§ Sir WILLIAM JOYNSON-HICKS
I beg to move,That, in the opinion of this House, the lack of definite and coherent principle in the policy of the present Coalition Government can only be remedied by the establishment of a Ministry composed of men united in political principle.This is a proposal in favour of a definite principle of political government in this country, and I desire to clear away at the outset one or two misconceptions. The first one is that this Motion is either a personal attack upon the Prime Minister or upon any Member of the Government. I do not in the least intend to attack the principles of the Prime Minister, although I may object that those principles are not such as I would desire to see carried out. I am second to no one in my appreciation of the work which the Prime Minister did during the War and the efforts which he made in 1918, which were crowned with success. What I want to know is whether in principle the Coalition is Liberal or Conservative. If it be Liberal, those who are Liberals will support it, while those who really believe that the principles of Conservatism are necessary for the well-being of the Government will have no difficulty in supporting that view. The son of the Prime Minister (Major Lloyd George) made a speech on Saturday last—there can be no greater authority on the politics of the Prime Minister than his own son—in which he said:His father was applying Liberal principles to his policy, and he was as good a Liberal now as when he first sat in Parliament.I do not quarrel with that statement. The view I take as a Conservative is that Liberal principles should not be the policy of a Government of which I am a supporter. The Colonial Secretary laid down in January last what a Liberal is. He said:A Liberal is a man who does his utmost to bring Liberal principles to bear upon the policy of his country at home and abroad.That is perfectly justifiable. If I were a Liberal I should do my beet to bring the 2345 policy of the Government in accordance with Liberal principles and Liberal politics. The whole reason for my making this speech is because I believe the right hon. Gentleman is a perfectly honest Liberal, and he is carrying out the policy which his son and the Colonial Secretary enunciated as the duty of a Liberal Minister. Many of us are not Liberals, and we believe firmly in the old principles and policy of the Conservative party as being more beneficial to the welfare of the State than Liberal principles. If I may go back to Disraeli, in 1867 he laid down that your policy should be founded upon principle. The whole of Disraeli's attitude and career was that policies should be founded on definite principles. There are other Liberal Ministers on the Front Treasury Bench. A few months ago there was a symposium of the Liberal party in the Coalition at the Central Hall, Westminster, to nail their flag to the mast in order to let it be known that the principles of Liberalism must prevail in the Coalition Government. The Home Secretary and the late Attorney-General laid down that they were all full of Liberalism and were full-blooded Free Traders. I see the Leader of the House is present. All his life he has been a devoted adherent of Tariff Reform, and yet at the meeting I have referred to there were Liberal Ministers in favour of a full-blooded resolution in favour of Free Trade. The then Attorney-General, the present Lord Hewart, saidTheir policy at this moment was peace, retrenchment and reform. When he spoke of reform, he need not say that he was not speaking of the reform of the House of Lords.He said that was part of the policy of the Conservative section of the Coalition, but the Liberal section had nothing to do with it. With regard to the Safeguarding of Industries Bill, if the Coalition means anything and is really united, I think they might at least have been united in regard to that Bill for which they were all individually and collectively responsible, and yet this is what the Attorney-General, then a Member of the Cabinet, said in regard to that Bill:They stood unrepentantly and uncompromisingly for a policy of Free Trade. This was not a time, if ever there were a time, to hamper trade. We wanted all the trade we could get. It might be said, 'Was there not a Measure called the Safeguarding of Industries Act?' He thought there was a 2346 little thing of that sort. He did not regard it as one of the conspicuously bright examples of the Government's legislation.Later on he referred to it asthat unfortunate step.That is the speech of a prominent Member of the Cabinet. I am not complaining of him for attempting to infuse his Liberal principles, but I am claiming my right to infuse the Conservatives of the country with Conservative principles just as much as the Liberal Coalitionists did at their meeting, because there they claimed that the Liberal section of the Coalition should have their full share in the legislation of this Government, and they declared that they intended to keep their policy and their powder dry for the time when the Coalition comes to an end. They did not say "if the Coalition comes to an end," but "when the Coalition comes to an end, we want the Liberal party to be prepared to take charge of the Liberal feeling and opinion throughout this country." I am only asking that we should have the same right and be entitled, as Conservatives, to see that our principles and our policy are fully represented in the Government of the day, and in order that when the Coalition comes to an end there may be a Conservative party and a Conservative policy fully prepared to take over the reins of office.
As to my own leaders I desire to say nothing that will embitter the relations between them and those who are their friends. One thing only perhaps I may say and that is in regard to the late episode in Ireland. I am not going to deal to-night with that question in detail. All I want to say is it might have been necessary for the Government to enter into negotiations with those whom they had described in very different language a few weeks or a few months before, but at least they should have taken their party into consultation before they asked them to follow them, not having the same knowledge and information as they had as to the necessity for the action it had been decided to take. Before committing the party to the course they did take in Ireland, they ought certainly to have consulted them.
The whole of their policy has shifted from time to time not only with regard to Ireland, but in respect of other matters. Take, for instance, agriculture: We have had a Bill brought in one day and repealed almost the next. Take the 2347 question of the admission of store cattle into this country. For weeks and for months they have let a Member of the Cabinet, the Minister of Agriculture, go up and down the country promising agriculturists that there shall be a certain policy with regard to the importation of store cattle. Now we find the Government coming forward and saying that they are going to leave the matter to the unprejudiced decision of the House. That may be a perfectly justifiable policy, but it is hardly fair to the Minister of Agriculture, and it is hardly fair to agriculturists themselves to allow a Cabinet Minister to go up and down the country proclaiming one Cabinet policy and then for the Cabinet to adopt another policy. An hon. Member asked just now whether I had learned anything from the War. I venture to hope we have all learned a great deal. We learned during the War that we might coalesce on questions of principle. During the War there were no parties in the House, there was a Coalition Government because it was based on the principle that right must conquer might. While that principle was at stake there was no difference whatever, but it is now inevitable, the War having been over for three years, that when men hold certain principles rightly or wrongly, and hold them just as dearly as other hon. Members in this House hold their principles, it is only inevitable that those principles should reassert themselves and claim in men's minds a dominant share in their political thought and view. Disraeli 50 He wart, said:A Coalition has before this been successful, but I have always found their triumph has been brief. This, too, I know, that England has not loved Coalitions.But a greater even than Disraeli may be prayed in aid by myself to-night. It is one who is still living. He said, not in a speech, but in a written newspaper article, in 1920, when speaking of a CoalitionAs a fighting force in the constituencies it is to-day as I have already said what every Coalition m English history has always been; it is invertebrate, it is ineffective in attack, it is unconvincing for the purposes of defence; it lets every case go by default.… It constitutes a great menace to the State.These are the words of the present Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, one of the most prominent and important Mem- 2348 bers of the Government to-day. It is true the basis of his argument was in favour of the formation of a Central party, but while the Central party has not been formed, the views of the Lord Chancellor, if they were held honestly, must remain the same to-day. I am certain that the Noble Lord meant what he said then, and I claim that that represents the considered view of an important and prominent Member of the Coalition Government. I want the adoption of that principle not merely for home legislation but I want its application to our great Empire. It is not merely a small undertaking which we are managing in this House through the instrumentality of those who are His Majesty's servants as Members of the Cabinet, but we are administering the greatest Empire the world has even seen—we are administering not merely Ireland but Egypt and India and many other parts of the world, all of which would like to know that they can depend on a policy of the Government which will be based on definite principles, which they can understand and act up to. Can anyone say that during the last three or four years the policy of the Government in India has been on definite principles? Has its policy in Egypt been on definite principles? I will say this, without fear of contradiction, that the policy pursued by the late Secretary for India was not one which would have commended itself to any Conservative Secretary of State in the world. My speech must necessarily be short and I cannot go into details, but I do want to call attention to a remark in a Cabinet despatch in regard to Egypt on the 5th December, 1921, when Lord Allenby presented a despatch on behalf of the Government to the Sultan of Egypt. This despatch, as is well known, was the production of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. It was a long despatch. I cannot read it all, but I want to read to the House one particular sentence:The world is suffering in many places at the present time from the cult of a fanatical and purely disruptive type of nationalism. If the Government will set their face against it as firmly in Egypt as elsewhere those who yield to it only make more necessary and so prolong the maintenance of these foreign sanctions which they denounce.At the very moment that that dispatch was being sent out to Egypt the same 2349 Cabinet was negotiating with a disruptive nationalism in Ireland. I suggest to this House that while one section of the Cabinet was opposing firmly a disruptive nationalism in Egypt, another section was dealing in a contrary direction with a disruptive nationalism in Ireland. One or other only could have been right. The main argument I shall use in conclusion is in regard to the effect the Coalition has had in the country upon State policy. Two speeches have been made quite recently, one by the Lord Chancellor and one by the Colonial Secretary, both containing attacks of a very violent character on the Labour party and Labour leaders. I refer to this not because I want the votes of the Labour party—perhaps my right hon. Friends opposite may not cheer quite so loudly when they hear what I have to say. The real object the Conservative party and, I think, all right-thinking politicians should have is that the division between parties should be perpendicular and not horizontal. The action of those two Cabinet Ministers and the action of the Coalition is driving the fighting politician into working, not with those with whom for years he has worked, be they Liberals or Conservatives, but he is being driven to the place where alone he can get fighting politics to-day, and that is the ranks of the Labour party. No, I am not going to join that party. I am trying to arouse Conservative enthusiasm, because I believe, perfectly honestly and sincerely, that the moment the Conservative party is revived, whenever that may be, there will be a strong accession to our ranks of those men who believe in their hearts in Conservative principles. It is the action of the Coalition which is putting a damper on all propaganda on the part of Liberals and Conservatives throughout the country, and it has thrown those men into the ranks of the Labour party. Let me go back again to my Noble Friend the Lord Chancellor on this matter. He puts it quite clearly:Does anyone think that adequate efforts are being made in constituencies to-day to defend the causes in which we believe? If he does, he lives in the clouds, and has no knowledge of the world in which, even at this moment, convictions, which will be pregnant with consequences, are being formed. At the very moment when I write, young, plastic, and impressionable minds are drinking in false messages, because these are the only ones they hear.2350 Those are not my words; they are the words of the Lord Chancellor. He sees the difficulty. His remedy is different from mine, I agree. His remedy is the formation of a Centre party; my remedy is the revival of the Conservative party. But we both proceed on the same assumption, that the young men of England are being driven into the Labour and Socialist parties because there has been no propaganda by the Conservative and Liberal parties. If it is true that this division is being made horizontally rather than perpendicularly, you will have, on the one side, those who have, and on the other those who have not; and there lies the way to revolution. If you perpetuate the Coalition, composed of those who have, and set it in array against the Labour, Socialist or Communist parties, or whatever you like to call them, consisting of those who have not, the inevitable result must sooner or later be a revolution, or an attempt at revolution It is really because of the great anxiety that I have lest that should be the real fight between us in the coming years, that I want to see the old Conservative party with its own principles and its own ideas revived.
