§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Shortt)
I beg to move,That the Regulations made by His Majesty in Council under the Emergency Powers Act, 1920, by Order dated the 27th day of May, 1921, shall continue in force, subject, however, to the provisions of Section 2 (4) of the Act.The Regulations are identical with those which were presented to Parliament a month ago. Therefore, probably it would be more convenient if I reserved anything that I have to say till a later stage, in which case I shall be able to cover any criticisms and to reply to any points raised. Therefore, with the permission of the House, I will merely move my Resolution now, and later on will give any information which the House desires.
§ Mr. NEIL MACLEAN
I beg to move, after the word "Regulations," to insert the words "except Regulation 19."
My purpose in asking that this Regulation shall be deleted is to be found in the conditions that prevail to-day in the Courts up and down the country. We find as the result of the dispute in the mining industry, which was really the cause of these Regulation? having been introduced and passed in such a hurried manner, many working men, not only miners, but engineers and men engaged in various industries, who are arrested and brought to trial for what is called sedition. Even the magistrates and the judges who are trying those cases differ very materially as to what they believe sedition amounts to. We find in one part of the country men being sentenced for circulating a certain leaflet and in another part of the country men being dismissed when charged with circulating the same leaflet, the judge in this instance saying that the contents of the leaflet cannot be included in any charge of sedition as made by the police. Then we have newspaper offices being raided, not only in Ireland but in this country, we have editors being called to answer charges of sedition, we have printing 1278 establishments brought before the Courts for printing these papers and leaflets, and we have even the homes of the employés in the offices belonging to these parties raided and searched, with the object no doubt of finding out if they have been taking home with them any of the literature that is being printed or published which the Crown authorities may consider of an incriminating character. In the attitude that has been adopted by the Government and the persecution—because one can call it by no other name—of working men such as we have at present, the Government is really fanning the flame that they imagine is burning, and they themselves, by the attitude they have taken up and by the manner in which their servants are carrying out what are undoubtedly the instructions of the Crown, are doing more than any agitator has done to cause disaffection among the people. When we consider what some of these men are charged with and we look back a few years and read speeches which have been made, not only in this House, where they are privileged, but on public platforms, and when we contrast the attitude adopted by the Government to-day with the attitude taken up to those individuals in the past we cannot wonder that working men throughout the country make complaints from public platforms that you have one law for the rich and for vested interests and another for the worker or for the poor. I have quotations to make from speeches which have been made in the past. I have one quotation to make which I made in the first speech I delivered in this House from a speech that is more incendiary in character and calculated to arouse more disaffection than any I have heard or have read that has been delivered by any working man standing upon even a Communist platform. It was made by a right hon. Gentleman who adorned the seat now occupied by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Gorbals (Mr. G. Barnes), and who took his seat in another place yesterday with all the pageantry with which the taking of that position is usually associated. It was delivered by Sir Edward Carson, now Lord Carson, in Glasgow. Perhaps" that is the reason why Glasgow has become such a centre of revolutionary activity:Now I want to say this for the benefit of the Lord Advocate. I want to tell him 1279 that, so far as I am concerned, here within his jurisdiction I advise my fellow countrymen to resist to the end, even if it comes to using violence. I tell him more than that. I advise my fellow countrymen, even although it may never be necessary, and please God it never may be necessary to use them, to arm themselves as well as they can to beat back anybody who dares to filch from them the elementary rights of their citizenship.
I suggest that hon. Members who are approving this speech should go upon the platforms in the country, and use this quotation to the working men whom they are addressing, when the Home Secretary will speedily find a home for them.I tell him something more. I tell him that if any violence arises out of my speeches he need not trouble himself about humble working men. He can come to me as the responsible author.The responsible author has now gone where he will try cases instead of being tried for utterances such as these. That speech was delivered on 13th June, 1913. Another case appears in the Press this morning which is a parallel to the cases that took place in Ireland at that particular time. We have a lieutenant in the Army who declined to answer the call because he was well acquainted with the miners engaged in the dispute, and he has been summoned for disobeying the Proclamation. He exercised the same right of conscience that the Tory officers of the Army exercised in the Curragh when they declined to take any action in any dispute that might arise between the Government of that day and the Ulster people if Home Rule were given to Ireland, and there was a conflict between Ulster and the Southern Counties. It was agreed to permit those officers to have that right of conscience then. The officers were drawn mainly from the privileged classes. Here is a man who associates with the working men in his district, who is himself a working man. He showed himself capable during the War, not merely of winning decorations for courage and bravery, but he also received commissioned rank. He exercised the same right of conscience, but there is no relief for him.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
The case is pending. The point I want to bring out is that he 1280 is being prosecuted, and the officers in the Army during the Curragh incident were not prosecuted. This is a case where there is an industrial dispute. The other was a political dispute, and you find the difference between the two cases that in an industrial dispute the working man who is an officer is summoned, whereas in the political dispute officers drawn from the privileged classes are allowed the right of conscience. Then we have the case of the circulation of two leaflets. One is called, "A Call to Action." It is issued by the National Workers' Committee Movement, Miners' Section. The other is a leaflet entitled "Clear for Action," and is issued by the National Workers' Committee. The Home Secretary cannot find in any line, in any paragraph in either of these leaflets anything which can by the widest stretch of the term be called sedition, yet men are being arrested for distributing them. One man is sentenced in Liverpool for the circulation of the leaflet "A Call to Action" to one month's imprisonment with £100 for his good behaviour or a further two months if he fails to pay the £100. The printers of the leaflet are fined £50. We have in another part of the country another case of the circulation of the same leaflets in which the magistrate dismisses the charge relating to the "Call to Action" circular, and with regard to the other bound the defendants over on the understanding that no more would be distributed.
§ Mr. SHORTT
I think the hon. Member will find that the magistrate is stating a case with regard to that leaflet for the decision of a higher court.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
I will read the decision:The stipendiary ruled that there was nothing in the 'Call to Action' leaflet other than an invitation to other workers to take part in the strike, and that it fell entirely within the terms of exception in the Regulation. It was a peaceful invitation in the sense that the leaflets were just handed to people to read if they so desired.He dismissed the charge relating to the "Call to Action."
§ Mr. MACLEAN
He dismissed the charge, whether he is stating a case or 1281 not. He considers there is no sedition. In the other instance, it is held that there is sedition. Two different points of view are held by men who are trained in the reading of the law.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
There may be nothing new in it, but it is absurd that in the one case the man should suffer and that in the other case the magistrate takes a different view. There is the case of a printing press with which I happen to be associated, as the right hon. Gentleman knows. We have been asked, because we print certain literature, which is at present before the court, to sign a document which would even prevent us from printing the Bible. The document is so worded that we could not print anything that might be considered a leaflet or an appeal to individuals to join an ordinary trade union branch. That, of course, may be looked upon as sedition by some hon. Members of this House.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
I have passed that particular point. If the hon. Member does not know that I have passed away from that he can still dwell upon it. We are being asked to sign a statement which would prevent us carrying on our business as printers, and we have been asked to do so by the. Home Secretary's servants in the Court. On the other hand, we find that other individuals can print information of the most astounding nature, and my right hon. Friend declines to take action. I should like to ask my right hon. Friend and the House if there is anything more calculated to bring the Government of this country into contempt amongst the people of this country than an accusation that Members of the Government are actuated by personal motives and indulge in actions that are going to bring pecuniary results to them selves. There is the case that I have been trying to raise in this House, the case of "Plain English," accusing two Cabinet Ministers of corruption. The Cabinet Ministers have declined to act as individuals and the Government has declined to take action to clear itself as a Government. This individual continues to print these articles. They appeared in the last 1282 issue. This man goes scot free, while working men, who are circulating literature, working men who in their spare time are editing small trade union or working-class papers, are being harried and hounded and in some cases sent to gaol. Again the working man wants to know what it is all about. Again he says there is a law for the rich and another for the poor, that the law is not impartial. The working man wants to know why you do not take action in the case I have mentioned. Refusal to take action implies to him that there is really something in the charge, and that the Government is afraid that something will come out if the charge is brought into the open Court, and that they prefer to allow this man to go on doing what he is doing rather than risk the publicity that might result from bringing it into the open Court. On the other hand, you arrest working men and working women for publishing things that are not one-half so calculated to bring the Government of this country into contempt.
Sir Richard Muir has given a definition of the things that can be brought within the term "sedition," and his definition is most curious. He deals with particular statements that a certain party wishes to establish a republic in which people will be socially and economically equalled, and be goes on to ask the question, "If that is not sedition, what is?" Is it sedition to say that men should be socially and economically equal? Yet he wants to know what is sedition, if that is not sedition. When was it considered to be sedition, and how long has it been considered to be sedition for men to advocate that conditions in this country should be improved? Not only conditions of employment, but the reward of industry, the reward of those who take part in industry? When has it been considered sedition to advocate such ideas as these? If that is sedition, then in the prosecutions that are or will be before the courts there is not a trade union organisation, there is not a political organisation that will not be brought within the scope of the terms laid down by this Regulation according to the point of view that is taken by the individual responsible for imposing this Regulation. The Labour party itself claim to be in opposition to the Government of this country. At the present time in the by-election now proceeding in Heywood, by the literature that we are circulating 1283 there in support of our candidate, we may be brought within the definition of sedition laid down by Sir Richard Muir. The Labour party could be brought to Court, the Guilds League, the Independent Labour Party, the Fabian Society—all these could be brought within the scope of this Regulation according to the definition which is now being placed upon the term sedition.
After the country took such a great part in fighting for liberty and to establish liberty, you are seeking to saddle the people of this country with what before the War was common in Germany, namely, the putting down of meetings, the imprisonment of trade union organisers and political organisers opposed to the Government. It seems that after having won the War the only importations we bring into this country free of any tariff are the German conditions of Prussianism that prevailed before the War. You place no tariff upon them. They are not, I suppose, a key industry, but you take good care that you retain them as a monopoly, so that you can place hardship upon those people of this country whom you can bring within the scope of Regulation 19. The whole thing has been conceived in a fit of alarm and panic by the Government, and with their big majority they wish to rush things through the House because they look upon the present industrial dispute as the prelude to revolution, as the prelude to the time when the gutters in our main streets will be running with blood. We have been in this dispute now for a number of weeks, and there has been no disaffection. There have been very few disturbances, certainly no disturbances that have been greater than have taken place in lock-outs or strikes of a smaller magnitude than the one now going on. To bring in this wide-sweeping series of Regulations reduces the Government of this country to a farce and makes it appear that the Government is afraid of any man who dares to stand on a soap box at the street corner and denounce the Government.
If what these men are saying to-day, namely, that they are out to destroy the power of this Government, is sedition, how many right hon. Gentlemen on the Bench opposite would be free from such 1284 an interpretation of the situation? When they have been in opposition to the Government they have always gone round the country addressing meetings and pointing out the necessity of destroying the power of the iniquitous Government that was then in office, and asking the electors to believe what they said, and to return them to power so that they might destroy that Government. They have come into power, and now they want to take away from the opposition in the country the right to adopt similar methods, the method of educating the electors, of pointing out to the people how they are affected by the rule of the Government in power, in an effort to convert that electorate into a healthy and intelligent opposition, to sweep the Government of the day out of power. Is that sedition? Of course it is not; but it is sedition when it applies to working men. I know what the right hon. Gentleman is going to say. He will reply that it is inciting to rebellion, inciting to violence. In the "Call to Action" leaflet can he quote anything that is an incitement to violence? Can he quote a phrase that he could use in this House to prove the case against any individuals who have been arrested and are being charged with the circulation, or even with the printing, of these leaflets, as inciting to violence? I challenge him to do it. I am certain from my reading of the leaflet that he cannot find in either of the leaflets a sentence that can be looked upon as a direct incitement to violence, or that can even by any legal twisting that he may care to place upon it be interpreted as an incitement to violence.
I appeal to the Government to withdraw Regulation 19. We ask them to accept the Motion which we have placed before the House. It is the right of the people of this country to agitate for the reform of the conditions from which they believe they are suffering. If you shut off that right of publicly agitating for the reforming of those conditions, you immediately drive these people to agitate by subterranean methods. It is preferable to have all the agitation on the surface, where the action can be seen, where the people can realise that they are not prevented from agitating for the bettering of their conditions, that the law is not acting repressively on them, and that they can stand on any platform and express their opinion without the fear of 1285 a policeman's hand coming upon their shoulders and their being marched off to the police station, because they are stating their conviction as to what should be the Government of this country, and standing upon that platform and exercising the right of educating and converting the people of this country to their own views.
§ Major WATTS MORGAN
I beg to second the Amendment.
