(1) Sub-section (1) of Section five of the principal Act (which relates to restriction on right to possession) shall from and after the passing of this Act have effect subject to the following amendments:—
(a) for paragraph (b) the following paragraph shall be substituted—
(b) for paragraph (d) the following paragraph shall be substituted:
(c for paragraph (e) the following paragraph shall be substituted—
(d) the following paragraph shall be added at the end of paragraph (g)—
(e) in paragraph (ii) the words "or with whom, conditional on housing accommodation being provided, a contract for employment on such work has been entered into" shall be inserted after the word "holding";
(f) the following paragraph shall be substituted for paragraph (iv):
§ (2) Sub-section (6) of Section five of the principal Act shall be extended—
- (a) so as to apply in any case where the landlord has, after the passing of this Act, obtained an order or judgment for possession or ejectment on any of the grounds specified in paragraph (d) of Sub-section (1) of the said Section, and it is subsequently made to appear to the Court that the order or judgment was obtained by misrepresentation or concealment of material facts; and
- (b) so as to authorise the Court, in addition to making an order for payment of compensation by the landlord to the former tenant, to direct that the dwelling-house shall not be excluded from the principal Act by reason of the landlord having come into actual possession thereof under the said order or judgment, and if such a direction is given the principal Act shall apply and be deemed to have applied to the dwelling-house as from the date mentioned in such direction.
§ Mr. HARNEY
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1, a), to leave out the words(b) the tenant or any person residing or lodging with him or being his sub-tenant has been guilty of conduct which is a nuisance or annoyance to adjoining occupiers, or has been convicted of using the premises or allowing the premises to be used for an immoral or illegal purpose, or the condition of the dwelling-house has, in the opinion of the Court, deteriorated owing to acts of waste by or the neglect or default of the tenant or any such person, and, where such person is a lodger or sub-tenant, the Court is satisfied that the tenant has not, before the making or giving of the order or judgment, taken such steps as he ought reasonably to have taken for the removal of the lodger or sub-tenant; orand to insert instead thereof the words(b) Unless in the opinion of the Court the tenant has used, or knowingly permitted the use of, the premises for any immoral or illegal purposes or in any other manner reasonably calculated to seriously deteriorate the property or disturb or annoy adjoining occupiers.The object of this Amendment is to remove certain obscurities in the Sub- 1074 section as it stands, and also to meet a difficulty that has arisen in the working out of the Clause. The Clause as it appears in the Bill says thatthe tenant or any person residing or lodging with him, or being his sub-tenant, has been guilty of conduct which is a nuisance or an annoyance to adjoining occupiers, or has been convicted of using the premises or allowing the premises to be used for an immoral or illegal purpose, or the condition of the dwelling-house has, in the opinion of the Court, deteriorated owing to acts of waste by or the neglect or default of the tenant or any such person,the landlord shall recover possession as in the old Act, and shall be at liberty to decontrol the whole house. The difficulty in working the Section in the old Act was this. Under the old Act, the only person whose conduct would entitle the landlord to recover possession was the tenant, who would, of course, be responsible for his own acts, but even there the County Court Judges found the greatest difficulty.
What occurred most frequently was that, when the day for paying the weekly rent came round, there would be a row between the tenant's wife and the subtenant's wife, or between the landlord's wife and the tenant's wife—between the person who was paying and the person who was being paid. They often went to the Police Court, and one or the other was summoned for assault. A conviction having been obtained in the Police Court, they then went to the County Court and said, "This person has been committing a nuisance." The County Court Judge had to consider the matter and to say whether a nuisance within the meaning of the Section had been committed if the tenant or the sub-tenant, as the case might be, had committed an assault, or used bad language, or so misconducted himself or herself as to have been convicted in the Police Court. Some County Court Judges came to the conclusion that that was sufficient, others did not, and a great difficulty was created in the interpretation of the Section.
Under this Bill that is made infinitely worse, because the temptation to the landlord to take advantage of any fraud that will enable him to recover possession and decontrol the house is ten times stronger than it was before. Previously, unless the case was a bad one, there was little point in turning out Peter to put in Paul, but now there is all the difference in the world, because, if you turn out Peter who 1075 was paying 10, you can put in Paul who will pay £20. Therefore, the landlords will take every advantage they can, and one cannot blame them for doing so, to use this Measure, as an instrument for recovering possession, and this Clause as it stands would enable them to do so by satisfying a County Court Judge that, not the tenant himself, but some subtenant or lodger, who was in no way under the control of the landlord, has been guilty of any of the acts mentioned in this paragraph. Of course, the draftsman of the Bill saw that difficulty, and tried to correct it by putting at the end of the paragraph words making it necessary that:the Court is satisfied that the tenant has not, before the making or giving of the order or judgment, taken such steps as he ought reasonably to have taken for the removal of the lodger or sub-tenant.As the Clause stands, a landlord sues to recover possession, and this legislation comes into operation. He replies by saying, "Oh, but the lodger or sub-tenant of the man from whom I want to get possession has made himself a nuisance, or created annoyance to his neighbours." If that be true, the only reply that the tenant can give is, "I did my best, when I learned of that, to remove the subtenant." But does the House think that these poor tenants know of the method by which an obstreperous lodger or subtenant can be removed? Some may, some may not; but as the Clause is drawn it creates a great number of difficulties for the County Court Judge, and deprives the innocent tenant of any answer as regards the wrongful conduct of his lodger or subtenant, unless he is able to show that he knew the method by which to remove him and took the proper steps to do so. The words which I propose to substitute for the present provision are much shorter, more comprehensive, and, I submit, would be much easier for the County Court Judges to work. So you have it made quite clear that if you are going to deprive a tenant of the benefit that this legislation gives him, you can only do so when either he himself has been guilty of misconduct or when he knowingly permitted any other person to be guilty, and the County Court Judge, instead of being troubled by these wretched questions of police court squabbles, or what is meant by a 1076 nuisance, or what is meant by deteriorating, simply has to ask himself this broad question, "The Legislature intended that the landlord was entitled to get back his property if the tenant was misusing it or making it an eyesore or taking advantage of his security of tenure to make himself a nuisance in the locality. In any of those cases I have to ask myself, Has the tenant himself used, or knowingly permitted the use of the premises for an immoral or illegal purpose, or is any other name reasonably calculated to seriously deteriorate the property or destroy it or annoy or disturb the adjoining occupiers? If he has, it is right that the landlord should get the return." That is the question he has to ask himself, and he can answer it without going into any of these police court questions about nuisance. My Amendment does not carry it further, but makes it more comprehensive and intelligible, and saves the County Count Judge trouble.
§ Mr. FOOT
I beg to second the Amendment.
I earnestly ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider seriously the acceptance of the simpler form of words. Whatever may be the view held in the House, it will be agreed that the words suggested are very much more easily capable of interpretation than the extended Clause in the Bill. I have heard County Court Judges refer to the principal Act in rather scathing terms. I heard one County Court Judge refer to it as a monkey puzzle. I am wondering what he will say about the amending Act, when he will have to adjust, by a sort of jigsaw puzzle, this new Measure side by side with the old one, and when he is asked to take paragraph (b) of this Clause, there will be raised many questions which not all the County Court Judges in the country will be able to answer. The likelihood is that there will be 20 or 30 varying interpretations, leading in the end to decisions of the High Court. Would the right hon. Gentleman consider what the possibility is when the latter words of the Clause come up for consideration? The tenant is to be deprived of his house—and here no question of alternative accommodation arises whatever—he may be deprived of the protection which these Acts were intended to give if he cannot comply with the requirements of these latter words, 1077 "where such person is a lodger or sub-tenant the Court is satisfied that the tenant has not before the making or giving of the order or judgment taken such steps as he ought reasonably to have taken for the removal of the lodger or sub-tenant." We will assume a tenant has a subtenant who is not on good terms with him. There is nothing more difficult in interpreting the principal Act than deciding whether a tenant has been guilty of conduct amounting to a nuisance. Judges in adjoining Courts have held entirely different opinions as to conduct that amounts to a nuisance within the meaning of the Act. I have found that magistrates in one town will hold an opinion as to what constitutes a nuisance and their opinion is in direct conflict with interpretation that is put by the County Court Judge sitting in the same town. Solicitors, in advising, have taken care to advise going before the Magistrates rather than the County Court, because the Magistrates' decision might be favourable to the landlord or much more favourable to one of the parties than is possible in County Courts. It would be almost impossible to say what steps should reasonably have been taken by the occupier of a house who has got an objectionable sub-tenant. Is it assumed that one of the steps he ought reasonably to take should be to take legal proceedings against the sub-tenant? If he goes to Court he will know very well that he is going to incur expense, very often without any real prospect of success. No solicitor is definite in advising upon these cases. Members of the profession in this House will agree that in advising upon these cases we say that nobody knows what will happen when a case is taken into Court under the ordinary Rent Restriction Act. It is a monstrous thing that the tenant should have to go to Court in order to show that he has taken every reasonable precaution, and by so doing he incurs expense when there is very little likelihood of getting a decision in his favour. Very often the sub-tenant may receive the sympathy of the magistrates or of the County Court Judge. They will need a very strong case, and it is right that it should be so, before the sub-tenant is turned into the street, especially when no alternative accommodation is provided. No tenant will know what reasonable steps he ought to take. I do 1078 suggest that the words proposed in the Amendment are more easily understood and more easy to administer than the provision in the Act. This simpler terminology is better than the complicated Clause.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
Perhaps the hon. and learned Member who moved the Amendment will notice that in the wording of his paragraph the word "unless" is unnecessary, because it is already in the principal Act. The Amendment should read, to leave out from "Substituted" to the end of line 23, and to insert instead thereof:(b) The tenant, in the opinion of the Court, has used, or knowingly permitted the use of, the premises for any immoral or illegal purposes or in any other manner reasonably calculated to seriously deteriorate the property or disturb or annoy adjoining occupiers.
After the scathing criticism of the wording of the Clause in the original Act which has fallen from the hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney) and his Seconder, it is rather interesting to see what happens when they try their 'prentice hands at drafting a new Clause. The hon. Member for South Shields began by using the word "Clause" in his Amendment, when he meant "paragraph." Had his Amendment been carried he would have wiped out all the remaining paragraphs in the original Clause. He then goes on to put in the word "unless," which is already in the Act and is quite unnecessary, and he finished off with a split infinitive. After that, I think, I may ask the House to accept the drafting, defective as it may be, of the original Act in preference to the drafting of the hon. Member's Amendment.
The hon. Member wants to be free to criticise the drafting of the Bill, but no one must criticise the drafting of his Amendment. Now I come to the substantial part of the Amendment. It is admitted that the landlord is fully entitled to get rid of a tenant who has so misused the security which is given him by the Act as to allow the house to be used for illegal or immoral purposes and has deteriorated the 1079 house or made himself a nuisance to the neighbourhood. But surely, whatever may be said about the action of the tenant who behaves in that way, the position of the landlord is even more deplorable when his house is deteriorating, when the occupants of the house make themselves a nuisance to the neighbours, not by reason of the tenant, for whom the landlord might have some responsibility, but by reason of the action of a sub-tenant who has been taken in without the consent of the landlord. Is it suggested then that the tenant should be entirely free from that responsibility in regard to the sub-tenant which the landlord has got in regard to the tenant?
If the landlord says that the sub-tenant is making himself a nuisance to the neighbours, all the tenant has got to say is that he did not knowingly permit it.
Then what protection has the landlord got? How is the landlord to prove that the tenant did knowingly permit it? What has got to be proved is whether the tenant took any reasonable steps to put an end to the nuisance.
§ Mr. HASTINGS
This is a matter as to which the legal Members of the House may call attention to what the Clause does, so that we may know what we are asked to do. It is not a question of nuisance or immoral or illegal purposes or anything of that sort, but it is right that my right hon. Friend should know what he is doing by this Clause, and I will illustrate it by a simple example of something which happens every day. A man takes small economical premises. Frequently he shares them with a friend; that is, one man becomes the tenant and the other pays half the rent. The second man, or a member of his family, plays the piano. It is a very ordinary case, which, among persons in a more wealthy position of life, happens every day. It is not a question of nuisance, but a piano player may be an annoyance to his next door neighbours. I am very anxious not to say anything that may appear to border on the 1080 ludicrous, but my right hon. Friend is making this possible, that some day a judge may say that what he has got to consider is whether a person of that sort constitutes himself a nuisance when he is playing the piano, and the landlord says, "I want the premises for this reason, that my tenant, whose friend is playing the piano, has not issued a writ in the High Court for an injunction restraining his friend, who is getting 40s. a week, from making a noise in the flat." My right hon. Friend may say that that is absurd, but it happens every day in the experience of members of my profession, and it is not necessary to look further than my right hon. Friend the Member for Spen Valley, who appears, at great trouble and expense, in cases of this sort, where a nuisance has been caused, and in which, on one occasion, a learned judge went himself to ascertain whether there was a nuisance or not and took a very considerable time in ascertaining the facts. Any landlord who wants to get premises has only to say that what his tenant does is an annoyance, not a nuisance.
§ Mr. HASTINGS
My right hon. Friend shakes his head. The paragraph reads:has been guilty of conduct which is a nuisance or annoyance …
Will the hon. and learned Genetleman be good enough to look at the original Act? It contains the words:and, in any such case as aforesaid, the Court considers it reasonable to make such an order or give such judgment.
