause relating to Ireland. I myself, when the original Ministry of Health Bill was before the House, pressed the Government very strongly to set up a Public Health Department in Ireland, and it was only through my irritating my right hon. friend on every occasion that I could in the House, that, eventually, the Government agreed to set up a Public Health Department in Ireland. In the same way as this Bill brings in Amendments as regards the Public Health in England, so this Clause necessarily refers to a different series of Acts, which correspond to the Acts which apply in this country. My hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Ashley) says, and I do not wonder at it, that he does not know what those Acts are, but all that this Clause says is that, in construing this Bill in relation to Ireland, its provisions are to apply, not to the English Acts, but to that series of Irish Acts.
I think it would be a pity if the housing scheme, for instance, was not to go along smoothly by removing the difficulties which the Solicitor-General has already stated. May I say with reference to the point made by the hon. and gallant Member for Waterford that the point he puts is entirely to relieve the tenants. What happened was that an Act of Parliament made the Poor Rates payable by the tenants. It had been the habit in Ireland in many contracts to make them payable by the landlord, and they went on drawing their contracts as if the Bill making them payable by the tenants had never been passed. The matter 2167 came before the Courts, and they held that by reason of the passing of the Act the contract by the landlord to pay the Poor Rates was invalid, and therefore the tenants would have to pay. That was taken to the House of Lords, who affirmed the judgment. This Clause put in here is to relieve the tenants. Whether it be a past or a future contract which puts the Poor Rates on the landlord, under this Section the landlord must pay, notwithstanding the previous legislation on the subject. I am not going to take up the time of the House in going through these matters in detail, but so far as I am able to judge, and I gather I am right from the speech of the Solicitor-General, this Clause does nothing more than apply to the machinery existing in Ireland, by proper nomination of particular Acts under which they work, the provision of certain clauses of this Bill. For my own part, I think it would be a misfortune if the House were to refuse this relief to Ireland, notwithstanding the fact that it comes down here so late in the Session.
§ Captain REDMOND
With your permission, Mr. Speaker, may I ask the Solicitor-General if he can answer me on the two points I raised? I am much obliged to the right hon. and learned Member (Sir Edward Carson) for having enlightened me upon the meaning of this Sub-Clause, and certainly from the information he has conveyed to me, I shall myself support it. May I also say, in regard to the general application of this Bill to Ireland, if, as I understand from the Solicitor-General's explanation, these Clauses are necessary in order to make the previous Housing Act workable in Ireland, and if these Clauses are also necessary to enable Ireland to enjoy her probable portion of this £15,000,000, I certainly will support the Clause. My only objection to the whole Bill and to this Clause is that they are not generous enough in their treatment of Ireland.
§ Major O'NEILL
Would it not be better for hon. Members to say what they have got to say and allow the Solicitor-General to reply later?
§ Sir HENRY CRAIK
My right hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Duncairn, agrees that there are grave objections to legislation by reference, but apparently the right hon. Gentleman is prepared in this case to overlook these objections on account of the excellent things to be found in this Bill. I am afraid my right hon. Friend has not studied it very carefully. Without entering into the merits of this new Clause, I would point out that it very considerably ties our our hands with regard to what will follow in the Bill. If we are to pass this Clause as it stands I think it would be possible to cut out Clause 8 to which many of us seriously object, and which we consider a dangerous interference with the Lunacy Laws as they now stand. For these reasons I hesitate very much before agreeing to this Clause. Not only do I think it will bring very great trouble to Ireland, and not only do I think that my right hon. Friend the Member for Duncairn has not given adequate study to all the dangerous provisions of this Bill, which he thinks just in some ways, but I also object to the Clause because I think it ties the hands of the House when it comes to deal with those very objectionable Clauses—Clause 8 and Clause 9.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
On a point of Order. If we pass this Clause in the form in which it stands on the Paper, would we be prevented from eliminating or largely modifying Clause 8 and Clause 9 of the Bill as they now stand?
§ Major O'NEILL
In answer to what my right hon. Friend (Sir H. Craik) has just said, and with reference to your ruling, Sir, we are anxious that certain provisions of this Bill should apply to Ireland. For instance, Clause 2, which is the Clause which extends by one year the time during which a subsidy may be paid to a private builder. There are various other Clauses in this Bill which we think it would be an advantage to extend to Ireland, but that does not in the least prevent us or any other hon. Members of this House, when considering the Clauses in detail, from striking out any Clause which we think we would be 2169 better without. The reason I rose was to criticise this Clause more for what it leaves out than for what it contains. I have down an Amendment to this Clause, and perhaps it might be more convenient if I stated on the Second Reading of the Clause now what are the main principles which lead me to move that Amendment, and when the time Gomes for it to be moved, I shall only move it formally. The objection I have to this Clause is that it does not remedy what is the prime defect with regard to the Housing scheme in Ireland, in so far as it has gone up to the present. Under the scheme in Section 1 of the Housing (Additional Powers) Act, which gave grants to private builders, the rural areas in Ireland were excluded. The reason of that was that the definition of the words "local authority" in respect of the Housing (Additional Powers) Act, a definition which dates back to the Housing Act, 1890, does not include rural authorities, consequently, the result has been that the grants payable to private builders have been payable only in respect of houses actually built within the boundaries of urban authorities.
