§ Order for Consideration of His Majesty's Most Gracious Message read.
§ Mr. SPEAKER read the Royal Message as followeth:
§ The continued cessation of work in coal Haines on the 28th day of June, 1926, having constituted, in the opinion of His Majesty, a state of emergency within the meaning of the Emergency Powers Act, 1920, His Majesty has deemed it proper, by Proclamation made in pursuance of the said Act, and dated the 28th day of June, 1926, to declare that a state of emergency exists.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir William Joynson-Hicks)
I beg to move,That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty, thanking His Majesty for His Most Gracious Message communicating to this House that His Majesty has deemed it proper by Proclamation, made in pursuance of the Emergency Powers Act, 1920, and dated the 28th day of June, 1926, to declare that a state of emergency exists.I do not propose to enter into any controversy in moving this humble Address to His Majesty. I would explain to the House that the action which necessitates this Address is the action purely of His Majesty's Ministers, and not, as seemed to be suggested by some hon. Members on the last occasion, the act of His Majesty himself. I think it is only fair and right that we should keep the Crown entirely apart from any controversial question that we have to discuss here. Under the Emergency Powers Act, 1420, if at any time it appears to His Majesty that there is an emergency, His Majesty may then, by Order in Council, issue a Proclamation directed to the Emergency Regulations, which will take effect, subject to these Regulations being approved by both Houses of Parliament. The form of the Act of 1920 is an old form, which has been used from time immemorial. The King is the executive head of the Government of the day, but as a constitutional Monarch 1484 His Majesty acts entirely in accordance with and is bound by the advice given to him by his responsible Ministers. Therefore, the act of the Sovereign in making this declaration is purely the act of his Ministers which His Majesty is only responsible for as a constitutional Monarch, and if any fault is to be found with this Proclamation or the Emergency Regulations the fault is to be found with myself and others of His Majesty's Ministers rather than with the Sovereign. I think it only right to make that plain.
In regard to the Motion I have moved, it is a survival of an old form of courtesy which has been in existence in this House from time immemorial. Whenever the Sovereign has been graciously pleased to send a Message to the House, it has always been the courteous policy of the House to present a humble Address thanking His Majesty. The Address does not imply in any way approval of the terms of the Message or of the Regulations. It is merely a continuation of an old-time form of ceremony. It is quite immaterial to the progress of the Regulations or their authenticity. I am not at all sure, as we are more or less ceasing to abide by old forms and ceremonies, how far this form of ceremony will continue to last in the years or centuries that are to come; but it is a survival, and I hope I am not saying anything controversial and I hope hon. Members will feel with me that it is desirable that this Address should be passed without any remark reflecting on the Crown, as I take the full responsibility on my shoulders.
That would have been all that I should have thought it necessary to say, but I understand that on this occasion the Front Opposition Bench proposes to move an Amendment to my Motion. I gratefully realise that they accept the courtesy of the Motion to the Crown, but they propose to add at the end:but regretting the policy pursued by His Majesty's advisers which has been an impediment to maintaining and restoring peace in the coal industry, and consequently a menance to public order.That, of course, raises quite a different position. That is a direct challenge to, and in fact a Vote of Censure upon the Government. It will be out of Order for me now to discuss the terms of an Amendment which has not yet been moved. All I can say is that if it be moved, the 1485 Government will be pleased to join issue with the Opposition, to take up the defence of their own policy. And I think that when the Opposition has heard the defence, which will be largely conducted, I hope, by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whose ability in reply to a Vote of Censure no one can gainsay, they may change their view. That being so, my task is one of less difficulty. It is one which most of the House will concur in, and it is to move that a Humble Address be presented to His Majesty thanking him for His Most Gracious Message.
§ Mr. CLYNES
I beg to move, at the end of the Question, to add the wordsbut regretting the policy pursued by His Majesty's Advisers, which has been an impediment in maintaining and restoring peace in the coal industry and, consequently, a menace to public order.I accept and L re-echo every word which the Home Secretary has just uttered as to the detached and impartial position of the Throne in relation to these controversial matters. We are happy in this country in being in that position. None of us would seek to throw the weight of such Royal influence on the side of any party in any of these quarrels. But I cannot help reminding the House that one whose foot is on the steps of the Throne has in this regard uttered publicly a sentiment and opinion which ought to have its influence in these discussions and in the determination of future Government policy—It would not be a satisfactory end to arty dispute that one side should be forced to give in on account of the suffering of their dependants.It is because we share that view that, throughout the discussions of this week, we have emphasised the fact that the policy of His Majesty's Government is one which if not designed to, is certainly likely to lead to the ultimate starvation of hundreds of thousands of men and conditions of starvation alone, will drive them back to work. When, about a fortnight ago, the Prime Minister first referred to the Government's intention to introduce a Measure to increase the working hours of the miners, I ventured to express the view that such an Act would not shorten the dispute, but would lengthen its duration. I am sorry to say that that opinion has been fortified and strengthened by the discussions of the last few days in this House.
1486 I cannot recall in the 20 years or so, during which I have be-en a Member of this House, any Parliamentary week so wasted and unprofitable as this Parliamentary week has been when viewed in relation to the conditions which we have in the country. We have a state of rising destitution; a condition of hopelessness of outlook, unexampled in our modern experience and, to-day, we are meeting further to strengthen the arm of the law, and by Emergency Powers to continue the authority which the Government now possess to arrest and imprison for very trifling offences. We have that, side by side with what is now clearly proved to be the fact that the Government have turned themselves into the masters' advocates, and on what is, perhaps, the greatest point of difference between the two parties, namely, the point of working hours, has come down on the side of the mineowners. Last night we had a statement from the Prime Minister to the effect that his view still is that a basis of settlement can be found in the acceptance of the Report of the Royal Commission. If that is the opinion of the Prime Minister, honestly held, how can we explain the stupidity of the Government in occupying the whole of this week putting through an Act of Parliament which violates a cardinal point of that Commission's Report? How can the Prime Minister expect the Miners' Federation freely to enter into a conference with him, or with the mineowners, when faced with this Act of Parliament? Clearly, if it is to be regarded as a peace gesture at all, it is a peace gesture accompanied by a blow at the miners.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ogmore (Mr. Hartshorn) yesterday said to the Prime Minister that it was on the basis of legislation such as that which has been considered upstairs this week that discussion tending towards peace might be commenced. The miners were faced in the beginning with what was a blunder, if not a crime, on the part of the Government in calling upon the miners and their leaders to enter into conference, but only after giving an assurance that they would submit to a reduction of wages, as a condition of debate. It is that fatal blunder which has stood in the way of anything like ease of mind or an outlook for peace, so far as the miners 1487 are concerned. The Prime Minister ought to reveal himself more clearly. He cannot afford to flout the Report by legislation and then, in words, at the end of a four day Debate say that it is on the basis of that Report that he thinks some kind of peace may be secured. The peculiar position of the Government appears to be this—that we must accept their word, as the word of honest men, that they do not want to depress the wage standard or the standard of living of the workers of our country, while, at the same time, they are engaged in passing legislation of this kind. They tell us in speech after speech that they do not want to depress the standard of life. All they want to do is to pass Acts of Parliament which will lengthen working hours and decrease wages. I ask that the great resource and argumentative power of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with which the Government side is to be reinforced during this Debate, should be used to try to reconcile for us these two propositions, namely, that we are not to have the standard of life depressed and that we are to have Acts of Parliament to lengthen the workers' hours and reduce their wages.
§ Mr. CLYNES
We are asked to-day to pass again these Emergency Powers. We are not going to find any measure of settlement of this quarrel in this way. It is not in the law in its more severe forms, but in statesmanship, that we shall get any good results in this respect. Ministers are not making an atmosphere for peace. Before I draw attention to statements made during the past few days by the Home Secretary, who is so largely charged with the use of these powers, let me first refer to a statement made during the last few days by the Secretary of State for India. In a recent speech he adopted a statement to the effect that since the Armistice we had had 5,000 strikes in this country. That is a monstrous misrepresentation of the facts. A few strikes there have been, but I ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to name one stoppage on an extensive scale since the Armistice, affecting any considerable national industry, which has been in the nature of a strike—that is to say, in the nature of a stoppage not 1488 caused by the employers of labour seeking further to reduce wages. The wonder is that we have not had more, for the workers have been faced since the Armistice with repeated demands for sacrifices in order to save the nation and sustain its industries. They, alone, have been called on to make sacrifices, and they, alone, have made sacrifices. In the sacrifice of a sum of more than £600,000,000 in wages, the workers have made their contribution to easing the industries of our country. Yet, the powerful name of the Secretary of State for India is lent to this falsehood that the workers have been guilty of entering into 5,000 strikes since the Armistice was declared.
There might have been, in May of this present year, some case that one could make out for the Emergency Powers which we are now considering. But I suggest that no case can be made out at this moment. We have as deep a respect for the law as our opponents on the opposite side of the House, but the law if it is to be uniformly obeyed, observed, and held in respect it must rest on conditions, which in themselves are just and fair and based on reason.
If law is not so built, it will fail. We have read in the press from day to day of instances where men have been cheered as they have gone to gaol and have been welcomed as martyrs and heroes when they have left prison. Why is that? It is because public sentiment and public opinion travel on the lines that these men are being vindictively punished, wrongly arrested, and unjustly treated, and we cannot in this country maintain our high regard for the law if it is to be used in a class interest, in pursuance of the narrow and, as we believe, unjust claims of those who have property to defend as a first consideration. We have a common interest in the maintenance of the law, and that was well shown throughout every day of the general strike by repeated and emphasised pronouncements on the part of the leaders of the Trade Union Congress, who, in their paper, in their publications, and from platforms, appealed without intermission to the working classes of this country to observe the law, to say nothing that would incite to breaches of the law, and they showed themselves as ready as the uniformed representatives of the law themselves to do 1489 all that they possibly could to keep a condition of calm and quiet. I think it may be recalled that in this House itself, that same spirit prevailed, and that while you, Mr. Speaker, have had at times your patience, if I may say so, sorely tried, I do not think that the Chair was called upon during the existence of that strike to call a single Member to order. I cannot remember an instance where there was any departure from the strictest form of Parliamentary order, and I daresay that had something to do with the maintenance of law by the citizens outside. In other countries, indeed, we have seen some show of astonishment at that maintenance of good temper, and I refer to the fact now because I regard these emergency powers as at the moment a provocation to disorder rather than a means of preventing it. The ordinary agencies of the law at this moment are quite sufficient for the purpose of maintaining law and order. Again I repeat, how can the Prime Minister expect. men to sit down to the consideration of the varied features of the Coal Commission's Report at a moment when Parliamentary time is being used for the one purpose, as I have said, of trying to force the men into the pits to work longer hours, and forcing through the House of Commons, by the Government's majority, the additional powers which are now being sought? You May pass an Act of Parliament enabling miners to work longer hours, but you cannot pass an Act of Parliament compelling them to work longer hours, and the futility of this legislation will be seen after some few weeks' time, when it will have been rendered abortive by the proven unwillingness of the men to submit to these terms, which they will regard, not so much as terms imposed by an Act of Parliament, as the terms of the mineowners sanctioned by an Act of Parliament in the mineowners' interest. I say that this state of emergency has come to an end. We must either enter upon new ground of discussion in the hope of settlement and arrangement, or the fight must go on. We cannot have the two at the one time. The Government won a, great victory, so they claimed, when the strike was declared off. Well, supposing we admit that that victory was won, we are entitled to ask, What has the Government done with its victory? What has happened since then? 1490 The very continuance of the lock-out which caused the strike is itself a proof of how much the Government have wasted in the way of opportunities to bring that trouble to an end.
