§ Unless and until the Parliament of the United Kingdom otherwise determine, the following provisions shall have effect:—
- (a) After the appointed day the number of Members to be returned by constituencies in Ireland to serve in the Parliament of the United Kingdom shall he forty-two, and the constituencies returning those Members shall (in lieu of the existing constituencies) be the constituencies named in Parts I. and II. of the Second Schedule to this Act except the universities constituencies therein mentioned, and the number of Members to be returned by each such constituency shall be the number mentioned in the third column of those Parts of that Schedule.
- (b) The election laws and the laws relating to the qualification of Parliamentary electors shall not, so far as they relate to elections of Members returned by constituencies in Ireland to serve in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, be altered by the Parliament of Southern Ireland or Northern Ireland, but this enactment shall not prevent the Parliament of Southern Ireland or Northern Ireland from dealing with any officers concerned with the issue of writs of election, and if any officers are so dealt with, it shall be lawful for His Majesty by Order in Council to arrange for the issue of any such writs, and the writs issued in pursuance of the Order shall be of the same effect as if issued in manner heretofore accustomed:
- (c) On the appointed day, the Members returned by constituencies in Ireland to serve in the Parliament of the United Kingdom shall vacate their seats, and writs shall, as soon as conveniently may be, be issued for the purpose of holding an election of Members to serve in the Parliament of the United Kingdom for the constituencies, other than university constituencies, mentioned in Parts I. and II. of the Second Schedule to this Act.
§ Sir S. HOARE
I beg to move, in paragraph (a) after the word "day" to insert the words "and until the date of Irish Union."
The object of this Amendment is a simple one. If it is carried, it will have this result. Until the date of Irish Union, that is, when the two local Parliaments unite, there will be an Irish representation, whatever be the numbers, in this House, but, after the date of Union, Irish representation will cease altogether. As hon. Members will remember, this is a very old question, over which there have been many fights in the past, and I am not going in any detail into the past history of it. I will only say that in each of the previous Home Rule Bills, the question of Irish representation in this House has been regarded as a very important one. In 1888, Mr. Gladstone attempted to exclude Irish Members of Parliament altogether from this House. In 1893, he attempted to retain them at first for certain limited purposes, and afterwards for all purposes, and in the last Home Rule Bill—the Act of 1914—they were to be retained for all purposes. My proposal is, after the date of Union, Irish representation here shall cease altogether. It seems to me to be an important question for this reason: the presence in, or absence from, this House of Irish Members seems to me to be an outward sign of the kind of government that we intend to give to Ireland. If it is intended that the government of Ireland is to be only limited to local government, then it stands to reason that both before and after the date of Union, Irish Members must continue to sit here. If, on the other hand, it is the intention of the House that, at any rate, after the date of Union, Irish self-government should be full self-government, then I urge that we must treat Ireland as we treat the other Dominions, and allow it full 2039 dominion status, with the necessary corollary that Irish Members after the date of Union shall not continue to sit in this House at all.
It comes, then, to this: The Committee has to decide whether, after the date of Union, the status of Ireland shall be the status of Quebec or Ontario, or whether it shall be the status of the Dominion of Canada. It is my firm conviction that, after the date of Union, that is, when the North and South have themselves agreed to Union, it would be much safer and much better in every way to give the Irish Government full Dominion status, with all its necessary corollaries, with no Members in this House, no Imperial contribution, full control over local government, full control over Income Tax, Customs, and all branches of Irish revenue and expenditure, and I am convinced that, unless we follow some such course as that, we shall never escape from the great complications in which we are being involved by the attempt, on the one hand, to give self-government to Ireland, and, on the other hand, to retain all kinds of Irish services under the control of this House. I urge, therefore, that by passing my Amendment we should show in a concrete form that, at any rate, after the date of Union, the government we are prepared to give to Ireland shall be full Dominion status. I believe that that would be a good thing for Ireland. I believe that it would be much better if, after the date of Union, Ireland should not have thrust upon it the duty of sending Members to this House. It seems to me that Ireland will require in Ireland itself all the Irish talent that is available for its own Government. The country is a small one, and, even with all the richness of political talent which Irishmen possess, I believe that it will be extremely difficult for Ireland to find enough men with the talent and the leisure to sit in the two Chambers of the united Irish Parliament, and at the same time to send 40 or 50, or whatever may be the number, of Irish Members to this House. From the point of view, then, that the retention of Irish Members in this House compels and perpetuates absenteeism from Ireland, I say it would be much better that all the political talent available in Ireland should be devoted to 2040 Irish government in Ireland itself. I believe, also, that, so long as Irish Members continue to sit in this House after the date of Union, the old disputes between England and Ireland will be perpetuated.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. and gallant Gentleman, but I really do not think the Amendment justifies a speech which covers that ground. The only purpose of this Amendment is that if and when the Irish Union comes about, it will be necessary for Parliament to reconsider the question of Irish Members sitting in this Parliament. That is the limited effect of this Amendment. It would require a much larger Amendment to raise these questions as to what is going to happen at that period. I think the most we can do under this present Amendment is to ask for the insertion of these words in order to compel the reconsideration of the question at that point.
§ Sir S. HOARE
May I put this point to you? In 1912 a Debate of a general character was raised, I think with yourself in the Chair, upon almost an identical Amendment. The Amendment was a restrictive Amendment. So far as I remember, it took this form. Sir Felix Cassel moved an Amendment that, so long as Ireland made no financial contribution to the Imperial Exchequer, there should be no Members in this House representing Ireland, and upon that basis you allowed, within certain limitations, a general Debate upon the whole question. I have referred to the Debate, and I think that is a correct description of what then took place.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
May I submit this to you? As I understand my hon. Friend's Amendment, it is that, unless further provision is made, the Irish Members shall not sit in this House upon the Union taking place. I would respectfully submit to you it is in order to discuss the desirability of Irish Members sitting in this House or not sitting in this House after the Union has taken place, and all the necessary implications of that; otherwise I do not see how we can discuss the question whether it is right or wrong that the Irish Members should sit 2041 in this House after the Union has taken place. Surely that is a matter which, somehow or other, the Committee ought to have an opportunity of discussing.
§ The CHAIRMAN
This Clause begins with the words "Unless and until the Parliament of the United Kingdom otherwise determine".
§ The CHAIRMAN
Obviously it is a question whether there is to be a limitation in point of time, but I do not think we can raise it here. On the question that the Clause stand part we can raise the question whether there are to be representatives in this House.
§ Sir S. HOARE
I think, then, I should be in order in developing what I wish to say on the following lines. The Bill as it stands draws a distinction between what is to happen before the date of Union and what is to happen after the date of Union. Before the date of Union, a number of services are to be retained by the Imperial Parliament—services such as the postal service, customs, and income tax. After the date of Union, another situation is contemplated, under which the Post Office will be transferred to the United Parliament, and under which it is, at any rate, suggested that both customs and income tax may be also transferred to the United Irish Parliament. Moreover, the other most important service, the control of police, as the Bill is at present drafted, is definitely transferred to the United Parliament. The Committee will see that the question of Irish representation should depend upon these two stages in the development of Irish government. So long as important services such as the police and the control of taxation are retained by this House, so long must there be a certain number of Irish Members here to watch over the interests of Ireland that the Imperial Parliament is still controlling. After the date of Union that situation will be entirely changed. Certain important services will have been definitely transferred, and if other Amendments that stand in my name were accepted other services would also be transferred, with the result that Irish self-government would be practically government of a Dominion character. I say that some distinction ought to be drawn in the matter of Irish representa- 2042 tion between these two stages. It seems to me to be indefensible to say that forty-two Members should represent Ireland in this House regardless of the fact that until the date of Union practically all the Important Irish services will still be controlled by this House and that after the date of Union all the important services will, as I hope, be controlled by the Irish Parliament.
