HC Deb 09 April 1923 vol 162 cc943-1019

Order for Second Reading read.


I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."

This is a small Bill, but, I think, a useful one. From time immemorial it has been the practice in this country for the authorities responsible for law and order to require, when necessary, the assistance of civilians in helping them to carry out their duties in keeping order. That certainly goes back to a period before the Conquest. It has always been the idea in this country, and a very proper one, that it is the duty of every citizen to assist the authorities in preserving law and order. The first Act which was passed in reference to this was passed in the time of Charles II, I think, in 1672 or 1673. That Act authorised the appointment of special constables, and followed the same principle. But the Acts under which in modern times we have been living have been, first, the Special Constables Act of 1831, which was one of the series of Police Acts passed by Sir Robert Peel, about the same time as the Metropolitan Police were instituted, and the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835, which was subsequently superseded by the Municipal Corporations Act of 1882. Under that second Act the municipal corporations had power to employ special constables to assist their watch committees.

Under the Special Constables Act of 1831, it is only when a tumult, riot, or felony has taken place or may be reasonably apprehended that justices can swear in special constables. That was the position before the War. During the War the Special Constables Acts of 1914, in this country, and 1915, to alter it slightly for Scotland, were enacted and special constables could be appointed though no riot or disturbance was apprehended, and Regulations could be made under Orders in Council for conditions of service and control. Those Acts lasted until August of last year. I believe it was the intention to continue them under the Expiring Laws Continuance Act, but some technical difficulty was found, and I understand that the last Government intended to bring in this Bill. The effect of the Acts lapsing is that, although there are considerable bodies of special con stables enrolled under the 1934 Act who are under those Regulations and under that control and can serve as special constables now, yet there is no longer any power to recruit for the force when existing members retire or die. It is to enable recruiting to take place and a nucleus force to be kept up that this Bill is introduced. Everyone must be aware of the excellent work that the special constables did during the War and after wards. There was a very fine force in London, under Sir Edward Ward, which did most useful work. We feel that it is most desirable that a nucleus force should be maintained so that men who know something about constabulary work can be used at short notice if required. [HON MEMBERS: "For strikes!"] depends on what the strikers did. It might be necessary to defend strikers from the indignation of the general public, in which case, no doubt, the special constables would be extremely useful.

I would like to call attention to two paragraphs in the Report of Lord Des-borough's Committee on the police. Many recommendations in that Report have already been adopted with good results. Paragraph 190 says: This report has so far dealt with the organisation of the police and their duties to the public. It remains to say something of the duties of the public to the police. It has already been pointed out that the maintenance of public order and the suppression of all forms of violence are matters in which every member of the community is deeply concerned. From the earliest times the citizen has been and still is required to take his part in the preservation of the peace and the suppression of disorder. We consider that if the obligation of the citizen to the community in this respect were more widely recognised, the duties of the police would be materially lightened, their relations with the law-abiding portions of the community would be improved, and the burden of the maintenance of the police would be lightened. Paragraph 192 says: In cases of disturbance with which the police are unable to cope without, assistance, the only alternative to the employment of the military is to resort to the civil community. It is, therefore, most important that there should be a duly constituted body of civilians on whom the police and the public might depend in an emergency, the members of which, if called upon to serve as police auxiliaries, may feel that they are only discharging the duties incumbent under the common law on all citizens. During the War a large number of special constables have rendered very great service to the com munity, and it is to be hoped that the example thus set might animate others with.a desire to do their share in the maintenance of law and order. We consider it a matter of great importance that there should be a proper organisation enabling the citizens to assist, the police in cases of emergency, and that this organisation should form an integral part of the police system. That is a very strong recommendation, and one which we are trying to carry out in this Bill. The Memorandum of the Bill explains clearly what are the objects of the Bill. Clause 1 is to enable us to maintain, recruit, and fill up vacancies in existing forces. Clause 2 is to extend the regulations now applied to the special constables to the marine police, who have recently been appointed by the Admiralty. These marine police took the place and they perform the duties of the Metropolitan police, who previously did the work. Their principal duty is, in naval armament establishments, to act as watchmen and to control the entry to and exit from those establishments. Clause 3 applies this Bill to Scotland—not only the 1914 Act but the Scottish Act of 1915. Previously, under the Borough Police (Scotland) Act of 1892, no special constables could be enrolled except between the ages of 20 and That restriction was abolished under the Act of 1915, and it is proposed to continue the abolition of the restriction, because there are many mer. above the age of 50 useful for this purpose.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

And under the age of 20?


I do not think they would be under the age of 20, but that will be left to the local authority whose duty it is to recruit them. The main objects of this Bill are to maintain this nucleus force of men who have had instruction in their duties, and who would, therefore, be more useful than men enrolled under the 1831 Act by a magistrate as special constables in an emergency. The special constables in the force now have had a certain amount of instruction in their duties, and in many cases have certainly proved most efficient. The passing of the Bill will also mean that, instead of having to go through the form of waiting to be quite sure that there was a riot existing or apprehended, and then getting a magistrate to swear in special constables, there would be this force existing, ready to preserve order in places where the police wanted assistance. I presume that every Member of the House wants order to be kept, if possible, and that he would prefer to have an experienced man trying to do it. There is another point which it is worth while taking into consideration, and that is that, failing special constables, the only alternative is calling in the military. I am sure that Members of this House would much rather see a force of special constables used in ordinary disturbances to support the police than have recourse to the military. So I commend this Bill to the House. It is a useful Bill; it will certainly conduce to the maintenance of law and order, and I think nobody need be afraid that it is likely to be misused.


I beg to move to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."

I would preface my remarks by saying that I hope I shall have the indulgence and tolerance that are shown to all Members when they first address the House. There is, perhaps, no other subject that would entitle me to take up the time of the House so much as this Bill. I speak as one who has had some practical experience of constabulary work, and of special constabulary work, inasmuch as during the War I was concerned with the organisation of the special constabulary. No better opportunity than the present could be found for endorsing what the Home Secretary has said as to the splendid work done by the special constabulary during the War. We should be very mean if we did not appreciate the service, even the heroic service, rendered by many special constables during the air raids upon London and other cities. But there is another point of view. The special constabulary during the War was a form of alternative accommodation, to some extent. We must appreciate the fact that, although we recruited large numbers of men from all walks of life into the special constabulary, a large proportion of those men would not have found their way into the special constabulary unless under a system of conscription.

7.0 P.M.

This Bill is to perpetuate the Special Constables Act of 1914, which was placed upon the Statute Book solely for the purpose of dealing with contingencies that arose out of the War. If it were a War measure, surely we have no desire to perpetuate those things that remind us of the terrible War through which we have gone. I know of no good reason why we should ask for legislation to go even further than that which was passed in the time of William IV, namely, the Special Constables Acts of 1831 and 1835. In those days, when there were bands of robbers passing up and down the country, and when the most lurid reports were presented to the House of Commons with regard to the unsatisfactory state of affairs in the country, I am sure that the House was prepared to pass the most stringent legislation to deal with the situation such as may then have arisen. The Special Constables Acts of those days were apparently sufficient to deal with any reasonable set of circumstances that might arise, and which might call for the special protection of the citizens by the citizens. One must remember that in those days the Transportation Acts were passed. If at that time, when they could pass the Transportation Acts, the Special Constables Acts contained provisions to deal with the extraordinary circumstances of the period, surely, in 1923, we are not going to say that we need to go any further than they went in the days of William IV, in so far as protection from marauders and unlawful subjects is concerned.

I am told, by many people who are anxious to sec a regular special constabulary force initiated, that it would be well to have a second line of defence to our regular police force. I want to warn the House in regard to that, speaking with the experience of one who knows what it is to have had to handle constables who were thoroughly trained in the best equipped establishments that could be provided under the Metropolitan Police, and who, in their first year of office, even with all their training, often had not any real responsibility, as individuals, in times of stress, and when feeling was running high during industrial disputes. I do not say that from any disrespect to the younger constables. I have been a young constable myself, but I have no less an authority than the instructions issued from New Scotland Yard and by the Commissioner of Police, from time to time. It is strange to see that the orders made under the Special Constables Act, 1914, were signed by a gentleman who, in recent times, has had good reason to regret that perhaps there are members of the Police Force who may have exceeded the duties, the powers, and even the privileges that might be accorded to them. I am referring to Sir Almeric Fitzroy, who signed an order under the Special Constables Act, 1914. Surely, with the experience he sustained, as a result of the action of trained police men, we are not going to ask the people of this country to place themselves in the hands of a thoroughly incompetent and untrained body of people whose political mentality is formulated in the best clubs of this land. With regard to our special constabulary, we shall do well not to place on a permanent basis something which is viewed with a sense of suspicion and mistrust, outside this House, by thousands and thousands of people who are very much concerned, when there is unrest, that no untoward action shall he taken by the authorities.

The Special Constables Act, 1914, was to have lasted during the War only. When the War came to an end, the Act would have died by its own volition, and would have ceased to exist. The War Emergency Laws (Continuance) Act, 1920, provided for the continuation of the Special Constables Act of 1914 for a further period of twelve months after the War had ended. Therefore, the Special Constables Act, 1914, after receiving a form of thyroid gland treatment, was enabled to exist until 31st August, 1922, when it died naturally, because there was no legislation that gave it any further life. Since that time we have had reports from His Majesty's Inspectors of Constabulary, and from the Commissioner of Police at New Scotland Yard. We have been told, in reports of the Commissioner of Police, that the special constabulary is in a flourising condition. I cannot understand how an organisation, for which there has been no legal status since August, 1922, can be in a. flourishing condition. If this Bill now before the House is to be taken seriously—as I hope it will be taken very seriously by hon. Members on this side of the House —it is intended to amend an Act of Parliament which has actually ceased to exist and which, by its own action, is as dead as even the imperial occupants of tombs at Luxor. We do not want these Acts, which were War Measures, resusci tated for the purpose of giving us something, in the days to come, under condition which we sincerely hope—I am satisfied that hon. Members on the other side of the House are entirely at one with us there, and that they want no more real war. If you do not want any more real war, do not let us create industrial war by establishing a permanent force which may ultimately become the Fascisti and the Ku Klux Klan of this country. I shall probably be told—I am sure the House will forgive me for relating one or two incidents—that the establishment of a special constabulary force on a permanent basis is not intended, in any shape or form, to break industrial disputes. I wish to refer to one incident in particular that will justify the suspicions with which we view this particular method of organisation. Not many years ago there was a threatened strike. Telegrams and telephone calls were going backwards and for wards, seeking for information as to the number of special constables who had some knowledge of motor-driven machinery. No matter what kind of machinery they were used to, whether it were motor launches, motor cycles, or motor cars, they were asked to report at their stations. They were asked to report, not in their special constabulary uniforms, but in their oldest possible clothing, as they would be sent to do duty at certain power stations in the event of a strike. [Hoer. MEMBERS: "Why not? "] The very fact that that has happened once is indicative that it might have happened many times, and might well happen in the clays to come.

There is another question, as to whether the country can afford the expenditure that would be involved in the maintenance of such a service. I believe, as one who, perhaps, might have been one of the orphans of the storm at the General Election, that the pledges made by the Government during that General Election were pledges of the very strictest economy that would be practicable. How far does economy take us with regard to the special constabulary? The Geddes Committee made a report recommending certain cuts in the regular police service. Arising out of that report, certain reductions or losses in emoluments have been sustained by the regular police service, in order to meet the demands for economy. In that report, however, there was an entire absence of any recommendation that the special constabulary should conic under the economy hammer. As a matter of fact, there were, at the time of the last official report, something like 100,000 special constables in the provinces, and something like 17,000 in London. I realise that it is difficult for any Minister to be able to say just where the expenditure in regard to the maintenance of the special constables can be divided from that incurred in connection with the regular constabulary, for the simple reason that to maintain a special constabulary force it is necessary that members of the regular police should be attached to the special constabulary for general educational purposes, so far as police law and practice are concerned. We have it on the Government's own figures, in the last annual report, that the cost of the special constables in the provinces was £20,000, and, so far as London was concerned, the cost was £38,000. Hon. Members will notice, therefore, that for 100,000 special constables in the provinces the cost, in travelling expenses and general expenses, was 220,000; yet, for 17,000 special constables in London, the cost was £38,000. If the Government be very keen on economising, they will not continue to spend money on a special constabulary force that is not wanted by the public; for the existence of which there is no necessity; that is not required or wanted by the regular police; and which, I believe I am correct in saying, under the law as it is represented in this Bill, is not required even by the special constables themselves.

We have had at Scotland House, New Scotland Yard, a permanent establishment maintained for the purpose of keeping together the machinery of the special constabulary. The majority of the officers of the special constabulary are not drawn from the workshops. In the main, they are drawn from employers, and are gentlemen who generally develop a point of view extremely antagonistic to the labour movements in times of crisis.


That is what they are wanted for.


I want to be as fair as I possibly can to the constabulary force in this respect, but I recognise the impossibility of an untrained body, of a politically biased body, such as the special constabulary would be, being utilised by Watch Committees, Standing Joint Committees, chief constables, or superior officers of police in such a way that they would exert the same impartiality that we so very often find exhibited by the regular police in the industrial areas. As a matter of fact, there are areas in this country where a special constabulary force is not required and does not exist, and if these particular areas—important areas at that—can do without a special constabulary force, I do not see why they should be compelled to maintain an establishment which their experience has shown can be very well dispensed with, without fear of the consequences. Such places as Derby, Barnstaple, Portsmouth, Southampton, Southport, Monmouthshire County, Bradford, Beverley and Dewsbury—in the main, industrial areas—can do without special constables. The Home Secretary said it would be much better to have a trained force in times of emergency than to rely on an untrained body of men who might be called together to quell any threatened tumult, riot or other disturbance. Strange to say, despite the fact that the Des-borough Committee's report was quoted, the only evidence taken before the Desborough Committee which was referred to, was not the evidence of the men who really know just what the public feeling is, and that is the rank and file of the police. The only evidence referred to was that from one or two highly placed officers in the police service and from the Home Office representative. Let us see whether we can square the statements made by that representative in 1919, with the point of view which the Home Secretary, I am sure, quite sincerely expresses to-day. Let us compare the right hon. Gentleman's view that we ought to have a trained force, with the view expressed by the Home Office representative in 1919 when giving evidence before the Desborough Committee. The evidence given by an assistant secretary from the Home Office was that In an emergency it will not be so much the trained policeman as the young, active and hefty man that you will want. That was the official view of the Home Office in 1919—that we required in the special constabulary force men who are young, active and hefty. I myself am fairly "hefty," and I know the benefit my "heftiness" would be to me if I were in a tight corner. But surely it is not that particular kind of "heftiness" which we require in our special constabulary. I understand that it is tact and discretion which we require in the second line of defence proposed in this Bill. Having heard what the Home Secretary tells us to-day regarding the type of men required, and comparing it with the evidence given before the Desborough Committee in 1919, it is as well to quote the point, of view of the professional policeman from New Scotland Yard. The following instruction has been issued in General Orders for the information of all ranks: The offences most likely to arise are disorderly conduct, threatening and insulting words or behaviour whereby breaches of the peace may be occasioned and damage, wilful or otherwise, such as may necessitate arrest. It is essential that great discretion should be exercised by police in intervening in a strike, and only men of experience should he posted on duty. I ask in the light of that statement, does not the House consider it an extremely dangerous experiment to create a permanent establishment of untrained men who will be politically opposed to the people with whom they will be brought into conflict? After all, the power of the policeman does not lie in Acts of Parliament. They are just the means by which he exercises an authority based not upon force but upon the good-will, commonsense and understanding of the public—of the right thinking type of man. I know what happens in industrial districts. My mind goes back to Tonypandy and to the 1911 riots in Liverpool, and many hon. Members will remember that day in Liverpool when broken heads were sustained on both sides. I wish to repeat now what I said to the Desborough Committee. That was one of the best Committees ever set up to inquire into police conditions. While not agreeing with all their recommendations, the Service is grateful for the vast improvements that have resulted from the Committee's Report, but having said that surely I must not deny myself the right nor must the party for which I am speaking at the moment deny itself the right of criticising one or two of the findings of the Committee. I am sure what I say will be accepted by the members of that Committee in the right spirit, as friendly criticism based upon an experience which, I hope, will bring wisdom to at least some of the things I hope to say in this Chamber in the days to come. I appeared before the Desborough Committee, not as a private person, but as a sergeant in the Metropolitan Police, and those who have served in the rank and file of either the police force or the Army know that there is a certain amount of personal anxiety as to what may happen to one who dares to speak his mind. On that particular occasion I had no fear, because I saw in that Committee men who were prepared to try to get at the truth and, though serving as a sergeant of police at the time, I said that in times of industrial unrest it was a positive danger to import policemen from one area into another while feeling was running high. I know what will happen if we have a permanently organised special constabulary. If there is a dispute in, say, Liverpool, 17,000 special constables in London may be called on for duty in the London streets while London police are transferred to Liverpool, perhaps at a few hours' notice of a threatened strike, and the great display of force against those who may take part in the dispute will have this consequence —that when the dispute commences there is already in existence a feeling which makes for open conflict and for disastrous results all round.