I predicted early in May, when the Regulations were being introduced, that, as far as our district was concerned—and I only presume to speak for the district in which I live—they were uncalled for and unnecessary. That was at a time when the dispute was only in its early stage because of the notice tendered by the owners to the workmen to terminate their contract, as a result of which the lock-out occurred. We have been in the lock-out now for ten weeks, and these Regulations, so far as my district is concerned, have not been necessary. I pointed out early in May that the miners—and we have nothing else in the Rhondda Valley—and their families in our district were peaceably disposed towards everybody, and I am glad to be able to say that what I prophesied then has been borne out. We have not had a cupful of disturbance that could not have been dealt with by the local police without the introduction of what I call, and what our people call, foreigners—for we are Welsh people, and everybody who comes to the district from outside is more or less a foreigner or an alien. We have had a very large number of foreign police, in that sense, and military, introduced into our district, and yet the stipendiary magistrate in the district has upon several occasions during the ten weeks of the dispute remarked upon the peaceful behaviour of the men, and thanked the local leaders for the work which they have done in controlling their people and keeping the district peaceful.
Through the efforts of the local leaders amicable arrangements have been made whereby all the pumping required in the district, and all other measures of safety that were absolutely necessary, have been carried out by peaceable arrangement by conference between the accredited representatives on both sides, and there has been no shadow of interference with the workmen who have been employed in carry- 1286 ing out that work. I said in my former speech that the introduction of a large body of police imported from elsewhere would have a tendency to irritate and disturb the peace of the district, and yet under this Regulation 19—I am not going into the merits because, I suppose, that I shall be told by the Home Secretary the legal position, that those cases are sub judice—in this district where we have no disturbances we have 500 summonses issued against the local leaders and their wives during the last fortnight. In some cases as many as 20 summonses have been served on the one individual. I wish to emphasise that the behaviour of the imported police is not at all satisfactory in our district. I am not taking this from workmen who are locked out, who may have some cause to have feeling in the matter, but on two or three occasions when I returned from my constituency I have been approached by ministers of religion, including two vicars residing in my constituency, and commercial travellers from Cardiff and elsewhere, and they have called my attention to the disgraceful way in which workmen and women were continually being hustled and insulted.
It is true that in demonstrations that have been held women are taking a part, and there is no reason in the world why they should not. We have heard it sometimes said that women are not interested in this question. So far as my constituency is concerned, they do take a very intense and active interest in it, and these citizens, many of them from outside the district, and who have no interest in the matter, have come to me voluntarily, asking me to call attention to the scandalous treatment to peaceful people when demonstrating. These demonstrations were stopped, and attempts were made in every direction to provoke these people to commit a breach of the peace. I am proud to think, notwithstanding all that irritation, that they have refrained from any disturbance. That is due to the influence of the local leaders. Whenever the police came to the stage that it was plain that they were determined to get a disturbance, the local leaders have prevailed on the people to disband. This has taken place in a time of distress, as at present.
I want to pay this respect to the military, and to say that they have assisted 1287 in the work of relieving distress and in arranging football matches and open air concerts, which we promote in order to give the people something to think about rather than be in the streets, but even these gatherings have been disturbed by the police. All meetings organised in our trade unions at present are attended by the police and detectives in plain clothes. I have gone from this House, and have addressed the mining members of my constituency and I have found the police and the detectives, who were imported into the district, there, and, notwithstanding that, I have taken, I hope, some little part in seeing that the safety arrangements were being carried out, I have received very distorted views from the Chief Constable's office and the deputy Chief Constable's office, which is close to my division, of what I was reported to have said at these meetings. All the local leaders who have had a share in making these arrangements with regard to pumping and who have been explaining why that has been done, and who have attended some of these demonstrations, are at present being prosecuted, and it does not conduce to the peace of our district that these men who are prominent and have done everything they possibly can in order to keep the peace in the district, are now being prosecuted because they pursue what is their right and indeed what is their duty under the trade union rules to explain to the members and to see that these things are carried out.
I obtained a return in this House with regard to the statement that there were 40 collieries flooded in consequence of the lock-out. I have taken the trouble to examine that return. First of all I want to say that here in the district where we have wholesale summonses in the South Wales coalfield there is not a single colliery flooded in consequence of lockout. In Scotland there is a number, there is a number in Northumberland and Durham, and there are three in Staffordshire, but out of the 40 more than 25 of them are collieries that would only be worked in boom times—that is to say when trade is good and the price of coal is high—and they are more or less always on other occasions flooded as a natural consequence. I do not think that that statement ought to have been circulated as an answer in this House without some 1288 explanation of the kind which I am now offering because it does put the miners obviously in a wrong light, that an accusation should be made against them which is not true.
I am not going into the merits of the dispute other than to point out some of the grievances under which we are now labouring with regard to Regulation 19. I hope sincerely that the Home Secretary will see his way to withdraw that Regulation. If we are to maintain the peace of the district we can only do it with the strength and loyalty of the local leaders who are being prosecuted to-day. It is not a bit of use for me or anybody else who sits in this House, who is not continuously at home with the men, to attempt to lead or control them unless we get the active support and co-operation of the local leaders at home. An attempt has been made to prejudice them at present in holding peaceful meetings, and such meetings were banned, though no one was being molested. The Home Secretary would render a service in bringing about good feeling and hastening the end of the dispute by withdrawing the Regulation. I beg to second the Amendment.
§ Mr. JAMESON
Perhaps it is best to dispel from, our minds the picture that has been conjured up before our eyes by the hon. Member who has just spoken, of upon one side the meek and lamb-like miner and on the other side the brutal policeman and the tyrannical Government. The miner is just as human as other people. He is a very good fellow. He did very well in the War. Taken by himself, when not led astray, he is a very good fellow indeed. I have no doubt that in the part of the country where my hon. Friend comes from, South Wales, there was at once a rush of all men to the safety machinery and great anxiety to keep the peace going in the Rhondda Valley and everywhere else.
Although his part of the country may be exceptionally mild and peaceful and lamb-like, it does not follow that other parts are equally amenable to sweet reason. Even in Fife, that part of the country with which I am acquainted, I did hear certain echoes of a little disturbance. I know that the people who raided Thornton Station and held up the railways were under the Sinn Fein flag, 1289 and were mostly Irish, and I know that the people were great hotheads who smashed up thousands and thousands of pounds' worth of machinery in the Fife mines and did enormous damage there I also know that in my own country of the Lothians there was a flying squad going round and threatening to chuck the men down the pit if they worked, and that that squad was entirely composed of Sinn Fein Irishmen. But these things did occur. We do not want to rake up old tales, but it is the attitude of the last speaker in drawing this picture of the absolute peace and harmony in which the miner lives with the rest of the country that constrains me to say that the Government were perhaps very well advised to contemplate the possibility of danger and disturbance in the mining districts. It is true that the danger stopped, that the miners put on the safety men again or allowed the safety men who were on to continue their work. But certainly they did not do it until after the Reservists had been called up and the Defence Force had been formed. Although I am delighted to learn that in South Wales everybody keeps the peace, and that the watchword, "Blessed are the peacemakers," prevails, and not the motto that one sometimes thinks must inspire some of the leaders, "Blessed are the makers of war," yet there are other parts of this island not so favoured.
The moral is that the Government are perfectly in order and justified in arming themselves with certain exceptional powers and in taking precautions that, while the liberties of the subject are not unduly invaded, the peace and the safety of the community are the first considerations. This is not a matter of privileged classes at all. There is no word I detest more than the word "class "now a days. I detest all these divisions between men and fellow countrymen. The first people who were struck at, though not under these emergency Regulations, were my poor friend and honourable brother, the Member for East Leyton (Lieut.-Colonel Malone), and Miss Sylvia Pankhurst. They both belonged to what I suppose would be called the privileged class, and yet both of them were confined to a dungeon cell. It proves that there is not a peculiar animus on the part of the Government against any 1290 class or section of the community. I agree that these powers ought to be used with the greatest care, and I am far from approving altogether of the Act which deprives us of the company of the hon. Member for Leyton East. He said, I believe, that he wanted to hang the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I am sure the hon. Member does not want to attack another hon. Member who is absent. The hon. Member for Leyton East was not prosecuted for that, but for saying that in certain circumstances—it was hypothetical, and a distinguished lawyer will appreciate the point—he would want to do certain things.
§ Mr. JAMESON
It was perhaps very deplorable, but that extremely deplorable ambition is, as far as I can gather, shared by about 90 per cent. of His Majesty's lieges in this island just now. I think that perhaps in that case the Government did not do very much good by prosecuting the hon. Member. I was speaking really for the mitigation of punishment in such cases as his. All other countries take the view that the liberty of the subject is protected in a most extraordinary way in this country. Will future generations in this country even believe it possible that an enormous conspiracy of this sort, frankly intended to blockade the community, to starve it of necessary supplies, to turn working men into the streets and to deal a deadly blow at the industry of this country, as the coal trade dispute does, was allowed? I think future generations will probably say that that is the most miraculous thing, and that so far from the trade unions being deprived of proper liberty they are indulged in the most extraordinary way with liberties and luxuries that are unknown in any other civilised country in the world. The miners are not content with the entire profits of the industry, plus £10,000,000 of the taxpayers' money, and they refuse—the miners' leaders, not the miners—to return to work.
I know that in my own constituency and part of the country, at many street corners there are people preaching red revolution. They do not cut any ice. The working man does not believe in that sort of thing. He does not want to see Edinburgh and Glasgow reduced to the same plight as Moscow and Petrograd. 1291 These people are just allowed to go on and no one pays any attention to them, least of all the working man; but there are certain regions in which inflammatory literature can be spread abroad and put into the hands of certain half-baked and half-educated young men, with results that are calculated to be disastrous, very prejudicial to these men, and dislocating to the whole peace of the country. When that sort of thing may happen, and when you have a good deal of explosive material lying about, it is right that the Government should arm itself with these exceptional powers, but certainly the powers should be—I believe they have been—exercised with the greatest caution and discrimination. You could not possibly rule out Regulation 19 altogether, because it is directed also to the maintenance of the means of transit and locomotion and other things. We hope the danger has passed, but after all we are not yet out of the wood. The fight is still going on. It is not the general community that called the fight, but this big trade union—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] We cannot afford to lay down our armour yet. That is the justification for maintaining Regulation 19. The history of the strike so far has shown that the Govern men have displayed great caution and leniency in any proceedings taken under the Regulations.
§ Mr. T. SHAW
I wish to support the Amendment. I do not intend to pay much attention to the fact that the last speaker consistently ignores the fact that the miners are out of work, not because they tendered notices, but because they had notices tendered to them. It would be much better for the workers and for the people of the country if we all tried to look facts in the face. It is a miserable misrepresentation and a dangerous misrepresentation continually to ignore the fact that the employers posted notices, and to insist that the miners went out on strike. Not only is an allegation of that kind untrue, but it is positively dangerous for the peace of the country. We can get peace only when each of us tries to face the facts and to speak the truth. Misrepresentation cannot help. The particular objection I have to this Regulation is that only in a state of grave emergency should anything be done to limit the right of a Briton to speak his opinion on any 1292 subject whatever. That right is one of the most sacred of our possessions—the right to express oneself freely in any place on any subject. Will this Regulation take away that right? Some of the prosecutions undertaken have been stupid because they were quite unnecessary, they did not do any good, and they were an abrogation of the right of a Briton to express his opinions without any disability whatever. Take the Regulation as it stands. What does it mean? What is "Creating disaffection amongst the civilian population"? Anything in the world can be brought under that wide sweeping statement. To create disaffection is surely to make a man dissatisfied. If I go out now and say that in my opinion this Government is the worst Government of modern times—which I sincerely believe—cannot I be accused of trying to create disaffection against the Government and cannot I be brought under the strict wording of this Clause? The right hon. Gentleman knows perhaps better than I do what language means, but disaffection, if I understand English, means anything in the nature of dissatisfaction against any person or persons. I do not see the necessity at all for the Regulation, and I do not believe it does any good. There has been far too much panic on the part of the Government. They have flown to measures which show them to be suffering from a bad attack of nerves. I hold that not only is liberty of opinion one of our most precious possessions, but that good steel nerves represent one of our proudest attributes. I ask, though I fear I shall ask in vain, that this Regulation be taken away, and that the Government will not give way to an attack of nerves by prosecuting people for making statements that do not hurt anybody. Even the last speaker admitted that these soap-box orations do not cut any ice. Why go running around the country trying to find out if Bill Smith or Jack Jones is saying that the Government is not all that it should be? [HON. MEMBERS: "Order, order!"] I must beg pardon. There is, after all, more than one Jack Jones. [HON. MEMBERS: "Question!"] In order to lead a peaceful life in this House I will admit, then, that there is only one. I will do anything for the sake of peace, and it is for the sake of peace I want this proposition to be taken into consideration. If there is one thing more than another that leads to real class 1293 hostility it is the feeling that powers such as these are never invoked except against a certain class of the community. There are so many examples that can be quoted of a poor man being prosecuted and a rich man allowed to go free—so many cases that can be quoted with deadly effect—that everything done in this direction tends, not to create peace, but to create greater diversity of opinion and greater enmity. That is my case against this Regulation, and I am hoping against hope that it will be deleted. The party for which I speak will never be satisfied until there is a direct right given to everybody in the community to express his or her ideas frankly and freely, provided those ideas are not direct incitements to violence and breaches of the peace. We hold that the liberty which is truly British should be maintained, and that liberty, in our opinion, is directly struck at by this Regulation.