I should have thought that, as long as these important services still remain under the control of the Imperial Parliament, Irish representation in this House should be considerably greater than the forty-two Members who are contemplated by the Government in the Bill, and I should have thought that Ireland had a complete claim, as long as these services are still managed in London, for full representation in accordance with her population. At the same time, I should have thought that after the date of Union, when Ireland will, as we hope, be really managing its own affairs, Irish representation here should cease altogether, and that we should not be faced with the anomaly of Irishmen interfering in the local affairs of England, Scotland and Wales, whilst English, Scotch and Welsh Members will have no say in the local affairs of Ireland. That, in a few sentences, is my contention—fuller representation here as long as important Irish services are retained, but as soon as those Irish services are handed over on the date of Union to the Irish Parliament, no Irish Members at all at Westminster. I venture to think that the Government will be well advised to accept some such proposal as this, that they should say that for the interim period before the date of Union it is necessary for various reasons to reserve certain important Irish services, but that they should let it be known in Ireland that after the date of Union we are prepared to give Irishmen full Dominion status, with all the implications that it carries with it. It has seemed to me, as the discussions on this Bill have progressed, that we have often lost sight of the question of ultimate Union, and that what is wanted now is some definite offer to the constitutional Nationalists in Ireland, that when we talk of Irish local government we really mean what we say, and that by stating clearly that after the date of Union there will be no Irish Members in this House, we mean that to 2043 be the outward and visible sign of the Dominion status that we are prepared to confer upon Ireland. On that account, I was very glad to read the words of the Prime Minister, as reported from the speech that he made on Saturday to the trade union delegates—Come into partnership with us; come into it on equal terms. We frankly invite you to a partnership, a partnership where we recognise your nationality; not a partnership where we trample on your nationality, but a partnership where we recognise it.I believe that, though this Amendment may only raise one corner of the question, yet none the less, if it were accepted, it would prove that we really intend that after the date of Union Irish self-government shall be self-government of a Dominion status.
§ The FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Mr. Long)
My hon. and gallant Friend has really covered in his Amendment the whole ground and the whole history of these proposals in previous Bills. All those who took part in the Debates at that time will remember as vividly as I do the prolonged discussions over the question of the representation of Ireland in this House. There was a proposal made by Mr. Gladstone, and fought with great vehemence in this House for some considerable time, known as the in-and-out scheme. That, I think, has now been abandoned by everybody who has considered it, as it was certainly defeated at the time by the great mass of arguments brought against it, and certainly all those who have tried to ascertain what should be the right representation for Ireland in the Imperial Parliament, including the Committee of which I was a member and which produced this Bill, satisfied themselves that the in-and-out proposals were unworkable and that it would be futile to attempt any reproduction of them. The question, therefore, really comes to this—are you to have in any form of devolution representation in this House or not? The effect, as I understand it, of my hon. and gallant Friend's Amendment, would be to decide quite definitely that at a particular time Ireland would cease to be represented here. Has my hon. and gallant Friend put the case quite correctly? I think not. He takes the Bill as it stands, and he says that to-day 2044 certain powers are reserved, that certain other powers are to go over subsequently, and that Customs and Excise are to go. The Clause dealing with Customs and Excise is a purely permissive one, enabling the Joint Exchequer Board to consider, on certain representations made to it, whether or not Customs and Excise should be transferred.
I gather—I am not quite sure—from my hon. and gallant Friend's speech, that he is sincerely anxious that these two Parliaments should unite. It is not for me to speak for the Northern Parliament, who are very well represented here and can put their own case, but if I know their views and opinions at all, I am quite certain of this, that they will never consent, if they can help it, to be divorced completely from the Imperial Parliament. I am convinced of that, and if it is made, as my hon. and gallant Friend seeks to make it, a definite provision in this Bill that upon union there is to be no Irish representation in this House, I do not believe the Parliament of the North of Ireland would ever consent to Union: and I say quite frankly myself, as an English Member, that if that is to be a condition, I hope the Northern Parliament never will consent to Union, because I cannot imagine anything more retrograde or more unfortunate than that in any scheme of devolution which we may bring into practice here, we should cut off the Irish representatives entirely from this Parliament. My hon. and gallant Friend spoke of the Government of Ireland, as he views it in the future, as Dominion government. Well, even if Customs and Excise were to go, if all the reserved powers were to go, surely you cannot accurately describe that government as Dominion government so long as you retain here the entire control of the armed forces of the Crown—an J I do not suppose my hon. and gallant Friend proposes to hand them over—and so long as this Parliament is the centre of discussion and debate in regard to all our great Imperial concerns.
I have never forgotten a most significant fact in regard to the first Home Rule Bill, when one of the greatest imperialists that ever lived, the late Mr. Cecil Rhodes, threw the whole of the weight of his authority and power into the scale in favour of retaining the Irish Members in this Parliament. I remember discussing it with him in another part 2045 of this House, and he told me that he had no very strong feeling about the particular constitution of subordinate Parliaments, but he said that the main principle of the Imperial Parliament should be to keep there the Members of all the local Parliaments, whatever form of local self-government you may ultimately adopt. That is the reason why the Government have drawn the Bill as it is, and why we propose to resist the Amendment. I do not say anything about the numbers, because that comes on a subsequent Amendment, but the suggestion that we should now definitely lay it down that when Union takes place, whatever may be the conditions then obtaining, there is to be a final severance of Irish representation from this House, is to take a step that we regard as most unfortunate, and which, therefore, we must resist.
§ Earl WINTERTON
The jungle of illogicality in which we are wandering has become so thick that no longer is it a question of being able to find a path through the jungle; it is no longer possible to move anywhere. Really we are wasting our time when we view the situation outside and the situation inside this Committee this afternoon—a handful of hon. Members here, and Ireland in civil war. I feel strongly tempted to ask you, Sir, to accept a motion to Report Progress, but coming to the merits of the Amendment itself, and the answer which has been given by my right hon. Friend, I am bound to say that, while I do not altogether agree with the mover of the Amendment, I think the Government's attitude is utterly and completely illogical. If the Government wish to take up the attitude, which they are perfectly entitled to do and for which I think there is a great deal to be said, that nothing can be put in this Bill with which the Ulster Members do not agree, let them say so, but do not let them attempt to find reasons for an attitude of mind for which it is impossible to find any form of logic or reasoning whatever. My right hon. Friend has made a most amazing statement. He said that so long as you retain in your hands the armed forces of the Crown, you could not be said to be granting Dominion Home Rule. I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman if in the course of his long political career 2046 he has ever studied the constitutional position of Australia and New Zealand. Who has been defending Australia and New Zealand for many years back? The armed forces of the Crown and the British Navy, and if the British Navy had been taken away or ceased to exist Australia and New Zealand would have been at the mercy of their enemies. And yet the right hon. Gentleman says you cannot have Dominion Home Rule if you retain the power of the Army and Navy in your own hands. The right hon. Gentleman also went on to say that the Northern Parliament would never consent to divorce itself from this House. I am sure if you read the Press generally and ascertain public opinion, the prevailing impression is that the Government do not mean to work this Bill even if it is passed. If, however, they mean to pass it, they must consider what will be the effect on the Southern Parliament as well as on the Northern Parliament.
I cannot see any use taking up time discussing this question, because the thing is absurd. I have not gone sufficiently fully into this question of the representation of Ireland in this House to be able to give a detailed argument; but surely it is the duty of the Government to give a much fuller answer on this question. The memory of the First Lord of the Admiralty goes back many years, and he says that this was a matter that was discussed at great length in connection with previous Home Rule Bills, and it was admitted to be one of the most important questions with which the Committee has to deal, and yet we have no real answer given by the right hon. Gentleman, who simply makes a general statement about the Members of the Northern Parliament not agreeing. Although I do not agree with that point of view, I wish the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Duncairn (Sir E. Carson) would move to Report Progress and put an end to the hypocrisy of this discussion with Ireland in a state of civil war, and let us get back to real business rather than continue this academic discussion by the side of which a Debate in the Oxford Union is something real and lasting.
§ Major HILLS
The First Lord of the Admiralty has entirely refused to accept this Amendment. I want to call his attention back to his Bill. He has often 2047 talked of this measure as a federal Bill, and now he talks of it as devolution. May I tell him that his Bill is in its essence a dominion Bill and nothing else.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Sir E. Cornwall)
May I call the attention of the Committee to the actual Amendment, which is to insert the words "and until the date of Irish Union." I understand this Amendment is to enable the number of members to be reconsidered in the amended Union, and that is the only question before us, and I want the hon. and gallant Gentleman to keep to that point.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I should like to put this point of Order. We are discussing the representation of Ireland in this House after a definite date, and therefore I submit that this Amendment raises the whole question of the merits or demerits or representation or non-representation.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I could not allow that. The only question before us now is whether, at the date of union, the whole question can be reconsidered.
