§ This Act may be cited as the Special Constables Act, 1923, and the Special Constables Act, 1914, and this Act may be cited together as the Special Constables Acts, 1914 and 1923, and Sections ninety-six, ninety-seven, and ninety-eight of the Burgh Police (Scotland) Act, 1892, the Special Constables (Scotland) Act, 1914, and this Act as it applies to Scotland may be cited as the Special Constables (Scotland) Acts, 1892 to 1923.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL for SCOTLAND (Mr. F. C. Thomson)
I beg to move to leave out the words, "this Act as it applies," and to insert instead thereof the wordsthe Special Constables Act, 1914, and this Act as they apply.This is purely a textual Amendment. It says that the two Acts for England, the Act of 1914 and the Act of this year, may be cited together as the Special Constables Acts, 1914 and 1923, and the Section proceeds to give the code for Scotland, beginning with Sections 96, 97, and 98 of the Burgh Police (Scotland) Act, 1892, and the Special Constables (Scotland) Act, 1914. It omits, however, by a slip, the Special Constables Act, 1914, which this Act makes perpetual. It is the mere omission of one of the Acts applying to Scotland, and therefore, to make the reference to Scotland accurate and complete, I propose to insert these words.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."
§ Mr. TREVELYAN
I beg to move to leave out the word "now," and, at the end of the Question, to add the words "upon this day six months."
During these Debates, we have had from the Home Secretary neither any clear statement as to the necessity for this Bill, nor any concession at all in order to allay the suspicions that have been excited by it. The Home Secretary has been asked why he has brought in this 2024 Bill, and whether the population of to-day is more lawless than it was for 60 or 70 years before the War. He denies, I understand, that the population is any more lawless than it was, and yet he wants more stringent powers and larger forces than his predecessors had from 1831 to 1914. Why, if the population is just as lawful as it was, does he now, instead of a rather casual force, as we all admit the old special constabulary force was, want a well drilled, carefully instructed, and, as far as I can understand, well paid force to take their place? He says that it is better to have this force of special constables than to have to use the military. I dare say many of us would agree with him there, but if you take the history of these years during which we had the old system, how many times were the military seriously used? Extremely seldom. In our time there was the trouble at Featherstone and at Tonypandy, but what we are afraid of is that this legislation is not for the special, rare occasions on which the military have been used in the past, but that this new special force may be frequently brought forward at periods of trade disputes when there is an excuse given that there is likely to be trouble.
One of our main objections is this, that, whereas if these disputes are left to the ordinary police, calling in, if necessary, other police from other districts, there is going to be no aggravation of political or economic feeling as a result of that, if you have this force brought in, which, by the action of the right hon. Gentleman to-day, is bound to be a class force, you will have an aggravation which would not exist if the ordinary forces were used. This is bound to be a class force, because of the refusal of the right hon. Gentleman to accept our Amendments to-day. He says we are unjustly suspicious, but, if so, why does he not allay the suspicion? It is not only ourselves who are suspicious, but our constituents are suspicious. [An HON. MEMBER: "No wonder."] I have not been speaking, except in the House of Commons, and the moment I mentioned it yesterday at a big meeting in Newcastle people called out in all directions "White Guards." I am not asking hon. Members to agree. I am only saying that here in this House and in the country there is suspicion that this Bill is to be used for these purposes, 2025 and it would have been perfectly simple to-day for the right hon. Gentleman to have allayed these suspicions by accepting an Amendment stating that this new force should not under any circumstances be used for trade disputes, but he would not do that, simply because he said the law was strong enough as it stands. Constantly in this House Clauses are put in in order to make the law stronger, and if the right hon. Gentleman had really wished to prove the sincerity of his determination that these special constables should never be used for trade disputes as a class organiation, he would have accepted some Amendment of that kind. That not being so, and as he has done nothing to allay the just suspicions with regard to this Bill, I hope we shall vote against the Third Reacting, as we voted against the Second Reading.
§ Mr. NICHOL
I beg to second the Amendment.