The position in many urban districts in Ireland is that there is a crying need for houses—as great as or greater than the need in this country. Some of the large cities and some of the small towns have found when they came to put their scheme before the Local Government Board that the condition which the Local Government Board laid down as regards the number of houses to be built to the acre, and so on, had to be applied. They found that there was literally no room within the urban area for the building of the houses they wanted to put up for the benefit of the urban population. The only way to get these houses built is by aid of this grant to private builders, and what I suggest to the Government is this, that the rural district councils should be empowered to give certificates under which a subsidy to private builders can be paid in respect of houses built in their areas which are outside the urban areas. That will be the only way in which it will be possible to relieve the housing break-down, which, I am sorry to say, has undoubtedly occurred throughout Ireland since the Housing Act was passed.
2170 5.0 P.M.
We do not ask for any extra money, we do not ask for a penny more from the British Treasury. All we ask is that the proper share of this £15,000,000 already allocated for the payment of grants to private builders should be made payable in respect of houses erected for the working classes, and you will not get it until you allow the neighbouring rural areas to participate in the way I have indicated. This is not an unreasonable amendment. It is a matter upon which there is intense feeling throughout the whole of Ireland, and I feel sure hon. Gentlemen opposite will support me. I believe that in Dublin it will make a tremendous difference if we could get the rural authorities just outside the city boundaries to give grants, and it is the same way in many parts of Ulster, Cork, and other places. Nearly every town in Ireland, large and small, will benefit to a tremendous extent without one penny extra charge beyond what is due to them from the Exchequer. The Housing scheme in Ireland, I am sorry to say, has largely broken down. Sometimes I feel ashamed when I remember the promises I made in my election speeches in 1918 when I referred to the Housing Bill which this Government was going to bring in, because in my constituency, which contains one large town where there is a considerable industrial population, they took an enormous interest in the housing question, and I made many speeches upon it, and I told the people that as the result of legislation foreshadowed by the Government they were going to get better houses and something was really going to materialise. It has not materialised; the scheme has largely broken down, but it can even now be saved if the Solicitor-General will agree to the spirit of my Amendment, allow rural authorities to make these grants and put the main responsibility for constructing houses upon the private builder, and then there will be a chance that housing in Ireland can really make a satisfactory start.
§ Mr. LORDEN
I rise for quite a different reason. After spending eight days in the Committee these Clauses were brought on in the very last few minutes of the sitting, and we extended the time considerably on purpose to have them discussed. It seems to me to be quite a 2171 breach of the undertaking that the Leader of the House gave on this very Bill when he said:We will not ask the House on Report to reverse the decisions which have been come to by the Committee. I do not think it is possible for us to meet more completely the wishes of the House than I have done.The right hon. Gentleman also said it was not a suitable Bill for an Autumn Session. Here is a Bill full of controversy. We are asked to put in these new Clauses and to sit here till the small hours of the morning, and probably to-morrow, on purpose to discuss these things as a matter of urgency. I protest against these new Clauses being put in after we have had a pledge from the Leader of the House like this. It was a distinct and emphatic pledge. This matter was withdrawn from the Committee simply and solely because the Committee had discussed all the other items. Now we are asked on Report to put in all these new Clauses. I feel it is not in the spirit of the undertaking which was given to the Committee, and I press that these new Clauses should be withdrawn. I would not take anything at all from Ireland; in fact, I should be quite willing to give everything to Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman (Sir E. Carson) says in every other case, "Do not have any legislation by reference, but only in the case of Ireland."
§ Mr. LORDEN
I cannot help but feel that that is a great pity, because up to a certain point we were all with him. I think I am entitled to make this protest, after the strong undertaking given by the Leader of the House, and this undoubtedly is a breach of that undertaking.
