HC Deb 06 August 1924 vol 176 cc2939-47

Should I be in order to ask the Leader of the House what business he proposes to take after the Appropriation Bill?

The LORD PRIVY SEAL (Mr. Clynes)

We propose to move the suspension of the Eleven o'Clock Rule to-night, in order that we may take, in addition to the Appropriation Bill, the Lords Amendments to the London Traffic Bill, the Lords Amendments to the Housing Bill, and the Lords Amendments to the Agricultural Wages Bill.

With respect to the last Bill, I regret to say it is not on the Order Paper, as it was not received from the Lords in time to permit of that being done; but I do not think the House will suffer any disability as a result.

In addition, it is intended to conclude the remaining stages of the Workmen's Compensation (Silicosis) Bill. For these reasons, we ask for the suspension of the Eleven o'Clock Rule.

Ordered, That the Proceedings on Government Business be exempted at this day's Sitting from the provisions of the Standing Order (Sittings of the House)."—[Mr. Clynes.]

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do meet To-morrow, at Eleven of the Clock; that no Questions shall be taken after Twelve of the Clock; that Mr. Speaker shall not adjourn the House until he shall have reported the Royal Assent to the Acts which have been agreed upon by both Houses; but that, subject to this condition. Mr. Speaker, at Five of the Clock, shall adjourn the House without Question put.—[Mr. Clynes.]


I wish again to protest against this form of Adjournment Motion. I make this protest periodically now in the hope that the private Members of the House of Commons will see that this method of Adjournment is steadily depriving them of the very few rights that remain to them in this House. If hon. Members will look at the form of the Motion, it practically amounts to this—that the House would be counted at half-past twelve to-morrow, but could be maintained in session as long as Mr. Speaker requires, because we give the power explicitly in this Motion to Mr. Speaker not to adjourn the House until we have got the Royal Assent; but, apart from that, the Government are relieved from the necessity either of keeping the House or of maintaining sufficient Members in the House to move the Closure on any unnecessary speech.

I would like to remind the House, when we are told that private Members might abuse, as they may have abused in the past, this privilege, that there always is the power of Closure to prevent a frivolous intervention on the Adjournment, and that all the Government require to do is to move that Closure, support it by a hundred of their own supporters in the Lobby, and they then can get an Adjournment. But there are many questions which private Members do not get the opportunity otherwise of raising which they can raise on the Adjournment we had a valuable example to-day. A question was put down by the hon. Member who represents the Isle of Lewis (Mr. Livingstone) with regard to the success of a certain scheme, and the Secretary for Scotland replied that he would circulate the facts in the OFFICIAL REPORT. Supposing a private Member desired to raise that question to-morrow? In the old days the Minister was required to be in attendance and he was expected to make a reply to that private Member. Now, when the Government take up so very much time, as they must necessarily do, of the House, the rights of the private Member are fast disappearing. When we get, as we have got, in this House three Front Benches, and when the rotation of Debate means that those who sit on those Front Benches are called in rotation long before the private member, the opportunity of a private member speaking on any subject at all is fast disappearing. I maintain that on the last day of the Session, when, on the Adjournment of the House, private Members may raise questions which are very essential to their constituents, it is the duty of the Government to maintain the House so that that can be done. What the Government have said in the past, and what Ministers of other Governments have said, is that the private Member himself ought to see that the House is kept. That is not the duty of a private Member. It is the duty of the Government to offer facilities to private Members to raise these questions, and it is not done. I appeal to hon. Members to support the old form of the Adjournment Motion which was simply "That this House do now adjourn," which means that it is the Government's duty to maintain a House and keep the Ministers on the Treasury Bench to reply to the speeches made in the House. If I can get any other private Member to tell with me in a Division, and in order to show that hon. Members desire to have their rights maintained in this respect, I shall go to a Division on this occasion.


I think some attention should be paid to this matter by the Government. This proposal goes further than any previous Resolution, and it is a vital thing that private Members should be able to bring up matters on the Motion for the Adjournment. I have never brought up matters on the Adjournment myself ever since I have been a Member of the House, but it is undoubtedly a very valuable right to safeguard. If hon. Members desire to bring up certain questions there should be a reasonable time allowed for discussion. Look at the position to-morrow. To-night we have a very large amount of work to do, and I rather gather from what the Loader of the House said that he was going to ask us to discuss Amendments which have not been printed, and which have not been placed on the Order Paper. The Measures to be taken tomorrow may take two or three hours, with the result that the Motion for the Adjournment may not be reached until three or four o'clock in the afternoon, and there will only remain about one or one-and-a-half hours for discussing that Motion, because at five o'clock the Speaker has to leave the Chair without Question put. In this way you are very seriously curtailing the rights of Private Members. I hope the Government will give some explanation on this point. I may say that O have been present at many Debates on the Adjournment, and I confess that I know of nothing more boring. Nevertheless, it is a right to which some Private Members attach great weight, and it is important that their rights should be safeguarded. The Resolution which we are now considering may curtail the Debate in the way indicated by the hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge) through the Government not keeping a House. Supposing there is a troublesome subject being considered, the House may be counted out, and that brings the Debate to a close, or the Motion may be confined to a discussion on several subjects only for which an opportunity has been given to bring them before the House. I think private Members are entitled to some explanation as to why this extraordinary form of Motion has been moved.