To-day, we have had a revelation in this House of how much class warfare actually exists, not only in practice, but, what is more to the point, in the whole mental outlook of a very large section of the House. We have had several amending Clauses, which would have removed some of the chief objections to the Bill, refused by the Home Secretary on the ground that they were already covered by the previous Acts dealing with special constables. Legislation by direct reference has many disadvantages, but this is a Bill that is legislating, not merely by direct reference to certain Acts, but very largely by implications of the meanings of certain phrases in some very old Acts, particularly the Act of 1831. It has been alleged that the suspicions have arisen on this side of the House. I admit that in the South of England, particularly during the crisis in 1914, the special constabulary proved of very great service and the analysis of the recruiting which was given by the Home Secretary for one division I have no doubt referred to the recruiting that did take place in that crisis, but in some parts of the country, particularly in the West of Scotland, the chief use that was found for special constables was in providing subjects for newspaper cartoons. That was about the only use that one ever saw made of them, but the present Bill has not even got the justification that the old Acts dealing with special constables 2026 had. The one of 1831 dealt with a critical period in British political history, and the Act of 1914 was on all fours with that, but the present Bill is going to enact that what was previously held necessary only in a crisis is to become the normal procedure.
My own experience of the recruitment of special constables is not the experience of the division which was very partially analysed by the Home Secretary. My own impression is that the recruitment of special constables was almost entirely from one particular class in the community, a class that is not popular in times of trade disputes, and a class that is asking for trouble, to put it very shortly. There have been many arguments used that on no account will these special constables be used in trade disputes, but the fact that the safeguarding Amendments that were moved from this side were overwhelmingly defeated is a very clear indication, to say the least of it, that the terms used in the 1831 Act and in subsequent Acts are all so very vague and have all been interpreted so very widely in the past that they are absolutely no safeguard at all. By refusing these Amendments, the Government have stultified the whole Bill. They had the opportunity of preventing it being made a piece of class legislation, but they have demanded all the resources of their own side that the suspicions that certainly exist with regard to the Bill should be overwhelmingly confirmed, and in these circumstances there is no other course left fur us on these benches than to vote for the rejection of the Bill.
§ 8.0 P.M.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I am hampered very much in this question owing to my natural inability to envisage the right hon. Gentleman the present Home Secretary in the rôle of a Dictator, and I will direct myself rather towards the possibility of Mr. Churchill sitting there than to the actual facts of the situation. For what purpose, if Machiavelli Churchill sat in the Home Office, would he use this? That is the problem before us. It is not possible for us to consider solely the present occupant of the office. What would Churchill say, and what would Churchill do? Those are the questions Which we have to ask ourselves. Given the powers that this Bill puts in the hands of the Home Secretary, what use could a Home Secretary make of them? 2027 It will be obvious, in the first place, that the business part of the Bill is in the Regulations, which we have not got be fore us. Those Regulations will be laid on the Table of the House, but, unless the Government think that discussion of them is advisable in the public interest, there will be no possibility of critics of the Regulations making their voices heard. Consequently we are singularly helpless so far as these Regulations go. What will these Regulations contain? Undoubtedly these Regulations will deal with the whole idea of what the force can be used for. It can be shown in every case that the qualifying words in the Act of 1831 will not prevent that force being used in certain classes of trade disputes. For instance, I will illustrate my point, and I am quite certain that even the present Home Secretary will agree with me as to what is likely to happen. Supposing we have a mining dispute in this country and that the pumpmen are withdrawn. Then, with a view to saving property, the special constables may very well be used for the working of the pumps. It will be obviously a case that comes within the definition of the protection of property. In the same way, I am afraid you will find that a power station serving electric light to the district would be kept open in the interests of property, because the police would not be able to do their duty in the darkness. In nearly every case of trade disputes, you can drag in under the original definition of the original Act the desirability of using the special constables for the special purpose of the protection of property and the protection of society.
We have got no safeguard not that the present Home Secretary, who has pledged his word, but that future Home Secretaries such as the gentleman I have named will not use the Regulations not only to employ in that way but to educate the force for employment in that direction. The whole point of this Bill is to make the force permanent. In the old days before the War we were quite content with calling out the special constabulary far a special emergency. Now it is to be a permanent force, and that implies that they are to be trained. Are they to be trained to do point duty in Piccadilly? Are they to be trained for military operations? Are they to be trained in the use 2028 of Mills bombs, or are they going to be trained to act as a strike-breaking force when that strike is against the community? I have no hesitation in saying that there are possible occupants of the Home Office who would use the force for breaking a strike which they thought was a strike against the community. Unfortunately, that is a matter of opinion, and you will find these constables used in future as a weapon for the community against the workmen in the industries in which a strike takes place. That is the really serious element. It is all very well to say that we can be over-suspicious. I do not think we are over-suspicious. I think that possibly the present Government would not employ the special constabulary in this way, but I am quite certain that some Government, given a situation which they thought dangerous to society, would jump at the opportunity of using this constabulary and training them for use in that direction. That is the situation we are up against and that, to my mind, is the idea at the back of this Bill.
