§ Mr. WARDLAW MILNE
I beg to move:That, in view of the conditions obtaining in foreign countries, it is necessary to safeguard more effectively industries in this country which are or may be seriously affected thereby and, with the object of providing increased employment, it is desirable to appoint an expert Committee to inquire into the most effective way of dealing with this problem.927 I have taken the very first and earliest opportunity which the unexpected good fortune of the Ballot, to which I am by no means accustomed, has given me, of bringing before this House 'what I consider is the most pressing and most important problem we have had to face, namely, that of unemployment. It is now something like six months since Parliament rose in August last, during which period we have had an election, and we have had the experience of a new Government, and yet the problem remains precisely as it stood in August last. I wish to pay every possible tribute to the work which the late Government did within the limits of the powers conferred upon them to deal with the relief of unemployment, The point I want to make is not a question only of relieving those who are suffering, but of getting at the cardinal difficulties which are causing the problem. This is not a party matter and I do not raise it as such, but it is a matter of equal interest to every party in the State. I think it falls into two divisions. In the first place, there is the question of how it affects agriculture and, secondly, there is the question of how it affects our manufacturers. The special point in connection with agriculture which I want to make is that' I admit, and assume to begin with, that the country has definitely decided that meantime, at any rate, it is not convinced that any tariff upon foodstuffs would be for the general benefit. I admit that, but I would point out that no such proposal has been put before the country for many years past.
Before I pass from that, perhaps I may be permitted to say that even upon that subject there may be a change before many years have passed. I do not want to pursue that point but particularly I think there may be a change so far as it is concerned with the question of closer working and freedom of trade between all the units which make up this great Empire. I think a change will come, but even to that small extent I do not want to follow up a subject which may be regarded as controversial. There is in connection with agriculture a definite point. There are certain branches of that industry in which it is not unreasonable that we should expect a wide development provided that the producer could be certain not of a 928 tariff, not of protection in the strict sense of the word, but certain that he would not find his markets taken from him by purely temporary conditions. I will give an illustration. It is within the recollection of almost every hon. Member of this House what the conditions were which ruled in this country a couple of years ago in connection with the crops of potatoes that were grown. I maintain that it is quite possible for the Government to take powers to so regulate the imports of foreign produce as to prevent an absolute glut as a temporary measure, from foreign countries utterly ruining the producers in this country, and they should put that power into action only so long as the price of food is not raised thereby to the consumer. That is a possible scheme. It is one which could have been carried out in that particular industry, and I hope hon. Members will take a somewhat wider view on this question, because it is not against the interests which they have advocated from time to time.
May I give another illustration? I have here a scheme put forward by a very prominent tenant farmer, a descendant of a race of tenant farmers, and this is the opinion of a farmer who knows what he is talking about. In connection with the breeding of pigs, he says if he could be given a chance some 30,000 or 40,000 men could be employed in such an industry. He further states that some £25,000,000 of capital could safely be engaged in it, and bacon and pig products could be produced here. In that way an enormous saving could be made in the purchases we are now making from abroad, and all this would accrue in addition to the enrichment of the soil. He declares that this result could be brought about without raising the cost of these products to the consumer by one halfpenny. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why not do it?"] I will tell the hon. Member. Those connected with agriculture will remember that in 1907 there was practically a financial panic in America, and enormous quantities of bacon were shipped to this country and sold at a lower price than had been current for many years before that event. The consequence of that sudden glut of American bacon was that many pig farmers here were forced out of the business. Within a few months, say three months, that crisis had passed, and the American producers came over here 929 and re-purchased their own bacon in this country. The consequence was that prices I event up and many of our pig farmers went out of the business. The result of cheap bacon for three months was dear bacon for years. It is quite possible for the Government to secure powers to deal with this question, and I believe that nine-tenths of the people of this country would be in favour of such powers to protect the producers against any sudden and temporary gluts which are not for the permanent benefit of the people, and this would only be put into operation so long as it was ensured that the price would not unduly rise above normal to the consumer. There are various other examples that could be given, but. I will pass on to the other side of the question. There is a second aspect of it in connection with our industry. I agree again that the country at this moment—for how long I do not know—has decided that it will not have a tariff to protect our home industries. [HON MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Hon. Members cheer that statement That is however, the position at this moment. It is not the position, to my mind—and I speak only for myself—that the country has turned down, as I have heard it said quite recently in this House, the whole programme of the Conservative Government. Nothing of the kind has occurred. What the country said was, "We do not believe that you cannot cure unemployment without the powers you seek, and you must go back and carry on the work within the limitations that you have."
I do not want to enter into events that have happened. It is not a question only of protecting the unemployed. It is not a. question only of increasing employment; it a question of preventing more unemployment. I know of a factory, not a thousand miles from here, in which the times have become so critical that they can go on no longer making losses, and if something is not done, yet another industry, or a large portion of it, will be lost to Great Britain. There is no question of trouble between employers and employed. There is no question of over-capitalisation. There is no suggestion that so-called bloated capitalists have been drawing tremendous profits. For four solid years they have not received a single shilling out of the business. It is not a new factory. It is one in which business was carried on 930 for 30 or 40 years in a way to yield reasonable but not excessive profits previously to the War. After the War members of the family who owned it might reasonably have said that they did not want to restart it. It had been largely engaged on national work, but firstly because they are not philanthropists, and secondly because they got into closer touch with their employés than they had been before they did reopen. Week after week they had been paying wages. Year after year they have been facing losses. This is a kind of thing that cannot go on. It is only caused by the fact that owing to special temporary conditions which exist abroad it is possible for certain foreign countries, possibly only for a few months or a year or two, to dump into this country goods such as are produced in this factory at the cost of the raw material only.
It is all very well for people to talk about Free Trade. I am a Free Trader; there is no business man who is not a Free Trader. In theory everybody is a Free Trader, but in England there is no such thing as Free Trade to-day. Far from being free, our trade is hampered in every possible way. How can you call it Free Trade when the position is such that everything can be dumped over our garden wall and we cannot dump anything back again? Free Trade is a game which must be played fairly on both sides, but, in this case there is no such thing as fairness. If things continue as they are we shall have to face the fact that there will be more unemployment, because our manufacturers cannot compete in many cases with the conditions which obtain abroad. [An HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] I presume the hon. Member has only just come into the House; otherwise he would have heard the reason. There are certain Gentlemen on the Liberal Benches who, all their lives, have cried for Free Trade. I have watched them carefully in the past few months and have wondered how much they knew about trade at all. One thing is perfectly certain that if they went to sleep for 50 years and woke up they would still have the same cry. Cobden, in 1846, said that if we adopted Free Trade in this country, in five years every other country would follow our example. Some hon. Members question that statement, I do not make any statement 931 unless I have chapter and verse for it. Cobden said, on 15th September, 1846:I believe if you abolish the Corn Law honestly, and it adopt Free Trade in its simplicity, there will not be a tariff in Europe that will not be changed in less than five years.That was said 70 years ago. How many countries in Europe or elsewhere have followed our example? There is not a single country where the tariff barriers are not higher instead of lower. Those who advocate this Free Trade are Rip Van Winkles, and if this country does not realise that in the last 30 or 40 years everything has changed, and that the whole conditions of world trade have changed since the War, then I must say I shall be very sorry for the future of industry in Great Britain. What, I want to make plain—although I may have been led aside to deal with questions which otherwise I would not have discussed what I want to make clear to the Government is that the great problem before us now, as last August, is this question of unemployment.. We have been engaged in the last few months in interesting discussions on party politics and changes of Government. The right hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith) recently made a speech on this bench in which he said that the result of the Election was that the Conservative Government should not be supported. Shortly afterwards we had a very amusing speech from the present Minister for the Colonies in which he gave what I may describe without offence, as a "Comic Political History of England according to Thomas."
In spite of all this the question remains, what are you going to do to get rid of unemployment? There are two things you can do. You can give the Government power to control and regulate imports in such a way as that regulation will definitely help to encourage the production of foodstuffs in this country, pro viding that those powers are exercised only so long as the prices of the foodstuffs are not raised to the consumer. That is a perfectly feasible scheme to my mind The second thing you can do is this: As we are prohibited from going further, it is necessary to widen and simplify the Safeguarding of Industries Act in such a way as to ensure that those manufacturers who are on the point of giving up the struggle will be 932 encouraged to carry on until such time as conditions are more suitable. The Prime Minister, in his very able speech yesterday, referred at considerable length to the importance of giving the labouring classes houses within their means. With that everyone agrees, but I would venture to point out that the right hon. Gentleman is attacking the problem at the wrong end. It is not a question of whether a man pays 9s. or 19s. a week for his house; it is a question of what he can afford to pay. It is a question of putting into his hands the power to spend, of increasing his possibilities of spending, or, if you like to put it so, the possibilities of his having an income on which to live decently.
I quite understand some of these references to Free Trade from life-long Free Traders who cannot see further, but I absolutely fail to understand what I am told is the attitude of a great many of the Labour Party in this matter, because the one thing that seems to be outstanding in Labour policy is the protection of the worker. If it is not that, what is Labour policy? And the protection of the worker must mean the protection of the product of his hands. Therefore, in putting before the House this proposal, which I have brought forward in no party spirit, but with the object that the matter should be ventilated, and that we should have a chance of discussing what is vital matter before the country at the present moment, I sincerely hope that this Motion will receive general support throughout the House.
There is only one other matter upon which I want to touch. It would be very easy to argue, from what I have said, that I mean the complete control of all marketing, exchange, and everything of that kind. I mean nothing of the sort. Nothing could be more different, in my opinion, from the limited proposal which I am putting forward than that any man or body of men should set out to decide what are to be the market rates for various kinds of produce in future years. I need hardly tell Members of this House that, if any trader were able to forecast his market even for one week, he would he a millionaire very soon. The idea that a body of men could possibly take over all the land of this country, administer it through managers, and decide what the 933 prices are to be in the future, we can pigeon-hole until it is brought out for the amusement of future generations. That is totally different from the limited proposals which I have made, which I believe are constructive, which I believe are possible, and which I believe ought to appeal to every section of this House. It is in the hope that they will so appeal, and that Members will look at the matter, not from a purely party point of view, but from the point of view of the national interest, that I venture to move this Motion.
§ Mr. A. SOMERVILLE
I beg to second the Motion.
