§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
§ Mr. MAXTON
On a point of Order. Before we proceed with this Bill I want to ask the Financial Secretary to the Treasury if he cannot arrange to have the previous White Papers relating to Trade Facilities placed in the Vote Office.
§ Mr. MAXTON
Am I not entitled to raise a matter affecting the proceedings of the House, in the House?
§ Major ATTLEE
I beg to move, to leave out the word "now," and, at the end of the Question, to add the words, "upon this day six months."
I shall set out briefly the general objection to proceeding with this Bill. My contention is that the introduction of this Bill is premature, and that it is in direct contravention of the policy of the Government and the policy with regard to electrical supply which has been laid down in this House. Under the Electricity Acts of 1919 and 1922 provision was made for setting up joint electricity authorities in various areas, to be delimited by the Electricity Commissioners who were themselves set up by the 1919 Act. The general intention of those Acts was to provide a cheap and abundant supply of electricity. In the course of time, after many difficulties, a Joint Electricity Authority for the Greater London area was established by an Order passed in July last, and in November of last year a Joint Electricity Authority for London and the home counties was established. On that authority were representatives of the company undertakers, local authority undertakers, local authorities representing consumers, railway companies, power companies, and the workers in the industry. That authority was directed under that Order to make provision for the co-ordination of electrical supply in its area, and as an annexe to that Order there was provided a technical scheme which, broadly speaking, laid down the principle that generation should be concentrated in a few economic large stations, and that in the course of time the smaller uneconomic stations should be closed down.
That Joint Electricity Authority although only constituted in November last, has already got to work. Its immediate work is to report on that technical scheme and bring it up to date. This Bill, however, seeks power to set up a capital station in the West London area before any report has been made on that technical scheme. Everyone will admit that the position in West London is such that provision must be made for additional supplies in that area for the load that will be forthcoming in the next few years. The London Power Company is putting forward a proposal for a capital station on the ground that it is bound to its constituent companies to supply energy 163 to them—the London Power Company being the creature of the 10-company group and having the general power of taking over the generating side of those companies. But the statement that they have an anticipated increase of the load in the West London area for their own undertakings, is only part of the truth, because in all the undertakings in West London, whether companies or local authorities, you will find practically a similar load curve, showing a continuous growth in all these types of undertaking, and the problem which the Joint Electricity Authority has to consider is the best means of meeting the forthcoming demand in the West London area in order to provide a cheap and abundant supply of electricity, not only for local authorities, but also for companies.
§ Major ATTLEE
It is quite clear that the general opinion of electrical experts is in favour of the large station as against a number of small stations, and the solution of the electricity problem in West London involves the setting up of one large super-station to take over generation for all those who demand a supply in that area. That is the solution which has commended itself to the Joint Electricity Authority, the composition of which I have explained to the House, and they have at once taken expert advice and they are already very well forward with plans for a generating station and are actually in negotiation for a site for that station. The position of the London Power Company is somewhat parochial. They are part of the London Joint Electricity Authority, they have a voice in the deliberations of the Joint Electricity Authority, and it would seem quite clear that their natural course would be to join with that authority in getting one great station for the West London area. They have, on the contrary, proceeded with this Bill, in which they seek power to acquire land on a specific site to set up a super-power station.
I want to take seriatim what are the points against the London Power Company's Bill. The first point I have already mentioned. It is that we do not want to have two separate authorities setting up 164 two big stations up-river; we want to get one. First of all, we claim that this is not, as a matter of fact, the best site available on the river. It has been suggested that this Bill might go forward and this site be purchased, and that then the question of who should erect the super-station should be a matter for the Electricity Commissioners, that the best man should win, and that the one approved by the Commissioners should take over this particular site, but the Joint Electricity Authority do not want to be bound by this site. We do not consider this is the best site, and we do not want either the Joint Electricity Authority or the London Power Company to be saddled with a site which is not wanted. One of the difficulties in the London area, as everybody who has studied the electrical question knows, is the multiplicity of small undertakings. Particularly in the West London area, you have a large number of small companies, you have some large companies, and you have some large and some small local authorities, and it is the very greatest difficulty to get these various authorities to combine together. Unfortunately, as a legacy of the past there is a great deal of jealousy and suspicion between company and local authority, between company and company, and between local authority and local authority, and there is rather a tendency to object to taking supplies from the particular type of authority with which a company or a local authority does not agree.
We have found that a vital difficulty in the task of the Joint Electricity Authority, where, unfortunately, without compulsory powers, we have to try and persuade the owners of uneconomic stations either to cease to expand them, or to close them down and take bulk supplies from some other quarter. We find an objection on the part of a local authority to take from a company, or sometimes of a company to take from another company. There is a general fear among the smaller authorities that they may be somehow drawn into the octopus arms of a large company, and the only way to get over that is that a super-station should be erected and controlled by the Joint Electricity Authority, on which all these types of undertaking are represented. A super-station requires a big demand. It is quite clear, to my mind, that if this station goes forward for the ten group companies alone, 165 you have, it is true, the demand of the ten group companies, but you have the very greatest difficulty in persuading other companies and local authorities to take supply from them. It may be argued that the London Power Company are not out to supply anyone but themselves. Well; we had that same thing in the East side of London, when the Barking Station was erected. It was set up merely to meet the demand of the County Company itself, but, as a matter of fact, in order to work that super-station you have the most violent efforts being made by the County Company to collect a load in every part of the area—East, North. South, and even West. It is of the essence of the successful working of a super-station that you should get the utmost load concentrated on it, and that is all in favour of the Joint Electricity Authority's plan of one large station.
Next is the question of finance. There is no doubt that the Joint Electricity Authority can raise money as cheaply as, and we say more cheaply than, any company, and the Joint Electricity Authority is not there to make a profit. It is there to provide a cheap and abundant supply of electricity to all undertakings. The London Power Company is the creature of 10 other companies, and these 10 other companies are out to make a profit. Under the agreement with the London County Council their profits are, it is true, somewhat controlled, but hon. Members will recollect that the ward motes of the City of London have been much troubled by the prices charged by some of these companies, and even we in Stepney have been flattered by our wealthy neighbour practically courting us and longing to take a supply from Stepney. The Joint Electricity Authority can raise money more cheaply and cannot make a profit, and that is a great advantage to all supplying authorities. They do not want to be in the hands of a company generating for a profit; they want the generation end of the stick in the hands of an authority that is going to produce abundant and cheap electricity.
Another point is that, if you have this Bill going forward, as it is, you will have a certain competition set up between the London Power Company and other supplying undertakings, even, for instance, the County Company, and however hon. Members opposite may be wedded to the idea of competition, I think they will 166 agree that competition is the one thing you do not want in electrical supply. If you are to get a cheap and abundant supply, you do not want to have duplicate lines all over the place. A further point is that, under the technical scheme annexed to this Order, it is the duty of the Joint Electricity Authority to take care generally of the electrical needs of the area. The London Power Company comes along, without the slightest reference to the technical scheme, and jumps in with this Bill, and it seems rather like an attempt to rush the Joint Electricity Authority before it has had time to function. Another thing that it is also anticipating is the Government's electricity proposals. The whole electrical world is waiting, with bated breath, to hear what the Government electrical proposals are going to be, and we want to know exactly how they will fit in with the Joint Electricity Authority's duties and powers, and how they will be affected by this Bill. Clearly there again, therefore, we have a sort of anticipation or rushing in by the London Power Company. Surely this is a great mistake on the part of the Company. I think anyone will admit that the Joint Electricity Authority commands to-day the services of a large number of men of high technical ability and great business experience. It can command the services of electrical experts, and there is no doubt about its ability or its power under the Acts and Orders to undertake this business of running a great power station for West London.