I will only make one more short quotation in regard to the Prime Minister, from one of his own special organs in the Press—the "Observer" of last Sunday:There is no hope for the Coalition on Conservative lines,"—says the "Observer."There is none for Mr. Lloyd George in connection with it on such lines.And then there is an appeal to him to come out and lead the Liberal party. With that I have nothing to do, but I am perfectly convinced that there is no hope for any Coalition unless they are united on principle. There was hope during the War, because the principle that I mentioned earlier dominated the whole of the other factors. To-day, however, there are arising throughout the country new ideas, new policies; but they are all being looked at in the light of old principles—at least, I hope they are. The old principles were true; the old principles will remain; and I would appeal to my Conservative friends, if other Members of the House will forgive me for saying one word specially to them. I do not want to say, and I hope I have not said, anything offensive either to my leaders or to their followers. I am a Conservative through 2351 thick and thin. I believe in the principles of the Conservative party. There are a very large number of people also throughout the country who believe in them. There are some who would put duty to the Coalition in front of the principles of Conservatism. The only difference is that I put the principles of Conservatism in front of duty to the Coalition. On those lines I believe we shall find the future success of the politics of this country. I should like to appeal to my leaders in the Cabinet to come out and lead the Conservative party, because it is, in my view, the greatest instrument of good that this country has ever seen. It is the party which has done in the past great things for our country and our Empire, and I believe that, when the Coalition comes to an end, it is to the Conservative party, to Conservative principles, and to Conservative policy that we must look for the well-being of the country and the Empire.
§ Mr. RONALD McNEILL
I beg to second the Motion.
I am anxious not to travel over any of the same ground that my hon. Friend has covered, and I shall occupy as little of the time of the House as possible. I should, however, like to make one or two observations which are suggested to mc by an Amendment, which I see on the Paper, to my hon. Friend's Motion. It is in the names of several hon. Members, and its purport is that the idea of there being any lack of definite and coherent principles in the policy of the present Coalition Government is a myth, engendered by misunderstanding and misrepresentation. I think that even the hon. Member immediately behind me, who is so persistent in his interruptions, if he will devote his whole ability to it, will be able to see the point in a moment. This Amendment, as I have said, challenges the idea of there being any real lack of coherence or principle in the policy of the Government. If that be so, I wondered, as I read that Amendment—which I think is one of the funniest productions I have ever seen on the Order Paper—whether those who made themselves responsible for it gave as much as two minutes' thought to its meaning. If it means anything, the phenomenon which they have put down as their estimate of the situation can only be explained in one of two ways. 2352 If there is no lack of coherence and definite principle, it can only be because there is no difference in principle between political parties; for the hon. Members will not deny that the Coalition Government comprises men of different political parties. Very well. Then, if they show no difference of principle, no lack of coherence, it can only be, either because difference of principle between political parties has disappeared, or because one or other of the two parties represented in the Cabinet has completely surrendered its view to the other.
By either of these methods, I agree, you can arrive at a perfectly definite and coherent system of policy; but it will take a great deal more than the authority of the hon. Members who have signed this Amendment to convince this House, at any rate, that the first of these alternatives is the correct one. There has never been, so far as I am aware, in the history of the world, any sort of democratic system of Government in which there has not immediately appeared party spirit and difference of opinion between one party and another, and it is, therefore, practically inconceivable that there is no difference whatever in political principle between, we will say, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the House. Has the one or the other of them surrendered his views and consented to give them the go-by? I do not think that either of those right hon. Gentlemen would admit that that was the explanation; and yet, if those differences are there, and if they have not been surrendered either on the one side or on the other, could anything be more foolish than to suggest that out of those differences of opinion asserted by those two different parties there could possibly issue a policy which was coherent and definite? I should like to ask those who imagine that these differences have disappeared when they disappeared. I wonder if any student of political science could find an authority for the disappearance of differences of political parties. Not only could they not find anything of the sort, but I think they would find, at all events among modern writers, a consistent view taken that the strong differences on political principle that divide parties are not only necessary in a democratic system but desirable. I remember listening, I think it was in this House, to one of the most 2353 interesting speeches I ever heard delivered by the Lord President of the Council in which, with his great wealth of suggestive, analytical criticism of a matter of this sort, he told the House how impossible it would be for our politics to be carried on on any system except the party system, and he gave the weight of his great authority to the proposition that it would be not only impossible to do without it, but very undesirable. The same thing is to be found of course in all the commentators upon our system, from Walter Bagehot down to the present. They have all found that these differences are unavoidable and in the ordinary working of our system are desirable. The only question raised to-night is, that being so, whether you do not upset the healthy working of our Constitution by bringing those differences of political principle together into one body, the Cabnet, which, according to our Constitution, is charged with collective as well as individual responsibilty for the administration of this country.
My hon. Friend has shown some consequences of doing so. He pointed out that the fact of those differences is recognised by those who ought to know best—those who were recently in the Cabinet itself. Certainly those right hon. Gentlemen who were mentioned by my hon. Friend do not agree with the view expressed in the Amendment on the Paper that the idea of these differences of opinion is all a myth. That was not the view of the present Lord Chief Justice in the speech my hon. Friend quoted. It certainly was not the view of the Home Secretary in the speech he made at the same time, nor was it the view of the late Secretary of State for India, whose speech we all listened to the other day—a perfect revelation of the working of these conflicting principles in the Cabinet. We have been told once or twice, I think by some Cabinet Ministers, that in recent times—while this Coalition has lasted—the divisions of opinion in the Cabinet Council itself have not been on the accepted party lines. I have no doubt, of course, that we must take it on the authority of those right hon. Gentlemen that that is so, but I submit that that does not alter the case, because what happens in ordinary normal times? I suppose there never has been a party Cabinet which has existed for a considerable number of years without 2354 differences of opinion coming up in the Cabinet itself. But what happens then? In ordinary circumstances, a Minister who finds himself in disagreement with his colleagues leaves the Cabinet, and if he feels strong enough—if he feels that he is in sympathy, for example, with the principles of the party opposite he crosses the Floor of the House and joins them. That has been done time after time. It was done, of course, on a memorable occasion by the illustrious father of the present Leader of the House. It was done, although he was not a Minister at the time, by the present Colonial Secretary. That is the way in ordinary working that disagreements resolve themselves when they appear among men of the same party in the same Cabinet. Under the present system they cannot do that. A Minister leaves the Government. What does he do? We have had the late Minister of Health and we have had the late Secretary of State for India, and the only thing they can do is to add one more decoration to that variegated Front Opposition Bench. They have no alternative set of principles which they can go and support with a view to making them ultimately prevail. All they can do is to form a variegated body divided as much in principle as the Cabinet which they left.
Let us take an illustration of what I mean. Hon. Members opposite have from time to time clearly expressed the view that in regard to the policy relating to Russia they have been entirely out of sympathy with the Colonial Secretary. They believe the Colonial Secretary has been endeavouring to pursue one policy and the Prime Minister another. I think they have a good deal of justification for it. So far as I am able to judge of those policies, I should be very strongly in sympathy with the Colonial Secretary and very strongly out of sympathy with the Prime Minister. Other hon. Members will take precisely the opposite view. But the point remains that you have there a division of opinion, and no alternative party in existence in the House and the country, owing to the disorganisation caused by the present procedure, to which either of those right hon. Gentlemen might go in order to give effect to these views. We have all admitted that the present system of Coalition was quite justified during the War. I do not know whether it has ever been very clearly 2355 grasped why there is so much distinction between the War period and the present period. The difference is this. During the War, and we may say possibly for a short time after, but, at any rate, during the War, all parties, not only in the House, but in the country, had one aim and one object, and absolutely nothing else. We were all agreed we wanted to win the War, and the only possible room for difference of opinion was as to the method of carrying out that object. Those were small and minor matters. On the great matter of policy and of principle there was no possible division. But the moment we got away from the War, and the longer we are away from the War, and the further we open out into the general political field in which one problem after another comes up for discussion and solution, the more clearly will these aims and these differences of political principle which divide parties make themselves felt, and the more mischievous it becomes for the parties which really are divided in principle, pretending that they are not, pretending, as this Amendment pretends, that it is all a myth, and that they can perfectly well carry on the administration of the country.
I want to give another illustration derived from a recent speech of the Leader of the House. As I have mentioned it elsewhere I should like to mention it in his presence. The right hon. Gentleman will remember that during the Debates which we had on the recent Irish Bill, I suggested to him that, if the Conservative Members of the Cabinet had felt themselves unable any longer to support principles in relation to Ireland which they have supported all their life—and I could conceive that position arising—the proper and honourable course under these circumstances was for those Conservative Ministers to leave the Government and say that, although they were not prepared to resist the policy any longer, they would not themselves take the responsibility of carrying it out. The right hon. Gentleman in reply to that—I thought at the time it was a most amazing answer, and I submit now that it was an amazing answer—said the course I was asking him to take was a course of "ease and dishonour." [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I find that very generally 2356 cheered. That only shows the length to which the deterioration has gone, because that is not the doctrine that has been held by our leading men in the past. I am sorry that I have not here one of the most famous speeches ever delivered in this House by Macaulay.
