Mr. CHAMBERLAIN (Leader of the House)
I beg to moveThat, until the end of the financial year, Government Business do have precedence at every Sitting.I have not moved the Motion first on the Paper relating to the suspension of the 11 o'clock rule, but I move the second Motion, asking the House to give to the Government the time which would otherwise be allotted to private Members up to the close of the financial year. There is no duty which falls to my lot in my present position which is more distasteful to me, or I suppose was even more distasteful to the many predecessors who have had to do the same thing, than that of asking for the sacrifice of what is called private Members' time. But the circumstances of the year leave me no choice. I shall not argue the merits of Bills or particular Votes, but there is one Bill—the Irish Bill—which, for reasons already stated, and for reasons which can be amplified to-morrow, we regard as of the utmost urgency in the interests of peace and good order. In addition to that Bill, there is a large mass of financial business which must be concluded before the close of the financial year. Not only must the whole of it be concluded before the end of the financial year, but, in order to conform with the law, a portion of it must be concluded before the end of this month.
There are about a half-dozen Supplementary Estimates which must be voted, and,the sum so voted embodied in a Consolidated Fund Bill, in time for that Bill to receive the Royal Assent not later than the 28th of this month, in order that there may be money available to pay for services in compliance with the terms of Acts in force. There are five Votes which are essential before 28th February. They are the Votes for the Royal Irish Constabulary, small charges on the Local Loans Fund, a rather larger charge on the Land Purchase Fund, to carry out the provisions of the Government of Ireland Act, and Votes for Superannuation in the Customs and other Departments.
Of course, it will be very desirable to get other Votes in, if we can manage it, but those mentioned are necessary in order to comply with the provisions of the law. When we have dealt with them, we have, 1060 before the end of the financial year, to take the rest of the Supplementary Estimates, to move Mr. Speaker out of the Chair on going into Committee of Supply, to take Votes on Account for the Army, the Navy, and also for the Air Force—an additional service for which we did not take a separate Vote until quite recently—and a Vote on Account for the Civil Service. All of these also must be passed in time to be included in a Consolidated Fund Bill, and to become law before 31st March.
In these circumstances, there are really only two courses which would be open to us, and I think I have chosen the course which, however distasteful it may be to the House, is the less distasteful of the two alternatives. The one is to ask for private Members' time as I am doing, and the other is to bring in a drastic timetable governing the dates by which all the Supplementary Estimates must be voted. I am sure that such a Motion as that would be most distasteful to the House under any circumstances, and particularly so in the present financial conditions. I ought to say a general word in regard to these Supplementary Estimates. From the point of view of a Government and of the Treasury in particular, Supplementary Estimates are anathema maranatha. To the Treasury they are objectionable as upsetting the financial forecasts of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his Budget estimates of expenditure, and of the balance which he will secure on the year. To Governments as Governments they are objectionable, because they afford the finest opportunity yet exploited by Parliamentary ingenuity for lengthy and—shall I say?—tedious discussions. They occupy a great deal of time, and they necessarily impede the programme of the Government for the Session.
It is, therefore, our desire at all times to reduce them to the utmost limit. Two years ago there were something like 100 such Estimates. Last year there were 70 or 75. This year we have 26 outstanding. Taking into account all those which were passed in the autumn, the number is again reduced to, I think, 55. Some people with short memories and short experience appear to think that there was a halcyon time before the War when no such things as Supplementary Estimates were known. I see that the right hon. Member for Peebles (Sir D. 1061 Maclean) is pickling a rod for me, and in case he should fall into that error, I would remind him that in the three years before the War, with no such obligations occurring as have necessarily followed upon the close of that struggle, the Government of the day found it impossible to do with fewer than 32 Supplementary Estimates a year on an average. I do not think it is a matter for any criticism that there are 55 in the current year.
I have not worked out the average, but two years ago the total was 102; last year it was 70, and this year it is 55. I do not think that those figures, immediately following post-War circumstances, compare unfavourably with the average of 32 in normal times, when there were no exceptional disturbing factors, and when you might presume that the expenditure of the year could have been estimated with as much accuracy as is ever possible at a time when Estimates are drawn. There is another important observation I must make. It can be no surprise to the House that there are heavy Supplementary Estimates this year, for in the Budget statement made by me on behalf of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and in subsequent explanation, we enumerated a series of services for which money would be necessary, and for which money was provided in the Budget, but for which we could give no Estimates at that moment.
The great disturbing factors of the year have been Ireland, the dispute in the coal trade, and the railway agreement. Payment had to be made earlier than was anticipated, under that agreement, of a very large sum in the current year. We anticipated in the Budget that there would be something like £90,000,000 required to meet the Supplementary Estimates which we foresaw but could not minutely or correctly submit at that moment. Had it not been for the railway agreement and the earlier payment, the £90,000,000 would have been sufficient. As it is, the agreement brings the amount rather above that figure. That is as much as I need or ought to say, for I must not go into particulars at this moment. It is a general defence of the programme which the Government have submitted, and unless it be held that we could have 1062 avoided the presentation of these Estimates, I do not think it would be possible to suggest any better method of finding the time required for their discussion and for the Irish Bill.
§ Mr. CLYNES
The right hon. Gentleman has moved this Motion with the reluctance usually displayed by all right hon. Gentlemen who have to submit proposals to this House either for the curtailment or the complete destruction of the established rights of private Members. He will not, therefore, be astonished at some resistance being offered to the proposal which he has submitted. I think he has chosen the least reasonable and the least fair of the several alternatives open to him for getting through the necessary business within the stipulated time. The Session began a week late. Private Members were not to blame for that. I cannot recall whether any public announcement was made as to the reason why the House was called not on the date originally fixed but a week later than that date, but assume that there are reasons for that forfeiture of a week of Parliamentary time, private Members of the House ought not to be made to suffer, in the deprivation of their rights, on account of that postponement, for which I conclude the Government alone was responsible. I grant that there may have been circumstances, but those circumstances themselves ought not to involve the destruction of the private rights of Members of the House. Numerous, indeed, exceptionlly large as is the official following of Ministers in this House, the majority of the regular attendants of the House after all are private Members and they do, in their public work, and particularly when seeking the support of the electors, give definite assurance to the electors of certain things that they will try to do. It means that all these promises and assurances to the electorate are turned to nought and Members are finding more and more, when they come to the House, that they are deprived almost entirely of the use and exercise of the personal freedom which formerly Members of the House enjoyed. I think it will become commonly known in the constituencies that no matter what individual initiative a Member may display, no matter how full of honesty of purpose and of anxiety to serve his constituents, when he comes here he is 1063 simply fixed as a small item in the general mosaic of Government purpose, and that he is totally deprived of any kind of individual freedom as representing his constituency. We have within the last few days been balloting. Some 15 or 10 minutes of the time of the House to-day was taken up in seeing how far individual Members of the House could emerge from the test of the Ballot to secure for themselves an opportunity to bring forward certain questions. What a waste of time in itself that was.
The right hon. Gentleman has fallen into an error. The Ballot to-day was on the Motions to go into Committee of Supply. That is Government time. That is not taken away by the Motion to take away private Members' time.
§ Mr. CLYNES
What I had in mind was the fact that the effect of this Motion, as I understand it, is to take from Members of the House the opportunity of some six or seven Fridays on which they would have a right to bring forward the Bills for which they have been balloting.
It takes away Fridays, but it does not affect the Motion of which notice has been given pursuant to the Ballot to which the right hon. Gentleman alluded, and which has been held to-day.
§ Mr. CLYNES
I referred to the procedure of to-day's Ballot only because in my mind it was like that of the ballots which had preceded it and which were intended to secure for Members the right of bringing forward their Bills and their Motions. In addition to being deprived of some six or seven Fridays on which they were to have had by the procedure of the Ballot the opportunity to bring forward Bills, the effect of this Motion will be also to deprive private Members of some 13 or 14 opportunities which ought to be left to bring forward Motions to initiate discussion and to test the opinion of the House on some very important subjects. That is really taking a large slice out of the time which traditionally has been allotted to private Members. The right hon. Gentleman considered—it was the only argument he offered—that in making these inroads upon the rights of private Members he was adopting the best of the different alternatives open 1064 to him. I suggest the contrary. I suggest that the very worst thing you can do relation to the business of Parliament is to so muzzle its Members who have technically, and through the luck of the Ballot, established a right to bring forward a proposal as to make a mockery of their ballot and totally to deprive them of the opportunity of introducing their questions and say that it was all done in the interest of imperative and pressing public business. If the Government cannot better arrange the time of this House, the agenda, the general duration of speeches, the apportionment of time and opportunity for the disposal of definite pieces of business than it is now doing, it ought really to get together some sort of Committee of Investigation, nonparty and representative, to decide the best way of retaining the rights of private Members consistent with the due disposal of pressing public business within the allotted time. If without a hint from the Chair, without any express condition and understanding, which will be loyally and, I think, generally observed, that speeches on the various questions which have to be disposed of should be made shorter than usual, a condition which I would suggest should apply especially to those of us on the Front Bench on both sides of the House, that I am sure would not do any damage in quality to the general disposal and completion of public business and it would at least help to retain for many private Members the rights which they have won for themselves in the Ballot and which have been long established. If that alternative finds no favour with the representatives of the Government, why not meet a little earlier? Why not, in short, do anything except what I say is taking away the rights of private Members.
§ Mr. CLYNES
That is my meaning. In regard to Friday, a must convenient change has been made. It does not mean sitting longer or shorter, but that slight re-arrangement in the time of beginning the work and of concluding it has very considerable advantages, especially for Members who have to travel great distances. But if the time of the House, from the standpoint of definite Government business, requires the treatment and completion of certain questions, that 1065 time should be secured by some means other than almost the complete destruction of the long established rights of private Members. I suggest that course because, whoever the Member may be, he has a sense of his representative importance, he is sent by a constituency, he comes usually after a long record of local public service, or of work in, perhaps, even a larger sphere, and one thing that tends to make Members tired of this kind of Parliamentary work is the manner in which they are so completely suppressed by party and Governmental machinery, and at least this does not tend to the improvement of tempers. Members will be disposed, perhaps, to speak less often if they could be sure that their individual rights as private Members of the House were fully respected, and that when they have won for themselves the chance to bring forward a Bill or Motion to ventilate some question not otherwise dealt with in the Government programme it is probable that they would in the end turn out to be all the better Members of Parliament than they are by the methods so far followed by the Government.
§ Mr. CLYNES
That is very often the case, but it is often the case when Government business is before the House on a Friday. It may be, indeed it is true, that only a minority of Members can have these opportunities, but the fact that they do not constitute a majority in the House is no reason for depriving them of the rights which I am endeavouring to maintain. This is a most serious inroad that has become not a temporary departure from common Parliamentary practice. We accept it every Session, we have to suffer it. The right hon. Gentleman is able to taunt the right hon. Member for Peebles (Sir D. Maclean) with the fact that in the years before the War the Government of that day had to take some course similar to that now proposed. The fact is that during the War private Members readily agreed to forfeiture of their privilege. They accepted almost anything that was proposed without demur. In 1919 Members' rights were very severely curtailed, and again in 1921, and indeed it may be said that from 1914 until the present year there has been an exhibition of very great toleration and great patience on the part of Members, who 1066 have had to meet these attacks upon what is a reasonable apportionment of the time of private Members. I do not think in the end anything is gained by seeking to arrange the Parliamentary agenda upon these lines. What will it mean for instance to-day? It means that perhaps for some hours we shall be debating the question whether this Government procedure is right or fair, and in the end there will be a test in the Lobby and a very large number of Members who do not like it will support the Government, and in so doing will be trampling upon their own rights. They must do it because they are expected loyally to follow the lead given to them by the Government of the day. The minority will fell sore and will feel wronged. They will be in a frame of mind less suited to reasonable attention to the business of the House when it is brought forward. I seriously suggest, therefore, that an outlet must be found, that indeed the time has come for a departure entirely from this practice of trying to govern the country by executive action only. Either the House of Commons, as a collection of individual Members, must be allowed to exert its influence upon public policy, upon the new proposals and questions of initiative, or private Members must be told that they could just as well remain away from the House and leave the management of the country's affairs to the Cabinet, which sits in private, and to the general executive machine, which will work its own way in spite of whatever may be the will of the mass of Members sent here from the constituencies. There is, therefore, a very substantial reason for asking the right hon. Gentleman, if he cannot completely withdraw this Motion, seriously to modify it in order that, at least, Fridays may be retained for Members who by ballot have already secured their right to introduce their various Motions.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
The dire effects of the Government's management of business is already apparent by the appearance of the House to-day. Hon, Members have become so accustomed to the military methods of the Government, and so conscious are they that no matter what protest they may make they will be overruled, that they have disappeared from the Chamber and are otherwise engaged, waiting for the Division bells, whenever they may happen to ring. I remember the days, not many years ago, when on 1067 such a Motion as this you would have had the House crowded with indignant Members seeking to maintain their rights against the executive, and in many material respects succeeding in so maintaining them. To-day, the result of the War practice carried on into so-called peace is evident. The great mass of Members have given up interest in the proceedings of the House. They simply come in here when there is a show Debate, or some well-known rhetorical gladiator takes the field; but they absent themselves from the regular day-in and night-out hard work of the House. That is very largely due to such Motions as the one now before the House, which, ever since this Government took office, have become a normal part of the procedure of the House. I trust to demonstrate to what is left of reasoned acceptance of arguments on the Treasury Bench that they have no case for this Motion.
In the first place, Easter is very late this year. It has usually been an argument which has had some amount of force that an early Easter takes four or five necessary days of a Parliamentary week, and that has been given as a reason for such a Motion. That argument is completely out of our range to-day. Easter comes after the 31st March. It is often urged that there is very great pressure of legislation of a most necessary kind. On another occasion it was urged that they had 61 Supplementary Estimates to deal with. Last year we began very late, owing to our having sat up to Christmas in passing the Agriculture Act, which the Government repealed on the earliest opportunity. I propose to examine with a certain amount of detail what has happened in the last three years, and to compare it with the case now put before us by the Leader of the House. What was the position in 1919, when the Leader of the House asked for the whole time until the 31st March? It was urged because there was very great pressure of legislation, and also for the alteration of the Rules of Procedure. I remember very well that on that occasion I supported the Government, because I thought it was reasonable. The case made then was that the need for legislation was so great that we must accommodate the Rules of Procedure to the new needs. That was a very powerful argument, and the Government asked that the 1068 whole time of the House should be taken until the House otherwise determined. On my suggestion, they limited the time to the 31st March, which is the date in the Motion proposed to-day. By the 13th March the Government had restored the Fridays. Fridays, the 21st and the 28th March, and the evening sittings on the 25th and 26th March were restored. The House did not sit on the 28th February, because there was no work to do.
