§ Where before the passing of this Act, the landlord of a dwelling-house to which the principal Act applies has granted to the tenant a valid lease of the dwelling-house for a term ending at some date after the twenty-fourth day of June, nineteen hundred and twenty-three, or has entered into a valid agreement with the tenant for a tenancy for such a term, and the rent thereby reserved is reserved at a rate which after but not before such last-mentioned date exceeds the standard rent and the increases permitted under the principal Act or this Act, the landlord may by three months' notice in writing expiring not earlier than the twenty-first day of December, nineteen hundred and twenty-three, and not later than the thirty-first day of March, nineteen hundred and twenty-four, determine the said lease or tenancy, provided that if within one month of the receipt of such notice the lessee or tenant shall give to the landlord notice in writing that he elects to abide by the said lease or agreement and the terms thereof, then the said lease or agreement shall remain in full force and effect in every respect including the amount of the rent thereby expressed to be reserved unaffected by the principal Act or this Act.
I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
This Amendment is not one which I think affects a large number of cases. The object has been explained to some extent by the hon. Member for West-houghton (Mr. Rhys Davies), in reply to the speech of the Noble Lord in another place. It contemplates the case in which a landlord has entered into a contract with a tenant under a lease which pro- 1095 vides that the rent permitted by the Act of 1920 shall be paid until June, 1923, and thereafter, for the rest of the term, that an increased rent shall be paid. In cases of that kind, where such an agreement is made in perfect good faith, the object of the tenant, we must assume, was to get security of tenure for a longer period, while the object of the landlord was to get an increased rent after the time after which both he and the tenant expected that control would cease. By the prolongation of control we take away from the landlord what he expected to get out of the bargain, while retaining for the tenant what he expected to get on his side. To mitigate the hardship in such cases this Clause is proposed. It provides that the landlord shall have power in such cases, by giving three months' notice within certain dates, to determine the lease of the tenant, while the tenant can make a counter-claim, stating that he is willing to abide by the terms of the lease which he has entered into, and which he thought fair and equitable to himself, and he is then entitled, if he prefers to abide by the terms of that lease, to continue such lease in its original form notwithstanding the fact that control has been continued beyond the date of June, 1923. In these circumstances, I recommend the House to accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. MOSLEY
I ask the House not to agree with the Lords in this Amendment, because it appears to me to discriminate unfairly against a man who, believing that the original Act will come to a conclusion at the end of a specified period, has entered into an agreement to deal with a contingency which in fact has not arisen. As I understand it, it actually puts a man who has entered into such an agreement at a disadvantage compared with the man who has not. If this is not so I would like an explanation of the point. If a man did not enter into such an agreement, then his rent would be subject to control by this Bill. If, on the other hand, he believed that the original Act was coming to a conclusion, and that no further legislation would be introduced, and he entered into an agreement under which, on the conclusion of the original Act, he agreed to pay an enhanced rent, then he does not derive the benefit of the 1096 which we are now considering and has to pay the increased rent that he would have had to pay if we had introduced no other legislation. That discriminates between the man who has entered into an agreement of this kind and the man who has not, and deprives the man who has entered into an agreement of the protection of this legislation which he would have got if he had gambled upon its being introduced. Therefore it seems to me that the Clause is discriminating against the man who, perhaps through fear of being turned out of his house at the end of the principal Act, has been blackmailed into entering into an agreement of this sort. Therefore he would not derive any benefit from the legislation which we are now discussing.