As I represent a constituency which is largely agricultural, but which, although it does not contain any large manufactures, yet has resident in it many who have large interests in large manufactures, I am glad to have the privilege of adding a word to the powerful and closely reasoned speech of my hon. Friend. There is in the Motion a proviso that no recommendation of such a committee of inquiry should involve an increase in the price of food or other imported article. Subject to that, the Motion asks for such an inquiry into the regulation of our imposts as would show whether it was possible, by altering the Regulations, to provide more employment for our people; and to provide more employment is the earnest object in every quarter of this House. My hon. Friend has spoken of what happened in 1922 in the case of potatoes. It was a scandal that many hundreds of tons of good food should have rotted in the Eastern counties, because it did not pay to bring it to market. By a sensible system of licences it would have been perfectly possible, without increasing the cost to the consumer, to have prevented that disgraceful waste. The market was glutted with foreign potatoes, but the consumer did not benefit, as the price of potatoes scarcely altered. The farmer lost, the consumer did not benefit, and the money which should have gone into the pocket of the farmer at home went into the pocket of the foreign farmer, who might have got a useful market outside this country.
There is another foodstuff that I should like to mention, namely, flour. I was in the United States in September, and a scientific friend, who is also a farmer, 934 said to me: "It surprises me that you Britishers do not do your own milling at home. We provide a considerable amount of employment here by doing a large amount of your milling. We take the germ out of the flour and make semolina, providing more employment, and we send that semolina across to you. Then we have the offals, which are of great benefit to our stock and hog raisers; and the total result is a large benefit to this country at the expense of yours." I put it to the House that, allowing the wheat, of course, to come in free, the price of food would not be increased by doing the milling at home, while the farmer would be greatly benefited, because his supply of offals would be increased. Semolina might be made in this country, providing more employment in that and in the milling industry, and the benefit to the farmer would give him more power to pay better wages to his farm workers. The total result would be a very great benefit to this country. I shall be told, no doubt that a large part of the milling in this country is done at the ports, and that there is an export of offals but if the milling industry received the benefit of a large addition to the work done by it, it might very well consent to a limitation of its power to export offals.
Hon. Members opposite are familiar with the idea of regulation. It was only yesterday that the Prime Minister proposed to regulate the building industry by a guarantee. That word "guarantee" is a. blessed word, and we shall remember it., and, when the party opposite speak of guaranteeing, we on these benches shall know that it means Protection. The Prime Minister also proposed to regulate the agricultural industry by establishing wages boards—let, instead of making bricks without straw—which wages boards will be, unless the farmer is put into a position to pay the wages to be fixed by those boards—let us do something such as I suggest in the way of excluding, partly or wholly, the import of flour, and bring employment to our workers and benefit to the farmer. A very interesting telegram was sent recently to the Prime Minister by the. National Farmers' Union, asking him whether, if he were placed in office, he would continue the remission of the Excise Duty on home-grown beet sugar, and his answer was very satisfactory, namely, the one word "Yes." I believe 935 it is one of his objects to reduce the duty on sugar. I sincerely hope that, if he does so, he will be careful in dealing with this infant industry, which most economists, from Adam Smith downwards, would protect, because it is an infant industry, and that he will take measures to prevent its being killed. It is, I believe, the custom of some lion. Members to pour scorn on the two factories that produce the home-grown sugar. But those two factories, and the thousands of acres already that supply the beet which is manufactured into sugar in those factories, give employment to many hundreds of people. The price of sugar might not be affected by the reduction of the duty. The price of sugar is regulated by the trusts in America, as the late Prime Minister reminded us last Session, and when I listened to the Minister of Health fiercely denouncing trusts I could not help thinking, "You may deal with trusts in this country, but you cannot control the trusts in other countries."
For instance, I am interested in a small housing scheme and have taken an interest in the cost of building material for the last four years. One has heard that some little time ago there was a strike amongst the Swedish woodmen for an increase of wages and they got a 40 per cent. increase, and of course that increased the price of wood. The Minister of Health cannot control that. There has been another strike since then, but I do not know what the result was. These are things we cannot control, but when we attempt to get control of an industry ourselves, such as home grown beet sugar, let us remember that it is a small matter now but it might develop into a very large one. How thankful we should have been for that industry during the war When a small beginning is made in dealing with these foreign trusts some hon. Member opposite would pour scorn on that statement and would kill that infant industry, although it is contrary to the maxims laid down by the great founder of so-called Free Trade. With reference to the milling industry, hon. Members need have no qualms about depriving the American workers of employment. I found the States in a condition of great prosperity. I travelled many miles on the magnificent Pacific 936 highway, which runs for over a thousand miles from the Canadian border down to the Mexican border, and I met on a Saturday afternoon, in their Ford cars, hundreds of artizans with their families and their camp kit going out for many miles from their homes to camp out for the week end. Every self-respecting town, however small, has its camping ground with conveniences provided. I could not help thinking bitterly, "here is a country that does regulate its imports and it has this prosperity," and I thought of this country with its hundreds of thousands of unemployed.
May I give one example of how Canada regulates her imports. Take the case of tinplates. Years ago, before the States' had a tinplate industry, South Wales supplied all the tinplates for the States. Then the States put up a tariff wall and they built behind it an enormous tinplate industry and South Wales no longer supplies tin.
§ Mr. SOMERVILLE
It is nothing like what they did. But South Wales supplies tinplates to Canada. I have the facts from the head of a firm that employs 15,000 to 20,000 men in South Wales. Canada gives a. 5 per cent, preference to South Welsh tinplates, with the result that there is employment for many men in South Wales, there is employment for our shipping trade, and there is employment in Canada making the tin cans that we heard so much about in the General Election. Tin cans represent a real bond of Empire. Knowing the facts as I do, and having seen the tin cans out there, I was very much entertained by the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon (Mr. Lloyd George) during the Election. Is not any trade between ourselves and the Dominions a bond? Can anyone deny it? That five per cent. that Canada gives us is producing these results, and I would appeal to hon. Members in dealing with this great question of Imperial Preference to think of the results that would follow. We did not make the first offer. Canada made the first offer in 1896 and she was followed by Australia and other Dominions. Let us think once, twice and three times before we give to these great Dominions the sorrowful opportunity of 937 saying they have made this offer to the Motherland and the Motherland has rejected it. This Imperial Preference is the highest form of guarantee for it is a bond of Empire. Is it too much to hope that hon. Members opposite will support this Motion? No increase of cost is involved. We only want to discover whether it is not possible to safeguard our industries better and to provide more employment. As for the party below the Gangway, their companions and sometimes their grieved mentors, as witness the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith) this afternoon, I have less hope of them. To bring a free importer within the reach of anything which has the slightest savour of Protection is like bringing a Prohibitionist to a Caledonian dinner. But J would also appeal to those hon. Members, if their convictions are so strong, to support this inquiry if it will only prove more conclusively than ever that they are right. It is because I believe such an inquiry, if followed up, might well produce a better safeguarding of our industries and more employment for our people, that I gladly second the Motion.
§ Mr. DARBISHIRE
I feel sure no Member of the House would grudge the Mover and Seconder of the Resolution the evident enjoyment and satisfaction which they have found in the quite harmless, though perhaps rather mournful and cheerless pastime of flogging a dead horse, at any rate a comatose horse. The Mover of the Resolution is a man of great experience in foreign trade, especially Indian trade, and I was wondering while he was speaking whether he practised in his own business in India what he is preaching this evening. As I understand it, most foreign merchants throw open their own go-downs, their warehouses and their offices to everyone without any restriction whatsoever.
As I see the hon. Member is making a statement which shows that he is quite ignorant of Indian trade, perhaps he will allow me to correct him. The curious position in India is that this House gave India, I do not say incorrectly but correctly, a measure of self-government, and the first thing India did with that power was to put a tariff against Lancashire.
§ Mr. DARBISHIRE
I was not referring to the Government of India. I was 938 referring to the hon. Member, and asking whether in his own business he practices what he has been preaching here this evening. Does he go down to his warehouse and say, "I am not going to have this man because he is a German or a Bashi-Bazouk or a Frenchman," or does he say, "Let every man who wants to buy my piece goods or my hardware or whatever it is, come here on the same terms as an Englishman"?
§ Mr. DARBISHIRE
I am not going to give way to the hon. Member. My argument is, that what is sound business for the ordinary business man or the ordinary shopkeeper is sound business for a nation of shopkeepers. When the hon. Member started his speech he gave me the impression that he was not going to indulge in anything of a Protectionist nature, but we found as he proceeded with his speech, and more especially as the Seconder proceeded, that we were in for a full-blown Protectionist Debate. Nothing could please this side of the House better than that. The hon Member told us a story about cheap bacon which came over here in 1907. As I understood him, if he had had his way he would have prevented this country from having the benefit of that bacon, even for the six months during which we enjoyed the benefit. He then stated that Cobden in some speech had declared that if we adopted Free Trade or, rather, repealed the Corn Laws, every nation would go Free Trade. We challenged him, and when he quoted what Cobden had said, we found that the words were not that every nation would go Free Trade, but that they would change their tariffs. [Interruption.] We have allowed your champion to speak, and I hope you will allow me to proceed with-out interruption. [HON. MEMBERS: "Quote fairly!"]
If the hon. Member wishes me to re-quote Cobden's statement, I have it here—There will not be a tariff in Europe that will not be changed in less than five years, to follow our example.
§ Mr. DARBISHIRE
A change of tariff. [HON. MEMBERS: "To follow our example!"] They found that, owing to our becoming a Free Trade country, we were able to compete more strenuously 939 in their markets, and they had to raise their tariffs in order to keep out our goods. The hon. Member went on to refer to trade unions. I am very much amused to see the flirtation that is going on between the Protectionist party and the Labour party, on the assumption that because trade unions protect themselves in connection with wages and conditions of life, they are going to adopt Protection as their policy in this country. Against what do the trade unions protect themselves? Not against the foreigner, but against the employers in this country, in order that they may raise their standard of life and their conditions generally. If they adopt Protection, they will do exactly the opposite; they will lower their standard of living and raise prices in this country for everything they have to buy, thereby reducing the purchasing power of the wages which they have obtained through their trade unions during the last two or three generations. When my hon. Friends opposite approach the Labour party in that flirtatious way, I think there is no hope for them.