§ Mr. HASTINGS
Surely my right hon. Friend did not think that I looked at this part of the Section and not at the other? Of course it is always a "nuisance." If you put the word "nuisance" into an Act, the Judge has to find whether it is a "nuisance," which is a recognised thing, but if you deliberately put in the word "annoyance" the learned Judge would say, "I am bound to find that it is an annoyance." I understand that the right hon. Gentleman has had the advice of the Law Officers on this Clause, but does he mean to say that there is no distinction between "annoyance" and "nuisance"? The learned Judge would have to go to Stroud's 1081 Judicial Dictionary to find out, but if he went there to find out what was an annoyance he would not find it. He would then have to go to Webster, and when a man goes to Webster we know that there is no hope anywhere. There are lawyers on both sides of the House. I am sure that if my right hon. Friend were to turn round and ask any of his legal supporters what is the meaning in law of "annoyance" they would have to go to the Library and look up Webster, and they would not be able to find out what it was. It is not fair to ask the House, without or with discussion, to pass a Clause which asks Judges of the County Court to decide what is the meaning of an "annoyance" by a tenant.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
I hesitate to intervene amongst lawyers, but I am fortified by the admission of the Minister of Health that he was not a lawyer. That, however, was no excuse for the right hon. Gentleman completely ignoring the main argument used by the hon. and learned Gentleman who moved the Amendment. We have a difference of opinion as to the meaning of words. Although the Law Officers of the Crown are not present, there are on the other side many distinguished legal Gentlemen. There is an hon. Member who has himself been a Judge, and there are the hon. and learned Member for York (Sir J. Butcher) and the hon. and learned Member for Moss Side (Mr. Hurst). They are quite capable of assisting the right hon. Gentleman on the point. The words that we are now asked to pass are needlessly complicated, involved and obscure:the tenant or any person residing or lodging with him or being his sub-tenant has been guilty of conduct which is a nuisance or annoyance to adjoining occupiers …"Nuisance" and "annoyance"—there is a question as to their meaning in this case—"or allowing the premises to be used for an immoral or illegal purpose, or the condition of the dwelling-houses has, in the opinion of the Court, deteriorated owing to acts of waste by or the neglect or default of the tenant or any such person,"—That last sentence, I submit, is not English at all.—"and, where such person is a lodger or sub-tenant, the Court is satisfied that the tenant has not, before the making or giving of the order or judgment, taken such steps 1082 as he ought reasonably to have taken for the removal of the lodger or sub-tenant; or.To the ordinary lay mind, and especially to the busy man, trying to look after his property, or to carry out this Act, these words are needlessly complicated. My hon. and learned Friend's proposal is much shorter and more concise, and only one objection has been put forward to it by the Minister of Health. The words in the Amendment are:The tenant, in the opinion of the Court, has used, or knowingly permitted the use of, the premises for any immoral or illegal purposes or in any other manner reasonably calculated to seriously deteriorate the property or disturb or annoy adjoining occupiers.I submit that those words are much clearer and precise, and are altogether more desirable.
The only objection put forward by the Minister of Health is that the landlord had some responsibility for the tenant but no responsibility for the sub-tenant, and therefore this tenant is to have this further protection taken away from him, namely, the proof by the Court that he has knowingly committed these misdeeds. The right hon. Gentleman knows, as well as anyone, that in the abnormal times through which we have passed in the last few years, in many districts it has been absolutely necessary for the houses to be sub-let and for the tenant to take other families in order to live in them and for him to get a roof over his head at all. Without this system of sub-letting, very many families would not be housed at all, or only in tents, or under hayricks, or something of that sort. I had a case brought to my notice only on Sunday, in which a man with a wife and child—I am sorry the Chief Whip is not in his place, to bear me out in this matter—found it impossible to get anything else in London but one room. There are many people about who say that a child is a nuisance, and who object to having children in a certain class of property. They make out that the police or the night watchman object to children, who are a nuisance. The right hon. Gentleman tells us that the landlord has not had the protection of being able to choose the sub-tenant. These are not normal times, and that argument far rejecting these words will not hold water. It comes to this. Do we wish to make this Bill, when it becomes law, an 1083 Act for the protection of the tenants or subtenants, or do we wish it to be purposely filled with loopholes and means of evasions for the landlords who, as a rule, are better able to afford legal advice than the tenants? I submit that the words of my hon. Friend are for the protection of the tenant much more than the words in the Bill, and I hope, therefore, that he will press his Amendment, and that the House will support him.
§ Sir J. SIMON
I do not want to put any technical or lawyer's point at all, but I really think that owing perhaps to the fact that the House did not consider the provisions of the previous Clause—Clause 2—except for the purpose of dealing with one or two official Amendments, the importance of this Amendment is very easily forgotten. The right hon. Gentleman did not deal with the Amendment quite fairly when he seemed to think that criticisms of its exact phraseology should be put in the forefront of his objection. I dislike split infinitives as much as anybody, but there is a great deal more in this Amendment worthy of consideration. The real importance of the Amendment lies in the fact that under the Act of 1920, the landlord had power, in certain cases, to get the tenant out, but there was no great inducement to do so, unless the tenant was really and seriously objectionable. Getting the tenant out did not secure the removal of the house from control, and getting rid of one tenant only meant getting in another at the same rent. The landlord was not likely to exercise the powers given to him unless he had something substantial about which to complain. Now, the situation is quite different. Clause 2 has not been discussed, because, in the discretion of the Chair, the Amendments upon it have been passed over, but a fundamental change has been made by that Clause, and, so far as the House is concerned, it has been made sub silentio. If the landlord, by hook or crook, can get the tenant out, thereupon the house in question ceases to be controlled. That is a very big distinction, and justifies a moment's consideration, even at this late hour. It is not right, where a landlord has such a strong inducement to get rid of a tenant, that you should revise the conditions upon which he can get rid of the tenant, by making those conditions 1084 more stringent. I agree with my hon. and learned Friend as to the difficulty of understanding what is meant by the word "nuisance." On the other hand, it might be fair to say that the word "nuisance" occurred in the Act of 1920, but I am, not grumbling at that at all. A great deal of the language in the Amendment is, as a matter of fact, the language of the old Clause with a little addition at the end. That is not the real point.
The real point is, if you are going radically to change the law, so that if the landlord gets rid of the tenant, he gets the house freed from control and may then use it in a free market, should you not make sure you do not put it in his power to get rid of his tenant for trumpery reasons? There is a certain absurdity in laying down reasons the first of which is the annoyance of the adjoining occupier and the second is that the house is conducted for immoral and illegal purposes. I think if the seriousness of these objections be considered, one should expect the order to be different. We are not dealing, however, with mere matters of phrases. The matter is one of substance. Should we not limit the conditions upon which the landlord can get rid of the tenant now that he has such a temptation to do so? Now that he will want to strain every nerve to get the house decontrolled, that is a reason for substituting stricter words than the words in the Bill. Of course if it is the object of the promoters of the Bill to hurry on decontrol, willy-nilly, I can understand their sticking to these words, but if they really mean that they approve of control for the present but are anxious to get rid of it a soon as practicable, they should not put a new inducement before the landlord to get rid of his tenant and then say they are simply repeating the words of the Act of 1920. It seems merely a waste of time to criticise the Amendment on the ground of split infinitives and mistaken phraseology. The point is one of substance, and it is no good dealing with it as if it were not. The point is: Should not we cut down the conditions under which a landlord may get rid of his tenant, because, if he does get rid of his tenant, his house ceases to be controlled?
Hon. Members opposite are to be congratulated that the right hon. Member for Spen Valley (Sir 1085 J. Simon) has found them a new reason for their Clause which they never thought of before. On the other hand, he has not done the hon. and learned Member for Wallsend (Mr. Hastings) a service by pointing out that the word to which he took such great exception is, in fact, taken from the Act of 1920, and has not been the subject of any leading cases at all.
There is very little in the right hon. Gentleman's contention. Incidentally, I might point out that the Amendment would do nothing to tighten up the conditions, so far as the tenant is concerned. The whole object of the Amendments which have been introduced into the Bill to the Section as it originally stood in the Act of 1920, was to bring within the purview of the original Section the case of the sub-tenant as well as that of the tenant. The whole thing is governed, as I have already pointed out, by the words that the Court has to be satisfied that it is reasonable to make an order or judgment, and whether or not they have any difficulty in deciding upon a question of annoyance or nuisance, the real crux of the situation is: Are they going to give an order or judgment? They would not give that order or judgment unless they considered it reasonable to do so.
§ Mr. SHINWELL
Surely the right hon. Gentleman is not going to argue that there is not a wide difference between this proposed paragraph and the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney). In the case of the former, the words read "the tenant or any person residing. … with him." I take that to mean the child of the tenant, and we have had a case arising of a child who is somewhat noisy in the middle of the night and who thus causes annoyance to the near neighbours. Are we to assume that that is a reasonable ground for ejectment?
§ Mr. SHINWELL
Quite, but it is none the less absurd because of that, and, in addition, as the right hon. Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) has pointed out, there is now an inducement to the 1086 landlord to find any cause at all for dispossessing the tenant, on account of the accommodation thus provided. The right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health saw fit to criticise my hon. and learned Friend the Member for South Shields because of alleged careless drafting of the Amendment, but I would ask him to note what his own Clause proposes. It reads "the tenant or any person residing …. with him," and then it goes on to say "or any such person," presumably the child of the tenant, and then we are informed, "where such person is a lodger or subtenant," which excludes the child. We have here a contradiction, amounting to a confusion, which I am certain is going to overwhelm the learned Judge when he is called upon to deal with the situation. Therefore, the right hon. Gentleman is not entitled to criticise careless drafting. I am not concerned, however, with legal phraseology. I am much more interested in the rights of tenants, and I ask the right hon. Gentleman to take note of such a case as this arising, of a newly married couple obtaining possession of premises. They cause no annoyance, or we will assume so, but after a while a child comes, and annoyance immediately arises. Are we to understand, because of the annoyance arising from the coming of the child, that the landlord is going to find that a reasonable excuse for causing their ejectment? If so, what is to be the position of thousands of tenants who at the present time have only obtained the accommodation because they have no children? That is the position in London and in the provinces. Advertisements are to be observed in all the leading newspapers offering accommodation when there are no children, and, when the children come, there will be a ground for putting out the tenant. I submit that the right hon. Gentleman ought to have been very careful indeed, having regard to his experience of the last few years, arising out of the 1920 Act, before he allowed this Clause to stand on the Paper. If my hon. Friends below the Gangway will forgive me for saying so, the proposed Amendment is not quite so satisfactory as at first sight appeared to be the case. I submit, if the tenant is to be penalised, the sub-tenant ought to be subject to a similar penalty. There is no provision in the Amendment to that effect.
§ Mr. HARNEY
The sub-tenant and the tenant both answer the description of "tenant" in this case. The tenant is a tenant of the dwelling-house, and the sub-tenant is a tenant of the dwelling-house.
§ Mr. SHINWELL
I must ask my hon. and learned Friend to quarrel with the Minister, because I understand the Minister to have justified his Clause in order to make the thing perfectly clear. It is not so clear as it might be, and I think the Amendment ought to have been made as clear as it ought to be with regard to the point I have made. We on this side are not going to support the Amendment, but we are quite prepared to support the omission of the words the right hon. Gentleman has moved to omit.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
It seems a remarkable thing that the Minister, in reply to the right hon. Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) could only find as an answer to the main argument that it was an argument that had never occurred to any other hon. Member. It may be a novelty, but it is only natural that we should have novel arguments in dealing with a Bill of this kind, which is so difficult and on which we have so little time for discussion and for the purpose of framing Amendments. The right hon. Gentleman never attempted to deal with the main gravamen of the argument, which is that under this Clause numerous new grounds are being given for decontrol by the ejectment of tenants. The landlord has now a much greater inducement than before to deal with tenants in this way. The Minister spoke as if there had been no cases dealing with this question of nuisance, and annoyance before, but I am informed there have been numerous cases all over the country which have never been carried further than the County Court because the issue was not of so much importance as it will be if this Clause be passed. Now, as my right hon. Friend pointed out, every landlord will have the strongest possible inducement to obtain orders under this particular paragraph, and, if they succeed in getting them, then when they let their houses again they can charge any rent they please. There is this proviso:Provided also that where a landlord comes into possession under an order or judgment made or given after the passing 1088 of this Act, on the ground of non-payment of rent, the principal Act shall, notwithstanding anying in the foregoing provisions of the Sub-section, continue to apply to the dwelling-house.But if an order be made on any other of the shadowy grounds included in the paragraph which any County Court Judge might construe as he chose, then the house can be decontrolled and the rent raised to any extent, and you are going to have a great multiplication of these cases. The landlord in the past was not going to be a penny better off, and unless his property was seriously deteriorated he was not going to take action. The landlord was not seriously worried by piano or gramophone playing.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
Or singing "The Red Flag," as my hon. Friend the Member for Bow and Bromley suggests. They let these things pass. They were comparatively venial offences. Now, however, it will be a very different matter. Everything that is disagreeable will come in. If the tenant insists upon giving the Moody and Sankey's Hymns, the matter is brought before the County Court as to whether or not it is annoyance. I have known cases where it has been alleged that it was an annoyance if carried on till late in the evening. It may be a case, for example, of keeping poultry—for they are often vociferous in the early hours of the morning. I have enumerated a sufficient number of cases which might quite well come under the word "annoy." It is not sufficient to say that the word "annoy" is in the original Act. That may be perfectly true. It has not been a serious matter because there has been no inducement to strain the Law or to bring tenants unnecessarily into Court. Now there will be every inducement for the landlord, because there is the opportunity of making a profit out of this. He is given every inducement to seek to decontrol his house. Because he has this inducement there will be every effort made to use it against the tenant. For this reason I hope the House will insist upon deleting these words.