§ Mr. R. DAVIES
I desire to say a word or two on this new Clause. It was apparently an afterthought, and I am not sure whether it was initiated by the Government or not. I heard the discussion on it in another place, and I was rather suspicious that the Noble Lord who supported this Amendment was not exactly doing so with the desire to help the tenants. It is always assumed, in dealing with the question of leases and agreements in connection with house property, that you are dealing with people living in residences for which they pay a very high rent, but I know pf persons who have been practically compelled to enter into such agreements, who are living in very low-rented cottages. They were compelled to enter into those agreements because of the fear referred to by the hon. Member for Harrow (Mr. Mosley). If this Clause is passed, the Minister of Health will find out that the agreements which it covers will include agreements for a very large number of small cottages. For this reason, I am Very aprehensive of the Clause.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I think the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) does not quite appreciate certain of the other Clauses of the Bill which will affect this Clause. Under its provisions, if a landlord and tenant have entered into an agreement or lease which continues beyond the date mentioned, my hon. Friend thinks that the tenant will be put in an unfavourable position. He will be put in a favourable position, because the operation of the other Clauses would mean this that where the tenant has 1097 entered into a covenant to pay an increased rent the other provisions of this Bill will apply, and the increased rent would no longer have to be paid. Therefore, if one condition contemplates control at the end of the month, and there is a second condition to pay £25 a year over the old rent, the other part of the Bill applies and the tenant would no longer have to pay that £25. Therefore the landlord who entered into an agreement is left in this unfortunate position, that, though he has granted a lease for a longer term to the tenant, he is not getting in return for it what he has contracted for. That was increased rent. Therefore the position of the tenant is favourable because under the operation of another Clause he no longer has to pay his increased rent. Therefore the landlord who enters into a lease or agreement of that kind ought to be put in a position to terminate it, and this Clause allows him to terminate that lease or agreement. If he does so then the tenant goes along, under the operation of this Bill, as if no lease or agreement had been entered into at all. But if he still desires the lease or agreemnt which has been entered into to continue he can secure that by paying the rent agreed on.
§ Mr. DAVIES
What does the hon. Gentleman say to a case in which a man has been compelled to sign an agreement under duress?
§ Sir K. WOOD
Obviously if a man has been compelled to sign an agreement under duress his remedy is to get that agreement set aside under the ordinary law of the land on the ground that he has been forced to enter into it under duress. If it is set aside, the original law will be applicable. But in this particular respect the tenant is safe because he will not have to pay any increased rent, while the landlord has entered into a lease which obviously requires determination, as is provided by this Clause. I think, however, that it would have been wiser if there had been a provision that, when the landlord gives his notice to the tenant to terminate the lease, the tenant should be informed that he has the right, if he wishes, to insist that the lease or agreement should remain in force. That, perhaps, would have been an additional safeguard to the tenant. Probably a very large number of tenants who will receive 1098 a notice terminating the lease or agreement may not know that they, in their turn, can, if they desire, elect that the lease or agreement shall remain in full force. Apart from that, I think, if hon. Members will consider the whole of the effect of this Bill, this Clause cannot be regarded as an unreasonable one.
§ Mr. HARNEY
I have three very plain criticisms to offer upon this new Clause. The first is this: there was no suggestion, direct or indirect, of any Clause of the kind in the Bill when it was brought before this House, or as it left this House. This is no subsidiary point. It really is a very vital point, because it provides that those who have made provision, before this recent legislation, for the payment of certain rents shall be put in a different position from what they would be in if they had not made that provision. Let me try to put the position clearly to the House. I understand from the explanation the right hon. Gentleman has given that the purpose of the Clause is this. Supposing, a couple of years ago, a landlord and a tenant entered into an agreement or a lease for a period of two or three years, or more. The landlord says to the tenant, "You know this house comes within the purview of the Rent Restrictions Act and I am therefore not at liberty to charge you more than the standard rent, with the authorised increase?" "Yes," says the tenant, "I quite understand that." The landlord then says, "You know that this legislation is coming to an end in 1923?" "I believe so," says the tenant. "Very good. If it comes to an end," says the landlord, "then, of course, you know I shall be able to charge you what rent I like?" "Oh, yes, I quite see that," replies the tenant. "Let us now there fore anticipate that legislation," says the landlord." I will charge you the lawful rent authorised by the Rent Restrictions Act up to June, 1923, and I will arrange now to charge you, after June, 1923, what I should be able to charge you if the legislation came to an end." The tenant says, "All right, I am quite agreeable; because you are only asking me to pay what I know I shall have to pay if the legislation comes to an end."
The legislation does not come to an end. We have, for the purpose of catching votes in the country, introduced here a Bill which is called a prolongation of 1099 the control, and which says to all tenants—and to tenants who thought that the control was coming to an end in June of this year—"Here is a boon for you. It is really not coming to an end." What is the position then? Tenant A, paying exactly the same rent as tenant B, did not have an agreement; he paid his yearly rent. He gets such privileges as the Bill is intended to prolong. Tenant B, perhaps in the next door house, the same building, the same size, the same rent, the same everything, has agreed to pay the same rent as A up to the period that he thought the standard rent would continue, but he has foolishly said, "I agree to pay a higher rent afterwards, because I am satisfied the Act will come to an end."
