HC Deb 27 November 1922 vol 159 cc455-70

Considered in Committee, under Standing Order 71A.

[Captain FITZROY in the Chair.]

Motion made, and Question proposed: That it is expedient for the purposes of any Act of the present Session to make such provisions as are consequential on, or incidental to, the establishment of the Irish Free State:—

  1. (1) to authorise the payment out of the Consolidated Fund of any pensions and allowances payable under the said Act to existing Irish judges, the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and the Irish Land Commissioners;
  2. (2) to authorise payment out of the Consolidated Fund to the Governor of Northern Ireland of a salary of eight thousand pounds;
  3. (3) to authorise payment out of moneys provided by Parliament to any trust which may be constituted under the said Act for the purpose of providing in Ireland cottages, with or without plots or gardens, for the accommodation of men who served in any of His Majesty's naval, military or air forces in the late War, and for other purposes incidental thereto, of a sum not exceeding one million five hundred thousand pounds."—(King's Recommendation signified.)

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Baldwin)

In moving the Resolution standing in my name, may I say that in the discussion on the Bill which (has just passed its Second Reading the points of the matter have been dealt with at some length. But most hon. Members are aware that this Resolution is necessary. I trust the Committee will allow the Resolution to be passed so that we may then deal with the matter on its merits and in detail on the morrow.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

On a point of Order. I wish to move an Amendment to leave out paragraph (2) of the Resolution. Will you put each portion of the Resolution separately, or the whole together? Will you kindly inform me at which point I shall be in order in moving to leave out paragraph (2)?


I shall put the whole Resolution as one Question, and if the hon. and gallant Member wishes to move to leave out the paragraph, he can do so now.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

I beg to move to leave out paragraph (2).

I do not wish to repeat the speech which I made on the Second Reading, but I would remind hon. Members opposite that, from what I saw at the General Election, they did commit themselves to economy and the saving of money. Here is a practical example where money can be saved without any loss of efficiency. This £8,000 for a Governor of Northern Ireland is a luxury which is absolutely unnecessary and should not be imposed upon the British taxpayer. When the previous Measure was under discussion I asked the representative of the Colonial Office if he could say how the £7,750,000 paid by Northern Ireland compared with the payments made by this country, and he could not then supply that information. Therefore I am rather hampered in pressing this argument, but it has been admitted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the appointment of this Governor is pressed for by the people of Northern Ireland. If that be so, our argument is that Northern Ireland should pay for it. The hon. Member for Armagh (Sir W. Allen) said that those who paid the piper had a right to call the tune. Therefore Northern Ireland should pay for this Governor because they are calling the tune. The Crown is going to be represented by a Governor-General for the whole of Ireland, and I do not see why that official should not spend, say, three months of the year in Belfast, or he might appoint a Commission to represent him. If it is necessary for the social life of Belfast that there should be a Viceregal Court at which the beautiful young damsels may make their début in society, I would not deprive them of that privilege, but I think that they might pay this salary. We cannot afford to spend money on this sort of business, because we are already overtaxed. I hope a large number of Anti-waste Members will support this Amendment, and I also trust that hon. Members who are supporting the Government will remember the pledges they gave to their harassed constituents at the General Election and vote for economy all the time. I am now going to give them their first opportunity of doing that. I give hon. Members this opportunity of recording a vote for saving money, and I therefore move to leave out paragraph (2).