§ Mr. McNEILL
I did not say that he was a Conservative statesman, but Macaulay at all events was a constitutional authority. What he laid down was that the doctrine which the right hon. Gentleman now upholds would, if carried out in this country, leave all public life in this country shipwreck, and I think that that stands to reason. I am certain that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House, and all his Conservative colleagues, would have felt that if they had not been in a Coalition. Suppose the right hon. Gentleman had been Prime Minister and felt pressed by a powerful Opposition, and by circumstances, and said that it was no longer possible to maintain the hitherto accepted Unionist policy with regard to Ireland, he would not have said to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith), as Leader of the Opposition: "Come over here and carry this out." He would have said simply: "We cannot do it, and we will retire." It is quite true that there is the classic example of the action of Sir Robert Peel upon a famous occasion. But this has always been a stain on his memory, and we cannot accept the doctrine, that men when they can no longer resist a policy should make themselves responsible for carrying it out. But I can understand why the right hon. Gentleman felt compelled to do it. The right hon. Gentleman, I think in the same speech, said that there was such a thing as loyalty to his colleagues and his leader. I quite agree, and that is just where the mischief comes in.
The right hon. Gentleman felt pressed by the loyalty which he owes to his chief and his colleagues, but he also owes a loyalty to his party and his principles. Those two loyalties were in conflict. [HON. MEMBERS: "And to his country!"] He also owes a loyalty to his country, but that interruption does not do much honour to the right hon. Gentleman because it implies, if it means anything, that when the right hon. Gentleman pro- 2357 fessed to be and was a Unionist he was not consciously doing his best for his country. I, on the contrary, assume in reference to the principles which the right hon. Gentleman has always professed and the policy of the party which he leads, that he is an adherent of the party and propounds that policy because he honestly thinks it best for the country. The result is unfortunately that loyalty to persons took precedence of loyalty to principles. That is just the cause of the mischief which inevitably occurs in a Coalition Government as soon as a Minister feels that he cannot really carry through on a straight line the policy in which he believes, because to do so would be to throw over his colleagues. That is what the right hon. Gentleman said when he said that it would be to take the course of ease and dishonour. He never could have been put in that position if it had not been for the evil system of this Coalition of men of different principles, and it is because we believe that this is a serious mischief that we bring forward this Motion in the hope that an end will be put to the system as soon as possible.
§ Lieut-Colonel HURST
I beg to move to leave out the wordscan only be remedied by the establishment of a Ministry composed of men united in political principle,and to add instead thereof the wordsis a myth engendered by misunderstanding and misrepresentation; and that at present the best solution for our national difficulties is the co-operation of well-affected citizens of all political parties in working for the common good.In moving this Amendment I feel, and I have no doubt that many hon. Members associated with me in this Amendment feel a little diffidence because we are younger in our Parliamentary experience than the hon. Members who moved and seconded this Resolution, and we are fully cognisant of the very valuable and eminent services which they have rendered both to the country and to the Conservative party in past times. If I may make a personal remark with regard to the hon. Baronet the Member for Twickenham (Sir W. Joynson-Hicks), we in Lancashire have very kindly memories of him when, as Member for North-West Manchester, he helped to dissipate the propaganda which at that time were being sown there by the present Colonial 2358 Secretary. But having said that, I should like to claim that though we are young in our Parliamentary experience, we may be really more in touch with the great mass of Conservative opinion in this country, and I think that we may justifiably say that we are not trying to wreck the Government or split our party. The issue between those who support the Resolution and those who support the Amendment is not between independence and dependence. We are as independent as they are. We are not in favour of fusion. I personally, and many of my friends, never took the coupon. We never asked for it, and we never shall ask for it. We do not regard the Coalition as a final stage in political development, and so far as Coalition Liberals are concerned, we suspect, of course, a certain number of them. At the last election, when "Coalition" was a very popular word, as everybody knows, a number of Liberals in the north called themselves, for the purpose of the election, Coalition Liberals, and when that phrase lost its magic they have since reverted to that form of original sin which is called Liberalism without a prefix.
We have heard a good deal from the two hon. Gentlemen about Conservative principles. It is very easy to talk about principles. What I would like to know is, what are the principles to which they adhere? I suggest that the true and traditional Conservative principles are attachment to liberty and Empire, and devotion and attachment to the Crown and Constitution. There is nothing in the record of the present Government that in any way offends any single one of those principles. The real issue between what is called the Die-hard group and the main body of Conservatives is the difference between that old type of mediaeval Toryism, which regarded all change and all reform as revolution, and which regarded the masses of the people as the mere mob, and our Conservatism, which is the Conservatism of Disraeli and of Joseph Chamberlain, which responds to the changing need of changing time. It is highly significant that hon. Members who are mainly associated with the Die-hard movement represent rural and seaside constituencies like Eastbourne and Canterbury, like Bournemouth and Dover, and that those of us who have put our 2359 names to the Amendment represent millions of workers, of keener wits and greater responsibility, who have to earn their livelihood in the workshops and warehouses of Lancashire or amid the clang of the Yorkshire looms.
I suggest that the hon. Gentlemen who have spoken this evening have not, if I may respectfully say so, understood the extraordinarily unprecedented conditions and circumstances of the age in which we are living. We are living in an era as different from 1914 as the times after Waterloo were different from the era before 1789. It is no good talking in the abstract about principles. What the country and the Government have to face is the practical question of how to govern and how to meet the great difficulties of the nation. With great respect to the two hon. Gentlemen who have spoken, I say they have actually not put up any alternative to the way in which the country has been governed since the Armistice. It is very easy to say that things would have been very much better if we had had another Government, but it is not easy to realise how that could have been the case. The position of the supporters of the Resolution reminds me very much of a General who plans a campaign by looking simply at the roads and the railways on a map without any regard to the rivers and the natural obstacles in the way of that strategy.
§ Lieut.-Colonel HURST
What I suggest is that the really dominating influences on English politics, and the dominating obstacles to any Government since the War, have been three in number. First of all, there has been the enormous impoverishment of our markets overseas—the impoverishment of Europe, the impoverishment of Asia through the de-valuation of silver, and the impoverishment of Africa through the relative fall in the value of raw produce. The second cause of trouble has been the immensely increased cost of production in our country, owing to the higher taxes which are involved by meeting interest on the War Debt and by paying pensions; and the third difficulty has been the intense and continuous industrial strife, which has embittered relations between employers and employed. The fair way to judge of 2360 the politics of the last few years is to answer this question: How have the Government attempted to grapple with these three great difficulties? It is when you apply that test that a great many of the criticisms passed upon the Government appear to be misplaced. Let us take foreign affairs first. When you consider how America has left Europe in the lurch, how the great burden of policing and financing the world has rested so largely on British shoulders, I think you will appreciate that it has been a most wonderful performance that, with our small Army, we have kept the peace in a tottering world, from Iraq to Palestine, and from Silesia to the Rhine.
Let us take the three great tests of Government wisdom—India, Egypt and Ireland. Two alternative courses have been suggested by different sections in this House, one course by the Die-Hard group and one course by Members of the Opposition. With regard to India, what do the Die-Hard group want? They would have us stamp out the idea of race and the spirit of nationality which have come into being, not in consequence of the policy or the misdeeds of any particular individual, but in consequence of a great world movement which no Government in existence can control. It is the same thing in Egypt and in Ireland. The spirit of nationality and the forces of disorder are world-wide tendencies due to the action of no individual, no party, and no Government. They are due to causes utterly beyond the control of any man or any nation. What would you have us do in those three countries? We are told that we ought to stamp out all the discontent in India by force of arms, that we ought to crush the idea of giving the rights of self-determination to Egypt, and that we ought to reconquer Ireland at the immense cost of blood and money which necessarily would be involved.
We have heard all those suggestions made again and again in this House. Should we be any better off at the finish if we did establish law and order by force of arms in those three countries? It would be even worse if we followed the plan of the Labour party by evacuating India and withdrawing the British Army of Occupation from Egypt. Of course the result would simply be infinite misery and the wiping out of all trade and prosperity. I agree that the present condition of affairs is not perfect. But, after 2361 all, India is not a shambles. Egypt has ceased to be a British Protectorate, but there is still a British Army of Occupation maintaining law and order, and the Sudan is still a British dependency. So far as Ireland is concerned, things are not worse than they were a few months ago. Everyone knows that. In fact there is more hope now than there has been for years past of putting an end to that undying feud and dissipating for ever the clouds which have so long dimmed the glory of the Empire.
Let me turn to the question of economy. That has not been mentioned by the Mover or Seconder of the Resolution, but at the same time it is one of the vital needs of the day. I admire the courage with which the Government has cut down expenditure. Newspapers say that cutting down expenditure is popular. Of course it is not popular. The moment you propose to cut down expenditure on the Army or the Navy or education or social services, everybody who is interested in those particular objects is up in arms at once. I think the Government has been brave in cutting down expenditure. We know what the alternative would be if the country had the misfortune to fall under the control of the Opposition. Then, with regard to peace at home, the Government has provided machinery by which trade disputes can be settled, and it has realised—this is very much more important—that the settlement of industrial disputes does not rest on machinery, but rests on mutual good-will. It has realised rightly that all the State interference and State socialism of the War are now an anachronism, that it is far better to let individuals work out their own salvation, and that that is the truest way to industrial prosperity. We are told that there have been differences in the Cabinet. Of course there have been differences among all men in times like these, because the problems are so big. It is impossible to find unanimity. The important thing is that on great national questions we are all united.