§ Mr. HARNEY
Pardon me, I cannot see that. I will try to develop my argument, and the hon. Member will set me right if I am wrong. As I understand this rather difficult Clause—I have only had a few minutes to read it—it says this, Show me the tenant who has no lease and whose rent is £100 a year. When this Bill is passed, he has the privilege of going to the Court and getting the rent reduced to the lawful dimensions under the Act. His next door neighbour with exactly the same sized house, who is paying exactly the same rent, differing only in this respect, that he has said a couple of years ago, "I will pay £100 a year, up to the period when the landlord becomes a free agent; then, knowing he can charge me what he pleases, I will agree now to pay him, when the time arrives that he is a free man, what, as a free man, he could charge me." But the time has not arrived when he is a free man, because this Bill is for the purpose of putting it off. You, therefore, say that tenant A, who trusts to the Legislature, is to get the benefit of it; but that tenant B is not to get the benefit of it, for no earthly reason except that he made a promise of a higher rent, not believing that new legislation would come in when the legislation already passed came to an end. Perhaps some other hon. Member will point out the fallacy of my reasoning, but I confess I do not see it myself.
1100 The third criticism I pass on this Clause is that you are about to complete a Bill, and turn it into an Act of Parliament, which will say this, "We shall prevent landlords from charging an economic rent for a period of two years more." That is the substance of the Bill. Of course, it does not carry it out; but that is what it says. Every person who is a tenant is entitled to get the full benefit of that legislation. That legislation makes a rent that arises, not between word of mouth, but out of a bit of paper, from a lease, an unlawfully high rent. The legislation, when passed to-morrow, will say, in the cases which are dealt with by this Clause, "You (the landlord) are getting a rent that is unlawfully high, having regard to the terms of this Act. because you have a bit of paper entitling you to call upon the tenant to pay you a larger sum than Parliament says he ought to pay. We authorise you (the landlord) to write a notice to the tenant, and say to him, Mr. Tenant, if you do not continue to pay me the unlawfully high rent, out you go; but if, within a month, you reply, and agree to pay the unlawfully high rent, then you can stop in.'". So you enable a landlord to bring undue and unjust pressure on a tenant, to force the tenant, in fact, to pay a rent which, apart from this Clause, the law says he ought not to pay. For these reasons, I submit that this is a Clause not only contrary to the whole spirit of this legislation, but right in the teeth of the very provision that has been made for the protection of the tenants of the same class in every respect. You penalise the man who has anticipated, two or three years ago, that this legislation would come to an end, as against the man who either did not provide for that, or did not anticipate it by entering into an agreement. I do not see upon what grounds this new Clause can be justified.
§ Mr. DUNCAN GRAHAM
When lawyers disagree we do not know where we are. There are lawyers on the opposite side of the House who say that the lawyers on this side are wrong. The hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down is a lawyer, and he tells us that the position of some of the tenants is going to be a great deal worse under the Bill as it now appears than it was when it left this House and went to another 1101 place. The hon. Member for West Woolwich (Sir K. Wood), however, says the hon. and learned Gentleman is wrong. As a layman, I want to know exactly what the position is. I think we are entitled to ask the Government what the actual situation will be, so far as the tenants affected by this particular Clause are concerned. My only object in rising is to ask the representative of the Government to try to clear up this little matter, and let us know just where the tenants really are.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of HEALTH (Lord Eustace Percy)
It would be only courteous to the hon. Member who has just spoken if I responded to his appeal for an explanation. I confess I do not think that any hon. Member—if I may say so without offence—can be misled by the hon. and learned Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney), who has again misunderstood the effect of the Bill.
§ Lord E. PERCY
Let me tell the hon. Member for Harrow (Mr. Mosley) that what is proposed does not in any way affect the statutory tenancy of the tenant to whom the Clause applies.
§ Lord E. PERCY
Therefore, whatever option he exercises when he gets his notice from his landlord, he will remain in the house, and the landlord cannot turn him out. This only prevents the tenant from relying both on the statutory tenancy and on the lease given him by the landlord, and at the same time saying, "While I rely, not only on my statutory tenancy but on my lease, yet I will not carry out the terms of my lease to pay you a higher rent, because that would be against the law." It puts him, on the contrary, in precisely the same position as the tenant who has made no agreement at all. He pays the statutory permitted rent, and has the statutory security of a tenant as long as the Act lasts, until 1925, but no longer.