The hon. Member also referred to American prosperity. I wonder if he went into the agricultural districts in America. I understand that over 1,000,000 American farmers left their farms last year owing to the fact that they were unable to sell their products at a profit because of the high prices of everything they had to buy on their farms. When the hon. Member talks about Imperial Preference and he says that the Colonies give us a preference, what humbug it is! We are told by Mr. Bruce that they give us a gift of £8,000,000, which is the difference between the tariff 'we are charged and that which foreign nations are charged. A gift to whom? Not to us, but to themselves. These Colonies say nothing of the £20,000,000 per annum tax which is imposed upon our goods before they are allowed to go into the Colonies. That means restricted trade: it is intended to restrict it. In Canada to-day there is an outcry for an increase in the tax on boots and shoes because our imports of boots and shoes into Canada last year were twice what they were in the previous year. That means that the prices of boots and shoes, owing to the tariff in Canada, have risen to such an extent that our boots and shoes are again 940 able to flow over the tariff and to compete with manufactured boots and shoes in Canada.
It is interesting to have this question raised this evening, and to know what the policy of hon. Members opposite is going to be. Before the Election, we were told by the ex-Prime Minister that he preferred to sink with faith than to swim without it. He seems to have been in a rather water-logged condition since the Election, and in spite of the salvage committee he seems to have been brought safely to land. As a result of the shadow cabinet he has been brought safely to land, and after a certain amount of artificial respiration he has been propped up on the Front Opposition Bench. What does this Resolution mean by "regulations"? If you strip it of its frillings, it is simply Protection. We are asked to approve a Committee to advise us on the question of Protection. Hon. Members opposite s[...]em to imagine that if you can stop imports coming into this country you are going to improve employment in this country. The ex-Prime Minister before the last Election told us that the unemployment in this country was due to imports from foreign countries. [HON. MEMBERS: "Largely!"] Largely due. He never gave us any facts or figures in support of that statement. [HON MEMBERS: "He did!"] He could not do so. He is a fact that when imports of manufactured goods into this country were at their highest, unemployment was at its lowest. That is a fact. which cannot be explained away. During the Election the hon. Member for the Moseley Division of Birmingham (Mr. Hannon) said that if we could stop coming into this country £200,000,000 of imports. we could find employment for 800,000 men. It is like a horse going down a stream with blinkers on. It can see what is going on in front of it; but not what is going on on either side. The hon. Member thinks that he would employ 800,000 men making these goods which are being imported, but he forgets he is going to throw out of employment 800,000 men who were employed in making goods which go out of the country to pay for the goods which are imported.
If that were all it would not so much matter, but you would have another 800,000 men thrown out of employment who are at present making steel, ships, cotton goods and all the rest of it. If 941 you are going to stop £200,000,000 worth of goods corning into the country, you are going to stop £200,000,000 worth of goods going out. That means that you are going to reduce the foreign trade of the country by £400,000,000, which means from 10 to 15 million tons of cargo. What effect is that going to have on the shipping trade? We own practically half the shipping in the world, and that is going to throw millions of tons of shipping out of employment, and going to throw hundreds of thousands of men out of employment. It is going to stop shipbuilding. Nobody is going to build ships if you have got millions of tons of shipping lying idle in our ports. This will be reflected in the steel industry of our country and in every coal mine in the country.
What is the sense of it? Here we are improving, facilities for transport, building faster and bigger ships every day and ships better able to handle cargo quickly and cheaply, and improving our docks, railways, canals and roads to get goods into this country from the uttermost parts of the earth as quickly and cheaply as possible. What. is the sense then of putting on a tariff so that these goods shall not land unless they pay a certain tax before they are landed? If you want to get goods here as slowly and as expensively as possible you had better go back to the old days of the sailing ship when it took six months to get. goods from China, and freights were four times as much as they are to-day. We are told by some people that imports are paid for not by exports, but by money going out of the country, huge sums of money.
§ Mr. DARBISHIRE
I have one quotation here from Mr. Manville, who was Member for Coventry. He is not the Member now, for the centre of the great motor industry refused to have a Protectionist as its representative. Writing in the "Pall Mall Gazette," he refers to the payment of unemployment, money to British workmen and the sending out of Britain of huge sums of money to pay wages of workmen in other countries. I would ask anyone who makes that state-men how that. money goes out of the country? As I understand it, money can only go out of the country in four different ways, as gold or silver bullion, gold or silver coin, notes or cheques, or 942 bills of exchange. I do not understand how money can be exported in any other manner. It is curious, when we come to look into the figures, that in the year 1913 our imports of manufactured goods into this country were £200,000,000, and far from gold going out of this country the imports of gold into this country, on balance, were £12,000,000. In 1922, when the imports of manufaotured goods into this country were £229,000,000, the gold which went out on balance was C13,000,000 only.
In the Free Trade period gold came in with imported manufactures. Under a system of partial Protection such as applied in 1922 gold does go out of the. country. That seems to be an argument in favour of Free Trade. There is no evidence whatever to show that there are any exports of gold or silver coin or bullion from this country in payment of our imports. There is no evidence to show any increased circulation in notes such as would account for £200,000,000 and there is no evidence to show that, these imports were paid for by bills of exchange, because if they had been they would have had the effect of sending sterling down, or else you would have found a high bank rate in this country. What we did find in the 15 years before the War, as the great outstanding feature, was the stability of the £ sterling.
§ Mr. DARBISHIRE
And also in the 15 years before the War, so far from there being a high bank rate, the average bank rate was only 3.1 per cent., which does not point to any serious drain of gold in this country. [An HON. MEMBER: "There has been a war since!"] No wonder that the Tory party are advertising for brains. These interruptions make it difficult for me to proceed, but I am going to say what I have got to say. Anyone conversant with foreign trade, as I am—I have had over 30 years of it, since I was an office boy at 16 years of age, and I have been engaged in it ever since—knows that it is a highly skilled industry just like agriculture. It is not a thing which you 943 can pick up from the interesting articles written by the literary gentlemen of the "Morning Post," or by those who compile such manuals as "A Hundred Points for Tariff Reform." You have got to go through the mill, and any man conversant with foreign trade knows that imports must balance exports. You cannot get away from the fact that if you are going to reduce imports you must reduce exports. What is the alternative? People in foreign countries who wish to send us goods here do not want pounds sterling. The manufacturer in France who sends us motor tyres does not want pounds sterling. He wants francs. He can only get those by selling his bills of exchange in London for sterling, and selling to a bank which pays him in francs. The bank does not buy these bills of exchange unless it can sell them. A hank can only sell a bill of exchange if it has a value attached to it. The only value attached to it is the value attached by a man who wants to buy pounds sterling. The only person who wants to buy pounds sterling is the man who wants to buy goods in this country or to deposit money or invest money in this country. There is no sign of money leaving in all that.
Suppose that imports were coming into this country, and no exports were going out, the exporter of motor tyres in France would have bills of exchange on London which he would not be able to sell. He would not be able to get his currency and his shipments to this country must necessarily cease. That is a reductio ad absurdum., but it is a proof positive that so long as imports are coming into this country there is no depreciation of the £ sterling. It is proof that exports to the same value must be going out of the country. Let us take a middle course. Let us assume that imports from France into this country, or general imports into this country, were greater than the exports from this country, that would be affected immediately by the foreign exchange. If the man in France wished to sell a bill on London at the normal exchange of 25, and if there were more sellers of bills on London than buyers, the exchange would go down to 20 francs, which would mean an import tax of the per cent. on French goods coming into this country. The fluctuations of the 944 foreign exchange act like the governor of a steam engine in regulating trade.
Every business man who has handled foreign business knows that these things are true. It may be laid down almost as an axiom that if there are imports coming into this country and no exports going out to balance them, the exchange will be so affected that there will be inevitably, though perhaps invisibly, a tariff raised upon subsequent imports into this country. The hon. Member for Ilford (Sir F. Wise) made a most excellent speech last Session on the question of India borrowing in this country. He pointed out that credit raised in this country must be spent here. We see a lot of "tosh" in the newspapers about India buying engines in Germany. A loan has been raised here by India, but if India wants to buy these engines from Germany she has to sell her credit here first and so the money must be spent here first. Any man who sends goods into this country immediately creates credit through his bill of exchange on London, and that demands exports to cancel it. r should be surprised to find that the hon. Member for Ilford does not agree with me on that point.
§ Mr. DARBISHIRE
I apologise if I have been at all didactic I do not often trespass on the time of the House, and only when the subject is one about which I claim that I ought to know something.
§ Mr. WIGNALL
I have listened with considerable interest to the speeches of the Mover and Seconder of the Resolution. To a weaker and more inconclusive argument I have never yet listened. There has not been advanced a single point that could turn anyone's opinion, or that would show that tariffs would be an improvement even on present conditions. The Seconder of the Resolution told us something about his experience in Canada and in connection with tinplates. If there is anything with which T am conversant it is the tinplate trade. I can assure the hon. Member that it would be of value for him to study the history of that trade before making a statement such as he has made to-night. It is true that before the McKinley Tariff Bill was passed 90 per cent. of the trade in tinplates was with the United States. Our manufacturers hardly looked for trade. elsewhere. 945 As soon as the McKinley Tariff came into force all our manufacturers took their wealth, built their works in America, and established the industry there. With what results? Every firm that went to America became bankrupt. I could give the names of every one of them. Every manufacturer who took his men and his capital and built big works in the United States became bankrupt and eventually came back to this country. One of the largest capitalists of all became a foreman in works that were established in South Wales after he had left.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Sir PAGE CROFT
Does the hon. Member suggest that the tinplate trade in the United States to-clay is bankrupt?
§ Mr. WIGNALL
I can tell the hon. Member all about that if he wants to know. I have been in America, where I have seen six out of seven large plants lying idle in Newcastle and the other tin-mining districts around Pittsburg. There is no trade for them except their own internal trade. The tinplate trade in South Wales to-day, notwithstanding the effect of the War, is in a. more steadfast and solid condition than it has ever been known to be in, and there are something like 32,000 people employed in the industry. All through the period of the War the trade went steadily along. suppose that it was one of the most stabilised of all the trades that survived that terrible crisis. I can remember the time when the Welsh makers lost their canning contracts. Why? Because competition allowed the buyers to get the goods more cheaply from America. But the business did not stay there long. The buyers had to return to South Wales for their goods. In trade there is no sentiment. If you can purchase an article more cheaply from one country than from another you do so. The tinplate trade has recovered and is well established, and to-clay is doing good business all over the world. It is even sending consignments to America, because it makes the superior article.