I said that before I sat down I would draw attention to a recent statement of the Home Secretary which has a very close bearing upon these matters of controversy. I think that even the Home Secretary might try in one speech at least to make two statements that will not be in conflict with each other. The Home Secretary, speaking a few nights ago At Hounslow, said:It is a terrible thing that the miners should have declined all forms of compromise. You cannot negotiate with people of that kind.I would draw attention to the fact that the President of the Miners' Federation, Mr. Herbert Smith, has repeatedly declared the willingness of that body to enter freely into the discussion of all the provisions of the Coal Commission's Report and, as he said, to abide by the findings. What the men have refused to do is to enter into a discussion of that Report under conditions requiring them to give a prior undertaking to, accept lower wages.
§ Mr. CLYNES
I have repeatedly said in this House, and I understand it to be part of the Government's policy, that a settlement on the lines of that Report necessarily involves for a fixed period some subsidy. If that is not now to be the Government's case. I think that even the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be hard put to it to-day to show that a settlement on the basis of that Report is possible without some subsidy. The Home Secretary, in his speech, further said, referring to the miners' leaders:Those leaders said that they would prefer a reduction of wages rather than a lengthening of hours. Why? Because when the miners got lower wages they would have a better cry for raising further trouble.Is that in the spirit of the Prime Minister's appeals for reason and conciliation? I say that that 'statement is a flagrant misrepresentation of the position. If we appeal for a maintenance of wages, we are denounced as men who are seeking to ruin our industry. If we consent to a 1491 reduction in wages, we are told that we only do so in order to seek new ground of trouble. Again, we must have it either way and not both ways. The truth is that in this matter, from the beginning, the miners have asked merely to be let alone. Bad as their position was, they did not seek to make it better. They were willing to go on with their work. They have suffered as much as any class of workers in the country in sharing these heavy reductions in wages, and they of all classes first deserve the practical and effective sympahy of the Government, if any of the working classes of this country ever did. In times of very great trouble they have had lip sympathy. They were heroes in the War, both in the trenches and in the mines. Whether they worked in the coalfields, or fought on the battlefields, they were held up as examples of what the British working classes ought to be. Bitterly have they paid their share of the victory.
Finally, these Emergency Powers can make no contribution to the settlement which we are all anxious to see. They will, like the Eight Hours Bill, make further discussion for settlement more difficult than ever, and if the Government were wise, instead of obstinate, if they were, impartial, instead of being ready to make themselves the instrument of the mineowners, they would not seek to continue these Emergency Powers, and not press further the Eight Hours Bill, which will not, serve its purpose, and which will only deepen the suspicion in which the Government are held, particularly by the miners of this country.
§ Captain WEDGWOOD BENN
Before I come to what is really the main purpose of my remarks, which is to ask the Prime Minister a. question, I think the little lecture read by the Home Secretary on the constitutional procedure of a Humble Address was proceeding on the wrong line. Personally, I welcome the introduction of a Humble Address, and I think every Member of Parliament should welcome the introduction of such an Address. Of course, we know the King, as a person, has nothing to do with it. It is the King in Council; but, in pursuing the ancient Parliamentary practice of moving a Humble Address, we give ourselves an opportunity of discussing the conduct of the Government, and it is an 1492 extremely retrograde and anti-Parliamentary suggestion in my judgment that we should abandon one of the few opportunities which are left to the House of Commons to give a free Vote, and to discuss the conduct of His Majesty's Ministers. Therefore, the patronising remarks addressed to the Constitution by the Home Secretary were proceeding on the wrong line.
I only venture to rise for a moment to ask the Prime Minister a question. I have listened to all the debates in this House, and have hardly spoken in them, because I am not qualified by any knowledge of the industry, but merely as a Member of Parliament, and one representing a constituency whose industries are vitally affected by this creeping paralysis of the coal industry. I think, yesterday, there was one speech of real moment—I am not speaking with disrespect of other speakers—touching the point, and that was the speech made by the Prime Minister. He, as I understood, made a definite change of policy. I am very sorry to see the Prime Minister shake his head, because I understood him to say that the Government have changed their policy, and are now prepared to accept and put through the Samuel Report if it be acceptable to the Miners' Federation.
§ Captain BENN
I am extremely sorry, because that was the impression in the public mind. If the Prime Minister dissents, it is futile to go back on what he said. These arc the relevant words—I leave out the intervening wordsThe whole object …. is to help the two parties to negotiate on wages on a seven-hours basis, and on the various increases of hours inside the limits of the Act—that is the Seven Hours Act—If the Miners' Federation, even now, can accept the Report.… … a settlement can be arranged."—[OFFICIAL, REPORT, 1st July, 1926; cols. 1419–20, Vol. 197.]I thought that a ray of hope. An hon. Friend of mine, the hon. Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. G. Thorne), speaking later in the Debate, asked the Secretary for Mines whether, in view of that offer, the Prime Minister would not make it merely a debating point, but a genuine offer, by giving an opportunity for its consideration, and I hoped last night the final stage of the Bill might even then be 1493 adjourned for a day or two, in order to give the position a chance of righting itself. My question to the Prime Minister now is this. I believe that this Bill is being presented formally in another place to-day. I see the suggestion in the papers that it is to be rushed through all stages there on Monday. Of course, that is not a matter in which we have any concern, but it is a matter in which the Prime Minister and his officers have very great influence, and I am asking him now, whether he will not see that the final stages of this Bill are postponed, so as to give, at least, some time for consideration of what we understood to be the new offer that was made yesterday. I, myself, proposed an Amendment to the Bill, which would have given the opportunity, even if it had passed, for the Prime Minister to use it in this way. Unfortunately, the Amendment was rejected. But I do ask the Prime Minister—for I am convinced the public are intensely interested in this question, and they want to know whether the Prime Minister will adopt the Report of the Samuel Commission if the Miners' Federation take it—to say definitely whether he will not call an armistice upon what is doing nothing but embitter public opinion, and whether he cannot even now, in the public interest, postpone the final stages of the Bill, to give an opportunity of finally considering the offer they understood him to make.
§ Sir GERALD STRICKLAND
My right hon. Friend the Member for Platting (Mr. Clynes), who proposed this Amendment, attacked the Government on the ground that their action was taken, in the mineowners' interest, to depress the standard of living of the workers, and, at the same time, he argued that this Measure was not necessary to guard against reprisals. That is, obviously, a contradictory and an irreconcilable attitude. The few remarks which I will venture to make will be based on grounds of political economy and narrow business lines. I wish to avoid politics, and will begin by pointing, out that the Government, far from having done anything in the direction indicating a determination to depress the standard of living, or to diminish the wages of the miners, have already, within the last 12 months, by bold action taken in this House with great deliberation, and at considerable political and 1494 financial risk, already increased the wages of the miners by at least 15 per cent. as a consequence of the adoption of the gold standard. [Interruption.] Let us reflect dispassionately on what is notorious and incontrovertible, namely, that prices have gone down as a direct consequence of the adoption of the gold standard. We must admit that the advantage of that decline in prices has been enjoyed by the mine workers and by all those working for fixed salaries. Then let us reflect on what was the result of the gold standard on the so-called coal-owners. It has been all against those who provide the wages fund, Their troubles have increased over and over again, when selling and exporting, by the adoption of the gold standard. Their export has become more diminished, and their profits have been dwindling. [An HON. MEMBER: "Malta."] I hope my Friends on my right will not irrelevantly mention Malta. I have had 13 years' experience with many Australian Labour Governments, where, perhaps, I have learnt more of the possible future development of, I will not say labour troubles, but labour wisdom and progress from more practical experience of the laws of political economy than many bon. Members above the Gangway in opposition will ever learn themselves, or more than some of them appear willing to try to learn.
I wish to say that danger of disturbance is based on the economic and fundamental competitive difficulties of this problem. The principal one is how to get sale for more coal. My hon. friends of the Labour party above the Gangway should approach this question seriously, for when they want to keep up prices and restrict production they are not facing the realities of the situation. It is true that we can, in this country put up the price of coal as high as this House may wish by internal legislation, that is amongst ourselves, but we cannot compel outside purchasers and the rest of the world to pay a penny a ton more for our coal than the world's price afloat justifies. Therefore, the question of export coal is the key of the situation. I regret to think that my hon. Friends on the Labour benches have tried to minimise the importance of the export trade in coal. It has been confusing to state here that the export 1495 of coal a fifth of the total, has gone down to about 59,000,000 tons per year. That is inaccurate as an average. Another figure has also to be referred to and added to direct exports and that is the coal indirectly exported in connection with the production of iron and steel.
I wish my hon. Friends above the Gangway would remember that it takes three or four, sometimes more, tons of coal to produce one ton of steel or iron. [Horn MEMBERS: "Two and three-quarters."] Well, you make it with electric furnaces two and three-quarters, or you can snake it six or seven tons if you like with old-fashioned plant. It is a matter of detail. But let my hon. Friends remember that for every ton of steel or iron that England exports, there is an added number of tons of coal that ought to be reckoned in the amount of our coal exports. That is a very important factor. Let it also be remembered that there is a similar coal factor in all our manufactures for export in textile, in cotton, engineering products, and so forth. This is of much greater importance than my hon. Friends above the Gangway have made out when belittling the importance of exports. Why? Because I am convinced that if England is to prosper, if she is to regain her old trade ascendency, the price of coal must be brought down, and brought down to such a level that we shall again be able to compete in the markets of the world with every country that sells coal afloat. If we could get back to that price which is necessary to defy competition by whatever expedient or organisation, then we might hope again to regain that pre-eminent position in the world which we enjoyed in past times with cheap coal. It is useless to pretend that we have got the natural monopoly that we once had in open competition in the markets of the world. The time has gone by when Free Trade and other conditions favoured us, and we were temporarily so superior to other nations in our command of proved coal, of shipping, of machinery, and so forth, that other Nations could not compete against us.
To-day we are in no better position than any others of the nations of Europe. Perhaps not quite so good as some in some respects, and not superior in oppor- 1496 tunities to America in regard to trade and industry. We must put aside these ideas of superiority. We must understand that to-day we cannot dictate prices Nations compete with each other as individuals did of old and as towns and districts cut each other 'out in the days of our forefathers. We must accept conditions of prices and hours as they are, and have equal competition to face in the improvements in mechanical appliances and technical skill. Why is it that we in our coal trade have at times been able to work shorter hours and pay higher wages than any of the other countries of the world? Let us for a moment examine the extra advantage to be divided up. It is that English coal is superior to the coal of other countries. But that superiority is limited, it can he measured, it has an end. Let us ask ourselves bow much better it is now, and before we attempt to get the impossible, what is the percentage of superiority? Take, for instance, the question of Welsh coal—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I should like to know how the hon. Gentleman connects his remarks with the words of the Amendment that is before the House?