§ Mr. SHORTT
The peroration of my hon. Friend is one with every word of which I can agree. Nobody in this House would dream that men should be prosecuted for advocating honest opinions which were not incitements to violence or disorder. I think I shall be able to satisfy the House that in that spirit these Regulations were framed; in that spirit and to that effect are they worded, and in that spirit have they been carried out. The Mover and Seconder of this Amendment have delivered apparently prepared attacks against the way in which prosecutions have been conducted under the Regulations. So far as the Seconder was concerned, he confined himself to dealing with the case of miners who have been prosecuted in South Wales, but the Mover directed his attention rather to those who were prosecuted under the Regulations for incitements to violence. Like a good advocate, he ferreted round to find what was the weak spot in the case he was attacking, and upon it he fastened his attention. One would imagine to hear him addressing the House that there was no pamphlet issued and no pamphlet before the Courts except this "Call to Action," and that no more than one or two persons had been prosecuted under the Regulations. He seized on the fact that two Courts have disagreed as to the effect of a certain pamphlet, quite overlooking the fact that it will probably be matter for discussion in a higher Court still. He said nothing 1294 about all the other cases, many of which he must have known perfectly well. We did not hear of the men who went about among the Reserve Forces and the Defence Force advising them if they got the order to shoot to turn round and shoot their officers. We heard nothing about those who were prosecuted for telling angry men out of employment and with starvation in front of them, for all they knew: "What is the use of the ballot? To hell with the ballot. Take to the bomb." We heard nothing of the men who said: "What good are you people. Here you are going to starve. Why do not you do as the Russian peasants did? They cleared everyone out of their way, and they are not starving." It is perfectly true there is one case out of a lot where two courts differed and where there is a great deal to be said as to whether a certain leaflet does in fact come within the Regulations. My friend, as I have said, like a good advocate, seized on that case and made the most of it, and if he had been at the Bar we would have congratulated him. The House, however, will appreciate that there is a great deal more than that. It is all very well for people to say, "What is the good of prosecuting these men; they cut no ice? "At most times. In time they do not. If one goes out into Hyde Park, or any place in London on a sunny Sunday, after the midday meal, with a pipe, and feeling happy and contented, he will say on listening to these speeches, "What rubbish this is." But take a lot of men who are angry and perhaps hungry, who see nothing but a bad future before them, and they are a very different audience to be addressed in that way. It is to prevent that sort of preaching in that sort of circumstances that the Regulations are framed and carried out.
My hon. Friend who seconded and who I am sorry is not in his place, was addressing himself to an Amendment which moved that Regulation 19 be omitted, but in his speech he did not address one single remark to anything that was done under the Regulation. He spoke of prosecutions in South Wales. I have had a list prepared of these prosecutions and of prosecutions in other parts of the country. They are instituted by the local police and brought under the ordinary law. They have got nothing to do with the Regulations. In every case 1295 in South Wales the prosecutions were under the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act which has been the law of the land since 1875, and they were prosecutions either for intimidation or assault. If that is the case, then the Mover of the Resolution takes one case out of many and ignores the rest, while the Seconder quotes all sorts of cases which have nothing whatever to do with these Regulations. We know both of them quite well enough to know that if they had any case they would have put it before this House. If this is all they have to bring forward, I do not think I need trouble further with it. Let me enter a protest against the way in which wild charges are made about indiscriminate prosecutions and the persecution of those who hold certain views.
§ Mr. SHORTT
Hon. Members in that quarter know perfectly well there is no such thing as persecution of this kind May I quote a report which I read this morning of a meeting held in one of the Committee Rooms of this House on the question of freedom of speech. A statement was made—I have no doubt it came from one of my North country friends—that in some parts of Durham the police were actually prosecuting newsagents because they sold the "Daily Herald," that lists of those who bought the paper were being demanded, and that in other places the names and addresses of trade unionists were being collected. Of course, it would be most improper if the police were prosecuting anybody for selling a paper which is allowed to be published. If it was a paper which had been suppressed, then it might be the duty of the police to prevent the sale, but so long as the publication of the paper is permitted it is wrong of the police to do so, and it would be at once stopped if they made any attempt.
§ Mr. SHORTT
They are not, I agree, but still a representation made by me, would I know certainly in the case of Durham be acted upon loyally. The moment I read that, I got into telephonic communication with the Chief Constable, careful inquiries were made and these are the facts upon which a wild general state- 1296 ment of that sort was based. On the night of the 21st or the 22nd of May, just at the time when incendiary fires were going on in that district, a constable saw two men running from a haystack which was near a colliery. He gave chase but could not catch them, and on returning to the stack he there found a bottle of inflammable substance. It was wrapped in a copy of the "Daily Herald." [Laughter.] Yes, that is the sort of thing which makes the hon. Gentleman laugh. It is the only argument he has got. At the top corner of this copy of the "Daily Herald" was written the name of the person to whom it was to be delivered. We all know how a newsagent puts on the corner of a paper the name of the person for whom it is intended. This was the only clue the police could get, and they very properly followed it up by trying to find out if any newsagent had any customer of the name of "Ball" who took the "Daily Herald." What is wrong with that procedure? Yet that is the sort of thing out of which these wild charges are made—charges with just sufficient truth in them to make them half truths, and we know how those have been designated by a great person. I do ask hon. Members at least to be fair in the criticisms they make upon the police, and may I venture to put another request to those hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who disapprove of the Regulations. I can assure them that if they know of any case where they think there has been a miscarriage of justice or an unnecessary prosecution, if they will only let me know the circumstances, I will inquire into them at once. If on full information they still think they ought to take the matter up, well and good, but any information I can get them, which will help them really to see what the truth is, I shall be only too glad to get. I know that not a single one of the hon. Members from the County of Durham would desire to say an unfair thing about the police. If they had just asked me, "Is this true?" I could have had the same inquiries made. They know the Chief Constable as well as I do and that he is thoroughly to be trusted. They could have got that information, and a wild charge against the police of that county would never have been made. The House has heard the attack made on this Regulation. I have dealt with it to the best of my ability, and I ask the House to agree with the Government that 1297 this Regulation is still absolutely necessary. It was not drafted in panic; it was drafted months ago. We are not suffering from panic or from nerves, but we know this is necessary, and we know the good it has done, to prevent men who have nothing whatever to do with the mines but who intended to use a big industrial dispute for purposes of violence if they could possibly do so. It is directed against those people, and those people alone.
§ Mr. CLYNES
I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that those of us who are criticising these Regulations and object strongly to certain of them have no wish -to reflect upon the general conduct of the agents of the law, whether policemen or any other men, in different parts of the country. Our complaint is directed more against the Government and against acts of policy on the part of Ministers than against agents of the law in the different centres. The Home Secretary in the first instance thought proper to say nothing at all to the House in support of the Motion which he has made in regard to these Regulations. I thought that an extraordinary step. I do not imply that he meant any discourtesy to the House, but at least I think it meant that he felt that there was very little to be said—
§ Mr. SHORTT
I carefully asked the House, and no one appeared to show the least dissatisfaction with what I was doing. I explained that the Regulations were exactly the same as the Regulations made a month ago, and in those circumstances I thought it would be more convenient to the House if I reserved what I had to say until there was time to answer any criticisms.
§ Mr. CLYNES
It is for the very reason that the right hon. Gentleman gave to the House the statement he did that I am complaining. In my judgment that is not the course which ought to be followed. It is not for a Minister to wait to see if there is any criticism to the absence of a statement. It is, I think, for a Minister to give reasons why a certain course is being followed by the Government, and I deny that the situation is what it was two months ago, or one month ago. These are emergency Regulations, introduced two months ago because there was an emergency produced by the stoppage in the coal industry and by the threatened stoppage on the railways and in our 1298 transport services. Those were the conditions which produced the emergency. Who can say that there is such an emergency now? Is it not a fact that all the conditions of the emergency which produced a sense of fear in the minds of the Government and a feeling of apprehension and disturbance in the minds of the public have entirely disappeared? It is true that the miners are not at work. Into the merits of the coal stoppage I cannot enter, but the rest of the workers, so far as they can remain at their work, are employed and are not participants at all in the industrial struggle. There is no disturbance on the scale or of the kind feared when these emergency Regulations were introduced. A month ago, when we repeated our objections to these Regulations, we were told that there was still some dread that there might be disturbances requiring the authority of these Regulations. As a fact, the right hon. Gentleman himself has had to confess that many, if not most, of the cases to which he has referred are cases which were dealt with, not under these Regulations, but under either the ordinary law or under the other features of extraordinary law that were passed during the course of the War and still remain with us. The two instances given by the hon. Member for West Edinburgh (Mr. Jameson) affecting Sylvia Pankhurst and the hon. Member for East Leyton (Mr. Malone), who is still in prison, are cases typical of those instances of exceptionally strong and provocative language that can be dealt with by the Government and the courts of law without any such Regulations as these.
I would like to know upon what ground the Home Secretary is going to rest his case. Is it that the law is not strong enough without these Regulations? Then some case ought to be made out to show that the law is not strong enough and that there are certain offences which cannot be dealt with unless you have these Regulations passed. If there is no need for these Regulations, and cases can be dealt with without them, the course to be taken by the Government is to withdraw these Regulations, and not to take up the time of the House in repeated discussions on matters that evidently do not affect the general application of the law of the land. In other words, we object to stereotyping as part of the general law of the land 1299 Regulations that were intended for an emergency, to deal with a momentary and passing situation, a situation which has passed and which does not require any such provisions of the law as are embodied in these Regulations. We ought not to make, as there is a tendency to make, these Regulations a permanent part of the legal system of this country. That, I think, is a sound objection which the right hon. Gentleman has in no way dealt with. The hon. Member who seconded the Amendment dealt with the position in South Wales. In the beginning of the dispute I think you had in South Wales, and in some parts of Scotland comparable cases of local, momentary trouble, but on the whole since then there has been a general and an admirable observance of the law. That observance was welcomed by those who appealed for it, namely, the responsible leaders of the men, both nationally and in the different localities. The general good sense of the people, and not these Regulations, has maintained observance of the law in this country, and the Government ought to have regard to the law being not so much the mere wielding of instruments of power as a sense of doing right in the minds of the people, and they will retain and apply that sense in the degree that they feel that the Government is doing right by them.
The hon. Member for West Edinburgh said, quite rightly, that we do not want in Scotland what they have had in Moscow and Petrograd, but proceed upon these lines—what I call the Petrograd and Moscow lines—of persecution, and eventually you will get the same results. All the agitators of Moscow and Petrograd had only at any time to open their mouths against what was called a government, a monarchy, a condition of rule, to be sent to Siberia, to be expelled from their country, and thereby, naturally, there grew a tendency to revolution, a complete disregard for the law, such as it was. I say that if you raise the number of 60 instances, which are now on record for this year of cases where proceedings have been taken against British subjects, to 600, and from 600 to 6,000, you will travel fast towards the conditions that have produced your modern Moscow and your modern Petrograd. If you want to have the law observed, you must have the spirit of that 1300 traditional British toleration for which this House has stood and has so repeatedly defended. Within this House itself, if there was not a very large measure of toleration, indeed, our work would be impossible. In such a clash of interests and such a conflict of opinions, with every motive tending to bring men into collision, if there was not a very large measure of toleration governing our relations towards each other, we could not even conduct our Debates, not to say settle down to general questions of Parliamentary, responsible action. Toleration within this House should be reflected outside. It is not the right of those who are in power to punish people merely for the violent expression of their opinions. Many of us who sit on these benches are more strongly denounced in these leaflets, to which the Government has objected, than is the Government itself. That does not matter. We must stand for right, no matter who might be the individual who claims it. We must stand for the law and for the equitable application of the law, no matter who might be concerned.