I am inclined to think that the real opposition does not come so much from the company itself as from the various interests that make money out of the promotion of Bills and such like—the experts, the agents, that hang around the business of electricity. If it be said that there may be these objections to the Bill, but that it might be given a Second Reading and allowed to go to, a Committee to be fully discussed, I Bay that we want to avoid the heavy expense of proceedings in Committee, the heavy fees to counsel, the heavy fees to technical experts, Parliamentary agents, and so on, when the whole of the struggle centres on one particular point only. As the promoters very frankly say in their statement, "Practically the whole object of the Bill is to enable the promoters to obtain a site." We do not want to have 167 days and days in Committee, and the piling up of expenses over a question of site. Let us settle the matter straight away on Second Reading. This is not the time to have produced this Bill. This is not the way to look after the best interests of supply in the western part of the Joint Electricity Authority's area. It runs contrary to the provisions of the Order passed by this House only last July. It runs contrary to the whole policy laid down in the Electricity Acts, and in every report that we have had by committees and commissions. It is in essence entirely parochial. On the Joint Electricity Authority we find that one of the difficulties we have to get over, and which, I think, we are getting over, is the excessive parochialism of some companies, and also, at times, of some local authorities.
It is very regrettable that such a big undertaking as the London Power Company should come forward with such an extremely narrow-minded scheme as this. The Joint Electricity Authority want in every way to meet the demand for a supply of the London Power Company. The London Power Company will be consulted on the matter of the Joint Electricity Authority's station. They are represented on the Joint Electricity Authority. They will have their say. They will be able to give us the benefit of their technical and business advice. To my mind, the question of this station is a test question with regard to the whole attitude of the Government and this House towards the electrical problem. If we really wish to deal with electricity in a large way, we have got to forget parochialism. We have got to forget petty jealousy. We have got to come in in a good spirit, and that is the work that in the whole London area the Joint Electricity Authority are trying to do. We are trying to concentrate the generation there in the hands of one big authority. This will be best for all suppliers of electricity. It will be best for all users of electricity. It will be best for large users and for small users. I hope, therefore, this House will save expense—and we are all out for economy to-day—and that it will save endless time to those concerned with the supply of electricity in the London area, by refusing to give a Second 168 Reading to this Bill, which, after all, is only an attempt—a misguided attempt—to get in first and queer the pitch for larger schemes.
§ Mr. MARCH
I beg to second the Amendment.
Of course, none of us knows exactly what view the Government are going to take on this matter, but it must be plain to the mind of every Member in this House, from the discussions which took place last year and the year before, with reference to the Joint Electricity Authority, that it was not the desire of the Labour party that we should have a joint electricity authority, and as it is constituted. But that was he best we could get from the Government of the day, and the Government argued very much the necessity for this authority to be set up as soon as possible, and given a long tenure. Having done that, surely the Government are not going to support one of the companies, which is a partner in connection with this Joint Electricity Authority, in bringing out their 10 companies to set up a super-station, when the Joint Electricity Authority are about to do the same thing. No doubt there has been a big increase in West London in factories, industrial buildings and dwellings, and it does require a good large super-station; but that should be done by the Joint Electricity Authority, and not by one of the companies that is a partner in the concern. I certainly hope the Government will not permit it to be done, and that the House will say it is not required. The company's help, skill and assistance are required in the Joint Electricity Authority to make it a good big going concern, and of benefit to the community.
§ Mr. HANNON
The House has been treated by the hon. and gallant Member for Limehouse (Major Attlee) this evening to a repetition of the series of arguments he used when the Electricity (No. 1) and (No. 2) Bills were before the House last year. The House ought at once to understand that the Bill before us this evening really arises out of a definite contract and understanding between all the parties concerned in the long series of negotiations which preceded the passing of last year's Act, and if the hon. Gentleman is coming down to the House this evening and asking the House 169 to depart from a definite understanding between all the parties concerned—[HON. MEMBERS: "No," and "When?"] Last year. [HON. MEMBERS: "Not with us."] Yes, the London County Council, the Borough Councils—
§ Mr. HANNON
Of course, my hon. Friend the Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) would not be satisfied with any suggestion coming from this side of the House. We all know for what he stands. He wants the nationalisation of this industry as well as of all other industries. His position in this House is now, and has always been, a perfectly logical one, but what the House is being asked to do to-night is go back on an understanding definitely established precedent to the passing of the Electricity (No. 1) and (No. 2) Bills last year.
§ Major ATTLEE
To what understanding does the hon. Member refer? I was representing local authorities in all the discussions.
§ Mr. HANNON
The hon. and gallant Gentleman knows perfectly well that before No. 1 and No. 2 Bills came before this House last year, a whole series of negotiations took place, that the London County Council called in an eminent accountant, that there was a continuous exchange of views with regard to adjusting the new scale of charges for electricity supply, and it was definitely understood between all parties concerned that a Bill of this kind would necessarily follow the passing of the No. 2 Bill last year.
§ Major ATTLEE
That is absolutely incorrect. The discussion was solely as to the scale of charges. The question of this Bill was never discussed—not one word.
§ Mr. HANNON
There is a body in existence comprising representatives of these 10 companies, known as the Electricity Supply Committee, 1920, Limited. The hon. and gallant Gentleman ought to know that that body was in existence up to the passing of the No. 2 Act of last year. He knows perfectly well that this London Power Company is the new title of that 1920 Electricity Committee.
§ Mr. HANNON
Yes, certainly. I admit at once that there was no definite 170 arrangement, but with respect to the sites another body has taken the question up. The arguments produced to the House this evening by hon. Members opposite might easily be summed up by saying that hon. Members opposite do not believe in any scheme of electricity supply which it not in accordance with the principles, so frequently, so explicitly, and so forcibly laid down by the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury).
