§ "(1) The Defence of the Realm Regulations mentioned in the first column of the Second Schedule to this Act shall, subject to the limitations, qualifications and modifications specified in the third column of that schedule, continue in force until the 31st day of August, 1920, and as so continued shall have effect as if enacted in this Act:
§ Provided that it shall be lawful for His Majesty in Council to revoke in whole or in part any of the regulations so continued as soon as it appears to him that consistently with the national interest any such regulation can be so revoked.
§ (2) If after the termination of the present War any person is guilty of an offence under any regulation made under the Defence of the Realm Consolidation Act, 1914, for the time being in force, he shall be liable on conviction under the Summary Jurisdiction Acts to imprisonment with or without hard 1111 labour for a term not exceeding three months or to a fine not exceeding £100 or to both such imprisonment and fine, and the court may in any case order that any goods or money in respect of which the offence has been committed be forfeited:
§ Provided that—
- (a) a prosecution for any such offence shall not in England and Ireland be instituted except by or with the consent of the Attorney-General for England or Ireland, as the case may be, or by an officer of the police, or by a person acting in each case under a special authority from the Government department concerned; and
- (b) in Ireland the court of summary jurisdiction, when hearing and determining an information or complaint in respect of any such offence shall, in the Dublin metropolitan police district, be constituted of one of the divisional justices of that district, and elsewhere be constituted of a resident magistrate sitting alone or with one or more other resident magistrates, and the court of quarter sessions when hearing and determining an appeal against a conviction of a court of summary jurisdiction for any such offence shall be constituted of the recorder or county court judge sitting alone.
§ (3) The Defence of the Realm (Food Profits) Act, 1918, shall continue in force so long as any order made by the Food Controller tinder the powers continued by this Act regulating the price of any goods continues in force.
§ (4) If immediately before the passing of this Act a proclamation suspending the operation of section one of the Defence of the Realm (Amendment) Act, 1915, in respect of any area is in force, then, as respects that area, all the Defence of the Realm Regulations then in force shall, subject to the power of His Majesty in Council by order to revoke any of such regulations, continue in force until the expiration of twelve months after the termination of the present War, subject, as respects any regulations modified by the Second Schedule to this Act, to the modifications therein contained, save so far as those modifications limit the operation of the regulations, and those regulations as so continued shall have effect as if enacted in this Act; and in that area offences against the said regulations shall, notwithstanding anything hereinbefore contained, continue to be triable and punishable in like manner as if the Defence of the Realm Consolidation Act, 1914, and the Acts amending that Act continued in force, except that where any such offence is tried by a court of summary jurisdiction or, on appeal, by a court of quarter sessions, the court shall be constituted as hereinbefore provided:
§ Provided that, if the "aid proclamation is revoked before the expiration of the said twelve months, this section shall, as from the date of the revocation, apply in respect of 1112 the area in question in like manner as it applies in respect of the rest of the United Kingdom."
§ Mr. LESLIE SCOTT
I beg to move in Sub-section (1) after the word "Schedule" ["column of that Schedule"], to insert the words "and to the extent to which the same would have been valid if not continued under the provisions of this Act."
The Bill as it is framed provides by Sub-section (1) of this Clause that—the Defence of the Realm Regulations mentioned in the first column of the second schedule shall, subject to the limitation qualifications and modifications specified in the third column of that schedule, continue in force until the 31st day of August, 1920, and as so continued shall have effect as if enacted in this Act.Those are the words to which the right hon. and learned Gentleman just now referred. The effect of those words is to take the whole body of the Defence of the Realm Regulations which are mentioned in the Schedule, every one of them, and turn them into an Act of Parliament. That is the effect of it, whether those Regulations are to-day as Regulations valid or invalid, or whether they are made in pursuance of the powers of the Defence of the Realm Act, under which they are purported to be made by the Executive Government, or whether they are outside the enabling powers conferred by Parliament on the Executive Government. As the House knows, quite a number of those Regulations have been challenged in the Courts on various grounds, and in certain cases the Courts have held that those Regulations were ultra vires on the ground that they were not Regulations contemplated by the Act of Parliament which we passed here, and, consequently, were wrongly made. That is what a decision of a court that a Regulation is ultra vires means. It means that the Executive Government has misinterpreted the powers given by Parliament and has done something which it had no right to do. The clause in this Bill says to the House, without considering any of these Regulations in detail, and complicated as they are, and open to criticism as many of them are, and invalid as some of them may be, "please, without thinking any more about it, say that they shall be law whether you intended them or whether you did not." That is not a request that the Executive Government ought to put to this House. 1113 I perfectly understand the general position of the Government in the matter, and I respectfully and humbly agree with it. I think it is necessary to have an Act of this kind and to continue the Defence of the Realm Regulations for a period of time in order to wind up the affairs of the War.
Where a limited liability company is wound up the powers of the directors are continued in the hands of the liquidator for the purpose of the winding up, so far as these powers may be necessary. So here we recognise that in the transition from war to peace there must be an interregnum under which some of the war powers which still continue should be gradually cut down one by one till at the end of the interregnum we have got rid of this emergency legislation. That, I understand, is essentially the view taken by the Government in putting this Bill before the House, but I submit that it is not at all necessary, in order to carry out that perfectly proper purpose, to come to the House and say, "Please treat as law and give legal validity to a number of regulations which may be invalid." That is the whole point. Let us consider for a moment what the position is, and I am only going to take one of two illustrations, because we can deal with them individually on the schedules. If hon. Members will look at the Second Schedule, they will sec that one regulation is 2 B, which is entitled "Power to Requisition War Material, Stores, &c," and the qualification referred to in the third column is "So far as relates to the powers of the Food Controller, and to flax." That is to say, the power to requisition war materials is to be continued so far as relates to the powers of the Food Controller. Any hon. Member who had not looked closely at Regulation 2 B would naturally suppose that that really meant war material and war stores, and would probably think that the Food Controller had not much to do with it and that therefore it was not very important.
But what is Regulation 2 B? It is a Regulation which allows the Food Controller to take anything whatever in the nature of food and to requisition that, just as during the War it was open to the Army Council to requisition shells. It is, so to speak, a pure peace-time matter relating generally to food control, and as a matter of fact that was the Regulation which was the subject of litigation 1114 recently before Mr. Justice Salter in the case of rum, and in the course of that case the Crown contended that they were entitled to take a large quantity of rum, not at its market value, but at a price fixed under Regulation 2 B, namely, a price having regard to the cost of production and a pre-war rate of profit, and no more. Mr. Justice Salter, in dealing with that contention of the Crown, pointed out that under the Army Act and a series of other Acts passed during the War, the right to requisition stores was a right to requisition on payment, at the time of requisition, of the fair market value. He might have added in his judgment, though he did not, that that right has been enacted by this Parliament in various Statutes for the last 250 years. I think the first one was in the reign of Charles 11., if I remember rightly, and that has been regularly treated by this House as the right thing to do. What is the position of the matter in regard to this question of food control? I submit that there is a very important issue involved. We are most anxious to see the food industries of this country getting back as rapidly as possible into normal productivity. If the statutory rule of requisitioning by the Food Controller at the market value is maintained, there is not very much for manufacturers and dealers in the various foodstuffs to fear in the contingency of the Food Controller requisitioning. It is ail the same to them whether they sell to one buyer or another, provided that they get the ordinary market price. But contemplate for a moment the alternative provided by this Regulation which is to become an Act of Parliament.
The Food Controller may requisition, at a price far below the market price, the whole output of a factory. He may make such demands on a given trade as completely to paralyse that trade, for the time being, because he may not only call for the goods to be handed over at a price far below the market price, as was pointed out by Mr. Justice Salter in that case, but in addition there is no obligation under this Regulation, on the contention of the Crown, to pay at the time of purchase. The Crown, it is said, is entitled to say to the owner of the foodstuffs, "Go to the Defence of the Realm Losses Commission, which out of the bounty of the Crown, when it has time to hear your case, may give you what it thinks the 1115 direct loss you have suffered, having regard to the cost of production of the particular articles, and your pre-War rate of profit." A contingency in face of an ordinary manufacturer of that kind, that he might have the whole of his output at a given date taken on those terms, is, I submit, enough to upset the whole commercial arrangement of his business. He may have to wait out of his capital for an indefinite period of time, and the mere contingency of a forced sale at a breakup price is enough to prevent a man putting his whole energies into the development of the post-War activity in his business. That cuts right through trade, and I only take that case as an illustration. The Food Controller is given practically all his powers that he had during the extreme stringencies of the German submarine campaign. They are continued, not with the possibility of a subject saying that these powers are greater than the Act of Parliament had intended to be given, even in the emergency of the submarine, campaign, a fortiori greater than in present times, not only that, but the position is that if this Bill is passed, as it stands now, the whole food industry of the country, to give one example, will not know where it is. I submit that that is wrong.
There are other series of articles, relating to coal, which, may be, are exceptional as really covered by the arrangement existing with the coal trade at the present time. There are similar regulations in regard to the powers of the Shipping Controller and in regard to the traffic on roads and railways, many of them of an extremely drastic character, many of them difficult to apply, and many of them of doubtful validity. Therefore, I submit that the right course for the House to take is to add at least—and this is the minimum necessary for public safety and for the continued development of industry in this country—the words I have proposed in my Amendment.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I beg to second the Amendment. I hope the House realises that this is a very important Amendment and very far-reaching, and I would like to ask you, Mr. Speaker, if you remember the ruling you gave, to a question which I asked you on the Second Reading of the Bill. The Bill as it was originally introduced contained a provision which 1116 enacted that any person who had a claim for damages or compensation against the Government should not be able to proceed by petition of rights, as had been his privilege for a great number of years—I gave the wrong date, I remember, at the time, but at any rate it was many years ago—should not be allowed to proceed in that way, but should only receive such compensation as the Defence of the Realm Losses Commission, by act of grace, chose to give him, and I asked whether, as the title of the Bill was merely to "continue temporarily certain emergency Enactments and Regulations and to make provision with respect to the expiration of emergency Enactments and instruments made thereunder, it was in order to make an alteration in the law of the land and take away from a person a privilege which he had had for many years. You, Sir, if I remember correctly, said that though my point of order was not sufficient to prevent the Second Reading of the Bill, you thought that when it got into Committee that provision should be omitted, and that provision was omitted by the Government, but those of us who were in Committee at that time overlooked the fact that, if there was in a Regulation a Clause which said that the subject was not entitled to any compensation except that which the Defence of the Realm Losses Commission would give, though that was merely a Regulation under the War Emergency Act and, according to the decisions of the various judges which have been given, would not be legally enforced, by the mere fact of making these Regulations an Act of Parliament you then make them an Act, and therefore we are doing in this Bill exactly what you said should not be done.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Well, that is my opinion, and it is the opinion held by another hon. and learned Member (Mr. L. Scott). I do not know that I need compare the merits in law of my two learned Friends, and I do not know whether my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for the Duncairn Division (Sir E. Carson) would kindly give us his opinion upon this matter. We might put him up as arbitrator to judge between the two different opinions of his learned Friends. The hon. and learned Member (Mr. Scott) stated that 1117 he drew attention to this fact in Committee, but we were stupid enough not to follow his argument, and we let it go; but I believe it is outside the scope of the title of the Bill, and I would ask you, Sir, when I sit down, whether your ruling on the Second Reading with regard to the Clause which was then in the Bill does not apply with equal force to these particular words. In any case, I hope that the Government will meet us on this point. In Committee both sides did their best to come to a wise understanding and to make the Bill a workable Bill, and I do think that on this point, even if it should be that you, Sir, do not think the Bill should be amended, the Government might meet us.
§ Sir G. HEWART
Way I say one word, first, as to the true dimensions of this Amendment, and of the matters to which it relates, because I cannot help thinking that there has been, unconsciously of course, a good deal of exaggeration. How was the case put before the House? It was said that under cover of a few words, apparently of little importance in this Bill, the Government was seeking to give statutory force to a whole bunch of regulations, the validity of which had been impugned in the Law Courts.
§ Sir G. HEWART
Or might have been impugned. That is an exaggeration. There is, in the regulations which it is proposed to continue by this Bill, only one, and that is 2 B, which has been the subject of unfavourable decision in the Courts, and if I refrain from exploring the merits of 2 B, it is because the decision of the learned Judge to whom my hon. and learned Friend referred is at present the subject of an appeal. It appears to be thought that if these words, which it is proposed to modify, remain in the Bill as they now are, the effect would be, even before the termination of the War, and it may be retrospective—if I followed the phrase of my hon. and learned Friend—to give legal effect and efficiency to these Regulations which we have never hitherto had. With great respect, that is, in my opinion, an error. So far as any additional effects were given by the inclusion of a Regulation in this Schedule, in my submission an additional effect, if any, could 1118 only arise in the period for which that Regulation was prolonged. Up to the termination of the War it would not affect either before, now, or hereafter, but it might well be that during the period that elapsed from the termination of the War and the 31st August, to which the Regulation is extended, there would be an additional effect in it.
May I say one word as to the real dimensions of the grievance, if grievance it be? What has happened? In the course of the war, by various Regulations, the business of many persons has been affected, and it has been affected in circumstances which, if the Regulations were right, gave rise to no legal claims. In those circumstances, the claimant went to the Defence of the Realm Losses Commission, not for the purpose of considering a legal claim, but for the purpose of obtaining at the hands of the Commission what was fair and right in the circumstances. Now that Royal Commission working—and working hard—during all these years, has had to adjudicate upon an enormous number of claims, and I venture to think it has adjudicated upon those claims in a way which has given universal satisfaction. [HON. MEMBERS: "No! "] I hear one or two hon. Members say "No," but I do, with great respect, adhere to the view I have expressed. But observe this. Is it not a matter of very great importance that we should have one weight and one measure in dealing with persons whose goods may have been requisitioned, or whose property may have been affected? That one set of persons dealing with exactly the same subject matter, having exactly the same class of grievance, should obtain, and acquiesce in, the decisions of the Defence of the Realm Losses Commission and that similar persons dealing with a similar matter at a later stage should receive another, a different and a larger measure of compensation, is, I submit, repugnant to fairness.
Take, for example, another case which was frequently the subject of discussion in this House, and that is the case of a public house that was acquired by the Liquor Control Board. It was represented as being a thing contrary to natural justice that any measure of compensation should be applied to that public house except the measure of compensation prescribed and conventionally understood 1119 under the Lands Clauses Act. But if hon. Members had taken the trouble to look back, to the Debates in this House when that Board was set up, it was expressly stated that it was at the hands of that Tribunal that compensation was to be obtained, and certainly it was never thought by Members of this House that, while a man whose hay or timber was requisitioned was to seek a remedy of one kind, a man whose land was taken should enjoy the superior benefit of the Lands Clauses Act. A glance at the Debates of that time will show what the clear intention of this House was, only the House failed to express clearly its intention in the Act of Parliament that was passed.
What are the true limits of the question which the House is now asked to consider? There is in this Schedule one Regulation, and one only, which has been the subject of adverse judicial decision, not as to the whole but only as to part. What is this Regulation? It is a Regulation which enables the Admiralty, the Army Council, the Air Council or the Minister of Munitions to take possession of war material, food, forage and stores, and it provides that, where those goods are taken, the claim as to price is to be determined, in default of agreement, by the tribunal by which claims for compensation under these Regulations are, in the absence of any express provision to the contrary, to be decided. Then it is provided that in determining that price regard shall not be had to the market price, but shall be had to certain things which are set out, the object of which is, not to secure that a low price shall be paid, but to secure that an unduly high price shall not be paid. I need not toll the House that the mere act of requisition on the pan of the Government sends the price up, You may be dealing with ram one day, with flax another day, with food another day—the fact that the Government comes into the market and buys sends the price up, and the more you requisition the more the price goes up The effect would be that the Government would be continually raising the price against itself. It is with regard to that Regulation in the Schedule and that Regulation alone, so far as I am aware, that any legal doubt at this moment can be said to exist. That is not a doubt as to the substance of the power, but as to the remedy which is 1120 offered. What would be the effect if this were not accepted? Until the termination of the War that Regulation would stand upon no superior footing from that upon which it stands at this moment, but in the period which elapsed from the termination of the War to the 31st August, that Regulation, even though it had some ingredient of invalidity, in the sense that part was ultra rires, would of course have the effect of a statutory enactment.
I ask in all fairness, is that desirable or is it not? That enactment has been acted upon for a long time and upon a considerable scale. If that Regulation is continued, it will be continued because this House thinks it ought to be continued, and does this House really desire to say in an Act of Parliament, "It may be that this Regulation, which we think it desirable to continue, contains an ultra vires element. If it does, we still decide it shall continue with a doubt as to whether a part is ultra vires or not, and we will not take away from a person who thinks himself aggrieved the right to go to the Court and have it declared that that part of the Regulation is beyond the powers of those who make it." A very curious position; a very remarkable position in an Act of Parliament! We decide that a Regulation shall continue, that it shall have force after a certain date, but we leave it vague and open to dispute as to whether a particular part of that Regulation is ultra vires. I would suggest that that is a position open to observation, and may be said to contain an element of humour. My hon. and learned Friend who put down the Amendment, in his natural anxiety not to express less than his Amendment, has, I think, contrived to express a very great deal more than anyone could accept. What docs he propose? He proposes to say that these Regulations are to be continued "to the extent to which the same would have been valid if not continued under the provisions of this Act." That really reduces the matter to a nullity. I gather what my hon. and learned Friend has in view is this, and no more. He desires to avoid giving, by the passing of this Act, any element whatever of superior validity to any one of these Regulations in comparison with the validity they now have, except only as to the time during which they endure.
§ Mr. L. SCOTT
That is exactly what I intended. I do not feel in any sense attached to any particular language, and if the right hon. and learned Gentleman in charge of the Bill would put the Amendment in language on the lines he has just indicated, I should be quite ready to accept that Amendment.
§ Sir G. HEWART
If it really is the sense of the House that the fair thing to do in these circumstances is to avoid giving to any one of these Regulations a greater degree of legal efficacy that it now has, subject of course, to the addition of time, which is the very essence, I should be prepared to consider the insertion of a proviso to that effect, but I do really think it must take the form of a proviso. I think if these words were adopted the effect would be to nullify the Clause, but if that is the sense of the House—and I am anxious not to pre-judge any larger question which might hereafter arise—I will take steps to draft and insert in another place an Amendment which will give effect to what, I believe, has been accepted as an exact statement of what my hon. and learned Friend desires. Nothing is further from our" wish than to go beyond what the House of Commons thinks is fair, but I do desire to make it plain that we are taking a most unusual course in inserting in an Act of Parliament a provision leaving a doubt as to whether there is an ultra rires element or not.
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Sir E. CARSON
I am very glad that the Attorney-General has made the latter part of his statement. In my opinion what is intended to be done by this Act is a matter that the House ought to regard with the greatest caution and the greatest jealousy. What is it? Let us try to get rid of all legal argument and state the thing in a sentence or two. The Acts of Parliament passed during the War gave the Government enormous power to make Regulations under which people could be prosecuted, or fined, or proceeded against in various ways. This Act asks, not merely that these Regulations should be extended beyond a certain time to which I, at all events, do not object, but it proposes, without the House even having before them these Regulations, and without considering one—and there are 60 or 70, and, of course, it Would take some time to read them—by 1122 three or four words in an Act of Parliament to enact that all these Regulations are to be in the same position as if this House had passed them, having approved of them. If ever the House proceeds to make legislation in that kind of way I think it will find that many of the safeguards of the subject are taken away.
I am not going to labour the observations of the Attorney-General, who I think, very rightly, as he generally does when these things are pointed out to him, made a concession. What has happened? Several of these Regulations have been brought before the courts. The courts have held that the Government had no power at all to make them, and that the Act of Parliament under which they were purported to be made did not give the power. This Act says that even if that takes place the matter is to be law. Anything more extraordinary in the way of enacting law I have never seen. I remember that one of these Orders came before myself for advice in regard to, I think it was, the hoarding of food. I saw a decision of the Scottish Courts which held that the Order was so ambiguous, and put a man in such peril, that he could not really know in taking action whether he was or was not making himself a criminal: the court refused to administer the Order. That would be made perfectly valid by this Bill. How it can be thought you can invent Regulations and make them valid in this kind of way I cannot conceive. All I can say is if we are to do it, or have to do it, I should strongly advise the House to go through every single one of these Regulations before they lend their assistance to this Bill becoming an Act of Parliament. My right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General says: "Here we are extending the Regulations, but we refuse to say if the Regulations are valid in law." That is quite true. So we authorise the Government to make Regulations, but we do not say that these Regulations are to have the effect of an Act of Parliament. All we want to do, and what we are willing to do, is to increase the time for which these Regulations are in force. But we further say that the subject who is proceeded against under these Regulations is to have the same right as now, if these Regulations are bad, to challenge them in a court of law. I hope this House will never take away that right from the subject.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
The Attorney-General said at the conclusion of his address, that the proposal which in part he proposes to extend, was almost unprecedented. Of course, we live in almost unprecedented conditions. Therefore, it is obviously necessary that these unusual steps, in totally unusual conditions, should be taken to safeguard the liberty of the subject. I am going to suggest to my hon. and learned Friend who moved the Amendment to ask the Attorney-General to show him the draft proposal by which the right hon. and learned Gentleman proposes to meet the Amendment we have been discussing, sometime, say, in the course of the evening.
§ Sir G. HEWART
What I would suggest, if my hon. and learned Friend agrees, is that when we come to the proviso of this Clause we should add the following proviso:—Provided also that no such Regulation as so continued shall have greater validity than it had before the time when, but for the Act, it would have expired.
§ Captain W. BENN
On a point of order, Mr. SPEAKER. There is an Amendment following on the Order Paper relating to compensation. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman puts his Amendment now will that mean that the Amendment to which I refer cannot be moved?
§ Mr. L. SCOTT
I have considered the terms of the Amendment proposed by the Attorney-General, and I think they will carry out the intention I had in proposing my Amendment. Therefore I propose to ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. L. SCOTT
I. beg to move, in Sub-section (1), after the word "Act" ["shall have affect as if enacted in this Act"], to add the wordsProvided that no person shall by reason of this Act be deprived of any right to compensation which he otherwise would have lad, and no person shall be obliged to submit his claim to compensation to the 1124 Defence of the Realm Losses Commission, who but for this Act would have been entitled to have such claim assessed by any other tribunal or authority.This is really part and parcel of the same point as my last Amendment, though without the expression of the point contained in the Amendment I am now moving, I do not think we should achieve the whole of the object I had in view. As a mere proviso at the end of the Sub-section, the proviso which the right hon. Gentleman has drafted would not deal with the question of compensation. There are other points of view involved in the Amendment. They are two-fold: the one is the right to compensation, and the second is the right to have that compensation assessed by some legal tribunal or authority. Before I sit down, perhaps the Attorney-General will be good enough to tell me if he can accept my Amendment as a continuation of his Amendment. If so. I shall ask leave to withdraw it; if not, I must formally move it and state my reasons!
§ Sir G. HEWART
My answer to that question is that the Bill certainly, as it is to be amended by the proposed proviso, does not have and cannot have the effect of depriving any person of the right to compensation, and that this Amendment has been rendered entirely superfluous by the proviso which, I understood, was regarded as satisfactory.
§ Mr. SCOTT
I am much obliged to my hon. and learned Friend for giving me that information, but I rather doubt the legal view expressed by my hon. and learned Friend, and for this reason, that apart altogether from the question of the validity of any of these Regulations-assuming that they are, all valid—this question of compensation is, in my view, conceivably—I use the word deliberately—affected by the terms of this Bill. I can put the point quite shortly, and, I think, quite clearly without any legal terminology. The argument has been addressed to the Courts on behalf of the Government in a case in which my right hon. and learned Friend and I have been concerned, that a valid Regulation made under the terms of the Defence of the Realm Acts gave the power to the Crown to requisition property, either temporarily or permanently, and did not expressly confer the right for compensation, had the effect of allowing the Crown to requisition property without incurring any oblige- 1125 tion to the subject by way of compensation. It is an argument which I have argued is erroneous. It is an argument strongly pressed by the Law Officers of the Crown in an hotel case which is now under appeal to the House of Lords. Having regard to that argument, I think it will be extremely unwise for this House to pass this Bill as it stands without the words contained in the proviso which I am now moving. If the House passes it without that proviso it will have the effect of absolutely depriving the subject whose property, whether land, buildings, or goods, is requisitioned of any right at all in law of compensation. I do not say it will, but I do say that that argument has been put forward by the Law Officers, and persisted in. Under these circumstances it would be unsafe to omit my Amendment. If that argument, as I have submitted in the Courts, is erroneous, the insertion of my Amendment will not confer upon anybody a right of compensation which he would not otherwise have. I am merely asking the House to preserve to the subject those rights of compensation which he has to-day.