§ Mr. HARNEY
May I ask the Noble Lord what is the answer to this position? I only ask for the purpose of clearing the matter up. Supposing, two years ago, a tenant was paying a rent permissible under the Act of £80. The land- 1102 lord said, "If you enter into a lease to pay me £80 until June, 1923, and then to pay me £100 after June, 1923, that will put the position right. You will be paying me, up to June, 1923; the rent that is permissible under this Act; the house will be a free house then, and after that you will pay me £100, because, if it were a free house, that is what I should be able to get." Under these circumstances, you have your tenant—[HON. MEMBERS: "Order!"] I was trying to put the position. The question I want to ask is, in that case, am I right in saying that the tenant would still have to pay £100, and would be put out if he said he insisted on paying only £80?
§ Lord E. PERCY
The answer to that is, No; he would either pay the £100, or give up his lease, and pay the £80; but in either case he would be protected by the Act until 1925.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
I should like to know precisely what is the advantage which is going to accrue to anybody from the operation of this Clause 1 Obviously, if the lease only extends up to 1925, the tenant is not going to pay the extra rent and apparently he will be entitled to refuse to pay the extra rent, and it will not make any difference whether the landlord determines the lease or not. By determining the tenancy the landlord gains no right whatever. It only means a gamble between landlord and tenant as to what is to happen in June, 1925. I am surprised that legislation of this kind which, on the statement of the Noble Lord, is so ineffective should be accepted by Parliament. But when I hear such an innocent construction placed upon it, I wonder whether it is the right one or not. There are certain very doubtful words in this Clause about the tenancy being determined. It seems to determine the lease and tenancy together. [HON. MEMBEBS: "No!"] That is what the. Clause says, and when, in an Act which is professedly continuing statutory tenancies, you get a Clause which says that a tenancy is to be determined, you are naturally in some doubt as to its precise effect. According to the Noble Lord, the statutory tenancy revives immediately on the determination of the agreed tenancy. 1103 That, however, is a question for future interpretation. I know that the hon. Member for West Woolwich (Sir K. Wood) takes the same view and it may be right. I am not prepared to say it is wrong, but in the form in which this is expressed, another interpretation is conceivable, and if that was the object which those who drafted the Clause had in view, they might have put it in such a way as to leave no doubt what their object was.
By using these words doubt is raised and there may be litigation, and, as the Kerr v. Bryde case has taught us, nobody can tell what the result of litigation may be. I understand in the case of a large number of flats in London agreements were made early this year, before the intentions of the Government became clear. Everybody knows that the intentions of the Government did not become clear until after the Mitcham election. In the months immediately preceding that, a certain number of speculators bought West End flats and approached the tenants to make agreements, and in some oases such agreements were made. These agreements provided for an enhanced rent. It is clear the object of this Clause is to enable those speculators to charge the enhanced rents—that is if the construction put on it by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney) is right—and that under this Clause, if the tenant does not agree to pay the enhanced rent, then the landlord is entitled to determine the lease or tenancy. I do not think there is anybody on the Government Benches who can state with any kind of authority what is the meaning of determining the lease or tenancy. The Noble Lord says that if the lease or tenancy is determined, then the statutory tenancy revives, and the hon. Member for West Woolwich agrees with that. Still, we have no Law Officers here, and it is quite conceivable when this matter is argued elsewhere, that another construction may be put upon it, and it may be held that as there is a Clause which definitely determines a tenancy, in an Act which is intended to continue tenancies, this Clause is obviously intended to be an exception to the Act. and therefore the statutory tenancy will not revive.
I am not certain whether that argument is right or wrong, but it is one 1104 which may be put before the Courts and which may be accepted by the Courts, and, in these circumstances, tenants who rely on the words of the Noble Lord will be where the landlord was under the Kerr v. Bryde decision. It is clear there are two possible interpretations, and obviously this is a provision which the Government did not think necessary until it was brought forward in another place by a Noble Lord whose name I forget and whose identity I cannot recognise. It was accepted in another place without discussion and the Government never went into the question of what it meant. Now, when it comes up here, we have had two explanations of it and two contradictory interpretations, and the House should hesitate before committing itself to making a law which may be subject to different constructions in the Courts afterwards.