This attempt to decontrol in this fashion is one of the meanest things in the Bill. There are 1089 two ways in which the Minister thinks the housing problem can be solved. The one is by building houses, and the other by decontrolling houses, which he refuses to do by a straightforward Act of Parliament, thinking of the fate of his predecessor. Instead of saying that a house must be decontrolled at a certain date, he says that the man who has got a piano, or a gramophone, or—worse still
§ —and this is a real case—a family of young children, shall be the medium by which the landlord can decontrol the house.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 246; Noes, 153.1091
|Division No. 277]||AYES.||[11.15 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Ednam, Viscount||Lloyd-Greame, Rt. Hon. Sir P.|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Lorden, John William|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton, East)||Ellis, R. G.||Lorimer, H. D.|
|Alexander, Col. M. (Southwark)||England, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Lort-Williams, J.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Lougher, L.|
|Apsley, Lord||Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Col. Sir Martin||Erskine-Bolst, Captain C.||Lumley, L. R.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Wilfrid W.||Evans, Capt. H. Arthur (Leicester, E.)||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)|
|Astor, Viscountess||Eyres-Monsell, Com. Rt. Hon. Bolton M.||Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)|
|Baird, Rt. Hon. Sir John Lawrence||Falcon, Captain Michael||Manville, Edward|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||Margesson, H. D. R.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Fermor-Hesketh, Major T.||Martin, A. E. (Essex, Romford)|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Flanagan, W. H.||Mason, Lieut.-Col. C. K.|
|Banks, Mitchell||Ford, Patrick Johnston||Mercer, Colonel H.|
|Barlow, Rt. Hon. Sir Montague||Foreman, Sir Henry||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Forestier-Walker, L.||Mitchell, W. F. (Saffron Walden)|
|Becker, Harry||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Dev'zes)||Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Molloy, Major L. G. S.|
|Bennett, Sir T. J. (Sevenoaks)||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Berry, Sir George||Furness, G. J.||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Morrison, Hugh (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Garland, C. S.||Morrison-Bell, Major Sir A. C. (Honiton)|
|Bird, Sir William B. M. (Chichester)||Gates, Percy||Murchison, C. K.|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Gaunt, Rear-Admiral Sir Guy R.||Nall, Major Joseph|
|Blundell, F. N.||Goff, Sir R. Park||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Greaves-Lord, Walter||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hackn'y, N.)||Newson, Sir Percy Wilson|
|Brass, Captain W.||Gretton, Colonel John||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Brown, Major D. C. (Hexham)||Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W. (Liv'p'l, W. D'by)||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury)||Halstead, Major D.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Brown, J. W. (Middlesbrough, E.)||Hamilton, Sir George C. (Altrincham)||Paget, T. C.|
|Bruford, R.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Parker, Owen (Kettering)|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Pease, William Edwin|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Harrison, F. C.||Pennefather, De Fonblanque|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Harvey, Major S. E.||Penny, Frederick George|
|Burn, Colonel Sir Charles Rosdew||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Butcher, Sir John George||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Herbert, S. (Scarborough)||Perring, William George|
|Button, H. S.||Hiley, Sir Ernest||Pielou, D. P.|
|Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Pilditch, Sir Philip|
|Cassels, J. D.||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Rattler, Gerald Fitzroy||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Hopkins, John W. W.||Price, E. G.|
|Chilcott, Sir Warden||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Privett, F. J.|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur||Houfton, John Plowright||Raeburn, Sir William H.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Howard, Capt. D. (Cumberland, N.)||Raine, W.|
|Clayton, G. C.||Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Col. C. K.||Rawlinson, Rt. Hon. John Fredk. Peel|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hudson, Capt. A.||Rawson, Lieut.-Com. A. C.|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Hughes, Collingwood||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Colfax, Major Wm. Phillips||Hume, G. H.||Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)|
|Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Cope, Major William||Hurd, Percy A.||Remer, J. R.|
|Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff, South)||Hurst, Lt.-Col. Gerald Berkeley||Remnant, Sir James|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.||Hutchison, W. (Kelvingrove)||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Crook, C. W. (East Ham, North)||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.||Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend)|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Jephcott, A. R.||Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Jodrell, Sir Neville Paul||Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)|
|Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead)||Johnson, Sir L. (Walthamstow, E.)||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Kennedy, Captain M. S. Nigel||Robertson-Despencer, Major (Islgtn, W.)|
|Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)||King, Capt. Henry Douglas||Rogerson, Capt. J. E.|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Lamb, J. Q.||Ruggles-Brise, Major E.|
|Dixon, Capt. H. (Belfast, E.)||Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Colonel G. R.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Du Pre, Colonel William Baring||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Russell, William (Bolton)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Russell-Wells, Sir Sydney|
|Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Wells, S. R.|
|Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-||Weston, (Colonel John Wakefield|
|Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser||Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.|
|Sanderson, Sir Frank B.||Sugden, Sir Wilfred H.||White, Lt.-Col. G. D. (Southport)|
|Sandon, Lord||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)||Winterton, Earl|
|Shepperson, E. W.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)||Wise, Frederick|
|Shipwright, Captain D.||Thorpe, Captain John Henry||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Singleton, J. E.||Titchfield, Marquess of||Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)|
|Skelton, A. N.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Wood, Maj. Sir S. Hill. (High Peak)|
|Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Tubbs, S. W.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Somerville, Daniel (Barrow-in-Furness)||Turton, Edmund Russborough||Yerburgh, R. D. T.|
|Spears, Brig.-Gen. E. L.||Wallace, Captain E.|
|Spender-Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H.||Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Stanley, Lord||Watts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington)||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Colonel the Rt. Hon. G. A. Gibbs.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis Dyke||Harney, E. A.||Richards, R.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Harris, Percy A.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hastings, Patrick||Riley, Ben|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hay, Captain J. P. (Cathcart)||Ritson, J.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hayday, Arthur||Roberts, C. H. (Derby)|
|Attlee, C. R.||Hayes, John Henry (Edge Hill)||Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (N'castle, E.)||Robinson, W. C. (York, Elland)|
|Barnes, A.||Herriotts, J.||Rose, Frank H.|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar (Banff)||Hill, A.||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Hillary, A. E.||Saklatvala, S.|
|Berkeley, Captain Reginald||Hirst, G. H.||Salter, Dr. A.|
|Bonwick, A.||Hodge, Lieut.-Colonel J. P. (Preston)||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Briant, Frank||Hutchison, Sir R. (Kirkcaldy)||Sexton, James|
|Broad, F. A.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Shakespeare, G. H.|
|Brotherton, J.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Shinwell, Emanuel|
|Buckie, J.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Burgess, S.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Buxton, Charles (Accrington)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Simpson, J. Hope|
|Chapple, W. A.||Jones, R. T. (Carnarvon)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Smith, T. (Pontefract)|
|Clarke, Sir E. C.||Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East)||Snell, Harry|
|Collison, Levi||Jowitt, W. A. (The Hartlepools)||Snowden, Philip|
|Darbishire, C. W.||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.|
|Davies, J. C. (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Lansbury, George||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lawson, John James||Sullivan, J.|
|Dudgeon, Major C. R.||Leach, W.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Duffy, T. Gavan||Lee, F.||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)|
|Duncan, C.||Lees-Smith, H. B. (Keighley)||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Dunnico, H.||Linfield, F. C.||Thornton, M.|
|Ede, James Chuter||Lowth, T.||Trevelyan, C. P.|
|Edmonds, G.||Lunn, William||Turner, Ben|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||MacDonald, J. R. (Aberavon)||Warne, G. H.|
|Emlyn-Jones, J. E. (Dorset, N.)||M'Entee, V. L.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Evans, Ernest (Cardigan)||McLaren, Andrew||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Fairbairn, R. R.||March, S.||Weir, L. M.|
|Falconer, J.||Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, E.)||Welsh, J. C.|
|Foot, Isaac||Millar, J. D.||Westwood, J.|
|George, Major G. L. (Pembroke)||Morris, Harold||White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)|
|Gosling, Harry||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||White, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Mosley, Oswald||Whiteley, W.|
|Gray, Frank (Oxford)||Murnin, H.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Murray, R. (Renfrew, Western)||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Newbold, J. T. W.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||O'Grady, Captain James||Wintringham, Margaret|
|Groves, T.||Oliver, George Harold||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Paling, W.||Wright, W.|
|Guthrie, Thomas Maule||Pattinson, S. (Horncastle)||Young, Rt. Hon. E. H. (Norwich)|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Ponsonby, Arthur||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Potts, John S.|
|Hancock, John George||Pringle, W. M. R.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hardie, George D.||Rae, Sir Henry N.||Mr. Phillipps and Sir A. Marshall.|
§ Mr. BROAD
I beg to move, in Subsection (1), to leave out paragraph (b).
The effect will be, if this Amendment is carried, that the provision for gaining possession for occupation by the owner of the house or a member of his family will stand as it is in the Act of 1920. I do not think it can be claimed that any case 1092 has been made out for inserting this paragraph in the Bill. Most of us know that, instead of that Clause being loosened or extended, the power given to the owner has, in many cases, entailed great hardship on the unfortunate occupier of a house where the landlord could claim that he wanted to put in some member of his 1093 family. I want to examine in what direction the Clause, as it is now in the Bill, is different from that in the original Act. It will be seen that, in addition to the house being reasonably required by the landlord for his own occupation as a residence for himself, or for his son or daughter who is over 18 years of age, or for any person engaged in his whole-time employment, or in the whole-time employment of some tenant from him—these provisions are sufficiently extensive—there is now added in this Billor with whom, conditional on housing accommodation being provided, a contract for such employment has been entered into.There are very different circumstances under this Bill which operate as an inducement to a landlord to endeavour to get possession of his property, and I think it will be recognised that it offers a premium to a landlord to enter into an agreement or contract of service with some employé, or someone who is likely to be an employé, and such contract may be an engagement as a weekly servant. The landlord may be a small shopkeeper or master man, to whom the fact that his employé resides in any particular property is of no moment, it not being on the premises of his business or anything of that sort. It means that he can engage such a man at so much per week conditionally on his taking the house in question at a certain weekly rental, and there is no obligation that the contract shall be continued for more than a week. Having once entered into it and agreed to pay a week's wages, and having got possession of the house the unscrupulous owner—and there are such—can, by the sacrifice of one week's rent, obtain possession of a house which may mean a premium of anything from £50 to £200 owing to the fact that he has vacant possession, and that the house is free of control. He can do this, not only for an employé, but for a member of his family, and that member of his family need only occupy the house for a week, or need not occupy it at all, provided that the landlord says he wants it for such a purpose, and then, once he has satisfied the County Court judge that that is his reason for desiring possession, there is no penalty if that obligation is not carried out. He has only to satisfy the County Court judge that he requires it for such a purpose. If he does not carry out that purpose afterwards 1094 there is nothing to say that he shall do so, and from that time the house is free from control. In the latter part of this paragraph there is a great alteration and extension in another particular. The Act of 1920 provides that the Court shall be satisfied thatalternative accommodation reasonably equivalent—and those are the significant words—as regards rent and suitability in all respects, is available.The new provision sayssuitable to the needs of the tenant and his family as regards extent, character and proximity to place of work, and is reasonably suitable to his means.Under this provision the tenant of a small shop with a few rooms as residence attached, whose livelihood depends on that shop, the rental of which brings it within the scope of this Measure, will find that alternative accommodation suitable by reason of proximity will be sufficient to satisfy the requirements of this Bill, and will, therefore, have to satisfy the County Court judge. It is not only a question of the small shopkeeper, but of the small professional man as well. The struggling doctor will find himself in the same position, namely, that reasonable proximity will satisfy the requirements as far as housing accommodation is concerned, but it will make an essential difference to his practice. One might mention dentists also, and many another man whose business is carried on in the premises in which he resides. But I think the most abominable thing of all is the last requirement, that the alternative accommodation is not to be equivalent as far as rent is concerned but is to be suitable to his needs. If that is carried out at all it means that to retain his housing accommodation that man has got to go to court and have the most intimate affairs of his life considered, as to whether his means will enable him to pay an increased rent. Think what that will mean. The man has not only to say what his trade or calling is, and how much out of work he is, but every claim he has, because his means depend not only on his income but on his responsibilities. If that is the condition on which anyone has to satisfy the court to prevent the owner recovering possession of the house it is the most abominable inquisition we could 1095 impose on any man that the intimate affairs of his life, the balance of his income, how he spends his money and whether he can reasonably pay the increased rent for the alternative accommodation should have to be disclosed. It means that in practically every case the alternative accommodation will be houses which have become vacant since the passing of the Act, or were vacant at the time of the Act, and a greatly increased rent will be extorted from him in his necessity. I hope the House will realise what is involved in this strange alteration and that even the Minister will realise how much is implied in it and will see that a great mistake has been made and will accept our Amendment to remove this Clause so that the old Act in that particular stands intact.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
I beg to second the Amendment.
When this Clause went upstairs it included not only a son or daughter over 18 years of age but every baby in the household as well. Under the original Clause an infant could then become possessed of a house and could in law turn out a whole family. When we debated the matter upstairs we failed to get an argument or a reason in favour of the Clause as it stood. I want to repeat one or two reasons why the House ought to reject this Clause. It is not necessary as part of the structure of the Bill. If it becomes law as amended it will mean that, in order to secure possession of a House, all that the landlord is required to do is to use his son for the purpose. He might have six sons, and for those six sons he can get six houses if he has the money to buy them. He can also get a house for his daughter, and he might have ten daughters as far as that goes. That is sixteen houses for his children. Then "any person residing with him." It need not be one person. He might keep twelve lodgers! If he has money enough and the will to do it he can, under this Clause, buy up a whole village and keep it as a family possession. Then a house can be got for an employé of the landlord. We object, above all, to this connection between the landlord and the tenant and the same landlord being the employer of the tenant, we want to destroy that once for all. 1096 This man could also get a house for his wife, his mother, and a house for his mother-in-law. According to this Clause he could get, at least, 40 houses. He could, as stated, buy up a whole village, and if he was a good old Tory, afraid of the Socialist movement, he could clear out of the village everybody who was not on the same side as himself politically. This is one of the worst features in the Bill. I am sure that what I have suggested may be done in Birmingham. They would not do it in Manchester because they have more sense. The Minister of Healh tells the community, with great gusto, that houses will not be decontrolled until 1925; but in this Sub-section he practically decontrols houses by hundreds every week. I trust the House will object to that, and reject the Clause.
The hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) has been giving us some of the fantastic pictures with which he entertained us upstairs in Committee. He knows perfectly well that there is no suggestion of a man buying up whole villages and being able to obtain possession for all sorts of fanciful purposes, which are the figment of the hon. Member's imagination. The whole thing is governed by the words: "The Court has to be satisfied that it is reasonable to make an order." The Court would not consider it reasonable to make an order for the landlord to get possession of a house for an infant in arms, or for 40 sons and daughters, or any other ridiculous contingency which the hon. Member suggested. In every case where the landlord gets possession of a house, except when he requires it for his own occupation or for the occupation of a son or daughter over 18 years of age, he has to provide alternative accommodation. If he has to do that, where on earth is the hardship to the tenant? If he has to provide alternative accommodation, surely that is all that it is reasonable to ask the landlord to do. The fact that alternative accommodation has to be provided, except in the limited cases I have mentioned, had escaped the notice of the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Broad). In regard to the statement that there is nothing to prevent a landlord putting in a bogus claim, and after having secured a house by misrepresentation, using it for 1097 another purpose, there is a penalty Clause in the original Act, which has been extended by this Bill, so as to cover these cases. If a person gets possession by misrepresentation, not only does he incur penalties, but the house goes back under control. The hon. Member has made some comment on the new wording as to alternative accommodation. Everybody who is conversant with the matter must admit that the definition in the old Act was far too rigid. It meant that the landlord was unable to get possession of the house in any circumstances because it was impossible for him to find accommodation which was an exact copy of the house which the tenant was then occupying. Every hon. Member must have had great numbers of letters from people who bought houses for their own occupation or that of their children, believing that they would be able to get possession of them by the middle of this year, and finding themselves kept out of occupation very often by people who were better off than they. There is a great number of hard cases of that kind and they are at least entitled to some consideration.
In the matter of alternative accommodation we have endeavoured to specify more precisely than in the original Act the sort of considerations which should be taken into account by the Court. We have said that it must be reasonably suitable for the needs of the tenant and his family, so that that covers the case of the man with the large family who requires an equivalent number of rooms—and as regards its extent and character and proximity to the place of work. I do not think that there are any other considerations which it is necessary to take into account in the matter of alternative accommodation. The hon. Member for Edmonton roused himself to a pitch of boiling indignation because we no longer provide that the alternative accommodation should be at an equivalent rent. Why should we perpetuate, at the expense of the man who has bought the house, the existing advantage for a tenant who is able to pay a proper rent or the rent generally asked for a house of the character of that which he occupies, 1098 just because he has been fortunate enough to get a house at a less rent. It is not unreasonable to say that, if a landlord can find a house at a higher rent, reasonably suitable for a man, that should be considered sufficient. It is absurd to suggest that this is going to be any inquisitorial research into the private affairs of a tenant. The court will have to be satisfied that the accommodation is reasonably suitable to the tenant's means, and the tenant will be able to give the court the particulars necessary to enable it to come to a decision. Most of us at one time or another have to submit to inquiries more disagreeable than that which is contemplated here. The Bill will not do any injustice to the tenant, and it will restore to the landlord a right which he is justly entitled to exercise. It would be unreasonable to go back to the words of the original Act, and I submit that the words inserted in the Bill are sufficient and reasonable.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
The right hon. Gentleman has failed to justify the substitution of the new paragraph for that which appears in the principal Act. In dealing with this matter of alternative accommodation he has fallen back, as usual, upon the hard cases—on the case of the person who has purchased a house and has not been able to obtain possession of it. But, apart from this paragraph altogether, such a person will be able to obtain possession without providing alternative accommodation. Consequently, when the right hon. Gentleman cites the hard case in relation to this matter of alternative accommodation he is citing a case which is altogether irrelevant to the paragraph under discussion. We then come to those cases in which alternative accommodation does apply, and we have to ask whether the conditions he has laid down are an improvement upon the three existing conditions or alter them for the worse. The right hon. Gentleman throws contempt on my hon. Friend regarding the phrase "is reasonably suited to his needs." Any tenant is justified in objecting to having this condition laid down. To say that the alternative accommodation should be reasonably equivalent in regard to rent is an intelligible thing. It would take into account any special circumstances with regard to the rent of the house which he was occupying and from which he was to be ejected. That, 1099 I suppose, would be taken into account by the County Court Judge, because the word "reasonably" there appears. But when we go further and say that the rent is to be reasonably suitable, that involves an inquisition to which any tenant is entitled to object. There are many cases in which we have compulsorily to submit ourselves to an inquisition in regard to means, unfortunately, but for the first time we find here it rendered necessary for a man to submit himself in a public Court to an inquisition as to his means. After the Judge has ascertained his income, he has to pronounce whether the alternative accommodation is reasonably suitable. There may be many people who may be very well off who are living in comparatively cheap houses of limited accommodation. Why should these people, who might be able to pay a higher rent, be forced to say what their income is, and be forced to take a house at a rental which they do not desire to pay? The means of the tenant is a totally false criterion to apply. The only criterion to apply is the criterion of rent. The right hon. Gentleman has not suggested that, in regard to rent, there need be any unfairness. The words "reasonably equivalent" are included, and, if necessary, an additional provision might be brought in to apply to houses which at present, for various reasons, are let at a lower rent than they were let at in pre-War times. It would be possible to have such a provision. It would be infinitely preferable to this inquisition as to means. The provisions of this Clause seem to me to be unnecessarily complicated, and have not been justified. They make only relatively insignificant changes.
§ Mr. MOSLEY
The right hon Gentleman derided the suggestion of the hon. Member who seconded the Amendment as fantastic, and said that his fears for the tenant were utterly fantastic. The right hon. Gentleman always ignores the argument which has been urged throughout this Bill, that a great, new, additional incentive is now provided to the landlord to get rid of the tenant. In this paragraph which we are now discussing the landlord is provided with several new means of doing so. In fact, any landlord who is really determined to get rid of a tenant can, under these various paragraphs, and particularly this Clause, find some means 1100 of doing so. Therefore, how can the right hon. Gentleman argue that it is so fantastic to be fearful of the position in which the tenants are placed under this Clause? The right hon. Gentleman places such implicit confidence in this governing phrase, that the Court shall only give an order if it thinks it to be reasonable. That is no safeguard whatsoever. Of course, the Court will think it reasonable, if good reasons are adduced at the time when an order is asked for, and very good reasons can easily be adduced, if a man wants the house for his son, for his daughter, or for any of the reasons specified in this Clause. But the Court has no control over what happens after the order has been given. The order may never be used for the purpose specified. The man may occupy the house for a short time, and then vacate it, and the house then becomes decontrolled, and the landlord can charge any rent he likes or sell it at any price. We can envisage under this Clause a whole host of phantom tenants being mobilised for no other purpose than the decontrol of property. This enables landlords to get their property decontrolled, and the right hon. Gentleman presents them with a method of doing it at any time they like. His only argument is that this shadowy paragraph exists which prevents the landlord from misrepresenting the facts when he appears before the Court. I put this to the right hon. Gentleman—which he has never answered—how can it be proved before the Court that at the time the order was obtained the landlord had no intention of using the house for the purposes specified? If that cannot be proved, the penalty Clause will never come into existence, and will be utterly futile. The right hon. Gentleman informed us on the Committee stage that it has never practically been utilised, and I say that this new extension of the penalty Clause will never be utilised. It is not intended to be used.
The right hon. Gentleman made great play with the question of alternative accommodation, and said that no hardship can be inflicted on the tenant because, in some cases, alternative accommodation will have to be provided. He ignored, as matters of no account, all the expenses and all the irritation that will be caused by moving from one house to another which may be far less suitable 1101 in many respects. But let that go. In practically every case, in 99 out of 100, no alternative accommodation need be provided, because if the landlord requires the house for himself, or his children, and if he owned it before 30th June, 1922, he is under no obligation to provide alternative accommodation, and in many cases he will not be under that obligation. Even if he became the owner after 30th June, 1922, if he can prove to the Court that the greater hardship will be occasioned by refusing the order than by granting it he is under no obligation to provide alternative accommodation. Therefore, all the provision that the right hon. Gentleman makes for the provision of alternative accommodation is almost entirely irrelevant to the argument he adduced. He has certain Amendments on the paper in regard to this Clause, which have not clearly been noted, but which are of considerable substance. He proposes to strike out some of the safeguards inserted in it, and these are very material points. In Committee, a provision was inserted, which now appears in the Clause, saying that the alternative accommodation available must consist of a dwelling-house to which the principal Act applies. That provided the tenant was a very substantial safeguard and in some way mitigated the hardship arising from the removal from the Clause of the phrase "reasonably equivalent" as regards rent.
The right hon. Gentleman now proposes to omit that safeguard, and I think I know his reason for doing so. He has made a discovery which some of us made in the Committee, but which, in the interests of the tenant, we thought it better not to divulge. It was obvious, when the right hon. Gentleman accepted this Amendment, that, in fact, alternative accommodation never could be provided, for the simple reason that any house coming into the possession of the landlord automatically became decontrolled under the Act, and therefore there could be no alternative accommodation. The right hon. Gentleman has now made the interesting discovery that the only form of alternative accommodation which previously existed was that provided in Clause 2, where the tenant came into possession of a property previously held under a sub-tenancy. That would still be subject to the control of the principal Act. As the Act stood, as amended in 1102 Committee, that was the only form of alternative accommodation available. The right hon. Gentleman, having made this discovery, has come down to the House with a new proposal which removes the substantial safeguards which would have gone far towards mitigating the hardships inflicted on the tenants. He has Amendments down to omit the words "A dwelling-house to which the principal Act applies, and to insert the wordseither of a dwelling-house to which the principal Act applies, or of premises to be let as a separate dwelling on terms which will afford the tenant security of tenure reasonably equivalent to the security offered by the principal Act.That alternative accommodation is not now subject to control, and the right hon. Gentleman has reversed the decision of the Committee. We are now in the position that the alternative accommodation provided has not to be subject to the principal Act, and has not to be equivalent as regards rent, and the only provision is that it should be suitable to the tenant's means. The unfortunate tenant's only remedy is to go into Court and submit himself to a public inquisition into his sources of income and emolument, and to try to prove upon some basis, not laid down, that the alternative accommodation is suitable to his means. How is the Judge to decide what rent is suitable to a man's means? Is he to take the customary calculation of one-seventh of the man's income? Is a different basis to be taken in each different County Court? No guidance of any sort is afforded to the Judges in connection with difficult and intricate problems of this nature. This Clause, as it will stand with the Amendments of the right hon. Gentleman, is considerably more vicious than when it left the Committee. In fact, it provides a means by which the landlord can secure decontrol of his property without the provision in most cases of any alternative accommodation at all, and in a few remaining cases, of alternative accommodation at prohibitive rates. The right hon. Gentleman is carrying out, by surreptitious and subterranean methods, a Measure on which he has set his heart, which removed his predecessor from office and which set the whole Government in a state of panic, and not having the courage openly to carry a Measure of 1103 decontrol, he is out to do so by these subterranean means.
§ 12 M.
§ Mr. HARNEY
I am a little puzzled as to the construction of this Clause. As the Clause stands, the alternative accommodation is to consist of a dwelling-house to which the principal Act applies, and which is reasonably suitable to the means of the tenant and his family as regards extent, character, etc. That is a long way of saying it is to be a controlled dwelling-house. It is impossible, having regard to the method upon which the Bill is drafted, for any landlord to be able to show in the case of any tenant whom he is about to dispossess, that he can find accommodation in the sense that is required, because the only possible accommodation would be in some sort of vacant house, and that vacant house is a decontrolled house. I have just learned that there are two or three Amendments proposed by which the Minister, probably this time without the assistance of the Law Officers, off his own bat has endeavoured to meet the legal difficulty, because he proposes apparently to say that the alternative accommodation shall not necessarily consist of a decontrolled house, because that cannot be found, but that it shall consist of a house that, as regards tenure, is to be put in the same position as a controlled house. The only way in which you can put a decontrolled house in the same position as regards tenure as a controlled house, is by some special provision to this effect. The tenant going in is to be told, "You shall stay there for such term as you would be entitled to stay there, and be evicted only on such conditions as you could be evicted, if this were a controlled house. "There is the position to which the right hon. Gentleman has reduced the working of this Bill, and I hope he will deal with this criticism instead of finding fault, as he did on my previous Amendment, with my Irish bad grammar.
Several hon. Members evidently understand the effect of this paragraph (d) and paragraph (iv) as meaning this, that in the case of all houses up till June, 1922, it is not necessary for the landlord to show alternative accommodation. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will look into it, for if that be his intention, the words do not say it. The governing paragraphis 1104 is (d), which says, "The dwelling-house," etc., and it then goes on to say,unless the court is satisfied that alternative accommodation is available consisting of a dwelling-house to which the principal Act applies.Therefore, if it is still there in every case, it would have been necessary for the landlord to find alternative accommodation. Then you see in paragraph (iv) that it will be unnecessary for the landlord to do what otherwise would be necessary, namely, to find alternative accommodation in the case of property that he acquires after June, 1922, so that as it stands it means that in all cases prior to June, 1922, the landlord must show alternative accommodation; in all cases after June, 1922, it will be necessary to deal with the question only on the ground of greater hardship. I do not know if that be what the right hon. Gentleman intends. If so, all that I can say is that why he should have such an intention is a complete puzzle to me and to everybody else, because all the speakers have dealt with it as if it meant quite the other way round.