The hon. Member seems to have forgotten that this Bill, as it was introduced, refers to Ireland, and that it is absolutely necessary to have this Clause, because we must modify it to apply it to Ireland. Most of the references which are made in the various Clauses refer to objects which are applicable both to England and Ireland, and if these modifications are not made a legal absurdity will be perpetrated. It is evident that the Bill in the first instance refers to Ireland, and if Clauses are not inserted which make it applicable to Ireland it is absurd. It is essential that 2172 at some stage of the Bill these modifications must be introduced.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
May I ask, on a point of Order, whether, if this Clause were defeated, the Bill would not automatically apply to Ireland. I can see nothing in the Bill as amended saying that it shall not apply to Ireland.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The Bill does apply to Ireland, but I understand, in order to make it more intelligible in its application to Ireland, it is desirable to introduce this Clause.
That is really the point I wanted to make. I hope the House will see that it is absolutely necessary to have these modification Clauses so that the Bill, in its original state, may be applicable to Ireland. Otherwise it would be absolutely unworkable.
§ Captain ELLIOT
The only point I wish to mention is on the hospitals Clause. The Minister upstairs told us that the undertaking to have an inquiry into the hospital system would not apply to Ireland, and I would ask the Solicitor-General whether between now and the time of that Clause coming up he cannot have the matter looked into. It seems there will be a necessity for an inquiry into hospital accommodation in Ireland. I merely rise to ask if, when that Clause comes on, he would give some such undertaking to the House.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I wish to ask a question from the English point of view. In this Bill the housing subsidy for houses built in Ireland is extended to two years if we pass the main Bill. This Clause says:This Act in its application to Ireland shall have effect with the following modifications.I have read the Clause, through carefully, and I should say at a first glance that the housing subsidy will apply to Ireland. I think that is most extraordinary. For two years we are to pay a subsidy on houses built in Ireland, while a Bill has passed this House, and is going through another place, giving self-government to Ireland. For one thing, that would modify the whole of the financial arrangements come to in this place.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I shall vote against this Clause. I dare 2173 say hon. Members from Ireland on both sides of the House are agreed that it is very nice to get money from us to subsidise their houses.
§ Captain REDMOND
I protest that it is not money from England. It is money subscribed by the Irish as well as the English taxpayers.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I am very sorry if I have in any way hurt the hon. and gallant Gentleman's feelings. I do not mind how much I hurt the feelings of hon. Members opposite.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I protest against our legislating for the expenditure of even Irish money on Irish housing. I am afraid in practice it will come to be getting a subsidy out of us. The housing part of this Clause is ridiculous, and I protest against it. There is another part of the Housing Clauses in the main Bill—compulsory hiring of dwelling-houses. Surely that is a thing we might leave to the Irish governing body themselves. I protest most strongly -against our applying this part of the Bill to Ireland at all. I do not consider that we ought to be legislating for the domestic concerns of Ireland in any way at all, and especially by means of complicated Clauses by reference which even the right hon. Gentleman (Sir E. Carson) admits he cannot follow. From an English point of view I think the Bill ought to have been recommitted as regards this Clause. In Committee it was brought in at the last moment. No one understands it except the Solicitor-General himself, and I dare say it takes him all his time, and I protest as strongly as I can against both the Clause and the Amendment which has been referred to. I am in favour of leaving the Irish to settle their own affairs, and especially when it comes to a subsidy from this House I shall protest by voting against it.
The hon. and gallant Gentleman is labouring under an entire misapprehension when he states that we are coming here as Irish Members for a subsidy from this House. We have already got our just rights under the old Bill. The money grant was given to the United Kingdom and we have got our part; but in order to make this applicable to our peculiar needs we want certain 2174 Amendments in reference to the housing scheme. The money that is going to Ireland is money that belongs to Ireland, so that we are not here to take anything from the House but what is our just due, and I think the House is willing to give us our just due. They have given us our due. Now we want them to go a little further and we want the machinery amended so that we may put the money to the proper use for which it was granted by the House. That is the whole trouble with us.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
Does the hon. Member really want power from us to interfere with buildings in each locality? That is what he is asking for. Does he want that sort of power from us?
I was just coming to that. There are two schemes under which we can build houses outside urban districts; one is by utility societies. Many of us are in the manufacturing interest and wish to see colonies grow up here and there outside the urban centres. When we come to develop our industries we find we are up against a famine of houses, and we either have to build them out of our own pockets, which is prohibitive at a time like this, or we must build them through utility societies. There is a rule in all utility society schemes that they will only acknowledge the original tenant of a house as the owner of the house for all time, and the original tenant of the house under utility schemes in Ireland has to put up sufficient money under the scheme in order to get the advantage of it. Therefore there is a deadlock so far as utility societies are concerned. The other scheme is that of labourers' cottages under the rural districts scheme; but these cottages will not be given to the artisan population. They are only for agricultural labourers. This is denned by Statute, and when we who are interested in the development of the country apply to the local Board for some assistance it is withheld. Besides even from the point of view of the labourers' cottages, of which more ought to be built— there is £1,000,000 granted for it—the restrictions are such that owing to the cost of building the local councils will not build, that in the face of all these adverse circumstances we ask the House to give to individuals the same power you have in England, that house- 2175 holders, and those who wish to be householders, can put up their houses and get a certificate from the local authority that they have complied with the Statute and get the usual bonus. This is the great advantage which we consider will be conferred upon the people of Ireland by the application of these rules propounded by the Solicitor-General, together with the Amendment standing in the name of my hon. and gallant Friend (Major O'Neill). We want the machinery to allow us to make proper use of this money.