I regret to conclude from what I heard from some quarters in the House this afternoon that the view seemed to be that it was right and proper to suppress the printing of papers and documents which the Government did not approve of. The right hon. Gentleman objects to violence. We all do, but he has said nothing as to the special case brought before his attention by the Mover of the Amendment. May I repeat two of the sentences in which violence was openly advocated and supported by the Noble Lord who has now been made a Law Lord of this country, who in spite of his advocacy of violence has been given, not a place in a cell, but a seat in the House of Lords and is put in a position to administer the law. There is a good deal in what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Preston (Mr. T. Shaw). He said, and said rightly, that there is a growing feeling that the law is showing itself too partial and is not being applied fairly, that it does not deal alike with rich and poor, with men in high station and with men in low station, that it takes poor men, because under conditions of great stress and suffering they speak violently, and it puts them in prison, 1301 while it takes other men and gives them honours and distinction, though they have done the same thing. Lord Carson of Duncairn, speaking on the occasion which has been referred to, said, with especial reference to the Lord Advocate, because he was then speaking in Glasgow:I want to tell him that so far as I am concerned, here within his jurisdiction I advise my fellow countrymen to resist to the end, even if it comes to using violence; I tell him that if any violence arises out of my speeches, he need not trouble himself about humble working men, but can come to me.How is it that you can never extract from those who represent the Government of the day a reason why language of that kind was allowed, and why, even when that language was acted upon, and men were prepared with arms—German arms—in their hands, to resist the decrees of this House, no action was taken? I say there is in that an abundant proof that the law favours a man because a man, being powerful and rich, it is afraid to touch him, and now it is persecuting poor men, merely because they are advocating things which are unpopular, and which are as much opposed to trade union and party action as to the Government itself. The right hon. Gentleman did not refer to those who have never said a word or done anything beyond seeking to earn their living in the ordinary way. Take the case of the lady clerks in the office of the "Communist." I do not know what their opinions are on these questions of Communism, politics, or economics. I do not suppose the Government knew, and yet the houses of four lady clerks were visited, rooms explored, and the members of the families catechised on their opinions upon the literature they had. Is that British? Is it a fact that the Englishman's home has ceased to be his castle, and that if a young lady be employed in a Communist office, she is to be persecuted in this way? Let me read a passage from a communication received from one of these young ladies. She said:They asked to be taken upstairs—That is, the agents of the law who visited this particular house—they inspected my sister's room, and even my mother's room, submitting them to the same minute and humiliating inspection as I had suffered. They found nothing. On my father's arrival, they asked the address of his place of business, how many people he employed, and whether he belonged to any political organisation—all of which questions 1302 greatly distressed him, as he had never had occasion to be cross-examined in any way. They waited for him for another hour, after having already spent an hour in the search. At nine o'clock at night they left, having spent two hours in all in an entirely futile search of various parts of the house.There is an instance on which at once the Home Secretary should intimate that some action should be taken, with a view to preventing a repetition of that kind of case. I said there were 60 cases. So far as we can gather, that is about the number of persons who, during the course of this year, have been arrested, and in some way sentenced or dealt with under the head of these different offences. Out of 61 arrests, there have been 4 acquittals, 32 have been sentenced to imprisonment—in 7 cases to hard labour—and in 25 instances there have been second division sentences. In 14 cases fines ranging from £100 to £20 have been inflicted. Hon. Members may think that that is quite unimportant and cheer it as something proper, but this Government, like all other Governments will pass away, and there will be other Governments, and they will have these precedents. Let this policy develop into what may be suspected as a mere policy of revenge and persecution, and you will have it imitated by some Government who may succeed this. Hon. Members cheer and approve of prosecutions of that kind, many of which clearly are prosecutions encouraged by these Regulations, and undertaken merely because of opinions, which are not more than unpopular and violently expressed. The case of the printers requires a little more attention than the right hon. Gentleman gave it. There is a Labour Press. Its responsible managers and directors have been called upon to sign a document undertaking that they will not do certain things. These are the terms of the document:In future the company shall not print or distribute any literature for any persons, whether the Communist party or others, who are known to hold such views and objects as are expressed in the literature which is the subject of the proceedings above mentioned, and which are in advocacy of revolutionary violence, sedition and disaffection.I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether really it is fair to require that. [An HON. MEMBER: "Quite right!"] I have no doubt it will be quite right in the view of some hon. Members to have a law passed absolutely to suppress any opinions other than their own, and to prevent the publication of any views or 1303 doctrines of which they do not approve. I want to put to the Home Secretary seriously the view that to hold Communist views is not in itself an act or an offence against the law. Surely any one of us can believe, whether rightly or wrongly, wisely or foolishly, in any system of social or economic life without that view itself being regarded as a crime against the law. To hold Communist views, in my judgment, is no more illegal than to not Tory views. I would rather see, not merely in this Kingdom, but the world over, the peoples of the world existing under such conditions of economic life as would approximate to the peaceful principles of a Communist State than under a Tory administration.
§ Mr. CLYNES
The hon. Gentleman is evidently not following what I am trying clearly to say. I absolutely disapprove the methods of certain Communists. I have repeatedly condemned the methods of physical violence which have been employed in Russia to establish what is falsely called a Communist state. I speak not of methods, but of one's conception of an economic system. I am trying to make myself clear, and my argument is that, just as you had a greater degree of violence in Russia because the Government previously employed a lesser degree of it, so might you have in this country a greater degree of violence committed, in breaches of the law, for the mere reason that the law itself was employing violence to suppress and put an end to these views. I ask for a return of a large measure of the toleration, so much respected and practised in this country—the toleration which permitted the republican, the atheist, the communist, the extremist, the anarchist, no matter what his views were. I say it is only by applying to the other man the degree of liberty that we claim for ourselves, that you can really practise the spirit and essence of that thing which we call British freedom. In other words, we can not say that we approve the law when it is in our favour, and claim the right to violate it when it is against us, and it is that line which certain men of wealth, influence and authority have taken in this country without any action being taken against them. I do firmly believe that, for instance, the lines of foreign policy of this Government—a matter into 1304 which I cannot go—has had more to do in the last 18 months with producing elements of sedition in the minds of men, and producing tendencies towards revolutionary action, than all the preaching and talking of the few scores, or few hundreds, of Communists or revolutionists who have addressed open-air meetings in different parts of the country.
§ Mr. CLYNES
That has not any particular reference to Russia. For the moment, I am saying a certain policy pursued by the Government has done more to produce in the minds of men a tendency to revolution, and to foment a spirit of sedition, than anything else that might have been done by open advocacy. The matter, in the narrow sense, before the House is Regulation 19, but the Chair has permitted a rather large indulgence upon general views on the whole of the other Regulations, and it would not help our purpose to put separately to the House any other Amendment with a view to provoking Divisions or consuming time. In the last observation, then, I ask the Home Secretary to say whether the time has not now arrived when these Regulations are absolutely unnecessary. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] All the conditions of two months ago have disappeared. The spirit that existed then is dead. There is no threat or evidence at all of any breaches of the law, and, without these Regulations, the law would be strong enough to cope with any difficulty which might arise in any place. There are the police force, the armed forces of the Crown and the usual resources of the law, which has many arms and many branches. Those, surely, are quite equal to any spasmodic breach of the law of any kind which might occur, and to take away these Regulations would be to admit that we have reached normal, and that there is no necessity whatever for these Regulations. The withdrawal of these Regulations would at least be one step towards creating a spirit of greater good will as between the employers and the miners' leaders in connection with the coal dispute, and perhaps would be a real step towards a speedier settlement of that quarrel than would otherwise be the case.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Captain BOWYER
Usually in these Debates, I think, the point of view of the 1305 Government is not backed up by Members on this side of the House, but I think that it is not fair that always all the speeches should come from the Benches opposite. I think the right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken has given us an extraordinary view of what the country might be like when, perhaps, it is his turn to change over to this side of the House. If I followed him aright, any man could get up in any place, under any circumstances, and give tongue to any views — Communist, revolutionary, or anarchist—and nothing should be done. He complained, amongst other things, that any man's house could be searched. Mine, as well as his, is subject to search by the police. I remember on one occasion when the house I was occupying, at school, was searched by the police. I did not make a song about it, and say that the police had subjected me to an indignity. If they had a primâ facie case for coming into the house, I personally—and I think most Members on this side of the House—rely upon the police to exercise that discretion and goodwill which, to my mind, is one of their chief characteristics.
The right hon. Gentleman read out extracts from the letter he has, none of which, so far as I can see, were full of the injustices and iniquities which he tried to read into them. My view is this, that the ordinary citizen can call upon the Government to maintain law and order. The right hon. Gentleman says, "Oh, yes, that may be so in the case of an emergency, but the emergency has passed." The Government, if they followed the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman, might fail to maintain law and order, and subsequently say, "We were not allowed to take all the precautions we wanted to take; the House of Commons said we were arming ourselves against an emergency which would never arise." It, however, would be too late to say that, for the emergency would have arisen. Personally, as an entirely unimportant Member of Parliament, I would like here and now to back up the Government in taking all the powers that a reasonable man would think they ought to have in a case of emergency, which, on my right hon. Friend's own showing, is only a month or two distant, and no settlement has yet been found. Then the right hon. Gentleman—and this is my last point—seemed to evince almost an 1306 affection for Communist views. He said he preferred to be governed under a Communist régime than under a Tory régime. The only meaning I can read into that is that he would prefer to see a Communist Government established instead of the present Administration. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear! "]
§ Captain BOWYER
Well, a Tory Administration. But the hon. and gallant Gentleman has lived under a Tory Administration?
§ Captain BOWYER
Would the hon. and gallant Gentleman prefer a Communist Administration to the Tory Administration that he has now? My point is this—and I will try to make it in a sentence—there are those of us who love this country just as much as any hon. Member sitting on the Labour Benches. I am not wishing to infer that those hon. Members do not love their country. We, however, include in our love of country the King and what we call patriotism. We may be entirely wrong, but we hate seeing a Red flag waved instead of the Union Jack. Is that very extraordinary? If the right hon. Gentleman himself prefers Communism and prefers the Red flag to the Union Jack, do not let him cast a slur upon those of us who prefer the Union Jack, the King, and what we call patriotism and love of country to his patriotism and his love of country, which may be as great, but is apparently a different type from ours.
§ Mr. WIGNALL
I want to say right away at once that these Regulations were not introduced on account of the coal dispute. We should never have been troubled with this long list of Regulations that we have to deal with to-day, it is said, if it had not been for the lock-out of miners. But there was another element. There was talk of the Triple Alliance and the action that would be taken to hold up supplies. It was the threat, the implied intention of the other two contracting parties of the Triple Alliance to come to the assistance of the miners that scared the Government into these hurried Regulations. I was very much surprised to hear the Home Secretary say that the condition of affairs is exactly as it was a month ago. Some of us who were sitting 1307 in this House something like a month or five weeks ago on that memorable Friday afternoon must know the difference in the atmosphere of the House then and now. Everybody was in a state of mental excitement. There was more racing and chasing and running to the tape that afternoon than I have ever known, except yesterday, when all were running to see whether they were winners or losers on the race. On that Friday everybody was excited and rushing to see the tape, and to know what was the decision. The House was held up for hours, and everyone was anxious to know what was the decision of the railwaymen and the transport workers.
To-day, however, there is a difference. There is a cool, calm, serene atmosphere. Everybody seems quite happy and contended, and you hear somebody laugh below the Gangway, and there is noise in the Lobby, and that is the only indication we have in the House that any interest at all is taken in the thing. How, then, can the Home Secretary say that the condition of affairs to-day is precisely what it was a month ago! He seems to have forfotten that the main element in the dispute of a month ago has been removed out of it, and alone we are facing the position of the miners' dispute.
One has been a little bit surprised at the speeches to-day of some hon. Gentlemen who profess to know. They, however, only exhibit their own ignorance of our trade union movement. The hon. Member for West Edinburgh (Mr. Jameson) said that "the miners' leaders were keeping the dispute going; it was the miners' leaders who were responsible for the continuation of the dispute." He implied that the Home Secretary would be rendering a real service to the country if he locked up the whole of the miners' executive and all the miners officials, and thereafter, in the course of 24 hours, every colliery in the country would be in full working. What stupid ignorance of the real position! I have completed my 31 years' service as a trade union official. I have mixed with the great trade union movement during all that period. I make this statement here and defy contradiction, that I have never yet known a trade union official stirring up strife and seeking to create it, or seeking to make industrial disputes. On the contrary, trade union officials have devoted days and nights and weeks and 1308 months to prevent disputes and settle them, so that we, with our practical knowledge and experience of the inner working of our trade union movement know how ridiculous it is for people to say that the trade union officials are they who create the strife and make the trouble. There is nothing further from the truth.
The same hon. Member to whom I have referred stated what I consider was the greatest insult to our educational system that I have ever heard. He said that we, or somebody, was distributing leaflets to a lot of half-baked, ignorant miners. "Half-baked, ignorant miners!" That was the expression of the hon. Member for West Edinburgh. "Half-baked, ignorant miners"; that was the expression I took down. Surely in all these years of our educational work we have turned out something better than half-baked young men in that sense of the term? I am not here to utter one word that would prolong the miners' dispute for a minute. I could not do it if I tried. No one wants the dispute to continue but to end for the good of the community. When one, however, is sitting here and listening to speeches made to the effect that the miners' leaders are responsible for a continuation of the dispute, when they are not responsible, it is very irritating.