§ Sir G. STRICKLAND
I will not pursue that point further. But let me deal with the cause of the trouble that is facing the country, and say that it is not in my opinion due to the alleged action on the part of the Prime Minister or the Government to depress the standard of living. In this connection, I would like to point out to my hon. Friends above the Gangway the astonishing overtures which my hon. Friends on the Government side have made towards the Labour party to raise that standard by Socialistic legislation for they have gone further as a Conservative Government than a great many of supporters think they ought to have gone. In fact, it is necessary to adopt for the preservation of order amongst ourselves conditions, and suggestions from a peace loving Government which would enable British trade and especially the British coal trade to diminish unemployment by successful competition in the markets of the world. Damage to law and order comes from the refusal of hon. Members to accept those well considered suggestions and conditions. Ingratitude is really the cause of the danger of internal disturbance in this country. The Govern- 1497 ment have been complacent in their strenuous efforts to meet the Labour party! [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] Their intentions have been to help the workers, and in view of that I ask hon. Members on the opposition side of the House to support the Government in upholding its decisions by the, solution that has been put forward. The aggregate of votes at the General Election cast for Liberal and Labour candidates surpassed the Conservative total. This would be a justification for the leaders on the Conservative side to give way on every possible point. This they have been On every question they have gone extremely far in concessions to the Labour party in social legislation in addition to the great concession to which I have already referred, that of indirectly adding to the wages of the miners at least 15 per cent. on the value of wage paid on a gold standard and then again by putting at the disposal of the trade a subsidy of £23,000,000 and offering more in order to educate public opinion, and in order to gain time to spread the light so that now the whole country is behind the Government with open eyes. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!" and "Let them show it!"] My hon. Friends above the Gangway have in this controversy appeared in the position of ambassadors without a mandate. When asked for their credentials and proposals, they have been trying to put forward uneconomical suggestions which no one so far has been able to crystalise, and few have been able to understand. Danger to public order has not come and will not come from the proposals of the. Government, nor from the Prime Minister's conciliatory policy. He has not been acting against the miners or in the interests of the coal- owners but of England, and he has worked for the prosperity of every one in England! He has been active in the interests of increased production. Danger comes not from the leaders of the Labour party on the front bench, but from those who are behind them elsewhere, and are working to push my friends out.
It is easy to see behind the scenes, for in Australia I have had to work with many Labour Ministries, and it was invariably my experience that when the leaders of strong labour movements come into power, when they have felt for a period the weight of responsibility and 1498 profited by contact with the actualities of public life, they very substantially modify their previous impracticable attitude. They find themselves gradually getting into difficulties if—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is going into a field of discussion which is not related to the Amendment now before the House.
§ Sir STRICKLAND
My point is that a solution of our difficulties fitted to the real needs of this country will not come from the would-be leaders now behind the scenes in the Labour party, not from the strike leaders who are carried away by uneconomic theories and by the love of power which is inseparable from most. of us in politics, the solution can only come from the policy of the Prime Minister. If it succeeds it will give us coal at so cheap a price that there will be such a demand for coal, there will be such an expanding trade in iron and steel and other manufacturers and in the textile and allied industries that there will be work for a great many more of the unemployed miners. Working longer hours is the only way to produce more to go round. It is the duty of every man to work as long and as hard as he can, as we have to do in this House.
§ Sir G. STRICKLAND
There is a stage in life when a man can work more than an average of hours and another period when we can work for less hours, and it is an interference with the rights of man to compel anyone to work fewer hours than he is willing to do, and can reasonably do for himself, his family and his country.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
This is evidently a speech prepared for yesterday's Debate. I have twice told the hon. Gentleman that he cannot pursue this line of argument. This being the third time I have had to warn him, I must ask him to resume his seat.
§ Mr. TAYLOR
We have listened with very great interest to the reasoned speech of the hon. Member for Lancaster (Sir G. Strickland). [HON. MEMBERS: 1499 "M.P. for Malta."] It would not be in order for me to refer to Malta or to the customs prevalent in the Assembly there. If I were permitted to do so, I should feel compelled to refer to the hon. Member as "Comrade Gerald," and to point out the revolutionary nature of his activities. But I wish to offer one or two observations on what he said. He said, I think very truly, that the troubles of the coal industry which have led to this great industrial conflict are to a very large extent due to the return to the gold standard, are one of the difficulties arising from the monetary policy of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. But when he proceeds to say that the reorganisation of the home market had very little to do with the real problem before the country, I am afraid I cannot agree with him, because it seems perfectly clear to me, speaking as a member of the general public, that in order to reach a final solution of the difficulty reorganisation of the internal market must be faced, especially as the diminution in the export trade is admittedly due to a number of causes which are likely to be permanent. In the same way, I do not agree with his contention that a. reduction in the price of coal will he a solution of our industrial life. The President of the National Federation of Iron and Steel Trade Manufacturers, Sir William Larke, in giving evidence before the Royal Commission, pointed out that the coal-cost in the manufacture of a ton of basic pig-iron in 1925 was only £1 4s. 9d., as compared with £1 4s. 3d. in 1913.
§ 12 N.
§ Mr. TAYLOR
The coal-cost in the production of a ton of basic pig iron, according to that authority, was,£1 4s. 3d. in 1913, and in the September quarter of 1925 was £1 4s. 9d., only 6d. more.
§ Sir G. STRICKLAND
I ask the hon. Gentleman not to give us pounds, shillings and pence, but tons; then it would be much more intelligible.
§ Mr. TAYLOR
The cost of the kind of coal used in the manufacture of pig iron was 11s. 7d. per ton in 1913 and 11s. 11d. per ton in 1925. If the hon. Member will refer to Sir William Larke's evidence, he will be able to confirm what I have said. 1500 To come to the subject of the Emergency Regulations. They fall roughly into two categories, those designed to secure an equitable distribution of food, fuel, light and so on standing, obviously, in an entirely different category from those which exist for the purpose of preventing the expression of opinion, which give the power of arrest without warrant, and the power of search without a magistrate's order, which gives the right to punish people for possessing pamphlets or documents, and which suspend the ordinary laws of the land in relation to freedom of speech. With regard to the first category, if the Government had used their powers to secure the essentials of life to the working class population not merely during this great industrial upheaval but as a permanent feature of our life, I believe these Regulations would be unnecessary to-day. For nine months the power of the Government was used not to promote a solution of the problems of the coal industry but to concentrate upon the creation of machinery for fighting a stoppage, and making a stoppage inevitable by coming down at the last hour on the side of the coalowners. Had the Government been doing their business they would not have been compelled to ask for Regulations of this kind. With regard to the other Regulations dealing with the rights of individuals, surely there is no possible justification for passing such Regulations to-day, more especially Regulation No. 21, which gives unlimited rights to interfere with the freedom of the individual. The continuance of such Regulations is an insult to the whole working-class population. I happen to represent a constituency where we had thousands of people on strike during the general strike, and the utmost harmony prevailed between those responsible for the maintenance of order and those engaged in the stoppage. We had not a single prosecution arising out of the general strike. This has been the case everywhere where the police have interpreted their duties with reasonable care, and with due regard to the extraordinary circumstances of the situation. I think that is true of the country as a whole, and I trust the Government will not press such proposals as Regulation 21, which was designed to deal with a state of affairs which obviously does not exist to-day.
1501 I want to draw the attention of the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary to the partial manner in which these Regulations have been administered. No one can deny that the sentences in some parts of the country which have been passed upon men who are not accustomed to expressing their thoughts, and do not often speak with a full realisation of what their words mean, have been absolutely ferocious and indefensible. I do not recollect one single instance when these Regulations have been used to suppress utterances by cultured and educated individuals with great power and standing in the land, who have made statements much more likely to cause disorder and serious disaffectation than the statements made by workmen who are not accustomed to expressing their views.
I wish to draw particular attention to the speech made by Lord Hunsdon, the chairman of the City of London Conservative Association. This cultured nobleman, who has had all the advantages of an education at Winchester, followed by another period at Cambridge University, who has had the best that our civilisation can offer to him right through his existence, thought it right and proper, in a speech made at the annual meeting of the City of London Conservative Association, to describe his fellow-countrymen as being enemies in the same sense as the Germans were our enemies during the period of the War. This is what he said:There had been a great outcry of late because the Russian Government had sent to the miners £500,000 sterling, encouraging revolution and lengthening the strike, and inflicting great injury on this country. But we did precisely the same thing with Poor Law relief; we feed the wives and children of the miners and the miners themselves, and we do exactly what the Soviet Government is doing. The Prime Minister told us not to cherish malice and vindictiveness. They were not British characteristics, but while the miners were our enemies we should not feed them. We did not feed the Germans.Then the London "Evening News" made a statement on the 7th June in a leading article, in which it stated:Communist agents from Moscow and elsewhere are flocking to our ports hoping for the outbreak of a bloody revolution.I cannot possibly conceive that statements of that kind are right and proper 1502 in times such as we are now passing through. If it is true that Communist agents are flocking into our ports hoping to create a bloody revolution, what are the Government doing to deal with it? If it is not true, obviously it is a statement which will cause disaffection, and will lead to people losing their confidence in those responsible for the control of the Government machine in this country. If these Regulations were going to be administered with impartiality, and used to deal with people and statements like those I have quoted, then we should have less cause of complaint. But apart altogether from the way those Regulations have been administered it is clear to any reasonable person that it is quite unnecessary to come here to-day and ask for a renewal of them, after the experience of the last month, when the Home Secretary dare not admit the comparatively small number of people who have been dealt with under these Regulations, which is shown by the fact that he had no reply to give to a question raised by the hon. and gallant Member for Hull on the 17th June. I hope the Government will withdraw these Regulations and more particularly Regulation No. 21, which suppresses the rights of individuals. I put that forward as a gesture, and an expression of good will which I think would tend to promote a better understanding between different classes in this country.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
It is one of the most ludicrous things to which I have ever listened to hear hon. Members on the other side talk about the liberty of the subject, because that is the one thing they will not allow the working man to have. As a. matter of fact they do not give the working man even a dog's chance of liberty. Their point of view is very much like that of the Arab chief in Iraq, who, after a punitive expedition hail been sent against him for burning a village, exclaimed, "Where is your British liberty. You are interfering with my pastimes." The trade unions do not allow the British workman to have the slightest liberty. In 1906, when the Trade Disputes Act was brought in by the Liberal party, which has gone the way of all weaklings, gave away the workers' liberty.