I do not know how we stand in regard to this Bill. We have been told by the Govern ment, repeatedly, that it is necessary that the Irish should be able to deal with their own affairs and bo finance their own local affairs as far as possible. I have always deprecated that idea until a few years ago, but conditions have changed. Surely there are some points under which it is perfectly hopeless to endeavour, as we are doing in this Clause, to apply this Act to Ireland. The first Clause in the Bill gives power to hire dwelling-houses for the housing of the working classes. The condition of affairs in Ireland to-day renders it impossible to occupy houses in certain districts. Many houses are compulsorily vacated. Under this Bill would you be able to acquire those houses, and to use them for the housing of the working classes when they are not occupied, mainly or largely owing to—
§ Captain REDMOND
On a point of Order. Is not the hon. and gallant Member making a Second Reading speech? He is now discussing the question whether this Bill shall apply to Ireland, and you have ruled, Mr. Speaker, that even if this Clause does not pass the Bill will apply to Ireland.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The Bill does apply to Ireland. The only country to which it does not apply is Scotland. This Clause is to elucidate some part of the Bill in its relation to Ireland, as I understand the administration is not the same in the two countries.
I agree as regards the main ruling, but the point which I wish to elucidate was how the Government can bring this parti- 2176 cular Clause into operation in Ireland, and I was giving a simple instance of the difference in conditions, and why as regards this Clause I conceive that it would have been far better to deal with Ireland entirely separately, just as you are dealing with Scotland. Another objection to-this Clause at the present time is that as I read it the Sub-sections (1), (3), (4) and (9) deal entirely with machinery. They give additional machinery and additional powers for applying this Bill to Ireland. In Sub-section (6) you have the power given to the county councils to raise sums to be paid in salaries. The whole of this Clause is tending to impose a charge and an additional burden upon the Irish people. If we take it as conclusive that they will pay their share—and I see practically every Irish Member present agreeing that at any rate the British taxpayer in general will not be overburdened in this respect—I would like to know very clearly how much and what these charges are likely to amount to. In bringing Ireland into this Bill, what was the meaning of the Government I We have just passed a Home Rule Bill through this House, to which many of us are pledged entirely, and when we are dealing with legislation affecting housing or land I maintain that we ought to confine the Bill to England and to leave Ireland to deal with these matters as one of the first pieces of legislation in the new Parliament that is to be set up. I think the Government should have left Ireland out of the Bill entirely.
§ Mr. MOLES
You have frequently ruled, Mr. Speaker, that this Bill is applicable to Ireland, and it has been frequently stated that the need for houses in Ireland is just as claimant and as desperate, and in some cases more so, than it is in England. Therefore, I should have thought that there would be no opposition to an Amendment. Because of changes in the cost of material and labour the Housing Act in Ireland has broken down, just as the Housing Act broke down in this country. You have had to come to the House and to seek Amendments of the original measure, in order that you might make your former Act workable, and in precisely the same way we have had to come here and to seek Amendments in corresponding detail in order that the Act may be worked in precisely the same way in Ireland. Does the hon. Member 2177 (Lieut.-Commander Williams) intend the Act to remain a dead-letter in Ireland or not? I say to him and any other opponents that if you do not, your hostility and your obstinacy is not understandable, but if you wish to act justly and fairly towards us, and if you wish to see the Act workable and operative you will require to amend the provisions of the original Act in the way we suggest.
The hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Ken-worthy) made a hopelessly-mistaken point when he sought to inspire horror on the Benches opposite at the suggestion that Irishmen are coming here to plunder the pockets of Englishmen. We are here in no such capacity. We are here, very respectfully, to remind you that we pay our just debt as taxpayers, just as you do, and just as we contribute our common share to the Exchequer so, as a matter of fair justice, we have certain claims upon that purse. That is all we are claiming, and nothing more. What we ask is that you shall amend the machinery so that the machine for the construction of houses in Ireland shall work. That, and nothing else, is our proposal. Do not run away with any fantastic idea that we are here to plunder your pockets, or that this scheme can be hung up in the air until an Irish Parliament is operative. We have as good a right to housing now as you have, and you have no right to set up a fictitious argument of that kind for the purpose of delaying this measure.