I can appreciate the reason for one Clause of the Bill—the Clause which empowers the Government to employ marine police and to make them special constables. I appeal to the Home Secretary to be frank with the marine police. There are certain obligations which the marine police must observe if they are sworn in under this Special Constabulary Bill. It is clearly defined that a special constable has all the powers, privileges, and duties of a police: officer, but although various Acts of Parliament are referred to in the Bill, no reference is made to the Police Act of 1919. Under that particular Act any person who may be guilty of any act likely to cause disaffection within the Service is liable to a maximum penalty of two years' imprisonment with hard labour. I wish the people who are going to be sworn in under this Bill, if the Government push it through, to appreciate the position in this respect. Special constables may be marine police, or they may be trade unionists who happen to get into the force because their employer happens to be an officer in the special constabulary. If a trade unionist, as a special constable, is called upon under his oath to take a part in connection with an industrial dispute and, if he obeys his principle of trade unionism, that man is liable to two years' imprisonment, with or without hard labour, if he dares to say to his comrades that he thinks he is suffering under an injustice. These matters should be made clear. If there is any Bill necessary to regularise the procedure since August, 1922, let the House be honest with itself and pass a Bill to regularise any illegal position which may have arisen.

We should also remember that when you place large bodies of police at the disposal of Watch Committees or chief constables, you have to take into consideration the type of mind which the chief' constable or the Watch Committee may have in using the services of those so placed at their disposal. In this country we have something like 69 chief constables who have been either Army or Navy officers. I do not say they were not excellent Army or Navy officers, but that. does not make them excellent civil police officers. On the contrary, experience shows that where you have the military mind in the civil police service, you get results disastrous to the public, because the police service depends upon initiative and not upon the collective formations to which the military mind is accustomed. In our county councils no less than 38 out of 50 chief constables are military or naval officers. One can well imagine what would happen in the event of, let us say, a railway strike, in the great railway centres and even elsewhere, if military officers were in absolute power over the police service and if they were to find themselves suddenly with large numbers of special constables ready to do their duty according to their lights and according to their point of view. The officer in control might he one of those with a military mind. One such officer has been responsible for an effusion which I will read to the House. It is not an extraordinary effusion to conic from the military mind in the police service and it expresses a point of view often expressed and, unfortunately, gaining ground within the police service, unless we are prepared to stop it. This is the statement of an officer who happens to be a Lieutenant-Colonel and it deals with a projected Intelligence Department: The Department will have powers to deal with naval, military, civil, commercial, industrial or social matters which in the judgment of those responsible have a tendency to undermine, adversely influence or menace the security, integrity and welfare of the State, and in all respects to act as a bureaucracy for matters coming within its purview. If a chief constable can write in that way, a man who has within his keeping the cherished traditions of civil administration, I want the House to realise the danger of establishing a permanent untrained special constabulary, because you cannot make a policeman by a few lessons at a central school; you cannot make a policeman by three or four months' casual training. Policemen take years to make to become efficient and effective, and I make this appeal. It may be unfortunate that as a new Member it should fall to my lot to oppose a very amiable Member of the Government, but I am positive that if my last act outside this House happened to be in a constituency where I arrested, perhaps, the progress of the Government's policy in winning the seat, I feel sure that, Whatever may be the circumstances of my entry into the House, whether I have been a common or garden policeman or otherwise, the fact does remain that what I have said I have said most sincerely, believing that it is true and for the benefit of the people who are outside this House.

In conclusion, I feel that a Government or a nation compelled to resort to maintaining a force such as is demanded by this Bill for the purpose of keeping its people in subjection and quietness is bankrupt in notions of the real idea of true government. We are taught in the regular police service that the primary objects of an efficient police force are the prevention of crime and the arrest of offenders when crime is committed. To all those ends must the efforts of the police be directed It is for the public tranquillity. That does not belong altogether to the Government; it is in the instructions given to the regular police. The preservation of public tranquillity and the absence of crime will alone prove whether the efforts of the police and the objects for which they have been appointed have been attained, and I think this Bill is a condemnation of the ability of this Government and previous Governments to grasp the fundamentals of a real police administration. I hope the Bill will be defeated, and that, if legislation be necessary to regularise the appointment of the Marine Police, we shall not have it in the form of a revival of an Act of Parliament which we all hoped was long ago dead. I thank the House for their indulgence.


I beg to second the Amendment.

I think the House will agree that the electors of the Edge Hill Division have rendered a service to this House in sending the hon. Member who has just sat down (Mr. Hayes) to deliver a speech revealing such a knowledge upon the subject of this Bill. I would suggest that the electors of the Edge Hill Division have rendered a service also to the Home Secretary in sending the hon. Member here, for the Home Secretary, for the first time almost, has had the advantage of the experience and advice of a policeman. The Home Secretary, who is in control of the police, usually controls them on the advice of men with military rather than police experience. I cannot speak with that intimate knowledge which has enabled the hon. Member for the Edge Hill Division to speak so eloquently upon this subject, but I can speak as a member of a Standing Joint Committee for some years, and I second the rejection of this Bill because my experience on that Committee has taught me that the Home Office more and more is developing a policy which manifests distrust of my people. The great industrial masses of this country are not less patriotic and lovers of peace and order than even the Home Secretary or anyone who supports him on the other side of the House. What is the position? The Standing Joint Committees of this country, stage by stage since the Armistice, have been driven against. their will to take certain steps, every step of which has been a revelation and a manifestation of distrust of the people among whom they live.

Take the special constables. I do not know whether it was by design or that he merely overlooked it, but the Home Secretary did not say who maintains the special constables and who is going to be responsible for the finance. The Standing Joint Committees in a multitude of ways are having their powers filched from them. Take a county like the one I represent. There are there at least a quarter of a million workers. I have been through I do not know how many industrial upheavals in my short time, and I venture to say that you not only did not need any special constables, but you could have taken the police away from the county, and there would not have been any trouble. The right hon. Gentleman's representatives of the force itself would tell him that. I will tell the right hon. Gentleman and this House what takes place directly there is any strike, stoppage, or lock-out. If they knew, we could not have this kind of legislation suggested. If they could have the point of view of the men and women in great industrial areas, instead of having the "Pall Mall Gazette," or the "Evening News," or something like that, which is out of touch altogether with the life of the people of this country, they would not have this kind of legislation suggested. The maintenance of goodwill and order in industrial areas is almost completely in the keeping of the industrial leaders of the men who are out on strike. Chief constables in various areas will come to the men. I have known them on the platforms in the union meetings. We have had our songs, and there has been jovial good feeling, and the police have scarcely been in evidence. The right hon. Gentleman says, "Well, but in case there is going to be any trouble, we had better have policemen than the military," but this amounts to the same thing. To say, "We will call out the special constables" is simply to ask for trouble.

This House must understand that either we have got to be trusted as Britishers, who are proud of our great achievements in the realm of peace and law and order, or we have got to be told immediately that we are not to be trusted if it be the case that the Mussolini method has got to be applied to us, this House can take it for granted that it will inevitably invite the same spirit on the other side. The great masses of the people of this country are very proud of the fact that they can run this country without any coercion, even under the gravest circumstances. They can keep the law and keep the peace under the gravest circumstances. They have no use, as I have no use, for Mussolini or any other similar gentleman—I do not care what particular point of view he represents. He can be Bolshevik or anything you like, but we have no use for any who rest themselves upon force. We do not care whether they represent the Home Office or whether they are supposed to represent some sentiment of the working class; we have no use for them. The masses will not have them at all. We have had, time after time, great industrial upheavals with scarcely a semblance of anything like trouble, yet the Home Office, stage by stage, not only takes away from the people in power the powers they have had as members of Standing Joint Committees—because they have no powers now; they have all been filched by the Home Office—but actually, before there is any trouble at all, seeks to maintain perpetually the Special Constables Act., which is a further manifestation of that distrust. It is a continuation of the war spirit.

When the Second Reading of the Bill which eventually became the late Act took place, it was made quite clear that it was only a war Measure. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman has given the slightest reason for the operation of a Bill of this kind, and I wish the Government—I do not care what Government—would trust our people to be worthy of the traditions which have been handed down to them, and of the heritage which is theirs, which is one of being capable of self-control, either individually or in masses. That is about all I want to say in supporting the rejection of this Bill. I hope that not only from this side of the House but from the other side there are those who will put the case for trusting and having confidence in the British people, because it may be that there will he industrial troubles in the future, and, if so, what will these special constables avail? Take an area such as I represent. Take any of the mining areas, for instance. I know the last time there was a stoppage you had your parks full of gentlemen who worked in the city, some of them in offices, and other people, and they were going swaggering down to the parks and getting very well paid for it, although they were working in their own offices during the day. At that time everything was going on all right in the North, where the, people were having walking and running matches; there were one or two pony races, and we held a sort of pitman's Derby. Soon after this the first thing I saw was great headlines about upheavals up and down the country, but it was not true at all.

If the men had wished to be troublesome all these special constables would not have made any difference. I think the country as a whole is going to lose by this great distrust of the great mass of the people. I ask the Government to get back to the old spirit under which the people used to be trusted without hesitation and without exception. There is only one reason one can give for this proposal, and it is that these people are going to be a kind of blackleg, or a sort of nucleus of the Fascisti. If that is going to be the case, then the British worker is the last person to stand an organisation of that kind, and they will not be backward in meeting it. We want the trust and confidence of the Home Office, and I hope hon. Gentlemen opposite will not take this merely as a matter of supporting or opposing the Bill, but in the best interests of the country, and in the interests of law and order in the future, I trust they will have something to say about this Measure and oppose it in the Division Lobby.


I wish to congratulate the hon. Member who moved this Amendment upon his eloquent maiden speech. I know that he speaks with great authority on this subject, having been a member of the Metropolitan Police Force, and therefore he is qualified to speak upon this subject from the inner side. We must, however, agree that this fact justifies us in taking something off his very excellent speech. We know the old saying that, "There is nothing like leather," and I feel a pride in believing that there is nothing like lawyers for certain purposes. I should like the hon. Member who has just spoken to read the Debates of this House at the time when the Police Force was originally formed by Sir Robert Peel At that time were the people so anxious for a professional Police Force such as we have got at the present time? Are we all absolutely satisfied with the advantages of a professional Police Force? Do we not sometimes think there is something to be said for the original duty of every Englishman and every citizen to assist in keeping peace and order in this country? We all know that that is not the case at the present time.

I know that on one Occasion at the Cambridge Session a man was prosecuted for failing to help the police; the professional police prosecuted the man, and the magistrate gave him a lecture about his cowardice and pointed out that it was the duty of every man to help the constabulary to suppress disorder and to assist in arresting a criminal when called upon to do so. A fortnight after this friend of mine was going to his home in. Streatham in the early hours of the morning after having been to the theatre, and he was met by a young policeman who said: "There are burglars in this house, and they are trying to get out, and I call upon you to come and help me to arrest them." My friend was very much upset, and, remembering the lecture he had received from the magistrate, he got into the house first and jumped on the burglar and left the constable to deal with a man whom he thought was a second burglar. My friend got the best of his man, but it was afterwards found that they had arrested, not the burglar, but the householder, who brought legal proceedings, and there was a great deal of trouble about it.

I know the present system has certain disadvantages, but it is the duty of every single citizen to support the police on every occasion when called upon to do so. Here we have a body of special constables who were brought into existence during the War. The hon. Member who moved this Amendment said he did so in the name of economy, and for that reason he asks us to suppress this extravagant body, and in support of his argument he gave us sonic, very interesting statistics. The hon. Member told us that the special constables in London numbered 17,000, and they cost £38,000 per annum, while there are 100,000 in the country and they cost £20,000 per annum. I gather, that in London each special constable costs £2 a year and in the provinces they cost 4s. a year. That does not strike me as being a very extravagant remuneration for special constables, and I cannot help thinking that it is an exceedingly cheap form of expenditure. I should have thought that it was scandalously inadequate for the remuneration of the people who did this good work in London, and I should certainly not say that it was wasteful or extravagant expenditure. The hon. Member also told us how much better the professional policeman was as compared with the amateur, and then, for some extraordinary reason, he gave us a case which he had read in the papers. Does he think that redounds very greatly to the advantage of a paid police force as compared with an amateur police force? Does he not know very well that even constables in the West End have been connected with scandals which would have been impossible in the case of a special constabulary. I am not at all sure that it is always correct to say that a professional policeman is always better than an amateur.

What is really at the bottom of all this Are we really anxious to put down rioting and violence wherever it exists? I think we are all anxious to do this; at any rate, we all hope that as people become more and more trustworthy they are more likely to prevent riots of any kind. Nevertheless there are times when disturbances may occur, not necessarily in connection with strikes, but from other causes, and serious trouble may arise at any particular moment. Under such circumstances, here you have a force admittedly anxious to do its duty; a duty which every citizen is bound to do, and this is a force which has gained a certain amount of experience in regard to these duties. They are certainly not an expensive body, and surely it is desirable to have such a reserve, because in real trouble when the police require assistance you must go to some outside body. Under present conditions you must either call upon the military or the special constables. We are not in favour of calling upon the military if we can possibly help it. The case of Tonypandy has been referred to, where it is said that the military were not a success on that occasion, but it is necessary that you should have such help in reserve.

is it not better to call upon civilians instead of calling upon the military if you can avoid such a course? You may suggest conscripting civilians, but is it not better to keep this body of special constables in existence, although they may not have all the virtues of the professional police force? Yet they do know a little about the work, and they will be ready to come forward at short notice. They have had instruction in the elements of drill and they have been taught the maxim that the real object and intention of a policeman is not so much to arrest criminals after they have committed crimes but to prevent them committing crimes. The London Police have taken a great deal of teaching in order to learn that their one object should he to prevent crime. The very fact of having a reserve of special constables is likely to do a great deal in the direction of preventing crime. The fact that it is known that you have a special body upon which you can rely in case of need would tend to prevent crime being committed, and that is the object of the Bill before the House.

8.0 P.M.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

I hope the House will not be misled by the very temperate and closely-reasoned speech to which we have just listened. According to the right hon. and learned Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Rawlinson), the real object of the special constabulary being put on a permanent basis is to meet riots by foreigners in our midst. Apparently thousands of Germans, Austrians and Poles are going to rise up, and these special constables are required to suppress these vile rioters; whereas we all know that the average foreigner is much too frightened, timid and disorganised to do anything of the kind. We have had no reason at all put forward for departing from the very nearly 100-yearold practice which has stood us in such good stead in this country. If between 1832 and 1914 we could get on without a permanent special constabulary in times of great stress, when the people were not so well-educated as they are now, when means of communication were not so good for the bringing up of reinforcements to the regulars when required, and when there was not such a wide franchise in the country, why should we have one now and be burdened with the expense of it, of which cost we have heard nothing? There is no Clause in the Bill to show on what Vote the expense is to come, and why should we run the risk of creating a class force in this country which, if it is created and misused, will do more to embitter class feeling and to encourage disorders and riots than anything else? We have had no adequate reason given why such a force should he created. I think this Bill has been born in the atmosphere which created that ridiculous, useless and expensive defence force of a couple of years ago. It is want of trust in the people that has caused this. It shows a guilty conscience on the part of the Government, their advisers and supporters.

During the War the special constables were enrolled from all classes. There were many trade unionists among them, and it was laid down in the regulations, I think—at any rate, it was a well-established understanding—that the special constables enrolled during the War were not to be used in trade disputes. I would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman who, I suppose, will reply whether that proviso is still to be maintained. Are these men to be sworn in on the understanding that they are not to be used in time of trade disputes? That is very important; otherwise, if you are going to use them for trade disputes you are putting a great strain on trade unionists, and you probably will not get them enrolled as special constables. Is that what the Government want? I would very much like the hon. Gentleman who will answer for the Home Office to explain that. Do they want trade unionists for special constables, and if so will they be called up in time of trade disputes? That point should be dealt with very fully, and I hope the hon. Gentleman will also deal with the question of cost, a matter on which he is very competent to instruct the House.