§ Captain BENN
Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that on the occasion to which he refers, the entire Conservative party abstained from any opposition to that Measure.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
I believe they did and it is more to their discredit. I agree that on that occasion the Second Chamber entirely failed in its duty. They put on the Statute Book a Measure which placed these people above the ordinary law of the land, and this is what has led them into the mess we are now in, which is almost like the position of the Roman Catholic Church before the Reformation.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
I would like to ask you, Mr. Speaker, if the hon. and learned Member is any more in order in the remarks he is making than other hon. Members who preceded him?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I do not think we are entitled on this occasion to go back to past history, or at any rate not quite so far as 1907.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
I bow to your ruling, Sir. The position is this: These unfortunate trade union leaders, who are always running behind their followers, have been presented by Statute with a state of the law which requires an Emergency Powers Act of this kind, so that at times, when there are industrial difficulties, the organised functions of the State can be carried on. The Common Law of the land which protected the liberty of the subject having been altered in a way whereby the ordinary working class have been handed over to the tyranny of a violent minority of themselves, naturally the community desires these special Rules in times of trouble, and the result is that we get these anomalous Emergency Regulations. I would give these gentlemen a little counsel and advice. If they will go back to the normal legislation, and consent to being put into the position of ordinary citizens of this country and be responsible for the wrongs that they do and not have great masses of paid bullies going about bullying respectable workmen—
§ Mr. R. RICHARDSON
On a point of Order. I want to ask whether it is in order for an hon. Member to describe the leaders of the miners or other trade union leaders in this House as "paid bullies"?
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
I did not refer to any hon. or right hon. Gentleman on that side of the House, but I do say it is perfectly—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I understand that the hon. and learned Gentleman, in using the phrase, did not refer personally to any Member of this House.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
I can assure the House that there is not one of them on the other side capable of bullying anybody. They are personally the most harmless lot of people I have ever seen. I may say that I have the kindliest feelings towards them, and I think I am on the most friendly terms with every one of them. I do not think there is one of them who is capable of bullying anybody. But there are bullies used in this so-called "peaceful picketing." I have defended any number of peaceful picketers. I remember defending one crowd of men whose pockets were said to be full of stones.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
Is the hon. and learned Member in order in giving us a list of the cases be has defended, and which he has won for us?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I would remind the House that an Amendment has been moved to the Motion, which, in form, is a vote of censure on the Government. Debate must be relevant to that.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Is the hon. and learned Gentleman allowed to use the Debates of this House to advertise his business?
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
I have an advantage over the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan), who, I understand, has no business. I was simply telling the House of a little instance. I remember defending some men who had their pockets full of stones. I pointed out to the Sheriff, or Judge, at the time that 1505 that was most conclusive evidence that they had not thrown them, but I regret to say—I do not want to make any reflection on one of His Majesty's Judges—he appeared rather obtuse and did not accept my point. That is what happens. These poor fellows are sent out, and there is no doubt that many of them are paid. They come into contact with the police, and a lot of decent young men get knocked about. That is the result of this futile legislation. This particular Statute which has been passed temporarily will remedy that danger and will make for peace. You have only to tell workingmen that you want peace, because in the main they want peace also. The fruits of evil counsels a-re seen in that terrible case at Newcastle, where some decent young miners were so led astray as to do an act which was equivalent to mass murder. That is the result of the weakness of Parliament in giving certain classes special privileges. When you come to a time of crisis and trouble, you have to have these abnormal Regulations I do not like them, and I wish they were not necessary. If it had not been for the folly of previous legislation they would not he necessary.
That is what has brought it about. I appeal to the leaders on the other side to see that the one man who, I think, is misleading the miners—only the other day he had a portrait of himself with Lenin—the arch-murderer of all time—presented to him, the two of them side by side. It is a perfectly shocking thing that a man of that temperament and record should have the fate of these men in his hands. (HON. MEMBERS: "Name!"] Mr. Cook, you know perfectly well, the man whom every decent miner on that side is only too anxious to have superseded. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] They know perfectly well how far he is misleading them. I have talked to many miners, and I know that this legislation is the result of the inflammatory speeches and doctrines that have been made and put to the finest and bravest type of man we have, namely, the British miner. The War showed that. He was then fighting the Germans with bayonets. Now he has to fight him with pickaxes and shovels. It is the same struggle, only now it is an industrial and economic conflict. The miners do not recognise who are 1506 their opponents, but they are the German miners of Westphalia. These Regulations are for the purpose of giving the men peace and liberty to carry on their business. It is the fruit of the unfortunate Statutes of 1906 and 1913. Until they are repealed, Emergency Regulations like these will have to be introduced, even if we have a Labour Government. I very much regret that this should be necessary, but I believe it is necessary because a. country must defend itself.
§ Mr. SNELL
The present issue before the House is one of extreme gravity and importance, and I have waited to hear what hon. Members on the other side have to offer in support of the renewal of these emergency powers. Having listened to the two hon. Gentlemen, who, presumably, have spoken on behalf of the Government, one is left under the impression that what the Government are asking the House to do is to consent to some continuation of a beanfeast arrangement instead of dealing with this matter which is one of the utmost gravity. I should like, at the beginning of my comments, to refer to what the Home Secretary said at the opening of this Debate. He felt it consistent with his position to read to us on this side a little homily upon the British Constitution. He pointed out to us what our duties were in that respect, and, after genially admonishing us in that way, left the House in very great glee wit h the statement that his big brother the Chancellor of the Exchequer was coming to do battle with any challengers. I want., m supporting the Amendment which has been moved by my right hon. Friend the Member for Platting (Mr. Clynes), to say that I am not a miner, I have no connection with the mining industry, but the British people as a whole are interested in what the Government are now proposing to do. Speaking as one of those detached persons, I would like to say that in my judgment the attitude of the Government on this matter has been harsh and unsympathetic, and that they have been dealing with these men, in a period of great personal crisis, as though they were mere economic units, without feelings, without passions, without desires and without senses. The men are to subdue all their feelings, they are to remember that they are law-abiding citizens, they 1507 are to conform to the economic necessities of the hour; but the Government do not understand, apparently, that, like other people, they have passions, and that, feeling the needs of the body as much as other folk, if they are hungry, if there is trouble at home, they are very likely, out of the misery that they feel, to use words and to take an attitude which in their calmer and more settled moments they would not adopt.
I accuse the Government of taking every advantage of men placed in that position, of not being willing to understand that, in addition to being economic units, they are human souls like the rest of us, and subject to the ordinary limitations of our lives. In a certain high sense the men have been right in this matter, and the Government have not treated them properly. You said, Mr. Speaker, a little time ago, that it would be out of order to refer to things that happened so long ago as 1907, I believe, but I hope you will permit me to refer to one phrase that was uttered by Lord Oxford when he was a Member of this House. He said thatEvery society is judged and survives according to the material and moral minimum which it prescribes to its members.If that statement be true, and that is what the miners themselves believe, then this legislation which we have given to them has not given that material and moral minimum, and these Emergency Powers which it is now sought to remove do not help the miner to understand that he is being given a square deal. Prices are to come down, we are told that the men are to expect less wages for their work, they are to work longer hours—all the sacrifice is to be on the men's side. The result of that will be to reduce the standard of their lives. Any man, any body of men, who will not stand up and fight for the retention of a standard of life which has been hardly won, would not be worthy of being called British. It is their right to do that; it is their duty to do it, to those who won that position for them and for their wives and children; but instead of the Government trying to appease men in these circumstances, they appear to be doing their nest to infuriate them. We listened to a speech a little time ago from the hon. Member for Lancaster (Sir a Strickland), in which he 1508 told us that there were certain inevitable laws of economics, and there are; but there also is a certain economic and inevitable law of hunger and of necessity, and these men are the preachers of that inevitable law.
May I say, with regard to the continuation of these Emergency Powers, that, in my judgment, such powers should always be used sparingly, should only be called for in circumstances of the gravest emergency, and should not be continued for an hour longer than is absolutely necessary. When the Government to-day ask for a continuation of these Emergency Powers, they are really casting a very grave reflection upon the miners themselves. I think that when the historian comes to write the history of this period through which we are passing, he will record one thing above all others, And that will be the marvellous restraint of the men who have passed through this crisis, not only in the mining industry but throughout the whole nation. If the House will permit me to say so, I was in America during the time while the general strike was in progress, and there was one universal phrase on the lips of many whom we met. It was one of complete astonishment and admiration at the self-control and the self-discipline with which the British workman, in such circumstances, could carry through his agitation without riot and without disorder. The Government are not recognising that. They are treating our miners and other workmen, in asking for a renewal of these powers, as if they had been guilty of widespread riot and disorder. We feel that these men do not deserve what the Government are trying to put upon them. I would suggest to the Government that it would be well if they would put the British nation on its honour to keep the peace during this trying time. If they did that, they would almost surely not be disappointed. In matters like this, as we have been told on great authority,The gentlest gamester is the surest winner.I would like to say a word about the question of imprisonment. Many men are to-day imprisoned who, except for this particular fault under these particular rules, are of the best of our race, and if the Government had really wished to promote peace in these circumstances, they would have liberated these men 1509 before now, feeling sure that what they did was the act of a moment under a feeling of great provocation. I think the Home Secretary—I am sorry he is not in his place to hear me say it—should be the last person in this House to imprison men for hasty phrases. May I say, before I conclude, a word about Regulation No. 21? I represent a military constituency, and I should like to say that the soldiers resent nothing so much as the suggestion made by the Government in applying for a, continuation of these Emergency Powers, that they are not capable of taking care of themselves. Anybody who knows the soldier or the sailor knows that he is quite as able to take care of himself in times of peace as he is of this nation in times of war. He has an extensive and pungent vocabulary, and he is quite capable of meeting any emergency with which he may be confronted. On that ground I think the Government should not press this matter too far.
Finally, I would like to ask what, under the conditions I have attempted to describe, are the Government doing, what effort are they making, to make peace where there is at present war? The Government is the trustee of the nation. It is not only the miners and the owners who are involved, it is the whole of the British people, and it is an affliction on the British people that it has a Government such as we are suffering from at present, but there it is and we cannot remove it. Being in that position, it is the trustee of the nation and it sits there under this crisis, whilst the nation is slowly bleeding to death, doing nothing except asking for a continuation of Emergency Powers when it ought to have introduced legislation and made peace instead of asking for new weapons of war. It has all the facts before it, it knows what the issues are, it has unexampled powers in this House, and still it sits and does nothing. The Government appears to have no plan. It merely sits and waits for something to turn up, and on that account I, for one, will resist giving to it a continuation of these despotic powers.
§ Mr. SAKLATVALA
I wish to confine myself to the Emergency Powers Act and the excellent Amendment which has been moved against it after some length of time from the Front Opposition Bench. The 1510 Home Secretary explained to us the procedure of the British constitution, and so on, and so on. I may assure the House that none of us are really concerned, either in the House or outside it, to drag the Crown into any controversy unnecessarily. We are all just as much aware of the wisdom of carrying on some traditional forms as the Home Secretary or his followers. But I put it now to the Government that circumstances may alter, and even the British constitution and British traditions may be found to be antiquated and to be inapplicable to all sets of conditions. If it is the anxiety of the Government to present certain forms of business to this House in the shape of an Address to the Crown the Government ought to be careful to pick and choose their business in such a way that it is really some harmless business, but if they continue to use this form and pass under it business which large sections of the working class consider to be an offence and an insult to them, they are expecting too much from human nature by adhering still to that old form. My suggestion to the Government is that if they are anxious for certain traditions and forms to be respected it is their duty to see that the uses made of those forms are more or less non-controversial.