Before I say a word on the other subjects which have been raised, I should like to express my apologies for the failure to circulate the Paper relating to Russia, but this is due to the fact that at the last moment the representatives of Russia have agreed a Treaty, and therefore the Paper which had been prepared would not be in any way helpful, indeed, it would be definitely misleading in relation to the statement which the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs hopes to make later in the day. After his statement explaining what has been agreed and arranged, I hope the House will be able to proceed with the Debate.

With reference to the Motion on the Paper, it is not unlike previous Motions set down on the day of the Adjournment. The right hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Rawlinson) must have misunderstood what I said when he reached the conclusion that we were going to ask the House to debate Amendments from another place without their being in a printed form. What I said was that the Amendments were not on the Order Paper, but I am informed that they will be circulated in a printed form and be obtainable by hon. Members. With reference to the observations which have been made by the hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge), I do not think he has stated the case for Private Members in a form which would give them an advantage if that course were taken. If a Motion were down on the Order Paper in the terms he has suggested, it would still be competent for the House to be counted out at any moment.


Yes, and the Leader of the House would have to come here the next day. That is the whole point.


That is precisely the course which hon. Members would not like us to take. It is an enormous advantage to private Members to know on the day of the Adjournment how long they are expected to stay here, and the advantage of definiteness in this respect outweighs any of the other considerations mentioned by my hon. Friend. To-morrow will be essentially a private Members day, on which the Government do not desire that any of their business should be taken, beyond the purely ceremonial business relating to the Royal Assent to the Bills which have been passed. I ask private Members, who claim to be interested in raising questions on the Motion for the Adjournment, to support their fellow Members in sufficient numbers to prevent anything like the calamity occurring to which my hon. Friend has alluded. When hon. Members know that the House cannot be kept in being longer than five o'clock except for the purposes of the Royal Assent, I think they will accept that as being the better course to pursue.

Question put.


The "Ayes" have it.


The ''Noes" have it.


I ask those hon. Members opposing the Motion to stand up.

Six hon. Members rose in their places.


The "Ayes" have it.


I think I am entitled to claim a Division, and I do so.


I will allow the hon. Member to have a Division, if he likes.

The House divided: Ayes, 270; Noes, 20.

