HC Deb 30 April 1923 vol 163 cc1011-26

As amended (in the Standing Committee), considered.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."


Before this Bill finally passes from the purview of the House, I would like to put on record one or two statements with regard to it. Those of us who are interested as the receiving unions or boroughs are only accepting this Bill as a temporary compromise to tide us over the period for which the Bill will run. I would remind the House that at this time of the year 12 months ahead we shall be practically in the same position as we were in the early part of this year, because the Bill is to end on 1st April next year. The position then will be that either new legislation must be brought in or the poorer boroughs will relapse into the condition in which they were before the original Act was passed. I think the House, and certainly the Minister of Health, ought to face the fact that this Bill deals with a temporary emergency, and that emergency only accentuates the difficulty that has been in existence for many years past. The question of equalising the rates of London and of compelling the richer boroughs to assist in bearing the burden of poorer boroughs has been one that has agitated certainly the poorer boroughs for the last 30 or 40 years, in fact, ever since the creation of the unions and of the separate local authorities.

This Bill only carries us over another temporary period, and I would like to point out, for the satisfaction of hon. Members who represent the paying-in boroughs, that, in spite of the enormous drain that the East End boroughs have made upon them, the fact remains that in some cases their rates are only half, and in other cases are only two-thirds, of the rates in the poorer boroughs. The original Act and all that has been done under it has not in any sort of way equalised the burden. I am not denying that it has relieved the burden to, some extent, but what really has happened is that you have put 1s. on to Westminster, a little over 1s. on to Kensington, and about the same amount on to the City of London, and that is all the burden that has been placed upon them. You will not get this matter settled satisfactorily until the whole of the burden of the Poor Law is placed on an altogether different footing, and I want to ask the House to consider whether long before April next somebody ought not to sit down—I suppose it is the business of the Cabinet—and think out either a new plan, or adopt the plan of one or other of the two Committees that have been considering the question or one or other of the reports of the Poor Law Commission. The question cannot be left where it is, and my object this afternoon is to give the Minister of Health and the House notice that those of us who come from the poorer boroughs are not going to rest content with merely this tiding of us over a temporary period We want this problem of dealing with[...] poor dealt with not merely for London, but for the whole of the country. It was said in the Debate on Friday that the Bill which was then brought in would establish the right to work or maintenance. As a matter of fact, the 43rd of Elizabeth gave that right. That right is the basic principle of the Poor Law, and it is that right which the poorer boroughs are called upon, as it were, to put into operation.

The fearful thing that we in the industrial boroughs have to face is that because of the fact that we are industrial boroughs, and because our population is very largely poor working people, we are forced to bear the burden almost alone. This not only applies to unemployment, but to the effects of unemployment. It is a kind of vicious circle. First of all, you have the poverty, and then you have all the evils that come from the poverty in the shape of relief of the poor, public health services, and so on. This afternoon I particularly want to get from the Minister some sort of promise or pledge that this question is not going to be allowed to go to sleep until next spring, and then another Emergency Bill simply brought in. I say to the representatives of the richer boroughs that we do not want to put our hands into their pockets and spend money just as we want it to be spent, but we do want the burden of maintaining the poor to be taken off our shoulders. If it be necessary that there shall be an entire re-arrangement of the administration of the Poor Law in order to give effect to that, we are perfectly willing to agree to it. There ought long ago to have been one Union for London dealing with the whole of the Poor Law. I do not believe that you will get the matter satisfactorily settled until there is such a Union. That is, if you are going to perpetuate the present Poor Law system, but I would rather that something entirely different was done. I want the Minister to understand that, although we have accepted the promise and are getting less money than we think we are entitled to, although we have accepted the date and do not want to stop the Bill going through, yet we do think that long before next April he should produce a permanent scheme whereby this business of dealing with the unemployed shall be taken out of the hands of the local authorities and dealt with nationally. If you do not do that, then give us a permanent scheme whereby London may deal with this problem as a whole instead of separating it up into rich and poor districts.