During the War, conceivably, arguments on the ground of public policy could be put forward, and that the subject would or might, in consequence, suffer. I venture, however, to submit that if that may be so during a war, though I do not admit it is during peace, and in the condition of things we now are in, it would be quite monstrous that property should be requisitioned and not paid for. Let us take one or two particular Regulations contained here. Take Regulation 2A B, which gives the power to the Ministry of Pensions or the Ministry of Labour to requisition premises either for pensions offices or for Labour Exchanges all over the country. If this Amendment be not accepted, it may be—I am expressing no opinion—hat the Minister of Labour or the Minister of Pensions will be able to requisition premises and take them over permanently, and yet merely refer the owner of the premises to the Defence of the Realm Losses Commission for some grant from the bounty of the Crown. The time has passed for that type of legislation, and I submit it is vitally important that we should put in this Amendment to make it clear that we are preserving the rights of the subject as they have hitherto existed.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I beg to second this Amendment. The point of the last Amendment was that the subject had the same right to appeal to a Court of Law in the future as in the past, but this proposal is different. This Amendment says that where property is taken, if in the past the person had the right to compensation, that right should be preserved. That is the purpose of this Amendment. The Keyser's Hotel is an illustration of this point. There was no question as to whether the owner should go before a particular Court, but the contention of the Crown was that they had a right to take possession and give nothing whatever for the property. My hon. and learned Friend wants to provide that in the future that shall not take place. He wishes to provide in the future that if under the present law the owner has a right to compensation that right should not be altered by this Bill. It may be that this Amendment will preserve the right which the owner had in the past, and in that case it will be a good thing. It may be that a certain right which might be questioned will be established, and in that case it will do good and do something to prevent owners having to argue as to whether their claim to compensation has or has not been satisfied by this Bill, and it will not be necessary on these points to obtain Counsel's opinion, and that will not be a bad thing. Therefore, I hope the Government will accept this Amendment. It may be superfluous, and, if so, it will do no harm, and if it is not superfluous it will do good.
§ Sir G. HEWART
It is unfortunate that? did not state in clearer terms, when proposing the insertion of the proviso at the end of Clause 2, that it was a proposal with reference to the purpose of this and the next Amendment. What is declared to be the purpose of this Amendment? It is to prevent this Act from taking away any right to compensation which a subject would otherwise have had and to prevent the Act from obliging a person to submit his claim for compensation to the Defence of the Realm Losses Commission. The Bill makes no such suggestion and contains no such proposal.
§ Mr. SCOTT
I am sure My right hon and learned Friend does not intend to do my argument injustice. If the Regulations remain as mere Regulations, the 1127 argument of the Crown is that the Regulations took away the right of the subject to compensation. Those Regulations cease to be mere Regulations and come into the Bill as an Act of Parliament, which they do in the words the House is asked to accept later on. I am talking of valid Regulations that have statutory effect. There is an ordinary rule of statutory interpretation with which my right hon. and learned Friend is quite familiar, and it is that if a Statute for the first time creates a power, but gives no remedy, it is an argument that no remedy was intended. The effect of those words might be to take away a right to compensation.
§ Sir G. HEWART
With great respect I do not agree with my hon. and learned Friend. What have we done? We hare agreed to the insertion of a proviso which runs:—Provided also that no such Regulation as so continued shall have greater validity than it had before the time when, but for this Act, it would have expired.Therefore we have carefully avoided the very evil which falls within the terms my hon. and learned Friend has expressed. It is feared that by including some of these Regulations in an Act of Parliament we should defeat some rights which otherwise owners would possess, but the matter stands in this way. Of two things, one. Either some of these Regulations send the claim to the Defence of the Realm Losses Commission, or they do not. If they send them rightly then this Rill docs not alter them; if they do not send them rightly, then this Bill does not affect the matter. I am anxious to preserve the status quo. My hon. Friend thinks that the proviso which I have volunteered proposes to go further, but I have carried the concession to the last point, and I really must resist this Amendment. If I thought there was any real substance in it or any danger that by the passing of this Act a person would be deprived of any of his rights, I should have no hesitation in saying "Yes." The proviso I have agreed to meets everything that can be fairly asked.
§ Mr. MacVEAGH
That proviso, I understand, does not give statutory effect to any Regulation which in itself would have been ultra vires.
§ Colonel GRETTON
There has been a good deal of dissatisfaction in dealing with these questions of losses and compensation. We want Parliament to lay down a clear decision so that the subject may know where he is. I understand that it is now made clear whether the Regulation is valid or whether the Regulation itself rules a person out. The. Defence of the Realm Regulations do not run beyond the 31st August, and a great deal may be done between now and that time.
§ Colonel P. WILLIAMS
On the Second Reading of this Bill I asked for some as surance or ruling as to when these Regulations would come to an end. This subject is affected by the answer to that question. The right hon. Gentleman then gave me an assurance that these Regulations under Schedule 3 would come to an end on the 31st August. I submit to him that that is not so if he will reconsider it, having regard to the fact that the War may not have terminated until the ratification of the peace with Turkey by the 31st of August. If we have not got the official ratification by the 31st August will this Act come into force at all with regard to the Regulations contained in the Second Schedule. If we do not get the ratification until December, then the First Schedule is extended for twelve months after the 1st December when the' official ratification of peace occurs. I understand that the period between the 31st of August and the 10th December is covered by the original Act, and this Act does not affect those Regulations in any way. If we are not going to get the ratification of peace until close on the 31st of August, very little damage can be done if this Amendment is refused. If, however, it were to be officially declared that the war would be at an end to-morrow or next week by an Order in Council—
§ Colonel WILLIAMS
It has a very important bearing upon the question whether we should continue to safeguard the right of the subject to appeal to the Law Court, notwithstanding anything that may be in this Act.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."1130
§ The House divided: Ayes, 83; Noes, 240.1131
|Division No. 9.]||AYES.||[5.29 p.m.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. F. D.||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Pinkham, Lieut.-Colonel Charles|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Ashley, Colonel Wilfrid W.||Gretton, Colonel John||Redmond, Captain William Archer|
|Barker, Major Robert H.||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Bell, James (Lancaster, Ormskirk)||Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth||Robertson, John|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Hall, F. (York, W. R. Normanton||Rose, Frank H.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Hallas, Eldred||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Hartshorn, Vernon||Sexton, James|
|Brace, Rt. Hon. William||Hirst, G. H.||Shaw, Thomas (Preston)|
|Briant, Frank||Holmes, J. Stanley||Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)|
|Bromfield, William||Hunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster)||Spencer, George A.|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Jones, Sir Evan (Pembroke)||Spoor, B. G.|
|Burdon, Colonel Rowland||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Stevens, Marshall|
|Cairns, John||Kenyon, Barnet||Surtees, Brigadier-General H. C.|
|Campbell, J. D. G.||Klley, James D.||Swan, J. E. C.|
|Cape, Thomas||Law, Alfred J. (Rochdale)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield)||Lunn, William||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Waterson, A. E.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R.||Maclean, Rt. Hn. Sir D. (Midlothian)||Wedgwood, Colonel J. C.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Macveagh, Jeremiah||Wignall, James|
|Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)||Morgan, Major D. Watts||Wilkle, Alexander|
|Davies, A. (Lancaster, Clitheroe)||Mount, William Arthur||Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross)||Wilson, W. Tyson (Westhoughton)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Myers, Thomas||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Newbould, Alfred Ernest||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Finney, Samuel||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|FitzRoy, Captain Hon. E. A.||Onions, Alfred||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Ormsby-Gore, Captain Hon. W.||Mr. Leslie Scott and Sir F. Banbury.|
|Glanville, Harold James||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. C.||Cope, Major Wm.||Greig, Colonel James William|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Courthope, Major George L.||Griggs, Sir Peter|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Gritten, W. G. Howard|
|Allen, Lieut.-Colonel William James||Cowan, Sir H. (Aberdeen and Kinc.)||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Craig, Colonel Sir J. (Down, Mid)||Hambro, Captain Angus Valdemar|
|Bagley, Captain E. Ashton||Curzon, Commander Viscount||Hamilton, Major C. G. C.|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirk'dy)||Hancock, John George|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Hanna, George Boyle|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)||Hanson, Sir Charles Augustin|
|Barnett, Major R. W.||Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Harris, Sir Henry Percy|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan)||Haslam, Lewis|
|Barrand, A. R.||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.|
|Barrie, Charles Coupar||Dawes, James Arthur||Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Denison-Pender, John C.||Herbert, Denis (Hertford, Watford)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Denniss, Edmund R. B. (Oldham)||Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Dewhurst, Lieut.-Commander Harry||Higham, Charles Frederick|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon w.||Dixon, Captain Herbert||Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Dockrell, Sir Maurice||Hoare, Lieut.-Colonel Sir S. J. G.|
|Bennett, Thomas Jewell||Donald, Thompson||Hood, Joseph|
|Bigland, Alfred||Doyle, N. Grattan||Hope, James F. (Sheffield, Central)|
|Blair, Major Reginald||Duncannon, Viscount||Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. A. (Midlothian)|
|Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Edge, Captain William||Hopkins, John W. W.|
|Borwick, Major G. O.||Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)|
|Bottomley, Horatio W.||Edwards, John H. (Glam., Neath)||Howard, Major S. G.|
|Bowles, Colonel H. F.||Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Hudson, R. M.|
|Brassey, Major H. L. C.||Falcon, Captain Michael||Hurst, Major Gerald B.|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Falle, Major Sir Bertram G.||Inskip, Thomas Walker H.|
|Brown, Captain D. C.||Farquharson, Major A. C.||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.|
|Brown, T. W. (Down, North)||Fell, Sir Arthur||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert|
|Bruton, Sir James||Flannery, Sir James Fortescue||Jesson, C.|
|Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.||Forestier-Walker, L.||Jodrell, Neville Paul|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)|
|Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay)||Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly)|
|Burn, T. H. (Belfast, St. Anne's)||Freece, Sir Walter de||Kerr-Smiley, Major Peter Kerr|
|Butcher, Sir John George||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Kidd, James|
|Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Gardiner, James||King, Commander Henry Douglas|
|Carew, Charles Robert S.||Geddes, Rt. Hon. Sir E. (Camb'dge)||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George|
|Carr, W. Theodore||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Lindsay, William Arthur|
|Casey, T. W.||Gilbert, James Daniel||Lloyd, George Butler|
|Cautley, Henry S.||Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel John||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n)|
|Cayzer, Major Herbert Robin||Glyn, Major Ralph||Lonsdale, James Rolston|
|Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood)||Goff, Sir R. Park||Lorden, John William|
|Cheyne, Sir William Watson||Gould, James C.||Loseby, Captain C. E.|
|Child, Brigadier-General Sir Hill||Grant, James A.||Lowe, Sir Francis William|
|Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. Spender||Green, Albert (Derby)||Lynn, R. J.|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward F.||Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)||Lyon, Laurance|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Greene, Lieut.-Col. W. (Hackney, N.)||M'Donald, Dr. Bouverie F. P.|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunei||Greenwood, Colonel Sir Hamar||Macdonald, Rt. Hon. John Murray|
|M'Guffin, Samuel.||Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry||Stewart, Gershom|
|Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachie)||Pearce, Sir William||Strauss, Edward Anthony|
|McLaren, Robert (Lanark, Northern)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike||Sturrock, J. Leng|
|M'Lean, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. W.||Peel, Lieut.-Col. R. F. (Woodbridge)||Sugden, W. H.|
|Macleod, J. Mackintosh||Peel, Col. Hn. S. (Uxbridge, Mddx.)||Sykes, Colonel Sir A. J. (Knutsford)|
|Macmaster, Donald||Pennefather, De Fonblanque||Sykes, Sir Charles (Huddersfield)|
|M'Mlcking, Major Gilbert||Philipps, Sir Owen C. (Chester, City)||Talbot, G. A. (Hemel Hempstead)|
|Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Pickering, Lieut.-Colonel Emil W.||Taylor, J.|
|M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||Pilditch, Sir Philip||Terrell, George (Wilts, Chippenham)|
|Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James l.||Pollock, Sir Ernest M.||Thomas, Sir Robert J. (Wrexham)|
|Macquisten, F. A.||Preston, W. R.||Thomas-Stanford, Charles|
|Marriott, John Arthur Ransome||Prescott, Major W. H.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Mason, Robert||Purchase, H. G.||Waring, Major Walter|
|Moles, Thomas||Ratcliffe, Henry Butler||Watson, Captain John Bertrand|
|Molson, Major John Elsdale||Rees, Sir John D. (Nottingham, East)||Whitla, Sir William|
|Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred M.||Reid, D. D.||Wigan, Brig.-Gen. John Tyson|
|Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C. I||Richardson, Alexander (Gravesend)||Williams, Lt. Com. C. (Tavistock)|
|Moreing, Captain Algernon H.||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Williams, Col. Sir R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Morris, Richard||Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)||Williamson, Rt. Hon. Sir Archibald|
|Mosley, Oswald||Rodger, A. K.||Willoughby, Lieut.-Col. Hon. Claud|
|Murchison, C. K.||Roundell, Colonel R. F.||Wilson, Capt. A. S. (Holderness)|
|Murray, Lt.-Col. C. D. (Edinburgh);||Royds, Lieut.-Colonel Edmund||Wiison, Daniel M. (Down, West)|
|Murray, Hon. Gideon (St. Rollax)||Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir M. (Bethnal Gn.)|
|Murray, John (Leeds, West)||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Wilson-Fox, Henry|
|Neal, Arthur||Scott, Sir Samuel (St. Marylebone)||Winterten, Major Earl|
|Nelson, R. F. W. R.||Seager, Sir William||Wooicock, William James U.|
|Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)||Seely, Major-General Rt. Hon. John||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Nicholl, Commander Sir Edward||Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)||Yate, Colonel Charles Edward|
|Nicholson, Reginald (Doncaster)||Shaw, William T. (Forfar)||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Nield, Sir Herbert||Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)||Young, W. (Perth & Kinross, Perth)|
|Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G.||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John||Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|O'Neill, Major Hon. Robert W. H.||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. G. f.||Lord E. Talbot and Mr. Dudley Ward.|
§ Sir G. HEWART
I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (1), to insert the words, "provided also that no such regulation as so continued shall have greater validity than it had before the time when but for this Act it would have expired."
§ Mr. HURD
I am very shy of legal subtleties which I do not understand, and I should he much obliged if the Attorney-General would tell me if this covers the Regulation affecting a matter of great interest to the Southwest country, namely, the differential price of milk. The Attorney-General seemed to make some distinction between matters that have been subject to legal decision, and those matters of only legal doubt. There have been no legal decisions in this matter, but there is very great doubt. I refer to the regulation imposing in effect a tax on Somerset and the other three South-Western counties. Only Parliament can impose taxes. The highest unofficial legal opinion is that the Regulation of the Food Controller is unconstitutional and illegal and that the agreements made under it are null and void. Consequently, a quarter of a million of money has been taken from the hands of the farmers and held up by intermediaries, and the Food Controller is trying to get that money which does not belong to him. I am anxious to make quite sure that this Bill will not give any increased 1132 validity to that Food Regulation which is a matter of such grave legal doubt.
§ Sir G. HEWART
I prefer not to make any observations with reference to a particular Regulation which I have not seen and about which I know nothing. This proviso is perfectly genuine. It includes all the Regulations contained in the Schedule, and it provides that the mere fact that these Regulations are continued for a further period by this Bill is not to give any of them a higher validity than they would have had but for the Bill, or, to put it more, accurately, than they had during the time that they were in full force. In other words, whatever may be the validity or want of validity of any Regulation, it is not affected one way or the other by being included in the Schedule.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Captain W. BENN
I beg to move, in Sub-section (2), to leave out the words "one hundred," and to insert instead therefor the word "fifty".
This is a very small Amendment. All it does is to propose to reduce the money penalty for a breach of the Regulations under the Defence of the Realm Act from £100 to £50. It should be borne in mind that the penalties in this Bill were designed for a time of war, when, necessarily, it was right to enforce the Regulations as vigorously as possible in order to prevent any contravention of them. 1133 But we are not now really at war although we are nominally so, because of the delay in making peace with several of the belligerents, and I think we may very well diminish the penalties under the Act. The necessity for these Regulations has very much diminished by reason of the fact that we are practically in a state of peace. The Court has power to inflict either a money penalty or imprisonment, and there is no reason why if the money penalty is reduced anyone who commits a bad offence should not be sentenced to imprisonment. There is a third alternative—power given to the Court in the shape of power to confiscate goods, and on that I may have to say something presently, but I will content myself now with moving this Amendment to reduce the penalty.
§ Sir G. HEWART
Judging from the arguments to which we have just listened, I am not sure that the hon. and gallant Gentlemen has had the advantage of reading the report of what took place in Committee upstairs. There we spent not a little time on this very question of penalties, and if the hon. and gallant Member will take the trouble to compare the Bill as it now is with the Bill as it stood before we went into Committee, he will see that we have reduced the penalties enormously. We have taken away entirely the power of prosecuting for certain offences. We have taken away the possibility of long: terms of imprisonment. We have taken away the possibility of the death sentence which exists in time of War. The period of imprisonment is limited to a maximum of three months, and the maximum penalty to £100. If we are to substitute £50, it will mean that the House really affirms that in no circumstances, however grave the offence, shall the Bench have power to impose a fine of more than £50, or three months' imprisonment. I submit that that would not meet the necessities of some cases, and inasmuch as we have got rid of all the more severe penalties, I think the House would do well to retain this provision intact.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
I can quite understand that the right hon. Gentleman and the Government as a whole feel it rather a jerk to come down from the altitude death penalty or a sentence of penal servitude, possible in war-time, to the more 1134 moderate penalties which are proper to peace time.
§ Sir G. HEWART
That is not what I said in the least. I was referring to the argument that penalties suitable in time of war are excessive in peace time, and I pointed out that, agreeing as I did with that proposal, we have already got rid of the severer penalties.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
I venture to suggest that a suitable penalty for these milder days is £50 and not £100, and, therefore, I cannot hold that the arguments of the learned Attorney-General have met the case put forward by my hon. and gallant Friend.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Colonel ASHLEY
I beg to move, to leave out the words "or to both such imprisonment and fine."
I am quite aware that of late years the practice has grown up of giving the Courts power to inflict both a fine and imprisonment for one offence. In my humble opinion the old practice which existed in this country is a better one, namely, that the Court should only have power to impose a fine or imprisonment. Of course, if the fine is not paid imprisonment follows. But it does seem to mo quite wrong, on the ordinary grounds of justice, to impose both penalties for the one offence. I go further, and I shall support every Amendment to this Bill on the ground that I disapprove of the continuance of these Regulations after the termination of the War. When I went before my constituents just over a year ago I gave a pledge that directly the War was over I would do my best to secure that the Defence of the Realm Act should be got rid of. I think it entirely wrong that War legislation should remain in force for one moment after peace has been declared. As this Bill is contrary to the pledges I gave, I shall support this and other Amendments to it.
§ Sir G. HEWART
I am sure my hon. and gallant Friend will not expect me to reply at any length to his argument. I understand he brings forward this Amendment, first, because of the pledges he gave at the last election, and, secondly, because he is opposed to inflicting both a fine and imprisonment for one and the same offence. I cannot accept his Amendment.
§ Amendment negatived.1135
§ Colonel P. WILLIAMS
I beg to move to leave out the wordsand the Court may in any case order that any goods or money in respect of which the offence has been committed be forfeited.My objection to this provision is on entirely different grounds from those put forward by the hon. and gallant Member who moved the last Amendment. The House will observe that the penalties provided in the Bill now are imprisonment for three months or a fine of £100, as well as the confiscation of the goods involved. We maintain that the confiscation of goods renders the penalty uncertain. We hold that Parliament, if it enacts penalties at all, should enact the maximum penalty and not leave the amount of the fine uncertain. The penalty might affect goods of the value of a few pence or of the value of thousands of pounds, and if a man unconsciously, or even wilfully, commits an offence in dealing with vast quantities of food or stores ho may be liable to have all the goods seized, and the; penalty in that case may amount to thousands of pounds. I quite agree that the position is somewhat mitigated by the discretion given to the Bench to decide the penalty. But that does not remove the root objection, and I repeat that Parliament should enact the maximum penalty and not allow it to be added to.
§ Mr. NEWBOULD
I second the Amendment for the reason given by the hon. and gallant Member opposite on the previous Amendment—namely, that I am pledged to my constituents to do all in my power to bring to an end the Defence of the Realm Regulations.
§ Sir W. RUTHERFORD
I should like to appeal to the Attorney-General to accept this Amendment, and I do so in the interests not only of the public but of the commercial community. It is perfectly clear that a man might commit an offence in respect of some foreign consignment of goods, while the person who really owns the goods, or the greater portion of them, might not be the individual who committed the offence at all. In almost every case of large consignments of goods, banks are directly interested by having financed them. There are, too, the original vendors of the goods and various other people who may be concerned, and it is conceivable that all these may have a direct interest, 1136 possibly to the extent of over 90 per cent. of the real value of the goods. They may have had nothing whatever to do with the offence which has been committed, but yet under the Clause, as it stands these innocent people may lose vast sums of money. I do not think we are justified in putting into an Act of Parliament anything which is calculated to do such a great injustice. If the Government has power to get at the real culprit I think that should be sufficient without attempting to do something further, which would disturb the general commercial community and cause innocent people to lose large sums of money. I venture therefore very respectfully to appeal to the Attorney-General to accept the Amendment and to agree to the deletion of these words.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Mr. KILEY
I wish to support the Amendment on somewhat different grounds from others who have spoken. There is need, above everything else, to obtain something like uniformity of penalty for like offences, which will not be obtainable under the Bill as it is at present drawn. A penalty of three months' imprisonment or a fine of £100 is quite clear, but the seizure of any goods which may be in dispute opens up quite a different aspect of the case. When one realises the difference of opinion that arises in the courts, and when we have found two of our most distinguished learned Members differing over what seemed to be a simple matter, one can imagine what will happen, as constantly happens in a court in my own district where the Magistrate on a Monday takes up quite a different line and inflicts quite a different penalty for a like offence from what the next Magistrate, who sits on a Tuesday, will do, and they are both Stipendiary Magistrates. I am very anxious to prevent anything of that kind occurring in the matter which we are now considering.
§ Sir G. HEWART
This is one of the many matters which we thoroughly thrashed out in Committee, and I hope this Amendment will not be persisted in. It was said by the Seconder that it was highly desirable that Parliament should lay down in clear terms what the maximum penalty is. That is exactly what this Clause seeks to do. It says the 1137 maximum penalty is so much imprisonment and so much fine and, in a proper case, forfeiture of the goods. The particular case which was mentioned during the Committee was the case where an order had been made under the Regulations to a grower of flax to deliver up his crop of flax, and it was pointed out by the Department concerned that it might be quite worth a man's while to suffer the maximum fine and even, if he were a person of a particular kind, suffer imprisonment, always provided that his flax remained untouched. There is another curious and paradoxical result of the suggestion which is now made. Suppose there was a case of that kind where a man was willing to pay £100 fine, where £100 was as nothing in comparison with the gain which he had illegitimately secured. The court in such a case, though it felt that £100 was not enough, and though it desired merely to impose a financial penalty, could not forfeit the goods, and therefore if it desired to inflict any further penalty, the only further penalty would be imprisonment. I can imagine that there are cases in which it would be quite useful that the court, while abstaining from sending an offender to prison, should be able to say, "Not only shall you pay a fine of £100, but we shall forfeit the goods." It is not stated in any case that that must be the penalty. All that the Clause provides is that in a proper ease the court may have it in its power to inflict this punishment.
§ Sir G. HEWART
There is no difference in the meaning whether one says "in any case" or "in any proper case." This is a matter which ought to be left within the power and the discretion of the Tribunal.