I am one of those who believe in the unity of Ireland—not in disunity. Why should we have two officials as a result of this legislation? It is not merely a question of economy; it is also a question of eventual national efficiency. Why should we have two representatives of the King in Ireland? That is the proposal really contained in this Resolution. We are to have a Governor-General in the South of Ireland and another official to represent His Majesty in the North of Ireland. As an Irishman, I would like to see one representative only of Great Britain in Ireland, and he should use his influence with the object of bringing unity to the people of Ireland. Salary does not matter a great deal, if we can only achieve unity. Even if it cost more than the amount represented in the Resolution, we should in other directions effect a much greater saving. Are we going to have two officials, one using his influence in one direction to keep alive old enmities, and the other in another direction also operating to keep alive other antagonisms? Why should we not have a Governor-General for the whole of Ireland to act as the plenipotentiary of the Orangemen on one side and of the Sinn Feiners on the other? Why not have one representative for the whole country, saving both the expenditure of money and of blood? I do not care if it costs a million a year; it would be well worth the money, for we are spending more money now in pursuit of a policy which results in the shedding of blood by the different parties in Ireland. They can have their different Parliaments if they like; they can have one in every street if they choose. Let them keep on talking, but let us encourage them to go in for the unity of Empire. As believers in a real constitutional system of government, let us agree to have one Governor-General nominated by the Government of Great Britain to represent the King. I do not care whether it costs £8,000 or £800,000; if we can only get a permanent agreement, it will be well worth the sacrifice.


As the issue has been raised, I hope we shall get a reply from the Government. I do not agree with the financial arguments of the last speaker, but I do want to be to be informed why so large a salary is proposed to be paid out of the British Treasury for an official of whose functions we unhappily perhaps know too little.

Captain ELLIOT

It would be a pity if the defence of this was left entirely to the Members for Ulster, a most ungracious thing on the part of the other Members of this House. At a time when it seemed that taxation would be very much less than it would be in the North, Ulster came forward and offered to go hand-in-hand with us and share the expense, and she put forward a claim to be allowed to take her part in the United Kingdom, and when, as in this case, out of the Imperial contribution which she is paying, she is left to shoulder a burden of this extra official—

Lieut.-Commander KENW0RTHY

We are paying for it.

Captain ELLIOT

It is all very well to say a certain proportion of this is being paid by the people of Ireland and the rest of it is being paid by the British taxpayer. The British taxpayer, let us never forget, means the Ulster taxpayer, too. That £2,000 they are paying directly, and their proportion of the rest, and it would be a most ungracious act for this House to niggle at this proposal that the Ulster people should be entitled to have back some of this contribution which they are offering as a gift to upkeep of the Empire, the only Dominion which is paying directly a sum to the Imperial Exchequer for the upkeep of the Imperial expenses of Great Britain. An attack is made by the free Liberals on the so-called ground of economy, which is an argument that comes badly from people who desire to drive Ulster out from the United Kingdom—[HON. MEMBERS: "No!"]—and it is sought to throw away the contribution of £7,750,000 which Ulster is willing and ready to pay, and has paid, against their previous desire and their votes on every single occasion. Ulster has thrown £8,000,000 into the pockets of the taxpayers of the United Kingdom against the express desire and hope of the so-called economist free Liberal party, and they might well sit silent when, as now, it is a question of a paltry sum being returned to the people who are giving this magnificent contribution. As for the contributions we have had from the Labour Benches, it is what one might expect. From the democratic party comes, as always comes from that so-called democratic party, a demand for autocracy, the demand that we in Britain should force some form of government on the people of Ireland against their will. Those who clamour at every street corner for self-determination and more and more and yet more self-determination are the same men who, when it is called by the other name of partition, are the first to cry out against it. The barrenness of their thought has been clearly demonstrated. However, it does not matter.


All you have said does not matter.

Captain ELLIOT

It may be the proposal of the Irishman with a Welshman sitting for an English constituency. It is interesting to note that on this occasion we have again so clearly demonstrated what we had before, that the so-called Labour party will not think things out to their logical conclusion. Their desire is that a solution should be found from above and imposed on the people. Their contribution to this Debate has been the claim that the British Parliament should force on the two Irish Parliaments a solution which neither of them is willing to agree to. I am content to leave it at that. But that argument does not matter. The economic argument is brought forward now on the chance of snatching a few votes at the next by-election. It is well that we should state publicly that this proposal is brought forward by a party that did its best to withhold the contribution of £8,000,000 to the British taxpayer. These are men in whose hands the cry of relief to the taxpayer now sounds very badly indeed.


