- 1. "That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £10, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1922, for meeting the Deficiency of Income from Fees, etc., for the requirements of the Board of Trade, under the Bankruptcy Act, 1914."
- 2. "That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £601,200, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1922, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Committee of Privy Council for Trade and Subordinate Departments, including certain Services arising out of the War and Grants-in-Aid."
§ First Resolution read a Second time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."
§ Mr. MOSLEY
Can we be informed whether or not the fees paid to these country receivers include War bonus? I understand the War bonus is allocated to these country receivers, and that impresses me as a very remarkable transaction. The House is aware that these country receivers are in most cases not Government officials but private lawyers, who are employed by the Government on a commission or fee basis. To pay War bonus to lawyers who are employed on a purely commission basis by the Government seems to me to be altogether unjustifiable. War bonus is an allowance in respect of the cost of living, an allowance made, whether rightly or wrongly, to 1985 permanent civil servants to enable them to meet the obligations of a period of great economic difficulty and stress. To apply that War bonus to men who are not permanent civil servants but ordinary practising lawyers, employed on occasion by the Government on a commission basis, is a procedure which cannot possibly be justified. Does the hon. Member representing the Board of Trade know of any case of a private individual employing a lawyer who pays him a War bonus, who gives him a little tip in consideration of the difficulties of the times, and empties his pockets in compassion for the poor lawyer in order that he may be remunerated over and above his current scale of charges? What conceivable justification does the Government give for this most extraordinary transaction? I do not know how long it has been continued. I have never heard any argument in justification of it. I imagine that this Estimate does actually contain money so paid as a War bonus, and I would like the hon. Gentleman to say whether that is a fact, and if so to justify such an extraordinary transaction.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of TRADE (Sir W. Mitchell-Thomson)
Perhaps it would save time if I say at once that I am wholly unable to identify any single item by way of fees paid to receivers which corresponds in any degree with War boons.
§ Mr. MOSLEY
In the original Estimate the hon. Gentleman will find that War bonus was paid. I should like to know—
§ Mr. MOSLEY
I saw that the hon. Member wanted to interrupt me and I sat down. He said that it might save time—presumably time which I might occupy in making a speech—if he intervened, and I, accordingly, gave way. If the hon. Gentleman will look at the original Estimate, as I did this morning, he will find that War bonus was allocated to these gentlemen. I would be obliged if he would say whether War bonus is actually included in the amount which we are now invited to vote, and, if so, whether he will justify it.
§ Mr. FRANCE
The right hon. Gentleman who is responsible for this increase in the Estimates apparently is the Postmaster-General, because if he looks at the Vote, he will see a saving, which is perfectly legitimate, in stationery and printing, as the charges naturally have come down with other charges. Had that been allowed to operate, there would have been no Supplementary Estimate, but the charge for postage has gone up from £1,400 to £3,000, so that the enemy of this Department is the Postmaster-General, who sits apparently in amity alongside the President of the Board of Trade, who is responsible for this Department. The President of the Board of Trade should consider how much his Department has been damaged by the excessive charges for postage, which are so important to the business community, and join with the business interests in appealing to the Postmaster-General to reduce speedily the very heavy and ridiculous charges, so that the Board of Trade will not have to come to the House of Commons to make up the deficiency caused by turning what was a profit into a loss.
§ Mr. HOGGE
If the Parliamentary Secretary will look at Sub-section D in the original Estimates, dealing with County Receivers who are paid by fees, he will find an estimated amount of bonus totalling £4,500. Personally, I do not know the merits of the question, but obviously my right hon. Friend must either be misinformed or has not noticed the point, and therefore has not replied to the point raised by the hon. Member for Harrow (Mr. Mosley). If he looks further up to Sub-section C, he will see that bonus is treated there also, but that does not come into the Supplementary Estimate. But the bonus does come into that which is included in the estimate. The point was raised yesterday, and we have not had a sufficient explanation yet. The Parliamentary Secretary referred to the increased sum for postage and the increase of £9,000 for stationery and printing. Yesterday we got some figures from mon hon. Friend opposite, in which he proved to the House that the most substantial business in which the Government had been engaged during the past year was in making people bankrupt, that instead of the 1,500 they bankrupted last year, some 3,500 have been bankrupted this year by the efforts of the Government. 1987 That is an increase of slightly over 100 per cent., and it is the one successful piece of work on which we can congratulate the Government, though it has taken more than twice the amount of money to do twice the amount of business. But if we look further into these figures as to the increased cost of stationery and printing, they cannot be explained by a rise in prices, because everybody connected with these trades knows that the price of paper has fortunately gone down, and the price of printing also, and, when we are attempting to save money on those estimates, we ought to get an explanation as to this particular item. There is no explanation given except that the increase in stationery and printing is due to the great increase in the bankruptcy business. I did not know that that was a profession at all. Apparently the Government do go in for a business in bankruptcy. I see that they practically include the cost of supplying London Gazettes. Evidently the circulation of this popular paper among bankrupts has gone up from 6,000 to 15,000. While we are all willing to congratulate the Government on its one successful Department, we want to know the details of the increase in expenditure.
§ Sir W. MITCHELL-THOMSON
In answer to the question put by my hon. Friend opposite as to Subhead D, I cannot add anything more than I said last night. I then stated simply the facts. The facts are that, owing to the large increase in what the hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge) calls bankruptcy business in the number of bankruptcies, there has been a consequent large increase in the amount of printing work. That accounts for a considerable amount of the £9,000. Taking the arithmetical relation which the hon. Gentleman drew between the increase in the number of bankruptcies, 120 per cent., and the increase in this particular item, 150 per cent., the balance, 30 per cent., is accounted for by the other items, increase in Stationery Office account, and increase in local printing rates.
§ Mr. FRANCE
Does my hon. Friend mean that the charge of the Stationery Office for printing is higher than it was?
§ Sir W. MITCHELL-THOMSON
I mean exactly what I say. The Stationery Office charges with regard to certain bankruptcy matters have risen unex- 1988 pectedly during the course of the year, or rather we underestimated the number of bankrupts, and we have had to incur more expenditure than we expected in the printing of documents. In answer to the question of the hon. Member for Harrow (Mr. Mosley) with regard to war bonus, the misapprehension has arisen, I think, from the fact that there are country receivers who are actually paid by fees and commission, and in their case there is no suggestion that they should draw a war bonus; but in the category of country receivers there is a certain number who are paid by salary and not by fees, and these people follow the ordinary practice of the service and draw war bonus.