§ Mr. EDE
I oppose the new Clause, mainly for the first reason given by the hon. and learned Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney). It seems almost trifling with the House to ask us, in the few hours that remain before this Bill must become an Act of Parliament, to discuss and accept a principle which is vital to the whole question of decontrol. We discussed many things in Committee, but this point was never raised. It has been said by the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Pringle) that prior to a certain event the intentions of the Government were not clear. I do not think that since that event their intentions in this particular matter have become any clearer. The tenants have placed before them a dilemma, and no matter which course they follow they are nearly sure to lose. If they say, "We will allow the lease to stand and go on paying the highly increased rent which we agreed to pay," they may find in 1925 that this legislation will be once again continued. Few Members of this House feel certain that this legislation is going to end in 1925, and the tenants may find that they have pledged themselves to pay the higher rent for a still further period, while other tenants are enjoying the benefits of control. On the other hand, the tenants may say, "We will not pay the increased rent." Then they gamble on the other chance, and they may find in 1925 that they are unprotected by the lease or anything at all. An 1105 Amendment like this, introduced in these circumstances, should not be forced upon the House, and the Government should consent to its withdrawal. I understand it was not a Government Amendment in another place, and was accepted virtually without discussion, and we should not be asked to insert a Clause involving such a large principle in the short time remaining before the Bill becomes an Act.
Mr. TREVELYAN THOMSON
If legal Members of the House differ so fundamentally as to the meaning of this Clause, a layman is to be excused for being in some doubt. What is the effect of the Clause? The Noble Lord said that the interpretation placed upon it by the hon. and learned Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney) was quite wrong, and that it would not, as between a tenant with a lease and one without a lease, raise the rent of the one who had the lease as against that of the one who had not the lease. If it will not do that, what will it do, and why is it in the Bill at all? I think the contention of the hon. and learned Member for South Shields is quite correct and the extract quoted from the speech of the Noble Lord in another place who moved the insertion of the Clause rather confirmed the view that it was introduced in order to enable the landlord in certain circumstances to get the higher rent. As this Clause was not in the Bill when it was previously before the House, but is completely new matter, the Government would be well advised not to press it. Surely its effect is to determine the lease and, I take it, once the lease is determined, the house passes into the category of decontrolled houses. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Then to a layman it is very difficult to understand what is the purpose of the Clause. What will it do if it will not increase the rent, and why then should the Government be anxious to retain it?
§ Mr. LORDEN
I cannot understand how the legal Members of the House have got into such a fog about this matter. The Clause seems to me to meet a difficulty which has arisen, and the difficulty is that certain people entered into arrangements with their landlords to extend their agreements beyond the date on which it was thought this legislation would come to an end. This Clause enables the lease to be determined 1106 entirely and enables the tenant to go on in the tenancy with the advantages of the Rent Restriction Act up to 1925. The tenant and the landlord may elect whether they will continue their arrangement or not. Under this Clause that is provided for definitely and a definite date is given for the determination of the arrangement. The landlord may give three months' notice, and if the tenant likes to continue the arrangement, and if he gives notice within one month, then the arrangement is continued. In that case it is a happy arrangement, and no one interferes. If, on the other hand, the tenant thinks he is going to reap an advantage by discontinuing the arrangement, this gives him an opportunity for throwing it over. It is a very long Clause, but it covers a comparatively small matter, and I am surprised at legal gentlemen becoming involved in such an extraordinary tangle regarding it.
§ Mr. HARDIE
The reply of the Noble Lord gives me the reason for rising to my feet. I read here in the Clause that where the landlord has granted to the tenant a valid lease for a term ending after 24th June, 1923, or has entered into an agreement for such a term—there is also a provision as to reservation of rent—the landlord may by three months' notice in writing determine the said lease or tenancy. I gather so much, reading the Clause as a layman. The Noble Lord in his reply, despite the fact that this Clause gives the power of determining the lease or tenancy, states that the tenant cannot be put out of the house. If he cannot be put out of the house and if he still comes under the other Act why give power under this Clause for determining the lease? The word "determination,' to me, is something that gives a period. I want to know whether the statement made by the Noble Lord is true, or whether the wording in the new Clause is correct. If it is such a simple thing as was suggested by the Solomon wisdom we have just had from the hon. Member for North St. Pancras (Mr. Lorden), I do not see the necessity for wrapping it up in such involved language. I can understand that this is quite a simple thing to the right hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury), who has spent all his life, and seems to enjoy, working through involved Clauses, but hon. Members who are a bit green on the subject, and who have not developed that 1107 wisdom of Solomon which we have just heard, are in a different position, and it seems to me a terrible thing if we are to be told that this is determining a lease or tenancy and yet that the tenant cannot be ejected from his house.