The hon. and gallant Gentleman is, I believe, one of the solitary survivors of the county of Lanark.

Captain ELLIOT

The only one.


He has endeavoured to work off one of his election speeches about the Labour party which had no connection whatever with any argument used by the Labour party. The speech of the hon. Member for West Ham was to the effect that it was desirable to have one superman, one figure head, in Ireland instead of two, not one Government in Ireland instead of two. It is perfectly possible for the Governor or the Viceroy in Dublin to spend part of his time in Belfast and to sign the documents and act as Viceroy in Belfast as well as in Dublin, and to say a suggestion of that sort is to impose autocracy upon Ireland or to impose a sort of Government they do not want is simply playing with the facts. We know perfectly well that if you have more of these Governors it merely means more centres of flunkeydom, more expense, more interference between the representatives of the people and the people themselves, and is in any case thoroughly reactionary. From every point of view, both from the point of view of economy and good government and common sense, it would be well to neglect the views of the hon. and gallant Gentleman and to adopt the views of the Labour party.


The hon. and gallant Member for Lanark (Captain Elliot) has opened up a very wide field of discussion, and I think it is well to improve the shining hour. As the hon. and gallant Gentleman seems to be under some delusion it is important that the Committee should have these delusions dispelled. He believes, for example, that Northern Ireland is going to contribute £8,000,000 to the Imperial Exchequer. There is no provision of that kind at all. There is a certain maximum figure mentioned in the Act, I think something like £7,750,000, but when all the payments which are to be made to Northern Ireland are taken into account it is going to be a very much lesser sum, and in any future argument that the hon. and gallant Gentleman contributes it is well that he should bear this in mind, and that while the figure of £8,000,000 may be very useful for an election platform in Lanarkshire it is not altogether appropriate to Committee of this House. A certain amount of accuracy is even necessary on the part of a politician who in his time has bowed the knee to the Socialist idol. My first recollection of the hon. Member was as a holder of the theories which prevail on the Labour Benches.

The real question before the Committee on this Financial Resolution, and the Resolution moved by the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) is whether the first Financial Act of this new Parliament is to create a totally unnecessary office and to change the taxpayers of this country with the salary of that office. It is a perfectly plain issue. There has been no argument put forward to prove the necessity for the creation of this office. It was never contemplated when the Government of Ireland Act was passing through this House. No suggestion was made that the position of Ireland was going to mean the creation of two representatives of the Crown. Why should not a single representative of His Majesty be adequate for the whole of Ireland? He is not to be a partisan. The representative of the Crown in Dublin will not be a partisan in the Free State. He therefore can be equally impartial in dealing with Northern Ireland. There is no necessity for this appointment unless it be that Belfast desires to be favoured with the trappings of a Vice-regal Court. In these days we have not the money for these things. It is much more important that something should be done for the. unemployed of Belfast than that £8,000 a year should be spent on a totally unnecessary official. In these circumstances we are going to divide the Committee on the question of economy. We have a definite case here of the creation of a new office. Nearly every Unionist candidate whose speeches I read during the General Election posed as an advocate of economy. He informed his constituents that on every occasion he was going to press and vote for economy. We have now an opportunity of putting this to the test. The Government has not provided an argument, and the hon. Member for Lanark has not provided an argument. We have had a speech on the Second Reading, we have had the Motion proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and finally we have had a speech from the hon. Member for Lanark. None of these speeches have justified the creation of this office. I make this appeal to the hon. Gentleman, let them put their election pledges into practice. Let us have deeds, not words, and follow- my hon. and gallant Friend into the Division Lobby in favour of this Amendment.