§ Sir R. COOPER
In a sense this may be a comparatively small matter, but it does seem to me important that we should have a little more explicit knowledge as to what the increase in printing and stationery is actually due to. This is only one of many items, involving an expenditure of £5,000,000 or £6,000,000. Is it a fact that this item has been increased by increased charges, either in country receivers who are actually paid by fees and commission, and in their case I suggest that the matter ought not to be allowed to rest where it is, and that the hon. Gentleman ought to make careful inquiry, because I suggest to him that there is not any increase in local printing rates in any part of the country, and that there ought not to be any increase, if that is so, in the rates charged by the Stationery Office.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Second Resolution read a Second time.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I beg to move to leave out "£601,200," and to insert instead thereof "£600,200."
I move this reduction because of the lack of reply by the President of the Board of Trade to certain questions which were put to him last night. I am not dealing with the questions on which he begged privilege, about price, and so on, which, he said, would interfere with the closing or alteration of the contract in force for the purchase of Australian spelter. But certain questions were put which would not have affected that side of the business, and which called for an answer. First, who signed the final contracts? We were told that these negotiations began towards the end of 1916, and that 1989 the contract was signed in 1917 and 1918. But the whole thing is and always has been very vague. Information was dealt out to us in a parsimonious manner. An attempt was made by the Government to foist this business on to Mr. Runciman. That is a sign that they are in a tight place. Whenever there is some murky patch in their war time finance, an attempt is made to attribute it to Mr. Runciman's agreement with the railways and so on. The other sure sign of something wrong is that they bring in the Paris Resolutions. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade trotted out the Paris Resolutions, which have become a sort of forged marriage lines for Coaliton Liberals, always brought out to make them appear to be honest people. Who concluded the final contract? Was it Mr. Runciman, or some successor in the Government that overthrew and succeeded that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith)? This matter is always being brought up and misrepresented to the public. I know that the President of the Board of Trade does not want to lend himself to misrepresentations by certain unscrupulous agents of his colleagues in the Government in the country, who set out to blacken the characters of the men who bore the early days of the War, not altogether without honour. Therefore I think it is due to us to get an answer to that question.
Another question which was not answered last night dealt with a very interesting subject, namely, the capital sum of £500,000 which was put into some factory at Avonmouth for making zinc concentrates or turning spelter into whatever spelter is turned into. I am not an expert and I do not pretend to have any technical knowledge, but I do know that this sum of £500,000 should be accounted for. It was put into this factory at Avonmouth which is, I think, somewhere in Wales. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"] In any case the whole contract appears to have been a Welsh contract from beginning to end. I gather it was made by Welshmen on both sides. I am not, however, bringing any charge in regard to that; my present charge is only one of reticence as to the truth. This £500,000 I am informed and believe, on the good authority of people in the trade, was put into this factory at some period. What has happened to that factory and to the 1990 £500,000? Who has got away with the "boodle?" This matter has never been discussed and this is practically a new service and we are entitled to an answer. I hope the right hon. Gentleman is not going to ride off on the excuse that because it is not mentioned in the Vote he will not answer any questions about it. It is because it is not mentioned in the Vote that we have a right to drag it out of him on the Floor of the House and to get an answer to the question as to when sanction was obtained for this.
§ Lieut.-Colonel ARCHER-SHEE
Is the hon. and gallant Member entitled to discuss this question of the £500,000 for Avonmouth, when it is not in the Vote at all?
§ Colonel P. WILLIAMS
Before Mr. Speaker gives his ruling, may I ask, is it not in order for my hon. and gallant Friend to discuss this, because this Vote is also for "Expenses incidental thereto," that is, incidental to the Australian contract. The cost of Avonmouth is part of the Australian contract. Had there been no contract there would have been no Avonmouth.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
May I also draw attention to the fact that in last night's Debate the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade, when introducing the Vote, pleaded for some latitude. This has never been discussed in the House, and is a very large sum of money. I think we are entitled to ask for answers to questions which were put with the consent of the Chair.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. and gallant Member is quite entitled to ask whether there is any consequential expenditure, in addition to what is shown in this Vote relating to the same subject. It would follow, of course, that if there be a sum of money which will appear somewhere else, in some other Vote, he should not go into the question in detail. As far as this question is concerned, I think the hon. and gallant Member is in order so far.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
I do not wish to get out of order, but, it is quite easy to keep within order on this Vote and draw attention to some very peculiar transactions. What has happened to this £500,000? Is it totally lost or will there be some final account 1991 to write off against future losses on our zinc purchases? In addition to the two questions which I have mentioned, there were two other points which were not sufficiently stressed last night. The President of the Board of Trade, we are told, is exploring the situation. It is admitted we have got a bargain which is nut turning out very profitable, and he is going to attempt to get some relief for the British taxpayer. It must be remembered that during the time when this loss was incurred there was a prolonged strike in the Australian mines, and the production went down very considerably—I believe as much as 50 per cent. It is quite, possible within a year, when the dispute is settled in Australia, and the output has gone up again, that we may be asked not for £600,000 but for a million or more. That being the case, I understand the right hon. Gentleman is going to approach this matter to see if he cannot get some arrangement made, either by paying a capital sum to get out of the contract, or some other amicable arrangement.
I am not suggesting that we should break any contract with the Australian Government or with the zinc producers, but I wish to point out that the reason we made this arrangement was a patriotic reason. We were told it was our duty to capture, German trade. It was all put on the highest plane of patriotism. When we have lost heavily and when we find ourselves burdened with an immense annual sum, are we not entitled to appeal once more on the high plane of patriotism? Are things so different in 1922 to what they were in 1917 when this contract was entered into? Since it was done for purely patriotic reasons and since Mr. Hughes was, as we have every reason to believe, doing this simply to assist this country and to assist the prosecution of the War, cannot the right hon. Gentleman appeal to him on the same ground, to come to some decent arrangement to relieve the British taxpayer? If not, we shall pay, but we shall know what value to attach to these protestations of super-patriotism in the future. Nobody more than myself wishes for the closest and most amicable arrangements with our kin in Australasia, but if we are still bound to this contract to our great loss and hurt, I would ask is it true that we are not insisting on the payment of interest on 1992 the Australian debt at the present moment? I do not say we should do so. The whole financial world is out of joint, but it is an extraordinary thing if we are going to be allowed to pay this enormous and increasing sum—
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
Very possibly. I was not quite certain about that. If the hon. Gentleman says so I accept it as far as the interest is concerned, but what of the debt itself?