We are not speaking here for ourselves as individuals. I again submit to the Home Secretary that the introduction of the last Peoples Representation Act has made a vast difference in the political and constitutional history of this country. You have brought forward men and women into the political arena by the million, and their manners, their expressions, their desires and their feelings are quite different from your traditional manners and desires, and it is incumbent upon us to give expression to their feelings, and to the average man, when you take up an Act like this, cutting across the liberty of almost every individual man as a sword hanging over the heads of all men and women, they are not going to look upon it as the Act of Ministers of the Crown in the name of His Majesty, but they will have to say disrespectful things about anyone and everyone concerned. I again appeal to the Government that in future they ought to take care that if they want the national flag and national traditions, and national this and national that, to be 1511 respected, it is their duty now to limit those national traditions to non-controversial subjects. I am sure to-morrow morning people will be saying things about His Majesty, not understanding the constitutional position and all its fineries and niceties. That is our reason for objecting to such very disputable Acts being brought before the House in this form as an Address to His Majesty.
With regard to the Act itself, on this occasion the Opposition are offering a direct and a proper opposition to it. The hon. and learned Gentleman opposite said these emergency powers had become a necessity to-day because this House has passed legislation which confers certain powers and immunities on trade union officials and members and organisations. It is from that point of view, that I, as a representative of the workers, should always oppose Emergency Powers, because according to the confession of a supporter of the Government this Measure is required, not, because any genuine and real emergency exists but because we want to neutralise the rights of the workers as organised in their trade unions. That is the argument of the hon. and learned Gentleman, who perhaps was more clever than he required to be on this occasion.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
The hon. Member is quite in error. I said the irresponsibility given to trade unions led in a time of emergency to abuses of their powers and hence brought about the need for the use of emergency powers.
§ Mr. SAKLATVALA
Quite so. The crisis came as a dispute between the employers and the employés. The armour of the employés is the trade union organisation, trade union legislation and trade union practice, and in order to make the fight unequal, the master class, through its puppet Government, want to deprive the working class of that legitimate and constitutional armour and produce this Emergency Powers Act. That is the further argument of the hon. and learned Gentleman. We oppose this Emergency Powers Act exactly on this ground, that it is an Act which really does not enable the officials to meet some emergency which they cannot very well meet through the ordinary law, but it is an Act produced 1512 with the deliberate object of abusing it, as we have seen the present Government abuse it every day of the last two months with the deliberate object of using it as a class instrument, of the basest type, and the deliberate object not of using it against Lord Hunsdon and others, but of using it against certain representatives of the working class, not for what they have done now but because they have been kept as marked men and a danger to Tory politics. It is for this purpose that we object to it, that it is used in practice to neutralise the legislative and the traditional protection of trade union workers. It has been pointed out that when the Labour Government were in power they also promulgated an Emergency Powers Act. The public are not aware of their motives—certainly it was never proved that the Labour Government- used the Emergency Powers as a class instrument. Had the Labour Government published their Emergency Powers in the same form that the present Government have done, and had time to use them, there is a probability that they might have used them with equal impartiality against the employers, and the probability would have been that Emergency Powers would have been deleted from our Statute Book by now.
The existing crisis is not only a money crisis. It does not mean simply loss of trade, loss of orders and the holding up of industry. It does not simply mean that over 1,000,000 men are out, with the families, facing all the dangers and hardships of life, and saying that they would rather starve than surrender. It involves, in addition to these economic implications, many social and constitutional points. The men engaged in this fight are ordinarily engaged in preserving their standard of life, but as the fight develops, as the Government adopt Measure after Measure, and as the masters are showing the cloven hoof day after day in the dispute, there is involved not only an economic problem but grave political, social and constitutional issues, and we who are responsible for the working classes—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] We who are responsible for the working classes and fighting for their political, social and constitutional rights—
§ Mr. SAKLATVALA
Myself and my colleagues on this side of the House. We who are responsible as representing the organised workers of this country, are responsible, not only for their standard of life, but for their economic welfare. We are responsible to them for carrying on a progressive fight to demand and obtain for them their social, political and constitutional advantages and rights. These rights stand out very prominently and significantly in such a crisis, but the Emergency Powers Act prevents us from carrying on that legitimate fight. Some of our speakers have a perfect right in such a crisis to speak to the men and women of the nation and to show to them the dangers of the indiscriminate use of the Army and the police. We have a right to demand for these men their rights in the managerial control of their own industry. We have a right to point out to the men the necessity of controlling the financial side of their industrial life along with the other functions of their industry. The Emergency Powers Act permits the masters and the capitalist newspapers complete freedom to advance their rights, existing rights as well as new ones, to put forward their claims, demands and criticisms, and to indulge in their vehement, unjust and unpardonable abuse of Cook and other persons fighting for the miners; while, on the other side, those who are fighting the great battle of the working classes are deprived of the right of speaking and fighting for their political, social and other privileges.
There is another grave point to which I would direct the attention of the Government. We are now being asked to renew the Emergency Powers Act for the third time. We could have pardoned the Government the first time. [HON. MEMBERS "No."] I think we could have pardoned the Government for the first time, on the excuse that as they thought an emergency existed and a certain routine and order of life was to be suddenly changed and thrown overboard and a new system adopted for the distribution of supplies, they felt nervous as to how the new adjustment was to take place, and they sought to protect themselves behind the Emergency Powers Act. But if in two months the Government fail to bring about a settled condition from these new conditions, the Govern- 1514 ment ought to resign and give up the job. On the other hand, if the Government have been able to create a new order, and to adjust themselves to the new conditions of life, then they are acting dishonestly in putting forward the pretence that an emergency exists and they must have extraordinary powers.
The people in the country are bound to take to-day's Measure as following upon the Eight Hours Bill. The two Measures cannot be separated. However much the Government may protest otherwise, honest men and women with clear logical views, have definitely come to the conclusion—not only the miners and other workers, but some people on the fringes of the other class—that the Government and the Ministers of the Crown have ceased from yesterday to be the impartial and trusted Ministers of the nation. From yesterday they are merely the hired agents of the coal-owners. There is not the slightest doubt about it. Legislatively, officially, definitely, technically, they are the hired agents of the coalowners of this country, and they are going to run this coon try as the hired agents of the coalowners. They have ceased to he Ministers of the Grown, and it is a falsehood to describe them as Ministers of the Crown, passing an address to His Majesty. From to-day, under the Emergency Powers Act, they are going to use the police, the Army and other forces of the Crown, and even the civil servants, in a class war to fight their friends' battle, simply to preserve their rights against the constitutional, political and economic interests of the nation at large. It is a great strain upon the loyalty of the policemen, the soldiers and the civil servants engaged in any kind of work under the Emergency Powers Act. Nevertheless, the Government resent it when we go to these men and say, "The Government are using you for a purpose which is immoral, uncontsitutional and illegal." Every policeman, every soldier and every civil servant who is a roan of honour and conscience, should either chuck his job or act against the Government, rather than lend himself to be a tool for their fight against the nation.
§ Sir HENRY SLESSER
I should not have intervened in this Debate at this point but for certain observations which 1515 have been made by the hon. and learned Member for Argyllshire (Mr. Macquisten). It would be most unfortunate, irrespective of party, if the hon. and learned Member should produce an impression on the House, as to the state of the law dealing with these matters, which is entirely erroneous and fallacious, and for the sake of the whole House I hope it will not accept the premises of the hon. and learned Member or his conclusions, which are based on entirely fallacious reasoning. As a matter of fact, the whole argument of the hon. and learned Member in commending these Regulations to the House is fallacious, for this reason. He argued that because of present weaknesses in the trade union law, that therefore these Regulations were justified if, in some way, they fortified the State against these weaknesses. The fallacy of that argument is that, whether these Regulations are good or had, they have no relation whatever with trade union law, with the Trade Disputes Act, or with any of these wicked Statutes, as he called them, which give him so much concern. The Emergency Powers Act, and the Emergency Regulations issued under that Act, provide in terms that no such Regulation shall make it an offence for any person to take part in a strike or peacefully persuade any other person to take part in a strike. The hon. and learned Member might say, "So far so good, but what about the people who do not peacefully persuade any other person to take part in a strike and act in a way contrary to what is known as peaceful picketing?"
I am not going to discuss the general law on that matter, and I should be out of order if I did so, but there is no single Regulation here from beginning to end which in any way strengthens or alters the position as it exists in the law at the present time. Regulation 21, which deals with acts likely to cause sedition, on which I shall have something to say later as I propose to move an Amendment to it, has no reference whatever to compelling the people to work or not to work, and, therefore, looking at the matter quite apart from party or from politics, but as it really is, it is impossible to defend or attack these Regulations on the ground that they in any way alter 1516 the right of men to go to work or abstain from work. That was the argument of the hon. and learned Member.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
My hon. and learned Friend is entirely wrong. I never said the Regulations altered the law, but that they led to the necessity that someone should see that the law is rigidly kept.
§ Sir H. SLESSER
I do not think I did the hon. and learned Member any injustice. I thought that was his argument, and I am pointing out that his argument is rather strained. It may be argued in favour of these Regulations that they do meet the evils which he sees, but my main point is that they are silent on all these matters, and the hon. and learned Member should criticise his own Government because they have not dealt with them. Although these Regulations can be supported for reasons other than those the hon. and learned Member put forward, I have been driven to this conclusion that he wishes to bring King Charles' head into this matter; he wants to find an excuse for talking about the Trades Dispute Act on these particular Regulations. I am concerned that the House should not be led aside by the fact that the hon. and learned Member is a learned Member, and should not think that his legal argument has any hearing on the matter one way or the other. On the other question, as to the necessity for abrogating the common law and abolishing trial by jury, which is the effect of Regulation 21, it has no bearing whatever from start to finish on any single point which the hon. and learned Member has put forward.
§ 1.0 P.M.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I do not propose to take part in the legal battle which is waging, and the hon. and learned Member for Argyllshire (Mr. Macquisten) should really attack his own Front Bench. I desire to make a few remarks about these Regulations and to say why I propose to vote for the Amendment which has been moved on behalf of the Labour party. While we all admire the sincerity of the hon. Member for North Battersea (Mr. Saklatvala), I must point out to him that if he and his friends were in power they would have to pass similar or much stronger Regulations than these. They would have to; and I suppose I should still be here, or 1517 perhaps somewhere else, in some other body elected on a somewhat different basis, opposing any attempt to interfere with liberty of speech and expression. The Regulations which deal with food, fuel and light, are necessary, but I object to those penal Regulations dealing with liberty and freedom of expression and publication. Those are the wicked Regulations which do no good, and I do not think this Government is fit to be entrusted with such powers. But with regard to the non-penal Regulations, may I put it to the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department that there are some serious gaps—they do not go far enough? The vital services are being restricted. Our trawlers in Hull have to buy their coal in Holland at exorbitant prices, and we are hampered in all sorts of ways. Yet in London you have the restaurants and cabarets going on all hours of the day and night; night clubs opening at six o'clock in the morning. There is all this waste of fuel and light, yet the Home Secretary in answer to a question which I put to him, said he had no power to interfere.