Captain W. BENIS
I think the House should differentiate between the class of offence with which this Bill deals and offences against what I may call the principle of honesty and justice. These are not Regulations dealing with conduct which may be reprehensible in a moral sense, but Regulations, some valid and some invalid, made by various Government Departments to enable us to win the War. The War is over, and we think therefore we should put the very narrowest restriction upon the continuance 1138 of these powers. That is generally the case for all the Amendments, and particularly is it the case for this particular Amendment. One hon. Member who supported it said there should be a maximum put upon the penalty which the Court is permitted to inflict. Laymen are at a great disadvantage in discussing these matters because they can only be guided by the principles of their inward light or common sense without having the advantage of a knowledge of the whole processes of law, but this is precisely what this Sub-section does not do. It does not put a maximum on the powers of the Court. For example, who can possibly define what goods or money are goods in respect of which the offence has been committed?
§ Captain BENN
Let me take the case of Ireland. These Regulations are at present being made the subject of a most iniquitous administration in Ireland, to which this Sub-section applies. Some time ago the "Freeman's Journal" was suppressed. Would the Attorney-General not say that the whole of the buildings and plant and the paper stock of the "Freeman's Journal" could be correctly described as "goods or money in respect of which the offence was being committed?" We do not think it was an offence at all. We think it is an offence which could have been and should have been dealt with under the ordinary law. Any offence which is normally reprehensible is provided for by the ordinary law. In respect of those offences which are not real offences, but offences only of a technical kind, the court should be told that there is a maximum fixed to the penalty which they can inflict.
§ Colonel GREIG
May I call attention to one of these regulations which deals with the supply, preparation and use of cocaine and opium, a very proper case in which to forfeit goods.
§ Mr. RAFFAN
In the event of any seizure of cocaine or opium the monetary value would not be great, and that emboldens me to ask the Attorney-General whether he would not fix some maximum amount beyond which the court could not go and whether he really thinks it necessary to leave this liability, which may 1139 extend to an enormous amount and which might indeed ruin many* business men, without any restriction at all. If you could put a reasonable sum it would appease some of the fears of those who are very much opposed to this proposal. If that is not done, those who are hostile to it will be bound to go to a Division.
§ Mr. L. SCOTT
I am not quite sure whether this is meant to enable the order to be made irrespective of the ownership of the goods or only if the delinquent himself owns the whole property in the goods. In commerce, in a great number of eases, the dealer has not a beneficial interest in the goods except to a very small percentage. The point ought to be made clear.
§ Mr. INSKIP
I think this is a discussion about very little. Surely if you can send a man to gaol for three months it is a little idle to talk about putting a further financial burden upon him because of the offence for which he is going to gaol, and there are men who do not mind going to gaol if they can make enough money, but who very much resent having the money forfeited. A former tenant of mine not very long ago went to gaol for selling potatoes above the controlled price. I heard afterwards that he did not mind going to gaol, but resented having the potatoes and the price forfeited, and that is exactly the sort of case which may occur, and to meet which this provision is intended.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
These are just the sort of arguments which would be addressed in endeavouring to persuade Parliament to pass any Act, no matter how penal its character may be, and it really does not amount to very much. What we are doing here is endeavouring to reconstitute the old pre-War position of the liberty of the subject to trade. I want the Attorney-General to address himself to that point of view, which has been urged not only from those Benches, but from all over the House. The hon. Member (Mr. Scott) has put a point of real importance, and one which is present to the minds of many of us who have had experience of business. What is the special case which the Attorney-General must have in his mind for the maintenance of this additional power of punishment I We all agree that it was necessary 1140 during the War and for months after the War, perhaps for a year after the War, but surely better days not only are in sight, but have already begun. People are settling down to normal conditions, and it is because we want to adjust this legislation which we are now passing to the much more normal conditions which are obtaining that we press the Amendment on him, unless he can show us some special reason for retaining this additional power. We have the fine and we have the power to imprison. What are the special grounds which he must have in his mind for compelling us to accept this quite unnecessary, as we think in existing conditions additional power of forfeiture?
§ Sir G. HEWART
I am not quite sure that I follow my right hon. Friend. He said it was quite right that these powers should exist during the period of the War. As a matter of fact, during actual hostilities far greater penalties might have been imposed. If the distinction is between the period of the War and the very brief period over which these Regulations are to be continued, that is a difference at the outside of three or four months. I cannot imagine what is the new ingredient which is brought into the matter to make it right to forfeit a man's flax or hoarded food or to forfeit a man's goods which he has failed, in spite of an Order, to deliver up to the date when the Order in Council is made, and why it becomes wrong to do that once the Order is made. My right hon. Friend asks, what is the object? It is the object of all punishment to deter, to prevent that kind of conduct from being perpetrated. It is said three months' imprisonment is enough. I fine of £100 is enough. I am not so sure. I am told by those who have to do, for example, with the Food Control Department in regard to offences which might be committed against the Regulations relating to food that there are many cases in which a penalty of that kind is not a sufficient deterrent; but the prospect of forfeiture of the goods or money in respect of which the crime is committed is a very effective deterrent. I ask my right hon. Friend this question: ex hypothesi he is willing to trust the tribunal as to the imposition of three months' imprisonment or it may be of £100 fine, or it may be of both. What is there so sacrosanct in the goods or the money connected with the 1141 offence that they should be spared? I do not understand.
§ Sir G. HEWART
I am glad my hon. Friend made that remark. That particular element of the penalty is the maximum which the man fixes for himself. The offender has it in his own power to decide how much he may forfeit.
§ Sir G. HEWART
That is a question about Ireland. So far as this country is concerned, if the hon. and gallant Member studies the Bill he will see that press offences wholly disappear.
§ are for the time being continued in Ireland, it might be said that the printing presses with which the offence is committed could be seized.
§ Captain BENN
In that case there is no maximum fixed by the criminal himself I as to the amount of pecuniary penalty he may have to pay.
§ Sir G. HEWART
If he is printing upon the printing press something which brings him within the law, and the Court thinks it a proper penalty to impose, no doubt the printing press might be forfeited. I do not think it has ever happened.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 260: Noes, 45.1143
|Division No. 10.]||AYES.||[6.20 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Casey, T. W.||Gardiner, James|
|Allen, Lieut.-Colonel William James||Cautley, Henry S.||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Cayzer, Major Herbert Robin||Gilbert, James Daniel|
|Atkey, A. B.||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Birm., Aston)||Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Bagley, Captain E. Ashton||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Glyn, Major Ralph|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A.(Birm., W.)||Coff, Sir R. Park|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Cheyne, Sir William Watson||Gould, James C.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Child, Brigadier-General Sir Hill||Grant, James A.|
|Balfour, Sir R. (Glasgow, Partick)||Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. Spender||Green, Albert (Derby)|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)|
|Barker, Major Robert H.||Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Greene, Lieut.-Col. W. (Hackney, N.)|
|Barnett, Major R. W.||Cope, Major Wm.||Greenwood, Colonel Sir Hamar|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Courthope, Major George L.||Greig, Colonel James William|
|Barrand, A. R.||Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Gretton, Colonel John|
|Barrie, Charles Coupar||Cowan, Sir H. (Aberdeen and Kinc.)||Griggs, Sir Peter|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)||Gritten, W. G. Howard|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Craig, Colonel Sir J. (Down, Mid)||Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.|
|Bell, James (Lancaster, Ormskirk)||Craik, Ht. Hon. Sir Henry||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirk'dy)||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Hambro, Captain Angus Valdemar|
|Bennett, Thomas Jewell||Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)||Hamilton, Major C. G. C.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Hancock, John George|
|Bigland, Alfred||Dawes, James Arthur||Hanna, George Boyle|
|Blair, Major Reginald||Denison-Pender, John C.||Hanson, Sir Charles Augustin|
|Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Denniss, Edmund R. B. (Oldham)||Harris, Sir Henry Percy|
|Borwick, Major G. O.||Dewhurst, Lieut.-Commander Harry||Haslam, Lewis|
|Bottomley, Horatio W.||Dixon, Captain Herbert||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Dockrell, Sir Maurice||Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Donald, Thompson||Herbert, Denis (Hertford, Watford)|
|Brassey, Major H. L. C.||Duncannon, Viscount||Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Edge, Captain William||Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank|
|Broad, Thomas Tucker||Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Hoare, Lieut.-Colonel Sir S. J. G.|
|Brown, Captain D. C.||Edwards, John H. (Glam., Neath)||Hood, Joseph|
|Brown, T. W. (Down, North)||Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir I. A. (Midlothian)|
|Bruton, Sir James||Elveden, Viscount||Hopklnson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)|
|Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.||Falcon, Captain Michael||Howard, Major S. G.|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Falle, Major Sir Bertram G.||Hudson, R. M.|
|Burdon, Colonel Rowland||Farquharson, Major A. C.||Hunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster)|
|Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay)||Fell, Sir Arthur||Hurst, Major Gerald B.|
|Burn, T. H. (Belfast, St. Anne's)||Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Inskip, Thomas Walker H.|
|Butcher, Sir John George||FitzRoy, Captain Hon. E. A.||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.|
|Campbell, J. D. G.||Flannery, Sir James Fortescue||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert|
|Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Forestier-Walker, L.||Jesson, C.|
|Carew, Charles Robert S.||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Jodrell, Neville Paul|
|Carr, W. Theodore||Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Johnson, L. S.|
|Jones, Sir Evan (Pembroke)||Murray, Lt.-Col. C. D. (Edinburgh)||Scott, Sir Samuel (St. Marylebone)|
|Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly)||Murray, Hon. Gideon (St. Rollox)||Seager, Sir William|
|Kerr-Smiley, Major Peter Kerr||Murray, John (Leeds, West)||Seely, Major-General Rt. Hon. John|
|Kidd, James||Neal, Arthur||Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)|
|King, Commander Henry Douglas||Kelson, R. F. W. R.||Shaw, William T. (Forfar)|
|Knights, Capt. H. N. (C'berwell, N.)||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)||Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Nicholl, Commander Sir Edward||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Law, Alfred J. (Rochdale)||Nicholson, Reginald (Doncaster)||Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander|
|Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)||Nield, Sir Herbert||Stanier, Captain Sir Seville|
|Lindsay, William Arthur||Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G.||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. G. F.|
|Lloyd, George Butler||Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John||Steel, Major S. Strang|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||O'Neill, Major Hon. Robert W. H.||Stewart, Gershom|
|Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n)||Onions, Alfred||Strauss, Edward Anthony|
|Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Ormsby-Gore, Captain Hon. W.||Sturrock, J. Leng|
|Lonsdale, James Rolston||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike||Sugden, W. H.|
|Lorden, John William||Peel, Lieut.-Col. R. F. (Woodbridge)||Surtees, Brigadier-General H. C.|
|Loseby, Captain C. E.||Peel, Col. Hn. S. (Uxbridge, Mddx.)||Sykes, Colonel Sir A. J. (Knutsford)|
|Lowe, Sir Francis William||Perkins, Walter Frank||Sykes, Sir Charles (Huddersfield)|
|Lyle-Samuel, Alexander||Philipps, Sir Owen C. (Chester, City)||Talbot, G. A. (Hemel Hempstead)|
|Lynn, R. J.||Pickering, Lieut.-Colonel Emil W.||Taylor, J.|
|M'Curdy, Charles Albert||Pinkham, Lieut.-Colonel Charles||Thomas, Sir Robert J. (Wrexham)|
|Macdonald, Rt. Hon. John Murray||Pollock, Sir Ernest M.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachle)||Prescott, Major W. H.||Ward-Jackson, Major C. L.|
|McLaren, Robert (Lanark, Northern)||Pulley, Charles Thornton||Watson, Captain John Bertrand|
|McLean, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. W.||Purchase, H. G.||Whitla, Sir William|
|Macleod, J. Mackintosh||Ratcliffe, Henry Butler||Williams, Lt.-Com. C. (Tavistock)|
|Macmaster, Donald||Rees, Sir John D. (Nottingham, East)||Williams, Col. Sir R. (Dorset, W.)|
|M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Reid, D. D.||Williamson, Rt. Hon. Sir Archibald|
|Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Remnant, Colonel Sir James F.||Willoughby, Lieut.-Col. Hon. Claud|
|M'Nelll, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||Renwick, George||Wilson, Capt. A. S. (Holderness)|
|Macquisten, F. A.||Richardson, Sir Albion (Camberwell)||Wilson, Daniel M. (Down, West)|
|Mason, Robert||Richardson, Alexander (Gravesend)||Wllson, Lt.-Col. Sir M. (Bethnal Gn.)|
|Mitchell, William Lane||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Wilson, W. Tyson (Westhoughton)|
|Moles, Thomas||Rodger, A. K.||Wilson-Fox, Henry|
|Molson, Major John Elsdate||Rose, Frank H.||Woolcock, William James U.|
|Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred M.||Roundell, Colonel R. F.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Moreing, Captain Algernon H.||Royce, William Stapleton||Yate, Colonel Charles Edward|
|Morris, Richard||Royds, Lieut.-Colonel Edmund||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.||Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)|
|Mosley, Oswald||Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert A.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mount, William Arthur||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Captain Guest and Lord E Talbot.|
|Murchison, C. K.||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool Exchange)|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. F. D.||Glanville, Harold James||Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross)|
|Ashley, Colonel Wlllfrid W.||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Myers, Thomas|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)||O'Connor, Thomas P.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Briant, Frank||Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Bromfield, William||Hall, F. (York, W. R. Normanton)||Redmond, Captain William Archer|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Hallas, Eldred||Spoor, B. C.|
|Cairns, John||Hirst, G. H.||Swan, J. E. C.|
|Cape, Thomas||Holmes, J. Stanley||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield)||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Wedgwood, Colonel J. C.|
|Davies, A. (Lancaster, Clitheroe)||Kenyon, Barnet||Wignall, James|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Kiley, James D.||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Devlin, Joseph||Lunn, William||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Edwards, c. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Finney, Samuel||Maclean, Rt. Hn. Sir D. (Midlothian)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Galbraith, Samuel||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Mr. Newbould and Colonel Penry Williams.|
§ Colonel P. WILLIAMS
I beg to move, to leave out paragraph (b).
This deals with a very important question in reference to Ireland. As I understand, as the law now is, offences in Ireland under the Defence of the Realm Act may be tried either by court martial or a court of summary jurisdiction. If tried by a court of summary jurisdiction then in the Dublin police area they are tried by a divisional justice, and in outside areas by the ordinary bench of magistrates. This provision in the Bill seeks to make a serious alteration in that procedure. It seeks to constitute, not in the Dublin Metropolitan area, but in the out- 1144 side areas in Ireland, a special court which will try these offences. I may remind the House that offences under this Act are not offences in the ordinary sense of the word. In peace time they are not offences at all. They are a special category of offences created by this War-time legislation. Therefore, I must enter a protest against the kind of argument which we hear from the Treasury Bench. The Attorney-General for Ireland referred to the carrying of revolvers. I submit that the carrying of revolvers in Ireland has nothing whatever to do with this Bill. The Government in Ireland have laws which they can apply to dealing with the carry- 1145 ing of arms in Ireland without employing these Defence of the Realm Regulations. The constitution of the proposed courts in Ireland for the trial of offences is a very serious departure. It is the most flagrant example of jury packing that has ever occurred in that unhappy country.
This provision enacts that the court of magistrates in each county district is to consist either of a resident magistrate or a group of resident magistrates. The resident magistrate in Ireland is removable by the will of the Executive. There fore the Executive Government are not only trying to control the accusation of a man but they are attempting to control, through the resident magistrate, whom they have the power to remove, the court by which he is tried. This provision affects hon. Members from the North of Ireland just as it affects the South of Ireland. It is a provision which, in my opinion, will breed resistance not only in the South among the Sinn Feiners but also in the North among a population that are at the present moment happily loyal to the English connection. It is quite true that the accused is allowed the right of appeal to Quarter Sessions, and the Quarter Sessions Court is to be the recorder or the County Court judge. I believe that neither the recorder or the County Court judge is removable. These are High Court appointments, the holders of which are not removable at the power of the Executive. That, of course, gives a prisoner some sort of security when he comes to lodge his appeal. But I submit that this is not a provision that the House should agree to. It is loading the dice too heavily against the prisoner and it should not be allowed because the class of offence dealt with under this Bill is not the class of offence which is troubling Ireland to-day. Within a few days there will be a Bill dealing with the government of Ireland. That is the time for dealing with this matter. Do not prejudice the case by setting up what may be regarded as a Court unfair to the accused. It may not be so—I do not wish to cast any reflection upon the resident magistrate—but it will be so regarded because these magistrates are removable by the Executive. This provision will arouse intense opposition in Ireland, and I do not think there is any Member of this House who, if it were proposed for England, would not resist it to the very end.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I beg to second the Amendment. I do not think we can be too careful at present to give no handle to those who are holding up our rule in Ireland to the contempt of the world. These Defence of the Realm Act Regulations were not required in the bad days of coercion before the war, and they should not be required now. This special court is open to suspicion. I do not say that the resident magistrates are not doing their duty to the best of their ability in extremely difficult circles, but it may be said that they are at the mercy of the Executive, and you may have charges of that sort. This is not so much for the sake of Ireland as for the sake of the name of England which is being upheld now throughout the world, with regard to Ireland, with very great difficulty indeed.
Captain BE NN
May I ask whether the form in which you put this Amendment will preclude you from calling on mo to move my Amendment to leave out the words "alone or."
§ Captain BENN
But supposing that the House desires to retain the substance of this paragraph, will you call upon me to move the Amendment to leave out the words "alone or"?
§ Captain BENN
Shall I be allowed to submit reasons pointing out why that Amendment should be called?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The discussion of this paragraph will give the hon. and gallant Member the opportunity of raising the question to which his Amendment relates.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL for IRELAND (Mr. Denis Henry)
It may perhaps relieve my hon. and gallant Friend from any difficulty if I say that I propose to accept his Amendment to constitute a Court of two.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
That being so, I will qut the Question that the words proposed to be left out, down to the word "alone," stand part.
§ Mr. HENRY
The Amendment of my hon. and gallant Friend is to omit the words "alone or,' and I propose to accept that, and not to omit any other portion of the paragraph. The Amendment of the hon. Member for Middlesbrough proposes to leave out paragraph (b) altogether. My hon. Friend was perfectly accurate in stating that there are two modes of trial at present in Ireland for these offences—one by court-martial and by a Court of Summary Jurisdiction. We have found in practice-that such is the lamentable condition of affairs that magistrates and jurors are subject to very great intimidation. We desire, as far as possible, to try cases before a civil tribunal; but, owing to the intimidation which is practised upon magistrates in various districts, and in some instances owing to the fact that large numbers of magistrates are themselves members of illegal associations, we have found in practice that we are in nearly every instance driven to trial by court-martial. What we propose is to give the power to two resident magistrates—because that would be the effect of my hon. and gallant Friend's Amendment—with a right of appeal to a County Court judge or a recorder, to dispose of these cases under the Defence of the Realm Act. it is quite true that a resident magistrate can be removed by the Executive, but so can every other magistrate, and m Dublin we propose to take the divisional magistrate who tries every single case and give him jurisdiction to deal with these Defence of the Realm cases. Two resident magistrates have tried cases for many years in Ireland, and they are less likely to be subject to intimidation and be prejudiced than other members of the courts to which I have referred, and surely a full safeguard is given, in any event, by an appeal to a judge who is irremovable and who has at present the power of trying, as he has in England, very serious offences, and if you can in that way lessen the number of cases in which we need to have to resort to a court-martial, we shall be extremely satisfied. One cannot pick up a paper any morning without being horrified by some outrage which has just been committed. Intimidation has gone to such an extent that a very eminent counsel, who certainly does not hide—neither did his father before him—his sympathy for Ire- 1148 land, has his life attempted twice for merely making a speech in a court of justice in the discharge of his duty. The House will recollect the incident to which I refer. If such a thing is possible with regard to such a man, what would be possible in the case of a local man, in the south or a remote portion of Ireland, a magistrate who lived in the district, whose business depended upon the good will of the people among whom he resided? Is it too much to relieve him, as far as we can, from that terrible responsibility and dread which must rest on anyone connected with the administration of the law in Ireland at the present moment I I submit that the provision is not unreasonable. It is safeguarded by the right of appeal to a judge and amply covers anyone.
I quite agree with the right hon. and learned Gentleman that the state of Ireland at the present moment is deplorable. It seems to me that he might draw an even darker picture than he has drawn. The Government of Ireland to-day has passed out of the hands of the Executive into the hands of other men. So long as the present repressive measures are continued the deplorable state of Ireland will continue too. That is my main position. I do not dwell on it because I shall have something to say on it on a later Amendment. I think the House will understand that when Members on the Irish and the Liberal and the Labour Benches oppose these proposals, it is not because we desire to increase the disorder in Ireland, but because we think the Government are going the wrong way about their task. The Government are daily, I might say hourly, increasing the very peril which their legislation is supposed to avert. The right hon. and learned Gentleman justifies his proposal on the ground that even such a tribunal as this is better than a court-martial. I am not sure that I agree. I have the most violent antipathy to the intervention of the soldier in all civil affairs. I have no confidence whatever in his judgment in political and civil matters. It may be admitted that many of these soldiers at courts-martial have endeavoured, according to their dim lights, to do justice, and that courts-martial, to a certain extent, are independent of the control of the Executive. What is the resident magistrate? I feel 1149 I must almost apologise for recurring to the subject.
Someone said the other day that the speech I made on an Irish question was a little familiar to him. I have made the same speech for forty years and I am more sick of the subject than any Member of the House. What is the resident magistracy which forms the new tribunal? The right hon. and learned Gentleman has not given a very high character to his countrymen in the ordinary magistracy of Ireland. Apparently they are so pusillanimous that they have only to be terrorised in order to make them refuse to do their duty. Perhaps a more complimentary and truer definition and explanation of their action would be that they are men of the popular rank and popular sympathies, and that accordingly they are more inclined to do justice between the State and the individual. But what is the resident magistrate? We have ceased to call them resident magistrates in Ireland for many years, and especially during the coercion period of previous years we never spoke of them as anything but removable magistrates. So high an authority and so great a respecter of constitutional terms and institutions as the late Mr. Gladstone adopted the adjective "removable" as part of his political vocabulary. Why do we call them that? We call them removable because by the terms of their appointment they hold office at pleasure. At the pleasure of whom? At the pleasure of Dublin Castle. We called them removable because not only their appointment, but their promotion, their salary and their dismissal were absolutely at the mercy of Dublin Castle, and in a case where Dublin Castle is engaged in war with the nation generally, as it is to-day, Dublin Castle has not merely its magistrate, but its advocate and its servants to do justice between the State on the one side and the people on the other.
We know all about the resident magistrate. The Attorney-General, who is a master of the great art of suave evasion, though he were to exhaust himself in eulogies on these magistrates, would get none to believe a single word ho said except someone ignorant of the realities of Irish life. The resident magistrate is the removable magistrate. He is the servant and the agent and the creature of Dublin Castle in adjudicating on things where Dublin Castle is on the one side 1150 and the masses of the nation are on the other. The history of these magistrates was given by a man whose name, I think, would still exercise some authority in the memory of this House. I mean Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman. Among the many posts held by Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman was that of Chief Secretary for Ireland. Although I was opposed to him at the time, and said some sharp things about him, I am bound to admit that he was a most estimable Chief Secretary, and that, to use his own words, he "found salvation"; in other words, he, like every other honest and open-minded Englishman or Scotchman who went to Dublin Castle, was converted to the view that the only way in which to deal with Ireland and its problems was to give the Irish people control of their own affairs. What did he say? I think it was in this House; at any rate, he said it somewhere, and I hoard him. He said that it was the constant custom of the Chief Secretary at Dublin Castle to summon to that place the resident magistrates and to give them instructions as to what they were to do. So that not merely are these men payable, promotable, appointable and dismissable by Dublin Castle, but they are men who are kept in touch with the kind of work and the verdict that Dublin Castle wants them to give. I declare that such a tribunal is a tribunal which no nation of freedom-loving men could ever submit to or have any trust in.