There is another very extraordinary thing in this Bill, namely, that the proviso which limits the age to 20 is to be done away with, as well as the limiting the age to 50. I interrupted the Home Secretary, and I should like to know whether it is really proposed to enlist youths under 20 as special constables. If so, what is the young limit? Are they going to take boys of 18? As my hon. Friend the, Member for Silvertown (Mr. J. Jones) says, if they are not allowed to drink a glass of beer in a public-house, are they to be entrusted with the defence of our homes and liberties in time of civil disturbance? Are they going to enrol lads of 16, who can be enrolled in sufficient numbers to make things extremely objectionable? [Laughter.] Oh, yes; much of the fighting in Ireland in recent times has been done by boys of 16, and in England, too. In times of disturbance you find the students on one side or the other, either on the side of reaction or of revolution. You will get plenty of young hotheads from the public schools who will join this force as a sort of "rag." Is there to be no limit? Are you going back to 13 and 12? What is the limit? All we know is that the limit of 20 and the limit of 50 are to be swept aside. How old are you going to? Are you going to enrol the greybeards of 70 and 80? There must be some limit. These people will cost money, because you will have a permanent office, staff, bureaucracy, records, and so forth, and the country has to pay. The proposal to do away with the age limit of 20 is ridiculous and dangerous.

The main objections to the Bill have been explained, and I would only repeat them very briefly. The danger is that you will have a picked force with a certain political bias. That is the danger. You will have a sort of Praetorian Guard, and that is the thing that is going to embitter class feeling more than anything else. It will be a most dangerous thing to do in this country. You can do it in Latin countries, or you may do it in Hungary with White Guards, but try it in this country and see what will happen. If this is made permanent there is the danger of getting only a certain class of person with a certain class outlook, and that will be very bad indeed. If it is the duty of every citizen to help to keep the peace, why not enrol citizens to aid the civil power? Why leave it to a picked few? Why not, if necessary conscript people to preserve the peace if it is our duty as citizens to do so? Why does the hon. and learned Member for Cambridge University object to that? Is it because he prefers to leave it to those adventurous people who do not care so long as there is a row? I think the old system served too long and too well to be lightly abandoned, and that there has been no adequate reason given for this Bill, and no argument justifying the continuance of an admittedly war-time Measure. The Act of 1832 says that in time of tumult, riot, or felony then special constables can be enrolled. Let us wait till there are tumult, riot and felony, and these people will be forthcoming as they have been in the past. It is a ridiculous Bill, and one which should be rejected by this House if it has any respect at all left for the English people.


It has been very inteiv6ting and sometimes amusing to us sitting on these benches to listen to some of the speeches that have been delivered. I am not an expert policeman, neither am I an expert lawyer. I have been in the hands of both, but I am absolutely desirous of understanding what is the meaning of a Bill of this character. Why is it produced at the period in which we are now living? To us who happen to be trade unioinsts and Socialists—at least, I am speaking for myself—it looks rather sinister that after we have passed through the greatest War in history, after we have conquered the enemies abroad, and destroyed the greatest military power the world has ever seen we should be asked to give a Second Beading to a Bill which is not brought forward for the purpose of beating a foreign enemy, but is supposed to be introduced for the purpose of meeting the possible enemy within our own land. Who is that enemy? The Norfolk agricultural labourer because we have seen in the Press during the last few days photographs of policemen guarding students from Cambridge University, who are trying to stop the Norfolk agricultural labourer from getting 25s. a week for 50 hours. They have come from well-provided homes, and all the comforts and luxuries of civilisation have been provided by the labour of others, but now, to assist in the bringing down of the standard of comfort of my class, they are being provided with policemen paid by the nation in order that they might blackleg successfully.

I happen to be a bricklayer's labourer by profession and a Member of Parliament by accident. Suppose at the end of this week 500,000 of my comrades are locked out Is this new Prætorian Guard to he erected, put into red, blue, and white uniforms, or into any other colour, sons of the builders, to picket so that the policemen can be relieved to meet us when we go in procession to Trafalgar Square? What is the object? I could understand it when we were fighting the enemy abroad, but I cannot understand it now except that it is based on class bias and the fear of the future, because the workers are beginning to understand where they are. We have had too many by-elections, and this Bill, conceived in iniquity, born in sin, is brought forward as an intimation that this Government is out to save us from revolution. If I were a real revolutionist I would welcome it; if I believed in revolution I would say that this Bill is the best thing we could have. It is an indication of the kind of spirit behind revolution, a feeling of hatred, a feeling of fear, and here we have special constables. We have them in Canning Town. Every time we have a strike in the docks the special constables have been called out. We call them bluebottles, because they have always sat on the top of the meat vans. Wherever you find decomposing meat you will find a bluebottle, Who are these people? Foremen in the docks. They do not join the special constables because they want to fight for the country, but in order to keep their jobs, because they think they will curry favour with those in authority. Instead of trusting them you ought to mistrust them; they are the least trustworthy people in the country.

Therefore, I want to say that a Bill of this kind is a premium upon dishonesty. You talk about treachery. The man who sells me to-day will sell you to-morrow. If he has not the moral principle to stand up for the right, he will give, anybody away who pays him, because we were told the other evening here by the ex-Minister of Health that nobody will do anything unless he gets well paid for it. You are bribing these people. They get the best jobs in the docks. They are promoted to foremen in factories, because they put on uniform, and others will not. The honest man is the man who says, "I will not, do that," and the other man is prepared to sell himself for an immediate advantage. We say that this Bill is not necessary. We are going to have a big dispute—I hope we shall not have it, but we are likely to have it—at the end of this week. In London alone, 100,000 men will be locked out. I undertake to say there will not be a single citizen in London all through that dispute who will lose a blink on his top hat because these men are out; there will not be a pane of glass broken. But if you introduce your special constables, I will not promise you what will happen. If you are going to tell us that the ordinary law of the land and the ordinary administrative authority of the land are not good enough to maintain peace and order, then you can look forward to things happening, because some of the man who are going to be special constables are men who have worked side by side with the men whom they are supposed to keep in order. How will they like to be dominated by these people "drest in a little brief authority "? We have heard about the never-ending bombosity of elected persons, but it is nothing to the never-ending bombosity of non-elected persons, of people who are there by accident.

We protest against this Bill, particularly at this time, on the verge of one of the greatest industrial crises through which we have ever passed, when nearly a million workers are involved in all sorts of industrial trouble, not in fighting for higher wages and better conditions, but simply to try to prevent their going back to worse conditions than those which existed in 1913. Is this the time to bring in a Bill of this kind? If the Government were sensible, they would withdraw this legislation they would say, "We are not going to do anything to make the situation worse than it is now. We will try to conciliate, and not provocate." Instead of that, this Bill has been introduced. There are only two sections of Bolsheviks in this country—the Bolsheviks of the left, a small number, and the Bolsheviks of the right, a big number, who are hacked by some of the most influential organs of the Press. They are trying to incite the ordinary workman to believe that he has got no friends in high places, that he has got no statesman or politicians who will say a good word on his behalf. Now this Bill comes along on top of this great industrial crisis to say that we have got to have special machinery, to dress foremen of the docks in uniform to prevent disputes taking place in the docks, and to intimidate the men who are out to prevent the reduction of wages. The clerks or the general foreman on the job on which a man has been working are to be put into a blue uniform, and if he dares to say "Boo!" to the goose he is likely to get his head cracked, because they are defending law and order. The workman does not believe they are defending law and order, but that they are defending bricks and mortar, property against humanity, and that they are trying to reduce his standard of life to conditions worse than those which prevailed before the War. If the Government were wise, and understood what government really meant, they would withdraw a Bill of this character, and say to the people: "We are willing to trust you in the future, as the Government of this country have trusted you in the past. Keep order amongst yourselves, and we have got sufficient machinery to deal with you if you are not prepared to obey the law and keep order."


I would like to support the Amendment for the rejection of this Bill, because it is not necessary. Like other speakers, I believe that it is more provocative than anything else is likely to be in the industrial world. I will give an illustration or two. I was secretary of a very large division in the miners' area in the 1912 strike. A gentleman was sent down from the sensational Press, because there had been a small incident in one of our pay offices, where the rush for union money had been rather more than we could cope with, and a message had been received in this city that there had been a 'riot amongst miners in that division. I was asked how the riot arose, and because I could give no satisfactory evidence, so that there could be a severe and sensational Press account, he actually said, "Good Heavens! Cannot you give me come copy in some way or other, so that I can send up to my people in London a report that will give satisfaction? If you do not want riots, if you do not wish to apply your special constables, the first thing I would ask the Government to do is to muzzle the sensational Press about riots that never occur.

I have been a special constable myself, because I felt it my duty at the time, but not for the same purpose for which you are asking for special constables now At that time, in the part where I lived, after the Hartlepools and Scarborough attacks from the sea men felt it their duty as parents—never mind as citizens —to be prepared to guide their women and children back to a place of safety. Like hundreds of others I joined the special police force, because I felt it my duty as a parent and a human being to perform that service. I want to tell the Home Secretary, as my hon. Friend the Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Lawson) has told him, that once you begin to ask trade unionists in Durham and the mining centres there to become special constables at a time of industrial unrest, you will not get them, or if you do get any at all, it, will be, "God help them," because even our women would object very seriously. I can give the words of a very eminent chief constable who said only yesterday, "We do not want your special constables. We had sufficient of them in the past. They did well, but, so far as the trained men are concerned, they are in our way in times of peace and riot." In Durham, as I think we proved in every part of the coalfield in the last strike, we had not a hitch, because we were trusted. What happened in my district? I sent to the Chief Constable of a very large town to come to a large colliery. He said, "What are we to do?" I said, "Come to the men, and trust them. You need not speak politics or agree with their strike, but show you trust them, and I will give you a guarantee that you will not want a man at all." He came to a meeting, and they cheered him like a duke and asked him for some funds, which he gave them. Hon. Members need not smile at that, because the Earl of Durham, when there was a strike on for six weeks at his pit, was asked for £1,000, and we got it: although we were fighting against him. The Chief Constable came and he brought artistes with him, and instead of having matters in disorder we had good sense and good feeling. I believe that if we trust the people and do not bring in such situations, the military mind which is possessed by some chief constables to act upon the industrial worker, matters will go all right. You have, as my hon. Friend the Member for Edge Hill has said, in sonic police forces to-day chief constables who have that military mind, and who wish to exercise it in every dispute, and if that is done you will not get anywhere. You want to crush that spirit. You do not want to bring that class of mind into industrial disputes. If you do you will in all probability cause more trouble than you anticipate.

I appeal to the Government to trust the people. An appeal goes out for order. How often has it been repeated from this side of the House that it is not beneficial for us to have disorder? We are against disorder, but if you bring your special constables along and flaunt that power in our faces, and if there is an endeavour made by a special constable 5 feet. 2 inches to look after a great big miner 6 feet 6 inches and tell him what he has got to do, you will get disorder, and that is what we do not want. In matters of this sort the chief constable, or the officer, who has tact, is worth 50 of your active men. I have known superintendents of a police force whose power was greater by kindliness and tact than 50 of his active men. That is the sort of police force we want. We do not want these other people to be thrown upon us at this time. I urge the Government in the name of God and of humanity to withdraw this Bill and so remove the cause of disorder.


I hope that those promoting this Bill are conscious of the very serious step they are taking. To judge from their silence in the face of protests from this side of the House it would seem as though they were either unconscious of the danger or entirely contemptuous of 'the results of their action. Why is it that this Measure is put forward at this particular time? We had led ourselves to believe that we were not growing more criminal as a nation, but even more law-abiding than is our great tradition. We had believed that the forces of education would help to restrain man's passions in times of very great excitement and temptation. Yet this is the time chosen by the Government to bring forward a Measure which, to say the least, is provocative to a very great portion of the people of this country!

Laws can only be really serviceable when they rest upon the widest possible assent of the people to whom those laws are applied. But here you have a piece of legislation which, it. seems to us at least, represents class legislation as nearly as any we are likely to get. What is the need for promoting this Measure at this particular time? Who is it proposed to use these special constables against' Who is to be intimidated, on the one baud, or to be protected, on the other? The danger of any serious uprising amongst the English people is remote, and the attempt to impose this new coercive force upon the people is really provocative and not in the least helpful. Too little attention has been paid to the protests that have been made by my hon. Friend the Member for Silvertown (Mr. J. Jones), and others as to the possibility of mis apprehension in regard to these special constables in the time of a trade dispute. Suppose you have a lock-out or strike, a temporary trade dispute, in which men's feelings are keenly aroused. You get people in a state of great excitement feeling a sense of deep personal grievance. You have one of their leaders, perhaps a trusted and beloved leader, speaking to them and helping to direct them on lines that he thinks their case demands, and you have, on the other hand, one of these industrial black-and-tans that you are proposing to create, one of these special constables who may be on the opposite side of the fight. The forces clash. The special constable is not an impartial person in that case. He attempts to arrest the men's leader and immediately, that which has been slowly smouldering, bursts into a violent flame and you will have trouble which this Bill will have provoked.

Note the contrast between the special constables in this case and the ordinary police force. It is really very great. Whatever else he is, the policeman is impartial. Hon. Members who know anything of the government of provincial towns and cities know that the Watch Committee and the people in general trust the chief constable, who, on the whole, is everybody's friend. What he advises in a time of excitement has tremendous weight even with the most excitable person amongst those who are in a dispute. But here the Government are proposing to supplement the work he is doing, and even indirectly to undermine his authority by bringing into play, in trying circumstances such as have been pictured, men whose impartiality will he suspect from the very moment they assume their place. And that is a very serious matter.

We are asked to assent to this Bill because it is to stop crime. What crime exists that you want to stop by these special constables? We are on the whole a law-abiding nation, and we do not want People to coerce us into doing what it is our special will and permanent desire to do. It is said that the force is to be available in the case of a riot. What riot, or riots, do you foresee? Who is going to riot, and against whom? We believe that there is something very sinister behind this Bill, something that we have not got out from those promoting it; something that is not openly defended from the other side. Before we can give a vote in favour of the Bill, we desire to have that matter very thoroughly cleared up. There is one other point. This Bill is an attempt to dilute the police force with a quite inferior type of constable, who is, as I have said, suspect on the ground of partiality. In times of great unemployment such as we are passing through if you want more people to keep the peace in the land, employ more policemen, but do not attempt to undermine the prestige of the civic force which on the whole has gained the respect of the nation by bringing in these voluntary blacklegs. We all know the type of persons who, in a coal strike, will go and lug ladies' portmanteaux about on the platforms at. Paddington, Waterloo, and elsewhere. They enjoy their heroism of the day; they have got a charming audience to approve of them; but they will not go into the mine and hew coal at the face, for there is no audience there, there is nothing to tempt them. It is the same with the special constables. They will come out at a time when the popular Press has rigged up and fomented some dispute in your streets, and gain a little cheap heroism, perhaps, by batoning down boys of 16 such as have been referred to. Possessing, as I think we happily do in this country, a law-abiding people, let us put our trust in them. The best thing you can ever do with our people is to put them on their honour to obey the laws that have been passed by the nation itself in this and the other House. If you put the English people on their honour to keep the peace on all occasions and in all circumstances, you will not require the provocative special constabulary which is proposed in this Bill.


I hope very earnestly that the Government will withdraw this Bill as being entirely unnecessary. I think it is quite obvious that it is not necessary in normal times, and it would be of no advantage during abnormal times. The only abnormal times I can think of when special constables would be necessary would be times of industrial disputes—strikes or lock-outs; and, however much the Government may disavow that they have anything of the kind in view, there is no doubt in my mind that that will be the impression in the minds of average working men in this country. I have lived long enough to have witnessed and to have taken some slight part in industrial disputes in days gone by, and that memory goes back to 1872 or 1874. I have lived in parts of England, Wales and Scotland during times of great industrial disputes—strikes and lock-outs —and I have never known a single occasion where special constables would have been an advantage, though I have known many where they would have been a distinct disadvantage.

I lived through quite a number of disputes in Yorkshire, and in 1893 there was a dispute which lasted over 16 weeks, when the Yorkshire miners were locked out to resist a very serious reduction in wages. During that dispute, the only occasion when any serious trouble occurred was at a small village called Wath-on-Dearne, not very far from Doncaster, and the disturbance occurred on the Leger day, when all the, ordinary policemen of the, district had been withdrawn to the Doncaster racecourse to protect the people who had gathered there. In this little place a small group of men, not belonging to the district, created some trouble, which, had it been wisely handled, would not, I am sure, have developed into anything of the nature of a riot. I was in South Wales dining the long dispute there in 1898, and I saw no evidence at all of trouble, but on one occasion a large demonstration was being held such as has been described by the hon. Member for East Woolwich (Mr. Snell), where 10,000 people were assembled at a perfectly orderly meeting. Before the meeting took place, however, policemen had been drawn up in the main street, and while it was in progress, and while I was actually addressing the meeting, with the same calmness that I possess at the present moment, a magistrate of the district rode into the meeting on horseback. That was a very distinct provocation to the men who were assembled, and some of the miners, who were seated on some heaps of stones which they had been breaking for the local authority, were actually stooping down to pick up stones to shy at the magistrate when we appealed to them to remain seated. They did remain seated, and the magistrate turned his horse round and left the meeting, and no further trouble occurred, but it was a very serious provocation to the men. That was the only trouble, so far as I know, that occurred in South Wales in 1898 during a dispute which lasted 16 weeks.