The hon. Member who has just sat down has addressed one or two questions to the Minister of Health. May I address one or two questions to the hon. and gallant Member (Captain Elliot) who represents the Scottish Office in this House. He is aware no doubt of the extraordinarily uneven burden which this Measure places upon local authorities in Scotland. I have taken out from several papers the exact burden which this Measure has in the past placed on local authorities. Let me give one or two figures to the hon. and gallant Member. Dundee, where the population exceeds 168,000, the total cost of maintaining the unemployed from October, 1921, to February this year amounts to 4s. per head of the population; in Bothwell the cost is 7s. 6d. per head; and in Aberdeen, a large town of 158,000 inhabitants, the cost is 6s. per head of population. I now come to one or two cases where the burden is extremely heavy. In Govan, for instance, where there is a population of 372,000, the burden per head of population is 18s., and in my own constituency of Greenock the burden is 16s. 6d. When this Bill becomes law that burden will continue. Surely the hon. and gallant Member does not think it fair or right that during this period of unemployment industry in the towns which I have mentioned, Govan and Greenock, should have that extraordinarily heavy and unequal burden placed on their shoulders, not only on their shoulders to-day, but for all time.

On Thursday last the Minister of Health told the Committee that there were certain sums available from the Unemployed Insurance Fund, and if there be sums available in the Unemployment Insurance Fund could the hon. and gallant Member not see his way, if this Bill becomes law, to earmark certain portions of that Fund where unemployment is extremely heavy. No hon. Member in any quarter of the House, I am sure, wishes to see such an unequal and unfair burden placed upon industry in these various towns. It is through no fault of their own that the burden is so heavy. The burden is heavy to-day because of the legislation which was passed in October, 1921. This Bill stereotypes that heavy burden. The hon. and gallant Member will, I feel sure, understand my attitude this afternoon. The figures which I have quoted are taken from tables supplied to me by the clerk to the parish council of Greenock. I will willingly hand the hon. and gallant Member that information, and I hope, before the Question is put from the Chair, that we may have some assurance from him that the unfair and unequal burden on certain localities in Scotland will receive the consideration of His Majesty's Government.


I am anxious at this stage to protest against the tacking on to an English Bill of provisions affecting Scotland which ought to be dealt with in a separate Scottish Measure. There has been throughout this discussion a strong expression of opinion against applying the same Bill to different portions of the United Kingdom. As the principal Act related purely to Scotland, I wish to point out to the hon. and gallant Gentleman who represents the Scottish Office that this is a singularly clear case for introducing a Scottish Measure. At any rate I hope he will not regard this as a precedent which we are prepared to accept in the future, because we shall on every such occasion enter our protest against Scotland's claims being dealt with under an English Measure.

My other point is that under this Bill a very severe burden of rating is going to be laid on a limited number of local authorities in Scotland, and about 160 out of 900 parish councils will have to shoulder the burden of unemployment pay provided under this Bill. This burden is one which the representative of the Scottish Office himself recognises, and has recognised in Committee, ought not to fall solely on individual parishes, and he recognised distinctly that this was a matter which ought to be carefully reconsidered with a view to spreading the burden instead of penalising a few districts where unemployment was more prevalent. We claim that the rate ought to be applied in the form of a national grant. If it is going to be placed on the rates, I urge that the hon. and gallant Member should apply himself to the consideration of this problem between now and the date to which this Measure is extended next year.

I trust we may have an assurance now that it is not intended to come to the House of Commons again next year, and ask us to give a further extension of the alteration of the Scottish Poor Law which is being sanctioned now owing to the emergency situation which has been created at this particular time. I want to make it perfectly clear that if circumstances should render it desirable for this matter to be dealt with next year, we must have from the Government some undertaking that we are not going to be asked simply to repeat the provisions passed this year, but that a clear and well thought-out scheme will be put before the House spreading the burden. The hon. and gallant Gentleman stated in Committee that this Bill is a temporary provision, that the subject will come up again in a year's time, and suggestions can be tabled during that time as to the spreading of the burden in a reasonable way. We shall expect the hon. and gallant Gentleman to fulfil that undertaking and put into shape, if necessity should call for further consideration next year in order to relieve the unemployed, something of a very different character to that which is put forward now, and which is embodied in this Bill. I feel sure that the hon. and gallant Member will recognise that I am only expressing a strong feeling which exists in Scotland when I put that point to him, and I trust he will be able to give us an undertaking that he does not propose to come forward with similar proposals next year, but that he will be able to work out a much fairer scheme for Scotland next year.