I think, perhaps, at this stage I might remind the Committee that, after all, this Clause in the Bill, as many other Clauses are, is really the fulfilment of a pledge. On 6th March this year a Debate took place on the Irish Free State (Agreement) Bill, and we were dealing with the question of representatives of Northern Ireland. Mr. Churchill used these words: I wish to make it quite clear that, if Ulster contracts out of the area of the Free State, as she will have a statutory right to do, and unless there is an agreement, we should regard the wishes of Ulster in this respect as decisive. I make that statement definitely. If she does not wish the Viceroy or Governor-General selected for the Free State to discharge these functions over Northern Ireland, some other arrangement will be made. I wish to make that quite clear."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th March, 1922; col. 907, Vol. 151.] We intend to fulfil the pledges made both to the North and to the South, and if this be the fulfilment of this pledge, as we certainly understand it to be, I do not think that the figure mentioned for salary is an excessive one. It is two-fifths of the existing salary that is paid to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.


May I point out that it is £3,000 more than we pay to the Chancellor of the Exchequer of England. It seems to me a very large salary. I quite agree that the pledge given ought to be honoured, but I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer should explain to the House that the functions of the office are of such sufficient importance to Northern Ireland herself as to justify so large a salary as £8,000. It is all right to say that it is only two-fifths of the salary of the Lord Lieutenant, but the fact is that this gentleman, whoever he is, will discharge totally different functions, infinitely less, important, and it is an office of sufficient glitter to attract certain people. I do think the Chancellor of the Exchequer should explain to the House more of the importance of the position and the purpose of this high officer who is to receive so large a salary as £8,000 which is more by £3,000 than we pay to the Chancellor of the Exchequer of England.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

If that pledge was given by Mr. Churchill about the Governor in the case of Ulster contracting out, was any pledge given about our paying him? Did we undertake to pay his salary?

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 225; Noes, 100.