§ Sir S. HOARE
Is it stated quite definitely that there will be no Irish members, with the necessary corollary that there will be dominion status?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I could not admit a general discussion of that nature on this Amendment, and if hon. Members wish to raise that question, they will have to put down an Amendment in such a form that the House will clearly understand that that question is to be discussed. I cannot understand how hon. Members who are not present could imagine that a question of that kind would arise on the Amendment now before the Committee.
§ Major HILLS
I am raising the point that after the date of Irish Union, Irish Members should not come to this Parlialiament. I support that contention by articles drawn from the character of the Bill itself. To put it quite shortly, the Bill is of such a character that it is out of the question that Irish Members should come here after the date of the Irish Union. Until the Irish Union takes place, there are all sorts of important services which are reserved, such as the postal service and the police service. 2048 After the date of Irish Union the Parliament of Ireland will have complete control of the Post Office, Savings Bank, postage stamps and the police, and the intention of the Bill clearly is that, when they choose to ask for it, they may have control of the Customs. What do you expect the Irish Members can do when they come here? Under this Bill no Irish question can come before this Parliament, because all essential matters are transferred to Ireland except defence.
The First Lord of the Admiralty has made what I cannot think was a considered statement, that complete control of the armed forces of the Crown is always given to a Dominion Parliament. May I call the right hon. Gentleman's attention to the state of things that has existed in Canada during the last 20 years? Until a few years ago, we even controlled the harbours of Halifax and Esquimalt, and yet Canada had full Dominion government. I know that they have now been handed over to Canada, but she has just as much a Dominion status as she had before. I want very strongly Irish Union to take place, but, after all, the present attitude of mind of the Members who form the Northern Parliament may not be the attitude of their successors, and although the present Ulster Members might vote against union if it carried with it the removal of Irish Members from this House, I do not think we ought to affirm it permanently.
I agree with my hon. and Noble Friend that you cannot always give way and entirely confine your Bill to what the Ulster Members will accept. We have to look to the future, and I cannot see that it would be a serious obstacle to union, for the very simple reason that nobody who looks round the world and see what Dominion government is, could conceive a united Ireland would work this Act of Parliament unless it carried out the intentions of Dominion status and had no Members coming to this House. The Government have not been at all clear as to what they intend by this Bill. In certain parts of it they talk of it as Federal, but I hope they will accept this Amendment. A great many of us supported this Bill for one reason only, and that is that we hope out of it may emerge a single and a united Ireland. In this connection I would refer again to what passed last Saturday. Surely when the 2049 Prime Minister talks of an equal partnership on equal terms he means more than the limited Bill which the First Lord of the Admiralty has in his mind. I do not intend to go any further on this point, because I know the general question of Federal as against a Dominion Parliament is outside your ruling. This is not a Federal Bill, and it contains powers which render necessary the exclusion of Irish Members from this Parliament. All the main provisions of government are given to the Irish Parliament, and that being so, they cannot have representation here as well.
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Mr. E. WOOD
I think I can support my hon. and gallant Friend if he goes to a Division, and for this reason: that I do regard the Amendment, so far as I have been able to follow this discussion, as a test of what are the intentions of the Government in the Bill. I regard it as more than a test of their intentions; it is a test of the methods by which they propose to give effect to their intentions. With that is bound up, in my judgment, the prospects of the Bill having any chance of success. Moreover, I think, speaking within your ruling, Sir Edwin, that this is the last occasion on which it is possible, before we go to a division, to come to grips with any of the underlying principles which, we are told, are in the Bill. I do not think that anybody who happens to be in the House this afternoon during the sitting of this Committee can fail to be struck with the totally artificial and unreal atmosphere to which my hon. Friend behind me has referred. When I hear people talk of the necessity of a new atmosphere in Ireland I feel disposed to think that it is even more necessary to have a new atmosphere in the House of Commons. I would suggest to the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill that if we have now to create a new atmosphere in the House of Commons we should not do it unless and until we get down to realities and face the facts. It is with that view that my hon. Friend has moved his Amendment.
As he said, the object of this Amendment is to recognise in the Bill the desirability of granting a Dominion status after the date of the Union. I was not fortunate enough to hear the all too short reply of the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill; but I understand that in the minds of those who oppose 2050 this Amendment is the idea that it is "separatist" in character. That is an objection I find it difficult to follow in view of the fact to which I think my hon. Friend drew attention, that all those who feel most the force of that argument voted for this very Amendment in 1912 or 1913. I may claim that I am so far consistent that I voted in 1912 for the same Amendment for which I shall vote again this afternoon. But I think my right hon. Friend and the Government are totally misled as to English opinion if they think that English opinion will revolt against this Amendment on the ground of it being "separatist." As I understand English opinion—and this is very pertinent to the consideration of the Bill and to this Amendment in particular—English opinion at the moment is this: it is profoundly bored with a measure that it thinks is evidently so unpopular in Ireland. It thinks that that measure is unlikely to secure much improvement, and it is therefore reluctant to run risks for the sake of uncertain advantage. If that be so—and that I think is the present English view—I think it is true to say that English opinion, while exasperated with Irish conditions—which, of course, the Rules of Order will not allow me to develop—is very uneasy at the only alternative prospect offered by the Government in the event of this Amendment being rejected, namely, resolute Crown Colony Government. I confess I share the uneasiness. English opinion and a great many of the supporters of the Government in this House have imagination enough to realise what that will mean.
I would in conclusion put this to my right hon. Friend; that it is necessary for us really to face the facts. Is not the real fact this, whether you like to admit it or not—however much you wrap it up—there is in fact existing in Ireland at the present moment something very like a state of war. If there is a state of war you have to do one of two things: either make war in the form in which I think English opinion would not readily tolerate, or take steps to make peace. If you are to take steps to make peace that means you must be prepared to stretch your offer in order to have some chance of its securing acceptance. I do not know that I ought to develop that aspect further; but I fully recognise the reluctance of this House and the nation to stretch an offer without knowing whether it will be accepted. I 2051 fully recognise that there is a feeling I very strongly share. On the other hand, I feel no less certain that it is perfectly idle to suppose that many of the leaders of Irish opinion would even consider an offer which was merely hypothetical. Therefore, those who think as I think on this matter are prepared to take risks and to turn the hypothetical offer into a firm offer. It is because I believe that the only alternative to that, that so far has been suggested by the Government, holds out no prospect but long wandering in a morass and ending in disaster, that I shall support my hon. and gallant Friend.
§ Lord R. CECIL
I should like to emphasise one or two observations which have just fallen from my hon. and gallant Friend. In the first place, I ask the Government quite seriously to consider whether they think that to pass a Bill of this magnitude in an atmosphere of this nature is really a practical proposition? Does my right hon. Friend on the front bench really think that the House, constituted as it is at present, will help matters? I do not believe there is one single Member of the Treasury Bench who has the slightest belief that this Bill will do anything whatever to solve the Irish question. Does he, therefore, really think it is worth while under these circumstances to go on with the Bill? I quite recognise it would not be in order to say more than that one sentence on that subject, but I do ask my right hon. Friend very seriously to consider whether it is right to play with a great question of this kind, involving the safety of the Empire and the well-being of so many of our fellow citizens.