The other day I saw a suggestion as to the demand recently made by our Government for the surrender of the German prisoners. The answer of some of the Germans was this: "If these countrymen of ours are to be surrendered and tried, well, then, at least we have a right as a nation to demand that they should be tried by our own tribunals." I do not discuss that demand. What was the answer of one of the German papers? The answer was that the Court—I think it is at Leipzig—the supreme tribunal of the German Empire was not in the opinion of this journal a tribunal that could be trusted for the trial even of German officers and German sailors, who, according to German theory, had risked their lives and done their duty gallantly for their country. One would have supposed that a man, whether a soldier or sailor or even a civilian, who had been guilty of the horrible murders at sea, of the bombing of towns and of the cruel ill-treatment of 1151 prisoners, would be a man who could be safely left to the justice of any court in the world, and yet what did the Socialist organ, the "Vorwärts," say? This is not an extreme journal at all; it does not represent the Spartacists, but the more moderate school of Socialists. It said, with regard to the tribunal that was going to try soldiers and sailors, that the tribunal had throughout all its career been so closely in touch with all the traditions and so utterly in sympathy with all the principles of German militarism, and ordinarily so obsequious to that atmosphere of servility which surrounded the Kaiser, that it would not trust this great German tribunal of the greatest judges in the German land to try even German prisoners. I wonder what that paper would say if it had to discuss these tribunals of removable magistrates.
§ Mr. ARCHDALE
I only intervene as I believe I am longer and more directly connected with life in Ireland, and living among the people than almost anyone in this House. The arguments advanced by the Mover of the Amendment casts a most undeserved slur on the resident magistrates. They may be removable, as the hon. Member says, but they are removable by murder because they do their duty. Mr. Milling was murdered in Galway.
May I call your attention, Sir, to the observation of the hon. Gentleman? What right has he to say that we belong to a party of men who support murder?
Everybody knows we have been reduced from a party of nearly eighty to seven because of our opposition to Sinn Fein. I do not know that the hon. Gentleman has the right to say that 1152 Sinn Feiners are privy to these murders. For all I know they are committed by people quite outside their organisation and their control. But whatever it may be, I resent as a calumny what the hon. Gentleman has said, and I denounce it as a lie.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
These expressions are very unnecessary on both sides. I think the hon. Member is not entitled to say that hon. Members support Sinn Feiners, and he ought to withdraw any expression of the kind.
§ Mr. MacVEAGH
It is not his statement as to supporting Sinn Fein that we draw attention to, but his statement that Sinn Feiners are murderers and consequently that we are supporting murderers.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
That is what I am taking exception to, and I have suggested to the hon. Member that he should withdraw that expression.
§ Mr. ARCHDALE
I have been for 43 years a magistrate in Ireland. I know how magistrates feel when they are brought up on these cases. They live in the country, in the middle of this agitation, and they will not move hand or foot, except under the orders of the people about them, and they know what will follow if they do not. Only last week there was a case in the south where a large farmer had some of his property burned down, and he saw men running away, but he was afraid to give evidence and would sooner go to prison than do so. The resident magistrates are Irishmen, a great many of them are Roman Catholics, and they are all political. I have known many of them; one-third of the magistrates were Nationalist in politics and Roman Catholics in religion, and everyone could trust a fair and 1153 honest judgment from them. I think there ought to be no unpaid magistrates in Ireland. We will never have justice dealt out to the people there until unpaid magistrates are done away with, and we are freed from the intimidation that goes on. Everyone knows that when people go before resident magistrates they get proper and true justice. I desire;;o enter a protest against the slur that has been cast on the resident magistrates.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
The speech which we have just heard will give some indication to the Members of this House as to the precise mentality of those who constitute the Ulster Unionist party. Here is a gentleman, normally respectable, who would not, I suppose, hurt a fly, either by word or act, and yet he thinks it good politics to stand up in the House and to make a dual allegation of an infamous character.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member must not go back on that, as the hon. Member for Fermanagh (Mr. Archdale) was asked to withdraw, and did so at once.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
With all respect, what the hon. Gentleman withdrew was that we are defending Sinn Feiners; but that was not what we complained of. I want to let the House know where I stand in the matter. I will defend a Sinn Feiner or a Unionist or a landlord or a tenant, if I think they are in the right, if they are Irishmen. I defended the "Belfast Evening Telegraph" when the Government smashed up the machinery, although it is the Orange organ.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
They prevented the publication of the paper, and they would have smashed the machinery if you were Nationalist. But you have the advantage of being the supermen in Ireland and of having the Prime Minister in your pocket, and that was why the machinery was not smashed. What is the charge which the hon. Member for Fermanagh did make? It was that the Sinn Feiners murdered Resident Magistrate Milling and that we were in sympathy with the Sinn Feiners in the murder. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no!"] That was the obvious conclusion anyone on these Benches would come to who listened to the speech of my hon. and amiable Friend. In the first place, it 1154 never was proved that any Sinn Feiner murdered Mr. Milling.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I have pointed out that that incident was closed by the withdrawal made by the hon. Member for Fermanagh. I would invite the hon. Member for the Falls Division to address himself now to the question which is really before us, namely, whether courts-martial should continue or whether the tribunals should be resident magistrates.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I thought the murder of a resident magistrate would be germane to the subject under discussion. I come to this question of resident magistrates and other magistrates. For my part I have not much respect for magistrates, whether paid or unpaid. We have heard that ordinary unpaid magistrates are subject to intimidation. I suppose they are. Who are these unpaid magistrates? They are men who live amongst the people, who understand the people and are associated with them, and in many parts the majority of them are in sympathy with the people's hopes and aspirations and not with the Prussians in this country who are ruling Ireland through the agency of Dublin Castle. Therefore they could not be trusted. They might be intimidated, but there are different forms of intimidation. If I were an unpaid magistrate I would not convict in ninety-nine out of the hundred cases in which you send men to gaol, simply because I would be in sympathy with them. I am in sympathy with them, and I tell the House this—I always will be, just as any decent citizen's heart will revolt against tyranny whether in Berlin or in Dublin. What you regard as intimidation is merely the application of the normal mind of a clean and free citizen towards great public issues in which liberty is involved. One would think that resident magistrates are never subject to any intimidation.
I wish I were a good analyser of character so that I might be able to present to the House the dual mentality of those gentlemen who talk about intimidation. There are different kinds of intimidation. You pay your resident magistrates, and pay them well, and you claim the right to remove them if they do not do their duty, but what you conceive to be their duty. What is to be said for the impartial administration of justice in any country where the men who 1155 sit upon the bench are told what judgment they have to pronounce and what sentence they are to give to those charged by the Government of the country and by Dublin Castle? An hon. Member says "No," but I say they are, and I can give you an instance. I know hon. Gentlemen will not believe it, but I know of one case of a resident magistrate who was brought up to Dublin Castle and admonished because he told a police inspector not to be insolent to the court. That resident magistrate was told that he must behave himself and not dare to be uncivil to a policeman. That is the sort of justice we have. We all know that there never was a single instance where any man charged with a political offence before a resident magistrate was ever allowed to get out of their grip, and even politicians are innocent sometimes. Whether it is a tribunal of resident magistrates or whether under D.O.R.A., or under the special Coercion Act of 1887, or whatever method is chosen by the Government, the principle is foreign to every liberty-loving man with instincts for justice and freedom to have a bench of magistrates specially appointed to try a man for any offence, and to take their orders from the Government instead of acting according to their own impartial view. As far as I am concerned, I am opposed to this Bill altogether, but we will discuss that later on. We have this measure camouflaged as a War emergency Bill. You ought to call it a Peace Bill for England and a War Bill for Ireland, because you take out of it everything that is hateful and irritating to England, and you leave everything in it that is hateful and irritating to Ireland. One would imagine that the seasoned Tories and Reactionaries and Prussians who are helping the despots of Dublin Castle would have some baskets of fruit to show as a result of their action. What have you brought about with your Coercion Acts and your D.O.R.A., and your removable magistrates, and your courts martial, and your military machinery, and your whole splendidly organised and scientific display of military power? You have got your own name a by-word before the peoples of the world.
§ Mr. RONALD McNEILL
My only object in rising at this moment is because I could not let a longer time pass before 1156 offering my most cordial congratulations to my hon. Friend who has just sat down. I am sure his speech has excited the admiration of the whole House as much as it has my own, and I can hardly believe there is any Member of the House, except my hon. Friend, who could have let loose such a cataract of eloquence, a perfect tornado of invective, all on what account? All on the question, that we omit Sub-section (b). I am not going to attempt to follow my hon. Friend on the merits of the question which he left so severely alone, but I want to refer to the speech of my hon. Friend who sits beside him (Mr. O'Connor). I congratulate him, too, because ho has had the time of his life. The proposal to omit Sub-section (b) gave my hon. Friend the opportunity of making a speech which he himself told us he first began making 40 years ago and he also took this opportunity of admonishing, not too kindly, the new authority upon Ireland, who sits across the Gangway beside him (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy). I must say, considering the gallant support that he day by day derives from that particular quarter, at Question time and otherwise, that I think it would have been kinder if he had given his admonishment elsewhere, and had taken his gallant Friend into a corner, there to instruct him in the elements of the Irish question.
But the whole question, when relieved from the impassioned invective of my hon. Friends, resolves itself into this, whether or not during the few months that have to be covered by the operations of this Bill, a certain class of offenders should be tried in Ireland before resident magistrates. It does not seem to me that that is a question which really calls for an examination of the whole history and the merits of the resident magistracy in Ireland, but I confess I agree with what was said just now by my hon. Friend. I have some acquaintance with Ireland, and I agree a good deal with my hon. Friend's estimate of the resident magistrates. I am quite well aware that there are two classes of people in Ireland who hate and detest the resident magistrates, and I think there are only two classes. Those two classes are the politicians and the criminals. By all other classes in Ireland, so far as I have been able to gather, the resident magistrate is regarded with about as much respect as is usually accorded in any semi- 1157 civilised country to such gentlemen. In point of fact, there might be a great deal to be said, if this was a suitable occasion for saying it, on the particular point which, as my hon. Friend the Member for the "Scotland division (Mr. O'Connor) has told us, has been the occasion for him of so much eloquence for 40 years, namely, whether the particular terms upon which these magistrates hold their office are or are not most conducive to the administration of justice in Ireland. There might be a great deal to be said on that question, but surely the only point which we have to decide is not whether or not the resident magistracy shall be abolished. It is an existing part of the judicial system in Ireland, for good or for evil—my hon. Friends opposite think for evil, some of us on this side take a more optimistic view—but whichever of us is right, it is an existing institution, and surely it is a very small point whether or not, if you are passing this Bill and a certain class of cases have got to be tried for a few months under some tribunal, they should be tried before this particular part of the Irish judicial system, and that is the whole case. All my hon. Friend the Member for the Falls Division (Mr. Devlin's) passionate invective and his recollections of 700 years of oppression is entirely beside the mark.
§ Mr. McNEILL
I will not argue that particular point; whether civilised or uncivilised, it is a part of the world which he and I have a very great affection for. But it is a very small point. It is not a matter for discussing the history or the institutions of Ireland, but only this narrow point of whether or not we should send these cases before the resident magistrates, and for my part I think it is much the best system we can adopt under existing conditions, and I am all in favour, not of omitting Sub-section (b), but of keeping it in the Bill.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
Perhaps the House will allow me, as one who has known a great many of the resident magistrates in Ireland for many years past and who has seen their mode of administering justice, to say that I look upon them as honest, capable, and courageous men, who are determined to do what they can to administer justice fairly and honestly. I say that because, knowing as I do the 1158 high character of these men, I regret that they should be subject to the somewhat intemperate language which we have heard from the hon. Gentlemen behind me. The hon. Member for the Scotland Division (Mr. O'Connor) has made a speech of which he is evidently proud and which some day possibly may be accepted in this House as accurately stating the facts. It has not come yet, but in all good feeling to my hon. Friend, because I admire his courage very much in making this speech for 40 years, and his persistency in trying to get us to accept it, may I suggest this to him? I do not go back 40 years in this House, but I do go back far enough to remember this, that when there was trouble in Ireland in former years, when there was a wild conspiracy, as there is to-day, of murder and outrage in order to effect a political end, I say that we had exactly the same language from the hon. Member as we have had to-day, exactly the same denunciation of resident magistrates, exactly the same denunciation of those who were trying to administer the law fairly, and what was the result? The result was that that conspiracy was smashed, those murderers were found and punished, and Ireland was brought to a normal and a peaceful condition, and that was the result of the administration of the law by these resident magistrates. Having had that experience, I can only express my surprise that my hon. Friend, who knows what happened in those days and who knows how these men, under great difficulty and danger, carry out the law, should not give them his support to-day in order to restore Ireland once more to peace.
On one thing I suppose I may congratulate my hon. Friend. He does not approve of these murders in Ireland. I am sure he does not, and if he goes with me thus far, it is relatively a very small point between us, as to what is the best tribunal to which to bring these offenders. My hon. Friend states that he has a new-found love for trial by court-martial. Trial by court-martial, I believe, has been extremely fair, and I gather from his views that he is on the whole vary much pleased with it, for he said that, according to their lights—he must have his sneer at the soldiers—they have done extremely well. He and I agree that crime must be put down, and that the courts martial have, on the 1159 on the whole, done well, but we must face this fact, that there is a large body of opinion in this country and, I think, on both sides in this House, that it is undesirable to go on indefinitely with trial by court-martial, and that it is desirable as soon as possible to resume trial by civil tribunals. The proposal is that we should go back to those tribunals who did their work so admirably, namely, the resident magistrates, with an appeal to Quarter Sessions, and Heaven alone knows why all this trumped-up abuse of resident magistrates is brought into this Debate. We are all desirous of stopping crime. Who would my hon. Friend have to try these people? I suppose he would have the ordinary justices of the peace, but he knows well enough that the ordinary justices of the peace, when asked to try dangerous criminals before local tribunals, run a very great risk. They would be liable to intimidation, and they would be very fortunate if they were not liable to something much worse, and, therefore, in the interests of the local justices themselves and also of carrying out the law efficiently, I think the Government are quite right in proposing that the trials should be taken before resident magistrates, and I confidently believe that the House as a whole, which knows what the public servants of Ireland have done and are doing, under circumstances of the gravest danger to themselves and of the greatest difficulty, will support the Executive in the discharge of this duty and support those magistrates and others in the exercise of their judicial functions, which they are carrying on with, as I believe, complete honesty and great courage.
§ Captain W. BENN
I suppose no Debate in this House for the suppression of liberty in any quarter is complete without a contribution from the hon. and learned Member who has just sat down. We had a jocular speech, which I did not think in the best of taste, from the hon. and learned Member for St. Augustine's (Mr. 11. McNeill). Of course, he rejoices; of course, he is satisfied with the state of affairs as they are, because the Government's policy is his policy. The Government are carrying out the orders of the hon. and learned Gentleman and his friends.
§ Mr. McNEILL
May I ask if the hon. and gallant Gentleman imagines that his opinion on a question of taste is any matter to me?
§ Captain BENN
I do not, and I certainly shall not pursue that, but I can remember the time when the Government did not do what the hon. and learned Member pleased, and when his conduct was anything but of a jocular kind. I mention that in passing. Let us talk about the Amendment on the paper. The first Sub-section is to erect a Court in Ireland to try all the cases which fall for offences under the Defence of the Realm Regulations. The hon. Gentleman was quite wrong in speaking about the few months which have elapsed. If he had read the Bill he would see that this Bill provides that for one year after the conclusion of War, which may well be a period of 18 months or two years from to-day, the whole of these Regulations are to be enforced in Ireland.
§ Captain BENN
These Courts are set up to try people who are accused under these Regulations. The first thing I want to ask is, where is the Chief Secretary for Ireland, and why does he not take part in this Debate? I am sure the whole House appreciated the courtesy and ability of the hon. and learned Gentleman. Certainly I do, because he has accepted my amendment. I should like to say that should the Chief Secretary not be present when the omission of Sub-section (4) is proposed, I shall ask the permission of the Chair to move the adjournment of the Debate until he does us the common courtesy to attend this House. This sub-section proposes that two magistrates shall have the power to convict and punish people who art charged with all these offences, and what sort of offences are they? They are offences of the vaguest and sketchiest kind. We know very well that while the hon. Member for St. Augustine's is making his jokes, people are dying in gaol without any charge being brought against them. There was an hon. Member of this House, the Member for East Tipperary (Mr. P. McCann), who died in gaol. I hear an hon. Member ask, "Whose faults" It was the fault of the 1161 people who put him in gaol. It may be a great joke in this House, and Members may listen to the pleasantries of the hon. Member for St. Augustine's, but it is not a joke in Ireland, and the Government by their conduct are letting Ireland slip out of the grip of the British Empire
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I would remind the hon. and gallant Member of what he said at the beginning. Let us talk about what is before us.
§ Captain BENN
I accept, of course, your rebuke, and I shall reserve the general remarks to the time when they will be in order. A man may be hailed before two of these people, who much more resemble executive agents of the Government than judicial officers, if his "behaviour is of such a nature as to give reasonable ground for suspicion that he is acting or about to act in a manner prejudicial to the public safety." What a farce it is to talk about Czarism and Prussianism when this sort of thing is being enacted by the House of Commons to apply to Ireland! And so on throughout the whole of these objectionable Regulations. May I remind the House of another thing? Under Section 58 of these Regulations these two removable magistates have the right to close the Court to the public, so that two removable agents of the Government may arrest a political enemy who is suspected of being about to do something to the prejudice of pubilc safety, and although the sentence must be pronounced in public the Court may be closed to the public while the evidence is heard. The fact is that Ireland is being governed by British bayonets. There is not a scintilla of public opinion behind the present administration in Ireland. If you are governing Ireland by military rule, as you are, why camouflage it by pretending you are setting up a Civil Court?
§ Mr. MOLES
The hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite is a Source of constant amusement to the House. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for York (Sir J. Butcher) must not mention liberty and freedom in this House; that is the special prerogative of the hon. and gallant Member. My hon. Friend the Member for St. Augustine's (Mr. McNeill) must not jest in his presence. It is not only that, but when you come to a matter of good state, the last word on good taste is uttered on that Bench. We 1162 have a proverb in our country about the absurdity of Satan reproving sin. With the greatest respect, I suggest to my hon. Friend that when he proposes to lecture this House on good taste he might begin by setting an example. He represented to the House a picture of Ireland with a policeman's bayonet at the throat of every decent man, while the Attorney-General and the Chief Secretary for Ireland are working their wild will upon society, trampling over freedom, liberty, and the right of the subject, just as an elephant ravages a jungle. Is there any sane man in this House or outside who believes a word of it? To make the declaration is to refute it. The thing is perfectly absurd, and the hon. Gentleman ought to know that it is. He does not know much about Ireland it is perfectly true, but he speaks with all the assurance of a. Cook's tourist on a seven day trip. I would like to tell the House something of what really is the position in Ireland. My hon. Friend the Member for the Scotland Division (Mr. O'Connor) and his colleague opposite talk about repression. I wonder they did not think of telling the House some-think about what it was that made repression necessary.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
We are not discussing the situation in Ireland generally. I really must invite the House to come closely to the very small Amendments now under discussion. Once you begin to enlarge upon the situation in Ireland, the discussion will last the whole night.
§ Mr. MOLES
I will, of course, submit to your ruling, although I was not conscious that I was transgressing. It did appear to me that when treating of the continuance of this Regulation it was germane to the subject to state the reasons for its continuation, and that this involved a brief description of the conditions prevailing at the present moment. I will quote from an observation of my hon. and learned Friend's own paper.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
Let us get to the point. It does not matter a straw whether the hon. Member is a director of the newspaper or not; it has nothing whatever to do with the question. I would invite the hon. Member to come to closer grips with the subject.
§ Mr. MOLES
This is what the paper quotes:A state of lawlessness prevails which encourages crime by intimidating public opinion and making decent men unwilling conspirators in the defeat of justice Bolshevism is rampant throughout Nationalist Ireland. Life and property are insecure. The trade of honest men lies at the mercy of all who choose to prescribe it on any political excuse.That is a quotation in a leading Nationalist organ of the country. An eminent judge said:There was not another country in the whole world calling itself Christian in which an outrage of this kind would be permitted. It is disgraceful to the last degree, and it only showed the demoralisation that was going on among a certain section of the people. The last three years had shown to all who had been watching the country the terrible degradation amongst a certain section of the people, which must be through some sinister influence acting upon them.
§ As to the attack made upon resident magistrates, the worst that could be said of them was that they were removable; that is, that they are liable to dismissal. I am not aware that, that renders them unfit for the discharge of their duties. Removable they may be, but I make this claim for them, that they are incorruptible. If any hon. Member attempted to get up in his place and say that magistrates like Mr. Nagle, Mr. Brady, or Mr. Roch were corruptible he would meet with a volume of indignation. The position is this: if honest men are to be protected in their lawful operations, if we are not to go back to the law of the jungle, if there is to be any kind of security for life and property in that country, this is the one way to maintain it, and those who object to it are bound to show some alternative, and they cannot do it.
§ Question put, "That the words in paragraph (b), down to the word 'alone', stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided; Ayes, 222; Noes. 55.1165
|Division No. 11.]||AYES.||[7.43 p.m.|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. C.||Campbell, J. D. G.||Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Campion, Lieut.-Colone W. R.||FitzRoy, Captain Hon. E. A.|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Carew, Charles Robert S.||Forestier-Walker, L.|
|Allen, Lieut.-Colonel William James||Carr, W. Theodore||Forrest, Walter|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Casey, T. W.||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot|
|Atkey, A. R.||Cayer, Major Herbert Robin||France, Gerald Ashburner|
|Bagley, Captain E. Ashton||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Birm., Aston)||Fraser, Major Sir Keith|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Gardiner, James|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Chadwick, R. Burton||Gilbert, James Daniel|
|Barker, Major Robert H.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A.(Birm., W.)||Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Barlow, Sir Montague||Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. Spender||Goff, Sir R. Park|
|Barnett, Major R. W.||Clyde, Rt. Hon. James Avon||Gould, James C.|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Grant, James A.|
|Barrand, A. R.||Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Green, Albert (Derby)|
|Barrie, Charles Coupar||Coote, Colin Reith (Isle of Ely)||Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Cope, Major Wm.||Gretton, Colonel John|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Courthope, Major George L.||Griggs, Sir Peter|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Cowan, Sir W. (Aberdeen and Kinc.)||Gritten, W. G. Howard|
|Benn, Com. Ian H. (Greenwich)||Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)||Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish||Craig, Colonel Sir J. (Down, Mid)||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.|
|Blair, Major Reginald||Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)|
|Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Hambro, Captain Angus Valdemar|
|Borwick, Major G. O.||Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)||Hamilton, Major C. G. C.|
|Bowles, Colonel H. F.||Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Hancock, John George|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Dawes, James Arthur||Hanna, George Boyle|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Dean, Lieut.-Commander P. T.||Hanson, Sir Charles Augustin|
|Brassey, Major H. L. C.||Denison-Pender, John C.||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Denniss, Edmund R. B. (Oldham)||Henry Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Dewhurst, Lieut-Commander Harry||Herbert, Denis (Hertford, Watford)|
|Broad, Thomas Tucker||Dixon, Captain Herbert||Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Brotherton, Colonel Sir Edward A.||Dockrell, Sir Maurice||Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank|
|Brown, Captain D. C.||Donald, Thompson||Hoare, Lieut.-Colonel Sir S. J. G.|
|Brown, T. W. (Down, North)||Edge, Captain William||Hood, Joseph|
|Bruton, Sir James||Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. A. (Midlothian)|
|Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.||Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Howard, Major S. G.|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Falcon, Captain Michael||Hudson, R. M.|
|Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay)||Falle, Major Sir Bertram G.||Hurd, Percy A.|
|Burn, T. H. (Belfast, St. Anne's)||Farquharson, Major A. C.||Hurst, Major Gerald B.|
|Butcher, Sir John George||Fell, Sir Arthur||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.|
|James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Mitchell, William Lane||Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert A.|
|Jephcott, A. R.||Moles, Thomas||Seager, Sir William|
|Jesson, C.||Molson, Major John Elsdale||Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)|
|Jodrell, Neville Paul||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred M.||Shaw, William T. (Forfar)|
|Johnson, L. S.||Morris, Richard||Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on T.)|
|Jones, Sir Evan (Pembroke)||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly)||Murray, Lt.-Col. C. D. (Edinburgh)||Stanier, Captain Sir Seville|
|Kenyan, Barnet||Murray, Major William (Dumfries)||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. G. F.|
|Kerr-Smiley, Major Peter Kerr||Neal, Arthur||Steel, Major S. Strang|
|Kidd, James||Nelson, R. F. W. R.||Sturrock, J. Leng|
|King, Commander Henry Douglas||Newman, Colonel J. R. p. (Finchley)||Surtees, Brigadier-General H. C.|
|Knights, Capt. H. N. (C'berwell, N.)||Nicholson, Reginald (Doncaster)||Sykes, Sir Charles (Huddersfield)|
|Law, Alfred J. (Rochdale)||Nield, Sir Herbert||Taylor, J.|
|Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)||Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Lewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)||Ormsby-Gore, Captain Hon. W.||Townley, Maximilian G.|
|Lloyd, George Butler||Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry||Tryon, Major George Clement|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike||Ward-Jackson, Major C. L.|
|Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n)||Pickering, Lieut.-Colonel Emil W.||Ward, Col. J. (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Lonsdale, James Rolston||Pinkham, Lieut.-Colonel Charles||Waring, Major Walter|
|Lorden, John William||Pratt, John William||Watson, Captain John Bertrand|
|Lort-Wllliams, J.||Prescott, Major W. H.||Whitla, Sir William|
|Loseby, Captain C. E.||Pulley, Charles Thornton||Williams, Lt.-Com. C. (Tavistock)|
|Lynn, R. J.||Purchase, H. G.||Williams, Col. Sir R. (Dorset, W.)|
|M'Curdy, Charles Albert||Ratcliffe, Henry Butler.||Williamson, Rt. Hon. Sir Archibald|
|Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachie)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Willoughby, Lieut.-Col. Hon. Claud|
|McLaren, Robert (Lanark, Northern)||Reid, D. O.||Wilson, Daniel M. (Down, West)|
|M'Lean, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. W.||Remnant, Colonel Sir James F.||Wilson, Colonel Leslie O. (Reading)|
|Macmaster, Donald||Renwick, George||Wilson-Fox, Henry|
|M'Meking, Major Gilbert||Richardson, Sir Albion (Camberwell)||Winterton, Major Earl|
|Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Woolcock, William James U.|
|McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||Rodger, A. K.||Worsfold, Dr. T. Cato|
|Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James).||Roundell, Colonel R. F.||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Macquisten, F. A.||Royds, Lieut.-Colonel Edmund|
|Magnus, Sir Philip||Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Marks, Sir George Croydon||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Lord E. Talbot and Mr. Dudley Ward.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. F. D.||Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)||Robertson, John|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Hall, F. (York, W. R. Normanton)||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Bell, James (Lancaster, Ormskirk)||Hirst, G. H.||Sexton, James|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Holmes, J. Stanley||Shaw, Thomas (Preston)|
|Bottomley, Horatio W.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)|
|Bromfield, William||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Spoor, B. C.|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Kiley, James D.||Swan, J. E. C.|
|Cairns, John||Lunn, William||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Cape, Thomas||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Wignall, James|
|Davies, A. (Lancaster, Clitheroe)||Morgan, Major D. Watts||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross)||Williams, John (Glamorgan, Gower)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Myers, Thomas||Wilson, W. Tyson (Westhoughton)|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Newbould, Alfred Ernest||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Finney, Samuel||O'Connor, Thomas P.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Onions, Alfred|
|Glanville, Harold James||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Raffan, Peter Wilson||Colonel Penry Williams and Captain Redmond.|
|Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)||Richards, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
§ Amendment made: In Sub-section (2b), leave out the words "alone or" ["a resident magistrate sitting alone or with one or more "].—[Captain W. Benn.]