Division No. 195.] AYES. [4.40 p.m.
Ackroyd, T. R. Bondfield, Margaret Clayton, G. C.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. William Bonwick, A. Cluse, W. S.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.
Ago-Gardner, Rt. Hon Sir James T. Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W. Cobb, Sir Cyril
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hlllsbro') Brassey, Sir Leonard Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips
Allen, R. Wilberforce (Leicester, S.) Briscoe, Captain Richard George Comyns-Carr, A. S.
Allen, Lieut.-Col. Sir William James Broad, F. A. Costello, L. W. J.
Ammon, Charles George Bromfield, William Courthope, Lieut-Col. George L.
Aske, Sir Robert William Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Cove, W. G.
Astor, Maj. Hon. John J.(Kant,Dover) Buchanan, G. Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington,N)
Astor, Viscountess Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Crittall, V. G.
Atholl, Duchess of Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles D. Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)
Attlee, Major Clement R. Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel Curzon, Captain Viscount
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Cape, Thomas Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)
Barnes, A. Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)
Barnett, Major Richard W. Chapman, Sir S. Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)
Barnston, Major Sir Harry Charteton, H. C. Dean, Arthur Wellesley
Beamish, Captain T. P. H. Church, Major A. G. Dickie, Captain J. P.
Benn, Sir A, S. (Plymouth, Drake) Clarke, A. Dickson, T.
Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith) Clarry, Reginald George Dixon, Herbert
Dodds, S. R. Kindersley, Major G. M. Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Dukes, C. King, Captain Henry Douglas Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Duncan, C. Lamb, J. Q. Robinson, S. W. (Essex, Chelmsford)
Dunn, J. Freeman Lansbury, George Romeril, H. G.
Dunnico, H. Law, A. Rose, Frank H.
Eden, Captain Anthony Lawrence, Susan (East Ham, North) Roundell, Colonel R. F.
Edmondson, Major A. J. Lawson, John James Savery, S. S.
Edwards, G. (Norfolk, Southern) Leach, W. Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)
Egan, W. H. Lee, F. Scrymgeour, E.
Elliot, Walter E. Leigh, Sir John (Clapham) Scurr, John
Eyres-Monsell, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M. Lessing, E. Seely, H. M. (Norfolk, Eastern)
Falconer, J. Lorimer, H. D. Sexton, James
Fade, Major Sir Bertram Godfray Loverseed, J. F. Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Ferguson, H. Lowth, T. Shepperson, E. W.
Franklin, L. B. Lumley, L. R. Sherwood, George Henry
Galbraith, J. F. W. Lunn, William Shinwell, Emanuel
Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton) Lynn, Sir R. J. Short, Alfred (Wednesday)
Gardner, J. p. (Hammersmith, North) M'Connell, Thomas E. Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Gibbins, Joseph MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J.R.(Aberavon) Simon, E. D.(Manchester,Withington)
Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham Mac Donald, R. Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Gillett, George M. McEntee, V. L. Sinclair, Col.T.(Queen's Univ.,Belfst.)
Gosling, Harry Mackinder, W. Smith, T. (Pontefract)
Gould, Frederick (Somerset, Frome) Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm Smith, W. R. (Norwich)
Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central) McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Greenall, T. Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel Spears, Brig.-Gen. E. L.
Greene, W. P. Crawford Makins, Brigadier-General E. Spence, R.
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Mansel, Sir Courtenay Spero, Dr. G. E.
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) March, S. Stamford, T. W.
Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London) Marriott, Sir J. A. R. Starmer, Sir Charles
Groves, T. Martin, W. H. (Dumbarton) Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.) Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G. Stewart, Maj. R. S.(Stockton-on-Tees)
Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Meller, R. J. Stranger, Innes Harold
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Meyler, Lieut.-Colonel H. M. Sutcllffe, T.
Harris, John (Hackney, North) Middleton, G. Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Mills, J. E. Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Harvey,C.M.B.(Aberd'n & Kincardne) Mitchell, W. F. (Saffron Walden) Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Hastings, Sir Patrick Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Thorne, W. (West Ham, Pialstow)
Hayes, John Henry Morel, E. D. Thornton, Maxwell R.
Hemmerde, E. G. Morris, R. H. Thurtle, E.
Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley) Mosley, Oswald Tout, W. J.
Henderson, A. (Cardiff, South) Muir, John W. Turner, Ben
Henderson, W. W. (Middlesex, Enfld.) Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph Viant, S. P.
Henn, Sir Sydney H. Naylor, T. E. Vivian, H.
Hennessy, Major J. R. G. Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Waddington, R.
Herbert, Capt. Sidney (Scarborough) Nichol, Robert Wallhead, Richard C.
Hill-Wood, Major Sir Samuel Nixon, H. Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Hirst, G. H. O'Grady, Captain James Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Hodge, Lleut.-Col. J. P. (Preston) Oliver, George Harold Webb, Lieut.-Col. Sir H. (Cardiff, E.)
Hodges, Frank Oman, Sir Charles William C. Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Hoffman, P. C. Paling, W. Wedgwood, Col. Rt. Hon. Josiah C.
Hogbin, Henry Cairns Palmer, E. T. Wells, S. R.
Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone) Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) Westwood, J.
Hope, Rt. Hon. J. F. (Sheffield, C.) Pattinson, S. (Horncastle) Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings) White, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)
Hore-Belisha, Major Leslie Porring, William George Whiteley, W.
Horne, Sir R. S. (Glasgow, Hillhead) Perry, S. F. Wignall, James
Howard, Hon. G. (Bedford, Luton) Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Williams, Lt.-Col. T.S.B.(Kennington)
Hudson, J. H. Phillipps, Vivian Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Pilkington, R. R. Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Isaacs, G. A. Potts, John S. Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S. Purcell, A. A. Windsor, Walter
James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert Raffety, F. W. Wise, Sir Fredric
Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Raine, W. Wood, Major Rt. Hon. Edward F. L.
Jewson, Dorothea Rathbone, Hugh R. Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)
Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Rawson, Alfred Cooper Wright, W.
Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne) Raynes, W. R. Yate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward
Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W. (Bradford,E.) Rea, W. Russell Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Jowitt, W. A. (The Hartlepools) Reid, D. D. (County Down) Young, Andrew (Glasgow, Partick)
Joynson-Hlcks, Rt. Hon. Sir William Remer, J. R.
Kay, Sir R. Newbald Richards, R. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Keens, T. Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey) Mr. Frederick Hall and Mr. Warne.
Allen, Lieut.-Col. Sir William James Linfield, F. C. Robertson, T. A.
Becker, Harry Livingstone, A. M. Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Berkeley, Captain Reginald Lyle, Sir Leonard Stephen, Campbell
Foot, Isaac Maden, H. Williams, A. (York, W. R., Sowerby)
Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Marley, James Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)
Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Maxton, James
Harris, Percy A. Oliver, P. M. (Manchester, Blackley) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Harvey, T. E. (Dewsbury) Raffan, P. W. Mr. Hogge and Mr. Ernest Brown.
Johnstone, Harcourt (Willesden, East)

Bill read the Third time, and passed, without Amendment.

Resolved, That this House do meet To-morrow, at Eleven of the Clock; that no Questions shall be taken after Twelve of the Clock; that Mr. Speaker shall not adjourn the House until he shall have reported the Royal Assent to the Acts which have been agreed upon by both Houses; but that, subject to this condition, Mr. Speaker, at Five of the Clock, shall adjourn the House without Question put.