All we can do we have done to make it less dangerous in that direction. We have asked the Government to insert a qualifying Amendment which would not only have tied the hands of the present Home Secretary but the hands of all future Home Secretaries. The only thing we have not been able to do is to discuss a couple of Amendments which would have tended to make the Bill more safe. It would be desirable to know whether there is to be much expense involved in this Bill. Are these special constables to be paid when they are being trained or not? What is to be the total financial liability of the taxpayer under this scheme? How many special constables are to be enrolled? How many are to be in the permanent force? What is the staff to be? Where is the staff to be organised from, the War Office or the Home Office or Scotland Yard? These are questions. I think, about which we, ought to have some information before the debate closes. We ought to have some indication even at this late hour from the Government about these matters on which I think we are rightly suspicious. We think we should have some security that we will be able to have a debate in this House on the regulations. The Clause as it stands does not give us that security. 2029 Can we have even now some pledge from the Government which would be binding so far as this Government are concerned as to how many regulations there are to be? And if, through the usual channels, the Opposition make known their objection to the regulations, can he give us an assurance that these regulations shall be debated in the House so that we shall have an opportunity of debating whether these regulations infringe in any way the pledge he has given during this debate?
§ Mr. HAYES
I shall not detain the House except to traverse one or two points which I think will be worthy of consideration, in the position we are up against on the Third Reading of this Bill. The hon. and gallant Gentleman who has just sat down referred to the question of expenses of special constabulary, and I think the House would be very glad to have some information from the Home Secretary on this point, and as to the methods of organisation which are to be adopted in the country. Up and down the country in the last two years the numbers of the special constables have fluctuated. I think there has been a decrease of about 2,000 last year over the previous year, but the expenditure in conection with the special constabulary, instead of decreasing as the numbers decreased, has very considerably increased. It would be interesting to know just how the high rate of expenditure arises, in view of the fact that the necessity for the purchase of uniforms has not been so great during the two years since the War as it was during the War. I hope we shall have some information on that. I notice that in the report of His Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary his references to the special constabulary are such as to make it clear that the expenses of that establishment will be borne upon the Police Fund with very much licence so far as the authorities are concerned.
In the City of London the staff officer, who is appointed on a permanent basis, is in receipt not of a very magnificent sum I agree, of £8 a week, so that, so far as the City of London is concerned, there is one permanent officer of the special constabulary at a cost of £400 per annum. But the expenditure in connection with the upkeep of the Special Constabulary force cannot altogether be judged by the actual expenditure in 2030 salaries of permanent officials, because it is within my knowledge, and I think it can be varified by the Home Secretary, that for the purposes of the staff officer of the City of London carrying out his duties, he has to have the full-time assistance of one regular sergeant and I believe two regular constables. So that in estimating the actual expenditure that will fall on the ratepayers in connection with the maintenance of the Special Constabulary, against £400 that appears in the official figures, we shall have something like £1,000 actually being spent on the maintenance of the force. In Scotland Yard, which is the headquarters of the Metropolitan Special Constabulary, we have a very small staff, but it is rather interesting to note that we have a special staff officer permanently employed at Scotland Yard and in receipt of £12 10s. per week, and a financial officer who is paid a similar sum. Then there is one clerk at £5 a week, and one assistant clerk at £4 a week, and a typist at £3 5s., so that for a staff Officer and finance officer in receipt of £12 10s. each per week, we have a clerk, an assistant clerk, and a typist to do the clerical work. Their salaries are quite small, I admit, but they are respectable salaries, and I am not complaining about them.