I wish to contradict a statement made by the hon. Member for Paddington (Mr. Lorden) with respect to this Clause. I was a Member of the Committee, on the Bill and I was one of those who urged that this Clause should be postponed and taken up on Report, and the general understanding on the Committee was that that should be done.
§ Mr. LORDEN
What I said was, that this is a definite breach of the undertaking which was given by the Leader of the House when the Financial Clause of the Bill was under consideration, that anything that was not carried through Committee would not be pressed on Report. Now we get this new Clause. I am objecting to that undertaking not being carried out.
§ Mr. R. RICHARDSON
Upstairs the whole of the Committee, including, I 2178 believe, the hon. Member (Mr. Lorden), agreed that this matter should be raised on Report.
I do not think the point raised by the hon. Member for Paddington affects this Clause at all, because this Clause simply elucidates and makes plain the meaning of the Clause which will make this Bill applicable to Ireland. Therefore, in essence, it is not a new Clause I agree with the hon. Member (Mr. Moles) in what he said. So long as we are responsible for having anything to do with the government of Ireland, I maintain that Ireland should be treated as fairly as England or Scotland. I notice that the only time hon. Members from Ireland join hands is on the golden bridge.
§ Clause read a Second time.
§ Major O'NEILL
I beg to move, at the end of paragraph (4, a), to insert the words:provided that, for the purpose of granting certificates under Section one, Sub-section (2), paragraph (6), of the Housing (Additional Powers) Act, 1919, in respect of houses constructed within a fixed distance (to be specified by Order in Council) from the boundary of an urban authority, the council of a rural district shall be deemed to be within such meaning.In the remarks I made on the Second Reading of the Clause, I stated the objects of my Amendment, and I will now merely read the paragraph as it would stand when my Amendment has been inserted.
The expression "local authority" means—(a) for the purposes of Part I of this Act, the local authority within the meaning of Part III of the Housing of the Working Classes Act, 1890: provided that, for the purpose of granting certificates under Section one, Sub-section (2), paragraph (6), of the Housing (Additional Powers) Act, 1919, in respect of houses constructed within a fixed distance (to be specified by Order in Council) from the boundary of an urban authority, the council of a rural district shall be deemed to be within such meaning.That is, within the meaning of the local authority.
I beg to second the Amendment. There are many urban districts in Ireland so congested that 2179 they are unable to take advantage of the money that Parliament has granted to them. The Local Government Board must be satisfied that the schemes submitted to them are of a certain character and description; more particularly must they be satisfied with regard to the number of houses per acre. The result of that is that urban districts have forwarded schemes to the Local Government Board which for that reason they have rejected. The Local Government Board then require the urban districts to provide further schemes which will come up to their idea and satisfy them as to the number of houses to the acre. These urban districts are so congested that it is impossible to find land inside the urban boundary so as to conform to the Regulations of the Local Government Board. This Amendment seeks to provide that rural authorities shall in such cases be enabled to undertake work which urban authorities cannot undertake owing to the congested state of their districts. Some excuse may be made with regard to the money question, but as has already been stated under the Additional Power Housing Act, Clause 2 of which refers to Ireland, the aggregate amount of grants to be made for the purpose of the preceding section of this Act shall not exceed £15,000,000. So the United Kingdom has the moral right to spend £15,000,000 for this purpose. Ireland, of course, being still part of the United Kingdom, has its quota of that sum and is entitled to spend it. It is impossible for very many of the urban areas to spend any portion of that sum, and consequently the provision of workers' houses in urban districts broke down absolutely. The result is that the money to which we are entitled as part of the £15,000,000 cannot be spent in urban areas, and all we ask is that that sum may be spent in rural areas. There is no fresh principle involved and no additional grant from the Exchequer is necessary, and it is a way out of a very serious difficulty in the provision of workers' houses in Ireland. Another reason for objecting to this may be that we have in Ireland something which they have not in England—the Labourers Acts. These Acts refer only to certain classes of people.
They have been enlarged to some extent. At first they were applicable only to labourers, but it was found that in many districts in Ireland where industries, such as hand loom weaving, were carried on in the homes of the people, the houses were very bad, and the Acts were extended to include individuals who were engaged in any industry in rural districts. But that does not meet the need for the artisans in towns to be supplied with houses. As they cannot find room in urban areas they must overflow into rural areas, and this is only a question of the use of money which has been voted. It is not a question of generosity: it is purely a question of the adaptation of the powers already granted and the use of the money already voted. Unless something like this is done we shall be without working-class houses in certain urban districts. The need for the provision of working-class houses in Ireland is very acute. This is one solution of the difficulty, and I hope that the House will consider the Amendment in a sympathetic way.