What work did the House get through during that time? The Bill for the reelection of Ministers, involving matters of high constitutional merit, was very fully debated and passed; also the Aerial Navigation Act, the Local Elections (Expenses) Act, Returning Officers Expenses Act, and the Civil Contingencies Fund (Advances) Act. The Coal Industry Commission was set up after lengthy Debates. The Naval, Military and Air Forces Service Act, which continued conscription to a certain period; a Measure which was very fully debated on the Report Stage, the Second Reading, and the Third Reading; another very complicated Measure, the Increase of Rent and Mortgage Interest (Restriction) Act, and a little Bill relating to Ireland, the Summons and Process Service Act, were also passed. The following Bills received Second Reading: The Ministry of Health Bill; the Local Government (Ireland) Bill; the Transport Ministry Bill; the Public Health (Medical Treatment of Children) Bill; the War Charities (Scotland) Bill. The Army Annual Bill also received its Second Reading. In addition, the new Procedure Resolutions were passed. The Consolidated Fund Bill received its Third Reading on the 20th of March, 11 days before the end of the financial year.
What is there comparable in the present position with the position then? The Government with the greatest possible ease got through a programme of legislation which in normal times would have occupied a whole Session.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
The right hon. Baronet was here, and others of us were doing what we could to stem the tide of hasty legislation, some parts of which have already been repealed and other parts of which are awaiting repeal. 1069 What happened in 1920? Private Members' time was not taken at all; there was no motion for that. How did the House behave, being free to act normally and reasonably without the whip and lash of the Resolution which my right hon. Friend has proposed? The Debate on the Address was concluded on the 13th February, a date almost identical with what has happened this Session. There were 61 Supplementary Estimates. We had the Third Reading of the Consolidated Fund Bill by the 25th March, and time was found to set up a Committee in regard to the taxation of war wealth On the 25th February a day was given to an Adjournment Motion regarding Constantinople. The following Acts were passed: War Emergency Laws Continuance, Coal Mines Emergency, and the Silver Coinage. The following Bills received Second Reading: Unemployment Insurance, Overseas Trade Credits and Insurance, and National Health Insurance. All the necessary financial business was also done. This happened in 1920, when no such Motion as the one now before the House was proposed.
Last year the Motion was proposed on the 22nd February, the reason being our late sitting in 1920. Last year Easter fell early and took away practically a Parliamentary week before the end of the financial year. Thirty-five Supplementary Estimates were presented, and the following legislation was passed: Unemployment Insurance, 1920 (Amendment), Act; Coal Mines Decontrol Act—a Measure which took a long time and ought to have taken even longer, the final stages being passed about 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning; German Reparations (Recovery) Act; the Ministry of Munitions and Ministry of Shipping (Cessation) Acts; and two Consolidated Fund Bills, the second of which was read a Third time on 20th March. We had two Saturday sittings. What is the position to-day? There are only 26 Supplementary Estimates, largely due to the fact that we wiped off several of them during the sitting which took place in November. I do not say that these Supplementary Estimates are contentious, but probably close examination will show several reasons why criticisms should be addressed to the proposals of the Government in this regard. At any 1070 rate, we have only to deal with 26 Supplementary Estimates, as compared with 61 last year, and a larger number on another occasion.
Therefore, I am driven to look at the Government's legislative programme for some reason for the appalling hurry which signalises the action of the right hon. Gentleman. The only evidence available is the King's Speech. The legislation in regard to Ireland is, of course, urgent. Two days have been given to the Second Reading. In any case, it is perfectly clear that the Committee stage cannot be very long, because it is a very short Bill. We cannot touch the Schedule. All that the House can do is to give the necessary powers for the real work in connection with it to the new Government in Ireland to be done in Ireland. When that is done it will come back here, not for real approval by this House, but for approval by the Executive. But the Irish legislation cannot take very long. Its real claim on the House will be the Second Reading and the Third Reading. The other stages must necessarily be short. So far as I am concerned they will not be prolonged an hour more than is really necessary. The sooner that Bill is on the Statute Book the better chance there will be of making progress towards peace in Ireland.
What is the rest of the programme? The Government propose to submit—they do not say whether by means of Resolution or Bill—some ideas which they have—I do not think it has gone very much further than that—with regard to the Reform of the House of Lords. I am quite sure about one thing. There is no hurry about that. In any ease they have got a long Session stretching before them into the shades of the autumn. At least, so they suggest. This urgency must be due to legislation. It cannot be owing to finance. That case has already disappeared. There is nothing but the normal finance, though I do not say that it will not be necessary to criticise it from the point of view of economy. So we are driven back to the question of the urgency of legislation. They propose to bring in a Bill relating to the establishment of an International Trade Corporation. That does not compare in any degree, either in the length of the Bill itself or in the Debate on it, with many of the Measures which I have already indicated 1071 which were passed in any one of the three Sessions that have elapsed, but which were easily dealt with by the end of the financial year. Next, there is the policy of co-operation in Empire settlement and migration. Where is the special urgency with regard to that? Clearly it goes over until after the end of the financial year. Then we have a Bill to amend the Criminal Law Amendment Acts, 1885–1912. As to that I hope the House will put itself right with regard to the deep feelings of the country as to the way in which that attempted legislation last Session was dealt with. I am very glad to see this Bill, but there is no immediate urgency. Then there is a Bill relating to allotments. Where is the vital urgency of that, causing pressure on the time of the Government? I now come to the purple patch of legislative rhetoric towards the end of the King's Speech—"There will be laid before the House a Bill to substitute the yearly audit for the half-yearly audit in the case of Rural District Councils and Boards of Guardians."The Empire is not rocking to its base with the urgency of any Bills like that being taken. Where, then, is the case for my right hon. Friend's Motion? There is a Bill relating to real property and methods of land transfer, which I daresay will take a little time of the House, but not very much, and I hope most sincerely that that Bill will be passed for the sake of people who take small interests in land and for the sake of land reform generally. But there is no special urgency in the early stages. I have sought for some reasons for the Government attitude, and the only conclusion to which I can come is that the Government must have made up their minds to repeal a lot more of their legislation and that really is the fundamental cause of this hurry which my right hon. Friend has succeeded so admirably in disguising. A word now as to what the Leader of the House said in regard to Supplementary Estimates. He said that they were, on the records of the past, now getting right. Long before the War there was an average of about 32 compared with the minor crime of an average of 71. But not only is there a considerable difference between 32 and 71, but there is a very considerable difference also in amount, because the 1072 total amount of Supplementary Estimates in the last three years has approximately exceeded £450,000,000.
As far as those Supplementary Estimates which, on financial requirements, must be passed, are concerned, that is a matter which my right hon. Friend has in his own hands. He can take them when he likes, but I hope that full time will be given to the Supplementary Estimates and that there will be full discussion on them before the end of the financial year. I make this suggestion as a demand, which the whole House is entitled to enforce on my right hon. Friend, that none of these Supplementary Estimates shall be taken after 11 o'clock at night. Some of the most important Estimates, running not only into many millions of pounds but committing the House to new policies, were taken after 11 o'clock, at 12 o'clock and sometimes 1 and 2 o'clock in the morning. The Leader of the House is making this great demand on the general body of Members. How is he going to treat us in the coming days of the Session with regard to the criticisms of finance generally, and of Supplementary Estimates in particular? Is he g[...]ing to continue the bad practice of last Session, and the Session before, and the first Session, and, no matter what protests are made by the Opposition Bench, supported by my right hon. Friend the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) and by the hon Member for Oxford City (Mr. Marriott), and a few others, in spite of what we may say, is he determined to drive these Estimates through the House, whether they are for large amounts or whether they constitute new policy? What pledge will the Leader of the House give us to-day with regard to the financial business of the Session? Are we going to have a repetition of the Practice which is not only bad for this House but which has deeply shocked the country?
If members of the Government are under the impression that the country does not notice these things they are living in a fool's paradise. The country is taking careful notice of them, and it knows that hundreds of millions of pounds are constantly voted in this House without any discussion whatever. There is time to give this discussion if the Government adopt the suggestions which were made to the then Leader of the House in December, 1920. I said to 1073 him—and I received a large measure of support from Members in different parts of the House—"Bring forward only legislation of a really vital character, legislation which you cannot avoid, and devote the whole time of the House with the exception of that to the consideration of finance." We know what happened. We know that with the whole time at the disposal of the Government, Ministers, owing to their weakness, are quite unable to form a barrier against the powerful heads of Departments, whose pigeonholes are stuffed with Bills awaiting the opportunity of passing them through a servile House backed by a slack executive. They know that with a slack executive they can pass all sorts of Bills. I remember the then Leader of the House agreeing that the real need was consideration of finance and public economy, and that legislation should be cut down to the narrowest limit, but he knows from his own experience, once the machinery begins to work it gives the old results, and Bills poured into the House last year and the Session before, and arrived on the Statute Book, which only add to departmental expense and are an irritation to the public and are of no benefit to the community.
What is my right hon. Friend going to do with regard to finance this year? Is he going to confine himself to a, very large vote on account and go to the country for a verdict? My right hon. Friend charged me the other day with a desire to snatch some place on the Treasury Bench, which I do not wish to do, and I am certain that he does not desire to hang on to office either, but the question remains—what use are the dying Government going to make of their last year? Are they going to make anything like a death-bed repentance on this question of finance and use their time in that way, because they may not only thus secure some mitigation of the condemnation of posterity, but may also do something for the individual Members of the Government. Perhaps it may be by some exercise of a last shred of recollection of what ought to be done that they will achieve some mitigation of their own position. Therefore I make an appeal to him on general grounds and on personal grounds to see if we cannot get something approaching a proper method of dealing with this urgent problem. My right hon. Friend yesterday stated that he 1074 would set up a Select Committee. We all know what that means. So far as immediate action is concerned, it is relegated to limbo. Nothing comes of it. I do not question the power of the right hon. Gentleman to take the whole of the time of the House. Of course he can do what he likes. I have addressed some serious arguments to the Treasury Bench and there will be other arguments addressed to the Government, but how many Members who are going to vote will have heard those arguments, or have taken the slightest notice of, or interest in them? The House of Commons in its interest in the rights and duties of private Members, in what should be its watchfulness over public finance, has been killed by these constant Measures of the Government for giving the whole time of the House to the Executive. They are destroying initiative, reducing the value of personality in the House, and steam-rolling the Opposition time and time again, in the efforts which we have maintained ever since the very first day this Parliament met to preserve the framework of what an Opposition should be. Now the Government come down to the House with this Motion which has not the shred of a case to support it. Not on urgency of finance, not on urgency of legislation, not on any ground—I have shown by comparison with the three preceding Sessions of this Parliament—can they show cause for this Motion, yet it will be passed when it comes to a Division. In will come the well-trained battalions, taking no interest whatever in the arguments, and once again Parliament will lose an opportunity of exercising its free and unfettered control and criticism of legislation and administration, and one more blow will have been struck at the power and prestige of the House of Commons.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I should like to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken on the latter part of his speech, in which he emphasised the necessity for more time being given to financial Debates in this House, and also to the need for cessation of the practice of taking Estimates of any sort, whether Supplementary or any other kind, after 11 o'clock at night. With that I completely agree, but do not his latter arguments do away with the force of the arguments which he used at first? The arguments which he used at first were 1075 to the effect that the time of the House until the 31st March, which is the end of the financial year, should not be taken up by the Government, because of the interference with private Members which would be caused. After all, the 31st of March is only six weeks away; there are only six Fridays. It may be held that Parliament should have met sooner, but as a matter of fact it did not, and, personally, in view of what has taken place, I am inclined to think it could not have met sooner. What have we to do in those six weeks? We have to pass Votes A and 1 for the Army, Votes A and 1 for the Navy, a Vote on account for the Civil Service and somewhere about thirty Supplementary Estimates. [HON. MEMBERS: "Twenty-six!"] I have always held that there is nothing more important in this House than finance. At present, unquestionably, there is nothing more important, and all the Government are asking is that for the next six weeks private Members should agree to give up Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons and Fridays in order that financial questions and, I presume, the Irish Treaty Bill may be taken. Is that unreasonable?
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I think the House will get it back in the valuable work which they do on the financial question. The ordinary private Member's Friday, as those who have been any length of time in the House know, is always a waste of time. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no !"] Oh, yes, it is.
The Trade Union Bill is not a waste of time.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I am sure it is, there is no question about that. We do not want any legislation in regard to trade unions except my Bill. Of course, if that is the Bill the hon. Member refers to, I admit it is not a waste of time. If it is any other Bill, I am sorry to say I do not agree. Look at the state of the House on a private Member's Friday. I do not care who is bringing in a Bill—it may be the hon. Members opposite—but the state of the House on a Friday, as everyone will admit, shows that no interest is being taken in the Bills. There may be 3 or 4 Members whose constituents are interested, and 1076 there may be 3 or 4 others who know that the Bill which is being introduced is a very bad one, but where are all the others? They are not in the Smoking Room or the Library, or the Reading Room. They are not in the House at all. It is absurd to try to make out that there is a very great grievance in taking the time of the House between now and the 31st of next month. The right hon. Member for Platting (Mr. Clynes) made a lengthy oration, and if one had not known exactly what the Motion was, he might lead one to think that private Members' time during the whole of the Session was going to be taken. Private Members will get the usual time between 31st March and Whitsuntide.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
And a very good thing, too. It is astonishing the interest the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Peebles (Sir D. Maclean) has in this matter, but the moment he concluded his speech he went away. He did not stay to listen to the other arguments for or against, but having made the speech which it was necessary to make as Leader of the Opposition, he went away. It is the formal speech always made on these occasions. I have been 30 years in the House, and this speech is always made and always made with the same result and the same people who make those speeches would do exactly the same thing themselves if they were sitting on the other side of the House. I can conceive the right hon. Member for Peebles making an equally good speech in favour of the Motion, as that which he has made against it. There are one or two small matters to which I should like to allude. It has been said that the Schedule to the Irish Treaty cannot be touched. I should not care to say anything on this very important matter, but I think the Schedule can be amended, and certainly attempts will be made to amend it.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I do not know if I am transgressing the rules of Order in going into this matter at all, but it has an influence on the question of whether or not time should be taken, because if the Schedule cannot be amended there will not be so much time taken. I always understood that the Schedule to a Treaty with a foreign country could not be amended, but Ireland is not yet a foreign country. It probably will be very soon, and we must be very careful as to what we do, but up to the present moment Ireland is not a foreign country, and therefore you cannot make a Treaty with it. This is an agreement and not a Treaty; it is not made with a foreign country, and therefore I think the ordinary rules of the House apply, and will enable the Schedule to be amended, as all Schedules can be amended in an ordinary Bill. I congratulate the Government upon having taken what I think is a very necessary step, and I hope in consideration of the support which I have given to them by my voice, and will give -to them by my vote in the Lobby, that they will remember my request that they should not take Supplementary Estimates or any financial business after 11 o'clock, and that full opportunity should be given to us to discuss financial matters.