With reference to what has just been said by the hon. Member for Greenock (Sir G. Collins) and the hon. and learned Member for East Fife (Mr. Millar), may I ask the hon. and gallant Gentleman representing the Scottish Office if he will obtain the assent of the Prime Minister to bring in a devolution scheme for Scotland, to enable the Scottish people to light out their own schemes of rating, employment and housing amongst themselves in Edinburgh.


That is a question which does not arise on the Third Reading, and we must confine ourselves to what is dealt with in the Bill.


We are deeply grateful to the hon. Member for the Melton Division (Sir C. Yate) for the suggestion he has made about devolution, even if his suggestion was out of order in this Debate. I feel sure that he is expressing the view of his own party on that point, from the. Prime Minister downwards. I think he has expressed the views on this point of Scottish representatives from all parts of Scotland at the present time. It is a very significant fact that in the first order of the day an hon and gallant Gentleman who is an Englishman should have got up and put forward a principle of that kind, and we should be delighted if the hon and gallant Gentleman and his friends would support that form of devolution which we are asking for.

I feel that I am a little bit out of order in dealing with this question, but it is rather significant that there are two Orders on the Paper. The first is the one we are now discussing, and the second is one which will be discussed in a short time. I wish to draw attention to the fact that there is a strong opinion in Scotland in favour of this question being dealt with by a separate Bill, and I agree with my hon. and learned Friend the Member for East Fife (Mr. Millar) upon the two points which he addressed to the House. It must be realised by those representing the Scottish Office that Scottish conditions so far as this Bill are concerned are quite different from those obtaining in England

In the second place, I wish to make an appeal to the hon. and gallant Gentleman that he should attempt to spread the burden all over Scotland, and that this burden should be in the form of a national grant, and that no individual parish council should be asked to bear what to it may be an inordinate burden. On this point I wish to emphasise the warning which has been given by my hon. and learned Friend that next year Scotland will demand that its interests should be considered, and I hope my hon. and gallant Friend, on the Floor of the House, will give us a promise that he will fulfil the pledges which he has given on this subject upstairs.


Before we part with this Bill there is one question I wish to put to the Minister of Health. The House is aware that this Measure had its origin in the grossly unequal burden of Poor Law charges in the case of certain Poor Law authorities in the Metropolitan boroughs. Reference has been made to Scotland, and Scottish Members do not appear to be satisfied with this reference. What I ask of the Minister of Health, having dealt with Scotland and the Metropolitan boroughs, is that he should do for the provincial boroughs of England and Wales what he is proposing to do for the Metropolitan boroughs. Having put that question, I hope the representative of the Scottish Office will realise that the inequalities are even greater in some parts of industrial England than they are in the Metropolitan boroughs, or even in Scotland.


I should like to add a word in reference, to the Third Clause which deals with Scotland. I feel that the first part of this Bill is framed in such a way in the first two Clauses as to spread over the burden of unemployment in the Metropolitan boroughs, but when we come to the Third Clause it has merely been tacked on to the other provisions, with which it has nothing at all to do, in order to get over one historical difficulty. It seems that Scotland was never ruled over by Queen Elizabeth, with the result that Scotland never had the benefit of the Poor Law that was put into operation in the Southern Kingdom during her reign. An appeal was made on a former occasion that Scotland should have a separate Bill, and it is claimed that that would really meet the situation. I may say, in conncction with the request that Scotland should have powers granted to manage her own affairs, that we in this House have made some effort to have an official meeting of the Scottish Members in the Grand Committee upstairs, but the difficulties that the Government would have had to face before that Committee have led, I am afraid, to a complete refusal to call the Committee together. At least the interesting experiment in connection with further legislation of actually getting the Members who represent Scottish constituencies together ought to be made without any further delay. I suggest that we certainly ought to have that Committee set up in connection with the Housing Bill.

There are two points in the Bill itself which seem to call for some remarks. In the first place, it is the case, as has been pointed out, that only one in six of the parish councils in Scotland is seriously affected by the unemployment payments, and instead of having a spread over, as the Bill provides for the Metropolitan boroughs, the position has now become very strongly accentuated. I need not go into the figures for such districts as Cathcart and Govan, where there is a remarkable difference in the rate when you cross from one side of a particular street to the other side, nor need I refer to many other anomalies. In the Committee a pledge was given that the grant to a parish council would be by means of a lump sum. It appears to me that this is bringing into Scottish affairs a policy which has been tried, and which has failed here on previous occasions; that is the policy of subsidising wages out of Poor Law relief, On that point I think we ought to have some statement from the Minister in charge of this Bill.