That is a serious gap in these Regulations. At this time it is necessary to save coal and light and I think the hours of closing which were in operation during the War should be rigidly enforced. No one would have any ground of complaint if the hours for music and dancing were limited to 12.30 at night. There is no reason why they should go on till four o'clock in the morning, and sometimes until six in the morning. The vital services are restricted at the moment, and if the Government could do a little in this way they would earn the gratitude of the unfortunate commercial and business people of the country who are struggling along with their present restricted supply. I do not think the Government. realise how hard hit are the provincial manufacturing centres, indeed, I think this Government is less in touch with the real feeling of the country at the moment than any Government of recent years. I do not think the Government realise the terrible damage that is being done. As long as they come to the House once a month and pass these Regulations afresh, and then sit down and wait and carry on their war of attrition, they think that all is well. All is not well. Terrible damage is being done to the trade of 1518 the country. Still more important, a really bitter feeling is being ingrained in the minds of the workpeople, not only the miners, because of the wages that are being lost, and when those people get back to work you will not get real work from them. We shall then start under a serious handicap with our competitors in the markets of the world.
I shall certainly vote for the Amendment, if for no other reason than that last night the Prime Minister held out an olive branch, and that in answer to a speech of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Leith (Captain Benn) this morning he drew it back again. The Prime Minister used most important words. Yesterday we really had a chance of peace, and the Press this morning, the "Times" and "Manchester Guardian" and most of the leading papers, so read the Prime Minister's offer. This is what the Prime Minister said:If the Miners' Federation, even now, can accept the Report, with all that that Report implies—including, I hope, the taking over or purchase of the mining royalties, the minerals—which is what we were struggling for in April, and, I believe, which was urged upon them by many of their best friends—I know that that was so—I believe that, even now, a settlement satisfactory to both sides can be arranged."—[OFFICIAL REPORT 1st July, 1926; c01. 1420, Vol. 197.]Everyone thought that that statement was really the opening of the door to peace, but this morning the Prime Minister, in the omnipotent presence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, shook his head, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer shook his head as well, when my hon. and gallant Friend asked whether that was seriously meant. There is another thing. A few days ago another gentleman, Mr. Cook, offered an armistice. He suggested that the men should go back to work under the previous conditions while negotiations were started again. That offer was a great step forward. It was treated with contempt; the Press which supports the Government jeered at it. Yet after a struggle like this, with a million men who have shown their determination, there must he some sort of armistice. I think that the suggestion of Mr. Cook was statesmanlike. He is a man who has been much abused. I have heard him speaking—
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Captain FitzRoy)
I do not think that we can exclude references to the coal question from the Debate.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
I think that that offer of an armistice should have been accepted. I have just come down from Yorkshire, where I have talked with many business men. They hold the same opinion about the offer. They are terribly hard hit in my constituency. Our trawlers are hampered, our manufacturers are having to shut down or to work short time. They would welcome an armistice. They are sick of this heroic battle which is going on inside the Cabinet between would-be leaders of a steel helmeted army, and the few statesmen who are in the Cabinet, as to whether the Royal Commission Report should be accepted as a whole and the armistice accepted; between those who favour that course and the fight-to-a-finish school, who, having beaten the Trade Union Congress, as they say, would now take the unions in detail and beat them to the ground. It is a terrible mistake to make, and it will do immense harm to the country, to drive men unwillingly hack to work in this way. The very fact that the Government have to continue these Emergency Regulations, and that they may have to renew them at the end of this month and summon Parliament specially in September to extend them for another month, is a dreadful prospect.
It all shows that the policy preached by my right hon. Friend the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), during the strike, of peace by negotiation, was absolutely justified. I was one of the few members of my party who supported him, and I am certain that I was right. It would have been far better if, instead of meeting month after month to renew these Regulations, instead of seeing men become more embittered and desperate, instead of seeing the trade of the country lost and the revenue suffering, we could have had a general peace by negotiation, the general strike called off and the mining strike called off at the same time. When the general strike was called off, the news was welcomed with 1520 hurrahs and huzzahs. But I said, "We are not out of the wood until the mining problem is settled." I was told then that I was pessimistic. I was told, "Labour is beaten, and we are going to get everything right and put the working men in their places." I said to my friends, "You are absolutely wrong. Until the mining trouble is settled, it will be too early to throw up our hats." I think I have been justified in that view. Even now I say that it would be very much better to attempt to make peace by negotiation, by accepting the offer of an armistice, instead of relying on force, of which these Regulations are part of the weapon.
I shall certainly support the Amendment. I am glad that those who are with me in my party will do the same. [Laughter.] Hon. Members opposite laugh. But there are not many Conservatives on the Benches opposite. A friend of mine who does not know Parliament very well was in some distress this morning because he feared that if a Division were called there would not be enough Conservatives in the House to carry a vote. We Liberals may be few in numbers. We were at our lowest point at the last General Election, but we represent 3,000,000 of voters. That is our irreducible minimum. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for South-West Hull (Mr. Grotrian) knows that I speak for a great many Liberals in the East Riding of Yorkshire in this matter. We as Liberals shall vote with the Labour party, and on this occasion, at any rate, pursue what I believe to be a real Liberal policy.
§ Mr. MARCH
I am glad to have this opportunity of protesting against the continuation of those Regulations, on behalf of the division which I have the honour to represent. I have been a considerable time in trying to get an opportunity of explaining to the House the abuse by the Home Secretary and the Government of the Regulations. In the district which I represent our people were so good and quiet that the police themselves had to do something to provoke the people and raise their temper. We were having a meeting on 12th May, on the day the Trade Union Congress declared the strike off—
§ Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; Rouse counted; and 40 Members being present—
§ Mr. MARCH
As I was stating when the count was called, we in our district were so law-abiding that the police could get no cases against us, and a number of strange police were imported into the district to cause trouble. A meeting was being held outside while another meeting was going on in the Town Hall. I had addressed the outside meeting for about 20 minutes and I then went into the Town Hall. A few minutes after I got into the Town Hall a lorry-load of police drove through our meeting, which was then being addressed by another gentleman. Naturally the people resented the attitude of the lorry driver, who went through at from 10 to 12 miles an hour and did not attempt to ease up. People had to rush back, many were knocked clown, and some women fainted and were carried into the Town Hall. Not content with that, when the police were within 50 yards of where the people were gathering again, they jumped out of the lorry, formed a cordon across the street, got reinforcements from the station and made a baton charge on the people who were standing in an orderly manner at the meeting. That is the kind of thing which these Regulations empower the Home Secretary and the police to do. They were not even satisfied with batoning the people at the meeting, but they afterwards went round into various houses and into rooms where meetings were being held and batoned the people in the rooms.
We have endeavoured to get the Home Secretary to receive a deputation from the local council. They have been appealed to by a number of citizens who were injured without any reason or warrant whatever being given to the Police for the action which led to those injuries. The Home Secretary made a statement in the House to the effect that he saw no reason why he should receive a deputation, and when I asked him if he had any report from any source other than the police, he said that he did not know he had any right to get any other report and that he was satisfied with the authorities who were there. We have endeavoured to convince the Home Secretary that there is reason why he ought to receive a deputation and why he ought to hold an inquiry into 1522 the action of the police in this district, but he has said "No." That is because he has had a one-sided report.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
The hon. Member should go on to tell the House all that happened. The hon. Member came and saw me—I am always accessible to hon. Members opposite—and told me he had got written statements by witnesses in regard to this matter. I told him to bring those statements to me. He came to me afterwards accompanied by the town clerk, and saw me in my room at the Home Office. The hon. Member and the town clerk had these statements with them. I asked them to hand over the statements to me, and I promised that the fullest inquiry would be made, but they declined. The town clerk said that the town council desired to send a formal deputation to me, and, although he had the statements with him, he said he was not allowed to hand them over to me unless I received a full deputation. I said: "I am here now to receive these statements, and I promise you an inquiry on them. If you will not leave the statements with me, it is your fault and not mine."
§ Mr. MARCH
I was about to explain what had happened when the Home Secretary intervened. The Home Secretary pinned himself down to the report from the police, which was a one-sided report. On behalf of the citizens of the district, which I have the honour to represent, I said I would raise this matter on the, Adjournment, but the opportunity for doing so not having arisen, I asked for and was granted an interview with the Home Secretary, to whom I explained certain things. At that interview he admitted to me that he knew nothing at all about the matter—although he had previously come to the decision that he would not receive a deputation, and that no good purpose would be served by receiving a deputation. The town clerk had brought statements with him, and I had two with me. They were read to the Home Secretary. He knew nothing about them, and admitted it, and I told him that the town clerk had many others of the same kind. The town clerk had his instructions from the council, and he explained them to the Home Secretary in this way "My instructions were to get these 1523 statements from the people concerned and to have them verified and to ask you to receive a deputation. I cannot leave the statements with you unless I get the authority of my council." After all, borough councils and other bodies think they have some dignity which ought to be respected even by their own servants. The town clerk undertook to report to the council at their meeting that night, I also reported to the council, and the council held to the opinion that the statements ought not to go to the Home Secretary unless a deputation went with them.
We want to get from the Home Secretary a promise that these people are not going to be tyrannised over by the police. They have been tyrannised over sufficiently as it is—those who have had the courage to send in statements and give reports to the Commissioner of Police. We have to live among the police, week in and week out, and some of our people are not over-anxious to let the police know all about themselves because the police are not very particular as to the hours at which they go to houses to make inquiries into these matters. In connection with reports which have already come in, the police have taken very peculiar times to try to find the men concerned and to get corroboration of the statements. Does the Home Secretary think, however, that people would write letters of this description unless they knew they were right? I have a letter here which is a case in point. Why should the man who wrote this letter have the police sent to his house to make inquiries about it? The Home Secretary, in reply to me, in this House said he had had a claim from a woman who was supposed to have received injuries at that meeting. This is a letter to me from the father of that woman:I have read the reply given to you by the Home Secretary about the woman being injured. I presume it is my daughter, 19 years old, who was over to see her father and who had to be batoned about by the police while waiting in a room upstairs and abused and filthy language used at the same time by the police.She was not the only one who had filthy language used to her. The police went mad on that night round the district, and these Regulations are to enable the Government to continue that kind of thing. 1524 Members who have done their best in the district to keep law and order and to advise the people to carry out their meetings decently and respectably are to be ridden over by the police in the manner in which they were ridden over then, and then we cannot get an opportunity for the Members of the Council to go to the Home Secretary and explain what they saw themselves, independent of the letters which they sent. I have here copies of letters—24 of them—sent in by various people in the district, who say: "Unless they are presented by the deputation and authority given to them by the Home Secretary, do not Part with them, because we cannot trust the police." We do not mind the Home Secretary or any other person he likes to send, but not the police of the district, to come and interrogate these people. It is not their duty to do it, if the Home Secretary wants to get an impartial decision in the matter. Therefore, I say these Regulations are only asked for by the Home Secretary so that the police may tyrannise over the citizens of the district more than they are doing at the present time.