§ Mr. G. LOCKER-LAMPSON
Although I generally agree with my right hon. Friend who has just spoken in matters of finance, I absolutely disagree with nearly every single word he has said this evening about the rights of private Members. It is a curious thing that we have been debating for an hour and a half the rights of private Members, and all the time it has practically been a discussion between the two front Benches. I do not regard my right hon. Friend the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) as a back-Bencher. He is entitled to sit upon the front Bench, and sometimes does so. Therefore up to the present moment not a single private Member has had an opportunity of making his voice heard. I think we have to guard ourselves just as much against the front Opposition Bench as against the Government front Bench. I noticed that two right hon. Gentlemen followed each other from the Opposition front Bench, and that no private Member had a chance of getting his argument in. I am sorry the Government have been so 1078 tyrannical. We are sometimes told that this Government contains a greater number of geniuses than any Government which has ever existed. It may be true, but one sometimes pays a little too dearly for these enormous intellects, and I was very disappointed this afternoon at the attitude taken up by the Lord Privy Seal. We are told by the Standing Orders that private Members are to have Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and yet year after year—it has practically become a hardy annual—these days are taken from them. What is the use of having Standing Orders if this is done? The House had better revise the Standing Orders and wipe out the provision which says that private Members should have these particular days. The Lord Privy Seal said it was very distasteful to him to make this announcement. I never saw anybody perform a painful operation with a more cheerful countenance than my right hon. Friend. He says we have had full warning. I do not think that is any excuse at all. The real reason why private Members have to suffer is bad budgeting. It is owing to the fact that the Government are not able to forecast the enormous additional expenditure for which they are compelled to ask the House, time and again. I suggest that before they take away private Members' time they ought to look more carefully into their own budgeting and into the way in which they ask the House to sit from time to time. The right hon. Member for Platting pointed out quite fairly that had we met a week or ten days earlier this Motion would not have been necessary. I have handed in an Amendment to the Chair. I do not, know whether some other hon. Member may not have preceded me, but if so I will not move.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. James Hope)
The first Amendment I have here is to insert the words "Tuesdays and Wednesdays."
§ Mr. LOCKER-LAMPSON
Will not that Amendment rather limit discussion? May I mention what my Amendment is? I will not move it now, but its effect is to add the wordsand that the days allotted under the Standing Orders to private Members before Easter, be added to the usual time given to private Members after Easter.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I was proposing to call the hon. Member who had the prior Amendment first, but the hon. Member for Wood Green can raise his point now if he wishes.
§ Mr. LOCKER-LAMPSON
It is no good raising it if it cannot be moved as an Amendment. Do I understand that it will be completely cut out if the other Amendment is moved, and rejected or accepted?
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
The Amendment which I was proposing to call next would not shut out the hon. Member.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
Suppose the Amendment of the hon. Member for Wood Green was submitted and negatived, would it not be open to hon. Members subsequently to move the Amendment which deals with the Tuesdays and Fridays, or does the negativing of the Amendment which my hon. Friend has in his mind not leave the original question open for Amendment afterwards?
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
At present we have not got any Amendment, but the Amendment I intended to call was to the effect that the Motion should only apply to Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Whatever the result of that Amendment, it would be open to my hon. Friend to move that any time taken on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Friday should be given back after Easter. The one in no way affects the other.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
On a point of Order. Can a Member who has already spoken on the main question move an Amendment?
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
Usually that is not so, but there are precedents on these particular Motions which admit it.
§ Mr. HOGGE
Like my hon. Friend the Member for Wood Green (Mr. Locker-Lampson), who complained of Members on the Front Bench intervening in these discussions, I have always stood up for the rights of private Members, and when I sat below the Gangway I took more trouble than most private Members to 1080 maintain the privileges of the private Member. I think there are certain general propositions which the Leader of the House would perhaps care to give us some more information about before we discuss Amendments. In the first place, my right hon. Friend said nothing at all about restoring the time that he proposed to take away from private Members. I am astounded at the doctrine propounded by the right hon. Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) that we are not giving up very much. When you give up between the beginning of the Session and Easter the whole of Tuesday and Wednesday nights and the whole of Friday, you give up the real basis of the private Members' rights. My right hon. Friend, who has championed the question of dogs for as many Sessions as I have been in Parliament, knows very well that unless a Private Member draws a place in the ballot in such a way that he gets his Bill read a Second time in the House before Easter, he has practically no chance at all of that. Bill becoming law.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
May I say that I have three times got my Dogs Bill to a Committee, and once to a Third Reading, and I have never drawn a place in the ballot in my life.
§ Mr. HOGGE
If my right hon. Friend had, he might now have had his Dogs Bill an Act of Parliament. Everybody, except my right hon. Friend, knows that any private Member with a Bill does get a chance with that Bill on a Friday which he otherwise would not get, and there is a very vast difference between only getting Wednesday night between Easter and Whitsuntide, and the usual private Members' time. I have not worked it out in point of hours or dates, but there is a vast difference, particularly this year, and I think the Leader of the House should, at any rate, acquaint the House with his intentions with regard to the period between Easter and Whitsuntide. In previous attempts to take away the time of the private Member, that time has been partially restored, and while I would be prepared to demand that the whole of the time taken away should be restored, I think the Government should make some concession in the matter. As a matter of fact, the Bills are the more important part of the consideration, because of the fact that they have to go 1081 upstairs to Committee and then come down again, and if you deprive private Members of six Fridays, it practically delays the Report Stage to such a period of the Session as finds the Government involved in the Report Stage of their own big Bills, when it is very difficult to find time. I do not think it is fair of any Government to deprive the private Member of that kind of right.
Then, with regard to the discussions on the Tuesday and Wednesday nights, again some Members seem to think we are not giving up very much by giving up these particular occasions, but, in my view, we are giving up the most important privilege that remains to the private Member by surrendering the Tuesday and Wednesday nights. It has been pointed out already that on the Order Paper of the House dealing with the Address in reply to the King's Speech there were from thirty to fifty Amendments put down, every one of them raising topics of considerable interest which required to be discussed if there were time. My right hon. Friend knows that a private Member, deprived of the opportunity of raising a point in the Debate on the Address, may secure that opportunity on the Tuesday or Wednesday night, and have a two and a half hours' Debate, and not only that; he has the recurring opportunity of drawing attention to some urgent public business. It may be that if he drew the ballot to-day for next Wednesday, something may have happened in the course of the last few days that requires immediate discussion. The discussion of that subject is likely to do the Government some harm, it may be, and I do not know whether the Government, in taking away the discussion on the Tuesday and Wednesday nights, have not got in view the idea that they can prevent this House criticising their particular policy on this subject or the other. I have been in the House long enough to remember occasions on the Tuesday and Wednesday nights when the Government have saved themselves by the old practice of putting up one of their own supporters to talk out the Resolution moved by a private Member, the subject raised being so awkward.
My right hon. Friend saves himself inside the next six weeks—and a great deal of the discussion has gone on the lines of saving of one kind or another—but in this instance the Leader of the 1082 House has come right out for "safety first" by preventing us, on something like ten or twelve occasions, from challenging the Government on matters of policy that could not otherwise be raised. There is the question which occupied our attention to-day at the end of Questions. A Minister of the Crown for the last few days has had to get up and give us special information about Ireland, which has occupied a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes each time. There would have been an opportunity, under the old system, of raising that question and debating it for two and a half hours in the House and forcing the Government to express their opinion upon it. At the present moment they escape all that, and the more the Government escape that kind of legitimate criticism by the private Member, the more secure they are, so far as their own safety is concerned. For these reasons alone, we ought to hesitate very much before agreeing to this Resolution of the Government.
Before I sit down, I want to elaborate a point which I know has the sympathy of my right hon. Friend, because he has replied to me before upon that particular topic, and he himself, I believe, has said that it has his sympathy. Has the time not now come, and come at once, when Parliament ought to re-arrange the whole question of its time? We are continually finding that, because Parliament meets so late, financial business necessitates this kind of Motion. There is one way of getting out of that—a very patent and obvious way—and that is the way of meeting very much earlier than the second week in February, which has become the practice nearly of all Governments. If we met, as I think we ought to meet, in the middle of January, instead of the middle of February, this Government, and any Government, would be able to get through their financial business before the 31st March and not deprive the private Member of any of his privileges. It might be obtained by meeting, as we meet now, in the middle of February and lifting the private Members' privileges out of the period from the middle of February to the 31st March, and putting them all in between Easter and Whitsuntide. That would be another alternative method of doing it, but I am quite certain that this practice of haphazard arrangement from 1083 week to week, which has been the practice of this House so long as I have been in it, is not satisfactory.
I have heard hon. Members pointing out over and over again the conflict between the times that this House meets and their own domestic convenience. The best illustration is the question of school holidays. Many Members of this House are deprived over and over again of associating themselves with their children in the school holidays; because we are sitting while the children are on holiday, and the children have gone back to school before we meet. It may be quite a small domestic point, but it seems to me that if a few could lay their heads together, it would be possible to suggest a new timetable for the House of Commons which would meet that kind of objection, and I do submit that that is the kind of reform we are entitled to demand, not from a Government, but from ourselves. I think we give up too much by accommodating ourselves to a kind of precedent in this matter, and not addressing our minds to it from a common-sense point of view. Personally, I must oppose the proposal of the Leader of the House to-day, on the grounds I have stated, that it is bad for the House of Commons and bad for the Government, and I think it could be arranged otherwise. While I oppose that as the proposal at this moment, whatever happens to the rest of the Debate and to the Amendments, I think it would be worth our while to examine the 12 months from the point of view of the convenience, not only of the Government, but of the private Member, and, if that were done, some substantial good would result from these discussions.
I think, perhaps, I ought to say a. few words in reply to the observations which have just fallen from the hon. Gentleman opposite, and to some observations which fell from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Peebles (Sir D. Maclean) earlier in the evening. The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken, in the concluding and very interesting part of his speech, dealt, not with the question immediately before us, but with the general arrangements of the House of Commons as handed down for long ages, modified by recent events, modified always in the direction of demanding more from the Members, and 1084 imposing a greater strain upon the Departments. It is a question.of great interest and of great importance. He spoke about it, I think, privately, although I do not remember a public discussion. He knows I am not unsympathetic at all to the idea of such a consideration. I think there are two ways of considering the subject. One would be to get together an informal Committee of Members of experience, who would try what they could to come to conclusions which might form the basis of an examination by a Select. Committee of the House of Commons. The other would be at once to appoint a Select Committee. I shrink a little from the second proposal, because I imagine that the House would expect that on a Committee appointed to consider such a question the Leader of the House should serve, and I frankly admit I do not see how, under present circumstances, I could find the time to attend such a Committee. All of us have so much work at the present time that it makes it almost impossible to take part in an inquiry on questions of this kind, which, although interesting and very important, are not of immediate urgency.
I say no more about that, but I turn rather to the earlier portion of the hon. Gentleman's speech, and the remarks of the right hon. Member for Peebles. I observe that the first response of the right hon. Member for Peebles to the appeal of the right hon. Member for Platting (Mr. Clynes), that we should all facilitate business by making short speeches, was to take as much time himself as the right hon. Gentleman and I had taken in combination in expressing our views about this Resolution. I do not think that that suggestion helps us very far. I venture to say, as the result of a long experience, in so far as time might be economised, it might quite as well be economised as regards a great number of short speeches, as by curtailing those long speeches, which, after all, are in many cases most full of matter, and most worthy of attention by the House, which, if curtailed, would deprive the House of an adequate answer from the Government and the opportunity for the Opposition fully to state their case. Take, for instance, the speeches yesterday. Take the speech of my hon. Friend who moved the Amendment. It is not a speech to which, perhaps, I ought to pay compliments, but it formed a very formidable indictment of 1085 Government policy, and I do not think there was any superfluous sentence in the case which he was making. I think practically the same may be said of the necessarily lengthy replies which were made. I do not think that by refusing permission to anyone to speak for more than 10 or 20 minutes, you will really improve the quality of our Debates, or prevent waste of time.
Let me go back to what has happened. An ingenuous hearer of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman might really suppose that I was proposing something quite extraordinary and unheard of. I had the curiosity to look up what happened in the years before the War. In 1910, the right hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith) moved a similar Resolution, giving precedence to Government business up to and including the 24th March. The next year he moved that up to and including the 13th April the Government should have precedence of business, and on the 18th April he moved a similar Motion taking all the time up to Whitsuntide. In 1912 we were treated gently. It is the only year of comparative ease that Parliament has been allowed since 1906. But in 1913 he moved in March a Resolution giving Government business precedence up to and including the 31st March, and he coupled with that a strong Closure Resolution. The right hon. Gentleman speaks now with approval—at any rate, with comparative approval—of what was done in the last few years. He singled out, I think, 1920.as one of the years for commendation. Does he want me to follow the 1920 precedent, and sit after 11 o'clock. Does he want me to have Saturday sittings? Does he want me to have here and now a time table deciding that by specific dates all these Supplementary Estimates and the Votes on Account are to pass through Committee, and on the next day terminate with a report, and fixing the time for the Consolidated Fund Bill as well? I am sure he does not.
Those are the alternatives which he chooses for commendation in order to attack my present Motion. Will the right hon. Gentleman permit me to observe a certain weakness not infrequently to be found in his speeches? He is so anxious to make a case against the Government that every argument which occurs to him is used for that purpose, and he 1086 falls into the mistake of using self-contradictory arguments, from which I would advise my right hon. Friend studiously to abstain. His zeal outruns his discretion. He says that really there is so little business to be done before the 31st March that this Motion is wholly unnecessary. If that be so, and he will facilitate the business, we can come to an accommodation. But then, immediately afterwards, he says, "Don't you hurry these Supplementary Estimates. Don't you venture to take them after 11 o'clock. Let us discuss them fully, as they deserve." I know what that means. The right hon. Gentleman, with the aid of his friends, and with the aid of my friends, will occupy a great deal of time in the consideration of some of these Estimates.