§ Mr. HANNON
Hon. Gentlemen opposite want to eliminate private enterprise root and branch, particularly in this kind of public utility services, so that the State shall be the dominant factor in dealing with these great blessings of civilisation. In point of fact, the No. 2 Act of last year definitely conferred upon the London Power Company which, of course, is the successor of the London Electricity Supply Committee of 1920 the power to erect generating stations and to supply electricity to all the genuinely subsidiary companies. If hon. Members will look at Section 3 of the No. 2 Act of last year, they will find that after various preliminary observations it goes on to say:The company shall be deemed to be a power company for such an area of supply, and the company may supply, subject to the provisions of this Act, and generate a supply of electricity …..Does the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite contest the substance of that Clause of that Act of last year? This Bill is simply asking for power to purchase land to put up a large generating station at Brentford, or in that neighbourhood, in order to supply these 10 subsidiary companies, to meet obligations undertaken by direction of Parliament in the Act of last year, to meet the requirements of railway companies, and the needs of a constantly expanding demand for the supply of electricity over an area which it is proposed to cover. Hon. Members are pretty consistent in what they do, but are they clear that they understand exactly what it is proposed to do? Is that clearly in their minds? The direct result of passing the No. 2 Act of last year was to organise—the central purpose of the scheme was to supply electricity on a larger scale, and erect a super-station at some convenient place outside London. The hon. and gallant Gentleman knows that under the 171 Order of last year a Joint Electricity Authority was set up, and its functions extend over the whole country of London and Middlesex, and parts of the six adjacent counties. Upon this London Power Company was placed obligations, after the passing of the No. 2 Act of last year, to supply the 10 companies which comprise that London power area with electricity up to 1971, except in the case of one company, which is obliged to supply its own area in London for a period of 10 years. By the Act the company is authorised to make and supply electricity to the Joint Electricity Authority, and the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite would lead the House to believe—though his arguments were perfectly fair—that the Joint Electricity Authority was the one and the only one which ought to be invested with the privilege of putting up super-stations. Why, this Act of last year definitely empowered the London Power Company, which now comes to this House, to supply electricity to the same Joint Electricity Authority. Does the hon. and gallant Gentleman admit that?
§ Major ATTLEE
Certainly, it is quite true that the London Power Company is given power to supply electricity, but the Joint Electricity Authority may itself generate or may take supplies in bulk from anyone else. I am not suggesting that it has exclusive powers of generation.
§ Mr. HANNON
The position is clear, I think, from what the hon. and gallant Gentleman has said, and Parliament has been exceedingly wise in placing this provision in the Act because the Joint Electricity Authority is not prepared to give an undertaking at present to supply in bulk. Somebody with the initiative and capital must undertake this great project to provide for the clamant needs of London. If hon. Gentlemen opposite carry the House with them it means that you are going to throw the whole organisation of the electricity supply in the London area into a state of chaos until the Joint Electricity Authority is able, after long and protracted negotiations, and in the face of the difficulties and technical problems involved, to arrive at some arrangement after, it may be, 12 months, or it may be three or four years.
§ Major ATTLEE
The London Electricity Authority is in a position to supply electricity as soon as it has power to acquire land compulsorily. If the hon. Gentleman's party will give that power they can get on with their scheme.
§ Mr. HANNON
The hon. and gallant Gentleman is perfectly right. The Joint Electricity Authority does require authority from Parliament to acquire land, but it wants something else, it wants capital to put up its great power station, and does the hon. and gallant Gentleman think that the Joint Electricity Authority, with no scheme yet elaborated, having made no attempt, so far as I know, to proceed with the examination of its technical scheme, is in a position to provide the capital for that super-station, whereas the London company has had its capital subscribed four times over in two hours this morning? We cannot keep these schemes hung up waiting for the moment when the Joint Electricity Authority will be able to arrange its plans, to complete its organisation and go to the public for capital. We have got the capital, we have got our scheme ready, we are prepared to go to work at once. Hon. Gentlemen opposite, protagonists of the Joint Electricity Authority, have nothing to offer to the House to-night as against the definite, concrete, carefully-evolved scheme which we are prepared to submit to the Committee upstairs when this Bill goes before them.
Let me ask the House to remember the obligations imposed upon the London Power Company by last year's Act. One of the ten companies embraced by this London Power Company is under contract to supply 30,000 kilowatts yearly to the Southern Railway Company, with the further condition that, if called upon after reasonable notice, the London Power Company must supply 60,000 further kilowatts, and the Company have had information, I understand, that a demand will be made in a very short time for that supply. Is the whole convenience of the passenger traffic of the Southern Railway to be held up until the London Joint Electricity Authority, in its present, if I may say so respectfully, embarrassed condition, is in a position to organise a supply? Hon. Gentlemen opposite must not think they can bamboozle this House with arguments of that kind. All over the West London area there is a continually increasing demand for electricity, 173 and the London Power Company, as representative of the ten constituent companies, is not in a position to give any guarantee that it can meet this demand unless it gets power to erect a super-station. Two eminent electrical engineers have advised the London Power Company and the ten companies that unless the increased supply which will be available from this station can be provided in the next three or four years, the conditions as to electricity supply in London will be exceedingly serious, and the Company will not be able to discharge the obligations imposed upon it by the Act passed last year. Why have they come to Parliament? To ask Parliament to give them powers to carry out a scheme which Parliament ordered them to carry out by the Act of last year. The substance of this Bill is nothing more than this: they say to this House, "You imposed upon us last year certain definite obligations. We come now to ask you to give us powers to carry out the obligations' you laid upon our shoulders." I do not think hon. Gentlemen opposite will deny that, in point of fact, that is the substance of the legislation passed by this House.
§ Mr. HANNON
The opposition to this Bill comes from the body with enthusiastic devotion to ideas which opposes all private enterprise projects coming before this House. We here who are accustomed to the speeches of hon. and gallant and learned Gentlemen opposite have an admiration for their attachment to these theory-chasing objectives.
§ Mr. THURTLE
In view of the fact that the hon. Member is speaking for the companies concerned, and in view of the fact that the companies have already gone to the public for money for this particular project, will he tell us whether, before they put out their prospectus, they had some undertaking from any authoritative source that this project would be supported in the House?
§ 9.0 P.M.
§ Mr. HANNON
How can I answer that question? I know nothing whatever about the circumstances under which this money has been procured. I am not speaking here to-night on behalf of the companies, I am speaking on behalf of the public, on behalf of the interests of one of the greatest of the public utility 174 services of London. I am sure my hon. Friend opposite in putting that question to me quite forgot that I may sometimes ask him a similar question when he is speaking on some subject in this House, and it may be the hon. Gentleman will hear from me in the same fashion on a similar occasion in connection with some Measure he will bring before the House. The ten companies were given, in the most clearly-defined way, financial and administrative independence under the Order of last year and the Act of last year. What the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite wants is that that independent financial and administrative position conferred upon the body representative of the ten companies—what he wants is that that body should be deprived of the privileges conferred upon it by Parliament in the Act of last year.
We are supporting this Bill this evening because it is the quickest way in which the preliminary proposition of the hon. and gallant Gentleman in relation to the Act of 1919 can be brought into effect. We private enterprise people are really giving the citizens of London and the home counties a cheap and abundant supply of electricity under the most rigid conditions as laid down by this House. In the arrangements made last year a sliding scale was established under which the price of electricity to the public has been limited in accordance with the dividend-paying capacity of a company. Therefore, from this side of the House, we claim that projects of this kind, administering as they do to the immediate needs of this great city, providing power and light, and facilitating transport, and in all these things giving effect to wise, discreet and definite provisions of Parliament in the Act of last Session, should not be rejected by this House. On the contrary, the House should regard it as its plain duty, supplemental to its Act of last year, to endow the company with the power to enable it to proceed with its great work of erecting this super-station and provide not merely for the necessities of London to-day, but for the future.