What is the great danger at the present time? The danger is not made by us, but it is there. It is not politicians who make political issues, but events which make them. It is a fact that the great danger now is Socialism and Bolshevism. That is the great danger which is stalking through Europe to-day. In order to be 2362 wholeheartedly united in view of this great danger, is it idle to talk about co-operation? After all, there are different sorts of Liberals, good Liberals, bad Liberals and indifferent Liberals—mostly, it may be, indifferent—but if there are Liberals and Labour men too, willing to work with other lovers of their country in the common good, to put down this great danger and the great disaster which the triumph of Communism would involve, surely it is worth while to co-operate. What do we value most in national life? We value our Crown, our Constitution, our liberty, and our Empire. If Communism were ever to triumph there would be an end of Crown and Constitution, there would be an end of our liberty, and an end of our Empire and an end of everything. If right-thinking men can combine in resisting this great danger, surely that is the best course for patriots to adopt. Who really wants to go back to 1914? An hon. Member asked a right question when he asked the Mover of this Resolution whether he had not learned anything since the War. We have learned much since the War, and we know that, however bitter party feeling may sometimes be, however much one may feel oneself at enmity with men who hold different political views, the big things in national life are common to us all. After our experience in the War, we are not going to adopt the policy of relapsing, as if all danger was over, into the old party feuds of 1914. I believe we have learned something in the War, and although the time may come when the party rivalries may revive, so long as it is possible to maintain common ground for common ends, then surely we ought to do so. I do not envy those who simply wish to relapse into pre-War divisions. I rather envy those who believe in the vision of a better time, which does not only mean greater material prosperity for all, but will also mean greater good will and greater peace between different classes in our country and between the different nations of the world. If cooperation between right-thinking citizens can do something to bring that ideal nearer, surely it is something to work for and something which gives us hope, and in that hope I beg to move my Amendment.
§ Lieut.-Commander ASTBURY
With some perturbation, I rise to second the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend 2363 who has just sat down. We are but young in Parliamentary life, but, as he has said, we represent industrial constituencies, and we have more opportunity than some other hon. Members of mixing among all classes of the community and knowing what are their views. I consider, with all respect to the hon. Baronet who moved this Motion, that his opening was extremely feeble. As against that, it is quite easy to see that his Motion has been drawn with the ingenuity of a lawyer, but I would rather come down to earth and plainly call a spade a spade. I would rather do away with all camouflage and if that Motion has been put down in the light in which I believe it was put down, it only means two things. First, that it is an endeavour to split the Coalition, and, second, that it is intended to split the Unionist party from top to bottom.
§ Lieut.-Commander ASTBURY
The hon. Baronet says it is not intended to do the second. He cannot contend that for one moment. He, as I understand, represents the Die-hards in this House, but all we have heard from him and from the hon. Member who seconded his Motion, has been a sort of theoretical discourse on political principles. I would like, with great respect, to remind him that at the present time we are concerned with the different and very dangerous propositions which confront us at the moment, and are not concerned with political principles of 20 and 30 years ago. I contend that all these political shibboleths should go into the back-ground. What is the fault which the hon. Baronet really found with the Coalition with regard to their political principles? He complains that Unionists to-day have surrenderd to Free Traders. I contend we have done nothing of the sort. I speak as a Unionist and as a supporter of the Coalition, and as a business man, and I will have nothing to do with Free Trade or Tariff Reform. People seem to have forgotten, as I have said in this House over and over again, that we have had a War. We are faced with a trade problem at the present time different to any we have ever been faced with before, and I am out to adopt any method or any principle that will enable us to get trade back to this country, whether people like to label themselves as Free Traders 2364 or Tariff Reformers. It is time, as I have said, that these two shibboleths were put into the background.
The Mover of the Motion referred to the unity and the absence of party strife during the War. It was owing to that unity and owing also, if I may say so, to the Premier that this country was victorious in the War. Is the hon. Baronet suggesting for one moment that we are at the present time faced with a lesser crisis than that with which we were faced in 1914? The crisis is far more dangerous, because in 1914 you had every individual in this country burning with patriotism to keep the enemy from landing on these shores, but since the War, I am sorry to say, a great deal of that patriotism seems to have got into the background, and had we fought together since the Armistice as we did during the War, this country would not be in the position it is in to-day. The Government has been blamed from many quarters for the unemployment which now exists. It is not the Government which has created that unemployment. Every business man, and I am sure every hon. Member of the Labour party also, knows that the greatest factor to which the country owes its present state is that of the continual stoppages of work which we have had in every industry. The country has never got time to recover, and until there is better feeling and more toleration between employers and employed we shall never succeed in bringing the country back to the position it held before the War. [HON. MEMBERS: "That is why you locked them out!"] Hon. Members say that is why we locked them out. I am not going into the question of the engineering dispute, but let me say—and I think I shall have the support of every honest trade union leader in this—that if the whole of the men in the engineering trade had voted in the ballot, they would have accepted the advice their trade union leaders gave them, and there would never have been any question of a lock-out. Only one-third voted, and the result was that the Bolshevists and the Socialists in the trade union got hold of them, and they were the means of this present lock-out. [HON. MEMBERS: "Face the facts!"] I am facing facts; I am giving my opinion upon them.
§ Lieut-Commander ASTBURY
The Mover and Seconder of the Motion have never told us what party they would wish in power if the Coalition went out.
§ Lieut.-Commander ASTBURY
They know as well as I do that if we went to the country as the Conservative party alone, there would not be the slightest chance of our coming back.
§ Lieut.-Commander ASTBURY
If we did come back, in the present condition of the Conservative party, according to the illustration of an hon. Member composed of Die-hards, Anti-wasters—
§ Lieut.-Commander ASTBURY
—and Independents, we should have a worse conglomeration than there is on the Treasury Bench. What the country needs to-day is a cessation of the little sections in this House that are trying simply to promote strife. The country desires a Government that will sit down and get to work on the things they are up against, and that will get these questions settled. I can assure my hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Sir W. Joynson-Hicks) that if Die-hards carry out an expedition, which I saw they meant to do, through the Lancashire constituencies, as soon as they come into my constituency—
§ Lieut.-Commander ASTBURY
What we require to-day is a Government composed of men of all moderate opinion drawn from all parties—[HON. MEMBERS: "All parties?"]—men who will travel with the present state of things, instead of keeping to the shibboleths of a bygone age.
If I rise thus early in the Debate, it is because I am anxious that this Resolution having been moved, there should not be given by myself or by any friend or supporter of this Government any occasion for anyone to believe that there was not time for the House to give a decision upon it. Whether the House is being occupied as 2366 usefully as it might be, whether the discussion is as edifying as it should be, these may be matters upon which opinion may be divided, but since my hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Sir W. Joynson-Hicks) has moved this Motion, by all means let the House divide. A fortnight ago my hon. Friend was the envied of all observers. He had achieved the ambition of the private Member. He had drawn the "gros lot" in the Parliamentary lottery. He had secured first place for a Motion.
There was a moment of hesitation in his manner. You, Mr. Speaker, called upon him to name the subject which he wished to bring before the House. Any careful observer, as I am of my hon. Friend's Parliamentary proceedings, could see that he had been taken by surprise. My hon. Friend is not one of those earnest seekers after reform who bring down to the House every day an attaché case full of recipes for a new and better world, nor had he taken the precaution, which I believe is sometimes taken by Members, of procuring from the Whips one of those anodyne Resolutions which soothe the House, even to the point of a count, and give wearied legislators an occasional rest from their labours. No, Sir, you named the hon. Member, and for a moment he stood in hesitation. Then he had a happy thought—to call attention to the position of the Government, and to move a Resolution. My hon. Friend, remembering he was a leader of a party in this House—
—and the only leader of our party in the House, since the whole of my 10 colleagues, myself included, have departed from the true faith, and are no longer worthy of support. Accordingly, he gave notice that he would call attention to the position of the Government, and that he would move a Resolution.
Who could say what might and what might not happen from this great determination. The Government might be shaken to its foundations, it might be overthrown, and a new Government might be needed—and a new Prime Minister too! He hoped that one of the small pebbles he had picked up from the brook would slay Goliath, hence forth the path would be clear—
—and the highest authority in the land would have no difficulty in determining to what quarter to entrust the formation of a really great and principled Ministry. My hon. Friend must, indeed, have been happy, and none of his old comrades in this House will grudge him the enjoyment of those sweet hours. Then a new dilemma arose. He had not merely to call attention to the position of the Government, but he had undertaken to move a Resolution. What was the Resolution to be? He had not thought about it. He did not know, and 11 days passed before the Resolution could be framed. But I do not doubt that the new Cabinet was in constant and daily session. For 10 or 11 days it was framing—
§ Mr. GWYNNE
How many days did you take to frame the Genoa Resolution? [HON. MEMBERS: "Order, order!"]
There must be a leader, primus inter pares, if no more, and if I diverged and examined the difference between all the prospective leaders, well, I should prevent that Division which I am anxious to secure. I am a little surprised that it took so long for this new Cabinet to frame their Resolution, for, after all, their task was a simple one. They were not cunning politicians, crafty tacticians, seeking a platform on which they could gain votes. They were not old Parliamentary hands 2368 trying to devise a Resolution which would secure support from discordant elements within this House. No, Sir. They were honest, simple citizens—
—acting under a profound sense of responsibility, an impelling consideration to duty, determined to put before this House and the country a clear, specific definition of principles, which challenged everyone who did not agree with them, in what ever quarter of the House he might sit, on which, if their Motion succeeded, they would form their Government and conduct the business of the country. What was required was not confused criticism of other people's acts, which is so easy, so simple—we all give any amount of it; what was wanted was a clear statement of their own views, showing exactly where they differed from the present Government, wherein their present leaders had failed, and differentiating sharply between them and those sections of the House from which, I suppose, they are still even further divided, than from those whom they took to be their leaders. What was wanted was a new Athanasian Creed, outside of which there was no political salvation. Their course was perfectly clear. They stood for perfect unity of thought in the councils of the nation, for purity of principle, in which we have been sadly and deplorably deficient—
I cannot say how I rejoice when I find that I correctly interpret the opinions and arguments of my critics. I think that particular critic has had a note of warning from the Unionist Association in his own constituency, but my hon. Friend need not think that I attach the less importance to his opinions on that account; I only remark that they have a less representative character. These Gentlemen, a little restive even under my anticipatory criticism, were above all to avoid all entangling alliances, such as I have unfortunately fallen into with the Prime Minister. They were to have a splendid isolation indeed. We could all draw that Resolution. With a little thought, say an hour's reflection, we could have found a Resolution for them that would have challenged everybody who did not 2369 agree with them. The only trouble is that they would not have agreed about it themselves. But, alas! a serpent crept into their paradise.