I have lived in Scotland since 1900, and have the honour and privilege of representing a large industrial area, one part of which, however, is a residential district where many people live who have business in Glasgow. In the event of a dispute, or of any occasion arising when special constables would be required, they certainly would not be drawn from the ordinary workers of the district, and, in my judgment, they would not be necessary. It is a fallacy to think that we are not in favour of peace; it is a fallacy to think that the influence of the trade union leaders upon the opinion of the workmen is not great. It is very great, and I think that if the Government would trust the people, and not provoke them in the way in which, in my judgment, this Bill is calculated to provoke them, there would be less occasion for Measures of this kind. Therefore, I hope that the trust which has been reposed in the workers in days gone by will be continued, and that the Government will withdraw this So far as young policemen are concerned, I am hound to admit that on one or two occasions I have known them to be rather severely handled —not in times of industrial disputes—but in nearly every case it has been a question of lack of tact and judgment, and there has been no other cause at all. I feel sure I am expressing the feeling, not merely of the industrial workers of the Rutherglen Division, but of the people who live in the well-appointed houses, because they know as well as we know that under normal conditions special constables are unnecessary, while under the extraordinary conditions which prevail in times of dispute they would be a source of provocation rather than advantage.


I oppose this Bill because I think we have quite enough people already to keep us in order under normal conditions. I do not share the admiration for the police expressed by my colleague the hon. Member for Edge Hill (Mr. Hayes)—I mean the uniformed police —or for any uniformed persons at all. I object to the theory that the British people, or, indeed, any people, necessarily need persons to take care of them and show them how to behave. I have lived, like many other Members, in an industrial and a very poor district of London nearly all my life, and the only time I have seen any sort of riot has been when the police authorities have behaved differently to a crowd of poor people from the way in which they deal with a crowd at this end of London. We are not allowed the same privileges in East London to block the streets as are allowed to people at this end of London. Only the week before last the whole of this part of the metropolis was blocked for some hours in the morning in order that a fantastic rehearsal of a certain ceremony which is going to take place in a few days might take place during business hours. Had a few unemployed men marched to this end of London and blocked the traffic in that fashion without giving any notice they would probably have had their heads cracked and their procession dispersed. If you had the same sort of administration for the unemployed processionists, or the trade union processionists, that you have for the wedding festivities and ceremonies of that kind that take place up here, I do not think there would ever be any rioting at all. I believe the best safeguard for peace and quietness is to let everyone have perfect liberty to say what he thinks and always to have freedom of expression, and when I hear from the Home Secretary that these new policemen are necessary in order to prevent riots, I am certain riots only take place when you try to suppress people by denying them the right of free speech, public meeting, and so on.

I am sorry the right hon. Baronet the Member for West Swansea (Sir A. Mond) is not present because I should like to say that the fact that the Government has to come here and tell us that we must not only have the police, the military, the Air Force, and the Navy, but we must have also a great part of the employing class enrolled as special constables, is the greatest testimony to the iniquity of the capitalist system that it is possible to bring forward. We have lived all these years and now, with the efficient police force that you have at your disposal, you are obliged to admit that you cannot preserve order unless you get these other people roped in. If you rope them in that will be the greatest incitement to disorder possible. Who are the special con stables at our end of London? I do not believe a single workman has ever been a special constable. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will be able to tell us how many bonâ fide workmen joined the special constabulary. If this Bill passes and you come to us and ask us to enrol special constables we will enrol ourselves We will be the special constables for you, and if there is a trade dispute we will take care of the meat vans, and the meat, of course, and everything else that is necessary to be taken care of. But the right hon. Gentleman's Department would find some means of preventing our people being enrolled in this special constabulary. [HON. MEMBERS: "No! "] You will allow me to know what has happened. During the time when it was imagined that the services of everyone would be needed because of the triple-alliance strike that was going to take place, Poplar was severely left alone. It happened that we were who we are. I expect West Ham was also severely left alone, and the reason was that you could not trust us because you only want in this special constabulary the people who will represent your particular point of view during a trade dispute. It is no use the right hon. Gentleman shaking his head. He will not always be at the Home Office. Perhaps he would be a better sort of person than his predecessor. I hope he is.

But that is all beside the point. The point is that he is not really the head of that Department. The gentlemen who are at the head of the Department are the permanent officials, and the permanent officials are soaked with the idea that we in the Labour movement are a sort of bloodthirsty revolutionists who cannot be trusted with the administration of affairs, and when it comes to setting up this special constabulary I am certain that what happened in the past will happen in the future. You will got a few shopkeepers—not all; most of them are too poor to give you the time—and you will have a set of young men who do not even live in our district. Sons of employers, Poplar only exists for them to take money out of and spend somewhere else. You will get these young gentlemen and you will get a few people in public positions to form your constabulary there, and it is certain that if you attempted, with a force of that kind, to make any interference in a trade dispute, you will have the employers acting on behalf of the community against the men who are on strike against. them—not against the community but against those employers. I do not think that is right. It is true that during the War it was necessary, especially during air raids, to have men and women who had the courage to go nut and help those who were in danger. But that is an entirely different proposition. What you are putting up now is a proposition that in order to keep someone in order you must have these special constables.

I should like to make my point quite clear. I meant it when I said I am sorry the right hon. Baronet the Member for West Swansea is not here. This is the severest condemnation of the great capitalist system that it is possible to bring forward. If the capitalist system made for peace, for liberty, for comfort, for the enjoyment of life, why should there be any fear of rioting at all? None of you want to go and riot. I do not want to go and riot because my living comes to me day by day; yours does the same. You do not want to go out and fight, because you have food and you have a home. The capitalist system has left 2,000,000 people at least without a chance of earning their living. They are the people you are afraid of and they are the production of the capitalist system, and the proper thing for this House to do is not to go on dealing with evils in this way but to get rid of them and then you would not need your special constables or your police. What is the reason you need Army and police force? It is simply because you have organised your social and industrial life on such a basis that it leaves masses of your people unable to get the means of life. You are not prepared to recognise that and deal with it in a systematic mariner so as to get rid of those evils but you come forward and say, "Let us set up some auxiliary body in order that when these hungry people get too obstreperous and will not submit to hunger any longer and come and show themselves in the streets, they may be driven back again." Then we are asked, "Would you not rather have these official people than have the military?" If I am to be dealt with at all by any sort of force, I would rather he dealt with by a force that is disciplined and whose actions can be called in question than by irresponsible persons set up in this sort of fashion. Further no one on that side has yet said a word about the age. Perhaps the Home Secretary will tell us what is the age limit he proposes to set up. Is it to be 14, 15, 16 years of age, or what? I should like the right hon. Gentleman to tell us what is the age limit. It. must have been discussed. Is it to be under 20 years of age If so, I would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he would care to be arrested by a boy of 10, a boy of 18, or a boy of 17. I cannot imagine that the right hon. Gentleman knows his Bill so little that he cannot tell us what is the age limit. We are entitled to assume that it will be anything under 20 years of age. Therefore, I am entitled to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he would care to be arrested by one of these boys. I know he would not, and I know perfectly well that no boy would be able to arrest him. There would he no peace and no quietness either for him or for the boy.

Look what you are training these boys to be. You are training them to be a. kind of spy on their fathers, and on people old enough to be their grandfathers and grandmothers: but that is not what you want them for, really. You want them to be trained to act as blacklegs in trade disputes. I will give the right hon. Gentleman credit for all the good intentions that the road to Hades is paved with, if it pleases him: but I am quite certain that this Bill is a Bill for the express purpose of providing the capitalists with the sort of persons who have control in Italy at the present time. You are going to have the Fascisti here, so that during trade disputes they will be ready to put down trade unionists, to put down the men who are fighting for what we think are their rights. You want to catch them young, because middle-aged men would not be used for this sort of thing. It is only the sort of people who believe in adventure, and who join the Army when they are young, for adventure, that you want to get. It is only those sort of persons you will be able to get. I should like to know what will be the age limit.

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Godfrey Locker-Lampson)

I am quite prepared to answer my hon. Friend's question, hut I thought it more convenient to wait until all the questions had been put. The provision in the Bill that does away with the age limit is restricted to Scotland. The provision has been put in merely in order to remove the age barriers and to bring the position into conformity with the rest of the country.


What will the age limit be? Will it be 20, or under?


There is no age limit.

9.0 P.M.


There you are! Now we know. This is said to be done for the benefit of Scotland. We can have them at the age of 14, or at the age of 12, even. You can have them at any age. [HON. MEMBERS: "At two."] The right hon. Gentleman must consider what age limit he is going to fix. What is going to be the cost of this little adventure in amateur police? I have always understood that a Bill could not be brought in involving the expenditure of public money, unless some estimate had been formed of the cost. I should like to raise the point whether this Bill is in order; whether it is possible for the Government to bring in a Bill involving public expenditure without first of all having that expenditure brought in as a money Resolution and passed through Committee. We cannot get to know from the Ministers what the cost will be. We know that it will be something, but we do not know where the money has been estimated, whether it has been before the House, or whether it is to come in some future Estimate. I should like to know what the cost will be, and whether the House has already passed some Estimate in regard to the expenditure involved.


There are one or two points in regard to this little Bill with which I should like to deal. I was struck by the speech of the Home Secretary. He is always going a little bit in front. Formerly we had special constables when there was a period of riot or disturbance. Now we are to have the constables first. It reminds me of people being arrested and put in prison before they are tried. We seem to be getting into the position, so to speak, in which you hang the man first and try him afterwards. We are departing from the principle of having the special constabulary only for periods of crisis; it is to be an organised, definite force in time of profound peace. The worst feature about the Bill is the revela- tion of the mind of its authors. It seems to me that the right hon. Gentleman has got the wind up. I am not satisfied with his action with regard to deportations. I said at the time, and I think so still, that he showed a state of panic. Here, again, we have a state of panic. It. is in a state of panic that the very worst things are done. If we carry our minds back to the history of 100 years ago, after the last great war that was to end war, in 1815, the Ministers of that date were in exactly the same sort of panic. If we search the records of the Home Office we shall find the same sort of action taken, and the same sort of police work done by the Justices of the Peace, who then, as now, were selected in the main from one political class and one industrial class. They were able to use the force to deal with trade disputes with their employés.

It seems to me that the infection of lawlessness which is running round the world has come to this country. Some people think that, this innocent little Bill is in support of law and order. I do not think it is anything of the sort. It is the organised lawlessness that you find up and down the world. This swearing in of special constables is what you get in disturbed parts of the United States at the present time; the idea that you cannot trust to the ordinary forces of law and order and that you must invoke a sort of organised mob force from a particular class. You get it in certain States of America, and you get it in Italy, in the Fascisti. It is the idea: "Let us get some sort of organised citizen force which will be able to be used if there are any people we do not particularly like." In America they do not like the Catholics and the Jews. In this country it may be they will not like Bolshevists, or trade unionists, or the Labour party. This Bill is a sign of organised lawlessness. It is a departure from our ordinary civilised administration. Already the Home Secretary has shown by arresting the Irish deportees, very doubtful administrative action. Here again he is setting up a force to get away from the regular police force, a band of irregulars. Obviously he is afraid of something if he is doing this.

Apparently, having passed through the crisis of the War, and our special constabulary force having come to an end, this force is being created waiting for another war. I do not know. I agree that all the more active persons in Europe at present scorn to be working up for the next great war. Whether these, special constables are really to be there in case we have another war on the continent or an invasion, I do not know, but it does look more like as if the Home Secretary were contemplating some kind of civil unrest. Is he contemplating that there will be a Labour Government in a few years and that some of the livelier people on the back benches opposite will try a kaputsch against the Labour Government, and is he forging a weapon to be used by the Labour Government against them? I do not think that it is that, but that it is simply an attempt to recruit an organised blackleg force. If you read up the subject of discontents, you will see that Bacon's essay on Discontents points out very clearly the futility of this sort of action which the Home Secretary has taken. In his essay Bacon points out that the right thing is to get rid of the causes of discontent, and he points out that, with a large number of people with no subsistence, you are likely to get riots unless there is a better distribution of wealth and happiness among the people to prevent these riots occurring.

That is not the way taken by this Government. This Government is a Government of tranquillity, tranquillity, so far as doing anything for removing the causes of discontent among the people is concerned, but apparently a Government of great activity in repressing the results of Government inaction. It is quite likely that we may see disturbances if we go on much longer in that way. The present condition of agriculture may lead to disturbance as it did in 1830, when the whole of the south of England, Surrey, and Hampshire and Sussex, which always votes Conservative now, were in a state of revolt on the wages question. You have in Norfolk now a struggle on the wages question, but the way to do it is not as in 1830 to send in Yeomanry by your magistrates, arid send the people overseas. They called it transportation to Botany Bay then, and they now call it Empire Settlement, but there is not much difference. The real way is to remove, these causes of discontent.

I am not going to say more on the question of the action to be taken when riots occur, because riots should not be permitted to occur. We are a most law-abiding people. We get enormous groups of excited people, and we very seldom are troubled, and we shall not have trouble as long as the people are carefully handled, and they do not have intense bitterness in their conditions. But if you have society, as it is at the present clay, with great masses of people herded together and able to come together in great crowds, and if you have great causes of social injustice, then you are likely to have disturbances. If instead of dealing with those causes you recruit a special force drawn from the middle and professional classes, apparently extended to take in boys, perhaps in order to mobilise all the Public School boys—and you might even get the Boy Scouts—you might get a big force, but if you do you are simply inviting Civil War. If you start that sort of thing and make an organisation like that on the one hand, you are inciting every single unbalanced person who believes in direct action on the other side.

We do not believe in it. We do not want to see Civil War in this country but we believe if you start this sort of organisation that we see already, which is so like the White Guards, the Ku Klux Klan, the Facisti, which are all developed on these lines, then you are heading for a revolution, in which you must get violence and in which you will ruin this country altogether. It may be said that I am building mountains out of mole hills, but I think that the right hon. Gentleman and the Under-Secretary are not the people who should seek these powers for law and order. I do not think, judging by the evidence of their action so far, that they have sufficient calmness to be entrusted with these powers. I think that their state of mind is somewhat like that of those people, somewhat unskilled, who would be called on hurriedly to deal with the work of Government, not like the well-trained police force whom the hon. Member for Edge Hill (Mr. Hayes) represents, who understand these matters, hut just the sort of half-trained, fanatical people, who get puffed up with a slight bit of authority and take the hasty action that leads to riot and bloodshed.


The remarks of the last two speakers have shown such a complete misapprehension of the Bill that it may be useful to make a few remarks upon one particular point in their argument. They speak of this special constabulary as being something in the nature of Fascisti, whereas the whole intention of the Bill is to avoid the creation of anything in the nature of Fascisti. There is, as every hon. Member must admit, a possibility—I do not say probability; I do not think so—of circumstances arising, owing largely to economic causes and the amount of distress and unemployment in the country, when desperate men might attempt to gain their object by riots and violence. In conditions like that, if the trouble is accentuated by bitter trade disputes, there will always be a tendency among younger men of the class who are better off in this world to take the law into their own hands and band themselves into collections of young men of the essential nature of Fascisti. That is to say, young men will take upon themselves to proclaim that they are more patriotic than the Government and have a keener knowledge of the situation, and, therefore, without any enrolment under the auspices of the Government, and entirely as an independent force, an illegal force, to take the law into their own hands and take violent action in opposition to the riots and violence of the other side.

The enrolling of special constables, particularly young men of a particular class at the time of a very great social unrest, is the only way by which a Fascisti movement could be prevented in those conditions. Therefore the last speakers were under a complete misapprehension. If special constables are enrolled by the Home Office under the law of the land, you will in no sense of the word get something in the nature of Fascisti, but if such a force be not enrolled in a time of crisis there is the very greatest danger that. Fascisti may be formed. I tell hon. Members plainly that there are circumstances which might arise, even in my own district, in which, if there were no provision such as this Bill makes, I might. be a leader of those Fascisti myself.


I will do my best to answer the various points that have been put in reference to this Bill. We have had a very interesting Debate. I know well that many hon. Members opposite feel strongly on the subject, and therefore I may say that we have had a very moderate Debate. We have certainly had one or two very eloquent speeches, and, if I am not presumptuous in saying so, a very able speech from a new recruit, the hon. Member for. Edge Hill (Mr. Hayes), and I would like to congratulate the Labour party on his accession to their ranks. I do not suppose that. I shall be able to do it, but I would like to disabuse the minds of hon. Members opposite that there is something sinister behind this Bill. There is no such object. We are really disagreeing about a very narrow point indeed. If we did away with this Bill altogether we would still be living under the 1831 Act, which allows special constables to be appointed, and we would still be living under the 1882 Municipal Corporations Act, which says that Justices of the Peace must appoint so many special constables every year.