Something has been said about dumping. It is impossible to prevent dumping. You can build up your tariff wall to 10 feet high and they will dump over it; you can build it, 20 feet high and they will still dump over it: you can build it until it reaches the clouds, and again 946 they will dump over it. Are we not guilty of dumping? It is not long since I was in New Zealand, where I met a very large crowd of unemployed men. Who were they? They were boot and shoe makers from the New Zealand factories, and they were unemployed because the factories had closed. They asked me to make representations on the subject in this country. What had happened? These people had been taken from this country to New Zealand. Then suddenly there was dumping from this country over the high tariff walls of New Zealand. Huge consignments of cheap goods had been sent out from England. I was told that they were rotten stuff at that, guaranteed not to keep out the damp. Sonic men even said that the hoots had been manufactured in Germany or Austria or some other place, bought by English merchants, and sent over to New Zealand. We are not free from all the vices and evils that afflict mankind. You can build your tariff walls as high as you like, but dumping can never be destroyed.
Let me revert to the tinplate trade. Many things are required before you can manufacture a tinplate. You want the raw materials, the steel, the tin, and many other things. I remember the time when there was some dumping of steel bars which are essential for the making of tinplates and when there was an agitation to prevent, that dumping. It could, perhaps, have been stopped by legislation, and that, probably, would have given employment to, say, 100 men but it would have thrown out of employment 10,000 men engaged in the manufacture of tinplates. You must not look at this question from the narrow or selfish point of view of a particular trade or industry. You must take the wider, broader, and more comprehensive view of how it will affect the nation. It is true, as the hon. Member has said, that last year there was a boom in trade in America. I was there, and I saw it. But it was an internal trade; it was simply a boom in the building trade. They were paying big wages and practically half-a-million people went from Canada into America during that period. But that boom is over, and a slump is setting in. Did the hon. Member, when he went through 947 Canada, see any unemployed there? If he did not, he must have been feasting in the hotel.
§ Mr. A. SOMERVILLE
There were nearly 12,000 harvesters who went from this country, and Canada has absorbed nearly 8,000 of them.
§ Mr. WIGNALL:
Why did those half-million people go from Canada into America? They went simply because they were out of work. All the records, if you like to study them, prove that last year was a record year for unemployment in Canada.
§ Mr. WIGNALL
I am speaking of the conditions in the country, and, judging from some of the silly statements made. by people who profess to know, they are trying to make us believe that. in those tariff protected countries everything is booming and going swiftly, that nobody complains, that there is no trouble, that everybody is employed, and that there is rarely no distress. What an abominably misleading statement that is. You find unemployment existing in every tariff country to-day. Some of us have travelled and travelled pretty widely, and, when we travel, we mix among the people that are affected by the economic conditions of the country. We see the workers, we mix among them, and we go and discover facts exactly as they are. I challenge anyone to point to any tariff protected country in which unemployment is not a terribly distressful thing just as it is here. [HON. MEMBERS: "What about France!"] I make that statement because. I know it is true. I know it from personal observation, and I am here to say that you cannot name any tariff protected country where the conditions are better than they are here. You cannot advance a single argument to prove that a tariff wall along our little island will improve the conditions here.
We have heard a lot about the Safeguarding of Industries Act. How many factories are working to-day as the result of that Act? How many people have been employed as the result of it? How many people have become unemployed as the result of it? I was speaking to a merchant only at the beginning of this year, 948 and he pointed out to me a big consignment of dolls which he had purchased. The dolls had come in free, but there was tax on the dolls' eyes. Was there eve^ such an absurdity? I am glad to have had the opportunity of refuting the statement made regarding the tinplate industry. It has recovered, and it is stronger than it has ever been. It would have been destroyed and the employers ruined if they had had here, as they had in America, to conduct their industry in a tariff protected country.
§ Mr. HANNON
The House will have listened with great respect and interest to the statement of the hon. Member for the Forest of Dean (Mr. Wignall). has given us something of his experience in the United States. I wonder whether he read the report and published statements of the hon. Gentleman who is now Civil Lord at the Admiralty (Mr. Hodges) after his return from the United States. The hon. Member for the Forest of Dean tells us that when he travels abroad he gets into touch with the people in the community who are mostly interested in its productive industries. Does he not give credit to other people who travel for getting into contact with every section of the community whose experience may be valuable in estimating the economic situation in other countries? When the hon. Member for Lichfield returned from the United States, we who are interested in the protection of the home market in this country were particularly interested in the statement which he made. He called attention, in his own peculiarly forcible and eloquent way, to the rapid recovery of the economic vitality of the United States. He said that the high wages, the higher standard of living, and the general economic situation there were much more attractive than anything that was to be found in this country or in other European countries. He did not perhaps say in explicit terms what was the cause, but in a very interesting maiden speech in this House he said that it was due to the application of scientific methods and organisation to industry.
§ Mr. HODGES
I explained in the articles to which the hon. Member has referred that the cause of the prosperity in America in 1923, as distinct from 1921, was the fact that the trade union organisations in America had to force up. wages through industrial pressure.
§ Mr. HANNON
That statement is quite true, but how could the Trade Union organisations of the United States force up wages if the productive power of the United States could not stand it? The real reason for the astounding progress and prosperity in the United States, to which the hon. Member referred, was the fact that the United States had the common sense to protect its own market in the first instance. As every hon. Member who has taken the trouble to examine economic conditions in the States in the last two years knows, that the first principle of the present-day economic policy in the United States is to preserve the home market for their own people. In this country, for some extraordinary reason, the Labour party never seems to appreciate the necessity of protecting the industry in which they are engaged. I can understand hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, now the tail of a party—a tail which is rapidly disappearing—adhering to old shibboleths. I can understand them keeping up the old cries by which they gained seats in many elections in the past and the deluding and misleading cry by which they gained many seats in the last election, but I cannot understand hon. Members above the Gangway on the Government side of the House, who, in promoting the welfare of their own people through their trade unions, which depends entirely upon the success of industry, being opposed to a reasonable moderate and carefully conceived system of Protection.
§ Mr. HANNON
I did not interrupt the hon. Member when he was speaking. I challenge any member of the Labour party to quote a single community in the whole world which has established a protective economic system that wishes to change it. Did the hon. Member for the Forest of Dean (Mr. Wignall) in his investigations in the United States find any statesman or party anxious to change their present protective system [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes!"] Will any hon. Gentleman above the Gangway—because the lost souls below the Gangway are beyond argument—instance a single community in Europe or elsewhere, except perhaps one or two quasi-civilised places in remote parts of the world, that wants to change a protective system which they have adopted? Yet the Labour Party, 950 for some inscrutable reason, went up and down the country during the last Election declaring against the protection of the industry out of which the working classes of the country make their livelihood. It must be said, in justice to the Prime Minister, that he carefully guarded himself in a speech which he made early in the Election campaign. He said he had no pre-occupation with regard to Protection or Free Trade and that he was prepared to examine them on their merits. That was not the cry of a great many of the hon. Gentlemen behind him. They seemed to think they could secure in many localities a few of the votes of the lonely wanderers of Liberalism by taking up this question.
I respectfully address three questions to hon. Gentlemen opposite—those above the Gangway. It shows my respect for their standard of intelligence. The first question is, How are you going to protect the masses of productive workers in this country in the security of their employment, if you indiscriminately allow to come in here manufactured goods which are produced under conditions in which no self-respecting British workman would live? I speak as a representative of one of the most progressive communities on earth. I speak for the City of Birmingham. In that city to-day we have 37,000 workmen out of employment and, at the same time, there are exposed to view in every shop in Birmingham masses of goods from foreign communities which ought to have been made by the working classes of that. community. What; is your remedy except to exclude these goods and give these men a chance? Are you going to expose the working men of this country for all time to every device and trick of unscrupulous importers? [HON. MEMBERS: "Who are the importers?"] Are you going to expose the. mass of the people in this country always to those who have made fortunes out of imported goods and who have never shown the slightest regard for the welfare of the productive classes?
The second question I put is this: How are we going to provide the power of bargaining with foreign protected communities unless we have some protection for our own industries? I have made a series of inquiries in European countries during the past four or five years, and in every single one of these countries the main consideration of the manufacturers 951 was the extent to which they could secure control of their own home market, and in every country except our own they were employing the protection which they enjoyed as an instrument of bargaining with the communities with which they had trading relations. Are we to continue for all time the only community on earth with its gates wide open to the trade of the world, without reference to the circumstances in which imported goods are produced, at the sacrifice of the welfare of our own people? This Motion is one which goes to the very roots of the future prosperity of this country. The third question I ask is: How are we to develop and maintain with our kith and kin overseas in our own Dominions, that measure of preference which will make for continued Imperial development and prosperity, unless we have a tariff in this country, in order to give them some return for what they gave to us? The hon. Member for Westbury (Mr. Darbishire) spoke of the £8,000,000 which we get back from Australia.
§ Mr. DARBISHIRE
The hon. Member will pardon me, but I said nothing of the sort. I spoke of £8,000,000 which was for the benefit of Australia, and not of this country.
§ Mr. HANNON
I am sorry if I have misrepresented the hon. Gentleman, but I think a statement- was made to the effect that Australian preference was worth £8,000,000 to us.
§ Mr. DARBISHIRE
I did not say so. I said that we were told the £8,000,000 would be a gift to us. but that as a matter of fact it was a gift to the Australian people.
§ Mr. HANNON
The hon. Gentleman did not tell the House, and probably he would not admit it, that we would not have got all those goods into Australia had it not been for the preference. Would the continuous increase in the export of our goods to the Dominions, since preference in our favour was first, instituted, be anything like what it is, if those preferences had not been established? Since peace in some form or another came upon the world, we have had Liberal statesmen and their followers eating their words from day to day. There never have been such lapses of 952 memory in the history of politics as have taken place with British Liberal statesmen. I want to quote one extract from a speech delivered in this House by the right hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith) in 1916. At that time the Paris Resolutions, which were drafted by Mr. Runciman, were under the consideration of this House, and the right hon. Member for Paisley, in the course of the Debate, said this:No one who has any imagination "—I hope there is some imagination in that quarter of the House—can possibly be blind to the fact that this War, with all the enormous upheaval of political, social, and industrial conditions which it involves, must, in many ways, and ought to if we are a rational and practical people, suggest to us new problems or possibly modifications in the solution of the old ones. I would regard it as deliberate blindness to the teachings of experience if you were to say we had forgotten nothing and had learned nothing from a War like this."—[OFFICIAL, REPORT, 2nd August, 1916; cols. 341–2, Vol. 85.]You have forgotten nothing and learned nothing. You are still pursuing the same lonely and foggy way which you have pursued for generations, and it is time that in this House there was some real demonstration of common sense on the part of hon. and right hon. Members opposite. In supporting this Motion to-night, I do so after long oversca experience in the development of our Imperial trade. I had the privilege, at one time in my career, of being an officer of one of our Dominion Governments. During the time that I was charged with administration in that Dominion, we had to devise means of establishing and expanding our local manufacturing enterprises. The only way in which we could do it was by imposing such a reasonable and carefully considered measure of protection as enabled our local producers to get some share of their own home market for themselves. We are only asking in this Motion to apply in this country, under the difficult, circumstances in which we are existing, with one and a quarter million people walking the streets, for whom nobody on the other side seems to have any sympathy—[HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw!"]—or any sense of obligation—we are pleading for these people, who are walking our streets to-day—[An HON. MEMBER: "They voted against you!"] They did not vote against me; I had 12,000 majority. We plead for these 953 people who are walking our streets to-day, and for whom the introduction of a carefully arranged, moderate, reasonable Protection would give a chance of a livelihood for themselves and their families.