Division No. 6.] AYES. [12.35 a.m.
Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte Ganzoni, Sir John Murchison, C. K.
Ainsworth, Captain Charles Garland, C. S. Nail, Major Joseph
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton, East) Gates, Percy Nesbitt, J. C.
Alexander, Col. M. (Southwark) Gaunt, Rear-Admiral Sir Guy R. Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)
Allen, Lieut.-Col. Sir William James George, Major G. L. (Pembroke) Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Amery, Bt. Hon. Leopold C. M.S. Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)
Apsley, Lord Gray, Harold (Cambridge) Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)
Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin Greenwood, William (Stockport) O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Hugh
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Wilfrid W. Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London) Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William
Astor, J. J. {Kent, Dover) Guest, Hon. C. H. (Bristol, N.) Paget, T. G.
Baird, Rt. Hon. Sir John Lawrence Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Parker, Owen (Kettering)
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Penny, Frederick George
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W. (Liv'p'l, W. D'by) Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Barlow, Rt. Hon. Sir Montague Halstead, Major D. Perkins, Colonel E. K.
Barnett, Major Richard W. Hamilton, Sir George C. (Altrincham) Pielou, D, p.
Becker, Harry Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Price, E. G.
Bell, Lieut.-Col. w. c. H. (Devizes) Harrison, 'F. C. Raine, W.
Berry, Sir George Harvey, Major S. E. Rankin, Captain James Stuart
Betterton, Henry B. Hawke, John Anthony Rawson, Lieut.-Com. A. C.
Birchall, J. Dearman Hay, Major T. W, (Norfolk, South) Rentoul, G. S.
Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.) Henderson, Sir T. (Roxburgh) Reynolds, W. G. W.
Blundell, F. N. Henn, sir Sydney H. Rhodes, Lieut-Col. J. P.
Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W. Hennessy, Major J. R. G. Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chrtsy)
Boyd-Carpenter, Major A. Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Robertson, J. D. (Islington, W.)
Brass, Captain W. Herbert, S. (Scarborough) Rogerson, Capt. J. E.
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Hewett, Sir J. P. Rothschild, Lionel de
Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury) Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank Ruggles-Brise, Major E.
Brown, J. W. (Middlesbrough, E.) Hiley, Sir Ernest Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Bruford, R. Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone) Russell, William (Bolton)
Bruton, Sir James Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard Russell-Wells, Sir Sidney
Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A. Hood, Sir Joseph Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)
Burney, Com. (Middx., Uxbridge) Hopkins, John W. W. Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Butler, J. R. M. (Cambridge Univ.) Howard, Capt. D. (Cumberland, N.) Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Butt, Sir Alfred Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Col. C. K. Sanders, Rt. Hon, Sir Robert A.
Button, H. S. Hudson, Capt. A. Sanderson, Sir Frank B.
Cadogan, Major Edward Hughes, H. Collingwood Sandon, Lord
Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R. Hume, G. H. Shepperson, E. W.
Cassels, J. D. Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Singleton, J. E.
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) Hurd, Percy A. Skelton, A. N.
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Hutchison, G. A. C. (Peebles, N.) Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Hutchison, W. (Kelvingrove) Smith, Sir Harold (Wavertree)
Churchman, Sir Arthur Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Clarry, Reginald George James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert Somerville, Daniel (Barrow-in-Furn'ss)
Clay, Lieut-Colonel H. H. Spender Jarrett, G. W. S. Sparkes, H. W.
Clayton, G. C. Jephcott, A. R. Stanley, Lord
Cobb, Sir Cyril Jodrell, Sir Neville Paul Steel, Major S. Strang
Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K. Johnson, Sir L. (Walthamstow, E.) Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H.
Colfax, Major Wm. Phillips Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale Kennedy, Captain M. S. Nigel Sugden, Sir Wilfrid H.
Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South) King, Capt. Henry Douglas Sutcliffe, T.
Croft, Lieut.-Colonel Henry Page Lamb, J. Q. Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Crooke, J. S. (Derltend) Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Colonel G. R. Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)
Curzon, Captain Viscount Law, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.) Thomson, Luke (Sunderland)
Dalziel, Sir D (Lambeth, Brixton) Leigh, Sir John (Clapham) Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead) Lioyd, Cyril E. (Dudley) Titchfield, Marquess of
Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H. Lioyd-Greame, Rt. Hon. Sir P. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Davies, Thomas (Cirencester) Lorden, John William Tubbs, S. W.
Dawson, Sir Philip Lorimer, H. D. Wallace, Captain E.
Dixon, Capt. H. (Belfast, E.) Loyd, Arthur T. (Abingdon) Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)
Doyle, N. Grattan Lumley, L. R. Watts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington)
Du Pre, Colonel William Baring Lynn, R. J. Wells, S. R.
Edmondson, Major A. J. M'Connell, Thomas E. Weston, Colonel John Wakefield
Ednam, Viscount Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.
Elliot, Capt. Waiter E. (Lanark) McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury) White, Lt.-Col. G. D. (Southport)
England, Lieut.-Colonel A Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I. Whitla, Sir William
Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Makins, Brigadier-General E. Windsor, viscount
Erskine-Bolst, Captain C. Margesson, H. D. R. Winterton, Earl
Evans, Capt. H. Arthur (Leicester, E.) Mason, Lieut.-Col. C. K. Wise, Frederick
Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M. Milne, J. S. Wardlaw Wolmer, Viscount
Fawkes, Major F. H. Mitchell, W. F. (Saffron Walden) Wood, Rt. Hn. Edward F. L. (Ripon)
Fermor-Hesketh, Major T. Moles, Thomas Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Flanagan, W. H. Molloy, Major L. G. S. Yerburgh, R. D. T.
Forestier-Walker, L. Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J.
Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Fraser, Major Sir Keith Moreing, Captain Algernon H. Lieut.-Colonel Gibbs and Major
Furness, G. J. Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton) Barnston.
Galbraith, J. F. W.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Hinds, John Ritson, J.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. William Hirst, G. H. Roberts, C. H. (Derby)
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Hodge, Lieut-Col. J. P. (Preston) Roberts, F. O. (W. Bromwich)
Amman, Charles George Hogge, James Myles Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Attlee, C. R. Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Robinson, W. C. (York, Elland)
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Johnston, Thomas (Stirling) Saklatvala, S.
Bellairs, Commander Carlyom W. Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Salter, Dr. A.
Bonn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Sexton, James
Bonwick, A. Jones, R. T. (Carnarvon) Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East) Shinwell, Emanuel
Buchanan, G. Lansbury, George Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Buckle, J. Lawson, John James Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Buxton, Charles (Accrington) Leach, W. Smith, T. (Pontefract)
Chapple, W. A. Lunn, William Stephen, Campbell
Charleton, H. C. Lyle-Samuel, Alexander Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock) McEntee, V. L. Thomas, Brig.-Gen. Sir O. (Anglesey)
Collison, Levi McLaren, Andrew Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Tillett, Benjamin
Dudgeon, Major C. R. Marshall, Sir Arthur H. Trevelyan, C. P.
Dunnico, H. Mathew, C. J. Turner, Ben
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Maxton, James Wallhead, Richard C.
Falconer, J. Morel, E. D. Warne, G. H.
Graham, D, M. (Hamilton) Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.
Gray, Frank (Oxford) Muir, John W. Welsh, J. C.
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Murray, R. (Renfrew, Western) Westwood, J.
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Nicol, Robert Whiteley, W.
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) O'Grady, Captain James Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Grundy, T. W. Paling, W. Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton) Pattinson, R. (Grantham) Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Harbord, Arthur Phillipps, Vivian Wright, W.
Hardle, George D. Ponsonby, Arthur
Hastings, Patrick Potts, John s. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Hayday, Arthur Pringle, W. M. R. Lieut-Commander Kenworthy and
Henderson, T. (Glasgow) Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Major Entwistle.
Herriotts, J. Riley, Ben