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
Then I should have thought that this heavy payment might help to a rather more expeditious arrangement. However, that, is not a matter into which I wish to go too closely. This contract was entered into, in the fervour of wartime excitement, like the phosphates contract and many other contracts with the Australian Government. We are quite entitled to remind them of the spirit in which this contract was entered into, and to ask for some relief. We find ourselves in the impasse that we are forced to take the output of the Australian mines even though it means throwing our own people out of work in this country, closing down zinc and lead mines in this country, and causing great loss to the British taxpayer. When we find ourselves in that position we are entitled to consider the fact—which the right. hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well—that this was part of the policy of injuring German trade after the War. It was part of the war after the War. Surely to goodness this one more example ought to show even to hon. Members on the other side of the House that these attempts are only boomerangs which hit back at our own people. This is only one of many examples which we have had in the last two or three years. The Germans did a good business in this way, and we determined to take it away, and it is costing us dear. It proves once more that if you injure German trade you are injuring trade itself, and if you injure trade itself you injure British trade. The men who are out of work and the ruined mine owners in this country and the British taxpayer will take some poor consolation in the fact that at last we 1993 are beginning to understand that the whole policy of injuring trade only boomerangs back and hurts our own people every time. This particular case of the Australian spelter should be brought home to the people of this country. They are beginning to understand it, and I wish to goodness hon. Members opposite were as far advanced in their understanding of this matter as the ordinary workman in the street or out of employment to-day.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I beg to second the Amendment.
Yesterday I asked my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade whether the dates given on page 7 of the Estimate were correct. He told me they were correct. As far as I can understand what has taken place is this: Somewhere about the year 1916, or a little earlier, a company in Australia had a contract with the Germans. Mr. Hughes, I understand, said he would not break that contract with the Germans unless a contract was made with this private company by our Government to take their goods. I would point out that, if this is true, it was extremely unpatriotic and quite wrong on the part of Mr. Hughes to say he would not break the contract with the enemy. I do not quite see how it was possible to make or carry on a contract with the enemy at the time, but the Government apparently entered into negotiations with a view to coming to an agreement with this private company. I do not want to question the conduct of the Australians, but it would seem that it was not very patriotic if this is the case. The negotiations took place, and I agree that it was necessary to come to some arrangement to get this particular product, which was most essential to carrying on the War, but those negotiations did not come to a head until the 23rd April, 1917. On that date, of course, the present Government were in power, and no contract was signed until then. Therefore the present Government are responsible for entering into the contract. There is no use in saying there were negotiations before. That has got nothing to do with it. They could have been broken off or cancelled up to the actual signing of the contract.
Having admitted that under the circumstances it was necessary for the Government to come to some sort of 1994 arrangement, may I point out that April, 1917, was not very far off the conclusion of the War, and therefore what was the necessity for making an agreement, not for the duration of the War, but until 1930? I can understand the Australian company saying: "We will break our contract with the Germans if you will secure that we do not lose any money by it," and I can understand the Government, as they were in an awkward position, agreeing to that, but I cannot understand how any company could have asked, or any Government agreed, to continue this contract until 1930. It seems to me perfectly incredible that such a thing should have been done. I believe the facts that I have narrated are correct, and therefore, if we are going to blame anybody, the persons to blame are the present Government for having entered into an improvident contract for such a very long period.
Whether or not it is advisable to get out of this bargain, I cannot say. My experience of business leads me to be of the opinion that as a rule it is not well to get out of a contract when prices are low. The public have a habit of buying things when they are high and selling when they are low, but that is quite a wrong way to do, and if there is a large fall in the price of these particular articles, though I very much deprecate the Government entering into business—and I do not blame this Government for not carrying on business in a profitable manner, as I do not believe any Government can carry on a private business—if they can get out, that being the fact, perhaps it would be better that they should do so; but, speaking with regard to ordinary commercial transactions, it is, I think, a mistake to sell your property, or your business, or your undertaking when prices are extremely low. I only rose because, if the facts are as I have narrated them—and I believe they are—the attention of the country ought to be drawn to the very improvident and extravagant manner in which the Government entered into this contract.
§ Mr. WIGNALL
I was deprived of the privilege of seconding the Amendment by the right hon. Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury), but we welcome him into our ranks, although in my view he is one of the villains of the play, because he was here at the time when 1995 the contract was entered into, and if that contract escaped the lynx eye of the right hon. Baronet and was allowed to go through without his knowledge, and without his demanding that it should be placed on the Table, I think he failed in his duty on that occasion, and the responsibility is largely his.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The contract was signed during the War, and it was quite impossible for any ordinary Member to interfere. The Government never submitted these contracts to the House.
§ Mr. WIGNALL
I thought I would get the right hon. Baronet on his feet. The ordinary man in the street knew at the time that this contract was being entered into, and the newspapers reported that such a contract was being made. I was myself a man in the street at that time, as I was not then a Member of this House, and I knew about it, but my difficulty was to know the particulars of the contract. We only had our information from a very vague report in the daily Press. I am sure the right hon. Baronet and his colleagues would be reading the newspapers at that time, and would certainly have heard something about some contract of this nature that the Government had entered into, and I wonder that he did not demand fuller particulars regarding it.