§ Mr. D. M. WILSON
I regret on behalf of the Government that I cannot accept this Amendment. I doubt whether it is possible to raise the matter on Report. We have in Ireland a most admirable system for supplying dwellings for persons who are earning wages in rural districts. But the problem in this case is to provide houses for people living in urban districts, and the only authority in relation to that matter who are the authority who have to deal with it are the urban councils, who are the certifying authority with regard to any of these schemes as to whether they are properly carried out or not. My Friends want the Government to allow the rural district councils to put forward schemes in the interest of the inhabitants of urban districts and to certify them. The grant, which is for £15,000,000, is for the purpose of enabling these houses to be built. If you enable persons instead of building inside an urban area to build outside in a rural area and get a certificate from the rural district council, you will have a greater outlet for the expenditure of public money than was contemplated under the Act of 1919, and increase the drain upon our share of the £15,000,000 in so far as that outlet goes. Therefore the Treasury think that this is not a matter that can be dealt with on Report. In addition, 2181 this Amendment is of no use even if it were adopted, because the Treasury is judge of whether that would not be the result.
Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Whit-fey)
I must deal with that point. I understand it to be stated with the authority of the Treasury behind it that this Amendment would involve a new spending power which would mean more money spent in the current year.
The House, I understand, has assented to the provision that a certain sum not exceeding £15,000,000 may be spent on certain purposes. We are now on the Report Stage of the Bill, and if the proposal were shown to involve greater spending power even within the permissible limits it is not a thing that could be done at this stage. That is the point which I would like the Solicitor-General to make clear to me.
§ Mr. WILSON
That is quite so. The grant under the Act of 1919 shall not exceed £15,000,000, and the only locality in which that grant can be made use of is inside the urban area. The effect of this Amendment would be to enable some of that money to be spent in a rural area and outside the urban area. Therefore it would give a greater outlet for spending the money than was contemplated when the grant was given.
§ Mr. WILSON
You could not exceed the £15,000,000. I am only trying to explain the view of the Treasury and the financial authorities. I want to make it quite clear that the grant shall not exceed £15,000,000 for the United Kingdom. Ireland is entitled to a certain share. That grant can only be spent on subsidising houses built toy private persons within an urban area.
2182 The effect of this Amendment and the subsequent Amendment would be to enable that money to be spent in a rural area outside an urban area, and therefore to give a greater opportunity of spending the money which would be allocated to Ireland under the grant. Therefore they consider that that will be putting an additional burden or giving a greater opportunity for putting an additional burden on a public fund.
§ Mr. MOLES
I can speak with some confidence on this point as I happened to be on the Committee of the original Housing Bill. It was then that the Financial Resolution was taken. At that period this was the position contemplated and provided for in the Financial Resolution, that one or other of these two bodies, namely, an urban local authority or a rural local authority should have power to sanction housing schemes, but as matters went on this new point came in, and it was held that an urban authority was not entitled to empower a housing scheme where the houses were to be built outside the urban boundaries. Then recourse was had to the rural authorities in whose area the site of the houses was proposed to be. This is where the Treasury and my right hon. Friend came into the picture. They said the urban authorities cannot and the rural authorities we will not permit, and in that way a sum of money which was originally contemplated to be spent under the authority of either of these bodies is deliberately withheld from both. They may have it one of two ways. They are not entitled to have it both ways. My point is this. Either they must concede the right to the urban authorities to go over their boundaries and have the houses erected there, or concede what is in this proposal, the right to the rural authorities to issue a certificate, and we make that claim all the more confidently by reason of this. The rural authority, in virtue of the new property being in its area, would have so much additional revenue brought to it by increased valuation and local taxation in respect of the new property; and I respectfully say that at this late hour it is fair neither of the Treasury nor of the right hon. Gentleman to take this step against us.
Having given the best consideration I can to the subject on the spur of the moment, I have come 2183 to the conclusion that the position is not sufficiently clear to justify me in ruling the Amendment out of order.
§ Captain REDMOND
I feel sure, Sir, that the House will be pleased at your ruling, because it gives us the opportunity of discussing what is a serious position in connection with housing in Ireland owing to the action of the Treasury. We find the British Treasury once more stepping in, and, in an exceedingly mean and shabby fashion, endeavouring to curtail the administration of funds already voted by this House for the people of Ireland. Ireland has been voted her proportion of this sum of £15,000,000 for the benefit of dwellers in urban areas in Ireland. The Irish Local Government Board have made Regulations with which the local authorities have not been able to comply. One of them is that not more than twelve houses are to be erected on an acre of land. It is almost impossible to get an acre of land in the middle of an exceptionally congested district of an ancient Irish town or city. The Amendment is to enable houses to be built, if not within the boundary, within easy access of the urban area. It is grossly unfair that the Treasury, when to their delight they discovered that the Act is practically unworkable in Ireland, should step in and place a further obstacle in the way of making it as applicable as it is in England. It may be said that if this were passed rural councils in Ireland would enjoy greater advantages than similar bodies in England. But we must remember England is mostly industrial and urban and those councils do not play such an important part in the community in England as in Ireland. I am just informed that the rural authorities in England have the power which is sought by this Amendment, and that, of course, makes the case for the Amendment all the stronger. It actually shows that the Act has been worked unfairly in regard to Ireland, and if this Amendment is not passed we will not have the same Act applied impartially in England and in Ireland. The same thing has happened before, and in almost every instance where the same Act is passed the administration has been entirely different in the two countries.