§ The MINISTER of TRANSPORT (Colonel Ashley)
Candidly, I am rather sorry this Bill was not held back until the Government electricity proposals had been brought forward, because it 175 must be obvious that the House would be better able to pass judgment upon a scheme such as this when it has got the whole electricity proposals before it, and is able to see exactly how they will affect a scheme such as this. Be that as it may, it seems to me that the House, having now heard the arguments of the hon. Member who opposed the Bill and my hon. Friend who supports the Bill, might now come to a conclusion without much more discussion, in order to enable us to take the other important business with which the House has to deal this evening. I myself take up an absolutely impartial and non-committal attitude with respect to the Bill at the present time, though I would advise the House of this, that before the Measure leaves this House, before it goes out of the control of the House—if it gets a Second Reading and comes down for Third Reading the House would certainly be well advised to insist that Section 11 of the Electricity Act, 1919, should be inserted in the Bill. I will read to the House the gist of that Section. It is that notwithstanding anything in any special Act or Order in force at the passing of this Act it shall not be lawful for any authority, company or person to establish a new or extend an existing generating station or main transmission line without the consent of the Electricity Commissioners, which consent shall not be refused or made subject to compliance with conditions to which the authority, company or person object unless a local inquire has been held.
What does that mean? It means that the Electricity Commissioners will have to decide whether this station shall he built by the London Power Company or by the Joint Electricity Authority. I am not making any new suggestion by putting this proposition forward because the same Clause was put into the County of London Electricity Supply Act, and it was thought right and proper that the Electricity Commissioners should decide this very difficult point. Therefore I suggest that if and when this Bill comes down for Third Reading we should see that there is this Clause in the Bill, and a Clause which gives an option to the Joint Electricity Authority to purchase the site.
Last of all, I wish to remind the House that, when the Third Reading is taken, 176 then the Government electricity proposals will, I hope and trust, be before the House, and will be known to hon. Members. They can then judge as to what reception they should give to this Bill. I think it is only fair that I should put those considerations to the House. I do not want to bind myself either for or against this Bill, but I think such conditions as I have alluded to ought to be inserted.
§ Mr. SCURR
I think it is always a very remarkable fact that whenever we are considering the question of an electric supply for London that, so far as the friends of municipal supplies and coordinating the supplies of London are concerned, it is the Members representing London who put forward that idea in opposition to the promoters of a private company, and under these circumstances, I am not surprised to find an hon. Member representing Birmingham or some other provincial city coming in and trying to instruct London as to how it should conduct its electricity business. We might have understood things better if some London Member sitting on the Conservative benches had risen to support this Measure, although he might have been in favour of the view which has been put forward by the hon. Member for the Moseley Division (Mr. Hannon).
Hon. Members have heard the arguments used by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Limehouse (Major Attlee) in moving the rejection of this Bill. The hon. Member for Moseley said that he used the same arguments as were used last year, but in saying that the hon. Member is only trying to mislead the House by camouflage. The same hon. Member also said that on this side we were simply concerned with questions of nationalisation and the municipalisation of industry, and that was why he said we were putting forward precisely the same arguments. I would like to remind him that the arguments put forward by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Limehouse were not the arguments put forward last year at all. We fought the battle last year and we were beaten in the Division Lobby, and we had to accept the result of the Division, but when that Division took place what was one of the reasons urged upon us for supporting the London Electricity Supply (No. 2) Bill? Speaking in reference to that Bill 177 the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport said:I have tried to draw as well as I can a picture of electricity as it should develop in the future. I hope I have helped people to see that there is a lot to be done, that the thing we are looking to is to co-ordinate the supply itself, to have the control of London electricity in the hands of London folk, who will get a cheaper rate of electricity. We may have differences of a parochial type. We may have a difference of policy as to private ownership; but really the establishment of a joint electricity authority transcends all these questions together."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th February, 1925; col. 1,432, Vol. 180.]That was an argument which appealed to hon. Members opposite, and now to-day that Joint Electricity Authority is in being. The promoters of this Bill are represented upon that authority and I presume will take part in its deliberations. This authority for London is not a Socialist majority but an authority on which the majority of the members belong to the Municipal Reform party, and the chairman of that authority is a distinguished member of the Municipal Reform party. The chairman of that authority and all those associated with him, as well as those who take the point of view we take as representatives of labour, are all united in our opposition to this Bill.
A most powerful argument has been put forward by the Minister of Transport when he said that he would have preferred that this Bill had been postponed until we had before us the Government's electricity proposal. We do not now know what the Government proposals are, or whether they may have far-reaching consequences, but if we are going simply to divide up the areas of London, giving powers to various companies and even to different local authorities, I think we should very carefully consider the proposals of the Government, because otherwise we shall have even greater chaos in our electric undertakings than we have to-day. The hon. Member for Moseley asked what guarantee was there that the Joint Electricity Authority can supply the needs of London? I say they have the same guarantee and the same powers as the hon. Member has been claiming for this new Power Company.
The Joint Electricity Authority can carry out its powers just as the London 178 Power Company can; and the fact that it is a co-ordinated authority and represents various municipal undertakings and represents the whole of London and not any particular section of it is a very important consideration. The hon. Member for Moseley said that Parliament had imposed powers and duties upon the London Power Company. When the hon. Member said that he must have had his tongue in his cheek, because we did not impose upon the London Power Company those powers. On the contrary, that company came and asked for them, and we certainly should not have imposed such powers upon them under any circumstances. Therefore, the imposition complained of is what the company sought themselves, and therefore that is a ludicrous argument. So far as the Joint Electricity Authority has the opportunity it is now considering a scheme and conducting negotiations, and if this Bill is passed it cuts across the scheme of the Joint Electricity Authority and will only make for further chaos. In my judgment the House will be well advised, after what the Minister of Transport has said, in refusing a Second Reading to this Bill.
§ Sir GEORGE HUME
In view of certain remarks which have been made by the hon. Member for Moseley (Mr. Hannon) with reference to the attitude of the London County Council, I must make the position clear. It is true that we came to an agreement with the Power Company which has been embodied in the No. 2 Act of Parliament, and we stand by every word of that agreement. I would like to point out, however, that the hon Member for Moseley has not quite got the point. No one denies that the Company has the power to erect stations but the municipal authorities have also power to do the same. The fact is that one of the main things that was considered at the time when all these negotiations were going on, not only with the London County Council but with municipal undertakings as well, was that a public scheme for the development of electricity in London was worked out by three important parties and an agreement was arrived at.
One of the most important duties of the Joint Electricity Authority is that it should now work out a scheme as a whole for London, and not merely deal with one part here or there. The authority, which has been in being for 179 scarcely four months, has set itself to the task of working out a scheme of this kind. The London Power Company is represented on that body, and it seems to me extraordinarily inconvenient, as the Minister has said, that at this moment a Bill of this kind should come forward, definitely ear-marking a certain area where a super-station or whatever kind of station it may be, is to be constructed, just when the authority is trying to come to a decision as to what stations should be enlarged, what stations should be left as they are at the present moment, and what stations should be scrapped. I find myself in a difficult position, but I think it is extremely unfortunate that we should have to come to a decision on this matter at the present moment, especially in view of the developments that lie ahead. I make no reference to the question whether the station should be municipally controlled or controlled by a company; the point is not whether it ought to be either, but where the station that is most needed should be situated and what its size should be, and that it should fit in with the general scheme which is being worked out for London. On that ground I cannot support the Bill.