In conclusion, I would just like to refer to the chief point, which is that when the main provision is brought forward, and when new legislation is proposed, instead of disjointed Debates such as always occur on these double-barreled Bills, Scottish Members ought to have a proper opportunity of discussing their affairs in the Scottish Grand Committee, a method that can only be obtained if a separate Bill is decided upon.

The MINISTER of HEALTH (Mr. Neville Chamberlain)

I merely rise for the purpose of answering one or two questions which have been addressed to me. The hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) asked me to take notice that when this Bill came to an end he was not satisfied with what he had got, and he was going to ask for more. I would do him less than justice if I expected anything less from him. It seemed to me that he raised the question of the reform of the Poor Law generally. I do not think it would be in order to discuss that on a Bill which deals only with London and the Metropolitan boroughs. I have no doubt that, sooner or later, that very large question will have to be considered, but whether it would be desirable to upset our present system when we are asked to cope with such extraordinary stress and strain as we are, with our present volume of unemployment, is a question which, to my mind, will require very serious consideration. After all, no one will deny that the boards of guardians throughout the country have dealt with an extremely difficult situation with great sympathy and zeal, and, on the whole, with great success. With regard to the minor point, as to what is to happen when this comes to an end, I accept the hon. Member's notice. This Bill is dealing with an emergency and must be for a limited time, and if the emergency still continues when the Bill has come to an end, obviously we must go into the matter and see what further measure is required Between now and 1924 we shall be able to have opportunities of discussing these matters further with him. Answering the hon. Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. T. Thomson), I would remind him that there is no parallel to the London governments anywhere in the country. You find nowhere else the dual administration as it exists in London, and I think you have a similar system nowhere else.


There are more—


There is no great aggregation of metropolitan boroughs such as we have in London, and therefore there is no analogy between them and London. What the hon. Member for Middlesbrough West wants is a grant from the Exchequer.


I rise for the purpose of putting a question to the Under-Secretary for Health for Scotland. There is one point in the short discussion on the Third Reading which has been omitted. The hon. and gallant Member will recall that in the Act of 1921, there was an understanding that the law of settlement and of recovery under that settlement would be in no way affected. That was a distinct understanding under the legislation of 1921. This Bill was introduced in the present year and there was no Clause regarding Poor Law settlement at all. We are entitled to point out that in this Measure, after Amendment in Committee upstairs, there is a Clause which expressly deletes the reference to the settlement in the previous legislation. As we understand the position, it comes to this, that under the relief of the able-bodied unemployed in Scotland, Parliament is wiping out what has been the settled practice in Scottish Poor Law system, namely, as far as possible to have recourse to the parish of settlement for recovery of any grants which may be made. My suggestion is that it is a serious step to take in this legislation and it may lead to legal and other difficulties in Scotland. The question I want to ask the Parliamentary Secretary is whether it is strictly necessary to include a Clause of that kind in the present Bill; and, if so, whether the possible legal consequences have been considered?

Captain ELLIOT (Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health, Scotland)

In reply to specific points raised by the hon. Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. W. Graham) there seems to be some misapprehension on this point, because the object of this Clause is not in any way to wipe out or to destroy the provisions with regard to the settlement. The purpose of this Bill is to restore those very provisions with regard to settlement which were wiped out by the previous Act. The previous Act being an emergency Measure, it was not worth while that the question of domicile should be raised; consequently, their rights were specifically cut out in the previous Act. In this Bill, on a question of long standing and with a period covering the three years of residence under which domicile may be acquired, the parish councils themselves asked us to make sure that their rights in this matter were preserved. What we have done is to insert in this Bill that the rights of the parish councils are observed and not waived as under previous legislation they would have been. I hope that explanation is satisfactory.


I am grateful for the information, but are you going to enforce the rule before the passing of this Bill?