§ Mr. WIGNALL
The hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) spoke about works for £500,000. I can only say that Avonmouth is in England, and that it is falling to pieces like the Coalition Government itself. Turning to a more serious aspect of the question, it occurs to me that there must be two contracts existing, or else the provisions of the two are embodied in the one, because I understood that the contract entered into between the British Government and the representatives of the Australian people was to accept delivery of these concen- 1996 trates. The concentrates are the mineral, as I said last night, that comes out of the mines, being separated and made ready for conversion into spelter, and in these Supplementary Estimates there is a claim of £249,400 to make good the loss on the zinc concentrates. Then there is £52,500 for spelter, and it says under sub-head Q12:Provision to cover the estimated cost to His Majesty's Government of spelter which the Government may be required to take at market prices during 1921–22 under a contract entered into on 23rd April, 1917.That appears to me to be a distinct and separate contract from that under which you are compelled to accept the delivery of the 250,000 tons per annum of the zinc concentrates. The answer given last night, about the erection of the works in Australia, was that it was talked about but that it had never materialised. I want to know whether the item Q12, "Australian Spelter," is a separate contract, and, if so, is the acceptance of the delivery of the spelter the spelter that is manufactured out of the zinc concentrates that are delivered by the Australian mines? If that is so, how much is deducted out of the 250,000 tons which you are compelled to accept, making it a lesser quantity on account of the amount of spelter that you receive? It takes approximately 2½ tons of concentrates, with other mixtures, to make I ton of spelter. The President of the Board of Trade knows whether I am right or not, because he is an old hand at the business, and I am speaking of things that the right hon. Gentleman and I know something about, so that if this amount of spelter that you have had to take delivery of is manufactured out of the concentrates that come out of the Broken Hill mines, are you getting a proportionate reduction for the amount that is used in the manufacture of this huge quantity of spelter that costs this huge sum of money? If this is manufactured out of the zinc concentrates which is embodied in your contract, are you getting credit for that amount? If you are, you should get a very considerable reduction. If not, is it a distinct and separate contract that binds you to accept the spelter?
It is only this week that one of the spelter works in South Wales has commenced working after 21 months of idleness, and for nearly 10 months the whole 1997 of the spelter trade has been closed down, and not an ounce has been manufactured. In fact, it was last November when the first furnace was lighted, and there was not a very good result even from that. Now if this spelter is not embodied in the contract for the zinc concentrates, why enter into a separate contract to accept their spelter again in addition to the concentrates, because that makes the trouble very much greater? In the absence of the exact contract, we are beating about in the dark and seeking for information which we ought to have had before us. We know the market price of spelter, and we know perfectly well that when this contract was entered into spelter was selling at a market rate of about £55 ton, and it went up to £60. To-day it is down to £25 or £26 a ton. If your contract then was to take that spelter at £50 a ton, we will say, and you have got to sell it to-day to the manufacturers in the galvanising and other trades at the market price of £25 a ton, that accounts for the loss of the £52,500 mentioned in the Estimates. I should like to ask the President of the Board of Trade if he has entered into a distinct contract for the supply of spelter, what are the terms of that contract, what are the prices he agreed to pay, for how long is it, and what is the quantity he has got to accept. I said last night—and it has not been contradicted—that you are bound to accept 250,000 tons per annum of the concentrates, and the option to take more, which you will never exercise. How many thousands of tons of spelter have you got to take? What obligations are you under so far as spelter is concerned? If you have got to take it in the same proportion, then the loss is that much greater, and the outlook is very much more tragic than I thought it was before. The spelter trade in this country is an important industry, and if you have got to take the same proportion of spelter from the Australian makers as you have been taking in the past, and if you are under an obligation to accept delivery, that means that the whole of the spelter trade of this country is doomed for the next ten years. It was said last night that it was for a very limited time, and that under special conditions we were selling this ore to the Welsh makers for the manufacture of spelter. If you have to accept delivery—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I would point out to the hon. Member that he is repeating his own argument. He has already said the same thing three or four times.
§ Mr. WIGNALL
I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, but I was trying to emphasise, perhaps a little more than I ought, the importance of this contract to the trade. I feel very strongly on this matter, because I am in touch with the men, I live with them, and I know the sorrows of those who are affected by the contract. Although the taxpayer is badly hit as a result of the enormous amount he has to pay, yet the position of the man who has lost his occupation and means of livelihood, and who has a big black outlook before him for nine years is to me appalling. Perhaps my feelings have carried me away a little more than they ought under the circumstances. I only desire, and I have said it often enough to impress it upon his mind, that the President of the Board of Trade should give us a complete and definite answer to the question whether the Government have got to accept delivery, so that we may see to what extent it will affect the spelter trade in the future.
There is another question I wish to ask, upon which I did not get any clear information last night. Is it or is it not the fact that cargoes of the concentrates are being delivered and have been delivered at Antwerp and other ports for manufacture in other countries? There are a great many rumours about that a good many of these cargoes have found their way into Germany. I do not want to magnify this beyond saying that I do not know from whence the Germans can get their zinc concentrates unless they get them out of this deal, or from what other country they can receive supplies. I simply want to know if these cargoes are being diverted, and if spelter is being manufactured from these concentrates in Germany and put on the market in this country at a cheap rate at the present time. I have emphasised these points quite sufficiently, and I hope we shall get a very clear and explicit reply in order to remove any misapprehension that may be in our minds as to the exact position of the spelter trade as a result of this contract.
§ Colonel P. WILLIAMS
I rise to ask the President of the Board of Trade a question which I put to him last night, 1999 and to which in his very full answer he did not reply. What commitments have the Government entered into with regard to the transport of the concentrates from Australia to this country? Are they at liberty to cut their loss in Australia, or have they entered into long-dated contracts for the conveyance of the metal to this country, thereby compelling them to carry on their business further than merely receiving the concentrates in Australia? I cannot help thinking that they had better cut their loss as quickly as they can on the other side, and that they had better sell the concentrates to the trade for delivery free on board at the Australian ports in a similar way to that in which they have bought it from the Australian producers. With regard to the contract itself, I am of opinion that the Government of Great Britain has entered into a contract and that that contract must be carried out. I would rather the Government should stand to it at a loss than that they should repudiate their contract. I believe the proper method is to approach the Australian Government to see whether some arrangement cannot be made by which the contract could be cancelled on payment of reasonable and fair compensation. If that could be done our Government had far better get out of this contract. If possible, some arrangement might be made with the Australian Government by which our Government, in consideration of paying compensation to the Australian producers, should retain a call on the production of Australia in case of need; but I am quite certain that the Government had better give up the merchanting business of this material.