Ah! That I do not know, but look at their Resolution. They stand for purity of political faith. There is to be no alloy. There is to be no corrupt co-operation—not even a chance meeting in the Division Lobby, unless underlain by a real unity of conviction. But what is the Resolution they have drawn? Is there a single principle in it? Is there any definition of their faith? No, Sir. This new Cabinet, after sitting for ten days in constant and anxious consideration, produces a Resolution for which every critic of the Government can vote because it condemns the Government for which every supporter of every alternative Government can vote, because all that it demands is an alternative Government. Was there ever a greater sham? My hon. Friend who moved the Resolution and who thinks my course devious, my hon. Friend the Member for Canterbury (Mr. R. McNeill), who thinks I have no regard for principle—what are they doing? Asserting their own principles? Not a bit. Currying the favour, seeking the support, bidding for the vote—
These critics of the Coalition that exists make their first step in condemnation of the Coalition by a Motion deliberately drawn to get into their Lobby the maximum of support from those with whom they have not one thing in common, except dislike of the Prime Minister and contempt for myself. I congratulate them on their first effort to break our party and to establish a new Coalition.
The Resolution does not help me to an understanding of their principles. No mention is made of their principles, lest principle should interfere with practice. I turn, therefore, to 2370 their speeches. I thought I had got a little light—it was not very much—from the speech which I see my hon. Friend addressed to his constituents in Twickenham last night. I read it in the "Morning Post." It is remarkable, incidentally, that the first observation which the "Morning Post" thought it well to report was that someone in a high position should go to the great manufacturing centres, and tell the workmen that they would have to work harder, and produce more goods.
Someone in a high position.To whom did my hon. Friend look for counsel that would really be listened to?
Someone in a high position like the Prime Minister.He could not keep the Prime Minister out the moment he wanted to do business. When my hon. Friend forms his Government, I shall be on that bench, but I can clearly see that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister will be holding some high office and employed in all the most difficult and the most thankless jobs. But really that was not what interested me most, because I was in search of principles. Here is my hon. Friend's declaration:Though the Die-hards might have their political future at stake, though they might die politically, yet the principles for which 1hey stood would never perish. They were built on a belief in God, King and Empire. Such principles could never die.That was good enough for Twickenham. He did not repeat it in this House to-night, and he did not for obvious reasons. How is he going to define it? How is he going to indicate it to the Whips? Is he going to say to the Whips—I believe there are Whips in that party—"Go down there below the Bar and say, 'In this Lobby for God, King and Empire,' and in that Lobby for" What? Oh, what a difference there is between a peroration at Twickenham and the Floor of the House of Commons! No, Sir, he did not repeat that. I have sought to divine what was the crucial issue on which the Government had gone wrong, and, above all, the crucial issue which made my hon. Friend resolve to challenge on the Floor of this House, in the presence of opponents, for whom he has provided a merry holiday—
—but the action of every one of the Unionist Members of the Cabinet, from my right hon. Friend the veteran leader of our party, the Lord President, downwards. I am not sure that I have got it right, but I gather that Canadian store cattle have something to do with it. "God, King, and Empire" have disappeared, and Canadian store cattle have taken their place.
My hon. Friend, I think, committed himself in a moment of surprise, when he was overwhelmed by his unexpected success in the Ballot, into raising a subject and moving a Motion which, in calmer moments, he would have reserved for discussion elsewhere. My hon. Friend has differed from the great bulk of his party before. He has challenged Divisions in this House, or he and his friends have. No hard words have been said; no irrevocable division has been made, and we have looked forward to re-uniting, as has often happened before, the moment a particular subject of difference has disappeared. He has now chosen to make the present difference of opinion between a small fraction of the Unionist party in this House and the great bulk of the Unionist party in this House a subject for public and formal discussion in the presence of those who, whatever be the differences between my hon. Friends and me, are the opponents of us both. He seeks to magnify those differences, while I seek to minimise them.
I knew that would appeal to my Noble Friend, who calls himself a Conservative, but who is anarchistic if he is anything. When my Noble Friend goes into the Lobby with his avowed political opponents he is happy, because he knows that nobody agrees with him. He votes with his political opponents for reasons which are alien to them. He separates from his political friends for reasons which only he himself can understand. The only thing which could distress my Noble Friend is that he should find himself in agreement with anyone, above all with members of the party to which he professes to belong. He is constantly astonishing and surprising us. He always delights us, but he never influences us. But the ironical cheer of the Noble Lord for the moment turned me from my 2372 argument. My observation was this; as the man selected by all the members of the party to be their Leader in this House, I have done my best to minimise the differences, and to promote union. I wonder if my hon. Friend really is sensible of what he is doing, and whether he considers he is serving the party to which we belong, and the causes which that party is bound to serve, by such action as he has taken to-night in this Motion.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will allow me for a moment. I think he is a little unfair. I do not like to mention private conferences, but my right hon. Friend will allow me to say, I am sure, to tell the House that my friends who have been supporting and working with me in this matter had a private conference with the leaders of the party some few weeks ago—with my right hon. Friend himself—and they allowed us to put our case before them, I hope with fairness and courtesy to them. They received us. What happened it is not for me to say; but it is a little unfair to us to say that we have not taken any other course than that of coming before the House.
I have not suggested that my hon. Friend did not take any other course. The meeting, it was agreed, should be private, and it became public by an indiscretion which was regretted by those who met us, and by myself. I am not going to refer to what took place. What I was saying was that. I wondered whether he really considered what would be the effect upon the party to which he belonged, and upon the cause which that party is bound to serve, by the action which he has taken and the Motion he has laid before us. My hon. Friend the Member for Canterbury (Mr. E. McNeill) seconded. He and the mover sit in what, I suppose, are under any circumstances safe Conservative seats—at any rate, they were, and I hope they are still. Have they given a thought to the position of their colleagues elsewhere?
§ 10.0 P.M.
Have they given the slightest thought to opinion elsewhere within our own party? Have they considered what is the opinion of Unionists in St. Rollox, Glasgow? Have they con- 2373 sidered the effect on Conservative opinion in Liverpool, or Manchester, or Bristol, or in any of the great industrial centres? My hon. Friends who moved and seconded this Resolution are going counter to the great mass of opinion in the Unionist party throughout the country. They are living in little coteries in their own constituencies and in their own circles in London and they do not realise what is the movement of the world. For the sake of narrow party spirit and old party jealously, they are wrecking the great causes for which we are working. They have been unable either in the country or on the Floor of this House to-night to state the principles of our party to which we have been unfaithful. They have deliberately refrained from putting forward such principles in the Motion as a challenge to the House. What did my hon. Friend the Member for Canterbury say I He talked about how in the old days—I do not quite understand what happened—but he said a Minister resigned because he did something—I am not sure what. In those days what did a Minister do? He would come out if he resigned. A very remarkable observation! I am bound to say it is all the more remarkable because of the kind of speech that resigning Ministers have lately shown us. What are these luckless ex-Ministers to do? They have no alternative principles. What does that mean?
I beg your pardon, I took it down. "They had no alternative set of principles." What does that mean? That resignations from the Government have not been on the question of principle—that there is no division on the question of principle. My hon. Friends who were responsible for this Motion have either been unable, or what is worse, they have deliberately refrained from stating, either in speech or Resolution, the principles of Unionist policy to which they allege that I and all my Unionist colleagues have been untrue. There are only two explanations. Either they are unable to find such principles, and we stand justified, or they have deliberately refrained from doing so in order to get a bigger vote in the Lobby, in order to swell the small section of our own party 2374 which has split away from us, by a large section of men with whom they have nothing in common. In either case, I say, they stand condemned.
§ Viscount WOLMER
The Leader of the House has just treated the House to a speech which I venture to say was hardly worthy of his position. The right hon. Gentleman has told us with great wit that this Motion of ours may unite hon. Members of other parties who do not hold the same political views as we do against the Government, and he went on to say that in this Motion the Die-hards had put down that they were admitting the principle of Coalition. I do not think that that is a fair point to make against the Die-hards, because four times already they have gone into the Lobby, a mere handful of Members, against practically the whole of the rest of the House of Commons, against our own party and Leaders, simply on questions of principle, and yet the right hon. Gentleman gives is a lecture on the drafting of a Motion. I think that lecture was uncalled for. If there be a group of Members in this House who have shown that they are not afraid to go into the Lobby as a small party, it is the Die-hards. They have done it before and they may have to do it on several occasions again.