§ Mr. F. GRAY
The matter is purely one of construction, and therefore it is natural that the Noble Lord the Under-Secretary should get up and speak, being a layman, with every possible confidence in giving his construction of what it means. I have no doubt that the Minister of Health, when he speaks, will speak with even greater confidence, but I would point out that, sitting below the Gangway on this side, there are six eminent lawyers. [HON. MEMBERS: "Names!"] I was going to say that we are equally divided, and we are much hoping that the right hon. and learned Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) will get up as the independent chairman of these eminent lawyers and give the casting vote. If it so happen that there is an equal division of opinion of lawyers here, what do you suppose is going to happen when this Bill becomes an Act and is going to be construed in the Courts, where we know that 50 per cent. of the lawyers must inevitably be wrong? I should have thought that, from a common-sense standpoint, the first thing would be to ascertain from the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health what he intends to do by this Clause, and, having ascertained that, endeavour, if necessary with the aid of the Attorney-General, to select some simple words which will carry out the intention of the right hon. Gentleman and will, at the same time, be understood and, from a legal standpoint, accurately express the objects in view.
§ Captain WEDGWOOD BENN
The first thing to note about this Amendment is that it is not part of the Government's original plan at all. It is nothing that they thought it necessary to introduce. It is an Amendment moved by a Noble Lord in another place, and accepted without any discussion whatever. The second point is that it is very important that it should be drafted in a form that is clear and precise, because this is the 59th minute of the 11th hour, and there is no further opportunity, and the right 1108 hon. Gentleman cannot condemn and despise Amendments moved now, and then copy them and introduce them in another House. The difficulty appears to be this: The right hon. Gentleman says that under this Clause a tenant who has a lease can do one of two things. He can say: "Despite this Bill, I abide by the terms of my agreement, and I am content to pay the increase which I contracted to pay." If he does not care to do that, he can share, in common with all other tenants, the protracted protection of these Acts, and he can say: "I will become a statutory tenant, and I will have the two years the same as anyone else can have, and at the conclusion of that time I shall be as others are."
That is a fair statement of the position, but the difficulty raised by my hon. and learned Friend the member for South Shields (Mr. Harney), who has put his finger on many of the weakest spots in the Bill, and pointed out things that the Minister has had later to acknowledge were weak spots, is this: He says: "When this lease is determined, is it not a fact that the landlord thereby has entered into possession of the house?" If so, according to Clause 2, Sub-section (l), the house becomes decontrolled, and, therefore, the tenant is deprived of that statutory protection which we are told by the Noble Lord is the alternative to the continuation of the pre-arranged lease. If that be so, it ought to be put right, and with that end in view, I propose to move this Amendment, namely, to add, at the end of the proposed Lords Amendment, the wordsProvided that such determination of the said lease or tenancy shall not be construed as confirming possession under Section 2, Sub-section (1), of this Act.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. and gallant Member is too late. He ought to have tendered that Amendment before the Question, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment," was put.
§ Captain BENN
In that case, I do not know what can be done. It is very important that the matter should be put right, because we shall have endless trouble by not having these things in watertight form. I was not aware, under the Rules, that one had to move an Amendment before the Question was put.
I am sorry for the hon. and gallant Member for Leith (Captain Benn), who has lost his opportunity of putting his Amendment, but, on the other hand, I do not really think he has suffered in any way by that loss, because the danger which he apprehends does not, in fact, exist. He has pointed out that this was not a Government Amendment, and he has put that forward as if there were some objection to it on that ground, but even Governments do not think of every case that may arise under a Bill of this kind.
I beg the hon. Member's pardon. This was never mentioned nor suggested during all the Debates that we had in Committee upstairs or here on the Floor of the House, and when the case was put to us in another place, it seemed to me that it was a case in which there was a considerable hardship inflicted upon certain individuals, and that we ought to do what we could to mitigate or remove that hardship. When the hon. and gallant Member for Leith goes on to complain that it was accepted without discussion in another place, may I remind him and his hon. and learned Friends that there are some very eminent lawyers in the House of Lords—even more eminent than those who sit upon the benches opposite—and if they did not think it necessary to raise any legal point upon this Clause, I should think that is very fair circumstantial evidence in favour of my contention that there are no such dangers as those which have been suggested. What is determined under this Clause is not the control over the house, but the particular
§ arrangement which exists between the landlord and the tenant, and really, as my hon. Friend the Member for North St. Pancras (Mr. Lorden) pointed out, the tenant will have a choice. He can either abide by the terms of the lease as it is, or he can take his place as a statutory tenant, and no doubt he will do whichever suits him the better. If the lease gives him security long after 1925, he will probably prefer to continue the terms of the lease as it is; if, on the other hand, it is a comparatively short lease, and comes to an end before 1925, he may very possibly prefer to let the lease go, and take his place as a statutory tenant.