It seems to me that the organisation of the special constabulary is to be a growing expenditure. We have in London something like 22 divisional establishments for the special constabulary, and there is a personal expenditure allowance of something like £84 per week incurred. That amount is to grow with the development of the idea that has taken root with regard to the necessity for the special constabulary. I wanted to propose what I considered a very practicable solution for the establishment of an auxiliary police service, but because my proposal rather interfered with the principle of the original Act, it was one which could not very well come before the House. It proves the lack of wisdom of putting on a permanent basis what should be an essentially peace measure, to actually build upon material that was formulated as a result of wartime ideas. That is where the trouble is arising. If only the Home Secretary had acted upon the recommendations of His Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary in his last Report, who recommended that the whole 2031 of the law relating to the special constabulary should be codified and consolidated and brought up to date, there would not have been this trouble. But the Bill before the House does nothing of the kind. It merely gives us another Statute, and we simply have to act under this Bill by a reference from one Statute to another. People who have not a forensic mind will have difficulty in understanding the various references made.
The Bill is bad in principle and bad in construction. We are not able to discuss the issues involved in the original Act of Parliament, and now we are to have it perpetuated by a process which I cannot conceive to be a legal process. I believe the Home Secretary did say that the original Act of Parliament merely authorised the appointment of special constables, and the inference was that the Act did not make it necessary to abolish the special constabulary when the War was over. I do not think this House was under any other impression, when the Special Constables Act of 1914 was discussed, than that the Act had reference only to the War. In 1914, when Parliament was asked to give a Measure that would enable new police to come on the establishment of a special constabulary force, there would not have been the wholesale support then of that Bill in Parliament could have known that when the War was over the force was to be perpetuated. The wording of the Act is that the appointment of special constables shall be "during the present War." Therefore the Act would have ordinarily passed away from our Statute Book, because when the War was over the necessity for its existence was no longer there. I think the Emergency Powers (Continuance) Act, 1920, did extend the life of that Act of Parliament until the 31st August, 1922, but when the 31st August, 1922, had passed, there was no longer statutory provisions for the appointment of the special constabulary force, and, to my mind, it is rather a serious position. After so many months have elapsed since the Act of Parliament ceased to function, when you can no longer appoint special constables under any Act of Parliament, it is almost inexplicable to me where you get the authority even to pay the permanent officials who are engaged upon 2032 a force which ought not to exist. It is a legal point which, I think, the House is entitled to have cleared up. It may arise, but I hope no one will take out an injunction against the Home Secretary for acting in this way, or that the public audit will result in a surcharge on the Home Secretary. The position, however, is one which ought to have some consideration.
One of the practical proposals which one would have liked the Government to consider was a proposal which had the recommendation of the Government itself. We have something like 25,000 police pensioners in this country—men who, because of their good record, character, and health, have been able at 45 to 50 years of age to retire on a pension. They leave the service in the prime of life, and they have gained in their long experience a great deal in the way of tact, discretion and understanding of the law of the land, and the psychology of the people with whom they have to deal. It is a thousand pities that the value to the country of that body of men should not have been utilised by the Government in establishing a real and effective auxiliary unit, which would be something far superior to the special constabulary. I do not know whether it will be considered there are enough pensioners to perform that function. We have something like 5,000 of them in London, and we have only 12,000 special constables in London. These regular policemen, although they may be pensioned, are nevertheless hale and hearty, and quite prepared to render real, honest police service in case of emergency or necessity, such as a riot or tumult. It is not necessary, therefore, to spend money on a permanent establishment when you have a reserve of police officers, thoroughly trained and competent, with splendid records, with characters above suspicion, when you have at your disposal in London something like 5,000, who would be a far more effective unit than the untrained special constabulary.