§ Mr. VIVIAN
I listened with considerable interest; to the observations of my hon. Friend the Member for Moseley (Mr. Hannon). It was my privilege 30 years ago to have the hon. Member under my influence, to some extent, with regard to economics, and I am sorry to see such a decline, which I am sure has some connection with the company he has been keeping recently. I was rather surprised that my hon. Friend who has just spoken on the other side has not brought himself up to date with the policy of his leader and his party. Should he not have moved for the deletion from this Resolution of the word "imports" and asked leave to insert "exports"? I listened the other day with great interest to the speech of the late Prime Minister in that connection, and I understood him to say that the tendency of his latest point of view, was in the direction. of restricting our exports, while the Resolution seeks to restrict our imports. If we are to carry both these policies to their logical conclusion, we shall very soon convert ourselves into a sort of Robinson Crusoe's island, with his man Friday and probably the goat. If we are going to have the exclusion of imports, as desired by some hon. Members, arid the restriction of exports as desired by the ex-Prime Minister, it seems to me, to involve closing us up in a ring fence.
With regard to the point made by my hon. Friend concerning the United States of America, it is true that you have in the United States apparently a strong argument in favour of Protection, if you are justified in assuming that the prosperity of the United States is due to Protection, but I would suggest that my hon. Friend should apply his intelligence to this point. The United States is, after all, the largest Free Trade market in the world, whilst she has natural resources to a degree with which we cannot possibly compare. I remember a conversation that I had with an eminent economist in the United States on this point. He was a. Free Trader, and I referred to the fact that his own country practised Protection, and yet seemed, notwithstanding its depressions from time to 954 time, to have its periods of boom and good trade. I asked how he could explain that, having regard to his theory of Free Trade. He replied: "Mr. Vivian, the truth is that the United States can afford the burden of Protection, but the old country cannot afford it. We have been so generously served by nature that our position is altogether different from your own." I suggest to my hon. Friends opposite that what Free Trade, after all, does for this country is to make it, to some extent, independent of the niggardliness of nature in regard to its natural resources. The kind of trade that prospers under Free Trade here, more particularly shipping and shipbuilding, bring this little island of ours into close contact with the whole of the world in every sea and in every port; and by cheap transport over these thousands of miles of ocean, this little island, with its huge population and limited natural resources, holds a position in the world, which to me, and I think to any reflecting person, is astounding in the great world of industry. [An HON. MEMBER: "Unemployment!"] I submit a, definite question to hon. Gentlemen opposite, do they or do they not deny that the only way in which international trade can be carried on is on a basis that, for all practical purposes, either in goods or services you export just as much as you import? There is no other principle by which trading can be carried out. Even in our own private life the same principle holds good. You may have a thing given to you; you may steal it; or you may give an equivalent in return for it. The same principle applies to a private and to international business. Therefore, I submit to hon. Gentlemen opposite—and I suggest there is no economist for the last 100 years worthy of the name of economist who would dispute that exports pay for imports, not one—if that is sound, then it proves absolutely that you cannot increase employment in this country by keeping out imports. It is so obvious: if my hon. Friends restrict imports they restrict exports as well.
I want to pass to two other aspects' of this problem. The one is the effect of this principle of the raising of revenue—upon the political life of this country. Other 955 hon. Members will represent the economic standpoint no doubt in greater detail, indeed it has been already admirably presented by my hon. Friend. But I should like to direct the attention of the House to the effect of a system of tariffs upon the political morality of this country. I have always held that the effect upon political morals is as important as on the economic side. If you shift the centre of gravity, or rather the centre at which profits are to be made, from the counting house and the factories to the Lobby of this House, you demoralise your political life and your industrial. You substitute a system of giving interest, or preferential profits in the shape of tariffs, and cause industry gradually to tend to lean, not upon its own efficiency, but upon its influence over the political life of the country. I suggest to hon. Gentlemen opposite that we on these benches may compare hon. Members opposite with some hon. Members on this side of the House. I hope they will not take it amiss if we in effect liken their Resolution to the Socialism of our friends on this side. It is not a question of difference between Socialism and no-Socialism, but between two kinds of Socialism. Our friends on this side stand for Socialism with public control. Our friends opposite on the Protectionist side stand in effect for Socialism without public control. They want to build up a system of industries living upon tariff profits of, say, 20, 30, 40 and 50 per cent. [An HON. MEMBER: "That is not Socialism!"] I will deal with that. It is a system of industry which carries with it dependence, not upon the earnings of the industry, but upon the. earnings of other industries, because the tariff that you levy for the benefit of any particular industry is a burden which is carried by other industries. Therefore, it is a system of legislating so that these industries lean upon tariff walls, which is a form of Socialism without public control.
It carries with it also, if I may say so, a tendency to develop combines. First your tariff fed industries have a local organisation. Presently that organisation becomes national. Huge funds are at the disposal of the combine, and 10.0 P.M. when it sees that the nation is acting with a view to destroying its extortion from the public, 956 the combine proceeds to buy up big newspapers, or to take interests in them, and to spend largely in advertising in the Press of the country with a view to quieting their criticisms of the conduct of the combine. In other words, you. get a demoralisation of public life right through by the adoption of a system of Protection. May I make this quotation from one whose authority will not be disputed on this question. I quote the opinion of Mr. Bayard, one of the greatest of United States Ambassadors we ever had in this country. He spoke these words in addressing a meeting at Edinburgh:In my own country I have witnessed the insatiable growth of that form of State Socialism style 'Protection,' which, I believe, has done more than any other single cause to foster class legislation and create inequality of fortune, to corrupt public life, to banish men of independent means and character from the public councils, to lower the tone of national representation, blunt public conscience, create false standards in the popular mind, to familiarise it with reliance on State aid, and guardianship in private affairs, divorce ethics from politics, and place politics upon the low level of a mercenary scramble.That is the deliberate opinion of an authority whose words are well worth the consideration of this House. I desire to deal with a point raised by more than one hon. Member opposite, more particularly the hon. Member who last spoke. I refer to his suggestion in regard to Imperial Preference. I regard this proposal of Imperial Preference as one of the most dangerous developments in, the whole issue of Free Trade and Protection. It is an attempt., as it were, to outflank the Free Trade position. First, I would observe that any logical development of Imperial Preference carries with it, in effect, to each self-governing part of the Empire the denial of the right of control over its own finances. If as between different parts of the Empire you give reciprocal subsidies in order to develop territory or industry in any part of the Empire and then the interests of your own part of the Empire require that these tariffs shall be removed. you will put on the Empire, in my view. in the long run a strain that it will not stand. Our Friends claim to be the only imperialists. I am speaking from the point of view of the unity of this Empire in the future, and it is because I am anxious for that unity, that I am going to oppose every develop- 957 ment in the direction of Imperial Preference.
I am not talking about mere theory, and I want to direct the attention of the House to the fact that this is not a new principle. If you go back to the 'forties you will see we had this system of preference on wheat and on lumber when the Free Trade principles were carried through this House under Sir Robert Peel. Mr. Gladstone later took office, and it was his duty in the forties to conduct the correspondence with Canada in a very delicate situation. The preference we had given on timber, for instance, had developed in parts of Canada an industry, the profit on which was the Tariff preference, and yet because this country defended the adoption of the Free Trade system, which carried with it the abolition of those preferences, we were very near of losing Canada from the. Empire. If you read the letters in the "Times" of that period, as I have done, and the speeches made in Canada by leading men at the head of boards of trade, you will see we were told that the time had come, when owing to the shattering of those interests, that there was no object in remaining with the Mother Country, and it was only by delicate handling and great care that. we were able to keep Canada within the Empire.
If hon. Members opposite will reflect, they will see that in these clays the development of an extended system of reciprocal preference would involve such financial and industrial restrictions between that the Empire would not stand the strain. It is not only here that that feeling exists. What has taken place in Canada during the last few years? I have given addresses in Western Canada on this very issue of Free Trade. The farmers are Free Trade to a man, and what is their complaint? It is that they are carrying on their backs this huge burden of tariffs in Canada, tariffs which had their origin—I am not making any accusation now—in the most extraordinary system of corruption this Empire has ever known—a system in which the manufacturers' associations did not send a deputation to the Cabinet, but the Cabinet associated with the manufacturers, and a bargain was made for contributions to the political funds based on what the manufacturers were going to get by taxing the public. Canada, from the point of view of purity, has grown out of that, 958 but it has been saddled with this system to such an extent that, much as tile people desire, they cannot throw it off. Liberal Prime Ministers who have been Free Traders have come in, but they have been only able to get reduced protective tariffs.
