HC Deb 05 August 1925 vol 187 cc1498-507

Motion made, and Question proposed "That the Lords Amendments to the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Bill be considered forthwith."—[Mr. Neville Chamberlain.]


Some little interval has elapsed since this Bill went to another place, and I think we ought to enter a formal protest against the Lords Amendments being considered without our having any knowledge of the details of them. I realise that on many occasions towards the end things have to be rushed, and in view of the Adjournment perhaps there is not much time, but having regard to the period that has elapsed since the Bill left this House, I feel we should have Been In a much better condition to consider the Amendments if we had had them on the Order Paper even this morning, without asking for any further notice than that. Though the Amendments may not be of substantial importance, it may be that there are some that are of real importance, and we should prefer to have them before us.


While joining in the protest that has been made by the hon. Member for Colne and Nelson (Mr. Greenwood), I would like to ask a question as to one of the Amendments that was moved in the House of Lords and, I understand, withdrawn on the understanding that a Committee was to be appointed. That was the Amendment, which was also moved in this House, dealing with the rights of pensioners who emigrate to other parts of the Empire. That Amendment, when it was moved from these benches, was received with some scorn and contempt by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. I would like to know what fate that Amendment met in the other House, and what is the Government's action with regard to the future of that Amendment?


I observe that that is an Amendment which the Lords rejected or, at any rate, did not pass.


I agree that it is eminently desirable that we should have the Lords Amendments printed. If they raise matters of substance or controversy the House should have the opportunity of seeing them before they are asked to consider and decide upon them. This is not the same thing as examining the Bill in connection with its Clauses, and these Amendments may be raising questions of far-reaching importance and some difficulty. I hope the Minister of Health will be able to assure us that these Amendments are not of a substantial character, and if they are, I trust he will be able to postpone the discussion until the Amendments have been printed.


We have often been lectured about constitutionalism and the proper way to pursue in regard to legislation. I want to make a protest at the way this business is being done, because the House of Commons is not the foot-servant of the House of Lords. In matters of legislation we are supposed to be the governing authority. Now we are being asked to accept Amendments about which we know nothing, and even the Minister of Health, in moving the acceptance of the Lords Amendments, has not explained them.

The MINISTER of HEALTH (Mr. Neville Chamberlain)

I have simply moved that they be considered forthwith.


I want them considered fifth-with. Some of us are interested in one question relating to old age pensioners who may go across the seas to their children in the Colonies. In my own constituency such cases have been brought to my notice whore old people have gone to see their sons and daughters abroad, and in a case of that kind the Government seem to sub-let their responsibility.


That is not one of the Lords Amendments.


We have not had any chance of discussing these matters, and the House of Commons ought to know what they are going to vote about, and if they do not know they ought not to be here.


I do not complain of the protest which has been made, but hon. Members will realise that the reason why the Amendments have not appeared on the Paper is because of pressure on our time. That, however, would not be a sufficient excuse if, in point of fact, any of these Amendments were of substantial importance or raised any new feature. As a matter of fact, all the Amendments I shall ask the House to agree to are either of a drafting character or Amendments consequential upon Amendments carried in this House in other parts of the Bill. That is really the whole sum and substance of these Amendments, and I hope the House will consent to consider them.


May I remind the right hon. Gentleman that opinions may differ very considerably as to what are or are not substantial Amendments. Many of us remember that in the discussions in this House certain matters of which the Minister of Health thought very lightly were considered of supreme importance on these benches. I suggest that those who have taken the keenest interest in this Bill feel that we ought to have a chance of going through these Amendments very carefully before they are brought before the House in this way. There are two days remaining, and we ask the Tight hon. Gentleman to take other business now, and let us consider these Amendments even at a very late hour to-morrow or on Friday after the other business has been disposed of.


I quite share the protest which has been made by the hon. and gallant Member for Burton (Colonel Gretton). It is very easy for the Minister of Health to come along and say that these are not important matters, but there is a question of principle involved. The curtailment of the privileges of the House of Commons sometimes comes im-

perceptibly and by degrees, and if we are going to give way, even on a small matter, we may be asked to give way on more important matters. Only this evening we heard the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade suggest that it was too late to alter an Order which was being brought forward in the House of Commons. I hope that those who have made this protest will refuse to pass these Amendments until we are in a position to see what we are talking about.

Question put, "That the Lords Amendments be considered forthwith."

The House divided: Ayes, 192; Noes, 70.