During the War we utilised the services of these men. I do not want to say anything about the treatment they received. That is not the fault of the present Government, who, I think, have far more sympathy with the pensioners than the late Government. But these men were used during the War. They were found 2033 exceedingly effective. Large numbers of these pensioners who rejoined the Service, and came in as inspectors, station sergeants, sergeants, and constables, men who were able to get into uniform immediately for station duty and perform ordinary beat duty and night duty, knew how to deal with the depredations of the general public, and with congregations of people arising out of the air raids—I say those men were fitted to become policemen at a few moments' notice, and were not the type of men who would frighten the public, which would not realise that they were anything but ordinary policemen. I think it is a very practical proposition to bring before the House, and the pity of it is that the Government have not seen fit to take advantage of this reserve of really good servants. The Home Secretary, in introducing this Bill, remarked that after very careful consideration a Committee, which I agree had the support and goodwill of Members of this House, as well as of the police service, namely, the Desborough Committee, recommended this form of procedure to save for the future that which we created out of our needs during the War, and that was one of the reasons why the Government brought forward this Bill. I want to examine that recommendation of the Desborough Committee. I am sorry that the hon. Member for Holborn (Sir J. Remnant) is not in his place, as he was a member of that Committee. All the evidence that was taken was taken from the lowest ranks of the service to the highest, and, in the main, you had the considered experience of men who were heart and soul in their work. The Committee were untiring in their inquiry into all circumstances relating to police organisation. I do not think we could pay a tribute that would be too high to the work which was done by this Committee. But that does not imply that I have to accept every word of their recommendations, and, with every respect to that Committee, I do say that on this question of special constables they were sadly in error. It has been argued against me that two members of the Labour party did actually sign that Report, but those two members did not have the same opportunity of becoming acquainted with the full facts with regard to the special 2034 constabulary as they did with regard to the regular constabulary.
I want to examine the evidence taken by the Committee with regard to special constables. I was one of the witnesses myself, and although the remark was made that perhaps years ago I might have given a point of view which might be more acceptable to the Government of the day than this, I think it will be admitted by those interested in the Committee that the very view I have expressed to-day and on Second Reading with regard to the special constables is in conformity with the evidence I gave to that Committee four years ago, when I was serving as a police officer. I want to bring to the notice of hon. Members that there was no evidence with regard to the recommendation for the continuation of special constables taken from experienced police officers before that Committee, and the only evidence on which the Desborough Committee recommended this legislation to the Government was that of the official point of view, expressed by an assistant secretary to the Home Office itself. In other words, the Desborough Committee recommended the passing of this Measure merely because the official mind of the Home Office had spoken in favour of special constables.
There is one other point—and I hope the Home Secretary will give a very clear answer to this question—one I have not raised before in debate. I hope that this Bill, if it becomes law, will not be utilised—he can tell us whether or not it is intended for that purpose—in any shape or form to cheapen or lower the standard of life of the regular police force. Section 3 of this Bill does make provision for the permanent employment—out of the funds of the Admiralty and War Office, I presume—of special constables in certain dockyards and military stations. If this Bill is in any shape or form to be utilised for lowering the standard of remuneration of the police forces throughout the country—I cannot think that is what the Home Secretary intends—it would be the very grossest violation of pledges made from time to time since the status of the police force was raised from the old time status in which they were really little more or less than the lowest paid workmen in the country. I want to appeal to the Government on behalf of the 2035 future of the special constables not to commit what I consider would be a disregard of their conduct during the War. In that respect I should like the right hon. Gentleman to bear this in mind: in the old regulations under which the special constables served it said that the Home Secretary "may" grant gratuities and pensions to special constables and their dependants if injured in the execution of their duty. Whatever we may have said on this side of the House in regard to the special constabulary we at least appeal to the Home Secretary, if the Government are going to have special constables, that they at least will place themselves under statutory provision, and that the Act shall say "shall" and not "may"—"shall" grant gratuities, etc. The future remuneration of special constables who suffer injury in the execution of their duty should be the same as is accorded to the regular force. I think that will be regarded as a proper, and even magnanimous, point of view to put forward from benches where we have opposed the Bill. We want to have regard to that, and we also want to have regard to a definition of the real duties of special constables. Under no circumstance should they be placed under the control of any other but experienced police officers.
§ Mr. BRIDGEMAN
I really think there is not very much to be said, because I am afraid it is practically impossible to convince some hon. Members opposite of the good intentions of the Government in proposing this Bill. The question has been put to me by the Member for Edge Hill (Mr Hayes) about the Governmental intentions as to police pay. It never occurred to us for a moment in any way to suggest or to put forward anything that would lower the standard of the pay of the regular police. Then, as regards our intention of bringing in a large force of these volunteers to come under the head of special constabulary, the number enrolled in England and Wales during the War was 91,000, in the Metropolis 15,000—altogether a force of 119,000.
§ Mr BRIDGEMAN
The cost will be paid out of the Police Fund, half out of the local funds, and half from national 2036 sources. In respect to the special constabulary, they are mostly unpaid, but there will be a certain amount of staff attached and there are certain out-of-pocket expenses to pay to special constables.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
As to this, will 50 per cent. of the cost come from the rates and 50 per cent. from the Exchequer?