I want to direct attention to the point, that if you ally yourselves by a system of Preference to one of the parties in a Dominion, the Protectionist party, you are going to antagonise the growing Free Trade party in the West. For the first time in its history, Canada is confronted with a somewhat similar position to that with which this House is confronted, that is, it has three parties. For the first time you have got 50 farmers returned from the prairie provinces pledged to Free Trade, and they hold the balance of power. The latest communication in the Press from the Western farmers on this very point is, that they demand that their Government should develop in the direction of Free Trade as soon as possible. I warn this House not to ally itself with one of those parties in the Dominions. If you want continued co-operation, keep yourselves free from all those party controversies. The same applies to other Dominions. They have developed this system of Protection for manufactures. Those who are developing the natural resources are beginning to protest against, the burdens. Instead of relieving them by taking steps back towards Free Trade, these Prime Ministers want to go back from England, and say to the overburdened farmers in those Dominions, "We cannot give you ally relief in the shape of Free Trade, but we have brought you back some relief at the expense of the consumers of Great Britain." To show you that Canada is not alone, may I quote from one of the most important papers in Australia, namely, the Sydney Daily Telegraph,' of the 19th July, 1914? The article is headed "The Preferential Illusion." I am not out to take advantage, I hope, of debating points When I speak of the Empire and its future I mean what I say. If you can convince me I am wrong, I shall be the first to go over, hut you must convince me. The article said:To be sure we have given a percentage of preference to Crest Britain, but we have 959 taken care not to do it so that its application to any article would be detrimental to ourselves.Indeed, the manner in which the preference was applied is one of the most comic episodes in Parliamentary history. The truth was that in arranging for that system, although they made it a point in their programme, they forgot all about it when they drew up their tariff, and they had suddenly to correct matters. What did they suggest? Not to reduce the tariff against Great Britain, but to raise it higher against the foreigner. The article goes on to say:The only preference which would be of direct pecuniary benefit to Australia would be a preference on foodstuffs, and no Australian asks the poorer classes of the United Kingdom to submit to a tax on their bread and their meat for the sake of encouraging any industry whatever. If Mr. Bonar Law thinks that preference from the United Kingdom is the crying demand of the people of Australia, he should visit those shores and get disillusioned, and he would never hear the subject mentioned except by some whizzy-headed orator who was momentarily gravelled for II topic.I do, suggest to hon. Members opposite that these opinions I have expressed and quoted are worthy of consideration, and I do suggest, as the Australian paper implies, that it is grossly unfair that Australia and Canada should build up a system of artificial prices, artificial wages and artificial industries that are a burden to the whole of their enterprises which deal with natural products, and ask that the working people of this country, the relatively badly-paid people of this country, should he called upon to take any share of the burdens arising out of the policy they have pursued. We should say quite frankly that we have no desire to interfere with Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or South Africa in any way. If they desire Protection, let them have it. We may think they are wise or unwise, but so far as we are concerned we are going to maintain the right on these benches from time to time to reduce or increase or modify any system of taxation we like, as a result of the electors' choice, and we shall not allow our Chancellor to say, "I should like to take this or that preferential tax off, but cannot, because if I do we shall have the whole Dominions in arms against us on account of Tariff fed industries which will suffer. 960 These tariffs often make up more than the whole of the profits on many of these industries. Take a protective tax of 50 per cent. upon an article, there are very few industries where you can get a 50 per cent. or even a 10 per cent. profit on an article. A 20 or 30 per cent, preferential tariff would take us back to the 'forties, and the removal of them would bring these industries down like a pack of cards. I warn the House to keep that fact in mind. The position in this country is very delicate indeed. I believe our position is very serious as far as our industries are concerned. For good or for ill, during the last 100 years we have chosen the path of industry instead of the path of agriculture. Had we selected the latter industry, no doubt, we might have had a prosperous country with about half the population, but you did not select that course, and you deliberately selected the course of developing industries and placing yourselves in the position of depending on the markets of the world.
I am not exaggerating when I say that not far from a third to a half of the population of these islands, directly or I indirectly, depend on our position abroad, as far as our markets are concerned. To keep our growing population, increasing at the rate of about 200,000 a year, in food and raw material for its industries, is a difficult task indeed, having regard to the present position of the various countries of the world. There is one way in which we stand a chance of being able to achieve that end, and it is to keep our ports open wider than ever to the whole world, so that, we may regain our shipping industry. I believe the shipping industry is the key to the whole situation. Take the case of cargoes both ways. Take, for example, a cargo boat going to Australia or some other port of the world. If you assume that it will cost a pound a ton to take it, out and bring the ship home again, if you can arrange to have a cargo both ways, then, broadly speaking, 10s. per ton will be the cost being one-half that with a cargo one way. You benefit. your home industries by having a prosperous shipping able, to take your goods abroad at the lowest possible cost of transportation to every part of the world.
The same argument applies to food. In this country we cannot maintain our- 961 selves except on that wide, open basis. Our industries need the fresh air of Free Trade. Hon. Members on the Opposition side may think we are wrong, but I ask them to believe that our view is based on the firm belief that when you once practise the policy advocated by the late Prime Minister, and by hon. Members opposite, and practice it thoroughly, you can make up your minds that from 10,000,000 to 15,000,000 of the population of these islands must get out, because you will not be able to provide the food and the raw materials which are essential to their happiness.
§ Lieut. - Colonel Sir PAGE CROFT
When a right hon. Member has been seated on the Front. Bench during the whole of the Debate, is it in order for an hon. Member opposite to accuse him of only having just come in.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I think it is clearly a misunderstanding. [HoN. MEMBERS: "Withdraw, withdraw!"] I do not think it is necessary to call on the hon. Member to withdraw.
§ Mr. MILLS
If it should be the fact that the right hon. Gentleman was lying on the seat instead of at the Box, if it be the fact that he has been seated on the Front Bench during the whole Debate, I will of course withdraw what I said, but all I can say is that more than one of my colleagues has failed to see him there.
§ Sir P. LLOYD-GREAME:
I thank the hon. Member for his characteristic courtesy. I do not propose, in the few minutes in which I wish to intervene in this Debate, to follow the hon. Member for Totnes (Mr. Vivian) over the very wide range of subjects which he covered. My purpose is to put two or three specific questions to the Parliamentary Secretary of the Board of Trade who, I understand, is going to reply, because I think this Debate affords a convenient opportunity for eliciting information as to the course the Government propose to adopt on the very important subject which my hon. Friend has raised. I gather that 962 the policy which is going to be pursued by the Prime Minister and his Government in the matter of Imperial Preference will be very different from the policy enunciated by the hon. Member who has just sat down. If that were not to be so, the undertaking of the Prime Minister to put upon the Order Paper of this House, and to submit to this House, the resolutions of the Imperial Conference would be little more than a farce, and it would he far better to tell the Dominions straight out that you do not propose to have either part or lot with them in the matter of trade. I do not believe for one moment that that is going to be the attitude of the Prime Minister and his colleagues. The hon. Member read to us an extract from a newspaper published in Sydney in 1914, from which we were asked to believe that Preference was an illusion, and a thing distasteful to the peoples of the Dominions. We should get a more accurate account of the value which the Dominions attach to this Preference from the representatives of the Dominions who come to this country—representatives not only of one party in the Dominions—when, year after year, at Imperial Conference after Imperial Conference, Prime Minister after Prime Minister from all the Dominions, Labour, Liberal and Conservative, have followed one consistent policy—[Interruption.] Certainly, a Liberal Prime Minister in Canada, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, instituted a Preference, and a Conservative Prime Minister who followed him extended it; and the story is the same right through the Dominions. That is a more accurate picture of the sentiment of the Dominions than is to be culled from one single newspaper.
§ Mr. VIVIAN
Will the right hon. Gentleman explain to the House that the Preference given by Sir Wilfrid Laurier was a Preference towards Free Trade from this country?
§ Sir P. LLOYD-GREAME:
I said he gave a Preference. And let us assume his Preference was a movement towards freer trade. But what was the argument of the hon. Member? It was that these Dominions did not want our Preferences, but wanted Free Trade: and if it is getting nearer to Free Trade within the Empire, it is getting nearer to what they want. [Interruption.] When the hon. Member. has been longer 963 in this House he will appreciate that a Debate is not a conversazione, and the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Pringle) has been long enough in the House to behave better. If hon. Members opposite are really so anxious in the cause of Free Trade, I suggest to them that the best way in which they can make that a reality is to work for Imperial Preference, and so for freer trade within the Empire. That leads me to put one specific question to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade arising out of the Imperial Conference, and which I think is very relevant to the point with regard to the marketing of agricultural produce which my hon. Friend raised. At the Imperial Conference we resolved on the establishment of an Economic Committee; and it always seemed to me that one of the most important questions to be put to that Economic Committee was the whole question of the marketing of agricultural produce—whether Dominion agricultural produce or the agricultural produce of this country. I believe that, properly understood, there is a great link and bond of interest between the agricultural producer here and the agricultural producer in the Dominions. What I want to put to the hon. Gentleman is this: First of all, I trust that it is going to be the policy of the Government to go on with the establishment of the Economic Committee; and, secondly, if that Economic Committee is established, will he consider putting, as one of the first matters which they should consider, any relevant questions of marketing, whether of Dominion agricultural produce or of the home agricultural produce of this country?
The second question I want to put Lo the hon. Gentleman is this. With regard to certain specific industries, what is going to be the attitude of his Department and his Government? I will take, for example, the case of the lace industry, a specific industry on which an inquiry has been held, certainly not a biased inquiry, and a unanimous Report has been signed, among others, by a very distinguished trade union leader who is probably not prejudiced in favour of Tariff Reform. That Committee has made a unanimous Report in which they say that unless measures are taken to safeguard, by means of a duty, this particular industry it will go out of existence, with grave prejudice to the employment in it. That case stands 964 entirely on its own. It has been the subject of a special inquiry. The point raised by hon. Members opposite was considered, and the Committee found that no disadvantage could come to any other industry by means of a duty put on to safeguard the lace industry. They found it was efficiently conducted, that the condition was abnormal, and without such a duty it must suffer and would probably die out. In a case like that, what is going to be the attitude of the hon. Gentleman? Is he going to say the more imports you have into a country, of whatever nature, that is the one end-all and be-all, that it does not matter how many people go out of employment in this industry, because somewhere, somehow, profits are going to be made and all will be for the best in the best of all possible worlds. I cannot believe that is the attitude which he and his Government can adopt. The only practical course they can take in a case of this kind is to deal with an industry on its merits. If a case is found where the industry is efficient, where the circumstances are abnormal, where employment is being seriously and prejudically affected, that industry should be safeguarded in whatever way it is necessary to take steps to safeguard it. I am sure the hon. Gentleman, speaking for the first time on behalf of the Board of Trade, will give us a firm answer as to what action he is going to take in that matter. Does he take the same view of the Safeguarding of Industries Act that has been suggested by one speaker on the Liberal Benches, notwithstanding the fact that a Liberal Minister introduced that Bill?
