HC Deb 07 December 1926 vol 200 cc1921-3

I beg to move, That leave be given to introduce a Bill to compel the publication by all political parties, organisations and associations of income and expenditure duly certified and audited by chartered incorporated accountants. [HON. MEMBERS: "Agreed!"] I am encouraged by those cheers. The present Statute dealing with this matter is limited in scope and applies only to one political party. I do not complain of that. Indeed so beneficial have been its effects with respect to the Labour party that we earnestly and seriously recommend it for adoption by the other political parties. It is therefore in no spirit of retaliation that I suggest this legislation. On the contrary, I am anxious to help hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite to prepare their brief, in anticipation of the "Nosey Parker" legislation which it is said they are going to introduce. It will be in the recollection of the House that we on this side have been charged by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite in and out of season with not truly representing working-class feeling in this country. We have had the example to-day of the introduction of a petition and up and down the country we are told there are Conservative working men's associations and Liberal working men's clubs, the members of which are consumed with the idea of escaping from the bondage of a tyrannical Labour party. But up to now we have had no evidence of that feeling except the statements of certain right hon. and hon. Gentlemen and I wish to supply these right hon. and hon. Gentlemen with a means of securing such evidence if any exists. If there be any truth in these statements, why not give these loyal Conservative and Liberal working men an opportunity of sharing in the glory of publicly subscribing to the funds of those parties? The advantages of a Bill like this are obvious. Why should not the Conservative and Liberal working men who are now, as we are told, held in bondage by the Labour party participate in the honour and glory? Why should not their names appear on the subscription lists along with such illustrious beings as Members of the Upper House and the common or garden aldermen in our town and city councils. Every opportunity therefore should be given them to show that they were recognised. These working men should be in a position to hand down this record to posterity and to show their children and their children's children that they have, subscribed, if only to the extent of 6d_ or is., in order to stem the alleged devastating tide of Socialism which is supposed to be spreading itself all over the private enterprise of the British Empire—upon which the sun never sets and in which the tax collector never sleeps. Just think for a moment of the glory and the "kudos" of the Liberal working man's name appearing in a subscription list to help to pay the forfeit of Liberal candidates in moral victories where many are called but very few, if any are chosen—all for a nimble 6d. or 1s. a year. Bat why go on? [HON. MEMBERS: "Agreed!"] It is dirt cheap at the price. If there is any truth in the statement that these men are burning with the desire to subscribe to the Liberal and Tory parties, then they should welcome the opportunity of having the fact placed on public record.

Bill ordered to be brought in by M.r. Sexton, Mr. James Hudson, Mr. Riley, Mr. Ammon, Mr. Robinson, Mr. Charles Edwards, Mr. Lansbury, Mr. Lees Smith and Mr. Dunnico.