§ Mr. HARRIS
We have just listened to a very weighty and explicit speech, and I may remind the House that for many years the hon. Member for Greenwich (Sir G. Hume) was chairman of the Electricity Committee of the London County Council, and gave the most devoted attention to the whole problem, studying it from end to end. He had the advice of all the best engineers and experts in the country, and I think the House will be well advised to follow his example and throw out this Bill. I may also add that the hon. Member for Greenwich was leader of the Conservative party in the London County Council for 10 years, and was a very rigid opponent of municipal enterprise in all its forms; but he is a fair-minded opponent, and a very careful student of all the municipal government Acts. I venture to think, with very great respect to the hon. Member for Moseley (Mr. Hannon), that he is more able to look after the interests of the users of electricity in London than a Birmingham Member of Parliament. I do not know what the hon. Member for Moseley would 180 think if the hon. Member for Greenwich tried to dictate what scheme Birmingham should have for the supply of electricity. I think he would be the first to resent it, and would come down with all his Irish eloquence to tell the hon. Member for Greenwich to mind his own business and stick to London.
It is a very curious thing that, when-even a London Bill dealing with electricity comes before this House, whether it be great or small, the hon. Member for Moseley always comes down to condemn municipal enterprise, and warn the House against its dangers. It is very curious, also, that he always seems to forget that, rightly or wrongly, Birmingham has a municipal supply, and, if I am well informed, it is a very successful municipal enterprise. I am going to say something which may be open to correction, and which I am very sorry to have to say, because I do not want to give Birmingham a free advertisement. I think that Birmingham has a much cheaper supply of electricity than London, and that it is much more regular, much more satisfactory and a much more efficient system. Why? Because they have one municipal authority supplying electricity, owning its own stations and running the whole show.
§ Mr. HARRIS
Does the hon. Gentleman suggest that the hon. Member for Greenwich is not a capable business man? It is very noticeable that nearly all the London Members of Parliament are absent, though I see one or two hiding round the corner, but does the hon. Member for Moseley suggest that the London County Council, which has been dominated for 20 years by a Municipal Reform majority, is not as competent as the Birmingham City Council? After all, London is a very large and a very wealthy town, and, while I greatly admire Birmingham, I do not see why London should not produce men equally competent and equally capable of managing an electricity supply, especially as, to our distress, the majority at the present time are Conservatives. I have been their opponent, and have always recognised that Conservative Members may be lacking in imagination, but I do not think it has ever been suggested that 181 they are lacking in business capacity, which is the suggestion that the hon. Member for Moseley makes.
§ Mr. HANNON
I did not make that suggestion at all. I never cast any reflection at all on the business men of London.
§ Mr. HARRIS
I do not think I shall quarrel with the hon. Member on that matter, but I suggest he insinuated that, while there are very capable business men in the municipality of Birmingham, somehow or other they were not so capable in London. I am glad that he withdraws that insinuation.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I do not think it is necessary to dwell upon the point. The hon. Member merely put in an advertisement of his own people.
§ Mr. HANNON
I am exceedingly sorry that the hon. Member again insinuates that I cast some reflection on the people of London. That is not the case.
§ Mr. HARRIS
I was somewhat surprised at the attitude of the Minister of Transport. The Ministry of Transport is a new Ministry, created for two specific purposes. The first was to look after the railways and the roads, but, when a question comes up in regard to railways, the Minister always assures us that he has no powers and can do nothing, and, while he expresses sympathy, he takes no action. The second and more important purpose is the organisation of the supply of electricity. After all the speeches of the Prime Minister throughout the country with regard to curing unemployment, doing everything for industry, and organising the supply of electricity, on the first proposal this Session that has to do with the question of electricity the Minister comes down and says he has no opinion whatsoever, and cannot give any lead, but leaves it entirely to the House.
§ Mr. HARRIS
Let us think what it means. See how unfair it is to the com- 182 pany. We were told by the hon. Member for Moseley that a large amount of money is being raised, I think this morning, in the City of London․․
§ Mr. HARRIS
This company is going to be involved in great expense. I have great sympathy with the lawyers. I understand there is great trade depression in the Temple, but now, no doubt, they will be kept busy for several weeks arguing the case of the company before the Committee. But is it fair to the shareholders? The Minister, in a few months' time, is going to turn down this Bill, and to let them waste their money in controversy before the Committee. Is it fair to the London Electricity Authority, which has only just been set up? It is on its trial; it is being watched carefully by the Commissioners and by the public at large. The Minister is going to allow it to fritter away its small funds on litigation before a committee. If he wishes this Bill to go through, if he means to give it his blessing, let him say so. If he thinks, as I believe he does in his heart of hearts, that it is a bad Bill, surely it would be more courageous and more fitting for him, as a Minister of the Crown, responsible for the organisation of the supply of electricity in this country, to give a lead to his party, who are looking to him alone for guidance. They are not here in their hundreds, but they will be coming along, when the Division Bell rings, to know what line they are to take, and the Minister will have to say that, although he is head of this great Department, and has Commissioners and experts to advise him, he has not made up his mind and does not know where he stands.
I do not think, with very great respect, that he is treating this House fairly, and is discharging properly his business as Minister of Transport. I have given a great number of years to this very difficult subject of the supply of electricity in London, and I venture to say it would be very unfair to prejudice the work of the new authority by giving especial powers and an especial position to one particular company. The hon. Member for Greenwich stated the case very well. We were persuaded to accept this scheme in order to give the Act of 1919 a chance. That Act divided the whole country into 183 areas. There were a certain number of very large areas, and for these areas an authority representing all the interested parties was set up, composed of local authorities and companies. Now this authority has only been in existence a few months, but I believe it has done already good work and it is in a position very shortly to put its scheme forward. On this authority are representatives of all companies and local authorities, not only in London but over a very large area of the home counties. One thing we are all agreed upon; all the technical experts are pretty well agreed that the larger the area of supply the more likely you are to get cheap electricity. If you are to cater for the small area it will be difficult to give cheap electricity. You must, in order to get a variety of demand and get your plant fully occupied over as much of the 24 hours as possible, have an area as large as possible and so have as varied a number of customers as can be obtained.
Now under this particular Bill we are dealing with the supply to one particular area, the area of these particular companies who are backing this Bill. I think that is a gross blunder. When the report of that wonderful Committee, about which we have heard so much, is made available, it will be found—I am going to prophesy, although that is a dangerous thing to do, as I have not read the Report, for the Minister has it and keeps it secret in a locked box, and we have yet to know its contents—that one of the things it is going to recommend is that the areas of supply should be as large as possible and that local interests should be ignored. It is very unfortunate that this Report is not before the House. We should be in a very much better position to judge of this Bill if we had the Report before the House. Not having the Report and with the new electricity authority only having been in existence four months, it would be a fatal and irretrievable blunder to allow this Bill even to go to a Second Reading, and for that reason I hope it may be rejected.
§ Mr. MONTAGUE
On a point of Order. May I through you, Mr. Speaker, ask the hon. Member, who has just risen, whether or not he is interested 184 in the London Power Company directly or financially?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
It is not for me to put that question to the hon. Member. He is entitled to address the House.
§ Mr. J. JONES
In addition to that, is it not a fact that this morning's Press contains a syllabus of application for the raising of capital for a company which has not got power yet until this Bill passes, and some hon. Members of this House have their names attached to it?