§ Sir P. LLOYD-GREAME:
I think there was more unity then than possibly there is on those benches now. The House will certainly wish to know, and this is a relevant Debate on which to raise it, what is going to be the attitude, first of all as regards those industries which are absolutely vital to the safety of the country and to the industry of the country which 965 are covered by the first part of the Safeguarding of Industries Act, and what is going to be his attitude with regard to any industry which is met by exceptional conditions, whether due to sweated labour or depreciated exchanges. Let me put this typical case. He knows probably, because he is very well acquainted with economic subjects, that at present the German industrialists are trying to make arrangements with their workmen by which, in return for a ten hours day, they shall receive a pre-War gold wage. That would mean, I suppose that the cost of wages in Germany would be about half the wage cost in this country. Supposing we are faced with a condition in which German goods flood the market here manufactured under conditions such as that, absolutely exceptional, absolutely unprecedented, is the hon. Gentleman going to say in no circumstances will he take action? Or will he have the courage to say the exceptional cases require exceptional treatment, and that in the interests of unemployment he is going to give that exceptional treatment to them? He need not be afraid there is no authority for him on the matter, because I observe in a speech delivered by a very distinguished banker, Mr. Goodenough, who has been frequently quoted from that quarter as signing Bankers' Memorials, in his annual speech said that it was a very good thing to have measures like the Safeguarding of Industries Act available, where necessary, to meeting exceptional cases. In substance, that was what he said. I therefore put three points to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade. First, will the Government set up the Economic Committee and invite the Dominions to proceed to set it up, and give it these particular questions as to the marketing of agricultural products to deal with? Secondly, what attitude is he going to take in regard to typical industries like lace and tyres? Thirdly, can he give us any information as to what is going to be the attitude of the Government on the question of Imperial Preference?
Let, no one mistake the value of preference to this country. The hon. Member for Westbury (Mr. Darbishire), in a sneering way referred to "these Colonies of ours." We generally allude to them as Dominions. Let him not think far a moment that the value to this 966 country of the preference given by what he calls "these Colonies of ours" is a small thing. I would have him know that in the ease of Canada alone, when the commercial treaty was made a year ago with France which reduced the preference given to this country, practically everybody engaged in that trade with Canada came to me at the Board of Trade, and said, "Cannot you get this preference increased, because it has been of such great value to us"? We got the preference extended by something in the nature of another preference, namely, the removal of the cattle embargo. Then we are told that because business of this kind is done between the Mother Country and the Dominions, and because such business relationships are growing between Dominion and Dominion and Dominion and Crown Colony, such action will sunder the whole bond of Empire. Surely those who guide the destinies of our Dominions, and who proved what Imperial Unity is, and what a reality it is, by fighting side by side and dying with our men—[Interruption]—[HON. MEMBERS: "Speak up, we cannot hear you!"] I am rather surprised that the action of the Dominions in the war should be received in such a way by hon. Members opposite.
§ Sir P. LLOYD-GREAME
People speak earnestly about things in which they earnestly believe. I would have the hon. Member know that if he tested this question in an election, or at any other time, the great majority would be in favour of it. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] On the Imperial issue the electors of this country are solid, as you will find if you put it to the test at any election. The vast majority of the people, whether in this country or in the Dominions, believe in sentiment and in basing on that sentiment an extension of trade relations wherein lies the best hope of prosperity for the unemployed in this country.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. A. V. Alexander)
For the last two and a half hours the House has had a rather amusing time on a private Member's Motion, which has enlivened the proceedings somewhat and cheered up some hon. Members. Except from that point of view it seems to me that the Debate to-night has been 967 largely waste time, for if you look at the terms of the Motion moved earnestly and sincerely by the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Milne) you will see that it hardly seems necessary to bring this before the House on the second day of its meeting after the Adjournment. The Motion isto call attention to the necessity for regulating imports and for the protection of our home industries.I thought that the former Prime Minister took particular care at the end of last year to call attention to what he regarded as the same need, and the country took good care to indicate what it thought of what is contained in this Resolution, and returned a majority of two parties, at any rate opposed to the late Prime Minister's policy for dealing with unemployment. It seems to me, therefore, to be a waste of time to consider a Motion on these terms so early after the whole country has pronounced so definitely its opinion upon the matter, and not only that, but it is strange that, within 36 hours of a meeting in the Hotel Cecil, had agreed to bury Protection for the time being, the hon. Member should have put down a Motion on these terms.
Will the hon. Gentleman show me any difference between the proposals which I have made and those that were expressed at the meeting to which he refers? May I further point out the word "regulation"?
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
I do not think that that interruption is of any great importance. I notice that the hon. Member's Motion refers to the possibility of setting up an expert committee. This is not the first time we have heard of expert committees. Though the late Prime Minister at Plymouth last year said that he would stake the whole of his political reputation on the policy of Protection, he afterwards said that he would appoint a committee of experts, but in spite of that promise the electors turned the whole thing down. They have already indicated that they do not want a committee of experts on something which is going to be prejudicial to the economic and social condition of the great mass of the people of this country.
As regards the general trend of the Debate this evening, I do not think it necessary to make any detailed reply, but 968 I should like to refer to one or two points made by the Mover of the Resolution. He referred to agriculture and manufactures. He said that if only we adopted the policy set out in this Motion, there would be some hope of the development of a market for agricultural produce which could not be taken away from us by temporary conditions in other countries. We have had that story with regard to agricultural produce put before us in every single Debate on fiscal relationships to agriculture since they used to debate the question of the repeal of the Corn Laws early in the last century. There have always been in foreign countries temporary conditions which made it necessary, according to the Debates, for special protection to be given to the market for agricultural produce in this country. There is nothing really new about that argument. Two points have been raised about. manufactures. It is stated that we should give power to control and regulate imports so as to encourage the production of foodstuffs. The hon. Member went on to 'add, "provided you take special care that any such action taken will not increase the price of food to the consumer." How does he propose to do that? He said, at the end of his speech, that he had laid before the House constructive proposals. Not a single constructive proposal was submitted to the House in support of the Resolution. Hon. Members in the Protectionist camp always talk about not increasing the price of food to the consumer, but not a single constructive proposal did the hon. Member make for safeguarding the consumer in the event of such a course as he suggested being taken by this or any other Government.
It was suggested that if the Resolution were carried it might be possible to move in the direction of extending and simplyfying the Safeguarding of Industries Act. I should have thought that the country had had a fairly wide experience already of what that Act does. I suppose it would he perfectly fair to say that the operation of that Act has not had any specific effect upon the increase of employment in a trade governed by the Act, with the possible exception of hollow-ware. That is the one trade in which Part II of the Safeguarding of Industries Act has been effective. That is 969 information placed at my disposal by the -same advisers as the right hon. Gentleman who last spoke had in the last Parliament, and it is that the only trade Which has been materially affected by the Act in regard to an increase of employment is the enamelled hollow-ware trade.
As the time at my disposal is strictly limited, I do not propose to make any further reference to the general debate. No doubt Members on both sides have regarded the Debate, as between Free Trade and Protection, More as a very pleasant interlude, a pleasant flogging of s dead horse. But in regard to the last speaker, I am sure that he, with his experience of Ministerial responsibility, does not expect me to reply on the points he has submitted. I am rather surprised that the" right hon. Gentleman, after having listened to the statement of the Prime Minister and his clear indication as to the possible time when these matters would be dealt with by the Government, should think that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade could be drawn to-night to say exactly what were the views of the Government upon these particular matters. But because of his reference to the possible changes, and violent changes, which it was suggested might take place with regard to products to be sent to this country, I suggest to him that, according to our present information with regard to the extending of the Safeguarding of Industries Act to deal with any such occurrence as he mentioned, so far as depreciation of currency is concerned, the right hon. Gentleman would agree that there is an improvement taking place gradually upon the Continent, and that even if one went back to the old argument on which Part II of the Act was founded, it is true to say that that Act would be less required in the near future than has been the case in the past twelve months.
In support of that view, I remind the House that in the case of Germany a stabilisation, at any rate a temporary stabilisation, has been effected in the German currency, and reports from that country are to the effect that prices are now even above the parity of corresponding prices in countries with relatively stable currencies. Unless the efforts now being made in Germany result in a break- 970 down the evil of exchange dumping from that direction should be greatly reduced in magnitude even if it does not entirely disappear.' In regard to France, I think we may submit that the recent measures aiming at a real balancing of the Budget there—and the hon. Gentleman who interrupted when someone on these benches was speaking about unemployment and asked, "What about France," might have remembered these measures and their effect—should reduce or destroy exchange dumping from that country. It is true that up to the present the exchange has not been effectively steadied, but the addition of 20 per cent. to the taxes and the effect of the improved relations with this country which are indicated in the Press reports may be expected to be in favour of more normal commercial relations. Let me take another case which is often quoted in connection with the Safeguarding of Industries Act—the case of Belgium. It has now been the case for some time that wage rates are adjusted with little delay to the new value of the Belgian franc, and any improvement in the French franc may be expected to be followed by some improvement in the Belgian franc, and special arrangements to prevent exchange dumping of steel from Belgium are less likely to be needed now than was the case a few months ago. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the lace industry order. All I can say is that the Board of Trade in this Government, as in previous Governments, will give the most careful consideration to the Report of the Committee. But it is interesting to note that the electors of Nottingham were not so much impressed by the need for the artificial protection of the lace industry as the right hon. Gentleman seems to think, because they took great care to send to this House those who are opposed to Protection and are in favour of Free Trade
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
I do not know anything about Mr. Wardle. I do not know whether he is a Member of this House or a member of my party.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
With regard to the point mentioned by the right hon. Gentle- 971 man concerning the Economic Committee of the Imperial Conference, I can say no more to-night—and I am sure he does not expect me to say more—than that what he has said shall be brought to the notice of my right hon. Friend, and that every consideration shall be given to the suggestion that he has made.
§ Sir P. LLOYD-GREAME
May I ask one question? Has any correspondence passed between the Government and the Dominions in regard to selecting the personnel of a Committee?
§ Mr. PRINGLE
On a point of Order. Are these questions by the right hon. Gentleman opposite relevant to the subject before the House?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The Resolution is very vague in its terms, and it is rather difficult to say what is in it and what is out of it.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
I am not in a position to reply to the question at the moment. I wish to finish now because I am sure that the House desires to go to the Division and give this Motion the treatment it thoroughly deserves. I am perfectly persuaded that at any time—in the present Parliament at any rate—when a Resolution of this kind is raised, it will always get the treatment that I feel certain those who are behind me and to the right. of me will give it to-night.