About this particular Amendment, I confess my difficulty is, I do not feel that it makes a very serious improvement in the Bill. At the same time, so far as it goes, it does appear to me to be right. I agree most fully with my hon. and gallant Friend who has just sat down, that the one dominant sentiment about this Bill amongst English electors, whom I have had the privilege of mixing amongst during the last few months, is that they want to get rid of the Irish question. I am quite sure that whatever happens to this Bill, the Irish Members are going to remain in this Parliament, even with all the powers which they have exercised with such disastrous effect on the British Constitution in times past, 2052 and with all the disposition to extort further concessions in whatever direction they desire from the feeble0—or shall I use the expression of the Lord Chancellor, so that I shall not be thought in any way discourteous to my right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty—the invertebrate Government. Therefore I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. I can assure my right hon. Friend there was only one objection raised by one hon. Gentleman to this Amendment. It was raised by that hon. Member that, if you passed this Amendment, the result would be that the Northern Parliament will never agree to Union. That is the sole objection. I cannot think my right hon. Friend is right. If Ulster ever does become convinced that it is desirable to enter the Home Rule Parliament, it will be because she is satisfied that she can obtain justice and good government from such a Parliament. I do not think, then, if that came to pass, that they would desire in any way to diminish the authority and position of that Parliament. I think they would probably desire in that case—if they ever did go so far—I quite recognise that it is not at all likely that they will for a very considerable time—but I think if they ever did, they would desire that the Parliament should have the full Dominion status, and that, if and so far as they were to have part and share in the government of the Empire, it must be through a real Federal Government, and a real Federal Parliament. Whenever we have that, then will be the time for them to go into that Parliament. Personally, I myself do not think that they ever would consider the acceptance of Dominion status, until some such provision was made. The Government seem to think of this Parliament as a Federal Parliament, or capable of being converted into a federal Parliament. It cannot be done. This Parliament is a local Parliament. It has, no doubt, Imperial duties thrown upon it, but it is a local Parliament. The old objection, which I am not going into now, but which is familiar to everyone who has lived through this controversy, of allowing the Irish Members who have got their own Parliament to come in and decide what should be English government and what are English interests, is overwhelming.
I am quite satisfied that you will never get a solution of this question unless you 2053 are prepared to face that fundamental difference. My right hon. Friend made a declaration which I think will be interpreted all over the world as a definite decision against the Dominion solution of the Irish Question. That is a very serious matter. This Bill has a very frail life under any circumstances, but if it goes out to the world, to our Colonies, and to America—
§ Mr. LONG
I only desire to say that I am not conscious of having said anything to-day that by any possibility could be regarded as a final pronouncement on the question as to whether or not Ireland should have Dominion status. The speech of my hon. and gallant Friend referred to two different periods, the present and the future. I was pointing out in regard to the future that his proposal was not altogether the Dominion status. I do not think I said anything—if I did, I did not intend to give that impression—that for all time any expansion of the Irish people in this matter was barred by the Government.
§ Lord R. CECIL
I am vary glad to have elicited from my right hon. Friend those observations. It makes the thing very much clearer, but really what he did say quite definitely was that he should be against any proposal by which the Irish Members ceased to sit in this House. He must be perfectly well aware—I think I am right in saying this—that every advocate of the Dominion solution does contemplate that the Irish Members should cease to sit in this Parliament I may be wrong in this, but so far as I have read the literature of the subject, I think I am right. If that is so, he is definitely against it, as I understand it; against what is ordinarily described as the Dominion solution—that is to say, in the words of the hon. Member for Chelsea (Sir S. Hoare), it is contemplated that, even in the largest extension of this Bill, Ireland will still be in the position of Quebec and not in the position of Canada. If that is the decision of the Government, then I think the sooner this House really realises the extraordinary futility of proceeding with this Bill the better it will be for the 2054 country and the better, ultimately, for the Government.
§ Mr. RONALD McNEILL
I had not intended to take any part in the Debate, but I feel constrained to do so by the speech to which we have just listened. I was waiting with intent to discover where my Noble Friend was about to take the lead of the Home Rule group which has been conducting this Debate. I have not satisfied myself—
§ Lord R. CECIL
My attitude is, I think, perfectly clear. I felt it was very undesirable to raise the question of the future government of Ireland until we get peace there, and then, if we get peace, I am quite satisfied that you should in any settlement go as far as you can to meet the Irish demand. It is fantastic folly not to do that.
§ Mr. McNEILL
I do not very much dissent from that proposition, but the Noble Lord must go further than that. He knows perfectly well that there is no evidence whatever to show that Dominion government would be satisfactory to Irish opinion. There is only one other point which has arisen in this Debate on which I wish to say a word. My Noble Friend the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) and others have suggested that the Government in rejecting this Amendment are merely guided by a desire to satisfy Ulster opinion. I am not entitled to speak for Ulster opinion, although I am very familiar with it, but I think my hon. Friends from Ulster have shown by their attitude on this Amendment, and by taking no part in this Debate, that they are completely indifferent. It is not the case that they have brought or are bringing any pressure whatever to bear on the Government to reject this Amendment. I believe I share their views in being completely indifferent whether this Amendment is carried or not.
§ Earl WINTERTON
My hon. Friend has misunderstood me. What I said was that the main reason given by the First Lord of the Admiralty was that the Amendment would not be acceptable to Northern Irish opinion.
§ Mr. McNEILL
That is not what the right hon. Gentleman said nor is my Noble Friend quite correct in his recollection of what he himself said. My 2055 Noble Friend said he could quite understand the logical position of the Government if they said they would put nothing in their Bill which was not satisfactory to Ulster, and that if that was their position it would be more honest to say so. But my right hon. Friend on the Front Bench said he objected to the Amendment, not because of any opinion that Ulster had expressed with regard to the Amendment, but because he said with his knowledge of the North of Ireland the effect of the Amendment, if adopted, would be that the Northern Parliament would never vote for Union. That was a totally different thing, I think I am justified in pointing out that, as far as this Amendment is concerned, so far from Ulster taking up any strong position or putting pressure on the Government they are totally indifferent. The reason for their total indifference is this. My right hon. Friend in charge of the Bill has correctly gauged what the result would be. I am perfectly certain if this Amendment were put into the Bill any last lingering doubt with regard to Union between the North and South of Ireland would disappear. I am not at all sure, so indifferent have I been on the matter, that I should support the Government at all if it had not been for the speech of the hon. Member for Durham (Major Hills) which has persuaded me to vote for the Government, because he pointed out quite fairly that one could not be certain with regard to the future. It is always possible that the opinion which prevails on this subject to-day in Ulster may not be found amongst their successors, and therefore as I acknowledge the existence of that shadow of doubt as to the stability of the position in that respect, I will support the Government in order to be quite certain of not running into the danger against which I have been warned by the hon. Member for Durham. Otherwise it is a matter, so far as I am concerned, of no importance at all.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
I rather hesitate intervene in what is certainly a very interesting Debate, because it has produced four or five speeches which I think not inaccurately reflect the now very general opinion that this Bill is doomed. It is difficult to speak on this Amendment without making a Second Reading or 2056 Third Reading Speech, but I will endeavour as far as I can to confine myself to the Amendment. It is clear from what the hon. Member who last spoke has said that the interpretation generally put on the remarks of my right hon. Friend in charge of the Bill are not wholly inaccurate. It is clearly the case that, if the Dominion Home Rule which would naturally follow as a logical sequence of this Amendment were carried were really expressly contemplated, you might as well rule out the North of Ireland, because it would result in there being no longer any representation of Irish Members of Parliament in this Assembly. But that is a very short-sighted point of view, because by the time the Union comes surely there will have been very large developments on Federal lines. The representation of Irish Members here on purely Imperial matters would no longer be objected to, as hon. Members from the North of Ireland seem to contemplate. The passage of this Amendment would, at any rate, give a lead, and that is really not so unimportant a matter as many seem to think. I entirely agree it seems futile to discuss a measure of this kind, which has no support practically outside the Treasury Bench, and with Ireland in a state of civil war. But it is because of the glimmerings of hope that emanate from the bringing forward of such Amendments as this, moved by Members of this House, who speak under conditions of very great difficulty, but with all sincerity and earnestness, and with a knowledge which comes from studying the subject which nobody can deny, that if they go to a Division I will most certainly vote with them, not with any idea of throwing myself in opposition to the Government, but to show that, as far as I am concerned, I most deeply appreciate the spirit in which these hon. Members are studying the Irish problem, and are prepared to face facts as they are and to take the consequences. It is only by steps of that kind—I will not say they are particularly bold steps; in fact, this is a very safe step, because there are a lot of contingencies which must offer themselves for solution before things get anywhere near the sphere of practical operations, and because there are in this House many Members who normally support the Government, and who are prepared to face the future and to take bold steps by which alone this great problem can be 2057 adequately dealt with, that, as far as any expression of appreciation on my part is worth anything, I venture most heartily to offer it to them.