With reference to the Clause itself, if the real intention of the Government had been at once to decontrol, if they had departed from the policy which was initiated in 1915 and had said, "That is wrong, and we will now scrap it," and had taken the consequences before the country, no one would have had any objection. They either would have got the country or lost it—probably lost it—and having come to the conclusion that they probably would lose the votes of the people if they spoke straight out, they have had recourse to Clauses like this, to do under a camouflage what they dared not do openly, because it is impossible for anyone familiar with the working of our Courts to come to any other conclusion than this, that such a Clause as this will enable landlords to drive a coach and four through any system of control whatever. May I emphasise what the right hon. Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) said? Even if the Clauses by which the landlord could obtain possession were identical under this Bill with what they were under the existing Act, the position would be wholly different, because under the existing Act the landlord had no temptation to put out his tenant in order to put in another tenant who would pay only the same rent, but now the position is that you say to a 1105 landlord: "Here are a score of ways of which, either genuinely or dishonestly, you can avail yourself, not merely to put out a tenant, but to put in one who would pay you an infinitely higher rent," and having in Clause 2 given that power and provided that temptation to the landlord, they then arm him with a large number of Clauses that bear on every line of them invitations to the landlord to seek to take advantage of them to break down the control that is ostensibly being maintained.
Under the old Act a landlord could not get rid of a tenant except he was able to show that he wanted the controlled house for himself. Now he is able to get an uncontrolled house by proving that he requires it for a child, for a person bona fide residing with him, for an employé of his or of a tenant of his, and, worse still, for a person whom he thinks he will employ or whom he thinks his tenant will employ. We are told then that there is this great safeguard at the end of the Clause, which says: "If, landlord, you take advantage of any of these methods of obtaining back your house, and it is found afterwards that you threw dust into the eyes of the County Court Judge, I will make you pay compensation, and will undo all that you so cleverly did." That is a safeguard; and I would like an answer to this question: Suppose a landlord says to his child, "You would like to have a house, would you not?" and the child replies, "Of course, daddy." "Then," says the father, "let us go before the County Court Judge and say we want it, and that you are over 18." Both are quite truthful. There is no misrepresentation at the moment. They get the order. Tell me what, in this Bill, will prevent the son the very next day going into
§ the market and selling that decontrolled house, and giving the money to his father? If the son can do that—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. and learned Member, like some who have preceded him, has been harking back to a new Clause disposed of earlier in the day, which dealt with the very point that he is now putting before the House. He must not really go back when the matter has been disposed of.
§ Mr. HARNEY
I was not here, Sir, but I accept that ruling. There is, may I explain, this further provision: the man may want the house for some person whom he wishes to engage, or that the tenant wishes to engage. That may be quite true when they appear before the County Court judge and get the order. But what obligation is there on the person whom the landlord says he wants it for to take it? Can the landlord be blamed for misrepresentation if he is able to say afterwards, "Well, the person for whom I wanted it did not really want it himself. I was going to engage him and thought he wanted it. I find out now he does not." Will he be allowed to keep possession of the house? I could give numerous illustrations all tending in the same direction. I will, therefore, vote against the entire deletion of this Clause as being one of many designed not really for the purpose of continuing control but as one devised with the object of undermining the position.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out to the word consisting' ["consisting of a dwelling-house"], stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 211; Noes, 109.1109
|Division No. 278.]||AYES.||[12.15 a.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Blundell, F. N.||Chilcott, Sir Warden|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Churchman, Sir Arthur|
|Alexander, Col. M. (Southwark)||Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Clarry, Reginald George|
|Apsley, Lord||Brass, Captain W.||Clayton, G. C.|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Col. Sir Martin||Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Cobb, Sir Cyril|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Wilfrid W.||Brittain, Sir Harry||Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.|
|Baird, Rt. Hon. Sir John Lawrence||Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury)||Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Brown, Major D. C. (Hexham)||Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Brown, J. W. (Middlesbrough, E.)||Cope, Major William|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Bruford, R.||Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar (Banff)||Buckingham, Sir H.||Croft, Lieut.-Colonel Henry Page|
|Becker, Harry||Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Butcher, Sir John George||Curzon, Captain Viscount|
|Bennett, Sir T. J. (Sevenoaks)||Butt, Sir Alfred||Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Button, H. S.||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)|
|Bird, Sir William B. M. (Chichester)||Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Dawson, Sir Philip|
|Dixon, Capt. H. (Belfast, E.)||Hume, G. H.||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Doyle, N. Grattan||Hurd, Percy A.||Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)|
|Du Pre, Colonel William Baring||Hutchison, W. (Kelvingrove)||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Remer, J. R.|
|Ednam, Viscount||Jenkins, W. A. (Brecon and Radnor)||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Jephcott, A. R.||Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)|
|Ellis, R. G.||Jodrell, Sir Neville Paul||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|England, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Kennedy, Captain M. S. Nigel||Robertson-Despencer, Major (Islgtn, W.)|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||King, Capt. Henry Douglas||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Erskine-Bolst, Captain C.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Ruggles-Brise, Major E.|
|Evans, Capt. H. Arthur (Leicester, E.)||Lamb, J. Q.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Evans, Ernest (Cardigan)||Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Colonel G. R.||Russell, William (Bolton)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Com. Rt. Hon. Bolton M.||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Samuel, A M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Falcon, Captain Michael||Lloyd-Greame, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||Lort-Williams, J.||Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A.|
|Flanagan, W. H.||Lougher, L.||Sanderson, Sir Frank B.|
|Ford, Patrick Johnston||Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)||Sandon, Lord|
|Forestier-Walker, L.||Lumley, L. R.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||Shakespeare, G. H.|
|Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Manville, Edward||Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Margesson, H. D. R.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Furness, G. J.||Mason, Lieut.-Col. C. K.||Shipwright, Captain D.|
|Galbraith, J. F. W.||Mercer, Colonel H.||Singleton, J. E.|
|Garland, C. S.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw||Skelton, A. N.|
|Gates, Percy||Morloy, Major L. G. S.||Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)|
|Gaunt, Rear-Admiral Sir Guy R.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Spears, Brig.-Gen. E. L.|
|George, Major G. L. (Pembroke)||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.||Spender-Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H.|
|Goff, Sir R. Park||Morrison-Bell, Major Sir A. C. (Honiton)||Stanley, Lord|
|Greaves-Lord, Walter||Murchison, C. K.||Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H.|
|Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N.)||Nall, Major Joseph||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Gretton, Colonel John||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid H.|
|Guthrie, Thomas Maule||Newson, Sir Percy Wilson||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)|
|Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W. (Liv'p'l, W. D'by)||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Halstead, Major D.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Tubbs, S. W.|
|Hamilton, Sir George C. (Altrincham)||Paget, T. G.||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Parker, Owen (Kettering)||Wallace, Captain E.|
|Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Pease, William Edwin||Watts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington)|
|Harrison, F. C.||Pennefather, De Fonblanque||Wells, S. R.|
|Harvey, Major S. E.||Penny, Frederick George||Weston, Colonel John Wakefield|
|Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.|
|Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Herbert, S. (Scarborough)||Perring, William George||Winterton, Earl|
|Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Pielou, D. P.||Wise, Frederick|
|Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Pilditch, Sir Philip||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray||Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)|
|Hood, Sir Joseph||Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G.||Yerburgh, R. D. T.|
|Hopkins, John W. W.||Price, E. G.|
|Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Privett, F. J.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Houfton, John Plowright||Raeburn, Sir William H.||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Colonel the Rt. Hon. G. A. Gibbs.|
|Howard, Capt. D. (Cumberland, N.)||Raine, W.|
|Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Col. C. K.||Rawson, Lieut.-Com. A. C.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis Dyke||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Lees-Smith, H. B. (Keighley)|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Linfield, F. C.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Groves, T.||Lunn, William|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Grundy, T. W.||M'Entee, V. L.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||McLaren, Andrew|
|Barnes, A.||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||March, S.|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Hardie, George D.||Marshall, Sir Arthur H.|
|Berkeley, Captain Reginald||Harney, E. A.||Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, E.)|
|Bonwick, A.||Harris, Percy A.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Briant, Frank||Hay, Captain J. P. (Cathcart)||Mosley, Oswald|
|Broad, F. A.||Hayday, Arthur||Murnin, H.|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Hayes, John Henry (Edge Hill)||Newbold, J. T. W.|
|Buckie, J.||Herriotts, J.||O'Grady, Captain James|
|Burgess, S.||Hill, A.||Oliver, George Harold|
|Buxton, Charles (Accrington)||Hirst, G. H.||Paling, W.|
|Chapple, W. A.||Hodge, Lieut.-Col. J. P. (Preston)||Pattinson, S. (Horncastle)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Phillipps, Vivian|
|Collison, Levi||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Potts, John S.|
|Darbishire, C. W.||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Pringle, W. M. R.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Richards, R.|
|Dunnico, H.||Jones, R. T. (Carnarvon)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Ede, James Chuter||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Riley, Ben|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East)||Ritson, J.|
|Emlyn-Jones, J. E. (Dorset, N.)||Jowitt, W. A. (The Hartlepools)||Robinson, W. C. (York, Elland)|
|Fairbairn, R. R.||Lansbury, George||Rose, Frank H.|
|Foot, Isaac||Lawson, John James||Saklatvala, S.|
|Gosling, Harry||Leach, W.||Salter, Dr. A.|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Lee, F.||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Sexton, James||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)||White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)|
|Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Trevelyan, C. P.||White, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)|
|Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Turner, Ben||Whiteley, W.|
|Simpson, J. Hope||Warne, G. H.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Sitch, Charles H.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Smith, T. (Pontefract)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.|
|Snell, Harry||Weir, L. M.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Sullivan, J.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)||Westwood J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. Ammon and Mr. Morgan Jones.|
I beg to move, in paragraph (b), substituted paragraph (d), to leave out the wordsconsisting of a dwelling-house to which the principal act applies, and.This is the first of three Amendments, which I think may be taken together. They consist partly of a redrafting and partly of the addition of a new form of words to provide some additional alternative accommodation. There is an idea that I am trying to reverse the general decision of the Committee, but that is not so. The only reason for leaving out these words is to get a better drafting of the Clause.
§ Sir J. SIMON
I am not quite sure as to whether we have to say what we have to say about all the three Amendments now or as they are put from the Chair, but I want to say something about the third Amendment. I think the point is deserving of a few moments' attention, because the paragraph, as thus amended, would provide that the alternative accommodation is to consist of a dwelling house, to which the principal Act applies. I quite see that the right hon. Gentleman is correct when he says that he must delete the words he proposes to delete, but I should like him to tell the House to what extent, when this Bill becomes an Act, he anticipates that there can be in fact alternative accommodation to which the principal Act applies. I should have thought that, since the new Act will be an Act securing that the principal Act ceases to apply when a landlord gets actual possession, the cases in which that form of alternative accommodation is available would be very few. I can conceive that there might be such a case if it happened that it was possible to have a transfer of tenancy without any intermediate actual possession by the landlord. The right hon. Gentleman explained earlier how he thought that very rare case might arise, though I do not myself appreciate how there can ever be alternative accommodation to which the principal Act applies. It must, of course, be vacant, 1110 or you could not put a dispossessed tenant into it; and yet at the same time it must remain accommodation to which the Act applies. I think the right hon. Gentleman thought that if the landlord got possession of the key there would be actual possession, and then the house would be decontrolled, but I do not myself quite see when that condition could be fulfilled. The alternative condition which the right hon. Gentleman proposes to put in is that the alternative accommodation shall consist ofpremises to be let as a separate dwelling on terms which will afford to the tenant security of tenure reasonably equivalent to the security afforded by the principal Act.I should be very much obliged if he would expand these words by a little explanation, for I do not quite understand what they mean. What is the security of tenure which will exist, apart from an Act of this sort, which is reasonably equivalent to a provision of the law that you cannot be removed from your tenancy, but can stay on indefinitely, as long as you pay your rent and behave yourself? I do not see what this Amendment is intended to do. I was not a member of the Committee, and so I do not know, but it looks very much as though, during the Committee stage, when this alternative paragraph (b) was under discussion, the right hon. Gentleman for the moment thought he could accept an Amendment which would secure, at any rate, that, when the landlord turned his tenant out, the tenant should get some alternative accommodation which would be governed by rent restriction, but as though, on reflection, the Government have seen that they cannot do that. If that be the case, a very vital change is being made in the practical effect of the Bill, because it nearly means that if the Landlord comes forward and says he wants the house for his son, or his daughter, or his servant, or any person living within his gates, and if he satisfies the County Court Judge that he is making a genuine and fair claim, thereupon the alternative accom- 1111 modation is not going to be accommodation subject to a controlled rent at all, and the justification for it is to be ascertained, apparently, by inquiry as to how much the tenant's private means enable him to pay.
§ Mr. MOSLEY
The right hon. Gentleman has said that this Amendment does not reverse the decision of the Committee. I venture to contend, in the absence of more argument, that it does. I believe that the submission put forward by the right hon. Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) is correct and that the Minister of Health, in the excitement and heat of the moment, accepted the Amendment which he afterwards discovered largely stultified his Bill. He accepted another Amendment saying that the alternative accommodation available should consist of a dwelling-house to which the principal Act shall apply, and then he found that it would be difficult for the tenant to be evicted and he, therefore, proposed these new words. He says that if a dwelling-house to which the principal Act applies is not available there shall be a proviso affording security of tenure, but that may be a house which is not subject to the principal Act. It is a house which is not decontrolled as to rent and the tenant is not provided with the statutory security against eviction. The right hon. Gentleman has not seen fit to explain what is meant by security against eviction. He does not give any statutory protection. Therefore, I venture to say I was correct when I contended that the right hon. Gentleman has reversed the decision of the Committee, unless he is able to explain this in rather more detail. Apart from his customary frankness, he ignores altogether the arguments from the other side of the House and relies on his mechanical majority. We can only believe that the contentions we have submitted are correct. So far as I can understand it he has absolutely refused to meet this argument. Will he therefore explain to us why he says the decision of the Committee was not reversed, particularly in view of the legal considerations which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley has adduced.