We are, however, dealing with these Regulations. You have given us, Mr. Speaker, a certain latitude in dealing with the whole of the Regulations, although there is an Amendment before the House which deals with Regulation 19. The Regulations as a whole remind me very much of an incident that occurred on one occasion in my experience. I went to a certain town, and, like some other hon. Members, I found myself short of tobacco. I was in a strange town. I looked into a certain shop window, and I saw there certain brands of tobacco exhibited, as I thought. I went inside and inquired for a certain brand, and was told by the young lady that she had not got any. I asked for another brand, and the reply was the same. "But," I retorted, "you have that brand exhibited in the window." "Oh," she replied, "it does not follow that we have these various brands. That is only window dressing. They are all dummies." There are many of the Regulations printed in this pamphlet which are merely window-dressing because they will 1309 never be applied. They have never to be used, and they are there for no purpose but as a bit of window dressing. Clause 19 and several other Clauses are the real factors in our industrial life. I think I heard the Home Secretary say that there have been no prosecutions out of the 60 cases that have been stated as having come under the Regulations.
§ Mr. SHORTT
Of all the prosecutions mentioned by the seconder of this Amendment, not one came under the Regulations.
§ Mr. WIGNALL
There are many others which did come under these Regulations. At any rate, that suits my purpose better, because I have been wondering why these men have been arrested, and put on trial, and why they have been committed to the Assizes. I sat in the smoke-room the other day for nearly half an hour reading the report of a case in South Wales of certain men who are now committed for trial. I read their speeches and the whole of the evidence that was given in the paper, and I wonder why these men were arrested for making speeches such as we all have made at different times. In my opinion it is because they were particular men, and not because of their speeches, and if anybody else had made the same speeches no notice would have been taken of them. These were responsible men holding certain positions, and although nothing followed as a consequence of their speeches, they were arrested and committed for trial.
§ Lieut.-Colonel JAMES
I would like to ask you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, if it is in order to deal with cases which are admittedly sub judice. The hon. Member is referring to such cases, and they have been referred to the Assizes for trial.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. James Hope)
I rather gathered that the hon. Member was only referring to the fact that the proceedings were taken under the Regulations, and not under the ordinary law. If that be so, I think he is in order.
§ Mr. WIGNALL
I took care not to mention the particular cases. I did not mention the name of a single person, and I was careful not to commit myself. I was wondering whether these prosecutions were carried out under the 1310 Regulations or under the law that existed previously.
§ Mr. WIGNALL
I think that proves conclusively that there is no need for these Regulations. If the old law is sufficient to arrest these particular men for the speeches they have made and for which they are now awaiting the decision of the Courts, what is the necessity for these Regulations? I would like to refer the Home Secretary, who always answers us in a kind and genial way, to the footnote at the bottom of Regulation 19 which says:Provided that a person shall not be guilty of an offence under this Regulation by reason only of his taking part in a strike, or peacefully persuading any other person to take part in a strike.That is a very important foot-note, and it seems to have been overlooked. As we are dealing with a condition of affairs arising out of a lock-out in the mining industry, and these people have been arrested and sent to prison if they have been carrying out the provisions of the law, then it is a very serious matter. Every police constable does not know the law sufficiently to qualify him to say in a matter of this kind whether he is right or wrong. I am not speaking desparagingly of the police and I have every consideration for them, and I have no right to find fault with them; but I am only pointing out what is a common fact, and I would like to know if a policeman was put to the test how many constables know the exact provisions of these Regulations and how many of them know that the words I have read are contained in those Regulations. I would like to put every Member of the House of Commons to the test on this point, and ask if they have read these Regulations and know them sufficiently well to act according on them.
Only a week or two ago, while a strike was proceeding in London, a number of men were following out the very provision of this Regulation that gave them the right of peaceful persuasion in regard to persons taking part in a strike. In other words, they were picketting and doing exactly what the Regulation says they have a right to do, but the police ordered them away. They refused to go, and they were threatened with arrest and were informed that they would be prosecuted under the Regulations. I was 1311 communicated with over the telephone, and I read out those words to them, and I heard nothing more about it. Look at the inconvenience people are put to by being hustled by the police and threatened with prosecution and with the danger of being arrested and being put into the cells for a night or two until the police find out whether they are right or wrong. This Regulation is wrong in itself. I do not suppose we are going to have another surprise vote like we had last night, but I think it is our duty to protest against this Regulation.
In conclusion, I want to say that the country as a whole to-day is faced with the terrible conditions prevailing in the coal industry and with the almost certainty that we are not within any measurable distance of a settlement. We know that every day is adding to the distress of the nation. When one goes about among his constituents you cannot fail to be struck with the remarkable quietude which exists and the remarkable desire of the community to conduct this dispute in a sane and sensible way, and not resort to violence. We know perfectly well in the rank and file of the trade union movement that trade disputes are not won by violence. They never have been and never will be. What they win by is the stern solidarity of the men and the conviction that they are right and fighting for the right to live, and that gives them the power to hold on.
I know there may be a desire to wait and see if starvation will accomplish its work, but I am positive that there is no need for these stringent Regulations when the men themselves are the greatest safeguard of the nation and the preservers of the peace. I represent a constituency composed of a large number of miners and a large mining interest. I have visited my constituency recently and addressed meetings there. I have gone through the mining area from end to end and I have seen nothing but a peaceful desire to conduct this dispute to a finish as sane and sensible men, but with a firm determination to resist the desire to compel them to work for less than a livng wage. Therefore I say that those people who denounced the miners' leaders as being responsible for this dispute and for these Regulations know nothing about the 1312 matter. I hope the Home Secretary will withdraw these Regulations because the emergency does not exist. It might have existed a month or six weeks ago, but it does not exist to-day. Therefore these is no justification for continuing these Regulations.
§ Mr. G. BARNES
I wish to appeal to the Home Secretary to withdraw this particular Regulation. The reasons for doing so have been very well put before the House by my right hon. Friend the Member for Miles Platting (Mr. Clynes), but there is one point that has not been sufficiently emphasised and that is the quiet and peaceful character of the circumstances now as compared with those which brought them into existence. I was not here when these Regulations, were brought in at first, but I understand that the country was passing through a phase of extreme feverishness, and there was some fear that there would be rioting, and bloodshed, and that therefore exceptional measures were necessary to meet a special occasion. I understand that was the reason given for passing these emergency measures.
It so happens that I have been down in the mining areas on two occasions within the last few weeks, and I have seen there no indications that there is any need for emergency Regulations of this kind at all. I have talked to the miners, and I have found them perfectly peacefully disposed, and so far as I have heard no such condition of things exists as was feared a couple of months ago which was then the chief reason given for bringing in these emergency Regulations. I have listened with great attention to the Home Secretary, and he did not seem to me to give any reason at all for the continuance of these measures. He told us that all these prosecutions in South Wales had been taken under these Regulations.
§ Mr. BARNES
The impression created in my mind by what was said just now was that the whole of them came under that category.
§ Mr. BARNES
At any rate the hon. Member opposite said there had been a good many prosecutions in South Wales, and that statement elucidated from the Home Secretary the assertion that all 1313 those prosecutions were made under the ordinary law. Then he proceeded to tell us that in Durham also under the ordinary law there had been visits by the police with respect to an attempt at arson, and it was then found that the police had powers to make certain inquiries at the addresses of certain persons and that that could be done under the ordinary law. If that be so, what more is required? It seems to me that that is pretty well all that the Home Secretary needs to meet the conditions existing to-day, because as a matter of fact the mining areas are now as peaceful as in normal times. Just a word about the character of the Regulations. The hon. Member who last spoke appeared to think that this proviso at the end of the Regulations very much limits the application of the Clause as a whole. I do not read that into it. To my mind, and apparently in the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Miles Platting, the Clause gives very considerable and very dangerous powers to the police of this country to take action in the event of attempts being made to cause sedition or disaffection. I need not read the whole phraseology of the Clause, but it is to apply to cases of anyone who is doing anything calculated to cause disaffection among the civilian population. The hon. Member suggests that by the proviso it will only apply to troubles in the industrial field.
§ Mr. WIGNALL
I was trying to point out that under it, in the case of industrial disputes, the police are empowered to exercise authority which will put men to a considerable amount of inconvenience and trouble and even expense.
§ Mr. BARNES
Of course, that is a very important limitation, so far as industrial matters are concerned, but only so far as that. But Clause 19 might apply to a person saying something in regard to the economic conditions of society. It might apply to the case of a person who advocates Socialism. To my mind, the Sub-clause does not limit the application of the Clause. I submit it is foolish to bring in Regulations of this kind if there is no intention of enforcing them. I live close to Brock-well Park. I frequently go and hear the speeches made there, and I sometimes hear speeches every sentence of which would bring the persons making them 1314 within the province of this Proclamation. This is simply bringing the law into contempt, and I hope the Home Secretary will reconsider the matter, and, having regard to the peaceful character of this dispute, having regard, also, to the fact that now is the psychological moment when even a gesture of the right kind from the Government might have the very best results, I press him not to refuse to consider the withdrawal of the Regulation.
§ Lieut.-Colonel ARCHER-SHEE
Listening to the Debate, one is struck by the fact that nearly all hon. Members who have spoken against the continuance of this Regulation have failed to bring forward any ground of complaint or suggestion that it is causing any hardship whatsoever. It is obvious to anyone who reads the Regulations that they do not hurt any well-advised or loyal citizen in this country. No such person has anything to fear from them, and to my mind it would be just as reasonable to expect a man threatened by assassination not to arm himself for his own protection, as to expect a Government which might under certain circumstances be threatened with a very strong revolutionary campaign to neglect to furnish itself with a weapon such as these Regulations. The greater part of the Regulations are concerned with matters which any Government worthy of the name, faced by a situation such as threatened this country a few weeks ago, would be obliged to take special powers to deal with. I suppose that out of 34 of the Regulations, no fewer than 20 deal with matters of administration, for which the Government are bound to take special powers, namely, the distribution of food, water, light, and other services of the nation. This Regulation, No. 19, to which exception is being taken, really is only a strengthening of the law, and it gives the Government complete power to deal quickly with any persons who are really intending to upset law and order and to destroy the peaceful life of the nation. No one, unless they were persons who wished to destroy the life of the nation and to bring about revolution in this country, would therefore object to these powers being in the hands of the Government. The Home Secretary has told us he would be glad, should anyone bring any proof that hardship had been caused to an innocent person by any of the Regula- 1315 tions, to inquire into the matter. I fail to see, therefore, what complaint there can possibly be at the Government having these powers.
In the United States when they had a coal strike last year that strike was declared to be illegal and as a result numerous prosecutions took place. Some of the leaders were arrested. That did not end the strike, but the miners did go back to work eventually because the strike was declared to be illegal and against the constitution of the United States, and also because in some parts of the country men went down into the pits and raised coal, a task which miners said they could not accomplish. No one wants to say an unnecessary word with regard to the coal strike. Everyone hopes that some means will be found for getting over our difficulties in that respect. But the Government is faced with this situation, that the strike has been going on now for just over two months, more and more people are being thrown out of work, and as they become poorer and find life harder it is possible there may be disturbances in some parts of the country. Therefore any Government, and even a Labour Government, were one in power, would be obliged to be armed with sufficient powers to deal with a situation like that. It is true to say, as was stated by the hon. Member for the Forest of Dean (Mr. Wignall) and also, I believe, by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Miles Platting (Mr. Clynes), that the common-sense of the country is keeping the country peaceful during this long dispute. Of course the Government of this country must depend on the wonderful common-sense of the people principally to prevent any disaster such as a revoluntionary outbreak. But that does not in the least mean that people who are guilty of endeavouring to set fire to inflammable material in this country, and who desire to start such a terrible calamity as a revolution, should not be dealt with under exceptional powers.
We have been told that there have already been over sixty prosecutions under these Regulations, but that only four people have been acquitted. That shows the necessity for continuing these Regulations. We do not want our country torn to pieces like Russia has been. I am certain the vast majority of the people of this country have no 1316 objection at all to the Regulations, but do expect the Government to take the necessary powers to deal quickly and firmly with any attempt to attack the constitution of the country.
§ Lieut.-Colonel ARCHER-SHEE
I think if the hon. and gallant Member could produce a single case where the Government have attacked people simply for their political views and not because they have committed crime against the nation, his argument would be stronger, but I am not aware that the Government have taken any steps against any such person. Speaking as a politician with somewhat extreme political views, I should like to have seen a great many more people prosecuted by the Government than has been the case. In my opinion, the Government have gone too slow. They may have acted wisely in not arresting and prosecuting more people, but they would undoubtedly have been compelled to do that had there been a worse feeling in the country than has been exhibited. I hope the Government will continue these Regulations, and will not be in the least affected by what I may call the weak criticisms directed against them.