Division No. 354.] AYES. [10.1 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Falle, Sir Bertram G. MacRobert, Alexander M.
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Fielden, E. B. Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-
Albery, Irving James Fleming, D. P. Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Ford, P. J. Merriman, F. B.
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby) Foster, Sir Harry S. Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Foxcroft, Captain C. T. Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Ganzoni, Sir John Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)
Atkinson, C. Gates, Percy Moore-Brabazon Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton Moreing, Captain A. H.
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham Murchison, C. K.
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Goff, Sir Park Nail, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph
Barnett, Major Sir Richard Grace, John Neville, R. J.
Barnston, Major Sir Harry Greene, W. P. Crawford Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Beamish, Captain T. P. H. Greenwood, William (Stockport) Nicholson, O. (Westminster)
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London) Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.)
Betterton, Henry B. Gretton, Colonel John Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert
Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.) Grotrian, H. Brent Nuttall, Ellis
Boothby, R. J. G. Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Oakley, T.
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R. (Eastb'rne) Oman, Sir. Charles William C.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Hanbury, C. Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I. Harrison, G. J. C. Pennefather, Sir John
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Perring, William George
Burman, J. B. Haslam, Henry C. Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Burton, Colonel H. W. Hawke, John Anthony Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)
Campbell, E. T. Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley) Pilcher, G.
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P. Preston, William
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Henn, Sir Sydney H. Radford, E. A.
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Hennessy, Major J. R. G. Raine, W.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Henniker-Hughan, Vice-Adm. Sir A. Ramsden, E.
Chapman, Sir S. Hilton, Cecil Rawson, Alfred Cooper
Chilcott, Sir Warden Hohler, sir Gerald Fitzroy Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington
Christie, J. A. Holland, Sir Arthur Remer, J. R.
Clayton, G. C. Holt, Captain H. P. Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Homan, C. W. J. Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes., Stretford)
Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K. Hopkins, J. W. W. Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Couper, J. B. Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) Rye, F. G.
Courtauld, Major J. S. Howard, Capt. Hon. D. (Cumb., N.) Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Cowan Sir Wm. Henry (Islingtn. N.) Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Sandeman, A. Stewart
Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe) Hume, Sir G. H. Sanders, Sir Robert A.
Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Hurd, Percy A. Sanderson, Sir Frank
Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend) Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l) Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)
Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro) Jacob, A. E. Shaw, Lt.-Col A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W)
Cunliffe, Joseph Herbert Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)
Curzon, Captain Viscount Jephcott, A. R. Skelton, A. N.
Davidson, J. (Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd) John, William (Rhondda, West) Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Davies, A. V. (Lancaster, Royton) Kennedy, T. Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Kidd, J. (Linlithgow) Smithers, Waldron
Dawson, sir Philip Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)
Dean, Arthur Wellesley Knox, Sir Alfred Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Dixey, A. C. Looker, Herbert William Stanley, Hon. O. F. G.(Westm'eland)
Edmondson, Major A. J. Lougher, L. Storry Deans, R.
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.
Elliot, Captain Walter E. Lumley, L. R. Strickland, Sir Gerald
Elveden, Viscount Mac Andrew, Charles Glen Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.
England, Colonel A. Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.) Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.) McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Everard, W. Lindsay McLean, Major A. Templeton, W. P.
Fairfax, Captain J. G. Macmillan, Captain H. Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen South)
Tinne, J. A. Watts, Dr. T. Womersley, W. J.
Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda) Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)
Varley, Frank B. Williams, Herbert G. (Reading) Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)
Wallace, Captain D. E. Wilson, Sir Charles H.(Leeds, Centrl.) Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Warner, Brigadier-General W. W. Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Litchfield)
Warrender, Sir Victor Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley) Wise, Sir Fredric Captain Margesson and Captain Douglas Hacking.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Hore-Belisha, Leslie Scrymgeour, E.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Scurr, John
Ammon, Charles George Johnston, Thomas (Dundee) Sexton, James
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown) Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Barr, J. Kelly, W. T. Slesser, Sir Henry H.
Bromley, J Kirkwood, D. Smillie, Robert
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Lansbury, George Stamford, T. w.
Charleton, H. C. Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Stephen, Campbell
Cluse, W. S. March, S. Sutton, J. E.
Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock) Maxton, James Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro, W.)
Connolly, M. Montague, Frederick Tinker, John Joseph
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) Morris, R. H. Viant, S. P.
Duncan, C. Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen
Garro-Jones, Captain G. M. Murnin, H. Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Gillett, George M. Naylor, T. E. Westwood, J.
Gosling, Harry Oliver, George Harold Whiteley, W.
Greenall, T. Paling, W. Wiggins, William Martin
Groves, T. Ponsonby, Arthur Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Grundy, T. W. Potts, John S. Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth) Purcell, A. A. Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Windsor, Walter
Hayes, John Henry Ritson, J. Wright, W.
Henderson, T. (Glasgow) Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Hirst, G. H. Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Mr. Dalton and Major Crawfurd.

Question, "That this House do now adjourn," put, and agreed to.

Lords Amendments considered accordingly.

  1. CLAUSE 3.—(Widows' pensions.) 435 words
  2. c1505
  3. CLAUSE 13.—(Voluntary contributors.) 285 words
  4. cc1506-7
  5. CLAUSE 19.—(Pensions of widows and orphans of men over 70 at commencement of Act.) 388 words