§ Mr. NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN
As I read the Amendment on the Paper the result of it would be to provide that the representation of the Irish Members in this House shall continue until the day of union, and the question whether the Irish Members shall be represented here or not will have to be determined on some future occasion. But that is not the interpretation put upon it by the Mover who has definitely stated that his purpose in moving the Amendment is to settle, once and for all, Irish Members shall not be represented in this Parliament after the date of the union. If that were the effect of the Amendment, and if the rest of the Bill remains as it stands to-day, we should then find ourselves in the old difficulty; we should have taxation without representation. But my hon. and gallant Friend, with perfect consistency has stated that he intends to move further Amendments later on which will radically alter the provisions of the Bill as it stands and which will make it perfectly clear that Irish Members shall no longer sit in this House, because they will have complete fiscal independence. That proposition is a simple one no doubt, but it is not the Bill. It is not a fundamental and logical portion of the Bill. It can hardly be wondered at that many Unionists regard a proposition of that kind with considerable hesitation in the present condition of Irish affairs. If the Amendment were not as interpreted by its Mover in its literal sense, and if as I submit it left the question over for further consideration at a later period, I should have been able to vote for it, but I must confess that when we are told about the unreality of the proceedings, I am driven to ask whether we ought to support a proposal which will give Dominion status to a united Irish Parliament. I quite agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Ripon (Mr. E. Wood) that what the people of this country want to do is to get rid of this Irish question, and that they are prepared to go a long way to get rid of it. I agree with my Noble Friend (Earl Winter-ton) that, if you are going to make peace, you had better make an offer that has some likelihood of being accepted. Although my right hon. Friend, the First Lord of the Admiralty, suggested that you could not have Dominion status without 2058 giving the right to armed forces, which is perfectly correct, I would remind hon. Members that, once you have a united Irish Parliament, even though you do not give them the right to raise forces, you cannot possibly prevent them from doing so. If I could see some reasonable certainty that a solution of that kind would be accepted in the spirit in which it was offered, and that it was going to be a settlement, I should be prepared to give it careful and, I think, favourable consideration. At present, however, I find myself with no such certainty. I have no reason to believe that the promise to-day of Dominion status on the day of union would bring a single Sinn Feiner into line with this country and, that being so, I feel that I must vote against the Amendment.
§ Sir FREDERICK YOUNG
Whatever may be the literal meaning of this Amendment, I think that one thing which emerges from the Debate is that those who have moved and supported the Amendment wish to bring to the test the question whether there shall be eventually, at the date of union of the two Irish Parliaments, what they call Dominion Home Rule, or whether there shall be some Home Rule of a lesser quality. It is true that the general attitude of people in this country and throughout the Empire is that something should, if possible, be done to bring about a settlement of the Irish question. I think, however, that, in discussing the matter and trying to interpret—or rather, to guide—public opinion, we should let it be fully understood what Dominion Home Rule means. I venture to say that from a reading of this Debate the average person outside would not get a true grip of the subject. The right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Admiralty pointed out that Dominion Home Rule involves the control of armed forces, and he was met by an extraordinary argument from the Noble Lord (Earl Winterton) that there was nothing in that, because the case of Australia showed that for a considerable period we had there a Dominion with Dominion Home Rule and with the protection of this country. The protection of this country and the control of armed forces are, however, two entirely different propositions. Australia, as a young portion of the Empire, naturally was glad to enjoy a great degree of naval protection from this country. In addition to that, however, Australia has had for many years, in different forms, its own internal 2059 army, and that is an aspect of the question which has to be faced when one uses the expression "Dominion Home Rule." If this Amendment means, as apparently its Mover and its friends would have us consider it to mean, that Ireland, at the time when this union takes place, shall have the control of its armed forces, let that be clearly stated, so that, if public opinion is willing to go that length, it may see to what length it is going. Not one of the hon. Members who supported this Amendment brought forward that one vital question of the control of armed forces. If you have Dominion Home Rule, with its full implication of the control of armed forces by the Dominion Parliament in Ireland, you are very near that final step which was pointed out, I think, by the Leader of the House at an early stage, namely, that that portion of the Empire which enjoys that full Dominion Home Rule is practically in a position to separate itself from the Empire whenever it likes. That has to be faced honestly by hon. Members in this House and by the general public, if they are prepared to accept Dominion Home Rule. Accepting the interpretation of the Amendment which the Mover and its friends have given to it, I feel, as one who wants to maintain the integrity of the Empire, that it is impossible for me to support this Amendment.
§ Colonel GREIG
A good deal has been said to-day about English opinion. I desire to say one word from the point of view of a Scottish Member, who, I believe, represents a large volume of opinion in Scotland. I was one of those who fought in the old days for Home Rule. The great argument levelled against us was that our proposals meant separation. What a change has come over the scene! Here we have hon. Members advocating the excision of these words, which would in effect give Dominion Home Rule to Ireland—would in effect sever altogether the connection between Ireland and this Parliament through the presence of Irish Members here. A Home Ruler like myself always resented the suggestion that we were separatists in the old days, and we were as confirmed then as we are now against separating Ireland in that sense. We always test the point by this: Just as much as we would claim for Scotland, we would give to Ireland, but not one inch more. We are as much a nationality as Ireland. We do not wish 2060 to be separated from this Parliament, except in regard to our local affairs. If Ireland gets control of her local affairs, we are willing to give it to her. We would demand the same for ourselves, but we demand our share here in controlling the affairs of the Empire, by representation in this Parliament. It may be that for a short time there would be a certain amount of inconvenience by having a number of Irish Members here until other arrangements were made; and, until Scotland got its local control, these Irish Members might control it. We are quite prepared to put up with that. Contrary to what has been said by hon. Members, on the Front Opposition Bench, we Scotsmen who are old Home Rulers, and who are keen and interested in giving Home Rule to Ireland, will now fight to the death against anything which would put an end to the supremacy of this Parliament, or separate Ireland from it.
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
The speech of the hon. and gallant Member who has just sat down widens even further the Debate, already stretched rather wide, on the subject of this Amendment. I am surprised at the attitude of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, which was that Federalism is to be the furthest limit to which we ought to go in an effort to settle and deal with the Irish problem.
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
If that be his view, as a Home Ruler who is a Liberal, let us know where we are. What becomes, of the Prime Minister's statement to the railwaymen? What becomes of the equal partnership between Great Britain and Ireland? What becomes of all this talk, which undoubtedly is going about, of Dominion Home Rule? The hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. McNeill) said something which I really do not think is quite accurate. He gave it as his opinion that there would be no greater support for a Dominion settlement than for this. Bill in any section of Irish opinion. That is a very strong statement and a very remarkable one. Certainly, all the information that I can get is to the effect that, at any rate in Nationalist Ireland and in the whole of Southern 2061 Ireland—that is to say, Unionist as well as Nationalist—there is at present no support for this Bill, but that there is a growing support in the South for a solution on a Dominion basis. I am not saying that that is possible or right, but the hon. Member gave it as his opinion that it was not so. This Amendment has been the means of trying to ascertain where hon. Members, and, above all, where the Government stand in relation to the future status of Ireland inside the British Empire; that is to say, whether it is to be a partnership on a Dominion basis if Irish union is brought about, or whether they are still following up the threads of the old Federal solution. I was one of those who worked before the War for the Federal solution and advocated it; but I am beginning to wonder how far the Federal solution has really any question of reality about it. It is being more and more borne in upon my mind that the only two possible alternatives are the Union—which means, of course, military administration—or something in the nature of Dominion Home Rule; that is to say, if you are going to have Home Rule at all, you have got to "go the whole hog." On the basis of this Bill, we must admit, it means two Dominions and not one. The hon. Member for Swindon (Sir F.Young) raised the original problem in connection with the Dominion question, namely, that of armed forces. I am not at all sure, in view of what is happening in Derry to-day, and has been happening for the last few days, that, in spite of anything in this Bill, the Ulster Parliament will not have to set up its own Volunteer Army to defend itself in its own area. If it is going to be responsible for Tyrone, it will have to do that.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
We must keep to the Amendment. I cannot allow the discussion to become as wide as the hon. Member is making it.