§ Mr. BALFOUR
It must always be rather objectionable to any hon. Member to have obtruded upon him or to obtrude upon any other hon. Member any question of a personal nature, but as far as I am concerned there is no secret as to my position. Firstly, I occupy a position in this House which I am proud to occupy as a Member duly elected by my constituents whom I must serve. Secondly, whatever my private interests may be, those interests must of necessity always be subservient to and be behind my interests to my constituents. I always think that in discussions on the Second Reading of Private Bills we are apt to go astray. As far as I am concerned, let it be accepted or assumed that I have a direct personal interest in the matter before the House, as, indeed, I am afraid I must have whenever you touch upon the subject of electricity in most portions of England, Scotland or Wales. Therefore, I will make hon. Members opposite a present of the fact, and they may judge me harshly if they like. I only ask that they will judge me merely by the truth of the statements that I make and the facts I put before them.
I am afraid we go astray when we are considering the merits of private Bills on Second Reading. I have always understood, rightly or wrongly, and I think rightly, that the Second Reading of a private citizen's Bill, if I may so term it—that is, of a Bill promoting private legislation and distinct from either a Government Bill or private Member's Bill proposing public legisation—corresponds more or less to the First Reading of a Government Bill. When we pass a Private Bill through this House, it has then really to have what is more or less its Second Reading stage upstairs, where the facts which are alleged by hon. 185 Gentlemen opposite and those which are stated by the promoters of the Bill, are heard and are placed before the Committee by counsel on either side, and the first thing the Committee has to do is to pass the Preamble through. I would ask the house to try to get back to a proper sense of proportion in regard to these Private Bills. In a few days or perhaps a week or two a Private Bill promoted by a corporation, which is directly in conflict with and opposed to my personal interests, will be brought before this House. I shall on that occasion make exactly the same speech I am making now. I have on previous occasions—as I think it is within the recollection of the House—made exactly the same speech I am making now. It will be a speech asking this House to give a Second Reading to a Bill connected with the subject of electricity, to which I am utterly opposed, and which I wish to see rejected, for the simple reason that it is quite impossible, with the small numbers of Members present, to deal with the highly technical matters involved. I will ask hon. Members not to break down the Private Bill procedure of this House, but to give the Bill a Second Reading.
Having said that, I confess I was rather surprised at what fell from the lips of the Minister. He mentioned that this Bill, after it comes down from Committee, might have inserted in it provisions which would still leave the company appealing to this House in the position of being dependent on the will of a Department as to whether there will be put into effect the decrees of this House or not. I think that is a very dangerous policy. We should never deprive the private citizens of this country of the right of petitioning this House, as in the old days they petitioned the Crown, and having made the petition and proved their case and had specific rights conferred by Parliament, let them be made dependent on a Department for the technical protection which is due to the public. I sincerely hope and trust that this House will always stand for protecting the rights and liberties of citizens in this country.
There is only one other point, and I apologise to the House for having to obtrude it on its attention. Reference has been made to money which is being raised for the purposes of the company mentioned in this Bill. I think I can say definitely to hon. Gentlemen opposite, 186 who have quite rightly and properly raised this question, that the whole of that sum of money, and more than that sum of money, is required for the purposes of these 10 companies, in order to link them together and in order to close down inefficient ones and put plant in those which are most efficient, long before the stage is reached when the powers conferred by this Bill will be in working order.
The whole of that money is for instant and immediate use under the powers which the companies already possess and has not the remotest relation to the Bill, except that when and if a station is erected under the powers sought in this Bill they will have already in advance unified the whole generation and distribution of that vast area served by these 10 companies so as indeed to bring nearer and closer to realisation the provision of a cheap and abundant supply of electricity in these areas. I conclude with a word that should always be uttered in connection with Private Bills, that, unless indeed there is some very distinct cleavage on matters of principle, we should give them Second Readings whether we like them or dislike them, whether we are in favour of them or opposed to them, in order that their merits may be properly explored upstairs, where the whole merits of the case are probed, and after there has been a proper hearing of both sides of the case upstairs it might be quite right and proper to throw the Bill out on Third Reading.
§ Captain WALLACE
I had not in tended to take up the time of the House until the hon. Member for Mile End (Mr. Scurr) commented upon the lack of Conservative Members for London or thereabouts addressing the House. A Conservative Member for London, the hon. Member for Greenwich (Sir G. Hume), got up and put the case very effectively. I was again roused to action by the speech of the hon. Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Mr. Harris). I came into the House to-night with an entirely open mind on the subject of this Bill, which affects my constituency as it does many others. I have heard the very potent arguments put forward by the hon. Member who moved the rejection of the Bill and by the hon. Member for Moseley (Mr. Hannon), who is promoting it, and I came to the conclusion that 187 there were two really essential points to be decided before one who is not a technical expert could cast his vote rightly. The first was, what was the attitude of the Minister of Transport? The Bill would appear, prima facie, to cut across the scheme of the Joint Electricity Authority and to be premature in view of the proposals we are expecting from the Government. I was quite prepared to hear the Minister oppose the Bill. He made, however, what I hope he will not resent my describing as a somewhat colourless criticism. I could not help feeling that it was merely a question of damning with faint praise. I was, therefore, driven to the conclusion that the Minister, who, presumably, knows more about it than anyone else, was not particularly favourable to the Bill.
The hon. Member for Moseley made one very important point when he referred to the very large demands that are apparently to be made by the Southern Railway Company in the near future upon this London Power Company, and if it was a fact that the company, without the help of the new proposed station, could not supply the current for these electric trains within the time they would be wanted, that would be a very strong argument in favour at any rate of giving the Bill a Second Reading. But if that had been the case, surely the Minister would have said something about it, because after all he is more concerned than anyone else if the Southern electric trains break down. I was bound also to attach very considerable importance to the weighty speech of the hon. Member for Greenwich. I feel reluctant at having to disregard the arguments of the hon. Member who has just sat down. He is a next-door neighbour of mine, and I was sorry for him in view of the insinuations made from the opposite benches. I agree in principle that it is essential that private Bills of this kind should have a Second Reading but, as the hon. Member for Limehouse said, it is obvious that if we give the Bill a Second Reading and send it to a Committee, those who are opposing it will be involved in very considerable expense, and in these days that is the thing to be considered. I was particularly anxious not to give a silent vote, and I feel bound to say I shall have to oppose the Bill.
§ Mr. J. JONES
Some of the arguments I have heard advanced to-night in favour of the Bill remind me of the remark made by Blücher when he visited London after the Battle of Waterloo, "What a magnificent city to sack!" [Interruption.] It does not matter who he was. He was a German anyhow, with all the possibilities of a Junker. We have some of them here to-night. I represent a district where we have one of the cheapest and greatest electrical supplies in the country. We have invested nearly £2,000,000 of the people's money in a part of Greater London. Generally, when hon. Members talk about London they simply mean the County Council area. They do not seem to recognise that, although we are not in London, we are of London. Places like Ilford, West Ham, Tottenham, Walthamstow, and all the other outer areas of London, are part and parcel of those who are going to be sacrificed. In the papers this morning we have a huge request for £3,000,000 of capital so far as this company is concerned, probably believing their friends in the House of Commons will rally to their assistance and carry this Bill. If it is not carried, will they raise the £3,000,000? [HON. MEMBERS: "It is done"] Oh, they have got it on the strength of having a Tory Government in power. Then the Minister of Transport does not bless the baby, but he is carrying it. The baby has to be adopted by someone and I do not know who will call himself Dr. Barnardo, but they have the crib ready and the people of London are going to be exploited.