§ Mr. BRIDGEMAN
Yes. There is no intention under this Bill of enrolling very large numbers, the object being rather to prevent the numbers gradually dwindling away altogether. We pass this Bill to prevent that disability. The hon. Gentleman asked whether it was legal to pay for those who are still enrolled. I think I mentioned on the Second Reading I have the power to pay those who are still in existence, but I have not got power to enrol new members of the force. However, as I say, there is no intention of raising an enormous force, but merely to keep the members at about the level of those at present enrolled.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
While on that point, can the right hon. Gentleman tell us what is the contemplated number and also what are the present numbers?
§ Mr. BRIDGEMAN
There is no intention of going in excess of the present numbers, but I do not know that I can go into exact figures. The figures will be somewhere about what they were during the War period. They might go a little beyond the present figures. The hon. and gallant Gentleman asked what would be the duties of these special constables. They will only be called out when the police authorities require their assistance, and then they will be given such duties as they are capable of performing, while naturally the regular police will take the more difficult and arduous duties for which they are qualified, and for which they are trained. The special constabulary may be used on ceremonial occasions, but except for these they will not be made use of save on the occasions that the police need them, and only then for duties of which they are capable.
The hon. and gallant Gentleman inquired about Regulations. It is quite true that there is some importance to be attached to Regulations as Orders in Council. But these Regulations will 2037 be able to be discussed, perhaps at a not very convenient hour, but certainly they can be discussed. I hope, however, very much that when the Regulations do appear that some of the very curious apprehensions of hon. Members opposite will disappear. They will then see that the terrible prospects they have conjured up are not likely to be realised. Several questions were put to me by the hon. Member for Newcastle-on-Tyne (Mr. Trevelyan). He asked whether I thought the country more lawless now than before the War. I do not think anything of the kind. This Bill is not based on considerations of that sort, but merely that we may be ready, as I have said over and over again, with a force we know something about and which we can make use of if occasion requires. He seemed to think a much larger force was in prospect. I do not agree. The force will be about the same as before, and most of them will not be paid at all. He suggested this was going to be a class force. There I entirely and absolutely disagree from him. It was not a class force before and if now he and his friends will not join, then they are doing what they can to make it a class force. There is no reason why they should not join again. As I have said over and over again, the special constabulary are very largely recruited from the classes who have to do manual work. If there is one thing more than another the special constabulary resent it is to be accused of being a class force. They have never been one. They are not one. They will not be one in the future.
§ Mr. CHARLES BUXTON
I wish to point out that while the Home Secretary has done his very best within the limits that are allowed to him to meet the desire for information of those who sit on this side of the House, I wish to say that he has done nothing to allay the suspicions to which he has referred. In his concluding speech the right hon. Gentleman has even left those suspicions somewhat greater than at the beginning of the Debate. It is difficult to deal with the many aspects and doubts which still remain as to how this force is to be appointed and used, how large it is to be; how much it is going to cost, and so forth. Very little allusion has been made to the point that the powers under which the Home Secretary acts are so wide under the Act of 1831 that he might make this Measure 2038 practically one of conscription. Under the Act of 1831 special constables are not necessarily volunteers, because they may be compelled to serve, and penalties are enforced for refusing to serve. There are penalties for refusing to attend where you are summoned, for refusing to take the oath or serving, and for refusing to obey orders.
There is absolutely no limitation in this Act on the numbers that may be employed, and this House has always viewed with the utmost suspicion every attempt to increase the armed forces of the Crown. The Home Secretary seems to think we are very unreasonable in being suspicious in regard to this matter. In view of the bland and charming way the right hon. Gentleman assures us of the absolute innocence of his own intentions, I would like to say that if we look back to the history of this House, it has always been extremely suspicious in these matters, and it has always been considered right and proper that in all matters where the increase of the armed forces of the Crown is involved this House should be suspicious. On this question we have done nothing more than to carry on the long-established traditions of this House.