Then the right hon. Gentleman went on to lecture my hon. Friend for having put down this Motion, on the ground that it proves of considerable embarrassment to the party. I do not see why it should prove any embarrassment to any political party. What the Motion says is that it is desirable that the Government should be actuated by strict and definite political principles, and I do not see why any party should find it inconvenient to discuss that proposition. Apparently my right hon. Friend does find it inconvenient, because throughout the whole of his speech he did not discuss it at all. The reason why I desire to support this Motion is because it appears to me to be eminently relative to recent events. We regard it as a very great evil that the Government should be actuated by no known principles or theory of government. I believe that the public have a right to know where politicians stand. They have a right to know what the various parties stand for and to demand a certain degree of consistency. I would 2375 not claim a rigid consistency, but a certain degree of consistency from politicians presenting themselves for election; but that theory is entirely set at naught by the present Government. They have boxed the compass not on one question, but on half a dozen questions. There is the prime question, of course, of Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman actually said to-night that he challenged us to point to a single factor in which he had been inconsistent in his faith as a Unionist. If the establishment of the Irish Free State be not a breach of Unionist principle, I do not know what political principles are.
But that is not the specific complaint I desire to make against the Government to-night. It is that they have started on one policy and one set of principles in regard to Ireland and that they ended on another. They supported the principle of trying to establish law and order by the strong arm of the Executive. They started on the principle of taking the Sinn Feiners by the throat, and now they have come to the principle of taking them by the hand, just in the same way as this Government started on a career of reckless extravagance and has now gone in for a compaign of rigid economy, just as they started to build 500,000 houses under the direction of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Shoreditch (Dr. Addison) and have now completely reversed that policy. They started on a plan of giving a fixed price to the farmer and a guaranteed wage to the agricultural labourer, and now they have completely reversed that policy. They threatened a serious collision with the House of Lords because that body made some difficulty about passing the Ministry of Transport Act, and within 24 months they themselves proposed the abolition of that Act. That is what we complain of in this Motion. We complain of the fact that there are no definable principles, no understood modes of procedure on the part of the Government, and we regard that, apart from the expediency or inexpediency of their actual purposes in itself as a very great evil in our public life. Then we have the question of the Safeguarding of Industries Act which is a concession to Tariff Reform on the one hand and, on the other hand, the late Attorney- 2376 General and present Lord Chief Justice said at the same time that the Act was being passed that the Coalition stood for Free Trade. When you have a Minister proclaiming that a Government which has passed a Measure of protection is a Free Trade Government and when that Government reverses its policy on every other question, then I say we have a right to complain about the absence of political principle on the part of the Government. That is the matter to which my hon. Friends have drawn attention to-night, and surely they are entitled to draw attention to it.
It is very desirable that the matter should be insisted on. If the public once begin to lose faith in the sincerity of politicians it is going to be a bad day for representative institutions in this country. Such discredit as they have recently fallen into has been, I believe, to a large extent because the public has, to a certain degree, lost faith in the sincerity of the Coalition. That is the one point which is of importance to the elector of this country, because it is only at rare intervals that he has the power of giving the vote, and it is absolutely fundamental to the value of that vote that he should know where the man he is voting for or against is going to direct his political course I challenge anybody to say what the policy of the Prime Minister will be on any single question six months hence. Has anybody got the slightest idea what his policy will be in regard to Ireland?
§ Viscount WOLMER
Mine will be a Unionist policy. We have not the slightest idea where the Prime Minister will be, either in regard to Ireland, our negotiations with Russia, our policy in India, in Egypt, or on any other question. It is perfectly open to the right hon. Gentleman to take any line he likes on any subject under the sun, and he has already taken totally inconsistent attitudes on all the chief questions of the day. It is useless my hon. Friends who have supported this Amendment telling us that the conditions of the age are so different now to what they were before the War. I do not care what the age is, but in every age it is important that men 2377 should say what they think, should believe what they say, and should stick to some coherent line of thought and some clearly demarked line of policy.
Fundamental principles of politics are essentially the same to-day as they were before the War. It is true that the circumstances and conditions have altered, but the fundamental principles remain the same. My hon. Friends who have spoken have boasted that inasmuch as they were representatives of Northern constituencies, they were in an altogether superior position to representatives of Southern constituencies. I think my hon. Friend told us that the men of Lancashire were more intelligent and more independent than the men of the South. I have had the advantage of having been both a Lancashire Member and a Hampshire Member, and I can assure the House that if anybody thinks that the agricultural labourer of the South of England is not an independent man he is making a very great mistake indeed, and he is making an equally great mistake if he thinks he is not a highly intelligent man.
§ Viscount WOLMER
The South of England is predominantly Conservative as opposed to the North, and I was surprised to hear in the mouths of two Conservatives that the North possessed political wisdom superior to the South. The hon. Mover and Seconder of the Amendment told us that the Coalition stood for the fundamental principles of liberty, Empire, and the Constitution. I think I may say that that generalisation is very nearly as vague as that of my hon. Friend near me, of which the right hon. Gentleman complained. I was hoping to learn from the right hon. Gentleman a little bit more about the attitude of the Coalition in regard to liberty, Empire, and Constitution, but as he did not address himself to the Motion at all, but confined himself to witticisms, I did not get any enlightenment. Of course, to say that the Coalition stands for liberty, Empire, and Constitution is a mere platitude. Every party, I presume, in this House stands for those principles, although we have our own ideas with regard to their application.
2378 My hon. Friend wound up by saying that the real danger of the nation was Bolshevism and Socialism. I think that an even greater danger is Socialism in disguise. If Socialism is to be carried out I would rather it was carried out by hon. Members above the Gangway than by those who really did not believe in and esteem it. I say that neither Bolshevism nor Socialism can be fought in this country except by politicians stating what they really do believe, and submitting the issue to the country. You cannot defeat Bolshevism and Socialism by a whole series of make-believes. The Coalition is one big make-believe. It makes believe that there is unity of principle within its ranks. There is not. There is only a series of compromises. It makes believe it settled the Irish question. It has not done so; it has reduced the whole of Ireland to a welter of civil war. It makes believe it is going to solve the economic problem of Europe by calling a Conference at Genoa. The whole policy of the Coalition may be summed up in words that were very common in the Army—"eyewash" and "camouflage." That is why we support the Motion put down by my hon. Friend. We do not doubt the political sincerity of the supporters of the Coalition Government, but we do say that their attitude and their conduct is such as to make the ordinary citizen who does not know them personally exceedingly suspicious. We feel that that is a great evil in our political situation. We desire that the policy of the Government should be carried out on coherent principles and in a manner all can understand.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I do not propose to detain the House for very long, because on these occasions after dinner the opportunity for a long discussion is not given to us, and necessarily everyone must speak with a brevity which considers the feelings of his audience. The Debate has been marked by the moving of an Amendment in support of which my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal delivered what, so far as the first half of it was concerned, must be called a very bitter speech. I was amazed when, later on in his speech, he expressed a desire for unity. The Germans have a proverb, "With vinegar you do not catch flies," and, if my hon. Friend really spoke in the interest of unity, I am afraid that the inefficiency which is so often found in the 2379 Government marked his speech in that respect also. A speech more likely to produce discord, more likely to excite resentment, to provoke retaliation, could hardly have been delivered. My right hon. Friend later began to chaff me, and I can assure him I do not mind his doing that. I have voted with him very often, and I believe that whenever we have voted together we have always been right. But I will admit this, that I have supported my party more strenuously and unremittingly when they have been in difficulties, as they were between 1910 and 1914, than when, with a vast, an overwhelming majority, as in the present House, they are engaged in supporting a Liberal Prime Minister with very little regard to Conservative principles. My right hon. Friend and I were members of the original Die-hards in 1911. He was then what he now calls an anarchist; that is to say, he was defending principles which his leaders had abandoned—which is his present definition of the term, and an original definition, like so much else in the attitude of the present Government.
We have, after all, to consider the Amendment, first of all, according to the rules of Order, and the Amendment is conceived in very strange terms. It says that the lack of definite and coherent principleis a myth engendered by misunderstanding and misrepresentation, and that at present the best solution for our national difficulties is the co-operation of well-affected citizens of all political parties in working for the common good.We are admonished in so many different quarters. Here in this Amendment we are directed to aim at theco-operation of well-affected citizens of all political parties.Yet my right hon. Friend almost lost himself in indignation because he suspected my hon. Friend of having put down a Motion for which anyone but a Conservative could vote. I do not see why we should not try, if we have the mind to do so, to get "the co-operation of well-affected citizens of all political parties," just as much as anyone else. What difference does my right hon. Friend make, I wonder, between bidding for the votes of anyone you can get, and "the co-operation of well-affected citizens of all political parties"? It seems to me that they are very much the same thing. 2380 This Amendment seems to me to have been drafted by the ghost of Mrs. Eddy. It is apparently argued that the disagreements within the Government are the evolution of mortal mind, amyth engendered by misunderstanding and misrepresentation.But is it really a myth that the late Secretary of State for India said that he had been resisting for three years in the Cabinet the pro-Greek policy of the Prime Minister, which he went on to say was not pro-Greek because it was ill-considered for the object in view? Is that folklore? And then there are the other inconsistencies of policy. Is it a myth that the Government little more than 12 months ago talked about murder gangs, and getting them by the throat, and having the murderers on the run, and then a few months later welcomed them to Downing Street in friendly negotiation? These things are not myths, and, unhappily, the consequences of them are not myths.
Is it impossible for my right hon. Friend to believe what is really the truth, that what animates us in supporting this Resolution is the deep seated conviction that the present Government, or rather I should really say the present Prime Minister, is ruining the country? The honest motive behind this Resolution is that conviction. Many of us disliked the present Coalition from the beginning, but for a very long time we engaged in no active opposition to it, because it seemed to be the only possible Government at the moment. But gradually the conviction has been forced home upon me, at any rate, that the present Government is destroying the country. They have destroyed the country in Ireland. Whoever saw a policy so calamitously unsuccessful as well as so disgracefully inconsistent? They are destroying the country, I am afraid, in India. They have jeopardised the national interests by their inconceivable bungling in the Near East. The whole of the Versailles policy of reparations combines every possible fault, and realises no possible advantage. When they engaged on that policy, there were three things that a wise man might have had in view. There was the desirability of getting what reparations could be obtained from Germany, there was the importance of propitiating and conciliating the sentiments of our great 2381 French allies, and there was, also, as it were, on the other side—the different measures seem to point in that direction—the immense importance of composing the general European unrest and producing general tranquillity throughout the Empire. The Government have done none of these things. The Prime Minister has visited, I should be afraid to say how many, health resorts in pursuing different Conferences. He has got none of the three. He has not got a penny of reparations, and he is bitterly alienating French feeling. Was there ever such sheer, brutal incompetence? Look at Ireland. With so much dishonour you might have brought a little peace. They have all the disadvantages of sacrificing every principle they have ever stood for, contra-dieting themselves flatly within the space of twelve months, and they do not realise the smallest measure of administrative success. The thing is a manifest and crying failure, and has become a grave national danger.