I will meet the right hon. Gentleman, and I will remove a misconception from his mind. I am not moving this Motion in order to bring in a great number of Bills before Easter for which there is no urgency. I have mentioned one really important and very urgent Measure which we do wish to carry as far as we can, and, if possible, through all its stages before Easter, and that is the Irish Bill. I do not propose to take advantage of this Motion to introduce any other Measure for which I cannot show a special reason of urgency in point of time. I will not specify, because I have not, exactly examined the list of Bills from that point of view, but I will take as an illustration, and not because of its intrinsic importance, the Bill regarding coroners' juries. Unless that Bill pass by a certain time, coroners' juries will have to be summoned, with their attendant expenses, and it is necessary before the expiring Bill lapses to get the new Bill in. Again, there may be economies recommended by the Geddes Committee which require legislation, and where the economy cannot begin until the legislation has been passed. I cannot hope to get all of these. I have no intention of taking any Bills, however much I might desire to see them carried, or to use this Motion to take them before Easter—or I should say the end of the financial year. I refer to such Bills as the Criminal Law Amendment Bill, Land Reform, and so on. If we get through with Supply earlier than I anticipate, if we save time on that, and get through the Irish Bill and such other Bills of the character I have mentioned, and about 1087 which I do not think there will be any serious dispute, we will give back the days so used to the free use of private Members. Suppose we have done this business soon by any arrangement by which it can be done within the time necessary, we will give back the evenings or the Fridays so set free to private Members. I hope I have shown, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will feel, that I am doing my best to meet my hon. Friends opposite-fairly.
I was coming to that. The hon. Gentleman has repeated a verbal slip of mine in talking of Easter when we are dealing with the period up to the end of the financial year. It was my mistake. We are dealing only with the period up to the end of the financial year. What I say is that if the private Members' time be not required for the purposes I have just described, it shall go back to the private Members. I cannot undertake after the end of the financial year to replace the days which may have been subtracted from private Members' time before that. That was done on one occasion by my right hon. Friend the then Premier, in 1920. Dealing with the subject in 1921 he said he could not possibly repeat that procedure, as it had led to a congestion of business by the days being given back, and had involved the House in exactly the same sort of difficulty in the later period that they had escaped by taking the private Members' time earlier. Only one word more. I cannot promise—nobody could—that I will not ask the House to sit after 11 o'clock, but I am anxious to avoid that: and it is in order to avoid that, or sitting on Saturdays, or both and in addition perhaps having to ask the House to give me a time table, that I am suggesting what I do. I will do my best to avoid sitting after 11 o'clock, and also a time table, but that is dependent upon the co-operation of the House.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
My question referred to taking Supplementary Estimates after 1088 11 o'clock at night. That is the point I wish to emphasise. I understood—I hope I am wrong—the right hon. Gentleman to say that he could not give any undertaking that he would not take Supplementary Estimates after 11. I am sure that will cause very great feeling in the House.
I said I could not give an undertaking to that effect, for the business must be got through. If by taking the time of the House I ask for in this Resolution I can avoid sitting after 11 o'clock at night, I shall do it. If I cannot get it through in this time, if the House requires more time and insists upon discussing these Votes at great length, I may have to ask the House in a particular case for the suspension of the Eleven o'Clock Rule or the imposition of a timetable to get the conclusion of business. I want to avoid that, and by this Motion I am doing everything that lies in my sole power to avoid this thing.
§ Mr. MILLS
I beg to move, after the word "That," to insert the words "on Tuesdays and Wednesdays."
The attacks by the Front Opposition Bench and the defence by the Government Bench prove this Resolution to be a hardy annual as between the Opposition that was yesterday the Government and the Government that was yesterday the Opposition. It seems to be a, time-honoured Parliamentary practice of talking for hours about nothing in particular until at last we are closured and then with a sort of dignified protest we shout "gag" and go out with our tongues in our cheeks. I have got up earlier than some of my hon. Friends desired in order to move my Amendment. because I, for one, resent the practice of Parliamentary time being wasted. I am one of those who as a back-bencher suffer from that disqualification, but at the same time I am acutely conscious of the fact that those who have had to endure some of the speeches that I have delivered have suffered more acutely possibly than I have. Before, however, one achieves the distinction of being able to entertain the House without the waste of a word for half an hour one has to go through a period of purgatory, and there is no reason, if we have to go through that period, that it should be on such a subject as this.
1089 My colleague the Member for Spen Valley (Mr. Myers) and myself absolutely refuse to attempt to put life into a proposition such as this which no one can put any heart into because, after all, it is perfectly hollow. With the hon. Member for the Western Isles (Dr. Murray) who is, I believe, a champion of pickled herrings, I tabled an Amendment to the Address from the Throne on the question of the revision of the Peace Treaty. We got no show on the Address. In common with other Members we tabled an Amendment to the Address on the question of Egypt which has been denied discussion in this House for two years and a half. During the ensuing few weeks, as a result of the many recommendations of the various Committees, there will he innumerable things that private Members will desire to bring forward. Take one particular case. In a civic sense I am associated with the Borough of Woolwich. The Borough of Woolwich has had repeated pledges from the present Prime Minister and the former Leader of the House that as a result of war services rendered they would specifically pledge themselves that in the days following the War there would be allocated to the national factory the work of the supplies required. Yet to-day, and every time that we meet in order to discuss this state of affairs, due to the fact that the Borough of Woolwich has no outlet to the river—though it is a riverside borough—because every yard of which is taken up by the Government, we have this position: that every month we are met with increasing rates and local disaster, and we are faced with increased discharges from inside Woolwich Arsenal—
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
On a point of Order. Is not my hon. Friend perfectly in Order on his Amendment to show that if it is not carried many subjects which private Members desire to see discussed will have no opportunity for discussion? Is he not in order in outlining the points?
§ Mr. MILLS
I disclaim any intention of contravening the Chair, and what I have said is only from a deep sense of the misery obtaining in Woolwich. I leave that subject in the hope that the Secretary for War will be able to do something. I gave him notice that if I could catch the Speaker's eye it was my intention to raise this matter on the discussion on Unemployment. I failed, however, to do so, because, as I have said, I am an obscure back-bencher. However, having made my protest I hope that the Secretary for War, having regard to the promises that were specifically made by the Prime Minister, who told me himself on one delegation to come to him with any real grievance that we had. I am hoping the Secretary for War, before he announces these decisions that other people have put him up to, will have a look at the solemn pledges made by the Prime Minister on the grave question, because if you look at the Estimates and the millions of money spent on guns and projectiles—
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
That is not in order. The right hon. Gentleman is quite in order to say that he has a very important point to raise affecting his constituency, but he is not in order in developing the case.
§ Mr. MILLS
I shall formally move this Amendment then, the reason being that we desire to preserve to the private Members the full use of Fridays as the only day in the week for private Member's business. I should like to make a personal explanation. I refer to the fact that I mentioned Woolwich from the point of view of civic action and not as its Parliamentary representative. I wish to make that point Perfectly clear. We oppose the Motion because we do believe—unlike the Government supporters whose opposition is on different grounds—that while there is a real need for a lot of this legislation becoming law at the earliest possible moment, whilst we desire that all economies that can be enacted will be legalised at the earliest possible moment, we do claim that at least one day in the week, Friday, should be left to the private Member. I hope the Leader of the House will see his way clear to grant it.
Mr. T. THOMSON
I beg to second the Amendment. I would like to refer to what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London said. In opposition to, and anticipating its effect, he made little of the value of the work on Fridays of private Members. During, I think he said, his 30 years' experience no good had ever come from the deliberations of private Members which have taken place on Fridays in this House. As a new Member I suggest that even in this Parliament very useful Measures have been passed through the actions of private Members working on Fridays. If I remember rightly there was a Bill which I think the right hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury) backed, and I know that he supported it, which provided that when property was compounded and the rates levied, the amount of those rates should he specified at the back of the rent notice.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I opposed that proposal thinking it would probably be a dead letter, which I believe it is.
It was certainly supported by his friends. There were several other Measures of a humane character, Measures like the one prohibiting the killing of pigeons, and the Importation of Plumage Bill which were carried last Session. Therefore it is not correct to say that Fridays are not productive of useful legislation. If you go back for a few years you will find that many small Measures of a useful character have originated and been carried through at Friday sittings. It is only when Fridays are available to private Members in the early days of the Session that it is possible for a private Member to get his Bill through. There were two Measures before Parliament last Session which had the general approval of hon. Members, namely, the Criminal Law Amendment Bill, and the Bill which sought to give the same guardianship of infants to the woman as to the man. These Measures had to be set aside because there was not half-an-hour available to complete the various stages, and if they had been introduced in the early days of the Session they would have been passed instead of being sacrificed under the guillotine.
There is a strong precedent for demanding that the rights of private Members should not be jeopardised in this way. Reference has been made to the amount 1092 of time occupied by right hon. Gentlemen sitting on the Front Benches. May I point out that the first two hours of this Debate have been occupied by Members of the two Front Benches. I think what is now proposed is a serious attack on the few opportunities left to back-benchers. The tendency now is that the ordinary private Member becomes a mere cog in the huge Parliamentary machine, and as a protest against that I second this Amendment. We hear outside criticisms and opponents of democracy suggesting that other measures must be taken because Parliament has failed to function, and for these reasons it is more important than ever that the House should preserve those few privileges that remain to the rank and file and the back-benchers of this House.
We were hoping that old traditions would be broken as a result of the War, and that less power would be left in the hands of the Ministerial Bench. I protest against this proposal, and I appeal to the Leader of the House to at least save something for the private Member. At the present time there are large questions of public importance which the private Member can only raise on Fridays and other days which it is now sought to take away. On the Address many of us wished to ventilate various questions which were not dealt with adequately in the King's Speech, which was conspicuous by the small amount of legislation foreshadowed. Promises given before by the Government have not been realised. There is the question of the equalisation of the rating system in industrial districts as compared with residential and country districts, and that is a reform which the Government have promised, and upon which everything is ready for new legislation. The previous Minister of Health promised that the Government were seriously considering this matter, and foreshadowed the introduction of a Measure dealing with this matter in the early future. Now those matters will be ruled out by this filching away of the privileges of private Members. I hope the right hon. Gentleman may yet see that it is possible to save this small part of our privileges as suggested by the Amendment in order that private Members may fulfil their duty and represent the views they are sent here to express.
I hope the hon. Gentleman opposite will not think it discourteous of me if I reply at once very briefly to his Amendment. I had in anticipation of what has been urged already dealt with the Amendment which has just been moved, and I cannot go beyond the assurance that I have already given, which I think went a long way to satisfy hon. Members that I was doing my best to deprive private Members of as little time as possible. I wish to make this one observation. The hon. Member who spoke last took indeed a gloomy view of the utility of private Members, and I cannot think that his own Parliamentary existence is so futile as he seems to think. It was extremely unfortunate that the hon. Member should have selected as an illustration of the urgent questions which he wished to discuss a series of measures not one of which could be raised on the days which he wishes to retain. There was not one of the illustrations given in his speech which could be used as an argument in favour of this Amendment.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
I desire to support this Amendment and wish to make one or two observations on the Debate which has taken place. As a new Member, I have been somewhat disillusioned as to my powers as a private Member of this House. As one trying to gain some experience of how to lay my views before the House, and bring forward some of the grievances of my constituents, I have failed to find any opportunity at all in regard to some subjects except by putting a question on the Order Paper, which does not provide the private Member with very much opportunity of explaining his views. I have been inundated with communications from my constituents as to the famine in Russia and I quote that as an illustration.
§ Mr. DAVIES
Of course, I am open to correction on these matters. I presume every hon. Member will be very jealous of the powers of the Government in this connection. I have had a little experience of municipal work and in my experience in one of the largest corporations of this country I have found that we have had more opportunity of express- 1094 ing our opinions there than we have in the mother of Parliaments. I thought in coming here that an ordinary Member or back-bencher would have more opportunities than he has. I would like to use one point as an illustration. The Leader of the House has told us that he will, on behalf of the Government, introduce legislation dealing with some parts of the Geddes Report, but he will not introduce legislation, I take it, upon all the recommendations in that Report.
I am wondering where the opportunity will arise for an hon. Member to raise a subject mentioned in the Geddes Report, that is, the Secret Service. A great outcry has come about in this land concerning economy on education, and I am using this only as an illustration. We are told in the Geddes Report that there must be economy on certain national services. I notice on the Secret Service that the amount expended last year was four times the amount expended in 1913. I have been wondering in connection with this matter how a private Member can deal with a point like that in the event of the Leader of the House bringing forward legislation on some of the recommendations of the Geddes Committee, probably without mentioning the one I have just touched upon.
I trust the Government will be jealous of the good name of Parliament; as jealous as we are of the rights of the individual Member. Outside this House there is much criticism being levelled against Parliament because there is no power for the individual Member to raise very important subjects; and although I am jealous of the rights of the individual Member I am jealous also of the rights of Parliament itself, and I want the good name of Parliament to be maintained. If the Motion put forward by the Government to close discussion is carried, I feel that another blow will be aimed at and carried against our Parliamentary institution. With these few observations I desire to support the Amendment before the House.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I think it should be made quite clear to the Government what this Amendment means. There are very serious reasons for it. It is to give the Government Tuesdays and Wednesdays up to the end of the financial year, but to reserve Fridays for 1095 private Members' Bills. These Bills are of enormous importance, not to private Members, but to the country as a whole. It so happens that the Labour party, in the ballot, have been not lucky in getting good places for the introduction of private Members' Measures, and therefore their Bills in all probability will not come before Parliament this Session. But there are many Bills of great urgency which do need to be discussed. The Second Reading Debates on Fridays are of enormous importance, not only to the people who introduce Bills, but for the purpose of educating Parliament as a whole on various questions. Take two questions which the Labour party wanted to introduce by way of private Bills this Session. We wanted to bring forward that old stager the Right to Work Bill, which we have brought in over and over again. No one can deny, whether they agree with the Bill or not, that it ought to be discussed in Parliament. If it is the rotten Measure which some Members suggest it is, by all means let us have it discussed. Undoubtedly public discussion of a Bill like that is useful both to the House and to the country. Then we wanted to bring forward a fresh Workmen's Compensation Bill. Next December the workmen's compensation question will become a matter of political importance in this country. Instead of getting 25s. a week, the workman's compensation will automatically fall to 20s., unless the Government think fit to bring in legislation to prevent it. We wanted to bring forward a Bill to put workmen's compensation on a sound basis. I think that that is a matter which should be debated in this House and voted upon. It ought not to be left solely for platform use in the country. In the interests of the Government Front Bench, the more discussion you have on these Measures in the House the better educated will become the whole House, and the better fitted will the subject be rendered for platform discussion in the country.