This is not a small matter, and I suggest that on the Government side they have introduced this Measure very largely, as far as those introducing it were concerned, in perfect good faith, but without realising the wide nature of the question they were raising, and its far-reaching implications. I do not believe that they realise the width of the subject. We have had the figures given to us by the Home Secretary. This is to be a force of more than 100,000 men, and it is one thing to raise a force like that, either for the emergencies contemplated by riots, or for the emergencies created by war under special war conditions it is one thing to raise a force for that purpose, but it is quite another thing to raise it as a permanent measure. The very title of this Bill is significant; it does not merely say it is one to continue the Special Constables Act; it does not even say that it is to make permanent the Special Constables Act, but to make it perpetual.
Here we have a total force to be raised of 118,000 men, and while the Home Secretary, first of all, said that his object was to prevent this force dwindling away, he afterwards said that the Govern- 2039 ment might wish to keep this force something like what it was in the War period, and that was a larger force than it is now. The expressions the right hon. Gentleman used was, "something above what it is now." Therefore it is not merely to be 118,000 men, but a force possibly of a still larger character. If these gradual and slowly extracted admissions lead to an increase of suspicion, I do not think that we on this side of the House can be blamed for it. Anyone who looks at the legislation concerned, the extremely wide powers conferred upon the Home Secretary, and the
§ complete absence of any limitation of the powers of all kinds conferred on the Home Secretary, will realise that we have good reasons to be suspicious. All I wish to say in conclusion is that we at any rate have acquitted ourselves of any responsibility. In spite of all our protests, the Government persist in pressing this Measure forward, and therefor they must take the whole of the responsibility themselves.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 247; Noes, 107.2041
|Division No. 138.]||AYES.||[8.45 p.m.|
|Adkins, Sir William Ryland Dent||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S)||Hurd, Percy A.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Dawson, Sir Philip||Hurst, Lt.-Col. Gerald Berkeley|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton, East)||Doyle, N. Grattan||Hutchison, G. A. C. (Midlothian, N.)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Dudgeon, Major C. R.||Hutchison, Sir R. (Kirkcaldy)|
|Apsley, Lord||Edge, Captain Sir William||Hutchison, W. (Kelvingrove)|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Wilfrid W.||Ednam, Viscount||Jarrett, G. W. S.|
|Baird, Rt. Hon. Sir John Lawrence||Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Jenkins, W. A. (Brecon and Radnor)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||England, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Jodrell, Sir Neville Paul|
|Barlow, Rt. Hon Sir Montague||Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)|
|Barnett, Major Richard W.||Evans, Ernest (Cardigan)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.||Kelley, Major Fred (Rotherham)|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||Kennedy, Captain M. S. Nigel|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Ford, Patrick Johnston||King, Captain Henry Douglas|
|Berry, Sir George||Forestier-Walker, L.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Colonel G. R.|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)|
|Blundell, F. N.||Furness, G. J.||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Lorimer, H. D.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)|
|Brass, Captain W.||Garland, C. S.||Lumley, L. R.|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Gates, Percy||Lyle-Samuel, Alexander|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Gaunt, Rear-Admiral Sir Guy R.||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm|
|Brown, Major D. C. (Hexham)||Gilbert, James Daniel||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury)||Goff, Sir R. Park||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-|
|Bruford, R.||Gray, Harold (Cambridge)||Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Manville, Edward|
|Buckley, Lieut-Colonel A.||Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.||Martin, A. E. (Essex, Romford)|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Guthrie, Thomas Maule||Mason, Lieut.-Col. C. K.|
|Burn, Colonel Sir Charles Rosdew||Gwynne, Rupert S.||Mercer, Colonel H.|
|Butler, H. M. (Leeds, North)||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Mitchell, W. F. (Saffron Walden)|
|Button, H. S.||Halstead, Major D.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Cadogan, Major Edward||Hamilton, Sir George C. (Altrincham)||Molloy, Major L. G. S.|
|Camplon, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Molson, Major John Elsdale|
|Cassels, J. D.||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J.|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Harrison, F. C.||Morrison, Hugh (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Harvey, Major S. E.||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Hawke, John Anthony||Murchison, C. K.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Henderson, Sir T. (Roxburgh)||Nall, Major Joseph|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Newson, Sir Percy Wilson|
|Clayton, G. C.||Herbert, S. (Scarborough)||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Hiley, Sir Ernest||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Hinds, John||Nield, Sir Herbert|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Paget, T. G.|