§ Major HAYWARD
I can only add my voice to the appeal which has been made for the withdrawal of Regulation No. 19, and in doing so I adopt the general views already expressed by hon. Members who have spoken in favour of the Amendment without, however, repeating them. The Home Secretary, a few moments ago, told us that most of the prosecutions which have taken place have taken place under the ordinary law. Some, however, have been taken under this particular Regulation, and were the right hon. Gentleman in his place I would like him to tell the House whether any prosecutions which have taken place under this Regulation could not, as a matter of fact, have been taken under the ordinary law. The hon. and gallant Member who last spoke said that no well-disposed person could have any legitimate cause for complaint against Regulation No. 19. Is he quite sure about that? There is one part of that Regulation which is so wide and so vague in its terms that it deviates from what I believe to be a first principle of the Criminal Law, namely, that any act which is intended to be a crime should be so 1317 defined that every subject shall know exactly whether any act which he is performing is or is not a crime. According to the wording of this Regulation, if any person "attempts or does any act calculated or likely to cause" disaffection among the civil population, he shall be guilty of an offence under this Regulation. I should like the Home Secretary to tell us exactly what that means. What are acts which are likely to cause disaffection among the civil population? It depends entirely upon the interpretation given by the justice or the judge who hears charges under the Regulations, and it would seem that practically anything could be brought within the four corners of this Regulation. So wide and vague are its terms that it becomes a positive danger, and puts into the hands of the Executive, or of the judiciary, powers wider than any executive or judiciary ought to have. I hope that, following the general appeal which has been made to them, the Government will see their way to withdraw this Regulation, particularly as they already have, under the general law, all the powers which any Government or any executive could possibly require for dealing with any occasion which might arise.
§ Mr. SWAN
In supporting this Amendment, I should like to say that I am opposed to all the Regulations with the exception of Regulation 13. We never visualised any circumstances in which such Regulations should be introduced when we were considering them last October. At that time, when the Home Secretary introduced them, we prophesied that, instead of their tending towards amicable settlements, there was always the possibility that their existence would make certain obdurate employers still more obdurate, and was likely to create industrial stagnation in this country. We believe that in a very large measure the great mining crisis was brought about by the apprehension that these Regulations would be brought into effect. When the Act was passed which made these Regulations possible, we could see that it was possible for certain advice to be tendered to employers, and that, with the operation of these Regulations behind them, instead of their conceding, whether to the miners or any other section of the community, reasoned proposals and claims which were justified, they could turn them down, conscious that they could simply turn away from those who were negotiating on 1318 behalf of Labour, lock the door in their face, and then not concede their claim, because if after the failure of the negotiations anyone came out into the open and said that there was only one alternative, namely, to pursue a certain course of direct action, they would at once come within the ambit of these Regulations and would be silenced.
We considered that, consciously or unconsciously, these Regulations were intended to crush the liberty-loving instincts of the working people of this country. As I mentioned to the Home Secretary when they were being introduced, there was a strange disposition in this House to forget the contradictory meaning of the words as they applied to working people and as they applied to employers. Working men might have a grievance, and their chosen representatives might present their case, but, having had their case turned down, what do they find under these Regulations? They find the Press noticing their remarks, and other influential people observing their remarks, with the result that they might find themselves in prison or severely badgered. On the other hand, is there or has there been any intention on the part of the Government, should the nation be brought to a crisis by the deliberate obduracy of employers, to inquire into that aspect of the case, and put these people in prison? These Regulations are only intended to apply to one section, that is to say, the working people. However they may be put into operation, we do not believe that it will change the course of any fundamental dispute in this country. Anyone who understands the psychology, whether of the miners or of working people generally, knows that in the mass they will not be coerced or have their liberty-loving instincts suppressed by any regulation. To what depth of human degradation should we as miners have sunk had we not continued, effort upon effort, struggle upon struggle, vindicating our claim for more leisure and for better wages? Those struggles have continued in the past, not because the case of the miners, or any other section of the working community, was unreasonable, but because they found themselves either locked out or goaded into striking by the unreasonable action of sections of employers.
1319 The Home Secretary possesses considerable experience of negotiations with my friends on these benches. We have sat with him for years dealing with industrial disputes. In the event of the miners' dispute being settled, and another dispute arising, we might again be negotiating upon certain claims under well-defined regulations agreed upon by employers and employed, and we might again have as chairman such a man as we used to have in the Home Secretary. But the employers, knowing the powers that they have under the Emergency Powers Act, and the Regulations which might be put in operation, instead of conceding the claims made under well-defined regulations governing the conduct of two associations, might say: "Oh, no, we are not going to concede this on account of economic conditions and so on." If the men return home, and report that, without regard to the procedure of the joint committees, the employers have rejected the decision of the Chairman of the Joint Committee, the employers can say that anyone criticising their proposals is menacing the production of coal or preventing the supply or distribution of light, heat or food, and consequently will come under these Regulations, because he has said to his men that he has failed to get justice or failed to get the employers to carry out the regulations of the Joint Committee. Owing to some such violation of the procedure, the men's representatives may have to return and report to their lodge that there is only one alternative left, and that is for the particular section in question to test the other power which they have. I do not say it is wise, but they will have been absolutely goaded into a stoppage. These men, when they have advised their men to strike, can, under Regulation 19, be imprisoned for three months and fined £100 as well.
Such Regulations as these can be nothing but a menace, and cannot be for the good of the community or lead to amicable negotiations between any sections of workers and employers. The longer it is possible for these Regulations to be put in operation, the more will the workers come to the conclusion, and with substantial reason, that the dice are loaded against them on every occasion. The Government are not going to take the evidence, whether of the miners or 1320 the owners, and adjudicate on reason. These Regulations afford abundant proof that they are taking the arbitrary and partial side of the employers. We, who have practically come from the depths, know the struggles we have had. Not a decade has passed without our having repeatedly asserted our claims for better wages, and on many occasions our people have suffered through poverty and through oppression by the other section. Although that has occurred, and although it may occur under these Regulations, we shall not be convinced, even by force, that the cause for which we are suffering and making sacrifices is not just. Might will continue to rule over right, but in the end our claims will be recognised, if not by this Government then by a Government which will yet be put into power. I hope the right hon. Gentleman in charge of these Regulations will see from experience the wisdom of dealing with this matter and the absolute futility of such a Regulation, which simply embarrasses negotiations, leads to mistrust amongst all sections of the industrial community, and adds to the cost to which the nation is being put. One of the Regulations, we believe, might wisely have been put into operation, if the Government had been anxious to adjudicate, to come to the rescue of the nation and to save it from bankruptcy and industrial paralysis. Under Regulation 13 they would have had the power to settle this great dispute. That Regulation has been skipped over and left in oblivion, as though it could serve no useful purpose. When we criticised the Act we asked what the Regulations were intended for. The Prime Minister said that the object of the Act and of the Regulations was to maintain industrial peace and tranquillity throughout the realm, so that it would be impossible for one section of the community to be without fuel or food while another section had abundance.
Instead of the Government seeking to utilise Regulation 13 in order to bring about that desired end, the Home Secretary, with the collusion of the Prime Minister and the Government, failed to recognise all the existing inequalities and needs, which are so varied and widespread throughout the country, and did not put it into operation. We know that large numbers of people in the country are in want of fuel, yet there are stocks 1321 of fuel at the disposal of the Government. They should have supplied the needs of that section of the community which is still in want of fuel from that stock, instead of which the only people who have Been in a position to get a share of that fuel have been those with a surplus income who could buy it. That is the very antithesis of the object of these Regulations. The Regulations were intended to bridge over all such inequalities, and I will quote what the Prime Minsiter said when they were introduced. He gave an example to justify the Act and the Regulations. He said that supposing in the West End of London there was abundance of coal, while the people in the East End had no coal in their cellars, then they would see that the people in the West End were compelled to disgorge and share their abundance with those in the East End. I would ask the Home Secretary if there has ever been a case where that Regulation has been put into operation to carry out the desired object?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I think the hon. Member is going rather far from the point. We are now considering an Amendment to delete Regulation 19.
§ Mr. SWAN
The deletion of Regulation 19 would leave the other Regulations in force. We are desirous that Regulation 13 should still be in operation. Instead of its being a stillborn Regulation, it ought to be put into force. That is why we are leaving it in and are not seeking to delete it. Evidently, by the silence of the Home Secretary, that Regulation has not been put into operation, and apparently there is no desire to do so.
§ Mr. SHORTT
My hon. Friend must not take it by my silence that it has not been put into force. I must require notice of that question.
§ Mr. SWAN
I beg the right hon. Gentleman's pardon. It was Regulation 19. We should like to have seen Regulation 13 put into force to bridge over the existing inequalities; it would have been very useful. Apparently there is no intention to do so. So far as the mining dispute is concerned, if the Government had not been anxious to take sides, then, 1322 with these Regulations, they could have inquired into the case of the miners and the case of the mineowners before they came to a stoppage. The Prime Minister could have stepped in, under that Regulation, and avoided a stoppage by maintaining control and taking over the whole of the coal mines. Control could have been continued, just as it existed up to the end of March, until the miners and the coalowners had been enabled to hammer out a working agreement to their joint satisfaction. That would have been more judicious than allowing this great stoppage to take place which is causing such a paralysis in industry. We believe, however, that, instead of using those powers, the Prime Minister has deliberately taken sides, and we think the same about the present Chancellor of the Exchequer. Instead of dealing with the matter in a broad sense, they have simply looked at it from the standpoint of a privileged section of the community.
We hope that, instead of letting the nation go on into bankruptcy, the Government will try to find a way out of this impasse by using this Regulation. If the miners and the coalowners fail to come to an agreement, then let the Prime Minister work the whole of the mines again, under the fixed Regulations which were in operation before the end of March. Certain right hon. and hon. Members say that that cannot be done. Under these Regulations the men can work the mines and eliminate those factors that have been very oppressive and have handicapped this country in its competition with other nations in the markets of the world. I hope, at least, that Section 19 will be deleted, and that our men will not be unfairly embarrassed by such Regulations. As in the past, we intend to assert our claims for more leisure and better wages to enable our children and our people to obtain food, clothing, and shelter compatible with decent citizenship. Just as in the past we may again be starved into submission through poverty and oppression. If that is the case the battle will go on on some future occasion, until the miners and all other sections of the community are working under conditions where these embarrassing restrictions are removed. They they will live in a land where the miners will be honoured, not because of their status, but because of the services they render to the community as decent citizens.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I think this opportunity should be taken by at least one other hon. Member of my party to say a word against attacks on free speech. I rather regret that my hon. Friend the Member for Govan (Mr. Neil Maclean) moved to leave out the whole of Regulation 19. I am sorry that instead of that he did not move to leave out the wordsAny person who attempts or does any act calculated or likely to cause mutiny, sedition or disaffection among any of His Majesty's forces, or among the members of any police force, or any fire brigade, or among the civilian population.To attempt to stir up sedition or disaffection amongst the forces is a crime which I do not think any of my hon. Friends on these Benches wish to defend at all. It is, however, because we object to the very wide terms of the sentence I have read out that we are making this protest. If my hon. Friends go to a Division I shall certainly support them, though I would not want any hon. Member to think that that means that I support the stirring up of sedition or mutiny amongst the forces of the Crown. That is the last thing I wish to see. There have been prosecutions—some sixty-one—as the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary said. In the South Wales the prosecutions were taken under an old Statute of 1893.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us how many prosecutions have really been taken under Regulation 19? How many sentences have been imposed and how many acquittals have taken place? There are some cases awaiting trial on which I do not wish to comment. I saw a case in the Press about a man at Portsmouth—I take it that that was under Regulation 19, because he was accused of stirring up trouble in the Navy.
I should like to draw the attention of the House to the sort of thing that is going on at the present moment. Have we heard anything this afternoon about the great German-Russian-International-Jewish plot to disrupt the British Empire? I understand that in the secret archives of Scotland Yard, in the Special Division, there is evidence showing the ramifications of this vast conspiracy; how it is behind this strike, and behind dis- 1324 affection, and so on. We have heard remarkably little about it this afternoon. The Duke of Northumberland, in another place, and his friends in this House, are very fond of enlarging on this international conspiracy to disrupt and ruin the British Empire. Apparently it is behind our troubles everywhere, and is also behind the present stoppage. Let me read out the names of some of these German, Russian, or International Jewish people who are being prosecuted. The first I light on are Samuel Smith and Thomas Mitchell—observe the Russian-Jewish names of these people—charged at Glasgow with publishing in the "Socialist" of 14th April an article entitled "Under which Flag?" They have been remanded in gaol. Thomas Dingley. If these people had been Russian, German, or International Jews; if it had been Rosenberg or any name of that sort, we should have heard all about it in the papers, because the right hon. Gentleman's publicity service would have seen to that. John Henry Binnie, John Meehan, Thomas Rawlinson, Agnes O'Hagan. I admit that is an Irish name. Those three were charged with the distribution of leaflets calculated to cause sedition. They were bound over. Bob Stewart. He is the national organiser of the Communist party, and was sentenced to three months' hard labour on 12th May for making statements calculated to cause sedition. I remember that case in the papers, and I read it with great care, and witness after witness was brought up at the trial to prove that he had made speeches little different from those of the local orators, but apparently the fact that he bore the name of Stewart, and I suppose spoke with a Scottish accent, directed suspicion to him, and he was haled before the magistrate. So it goes on. Wilson, Lecky, Parkes, Wilson again, Whitehead, James Brown, Jefferson, William Thomas Brown, John Trotter, Henry Pollock. Listen to the Russians, the Germans, and the International Jews. There has been a gentleman named Veldtheim, but I believe he was born in Glasgow, and is a very good Scotsman. These sentences—and there are many of them—are getting more and more severe.