It was common knowledge that before the War the Germans were paying £2 a ton free on board in Australia for these concentrates, and to-day they are being sold in Antwerp at 75s. a ton delivered in Antwerp. If they are sold at that price, delivered, and if our Government are paying a freight of 50s. and large commissions on top of that, they must be making a very substantial loss and the sooner they wind up that branch of their business the better. This is an unfortunate contract. I do not think any good purpose can be served by harping back on it, but I beg of the Government not to dishonour the signature which is under that contract and not to attempt to take 2000 advantage of any such thing as a strike in the Australian mines No doubt there would be clauses in the contract to provide for strikes and lock-outs, and so on. If the deliveries have to be suspended during those periods of industrial trouble, and if they have to be resumed afterwards then our Government must abide by those terms and take delivery in accordance with their contract. It will do us greater harm if we allow our Government to repudiate n document to which they have set their hands than if we have to stand the loss that may accrue to this country by carrying it out.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Of course, the Government will have to abide by their contract; there is no doubt whatever about that. Although we support the Government in abiding by their contract, it is perfectly obvious that we are entitled to vote against them on this item as a protest against the contract having been made and against the results of that contract upon the home trade—results which they have taken no steps whatever to make good or to obviate. What struck me about the speech of the hon. Gentleman yesterday was principally the disingenous attempt he made to put the blame for this obviously stupid contract upon the Liberal predecessors of the right hon. Gentleman. He made great play with the fact that for six months this contract had been discussed between Mr. Hughes, Mr. McKenna, and Mr. Runciman. That was a purely disingenous argument. He knows perfectly well that the contract was signed by the Coalition Government in April, 1917, and it is the people who signed the document who are responsible for the terms. It is quite possible that these terms were discussed for months beforehand. In fact, I rather imagine that it took many months, even with the able advocacy of Mr. William Hughes, before he could get Ministers to consent to such terms, but obviously the people who signed must take responsibility.
This contract is an admirable example of the sort of thing that goes on during a war and the sort of way in which patriotism can be made to pay—to pay some people. Mr. William Hughes deserves all the credit for showing Australia how patriotism can be made to pay. These concentrates were being sold before the War under a long contract, if I understand it, to the German base 2001 metal owners at a price of 40s. a ton. Then patriotism reared its head in Australia and said, "We will no longer be bound to supply concentrates at 40s. a. ton to these alien enemies of ours, we will cancel the contract." They cancelled the contract and made a fresh one, not at 40s. a ton, but at £4 10s. a ton. Patriotism at 200 per cent.! As they had had plenty of experience of long contracts at the nominal figure of 40s. a ton, through the mouth of Mr. William Hughes they persuaded the Coalition Government to give them a 13 years' contract at £4 10s. per ton—£4 10s. for the first 100,000 tons, and £4 for the balance. I have heard a great deal of criticism of the C.W.S for managing to make a bad speculation in rubber. We are told that that is an example of the incompetence of the working people in this country to carry on business. They did lose money on rubber, but they are not losing it still. Their contract is not going to run until 1930. We have been told that the Dunlop management were incompetent, if not worse. They, too, made contracts ahead, and they managed to lose £8,000,000, but their contract is at an end. It is only the Coalition Government which has a 13 years' contract, which enables our losses to go on year after year for 13 years for the advantage of super-patriots on the other side of the world.
When the hon. and gallant Member for Hull was speaking he asked whether this debt of ours to the mine-owners in Australia could not be set off against interest due from Australia to this country on money loaned to Australia. He was told authoritatively and correctly from below the Gangway that Australia, I think, alone of our Colonies and Allies, had funded its debt and was paying us interest upon that debt. That is a very good lead which Australia has given, but I want to ask my right hon. Friend if there is included in that consolidated debt from Australia the £500,000 that was advanced by this country for building smelting works in Australia? I do not mean the Avonmouth Works, but the money spent on putting up works in Australia.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Oh. It was not advanced. In that case that point drops to the ground. The position then is 2002 simply that we are bound to go on for the next eight years paying large sums to these Australian mine-owners on this contract. I think we are entitled to ask for those figures which the hon. Gentleman could not give us. We are entitled to ask for some estimate as to the annual loss that is likely to be involved. We want to know what are the prospects under this contract. Naturally the right hon. Gentleman and any Member of the Coalition Government which is responsible for this contract will attempt to conceal from the country the probable losses under this contract. For the same reason we are entitled to press for those figures. At the present moment you are paying £4 10s. You are selling those concentrates, either in this country or in Germany—and they are almost certainly being sold in Germany—at a price, I understand, of 75s. a ton, or it may be 70s. a ton, whereas their cost delivered in this country must amount to over £8 a ton. In other words, there is a dead loss of nearly £5 a ton on every one of these 250,000 tons a year, which means a loss of £1,250,000 every year for the next eight years, unless trade recovers everywhere, there is a boom on the Continent, and they are able to increase the demand for spelter sufficiently to force up the price of the raw material. I am afraid that, under the administration and guidance of the present Government, there is little likelihood of that revival of trade on the Continent to call for that increased demand for spelter. Things may go worse than they are at present. The demand for spelter may fall, and we may lose more than £5 a ton. Let us know what our prospects of losses are for the next two or three years, and see that in future the Government budget for that loss, and not conceal it until the loss actually occurs.
There is another point I want to make in connection with this Vote. It is notorious that the mines in this country, which were attempting to produce concentrates in competition with the Australian mines, are absolutely ruined. I think they are all closed down. They cannot possibly supply their raw material at 75s. a ton, or anything near it. You have ruined those mines altogether. You are not prepared, I understand, to buy up their raw material at the same price, and I am not surprised. After all, when you are incurring a loss of £1,250,000, you do 2003 not want to increase it to £1,500,000 not even in order to be fair. You have a bad contract, and you mean to confine your bad contract to as small an area as possible. Quite right. But would it not be just as well to sell off the zinc concentrates you have got at any price? What I am afraid of is that you are banking up reserves which will prevent, at the end of the contract, these English mines ever restarting. Your reserves are accumulating. You are attempting to cut your loss as small as possible by banking up reserves. I think you had better go to the other extreme, and cut your loss, and let the raw material go on to the market at any sort of price possible. Let us see, at any rate, that, this disaster to the lead and zinc mining industry in this country is confined to as few years as possible, so that they are not faced at the end of this contract with gigantic reserves which will prevent these mines ever restarting. If we have this contract, trade in this country may as well get the advantage of it. We may as well supply the concentrates as cheaply as possible to the smelting industry of this country, and keep the smelting industry well developed here.