§ Colonel P. WILLIAMS
I bog to move, to leave out Sub-section (4). This Amendment which stands to my name—
§ Captain W. BENN
May I put this point of Order? You, Mr. SPEAKEK, have already ruled that it is not competent in this Bill to take powers which do not exist in the old Defense of the Realm Act. Under this sub-section it is proposed to take certain powers which are based upon Proclamation under Section (1) of the Act of 1915. Such a Proclamation in the Act 1166 is only valid and can only be made "in the event of invasion or any special military emergencies arising out of the present War." In this Bill it is proposed to use a Proclamation or to make a Proclamation of that kind, not for purposes, as stated in the Act of 1915, as to a special military emergency, but in view of a totally different sort of emergency, which does not at all arise out of the present War and has nothing to do with it. I submit that any Orders sought to be continued on the basis of these Proclamations must fall if the Proclamations themselves are held to be in addition to, and not already contained in, the existing Defence of the Realm Acts.
§ Mr. MacVEAGH
Would not the effect of this Clause be to render valid an invalid Proclamation, and to give to that invalid Proclamation statutory force and authority, thereby going beyond the Act itself?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I have no power to strike Clauses out of a Bill. I have no power to do anything of the kind. The whole matter can be raised by the present Amendment to strike out Sub-section (4). Then the hon. and gallant Gentleman can raise his legal point.
§ Captain BENN
I take it then, Sir, on that point of Order, that as I propose to move that the proviso shall have effect as if enacted in the Act, provided that no additional power is conferred, you will put the present Amendment in such a form as will save my Amendment when it-is reached?
§ Mr. MacVEAGH
Then if my hon. and gallant Friend proceeds with this Amendment now, may I presume it will not shut out or preclude a further Amendment with the object of securing that validity shall not be given to invalid Proclamations?
§ Colonel P. WILLIAMS
My Amendment raises the whole question of whether Ireland ought to be left out of this Bill, whether the Defence of the Realm Regulations in their full severity should apply to Ireland, or whether Ireland should have the benefit of that relaxation in the Regulations which is extended to England. I would just like to remind the House that when the Defence of the Realm Act was passed there was a Clause in it which secures to the subject the right of trial by jury for offences under D.O.N.A. Section 2 says:-where a person, being a British subject, and not being subjected to naval or military law, is alleged to be guilty of any offence under Regulations made under the Defence of the Realm Act he shall be entitled to six clear days from the time when the general nature of the charge is indicated to him to claim to be tried by a Civil Court and by jury instead of by court-martial.1168 That conferred upon a British subject—and an Irishman is a British subject—the right to be triad by a jury of his fellow countrymen. That right was taken from him by a Sub-section of the same Clause, Sub-section (7), which deals with the event of invasion or other special military emergencies arising out of the War, "when His Majesty's Government may by Proclamation forthwith suspend the operation, either generally or in any area specified in the Proclamation, without prejudice, however, to any proceedings under this Section which may be then pending in any Civil Court."
That Proclamation was issued in April, 1916, and it made Ireland a proclaimed area under that Sub-section. It deprived the Irishman of any right of trial by jury, which right was enjoyed by his fellow countryman in England. This Act, Subsection (4) of which I am seeking to leave out, perpetuates that state of affairs in Ireland It not only perpetuates the abolition of trial by jury for defences specified in the small Bill that we are discussing, but it applies to the whole of the Regulations in this volume. The whole of D.O.R.A., in all its validity, is still applied to Ireland. There is to be no trial by jury in that unhappy land. I want to be as brief as possible, but I submit again that abolishing trial by jury for offences under the Defence of the Realm Act is not going materially to help the question of governing Ireland. The offences are entirely different to the class of offence which is troubling Ireland to-day. They are war offences. They are created by exceptional war legislation, and they do not deal with or help the Executive to deal with these offences except to a very-limited extent. Nobody deplores more than we do on these Benches the state of Ireland, but we maintain that that state is to a very large extent brought about by this exceptional legislation which has bred resistance to the law in Ireland, and if it is continued, and continued indefinitely, the problem of governing Ireland will become almost impossible. I hope the Government will see their way to bring Ireland under the same Regulations as apply to England, and do something to show Ireland that we are prepared to do the best we can to remove the cause of grievances under which the Irish people are suffering, and thereby create a better 1169 atmosphere for the Home Rule Bill which is to be introduced within the next few weeks.
§ Mr. HENRY
I had hoped my hon. and gallant Friend would have been satisfied with the discussion which took place when this matter was in Committee, where he did not press his Amendment to a Division, and that the necessity for the inclusion of this Section would have been apparent to him. His proposal is to omit this Sub-section entirely, and to leave Ireland in the same position as England is with practically nearly all the Regulations gone, and the country dependent on the ordinary law. May I point out in regard to his contention as to trial by jury, that the Proclamation suspending trial by jury was made during the time, as described in the Proclamation, when there was a special military emergency, and that remains in force until revoked. A special military emergency at that time called for the intervention of the Proclamation, and for the suspension of trial by jury. Has anything happened in the interval that has improved matters? Has not the condition of affairs gone from bad to worse so far as crime is concerned?
The right hon. Gentleman should remember that the Rebellion of 1916 took place after years of government by the party who certainly will not accuse themselves of having done anything to promote crime, and notwithstanding that it was described as one of the bright spots on earth. In the year 1916, there was a rebellion in Ireland unparalleled in its history, which cost hundreds of lives, and that was at a time when, according to the case put forward by hon. Members, no provocation was given for crime. We are accused now of being the people who have really fermented crime. We are told that if the Government were not governing in Ireland, everything would be peaceful. What Government was there prior to 1916, and what was the result of their government? To produce such a state of things as never existed before. That was not a Coalition Government or a Tory Government, or a Unionist Government. Mr. Birrell was for years Chief Secretary under a Liberal Government before the Rebellion of 1916.
§ Mr. HENRY
I am not concerned with who destroyed the Home Rule Act, but if I am right in my dates, I think Mr. Asquith had suspended the Homo Rule Act, and was himself responsible for suspending it. The position was that Mr. Birrell was Chief Secretary and he did not exercise any coercion, and yet that rebellion occurred in 1916, and trouble has existed ever since then, so that it can hardly be put at our door that the position of things is in any way due to us What would be our position if we stood aside and allowed murder to go on without exercising all our powers? Look at some of the recent murders.
§ Colonel WILLIAMS
Does the right hon. Gentleman claim that the passing of this D.O.R.A. Act for Ireland will put down murder or help him to deal with murderers?
§ Colonel WILLIAMS
I say that the police in England could have dealt efficiently with murder and crime of that sort without the Defence of the Realm Act.
§ Mr. HENRY
The hon. and gallant Member surely does not consider the conditions in the two countries to be the same. The condition in England is perfectly different. True, there are crimes in England, but they are crimes of a different class. There may be crimes of robbery and violence, but they are in no way an organised attack upon the Government of the country. These men come forward not as loyal subjects but as soldiers of the Irish Republic, and they regard the position as a state of war. Under these circumstances, what case is there for refusing us a continuance of these Regulations? What has happened? One day you read of an attack on one of His Majesty's ships, another day of an attack upon His Majesty's representative. A few days ago half a ton of gelignite used for military purposes was taken away. What is going to be done with 1171 it I It will be used to upset His Majesty's Government in Ireland. Hardly a morning passes that you do not read of police barracks bing bombed and blown up. Why? It is because they represent the British Government in Ireland. It is not an attack on one party, it is not an attack on the Coalition Government, it is an attack on your nation. It is an attempt to drive your nation out of Ireland. Hon. Members may be willing to go, but, if they are not willing to go, there must be some force used in order to keep these men in check.
We ask you to give us for twelve months from the termination of the War a continuation of the powers we already possess. Is that a long period? Furthermore, we take power at any time during those twelve months to revoke the Regulations by Order in Council, and I can assure hon. Members that if they can be revoked there will be no one more anxious than my right hon. Friend to revoke them. Nothing would please him better. In the meantime, we ask for their continuance, and I suggest that the period is not long. My hon. and gallant Friend in Committee suggested that we ought to apply for coercive powers and bring in a coercion Act. We try and do our best under the law as it is, and it is to be remembered that this law will remain in force in Ireland till the termination of the War. The extension is not a long one. I know that hon. Members take a deep interest in these matters, and that they are as much shocked by the dreadful occurrences in Ireland as we are. They have made their impression, and I do not want to recite a litany of atrocities, but I do suggest that things have come to such a state, and have been now for months in such a state, that it is not the time to lessen the hold which the Executive Government have upon the country.
§ Mr. T. P. O'CONNOR
I reproach myself, and have been reproached, for making the same speech for forty years, but I may retort that I have heard the speech which the right hon. and learned Gentleman has just made at least four thousand times during the last forty years. I never heard a speech introducing a coercion Bill into this House that did not follow exactly the same line of argument as the speech of the right hon. and learned 1172 Gentleman. He attributes to my hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel P. Williams) the suggestion that he should bring in a coercion Bill. May I say to my hon. and gallant Friend that the Government have a much better plan for coercing Ireland than bringing in a coercion Bill. If the Government brought in a coercion Bill it would get adequate and full discussion as an avowed measure of coercion, and I am sure that the public opinion of this country, slow though it may be to be moved, would be moved by the extraordinary spectacle of the nation that has fought for the freedom of small nations signalising its victory in that great field of warfare by bringing in another coercion Bill for Ireland. The coercion Bills that were introduced in the old days were subject to weeks and even months of discussion. I have sat up night after night for many a week during the discussion of a coercion Bill, because in those days, as every student of modern English politics will know, a coercion Bill was always a very difficult corner even for a powerful Government to turn. As a matter of fact, so strong is the instinct of this freedom-loving nation and of this Parliament, which after all represents centuries of freedom, that the great Government of Sir Robert Peel was turned out in 1846 by Mr. Disraeli and the Protectionists uniting with the Liberals and the Irish party, because Parliament refused to curtail the liberties of Ireland, and to put the Irish citizens upon a different plane from that of the citizens of England, Scotland and Wales.
When we come to modern times, instead of having the honesty to take the risk and the disrepute of proposing a coercion Bill for Ireland, the Government seek refuge in this miserable subterfuge of enacting it in a Subsection of a Bill with the additional precaution of camouflaging it by not mentioning Ireland in the measure at all. It is not playing the game fairly, and, if I have continued my antagonism to this Hill, and if I still continue it to the end, it is that I may in some way or other get at the mind of the English people and show them that, by a miserable subterfuge, the citizens of Ireland are being put in a different position from that of the citizens of England, Scotland and Wales. Therefore, I think the Government were quite wise, according to their own lights, in refusing the 1173 suggestion of my hon and learned Friend. What is the Defence of the Government? it is that there is a large amount of crime in Ireland, and that this Bill abolishing trial by jury and putting men at the mercy of the servants of the Government is made necessary in order to put down crime. Is there any single one of us on these benches who would oppose a Bill if we thought that it was the only method, and the best method, of putting down crime?
The case that the Government have to meet and the case that the Government have not tried to meet, because they cannot meet it, is that this form of legislation is calculated, not to detect, diminish or put down crime, but to increase crime, and leave crime undetected. That is our ease. Do the Government deny it? I am amazed that a man like the right hon. and learned Gentleman, a distinguished ornament of the legal profession, does not see the consequences of the very admissions that he himself has made. What did he say in a few words that are still ringing in the ears of all the Members who heard his speech? He said that Ireland is going from bad to worse, and that there was no crime before the rebellion of 1916. Then there was a little side-slap at Mr. Birrell, whose name will be remembered and honoured in Ireland by the majority of the Irish people. My position is that the rebellion of 1916 was made more by the Government of this country than by the men who took part in it, and that if our advice had been taken at the beginning of the War you would have had at least 100,000 more added to the many gallant Irishmen who went and fought and died for the sake of liberty.
No, Sir. Our case is this. If you want to put down crime in Ireland you must adopt very different methods. All the legislation, of which this is a specimen, instead of diminishing crime, has increased it, and will continue to increase it until public opinion in this country as well as in Ireland rises in revolt against a policy which is bringing disaster to Ireland and shame and dishonour to England. Every attempt is made to diminish the importance of these powers. On a previous Amendment it, was declared it was but a small proposal to substitute the resident magistrate for a court martial, and now the suave Attorney-General speaks of this as a thing which will last for a short time only, and as a matter of almost trifling 1174 importance. Yet everybody knows that on this Bill we are discussing the very foundations on which the liberties of this and other nations are based. What we are discussing is whether Magna Charta or trial by jury shall be maintained, and whether nominated justices shall be substituted for independent judges. In other words, we are discussing questions on which great civil wars and all the great Parliamentary conflicts of this nation for seven or eight centuries have been fought out. Yet we are told it is a little Bill! With regard to trial by jury, all I can say is that when a Government cannot find a jury to convict that is a condemnation not of the jury, but of the Government. In this country you had at one time iniquitous and merciless laws which sent boys and girls to the scaffold for pocket-picking and other minor offences. But juries refused to convict, and by their courage and their insight they compelled you to humanise your laws and to remove those blots from your Statute Book.
Then it is said it is only for a short time and that there is power given to the Government to drop this. As if the Government is a kind of Government which will drop any method of repression. Let me take it step by step, month by month, and year by year, since 1914. There was no crime in 1914, there was no crime in Ireland in 1915, and there was no crime in 1916, because, after all, rebellion, though a very serious thing, is a very different thing from criminal and cowardly assassination. If rebellion were the same as assassination, I am afraid that some of my hon. Friends, who represent Ulster, would be in danger of being called by very uncomplimentary epithets. I say there was no crime in 1914, because, after all, I do not regard their very stupid and insensate rebellious movement in the same light as I look upon cowardly assassination. Therefore, I repeat there was no crime in Ireland in 1934 or 1915 or 1916, and crime only began because of the savage measures adopted by this Government and it has been continued and augmented by this Act. The Attorney-General has sought to camouflage this Bill. He says the people who are to be brought up before the resident magistrates are not the men who have been guilty of murder, who will still have to be tried by jury, but persons accused of carrying arms. The suggestion is that though trial by jury is 1175 maintained for serious crimes, like murder and attempted murder, trial before a resident magistrate is strictly confined to such offences as carrying arms. But the carrying of arms may be a very serious offence. Still, the whole suggestion, that it is only crime like the carrying of arms that will be tried by this tribunal, is most false and most misleading.
Is that the only thing that is brought before courts-martial, and that will be tried before resident magistrates? The other night I was at an Irish banquet and I heard a man singing "A Nation Once Again." I have been hearing that song ever since I was a child. It is as familiar to me and to all Irishmen, not only in Ireland, but in every part of the world, as "Auld Lang Syne" is to Scotsmen. I do not know what would have happened had there been any police present at that banquet, but an Irishman can do and say in England with freedom, and enjoy the protection of the police in so doing, what he cannot do or say in Ireland. A man was sent to gaol in Ireland for two years for singing "A Nation Once Again." Is it not the professed policy of the Government to make Ireland a nation once again? If so, then the members of the Government ought to be in the cells for two years with that unfortunate man Probably the only reason why members of the Government do not sing the song themselves is that they do not know the words. Take another ease. A number of girls have been sentenced in Ireland for doing what I daresay was done by many girls at Albert Hall the other day. They carried green Sinn Fein flags. They were girls—flappers some might call them, but our higher standard and taste in Ireland would not permit us to apply that English word to the Irish colleens. Still, the fact remains that Irish girls for carrying flags were sentenced. Children have been so sentenced, and yet the suave Attorney-General declares that this provision is only to be applied in cases of carrying arms, forgetful of the fact that hundreds and thousands of people have been sent to gaol for offences which certainly cannot be described as coming within the same category of moral turpitude as assassination or other serious crimes. We seem to have a different law for England and Ireland. You can discuss in England whether Ireland should have a republic. You can discuss in England 1176 whether England should have a republic. You can discuss in Scotland—and I believe they are discussing it a good deal in certain parts of Scotland—whether England or Scotland or Wales should have a republic It is a matter of opinion on which men ought to be allowed freely to express their opinion. I will not say what my opinion is, but I claim as a citizen of London to go to the Albert Hall to-morrow and discuss—I hope I shall do it judicially and fairly—the question whether a republic or a monarchical system is the better in all parts of the world, including England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. No one dare say me nay. Irishmen even can come to London and can discuss whether Ireland should be a republic or not: and I am sorry to say, owing to the action of the Government, Irishmen of that method of thought are wearing away from my poor old constitutional bosom a great many men who want the present régime to go with the idea of accepting nothing but a republic.
What is the effect of all this? The Government admit that it aggravates crime, and above all, that it does not detect crime. I do not know how many murders have been committed but not a single man has been made amenable for any of them. I do not know that any man has even been put on his trial for any of them. It is the same as in any other country when we try to suppress the national aspirations of the people, whether it be Russia or Poland or any other country, and it would be the same in England if you had the same conditions when you try to suppress the will of a nation, its national liberties and its national self-government you have this revolt, which in every country and in every age ends in the shocking spectre of revolution and of assassination. I deplore the state of things in Ireland to-day. I deplore it as much as the Attorney-General for Ireland. He cannot but be shocked at this state of things. I should equally deplore it in England. I deplore it in Russia. I have never in my life even held communion or shaken the hands of a Russian Anarchist or Nihilist or any man who I had reason to suspect of having his hand dyed with blood. I think the poison of these crimes remains in the blood of a nation long after liberty has been obtained. I look therefore with greater alarm and migiving than even an Englishman can on this deplorable state 1177 of things in Ireland, because I am afraid the poison will remain long after the cause has gone away. There is no man in this House who is a more convinced opponent of a resort to revolution in Ireland or England or Scotland accompanied by violence and blood shed than I am.
I have said all these things as a student of history, and if I am found in opposition to this Bill, it is not that I have any sympathy with crime. My objection to the Bill is that it is creating revolution and creating crime, and helping to poison Ireland It is helping to poison the whole world. In the United States I fought for the cause of the Allies, which I regarded as the cause of freedom, and I was opposed in the most violent terms of calumny by men of my own race, but I was able in some parts of the country at least to get a considerable portion of my countrymen away from the standard of revolution and the standard of German sympathy to the standard of constitutional agitation and sympathy with the Allies. I was able to do that during 13 months, a big space to take out of a life which had already passed its 70th year. I was able to stem the tide which already was setting steadily in favour of the adoption in America of the Sinn Fein doctrine which had started in Ireland. Now the very men and women who stood fey ray side on the platform, whose minds never were for a moment touched by all the charges made against me, are to-day on the Sinn Fein platform, and so far as the Irish in America are concerned, they are all Sinn Fein to-day. The Irish in Australia are all Sinn Fein. I believe even in Canada, where my Irish meetings before the War had the unusual spectacle to me of beginning and ending with "God Save the King," most of our people are going into the ranks of Sinn Fein. Can any Government be blind enough not to see that this furious and senseless and blind adoption of the principles of repression which surround the whole of the Irish problem present greater and greater difficulties and perils to this Empire? Do not let any of you who are not Irishmen suppose that this revolt against the present system in Ireland is confined to Irishmen. If you look at the proceedings at Washington you will get some evidence that American opinion as a whole is as much against it as Irish 1178 opinion. I am sure this legislation is the responsibility and the work of the Government, and that the masses of the people of England and Scotland and Wales are opposed to it. I have heard challenges for a general election, and if to-morrow I wanted an issue on which I should be certain of defeating this Government and having a very different Government in its place, I could choose no better issue than whether the Irish question was to be solved and the Irish people were to be reconciled by that healthy, broad atmosphere of liberty, which has brought peace to so many nations, or by this hideous principle of prolonging in Ireland the policy of coercion and repression, every word of which is already written in terms of human blood.
§ Mr. J. H. THOMAS
I rise because a few moments ago we were discussing another Amendment, and during that Debate matters were introduced which were unfair. In my judgment the speech that we have just heard is a sufficient answer to them. My hon. Friend (Mr. O'Connor) was taunted repeatedly with the fact that the same speech he has delivered to-night he delivered 40 years ago. He would not resent my saying that probably some of the sentences that we have just heard, and which we appreciate and ought to appreciate, were uttered by him 40 years ago. There are speeches which would not bear repeating 40 years hence. On the other hand, whilst it is perfectly true that my hon. Friend may have repeatedly made these statements, the prophesy that he then made is unfortunately but too true to-day. A superficial visit to Ire land does not entitle anyone to speak as an authority on the Irish question, but it does not require very many visits to Ireland; in fact, it does not require any visit, but a really honest attempt to read and understand what takes place, to convince any hon. Member that there is something radically wrong in Ireland, and that steps ought to be taken to put it right. There is common agreement on that. The curious fact is that whilst we are discussing fresh legislation, as far as Ireland is concerned, we are losing sight of the fact that if any measure introduced by the Government is to be successful—and we all hope it will be successful—there must be the right atmosphere. No one would contradict the statement that 1179 anyone who values the future of this country and the good name of this country, cannot do otherwise than hope and work for an Irish settlement. If that is the opinion of all sections in the House, the first thing to he done to bring about that result is the creation of an atmosphere that will make it possible. That is the first essential. Unless you do create that atmosphere there is no possible hope of success following your effort.