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Original Question again proposed.


I wish to raise a question in relation to the moneys to provide cottages for men who served in any of His Majesty's naval, military, or air forces. It appears to me that provision should also be made for the men of the mercantile marine. I am very earnest on this point. During the War no arm of the Civil Service ran such great risks as did those gallant men, whose praises have been sung in this House time and oft; but in all provisions of this kind they are left out. If it is possible for me to raise this question on the Committee stage tomorrow, I would defer any further remarks till then; but, if not, I feel compelled to move now that provision should be made for the men of the mercantile marine in addition to the three services mentioned in the Resolution, If the Chancellor of the Exchequer or you, Captain Fitzroy, tell me that if this Money Resolution passes it will still be possible for me to move an Amendment to class these men with those mentioned in the Resolution, I shall be quite content.


May I appeal to the hon. Member, when he makes his Motion, to add the word "fishermen" to the "men of the mercantile marine"? I make this appeal with a recollection of cases in Select Committees where it was held that the phrase "mercantile marine" did not include fishermen, though I think the claims of fishermen are every bit as good and as strong as those of the men of the mercantile marine. The work undertaken by the fishermen during the War was quite as dangerous to themselves and quite as advantageous to the country as that of the men of the mercantile marine.


I have been looking up the point raised by the hon. Member, but unfortunately I am not a lawyer. I see that the money that is provided for in this Resolution is merely the balance of moneys sanctioned under an Act of Parliament passed in 1919. My impression as a layman is that it is impossible at this stage to alter the destination of grants which are controlled by Act of Parliament, but I will make inquiries on the point and, if it is possible for my hon. Friend to raise that point to-morrow, I should be willing to let him know.


If this be a balance, surely that leaves the matter open for discussion. I will be quite content if the Chancellor of the Exchequer will look into the matter. I want to raise the point very definitely, however, for I feel this arm or service has been overlooked. In reply to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for South-West Hull (Major Entwistle), I thought mercantile marine included fishermen. As an old mercantile mariner, I never saw any distinction made between the men in the ordinary cargo carrying boats and those who went down to the sea in fishing boats.