§ Of course, he does not get absolute security as a statutory tenant. There are all those cases which are specified in Section 5 of the original Act, or Clause 3 as it is in this Bill, and under certain circumstances the landlord may be able' to get an order from the Court—if there is no such lease existing as he has had the precaution to make—and obtain possession of the house. Probably that is not very likely to arise, but that will be a matter which doubtless the tenant will take into account in weighing up the advantages of the two courses which are open to him. I contend that the continuance of control has put a special hardship upon landlords who made agreements of this kind, in good faith, thinking that the Act was going to come to an end in 1923, and all that we are doing here is to remove that hardship on the landlord, without really doing any injustice to any tenant.
§ Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 198; Noes, 128.1113
|Division No. 340.||AYES.||[5.57 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton, East)||Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)|
|Alexander, Col. M. (Southwark)||Brass, Captain W.||Churchman, Sir Arthur|
|Amery. Rt. Hon. Leipold C. M. S.||Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Clarry, Reginald George|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Wilfrid W.||Briggs, Harold||Clayton, G. C.|
|Baird, Rt. Hon. Sir John Lawrence||Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury)||Cobb, Sir Cyril|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Bruford, R.||Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Bruton, Sir James||Cohen, Major J. Brunel|
|Banks, Mitchell||Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips|
|Barlow, Rt. Hon. Sir Montague||Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Conway, Sir W. Martin|
|Barnett, Major Richard W.||Burn, Colonel Sir Charles Rosdew||Cope, Major William|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Butler, H. M. (Leeds, North)||Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)|
|Becker, Harry||Button, H. S.||Croft, Lieut.-Colonel Henry Page|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Cadogan, Major Edward||Crook, C. W. (East Ham, North)|
|Berry, Sir George||Cassels, J. D.||Curzon, Captain Viscount|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Dalziel, Sir D. (Lambeth, Brixton)|
|Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead)||Hurst, Gerald B.||Remer, J. R.|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Jenkins, W. A. (Brecon and Radnor)||Remnant, Sir James|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Joynson-Hicks, Sir William||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Kennedy, Captain M. S. Nigel||Reynolds, W. G. W.|
|Dixon, C. H. (Rutland)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Rhodes, Lieut-Col. J. P.|
|Doyle, N. Grattan||Lamb, J. Q.||Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend)|
|Du Pre, Colonel William Baring||Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Colonel G. R.||Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Robertson-Despencer, Major (Islgtn, W)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Lloyd-Greame, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Rogerson, Capt. J. E.|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Roundell, Colonel R. F.|
|Erskine-Bolst, Captain C.||Lorden, John William||Ruggles-Brise, Major E.|
|Eyres-Monsell, Com. Rt. Hon. Sir B. M.||Lorimer, H. D.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Russell, William (Bolton)|
|Fawkes, Major F. H.||Lumley, L. R.||Russell-Wells, Sir Sydney|
|Flanagan, W. H.||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Ford, Patrick Johnston||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A.|
|Foreman, Sir Henry||Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)||Sanderson, Sir Frank B.|
|Furness, G. J.||Martin, A. E. (Essex, Romford)||Sandon, Lord|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Mason, Lieut.-Col. C. K.||Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)|
|Garland, C. S.||Mercer, Colonel H.||Simpson-Hinchliffe, W. A.|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw||Singleton, J. E.|
|Goff, Sir R. Park||Mitchell, W. F. (Saffron Walden)||Skelton, A. N.|
|Gray, Harold (Cambridge)||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)|
|Greaves-Lord, Walter||Molloy, Major L. G. S||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Gretton, Colonel John||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.||Spears, Brig.-Gen. E. L.|
|Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.||Morrison, Hugh (Wilts, Salisbury)||Spender-Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H.|
|Gwynne, Rupert S.||Morrison-Bell, Major Sir A. C. (Honiton)||Stanley, Lord|
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)||Stewart, Gershom (Wirral)|
|Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W.(Liv'p'l,W.D'by)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H.|