That is, in a few words, the case for the Motion and the case against the Amendment. All this talk about the cooperation of well affected citizens of all political parties in working for the common good, enforced by the sort of partisan raillery in which my right hon. Friend indulged, does not really advance the national good an atom. I can quite understand them saying that in grave crises the Government pursue the national good to the total subordination of all partisan purposes. We should all say that. But then you must really achieve the national good, and you cannot do that unless you have very great foresight, unless you look ahead. Have the Government ever looked ahead in India, in Egypt, in Iraq, in the Near East, in Turkey, in Greece, in respect to housing, in respect to agriculture, in respect to the policy of economy? Why was not the Geddes Committee appointed long ago, at the very beginning? We were told by my right hon. Friend, amongst others, over and over again that, desirable as economy was, it was really impossible to suggest any considerable economies, and then when the cry outside had grown too loud, not in deference to principle, but only in deference to this very maxim which my right hon. Friend so much despises, of bidding for votes from anyone you can get them from—only for that reason they went in 2382 for economy at the last moment, and they find there are a great many economies which can be made. Was there ever such incompetence and such inefficiency as that? My conscience would sit very lightly if this Motion were carried by myself and a number of well-effected citizens of the Labour, Liberal, and Conservative parties, as I am quite sure that no Prime Minister could be so bad as the present Prime Minister, and that so long as he is Prime Minister the condition of the country will go on getting worse and worse, as it has gone on getting worse and worse ever since the Armistice. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Every part of the Government policy is worse now than it was in the beginning. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"]
§ Lord H. CECIL
I am not a Minister. If I had been a Minister, I would have helped the national good by resigning at a very much earlier date. No one resigns in the present Government until, like the late Secretary of State for India, (Mr. Montagu), he is turned out. They remain on to the last, even if it consists very little with their dignity and still lees with their honour. [HON. MEMBERS:" No."] They pursue a policy in contradiction with everything they have been saying, but they retain office. The Lord Chancellor (Lord Birkenhead) still sits on the Woolsack. Everything official remains the same, but the policy of the Government is different from day to day, from month to month, and from year to year. Such a Government imperils our public life as it imperils the national good. We cannot do better, so far as the interests of the country are concerned, than to try to make an end of this Government. If my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House thinks that I have been too harsh, I will withdraw. If he thinks that I have said too much, I have no lack of personal esteem for himself.—[HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw!"]
What the Noble Lord has said is that I dishonour myself by clinging to office. Does he mean it or does he not?
§ Lord H. CECIL
What I mean is this, that he has contradicted himself and his whole public life by what he has done in connection with Ireland. That is dishonouring. I quite agree that he probably did it from motives which are perfectly honourable. [HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw!"] I do not attribute to my right hon. Friend any conduct that is inconsistent with an honourable man. What I say is that if you act in this way you do destroy the honour of public life; if you cling to office when your policy is abandoned, if you carry out a policy that all your life you have opposed, you do dishonour yourself; and however patriotic or however disinterested your motive may in your heart be, you do lower the whole honour of public life. It is because I am convinced that the Government have done that, that I desire to see their overthrow. The Motion is better than the Amendment. The Motion affirms what no honest man doubts—that we do need to return to an adherence to political principles, to the settling of great public questions in accordance with political principles. If the Government agree with that they should resign. They should give up the attempt to carry out policies which are not founded upon principle but on the purest opportunism, because by so doing they injure their own reputation without benefit to the public; on the contrary they are carrying to every part of the Empire an atmosphere of discredit. I saw only the other day a business man who had been round the world in the course of his business. His impression was that everywhere the reputation of this country for commercial honesty and straightforwardness had fallen. [HON. MEMBERS: "Name."] He attributed it to the reaction of the discredit of the political policy of this country. [HON. MEMBERS: "What is his name?"] Because we were politically discredited, the commercial reputation of the country was lowered.
Therefore let us return; let us re-unite Conservatism on the basis of principles. Let the Government deal with all the political questions that come before them consistently with those principles. Then Conservatism will make its own contribution to the solution of our difficulties and 2384 will play a part not unworthy of its history. And when this Government has become only a recollection, we, and I hope those who are to be opposed to us to-night—we do not at all shrink from the Division—will be able to combine in a Coalition founded on principle, even those who are temporarily in disagreement with us. [Interruption.] It is not true that we desire to break up the party. [Interruption.] We all desire to return to principles. Although they believe, I daresay quite honestly, that they will defeat the Labour party by making a Coalition, not founded on principle, against the Labour party, I think the Government will find in the end that there is only one way of defeating revolutionary tactics and that that is by presenting an organised body of thought which is non-revolutionary. That body of thought I call Conservatism. If the Government will be loyal to Conservatism, loyal, indeed, to any one policy of coherent thought, they will succeed. It is in the hope of defeating the Government, in order that some better Government may take their place and that we may work our way back to the triumph of Conservative principles, that I propose to vote for the Motion.
§ Captain ELLIOT
It is difficult for one of my political inexperience, to speak in a crowded House, such as this, on great issues such as have been raised this evening. I feel like the knight who rode into the lists and struck his opponent's shield with the sharp end of his lance, signifying his desire to challenge a real and acute combat, because very few of us can compare either in dialectics or intellectual ability with the Noble Lord who has just resumed his seat. It seems urgent however that some of the younger Members should speak, so far as we find it possible, as to why we intend to support the Government in the Division Lobby. We hear ancient quarrels being rehearsed on the Floor of this House; we hear these old, weary struggles being dragged out and see men desiring to look here for differences, as if there were not differences enough in the country already; we find the hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. R. McNeill) saying that we must have a party if it is only for defeated Ministers to retire to, where they may find an alternative set 2385 of principles when they have cast the old one overboard; we find the hon. Member for Twickenham (Sir W. Joynson-Hicks) saying such things as that he desired to destroy his great old Conservative party and tear it from top to bottom—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
There are only ten minutes left, and it would be better that the hon. Member should be allowed to proceed. There have been long speeches on the other side, and hon. Members should listen to the reply.
§ Captain ELLIOT
That last interjection has a great deal of point in it, and that is what causes bitterness—that we should be forced by the action of one of the Conservative Members of this House to have our differences brought out in this way, instead of showing that unanimity which we should possess. The hon. Member for the St. Rollox Division (Mr. G. Murray), who tried to raise a point of Order against me, certainly has split the Unionist party in his own division. His own association is against him.
§ Captain ELLIOT
It would be difficult to find a better example of these purblind political pundits who are doing so much to wreck the chances of any ordered opposition to the doctrines of Socialism in this country. We know very well that there is a problem in the country to be debated, and, though there are matters which divide us, they do not divide me from the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University. They do not divide me from other hon. Members who have spoken on the other side of the House. We are, for good or ill, the capitalist party. The principles of collectivism and individualism are diametrically opposed, and we are not afraid to stand for private enterprise on this side just as hon. Members opposite are ready to stand for their principles. We have been proud of capitalism in the past, and will be in the future. [Interruption.] We can argue hon. Members opposite out of their 2386 beliefs, but not by setting up this puppet show of Liberal and Tory. Let us be frank since these great issues have been challenged. We know very well that there is a division of opinion in this country, and that there are two sets of opinion. Let us be open and honest about it. [Interruption.] What does the hon. Member for Twickenham say, that it is a very dangerous thing if all the "haves" are on one side and all the "have nots" are on the other? Does he think it impossible that someone else should recognise that. Is it not being preached from every platform and soapbox throughout the country, day in and day out, month in and month out? Can we get away from it by putting our heads in the sand and bringing up these old, ancient, antiquated cries to which the Mover of this Motion had recourse, to the very little edification of the House to-night?
When we come to principles, let us have questions of real principle for which there is no need to seek because they are forced on us by every by-election throughout the country, and will be thrust on us more and more. [Interruption.] I have no desire to shirk that great contest, neither has any Member on this side of the House. That great split in opinion will have to be fought out up and down the country at the hustings, and for any Member to say it is dangerous for anyone to realise it is an ostrich-like attitude. I am not going to detain the House. [Interruption.] I know there are many more arguments that could be brought forward, the question of Ireland, the question of India, the question of Egypt. All these have been raised. The question of Egypt was raised by the hon. Member for Twickenham himself when he asked, "Who gave Lord Milner permission to give away a province of this Empire? I suppose it is possible to get more errors into six words, but I would like to see those six words. In spite of repeated declarations that we are going to keep up the independence of Egypt the hon. Member for Twickenham calls Egypt a province of the Empire, and then comes down here and talks about principle. We believe that these old opinions that divide us are nothing compared to the great questions of principle that have arisen in this country, and we believe that so far as it is possible for men of principle to sink small differences in favour of great differ- 2387 ences they should do so, and in that faith we desire to support the Government in the courageous stand it has taken up.
Mr. G. MURRAY
I have about three minutes in which, I think, it is perfectly fair that I should be permitted to make a reply to the various attacks that have been made upon me this evening. I listened to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, who was presumably replying to the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Sir W. Joynson-Hicks), and I came to the conclusion that he was one of the most practised debaters in this House, an art which I envy him immensely, because in the course of that speech he did not reply in any way to the Resolution which was moved by my hon. Friend. He confined his speech almost entirely to the most bitter attack upon those Members of this House called the
§ Die-hard group, members of his own party, Members who have done nothing [Interruption]—
§ Mr. J. H. THOMAS rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put;" but Mr. Speaker withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.