§ Captain W. BENN
It is really essential that we should have some further explanation. This is a very complicated 1112 point and it is a great misfortune we should be discussing it at half-past 12 in the morning. Three years ago the same thing was done and it gave an infinite amount of trouble and the legislation had to be scrapped. If it be necessary to provide alternative accommodation, that accommodation might be alternative accommodation at competitive prices. In Committee the Minister accepted an Amendment which, I admit, when I saw it seemed to me a great concession indeed, because he said we shall not get rid of a man unless we find him a place as secure as he was before. Now we find, in point of fact, that he cannot have that Amendment because there is no such accommodation in existence. The Minister now attempts to meet this by putting in the old words—consisting of a dwelling-house to which the principal Act applies,knowing that no such house is available. Will the Minister say that this part of the proviso is ever going to be used? Can he site the case of any alternative accommodation to which the Act would apply, because if it is vacant according to Clause 2 it is decontrolled? Then as to the second part, it is not strange that I should say it does not convey any clear meaning to my mind, but I am informed by legal authorities that it is not clear. Surely it is dangerous to put in a proviso that is a makeshift. What does it say?or of premises to be let as a separate dwelling on terms which will afford to the tenant security of tenure reasonably equivalent to the security afforded by the principal Act.This Bill reduces security of tenure under the old Act and gives greater security of tenure according to the same paradoxical proviso, for a man who is evicted under this Bill is put back into a house in which he has greater security than he enjoyed. If accommodation is wanted for the landlord's children or other members of his family, he will have to find the tenant other accommodation of greater security than he had. My point of criticism is that this whole paragraph ought to go. The Minister based the whole of the case for this Clause on the case of a man who bought a house and desired to occupy it and could not obtain possession. That man is not dealt with in paragraph (iv). The gist of my argument is that this is merely another device to assist the landlord to decontrol in the interests of higher rents. The best 1113 thing that can happen to this paragraph is that it should disappear entirely from the Bill.
I desire, of course, in response to the requests which have been made, to give some explanation of the second part or rather the third part of the Amendment. It is a little difficult to know when hon. and right hon. Gentlemen are putting a case for the tenant and a case for the landlord.
I will tell the hon. Member what it means if he will allow me. It prejudices the landlord and not the tenant, and much of the criticism of this particular Amendment appears to be on the ground that there is not provided sufficient accommodation. However that may be, let me say, first of all, that I did not accept the Amendment as suggested by hon. Members opposite. I put the Amendment down myself that the alternative accommodation should consist of a house that was a controlled house. The reason was that it appeared to me that if a decontrolled house was offered to the outgoing tenant which was reasonably similar to the house he had been occupying in the various methods specified in the Bill that might satisfy the Court, but as the house was decontrolled he could be got rid of at any moment and that did not seem to me to be a matter to be ignored and I put an Amendment down. As often happens, one puts something down when one sees the particular facet of the case and then you find a fresh difficulty has been created, and that was the case with this Amendment. I saw that the accommodation available would only be houses which were still subject to the Act and that there would be very little accommodation available. It is not quite correct to say no accommodation, because it will be observed that in the proviso to Clause 2, Sub-section (1) where a landlord gets possession on the ground of non-payment of rent then the principal Act shall continue to apply all the same. Therefore that class of house will be available but the accommodation will probably be very limited, and I much desire to give a larger field of choice to the landlord to provide alternative accommodation. I tried to do that by other devices which 1114 have been criticised by the hon. and gallant Member for Leith (Captain W. Benn). If he says that the security afforded by the principal Act is greater than the security afforded by this Bill and desires to alter the words accordingly, I am quite prepared to consider that. Now I am asked what does that mean. It is very simple. Under the principal Act, which comes to an end in 1925, the tenant is secure in his tenure until that date. Therefore if the landlord who has to provide alternative accommodation can arrange that he has a valid contract to continue his tenancy of the house until 1925, he will, notwithstanding the fact that it is a decontrolled house, have the same security as if it had been a controlled house.
Mr. T. THOMSON
There is one vital point which the Minister has not explained. He seeks to leave out of his Amendment—an Amendment which he put down in Committee in deference to other Amendments which were then withdrawn—that protection to the tenant which provides that the house shall be reasonably suitable to his means.
It sayson terms which will afford to the tenant security of tenure reasonably equivalent to the security afforded by the principal Act.I see no reference there to means. These Amendments and re-Amendments are to laymen, and possibly to lawyers, a little misleading. I only want to make sure that the tenant's security is the same. How he is going to enforce that security is not clear. If he can explain this, he has to a certain extent met the objection that has been urged.
§ Captain BERKELEY
The only ground for congratulation which the House can afford itself on this Amendment is that, coming from the quarter from which it came, it does not afford the hon. Gentleman an opportunity of displaying the spurious erudition he displayed in the last. He had no split infinitive to fall back on in this case. When I endeavoured to follow the case he made, I have not found it satisfactory. I have done my best to follow it, but I have not been able to do so. The matter on which I would like the hon. Gentleman to afford us some word of explanation is the meaning of the 1115 words "or premises to be let as a separate dwelling." Is a flat a separate dwelling? If it is, is a maisonette a separate dwelling? If a maisonette is, then are two or three rooms partitioned off a separate dwelling? Under the original Act similar accommodation had to be provided. In the Amendment as proposed by the right hon. Gentleman, will the accommodation be really and effectively similar to that which has been taken out of control?
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendments made: In Subsection (1, b), substituted paragraph (d), after the word "to" ["suitable to the needs"], insert the words "the means of the tenant, and to."
Leave out the words "is reasonably suitable to his means," and insert instead thereof the words
which consists either of a dwelling-house to which the principal Act applies or of premises to be let as a separate dwelling on terms which will afford to the tenant security of tenure reasonably equivalent to the security afforded by the principal Act."—[Mr. Chamberlain.]
§ Sir P. PILDITCH
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1, d), to leave out the word "paragraph" ["the following paragraph"], and to insert instead thereof the word "paragraphs."
The reason for the change from the singular to the plural is to provide a proper place for the accommodation of the new paragraph standing in my name.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Sir P. PILDITCH
I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (1, d), paragraph (h), to insert a new paragraph—(i) the dwelling-house consists of or includes premises licensed for the sale of intoxicating liquor, and the tenant has committed an offence as holder of the licence or has not conducted the business to the satisfaction of the licensing justices or the police authority, or has carried it on in a manner detrimental to the public interest, or the renewal of the licence has for any reason been refused.This paragraph, which has been agreed between the parties concerned, takes the place of the Clause omitted at a previous stage of the discussion. It was explained incidentally when the omission was first mentioned.
§ Mr. C. ROBERTS
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, at the end, to add the wordsor the owner of the premises desires not to renew the licence.This is supposed to be an agreed Amendment. I can quite understand that the persons interested in the trade may have arranged their affairs between themselves, but there is a further interest which I do not think has been sufficiently considered, and this is, after all, an Amendment which the Minister has rather left to be arranged between the parties. If this Amendment be carried, it will be within the power of the owner to determine whether the sale of intoxicating liquor in these premises is to be carried on, and he has the last word on that. This is not merely a question about rent, nor of a greedy owner trying to get the tenant out, because if the owner drops the licence it is quite certain he will not get the highest rent. I do not think in such cases the tenant ought to be affected, but if the owner wishes to drop the licence, I think he ought to be in a position to do so. If the Amendment passes as it stands on the Order Paper, in that case it will be for the tenant, the licensee, to make it impossible for anyone to stop the sale of intoxicating liquor on those particular premises. It is the licensee or tenant who holds the licence and he cannot be turned out. Under this Amendment it would be for him to go before the Justices at the end of his year's licence and simply ask for a renewal. The owner could not stop him. There are cases where it might be right for the owner to be in a position to stop a licence if he wishes. There is the common case in which you get a firm of brewers who are owners and are willing to surrender two or three licences to get another licence in another part of the town. That kind of bargaining often takes place and that kind of bargaining could not be carried out if this Amendment passes into law. It would be open to the licence-holder to say, "I am not going to surrender." Take the case of the private owner who wishes to suppress a licence in a particular district. I do not see why he should not be able to do so if he wants to. It may be for the benefit of the neighbourhood.
There is a considerable number of these licences just dropped every year without 1117 any compensation at all. I do not quite see why that should be stopped. The Report of the Onslow Committee suggests that in the case of these public-houses that they should be outside of it altogether. What the House has determined is that these houses should be liable to decontrol in certain specific cases. I ask the Minister whether this particular case is a point not worth considering. If he could accept the addition of these words I should be glad; if not, will he consider the matter further at a later stage. My Amendment is not on the Notice Paper, but I did not know the Minister was going to accept this Amendment.
§ Sir P. PILDITCH
I cannot see how we can accept this Amendment. It is entirely beyond the scope of my Amendment, which makes specific provision for premises to be decontrolled in the case of certain definite offences being committed by the tenant. Under these circumstances it is made possible for the property to be decontrolled. As I understand the hon. Member's Amendment, it is of quite a different character. He adds the case of one of the parties not desiring to renew the licence. That is quite a different kind of thing to the kind of thing contemplated under my Amendment. I do not know what the effect of it would be, and it does seem a question which ought to be considered before it is placed in this Amendment. Not knowing how far the hon. Member's Amendment would carry us, and as it appears on the surface to be of a one-sided character, I could not be a party to accepting it.
§ Mr. FRANK GRAY
I am not sure if I understand the Amendment to the Amendment, and whether other hon. Members understand it. So far as the Amendment is concerned, it is one I was most anxious to support, because I understand it does not desire to place the licence-tenants in a worse position than other tenants. As I have stated previously in this House, I am always anxious to put the tenants of licensed premises in a rather better position than they are with regard to their landlords, because in the present state of the licensing law it is in the interests of the com- 1118 munity that the tenant should be put in a sound and strong position. As I understand it, and I have not had an opportunity of seeing the Amendment, the Amendment now proposed to the Amendment is to deal with what is, after all, a very few cases of licensed premises in respect of which a landlord, for some reason or other, desires either with or without compensation to abandon the licence. As I understand, the position under the Amendment, if the Amendment were added to it, would be that if the magistrates, or the licensing justices, consider under the Act of 1910 that the premises were premises redundant in the district from which they would have been entitled to take away the licence on paying such compensation as was due—in that case no injury would be done from the temperance standpoint in carrying the Amendment—but there is the conceivable point which I do not think applies in any but a very few cases of licensed premises where the licensing justices do not take the licence away, but the landlord does, and I would point out that if the landlord abandons a licence which would not come under the redundancy class without the consent of the tenant a very grave injustice is done to the tenant. If the house is redundant it is up to the licensing interest to take action, in which case the tenant gets such compensation, inadequate I believe for him under the Licensing Act.
§ Captain W. BENN
Why does not the right hon. Gentleman reply? The Amendment was moved in temperate language.
§ 1.0 A.M.
I really do not think I am called upon to reply, as the Amendment moved is not an Amendment of mine. I explained I would accept the main Amendment on the understanding that it was agreed. If further Amendments are moved, it is no longer agreed. What I would suggest is that, as my hon. Friend is not authorised and therefore cannot accept the Amendment now—and it is only a manuscript Amendment of which I have not even a copy—the Mover should consult with my hon. Friend between now and the time that this Bill goes to another place, and if he can then get further 1119 agreement on his suggested Amendment, I should be quite prepared to consider it.
§ Mr. C. ROBERTS
Do I understand that there is absolutely no consideration here for the interests of the public on a matter of this kind, provided the brewers and the tenants—
§ Captain W. BENN
Has not the Mover of an Amendment on the Report stage the right to speak more than once?
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. James Hope)
I did not understand that the hon. Member wanted to say anything more.
§ Mr. ACLAND
I am bound to say, having listened to the discussion on this matter, that I am a little surprised at the detached attitude the Government have taken. They ought to have a view either that they would be willing to consider this matter themselves and not leave it wholly to the negotiation of private Members of this House. It seems to me that my hon. Friend's point contains some substance and his explanation was quite natural, that he did not know that the Amendment was going to be favourably considered. But on this matter, even at this late hour, we are entitled to the assurance, on behalf of the Government, that they will look into this matter and not leave it to my hon. Friend who moved the Amendment to express his willingness or unwillingness to make arrangements with my hon. Friend or not. That leaves it in this position. If my hon. Friend opposite simply says. "No, I am not instructed to accept this, this is as far as the parties agree," then my right hon. Friend's Amendment, which, when looked into, may be found to have substance in it, cannot be embodied in the Bill.
§ Mr. FOOT
There is one part of the wording that is somewhat difficult for me to understand. It may be that my difficulty is shared by other Members of the House. Towards the end of the Amendment, as moved by the hon. Member for Spelthorne (Sir P. Pilditch), you read the words in the last line:or the renewal of the licence has for any reason been refused.1120 Are we to understand from these words that if the licence has been refused—
§ Mr. A. V. ALEXANDER
With great respect, it would be very unfair for us to go to a Division on this point, which has been present to us in manuscript form. I do not desire to say anything at any length, but it is rather unfair at this hour that we should be asked to pass judgment on a manuscript Amendment, which, possibly, may have a wide effect upon holders of licensed premises. I only want to see justice done. I hope it will not be pressed now, but that the suggestion of the Minister of Health will be accepted, that if there is anything really effective in the Amendment they will discuss it with the Mover of the main Amendment before the Bill goes to another place.
§ Amendment to proposed Amendment negatived.
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
§ Mr. FOOT
May I be allowed to rut the question I was putting a moment or two ago? I am anxious to know what is the effect of the latter part of the Amendment, which I understand is an agreed Amendment, arrived at after consultation by the interests concerned. If hon. Members will turn to the last words of this Amendment they will read "or the renewal of the licence has for any reason been refused." Supposing a licence is refused simply on the ground of redundancy.