§ Mr. MOSLEY
The Leader of the House let fall one observation which left the impression on my mind that he considered the fact that hon. Members could comment freely on the Government mitigated in some degree the force of our objections to this Resolution. I think such a conception goes to the very root 1096 of the whole case. The idea now prevalent is that this House exists purely for the legislation of the Government of the day. That shows how we have drifted from its original function. This is not a matter of Parliamentary experience. The original function of this Assembly was far more to ventilate the grievances of the community than to pass legislation. The ventilation of cases of hardship and suffering, together with the dealing with finance, constituted almost entirely the original function of this House. It is therefore with increasing apprehension that all private Members witness a complete change in the whole complexion of this Assembly by the gradual and ever-increasing abrogation of the right of private Members to ventilate the grievances of their constituents. What is the position in which we are placed? We find ourselves in the same position year after year under almost every Government. The right hon. Gentleman's argument, I admit, proves that this offence is not confined to the present Government. But that argument redounds entirely to the advantage of the argument advanced by the Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge), that the time has arrived for recasting the business of this House. Every year we are confronted with two alternatives each of which is equally disastrous. We have to choose either the surrender of the rights of private Members or the surrender of our control over finance. I am not prepared to say that such a position can be avoided.
The right hon. Member for Peebles (Sir D. Maclean) has gone in great detail through the business before the House, and has pointed out that the meeting of this House was actually postponed for a week. It has been argued that the present position could have been avoided by an earlier meeting of Parliament. I think the time has arrived when the business of this House should be reconstituted, and our arrangements so altered as to prevent our being annually placed in this dilemma of either surrendering the rights of private Members and exercising the immemorial function of this Assembly the ventilation of grievances, or on the other hand losing our control over finance. This is a dilemma with which the House is confronted almost every year. I shall certainly choose not to sacrifice finance for the reason that I believe that to be a paramount issue 1097 before the country to-day. It is the one burning question that really counts, and is even more important than the preservation of the time-honoured rights of private Members. At the same time I think it desirable to place on record a most emphatic protest against the position in which we find ourselves, of being forced to choose between the two alternatives I have mentioned. I hope the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House will turn his attention to this matter, and will realise that it is of greater urgency and importance than one would be led to suppose from the remarks which fell from him.
§ Mr. G. BARKER
I wish to offer my strongest protest against this attempt of the Government to take the time of private Members. The questions with which the Government propose to deal during the present Session may be very important in themselves, but at the present time with the depression in trade under which we are labouring the people of this country—the great mass of the people—have only the remotest interest in those questions. Urgent and pressing social questions are being neglected entirely by the Government. The country is looking to the Government to meet the difficulties arising from the present industrial situation, and yet it is doing nothing at all to cope with the destitution and poverty that exist to an extent never before known in this country. Members on the Labour Benches are inundated with letters from their constituencies urging them to bring these questions before the House, but there is very little facility for the private Member to do anything of the kind, except in a casual way by dealing with matters in the way of question and answer. There is a question which touches this country from one end to the other, and that is the question of local governing bodies dealing with unemployment. Many of them are practically bankrupt at the present moment, and yet they are inundated with applications for relief. There is a Conference now sitting in London dealing with this question, but the Government makes no attempt to give any satisfaction to the House on this very grave and important matter. Private Members are anxious to bring it before Parliament, but time is too limited and they are unable to do anything.
1098 Then there is the question of housing, which is in a deplorable condition in the country. The Government are entirely ignoring it. I should like to take some Members of the Government into houses occupied by the working classes at the present time. Only a fortnight ago I was in a house which was occupied by no fewer than three families. Similar cases are to be found in almost every town and village throughout the country, and yet the Government entirely ignore the matter and make no attempt to deal with the great evil of overcrowding. Private Members would like to bring the matter before the House of Commons, but have no facility for doing so. Again, there is the question of the disabled soldier. Only the other day, in answer to a question I put, it was admitted by the Government that they had had resolutions from county councils and boards of guardians with reference to this matter, showing instances in which the disabled soldier, not having an adequate pension, had been compelled to apply to the guardians for relief. There is no opportunity for private Members to raise this question in Debate. Another question is in connection with the subsidences due to mining operations. The district from which I come is the most heavily rated in the United Kingdom and yet they are now being mulcted in hundreds of pounds' expenditure owing to the subsidences caused by mining operations. This question has been before the House on a number of occasions, but the Government are ignoring it entirely, and depriving every private Member of any opportunity to bring it before the House.
Then there is the question of the imprisonment of destitute men for non-payment of arrears of Income Tax. It is astounding to-day, when hundreds of thousands of men are unemployed, that many have been ruthlessly seized, taken from their homes, and thrust into prison because they had not paid arrears of Income Tax. It is utterly impossible for them to pay those arrears. To these questions and many others, the Government turn a deaf ear. They are devoid of any remedy for these evils, but are using the time of the House for remote Imperial purposes instead of looking after the interests and the welfare of the people of this great country. Therefore, I offer the strongest opposition to this Motion, and I hope that private Members, espe- 1099 cially those who sit on the Back Benches, and who may rise 50 times before they catch Mr. Speaker's eye, will oppose, in the strongest possible way, the action of the Government in thus filching time from the private Member.
I join with the strong—but not, as some people have suggested, cynical—protest which has been made against the Government's plan with regard to the time of this House. This is a private Members' Session. Were it not for the private Members of the House, we should not be in Session at all; there would have been no further Session of this Parliament. The Government, as we understood, or, at any rate, important sections of the Government, were for dissolving Parliament this month, and were it not for the fact that, as one has gathered, a prominent private Member of this House laid the opinion of a number of other private Members before certain Members of the Government, we should have been dead and buried, some of us, long ago. Therefore, if, as between the Government and the private Members, there is to be any sort of claim, the private Members ought to have the preference. I am not going into the question who was the criminal who threatened this act of assassination upon the House. There have been assertions and counter assertions on that point, and it would not be proper for me to enter into these domestic questions, but we have a Scottish Member of this House to thank for the fact that we are here at all. I do not, therefore, see what claim the Government has upon the House. Besides, I do not think all the Members of the Government are united in claiming the time of the House, because I have only seen one wing of the Government represented on the Front Bench all this afternoon; the other wing seem to have said to my hon. and gallant Friend who is there: "It is your funeral, so make the best of it." I do not see any of the so-called Coalition Liberal Members of the Government here at all. I do not call them National Liberal members yet, because I am not at all sure that they have paid their 33⅓ per cent. duty for importing that name from Germany. I commend that to my hon. Friend the Secretary of the Overseas Trade Department.
1100 I was very sorry to see that the right hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury), whom I have always regarded, even before I came to this House, as the champion of the private Member, has fallen from grace to-night. I used to look upon him as my idol as a House of Commons man, but I find that even House of Commons idols have feet of clay, and I am sorry to say that my faith in the right hon. Baronet as an out-and-out House of Commons man has been considerably undermined this afternoon. The right hon. Baronet attacked the private Member for misusing the time of the House on Fridays. I quite admit that I have used some moments on Friday afternoons in discussing Bills of which I knew very little, in order that I might prevent the right hon. Baronet from coming on with some of his Bills, of which I knew a good deal, but I think it is very ungracious of the right hon. Baronet, who has occupied a good deal of time on Friday afternoons in this House, to try and prevent other private Members from bringing forward questions in which they are interested, and many of which have been mentioned this afternoon. Some wild accusations have been made as to the way in which private Members waste the time of the House, but this Government—and I am not talking of the merits of their legislation at all—have wasted more of the time of this House than all the private Members for the last generation. Think of the time we spent in this House and in Committee on various Bills which were to be the foundation of the new world with which this Government was going to provide us. How many hours and days were spent on the Ministry of Transport Bill, which is now going to be scrapped? Then there was the Agriculture Bill, which is going to be scrapped.
Then with regard to houses, I have been in Committee on, I think, about a dozen Housing Bills. In fact, almost as many Bills have been passed as there have been houses built, but they are all on the scrap heap now. All that time has been wasted, and wasted not only in passing Bills but in repealing them. There is one Act, I must admit, which, like the last rose of summer, is left blooming alone—the Safeguarding of 1101 Industries Act; but I sometimes hear threatenings that even that Act, upon which we spent so many valuable days of the time of the House, is likely to go upon the scrap heap also, because I am not at all sure that everyone will regard it as consistent with what one section of the Government regard as full-blooded free trade. I have just mentioned these points to show that the charge that private Members waste the time of the House has no foundation, and that those who make this charge are themselves living in the glassiest of glass houses. There are many questions which private Members could bring forward with great advantage on Friday afternoons. I have some pet schemes of my own which I could bring forward on a Friday afternoon, but if this sort of thing goes on, I shall have no chance until some other good assassin arises and threatens the life of this Parliament, when we may he plunged in a General Election, and may have to put up with whatever means may be available for steering on the stormy seas on which we may be launched. I join in protesting against this greedy Government absorbing all the time of the House, and not even leaving the pet lamb of Fridays for the private Member, who, as I have said, has done less by a long way in regard to wasting the time of the House than has the Government.
§ Mr. CHARLES EDWARDS
I only want to say one word in support of this Amendment. There is one thing which would make an Amendment of this sort unnecessary, and the Government would not require to put down their Motion if it were carried out—I mean the curtailment of the length of the speeches to which we have to listen in this House. Yesterday we had seven hours' Debate, and I think that in that Debate only nine or ten hon. Members took part. It took such a course that, although we are 72 Members on this side, not one of us had a chance to speak. We had speeches of an hour's duration. That was quite unnecessary and uncalled for, and I think that the Standing Orders of the House ought to be so revised as to limit the length of speeches to, say, twenty minutes, or half an hour if you like. If the discussion on a Bill took the same time as it does at present, it would at least be more interesting, because many more hon. Members would take part in it. This Motion would also be rendered unneces- 1102 sary if the Government would, first of all, consider what they are bringing in, and whether there is to be any permanency about it. I was here in December, 1920, when we were asked to sit until twelve, one, two, and three o'clock in the morning to get the Agriculture Bill. That Measure was on the Statute Book for some six months, and then another period of time was taken up in getting it off again. It is about time that the Government knew their business or studied their business before introducing matters of that kind. At any rate, If should like to see the length of the speeches curtailed. We complain about not being able to catch Mr. Speaker's eye, but I complain that when you have caught Mr. Speaker's eye you can talk as long as you like. It would be less boring to the House, and business would be done more effectively, if this suggestion were carried out.
I am against the taking of Fridays by the Government. There are matters of great importance which have been brought forward and which we want to bring forward again, and we are deprived of that privilege, at least until Easter. There is, for instance, the question of mothers' pensions. There are hon. Members in every party in the House who have backed that suggestion, and I wonder whether they are going to support the Government or to support our Amendment, which will give the right at least to discuss that matter once again. Then, in connection with Old Age Pensions, there are cases in which people are deprived of pensions because they have taken advantage of friendly societies in the past, or sometimes because employers pay them a pension. That is one of the things which we want to discuss, and which ought to be discussed from the point of view of the old people of this country. Again, a Bill has been introduced on two occasions, relating to what is a very serious matter for many people, namely, compensation for subsidence caused by underground workings. That is a matter which ought to be discussed again.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is now saying what has been already said several times over in the present Debate.
§ Mr. EDWARDS
That is quite correct, Mr. Speaker, but I have not said it before, and I wanted to emphasise the necessity of retaining Fridays for these purposes. 1103 I do not think the question of mothers' pensions has been mentioned before, and I am not sure that subsidence has. [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes!"] I am sorry. I think we ought at least to retain Fridays, and it is quite possible to do so, and at the same time for the Government to get through all the business they want to get through. We are told that not many Bills are to be introduced this Session, and I think they ought to get through very well without asking for the whole of the time of the House. In conclusion, I should like again to press the point that the' Standing Orders of the House should be so amended, and in my opinion improved, as to curtail the length of speeches. That would give the Government all the time they want, and a little more.
§ 7.0. P.M.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
My experience of this House is very limited, and it may, perhaps, seem presumptuous on my part to discuss this Motion. I should like to approach this problem from a somewhat different angle. I can say, without any fear of challenge, that probably every new Member in this particular Parliament will be struck by at least two features of the House. The first is that there is a very distinct impression left upon one's mind of the extraordinary measure of domination exercised by the Cabinet over the deliberations of the House as a whole. Everyone outside the House appreciates that this measure of control which the Cabinet has been exercising over the House has been extraordinarily on the increase since the year, say, 1914. The second point is that at the present time there is a very remarkable disparity in numbers between the respective strengths of the Coalition parties and of the parties on this side of the House. That has a very definite bearing on the point now before the House, for this reason, that the greater the majority of the Government of the day the greater is the need for every care on the part of that Government not to override the private rights of the Members of the minority parties. Private Members on the other side, who follow the Government, have perhaps opportunities of placing their views in writing before individual members of that Government, but Members on this side have no such opportunity. Therefore, 1104 their only chance of bringing before the House in a formal way any legislation they desire the House to discuss is by means of private Members Bills.
I should like to draw attention to an important development which is taking place in the mind of the country, and especially of the working classes, in these days relative to the function of Parliament. An inevitable consequence of this tremendous disparity in numbers is that at the moment large numbers of the working classes have an idea that whatever may be done or may be attempted by individual members of the Labour party is absolutely useless on account of the overwhelming majority on the opposite side of the House. There is, therefore, a remarkable revulsion of feeling against Parliament as such, as an instrument for social work which is much more far-reaching, probably, than a large number of hon. Members of this House appreciates. I will show presently what the feeling on this point is. It happened to be my lot not very long ago to be spending a week-end in one of the teeming valleys of South Wales. I was invited by a friend to go to a neighbouring hall, which happened to be more or less a shed, and to meet a number of young people who were discussing public affairs. I should estimate that the company there numbered not less than between 50 and 60 young fellows about my own age. I venture to say there was not one single man in that hall—they were discussing for the moment some problem of philosophy—who would not have told me that standing for Parliament was a hopeless business from top to bottom. At the bye-election at which I stood for Parliament—it is important. that hon. Members on the other side should understand this point of view, for they will be living in an entire fool's paradise if they ignore it—in the bye-election in August last a candidate was put up to defend this particular point of view. The point of view put forward was that on account of the helplessness of the individual Member of this House Parliament had long since ceased to be of any use, and they said, therefore, that on account of this helplessness, and because of his subjection to a Parliamentary machine, the inevitable thing for the working classes to do was to scrap Parliament and to erect some kind of industrial organisation.