I do not think our demand is a very excessive one. It is not going to bring 2184 about the ruin of the Treasury or to increase the amount granted by a single shilling. The object is to make the distribution easier and to facilitate the working of the existing Acts. We know now, on the confession of the Solicitor-General, that he has been to the Treasury, and the Treasury, seeing that the Irish people would probably benefit by this as much as the people in this country, once more put its foot down and said, "It may be the same Act and properly applied in England, but the benefits must be withheld in Ireland." It is only another instance of the manner in which the Treasury has always dealt with Acts which have to be applied to Ireland. I think the Solicitor-General should be impressed by the fact that all shades of Irish opinion in this House are in favour of this Amendment, to which, indeed, there is no opposition from any quarter. What has the Treasury got to do with this matter, since the money has been already voted? I think the Government might display some independence and self-respect, and make up their minds themselves and tell the Treasury to mind their own business, and make this proposal applicable in the same manner to Ireland as to the rest of the United Kingdom. I appeal to the Solicitor-General, who is an Irishman and knows the conditions there as to housing, and represents himself a rural constituency, on the ground that the Irish representation is united on the matter, and that there is no opposition from any quarter except the Government, to take up an attitude independent of the Treasury and see that this machinery is made equally applicable to Ireland as to this country.
We cannot understand the action of the Solicitor-General in opposing this Amendment, and we cannot see why the Treasury should intervene at all in this matter. The money has been allocated, and we are only asking for machinery by which to spend it. I would like to ask the hon. and learned Gentleman, has the scheme of the late Act succeeded, and what is the number of houses built under the Act in Ireland, because the whole machinery of house building has broken down under the Act, and very naturally, because it has broken down here? Has the Treasury intervened in like manner in England, and put in blocking objections to the Act being extended 2185 to the rural districts, as they are attempting to do here? If we are to have houses built in Ireland they must be built within two years or the bonus will disappear. It looks as if owing to a variety of causes, such as cost and congestion of the urban districts, we will have very little house building during the next twenty-two years. Unless we get this Amendment all the advantages that have been given under the Act will disappear, and Ireland will be deprived of her share of the fifteen millions, or about a million and a quarter pounds.
§ The MINISTER of HEALTH (Dr. Addison)
This is a matter of machinery. A rural district council is not a housing authority under these Acts, although it is a housing authority under certain other Acts. I suggest to the Mover of the Amendment to insert after the words "rural district" in the last line of the Amendment the words, "subject to Regulations made by the Local Government Board for Ireland." That, I think, would meet the case, and with that addition we are prepared to accept the Amendment.
§ Major O'NEILL
I am very much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for accepting the Amendment. I felt it was really only a question of getting him to understand what the true facts of the case were in order to get his consent to the Amendment.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
The Government at first opposed the Amendment and now suddenly change their minds and accept it. I do not think, from the point of view of the taxpayer, that the position is quite in order. I know that this does not increase the Vote, and, therefore, does not technically put a fresh charge on the people, but if you spread the money over a larger area, whatever Ireland gains in the extension of the main proposal, some other part of the United Kingdom will lose.
§ Dr. ADDISON
There is an allocation made for the different parts of the United Kingdom, and it is merely here a question as to how that total should be distributed in Ireland.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Lord H. CECIL
That diminishes the force of the argument, but if you extend the area over which public money is to be used, you lay up for yourselves in the future the possibility of a demand for an increase of it.
§ Captain REDMOND
May I ask the Noble Lord why rural areas should be excluded in Ireland and included in England?