I thoroughly agree with the hon. and gallant Member for East Middlesbrough (Colonel P. Williams) that if this contract is to be carried out, let us carry it out in such a way that we do not hold up industry. The cheaper the raw material, the cheaper the finished goods. Let us see that we in England get the advantage of these cheaper goods, and, at any rate, do not try to ride both horses at once. Having ruined our producing mines, let us at least put the spelter upon the market at a price which enables the finishing trades to get their raw material cheaper, and to develop their industry in this country. But the point we wish to make is this. This contract is the result of superpatriotism. This contract is the result of Mr. William Hughes' incursion into this country. He made good terms for his people. The Coalition Government made bad terms for the people of this country, and, so long as you have people who combine patriotism with business, whether they be represented on the bench below the Gangway, or on that bench, the community is liable to be left to fall between two stools.
§ The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Baldwin)
I should like to remind my hon. and gallant Friend who has just spoken, in his capacity of Leader of the Labour party, of one fact, of which I should not have reminded him if he had not made such a bitter attack on the Government with regard to this contract, and that is, that when the contract was signed, Members of his party were also Members of the Coalition, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Widnes (Mr. A. Henderson) was a Member of the War Cabinet. I said last night in my speech that it really now was an immaterial matter where the responsibility lay, because the responsibility was so spread, and I repeat that again. We have this contract, and we have to carry it out, but I may say, in answer to the right hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) and other hon. Members who raised the point, and particularly, perhaps, to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy), that if he had been in the House yesterday to hear my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, I am quite sure he would have realized, as he has not perhaps realised in reading the speech, that he explained with very great care the history of this contract, he concealed nothing, and there was no attempt on his part at all to father the contract on Members of this House to whose names he alluded. As a matter of fact, when he mentioned the names of those who had negotiations with Mr. Hughes, the first name he mentioned was that of the right hon. Member for Central Glasgow (Mr. Bonar Law). I suppose my hon. and gallant Friend was so excited at hearing such well-known names, that he did not pay attention to what followed.
§ Mr. BALDWIN
I think it was perfectly legitimate. My hon. Friend went on to explain quite clearly the dates of the subsequent contracts, and made it perfectly clear what the facts were, that the terms were agreed under the first Coalition Government of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith), and that the contracts were put into shape and signed under the second War Coalition under the present Prime Minister. To answer the specific 2005 question of my hon. and gallant Friend, I understand that the actual signatory to the contract was a predecessor of mine, Lord Ashfield, then Sir Albert Stanley. While dealing with that point, I may as well take the next point raised by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Central Hull, that is, with regard to a certain sum of money which he alleges was spent at Avonmouth. That may or may not be the case. I am very sorry I know nothing about it, and cannot give him the information, because it has nothing to do with this Vote, or anything that has occurred, so far as I know, under the Board of Trade. My mind moves less quickly than that of my hon. and gallant Friend. It takes me all my time to keep pace with my own Estimates, and I cannot be responsible for matters that fall within the purview of other Ministers; but I have no doubt a question on that subject addressed to someone on this bench might, perhaps, get an answer. There was one expression of hope that my hon. and gallant Friend made which I endorse most cordially. He said he hoped the people of this country would understand what this contract meant. I hope they will. I hope they will understand it a great deal better than my hon. and gallant Friend, who regards this £600,000 as lost. It is not lost, but money to purchase concentrates. The purchase of concentrates may result in some loss. Whatever loss arises will be shown in the Trading Results published annually, and laid before this House.
§ Mr. BALDWIN
Because you have to have the money to pay for the concentrates before you can sell them. The hon. and gallant Member for Middlesbrough, if I may say so, made a very helpful speech. Perhaps I say that because I find myself so much in agreement with what he said. I consider his suggestions valuable, and shall bear them in mind. With regard to the specific question he asked, if I understood him aright, I think he was inquiring about transport. We have no freight commitments of which I am aware to prevent us taking advantage of the best freights that may obtain at any given time. To come back to my hon. Friend the Member for the Forest of Dean (Mr. Wignall), he apologised, quite unnecessarily, I think, 2006 to the House because he said he was carried away, and, indeed, if all the statements he made really were literal statements of fact, he would have been justified in being carried away a great deal further than he was, but I hope to be able to give him some comfort before I have finished.
§ Mr. BALDWIN
My lion. Friend wanted some information as to the amount of concentrates to be taken up in these contracts, and as to the position of the spelter contract. I can only think that perhaps my hon. Friend was so interested yesterday in pleading the special case he did plead, that he did not follow all that my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary said on that subject, because he referred to a paragraph in the Geddes Committee's Report, and he read it fully. It is on page 10 of the Second Interim Report, paragraph 6. It gives the dates and the figures in their entirety, and also says quite clearly that the spelter contract is a distinct contract from the concentrates contract. The two contracts run together, bear the same date, and were entered into at the same time, and they were signed by my noble predecessor whose name I have already quoted. But, what, I think was worrying—if I may use the word—my hon. Friend's mind, was that he felt that if we had to purchase 45,000 tons of spelter a year, we should be knocking out the spelter industry in this country. If he really believes it, I think on this occasion he knows less about the spelter trade than even I do. The amount of spelter consumed in this country before the War, as be knows, was something in the neighbourhood of 200,000 tons a year. Does he remember what the output of the British works was? It was something like 55,000 tons.
§ Mr. WIGNALL
I am quite familiar with all these facts. My only concern is about the spelter trade of this country that manufactures some 50,000 to 60,000 tons. It is to save that industry from being entirely wiped out that is my concern.