Captain ELLIOT

The parish councils have explained that they do not wish to enforce this rule, but they wish to make sure that their legal rights are not interfered with, so that in the case of someone becoming subsequently chargeable on the parish he would not have to be deemed to have acquired domicile during the time he received outdoor relief from the parish of origin. The only difference in this case is that there is no power to recover able-bodied relief from his parish of origin. That remains from the previous year's Act. With regard to the Third Reading of this Bill as a whole, I am grateful for the succinctness with which hon. Members have voiced their objections to the Measure. The position in Scotland is different and has been different from the position of England in this matter. The provisions of last year's Act and the provisions of this Bill are, I claim, suitable for discussion in a mixed Committee, because it is impossible for us to continue. The fact that in this matter there are striking differences between the two countries cannot, in practice, continue. It would not be possible, nor, I think, would it be desirable, that while the unfortunate able-bodied unemployed were able to receive relief front England, they should be debarred by Statute from so receiving any relief in Scotland. As a matter of practice, it was found that the position could not be allowed to continue. Bitter protests were made against it in all parts of Scotland, and particularly by the Labour Press, and when provision was made, although we did not agree with the steps which were being taken, yet some steps of this nature had to be taken, and it was desirable that the position of able-bodied in Scotland should be in some measure assimilated to the position held by those in London. However much hon. Members would wish some other step to be taken, it remains, as a matter of practice, a great difficulty whether the English legislation was the legislation to change, and not the Scottish legislation. The problems raised by hon. Members are undoubtedly grave, although several points have been raised which are not perhaps so striking, on examination of the statistics, as they appear in Scotland. No more impressive figures could be given than those quoted by the hon. and learned Member for East Fife (Mr. Millar). In the parishes expending this money, only 160 local authorities out of some 900 local authorities were suffering this charge, but when one examines the figures in the population in the parishes, one realises that within these parishes getting relief, nearly three-quarters of the population of Scotland is covered. The population outside those parishes is a population which itself has a very different problem from the population of industrial areas in those parishes. But in these cases we must realise that none of the remedies which have been suggested would meet this problem. It has been suggested that some provision similar to what has been made in the case of the Metropolitan boroughs should be brought in, and that adjacent boroughs should have their poor rates more or less equalised. But the poor area of the Clyde Valley would not thereby obtain any particular alleviation of its burden; and if it were proposed to take in widely-scattered and poverty-stricken populations of the Highlands and Islands it would be found still less practicable from the point of view of actual relief. When it is suggested, therefore, that the spreading of the burden over adjacent authorities would give alleviation, I doubt whether in actual fact that would be found to be the case. The hon. Member for East Renfrew (Mr. Nichol) brought up the case of Cathcart and Govan, which are very close together. That has already been dealt with by the local authorities themselves, who have actually petitioned that this area should be unified, and that there should be a spreading of the burden.

I do not think I could honourably promise Scottish Members that grants from the National Exchequer should be devoted to the relief of the poorer parishes in Scotland before such a Measure is carried into effect for the whole of the United Kingdom. Dealing separately with the Scottish problem is therefore ruled out, The second suggestion which immediately arises is that the burden should be unified by counties. Again we find that it would not make a very striking difference, because the parishes which are bearing a heavy burden are the parishes which would find themselves heavily burdened in the county, if the county were taken as the unit. Proposals for taking the county as the unit have been under examination, and will be further examined, but so far I have not found that striking alleviation of the burden which we should require to be certain of before introducing so radical a change in the local administration of Scotland. It has been put forward more than once, particularly by the hon. Member for the Gorbals Division of Glasgow (Mr. Buchanan) who was on the deputation of the Members interested in this subject which waited on the Secretary for Scotland, at which I was present, that the scrapping of the machinery of the small authorities would lead to very serious administrative difficulties, of which we have had a foretaste in the larger areas for education.