What are we disagreeing about? The very narrow point that these special constables can be appointed, although no immediate emergency is in sight. So far as I can see, that is the only point on which we are differing. What is the alternative which we have to face if we do not have this Bill? Would hon. Members opposite prefer the military to help or merely to have the 1831 Act? The hon. Member for Edge Hill asked one or two questions and made one or two statements. He said that the 1914 Act was a War Measure, and dead. That is not quite an accurate presentation of the case. The 1914 Act is not dead. It is alive to-day, so far as those persons are concerned who became special constables during the War. It is also a live Act in so far as Orders in Council issued by the Home Secretary are concerned with those men. My hon. Friend said that it was purely a War Measure. The Home Secretary quoted a very interesting passage from the Desborough Committee's Report, which stated that it was in the interests of the public that there should be a properly established force of special constables. That was a unanimous Report, and it was signed by two members of the Labour party, one the hon. Member for St. Helens (Mr. Sexton) and the other the hon. Member for South East Leeds (Mr. O'Grady). They are both very respected members of the Labour party.

The hon. Member for Edge Hill said that he would not support any Bill that put the people under untrained persons. I should have thought that they would much more likely be under untrained persons if we did not take some steps to form a body before any emergency occurs, and that members of the force would be much more likely to be responsible persons who had had a certain amount of experience if this body was formed before the emergency occurred, before the excitement of the emergency is upon us. All these men are to be under the police authorities in the different districts, that is to say, under the police themselves. I do not think that I need answer the statement that this Bill is politically biassed and anti-Labour. I do not believe it for a moment. [HON. MEMBERS "We do "] I quite realise that my hon. Friends on the Labour Benches will one of these days form a Government—I do riot say in the near future. I am certain that if they were sitting on the Government Benches they would welcome a. Bill of this kind, which gave them an established force to deal with special situations. The hon. Member for Edge Hill asked me a question and I was foolish enough to get up and answer it immediately, which is always a bad plan, because you can say only "yes" or "no," and you cannot develop your statement. The hon. Member asked me about the age limit. I explained to him that the provision in. the Bill doing away with the age limit referred merely to Scotland. It was put in in order to remove the age barriers throughout the country and to make the provisions uniform for the country as a whole; but I am authorised by the Home Secretary to say that, if it be thought advisable, in Committee he will accept an Amendment retaining the limit of 20 years, although doing away with the limit of 50 years of age. It is quite conceivable that a very good man over 50 years of age may be found ready to serve.

One or two questions were asked me by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy). He asked about expenditure. In the last fill year for which we have records we spent £58,000 on special constables throughout the country. Under this Bill there will not be any additional expenditure whatsoever. The organisation exists, and the only thing we are doing is preventing the organisation from falling to pieces; we are merely assuring that vacancies as they arise will be filled. He asked another question with regard to the trade unions, and I think my hon. Friend the Member for Edge Hill (Mr. Hayes) asked the same question. The Act of 1919 was cited, but none of the provisions of that Act are included in this Bill at all. This has nothing to do with the Act of 1919, which was a Police Act.


My reference to the 1919 Act, in relation to this Bill, was to show that any special constable appointed under this Bill, when it becomes an Act, if it does become one, will, if he happens to be a trade unionist, dissatisfied with the employment as a special constable during a dispute, and if he says anything in the course of his occupation likely to cause disaffection among the men, which brings him within the Act of 1919, be rendered liable, to two years' imprisonment. Whether he is a special constable or not he is liable.




He ought to be.


That is it, "He ought to be "! That is the spirit of the whole Bill.


The hon. Member for Edge Hill is not correct. That only refers to police officers.


May I read the Section: If any person causes, or attempts to cause, or does any act calculated to cause disaffection amongst the members of any police force, or induces, or attempts to induce, or does any act calculated to induce any member of a police force to withhold his services or to commit breaches of discipline, he shall he guilty of a misdemeanour "—


Hear, hear!


I am endeavouring to instruct the House on this particular point— and shall be liable to conviction on indictment to imprisonment, with or without hard labour, for a term not exceeding two years. Within the breaches of discipline there are Orders made by the Secretary of State, that govern police officers, and make certain offences for the dereliction of duty that might result from anything that might be said. If any policeman has disaffection caused within him, by a remark of a special constable, who is a constable within the meaning of any Police Act—because, in the Special Constables Order, 1916, it clearly lays down that a special constable shall be subjected to these duties: A special constable shall, throughout the police area for which he is appointed, and also in any adjoining, police area, have all the powers, privileges and duties which any constable duly appointed has within his constablewick by virtue of the common law or of any statute for the time being in force.


So far as creating disaffection is concerned, I agree with the hon. Member. There, he is perfectly correct. That does come in, so far as the duties of a police officer are concerned. That is not touched by this Bill at all, which has nothing whatever to do with it.


I should like to make this clear, although I do not want to be argumentative. Under the Special Constables Order, 1914, and the Order made there-under, which this Bill endeavours to perpetuate, it is stated that any special constable duly appointed has, within his constablewick, by virtue of the common law or of any Statute for the time being in force, the powers, privileges and duties of any constable. Therefore, you are perpetuating that in the Special Constables Act of 1914. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?" and "Oh! "]


Nobody is going to be forced to be a special constable. In regard to trade unions, nobody in a trade union is going to be forced to be a special constable. A member can join of his own free will. Certainly, the Government, and nobody who is anything to do with the Home Office, in the least wants to compel trade unionists to become special constables.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Will they be used in trade disputes? That was my question.


I think I have tried to answer all the definite questions that have been put. The hon. Mem ber for Edge Hill argued that some places did not have, special constables sit all. He asked, therefore, "Why should you oblige those places, which have done without them in the past, to have; them in the future?" I think he quoted one or two such places. There is nothing in this Bill to force any place to have special constables if it does not want them.


I quoted the places as examples of good government.


At any rate, there is nothing to compel these places to have special constables. I hope my hon. Friends will let us have this Bill—

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

I should like a reply to my question, which I put very specifically. Will the trade unions be assured that the Force will not bf; used in trade disputes, as during the War? [HON MEMBERS: "Why not!"]


I have already said that no trade unionist is going to be forced to become: a special constable. If he becomes a special constable, he becomes one knowing perfectly well the duties ho will have to perform. If he says to himself, "I do not feel, if I become a special constable, that I shall be able to carry out those duties," it is his business not to become a special constable. I hope my hon. Friends will allow us to have this Bill. We have had a great many speeches, but very few definite points hi regard to the Bill as a whole. I think I have answered the points put, but if there is any definite question which I have not answered the Home Secretary will reply to it.


I should like to congratulate my hon. Friend the Undersecretary for Home Affairs on, I think, his first speech as Minister in this House, as I should like to congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Edge Hill (Mr. Hayes) upon the able, temperate, and experienced speech which he made in moving the rejection of the Bill. Knowing what we do of my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary, and my right hon. Friend, who are in charge of this Bill, I do not think any of us here would charge them with anything sinister in bringing in the Measure


Yes, they would.


I do not think they will be charged with that. They say there is nothing sinister and nothing anti-labour in the Bill. That may not be the Government intention, lout what we have to deal with is probable results. My hon. Friend said that the Home Secretary would answer any definite question put to him. I should like to put one definite question, to which we have not yet had a plain answer. Do the Government consider that there is more likelihood now of disorder, violence, and destruction than there was before the War? Otherwise, on what do they justify this Bill? Why do they want change. Was it not sufficient before the War? The Home Secretary said that the principle of the special constable is as old as the Conquest, that it came down from before the Conquest, and that we had the Special Constables Act, under which we have been working, from the year 1831 down to 1914. That is a good long period, and I should like the House to cast their minds back, historically, to what has happened during that period. Of course, there was trouble —industrial trouble, political trouble—but how very seldom, in the history of that period, was there any time when the military were called out, and were used. How very seldom even the special constables were called out, and used. There were exceptional conditions. There will be exceptional civil disorders under any system which you adopt, but here you have, for nearly 100 years, a system working which has maintained the tranquillity of the country, in which there has been extremely little bloodshed compared with any other country in Europe. Why cannot you maintain it? Do you maintain or do you not--that is the question I put to the Government—that the people of today, after the War, are really more lawless and more difficult to keep under control, so that you must have a different kind of force? HON. MEMBERS: "Yes!" and "Now we are getting there! "] If the Government say that there is a change in the general character of our people, I entirely differ from them. I challenge that view; I think our working class is just as law-abiding as it ever was, and I think if the police were a sufficient power to control civic disturbance for 90 years before the War they are capable of doing it now, and are still a sufficient force for the purpose. I will not say the Government are trying to create—because they have no sinister purpose—but they will, in fact, create a new defence force. Surely the police are far more suitable than any special defence force such as the Government propose to raise. There is this about the character of the police—at any rate, they are chosen from all classes of the workers, and the police can-riot be and are not suspected of being industrial partisans. They are not suspicious and they are not suspected. What is going to be the character of the new force? The hon. Gentleman who spoke last said, in effect, that the working class would not belong to it. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no! "] Yes, what he said came to that. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no! "] Yes, by implication. I know the working class are supposed to be allowed to belong to it, but they must be ready to turn out against their own class at any moment. l HON. MEMBERS: "Why not? "] Now we are coming to the real fact. What is the point? In the last year or two there was a railway strike, and the Government of the day declared that it was an attack against the nation. The Government of the day, of whom hon. Gentlemen opposite were supporters, declared that it was an attack against the nation and that the workers were holding up the community. They then proceeded to ask for a citizen guard. Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite want to have a citizen guard ready whenever a similar occasion arises again. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear! "]


We will give you a citizen guard.


As a matter of fact the railway strike came to an end and that citizen guard never came into operation, but I saw a good deal of what was going on in one of the great centres of population at that time—in Newcastle—and I know what was the effect on the working class of Newcastle of the announcement of the creation of a citizen guard. In Newcastle there was not even the scintilla of a disturbance; there was no sign whatever that the strike was going to lead to any disturbance at all, but the fury of the working class, not only of the railway men, but of all others who were in any degree sympathetic with them, was very remarkable when that announcement was made about the citizen guard. The point is that this White Guard is created by the Government, the unfortunate consequence will be that. it will create a desire on the other side for a Red Guard. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no! "]

Lieut.-Commander BURNEY

Law and order?


In Italy, and in Bavaria, it is "law and order "where the Fascisti, an irregular force, or the regular forces—as in the case of Bavaria at the present time—are being used by the Government deliberately against the workers and the same thing may apply here. If the Home Secretary says that the force which he hopes to create is not to be of this character, will he give the promise that in the mining districts of Northumberland and Durham he will have a proper proportion of the working miners in the force. [HON. MEMBERS: "By conscription? "] Will he take them if they volunteer for the force? [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] I wish to have an answer to my question from the Home Secretary himself. Will he take, in Newcastle, a proper proportion according to population, of boilermakers and engineers as well as of shopkeepers and other classes? I shall be very interested to hear what the Home Secretary says to that. May I say one more word to hon. Gentlemen opposite. On this side of the House the very last thing that we want is class war. Class war is very easy to start, but very difficult to stop. Some people, I know, think a class war is inevitable. Personally I do not think it is inevitable but I do believe it is possible, and I think nothing is so liable to create class war as making it possible for the Government of the day to have a force which will in fact—as it was beginning to be in the railway strike—be chosen from one class and one only. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no! "] Yes, in the railway strike it was so chosen, and if the result of this Bill is, as we think it must be, the creation of such a force as that, then the Government will be taking a first step in the direction of that class war which we on all sides of the House join in deprecating.

Lieut.-Commander BURNEY

We have heard a great deal of lip service from hon. Members opposite on the keeping of law and order, but the majority of the speeches which I have heard have been preaching the reverse of law and order. The hon. Member who has just sat down said there was nothing so likely to create class warfare as keeping law and order. That is, in effect, what he said. The hon. Member for Silvertown (Mr. J. Jones) said no honest man would become a special constable. There have been other extraordinary statements of that character. What really is the reason for the creation of a system of special constables? Surely it is due to the activities, I will not say of hon. Members opposite, but of certain of our trade union leaders, because what have they been doing? They have been preaching class warfare. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!] Yes, they have. [HON. MEMBERS: "Name! "] Well, there are plenty over there. [HON. MEMBERS: "Name! "] The hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) is one, and the hon. Member for Silvertown is another.


I would like to ask the hon. and gallant. Member what he is charging me with? [Interruption.]

Mr. DEPUTY - SPEAKER (Captain FitzRoy)

Has the hon. Member risen to a point of Order?


Yes, Sir. I want to know with w hat the hon. and gallant Member is charging me.


That is not a point of Order.

Lieut.-Commander BURNEY

The hon. Member who interrupts has already been in prison for saying that people should not pay rates and taxes.


That was not preaching class war. stupid man?

Lieut.-Commander BURNEY

I thank the hon. Member for giving me such an excellent definition of the difference between class warfare and the preservation of law and order. As I was saying before I was interrupted, one of the great reasons for the necessity of creating a force in this country which will preserve law and order is the experiences we have had, for instance, with the Council of Action and other bodies of that character. What is the whole claim. I will not say of the whole, but of a certain section, of the trade union leaders? Their whole creed is to hold up the community to ransom. On the one hand they have the Government as their opponents, and on the other hand they have their employers as their opponents, and then they say, "We will hold up the community to ransom until pressure is put on the employers by the Government in order to give us what we want." That is.a system of organised warfare against the community, which the community is perfectly entitled to organise to stop. Let us take a little more of the tyranny of certain sections of organised labour. We have this week the question of the Sailors' and Firemen's Union, who are fighting the Marine Workers' Union. They are holding up the trade and the shipping of the country for their dispute. Who suffers? The community, the taxpayer. In the coal strike we had the case of an organised attempt to wreck the whole prosperity of this country by stopping the pumping machinery and thus destroying the mines. Is the community not to organise against the organised destruction of its own security and its own existence? Surely hon. Members opposite much realise that, if they organise to destroy the community, the community is perfectly entitled and perfectly justified to organise to preserve its own entity, and I hope—


On a point of Order. The hon. and gallant Member is dealing with the coal mines being destroyed by water in stopping the pumps. Will he give us the names of the collieries destroyed in that way?

Lieut.-Commander BURNEY

That is not a point of Order, but rather a question of disorder. Why were not those mines destroyed?


What mines?

Lieut.-Commander. BURNEY

Any of them. Why, were they not. destroyed? [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes, why? "I If hon. Members will listen, instead of interrupting, I will tell them. The reason was that the Government used their organised forces to stop it. They sent the sailors to run the pumps. I was in the neighbourhood at the time, so I know.


You were not in the mines.

Lieut.-Commander BURNEY

I was not in the mines, but I knew that the sailors worked the pumping machinery, and the hon. Member opposite, evidently, from his interruption, was one of those who wanted to destroy the whole wealth of the community.


That is not true. Conic outside if you want to talk like that.

Lieut.-Commander BURNEY

Did you want your mines destroyed?


No, we protected them.

Lieut.-Commander BURNEY

Why did you stop the pumps, then? How many trade union leaders got up and tried to prevent the men stopping the pumps? None of them, with the exception of one or two. One or two did, I know. That is the reason Why I hope the majority, at any rate, of this House will vote for the preservation of law and order and not for giving away with both hands any organised method of stopping the organised destruction of the life of the community.


I do not think the Home Secretary is to be congratulated on the support that is given to this Bill by the hon. and gallant Member for Uxbridge (Lieut.-Commander Burney). It has been suggested that there is a sinister purpose in this Bill, although many on these benches are loath to believe that the Home Secretary would introduce anything into the House of Commons with a sinister purpose, and I am inclined to think, going on the lines of the last speaker in this Debate, that this is a Bill to legalise a force which is going to be organised for the purpose of murdering workmen on strike. I think that this Special Constables Bill is a Bill to legalise the organisation of a force of Fascisti. An hon. Member opposite suggested that the only way in which some of the hon. Members opposite could be prevented from creating an illegal force of Fascisti was by the Home Secretary giving them such a force and making it legal. I think that we are going to have the creation of a force which is going to be allowed to do such things as the Fascisti have done in Italy, but in this country the hon. Members opposite are not just courageous enough to make it an illegal organisation, as was the case in Italy. They want to get the sanction of law and order for their actions. They are afraid that the force of which the hon. Member for Edge Hill (Mr. Hayes) was a member would deal too drastically with them. They believe that the support which the organised police would get from the people that we represent would enable them to deal so drastically with such a force as they could organise illegally that they want to get the law behind them and take shelter behind the law for this illegal action.