§ Mr. BALDWIN
When the demand for spelter becomes normal my hon. Friend will see what an immense scope there is to supply the requirements of 2007 this country over and above what our smelters have ever been able to produce. He knows as well as I do that up to now the spelter works have been idle because it was quite impossible for them to produce at present prices, and that it is only owing to the specially low contracts made, for a specific quantity over a specific time, both limited, to enable these works to start that they have been enabled to start. There is no question of their being crushed out by anything else to-day except the world price of spelter, and the existence of the zinc concentrates contract has enabled us to give them such terms that they can start in the hope that by the time they have got going and have used up the parcels that have been sold to them, the position of the galvanising trade and other trades that use spelter may at all events have improved to the point where they may be able to take sufficient spelter to keep the British works going on full time
§ Mr. BALDWIN
I know nothing about the Avonmouth works. I remember something being said about them, but I imagine that scheme is defunct; it has not come under ray notice. A suggestion was made by my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) which shows he had not given all the attention to this subject that he usually does give to a subject. He said, "Sell all your concentrates at any price and cut your loss." It is very easy to do that when you can find buyers, but the House must recognise that at present there is so little spelter being made that it is perfectly impossible at any price to sell the whole output, and there is no alternative but to pile up stocks. It is one of the unfortunate features of the present situation with regard to this contract, and it is no good to do otherwise than to look facts in the face. I think my hon. Friend was not entitled to say that if it is impossible to cancel this contract it will turn out a dead loss during every year of its course. I explained to the House last night that in the latter years that it had to run, if it fulfils its course, it would probably provide a profit; but it is perfectly impossible to forecast that and I do not propose to 2008 make a forecast; it is perfectly impossible to do so even a year ahead No one who has ever dealt in metals knows what the loss, if any, will be. It depends on world market conditions, and in the present state of world markets I do not believe there is a man in the United Kingdom who could give a safe forecast six months ahead. I very much hope the House will be prepared to come to a decision on this Report stage soon, because we had a very full Debate last night, and I have done my best to answer questions on this difficult subject to-day, and there is another very important. Estimate coming on. I shall be very glad if the House can come to a decision soon.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
There is just one point I wish to emphasise. My right hon. Friend in his reply referred to the helpful suggestions, as he termed them, made by my hon. Friend one of the Members for East Middlesbrough (Colonel P. Williams). A suggestion he made was a business man's suggestion—that, although the contract is one which we cannot break, the business way of dealing with it is to meet the other party and say, "Now, let us have a square deal on this. How much do you want to release us?" That is the way in which these things are done, it is an honest way and a businesslike way, and in the end it is the economical way. The answer which my right hon. Friend gave was that he would take it into careful consideration. I have heard a good deal of this Debate last night, and a good deal to-day, and I do not think I am at all out when I say that the Committee yesterday, and the House to-day, were mainly concerned about that point. I think that was really the thing which was moving the minds of Members. Cannot my right hon. Friend go further than expressing what I hope is not merely a pious aspiration? Can he not assure the House not only that he is prepared to take it into consideration, but that he can hold out a confident expectation that actual steps will be taken to bring it about, or, at any rate, undertake to initiate the negotiations which may lead, as we hope, to a successful conclusion? I only want to urge on him what I think is the view of the House as a whole, but it must not be left merely as an aspiration, but as the deliberate intention of the Government.
§ Mr. RAE
This contract on concentrates is not the only contract between the English Government and Mr. Hughes as negotiator for the other side. I do not want to say anything against any efforts the President of the Board of Trade may put forward in order to get this contract cancelled, but assuming that Mr. Hughes is met and the case is put before him, what would Mr. Hughes say, or anybody else who had negotiated for the people in Australia? He would say, "You want to get out of your losses. I want to ask you one question, 'Are you prepared to hand over to us your profits on other contracts you have made with us?'" That will be the question Mr. Hughes will put, and if whoever is negotiating on our side answers, "Yes, we are prepared to do that," we should lose a great deal more in handing over the profits this country has made out of its contracts on wool with the Australian Government than we can possibly lose on its contracts in concentrates. Any business man who enters into a contract has to carry it out or go into the Bankruptcy Court, and no man can take profits if he is not prepared to stand losses. If he can, he is in a type of business that I have had no experience of. The House should remember that it has made great profits out of one transaction with the Australian Government, even if it has to put against it some losses which are far less.
§ Mr. T. GRIFFITHS
Do I understand the right hon. Gentleman to say he was selling speller to the Germans?
§ Mr. BALDWIN
The hon. Member could not have been in the House yesterday when I dealt with that point, and said that we are not.
§ Mr. BETTERTON
I gather that the view which commends itself to many Members of this House not unfavourably as the best way of getting out of these contracts is to pay a sum in damages to the Australian Government. I wish to point out that this might be a good business arrangement for this country—might be—but so far as the English mines are concerned the lump sum would be a subsidy to the Australians. If large sums are paid in damages to the Australians it is reasonable for some sum to be paid in compensation to the industry in this country which has been completely destroyed by reason of those contracts.
§ Mr. MILLS
The point I wish to stress is that the President of the Board of Trade has not answered to the satisfaction of the House, so far as Members on this side are concerned, a query definitely put as to whether German industry is receiving this raw material at the expense of the British taxpayer. That is a point which the President of the Board of Trade has specifically denied; but I want him, if he will, to give us the, figures of imports into Antwerp of these particular commodities.
§ Mr. BALDWIN
I cannot give any figures of that kind, but I have assured the House twice that none of this stuff is going to Germany, and I can assure them now for the third time.
§ Mr. MILLS
I can only say that the ramifications of international finance are so devious that we feel justified in assuming, if you cannot trace the source to which this raw material goes, that those people, among the cleverest of our world competitors, are getting at least some portion of it. It ought not to be assumed by Members of the House that this is a worked-up agitation by Members-of the Labour party and anti-Government critics. The Australian Press has been far more active than the British Press in showing up what they regard as a scandal. The British Press has always been more or less muzzled according to the particular Government that controls it, but in Australia, whoever has been in office, there has always been a virile Press, never ready to subscribe to the so-called necessities of the geniuses that govern us, but always ready to hit out wherever they are sure that the frailties of humanity are becoming apparent. The "Sydney Bulletin" says quite definitely that the less people talk in this connection about patriotism and their unselfish affection for Father John Bull the better, and I would remind the President of the Board of Trade, who did not give the full quotation from the Geddes Report, that what they did say was:We are not familiar with the reasons for entering into this long-term agreement. The extent of the loss cannot at present be estimated, but it is almost certain to run into several millions.The Members on this side of the House have been trying to put the point of view, the very human point of view, that the industry in Durham, Cumberland, Scot- 2011 land and Wales should be at least helped through one of the worst post-War periods. Members on the other side of the House literally screamed at the mention of subsidies, and said the miners should bear their burdens with the rest of the community and put up with the consequences. But unless some measures are taken such as are suggested by one of the Members for East Middlesbrough (Colonel P. Williams) we are likely to have this debit item year after year for the period of the contract, and we do hope the suggestion put forward there will be acted on by the Government, because over and over again quotations can be given from the Australian Press to prove just exactly how they view this. They view it from the point of view that
§ exploiters have used the Government of Australia, acting under the auspices of a company, to secure a contract which makes it almost farcical for the President of the Board of Trade to speak of prosperity coming back when the pre-War price of this commodity was 40s. a ton, and, on his own admission, it is still at £4. Anyone who talks about bringing down the cost of production and who understands just exactly what a menacing factor that is in preventing any reversion to the normal, must admit, that if works were working for nothing a week this forbidding item of cost would alone make it almost impossible to recover.