§ Mr. FOOT
I can quite understand that if the tenant of licensed premises misbehaves himself or jeopardises the licence belonging to the owners of the property, that there ought to be some ample safeguard given to them. That is a fair proposition. But I do not see what is, the meaning of the words at the end of the Amendment. We have provided is it for a breach or for misconduct on the part of the licensee, but what do those last words mean, because if there is no misconduct on the part of the licensee I do not see why he should be deprived of the provisions of the Act. The licensee in that case ought not to be turned into 1121 the street. He surely ought to be in no worse position than any other tenant in the neighbourhood in which he lives. There must be, I should imagine, seeing that these words have been subject to consultation, some meaning in these last words, and I should like to know what that meaning is before I am asked to give a vote upon it.
§ Mr. J. HOPE SIMPSON
It seems to me, possibly, that they contain the suggestion of the Amendment to the Amendment that was proposed by the right hon. Member for Derby (Mr. C. Roberts). In the case which he contemplates, the tenant would apply for a license which would be refused on the ground that the landlord did not wish to press for it. In that case, would not the refusal come under the last Clause of the Amendment?
§ Mr. PRINGLE
The House should be informed exactly what is contemplated in the words to which the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Foot) has asked a question. The words as they stand are somewhat obscure. The Minister takes no responsibility for this Amendment; he accepts it simply as an agreed Amendment, agreed to without consideration, and apparently he has no concern whether it is properly drafted or not. An appeal has been made to the hon. Gentleman opposite who has moved the Amendment as to what these words are intended to cover, and no answer has been given. I understand that the Mover of an Amendment has always the right to address the House on the Report stage for the purpose of clearing up what is contained in his Amendment, and I hope that before the House passes to a Division the hon. Gentleman will give some explanation.
§ Sir P. PILDITCH
The words in question met with the entire approval of those for whom the hon. Member has been speaking and those interested in this Clause, that is to say, the licensed victuallers. As I understand the matter, if the renewal of the licence has for any reason been refused, the last words of the Clause really cover the five or six different cases given in the early part of the Clause representing the kind of offence which the tenant may have committed, and in re- 1122 spect of which the licence has not been renewed. There are five or six of them stated definitely, and these words at the end are words which might include any other offences not specified in the earlier part of the Clause. I shall take my stand as the Mover of this Amendment on the fact that the two sets of parties are in agreement. I was interested in this matter in Committee when it was discussed between those who represented the owners and those who represented the tenants. They met together and drew up this Clause. None of the parties disagreed with the Clause. The matter was gone into carefully, and was submitted to the Minister so that he might see whether it also coincided with the interest of the public, and they all agreed with this Clause. We all wish to do justice to the tenant without serious injury to the owner.
§ Sir J. SIMON
Surely the House of Commons cannot accept an assurance without understanding what it means. The House of Commons has no business to do justice blindfold. We desire to do what is fair and right, but it must be responsible for what it does. The hon. Member for Spelthorne (Sir P. Pilditch) has told us with tranquillity that he cannot suggest any meaning to the words as to the renewal of the licence if refused, and he suggests as a sort of sweep-up or redundancy that it does not add anything at all. We have the advantage of the presence of a gentleman who knows a lot about this subject, and I seriously suggest that, even though the hour be late and it is thundering and lightning, there is no justification whatever for the House of Commons to pass into the Bill a Clause which he is not prepared to expound phrase by phrase, and in which the Government does not give the slightest assistance.
§ Mr. J. JONES
I have heard a good deal about tenants and landlords and the interests concerned, but there are cases where there are managers and no tenants, people who are employed as managers in a public house, and in some towns in Great Britain, particularly the city which the Minister happens to represent, people have been turned out into the streets with a week's money. In the city in which I happened to reside originally the same thing happened. A brewer holds the 1123 monopoly of most of the public houses. The—
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I do not think the hon. Gentleman's remarks would be relevant to this Amendment, as this Clause deals only with houses where there is a "tenant," and so designated.
§ Mr. J. JONES
I want to point out that in the majority of cases these people are employed by the week as managers, and they can be turned out in the streets, and they have no home. I want to know how they are going to have the ordinary guarantee under this Clause.
§ Mr. C. ROBERTS
I do not agree with the reasons the hon. Member has given for this Amendment, but I hope I may acquire some merit in his eyes by saying that these words are quite right. I am able to agree with the Amendment and give it my partial support, and I hope when he comes to consider my Amendment further on he will look upon it with more sympathetic eyes.
Lieut.-Colonel WATTS - MORGAN
I also join in dissenting strongly from the last words proposed in this Amendment. They are by no means as they were in Committee. It is quite true that all that has been said is correct in so far as the invitation to the parties is concerned, but those of us who spoke to the Amendment in the Committee stage have not heard a word with regard to the approval of the, shall I say, corporate bodies who own the houses or the tenants who occupy the licensed premises. I dissent very strongly from the explanation given as to the last words. These words incorporate in this Bill the very objections which were raised in Committee. We pointed out that the magistrate already had power, and I have no objection at all to the first part of the Amendment being added to the Bill, but I would ask the House and the Minister not to put in the last words of the Amendment, because if that is done it does not meet the position made by us in Committee. Therefore I move to leave out the last words.
This Amendment does not carry out the promise made in Committee that no injustice would be inflicted on these tenants through any reason, and I protest against it.
I only desire to offer two observations to the House. First, all I said upstairs was that if a Clause could be agreed as satisfactory by the two parties who are most interested in it, namely, the brewers on the one side and the licensed victuallers on the other, and if, when that Clause was presented to me, I did not see anything in it which was against the public interest, I would accept it. That Clause has fulfilled these two conditions, and I cannot see what objection the hon. Member for Rhondda (Lieut.-Colonel Watts-Morgan) takes to the Clause.
The Smith Wales district never were consulted and had not an opportunity of seeing the Clause before it was put on the Paper.
As the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. C. Roberts) repeated an observation which is not quite accurate, let me put him right. There is no question here of decontrol. The Sub-section which originally appeared in the Bill as part of Clause 2, would, it is true, make the house come out of control altogether. That has been dropped, and this Amendment is moved to Clause 3, which does not deal with houses coming out of control at all, but with cases in which possession of the house can be obtained.
§ Mr. A. SHAW
The House will agree with what the right hon. Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) said. We are always more than willing to give effect to any agreement. That is one thing. But having fired at our head a hole and corner agreement, which only covers a small part of the country, is a very different thing.
§ Sir P. PILDITCH
The body which on the part of the licensees drew this up, in consultation with the brewers, is the National Consultative Council of Licensed Victuallers, who represent the whole country.
§ Mr. A. SHAW
There is grave difference of opinion about this proposal among eminent lawyers whose advice people pay large sums of money to have, and whose advice we have had to-night. The hon. Member's course would be to withdraw the Amendment, so that the Government might reconsider the matter in view of what has passed here to-night. I cannot accept the theory put forward by the right hon. Gentleman opposite that when the Government accept an Amendment and make it their own, they do so with some less measure of responsibility than if they had moved the Amendment themselves. It appears entirely unsound in constitutional and Parliamentary theory. As there appears to be no consensus ad idem among those supporting the Amendment and a general measure of misapprehension and confusion about it, the proper course would be that the Amendment should be negatived and, if necessary, inserted in another place.
§ Mr. FAIRBAIRN
I only rise as one not acquainted with the practice of the House to offer a protest against any agreement being carried through without the Members of the Committee being consulted. I did not sit on the Committee on behalf of any association, but for my constituency. If bargains are arrived at in the House, they ought to be arrived at between Members of the House of Commons and not through interested parties on one side or the other through some particular set of gentlemen in the House. Before the House is asked to enforce agreemnts the Government or the Minister in charge of the Bill should be quite sure that the agreement is arrived at between Members who took up the matter in Committee and not by two sets of a particular trade. It is teaching young Members a wrong view of what the House of Commons should do if hon. Gentlemen who have been here for years lead the House into what has been a very unprofitable discussion, and one that has led to a great deal of confusion, a discussion that need not have arisen if the members of all parties in the House had 1126 been consulted at this conference. Having made this protest, I hope the House will not reject the Clause unless we have an assurance from the Government that the matter will be dealt with later. I should not like to injure the interests of these people.
§ Mr. EDE
Although we have been discussing this matter as if it were merely a case between the brewer and the tenant of a public-house, the Clause as drafted goes far wider than that, and it refers to any building of which any part is used for licensed premises. It includes all those premises that are licensed for grocers' licences throughout the country. I understood that one of the things that was to be borne in mind when the agreed Amendment was drafted was that it should only apply to premises licensed for the consumption of liquor on the premises. If we cannot do it here, it should be made perfectly clear in another place that this does only apply to these places. I can understand why the hon. Member opposite hangs so much on this Clause when we remember the number of Amendments he moved in Committee, which the Minister refused and which he then withdrew. At last he has got one that stands a chance of getting into the Bill to repay him for the labour that he spent with so much futility that on one occasion he had to vote against his own Amendment. I hope the Minister will put this right, because it would be quite wrong to give the landlord of a house this power where for reasons not connected with the bad conduct of the tenant the licence had been refused.
§ Dr. CHAPPLE
I think the position is entirely unsatisfactory. The right hon. Gentleman thinks his duty to the House is discharged if he divests himself of entire responsibility with regard to this Amendment and thrusts it on his friend who support it from the benches behind, and he thinks his duty is entirely discharged if he can thrust the responsibility upon the brewers and licensed victuallers outside. He has not been able to explain the Amendment drawn up on his behalf. The least he could have done would have been to have made himself acquainted with the views embodied in this Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Measure made this a Government Amendment by accepting it from his friends and, if he is responsible 1127 for it, he ought to be able to explain it to us. He ought not to be satisfied with it because it came from the brewers and licensed victuallers. The Bill is the Minister's Bill and it is his duty to the public and the House that he should be able to inform the public and the House of the sense of the Clause. The hon. Member said that the latter part did not cover the case of redundancy and an hon. Member sitting below him, and who has wakened up, interrupted my hon. and learned Friend.
§ Dr. CHAPPLE
The hon. and learned Member showed no appreciation of the point I was making. I thought he was oblivious. He interrupted and said that the word was required. I have before me the Licensing Consolidation Act, 1910, Section 20 of which says that "where the compensation authority refuses renewal of the old licence," and so on. It is obvious that this covers a refusal for redundancy, and the hon. Member in moving the Amendment has either not been frank, or has not been lucid. Is the Minister satisfied with the treatment of this Amendment?
§ Mr. A. V. ALEXANDER
I am concerned about the words at the end of this Amendment. I have had strong recommendations made to me from holders of licences, who ask for an assurance that they are safeguarded in this matter. When the Bill was in Committee upstairs Sub-section (3) of Clause 2 was deleted from the Bill, the effect of which was that licensed premises were put back under control again and, that being so, the moving of the Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member creates rather great suspicion in my mind—having regard to the words of the last two lines—that there is some endeavour to try and get behind the fact that the Committeee put licensed premises back under control in the interests of the tenants. The point was put fairly that these words might be easily construed to mean that if the licensing justices decided for any reason other than offences by the licencees not to renew licences, this would then prevent the tenants of licensed premises from having and redress under the Act for being turned out. If that is the intention of the parties to this Amendment, then I think that the 1128 House ought to divide against the whole Amendment if we cannot move to delete these words. What I complain about is that while a Minister may have some ground for taking a somewhat detached view of the Amendment of a back bench Member, it is different when that Amendment is accepted, and there is grave doubt about the legal effect upon a large number of deserving people. We ought to have a very clear interpretation from the hon. Member who moved the Amendment, but he is apparently relying upon some information given to him by somebody outside the House. We ought to have the view of the Minister of Health, or the learned Solicitor-General, as to the actual effect of the acceptance by the Minister of this Amendment and what would be the effect of these words in the Bill, which is a Government Bill, and for which, if the Amendment is inserted, the Government will take full responsibility. Unless I can be satisfied, unless the words I have referred to are not going to be a deliberate attempt to take licensed premises out of the control, and unless licences are not to be cut down by men being turned out without redress, then, I think, we ought to divide the House and vote against the whole Amendment.
§ Mr. HARDIE
I want to protest against what is now taking place in this House. I always like to give credit where credit is due, but listening to this Debate shows quite clearly to me that those who sit on the Government Benches are quite prepared to use all prejudice in favour of brewers, and believe in their minds that the brewer is to have a special licence. So far as this Bill is concerned the brewer, as compared with the ordinary house owner, is to have a special power given because he is the proprietor of licensed houses; he is to be given the power of treating the man who is running one of his houses as some one who can be dispossessed at any time when it suits the convenience of the brewer. If the House were to deal fairly with those who are tenants, whether it be in connection with licensed premises or ordinary dwelling-houses, they ought to impart a sense of justice which would fall equally upon the cases I have mentioned. It is quite clear, however, that in all cases in this House, wherever there is to be a line drawn between the brewing interests and the common decent interests 1129 —the common people—you always find the Government coming down heavily on the side of the brewing interest—it may be the brewing interest which provides money.
§ Mr. HARDIE
In discussing this it is necessary to try to get down to the truth, and when you happen to get near the kind of truth that is being hidden, there is always a crying out when the curtain is being torn from the skeleton behind it. It is all very well for Members who can go to sleep.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I think the hon. Member will have to defer these remarks to the Third Reading. They are hardly in order now.
§ Mr. HARDIE
I think I am perfectly in order, with all due deference. [HON. MEMBERS: "Order!"] Let Mr. Deputy-Speaker decide. I am quite willing to obey his ruling, not yours. In dealing with licences we are bound to deal with the factors that control them. The chief factor is the brewing trade.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
The application of this Clause is not to the brewers but to the Licensing Authority, that is, the Justices who are the Licensing Authority. It is not an exercise of option by the brewers.