What you are doing in the Clause we are now discussing is to further convince the Irish people that you have no honest intention, that it is mere camouflage, and that your talk about self-government in Ireland is mere hypocrisy. That must be the effect of the proposals, viewed from the Irish standpoint. There are numbers of us on these Benches who have Irish members in their organisation. We have approximately 18,000 Irishmen in my own organisation in all parts of Ireland. There are about 3,000 in Belfast alone. I do not want people to think that we have neither interest nor knowledge of Irishmen. Under this Clause, see what happens. The members of my own union—and what is true of my union is true of other unions—come from Ireland to London to attend a conference of their organisation. At that conference they discuss all manner of subjects. There is no limitation on their speaking or on the subject that they may discuss. They can speek freely on any subject. In London they can deliver a speech on Home Rule for Ireland, Sinn Fein, Republicanism, or anything else, and there is no interference. They go back to Ireland, and immediately they get back, in their own lodge meetings, amongst their own Irish colleagues in their own trade union, if they give effect to the same utterances that they did in London, they are immediately arrested and tried by the procedure that is here laid down.
§ Mr. THOMAS
They are subject to the penalties here laid down. I ask hon. Members to try and put themselves in the position of these men. It is useless to talk about justice, because to them it is all a farce. It is useless to say that this is necessary for law and order, because it sounds, and it is to them, sheer hypocrisy. I do ask the Attorney-General to give some answer to that 1180 specific point that members of an organisation can come to London and give expression to views which their English, Scottish, and Welsh fellow-members approve and endorse, and that when they go back to Ireland they are subject to all these penalties if they express the same sentiments. Last Saturday week I came across from Ireland on the morning boat, and what I am about to relate I saw. I was informed that six men were smuggled on board at seven o'clock because the authorities were afraid to let it be known that they were bringing over these men, against whom no charge had been made. No one knew what the charge was. They were merely arrested, put into an Irish gaol, and then smuggled over in the early morning last Saturday week. When we arrived at Holyhead there was a number of soldiers there. These men were brought over by the military and they were marched to the quay with fixed bayonets by about forty soldiers walking by their side, directing them to the train, which was only about ten yards away. Those men are at this moment in an English gaol. I do not care what they may have been guilty of. Whatever it is, common sense and justice demand that a charge should be made against them. I do not know, and it is not our business to inquire, what that charge is. But what is the use of talking about English justice and fair play when these men can be treated in this manner—taken out of Ireland in that way and kept a fortnight in an English prison without the Government being able to make any charge against them? Never mind about politics, about Liberal, Conservative, or Labour parties. I have sufficient confidence in the inherent sense and justice of the English people to believe that if these facts are brought home to them, as they are being brought home daily, they will at least demand a very drastic alteration; because no man should be subject to arrest unless there is a definite charge brought against him if he is guilty of an offence, no Member of this House will desire to defend him; but under no law and no constitution can you justify procedure such as I have described.
But do not let us lose sight of the international aspect of this question. I know that there is a number of people who lay down the doctrine—I am not quarrelling with them—that no country has a right to dictate or interfere in refer- 1181 ence to the internal business of another country. I quite recognise that. I also recognise that some people who give lip service to that proposition in reference to Ireland and America forget it in connection with our dealings with Russia. Any one who visits America cannot help being impressed with the growing hostility to this country. If you speak to any public man—and I have discussed this question with all sections of public thought in America—he will say, "we want friendship with England, but a good understanding between these two great English-speaking people is impossible until there is a settlement of the Irish problem." Therefore, I say, you cannot separate the international aspect of this question from the discussion of Irish affairs.
The records of this House show everything that has been said here year after year for 50 years at least so far as Ireland is concerned. It is probably true to say that one can turn up the records of the Debates and find the same arguments addressed from that Bench and from this as we hear to-day, but surely the moral that one would draw from this is that we have failed with all our coercion, all our militarism, all our repression to crush the Irish people, and we have failed because people cannot be crushed and liberty cannot be crushed in that way, and I would respectfully urge Members in all parts of the House to try to visualise the situation in Ireland to-day. We heard sneers in this Debate at our friends from Ireland. Those of us who were in the last Parliament and sat in this House on the memorable day in August, 1914, can picture the scene when the late Mr. John Redmond got up. There were Unionist Members, anti-Home Rulers, men who had been bitterly opposed to Ireland, who said immediately, "This is the solution of the Irish problem, and the answer to the old charge against Ireland. Justice must be done to Ireland." Throughout the country the-same message ran—Mr. John Redmond is dead, lie died with a broken heart, killed because he felt that he was betrayed by the British Government. I have never said it before, but prior to my visit to America three years ago, the Member for the Falls Division of Belfast (Mr. Devlin) will remember that the late John Redmond, John Dillon and he, had an interview with me. Why? Because Redmond was then afraid that his own action in supporting 1182 the British Government and the Allies would be so misunderstood in America that it would prejudice the Irish cause there, but he took the risk and we all know the result. Therefore I say, the more one considers this question the more we must be convinced that measures of this kind instead of helping to solve the problem leave it more difficult to solve. For all those reasons we, at least on the Labour Benches, are unanimous in saying that instead of dealing with Ireland by measures of this kind, as you have tried everything in, Ireland and everything has failed, you should try liberty, and we believe that you will succeed.
Before this discussion proceeds further, may I re mind the House that the Debate has tended to become a great deal wider than the scope of the Amendment. The question arising on Section 4 is whether this Bill should make provision for the case of Ireland going further than the similar provision which is proposed for England.
§ Captain W. BENN
May I direct attention to the fact that this Bill, while it only proposes that the provisions in the Schedule shall be retained for England, proposes to continue the whole body of the Defence of the Realm Regulations, covering the whole penal code, to Ireland, That does make a difference.
That is so. What I mean to say is, it continues the whole of the existing Regulation in the case of Ireland for a longer period than in the case of this country.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Mr. ROBERTSON
In rising to speak on this question I suppose I am open to the taunt that was flung from the other side that I have a knowledge gained in Ireland after being one of Cook's tourists. I cannot lay claim to that distinction. But when I sit here and listen to an attempt made to foist certain legislation and conditions on Ireland that are not imposed on England or on my own country, my mind flies back to 1914–15. I come from a district in which there is a very large number of Irishmen. No section of the community rallied more readily to fight for the freedom of small nations than the Irishmen resident in the part of Scotland from 1183 which I come. I deplore crime, but what we are discussing here is another thing, and no answer has been given to it. Is it the fact that women and children are imprisoned in Ireland under circumstances that have been mentioned? Is it a fact that men are arrested for taking part in Trade Union meetings? Is it a fact that men are arrested without any charge being made against them? Is it a fact that men and women are arrested for singing national songs? I want to say that if men and women were arrested in my country for singing national songs I would be ashamed of my countrymen if they were not prepared to rebel against conditions of that kind, and to create conditions as bad as those in Ireland now. The methods being adopted in Ireland at the present time are driving Irishmen who believe in the constitutional movement into the Sinn Fein movement. At one time it was easy to get them to listen to the voice of reason on this question. We had a confession from a Noble Lord a few nights ago that attempts to pacify Ireland in the past by repression had led only to worse crimes, and it was suggested that another method should be tried to bring about better conditions in Ireland than those that exist now. I endorse that plea.
§ Captain W. BENN
I beg to move, "That the Debate be now adjourned."
I submit that Motion because we are discussing a coercion Act for Ireland which is far more extensive and violent than any coercion Act since the Act of Union. I ask whether we might be favoured with the presence of a Member of the Cabinet who is responsible for the administration of Irish affairs. He was present for a few moments, but he is not here now, and, as far as we can judge, he intends to pursue the usual practice of making no answer or defence, and not even listening to the criticisms of his own Department. I submit, there fore, that it is a proper case for the adjournment of the Debate.
That is not a Motion which I can accept. It is quite contrary to our usual procedure. There are responsible representatives of the Government, and of the Irish Government, present to take part in the Debate.
§ Mr. THOMAS
It is perfectly true that there are English representatives present, but there is no one responsible for the executive in Ireland. Surely we are entitled to say that on a matter so vital someone responsible for giving effect to these things we are discussing ought to be here and to give some expression of opinion on the matter.
It is entirely the duty of the Chair to decide whether or not to entertain a motion for the adjournment of a debate.
Mr. J. JONES
Speaking for the constituency in the East End of London which I represent, I wish to enter my protest against this attempt practically to discount all the promises and pledges made to the people of Great Britain when we entered into the late War. I am one of those Irishmen born and bred who had to leave Ireland—for its good, I expect—and try to get a livelihood in Great Britain. With the experience I had in my early days of British misgovernment in Ireland I did not come over here with any love for the system that prevailed in Ireland, but rubbing shoulders with my fellow workers in Great Britain I had a good deal of my old prejudice knocked away, and in common with most Irishmen who have lived in Great Britain I became an advocate of constitutionalism as against a revolutionary or physical force movement, which always existed, and will always exist, in every country dominated by another. During the whole of the time that I have taken an active part in the Labour movement in Great Britain I have advocated unity, trust and a better understanding between the peoples of the different countries that make up the British Empire. When the War broke out in 1914, those of us who had any influence amongst our fellow-workers, particularly amongst those belonging to the same race as ourselves, exercised that influence in getting them to recognise that this was not a war between opposing countries merely with the desire to add to their territory or to increase their influence from any point of view detrimental to Democracy. We believed we were fighting the battle of Democracy, that we were up against what is called Prussianism, and we were anxious to see the smaller nations of Europe guaranteed their liberties and 1185 lights. I am not so egotistical as to say that any of us did all that he would have liked to have done, but I do say that the Irishmen of Great Britain, the people of Irish descent in Great Britain, did their duty in this war and rallied to the colours in proportion to their numbers as well as any other section of the people. Nobody feels more disappointed or more dissatisfied with the position in Ireland to-day than the men and women of Irish race who live in Great Britain.
We do not want to see crime continued, but, after ail, you have to remember that the same kind of crime, not political, is being committed in England. Murders are being committed in this country and the murderers have not yet been discovered. Because crime in Ireland happens to take a political form it is being denounced. Nobody wants in any way to qualify crime or give it any kind of baptism from the moral point of view. If this Bill be carried into effect and this Sub-section be carried into law, it becomes a crime in Ireland to do anything which you are allowed to do in England. It will mean coercion to a greater extent than ever existed before. Under the old Crimes Act a man was charged with an offence and was given the opportunity of a trial, even though the jury might be packed. Under this system he need not be charged at all. He can be arrested, interned or sent to prison without trial, and he has no protection at common law. We, who represent labour in this country, say this is a matter not merely affecting Ireland but affecting the whole of the people of Great Britain. Do you imagine that those of us who belong to the great industrial organisations of this country, large numbers of us men of Irish blood and birth, are going to stand quietly by and see our fellow-countrymen, men belonging to our own families in many cases, treated as if they were felons merely because they have national sentiments?
There is a great deal of talk about the Sinn Feiners. Who are the Sinn Feiners? They simply preach the doctrine of "Ourselves alone." That is their political and economic expression. I have heard hon. Members speaking in this House who have also preached Sinn Fein. What, are the extreme Tariff Reformers in England but Sinn Feiners? Is it a crime for Irishmen to preach the doctrine of economic freedom and liberty to decide for themselves their own economic policy, 1186 and is it a virtue for an Englishman to preach the same doctrine? If that is your conception of political morality, we cannot agree with you. Here in London we can hold meetings to declare our fealty to the principle of Republicanism. If to preach revolution is a crime, why do we shake hands with revolutionaries, and why have you recognised Governments that are only the result of revolution? Some of the gentlemen who are sitting round the Peace table to-day are only in their present position because of successful revolutions. There were times when these men were looked upon as outcasts and felons in the countries they now represent. All the men who represent Poland, Czecho-Slovakia and the South-Eastern States of Europe in the councils of the Peace Conference would have been criminals under the old dispensation: they would be subject to terms of imprisonment. The men who preach the same gospel in Ireland are going to be criminals in the future, because they refuse to accept domination of a Government which is not part and parcel of the national life. We on the Labour Benches support the deletion of the Sub-section, because we believe that, having granted liberty to the smaller nations of Europe, we cannot deny it to those who come immediately within our own purview. Have you the right to say that Irishmen cannot be trusted where you have trusted the Poles? Can you really suggest that you can trust the people of Schleswig-Holstein and cannot trust the people of Ireland? The people of that particular portion of the old German Empire have now gone back to their original association with Denmark. The same principle, carried into effect in Ireland, would give the people of Ireland the right to decide their own future political destiny, yet under this Sub-section, if a body of men in Ireland get together to demand the same political rights that you have granted to the residents of Schleswig-Holstein, they will be liable to imprisonment without a charge being levelled against them and without the opportunity of a trial.
Whatever the penalties may be, I claim the right to advocate republicanism if I desire to do so. It is a matter of opinion whether one kind of political government is better than another. Do you imagine that you will make Irishmen more loyal, more obedient to the law, and 1187 more likely to realise their responsibility towards those in the British Empire with whom they come into contact, by simply placing them in strait jackets and telling them because they are Irish and because they have this indestructible idea' of self-determination, therefore they arc-criminals and they are only fit to occupy a cell? Those who live' in the soft security of imagining that they represent British public opinion will have to recognise that they are dealing not merely with Irishmen in this case, because we stand behind the rights of the people of Ireland, just as we stood up in our trade unions and political labour organisations for the rights of the smaller nations of Europe. [HON. MEMBERS: "And for the discharged soldiers and sailors."] We have stood up for the rights of discharged soldiers and sailors. We are not the people who have the power to decide whether a man shall or shall not be employed. We are not the people who have discharged the soldiers and sailors nor have we promised the employment that has never been given.
I thought I had a right to reply to the interruption. I shall be glad to reply to it somewhere else A very large number of Irishmen are involved in this matter. You are not merely dealing with the people in Ireland itself. Every Irishman, whether in Great Britain, the Colonies, or even in America, stands behind the demand of the people of his own country for the rights which they and all other people are entitled to possess. We of the Labour movement in Great Britain stand behind them. There can be no solution of the political or economic problems in which we are involved, until this country is prepared to deal honestly and justly with the claim of the Irish people to have a government in their own country on democratic lines. We therefore support the deletion of this Subsection because we want to prevent tyranny. The Bismarckian statesmanship which was responsible for the old Prussian anti-labour laws, seems to be reviving in this country. There are those who want to dis-establish Prussianism in Berlin and re-establish it in Ireland. You can beat us in the Lobbies in this House, and you can carry through your 1188 oppressive legislation, but there is no law which can compel free men to submit to it. In Great Britain, as well as in Ireland, we are prepared to accept the situation and, if necessary, to help our fellow-men in Ireland to resist by even-means the repressive legislation contained in this Clause.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I venture to say that there has been no more profoundly in teresting Debate in this House since the new Parliament came into operation. I know that my views on rhetorical perfection do not agree with those of an hon. Gentleman opposite, and I have no doubt that hon. Members will be found in the Division Lobby deciding this question without having heard the arguments. I am entitled to say no more impressive series of speeches have been delivered in the House, at least in my memory, than those delivered this afternoon. That is, I think, exactly as it ought to be, for the House is considering a question which is the most vital of all the considerations that Parliament ought to be called upon to decide, and that is the question of the public and private liberty of the citizens That is what is involved in this discussion, and there can be no greater manifestation of the decadence of this Parliament and of the degradation of our great constitutional institutions than to find that, notwithstanding the irresistible and unanswerable case that has been made out in this Debate by those who support my hon. Friend on the front Opposition bench, not a single Minister, whether Attorney-General for England or for Ireland, or Solicitor-General for Ireland, has dared to rise and attempt to defend one of the most nefarious transactions of which this nefarious Government has been guilty. What did "The Times" newspaper say the other day when my hon. Friend the Member for the Scotland division of Liverpool raised this question two or three days ago? "The Times." commenting on that Debate, stated that there was no answer given to the representations and views put forward by those who spoke from these benches, and they went on to say that those representations and views were not answered because there was no answer. That is precisely the position occupied here to-night by right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite. They do not answer speeches delivered from 1189 the Irish bench, or the Labour benches, or from the small remnant of that once great party led by Gladstone whose proud traditions were handed down and are now in the keeping of gentlemen called Coalition Liberals.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
Or who at all events call themselves Liberals. It is enough to make Gladstone turn in his grave at those gentlemen whose principles have been couponed and to find them marching, with the agility of a seasoned old Tory or a modern Prussian despot into the Division Lobbies to vote away the liberties of that nation to which Gladstone's life was consecrated, and to which he gave the golden days and nights of a great life in order that we might be emancipated from the thraldom against which we are protesting to-day. There is no defence and I thank them because they do not attempt to defend. I have another reason for protesting against these fresh chains being forged on Ireland. By what right or authority do you do it? You are going to pass another coercion Act for Ireland, but you have no authority to pass any Act for Ireland or even for England. The working classes of this country trample you under their feet at every election. You are without moral authority or public confidence, and you want to associate the British name and the British people and the great prestige of the British race with these transactions which you are performing here to-night, although you know that every time you stand before the British electorate you are criminals in the dock and you are found guilty every time, unless whoever is returned to Parliament happens to have advantages which I will not describe. Why a Coalition candidate cannot be returned on Coalition principles, but is returned according to his intimate and close associations with the most attractive things in life. You do not represent the British electorate; you represent British music halls. I do not object to a British music hall. I think it is a very entertaining place, but I object to my liberties being taken away in a British music hall. Therefore I say you have no moral authority because you have not British sanction behind you to pass this fresh coercion Act or any other Act.
1190 This is only one of the series of Coercion Acts that have been passed for Ireland during the last 100 years. I have no doubt that when the Attorney-General for England first sought the suffrages of the British people he addressed weeping audiences of pathetic English men and women as to misgovernment in Ireland. I know how splendidly he could do it, because I heard him. I myself, though a perfervid Irish Nationalist, was almost jealous at the pathetic picture which the right hon. and learned Gentleman painted of the horrors of Irish rule under 99 Coercion Acts m a century. At the end of the century here you are with your experience coming out of the Great World War, the greatest tragedy the world has ever seen, and the one lesson of which we were to learn was that freedom was the only just foundation of a just spirit and wide liberty and charity for the future. What is you contribution to Ireland, the only country that you can emancipate? You come here and you compel a Liberal Minister to be the instrument to add another to the 99 Coercion Acts that have preceded it. I know that the English mentality is very often that it is no matter what the thing is to do, do it if it is a profitable transaction, but you cannot justify this in that way. What profit are you getting out of it? What good is the luxury of throwing a Lord Mayor into prison without trial? Does that satisfy you? What comfort does it bring you to arrest little children for wearing patriotic badges? What joy does it bring you to throw boys and girls into prison for dancing Irish dances and singing Irish songs? Do you think by that means that you will kill the joy of Irish life as well as national sentiment and patriotic aspirations? What I hate this Government for is, not that it is tyrannical, but that it is contemptible. Look at those petty little things you do which would be unworthy of a mean district council, and how unworthy they are of a great Imperial senate and a great Government which has such influence and exercises such power in the world!
You have driven the Members out of this House. There are only four or five of us left, but we are here precisely for the purpose that eighty-six of us were here, and if there were only one of us here he would face the whole strength and might of your Coalition majority 1191 and your scientifically arranged Parliamentary machine, as our people are fighting against the military machine in Ireland, in order to stand for those things that were once dear to Englishmen and Irishmen alike, namely, the right of free speech, the right of a free Press, trial by jury, and all those things for which Englishmen fought in their own country, and which we are fighting for and which we will secure, in our own country. The House may wonder, and I wonder, too, how it is that Englishmen stand for these things. As long as you are ruling the country, you say, you must maintain law and order. Of course, everybody who is not an anarchist wants to see law and order maintained, but you fashion weapons in an orderly State where order exists, and you evolve disorder; you want to maintain law, and you break the law. Let me give you one or two instances.
Would the House of Commons believe that only the other day a large force of military, with armoured cars, etc., arrived at a certain house in the South of Ireland for the purpose of arresting a Sinn Feiner? This young fellow quarrelled with his family because he was a Sinn Feiner. The military forces arrived, they went in to arrest this young Sinn Feiner; he was not there, and they arrested the father and the brother who had quarrelled with him about Sinn Fein. That cannot be denied, and they actually are about to indict, if they have not already indicted, the father and the brother for having Sinn Fein literature on the premises, the existence of which they knew nothing about. The anti-Sinn Feiner and his son are arrested by the Government and the Sinn Feiner has gone. The military had to get somebody, and this, mark you, is no rare case. This is quite a common experience in Ireland, and I think that instance in itself shows, what I think everybody admits, that, whatever military men may be in battle and in war, I consider them to be a desolating curse in dealing with the civil affairs of any nation. They hold their rightful place, and everyone is and ought to be grateful to them for what they do in time of war. But the minute these men come in fresh from the havoc of battle and from all the blood and all the horrors of death, are let loose upon civil communities, forced on by an 1192 unscrupulous Government, backed up by an institution like Dublin Castle, there is no limit to what these men will not do, if they are allowed to play fast and loose with the very essential private and public liberties of the people.
Let me come now to another case. Take the case of the Lord Mayor of Dublin. Here is a gentleman from whom I have differed in politics all my life. He is a very high-minded citizen, of great civic virtue and public work. He has rendered great service to the municipality of Dublin and is recognised to be a leader of pure administration in that city, and without rhyme or reason, because he is a Sinn Feiner, he is arrested. He is put upon a warship or something of that sort and brought over here to England. England, great and mighty England, that faced the whole forces of Europe, that fought and beat tyrants and tyrannies, that crushed her powerful military opponents, great and mighty England has to save herself now by taking a simple, honoured citizen of the capital of a country, the Lord Mayor, the Chief Magistrate, putting him on a warship, bringing him over to England, casting him into prison, and letting him lie there until he has almost died, and then letting him out. [An HON. MEMBER made an interruption which was inaudible in the Reporters' Gallery.] My comfortable Friend, I would like to see you in gaol for a while. I doubt if the hon. Member would be as corpulent as he is now. I do not think it would be possible for him, at all events, to make any sacrifices for anybody. [HON. MEMBERS: Order!]
I must ask hon. Members not to interrupt and also the speaker to address his remarks to me.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
Certainly, Sir, I always like to address you, and no one is more annoyed at an interruption than I am. What was the Lord Mayor of Dublin arrested for? Would the silent members of the law hierarchy in Ireland tell us what he was arrested for '?. He does not know himself, I do not know, the people of Ireland do not know, the Government do not know, the Law Officers do not know, the Governor of the gaol does not know, the keeper of the hospital does not know, and yet this man has been thrown into prison and kept there, and up to this moment nobody knows why he was put 1193 there. Was there ever such a combination of tragedy and comedy as this whole series of actions upon the part of the British Government? Is it any wonder that these eloquent gentlemen will go down and tell us next week in some surburban constituency that Labour can not govern? Of course, anybody can govern by dumb show. There is one thing, and that is that if the Labour party ever come into power they will not sit like dummies on the Front Ministerial Bench. Not one of them has risen—
§ Mr. DEVLIN
But it is not the merits of the Amendment but of the right hon. Gentlemen opposite that I am talking.
That is my trouble. I must ask the hon. Member to address himself to the merits of the Amendment.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
But really, Sir, I am an Irishman. Even under the most tragic circumstances there is a slight sense of humour left, and I want to know, does this body of Englishmen gathered in this building to-night, irrespective of politics, whatever their views and convictions may be upon the broad and great issues that divide them, will anybody tell me in this House that ho is prepared to justify the driving of the Chief Magistrate of the capital of a great nation out of his home, putting him in a warship, sending him to prison, keeping him there until he is nearly dead, and never telling us, or him, or the House of Commons why he was arrested; That is what I want to know, and I hope before I sit down that I will make the dummies speak. I merely emphasise the case of the Lord Mayor because, being a high civic dignitary, the great trappings of power might appeal to some of the Tory party. But he is a big man. His case is striking because he is a big man. But what about the hundreds, and I should say thousands, of hapless people with whom I am far more 1194 intimately concerned, who have been treated precisely in the same fashion by the gentlemen who are the keepers of the Bastille, and who cannot keep the Bastille without the prisoners escaping. That is the sort of thing that is being perpetuated and fostered in Ireland, and shame-facedly they sit; not one of them can stand up to defend, not one of them can explain it away.