§ Question put, "That '£601,200' stand part of the said Resolution."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 147; Noes, 73.2013
|Division No. 13.]||AYES.||[7.45 p.m.|
|Amery, Leopold C. M. S.||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. Frederick E.||Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray|
|Armitage, Robert||Harmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton)||Prescott, Major Sir W. H.|
|Armstrong, Henry Bruce||Haslam, Lewis||Purchase, H. G.|
|Atkey, A. R||Henderson, Lt.-Col. V. L. (Tradeston)||Rae, H. Norman|
|Bagley, Captain E. Ashton||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Ramsden, G. T|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon||Rankin, Captain James Stuart|
|Barker, Major Robert H.||Hinds, John||Ratcliffe, Henry Butler|
|Barlow, Sir Montague||Hood, Sir Joseph||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Hopkins, John W. W.||Rees, Capt. J. Tudor (Barnstaple)|
|Bartley-Denniss, Sir Edmund Robert||Horne, Sir R. S. (Glasgow, Hillhead)||Renwick, Sir George|
|Barrand, A. R.||Hudson, R. M.||Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hunter-Weston, Lieut.-Gen. Sir A. G.||Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Hurd, Percy A.||Rodger, A. K.|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Hurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B.||Royds, Lieut.-Colonel Edmund|
|Bigland, Alfred||Inskip, Thomas Walker H.||Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)|
|Birchall, J. Dearman||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Norwood)|
|Boscawen, Rt. Hon. Sir A. Griffith||Jodrell, Neville Paul||Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert Arthur|
|Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.||Johnstone, Joseph||Seely, Major-General Rt. Hon. John|
|Bruton, Sir James||Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Shortt, Rt. Hon E. (N'castle-on-T.)|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Simm, M. T.|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Lianelly)||Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander|
|Campion, Lieut-Colonel W. R.||Kellaway, Rt. Hon. Fredk. George||Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.|
|Carew, Charles Robert S.||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Strauss, Edward Anthony|
|Carr, W. Theodore||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Sugden, W. H.|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)||Sutherland, Sir William|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Lloyd-Greame, Sir P.||Taylor, J.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Birm., W.)||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n)||Thomas, Sir Robert J. (Wrexham)|
|Cheyne, Sir William Watson||Lorden, John William||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunei||Lort-Williams, J.||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell (Maryhill)|
|Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Macquisten, F. A.||Tickler, Thomas George|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.||Manville, Edward||Townley, Maximilian G.|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Walton, J. (York. W. R., Don Valley)|
|Dalziel, Sir D. (Lambeth, Brixton)||Martin, A. E.||Ward-Jackson, Major C. L.|
|Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Matthews, David||Ward, Col. J. (Stoke upon Trent)|
|Davies, Sir William H. (Bristol, S.)||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Moritz||Waring, Major Walter|
|Dixon, Captain Herbert||Montagu, Rt. Hon. E. S.||Warren, Sir Alfred H.|
|Edge, Captain Sir William||Morden, Col. W. Grant||Weston, Colonel John Wakefield|
|Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Morison, Rt. Hon. Thomas Brash||Williams, Lt.-Col. Sir R. (Banbury)|
|Edwards, Hugh (Glam., Neath)||Morris, Richard||Williams, Col. Sir R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||Murchison, C. K.||Windsor, Viscount|
|Farquharson, Major A. C.||Neal, Arthur||Wise, Frederick|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Worthington, Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Forrest, Walter||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Nicholson, Reginald (Doncaster)||Young, E. H. (Norwich)|
|Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Young, Sir Frederick W. (Swindon)|
|Gilbert, James Daniel||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Hugh||Younger, Sir George|
|Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John||Parkinson, Albert L. (Blackpool)|
|Green, Albert (Derby)||Pearce, Sir William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Sir Hamar||Peel, Col. Hon. S. (Uxbridge, Mddx.)||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.|
|Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Perkins, Walter Frank||Dudley Ward.|
|Greig, Colonel James William||Pinkham, Lieut.-Colonel Charles|
|Adamson Rt. Hon. William||Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Betterton, Henry B.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Barton, Sir William (Oldham)||Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.|
|Bromfield, William||Hayward, Evan||Robertson, John|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Widnes)||Poyce, William Stapleton|
|Cairns, John||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John||Sexton, James|
|Cape, Thomas||Irving, Dan||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)|
|Davies, A (Lancaster, Clitheroe)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Sutton, John Edward|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Swan, J. E.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Kenyon, Barnet||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Lawson, John James||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)|
|Edwards, G. (Norfolk, South)||Lowther, Col. Claude (Lancaster)||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Lunn, William||Tootill, Robert|
|Entwistle, Major C. F.||Maclean, Rt. Hn. Sir D. (Midlothian)||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. D.|
|Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Mills, John Edmund||Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.|
|Gillis, William||Mosley, Oswald||Wignall, James|
|Glanville, Harold James||Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross)||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Murray, William (Dumfries)||Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Graham, R. (Nelson and Colne)||Myers, Thomas||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Stourbrdge)|
|Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)||Naylor, Thomas Ellis||[...]tringham, Margaret|
|Grundy, T. W.||Newbould, Alfred Ernest||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Guest, J. (York, W.R., Hemsworth)||O'Neill, Rt. Hon, Hugh||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Gwynne, Rupert S.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Hancock, John George||Raffan, Peter Wilson||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Mr. Hogge and Mr. T. Griffiths.|
|Hayday, Arthur||Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich)|
Question put, and agreed to.