On that very same night when the baton charge took place, no provocation was given to the police in any way whatever. They went round to various houses and picked out the people against whom they had a grudge and took them to the station. While I was in the station with a reverend gentleman they got hold of one man and shoved him back on the form, and then denied they had done it, and asked us to keep outside. I was so incensed at the action of the police on that night that I went to the Thames Police Court the next morning and explained the whole position to the magistrate, telling him what I saw in the district on that night, and because I went to the Court the magistrate was so satisfied that there was a great deal of excitement on both sides that the people he had before him were bound over to keep the peace for 12 months. If I had not been there to give the explanation which I did give, probably some of these men would have gone to prison, if the statements made by the police in the Court had been accepted by the magistrate without someone being there to put the other side of the story. They have brought up various charges against the four men whom they 1525 took out of this room. They went in, and they said that when they arrived there bottles and glasses were being thrown in all directions, coming from anywhere. I went along the street the next morning to see where the bottles and glasses were, because our sweepers were not at work, but no bottles and glasses were to be seen anywhere. That was the story they told in the Police Court the next morning, and I followed, the morning after, and asked various people along the district, shopkeepers and tradespeople—because High Street is comprised practically of shops—if they saw any bottles or glasses being thrown about. They replied that there was never anything of the kind.
I then went along the street to a corn chandler's. I do not know the man or the woman, but I was stopped as I was passing along, and a woman said: "Are you Mr. March?" I said, "Yes," and she told me about her husband and what was in the letter that I read to the Home Secretary. He was a man in business, who closed his shop a quarter of an hour after this raid. He says himself that there was no noise or crowd in the street. He walked along to a licensed house to get his ordinary glass of beer, and he was going to play a game of billiards, but the police rushed in, knocked him about, and laid him up for a week. [Laughter.] He is a business man, and I do not know that there is very much to laugh about in a business man who wants to go and get his glass of beer after he has done his day's work and shut up his shop. The police, not satisfied with knocking people about in front of the bar, jumped over the bar, and went upstairs, and broke things. I know that the publican is desirous of this being kept quiet, because he has to get his licence renewed and to go to the Court for that purpose, and he dare not say anything against the police. This is why the Government want Regulations, so as to tyrannise over people, to prevent them holding orderly meetings and getting together to discuss things, and then we are supposed to consider that this is all in the interests of the nation. I say that these Regulations are not required. We never did require them, and because we were so peaceable and orderly during the 10 days of the dispute down there, the police must needs go and provoke this job, so as to get some cases into the Court.
§ Mr. R. RICHARDSONrose—
§ Mr. STEPHEN
On a point of Order. May I ask whether these Regulations apply to Scotland, or only to England? There is no representative of the Scottish Office here, though I thought the Regulations applied to Scotland as well as to England.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
On that point of Order. We are supposed to be discussing a Vote of Censure on the Govermnent, and as soon as that is disposed of, I shall move a Resolution in favour of continuing the Emergency Regulations, when the Scottish Office, I hope, will be represented. At present, we are merely discussing an Amendment, which amounts to a Vote of Censure on the Government.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
I desire then to point out that this is a Vote of Censure on the Government, and that there is no representative of the Scottish Office to tell us how that policy of the Government is affecting the interests of the people in Scotland. I think it is only fair, if that policy is affecting Scotland, as we know to our cost it is, that there should be some representative of Scotland on the Government Bench.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
I am sure the Scottish Department does not wish to do anything which would not please the hon. Member, but, as a matter of fact, the Lord Advocate is in the building, and I suppose he did not think it necessary to listen to the attack made on the police by the hon. Member for South Poplar (Mr. March), which has nothing to do with the Lord Advocate. If the hon. Gentleman opposite desires to raise a Scottish question, I will see that the Lord Advocate is communicated with at once.
§ Mr. RICHARDSON
I have listened to the whole of this Debate, and up to the present I have heard no defence whatever of the continuance of these Regulations. There is a great difference between a general strike and a dispute in the mines, and I want the Government to keep that in mind. We have had some ugly things said by the hon. and learned Member for Argyllshire (Mr. Macquisten). I am sorry he is not now in his place, but may I put a few points to him? He said apparently that the workers in this 1527 country are a very bad lot indeed, but I think he would have to admit that there are bullies even within his own profession. Are they all paragons in his profession? Have none of them ever been brought before a Court? Has not one of them ever found his way before a Judge or a bench of Magistrates for some breach of the law? I take it that a percentage of his profession—perhaps even 50 per cent.—are equally as earnest as the men in my own profession, and I want to ask him if in his profession they admit blacklegs. We do our best by peaceful picketing to get rid of the blacklegs, but the Law Society have a different way. They do not permit blacklegs. They would not allow a man to work for a penny piece less than is set forth in the regulations, and if by chance any of his brothers in the profession make a mistake, they sit in Council and strike them off the roll. I wonder if their action in removing blacklegs is anything like so mild as that of the general worker, who is glad to bring his brother with him into the trade union movement.
I have been connected with the mines for many years. I have seen many disputes, and I have to say that in 95 per cent. of them we have been defending, and not attacking. I am glad the Home Secretary, in introducing this matter, took full responsibility, and took out of it the Royal Household and His Majesty. What else could he do? At least, from the Royal Household has come some small sympathy. The only weapon you have left with which to fight the miners to-day is that of starvation. You can only beat them by starvation. You will never beat them back into the old position. What is going to happen in my own county of Durham? They cannot work the three-shift system under the Eight Hours Act. I can see at least a third of the miners of Durham county being thrown out if you carry out that Act. What have the Government done to bring peace? They bring in the Eight Hours Bill, in which there is nothing which will go to make peace. There is nothing in their legislation to bring anything into the coal trade. Pit-head baths—I have done my best to have them established wherever I go. They are a boon, but they will not feed the men; they will not find boots and clothing for the men. And the 1528 miner, after all, will put up with a lot of inconvenience to himself for the sake of his wife and his children. I want the Government to consider that side of it. These little bouquets which they have been handing out at this juncture are of very little service to bring about peace.
The Government have established themselves on the side of the coalowners, acting with, and doing their best with, the people who have been our enemies all the time, and I regret that any Government should lower their dignity by becoming partisans in an industrial dispute in the way this Government have done. If they had held themselves ready as between the parties to see justice was done, I should have had no complaint. That was their plain duty. It was their duty to look after the community, but to come down on the side of the coal-owners without making the necessary inquiry is not creditable to them. After all, they have no mandate from the country. I ask them not to be cowards, but to ask the country to give them a mandate on this question. Let the men go back on the old conditions—we ask for nothing more—and then inquire from the country how this matter might be settled. But not content with that, the Government have hidden their cowardly action behind this nefarious Measure, levelled only at miners. What have the miners done to make this necessary? Has there been any untoward happening? There is not even a picket out in my county; they are so consolidated that there is no necessity for any picket. When you compel them to leave their work, they return to their homes, remain there and, like the people of old, suffer in silence. I ask the Government to prove to this House that anything ha, been done by the miners which called for an extension of these emergency powers. Have they done anything, and is the country in that state of unrest that this is necessary? There is no reply to that question.
Therefore, I say to the Government that they are upsetting the ordinary law of the country, and bringing in additional powers, which are not required, because the ordinary law can do all that is necessary in this matter. Miners have got their education from that hard, practical school through which we have to go, and in the technicalities of lan- 1529 guage we may make mistakes, nay, we will make mistakes. Fifty years ago we had better conditions as far as the miners are concerned than those you are going to inflict upon us now.
The Durham miner has never been averse to endeavour to meet the conditions of trade, but the Government are now going to drive them into a condition that they have never known before. They will be driven into the unemployed market, where they will remain practically for many months to come. Something has been said about the closing of uneconomic mines, and the suggestion has been made that the men will be transferred from such pits to others. But it must not be forgotten that while pits may go out of working it may take months to develop newer areas, and before they get the other pits into working order. The Government have acted and are acting in a condition which is unfair and indefensible. There is no justice or fair play in it. They are acting at the dictation of the people who are behind them on the hack benches and outside this House. The Government ought not to listen to these people. The Government ought to have a mind of their own, and tackle with some sense of fairness the problem that is before them. Then we come to the hon. Member for Malta, I mean Lancaster (Sir G. Strickland) who has some odd ideas on the subject and who dwelt considerably on the export trade. What he has suggested will not remedy the situation. We cannot be blamed for what has happened to the export trade, due to world conditions, and circumstances which should be judged from the right standpoint. The miner in the past has had to work hard to enable him to earn sufficient to feed himself, his wife, and family. Some at present are in a terrible position, and have had to apply to the Poor Law. The suggestions put forward here will make conditions far worse than under the Poor Law. Those conditions you are asking the people to accept. The miner has never done anything to warrant this treatment. The Government is endeavouring to put into operation an astounding proposition, and I ask for the sake of all those concerned that they shall reconsider their decision.
§ Mr. THURTLE
On a point of Order. I beg to submit to you that there is not the necessary quorum of Members present in the House.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I would remind the hon. Gentleman that it is very unusual to call a count again after so short an interval.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
As I said, the interval between now and the last count is not long. Mr. Stephen.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
I beg to move, "That the Debate be now adjourned."
I want to draw the attention of the House to the fact that there is still no representative of the Scottish Office on the Government benches. The Amendment before us is a Vote of Censure on the Government because of its policy. It seems to me that the way we in Scotland have been treated in respect of Government policy is shameful. I desire to move the Adjournment of this Debate because it is scandalous that in all these matters neither the Secretary for Scotland, the Under-Secretary for Scotland, nor the Lord Advocate is present during the Debate. One of the hon. Gentlemen slips in and slips out again, while the incapacity of Scottish administration is absolutely worse, I think, than it has ever been in the history of Scotland. We have ever many grievances in common with the people of different parts of the country. But in Scotland we have our own particular difficulties. I think that if the House were to-day to accept my Motion for adjournment it would be a lesson to the Scottish Secretary. I myself can quite well suppose that a state of emergency might arise at any minute in Scotland: that the policy of the Government may result in a great many things happening in Scotland. The Home Secretary made a pledge that himself and the Lord Advocate would be present, and I wish to move the Adjournment as a protest against the scandalous behaviour of the Scottish Office in the way they treat. Scottish Members of this House.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
We must dispose of one subject at a time. I am afraid I cannot accept the Motion of the hon. Member to adjourn the Debate.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
I have waited throughout this Debate, to raise matters which concern my country, and the position of people in my country under these Regulations, and there has been nobody on the Treasury Bench to deal with them. In the name of my constituents I want to protest against the way in which they have been treated. It is useless for me to address myself to the Under-Secretary for the Home Department in England. We have had the Prime Minister making statements and promises, saying one thing one minute and something different the next minute. The Government are betraying the working classes in every possible way, and there is not a single member of the Government whose word can be depended upon in any degree.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
The remarks of the hon. Member were so very short that a representative of the Scottish Office had hardly time to reach his place, but I see that one is now present.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
: I am protesting against the general policy of the Scottish officers in connection with these Debates. They hear nothing whatsoever of the Debate. They come in after one of the Scottish Members has been called upon, and after he has been speaking for some time. It is an insult to our country for us to be treated it this way by the representatives of the Government.