|Halstead, Major D.||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Hamilton, Sir George C. (Altrincham)||Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John||Sykes, Major Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Hugh||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Harrison, F. C.||Parker, Owen (Kettering)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Harvey, Major S. E.||Pease, William Edwin||Watts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington)|
|Hawke, John Anthony||Pennefather, De Fonblanque||White, Lt. Col. G. D. (Southport)|
|Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Penny, Frederick George||Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)|
|Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Wilson, Col. M. J. (Richmond)|
|Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Hewett, Sir J. P.||Perring, William George||Winterton, Earl|
|Hiley, Sir Ernest||Peto, Basil E.||Wise, Frederick|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Philipson, Mabel||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Pielou, D. P.||Wood, Rt. Hn. Edward F. L. (Ripon)|
|Hood, Sir Joseph||Pilditch, Sir Philip||Wood, Major Sir S. Hill (High Peak)|
|Hopkins, John W. W.||Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Privett, F. J.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Horne, Sir R. S. (Glasgow, Hillhead)||Raeburn, Sir William H.||Yate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward|
|Howard, Capt. D. (Cumberland, N.)||Rawlinson, Rt. Hon. John Fredk. Peel||Yerburgh, R. D. T.|
|Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Col. C. K.||Rawson, Lieut.-Com. A. C.|
|Hughes, Collingwood||Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:—Colonel the Rt. Hon. G. A. Gibbs and Captain Douglas King.|
|Hurd, Percy A.||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Leach, W.|
|Alexander, A. V (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Gray, Frank (Oxford)||Lees-Smith, H. B. (Keighley)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Greenall, T.||Linfield, F. C.|
|Attlee, C. R.||Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Lunn, William|
|Barnes, A.||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||MacDonald, J. R. (Aberavon)|
|Batey, Joseph||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)|
|Berkeley, Captain Reginald||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||M'Entee, V. L.|
|Bonwick, A.||Hardie, George D.||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Bowdier, W. A.||Harney, E. A.||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.|
|Buckle, J.||Hastings, Patrick||Marks, Sir George Croydon|
|Buxton, Charles (Accrington)||Hay, Captain J. P. (Cathcart)||Marshall, Sir Arthur H.|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Hayes, John Henry (Edge Hill)||Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, E.)|
|Chapple, W. A.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (N'castle, E.)||Middleton, G.|
|Clarke, Sir E. C.||Henderson, Sir T. (Roxburgh)||Morel, E. D.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Herriotts, J.||Mosley, Oswald|
|Collison, Levi||Hill, A.||Muir, John W.|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Hillary, A. E.||Murray, R. (Renfrew, Western)|
|Darbishire, C. W.||Hinds, John||Newbold, J. T. W.|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Hirst, G. H.||O'Grady, Captain James|
|Davies, J. C. (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John||Oliver, George Harold|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Hutchison, Sir R. (Kirkcaldy)||Parker, H. (Hanley)|
|Duncan, C.||Irving, Dan||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Dunnico, H.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Phillipps, Vivian|
|Ede, James Chuter||Johnstone, Harcourt (Willesden, East)||Ponsonby, Arthur|
|Entwistle, Major C. F.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Pringle, W. M. R.|
|Evans, Ernest (Cardigan)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Richards, R.|
|Fairbairn, R. R.||Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Falconer, J.||Jowitt, W. A. (The Hartlepools)||Riley, Ben|
|Foot, Isaac||Lansbury, George||Ritson, J.|
|Gosling, Harry||Lawson, John James||Roberts, C. H. (Derby)|
|Rose, Frank H.||Strauss, Edward Anthony||Whiteley, W.|
|Royce, William Stapleton||Sturrock, J. Leng||Williams, David (Swansea, E.)|
|Saklatvala, S.||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Salter, Dr. A.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Scrymgeour, E.||Thornton, M.||Winfrey, Sir Richard|
|Shakespeare, G. H.||Turner, Ben||Wintringham, Margaret|
|Shaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)||Ward, Col. J. (Stoke-upon-Trent)||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Shinwell, Emanuel||Warne, G. H.||Wright, W.|
|Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)||Young, Rt. Hon. E. H. (Norwich)|
|Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Webb, Sidney||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Simpson, J. Hope||Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.|
|Snell, Harry||Weir, L. M.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. T. Griffiths and Mr. Ammon.|
|Snowden, Philip||White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)|
|Spencer, H. H. (Bradford, S.)||White, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)|