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
The speeches made in the discussion of the Amendment hitherto have been very wide, but I quite understand that you are anxious to bring us back to the definite Amendment. Unless some prospect is held out that, if Irish Union ever takes place, the relationship between the two islands shall be an equal partnership within the Empire, I think there is very little or no chance of 2062 even a small modicum of support being attracted towards this Bill from Nationalist Ireland.
§ Mr. MARRIOTT
I must confess that, so far as I have listened to this Debate, it seems to me that very nearly all the logic is on one side, and very nearly all the sound sense is on the other. I am conscious of the fact that by that statement I shall probably lose the very few friends that remain to me, but I will go on to say that I think the logic is on the side of those who are supporting this Amendment, and that the sound sense, if I may respectfully say so, is on the side of those who are opposing it. What is this Amendment? Frankly and avowedly, it is an Amendment in favour of Dominion Home Rule. One may agree or disagree, but, frankly, it is that after a certain date the Irish Members shall no longer sit in this House. Hon. Members who make that suggestion are entirely free to hold that opinion, but that is the opinion of an out-and-out Home Ruler. That is the opinion of an out-and-out Dominionist. It is inconsistent with what we were told was the central fabric and texture of the Bill. All through the discussions we have been assured by those who were responsible for it that its texture was not Dominion Home Rule, but Federalism, and nothing would have induced me to vote for the Second Reading if I had not accepted those assurances.
Perhaps I ought, in shame, to confess that I did vote for the Second Reading much less in reliance upon the text of the Bill than upon the assurances of those who framed it and were responsible for bringing it forward. I will make the further confession that I hoped that in the course of the discussions in Committee it would be strengthened in the federal direction. I have myself made some efforts in that direction. I think I have been perfectly consistent. I am frankly a Federalist. I am frankly opposed to Home Rule in the Dominion sense. I am a Unionist first and last, but I am willing to go as far as Federalism in the direction of Home Rule. That is my position, and I believe it is a position which is shared by a good many Members of the House. At any rate, it is mine, even if it is shared by no one else. It is in the light of that opinion that I examine the Amendment. It says after a certain date there shall 2063 be no more Irish Members in this House. I entirely agree that it is a perfectly reasonable position to take up, and it is one which I have taken up, that in this Bill we have, or imagine we have, something which could be used as a framework for the whole of the United Kingdom. That is the federal position, and it is not the position of my hon. Friends who are supporting and are responsible for the Amendment, and I therefore most earnestly trust that the Government will not move one inch in the direction of those who are proposing this and similar Amendments. Those hon. Members are entirely entitled to the view they hold that there is no way of conciliating the great body of opinion in Ireland except in the direction of Dominion Home Rule. They may be right in saying there is logically nothing except a choice between Union and Dominion Home Rule, but I do not believe for a moment that the solution which they are proposing would conciliate opinion in Ireland. That is only my opinion against theirs, but it is an opinion which I have maintained from the first. Therefore, I trust that if only in deference to those of their supporters who still desire to call themselves Unionists, though Federalists, the Government will resist this and all similar Amendments.
§ Captain ELLIOT
The hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel Greig) put one side of the case from the Scottish point of view. I wish to make it clear that Scottish opinion is by no means unanimous in that way. He claimed that nothing should be given to Ireland which should not be given to Scotland. I am strongly opposed to that. Ireland is a pathological problem. It must be treated as a disease. The idea that when a man has a running sore on one leg, and it must be cut off, for the sake of symmetry you are going to cut off the sound leg is a thing I will oppose as long as I have breath in my body. I realise now why the Unionist party fought all those years against Home Rule. It was the chuckle-headedness of the Liberal party.
§ Captain ELLIOT
I did not mean to intervene, and I have perhaps been betrayed into unparliamentary language and wideness of range. The issue was raised before me by another hon. Member that the argument against Dominion Home Rule was that you could not give a Home Rule to Ireland that you were not prepared to give to Scotland. Scotland does not want Home Rule to anything like the same extent that is necessary for Ireland. Though I shall support the Amendment on general grounds of a much wider status for Ireland than is being conceded to it under this Bill, I do not in any way recede from the position that I object to any such solution for Scotland. That is a perfectly logical statement. I am merely stating that the Irish position is not a position of one kind of government or another. It is a root question going to the very constitution of the British Empire. The Irish Members are quite right in saying it is a very shadowy and unreal business because it specifically states that it is not to take place until after the date of Irish Union and they can go away and pay no more attention to the Bill. But that does not get away from the fact that the South of Ireland will demand, and will not be satisfied without a very much larger concession of power than it is getting or is likely to get under any federal system. Those who support the Amendment think it should have larger powers than it will get under the federal system. All who are against it think it should have no larger powers than it would get under a federal system. That is a genuine division of opinion on which I think we should go to a division and register our names for and against the federal as against the Dominion solution of the Irish question.
§ Sir S. HOARE
One would have thought from the speceh of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Long) that the very proposal to exclude Irish Members was something almost too horrible to mention. In 1912 a similar proposal was made to exclude 42 Irish Members from this House, and the First Lord of the Admiralty voted for it. Similarly the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel Greig), who had no words bad enough for the very idea of excluding Irish Members, I believe also voted for their exclusion. This Debate has served a very 2065 useful purpose because it has brought into clear relief the issue between the Dominion status and Federalism. On that account I am very glad we have had it.
§ Question put, "That the words 'and until the date of Irish Union' be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 35; Noes, 229.2067
|Division No. 154.]||AYES.||[5.55 p.m.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Johnstone, Joseph||Thomas, Brig.-Gen. Sir O. (Anglesey)|
|Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Barton, Sir William (Oldham)||Kenyon, Barnet||White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)|
|Bramsdon, Sir Thomas||Kiley, James D.||Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Briant, Frank||M'Donald, Dr. Bouverie F. P.||Willoughby, Lieut.-Col. Hon. Claud|
|Carr, W. Theodore||Maclean, Rt. Hn. Sir D. (Midlothian)||Wilson, Lieut.-Col. M. J. (Richmond)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)||Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross)||Winterton, Major Earl|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Newbould, Alfred Ernest||Wood, Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)|
|Entwistle, Major C. F.||Ormsby-Gore, Captain Hon. W.||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Palmer, Major Godfrey Mark|
|Gould, James C.||Rae, H. Norman||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Gritten, W. G. Howard||Remer, J. R.||Mr. Dudley Ward and Colonel Sir R. Sanders.|
|Hancock, John George||Stephenson, Colonel H. K. R.||R. Sanders|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Edwards, Allen C. (East Ham, S.)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Allen, Lieut.-Colonel William James||Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Law, Alfred J. (Rochdale)|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Edwards, John H. (Glam., Neath)||Law, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.)|
|Ashley, Colonel Wilfrid W.||Eyres-Monsell, Commander B. M.||Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)|
|Astor, Viscountess||Falle, Major Sir Bertram G.||Lewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)|
|Atkey, A. R.||Fell, Sir Arthur||Lister, Sir R. Ashton|
|Bagley, Captain E. Ashton||Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Lloyd, George Butler|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||FitzRoy, Captain Hon. E. A.||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Flannery, Sir James Fortescue||Lonsdale, James Rolston|
|Balfour, Sir R. (Glasgow, Partick)||Ford, Patrick Johnston||Lorden, John William|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Forrest, Walter||Loseby, Captain C. E.|
|Barrand, A. R.||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Lynn, R. J.|
|Barrie, Charles Coupar||Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Macdonald, Rt. Hon. John Murray|
|Barrie, Rt. Hon. H. T. (Lon'derry, N.)||Gange, E. Stanley||McLaren, Robert (Lanark, Northern)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Ganzoni, Captain Francis John C.||M'Micking, Major Gilbert|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Gardiner, James||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Mallalieu, F. W.|