I have heard it suggested that the present Government is very dear to the heart of the people who are responsible for the production of the "Morning Post," and after reading this Bill I have become more and more convinced that this Government is a creation of the "Morning Post" to carry through the Fascisti policy which the "Morning Post" has been desirous of seeing introduced into this country. I hope this Bill will not become an Act. No reasons have been given by any hon. Member opposite why we should accept this Bill. In the days preceding 1914 there were often occasions when we had industrial disputes, and when temper rose high, and yet the ordinary police force was sufficient for the maintenance of order. In these days evidently the possessors of privilege in the community are not so courageous as their predecessors, and they are of opinion that the working classes have learned so much since 1914 that they are not going to take any risks, and so they produce this miserable measure for the creation of a Fascisti force.

If this Measure is passed I believe it is going to create ever so much ill-feeling in the country. I know that the people in the city of Glasgow will regard this Measure as one aimed at the working class in cities like Glasgow where the people have learned sense. They will regard it for instance as a Measure which has been put upon the Statute Book in order to allow the Government to put into operation the Measure which they are going to try and force upon the people of Scotland to give to the landlords rents that they have no right to receive. If you get this force it is going to lead to trouble instead of preventing it. Why should you not trust your Police Force? They have always been good friends to the possessors of private property in the past, and why cannot you trust them in the days to come, because they have always looked well after your interests.

10.0 P.M.

Really, on these Benches we ought to welcome the introduction of this Measure, because the police force will be inclined to believe that the capitalist interests have no real faith in them, and they will believe that this is the beginning of an attack on their conditions of service, just as this force in the past has been an attack on the conditions of the service of the workers of the various industries in the country. Therefore, these proposals would be all to the good as far as we on this side of the House are concerned. A great many hon. Gentlemen opposite have spoken with much force about the creation of bitter feelings between class and class, and some of them evidently feel very deeply on this subject. There are some hon. Gentlemen opposite who fear the creation of a class feeling amongst the community, but I suggest to them that this Measure will tend to increase class feeling. The workers are not going to be persuaded that this Measure is not a blackleg institution to protect blacklegs.

Hon. Members on this side of the House are putting the matter very gently when they say that the organised working classes will see in this Measure nothing more nor less than a. force to protect the capitalists of the country when they decide to make their attack upon the conditions of the workers and the standard of life they are now enjoying in the various industries. In the interests of maintaining a good feeling in the community, I think the Home Secretary should withdraw this Measure, and trust the police, as the Governments of the past did in the days before 1914. This Bill is an insult to the men who fought this country's battles during the great War. It is an insult to all those who went forward on the battlefield, and also to all those who served in the Navy.

By this Measure you are practically saying that you cannot trust them, and that you must have a force ready to break their heads and attack them in the name of law and order. I protest against this wretched Measure brought forward by the Home Secretary which is consistent with his policy of arresting men and putting them into prison without any charge being made against them. I know that one or two of those men have already been released. and that is why I say this Bill is in keeping with the Policy of the Home Secretary. [Interruption.] I do not want to howl about it, and I do not think we need to howl; there are certain animals that howl, but they are not on the Labour Benches. In view of the fact that the organised Labour movement believes that this is a Measure. designed against the interests of the working classes, I appeal to the Home Secretary to withdraw it. For the moment let the matter go and trust to the police who were sufficient protection in the past, and I have not the slightest doubt- that they will be able to deal with any difficulties in the future that may arise.


I have listened to practically the whole course of this Debate, and have not yet discovered why this Bill is being introduced. I hope the Home Secretary, who, I believe, is going to say a few words at the conclusion of the Debate, will tell us what this Bill is for, because that is a question which has not been answered. We have had several explanations from private Members, but we have had nothing on the subject from the Government Bench. The Home Secretary, in introducing the Bill, said that the late Government would have brought in this Measure had they continued to exist. Is that the reason why this Government is bringing it in? Is this Government so enamoured of all the old Government's Measures that it thinks it necessary to adopt them? Is that the main reason? Then we were told by an hon. Member below the Gangway that the object of this Bill was to prevent the formation of Fascisti. I cannot conceive any Measure less calculated to do that. We have already had some dispute as to the age at which these special constables are to be enrolled, and we have already managed to secure from the Government a concession anyhow to exclude the babies and get them cut out of the Bill. The veterans, however, are still in the Bill, and the men of 70 and 80 years of age can be enrolled. The point I want to emphasise is that the Government are introducing this Measure evidently contemplating that there are going to be disturbances in the future.

They admit that the original Act of t831 sufficed for all those years, but that now, after the War, they consider some special Measure is necessary. They are frightened that the policy they are adopting is going to lead to trouble. Perhaps they are justified in these apprehensions. I am inclined to think that this policy of doing nothing is very likely to lead to trouble, but is that the reason the Government are introducing this Bill? If not, we are justified in saying that this force is being created to act in industrial disputes, and for that reason and that reason alone. The Home Secretary and, I think, the Under-Secretary, have, while my hon. Friends have been speaking, often shaken their heads when we have suggested that that is the object of the Bill, but they have not given us any reason for introducing this special Measure. We arc certainly justified in saying that this is a special force specially created for the sake of breaking strikes, and for being used in industrial disputes. We know perfectly well that no trade unionist is going to be invited to join this force. [HON. MEM3E111 "Why not.?"]


Because he is not the kind of fool that you want.


Because, knowing what the force is going to be used for, he is not coming forward to join the ranks of a special body of men who are going to be blacklegs and strike-breakers. Hon. Members on the other side of the House have frequently during the Debate applauded the idea that we should have a force of blacklegs and strike-breakers ready for an emergency. That is their intention, anyhow; but I want to know what the Government's intention is. Is it the Government's intention that there should be this specially created force, because it seems to me that, as my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle (Mr. Trevelyan) said just recently, you are with a vengeance inaugurating class war if you set up this special band selected from a certain class with a view to interfering only in an industrial trouble. A question was asked with regard to the cost, and the Under-Secretary said it was going to cost nothing. If it is going to cost nothing to set up this force and keep it in being it is obvious that, if you abolish the force, you will make a saving, and therefore the Government could make a considerable saving by doing away with this force or letting it die gradually by not recruiting it. The Act of 1831 is amply sufficient for the requirements that may occur from time to time. As the hon. Gentleman who moved the Motion for the rejection of this Bill in such a remarkably able speech said, in those districts where they have not employed special constables at all they have been absolutely peaceable and have not required to use them. The Under-Secretary said they would not he required to use them, but my hon. Friend emphasised that in these districts where special constables were not used there was never any trouble at all. I feel a sense of security in having the hon. Member for Edge Hill (Mr. Hayes) sitting just behind me, and I am very glad that the last arrest he made was the arrest of Government progress in that constituency, while he has done very noticeable service to-night in putting the technical points before the House, and in moving the Amendment for the rejection of this Bill_ I would ask the Home Secretary—and I repeat it, as we have all been doing and have had no answer—what is the Bill introduced for? Is it, to break strikes, as hon. Members behind him said; is it to prevent Fascisti being formed: or is it because the late Government introduced it and they think they ought to do so? i think we ought to have an answer to those questions.


The Bill which has been under discussion must, I think on all hands, be recognised as a most unfortunate and ill-advised Bill. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why? "] For reasons that I will give, and some of which I hope will commend themselves to the right hon. Baronet the Member for the City (Sir F. Banbury). I was going to add that this Second Reading has given rise to a discussion on which the Government have no reason to congratulate themselves. The first reason I have for saying that it is an unfortunate and ill-advised Bill is in relation to its form, and in that respect I have some considerations to put before the House which I think will commend themselves to the right hon. Baronet. The Bill in its first Clause begins by a reference to the Special Constables Act, 1914—a very bad piece of war emergency legislation. I think it is generally admitted, and no hon. Member has put the case against legislation by reference better than the right hon. Baronet, that legislation by reference is bad, but that legislation by reference to a bad emergency Act drafted in a way which would only be accepted during a war is surely the most vicious kind of legislation by reference. Let me remind the House of what the Special Constables Act, 1914, did. It had practically a single Clause empowering the Home Secretary to make Regulations for a force of special constables. In other words, Parliament divested itself entirely of its duties in legislating for the constitution of this force, and left its constitution to be decided purely by administrative decree. While that was admissible under the conditions then existing, the War was not a month old, there was something of a scare in the country, and the House was inclined to accept anything from the Government and give any powers that were asked for to it, four years after the War Parliament has no right to give similar autocratic powers to any Government or Government Department.

I would like to put this consideration to hon. Members on the other side of the House. They are in power to-day. They have the right of making the regulations and can constitute their Fascisti or their White Guard, as they choose, by the regulations they make. But what if the hon. Gentleman the Member for Aberavon (Mr. R. MacDonald) and his friends are on the Front Bench opposite in two years' time, and they have the power to make regulations—[An HON. MEMBER: "We shall make them "]—and they can prescribe the special constabulary they want? [An HON. MEMBER: "Why not.?" Will you he pleased at that? [An HON. MEMBER: "Certainly."] Well, I would not. The view I take—and surely hon. Members opposite will agree with me—is that if we are going to have a special constabulary in this country, it must be constituted by legislation; and not simply by empowering Government Departments to make regulations thereon. I cannot understand any hon. Member opposite objecting to that contention. It is no excuse to say that this was a matter that was hatched under the Coalition. It is a fair sample of Coalition legislation. It is the kind of Bill that would have been passed in the last Parliament, but it is not a good enough Bill for this Parliament, and it is not the kind of Bill that is going to pass this House. I am surprised at hon. Members opposite, who were returned to support a different Government with different methods, and to take up the ordinary constitutional methods of legislation of this country, are adopting the cast-off clothing of the Coalition, for that is what it amounts to. {Interruption.]


The hon. Member with his experience and acumen, will see that his remarks are not relevant.


It is surely relevant to point out this, and I must say it is the first time I have ever heard an hon. Member called to order in this House for showing the other side that they were in the wrong. I say it was one of the functions for which this House was returned—to go back and to revive the ordinary constitutional methods of legislation here. This is a Bill in which these methods are abandoned. It confers autocratic powers upon a Government Department in relation to a new defence force, and I say that hon. Gentlemen opposite are not entitled to confer that power upon any Government. To-day it is a Government to their mind; to-morrow it may be a very different Government, and I suggest to them, in these circumstances, they are doing a very bad piece of work from their own point of view when they are placing such powers in the hands of a Government whose aims may be absolutely disagreeable to them.

That is the first point. I believe it is a matter of substance, and I think, under these circumstances, the Government should consider the matter again. It is worth while considering it. It is a serious matter, and I am surprised that hon. Members opposite view with such levity what is a sound constitutional point. The older Members opposite will agree with me that this legislation would never have been tolerated before the War by either party in this House. I always understood that in pre-War days the British constitution had, as it were, created the finest precedents in legislative practice that had been created by any legislative assembly in the world, and it should surely be our pride to maintain those practices and precedents which have been of such advantage to the country in the past. It is because this Bill is a departure from these things that we oppose it. It is true that we tolerated it in war times, and under war conditions, simply because it was a temporary Measure. But it is a departure which we have no right to tolerate now, and which this House, now that it has the opportunity, should take that opportunity of rejecting.

Let us come to the substance of this matter. There has been a very remarkable contrast between the speeches from the front and back benches opposite. The front bench case has been an apologetic case—it is a very little one. There is nothing in it! Nothing at all! The Bill is mild and inoffensive, and a Measure that nobody could ever object to, and, in fact, the Home Secretary is the very man to be selected for a purpose of this kind. He is simple and innocent. He does not assume the airs of statesmanship that, some of his colleagues adopt, and he is, therefore, more popular with the House. While we know that they are not so clever as they believe themselves to be, we believe that he is cleverer than he looks. The back bench case is quite a different case. It is only by dealing with that case that we arrive at the real motives and objects that have given the, Measure so enthusiastic a welcome. Those who speak from the benches behind the Minister speak of a new spirit in the country. They say that the people are more unruly than they used to be, more given to riot and die-order; that there are wilder trade union leaders than in the past, and that therefore we must have other methods and stronger methods to suppress unfortunate incidents.

Is that the case for the Government? Does the Home Secretary believe that? He has not said so in his speech in moving the Second Reading of the Bill, nor has the Under-Secretary said anything to that effect. If the case made by hon. Members behind the Minister be true, then I agree that from their point of view there is a case for the Bill, but so far as the Government is concerned, up to the present there has been no case made by the Government. If our people are as law abiding as before the War, if there is no more tendency to riot and disorder, then there is no need for this special force. From 1831 to 1914 there was no special provision for a force of this kind, though by the Act of 1831 they could be enrolled in special emergencies. They were enrolled, I think, at the time of the Chartist agitation, but from that time until 1914, so far as I recollect, we had no need for special constables. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh! "] There might be an isolated case, but they were purely emergency cases.


To deal with Carson!


If, then, it was only in such cases, why should there be a permanent organisation? There is no case under these circumstances for a special organisation. When we come to what is in the minds of those who are promoting this Bill, we find references to the railway strike of 1919. We remember all that occurred then. We remember the design for a defence force at that time! We remember also the statement made that there was an anarchist conspiracy! It was an extraordinary situation. Some of us, who were not in the House in those days, could not understand why the anarchist conspiracy was never discussed in this House. [An HON. MEMBER,: "You were not here! "] That was one reason why it was not discussed, but I am surprised that the Labour party did not discuss it. There were 60 of them here then, and that statement was a direct attack on the Labour party. I could never understand why the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas) did not raise the matter with the late Prime Minister. Then we had a reference to the Council of Action. That was another thing that was going to bring the pillars of society down; but do hon. Gentlemen really believe that? It was the greatest hoax that was ever put up.


Can the hon. Member connect the Council of Action with special constables?


Yes, Sir. The existence of the Council of Action was put forward as a reason for this Bill, and the argument was accepted as being perfectly in order, so it is surely order, when one is examining the Bill, and the arguments in its favour, to point out how hollow such an argument is. I was merely pointing out that the Council of Action, by its very constitution, contained members whose presence gave an assurance to the Government of the day that nothing serious could happen. Nothing did happen, nor is anything likely to happen if only in this country we proceed on the old lines in dealing with our legislation, if we legislate according to the established practice of this House. If, in dealing with every Bill that comes to the house, we place its objects and its provisions fully and clearly before Parliament arid the country and if, after going through the ordinary processes of debate and discussion, such Bills ultimately find their way to the Statute Book, that is the sound constitutional method of procedure. But if you place in the hands of the Executive vague and ill-defined powers such as are contained in this Bill, and if, in doing that, you get a different reason given from the Front Bench from that which is given from the Back Bench, you thereby create suspicion that the objects which the Government are avowing are not the real objects, that what the Government is concerned with is not simply the preservation of law and order in this country, but the creation of a force which will be used for other needs and other purposes. [HON. MEMBERS: "What?" and "Strike-breaking! "] Any hon. Member who has listened to the course of this discussion ought by this time to be perfectly familiar with the fears and suspicions which this Bill has aroused. One has only to note the exclamation with which the interruption from the other side has past been received, that it is to be used for strike-breaking, for the purposes of some form of class warfare. Surely it is a most unfortunate thing that any Government should have introduced such a Bill as gives rise to such suspicions, and that in discussion in this House those suspicions should have had to he expressed by responsible Members of this House—because those suspicions have not been put forward from irresponsible quarters: they have been put before the House by hon. Members speaking with a sense of responsibility, and speaking also with a sincere desire to avert the risks they foresee. I hope the Home Secretary will yet reconsider the decision to press this Bill. The Government have already a heavy enough programme for the present Session. They have many problems yet awaiting solution. On some of them they have not yet made up their minds. On some topics on which they will have to legislate before 30th June they do not know what they are going to do, yet they are introducing this trumpery and mischievous Measure to take up the time of the House and its Committees. It will go to a Committee, which will bring Members here at 11 and keep them sitting four hours a clay for several days. In the present state of public business, unless for an object which is altogether essential and desirable in the public interest, the Government are not entitled to do that. They have other things far more important in the interest of the country, and, in these circumstances, I could reinforce the appeals which have been made to them from above, the Gangway to withdraw the Bill.


Two or three points have been raised which I should to refer to, and I hope it is not impossible to dispel some amazing suspicions in the minds of hon. Members opposite. The hon. Member who spoke last condemned it because it was to continue the provisions made by what he described as the Coalition Government. He seems to forget that it was the Government of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith) that passed the Special Constables Act, and therefore any blame he has to attach to that Measure, which he described as so pernicious, should be addressed to his own leader.