Apart altogether from these things as they affect Ireland itself, I quite agree with my hon. Friend that to you Englishmen—and I have always been a friend of Englishmen. I do not think in my whole life I have ever uttered a sentiment of hatred of the English people. I admire greatly most of the things in the English character, and, if you will allow me to say so without offence, I think the English people are very well-intentioned, but they are sometimes very stupid. I perhaps go too far when I say "stupid," but I will say, apparently through no fault of their own, they do not bother with the Irish question. The great mass of the British people are so deeply engaged in those vital and pressing problems which touch their lives, business, and conditions, that perhaps they have no time to think of it; but if you are too busy to think of Ireland you ought to take your views of Ireland from people who do understand Ireland, and men like myself and my few colleagues on these benches tell you frankly what is going on in Ireland, not as your enemies, but as your friends, and present this appalling picture of tyranny worse than anything ever seen in Belgium as carried on by Germany. We tell you the story. You ought to listen to it and note it, because Englishmen who have so much to be proud of are never proud of one thing, and that is their relationship with Irealnd. I hear often about how anxious you are to stand well in the world. To stand well with other nations id a great and noble ambition, but do you stand well with any part of the world today in your treatment of Ireland? What has been responsible for the passion let loose in America against this country? I appealed on American platforms three hundred times for support of the great constitutional cause that would bring together the great nations of Ireland and England in a spirit of democratic comradeship, for the promotion of those great things which they have in common, and the Americans cheered. If I went over 1195 to America to preach that comradeship to-day I should not be allowed to stand on a single platform. When I went to Australia I was a very young and an ex citable politician. I was a very extreme politician. My one difficulty when I went there first was to conform to a number—
§ Sir F. BANBURY
On a point of order. What are the experiences of the hon. Member in Australia to do with the Amendment before the House?
I have already reminded the hon. Member twice, and I would ask him again to deal with the Motion before the House—to leave out Sub-section (4), which does not raise the whole question about which he has been speaking.
§ Mr. MacVEAGH
Is my hon. Friend not entitled to point to the results upon the reputation of this country in every country in the world by the present system of coercion in Ireland? That is what he is doing.
To that extent he would be simply repeating speeches already made upon this Amendment.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I am not responsible for the speeches. All I have to say is this: The right hon. Gentleman opposite does not object to my ever being irrelevant. He thinks I am wrong because I am not dull. And may I point out to the right hon. Gentleman that I very rarely occupy the time of this House, and usually I have a good audience? I am sorry I cannot say the same of the right hon. Gentleman. All my enemies come to hear me, and his friends run away from him. I am only going to say this in conclusion. This policy is poisoning the well-springs of public life in every country where the English language is spoken. In Australia, in Canada and in South Africa, what are the people of these nations to think of such conditions as my hon. Friend the Member for the Scotland Division and myself have ventured to recite to the House. I beg of you, for your own sake, because you will not listen to the voice of Ireland for Ireland's sake, to tear yourselves away from all these bitter prejudices and passions, to do something to end this policy of tyranny and military despotism in the country, to give Ireland 1196 peace and contentment to fashion out her own course and destiny, and bring honour and glory to your own nation.
§ Sir G. HEWART
There is one observation of my hon. Friend with which I entirely agree. He said—and I do not think it is necessary for him to say it—that he was an Irishman. But there was another part of his speech in which he seemed to suggest that, whatever he might have been in his more adventurous youth, he had now ceased to be an excitable politician. I am not so sure I can agree with him there. He has ventured to challenge me once, twice, and thrice about a certain occasion—I think n the year 1912—when we both joined in exhorting an English audience to support a policy of Home Rule for Ireland. Those were happy days. I do not in the least recede from anything I said upon that occasion. When he tells us that he has a sense of humour, which indeed I think most of us know, I may remind him, if I may do so, that one of the ingredients of a sense of humour is a sense of proportion. Let us sec what is the exact matter we are now discussing. I pass to the more tremendous matters to which the hon. Gentleman has thought right to refer in such very eloquent and persuasive terms. What is the matter we are now discussing? It is so often my duty, as the Deputy-Speaker said of his official duty a moment ago, to remind the House of the particular Amendment which is before the House. At present it is that we should omit from this Bill the whole of Sub-section (4). The hon. Gentleman who has just addressed us seems to think that it is an appalling thing that the whole of these Defence of the Realm Regulations should still be continued in regard to Ireland. Does he not observe that they are still continued in regard to England,* Scotland, and Wales? I do not know, and I will not attempt to predict, on what date an Order-in-Council will be made which will finally terminate the War as a whole. It certainly will not be for some time to come. Until that day arrives every one of these Regulations, which are regarded as so odious where Ireland is concerned, will be in force in the rest of the Kingdom.
What exactly, then, is the difference with regard to Ireland '? So far as the policy of the Government is concerned it 1197 was stated, and stated very fully and fairly, by the Prime Minister in the House at the end of last year. That policy is embodied in a Bill which will very shortly be introduced into this House, and for which a Second Heading will be asked. My hon. Friend knows as well as I do that the policy of that Bill is a policy of Home Rule. Meanwhile we have to deal with the particular problem which the termination of the War presents. So far as Ire land is concerned, it happens—I am not going into the history of matters, any more than I am going into the years that separate 191a from 1920—but it happens in the particular circumstances of Ireland it has not been thought necessary to make the Proclamation which is referred to in Section (1) of the Defence of the Realm Act, 1915. What is the proposal in this Sub-section which it is proposed to omit? 11 is that where such a Proclamation has been made the Defence of the Realm Act shall continue, possibly for 12 months. That is subject to two qualifications. The one is that His Majesty may by Order revoke any such Regulations; and the other is a proviso that if the Proclamation is revoked then that Sub-section shall from the date of the revocation apply no more to Ireland than to the rest of the United Kingdom. If I may go back to the sense of humour and sense of proportion of my hon. and learned Friend—
§ Sir G. HEWART
Then, if I may go back to the sense of humour and sense of proportion of my right hon. Friend, does he really suggest that it is well that we have got to 5 minutes to 10 o'clock without having made any real progress on this Amendment? I hope we will now go to a division. So far as the permanent policy of the Government in relation to Ireland is concerned, that is to be found in the. Bill which will very shortly be moved in this House.
§ Captain W. BENN
I am bound to say that I think a more amazing defence of any proposal put before Parliament has never been heard in this House. I beg 1198 hon. Members to remember that though we on these Benches may not be numerous we are very sincere and earnest in our advocacy of those things in which we believe. I desire to-night to say what I have to say with temperance and moderation. First of all, may I ask that why is it when a Bill is proposed to impose tyranny—for it is tyranny—upon Ireland that the Chief Secretary sits opposite, silent, while the Attorney-General for England answers the various questions put? What is the explanation of that?
§ The CHIEF SECRETARY for IRELAND (Mr. Macpherson)
The answer is obvious. I am profoundly content to leave the defence of the Irish case in the extremely able hands of my right hon. Friend the Attorney-General.
§ Captain BENN
I think the right hon. Gentleman is perhaps very well advised in that course. Hut I would ask hon. Members to picture to themselves what will be the effect, not in England or in Scotland where it matters little comparatively—but in Ireland, when the people learn that this whole machinery of military domination has been imposed for a further period of two years, yet the Chief Secretary prefers to leave this matter in the hands of the English Attorney-General.
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
I referred to the Trish Attorney-General, my right hon. Friend near me, and the English Attorney-General, who conducted this Bill through Committee.
§ Captain BENN
Perhaps the Chief Secretary can answer some of the criticisms, anyhow. Will he tell us why the Lord Mayor of Dublin is locked up?
§ Captain BENN
Everyone in this House, I am perfectly certain, will share my regret that the right hon. Gentleman has not illuminated our Debates with more remarks of the kind showing the same deep insight. What about habeas corpus in relation to the Lord Mayor of Dublin? In the Chief Secretary not answering for his own administration, he is pursuing to-night the policy of permanent absenteeism, which has been his only defence in the last six months. [HON. MEMBERS: "Divide!"] The Attorney-General for England allows the House of Commons to believe, so far as 1199 I could follow him, that this measure merely continued for Ireland for a further short period conditions which were in force in England at the present time. My first comment on that is that although in theory these powers are in force, in practice they are never used, or very rarely. The second point I make is this. What the Attorney-General made clear is, I think, that though these powers have been continued for a further six months, the end of the War may yet be delayed for some months further, so that it is possible that we have now an Act for two years, that the D.O.R.A. Regulations may be followed in Ireland for that time. Another thing the Attorney-General did not mention was that, although in theory this Bill continues certain Regulations, it is in fact a Bill for imposing a coercion Act on Ireland in peace times. That is the crux of the whole question.
§ Captain BENN
Ireland is at war! There is an Army of Occupation in Ireland, which is attempting to fight the Irish nation in Ireland.
§ Sir G. HEWART
I do not want to interrupt, but I am sure my hon. and gallant Friend wishes to be accurate. The Bill, so far as England is concerned, continues these Regulations for a period of six months after the termination of the present war. So far as Sub-section (4) is concerned, the period is twelve months after the termination of the War. I do not in the least understand where he gets his two years from.
§ 10.0 P.M.
§ Captain BENN
It seems to me that the Attorney-General is relying too much on the fact that hon. Members have not read the Regulations. It is true that we are having for six months certain trifling regulations dealing with small powers, but in Ireland the whole body of the Regulations is being continued, and I am 1200 going to read out some of those Regulations to show the House what an extremely unfortunate thing it is that they should be imposed in lieu of the ordinary law in peace time. Let me remind the Attorney-General of the one thing that makes this case entirely new. The proclamation to which he has referred can only validly be made in event of invasion or other special military emergency arising out of the present War. Those are the conditions under which these proclamations may be Issued, and on this depends the validity of the Regulations. Does the right hon. Gentleman contend, whatever he may think about the state of Ireland, that any of this trouble in Ireland to-day arises from the fear of invasion or from an emergency arising out of the present War! Of course not.
That brings us t" the centre of the whole issue. The country consented to suffer every sort of disability during the War, and we were ail willing to do that. We knew public opinion was behind us, and now because the Government has driven Ireland into desperation with its policy, it proposes to take this machine provided to save us from defeat by our enemies, and use that instrument to enable them to carry on what they are pleased to call the government of Ireland. I do not think it is a matter for surprise that this Debate has taken a long time. This legislation is far more comprehensive and stringent than the Coercion Act of 1887. When the Crimes Act was passed, the First Reading was debated five days, the Second Reading, seven days, it took three days to get Mr. SPEAKER out of the Chair nineteen days were taken up in the Committee Stage, and there was a two days' Debate on the Third Reading. That was the Crimes Act, and is it to be wondered at that the House of Commons should give some time to a subject which is far more punitive in character than ever the Crimes Act was? What a commentary this is upon hon. Gentlemen who call themselves Unionists, who are so anxious that Ireland should continue to enjoy the benefits of union, who claim that the happiness of Ireland depends upon being placed upon an equal footing with England, Wales and Scotland, and therefore they will troop into the Lobby to impose this piece of tyranny upon Ireland. The fact of the matter is that this legislation is not aimed at crime in the sense in which 1201 we in this country understand it. I do not know what the criminal statistics may be, but I should be very surprised to hear that, proportionate to population, crime in England is not higher than crime in Ireland at the present time. Unfortunately, one of the results of the War has been an outbreak of violent crime in all countries. It is not that that the right hon. Gentleman wants to get at. Ho wants to get at political associations which are obnoxious to him. It is opinion that he wants to stamp out. It is associations that he wants to destroy. It is not crime in the ordinary sense at all. He complains about violence in Ireland. That is the case for using these powers. Is it to be wondered at, when Ireland has never had a single reform granted to her in the last century except as the result of outbreaks of this kind?
§ Captain BENN
The right hon. Gentleman says nonsense. I say that the Irish Church Act, the Irish Land Act. and all these things were passed, by the acknowledgment of all the occupants of the Front Bench opposite, as the result of outbreaks. [HON. MEMBERS: No!] The right hon. Gentleman says "No" We are considering whether it is right to give this instrument of coercion to the right hon. Gentleman, and the question is whether measures of reform in Ireland have never been granted until violence has been shown. I say that it is the opinion of everyone who has sat on those benches I hut Ireland has never got the reforms she has demanded without outbreaks of violence. Great outbreaks of violence have been the cause of the granting of these reforms. I do not want to weary the House with quotations, but I would not make that statement if it were not historically true. Lord Derby said: "Fixity of tenure"—that was one re form "has been the direct result of two causes: Irish outrage and Parliamentary obstruction." I could give many other quotations of the same kind, but I will not do so, because I do not want to wander too far from the point, which is, that the unfortunate policy of this Government has always been never to give Ireland what was her just due until forced to do so by outbreaks of disorder in that country. That is the unhappy history of this country, and it has been largely due to the party of Unionists who sit for the 1202 Ulster constituencies and who now dominate the policy of the Government.
Before we give these new powers to the Irish Executive, we are invited to ask what powers they have already. Of course, they have before them the powers of the ordinary statutes which exist in this country, but they have also the powers of the Crimes Act. The right hon. Gentleman has at his disposal the powers conferred upon him by the Crimes Act, powers which enable him to deal, in a way which, of course, is impossible in this country, with the offences of conspiracy, intimidation, and unlawful assembly. He alleges that he wants these particular powers, these Defence of the Realm Act Regulations, in order to enable him to crush out the criminal conspiracy of the Sinn Feiners. I say that the very unusual powers, only passed by this House after 39 days of Debate, given him by the Crimes Act, are quite sufficient for his purpose. Under the Crimes Act dangerous associations may be proclaimed, and a dangerous association is any association which can be said to be interfering with the administration of the law or disturbing the maintenance of law and order. That is the very widest possible description and should apply, and could be applied, to the associations which the right hon. Gentleman, rightly or wrongly, wants to stamp out and destroy. Not only that, but anyone attending such a meeting is guilty under the Crimes Act, and under that Act a search for arms may take place at any time.
With these powers in his hands, and In face of the fact, he talks about introducing self-government for Ireland, and is always saying there is going to be a policy of conciliation, is it necessary, when he has in his hands already the Crimes Act—a most stern one—that he should come to this House and ask us to endow him with the more complicated and powerful machinery which was drafted for our defence against a foreign foe, in order that lie may use it against the peasants of the sister island? The Attorney-General says the War may last for some time, and therefore the powers given under this Act will continue until the War is terminated by Order in Council, and so long will the powers of the Defence of the Realm Act go on. He also said that they are about to introduce a Home Rule Act. If there is anything in that, if it 1203 accurately represents the programme of the Government, if it is true, as the Prime Minister told us, that the Bill will be in print to-morrow, if the continuation of the War technically will go on for some time, what possible need can there be for continuing for twelve months after the termination of the War these excessively stern repressive measures I Something is wrong somewhere. Either the powers are unnecessary or the Government have no hope that their proposal for partitioning Ireland will be successful.
Even at the risk of wearying the House, I want to say a little more. I do not apologise—there are so few people in this House who now speak for Ireland. There are six or seven M.P.'s who might have spoken for Irish constituencies, but who have been put in gaol by the Chief Secretary, and he cannot tell us why they are there. It is on these grounds that I do not apologise for venturing to speak on this important matter.
I am going to recall to the House some of the harmless little Regulations which the Attorney-General speaks of as so small as not to merit talking about. Take Regulation 9A, which is one of the favourite Regulations of Dublin Castle. It provides that where there appears to be reason to apprehend that an assembly of any persons for the purpose of holding a meeting will give rise to grave disorder or will cause undue demands to be made on the police or military authorities, or is likely to conduce to a breach of peace, the provision shall operate. What wide powers to give for the administration of any country. I know these Regulations are in force in England, but they are not enforced there. We are told the Regulations will lapse the moment we get a definition of "the end of the War" in England. But the Attorney-General wants it to be carried on in Ireland for 12 months after the War. The Chief Secretary is taking advantage of these powers every day for some purposes which I will go in detail later. Then, take Regulation 14, another favourite Regulation of the Irish Executive. This provides that where a person is suspected of acting or having acted or being about to act in a manner prejudicial to public safety, he shall be brought under its pro visions. Again, what power to be given to an Executive in times of peace in a liberty-loving country! Somebody has to 1204 decide—a police officer, it may be—without the authority of the Chief Secretary, on the prosecution of a person suspected of being about to act in a manner prejudicial to the public safety. Look at 24B. No one may send letters except through the post office. If any one gives a letter to anybody else to carry to another place, and does not post it, he becomes liable under that provision. There was a Sinn Fein Member of this House who was actually imprisoned under that Regulation. Regulation 27 is particularly objectionable:No person shall, by word of mouth, or in writing, or in any newspaper, periodical, book, circular, or other printed publication, spread false reports or make false statements,and it describes the sort of reports which must not be spread. What a wide power to give! We were forced to do it during the War in order to prevent enemy agents doing harm. It is not the sort of power to give to a normal administration in time of peace, Under Regulation 45 a man may be locked up if he uses a permit which he has altered. No. 51 is one of the most objectionable, and I shall move its omission from the English part of the Act. It gives a person a right to enter, if need be by force, a house, building, or any premises by day or night and examine, search and inspect the same. That is to be authorised by any competent military authority. There is no warrant, but simply an authority to search at all times of the day or night, I shall give the House some examples how the Chief Secretary uses the power. So on throughout the whole of these most objectionable Regulations. No. 55 may be proper enough in War time, but is very improper in times of peace—Any person whose behaviour is of such a nature as to give reasonable grounds for suspecting that ho has acted, or is acting, or is about to act, in a manner prejudicial to the public safety.'That is the sort of power the Chief Secretary is asking us to endow him with in order that he may carry on his administration in Ireland. Since. 1916, 12 or 14 Members of this House, many of them elected by large majorities, and some without opposition, have been gaoled under these Defence of the Realm Regulations by the Chief Secretary. You may say no doubt they deserved it, I see an hon. and gallant gentleman who is delighted, and thinks it is a good thing, but 1205 are we really wise? Look at the case of Mr. Barton. He had two brothers killed in the War. He, himself, volunteered to go to Gallipoli and fought. He is an Irish gentleman educated here, and a man who would be an adornment to this or any other assembly. The Chief Secretary thinks he said something seditious and locked him up.
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
Supposing he was responsible for the; maintenance of law and order, and he had public servants in the shape of the police who were zealously, earnestly, loyally, bravely doing their duty under the most difficult of all circumstances. Not a single man in the South and West knows when he goes out at night whether he will come home alive. With the education and the social status which the hon. and gallant Gentleman impresses upon the House, supposing that type of man stands up at a public gathering and openly tells those who are listening to him to murder policemen, what would he do?
§ Captain BENN
The first thing I should do would be to give the man a trial: I would hear the charge against him, and give him a chance of answering.
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
That is exactly what I have done. He was arrested upon that charge. He was sent to prison and escaped. We were, not able to find him till the other day. He is in prison now, and that charge will be preferred against him.
§ Captain BENN
The man has been arrested in these circumstances on a charge which has not yet been proved.
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
May I point out—I do not think I need to point it out to anyone except the hon. and gallant Member—that two charges will now be brought against him: first of all for escaping, and secondly for this heinous offence of inciting to murder loyal servants of the Crown in humble positions who are endeavouring daily and nightly to perform their duty.
§ Captain BENN
The right hon. Gentleman has so governed the country that a Member of Parliament has to be 1206 arrested, according to his own showing, for using some words which he does not quote.
§ Captain BENN
The right hon. Gentleman says, "How can I? Because these Regulations which I am objecting to—
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
This Member of Parliament was elected in December, 1918, before I occupied the position of Chief Secretary. At that time he professed the republican and revolutionary views to which he was giving effect in the speech which was reported to me. It was not I who created the spirit of revolution. It was the Government of which the hon Gentleman was once a Member.
§ Captain BENN
New the Chief Secretary has given us the whole case. Ho is a Member of Parliament who professes republican and revolutionary views. Is that an offence?
§ Captain BENN
He has not taken the oath of allegiance. This is the best ease we could possibly have to show what a mistaken thing it is to confer upon the Chief Secretary all the vague and shadowy powers of arrest and imprisonment for which he is asking. The Chief Secretary proved nothing. He says that there is a Member of Parliament who makes revolutionary and republican speeches, and he is therefore arrested.
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
The hon. and gallant Member can think what he likes, but I will not allow him to misrepresent what I have said. This hon. Gentleman, who has not taken his seat and will not take the oath of allegiance, was arrested upon an explicit charge, the charge being incitement to murder.
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
I do not think that at this moment the House will expect me to be able to quote the words. If the hon. Member will put down a question I shall be delighted to quote 1207 the words. I cannot quote them now from memory. I did not intend—
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
Certainly not, because I know exactly what is due to my colleagues. My right hon. and learned colleague (Mr. Henry) conducted the whole discussion, so far as Ireland is concerned, in Committee upstairs last Session, and seeing that the Attorney General for England is conducting the Bill for the English part here, it was only right and proper that, though I should be in the House, my right hon. and able colleague, should conduct: the business in regard to Ireland. Naturally, I cannot quote the exact words, because I have not had notice, but I can assure the hon. Member that if he likes to put down a question asking for the specific charge, and why the man has been arrested, I shall be delighted to answer.
§ Captain BENN
My complaint against the right hon. Gentleman is that he arrests people on vague and shadowy charges.
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
This hon. Gentleman was arrested not: under 14D, though, we might have had him under that, but because he was an escaped prisoner, and, worse, than that, a man who had incited to the murder of policemen.
§ Captain BENN
I think that we had better have the speech of Mr. Barton and see what the facts arc, because it is precisely charges of this kind, with which we are concerned, that people make statements and do actions which in the eyes of the Chief Secretary under these Regulations are objectionable, and he brings charges against them and they are tried by these special courts and—this is the grievance of our charge—not by the ordinary law of the land. I presume that there is a law against incitement to murder, but Mr. Barton—this is the whole point—is charged under this body of Regulations by the Chief Secretary, who to a large extent interprets the law himself. [HON. MEMBERS: "Divide I "] There are many cases of that sort of thing. I have asked him to supply a list and he would not do so. He said that it would mean too much work.
§ Captain BENN
Yes, and I have had compiled a list of the sort of cases that do take place under this Act, and I will give him some examples of the sort of thing about which we complain. The Chief Secretary is always trying to throw on to us the burden of defending crime. Nothing is further from our wish. Right hon. Gentlemen are merely begging the whole question because our case is that this sort of legislation infuriates the whole nation. It does not enable you to catch the people who actually perpetrate the crime. That is the whole point. The right hon. Gentleman will admit that he has not managed to secure the people who committed these crimes, but the people he has secured are lots of people who have done things which we consider perfectly innocent. The man who shoots the police is the man who is not caught by the Chief Secretary. The person who is caught is the person—[Hoy. MEMBERS: "Incites!"] We will see that. I will give the Chief Secretary some examples. Two little girls —[HON. MEMBERS: "Divide!"]— were arrested for giving their names in Irish. Is that an offence? Here is another example, since the Chief Secretary is here to answer. A woman was arrested in Dublin for selling flags and giving her name in Irish. Does the Chief Secretary deny that that happened!
§ Captain BENN
It may be that the Chief Secretary has a very difficult task, bue he is not going the right way about achieving success. Here is a man sentenced to two months for singing seditious choruses. Does he think that is a proper sentence? A man is sentenced to two months' hard labour for taking part in a concert at which seditious songs were sung. Why should a man have two months' hard labour for that offence? Here is a man sentenced to two years' hard labour for reading a republican manifesto issued by the Republican party declaring the right of the people of Ireland to free speech. That, I understand, is the charge and the sentence. Will the Chief Secretary get up and explain it! Will ho defend it?