§ Mr. G. MURRAY rose—[interruption]—
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put accordingly, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 95; Noes, 288.2389
|Division No. 78.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Adair, Rear-Admiral Thomas B. S.||Gretton, Colonel John||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Pennefather, De Fonblanque|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Grundy, T. W.||Poison, Sir Thomas A.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Guest, J. (York, W.R., Hemsworth)||Reid, D. D.|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Gwynne, Rupert S.||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Banton, George||Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W. (Liv'p'l, W. D'by)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Sprin)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Halls, Walter||Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich)|
|Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.)||Hartshorn, Vernon||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Hay ward, Evan||Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Herbert, Col. Hon. A. (Yeovil)||Spencer, George A.|
|Blair, Sir Reginald||Holmes, J. Stanley||Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Sutton, John Edward|
|Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Swan, J. E.|
|Cairns, John||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Cape, Thomas||Joynson-Hicks, Sir William||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)|
|Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield)||Lawson, John James||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Lunn, William||Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)||Lyle-Samuel, Alexander||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. D.|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Wedgwood, Colonel Joslah C.|
|Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)||Maclean, Rt. Hn. Sir D. (Midlothian)||White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)|
|Croft, Lieut.-Colonel Henry Page||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Maddocks, Henry||Wilson, Capt. A. S. (Holderness)|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Wilson, Field-Marshal Sir Henry|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Mills, John Edmund||Wilson, James (Dudley)|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Mosley, Oswald||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Stourbridge)|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross)||Wintringham, Margaret|
|Edwards, G. (Norfolk, South)||Murray, Hon. Gideon (St. Rollox)||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Entwistle, Major C. F.||Myers, Thomas||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Naylor, Thomas Ellis|
|Foot, Isaac||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Gillis, William||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)||Viscount Wolmer and Sir R. Cooper.|
|Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)||Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G.|
|Adkins, Sir William Ryland Dent||Barrand, A. R.||Breese, Major Charles E.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar (Banff)||Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive|
|Amery, Leopold C. M. S.||Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Brittain, Sir Harry|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick W||Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Broad, Thomas Tucker|
|Astor, Viscountess||Bellairs, Commander Cariyon W.||Bruton, Sir James|
|Atkey, A. R.||Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.|
|Bagley, Captain E. Ashton||Betterton, Henry B.||Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.|
|Baird, Sir John Lawrence||Bigland, Alfred||Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Birchail, J. Dearman||Burdon, Colonel Rowland|
|Balfour, Sir R. (Glasgow, Partick)||Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Burgoyne, Lt-Col. Alan Hughes|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. G. (Glas., Gorbals)||Boscawen, Rt. Hon. Sir A. Griffith-||Campbell, J. D. G.|
|Barnett, Major Richard W.||Bowies, Colonel H. F.||Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.||Carew, Charles Robert S.|
|Carr, W. Theodore||Hopkins, John W. W.||Pratt, John William|
|Carter, R. A. D. (Man., withington)||Horne, Edgar (Surrey, Guildford)||Purchase, H. G.|
|Casey, T. W.||Horn, Sir R. S. (Glasgow, Hillhead)||Rae, H. Norman|
|Cecil, Bt. Hon. Evelyn (Birm., Aston)||Howard, Major s. G.||Raeburn, Sir William H.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Randies, Sir John Scurrah|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Birm. W.)||Hunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster)||Rankin, Captain James Stuart|
|Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood)||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Ratcliffe, Henry Butler|
|Cheyne, Sir William Watson||Hurd, Percy A.||Raw, Lieutenant-Colonel Dr. N.|
|Chilcot, Lieut.-Com. Harry W.||Hurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B.||Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, East)|
|Child, Brigadier-General Sir Hill||Inskip, Thomas Walker H.||Remer, J. R.|
|Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. Spender||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Renwick, Sir George|
|Clough, Sir Robert||Jameson, John Gordon||Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)|
|Coats, Sir Stuart||Jesson, C.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Jodrell, Neville Paul||Rodger, A. K.|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General A. K.||Johnson, Sir Stanley||Rose, Frank H.|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Johnstone, Joseph||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Coote, Colin Reith (Isle of Ely)||Jones, Sir Evan (Pembroke)||Rounded, Colonel R. F.|
|Cory, Sir J. K. (Cardiff, South)||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Royds, Lieut.-Colonel Edmund|
|Cowan, Sir H. (Aberdeen and Kinc.)||Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Lianelly)||Rutherford, Colonel Sir J. (Darwen)|
|Dalziel, Sir D. (Lambeth, Brixton)||Kellaway, Rt. Hon. Fredk. George||Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Kelley, Major Fred (Rotherham)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Davies, Sir David Sanders (Denbigh)||Kenyon, Barnet||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Davies, Sir Joseph (Chester, Crewe)||Kidd, James||Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert Arthur|
|Davies, Sir William H. (Bristol, S.)||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|Dewhurst, Lieut.-Commander Harry||Law, Alfred J. (Rochdale)||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Edgar, Clifford B.||Law, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.)||Seager, Sir William|
|Edge, Captain Sir William||Lewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)||Seddon, J. A.|
|Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Lloyd, George Butler||Seely, Major-General Rt. Hon. John|
|Edwards, Hugh (Glam., Neath)||Lloyd-Greame, Sir P.||Shaw, William T. (Forfar)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n)||Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)|
|Elveden, Viscount||Lorden, John William||Simm, M. T.|
|Evans, Ernest||Loseby, Captain C. E.||Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Smith, Sir Harold (Warrington)|
|Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfrey||Lowther, Maj.-Gen. Sir C. (Penrith)||Smith, Sir Malcolm (Orkney)|
|Farquharson, Major A. C.||Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)||Stanton, Charles Butt|
|Fell, Sir Arthur||Lyle, C. E. Leonard||Starkey, Captain John Ralph|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Stevens, Marshall|
|FitzRoy, Captain Hon. Edward A.||M'Donald, Dr. Bouverle F. p.||Strauss, Edward Anthony|
|Flannery, Sir James Fortescue||Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camiachie)||Sturrock, J. Long|
|Ford, Patrick Johnston||McLaren, Hon, H. D. (Leicester)||Sugden, W. H.|
|Forestier-Walker, L.||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Sutherland, Sir William|
|Forrest, Walter||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Sykes, Colonel Sir A. J. (Knutsford)|
|Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Macquisten, F. A.||Taylor, J.|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Magnus, Sir Philip||Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry||Thomas-Stanford, Charles|
|Ganzonl, Sir John||Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd||Manville, Edward||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)|
|Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Thorpe, Captain John Henry|
|Gilbert, James Daniel||Mason, Robert||Townshend, Sir Charles Vere Ferrers|
|Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John||Matthews, David||Vickers, Douglas|
|Glyn, Major Ralph||Mitchell, Sir William Lane||Waddington, R.|
|Goff, Sir R. Park||Molson, Major John Elsdale||Wallace, J.|
|Gould, James C.||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Moritz||Walton, J. (York, W. R., Don Valley)|
|Goulding, Rt. Hon, Sir Edward A.||Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J.||Ward-Jackson, Major C. L.|
|Grant, James Augustus||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Ward, Col. J. (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Gray, Major Ernest (Accrington)||Morden, Col. W. Grant||Ward, William Dudley (Southampton)|
|Green, Albert (Derby)||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.||Waring, Major Walter|
|Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)||Morris, Richard||Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.|
|Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N.)||Morrison, Hugh||Warren, Sir Alfred H.|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Sir Hamar||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.||Watson, Captain John Bertrand|
|Greer, Sir Harry||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert||Weston, Colonel John Wakefield|
|Gregory, Holman||Murray, C. D. (Edinburgh)||Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.|
|Greig, Colonel Sir James William||Murray, John (Leeds, West)||White, Col. G. D. (South port)|
|Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. Frederick E.||Murray, William (Dumfries)||Wild, Sir Ernest Edward|
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Neal, Arthur||Williams, C. (Tavistock)|
|Hallwood, Augustine||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Williams, Lt.-Col. Sir R. (Banbury)|
|Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Newson, Sir Percy Wilson||Williamson, Rt. Hon. Sir Archibald|
|Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Newton, Major Sir Harry K.||Wilson, Col. M. J. (Richmond)|
|Hamilton, Major C. G. C.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Winterton, Earl|
|Hancock, John George||Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John||Wise, Frederick|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Palmer, Major Godfrey Mark||Wood, Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)|
|Harmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton)||Parker, James||Wood, Major Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Harris, Sir Henry Percy||Parkinson, Albert L. (Blackpool)||Woolcock, William James U.|
|Haslam, Lewis||Pearce, Sir William||Worsfold, T. Cato|
|Henderson, Lt.-Col. V. L. (Tradeston)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Peel, Col. Hon. S. (Uxbridge, Mddx.)||Young, E. H. (Norwich)|
|Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Young, Sir Frederick W. (Swindon)|
|Higham, Charles Frederick||Perkins, Walter Frank||Young, W. (Perth & Kinross, Perth)|
|Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank||Perring, William George||Younger, sir George|
|Hinds, John||Philippe, Sir Owen C. (Chester, City)|
|Hoare, Lieut.-Colonel Sir S. J. G.||Pilditch, Sir Philip||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hood, Sir Joseph||Pinkham, Lieut.-Colonel Charles||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.|
|Hope, Sir H. (Stirling & Cl'ckm'nn, W.)||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton||McCurdy.|
Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.
That, in the opinion of this House, the Jack of definite and coherent principle in the policy of the present Coalition Government is a myth engendered by misunderstanding and misrepresentation; and that at present the best solution for our national difficulties is the co-operation of well-affected citizens of all political parties in working for the common good.