I think the right hon. Gentleman is unintentionally misrepresenting me. I said he is cleverer than he looks. I made it perfectly clear that the original Act was an emergency Act passed in the first month of the War. I condemned this Bill as taken over from the Coalition Government, and hearing the marks of Coalition legislation, in that it continued an emergency Bill.


The House will remember that the hon. Member said it was a very bad Measure. That is all I need to say. He spoke of the great apprehensions the Bill had aroused in the minds of hon. Members, and it apparently has, but in his own mind the apprehension that looms largely seemed to me to be the apprehension that when hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench opposite changed places with us here they might use this Bill in some way unsatisfactory to him. I have no such apprehension. I think they would be only too glad to have this Act, when it is passed, to help them if any emergency should arise. [An HON. MEMBER: "You will be the first to go! "] if I should fail in my duty in keeping order, I should deserve to be the first to go. Hon. Members have said this is panic legislation. I have been accused of many things in my time, but this is the first time I have had that accusation brought against me. Let us see whether it is panic legislation. Is it panic legislation to take up a Bill which has been previously prepared by another Government, and which that Government had intended to produce? Is it panic legislation to make use of a force on which no single Member of the House has attempted to offer any criticism through the whole course of the Debate, which has admittedly done good work, rather than some newly recruited force with no experience and no knowledge of the subject? If that is panic legislation, then I do not know what is panic legislation. The hon. Member for Central Newcastle (Mr. Trevelyan) asked me whether I thought there was more likelihood of violence now than before the War. I have no thought of that kind in my mind. I have no particular reason to suspect any violence now. Of course, we have a certain amount of violent speeches from many people whose bark is worse than their bite. I have no reason to suspect any violence now, but that, is not the reason why this Measure is being introduced. It has been said that the Bill is an anti-Labour Measure. [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes' "1 It is an anti-disorder Measure. If Labour wishes to identify itself with disorder, then there might be some force in that argument. It is said to be a strike-breaking Measure. Some strikes are perfectly orderly, but some are not. If violence is introduced into a strike, and if violence is offered to the citizens of this country in the course of a strike, that is disorder, and for that kind of strike I frankly admit that this or any other Measure for calling out special constables would be necessary.


This is provoking disorder.


Why should it be provoking disorder to continue a force which has been in existence up to now and which not one hon. Member opposite has ventured to say has done anything but excellent work? [HON. MEMBERS: "During the War."] And since the War. [HON'. MEMBERS: "It is not operative.."] It will not be operative now except in an emergency. The force will only he operative if the constabulary want assistance. If they want auxiliaries to help them, this force will be called up. They will be under the direction of the constabulary, and will be given duties which the constabulary think are suitable for them. The whole question is very simple, although it has been magnified by hon. Gentlemen opposite.

There are a good many small points which I do not need to answer. There is the question of the age limit for recruiting. The hon. Member for Brightside (Mr. Ponsonby) spoke about the Scottish age limit being abolished. Nobody suggests that the age limit was likely to be extended on the lower side in Scotland. If it is thought that there is any danger of that, I am willing to agree that the age should not go below 20 in Scotland. The lion. Member also spoke about veterans over the age of 50. That happens to fit in with his own age. It would then be possible that he would be able to come in, and we should be very glad to recruit him if he so wished. Instead of being a useless veteran, he would be one of the most active members of the force.

There may come a time, as there have been times in the past, when the assistance of the citizen may be required to reinforce the existing constabulary of the country. If ever an emergency arose and this Bill were not passed the police would have to be reinforced by the enlistment of special constables who would have no experience or by the military. The other alternative is to do what is proposed in the Bill, and, if there is an emergency, to use the men who are all tried and experienced, who have all had instruction, who had served in this force for a considerable time and who would be altogether a much more satisfactory force than a force suddenly called into existence in an emergency, and perhaps collected at the street corners of our towns. Can anybody have the face to say that the present constabulary have been anything but an admirable and excellent force? Therefore I believe that the House will give a Second Reading to this Bill because they do not want to scrap entirely an organisation which has been of the greatest value and which I believe will greatest be of the greatest value in the future should any emergency arise and should it be necessary to reinforce the existing police force.


[HON. MEMBERS: "Divide."] What a lamentable gulf there is between the sober and sagacious Front Bench and the honest outspoken back Benches opposite, who honestly and outspokenly realise what this Measure means. The Front Bench has never heard of White Guards or Fascisti or Mussolini or dreamt of reading the "Morning Post." The home Secretary in this Debate is innocence personified. He is amazed at the opposition to his Bill. Ho talks of the amazing suspicions of hon. Members on this side. I wonder why he should be amazed, because even in the wilds of Shropshire he must have awakened to the fact that the Conservative party is changing, and has changed considerably in the last year. The old constitutional party in this country has been forgotten since Mussolini came into his own. Who so eloquent as the Home Secretary on constitutional practice, "slowly broadening down from precedent to precedent "? Who so eloquent on the virtues of orthodox constitutional development as the constitutional party opposite, as long as they thought they could continue to boss this country for ever? But now, with the vision before them of the proletariat actually proposing to take the reins of government into its hands, they have to take stock of their position in exactly the same way as the same people have taken stock of their position in Hungary, in Bavaria, in Germany, in Italy and in Spain. Therefore we have this further addition to the Citizen Defence Force. I remember that it was before the War that the Citizen Defence Force first came into being, with his Grace the Duke of Abercorn as president and a son of Mrs. Humphrey Ward as one of the whippersin. They had their meeting in the Crystal Palace, and decided to break the strikes. They enrolled everyone who would come along—they even specified honest working men—in order that when next the wicked working man rose up in his might and attempted to destroy civilisation—according to the "Morning Post" he is trying to do it about every week-end—they might be armed at every point to resist red revolution. It fizzled out then, because, of course, there was no Government backing behind it. But now there is a chance; they can get Government backing, through the amazing innocence of the Home Secretary, and with the apt and unanimous approval of the benches behind him.

Let us realise what it is. I think we have killed this Bill to-clay. The Government place some value on their time and I do not think they will pursue the matter much further. I am sorry, in some ways, that. the Bill has been killed. I can see great use in this Measure. If we came into power, so far as the special constables are concerned, following the policy lately advocated by Lord Fisher, we would sack the lot and fill up the ranks of our special constables with people for whom there would be more need in looking after the counter-revolutionaries opposite. Curragh mutiny would have its imitators, no doubt, in the Navy, and, if the new Labour Government really attempted to get anything done, we should be faced with direct action from the benches opposite far more quickly than we are likely to have direct action from the working men of this country, That has been proved over and over again on the Continent. Now that we see this amazing metamorphosis in the attitude of the constitutional party, it is, perhaps, as well that we should realise that Labour in power may have as stiff a fight to preserve order against reaction as ever reaction can have in preserving order against people rightly struggling to be free. [Interruption.] I think hon. Members opposite, and perhaps on this side, do not realise what this blackleg White Guard is really going to be. This new organisation is, as, indeed, has been pretty obvious, the thin end of class warfare. No one who goes about in this country now, and who listens to the talk —it may be in railway trains—no one who listens to the average conversation of the average middle-class, or even upper-class, personage, can be oblivious to the fact that the abuse of the enemy in the War has been wiped out, and that, instead. the abuse of the working class has taken its place—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh! "] abuse of their greediness, their failure ever to do an honest day's work; their grasping desire—


On a point of Order. [HON. MEMBERS: "Sit down!" "Wedgwood!" and [Interruption.]


If the hon. and learned Member rises on a point of Order, I am bound to hear him.


It is on a point of Order. I am entitled to be heard. The point of Order to which I rose, was how far the speech of the hon. and gallant Member was relevant to the Bill?


The hon. and gallant Gentleman appeared to adumbrate a connection between his argument- and the Bill, and I was waiting for him to make it substantial.


I was endeavouring to explain, when I was interrupted by the hon. and learned Member, that the Bill, as it stands at present, is an attempt to resuscitate, in the shape of the special constabulary, a force which is intended—as the entire Back Benches opposite admit, though the Front Bench will not admit—to be used in cases of strikes, in order, not only to suppress violence, but also to take the place of those strikers who are engaged in operations of national necessity. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!" I wish that "No!" had come from the Front Bench, instead of from the Back Benches. Let us imagine, if that be so, whether the sort of people from whom the force is to be recruited is the sort of people who will maintain an unbiassed, non-party attitude, toward the dispute in question. I maintain that this force obviously will rule out at once all trade unionists. [HON. MEMBERS: "No. "] Any trade unionist who joins this force will have to understand that under the oath which he takes he may be compelled to blackleg his own trade union. Therefore, no trade unionist will voluntarily join this force. It must, therefore, be recruited just precisely from those classes who, at the present time, are most vocal in their denunciations of the working classes, particularly in these times when they are driven to strike or are locked out by the employers. Is it likely to conduce to amicable relations between the two parties and to tend to general decent behaviour in the country as a whole, if the workers realise that you have here a new defence force composed of people who dislike them, similar to those people who are being used as blacklegs in Norfolk to-day? They have to understand that this force is backed up by the Government, armed by the Government, to be used by the Government, not merely to prevent riot but actually to do the work of strike breaking in an emergency. There is one other hope to be gathered from this Bill. I understand from the Home Secretary that, at least, we will gain one thing from this Measure, if it becomes law— that this new weapon will be used as an alternative to the weapon used at the present time. At the present time, when civil disturbance arises from a strike or lock-out, the ordinary resource of the Government is to call out troops as at Featherstone or Tonypandy. Is the special constabulary to take the place of the troops? If we can be assured that, in future, special constables will be used in lieu of troops there may he something to be said for the Measure.


What I said was, if we had no special constabulary, the only other way of assisting the police would be by calling out the military: therefore the existence of the special constabulary would defer the moment. when the military would have to be called out.


We do not get much benefit out of that. It is not an alternative, it is an addition. Even then we do not get any advantage. I would

point out to the Home Secretary that. if he is going to press this Bill, he is going to be up against the determined opposition, not of the Labour party alone, but of all people who love liberty and constitutionalism. The right hon. Gentleman must read his paper; he must understand that at the present time, in spite of the speech of the hon. Member for Mossley (Mr. A. Hopkinson), who protested that this was the Government's method of avoiding Fascism, in the whole of the Conservative Press the cure for the social evil invented in Italy is being put forward day by day, in issue after issue, as the only cure of our social unrest in this country also. He must realise that we on this side of the House, not of one party but of all parties, are determined we will never have in this country any sort of attempt to establish the rule of Fascism or White Guards. This Measure is suspected, and, I think, rightly suspected, of being a move in that direction, and therefore in the interests of peaceful development, as well as the interests of his own party, I would urge him to withdraw this Bill and let us get on to business.


rose in his place, and claimed to more, "That the Question he now put."

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

The House divided: Ayes, 214; Noes, 126.

Division No. 71.] AYES [11.0 p.m.
Ainsworth, Captain Charles Burn, Colonel Sir Charles Rosdew Edmondson, Major A. J.
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton, East) Burney, Com. (Middx., Uxbridge) Ednam, Viscount
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Butler, H. M. (Leeds, North) Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)
Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin Button, H. S. Ellis, R. G.
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Wilfrid W. Cadogan, Major Edward Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)
Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick W. Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R. Erskine-Bolst, Captain C.
Baird. Rt. Hon. Sir John Lawrence Cautley, Henry Strother Evans, Capt. H. Arthur (Leicister, E.)
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Falcon, Captain Michael
Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G. Churchman. Sir Arthur Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray
Banks, Mitchell Clarry, Reginald George Fawkes, Major F. H.
Barnett, Major Richard W. Clayton, G. C. Fermor-Hesketh, Major T.
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Coates, Lt.-Col. Norman Foreman, Sir Henry
Birchall, Major J. Dearman Cobb, Sir Cyril Forestier-Walker, L.
Blundell, F. N. Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K. Furness, G. J.
Bowyer. Capt. G. E. W. Colfox. Major Wm. Phillips Galbraith, J. F. W.
Boyd-Carpenter, Major A. Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale Garland, C. S.
Brass, Captain W. Cope. Major William Gates, Percy
Brassey, Sir Leonard Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff, South) Goff, Sir R. Park
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Cotts, Sir William Dingwall Mitchell Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N.)
Brown, Major D. C. (Hexham) Craig, Capt. C. C. (Antrim, South) Grenfell. Edward C. (City of London)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury) Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.
Brown, J. W. (Middlesbrough, E.) Crook, C. W. (East Ham, North) Gwynne, Rupert S.
Bruford, R. Curzon, Captain Viscount Hacking, Captain Douglas H.
Bruton, Sir James Davidson. J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstaad) Hall. Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)
Buckingham, Sir H. Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H. Halstead, Major D.
Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A. Dawson. Sir Philin Hamilton, Sir George C. (Altrincham)
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Du Pre, Colonel William Baring Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry
Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent) Maddocks, Henry Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend)
Harrison, F. C. Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.) Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P, (Chertsey)
Harvey, Major S. E. Manville, Edward Robertson, J. D. (Islington, W.)
Hawke, John Anthony Margesson, H. D. R. Rodgerson, Captain J. E.
Hay, Major T. W. (Norfolk, South) Mason, Lieut.-Col. C, K. Roundell, Colonel R. F.
Henderson, Sir T. (Roxburgh) Milne, J. S. Wardlaw Ruggles-Brise, Major E.
Henn, Sir Sydney H. Mitchell, W. F. (Saffron Walden) Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Hennessy, Major J. B. G. Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Russell, William (Bolton)
Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Molloy, Major L. G. S. Russell-Wells, Sir Sydney
Herbert, S. (Scarborough) Molson, Major John Elsdale Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A.
Hewett, Sir J. P. Morden, Col. W. Grant Sanderson, Sir Frank B.
Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank Moreing, Captain Algernon H. Sandon, Lord
Hiley. Sir Ernest Morris, Harold Shepperson, E. W.
Hoare, Lieut.-Colonel Sir S. J. G. Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton) Skelton, A. N.
Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone) Murchison, C. K. Smith, Sir Allan M. (Creydon, South)
Hohter, Gerald Fitzroy Nail, Major Joseph Sparkes, H. W.
Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard Nesbitt, Robert C. Spender-Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H.
Hood, Sir Joseph Newman, Colonel J. R. p. (Finchley) Stanley, Lord
Hopkins, John W. W. Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Steel, Major S. Strang
Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) Newson, Sir Percy Wilson Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H.
Houlton, John Plowright Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster) Strauss, Edward Anthony
Howard, Capt. D. (Cumberland, N.) Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield) Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-
Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Col. C. K. O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Hugh Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Hudson, Capt. A. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William Sugden, Sir Wilfrid H.
Hume, G. H. Paget, T G. Sutcliffe, T.
Hurst, Lt.-Col. Gerald Berkeley Parker, Owen (Kettering) Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Hutchison, G. A. C. (Midlothian, N.) Pennefather, De Fonblangue Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Hutchison, W. (Kelvingrove) Penny, Frederick George Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Jodrell, Sir Neville Paul Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings) Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Johnson, Sir L. (Waithamslow, E.) Perkins, Colonel E. K. Tubbs, S. W.
Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington) Perring, William George Turton, Edmund Russborough
Kelley, Major Fred (Rotherham) Philipson, H. H. Wallace, Captain E.
King, Capt. Henry Douglas Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)
Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G. Watts. Dr. T. (Man!, Withington)
Lamt, J. Q. Raeburn, Sir William H. Wells. S. R.
Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Colonel G. R. Raine, W. White, Col. G. D. (Southport)
Leigh Sir John (Clapham) Rankin, Captain James Stuart Winterton, Earl
Lloyd-Greame, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Rawlinson, Rt. Hon. John Fredk. Peel wise, Frederick
Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green) Rawson, Lieut.-Com. A. C. Wolmer, Viscount
Lorden, John William Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington) Wood, Rt. Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)
Lorimer, H. D. Remer, J. R. Yate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward
Lumley, L, R. Rentoul, G. S. Yerburgh, R. D. T.
Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness) Reynolds, W. G. W.
McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury) Rhodes. Lieut.-Col. J. P. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Colonel Gibbs and Major Barnston
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Greenall, T. MacDonald, J. R. (Aberavon)
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) M'Entec, V. L.
Amman, Charles George Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) McLaren, Andrew
Attlee, C. R. Groves, T. Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)
Barker, G. (Manmouth, Abertillery) Grundy, T. W. March, S.
Barnes, A. Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth) Marshall, Sir Arthur H.
Batey, Joseph Hall, F. (York, W. B., Normanton) Maxton, James
Bennett, A. J. (Mansfield) Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Middleton, G.
Berkeley, Captain Reginald Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Millar, J. D.
Bonwick, A. Hancock, John George Morel, E. D.
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Harbord, Arthur Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)
Briant, Frank Hardie, George D. Murnin, H.
Broad, F. A. Harris, Percy A. Newbold, J. T. W.
Brotherton, J. Hartshorn, Vernon Nichol, Robert
Buchanan, G. Hastings, Patrick O'Grady, Captain James
Buckle, J. Hayes, John Henry (Edge Hill) Oliver, George Harold
Burgess, S. Hemmerde, E. G. Paling, W.
Burnie, Major J. (Bootle) Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (N'castle, E.) Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)
Cairns, John Herriotts, J. Phillipps, Vivian
Cape, Thomas Hillary, A. E. Ponsonby, Arthur
Chapple, W. A. Hirst, G. H. Potts, John S.
Charleton, H. C. Hodge, Colonel J. P. (Preston) Pringle, W. M. R.
Clarke, Sir E. C. Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Collins, Pat (Walsall) Johnston, Thomas (Stirling) Riley, Ben
Collison, Levi Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Ritson, J.
Darbishire, C. W. Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertcwn) Robinson, W. C. (York, Elland)
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) Jones, R. T. (Carnarvon) Royce, William stapleton
Davison, J. E. (Smethwick) Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East) Saklatvala, S.
Duncan, C. Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M. Sexton, James
Ede, James Chuter Lansbury, George Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Emlyn-Jones, J. E. (Dorset, N.) Lawson, John James Simpson, J. Hope
Entwistle, Major C. F. Leach, W. Smith, T. (Pontefract)
Foot, Isaac Lee, F. Snell, Harry
Gosling, Harry Lees-Smith, H. B. (Keighley) Snowdon. Philip
Graham, D. M. (Hamilton) Linfield, F. C. Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)
Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central) Lowth, T. Spencer, H. H. (Bradford, S.)
Gray, Frank (Oxford) Lunn, William Stephen, Campbell
Sullivan, J. Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C. Wright, W.
Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, Wast) White, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.) Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Trevelyan, C. P. Whiteley, W.
Warne, G. H. Williams, David (Swansea, E.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline) Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe) Mr. T. Griffiths and Mr. Morgan Jones.
Watts Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda) Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)
Webb, Sidney