§ Mr. S. ROBERTS
This Resolution concerns a most important. problem affecting the lives of every man, woman and child in this country. [HON. MEMBERS: "Divide!" and Interruption.] I hope hon. Members will give it consideration and will see that it can do no harm whatever to have this question carefully considered by a Committee of experts, so that the very best brains of this country may be called in to deal with it, and so that we may have the opinions of those who are interested in employment, those interested in the carrying and distributing trades and all the other trades which make up the industry of this country. [Interruption.] In listening to this-Debate, one thing has appeared clear to me, and it is that apparently both sections of the Opposition—
Question put accordingly,
That, in view of the conditions obtaining in foreign countries, it is necessary to-safeguard more effectively industries in this-country which are or may be seriously affected thereby and, with the object of providing increased employment, it is desirable to appoint an expert Committee to inquire into the most effective way of dealing with this problem.
§ The House divided: Ayes, 103; Noes, 290.975
|Division No. 3.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Doyle, Sir N. Grattan||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Allen, Lieut.-Col. Sir William James||Eden, Captain Anthony||Lloyd-Greame. Rt. Hon. Sir Philip|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Locker-Lampoon, Corn. O. (Handsw'th)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Eyres-Monsell, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Lorimer, H. D.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Ferguson. H.||Lyle, Sir Leonard|
|Barnett, Major Richard W.||FitzRoy, Captain Rt. Hon. Edward A.||Lynn, Sir R. J.|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Forestler-Walker, L.||MacDonald, R.|
|Becker, Harry||Fremantie, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||McLean, Major A.|
|Bonn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Gibbs. Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Mitchell. Sir W. Lane (Streatham|
|Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Morden, Colonel Walter Grant|
|Briscoe, Captain Richard George||Gretton, Colonel John||Nall. Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph|
|Brittaln, Sir Harry||Gwynne, Rupert S.||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert|
|Burman, J. B.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|But[...]er, Sir Geoffrey||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||pennefather, Sir John De Fonblanque|
|Caine, Gordon Hall||Harland, A.||Penny, Frederick George|
|Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Hartington, Marquess of||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Harvey,C. M.B.(Aberd'n & Kincardne)||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Philipson, Mabel|
|Clayton, G. C.||Herbert, Capt. Sidney (Scarborough)||P[...]e[...]ou, D. P.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Raine, W.|
|Cope, Major William||Hood, Sir Joseph||Rawson, Alfred Cooper|
|Courthope, Lieut. Col. George L.||Hope, Rt. Hon. J. F. (Sheffield, C.)||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Croft, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Henry Page||Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Howard, Hn. D.(Cumberland, Northrn.)||Ropner, Major L.|
|Cunliffe, Joseph Herbert||Hutchison, W. (Kelvingrove)||Roundel, Colonel R. F.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Iliffe, Sir Edward M.||Russell, Alexander West Tynemouth)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Jephcott, A. R.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Deans, Richard Storry||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Samuel, Samuel (W'daworth, Putney)|
|Dixey, A. C.||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Savery, S. S.||Waddington, R.||Yate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward|
|Shepperson, E. W.||Warrender, Sir Victor||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)||Wells, S. R.|
|Smith-Carrington, Neville W.||Wheler, Lleut,Col. Granville C. H.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Somerville, Daniel (Barrow-in-Furness)||Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)||Mr. Wardlaw Milne and Mr. A.|
|Steel, Samuel Strang||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George||Somerville.|
|Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Wise, Sir Frederic|
|Ackroyd, T. R.||Gillett, George M.||Lunn, William|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis Dyke||Gorman, William||McCrae, Sir George|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Gosling, Harry||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Gould, Frederick (Somerset, Frome)||M'Entee, V. L.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Mackinder, W.|
|Allen, R. Wilberforce (Leicester, S.)||Gray, Frank (Oxford)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Alstead, R.||Greenall, T.||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.|
|Ammon Charles George||Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Cone)||Madan, H.|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Mansel, Sir Courtenay|
|Attlee, Major Clement R.||Grigg, Lieut.-Col. Sir Edward W. M.||March, S.|
|Ayles, W. H.||Groves, T.||Marley, James|
|Baker, W. J.||Guest, Capt. Hn. F. E.(Gloucstr., Stroud)||Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, E.)|
|Banton, G.||Guest, J. (York, W.R., Hemsworth)||Martin, W. H. (Dumbarton)|
|Barclay, R. Noton||Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||Maxton, James|
|Barnes, A.||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Meyler, Lieut.-Colonel H. M.|
|Batey, Joseph||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Middleton, G.|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Millar, J. D.|
|Berkeley, Captain Reginald||Harbord, Arthur||Mitchell, R. M. (Perth & Kinross, Perth)|
|Birkett, W. N.||Hardie, George D.||Montague, Frederick|
|Black, J. W.||Harney, E. A.||Morris, R. H.|
|Bondfield, Margaret||Harris, John (Hackney, North)||Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South)|
|Bonwick, A.||Harris, Percy A.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Morse, W. E.|
|Briant, Frank||Harvey, T. E. (Dewsbury)||Moulton, Major Fletcher|
|Broad, F. A.||Hastings, Sir Patrick||Muir, John W.|
|Bromfield, William||Haycock, A. W.||Mur, Ramsay (Rochdale)|
|Brown, A. E. (Warwick, Rugby)||Hayes, John Henry||Murray, Robert|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Henderson, A. (Cardiff, South)||Murrell, Frank|
|Brunner, Sir J.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Naylor, T. E.|
|Buchanan, G.||Henderson, W. W. (Middlesex, Enfld.)||Nixon, H.|
|Burnie, Major J. (Bootle)||Hillary, A. E.||O'Grady, Captain James|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Hindle, F.||Oliver, P. M. (Manchester, Blackley)|
|Cape, Thomas||Hirst, G. H.||Owen, Major G.|
|Chapple, Dr. William A.||Hobhouse, A. L.||Paling, W.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Hodge, Lieut.-Col. J. P. (Preston)||Palmer, E. T.|
|Church, Major A. G.||Hodges, Frank||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Clarke, A.||Hoffman, P. C.||Pattinson, S. (Horncastle)|
|Clmie, R.||Hogbin, Henry Cairns||Pethick Lawrence, F. W.|
|Close, W. S.||Hore-Belisha, Major Leslie||Perry, S. F.|
|Cnes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Howard, Hon. G. (Bedford, Luton)||Phillipps. Vivian|
|Collins, Patrick (Walsall)||Hudson, J. H.||Pilkington, R. R.|
|Compton, Joseph||Isaacs, G. A.||Ponsonby, Arthur|
|Comyns-Carr, A. S.||Jackson, R. F (Ipswich)||Potts, John S.|
|Cory, Sir Clifford||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Pringle, W. M. R.|
|Costello, L. W. J.||Jenkins, W. A. (Brecon and Radnor)||Raffan, P. W.|
|Cove, W. G.||Jewson, Dorothea||Raffety, F. W.|
|Crittall, V. G.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Rathbone, Hugh R.|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Johnston, Thomas (Stirling)||Raynes, W. R.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Johnstone, Harcourt (Willesden, East)||Rea, W. Russell|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Rees, Capt. J. T. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Dickson, T.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Rendall, A.|
|Dodds, S. R.||Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne)||Richards, R.|
|Duckworth, John||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Springs)|
|Dudgeon, Major C. R.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Ritson, J.|
|Duffy, T. Gavan||Jewett, Rt. Hon. F. W. (Bradford, E.)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)|
|Dukes, C.||Jowitt, W. A. (The Hartlepools)||Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Duncan, C.||Kay, Sir R. Newbold||Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)|
|Dunn, J. Freeman||Kedward, R. M.||Romerll, H. G.|
|Donnco, H.||Keens, T.||Rose, Frank H.|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Kennedy, T.||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Edwards. G. (Norfolk, Southern)||Kirkwood, D.||Royle, C.|
|Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Lansbury, George||Rudkin, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. G.|
|Egan, W. H.||Laverack, F. J.||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Emlyn-Jones, J. E. (Dorset, N.)||Law, A.||Scurr, John|
|England, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Lawrence, Susan (East Ham, North)||Seely, H. M. (Norfolk, Eastern)|
|Entwistle, C. F.||Lawson, John James||Sexton, James|
|Falconer. J.||Leach, W.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Finney, V. H.||Lee, F.||Sherwood, George Henry|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Lessing, E.||Shinwell, Emanuel|
|Foot, Isaac||Lindley, F. W.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Franklin, L. B.||Lunfield, F. C.||Simon, E. D. (Manchester, Withingtn.)|
|Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton)||Livingstone, A. M.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd||Loverseed, J. F.||Simpson, J. Hope|
|George, Major G. L. (Pembroke)||Lowth, T.||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Sitch, Charles H.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)||Weir, L. M.|
|Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)||Welsh, J. C.|
|Smith, T. (Pontefract)||Thompson, Piers G. (Torquay),||Westwod, J.|
|Smith, W. R. (Norwich)||Thomson, Walter T. (Middiesbro, W.)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Snell, Harry||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)||White, H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)|
|Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip||Thornton, Maxwell R.||Whiteley, W.|
|Spears, Brig.-Gen. E. L.||Thurtle, E.||Wignal, James|
|Spence, R.||Tillett, Benjamin||Williams A. (York, W. R. Sowerby)|
|Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)||Tinker, John Joseph||Williams, David (Swansea, E.)|
|Spero, Dr. G. E.||Toole, J.||Wiliams, David (Swansea, E.)|
|Spoor, B. G.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.||Wiliams, Col. P; Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Stamford, T. W.||Turner-Samuels. M.||Williams, Lt.Col. T. S. B. (Kenningtn.)|
|Starmer, Sir Charles||Viant, S. P.||Wiliams, Maj. A. S. (Kent, Sevenoaks)|
|Stephen, Campbell||Vivian, H.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)||Wallhead, Richard C.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Stranger, Harold||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Sturrock, J. Leng||Ward, G. (Leicester, Bosworth)||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Sullivan, J.||Warne, G. H.||Woodwark, Lieut.-Colonel G. G.|
|Sunlight, J.||Watson. W. M. (Dunfermline)||Wright, W.|
|Sutherland, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)||Young, Andrew (Glasgow, Patrick)|
|Sutton, J. E.||Webb, Lieut.-Col. Sir H. (Cardiff, E.)|
|Tattersall, J. L.||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Terrington, Lady||Wedgwood, Col. Rt. Hon. Josiah C.||Mr. Mills and Mr. Darbishire.|
Question, "That the Question be now put," put, and agreed to.