Sentences are being given now of hard labour and very heavy fines, and I sub- 1325 mit that the Home Secretary is not exactly accurate when he informs us that these men are not prosecuted for their opinions. I really think they are. The actual charge is based on some leaflet or some remark made in the speech, but what the magistrate is told by the police, and what weighs with the Bench—I am not attacking the Bench—is that these men are Communists. It is sufficient to say if a man is arrested and brought before the authorities that he is a Communist, to get a very stiff sentence. The Home Secretary has told us that the Chief Constables of the various areas will undoubtedly pay attention, as, of course, they will, to representations made by him in case they are exceeding their duty. I, therefore, maintain that the whole policy, for it is a policy, of prosecuting the Communist party is inspired from headquarters. Hon. Members say: "And quite right, too. Lock them all up." If that policy is really advocated to-day, England has lost one of its most attractive qualities. The persecuting of men for their opinions—because that is what the prosecution of Communists comes to—is a thing that the Englishman has always set his face against in the past. We have been the refuge of the persecuted of all lands. The Russian Anarchist, the German Socialist, the Italian Anarchist, all these men have been able to come here and enjoy immunity and that very fact has raised our credit abroad tremendously. During all the bomb outrages in the 'seventies and 'eighties of last century, there was practically none of it here, and the very fact that we have been so long known as the land of the free undoubtedly helped us in the Great War. It helped us psychologically. It turned public opinion in countries that wavered as to whether to come in, especially in the case of Italy, on our side. That is being abandoned to-day. Hon. Members think it is a good thing. They believe in this International, Russian, German, Jewish plot to disrupt the British Empire, and think it is behind all our troubles. My answer to that is, that the right hon. Gentleman himself said the danger was in speaking to angry, hungry men. Free speech was all right when everyone was comfortable and well fed.
§ Mr. SHORTT
I did not say anything of the sort. I said nothing about free speech being right or wrong at any time. 1326 I said, preaching violence was very harmless when you are talking to contented people in Hyde Park, but was very dangerous when you were preaching violence. It has nothing to do with free speech.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
That is exactly it. The Home Office doctrine is that free speech is all very well in a contented country.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
Incitements to violence are all right in a contented country because they do no harm, but when men are sullen, discontented and hungry they are a danger. Of course, that is the key to the whole thing. Do not let the people become discontented, seditious and mutinous, and then you can allow the street corner orator to talk as much as he likes and advocate the most violent doctrines and the most violent methods of accomplishing them and nothing happens. I appreciate very much the words of sympathy of the hon. Member Mr. (Jameson) with the hon. Member (Mr. Malone), who is in prison for making a speech. I am sorry the hon. Member is not here, as I should like to thank him. He said the working men pay no attention to street corner orators preaching revolution because they have too much common sense. Of course they have, and that has been our safeguard in the past. If certain changes have to come in our society they will come by certain processes in nature, and the more you try to repress them the greater will be the violence of the explosion when it arrives.
The whole history of the last 130 years surely shows us that. The countries which have suppressed these liberties of speaking and writing and publishing, which are now attacked by the Government, have suffered in direct proportion to the amount of the repression. In Germany, Austria, France 100 years ago, it was because these things were repressed that the explosion took place, and the greater the repression the greater the force of the explosion. Cordite burns in the open air harmlessly. Gunpowder explodes with little force unless it is confined. But certain movements amongst men, if they are suppressed, become explosive, and disrupt the bodies that are trying to keep them down. Because I believe that in the past 1327 the policy of allowing people to blow off steam and have their say has worked well as a safety valve and has brought great good to our people, I make this protest against the senseless, vindictive prosecutions of Communists. I do not agree with the greater part of their ideas. I have always condemned their advocacy of violent revolution, and I hold no brief for them whatever. But it is because they believe in what they say that it is all the more dangerous to try to suppress them for holding certain views. I feel the Government is making a great mistake. If I were a revolutionary Communist, I should support the present Government through thick and thin. I should take the standpoint of the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Lieut.-Colonel Archer-Shee) in regard to more prosecutions. I should support this Regulation and support the Government action abroad in doing harm to this country, from the Machiavellian standpoint that it would bring about disruption quicker than anything else.
§ Lord R. CECIL
I should not rise except that I am anxious to say a word in support of the appeal which I understand the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Barnes) made to the Government to reconsider their policy in this matter, and ask themselves very seriously whether it is really necessary to go on with these Regulations, and particularly the one under consideration. There is no doubt Regulation 19, as I am sure the Home Secretary would admit, in its terms goes very far. In its most extreme form it comes to this, that if any person attempts to cause disaffection among the civilian population he is liable to a penalty. Those are very wide words, and would include almost any conceivable prosecution, for any speech which was at all hostile to the Government of the day might be held to be causing or attempting to cause disaffection amongst the civilian population. I quite agree with what I understand the Home Secretary says, that he makes a great distinction, and, of course, we all do, between a speech delivered to a contented and peaceful audience and one delivered to an audience which is very much the reverse. I quite agree that it is very necessary that you should have a somewhat different standard in dealing with speeches inciting to violence if they are made in an explosive atmosphere. 1328 But this Regulation really can go further than that, and it is not only a theoretical danger, because undoubtedly the two leaflets which were produced by the hon. Member (Mr. Maclean) do not incite to violence. I have read them. They consist of a very urgent appeal to the transport and railway workers to come out on strike. They include a fierce denunciation, but not one that incites to violence, of the Government and of hon. Gentlemen and right hon. Gentlemen who sit on these Benches, the moderate leaders of the trade union movement, who are held up to obliquy as traitors, and from beginning to end, particularly of the one called "A Call to Action," there is no phrase, as far as I can see, which can be twisted into an incitement to violence. I understand that the distribution of that leaflet has been made the subject of a prosecution on the part of the authorities. That looks as if there was something to be said for the view that these Regulations are in certain cases, at any rate, being pressed rather far.
That is not the point, really. I do not suggest that there is any real concerted attempt at repression. I do not agree with the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy). I do not believe the Government are using these Regulations to suppress Communism or anything of that sort, any more than I believe in the least in the story of a gigantic, secret conspiracy, financed by foreign money, which is going to upset the British Constitution. There may be such a conspiracy financed by foreign money, but I am certain it will not succeed in upsetting the British constitution. I want to press this on the Government. Here is a moment when we really want to bring peace in the industrial world. Is there really any case now for maintaining these Regulations? Is it really necessary to maintain them, and particularly this one, in the interest of law and order? Does the Government seriously think that there would be danger of crime—that is the real point—if this Regulation was dropped? I cannot think that the Government really believe that. If not, is not this the very moment to show that all the charges against the Government that they are not impartial in the matter, that they have prejudices against the workers—charges "which have been made so freely out of doors—are without foundation? By 1329 accepting this Amendment and dropping this Regulations they could give definite, practical proof that they really do desire conciliation and peace, and that they are anxious to bring the industrial troubles to an end. I hope the Government will very seriously consider the appeal which I have made.
§ Mr. LAWSON
When these Regulations were asked for I wondered whether the Government were trying to breed trouble. They seemed to be asking for it. I wondered if the Government had got the wind up. When these Regulations were asked for, the conditions did not justify the Government asking the House to grant such sweeping Regulations and to put such power into the hands of a Department. I have come to the conclusion that the Regulations have been asked for because the Government have the wind up, and the fact that they are insisting upon the maintenance of the Regulations is further proof of that statement. The Government has certain powers behind it and certain powers outside the House who hold, as the Government has consistently held, that there is a great revolutionary force working underground in this country which is the cause of industrial unrest and so forth. One hon. Member this afternoon actually said that the people themselves were all right, but that well-trained speakers were speaking to half-baked, ignorant miners. I have heard statements in this House recently couched in strong language of that kind, and I am going to use equally strong language. I wish the hon. Member had been here so that he might know what I am going to say. I hope that what I say will be conveyed to him. A statement of that kind does not show very much intelligence on the part of that hon. Member, for anyone who knows the situation at the present time and who has seen the miner, from the humblest type downwards, in active work during the past two months, must agree that his power of organisation, his power of self-control, and his general standard of citizenship has reached the highest that we could expect of British citizens, and I think that statements of the kind referred to, when they go abroad, do not do any good and are unworthy of those who make them.
Something ought to be said about this so-called under-current of revolutionary organisation. The average British citizen, whether a miner or otherwise, does not 1330 take any account of revolutionaries or revolutionary organisations, because he knows that the revolutionary usually is a person who expects other people to do the revoluting. Organisation and people who take that point of view and try to stir up into a frenzy are on a par with these Regulations. The point of view expressed in these Regulations is an insult to the intelligence of the average British citizen. I can see the converging of certain forces of the type of mind behind these Regulations. The Prime Minister goes down to Maidstone and seeks to justify this kind of spirit. Then there is a meeting in the House of Commons in an upper room where there was a considerable amount of fervour shown. There was a sort of chosen leader and apostle to tell the meeting all about this great revolutionary organisation, and we were all swept into the same net. Wholesale statements have been made about miners' officials, miners' Members and the miners themselves. I happened to be in the north when that statement was made and published, and I will tell the Noble Duke what the average miner said. He said, "Him and his Bolshevik organisation. What he is troubled about is that his royalty rents are not coming in regularly." I am afraid that they are not very far off the truth when they make a statement of that kind.
These Regulations reflect the type of mind of persons and organisations who are converging in order to make up a wholesale attack, not only upon the rights of British citizenship, but upon British liberty, for definite political purposes. That is the only conclusion to which I can come after reading Regulations of this kind, especially when they have been in operation for two months, during which time our people have shown conduct worthy of the highest and best standard of British citizenship. I live in the same district and in the same house in which I lived when I was working in the pit, and I go home every week-end. During the Whitsuntide Recess I took the opportunity of going to feeding centres and various places of activity, and when I come back to London, and especially when I sit here, it is like emigrating to another country. Coming from a northern mining area to this House and to London is like coming to a foreign land. It is wholly foreign. It is out of touch absolutely with the psychology of 1331 our people. In serious business the miners have shown powers of organisation and ingenuity that have amazed me, as one born and reared in a mining area, and they display the same spirit when they are dealing with the lighter and more humorous side of life. The South has not had a Derby exclusively to itself. When I was in the North I saw a Derby. Forty thousand people were present, and the race was run by ponies that came out of the mine, well-groomed and well cared for. I saw boys riding bare-backed ponies, and I saw some of the regimental sergeant-majors there from the riding schools who would have given something if some of their drivers could ride as those boys rode bare-back. There was good racing and a good spirit. The mine-owners were there with their agents co-operating in the sports. I pay this tribute to the mineowners and their agents, that they have in a large measure helped towards that spirit of comradeship and goodwill, and I believe that if they expressed their views, they are as much amazed as we are at these kind of Regulations, which are totally, unnecessary at the present time and have been all along.
I wonder if it is possible for the Government to get back to the old British spirit of trusting the people, and of relying upon their common sense. It is not true to say that well-conducted people in various parts of the country do not regard these Regulations as a hardship. I come from an area which is fairly moderate, and the average citizens I meet there take these Regulations as a reflection upon themselves. These Regulations are a part of the general jack-boot policy of the Government. I trust that the appeals which have been made to-day will not have been made in vain. Whatever differences of opinion we have upon the point of view of business in the country, economical, political and social, the best thing that can come to this House and to the country is for the Government to make a gesture of generosity and of common sense to the people, and to say that they rest the British Constitution boldly and with daring, with courage and with vision, as it always has rested, upon the common sense and intelligence of the people. They will have greater strength, greater power and greater certainty of the future success of this country and the 1332 Empire if they rely upon the common sense of the country and upon a spirit and attitude of mind like that, far more than if they rely upon all the Regulations and defence armies that can be created.
§ Captain W. BENN
I should like to ask the Home Secretary if, by the time we come to the main question after the Division on this Amendment, he will be prepared to tell the House what all this is costing. Very elaborate machinery has been set in motion by the Government—military, naval, defence force, and transport—and it is a very costly thing. I will not go into the merits of the question now, but I tell my right hon. Friend that when the main question is reached I shall ask him to give the House some estimate of the amount of money that the taxpayer has to pay under this Act.