§ Mr. JONES
The point of my argument is that if private Members' rights are to be invaded in the way now proposed by the Government, that obviously will mean another stroke in favour of the kind of philosophy which says that Parliament has long since ceased to have regard to the rights of the private Member. I am really putting forward the point of view of people outside. I can only advance the argument, if hon. Members on the other side will provide the brains to understand it. We are sent to the House of Commons to try to express the views of our constituents. Individual Members on this side of the House have cited various points of legislation which they think deserve support and attention from Parliament. One thing which everyone will agree deserves attention is the question of granting the franchise to women on precisely the same terms as it is given to men. Everyone will agree that that is a necessary democratic measure, which requires to be passed into law. There is no chance of getting it adopted formally as a Government Measure, but the individual Member should have an opportunity of ventilating what is possibly with some hon. Members at present an unpopular point of view. They should have a chance, at least, of getting it discussed and ventilated in the House.
§ Mr. JONES
That is only another reason why it should be presented once more. After all, the folly of yesterday very often becomes the wisdom of to-day. That is the history of all legislation. What was regarded as foolish yesterday becomes the merest wisdom to-morrow. Without detaining the House any longer may I put this point; that in the interests of Parliament itself and for the purpose of reviving the confidence of the people in Parliament, the private Member who seeks to do what he can to ventilate the grievances of his own constituents ought to have an opportunity accorded him, through the medium of private Bills, of bringing forward legislation in regard to matters which he considers ought to be dealt with?
§ Sir GODFREY COLLINS
The Lord Privy Seal, replying to the argument of the right hon. Member for Peebles (Sir D. Maclean), offered to make one or two concessions. We pressed on him and on the attention of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury this one simple point—that new votes for Supplementary Estimates should not be taken after 11 o'clock at night—
§ Sir G. COLLINS
This Amendment, if it is carried, will read:That on Tuesdays and Wednesdays until the end of the financial year, Government Business do have precedence at every Sitting.That is after 11 o'clock. Supplementary Estimates ought not to be taken after 11 o'clock at night, and it is on that point that I am anxious to address one or two observations to the Lord Privy Seal.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I think the hon. Member is wrong. This Amendment is only to except Fridays from the proposed Order of the Government.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 69; Noes, 2431109
|Division No. 5.]||AYES.||[7.12 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Finney, Samuel|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Galbraith, Samuel|
|Bell, James (Lancaster, Ormskirk)||Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Gillis, William|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Glanville, Harold James|
|Bramsdon, Sir Thomas||Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)|
|Bromfield, William||Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Edwards, G. (Norfolk, South)||Grundy, T. W.|
|Cairns, John||Entwistle, Major C. F.||Hartshorn, Vernon|
|Hayday, Arthur||Newbould, Alfred Ernest||Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)|
|Hayward, Evan||O'Grady, Captain James||Watts-Morgan, Lieut-Col. D.|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Widnes)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Wedgwood, Colonel Joslah C.|
|Hirst, G. H.||Rendall, Atheistan||White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)|
|Hogge, James Myles||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Wignall, James|
|Holmes, J. Stanley||Robertson, John||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)|
|Irving, Dan||Rose, Frank H.||Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Royce, William Stapleton||Wilson, James (Dudley)|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Sexton, James||Wilson, Rt. Hon, J. W. (Stourbridge)|
|Lawson, John James||Shaw, Thomas (Preston)||Wintringham, Margaret|
|Lunn, William||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Swan, J. E.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Mills, John Edmund||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Murray, Dr. D, (Inverness & Ross)||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Myers, Thomas||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)||T. Griffiths and Mr. W. R. Smith.|
|Naylor, Thomas Ellis||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Ford, Patrick Johnston||McMicking, Major Gilbert|
|Armitage, Robert||Foreman, Sir Henry||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.|
|Armstrong, Henry Bruce||Forestier-Walker, L.||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick W.||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.|
|Balfour, Sir R. (Glasgow, Partick)||France, Gerald Ashburner||Mallalieu, Frederick William|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Manville, Edward|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. G. (Glas., Gorbals)||Gange, E. Stanley||Marriott, John Arthur Ransome|
|Barnett, Major Richard W.||Gee, Captain Robert||Meysey-Thompson, Lieut.-Col. E. C|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Middlebrook, Sir William|
|Barrand, A. R.||Gilbert, James Daniel||Mildmay, Colonel Rt. Hon. F. B.|
|Bartley-Denniss, Sir Edmund Robert||Glimour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John||Molson, Major John Elsdale|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Glyn, Major Ralph||Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J.|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Gray, Major Ernest (Accrington)||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.|
|Bonn, Capt. Sir I. H., Bart. (Gr'nw'h)||Greig, Colonel Sir James William||Morrison, Hugh|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. Frederick E.||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert|
|Birchall, J. Dearman||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Murchison, C. K.|
|Borwick, Major G. D.||Hallwood, Augustine||Murray, John (Leeds, West)|
|Boscawen, Rt. Hon. Sir A. Griffith-||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Murray, William (Dumfries)|
|Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.||Hamilton, Major C. G. C.||Neal, Arthur|
|Brassey, H. L. C.||Hancock, John George||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Hanna, George Boyle||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Harmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton)||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Broad, Thomas Tucker||Henderson, Lt.-Col. V. L. (Tradeston)||Norman, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Henry|
|Bruton, Sir James||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John|
|Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.||Hickman, Brig.-General Thomas E.||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Hohier, Gerald Fitzroy||Palmer, Major Godfrey Mark|
|Burdon, Colonel Rowland||Hope, Sir H. (Stirling & Cl'ckm'nn, W.)||Palmer, Brigadier-General G. L.|
|Burgoyne, Lt.-Col. Alan Hughes||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry|
|Butcher, Sir John George||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike|
|Campbell, J. D. G.||Hunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster)||Peel, Col. Hn. S. (Uxbridge, Mddx.)|
|Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Hunter-Weston, Lieut-Gen. Sir A. G||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Carr, W. Theodore||Hurd, Percy A.||Philipps, Sir Owen C. (Chester, City)|
|Casey, T. w.||Hurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B.||Pickering, Colonel Emil W.|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Inskip, Thomas Walker H.||Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Birm., Aston)||Jephcott, A. R.||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Birm. W.)||Jodrell, Neville Paul||Pratt, John William|
|Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood)||Johnson, Sir Stanley||Prescott, Major Sir W. H.|
|Chilcot, Lieut.-Com. Harry W.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G.|
|Clough, Sir Robert||Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly)||Purchase, H. G.|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Kellaway, Rt. Hon. Fredk. George||Rae, H. Norman|
|Coote, Colin Reith (Isle of Ely)||Kenyon, Barnet||Ramsden, G. T.|
|Cope, Major William||Kidd, James||Randies, Sir John Scurrah|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Ratcliffe, Henry Butler|
|Cowan, Sir H. (Aberdeen and Kin[...].)||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, East)|
|Croft, Lieut.-Colonel Henry Page||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Rees, Capt. J. Tudor- (Barnstaple)|
|Dalziel, Sir D. (Lambeth, Brixton)||Larmor, Sir Joseph||Reid, D. D.|
|Davies, Sir David Sanders (Denbigh)||Law, Alfred J. (Rochdale)||Remer, J. R.|
|Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)||Renwick, Sir George|
|Dean, Commander p. T.||Lewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)||Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend)|
|Dockrell, Sir Maurice||Lindsay, William Arthur||Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)|
|Doyle, N. Grattan||Lloyd-Greame, Sir P.||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tlngd'n)||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Edwards, Hugh (Glam., Neath)||Lorden, John William||Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Loseby, Captain C. E.||Rodger, A. K.|
|Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M||Lowther, Maj.-Gen. Sir C. (Penrith)||Royds, Lieut-Colonel Edmund|
|Falcon, Captain Michael||Lyle, C. E. Leonard||Rutherford. Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)|
|Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||McCurdy, Rt. Hon. Charles A.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Farquharson, Major A. C.||Macdonald, Rt. Hon. John Murray||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Flides, Henry||Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachie)||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Fitz Roy, Captain Hon. Edward A.||McLaren, Hon. H. D. (Leicester)||Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|Fiannery, Sir James Fortescue||M'Lean, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. W.||Scott, Sir Samuel (St. Marylebone)|
|Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)||Taylor, J.||Williams, C. (Tavistock)|
|Shaw, William T. (Forfar)||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)||Willoughby, Lieut.-Col. Hon. Claud|
|Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)||Wilson, Col. M. J. (Richmond)|
|Simm, M. T.||Thorpe, Captain John Henry||Wise, Frederick|
|Smith, Sir Harold (Warrington)||Tickler, Thomas George||Wood, Major Sir S. Hill (High Peak)|
|Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander||Townley, Maximilian G.||Woolcock, William James U.|
|Stanley, Major Hon. G. (Preston)||Tryon, Major George Clement||Worsfold, T. Cato|
|Stanton, Charles Butt||Turton, Edmund Russborough||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.||Waddington, R.||Yate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward|
|Strauss, Edward Anthony||Wallace, J.||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Sturrock, J. Leng||Walton, J. (York, W. R., Don Valley)||Young, E. H. (Norwich)|
|Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser||Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.||Young, Sir Frederick W. (Swindon)|
|Sugden, W. H.||Weston, Colonel John Wakefield|
|Surtees, Brigadier-General H. C.||Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Sutherland, Sir William||White, Col. G. D. (Southport)||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.|
|Sykes, Sir Charles (Huddersfield)||Wild, Sir Ernest Edward||Dudley Ward.|
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ Mr. T. GRIFFITHS
I beg to move, at the end of the Question, to add the wordsat which the Estimate presented to this House on 7th February is put down as the first Order of the Day and then proceeded with.The Leader of the House has promised to try to meet those who are opposed to the Resolution, and I think he ought to accept this Amendment. It is no more than a protective Amendment. We agree that it is absolutely essential that these Supplementary Estimates should be carried through the House before the end of the financial year, and we want sufficient time to examine and scrutinise the Estimates that are submitted to the House, and we ask the Government that unless Estimates are put on the Order Paper for the Tuesday and for the Wednesday and for the Friday that the private Members should get the Tuesday evening and. Wednesday evening for their Motions and Friday for their private Bills. The Leader of the House has just stated that no Bills will be introduced between now and 31st March unless they are urgent Bills. We appeal now to the Leader of the House to accept this Amendment. That would prove his sincerity in so far as his promises are concerned. I therefore move this Amendment.
I could not accept the Amendment which the hon. Gentleman has moved, and I do not think that, when I have submitted my reflections upon it, he will himself desire to persist in it. There is one other Supplementary Estimate presented besides that which was presented on the 7th, and all that he says in relation to the priority to be given to the existing Supplementary Estimates 1110 could be said in regard to the Additional. I should say that this is an Army Supplementary Estimate of charges which have only just matured for payment, though incurred a long time ago. It is an excess Estimate for the transport home of troops withdrawn from the further theatres of war where they have been detained. That ought to go pari passu in his Amendment. I have another and more serious objection. It would prevent our using any of the occasions derived from what, but for this Motion, would be private Members' time, for making progress with the Irish Bill, and I am sure the hon. Gentleman does not mean to do. that.
We have, allotted provisionally, in expectation of this Motion, to-morrow and Friday for the Irish Bill. We shall be absolutely unable to conclude the Second Reading of the Irish Bill on Friday if his Amendment were carried. I know he and his friends are anxious that the Bill should go through with the greatest possible expedition, and I hope, in view of the explanation I have offered, he will consent to withdraw his Amendment.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
Whatever may be the technical defects of the Amendment, it raises the question whether Supplementary Estimates are going to be taken, at a late hour of the night or are not?
On a point of Order. Is it in order to discuss upon this Amendment, which confines the Motion to occasions when a Supplementary Estimate is put down at the, opening of business and is proceeded with, the question of whether any business should be proceeded with after 11 o'clock?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I think it would not open the way for an argument on that question. As I understand the right hon. Gentleman's remark, this Amendment would have the effect that precedence should only be given to the Government on days on which Estimates were set down as first orders. The right hon. Gentleman could not argue the point, but I think he might be allowed to ask a question.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
The Leader of the House apparently regards this question as a rather difficult and dangerous one for him, and I do not blame him for trying to stop any questions.
Is that quite fair? The question has been put to me, and I have already answered it with perfect candour and frankness.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
I am sorry a private interjection was made, because I was going to say at once that if the right hon. Gentleman, who is not at all a bad judge of fairness, thinks I have been unfair to him, I am going to withdraw—
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
—and to ask my question once again, which the Speaker has permitted to do, whether we can take it, not as an absolute pledge, but as an agreed understanding that Supplementary Estimates will not be taken after 11 o'clock at night. That is all I want to know.
This Motion gives me no power to take Supplementary Estimates after 11 o'clock, except on Reports of Supply. In order to obtain that power, I should have to come to the House and take its decision again. My desire is to avoid taking any Estimates, or the urgent Bills, after 11 o'clock if I possibly can. I will do my best to secure it, but I cannot give an absolute pledge. If the necessary business does not require the time which I am securing for it, a fortiori we shall not try to take it after 11 o'clock, but if it prove that more time be required I would sooner sit once or twice after 11 o'clock than have to face the House with a time-table and an automatic guillotine. I think it would be the lesser of the two evils to sit once or twice after 11 o'clock, but I hope it will not be necessary, and I will do my best to avoid it.
§ Mr. T. GRIFFITHS
The Leader of the House suggested that it was impossible to accept the Amendment on account of the Irish Bill. I agree. We want to assist the Government in getting this Irish Bill through as expeditiously as possible. Will he give us a promise that, outside the Irish Bill, no other unimportant Bill shall he placed on the Order Paper before the Estimates on the Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays?