|Cope, Major William||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Parker, Owen (Kettering)|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.||Hood, Sir Joseph||Pattinson, S. (Horncastle)|
|Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)||Hopkins, John W. W.||Pease, William Edwin|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Pennefather, De Fonblanque|
|Croft, Lieut.-Colonel Henry Page||Houfton, John Plowright||Penny, Frederick George|
|Crooke, J. S. (Deritend)||Howard, Capt. D. (Cumberland, N.)||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Col. C. K.||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Hudson, Capt. A.||Pielou, D. P.|
|Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)||Hughes, Collingwood||Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray|
|Davies, J. C. (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Privett, F. J.||Sandon, Lord||Tubbs, S. W.|
|Raine, W.||Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Rankin, Captain James Stuart||Shepperson, E. W.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col K. P.|
|Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)||Wallace, Captain E.|
|Reid, D. D. (County Down)||Simpson-Hinchcliffe, W. A.||Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)|
|Remer, J. R.||Singleton, J. E.||Watts, Dr. T. (Man., Withington)|
|Rentoul, G. S.||Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)||Wells, S. R.|
|Reynolds, W. G. W.||Smith, Sir Harold (Wavertree)||Weston, Colonel John Wakefield|
|Rhodes, Lieut.-Col. J. P.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.|
|Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend)||Sparkes, H. W.||White, Col. G. D. (Southport)|
|Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)||Spender-Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H.||Whitla, Sir William|
|Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)||Stanley, Lord||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Roberts, Rt. Hon. Sir S. (Ecclesail)||Steel, Major S. Strang||Winterton, Earl|
|Robertson-Despencer, Major (Isl'gt'n W)||Stewart, Gershom (Wirral)||Wise, Frederick|
|Rogerson, Capt. J. E.||Stott, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Roundell, Colonel R. F.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-||Wood, Rt. Hn. Edward F. L. (Ripon)|
|Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Russell, William (Bolton)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid H.||Yerburgh, R. D. T.|
|Russell-Wells, Sir Sydney||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Thorpe, Captain John Henry||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Colonel|
|Sanders, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert A.||Titchfield, Marquess of||Gibbs.|
|Sanderson, Sir Frank B.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Hay, Captain J. P. (Cathcart)||Potts, John S.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hayday, Arthur||Pringle, W. M. R.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hayes, John Henry (Edge Hill)||Richards, R.|
|Attlee, C. R.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Batey, Joseph||Herriotts, J.||Riley, Ben|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Hirst, G. H.||Ritson, J.|
|Bonwick, A.||Hodge, Lieut-Col. J. P. (Preston)||Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Hogge, James Myles||Rose, Frank H.|
|Briant, Frank||Irving, Dan||Saklatvala, S.|
|Broad, F. A.||Johnston, Thomas (Stirling)||Salter, Dr. A.|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Jowett, F. W. (Bradford, East)||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Buchanan, G.||Jowitt, W. A. (The Hartlepools)||Sexton, James|
|Buckle, J.||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Snell, Harry|
|Buxton, Charles (Accrington)||Lansbury, George||Snowden, Philip|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Lawson, John James||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)|
|Cairns, John||Leach, W.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Clarke, Sir E. C.||Lee, F.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Lees-Smith, H. B. (Keighley)||Sullivan, J.|
|Collison, Levi||Linfield, F. C.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||MacDonald, J. R. (Aberavon)||Thornton, M.|
|Darbyshire, C. W.||M'Entee, V. L.||Trevelyan, C. P.|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||McLaren, Andrew||Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Warne, G. H.|
|Duffy, T. Gavan||March, S.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Duncan, C.||Marshall, Sir Arthur H.||Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.|
|Ede, James Chuter||Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Kinc'd'ne, E.)||Weir, L. M.|
|Edmonds, G.||Maxton, James||Wheatley, J.|
|Entwistle, Major C. F.||Middleton, G.||White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)|
|Foot, Isaac||Millar, J. D.||White, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)|
|Gosling, Harry||Morel, E. D.||Whiteley, W.|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Williams, David (Swansea, E.)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Muir, John W.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Murray, R. (Renfrew, Western)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Hardie, George D.||Nichol, Robert||Wintringham, Margaret|
|Harney, E. A.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Hastings, Patrick||Phillipps, Vivian||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. Ammon and Mr. Lunn.|
Bill read a Second time, and committed to a Standing Committee.