This House ought to be proud of the conduct of millions of work-people in this country who for weeks have been out of work and unable to know where they would find their breakfast the following morning. I do not think there is any country in the world which could present such a noble spectacle as the British working man at the present time. Many of them have been out of work for weeks, and yet there has been hardly a case of disorder from John o'Groats to Lands End. That makes me wonder why the Government should) bring forward Regulations of this sort. What would have happened if these Regulations had been in force 10 years ago? The hon. Member has referred to the Prime Minister having visited Maidstone. He visited Limehouse some years ago. What would have happened to the Prime Minister if these Regulations had been in operation when he went to Limehouse? He was charged at that time by lawyers and others with causing disaffection among the people. If these Regulations had been in force then, the Prime Minister might have been sent to prison, and we should have lost the War. I have read many of these so-called revolutionary leaflets and speeches, and I have read comments on them, but the comments made upon these revolutionary leaflets and speeches were as milk and water compared to the comments that 1333 were made upon the Prime Minister's speeches 10 years ago. The right hon. Member for the City of London is present, and he often criticised the Prime Minister for making speeches of that sort which caused disaffection among the people of the country, and he would have put him in gaol 10 years ago. That would have been a catastrophe. It is possible that some man of equal eminence might make an injudicious speech to-day, and the right hon. Gentleman might clap him into gaol, and he might be the man who was to win the next war. Considering the peaceful character of the population at present, this is really nonsense, and I am surprised that a right hon. Gentleman
§ of the Liberal traditions of the Home Secretary, who was using almost the same language as the Prime Minister 10 years ago on the same question—of course, with more an eye on the Common Law at the time—knowing the history of his Chief in the present Cabinet, should come forward with Regulations of that sort, under which other people are to be clapped into gaol for causing much less disaffection than the divine discontent which the Prime Minister was charged with exciting 10 years ago.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 60; Noes, 180.1335
|Division No. 141.]||AYES.||[7.50 p.m.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis D.||Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)||O'Grady, James|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Hallas, Eldred||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Bromfield, William||Hartshorn, Vernon||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Cairns, John||Hayday, Arthur||Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)|
|Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield)||Hayward, Evan||Spencer, George A.|
|Casey, T. W.||Hirst, G. H.||Spoor, B. G.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John||Swan, J. E.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Holmes, J. Stanley||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Davies, A. (Lancaster, Clitheroe)||Irving, Dan||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Davies, Major D. (Montgomery)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Waterson, A. E.|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Kelley, Major Fred (Rotherham)||White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)|
|Edwards, G. (Norfolk, South)||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Wignall, James|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Lawson, John James||Wilson, W. Tyson (Westhoughton)|
|Gillis, William||Lunn, William||Wintringham, Thomas|
|Glanville, Harold James||Maclean, Rt. Hn. Sir D. (Midlothian)||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Graham, R. (Nelson and Colne)||Morgan, Major D. Watts|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Grundy, T. W.||Newbould, Alfred Ernest||Mr. Arthur Henderson and Mr.|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Clough, Robert||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Coats, Sir Stuart||Gilbert, James Daniel|
|Armitage, Robert||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John|
|Atkey, A. R.||Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Glyn, Major Ralph|
|Baird, Sir John Lawrence||Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Goff, Sir R. Park|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Gould, James C.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Cope, Major William||Gray, Major Ernest (Accrington)|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff, South)||Greenwood, William (Stockport)|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Cowan, Sir H. (Aberdeen and Kinc.)||Greig, Colonel James William|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)||Hamilton, Major C. G. C.|
|Barrand, A. R.||Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Barrie, Charles Coupar (Banff)||Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Harmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Dawes, James Arthur||Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Dean, Commander P. T.||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Dewhurst, Lieut.-Commander Harry||Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Benn, Capt. Sir I. H., Bart. (Gr'nw'h)||Dockrell, Sir Maurice||Hickman, Brig.-General Thomas E.|
|Bird, Sir A. (Wolverhampton, West)||Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Higham, Charles Frederick|
|Blair, Sir Reginald||Elveden, Viscount||Hills, Major John Waller|
|Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard|
|Boscawen, Rt. Hon. Sir A. Griffith-||Farquharson, Major A. C.||Hope, J. D. (Berwick & Haddington)|
|Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.||Fell, Sir Arthur||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Hurd, Percy A.|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Flannery, Sir James Fortescue||Hurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B.|
|Briggs, Harold||Ford, Patrick Johnston||Inskip, Thomas Walker H.|
|Broad, Thomas Tucker||Forrest, Walter||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Jameson, John Gordon|
|Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay)||Ganzoni, Sir John||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Butcher, Sir John George||Gardiner, James||Johnson, Sir Stanley|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Birm. W.)||Geddes, Rt. Hon. Sir E. (Camb'dge)||Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur||Gee, Captain Robert||Jones, Sir Evan (Pembroke)|
|Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Seager, Sir William|
|Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly)||Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G.||Seddon, J. A.|
|Kellaway, Rt. Hon. Fredk. George||Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John||Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)|
|King, Captain Henry Douglas||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Smith, Sir Malcolm (Orkney)|
|Lane-Fox, G. R.||Parker, James||Stanier, Captain Sir Beville|
|Larmor, Sir Joseph||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike||Stanley, Major Hon. G. (Preston)|
|Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)||Peel, Col. Hon. S. (Uxbridge, Mddx.)||Stewart, Gershom|
|Lindsay, William Arthur||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Sturrock, J. Leng|
|Lloyd-Greame, Sir P.||Perkins, Walter Frank||Sugden, W. H.|
|Lorden, John William||Perring, William George||Sykes, Colonel Sir A. J. (Knutsford)|
|McMicking, Major Gilbert||Pollock, Sir Ernest Murray||Taylor, J.|
|McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||Polson, Sir Thomas A.||Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)|
|Maddocks, Henry||Pratt, John William||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Magnus, Sir Philip||Prescott, Major W. H.||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)|
|Mallalieu, Frederick William||Purchase, H. G.||Tryon, Major George Clement|
|Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)||Rae, H. Norman||Wallace, J.|
|Manville, Edward||Raeburn, Sir William H.||Walton, J. (York, W. R., Don Valley)|
|Marriott, John Arthur Ransome||Ramsden, G. T.||Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)|
|Meysey-Thompson, Lieut.-Col. E. C.||Renwick, George||Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.|
|Middlebrook, Sir William||Richardson, Alexander (Gravesend)||Watson, Captain John Bertrand|
|Molson, Major John Elsdale||Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)||White, Col. G. D. (Southport)|
|Montagu, Rt. Hon. E. S.||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)||Williams, C. (Tavistock)|
|Moreing, Captain Algernon H.||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Williams, Col. Sir R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Morrison, Hugh||Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)||Wise, Frederick|
|Murray, John (Leeds, West)||Rodger, A. K.||Wood, Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)|
|Murray, William (Dumfries)||Roundell, Colonel R. F.||Young, E. H. (Norwich)|
|Neal, Arthur||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Young, Sir Frederick W. (Swindon)|
|Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Nicholl, Commander Sir Edward||Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Nicholson, Reginald (Doncaster)||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.|
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ Captain W. BENN
I desire to repeat the question, What is this machinery costing the country every week? We know that there are the Reserve Force and the Defence Force and elaborate machinery for the distribution of food, but there is a substantial expenditure every week for these purposes amounting I believe to £1,250,000.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
Does the hon. and gallant Member refer merely to the expenses under these Regulations?
§ Captain BENN
Many of these expenses are incurred under the Regulations. For example, Regulation 2A, Powers under the Army and Air Force Act, is, I know, on the Supplementary Estimate for the Army and Navy, and with those I do not propose to deal. But there is, I believe, set up under this Act machinery for the distribution of food, etc., and we are entitled to know what is the expenditure by the Government on this machinery which they have provided and which they persist in keeping in operation.
§ Mr. SHORTT
The hon. and gallant Member does not seem to have the faintest notion of what is the expenditure under these Regulations. The Reserve and the Defence Forces have nothing to do with these Regulations.
§ Mr. SHORTT
Then the distribution of food was all arranged long before these Regulations ever came into force. These give us power to do certain things which are necessary, but all the schemes for the distribution of food have been in existence for a long time. There will very shortly be Supplementary Estimates which will give the hon. and gallant Member every opportunity to discuss this matter.
§ Main Question put.
§ The House divided: Ayes, 184; Noes, 55.1337
|Division No. 142.]||AYES.||[8.0 p.m.|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Barrand, A. R.||Briggs, Harold|
|Amery, Leopold C. M. S.||Barrie, Charles Coupar (Banff)||Broad, Thomas Tucker|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.|
|Armitage, Robert||Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James|
|Atkey, A. R.||Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Baird, Sir John Lawrence||Benn, Capt. Sir I. H., Bart. (Gr'nw'h)||Butcher, Sir John George|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Blair, Sir Reginald||Casey, T. W.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Blake, Sir Francis Douglas||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Birm. W.)|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.||Churchman, Sir Arthur|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Clough, Robert|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Breese, Major Charles E.||Coats, Sir Stuart|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster)||Prescott, Major W. H.|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Hurd, Percy A.||Purchase, H. G.|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Hurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B.||Rae, H. Norman|
|Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Inskip, Thomas Walker H.||Raeburn, Sir William H.|
|Cope, Major William||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Ramsden, G. T.|
|Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff, South)||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Renwick, George|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Jameson, John Gordon||Richardson, Alexander (Gravesend)|
|Cowan, Sir H. (Aberdeen and Kinc.)||Jephcott, A. R.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)|
|Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)||Johnson, Sir Stanley||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)|
|Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)||Jones, Sir Evan (Pembroke)||Rodger, A. K.|
|Davies, Major D. (Montgomery)||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Dawes, James Arthur||Kellaway, Rt. Hon. Fredk. George||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Dean, Commander P. T.||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|Dewhurst, Lieut.-Commander Harry||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Dockrell, Sir Maurice||Larmor, Sir Joseph||Seager, Sir William|
|Edge, Captain William||Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)||Seddon, J. A.|
|Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Lloyd-Greame, Sir P.||Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)|
|Elveden, Viscount||Lorden, John William||Smith, Sir Malcolm (Orkney)|
|Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachie)||Stanier, Captain Sir Beville|
|Farquharson, Major A. C.||McMicking, Major Gilbert||Stanley, Major Hon. G. (Preston)|
|Fell, Sir Arthur||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||Stewart, Gershom|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Maddocks, Henry||Sturrock, J. Leng|
|Flannery, Sir James Fortescue||Magnus, Sir Philip||Sugden, W. H.|
|Ford, Patrick Johnston||Mallalieu, Frederick William||Sykes, Colonel Sir A. J. (Knutsford)|
|Forrest, Walter||Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)||Taylor, J.|
|Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Manville, Edward||Terrell, George (Wilts, Chippenham)|
|Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Marriott, John Arthur Ransome||Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Meysey-Thompson, Lieut.-Col. E. C.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Gardiner, James||Middlebrook, Sir William||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)|
|Geddes, Rt. Hon. Sir E. (Camb'dge)||Molson, Major John Elsdale||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)|
|Gee, Captain Robert||Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J.||Tryon, Major George Clement|
|Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.||Wallace, J.|
|Gilbert, James Daniel||Morrison, Hugh||Walton, J. (York, W.R., Don Valley)|
|Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John||Murray, John (Leeds, West)||Ward, Col. J. (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Glyn, Major Ralph||Murray, William (Dumfries)||Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)|
|Goff, Sir R. Park||Neal, Arthur||Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.|
|Gould, James C.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Watson, Captain John Bertrand|
|Gray, Major Ernest (Accrington)||Nicholl, Commander Sir Edward||White, Col. G. D. (Southport)|
|Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Nicholson, Reginald (Doncaster)||Williams, C. (Tavistock)|
|Greig, Colonel James William||Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G.||Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Hamilton, Major C. G. C.||Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John||Williams, Col. Sir R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Wise, Frederick|
|Harmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton)||Parker, James||Wood, Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)|
|Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)||Pease, Rt. Hon Herbert Pike||Young, E. H. (Norwich)|
|Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Peel, Col. Hn. S. (Uxbridge, Mddx.)||Young, Sir Frederick W. (Swindon)|
|Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Hickman, Brig.-General Thomas E.||Perkins, Walter Frank||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.-|
|Higham, Charles Frederick||Perring, William George||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.|
|Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Pollock, Sir Ernest Murray||Dudley Ward.|
|Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Pratt, John William|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis D.||Hallas, Eldred||Sexton, James|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hartshorn, Vernon||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Hayday, Arthur||Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)|
|Bromfield, William||Hayward, Evan||Spencer, George A.|
|Cairns, John||Hirst, G. H.||Spoor, B. G.|
|Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield)||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John||Swan, J. E.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Holmes, J. Stanley||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Davies, A. (Lancaster, Clitheroe)||Irving, Dan||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Waterson, A. E.|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.|
|Edwards, G. (Norfolk, South)||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Wignall, James|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Kenyon, Barnet||Wilson, W. Tyson (Westhoughton)|
|Gillis, William||Lawson, John James||Wintringham, Thomas|
|Glanville, Harold James||Lunn, William||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Graham, R. (Nelson and Colne)||Morgan, Major D. Watts|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Newbould, Alfred Ernest||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Grundy, T. W.||O'Grady, James||Mr. Arthur Henderson and Mr.|
|Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)||Raffan, Peter Wilson||T. Shaw.|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Royce, William Stapleton|
Bill read a Second time, and committed.