§ Mr. HARDIE
But is it not a fact that the whole thing depends upon whether the licensee can be turned out or not.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
Nobody can turn out a licensee, but for some reason or other the Licensing Authority refuses him the licence. Therefore the question of the brewer cannot come in
§ Mr. HARDIE
I am glad to have that explanation. It is something the Minister in charge of the Bill did not explain. I will conclude by saying this. It is not nice to read in Parliamentary reports and in the morning papers that this great power of beer has come up in Parliament.
§ Captain BERKELEY
I only wish to make a very brief intervention in order to put a suggestion which may be of help to the House in the doubt that exists. The 1130 hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Foot) has put one case in which this may work hardship in the case of redundancy. Another hon. Member put a case coming under the Scottish Benefice Act where local veto operates, and in such a case there may be opportunity for hardship being worked. The hon. Member who moved this Amendment gave us to understand that these words were only introduced at the end of the proposed Amendment for the purpose of covering any possibility of error and in order to round off the Clause. Would he not be prepared to make it plain by allowing the last line to reador renewal of the licence for any such reason has been refused.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
It is not possible to do that on the Amendment now moved. It would have to be done elsewhere.
§ Captain BERKELEY
If the Minister in charge of the Bill would take such steps to get such words introduced in another place to make the Amendment plain I am sure the House would not wish to press it to a Division.
We are in this position. The Clause as drafted was agreed to by a body representing the licensed victuallers of the country. If this is their view, I do not see why other people should be more particular about their interests than they are themselves. I will, however, be perfectly ready to hear any representations which the licensed victuallers, either nationally or locally, may wish to make to me upon the Amendment in regard to the last words, to which some exception has been taken, and I will endeavour to find further agreement in order to make the words perfectly clear so that everybody may understand what it is they are in for.
Proposed words there inserted in the Bill.
§ Mr. R. DAVIES
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1, f), substituted paragraph (iv), to leave out the words "of his children" ["for any of his children"], and to insert instead thereof the wordsson or daughter of his over eighteen years of age.I only want to explain that these words are included in a preceding Clause, and I understand that the Minister may be willing to accept these words.
§ Amendment agreed to.
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1, f), substituted paragraph (iv), after the word "and" ["and where the landlord"], to insert the words "in any case."
This is merely a drafting Amendment. It does not alter the sense.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
I think this Clause reads so strangely that we ought to find out what it means, even with the Amendment which the right hon. Gentleman proposes. In Clause 3, in the new paragraph (iv), which is substituted for paragraph four in the principal Act, it says:Where the dwelling-house is reasonably required by the landlord for occupation as a residence for himself or for any of his children, and"——then the words "in any case" come in—where the landlord or the husband or the husband or wife of the landlord did not become the landlord before the thirtieth day of June, nineteen hundred and twenty-two, the Court is satisfied that greater hardship would be caused by refusing to grant an Order.What is the effect of the introduction of the words "and in any case" there? As it stands at present, it is very obscure, and before it goes to another place the right hon. Gentleman should make it clearer. There is some risk of a difficult interpretation.
I tried to put in other words to make it clearer. If the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Pringle) will imagine after the word "and" those in a bracket, and after "nineteen hundred and twenty-two" those in another bracket, that will perhaps make the sense of the Clause clearer. In the Act there are a number of paragraphs each of which begins with the word "Where." The first "Where" in this paragraph (iv) in the Bill is parallel with the "Where" in the other paragraph preceding. But the second "Where" is making a different kind of exception, and it is provided that "in any case" where a landlord did not 1132 before the 30th June—in such case he has to prove greater hardship to himself than to the tenant before he can get the Order.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
Would it not be better as in the original Act in paragraph (iv)? If that were done, it would cover the case.
If the hon. Gentleman would be good enough to send me in writing the suggestion he has made, I should be glad to consider it with a view to putting it into the appropriate phraseology.
Mr. T. THOMSON
Supposing you were to substitute the word "or" for the word "and," would that not give the meaning in plain language? I should like to know if the last paragraph covers the first paragraph. It is certainly most abstruse. In Committee the Minister told us he would make it clear on Report stage. I must confess that to many Members of the House confusion is worse confounded.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
Will that be quite right even then, because if you insert "and" the Court would have to be satisfied in both cases, whereas, if I understand the right hon. Gentleman, the Court has only to be satisfied in a single case. I would suggest that the best thing is to have "or" instead of "and" before "where," and insert "and" before "Court."
§ Mr. FOOT
The insertion of the word "or" would give two grounds where there was only one ground. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider whether the three words could not be dispensed with. When he asks hon. Members behind me to exercise imagination, he will perhaps remember that the Judges do not exercise imagination, but take the words as they are.
I beg to ask leave to withdraw my Amendment. It certainly has no value because it does not make the Clause clearer than it was before. With regard to the suggestion 1133 of the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Pringle), I would like to think it over and if necessary I will have an Amendment inserted in another place.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Mr. T. THOMSON
I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (1), to insert a new Sub-section—(2) Where, under the provisions of this or the principal Act, the Court makes an order for the possession of any dwelling-house which does not involve the provision of alternative accommodation, the Court shall give the tenant not less than three months' notice to quit from the date of making the Order.I understand that this Amendment would come in more properly as an Amendment at this place. I hope the Minister will give what consideration he is able to give it, for it did not get the consideration it deserved in Committee. It is based on the findings of the Onslow Committee. We have had this Committee quoted to us on many occasions upstairs when the Minister was anxious to defend a particular Section of the Act. The application of this Amendment would be very limited, but at the same time I submit, on the findings of the Onslow Committee, it is very important. On page 16 of their Report they suggest that, in the case of an owner-occupier, houses should be given possession of without alternative accommodation, but that in certain circumstances there should be given three months' notice. I shall briefly read their recommendation:We accordingly recommend:(1) That in the case of a person who has become the owner of a house prior to 31st December, 1921, and who desires possession for his own occupation or for the occupation of his children, he shall be entitled to possession without any conditions as to alternative accommodation, provided that he has given his tenant at least three months' notice to quit.The force of this Amendment is to give effect to that recommendation of the Onslow Committee, that there shall be given to the tenant in such cases where no alternative accommodation is provided and he has to be turned out, at least three months' notice. In Committee the right hon. Gentleman suggested that it was already provided for in the Act because it may postpone possession until such date as the Court thinks fit. I submit that that protection was well known to the Onslow Committee, was based on the working of this particular 1134 Act and this particular Section, and the Committee found, notwithstanding the provision in the 1920 Act and the protection which the Minister said was adequate, that this protection was not adequate. There is therefore good ground for the Amendment I propose.
The Minister further said there might be cases of ex-service tenants where the employer required the house immediately. That, I submit, was in the minds of the Onslow Committee when they made their recommendation. There is also the case of the man where the employer requires the house for an employé. It is not unreasonable to suggest that the tenant should at any rate have three months in which to find other accommodation which the landlord himself or the Court are not finding. That is a point of some substance, and my attention has been drawn to it not by an aggrieved tenant, but a landlord with considerable experience in the workings of the Act and this particular provision. Knowing the difficulties of the Act and that there would be real hardship to a tenant turned out by order of the Court, he felt that such a tenant should not be turned out unless there was a period of three months in which to find something else. It is right that the House should protect the dispossessed tenant and still leave discretion to the Court if necessary to give three months' notice. It is desirable that this House should lay down some guidance to the Courts. We have had criticisms to-night of the working of these Acts and we have heard the criticisms of Judges who have had to carry it out suggesting that Parliament should say more directly what it is they intend should be carried out. I suggest that in these cases instead of leaving a wide discretion to the Court there should be a recommendation to the Court. I recommend three months, because it is a direct recommendation of the Onslow Committee.
§ Mr. McENTEE
I beg to second the Amendment.
There is a similar Amendment in my name, which I presume has been passed over in favour of this one. It ought to be accepted, because great hardship may be caused if it is not. In the circumstances of the present time and of the immediate future, three months' notice is not unreasonable, and I hope the Minister will accept the Amendment.
It is quite true that this proposal was made in Committee. I think the Amendment stood in the name of the hon. Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. T. Thomson), but he was not able to be present on that occasion to make the speech he wished to make. He has evidently been studying the records of the Committee, for he has made use of my arguments, so that it is not necessary for me to deal with it at length. At present the Court has power to suspend execution at their discretion until the tenant has had time to get accommodation elsewhere. This would
§ be very mischievous, because it would do away with and cancel out paragraph (1) of Sub-section (5) of the original Act, and that is that where a tenant is no longer in the employment of a landlord, it is not reasonable that he should be allowed to remain three months in occupation of the house, preventing anyone coming there, so that the work of a farm could not be carried out unless there was a man living there.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 66; Noes, 162.1137
|Division No. 279.]||AYES.||[2.5 a.m.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hardie, George D.||Potts, John S.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Harris, Percy A.||Pringle, W. M. R.|
|Berkeley, Captain Reginald||Hayday, Arthur||Richards, R.|
|Bonwick, A.||Hayes, John Henry (Edge Hill)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Briant, Frank||Herriotts, J.||Ritson, J.|
|Broad, F. A.||Hill, A.||Rose, Frank H.|
|Burgess, S.||Hirst, G. H.||Salter, Dr. A.|
|Chapple, W. A.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Darbishire, C. W.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Dudgeon, Major C. R.||Jones, R. T. (Carnarvon)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Ede, James Chuter||Jones, T. I. Mandy (Pontypridd)||Sullivan, J.|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East)||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Emlyn-Jones, J. E. (Dorset, N.)||Lawson, John James||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Fairbairn, R. R.||Leach, W.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Foot, Isaac||Lunn, William||Welsh, J. C.|
|Gosling, Harry||McLaren, Andrew||White, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Marshall, Sir Arthur H.||Whiteley, W.|
|Gray, Frank (Oxford)||Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, E.)||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Mosley, Oswald||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Murnin, H.|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Pattinson, S. (Horncastle)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Phillipps, Vivian||Mr. Trevelyan Thomson and Mr. McEntee.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Clarry, Reginald George||George, Major G. L. (Pembroke)|
|Apsley, Lord||Clayton, G. C.||Goff, Sir R. Park|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Col. Sir Martin||Cobb, Sir Cyril||Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hack'y, N.)|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Wilfrid W.||Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.|
|Baird, Rt. Hon. Sir John Lawrence||Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W. (Liv'p'l, W. D'by)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Halstead, Major D.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Cope, Major William||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.||Harrison, F. C.|
|Becker, Harry||Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Harvey, Major S. E.|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead)||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Dawson, Sir Philip||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)|
|Bennett, Sir T. J. (Sevenoaks)||Dixon, Capt. H. (Belfast, E.)||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Doyle, N. Grattan||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Du Pre, Colonel William Baring||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Hopkins, John W. W.|
|Blundell, F. N.||Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Houfton, John Plowright|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Ellis, R. G.||Howard, Capt. D. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||England, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Col. C. K.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Erskine-Bolst, Captain C.||Jenkins, W. A. (Brecon and Radnor)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury)||Evans, Ernest (Cardigan)||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Brown, Major D. C. (Hexham)||Eyres-Monsell, Com. Rt. Hon. Bolton M.||Jodrell, Sir Neville Paul|
|Brown, J. W. (Middlesbrough, E.)||Falcon, Captain Michael||King, Capt. Henry Douglas|
|Bruford, R.||Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfrey||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Flanagan, W. H.||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Ford, Patrick Johnston||Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Colonel G. R.|
|Button, H. S.||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Lloyd-Greame, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip|
|Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Lort-Williams, J.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Furness, G. J.||Lougher, L.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Garland, C. S.||Lumley, L. R.|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur||Gates, Percy||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)|
|Manville, Edward||Raine, W.||Stanley, Lord|
|Margesson, H. D. R.||Rawson, Lieut.-Com. A. C.||Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H.|
|Milne, J. S. Wardlaw||Rees, Sir Beddoe||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Molloy, Major L. G. S.||Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Reid, D. D. (County Down)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid H.|
|Moreing, Captain Algernon H.||Remer, J. R.||Sykes, Major.-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Nall, Major Joseph||Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)||Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)|
|Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.)|
|Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Robertson-Despencer, Major (Islgtn, W.)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Newson, Sir Percy Wilson||Roundell, Colonel R. F.||Tubbs, S. W.|
|Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)||Ruggles-Brise, Major E.||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Wallace, Captain E.|
|Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Russell, William (Bolton)||Watts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington)|
|Paget, T. G.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Wells, S. R.|
|Parker, Owen (Kettering)||Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A.||Weston, Colonel John Wakefield|
|Pease, William Edwin||Sanderson, Sir Frank B.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Pennefather, De Fonblanque||Sandon, Lord||Winterton, Earl|
|Penny, Frederick George||Shakespeare, G. H.||Wise, Frederick|
|Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Shepperson, E. W.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Shipwright, Captain D.||Yerburgh, R. D. T.|
|Pielou, D. P.||Singleton, J. E.|
|Pilditch, Sir Philip||Skelton, A. N.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Privett, F. J.||Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Colonel the Rt. Hon. G. A. Gibbs.|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Further Amendment made: In Sub-section (2, b), leave out the word "actual" ["into actual possession."]—[Mr. Chamberlain.]
I beg to move, "That further consideration of the Bill, as amended, be now adjourned."
I am sorry to hear that there has been some misunderstanding as to the particular stage we were going to reach to-night. All of us, I think, clearly understood that we had to get the Third Reading of the Bill to-morrow night. I had intended to go as far as Clause 9, so as to divide up the time fairly evenly between the two nights, but I should not like to take advantage, even unwittingly, of any misunderstanding which was perfectly bona-fide on the part of anyone. If the House desires that we should do so, we will adjourn now on the understanding that we are going to have the Third Reading to-morrow night.
§ Captain W. BENN
Many of us would be glad to have a rest now. We consider it is very inadvisable to take these intricate matters in the middle of the night, but we cannot consent to the statement that there was an understanding the Government were to be given the Third Reading of this Bill to-morrow night. It seems to me absolutely impossible.
§ Bill, as amended (in the Standing Committee), to be further considered To-morrow.