The subject bristles with difficulties, and while we hope that the Scottish Office, which I have the honour to speak for, will devote more consideration to this point, I cannot here and now promise that we shall be able to table schemes dealing completely with this matter before the year has elapsed for which we are making provision under the terms of this Bill. The local authorities of Scotland, the parish councils, have borne a burden, which they were never designed to bear, with the utmost fortitude, with the utmost consideration, and, in the majority of cases, with great success. The tremendous strain which has been placed upon them has led to complaints from some authorities who feel that the economical and efficient administration, which it has been their glory to carry out, has been deformed and crushed entirely out of shape by this novel and serious burden. In the situation in which the country found itself, however, it had to make use of machinery wherever it could find it. This machinery, which has existed for so long both in Scotland and in England, lay ready to hand. The relief of the local authorities will form the subject of our most anxious consideration, and I wish to thank them, speaking from the floor of this House, for the success with which they have dealt with the matter. I realise the appeal of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Macpherson), and I have also taken note of his warning. It is undoubtedly true that we have been allowed to obtain this Bill with a complete absence of obstruction in any form, and I can assure hon. Members that we fully realise that fact, and the Scottish Grand Committee, to whose absence exception has been taken, is in process of being set up. A private Bill of one of the Members of the Opposition will come before it in the course of a week or two.

The problem remains a United Kingdom problem. The problem of unemployment is not a sectional, but a national problem. The central machinery for dealing with this in the Insurance Acts is the central machinery which will remain. The local machinery for dealing with it must remain largely in the hands of the local authorities. Central machinery for dealing with this Act has its advantages and its difficulties. One is exemplified in the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenock (Sir G. Collins), who suggested that the funds of the Unemployment Insurance Act should be earmarked for the relief of some necessitious areas. He will realise the difficulty of using insurance money, money which is not a dole, but a right of the insured person, for supplementing funds for the relief of unemployment in other areas. [Interruption.] it is the property of the person; but the Leader of the Opposition should not address those arguments to me, but to the right hon. Gentleman who shares with him the Front Opposition Bench. The problem of unemployment is, I take it the gravest problem with which the House has to deal with. In my opinion it is even graver than that of the next question we are going to discuss, the question of housing. It is necessary to realise that it will be dealt with, as it has been the nature of this country to deal with such problems, both by a central and a local provision, and I am certain that machinery cannot be duplicated without friction, delay and great expenditure. The central authority already exists to deal to some extent with the question of the unemployed. The local authorities dealing with this matter are gaining experience and are dealing more and more effectively with it. The effects of I the great depression of trade are passing, and we hope to find ourselves, when no longer snowed under by these urgent claims, in a position to look round and draw out plans which will be more successful in the future than those we have had in the past. But, in spite of that, some responsibility for the unemployment in an area will, I am certain have to be borne by the authorities [...] that area. It is a United Kingdom [...] which will have to be examined by [...] United Kingdom as a whole, and [...] our justification for bringing forward on this occasion a United Kingdom Measure to deal, however partially and spasmodically, with a United Kingdom problem, and that is the reason why I ask the House now to give us the Third Reading of the Bill.


I want to ask the hon. and gallant Gentleman a question on what he has said. He referred to the local authorities within the Glasgow area, and said the small parishes had already petitioned to be brought together and brought within the scope of a larger parish. I want to ask what parishes have petitioned, and whether it is not the case that the parish councils within the Clyde or the Glasgow area have not all petitioned against being brought into one bigger authority, and have attended to state their objections? Further, seeing that the whole question has been under consideration by the Secretary for Scotland, I want to ask what is the present position of the local authorities, the Glasgow parish councils, and how far the scheme of unification has taken shape at the present time?


I do not wish to discuss the questions which have already been discussed except to express the disappointment with which I heard the concluding part of the hon. and gallant Gentleman's remarks. I thought that every sentence up to almost the last three sentences was intended to lead up to the point that when this question came to be dealt with after full consideration it would be dealt with in a separate Scottish Bill, and that it would go to the Scottish Grand Committee for consideration. I cannot accept for myself, and I do not believe any Scottish Member will accept, the view which he put forward that because there was a problem of unemployment in England and a problem of unemployment in Scotland those two problems were one and the same. In Scotland the conditions are entirely different. I therefore have intervened for the purpose of stating that we cannot accept the view which he has put forward, that a Bill like this can be competently dealt with if it is mixed up in its provisions with an English Bill. We find in such a Bill Clauses adjusted to English conditions which we would wish to support, but there are provisions in that English Bill with regard to Scotland we would wish to reject, and that is a situation which a Member of Parliament for Scotland ought not to be placed in. The Scottish Grand Committee was set up for the purpose of putting an end to that state of things and for the purpose of securing that Members representing a Scottish constituency should be able fully and freely to discuss Scottish questions without being involved in a consideration of what effect they might have on English questions, with which we are not, as representatives, immediately concerned.