This company is going to supply the whole of the London area. Even the Southern Railway is going to be provided for. The Southern Railway goes down to the very southern part of England, and this company is going to have the possibility of exploiting the whole of the South of England, including London, for their own purposes. Give me a private company in the London area that provides electricity for power, heating or lighting as cheaply as we do in West Ham. The hon. Member opposite is associated with this company. Will he give me the name of one that provides the people with this necessary means of living as cheaply as municipal authorities do? Although we are paying higher wages, working our men shorter hours, and giving them better conditions 189 generally, we are beating them all the way through. Even in Birmingham, they cannot supply electricity as we are doing in the East End of London.
What is the reason for this Bill? Here is a great new power, with great possibilities, and these people who are promoting this Bill say, "Let us increase our powers before the municipalities are too powerful. They are doing all that we would like to do." All that we are asking is for a fair deal. This company is going to get powers that no other company in the country possesses. It is to have the power, practically, to cut across other people's property. If we were to suggest in West Ham that we should have the right to cut across the mains of the Charing Cross Electricity Supply Company, what would they say to us? The hon. Member opposite would raise a row in this House about it. Yet he is fathering a Bill which is going to give this Company an opportunity of cutting right across our position, although we have spent nearly £2,000,000 of the money of our people for the purpose of developing our electricity supply.
Hon. Members opposite know that their own friends in the Borough of West Ham are opposed to this Bill that they are satisfied with the service they are getting, with the power they are receiving, and the light and heat they are getting from our local authorities, at a rate lower than any company can give it. I am glad that the hon. Member opposite has admitted that he is interested in certain companies. I am interested in the public. Most of my constituents cannot afford to use electricity. This Bill cuts directly across all the efforts that we have made. We have been pioneers in electrical development. In the outer area of London we have been able to give the people services that they never previously received, and opportunities that they never before enjoyed. This Bill is to cut across the rights of municipalities. I am very sorry to learn that the Minister of Transport, who is mainly responsible for looking after these public affairs, cannot give a lead to the House.
This is a Bill purely for private purposes, and, as far as that is concerned, we are opposing it. All the local authorities concerned are opposing it. The leader of the Municipal Reformers in the London County Council, the hon. Member 190 for Greenwich (Sir G. Hume), who is always recognised as a man who would not give a view which was not honest—we all agree with that—has given his personal opinion and his knowledge of the situation as far as London is concerned. That view bears out the view of all the local authorities. It is not a question of West Ham or Poplar, which are Labour boroughs; it is a question affecting all the municipal authorities in London. They are all opposed to this Bill, because they believe it is an attack upon them in their efforts for the service of the people. A Bill of this character, having the united opposition of Labour and Conservative boroughs, ought not to get a Second Reading, and I support its rejection.
§ Mr. BROMLEY
I rise to make an appeal to the House to recognise its responsibility to the nation as a whole. Years ago, the railway service was permitted to be exploited by private capital. There are very few people who are really interested in the economies of the nation to-day who would not, if the railways were starting afresh to-day, prefer by far that they should be a national asset than that they should be developed in the higgledy-piggledy manner that they have been under private enterprise, for which everyone is paying to-day, the consumer, the travelling public and the railway employes, because we are paying on capital which was wasted and on the wild cat schemes of opposition in the early days.
The next great national development will be on the lines of electricity. Electrical development is in its infancy. We are starting on something which will eventually almost supersede steam on railways, and which will have a tremendous effect on the national life, and I suggest that we in this House, apart altogether from individual opinion and the desire which I fear will be present in the minds of many hon. Members opposite to support private enterprise, should consider our duty to the nation as a whole when a Private Bill of this description comes forward asking for a monopoly of what will be an exceedingly important service in the near future. We should think of our duty to the nation.
This House should not lightly give a Second Reading to a Bill which will destroy the efforts of municipalities who 191 are establishing very fine and cheap electric services. By passing this Bill we are handing over the exploitation of electricity to private capital. If we do that, people will regret it in a few years, just as the nation has regretted for many years that our railways have been in the hands of private exploiters. It has been said very frequently, in answer to arguments by hon. Members on these benches, that private enterprise has to step in, and that we have been depending upon private exploitation and private capital for developments. That cannot be said in this case. Here is a very plain exhibition of the London boroughs trying to fend for themselves and to develop very efficient electrical schemes, with their workpeople well paid. I suggest that before cutting across that development, before handing over the exploitation of the next great vital need of the nation to private enterprise, it is the serious duty of this House to consider the interests of the nation whole, and in all cases where that is predominant in our minds, private capitalist interests should have very scant consideration.
§ Mr. VIANT
In rising to support the rejection of the Bill, I do so at the request of the local authority in my constituency. I would inform the House that that local authority has not a Labour majority but a Conservative majority, and they view this Bill as a Bill which seeks to jump the claims of the Joint Authority in London. They feel that the London Power Company, being composed of companies represented on the Joint Authority, is not playing quite a straight game. They occupied seats upon the Joint Authority, and were in a position to become aware of the plans that were being prepared by that Joint Authority. There has been shown precisely the same amount of enthusiasm in jumping the claims of the Joint Authority as was shown by the hon. Member for Moseley (Mr. Hannon) when speaking this evening. He waxed eloquent and enthusiastic in his claims for this private authority. When he was speaking he invariably used the word "we," indicating that he was speaking for the company concerned.
§ Mr. VIANT
That is so. You were speaking for private enterprise; you were speaking as "we," which was the private interest represented. The same enthusiasm that was shown by the hon. Member this evening had apparently been shown by those who desired to subscribe to the shares of this company, for we have been informed to-day that the capital has been subscribed four times over. The enthusiasm that has been shown in this respect is indicative of the enthusiasm of this company to queer the pitch for municipal enterprise. One would have thought that at least the Minister in charge of the House at the moment, knowing the scheme that the Government has in view for developing electricity throughout the country, would have been prepared to advise the House to reject the Bill. The local authority for whom I am speaking were under the impression that the Bill would be rejected; they hoped that further vested interests would not be created and ultimately have to be bought out, if progress was to be made in the creation of a concentrated supply in the areas concerned. On those grounds alone the House ought to reject the Bill. Otherwise we shall create further chaos, instead of order, in the supply of electricity. I hope the House will be prepared to face the issue and leave the path clear in order that the Government's schemes, which are to be produced, will not be blocked by schemes of this kind.