|Benn, Capt. Sir I. H., Bart. (Gr'nw'h)||Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel John||Marriott, John Arthur Ransome|
|Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Glyn, Major Ralph||Middlebrook, Sir William|
|Boles, Lieut.-Colonel D. F.||Goulding, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward A.||Mitchell, William Lane|
|Borwick, Major G. O.||Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)||Moles, Thomas|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Molson, Major John Elsdale|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Greer, Harry||Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Greig, Colonel James William||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.|
|Britton, G. B.||Gretton, Colonel John||Morison, Rt. Hon. Thomas Brash|
|Brown, Captain D. C.||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Morrison, Hugh|
|Brown, T. W. (Down, North)||Hallwood, Augustine||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.|
|Bruton, Sir James||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Mount, William Arthur|
|Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.||Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W (Liv'p'l,W.D'by)||Murchison, C. K.|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Hambro, Captain Angus Valdemar||Murray, Lieut.-Colonel A. (Aberdeen)|
|Burdon, Colonel Rowland||Hamilton, Major C. G. C.||Murray, John (Leeds, West)|
|Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay)||Hanna, George Boyle||Murray, Major William (Dumfries)|
|Butcher, Sir John George||Harmsworth, Sir R. L. (Caithness)||Nall, Major Joseph|
|Campbell, J. D. G.||Harris, Sir Henry Percy||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)|
|Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Henderson, Major V. L. (Tradeston)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Casey, T. W.||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Cautley, Henry S.||Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)||Nield, Sir Herbert|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Birm., Aston)||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||O'Neill, Major Hon. Robert W. H.|
|Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood)||Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon||Palmer, Brigadier-General G. L.|
|Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. Spender||Hickman, Brig.-General Thomas E.||Parker, James|
|Clough, Robert||Hinds, John||Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward F.||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Pearce, Sir William|
|Coats, Sir Stuart||Hood, Joseph||Peel, Col. Hn. S. (Uxbridge, Mddx.)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hope, Sir H. (Stirling & Cl'ckm'nn'n,W.)||Percy, Charles|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Hope, James F. (Sheffield, Central)||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. A. (Midlothian)||Perring, William George|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Philipps, Gen. Sir I. (Southampton)|
|Cowan, Sir H. (Aberdeen and Kinc.)||Hurd, Percy A.||Philipps, Sir Owen C. (Chester, City)|
|Craig, Capt. C. C. (Antrim, South)||Hurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B.||Pickering, Lieut.-Colonel Emil W.|
|Craig, Colonel Sir J. (Down, Mid)||Illingworth, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Pilditch, Sir Philip|
|Dalziel, Sir D. (Lambeth, Brixton)||Inskip, Thomas Walker H.||Pinkham, Lieut.-Colonel Charles|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Pollock, Sir Ernest M.|
|Davies, Sir William H. (Bristol, S.)||Jesson, C.||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Jodrell, Neville Paul||Prescott, Major W. H.|
|Dawes, Commander||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Pulley, Charles Thornton|
|Dixon, Captain Herbert||Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly)||Purchase, H. G.|
|Du Pre, Colonel William Baring||Joynson-Hicks, Sir William||Raeburn, Sir William H.|
|Edgar, Clifford B.||Kerr-Smiley, Major Peter Kerr||Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, East)|
|Reid, D. D.||Stewart, Gershom||Watson, Captain John Bertrand|
|Richardson, Alexander (Gravesend)||Strauss, Edward Anthony||Whitla, Sir William|
|Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Sturrock, J. Leng||Williams, Lt.-Col. Sir R. (Banbury)|
|Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)||Sugden, W. H.||Williams, Col. Sir R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)||Surtees, Brigadier-General H. C.||Wilson, Daniel M. (Down, West)|
|Rodger, A. K.||Sutherland, Sir William||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir M. (Bethnal Gn.)|
|Roundell, Colonel R. F.||Talbot, Rt. Hon. Lord E. (Chich'st'r)||Wilson-Fox, Henry|
|Royds, Lieut.-Colonel Edmund||Talbot, G. A. (Hemel Hempstead)||Wood, Sir J. (Stalybridge & Hyde)|
|Rutherford, Colonel Sir J. (Darwen)||Taylor, J.||Wood, Major S. Hill- (High Peak),|
|Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Terrell, George (Wilts, Chippenham)||Woolcock, William James U.|
|Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Norwood)||Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)||Yate, Colonel Charles Edward|
|Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Seddon, J. A.||Tickler, Thomas George||Young, Lieut.-Com. E. H. (Norwich)|
|Shaw, William T. (Forfar)||Turton, E. R.||Young, Sir Frederick W. (Swindon)|
|Simm, M. T.||Waddington, R.||Young, W. (Perth & Kinross, Perth)|
|Stanley, Major H. G. (Preston)||Walton, J. (York, W. R., Don Valley)||Younger, Sir George|
|Stanton, Charles B.||Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)|
|Starkey, Captain John R.||Warren, Lieut.-Col. Sir Alfred H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Sir S. Hoare and Major Hills.|
I beg to move, in paragraph (a), to leave out the word "forty-two" ["and shall be forty-two"] and to insert instead thereof the word "forty-six."
This Amendment should be read in connection with the Amendment to the Schedule on pages 897–8 of the Order Paper, which will have the effect of providing that the representatives who now sit in this House for Irish Universities shall retain their seats. At the present time Dublin University (Trinity College) has two representatives; Queen's University, Belfast, one; and the National University of Ireland, one. The curse of Irish politics is that they are at present controlled by secret caucuses working by persecution and tyranny. University representatives have in the past been of one type of Irish representation, but they have been entirely independent, and have been free from the other dangers of the present control. Therefore, under the present conditions, they are pre-eminently the type of representative needed in Ireland. Apart from this general argument, the Southern Unionists will probably have no representatives here unless this Amendment is accepted. The Imperial Parliament will have very important functions in connection with Ireland, even after the date of Irish union. The South of Ireland Unionists are about one-tenth of the population, and under this Amendment they might hope to have their views expressed by the two Members for Trinity College, Dublin. They would have one-sixteenth of the total representation of the South of Ireland in this Parliament. That is less than their numbers would strictly justify, but it is better than nothing, and it would ensure that their grievances would be 2068 heard. I appeal confidently to the First Lord of the Admiralty to give this Amendment his sympathy and acceptance, because I know that he, perhaps more than any other man in this House, realises the cruel position in which the Southern minorities will find themselves.
§ Sir W. WHITLA
I have great pleasure in supporting the Amendment, and I do so with more than ordinary pleasure, because I am very glad to find myself in agreement with my hon. Friend for the first time since this Bill was introduced. I will not discuss the abstract question of University representation. This is an entirely different question. I have the honour to represent one of these University constituencies, and I feel myself labouring under disadvantage on that account; but if I desire this Amendment to be put with all force it is because I believe in the simple justice which it will give to the southern and western Unionists. Without it they will not be represented. Dublin University has two Members, the National University one, and the Queen's University one, but I do not think this an occasion for any compromise. If I were entirely free I would throw my seat aside, much as I honour the privilege of sitting in this. House, if it would help the Unionists in the South and West of Ireland. The state of our country is largely due to the mistakes that have been made. There is a time to give and a time to withhold. This is a time to give to the loyal friends of England and to withhold when it is unjust from those of your enemies.
I am in some doubt as to what will happen to the next Amendment, which is to leave out the word "42" and insert the word "63." If the present Amendment is carried, will it be 2069 impossible for us to move to insert "63," or should we be allowed to discuss the matter on this Amendment?
§ The CHAIRMAN
The present Amendment is to leave out the word "forty-two" in order to insert the word "forty-six." The question I should like to put would be that the word "forty-two" stand part of the Clause. If "forty-two" is to stand part of the Clause that will rule out the subsequent Amendment. We cannot twice put it to leas e out the same word, but if the word "forty-two" is struck out of the Clause it will be possible to negative the insertion of the word "forty-six" and substitute the insertion of the word "sixty-three." For the purpose of Debate the hon. Member would be well advised to state his case on "sixty-three" on the present Amendment.