I have already said I will not use the time taken from private Members except for Estimates, financial business, getting the Speaker out of the Chair, the Consolidated Fund Bill, and that sort of thing, except for urgent financial business and other Bills which are urgent in point of time. I will not use it for the general programme of the Government where there is no point of urgency in getting a particular Bill passed, so long as it is passed in the course of the Session. I think the pledge I have already given covers what my hon. Friend really asks for.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I beg to move, at the end of the Question, to add the wordsbut such time as is taken from private Members up to the end of the financial year shall be restored to them as soon as may be afterwards.If the professions of the Government are really to be taken at their face value, we have surrendered our private Members' time in order to get the finance through, but we may rightly ask that the time we have surrendered should be restored to us when the pressure of work is over. Up to 31st March we shall sacrifice six or seven Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. We ask to have those dates given back to us after 31st March in the form of an extension of the number of Fridays which are normally given to private Members after Whitsuntide, and an extension of the number of Tuesdays which are given up to Whitsun. At present Tuesday is a private Members' evening up to Easter. We think we are right in asking for that up to Whitsuntide, as we have lost it up to Easter. If we cannot get our days back before Whitsuntide, after that date we 1113 might also have Tuesday and Wednesday evenings for private Members' Resolutions. It is pretty obvious that there is not very much work for the Government to do this Session. We hear stories of an early Dissolution as soon as the Government can get through its work. Perhaps it would be as well if private Members were able to voice the views of their constituents before a Dissolution rather than on the hustings at the Dissolution, and it would be an advantage that matters in which we are interested should be discussed. But the main point is this: The Government, to their own regret, according to their own statement, have had to take private Members' time during this financial year. If they are in earnest in regretting that, they can put everything right by restoring to private Members, after 31st March, the days they have taken from them before 31st March.
§ Mr. G. LOCKER-LAMPSON
I beg to second the Amendment.
I do not in the least want to be unreasonable. Everyone recognises the fairness of the course my right hon. Friend proposes, and I am sure if he can make a concession he will do his best to so. He has made one concession, but I really want to know what it amounts to. He has told us that if any of these days are not taken up by Government business he will give them back to private Members, and after all he has told us the Government have an enormous amount of business to get through, and they must take the time of the House. Therefore what really does the concession amount to? Does he himself think there is the slightest chance of one or two or three of these days being given back to private Members? I do not believe it for a moment. I think he has made this concession in the goodness of his heart, hoping that it may come true, but I do not believe for a moment it will materialise. The Standing Orders rule the whole of cur procedure. In the very forefront of them are these privileges to private Members. Standing Order 4 says:Government Business shall have precedence at every Sitting except at a quarter past 8 on Tuesday and Wednesday and the Sitting on Friday. At a quarter past 8 on Tuesday and Wednesday Notices of Motion and Public Bills other than Government Bills shall have precedence of Government Business, and any Government Business then under consideration shall, without Question put, be postponed.1114 The very fact that that Standing Order is in the forefront of the whole of our Standing Orders shows what enormous importance has been attached to the rights of private Members. I feel that unless we make a stand here and now every year Ministers will come down, in perfect good faith, and propose that that Standing Order shall be wiped out. As private Members we cannot afford to let that Standing Order become a dead letter, because if we treat this as a precedent, year after year, exactly the same thing will happen, and we shall in the future continue to lose our private Members' rights before Easter. I handed in an Amendment to give one day after Easter in return for what we are giving up before the end of the financial year. Cannot my right hon. Friend give us something in exchange for what he has taken from us? I hope he will, because a great many private Members feel most strongly that during the last few years their rights have gradually been whittled away.
I will repeat what I said earlier in the evening as to the use to which the time will be put. My hon. Friend asked me whether I think the concession I have made has any value. It has this value, that it guarantees the House against the, abuse of the Motion by the Government for non-urgent business. Whether it will result in its being available to private Members depends upon private Members. If the right hon. Gentleman opposite is right in thinking that my estimate of the time required for the discussion of this financial business is altogether exaggerated, there will be time. If, on the other hand, the House prefers to discuss at length the financial business of the Government and urgent Bills, rather than to forego part of that discussion in order to get back their private Members' time, my concession will result in no return of private Members' time. The object of the Amendment is to secure that that which is taken from private Members before the end of the financial year shall be made good after the end of the financial year. I have dealt with that subject already. I said the, experiment had been tried two years ago. Then the time was taken up to Easter, not up to the end of the financial year, and when my right hon. Friend was pressed to repeat the experi- 1115 ment he urged the House not to take that course. As the best answer to what the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment have said, I will read the words of my right hon. Friend on that occasion. Substitute the financial year for Easter, and they hold absolutely good:I am sure that I shall be asked to make up after Easter for the time now taken from private Members. I hope the House of Commons will not agree to that for this reason: We did it last year, and the giving of this extra time later in the Session was part of the reason for the congestion which followed in the business during the whole of the Session. I am sure it will be necessary, if we are compelled to take private Members' time now, not to extend it beyond Easter. Indeed, I think"—I venture to call the attention of right, hon. and hon. Members opposite to what follows—and I hope the House will agree that if there be time to spare for a general discussion of finance the wishes of the House as a whole will be better met by giving opportunities for discussion of subjects which are desired by the House than by leaving those questions to the accident of the ballot. I think the House will give the Government credit for always trying to find time for the discussion of any subject which is desired by a large number of Members, and we shall continue to do that."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd February, 1921; cols. 797–798, Vol. 138.]Private Members' days provide, really, almost the only chance of recreation which the Leader of the House gets. Private Members' Motions not infrequently afford to the Leader of the House an opportunity, which others enjoy more frequently, of occasionally taking his dinner outside these precincts. I have at least as much interest in preserving these private Members' days as any Member of this House, and it is only because I am convinced that public business requires this sacrifice that I ask the House to agree to the Motion. I should add that although there is no great contentious Measure, there are more small departmental Bills which must be passed this Session, or which it is desirable to pass this Session, than hon. Members appear to appreciate.
§ Mr. HOGGE
I was not at all impressed by the arguments used in the speech of my right hon. Friend's predecessor. Take the point upon which my right hon. Friend laid most stress, namely, the statement that it is far better to leave it to the Government to 1116 provide time which the House asks for rather than to the accident of the ballot to which Members are entitled. My right hon. Friend is an experienced Parliamentarian and a very excellent Leader of the House, but I venture to challenge him to name the days which the Government have given to a general demand more than he can count on the fingers of his right hand inside of a single Session. Over and over again the Government have denied a day for discussion which has been afterwards forced by 40 Members on a question of urgency arising out of a question put in the House. It is like extracting blood out of a stone to get a day for the discussion of any particular subject. The value of the ballot is this, however transient the luck of a particular Member may be, that the Government cannot destroy the chance of a private Member in the ballot. That belongs to us, and if any private Member has the good fortune to get a place in the ballot, it means that on a Tuesday or a Wednesday he has two and a half hours in which to elaborate and adumbrate the particular subject in which he is interested. More than that, it means that a responsible Minister has to be here twice during the week to answer for his particular Department. If there is one thing that the House of Commons has a right to complain of—present company excepted, because I do not make this criticism of the Leader of the House, who fulfils his functions on that Bench in regard to time and everything else—is that one of the most difficult things is to secure the presence of Ministers in this House to listen to particular discussions. Twice a week the private Member, who has no other power, has the right to have a Minister here in order that he may reply to the discussions.
The second point covered by the Leader of the House in his quotation of his predecessor's argument was that the experiment was unsuccessful, and that there was repeated at a later period of the Session precisely the same difficulty. That was not the fault of private Members, but the fault of the Government, and of the methods the Government take in introducing their Bills. As a Parliamentarian, pure and simple, I believe the right hon. Gentleman will agree with me that one of the greatest causes of delay 1117 in this House is due to the fact that the Government never take the Second Reading of their big King's Speech Bills before Easter, and that the later you throw the Second Reading of cardinal Measures, you are bound to have at the end of the Session, on the Floor of this House, a crowd of first-class Measures coming for Report and Third Reading. I see that the Patronage Secretary to the Treasury, with whom I have discussed this subject on many occasions, agrees with me thoroughly. He knows that to be true, and every hon. Member knows it to be true. It is not the fault of the private Member, but of the Leader of the House. He ought to be able to restrain his Ministers up to a point, and the Ministers ought to be able to control their Departments so that we could have these Measures discussed in sufficient time, in order to avoid the congestion of business at the later part of the Session. Therefore, the two arguments resurrected from the speech of the late Leader of the House do not impress me.
One thing seems obvious. My right hon. Friend seems to be quite adamant on this particular point. He will remember that between Easter and Whitsuntide we have a Wednesday and we have two Fridays after Whitsuntide for winding up private Bills which have got to the stage where they have a chance of getting through. Private Members are going to lose their Fridays up to Easter. That means that no private Members who have the luck of the ballot will be able to make any headway with their Bills.
§ is unlikely to make any progress with his Bill. If private Members are willing to give up Fridays between Easter and Whitsuntide, will the right hon. Gentleman restore Tuesday night for the discussion of Resolutions? I am making this offer entirely on my own initiative. The Government would get Friday, a full day, and we should get Tuesday evening. We have the Wednesday between Easter and Whitsuntide, and we should get 2½ hours every Tuesday. The Government in getting Friday would not only have a full day but a better day, now that we meet at 11 o'clock than when we met at 12 o'clock. That would be 7 weeks of 2 hours, which would only amount to 14 hours, less than two effective Parliamentary days. The Leader of the House is going to refuse to give to the private Member the equivalent of two days' Parliamentary time between Easter and Whitsuntide. If that is the case, it is a ridiculous position. It is a monstrous thing that we should be reduced to the position of the Leader of the House refusing to give the private Members the equivalent of two Parliamentary days for discussion of private Members' Motions. The exigencies of public business are not such that such action is necessary. If the right hon. Gentleman would adopt my suggestion, he would meet us fairly, and he would get a full day on Fridays, which is a much more effective Friday than ever he had before.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 211; Noes, 66.1119
|Division No. 6.]||AYES.||[7.59 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Barnett, Major Richard W.||Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Barnston, Major Harry||Brittain, Sir Harry|
|Amery, Leopold C. M. S.||Barrand, A. R.||Broad, Thomas Tucker|
|Armstrong, Henry Bruce||Bartley-Denniss, Sir Edmund Robert||Bruton, Sir James|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com, Frederick W.||Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Buchanan, Lieut. Colonel A. L. H.|
|Atkey, A. R.||Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.|
|Ba[...]our, George (Hampstead)||Birchall, J. Dearman||Burdon, Colonel Rowland|
|Balfour, Sir R. (Glasgow, Partick)||Borwick, Major G. O.||Burgoyne, Lt-Col. Alan Hughes|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood.||Boscawen, Rt. Hon. Sir A. Griffith-||Campbell, J. D. G.|
|Barlow, Sir Montague||Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.||Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. G. (Glas., Gorbals)||Breese, Major Charles E.||Carr, W. Theodore|
|Casey, T. W.||Hurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B.||Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, East)|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Inskip, Thomas Walker H.||Remer, J. R.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Birm., Aston)||Jephcott, A. R.||Renwick, Sir George|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Birm., W.)||Jodrell, Neville Paul||Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend)|
|Chilcot, Lieut.-Com. Harry W.||Johnson, Sir Stanley||Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)|
|Clough, Sir Robert||Johnstone, Joseph||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Coats, Sir Stuart||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly)||Robinson, s. (Brecon and Radnor)|
|Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Kellaway, Rt. Hon. Fredk. George||Rodger, A. K.|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Kenyon, Barnet||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Coote, Colin Reith (Isle of Ely)||Kidd, James||Royds, Lieut.-Colonel Edmund|
|Cope, Major William||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Rutherford, Colonel Sir J. (Darwen)|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)|
|Daizlel, Sir D. (Lambeth, Brixton)||Larmor, Sir Joseph||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Davies, Sir David Sanders (Denbigh)||Law, Alfred J. (Rochdale)||Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|Davies, Sir Joseph (Chester, Crewe)||Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)||Scott, Sir Samuel (St. Marylebone)|
|Dean, Commander P. T.||Lewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontyprldd)||Seager, Sir William|
|Dockrell, Sir Maurice||Lloyd-Greame, Sir p.||Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)|
|Doyle, N. Grattan||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n)||Shaw, William T. (Forfar)|
|Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Lorden, John William||Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)|
|Edwards, Hugh (Glam., Neath)||Loseby, Captain C. E.||Simm, M. T.|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Lowther, Maj.-Gen. Sir C. (Penrith)||Smith, Sir Harold (Warrington)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.||Macdonald, Rt. Hon. John Murray||Stanley, Major Hon. G. (Preston)|
|Falcon, Captain Michael||Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachie)||Stanton, Charles Butt|
|Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||McLaren, Hon. H. D. (Leicester)||Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.|
|Farquharson, Major A. C.||M'Lean, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. W.||Strauss, Edward Anthony|
|Flides, Henry||McMicking, Major Gilbert||Sturrock, J. Leng|
|FltzRoy, Captain Hon. Edward A.||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Sugden, W. H.|
|Flannery, Sir James Fortescue||Mallalieu, Frederick William||Surtees, Brigadier-General H. C.|
|Ford, Patrick Johnston||Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)||Sutherland, Sir William|
|Foreman, Sir Henry||Manville, Edward||Sykes, Sir Charles (Huddersfield)|
|Forestier-Walker, L.||Meysey- Thompson, Lieut. Col. E. C.||Taylor, J.|
|Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Middlebrook, Sir William||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Molson, Major John Elsdale||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)|
|Gange, E. Stanley||Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J.||Thorpe, Captain John Henry|
|Gee, Captain Robert||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Tickler, Thomas George|
|Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.||Tryon, Major George Clement|
|Gilbert, James Daniel||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert||Waddington, R.|
|Goulding, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward A.||Murchison, C. K.||Wallace, J.|
|Gray, Major Ernest (Accrington)||Murray, John (Leeds, West)||Walton, J. (York, W. R., Don Valley)|
|Green, Albert (Derby)||Murray, William (Dumfries)||Ward, William Dudley (Southampton)|
|Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)||Neal, Arthur||Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.|
|Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. Frederick E.||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)||Weston, Colonel John Wakefield|
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)||Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.|
|Hallwood, Augustine||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||White, Col. G D. (Southport)|
|Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Norman, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Williams, C. (Tavistock)|
|Hamilton, Major C. G. C.||Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John||Wilioughby, Lieut.-Col. Hon. Claud|
|Hancock, John George||Palmer, Brigadier-General G. L.||Wise, Frederick|