§ Captain BENN
Here is the case of a little girl fined £1 for selling flags. [Laughter.] That is the sort of case that 1209 excites laughter in the House of Commons; hon. Members roar with laughter because little girls are arrested for selling flags. And then we get the case of the Lord Mayor who was arrested and put in gaol without a charge being made against him. There is the case of a former Lord Mayor of Dublin, Alderman Farrell, and the statement of one who is not a Sinn Feiner, and was proud of the English connection, that on the morning of February 10th, between four and live o'clock, he was arrested by English soldiers, who were their full war equipment. A statement by the arrested man goes on—and I suppose hon. Members will have their risible faculties aroused again—I was kept between two soldiers with fixed bayonets, and an officer carried a revolver all the time when visiting the rooms where my children and the maids were.Those are the powers which the Chief Secretary is asking for; that is the sort of thing he is doing, while the actual crime he wants to put down—and we, too, want to put down—he is not succeeding in putting down at all. What is all this costing? According to the December figures there were 43,000 soldiers being maintained in Ireland at a cost of £800,000 to £900,000 per month.
§ Captain BENN
Yes, or they might be demobilised and save the money for the country. The Chief Secretary thinks it is an effective way to govern. Let me give him some figures. We have passed 66 Acts of coercion since the Act of Union, and this will be the 87th. Have they suceeded? What is the one thing we have not done in Ireland? We have not given Ireland self-government. All our coercion Acts have been a failure. I have only newspapers to rely on, for we cannot get these things compiled, except from ex parte statements. Taking all sorts of events, raids, sentences, proclamations, the suspension of newspapers, and so forth, I find that the figure increases with every increase of repression; every new power taken by the Chief Secretary, instead of succeeding, fails. In 1017 there were 700, in 1918 there were 2,600, in 1919 there were 7,600, and in one week of 1920 there were 612 events of this kind. Can anyone say that repres- 1210 sion of this kind and the machinery of Dublin Castle tyranny which is operated by the Chief Secretary are really successful! I say, No. I assert that these figures prove that the more you try to stamp out the nationality of a people the stronger it becomes and the more earnest and determined. That is the whole history of England's relations with Ireland.
The Chief Secretary has made a great point of representing me as a friend of crime and disorder or as in some way associating myself with the forces of disorder. Let us take representative Irish opinion, because it does not matter what people in England think. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] What really matters in a matter of Irish government is the opinion of the people of Ireland. We have to get the best public opinion behind the machinery of government. What is thought of these measures by the best sort of public opinion in Ireland? I will take Lord Monteagle who, I believe, is a Unionist. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] At any rate he is a good representative of a certain class of Irish opinion. Here is what he says:The arrests of Sinn Fein councillors will inevitably be regarded as an attempt to establish by administrative act this control which Parliament withheld, and that in the most odious form of personal arrest. What did his attempt to arrest the five members profit Charles 1? The immediate result was to precipitate civil war. I refuse to believe that the Government contemplate such a possibility. Would that I could feel assured that they are not unconsciously sitting on the safety-valve.Lot me take the opinion of the religious leaders in Ireland. Dr. Crozier says:—The present state of Ireland is truly ghastly.That is the evidence I adduce to show that the present methods followed in Ireland are unsuccessful. What other deduction possibly can be drawn? The right hon. Gentleman has had the fullest powers ever granted to any Chief Secretary in the history of English and Irish relations—the full powers of the Defence of the Realm Act—yet Dr. Crozier remarks that at the end of a period of five years after those powers have been granted the condition of Ireland is truly-ghastly. We know very well what the opinion of the Catholic Archbishops is. Cardinal Logue wrote the other day:—Not within living memory could we find in Ireland such calamitous conduct as at present. Drastic repression on one side, 1211 retaliation on the other; a military régime rivalling; in severity even those of countries under the most pitiless autroeratic government; vindictive sentences out of all proportion to the alleged transgressions; lettres de, cachets more frequent than in pre-revolutionary France; deportations such ns raised a wild cry of reprobation against the Germans when in military occupation of Belgium—these and similar acts of power cannot fail to create recklessness, despair, and general disorder.
§ Captain BENN
As a matter of fact I have not got that part of the quotation. [Laughter.] I may be dense, but I fail to understand that laughter. I denounce crimes; we all denounce crimes. That is Cardinal Logue's description of the Chief Secretary's efforts. Many speakers tonight have spoken of the disastrous results of this policy on our relations with our Dominions and with foreign countries. In Canada there are many Irishmen and men of Irish birth. In Australia one-fifth of the population is Irish.
§ Captain BENN
Or of Irish extraction. We have just sent back to Australia an Australian chaplain who was treated most scurvily by the British Government.—[HON. MEMBERS: "No!"]—Yes. They sent him to court-martial, and after his acquittal he was de-whitewashed by the Secretary of State for War in this House. He was one man who, under these Regulations, was treated so badly, although he came to this country after a great campaign on his own as a speaker on behalf of conscription. A man who came with that record was most scurvily treated and went back to his own country disgusted with the treatment meted out to him. As to the relations with the United States of America, much has been said, and with so much eloquence, by the Father of the House, that I will not venture to add to it, except to say, that I think everyone will agree that it is on the cornerstone of Anglo-American relations we must build the League of Nations. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, No."] The Irish question is the root of all the difficulties which lie ahead of us. We have just found America unwilling to ratify the Peace Treaty and the League of Nations, and one of the main reasons was the 1212 sort of administration that has been carried on in Ireland—[HON MEMBERS: "No, No."]—for a century, and of which one of the most vicious examples is now before us.
§ Mr. W. R. SMITH
I think this is a time when this House ought to give greater attention to the question of the liberty of the subject than ever before in the history of this country. It is all very well for the Attorney-General to get up and attempt to explain the very harmless Clause this is, but those of us who have some knowledge of how these things are administered know that it is hardly as harmless as he described it. He asked the hon. Member for the Falls Division (Mr. Devlin) to have some sense of proportion in regard to this matter. He pointed out that this would have equal application to England as well as to Ireland. We are just as much opposed to it because it applies to England as we are because it applies to Ireland. There is a distinct difference so far as the two countries are concerned. The law is not administered in England the same as it is in Ireland, and I say that entirely apart from the political aspect of the case. I venture to suggest to the Attorney-General that they dare not administer this law in England as they do in Ireland. I invite them to make the same developments in this country so far as trade unions are concerned as they have done in Ireland. Trade union club rooms have been broken into and boxes containing the documents belonging to the trade unions have been forced open and in many cases have disappeared where they happened to be very important for the carrying on of the work of the organisation to which they referred. When the law is being administered in that fashion it is up to us representing the trade union movement of this-country to utter a protest against that form of administration. The Chief Secretary made a very strong point of the difficulties of the police in Ireland. I think we must all admit that the Royal Irish Constabulary have, at the present moment, a very difficult task to perform. To some of them, to many of them, I have reason to believe it is a very distasteful task, and one they would like to be eased from. The right hon. Gentleman went on to refer to cases o5 incitement to murder. There is no need of this Clause to deal with crime of that 1213 description, or of special legislation to bring to task men who incite their fellow citizens to murder other people. They can be arrested and dealt with under the ordinary law of the land, and, therefore, that is no justification for legislation of this description. The great objection we have to this Clause is the manner in which it is being administered in Ireland at the present moment. There is existing no liberty of the subject whatsoever, and in the application of this law deeds are being perpetrated which have the result of developing a frame of mind which makes it almost impossible to maintain anything like law and order. An hon. Member has referred to the question of crime and the murders that have taken place in Ireland. I have never come across any Member of this House, nor any person connected with the Labour movement in this country, who have had any word to say in regard to these crimes but that of protests. We are as much against the crimes that result in the taking of the life of a policeman as any other person in the community, but I want to point out here that the taking of life is not something that is confined to the people who are being charged in this respect. I would like to ask the Chief Secretary whether or not it is the fact that there has been an Order issued in Ireland that if a person is under arrest and an attempt is made to rescue him the police have orders to shoot the prisoner. I invite him to give an answer to this House, and I want to ask this House, whilst Regulations of that description are in existence, is it any wonder that the minds of the people become in-lamed, and it is impossible to have anything like control over the ordinary population of the country? Not only is this Order in existence, but it has been carried out, and I would invite the Chief Secretary to state whether or not it is true that at least one person lying in a sick-bed has been shot by the police when an attempt was being made to rescue him, namely, in Limerick Workhouse. I invite him to contradict that statement if he can. That information has been given to some of us in a way that leads us to have no doubt upon the question and led up to some very unfortunate circumstances in the town of Limerick, and while this kind of thing is possible, is it any wonder that there is retaliation?
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
May I ask the hon. Gentleman if he was also informed that a policeman was murdered at the same time?
§ Mr. SMITH
If the right hon. Gentleman can give the House the facts of the matter, it is very undesirable that wrong impressions should exist upon such important matters as this. It is very regrettable indeed, and, at least, that is the information that has been conveyed to some of us on this question, that the shooting of the policeman followed upon the shooting of the prisoner. I would like, also, on this point to ask the Chief Secretary whether or not it is the fact that a gentleman of the name of Milroy in Dublin was handed a letter in the street by a postman and had only gone a few yards when he was arrested, and, because this letter was in his possession, was charged, and then, whilst he was in custody, was informed by the policeman who had charge of him that if he attempted to escape he would have to be under the painful necessity of shooting him That statement was made in the court by the police officer himself under cross-exmination. Is there any wonder that there is crime in Ireland when a policy of this description is pursued? Is there any wonder that the minds of some of the people become inflamed, and that they are led into committing deeds of which none of us in this House, knowing the country generally, can offer any approval?
Then, again, in carrying out these laws, I have been told that houses have been entered into by the police, with the soldiers at the back of them, and that women in a delicate state of health have been turned from their beds and the children by their sides turned out in order that the beds may be searched. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will say that the police have a perfect right to search these houses under the circumstances, and searching a house once under the present circumstances is, perhaps, something that can be overlooked, but the searching of a 1215 house is carried to a point that amounts to absolute persecution. I have been informed of one case where a woman's house was searched 60 times in 12 months, and on none of the occasions when the police entered was anything of an incriminating nature found within the walls of the house. Is that carrying out the law or perpetuating persecution by the police? Is there any wonder we hear of things taking place such as we have read of during the past few months in Ireland. It is not merely a question of the law being equal in England and Ireland. You dare not administer this law in England as you do in Ireland. You dare not go into people's houses and treat them in the same ways as the Irish people are being treated, nor dare you break into trade union club rooms, and take away their documents as the trade unions there are being treated.
It has been stated in this House and country on many occasions that one way out of our difficulties is to take all steps possible towards bringing about of greater production of the things that are necessary, but everything that is done in Ireland to lead up to that desirable end is prohibited and in a fashion in certain parts of Ireland which prevents industries being developed. Take the case of the exhibition which had been arranged to take place at the Mansion House in Dublin. The authorities knew weeks previously that the exhibition was to take place, but they waited till the last moment, and then, when tradesmen from all parts had sent their goods to be exhibited, on the very eve of the opening, this exhibition was proclaimed, with all the resultant loss which might have been prevented if the authorities had said at the beginning the exhibition could not possibly be held. All this kind of thing is bound to provoke a frame of mind in Ireland which can only lead in one direction, and, so far as I am concerned—and I think I can speak for the party with whom I am associated we are convinced that, so long as this so-called law is administered in Ireland, the more difficulties you will have in the country.
Again, what of the proclamation of fairs and markets, and the prohibition of sales of livestock, or anything in the town from the country? In one town alone I am told that the Regulations have adversely affected the trade to the 1216 extent of £23,000 per week. What is the use of talking in this country or in this House about the necessity of increasing production for developing industry and then affixing Regulations which make it almost impossible for the industry to be carried on in Ireland where the proclamations exist? I say unhesitatingly that you could not possibly affix these Regulations in England. To argue simply because, from a technical point of view, the Regulations are the same in each ease, and there is a reason for having this form of government in Ireland, is in my judgment, more or less toying with the question.
There are many other questions of the administration of the law. The minds of the people are being developed by events in the way that can only lead to greater hatred of this country. Consider the case of houses where the girls' rooms and drawers are entered and beads taken out and wantonly trampled upon. Dresses torn to shreds, and so on. Does the hon. and learned Gentleman think that this kind of thing is going to produce a better frame of mind in Ireland? This sort of thing is taking place all over the country, and I am convinced, as a result of information that I have on these matters, that men and women who would never have thought of developing an extreme frame of mind upon political issues in Ireland, are being driven in that direction because of the hopelessness of the situation from the standpoint of anything constitutional being done. Men and women in Ireland who have been Constitionalists all their lives, not by any process of reasoning but subconsciously, find themselves as I state, for they see that anything like justice is denied to their country. They see no reasonable chance of being allowed to work out economic problems in the way to bring prosperity to Ireland, and they have been driven to that state of mind likely to make it absolutely impossible for reasonable government to obtain in that country for a long time. I put it especially that we have been—
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 192; Noes, 60.1219
|Division No. 12.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Forrest, Walter||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Alnsworth, Captain Charles||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.|
|Allen, Lieut.-Colonel William James||Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Mount, William Arthur|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Gardiner, James||Murchison, C. K.|
|Atkey, A. R.||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Murray, Lt.-Col. C. D. (Edinburgh)|
|Bagley, Captain E. Ashton||Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel John||Murray, Major William (Dumfries)|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Golf, Sir R. Park||Neal, Arthur|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gould, James C.||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Gray, Major Ernest (Accrington)||Nicholson, Reginald (Doncaster)|
|Banbury, Ht. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Green, Albert (Derby)||Meld, Sir Herbert|
|Barker, Major Robert H.||Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)||Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G.|
|Barlow, Sir Montague||Greig, Colonel James William||Ormsby-Gore, Captain Hon. W.|
|Barnett, Major Ft. W.||Gretton, Colonel John||Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Griggs, Sir Peter||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike|
|Barrie, Charles Coupar||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Perring, William George|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.||Pinkham, Lieut.-Colonel Charles|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Pratt, John William|
|Benn, Com. Ian H. (Greenwich)||Hambro, Captain Angus Valdemar||Prescott, Major W. H.|
|Bennett, Thomas Jewell||Hamilton, Major C. G. C.||Pulley, Charles Thornton|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish||Hancock, John George||Purchase, H. G.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Rankin, Captain James S.|
|Blair, Major Reginald||Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)||Ratcliffe, Henry Butler|
|Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon||Raw, Lieutenant-Colonel N.|
|Berwick, Major G. O.||Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank||Rawllnson, John Frederick Peel|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Hinds, John||Reld, D. D.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. A. (Midlothian)||Remnant, Colonel Sir James F.|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Renwick, George|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Howard, Major S. G.||Richardson, Alexander (Gravesend)|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Hunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster)||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Broad, Thomas Tucker||Hurd, Percy A.||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Brown, Captain D. C.||Hurst, Major Gerald B.||Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)|
|Brown, T. W. (Down, North)||Inskip, Thomas Walker H.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Bruton, Sir James||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert A.|
|Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.||Jephcott, A. R.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay)||Jodrell, Neville Paul||Seager, Sir William|
|Burn, T. H. (Belfast, St. Anne's)||Johnson, L. S.||Seely, Major-General Rt. Hon. John|
|Butcher, Sir John George||Jones, Sir Evan (Pembroke)||Shaw, William T. (Forfar)|
|Campbell, J. D. G.||Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly)||Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (Ncastle-on-T.)|
|Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Kerr-Smiley, Major Peter Kerr||Simm, M. T.|
|Carew, Charles Robert S.||King, Commander Henry Douglas||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Casey, T. W.||Law, Alfred J. (Rochdale)||Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Blrm., Aston)||Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)||Stanler, Captain Sir Beville|
|Chadwick, R. Burton||Lewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. G. F.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A.(Blrm., W.)||Lindsay, William Arthur||Steel, Major s. Strang|
|Chamberlain, N. (Blrm., Ladywood)||Lloyd, George Butler||Stewart, Gershom|
|Child, Brigadier-General Sir Hill||Lloyd-Greame, Major P.||Sturrock, J. Leng|
|Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. Spender||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n)||Sugden, W. H.|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward F.||Lort-Williams, J.||Talbot, G. A. (Hemel Hempstead)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Loseby, Captain C. E.||Taylor, J.|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Lynn, R. J.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, south)|
|Cope, Major Wm.||Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachie)||Waring, Major Walter|
|Courthope, Major George L.||McLaren, Robert (Lanark, Northern)||Whitla, Sir William|
|Cowan, Sir H. (Aberdeen and Kinc.)||M'Lean, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. W.||Williams, Lt.-Com. C. (Tavistock)|
|Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)||Macmaster, Donald||Williams, Col. Sir R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Craig, Colonel Sir J. (Down, Mid)||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Williamson, Rt. Hon. Sir Archibald|
|Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||Wilson, Daniel M. (Down, West)|
|Denison-Pender, John C.||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Wilson, Colonel Leslie O. (Reading)|
|Dewhurst, Lieut.-Commander Harry||Macquisten, F. A.||Winterton, Major Earl|
|Dixon, Captain Herbert||Magnus, Sir Philip||Worsfold, Dr. T. Cato|
|Donald, Thompson||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Edge, Captain William||Mason, Robert||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Mitchell, William Lane|
|Falcon, Captain Michael||Moles, Thomas||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Farquharson, Major A. C.||Molson, Major John Elsdale||Lord E. Talbot and Mr. Dudley Ward.|
|Forestier-Walker, L.||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred M.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. F. D.||Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Malone, Lieut.-Col. C. L. (Leyton, E.)|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Finney, Samuel||Morgan, Major D. Watts|
|Bell, James (Lancaster, Ormskirk)||Galbraith, Samuel||Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross)|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Glanville, Harold James||Myers, Thomas|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Newbould, Alfred Ernest|
|Brace, Rt. Hon. William||Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)||O'Connor, Thomas P.|
|Briant, Frank||Hall, F. (York, W. R. Normanton)||Onions, Alfred|
|Bromfleld, William||Hartshorn, Vernon||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Hirst, G. H.||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Cairns, John||Holmes, J. Stanley||Redmond, Captain William Archer|
|Cape, Thomas||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield)||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Robertson, John|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R.||Kiley, James D.||Rose, Frank H.|
|Davies, A. (Lancaster, Clitheroe)||Lunn, William||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Devlin, Joseph||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Sexton, James|
|Shaw, Thomas (Preston)||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)||Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plalstow)||Wilson, W. Tyson (Westhoughton)|
|Spencer, George A.||Waterson, A. E.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Spoor, B. C.||Wignall, James|
|Swan, J. E. C.||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)||Williams, John (Glamorgan, Gower)||Major McKenzie Wood and Mr. MacVeagh.|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the words of the Sub-section down to the1220
§ word 'and' ['as if enacted in this Act: and'] stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 185; Noes, 60.1221
|Division No. 13.]||AYES.||[11.7p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Farquharson, Major A. C.||Molson, Major John Elsdale|
|Alnsworth, Captain Charles||Forestier-Walker, L.||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred M.|
|Allen, Lieut.-Colonel William James||Forrest, Walter||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.|
|Atkey, A. R.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Mount, William Arthur|
|Bagley, Captain E. Ashton||Gardiner, James||Murchison, C. K.|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Murray, Lt.-Col. C. D. (Edinburgh)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel John||Murray, Major William (Dumfries)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Goff, Sir R. Park||Neal, Arthur|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Gould, James C.||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)|
|Barker, Major Robert H.||Gray, Major Ernest (Accrington)||Nicholson, Reginald (Doncaster)|
|Barlow, Sir Montague||Green, Albert (Derby)||Nield, Sir Herbert|
|Barnett, Major R. W.||Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)||Norrls, Colonel Sir Henry G.|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Greig, Colonel James William||Ormsby-Gore, Captain Hon. W.|
|Barrie, Charles Coupar||Gretton, Colonel John||Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Griggs, Sir Peter||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon w.||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Pinkham, Lieut.-Colonel Charles|
|Benn, Com. Ian H. (Greenwich)||Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.||Pratt, John William|
|Bennett, Thomas Jewell||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Prescott, Major W. H.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Hambro, Captain Angus Valdemar||Pulley, Charles Thornton|
|Blair, Major Reginald||Hamilton, Major C. G. C.||Purchase, H. G.|
|Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Rankin, Captain James S.|
|Berwick, Major G. O.||Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)||Raw, Lieutenant-Colonel N.|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank||Reld, D. D.|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Hinds, John||Remnant, Colonel Sir James F.|
|Bridgeman, William Cllve||Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. A. (Midlothian)||Renwick, George|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Richardson, Alexander (Gravesend)|
|Broad, Thomas Tucker||Howard, Major S. G.||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Brown, Captain D. C.||Hunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster)||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Brown, T. W. (Down, North)||Hurd, Percy A.||Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)|
|Bruton, Sir James||Hurst, Major Gerald B.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.||Inskip, Thomas Walker H.||Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert A.|
|Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay)||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Burn, T. H. (Belfast, St. Anne's)||Jephcott, A. R.||Seager, Sir William|
|Butcher, Sir John George||Jodrell, Neville Paul||Shaw, William T. (Forfar)|
|Campbell, J. D. G.||Johnson, L. S.||Shortt, Rt. Hon. E, (N'castle-on-T.)|
|Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Jones, Sir Evan (Pembroke)||Simm, M. T.|
|Carew, Charles Robert S.||Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly)||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Casey, T. W.||Kerr-Smiley, Major Peter Kerr||Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Blrm., Aston)||King, Commander Henry Douglas||Stanier, Captain Sir Bevlile|
|Chadwick, R. Burton||Law, Alfred J. (Rochdale)||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. G. F.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A.(Blrm., W.)||Lewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)||Steel, Major S. Strang|
|Chamberlain, N. (Blrm., Ladywood)||Lindsay, William Arthur||Stewart, Gershom|
|Child, Brigadier-General Sir Hill||Lloyd, George Butler||Sturrock, J. Leng|
|Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. Spender||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Sugden, W. H.|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward F.||Lort-Williams, J.||Talbot, G. A. (Hemel Hempstead)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Loseby, Captain C. E.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Lynn, R. J.||Waring, Major Walter|
|Cope, Major Wm.||Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachie)||Whitla, Sir William|
|Courthope, Major George L.||McLaren, Robert (Lanark, Northern)||Williams, Lt.-Com. C. (Tavistock)|
|Cowan, Sir W. (Aberdeen and Kinc.)||M'Lean, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. W.||Williams, Col. Sir R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)||Macmaster, Donald||Williamson, Rt. Hon. Sir Archibald|
|Craig, Colonel Sir J. (Down, Mid)||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Wilson, Daniel M. (Down, West)|
|Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||Wilson, Colonel Leslie O. (Reading)|
|Denison-Pender, John C.||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Winterton, Major Earl|
|Dewhurst, Lieut.-Commander Harry||Macquisten, F. A.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Dixon, Captain Herbert||Magnus, Sir Philip||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Donald, Thompson||Marks, Sir George Croydon|
|Edge, Captain William||Mason, Robert||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Mitchell, William Lane||Lord E. Talbot and Mr. Dudley|
|Falcon, Captain Michael||Moles, Thomas Ward.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. F. D.||Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish||Bromfield, William|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)|
|Bell, James (Lancaster, Ormskirk)||Brace, Rt. Hon. William||Calms, John|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Briant, Frank||Cape, Thomas|
|Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield)||Lunn, William||Shaw, Thomas (Preston)|
|Davies, A. (Lancaster, Clitheroe)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Malone, Lieut.-Col, C. L. (Leyton, E.)||Spencer, George A.|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Morgan, Major 0. Watts||Spoor, B. C.|
|Finney, Samuel||Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross)||Swan, J. E. C.|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Myers, Thomas||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Glanville, Harold James||Newbould, Alfred Ernest||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||O'Connor, Thomas P.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plalstow)|
|Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)||Onions, Alfred||Wignall, James|
|Hall, f. (York, W. H., Normanton)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)|
|Hancock, John George||Raffan, Peter Wilson||Williams, John (Glamorgan, Gower)|
|Hartshorn, Vernon||Redmond, Captain William Archer||Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Hirst, G. H.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Wilson, W. Tyson (Westhoughton)|
|Holmes, I. Stanley||Robertson, John||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Rose, Frank H.|
|Kenworthy, Lieut. Commander J. M.||Royce, William Stapleton||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Kiley, James D.||Sexton, James||Mr. MacVeagh and Major McKenzie Wood.|
§ It being after Eleven of the Clock, further consideration of the Bill, as amended, stood adjourned.
§ Bill, as amended, to be further considered upon Monday next.1222
§ ADJOURNMENT.—Resolved, "That this House do now adjourn."—[Sir R. Sanders.]
§ Adjourned accordingly at Seventeen minutes after Eleven o'clock till Monday next.