§ Mr. THURTLE
I want to clear up a point with reference to the hon. Member for Moseley (Mr. Hannon). While he was speaking, I interrupted him to suggest that he was speaking on behalf of the companies. If there is any misunderstanding I want to assure him that he himself is responsible for it, because he used these expressions, "we have had this money subscribed," "we could not wait," "we have our own scheme ready." Therefore, I naturally assumed that he was speaking on behalf of the Company.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 110; Noes, 137.155
|Division No. 37.]||AYES.||[7.50 p.m.|
|Alexander. A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Palin, John Henry|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Ponsonby, Arthur|
|Baker, Walter||Hardie, George D.||Potts, John S.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Harris, Percy A.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Barnes, A.||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Saklatvala, Shapurji|
|Barr, J.||Hayes, John Henry||Scurr, John|
|Batey, Joseph||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Briant. Frank||Hirst, G. H.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Bromfield, William||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Buchanan, G.||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Charleton, H. C.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Clowes, S.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles|
|Cluse, W. S.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Sutton, J. E.|
|Connolly, M.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Taylor, R. A.|
|Cove, W. G.||Kelly, W. T.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Kennedy, T.||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Kenyon, Barnet||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W.)|
|Dalton, Hugh||Kirkwood, D.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Lansbury, George||Thurtle, E.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lawson, John James||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Lee, F.||Townend, A. E.|
|Duncan, C.||Livingstone, A. M.||Varley, Frank B.|
|Dunnico, H.||Lowth, T.||Viant, S. P.|
|Edwards. C. (Monmouth. Bedwellty)||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Fenby, T. D.||Mackinder, W.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||MacLaren, Andrew||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Gillett, George M.||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Westwood, J.|
|Gosling, Harry||March, S.||Whiteley, W.|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Maxton, James||Williams, David (Swansea, E.)|
|Greenall, T.||Montague, Frederick||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Morris, R. H.||Wright, W.|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Groves, T.||Naylor, T. E.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Oliver, George Harold||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)||Owen, Major G.||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. Warne.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Boothby, R. J. G.||Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Campbell, E. T.|
|Albery, Irving James||Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart||Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Brass, Captain W.||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool. W. Derby)||Brassey, Sir Leonard||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Briggs, J. Harold||Clarry, Reginald George|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Briscoe, Richard George||Cobb, Sir Cyril|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Brittain, Sir Harry||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Cope, Major William|
|Balniel, Lord||Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Couper, J. B.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim)|
|Berry, Sir George||Buckingham, Sir H.||Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Bullock, Captain M.||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Burton, Colonel H. W.||Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)|
|Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Hudson, R. S. (Cumb'l'nd, Whiteh'n)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Hume, Sir G. H.||Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs, Stretford)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Ropner, Major L.|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Hurd, Percy A.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Hurst, Gerald B.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Dixey, A. C.||Iliffe, Sir Edward M.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Elliot, Captain Walter E.||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Elveden, Viscount||Jacob, A. E.||Sandon, Lord|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Sassoon, Sir Phillip Albert Gustave D.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W. R., Sowerby)|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. McI. (Renfrew, W)|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Fermoy, Lord||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Fielden, E. B.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Skelton, A. N.|
|Ford, Sir P. J.||Knox, Sir Alfred||Smith-Carington, Nevllie W.|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Lamb, J. Q.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Foster, Sir Harry S.||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Little, Dr. E. Graham||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Galbraith, J. F. W.||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th)||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Loder, J. de V.||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)|
|Gates, Percy||Looker, Herbert William||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Gee, Captain R.||Lucas-Tooth. Sir Hugh Vere||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Lynn, Sir R. J.||Storry-Deans, R.|
|Glyn, Major R. G. C.||MacAndrew, Charles Glen||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Goff, Sir Park||McLean, Major A.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Grace, John||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Macquisten, F. A.||Templeton, W. P.|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||MacRobert, Alexander M.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Gretton, Colonel John||Margesson, Captain D.||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Grotrian, H. Brent||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Tinne, J. A.|
|Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Meller, R. J.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Merriman, F. B.||Vanghan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-||Waddington, R.|
|Hammersley, S. S.||Moles, Thomas||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Harland, A.||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Harrison, G. J. C.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Murchison, C. K.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Haslam, Henry C.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Wells, S. R.|
|Hawke, John Anthony||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dalrymple|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.)||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Oakley, T.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Heneage. Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Penny, Frederick George||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichffield)|
|Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Hills, Major John Waller||Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Hilton, Cecil||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Withers, John James|
|Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Philipson, Mabel||Womersley, W. J.|
|Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Raine, W.||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Holland, Sir Arthur||Ramsden, E.||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Holt, Captain H. P.||Rees, Sir Beddoe||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)||Young, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Notwich)|
|Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Hopkins, J. W. W.||Remer, J. R.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Howard, Captain Hon. Donald||Remnant, Sir James||Major Hennessy and Mr. F. C. Thomson.|
Main Question put, and agreed to.
|Division No. 38.]||AYES.||[10.2 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Philipson, Mabel|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Haslam, Henry C.||Raine, W.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Ramsden, E.|
|Balniel, Lord||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Warford)||Remer, J. R.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Hills, Major John Waller||Remnant, Sir James|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Hilton, Cecil||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hurst, Gerald B.||Ropner, Major L.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Iliffe, Sir Edward M.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Cecil. Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Jacob, A. E.||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Couper, J. B.||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Savery, S. S.|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W. R., Sowerby)|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Derwick)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. McI. (Renfrew, W.)|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Knox, Sir Alfred||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Lamb, J. Q.||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Little, Dr. E. Graham||Storry-Deans, R.|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Looker, Herbert William||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Dixey, A. C.||Lynn, Sir R. J.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||McLean, Major A.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Elveden, Viscount||Malone, Major P. B.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Merriman, F. B.||Waddington, R.|
|Fermoy, Lord||Morden, Colonel Walter Grant||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Fielden, E. B.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Ford, Sir P. J.||Murchison, C. K.||Wells, S. R.|
|Foster, Sir Harry S.||Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Nelson, Sir Frank||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Gates, Percy||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Gee, Captain R.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Goff, Sir Park||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W.G. (Ptrsf'ld.)||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Oakley, T.||Young, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||Owen, Major G.|
|Gretton, Colonel John||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hammersley, S. S.||Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Mr. Hannon and Mr. Grotrian.|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||March, S.|
|Baker, Walter||Groves, T.||Montague, Frederick|
|Barnes, A.||Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)||Morris, R. H.|
|Barr, J.||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Batey, Joseph||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Naylor, T. E.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Oliver, George Harold|
|Brass, Captain W.||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Palin, John Henry|
|Bromfield, William||Hardie, George D.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Bromley, J.||Harney, E. A.||Penny, Frederick George|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Harris, Percy A.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Buchanan, G.||Hayes, John Henry||Potts, John S.|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Scurr, John|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootie)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Herbert, Dennis, (Hertford, Watford)||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Clowes, S.||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Connolly, M.||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Cove, W. G.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Dalton, Hugh||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Sutton, J. E.|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Taylor, R. A.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Thomas Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Duncan, C.||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)|
|Dunnico, H.||Kennedy, T.||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W.)|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Kirkwood, D.||Thurtle, E.|
|Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Lansbury, George||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Lawson, John James||Townend, A. E.|
|Fenby, T. D.||Lee, F.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Lindley, F. w.||Varley, Frank B.|
|Gillett, George M.||Lowth, T.||Viant, S. P.|
|Gosling, Harry||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Graham, Rt. Hon- Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Mackinder, W.||Wallhead, Richard C|
|Greenall, T.||MacLaren, Andrew||Warne, G. H.|
|Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.||Williams, David (Swansea, E.)||Wright, W.|
|Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Welsh, J. C.||Windsor. Walter||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Westwood, J.||Wise, Sir Fredric||Major Attlee and Sir George Hume.|
|Whiteley, W.||Womersley, W. J.|
§ Words added.
§ Main Question, as amended, put and agreed to.
§ Second Reading put off for six months.