The number forty-two was inserted in the Act now on the Statute Book. I ask the Committee to bear in mind one important fact and that is that under the Act Ireland, instead of paying an Imperial contribution, was to receive an annual sum of £1,500,000, whereas under this Bill Ireland is to pay £18,000,000 per annum. It is true that that sum is subject to amendment when we arrive at the financial clauses. As we stand at present Ireland is bound under the Bill to pay £18,000,000 a year, and if she was entitled to 42 Members when she was to receive £1,500,000 she is entitled to some increase of the number when she has to pay an annual sum of £18,000,000. I understand that 42 was arrived at roughly on the basis of one Member for every thousand inhabitants. If we are to get representation on the same proportion of population as obtains elsewhere we ought to have 63 Members. One argument against my proposition is that we ought to be content with a smaller number for the reason that we not only are permitted by this Bill to look after our local affairs, but that we are allowed to interfere with the local affairs of Great Britain. If we are allowed to look after our local affairs we do not want to interfere with your local affairs, and if there was anything to exclude us from interfering with the local affairs of Great Britain we should be glad to see it in the Bill. But so long as we are liable to be taxed, not necessarily to the extent of £18,000,000 or to any considerable ex- 2070 tent, or to be taxed at all, we have by all the rules of constitutional law the inalienable right to have our full representation in this House. I hope therefore that the Government will consent to a larger number than the 42 Members mentioned in the Bill. With regard to the first Amendment, if it is right that University Members should come from Great Britain to this Parliament it is equally right that Ireland should send University Members too. I was not at home when the last Franchise Bill was passed, but I understand that a very clear view existed at that time in favour of extending university representation rather than taking away from it. I submit, therefore, that every argument put forward is in favour of having university representation extended to Ireland, and I trust that the Government will meet us on both these grounds.
§ Mr. LONG
It is for the convenience of the Committee that we should be able to discuss on this Amendment the two questions which are, however, quite distinct. Dealing with the first question, personally I am very glad that this Amendment has been moved. It affords us an opportunity of telling the Committee that it was through no intention to cast a slight upon universities, or particular universities, or upon university representation itself that the Clause as drawn did not include this form of representation. The truth is that it was felt that the presence in the local Parliaments both north and south of the university representatives would be of the greatest possible value and that it would be better to have university representation considered in that respect. But the Amendment has been moved on two grounds, first the right of universities to be represented, a right which I am glad to say has been admitted in this House continuously. Notwithstanding the drastic changes which we have made in our own Reform Bill we have always adhered to the system of university representation, and I am sure that we always shall. Therefore on that ground the case for university representation is established. But both my hon. and gallant Friends, who have spoken frequently in Debate with so much courage and resource on behalf of loyalists in Ireland, put this Amendment before the Committee on a second ground—that it is one way by which it may be possible to secure some fraction of representation for the 2071 minority in the Southern Parliament, if things remain as they are. I am one of those who hope that law and order will be re-asserted and that long before this Bill comes into force that the country will be in a very different position, and I hope that there may be a readjustment of the divisions in Ireland which will not leave those who are loyalists and unionists in a hopeless minority. But this is only a hope and we are bound to face facts. If things be anything like what they are to-day when the time comes undoubtedly it will be necessary that unionists and loyalists should have such representation as can be secured for them to give them. To give this university representation will undoubtedly at all events enable their views to be represented here, and on both of those grounds the Government will willingly accept the Amendment.
Coming to the other question, it was raised and fully discussed on the Amendment which was disposed of on the last Division. My hon. Friend, who moved the Amendment, is quite right in saying that there is nothing scientific or logical in the selection of the particular number "forty-two," and he was jusified also in pointing out that conditions to-day are different from what they were when the Act of 1914 was passed. But the last Division shows, though I am glad to say that those who hold the view that we should at once make up our minds to concede Dominion Home Rule to Ireland are a very small minority in this House, that both here and elsewhere there is evidence that there is a very strong feeling in regard to Ireland being represented in this House while she has control of her own affairs. My hon. and gallant Friend quoted at the end of the last Debate, in my judgment quite fairly and appropriately, that in 1913 I had voted for the exclusion of the Irish Members. That is perfectly true, but he knows also perfectly well that the action which I took we were not discussing a federal plan.
§ Mr. LONG
No, I was only explaining that in discussing this question I, at all events, and the Government for which I speak, are determined throughout the whole of this measure to keep before us 2072 what, for the want of a better name, we call the federal plan. It is quite easy for hon. Members to attack us with all sorts of small ammunition, and to say that this is not federal, and that you cannot federalise this Parliament. Everybody knows what a federal plan means. But under this scheme there is a sound federal basis, and we have a hope that in time it will be followed by the rest of the United Kingdom. I cannot develop the arguments for that now, but bearing that in mind, we consider that on the whole forty-two will be a fair number for representation. My hon. Friends must realise that it is a much larger representation than many people in England consider fair and reasonable. It is a compromise, but on the whole there is justification in the fact that it was in the previous Bill. It maintains the principle of imperial representation. I do not hesitate to say that either here or out of the House of Commons I shall rejoice at any opportunity to take up the challenge thrown down to-day to maintain the view on behalf of the Government that the exclusion of Irish Members from this Parliament means eventual separation, and against that I shall always fight. This is the maintenance of the imperial situation. This retains the Irish Members here, and paves the way for the adoption of a wider federal system. On those grounds I hope that the Committee will accept the Amendment for the inclusion of the university representatives, but will adhere to the number which the Government have selected and resist the proposal to extend it to sixty-three.
§ Sir E. CARSON
I need hardly say, as one who represented one of the universities in Ireland for twenty-seven years in this House, that I. welcome the announcement of my right hon. Friend restoring representation to universities under this Bill. It would have been a great pity, certainly as regards the university for which I was a Member, Dublin University, which has been so long associated with this House and has also been a sister university to Oxford and Cambridge, if that university had been left out in the cold when Imperial matters were dealt with in this House. There fore I feel grateful to the Government for the concession which they have made in this respect. As regards the wider 2073 question on what basis we are to have Members here, I have rather inconsistent feelings. In the first place, I cannot help feeling that the larger the number of Irish Members who are here the more chance there will be of carrying on the same irritation that has taken place in the past and of continuing the same tendency to try to obtain votes in this House, which has done so much damage to political warfare in the past in this country, and the larger number you have here, knowing what the majority has always been and is likely to be in Ireland, the greater the demand you will have by that majority for the further separation of Ireland from England. I concede all that. In that sense, it is a gratification that we are only to have forty-six Members, but I would not be honest, having those feelings, if I did not point out that I do not believe that that can last.
This House is retaining, and I am glad it is retaining, full power of taxation for Ireland. Taxation will be raised by this House for all purposes connected with Great Britain and for Imperial purposes, entirely irrespective of what is best for Ireland. You must raise the revenue for England and Scotland, and you must raise the revenue for all Imperial matters concerning the whole of the United Kingdom. I do not believe that you will get any subordinate Parliament in Ireland, either North or South, once they begin to understand that they are being taxed by people who have a larger right to representation, in proportion to their numbers, than they have, to be a contented people. I do not believe that the proper number, according to the Representation of the People Act for Ireland is 63, nor do I believe that when taxes are being raised, and when the amount is being fixed by this House, you will ever get contented Parliaments in Ireland, either North or South. The most extraordinary reasons were given for putting in 42 into the old Bill, instead of the proper quota from Ireland, and it was this: "True it is that you ought to have your proper number in this House if we are going to tax you, but you will not get your proper number to raise the question of the taxes here, because you are entitled to interfere in the domestic affairs of England." The moment you begin to enforce taxation which is not raised in the interests of 2074 Ireland, but to which they have to contribute on the same basis as England and Scotland, and the moment that becomes known and comes home to the people who have to pay those taxes, they will raise the old cry of "no taxation without representation," and it will be a new grievance springing up at the very commencement of these Parliaments. I am not going to delay proceedings by doing more than point out that you are leaving behind the nucleus of a new quarrel between the Irish Parliaments and this Parliament.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendment made: In paragraph (a) leave out the words, "except the universities constituencies therein mentioned."—[Lieut.-Colonel W. Guinness.]
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
I beg to move, in paragraph (b), to leave out the wordsBut this enactment shall not prevent the Parliament of Southern Ireland or Northern Ireland from dealing with any officers concerned with the issue of writs of election, and if any officers are so dealt with, it shall be lawful for His Majesty by Order in Council to arrange for the issue of any such writs, and the writs issued in pursuance of the Order shall be of the same effect as if issued in manner heretofore accustomed.This deals with the question of the issue of writs. If the Amendment is carried it will be for the Lord-Lieutenant, in his capacity as an Imperial officer, to deal with the Clerk of the Crown, if there is any necessity to do so.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ Clauses 18 to 34, inclusive, postponed.