It is very important that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should bear in mind the change of circumstances since the original Act was passed. When it was passed, it is perfectly true, only soldiers and sailors were within the purview of that Act. At that time, however, it was believed that compensation was going to be found for the mercantile marine from Germany. The late House firmly believed in that idea. I used to come into Debates, and whenever mention was made of Germany paying there were loud cheers indicating the fervent belief in that idea. Not only so. Only a few months ago the announcement was made by a Member of this House that money had been allocated for meeting the needs of the mercantile marine, but immediately afterwards it was announced that his statement was unofficial. In these circumstances it is now clear that the mercantile marine must abandon all hope of receiving anything from Germany.

Lieut.-Colonel HILDER

What has Germany to do with it?


I thought I had explained that, but as the hon. and gallant Gentleman does not understand I will do so again. I was calling the Government's attention to the change of circumstances which had taken place since 1919. This change is, I think, sufficient to justify the Government in departing from the original intention of the Act, and in view of the argument I have just put forward I hope the Government will consider the matter before to-morrow, and not only the suggestions made by the hon. and gallant Members for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) and South-west Hull (Major Entwistle). I have no doubt the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull is equally anxious to enforce the point which has been made—for obvious reasons. Therefore, I give notice that, if the Government do not see their way to meet this point to-morrow, we shall raise the matter again and press it to a Division.


In the explanation made to the hon. Member for West Nottingham (Mr. Hayday) the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that the destination of this money cannot be altered, as it was according to the Act passed by the late Parliament. We are asked in this House to authorise the payment of a certain sum. I should like to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the Prime Minister why we are asked to authorise a sum of money already authorised. Evidently it was authorised in the Act passed by the late Parliament, and therefore there is no need to ask for it in this Parliament. If, however, this House is being asked to grant this money it has the right to say what its destination should be and how it should be allocated. That should be taken into account when the right hon. Gentleman considers any Amendment put forward by any of the Members mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Penistone (Mr. Pringle).


We are being asked to vote a very large sum of £1,500,000, and I am entitled to ask the Attorney-General, who is here now, what alteration there is in view of the changed circumstances wt this moment compared with the promise made earlier. Here is to be £1,500,000 for the benefit of ex-service men who served in His Majesty's Navy, Army and Air Force in Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland, but where is there to be something of this kind for members of His Majesty's Navy, Army and Air Forces at home in England? [HON. MEMBERS: "Scotland."] I do not mind dragging in Wales even. The circumstances in which this money was to be allocated are utterly changed. The Chancellor of the Exchequer says it is not quite clear, but he wants the Vote now. What is the change in the legal position? We ought not to vote £1,500,000 for ex-service men in one part of His Majesty's Dominions and care not for the others, when we have so many in miserable circumstances at home.

Resolution to be reported To-morrow (Tuesday).

By virtue of an Act passed in the twenty-fourth year of the reign of His late Majesty King George the Third, intituled, "An Act to repeal so much of two Acts made in the tenth and fifteenth years of the reign of His present Majesty as authorises the Speaker of the House of Commons to issue His Warrant to the Clerk of the Crown for making out Writs for the Election of Members to serve in Parliament, in the manner therein provided, and for substituting other provisions for the like purposes,"

Mr. SPEAKER has nominated

The Eight Hon. Sir Frederick George Banbury, Baronet,

The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.

It being after half-past Eleven of the clock upon Monday evening, Mr. SPEAKER adjourned the House, without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.

Adjourned at One Minute before One o'Clock.

being Members of the House of Commons, or any one or more of them, to execute all and singular the powers given to the Speaker of the House of Commons for the time being, for issuing Warrants to the Clerk of the Crown, in the cases as in the Act specified.