|Hanna, George Boyle||Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry||Wood, Major Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Harmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike||Woolcock, William James U.|
|Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Pael, Col. Hon. S. (Uxbridge, Mddx.)||Worsfold, T. Cato|
|Henderson, Lt.-Col. V. L. (Tradeston)||Perkins, Walter Frank||Worthlngton-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Pickering, Colonel Emli W.||Yate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward|
|Hood, Sir Joseph||Pratt, John William||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Hope, Sir H. (Stirling & Cl'ckm'nn, W.)||Purchase, H. G.||Young, E. H. (Norwich)|
|Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Rae, H. Norman|
|Hudson, R. M.||Ramsden, G. T.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Randles, Sir John Scurrah||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.|
|Hunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster)||Rankin, Captain James Stuart||McCurdy.|
|Hurd, Percy A.||Ratcliffe, Henry Butler|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Grundy, T. W.||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hartshorn, Vernon||Sexton, James|
|Bell, James (Lancaster, Ormskirk)||Hayday, Arthur||Shaw, Thomas (Preston)|
|Bramsdon, Sir Thomas||Hayward, Evan||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Bromfield, William||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Widnes)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Hirst, G. H.||Swan, J. E|
|Cairns, John||Holmes, J. Stanley||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Irving, Dan||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Thorne, w. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lawson, John James||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. D.|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Lunn, William||Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwelity)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)|
|Edwards, G. (Norfolk, South)||Maclean, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(Midloth[...]an)||Wignall, James|
|Entwistle, Major C. F.||Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross)||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)|
|Finney, Samuel||Myers, Thomas||Wilson, James (Dudley)|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Naylor, Thomas Ellis||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Stourbridge)|
|Gillis, William||Newbould, Alfred Ernest||Wintringham, Margaret|
|Glanville, Harold James||O'Grady, Captain James||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Graham, R. (Nelson and Colne)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central).||Robertson, John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Rose, Frank H.||W. R. Smith and Mr. Hogge.|
§ Question put accordingly, "That those words be there added."1122
§ The House divided: Ayes, 70; Noes, 205.1123
|Division No. 7.]||AYES.||[8.8 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Hartshorn, Vernon||Robertson, John|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertlitery)||Hayday, Arthur||Rose, Frank H.|
|Bell, James (Lancaster, Ormskirk)||Hayward, Evan||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Bramsdon, Sir Thomas||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Widnes)||Sexton, James|
|Bromfield, William||Hirst, G. H.||Shaw, Thomas (Preston)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Hogge, James Myles||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Cairns, John||Holmes, J. Stanley||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Irving, Dan||Swan, J. E.|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Johnstone, Joseph||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Lawson, John James||Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)|
|Edwards, C (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. D.|
|Edwards, G. (Norfolk, South)||Lunn, William||Wedgwood, Colonel Joslah C.|
|Entwistle, Major C. F.||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)|
|Finney, Samuel||Maclean, Rt. Hn. Sir D. (Midlothian)||Wignall, James|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Mosley, Oswald||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)|
|Gillis, William||Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross)||Wilson, James (Dudley)|
|Glanville, Harold James||Myers, Thomas||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Stourbridge)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Naylor, Thomas Ellis||Wintringham, Margaret|
|Graham, R. (Nelson and Colne)||Newbould, Alfred Ernest||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)||O'Grady, Captain James||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|T. Griffiths and Mr. W. R. Smith.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Doyle, N. Grattan||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Larmor, Sir Joseph|
|Amery, Leopold C. M. S.||Edwards, Hugh (Glam., Neath)||Law, Alfred J. (Rochdale)|
|Armstrong, Henry Bruce||Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick W.||Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.||Lewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)|
|Atkey, A. R.||Falcon, Captain Michael||Lloyd-Greame, Sir P.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tlngd'n)|
|Balfour, Sir R. (Glasgow, Partick)||Farquharson, Major A. C.||Lorden, John William|
|Banner, sir John S. Harmood-||Flldes, Henry||Lowther, Maj.-Gen. Sir C. (Penrith)|
|Barlow, Sir Montague||FitzRoy, Captain Hon. Edward A.||Macdonald, Rt. Hon. John Murray|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. G. (Glas., Gorbals)||Flannery, Sir James Fortescue||Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachle)|
|Barnett, Major Richard W.||Ford, Patrick Johnston||McLaren, Hon. H. D. (Leicester)|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Foreman, Sir Henry||M'Lean, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. W.|
|Barrand, A. R.||Forestier Walker, L.||McMicking, Major Gilbert|
|Bartley-Denniss, Sir Edmund Robert||Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Mallalieu, Frederick William|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Gange, E. Stanley||Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)|
|Birchall, J. Dearman||Gee, Captain Robert||Manville, Edward|
|Borwick, Major G. O.||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Meysey-Thompson, Lieut.-Col. E. C.|
|Boscawen, Rt. Hon. Sir A. Griffith-||Gilbert, James Daniel||Middlebrook, Sir William|
|Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.||Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John||Molson, Major John Elsdale|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Goulding, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward A.||Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Gray, Major Ernest (Accrington)||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Green, Albert (Derby)||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.|
|Broad, Thomas Tucker||Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.|
|Bruton, Sir James||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. Frederick E.||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert|
|Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Murchison, C. K.|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Hallwood, Augustine||Murray, John (Leeds, West)|
|Burdon, Colonel Rowland||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Murray, William (Dumfries)|
|Burgoyne, Lt.-Col. Alan Hughes||Hamilton, Major C. G. C.||Neal, Arthur|
|Campbell, J. D. G.||Hancock, John George||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)|
|Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Hanna, George Boyle||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)|
|Carr, W. Theodore||Harmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton)||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Casey, T. W.||Henderson, Lt.-Col. V. L. (Tradeston)||Norman, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Henry|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. sir John|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Birm., Aston)||Hood, Sir Joseph||Palmer, Brigadier-General G. L.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Birm. W.)||Hope, Sir H.(Stirling & Cl'ckm'nn, W.)||Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry|
|Chilcot, Lieut.-Com. Harry W.||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike|
|Clough, sir Robert||Hudson, R. M.||Peel, Col. Hon. S. (Uxbridge, Mddx.)|
|Coats, Sir Stuart||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Hurd, Percy A.||Pickering, Colonel Emil W.|
|Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Hurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B.||Pratt, John William|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Insklp, Thomas Walker H.||Purchase, H. G.|
|Coote, Colin Reith (Isle of Ely)||Jephcott, A. R.||Rae, H. Norman|
|Cope, Major William||Jodrell, Neville Paul||Randies, Sir John Scurrah|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Johnson, Sir Stanley||Rankin, Captain James Stuart|
|Dalziel, Sir D. (Lambeth, Brixton)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Ratcliffe, Henry Butler|
|Davies, sir David Sanders (Denbigh)||Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly)||Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, East)|
|Davies, Sir Joseph (Chester, Crewe)||Kellaway, Rt. Hon. Fredk. George||Remer, J. R.|
|Dean, Commander P. T.||Kidd, James||Renwick, Sir George|
|Dockrell, Sir Maurice||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend)|
|Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)||Stanley, Major Hon. G. (Preston)||Weston, Colonel John Wakefield|
|Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)||Stanton, Charles Butt||Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.|
|Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Strauss, Edward Anthony||White, Col. G. D. (Southport)|
|Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)||Sturrock, J. Leng||Williams, C. (Tavistock)|
|Rodger, A. K.||Sugden, W, H.||Willoughby, Lieut.-Col. Hon. Claud|
|Roundell, Colonel R. F.||Sutherland, Sir William||Wise, Frederick|
|Royds, Lieut.-Colonel Edmund||Sykes, Sir Charles (Huddersfield)||Wood, Major Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Rutherford, Colonel sir J. (Darwen)||Taylor, J.||Woolcock, William James U.|
|Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)||Worsfold, T. Cato|
|Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Thorpe, Captain John Henry||Yate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward|
|Scott, Sir Samuel (St. Marylebone)||Tickler, Thomas George||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Seager, Sir William||Tryon, Major George Clement||Young, E. H. (Norwich)|
|Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)||Waddington, R.|
|Shaw, William T. (Forfar)||Wallace, J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)||Walton, J. (York, W. R., Don Valley)||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.|
|Simm, M. T.||Ward, William Dudley (Southampton)||McCurdy.|
|Smith, Sir Harold (Warrington)||Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.|
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ Several hon. Members rose—1124
§ Question put accordingly. "That, until the end of the financial year, Government business do have precedence at every Sitting."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 199; Noes, 66.1125
|Division No. 8.]||AYES.||[8.15 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Edwards, John H. (Glam., Neath)||Lloyd-Greame, Sir P.|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tlngd'n)|
|Amery, Leopold C. M. S.||Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.||Lorden, John William|
|Armstrong, Henry Bruce||Falcon, Captain Michael||Lowther, Maj.-Gen. Sir C. (Penrith)|
|Astbury, Lieut-Com. Frederick W.||Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||Macdonald, Rt. Hon. John Murray|
|Atkey, A. R.||Fildes, Henry||Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachie)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||FitzRoy, Captain Hon. Edward A.||McLaren, Hon. H. D. (Leicester)|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Flannery, Sir James Fortescue||M'Lean, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. W.|
|Barlow, Sir Montague||Ford, Patrick Johnston||McMicking, Major Gilbert|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. G. (Glas., Gorbals)||Foreman, Sir Henry||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.|
|Barnett, Major Richard W.||Forestier-Walker, L.||Mallalleu, Frederick William|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)|
|Barrand, A. R.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E||Manville, Edward|
|Bartley-Denniss, Sir Edmund Robert||Gange, E. Stanley||Meysey-Thompson, Lieut.-Col. E. C.|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Gee, Captain Robert||Middlebrook, Sir William|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Molson, Major John Elsdale|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Gilbert, James Daniel||Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J.|
|Birchall, J. Dearman||Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Borwick, Major G. O.||Gray, Major Ernest (Accrington)||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.|
|Boscawen, Rt. Hon. Sir A. Griffith-||Green, Albert (Derby)||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.|
|Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.||Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. Frederick E.||Murchison, C. K.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Murray, John (Leeds, West)|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Hallwood, Augustine||Murray, William (Dumfries)|
|Broad, Thomas Tucker||Hamilton, Major C. G. C.||Neal, Arthur|
|Eruton, Sir James||Hancock, John George||Newman, Colonel J. R. p. (Finchley)|
|Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.||Hanna, George Boyle||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Harmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton)||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Burdon, Colonel Rowland||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C (Kent)||Palmer, Brigadier-General G. L.|
|Burgoyne, Lt.-Col. Alan Hughes||Henderson, Lt.-Col. V. L. (Tradeston)||Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry|
|Campbell, J. D. G.||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike|
|Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Hood, Sir Joseph||Peel, Col. Hn. S. (Uxbridge, Mddx.)|
|Carr, W. Theodore||Hope, Sir H.(Stirling & Cl'ckm'nn, W.)||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Casey, T. W||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Pickering, Colonel Emit W.|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Hudson, R. M.||Pratt, John William|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Birm., Aston)||Hurd, Percy A.||Purchase, H. G.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Birm., W).||Hurst, Lieut-Colonel Gerald B.||Rae, H. Norman|
|Chilcot, Lieut.Com. Harry W.||Inskip, Thomas Walker H.||Ramsden, G. T.|
|Clough, Sir Robert||Jephcott, A. R.||Randies, Sir John Scurrah|
|Coats, Sir Stuart||Jodrell, Neville Paul||Rankin, Captain James Stuart|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Johnson, Sir Stanley||Ratcliffe, Henry Butler|
|Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Johnstone, Joseph||Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, East)|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Remer, J. R.|
|Coote, Colin Reith (Isle of Ely)||Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly)||Renwick, Sir George|
|Cope, Major William||Kellaway, Rt. Hon. Fredk. George||Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend)|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Kenyon, Barnet||Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)|
|Dalziel, Sir D. (Lambeth, Brixton)||Kidd, James||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Davies, Sir David Sanders (Denbigh)||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Davies, Sir Joseph (Chester, Crewe)||Lambert, R1. Hon. George||Robinson, S, (Brecon and Radnor)|
|Dean, Commander P. T.||Larmor, Sir Joseph||Rodger, A. K.|
|Dockrell, Sir Maurice||Law, Alfred J. (Rochdale)||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Doyle, N. Grattan||Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)||Rutherford, Colonel Sir J. (Darwen)|
|Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Lewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)||Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)|
|Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Sykes, Sir Charles (Huddersfield)||Williams, C. (Tavistock)|
|Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Taylor, J.||Willoughby, Lieut.-Col. Hon. Claud|
|Seager, Sir William||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)||Wise, Frederick|
|Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)||Wood, Major Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Shaw, William T. (Forfar)||Thorpe, Captain John Henry||Woolcock, William James U.|
|Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)||Tickler, Thomas George||Worsfold, T. Cato|
|Simm, M. T.||Tryon, Major George Clement||Worthington-Eyans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Smith, Sir Harold (Warrington)||Waddington, R.||Yate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward|
|Stanley, Major Hon. G. (Preston)||Wallace, J.||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Stanton, Charles Butt||Walton, J. (York, w. R, Don Valley)||Young, E. H. (Norwich)|
|Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.||Ward, William Dudley (Southampton)|
|Strauss, Edward Anthony||Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Sturrock, J. Leng||Weston, Colonel John Wakefield||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.|
|Sugden, W. H.||Wheler, Col. Granviile C. H.||McCurdy.|
|Sutherland, Sir William||White, Col. G. D. (Southport)|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Hartshorn, Vernon||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hayday, Arthur||Sexton, James|
|Bell, James (Lancaster, Ormskirk)||Hayward, Evan||Shaw, Thomas (Preston)|
|Bramsdon, Sir Thomas||Hirst, G. H.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Bromfield, William||Hogge, James Myles||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Holmes, J. Stanley||Smith, W R. (Wellingborough)|
|Cairns, John||Irving, Dan||Swan, J. E.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lawson, John James||Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Lunn, William||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. D.|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwelity)||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.|
|Edwards, G. (Norfolk, South)||Maclean, Rt. Hn. Sir D. (Midlothian)||White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)|
|Entwistle, Major C. F.||Mosley, Oswald||Wignall, James|
|Finney, Samuel||Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness and Ross)||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Myers, Thomas||Wilson, James (Dudley)|
|Gillis, William||Naylor, Thomas Ellis||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Stourbridge)|
|Glanville, Harold James||Newbould, Alfred Ernest||Wintringham, Margaret|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||O'Grady, Captain James||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Graham, R. (Nelson and Colne)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Robertson, John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Rose, Frank H.||Arthur Henderson and Mr. G.|
That until the end of the financial Year, Government Business do have precedence at every Sitting.