Question put accordingly, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

Division No. 72.] AYES. [11.10 p.m.
Ainsworth, Captain Charles Fermor-Hesketh, Major T. Mitchell, W. F. (Saffron Walden)
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton, East) Foreman, Sir Henry Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Forestier-Walker, L. Molloy, Major L. G. S.
Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin Furness, G. J. Molson, Major John Eladale
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Wilfrid W. Galbraith, J. F. W. Morden, Col. W. Grant
Astbury, Lieut. Com. Frederick W. Garland, C. S. Moreing, Captain Algernon H.
Baird Rt. Hon St: John Lawrence Gates, Percy Morris, Harold
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Goff. Sir R. Park Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.(Honiton)
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N.) Murchison, C. K.
Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G. Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London) Nail, Major Joseph
Banks, Mitchell Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E. Nesbitt, Robert C.
Barnett, Major Richard W. Gwynne, Rupert S. Newman, Colonel J- R. P. (Finchley)
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Bennett, A. J. (Mansfield) Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Newson, Sir Percy Wilson
Birchall, Major J. Dearman Halstead, Major D. Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)
Blundell, F. N. Hamilton, Sir George C. (Altrincham) Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)
Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Hugh
Boyd-Carpenter, Major A. Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent) Ormsby-Gore, Hon William
Brass, Captain W. Harrison, F. C. Paget, T. G.
Brassey, Sir Leonard Harvey, Major S. E. Parker, Owen (Kettering)
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Hawke, John Anthony Pennefather, De Fonblanque
Brown, Major D. C. (Hexham) Hay, Major T. W. (Norfolk, South) Penny, Frederick George
Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury) Henderson, Sir T. (Roxburgh) Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Brown, J. W. (Middlesbrough, E.) Henn, Sir Sydney H. Perkins, Colonel E. K.
Bruford, R. Hennessy. Major J. R. G. Perring, William George
Bruton, Sir James Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Philipson, Hilton
Buckingham, Sir H. Herbert, S. (Scarborough) Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton
Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A. Hewett. Sir J. P. Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank Raeburn, Sir William H.
Burn, Colonel Sir Charles Rosdew Hiley, Sir Ernest Raine, W.
Burney, Com. (Middx., Uxbridge) Hoare, Lieut.-Colonel Sir S. J. G. Rankin, Captain James Stuart
Burnie, Major J. (Bootle) Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone) Rawlinson, Rt. Hon. John Fredk. Peel
Butler, H. M. (Leeds, North) Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy Rawson, Lieut.-Com. A. C.
Button, H. S Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)
Cadogan, Major Edward Hood, Sir Joseph Remer, J. R.
Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R. Hopkins, John W. W. Rentoul, G. S.
Cautley, Henry Strother Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) Reynolds, W. G. W.
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) Houfton, John Plowright Rhodes, Lieut.-Col. J. P.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Howard, Capt. D. (Cumberland, N.) Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend)
Churchman. Sir Arthur Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Col. C. K. Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)
Clarry, Reginald George Hudson. Capt. A. Robertson. J. D. (Islington, W.)
Clayton, G. C. Hume, G H. Rodgerson, Captain J. E.
Coates, Lt.-Col. Norman Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Roundell, Colonel R. F.
Cobb, Sir Cyril Hurst, Lt.-Col. Gerald Berkeley Ruggles-Brise, Major E.
Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K. Hutchison, G. A. C. (Midlothian, N.) Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Colfox, Ma for Wm. Phillips Hutchison, W. (Kelvingrove) Russell, William (Bolton)
Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale Jodrell, Sir Neville Paul Russell-Wells, Sir Sydney
Cope, Major William Johnson, Sir L. (Walthamstow, E.) Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A.
Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff South) Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington) Sanderson, Sir Frank B.
Cotts, Sir William Dingwall Mitchell Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Sandon, Lord
Craig, Capt. C. C. (Antrim, South) Kelley, Major Fred (Rotherham) Shepperson. E. W.
Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry King, Capt. Henry Douglas Skelton. A. N.
Crook, C. W. (East Ham, North) Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)
Curzon, Captain viscount Lamb, J. Q. Sparkes, H. W.
Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead) Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Colonel G. R. Spender-Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H.
Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H. Leigh, Sir John (Clapham) Stanley, Lord
Dawson, Sir Philip Lloyd-Greame, Rt. Hon. Sir P. Steel, Major S. Strang
Du Pre, Colonel William Baring Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green) Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H.
Edmondson, Major A. J. Lorden, John William Strauss, Edward Anthony
Ednam. Viscount Lorimer, H. D. Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-
Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark): Lumley, L. R. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Ellis, R. G. Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness) Sugden. Sir Wilfrid H.
Erskine, Lord (Weston-super>Mare) McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury) Sutcliffe, T.
Erskine-Bolst. Captain C. Maddocks, Henry Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Evans, Capt. H. Arthur (Leicester, E.) Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.) Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M. Manville, Edward Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Falcon, Captain Michael Margesson, H. D. R. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray Mason, Lieut.-Col. C. K. Tubbs, S. W.
Fawkes, Major F. H. Milne, J. S. Wardraw Turton, Edmund Russborough

The House divided: Ayes, Noes, 122.

Wallace, Captain E. Winterton, Earl Yerburgh, R. D. T.
Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull) Wise, Frederick
Watts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington) Wolmer, Viscount TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Wells, S. R. Wood, Rt. Hn. Edward F. L. (Ripon) Colonel Gibbs and Major Barnston.
White, Col. G. D (Southport) Yate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) O'Grady, Captain James
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Oliver, George Harold
Attlee, C. R. Hancock, John George Paling, W.
Barker. G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Harbord, Arthur Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)
Barnes, A. Hardie, George D. Phillipps, Vivian
Batey, Joseph Harris, Percy A. Ponsonby, Arthur
Berkeley, Captain Reginald Hartshorn, Vernon Potts, John S.
Bonwick, A. Hastings, Patrick Pringle, W. M. R.
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Hayes, John Henry (Edge Hill) Richardson, R. (Houghton-le Spring)
Briant, Frank Hemmerde, E. G. Riley, Ben
Broad, F. A. Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (N'castle, E.) Ritson, J.
Brotherton, J. Herriotts, J. Robinson, W. C. (York, Elland)
Buchanan, G. Hirst, G. H. Royce, William Stapleton
Buckle, J. Hodge, Lieut.-Col. J. P. (Preston) Saklatvala, S.
Burgess, S. Jonkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Sexton, James
Calms, John Johnston, Thomas (Stirling) Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Cape, Thomas Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Simpson, J. Hope
Chapple, W. A. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Smith, T. (Pontefract)
Charleton, H. C. Jones, R. T. (Carnarvon) Snell, Harry
Clarke, Sir E. C. Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East) Snowden, Philip
Collins, Pat (Walsall) Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M. Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)
Collison, Levi Lansbury, George Spencer, H. H. (Bradford, S.)
Darbishire, C. W. Lawson, John James Stephen, Campbell
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) Leach, w. Sullivan, J.
Davison, J. E. (Smethwick) Lee, F. Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)
Duncan, C. Lees-Smith, H. B. (Keighley) Trevelyan, C. P.
Ede, James Chuter Linfield, F. C. Warne, G. H.
Emiyn-Jones, J. E. (Dorset, N.) Lowth, T. Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Entwistle, Major C. F. MacDonald, 1. R. (Aberavon) watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Foot, Isaac M'Entee, V. L. Webb, Sidney
Gosling, Harry McLaren, Andrew Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.
Graham, D. M. (Hamilton) Maclean. Neil (Glasgow, Govan) White, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)
Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central) March, S. Whiteley, W.
Gray, Frank (Oxford) Marshall, Sir Arthur H. Williams, David (Swansea, E.)
Greenall, T. Maxton, James Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Middleton, G. Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan] Millar, J. D. Wright, W.
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Morel, E. D. Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Groves, T. Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)
Grundy, T. W. Murnin, H. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth) Newbold, J. T. W. Mr. Ammon and Mr. Lunn.
Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Nichol, Robert

Motion made, and Question put, "That the Bill be committed to a Committee of the Whole House. "—[Mr. Ramsay MacDonald.]

The House proceeded to a Division.

Mir. SEXTON (seated and covered)

I wish to call your attention, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, to the fact that a Member of

the House voted in both Lobbies, and to ask what record will be given of that Member's vote?


If an hon. Member votes in both Lobbies, the one vote cancels the other, and no result, as far as the Division is concerned, can ensue.

The House divided: Ayes, 122, Noes, 205.

Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) McLaren, Andrew Short, Alfred (wednesbury)
Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan) Simpson, J. Hope
Harbord, Arthur March, S. Smith, T. (Pontefract)
Handle, George D. Marshall, Sir Arthur H. Snell, Harry
Hartshorn, Vernon Maxton, James Snowden, Philip
Hastings, Patrick Middleton, G. Sparkes, H. W.
Hayes, John Henry (Edge Hill) Millar, J. D. Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)
Hemmerde, E. G. Morel, E. D. Spencer, H. H. (Bradford, S.)
Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (N'castle, E.) Morrison, H. C. (Tottenham, N.) Stephen, Campbell
Herriotts, J. Murnin. H. Sullivan, J.
Hirst, G. H. Newbold, J. T. W. Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)
Hodge, Lieut.-Col. J. P. (Preston) Nichol, Robert Trevelyan, C. P.
Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) O'Grady, Captain James Warne, G. H.
Johnston, Thomas (Stirling) Oliver, George Harold Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertownj Paling, W. Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) Webb, Sidney
Jones, R. T. (Carnarvon) Phillipps, Vivian Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.
Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East) Ponsonby, Arthur White, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)
Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M. Potts, John S. Whiteley, W.
Lansbury, George Pringle, W. M. R. Williams, David (Swansea, E.)
Lawson, John James Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Leach, W. Riley, Ben Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)
Lee, F. Ritson, J. Wright, W.
Lees-Smith, H. B. (Keighley) Roberts, C. H. (Derby) Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Linfield. F. C. Robinson, W. C. (York, Elland)
Lowth, T. Royce, William Stapleton TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
MacDonald. J. R. (Aberavon) Saklatvala, S. Mr. Ammon and Mr. Lunn.
M'Entee, V. L. Sexton, James
Ainsworth, Captain Charles Dawson, Sir Philip Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Du Pre, Colonel William Baring Hurst, Lt.-Col. Gerald Berkeley
Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin Edmondson, Major A. J. Hutchison, G. A. C. (Midlothian, N.)
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Wilfrid W. Ednam, Viscount Hutchison, W. (Kelvingrove)
Astbury. Lieut.-Com. Frederick W. Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark) Jodrell, Sir Neville Paul
Baird, Rt. Hon. Sir John Lawrence Ellis, R. G. Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Kelley, Major Fred (Rotherham)
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Erskine-Eolst, Captain C. King, Capt. Henry Douglas
Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G. Evans, Capt. H. Arthur (Leicester, E.) Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement
Banks, Mitchell Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M. Lamb, J. Q.
Barnett, Major Richard W. Falcon, Captain Michael Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Colonel G. R.
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)
Bennett, A. J. (Mansfield) Fawkes, Major F. H. Lloyd-Greame, Rt. Hon. Sir P.
Birchall, Major J. Dearman Fermor-Hesketh, Major T. Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)
Blundell, F. N. Foreman, Sir Henry Lorden, John William
Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W. Forestier-Walker, L. Lorimer, H. D.
Boyd-Carpenter, Major A. Furness, G. J. Lumley, L. R.
Brass, Captain W. Garland, C. S. Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)
Brassey, Sir Leonard Goff, Sir R. Park McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N.) Maddocks, Henry
Brown, Major D. C. (Hexham) Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London) Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury) Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E. Manville, Edward
Brown, J. W. (Middlesbrough. E.) Gwynne, Rupert S. Margesson, H. D. R.
Bruford, R. Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Mason. Lieut.-Col. C. K.
Bruton. Sir James Hall, Lieut. Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Milne, J. S. Wardlaw
Buckingham, Sir H. Halstead, Major D. Mitchell, W. F. (Saffron Walden)
Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A. Hancock, John George Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Hannon. Patrick Joseph Henry Molloy, Major L. G. S.
Burney, Com. (Middx., Uxbridge) Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent) Molson, Major John Elsdale
Butler, H. M. (Leeds, North) Harrison, F. C. Morden, Col. W. Grant
Button, H. S. Harvey, Major S. E. Moreing, Captain Algernon H.
Cadogan, Major Edward Hawke, John Anthony Morris, Harold
Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R. Hay, Major T. W. (Norfolk, South) Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.(Honiton)
Cautley, Henry Strother Henderson, Sir T. (Roxburgh) Murchison, C. K.
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) Henn, Sir Sydney H. Nail, Major Joseph
Chamberlain. Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Hennessy, Major J. R. G. Nesbitt. Robert C.
Churchman, Sir Arthur Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)
Clarry. Reginald George Herbert, s. (Scarborough) Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Clayton, G. C. Hewett, Sir J. P. Newson, Sir Percy Wilson
Coates, Lt.-Col. Norman Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)
Cobb, Sir Cyril Hiley, Sir Ernest Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)
Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K. Hoare, Lieut.-Colonel Sir S. J. G. O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Hugh
Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone) Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William
Colvin, Brig-General Richard Beale Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy Paget, T. G.
Cope, Major William Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard Parker, Owen (Kettering)
Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff, South) Hood, Sir Joseph Pennefather, De Fonblanque
Cotts, Sir William Dingwall Mitchell Hopkins, John W. W. Penny, Frederick George
Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South) Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Houfton, John Plowright Perkins, Colonel E. K.
Crook, C. W. (East Ham, North) Howard, Capt. D. (Cumberland, N.) Perring, William George
Curzon, Captain Viscount Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Col. C. K. Philipson, H. H.
Davidson, J C. c.(Hemel Hempstead) Hudson, Capt. A. Raeburn, Sir William H.
Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H. Hume, G. H. Raine, W.
Rankin, Captain James Stuart Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A. Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Rawson, Lieut.-Com. A. C. Sanderson, Sir Frank B. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington) Sandon, Lord Tubas, S. W.
Remer, J. R. Shepperson, E. W. Turton, Edmund Russborough
Rentoul, G. S. Skelton, A. N. Wallace, Captain E.
Reynolds, W. G. W. Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South) Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)
Rhodes, Lieut.-Col. J. P. Spender-Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. Watts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington)
Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend) Steel, Major S. Strang Wells, S. R.
Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey) Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H. White, Col. G. D. (Southport)
Robertson, J. D. (Islington, W.) Strauss, Edward Anthony Winterton, Earl
Rogerson, Capt. J. E. Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- Wise, Frederick
Roundell, Colonel R. F. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser Wolmer, Viscount
Ruglles-Brise, Major E. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid H. Wood, Rt. Hn. Edward F. L. (Ripon)
Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Sutcliffe, T. Yerburgh, R. D. T.
Russell, William (Bolton) Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Russell-Wells, Sir Sydney Thompson, Luke (Sunderland) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Colonel Gibbs and Major Barnston.

Bill committed to a Standing Committee.