§ Lord H. CECIL
There is no reason in the abstract why anybody should not have anything, but the point here is that we ought now constantly to be considering how far our money will go. As I understand it, if this Amendment be not carried, the money is not to go to rural districts, but if it be carried the money will be extended to rural districts so far as it will go. Obviously, therefore, you will create an increased demand from the urban districts, who will have to share what would otherwise be solely theirs. That is the objection to all extensions of expenditure, and unless it be for that reason, I do not understand why the Treasury were opposed to it. I think this House ought always nowadays to support the Treasury against the other Departments. I do not think there is any representative of the Treasury present, but we understood from the Solicitor-General for Ireland that the Treasury were opposed to this Amendment, and certainly we shall act unwisely if we do not support the Treasury in opposing everything which they oppose on the ground of the increase of expenditure. Therefore, unless we have the explanation that the Treasury have no objection to this Amendment, I hope the House will oppose it.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I should like to join with my colleague in thanking the Minister of Health for accepting this Amendment. I should also like to say that the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health is one of the few Cabinet Ministers in whom I have any confidence. He is the one Cabinet Minister who seems to have some humanity in him, and he has undoubtedly during his term of office done his best in dealing with all those pressing and public causes which I think it is to the interests of all of us to deal with. I cannot understand the Noble Lord's position. He objects to larger powers being given to 2187 local bodies for housing, but I do not think there is anything in all the series of problems which we have to deal with after the War so important and so vital as the question of housing, and I would endeavour to secure as large grants as possible from the Government in order to build houses for the people, especially since the policy of the Government is to make these islands countries in which heroes are to live.
That question does not quite arise here. The hon. Member should confine himself to the narrow point as to whether the urban authorities alone or the rural authorities as well should be given powers under the Section.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I am always getting out of order, and I regret that I find myself so often in conflict with you on these narrow points. However, I will endeavour to keep within the bounds of order. Many hon. Members opposite represent constituencies which may be called rural, but which in reality are urban—towns, for instance, like Lurgan, in Co. Down—and a great many of their constituents are linen workers. Nothing is more splendid than the way in which these workers in the linen industries have been enabled to take advantage of the Agricultural Labourers Act in order to build houses, because in many cases their work is only part of the income that they secure in connection with their agricultural pursuits. I should therefore like to join in thanking the right hon. Gentleman for accepting the Amendment.
§ Mr. RENDALL
I think there is something in what the Noble Lord says. There is some ground for thinking that a larger sum may eventually be spent as a result of accepting the Amendment, for this reason, that while the Government allocated a certain sum, the larger the area it is spread over the more likely it is that the money will be used. If we accept the Amendment we must realise that the result will probably be that the whole of the money will be spent, instead, possibly, of only a portion of it.
I have every sympathy with the Irish Members' point of view, and I would not wish them to get any less than their due amount under this Bill, but I very 2188 sincerely regret the decision of the Government in accepting this Amendment. It is quite clear that by bringing in this Amendment you will not have more money spent, but, as the hon. Member who has just sat down has pointed out, you will spend money more quickly, and the Treasury apparently have objected to that. It is nice to know in these days that we have a Treasury at all, and when we see the Treasury putting their foot down—
Whether it is in Ireland or in England. I would like to see them putting it down much more in both countries.
§ Mr. MOLES
The hon. and gallant Member has quite misconceived the position. I pointed out previously that £15,000,000 has been already voted by the House, and a given proportion of it has been allocated to Ireland, but the conditions that govern the building of houses there are such that the urban authorities cannot go over the border and build, and rural authorities cannot give certificates in order to obtain the subsidy, with the result that no money is spent in those areas. What we are doing by this Amendment is to carry out the general intention of the Bill.
I quite agree with everything my hon. Friend has said, that it has nothing whatever to do with spending more money. What I am complaining of is that you are expediting the expenditure of money in this respect, and I do say that in these days, when the Treasury do come here and say they object to it, it is very wrong indeed for any Member of the Government to persuade the House to accept it.
§ Mr. D. M. WILSON
In regard to the point about the Treasury, I would like everyone to be perfectly satisfied, because the point is completely safeguarded by the first section of the Housing (Additional Powers) Act, 1919, which says:Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Minister of Health … may, in accordance with schemes made by him with the approval of the Treasury, make grants out of moneys provided by Parliament.Therefore, no scheme can be adopted at all unless the Treasury approve of it.
§ Amendment agreed to.2189
§ Mr. D. M. WILSON
On a point of Order. Does that include the addition proposed by my right hon. Friend?
§ Mr. WILSON
I mean the words:subject to Regulations to be made by the Local Government Board for Ireland.
§ Major O'NEILL
It arose by the Minister of Health suggesting words to me as the mover of the original Amendment, which I said I would be quite satisfied to go into my Amendment. Could they not go in now, without being formally moved by the Government?
Not at all. I am not a thought reader, and the Government ought to take the trouble to hand in their Amendments.
I have already put the Question, and the Amendment on the Paper has been added. I read out the words when the hon. and gallant Member (Major O'Neill) moved his Amendment. That is the moment for the Government to intervene and say that some Amendment to the words is proposed, but nothing was said and the matter, so far as this House is concerned, is now disposed of. It can be done in another place.