§ Mr. THURTLE
Further to the point of order which I raised just now. I see that under Rule 110 of the Rules of Procedure, the Chair has no discretion what ever as to taking notice of a point of order to the effect that a quorum of 40 Members is not present. Therefore, in accordance with my rights under the Rules of the House, I beg again to call your attention to the fact that there are not 40 Members present.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I think the hon. Member must know that it is the custom of the House that a very con- 1532 siderable time should elapse between one notice of there not being 40 Members present being accepted by the Chair and its being accepted again.
§ Mr. THURTLE
On that point I wish to submit to you that there is nothing either in the Rules of Procedure or in Erskine May, which is recognised as the guide to Parliamentary practice, which says that it is within the discretion of the Chair. As it is one of the rights of private Members to insist upon a reasonable number of Members being present while business is being carried on, I beg once again to draw your attention to the fact that there are not 40 Members present.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
It is quite true there is nothing in the actual Standing Orders to that effect, but the hon. Member will realise that the procedure of this House is not governed entirely by Standing Orders, but very largely by practice and precedent. Certainly there is no precedent for a count being called at short intervals. I have had my attention called to a reference in Erskine May in which it is shown that Mr. Speaker had declined to count the House again when he had reason to feel satisfied as to the presence of 40 Members, and it lays that down as a custom.
§ Mr. PALING
Does the custom lay clown any definite length of time between one count and another? If it does not, may I draw attention to the fact that a considerable time has passed since the last count?
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
It does not lay down an actual interval. It is within the discretion of the Chair.
§ 2.0 P.M.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
During the last four days, as well as many times during the past eight or nine weeks, when questions pertaining to the mining dispute have been under review, certain statements have been made by responsible Ministers about the Government accepting their responsibility as to negotiations and a possible settlement of this dispute. I wish to show that not only have the Government neglected their responsibility, but that they have failed to hold an even balance between the contending parties. The Prime Minister and the Secretary for Mines, with the Minister of Labour back- 1533 ing them up, have constantly said that the miners' officials would never face the real facts of the situation. What they were referring to was the fact that the miners' representatives have always refused to accept a reduction in wages or an extension of working hours. We have been amazed to hear the Prime Minister and other Ministers telling Members of the Labour party what the miners' officials have failed to do. Seldom have we heard any complaints about the mineowners. From the commencement of these negotiations, from the very moment when the Commission issued their Report, the Prime Minister has only been able to see one side of the case. I want to prove, as I think I shall be able to, that all along the line the Prime Minister and the Government have failed to accept the Report of the Commission in the fullest sense, or in a way that would give any sort of guarantee to the miners' representatives that they intended to carry out their part in so far as legislative and administrative action are concerned.
On 11th March the Prime Minister invited representatives of the coalowners and representatives of the Miners' Federation to meet him at Downing Street. There, in a preliminary canter, he invited the two responsible bodies to sit down and think seriously about the Commission's Report. On that occasion he said he did not want to say very much to them, but merely to plead with them not to talk too much but to sit down and think for a very long time. Both sides thanked him for his courtesy in convening the meeting. Then on Wednesday, 24th March, the Prime Minister called together the mineowners' officials and the miners' officials and laid before them the definite decision that had been reached by the Government. In terms which have been heard many times, he told these two bodies that he had accepted the Report. He said:The Government has considered with great Royal the Report and conclusions of the Royal Commission. The conclusions reached by the Commission do not in all respects accord with views held by the Government, and some of the recommendations contain proposals to which, taken by themselves, the Government are known to be opposed. Nevertheless, in face of the unanimous Report of the Commission and for the sake of a general settlement, the Government for their part will be prepared to undertake such measures as may be re- 1534 quired of the State to give the recommendations effect, provided that those engaged in this industry—with whom the decision primarily rests—agree to accept the Report and to carry on the industry on the basis of its recommendations. It is our hope that in that event, by the co-operation of all parties, it may be possible to find in the Report a lasting solution of the problem.So far the Prime Minister intimated that the Government were willing to accept this Report during the meeting and the officials of the Miners' Federation persistently sought from the Prime Minister some sort of explanation as to what he meant when he said that the Government were prepared to accept the Report. The Prime Minister naturally said that he could not go into details of the various Bills and matters which might be dealt with administratively, and he stated that they accepted the Report assuming the two other parties accepted them as well. Then Mr. Herbert Smith said:Shall we be able to get some of these Bills at an early time to see what they are embodying, because there are some important things in this Report which if properly handled may put the industry into a different position to what it is in now, and we want to try and find what is at the back of your mind, what it means as to reorganisation, and other questions?The Prime Minister said:Well, of course, I should get on to work as though you were going to get an agreement, but there is a great deal of work lying before us now, and we are losing no time in regard to it.Whether the Government have lost time or not can best be shown by the speech which the Prime Minister made yesterday when he told the House on the 1st July this year that he hoped in a short time to he able to announce the constitution of a Committee to deal with Gelling agencies. It has taken approximately four months for the Prime Minister to make up his mind even to appoint a Committee to deal with one of the meet vital things contained in the Commission's recommendations. I make these quotations to prove that the Miners' Federation officials did their level best to extract from the Prime Minister, the Minister of Labour, and the Secretary for Mines some real definite interpretation of what was meant when the Prime Minister referred to the acceptance by the Government of the Coal Commis- 1535 sion s Report. Mr. Cook, following a further statement by the Prime Minister, said:The point I put is as to what are the interpretations the Government put upon the recommendations contained therein, the shape of them; we are not asking an unreasonable thing. One thing you can say 'I accept,' but what is the form, what method is adopted? Supposing I was to say now as to what the Report recommends in regard to the Pit Committees—what do you mean by that? The whole thing is vague from that point of view. I am not doubting your intentions, but we would like to say this: You would be the last to buy a pig in a poke, to use a familiar phrase; possibly you have not made up your mind on the points of interpretation.The Prime Minister explained the difficulty of giving detailed definitions, and then the Minister of Labour followed and he said:I think what Mr. Cook means, if I understand what he and Mr. Herbert Smith have said, is that if the Mining Association and the Federation are meeting together in order to discuss their side of the question, whether they can rest assured that the Government are going on getting into shape quite generally without any humbug generally or putting off or evasion of the steps put forward to the Government to take.That was what the Minister of Labour said. Then Mr. Richardson said:It means until we do see set out in the form it is necessary to set it out in the proposed Bills, we cannot know whether we agree with the interpretation of the Report. We may have a difference on the Report. In other words, a construction may be put on the words of the Report that may be different from what we think, and therefore not of much use.Then Mr. Cook proceeds:A short Schedule can be prepared on the items that require both administrative and legislative action, particularly on your side. That is not asking too much before anything tangible is arrived at.Then the Prime Minister said:I see what you mean.Then the Minister of Labour said:I do not see why they should not come back to us on any points as they come up.Here I would observe that the whole sense of these questions and answers was a definite attempt on the part of the Miners' Federation to ascertain exactly what the Government meant by their acceptance of the Commission's Report. Up to that moment, and even up to the 1536 present moment, all we have had is the statement that the Government are willing to accept the Report if the other two parties can come to some agreement with regard to it. Then Mr. Herbert Smith warns the Committee as to the desirability of settling down to serious matters, and he says:I am not questioning your honesty, but you have shoved us into a siding that is going to have a dead end. Until we know what is going to be done we cannot discuss anything with the owners; you have shoved us into a siding. We will keep in touch with, your people and you ought to give us a lead, Mr. Prime Minister, as to your intentions on your side, I am looking at the 30th April, it is not a long way away. Unless we arc active we are going to do harm to everybody.Notwithtsanding all this, no clear definition of the intention of the Government could be extracted from the Prime Minister at that time. Then Mr. Cook goes on again, referring to the desirability of clearing the issue. He says:If we were asked a question on this, as to one point, they would say what does it mean? They would say to our President on the Pit Committees—for the establishment of obligatory profit-sharing schemes—what do you means about that? I should have to say, I do not know anything about it. It is a pig in a poke for us.That has been the position of the Miners' Federation from the commencement. They have never been able to find out what the intentions of the Government were, and if any body of men were ever justified in hesitating upon this matter surely it is the men who have been promised so much and to whom so little has been given during the negotiations.
Mr. A. HOPKINSON
The hon. Gentleman has forgotten to tell the House that the Prime Minister published a very full statement as to the manner in which the Government would deal with those reforms.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
I shall deal with that question later on. I think it is on record that the Government have failed lamentably down to this moment to give any detailed explanation of what their acceptance of the Report actually means. That is the purpose of my intervention in this Debate this afternoon. The 1537 Prime Minister, at the same interview, said:As I said before I have Committees at work now on that very subject, examining all the questions, both the very complicated ones and the comparatively simple ones, and in plenty of time before the 30th April, I shall know quite clearly the amount of Bills that will be necessary to implement our pledge, on the assumption that you can come to an agreement.The Prime Minister said that long before 30th April he would be quite ready with all his Bills and administrative proposals, but when did the Government submit any detailed statement of what they meant by their Bills and administrative proposals? Not until the 13th—
It might save time if the hon. Member would refer to the actual wording of the proposals, which I think one may fairly say represent as detailed a description as was possible at that particular time. Meanwhile, before the 30th April, the Miners' Federation had objected to the Report, and the whole thing had fallen through.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
They had never objected to the Report. The very first recommendation of the Commission reads thus:Before any sacrifices are asked from those engaged in the industry, it shall be definitely agreed between them that all practicable means for improving its organisations and increasing its efficiency shall be adopted, as speedily as the circumstances in each case allow.What did the miners reply to that? Here I would say that I have the recommendations of the Commission. The miners replied and the owners replied to everyone of the 28 proposals, and I challenge the Prime Minister, or the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he replies to-day, to tell us of one single thing that the Miners' Federation has rejected in the whole of the recommendations of that Committee. On the other hand, I want to submit to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the only bar to progress after all these deliberations has been the absolute failure on the part of the Government to show what they meant by their acceptance of the Commission's Report. I would just make one further reference to this Report. Mr. Smith, at almost the conclusion of the meetings, said:I may be wrong, but I think I could expect you to adopt this procedure, that 1538 having appointed the Commission you are going to abide by the findings of that Commission irrespective of either party. There are plenty of things in this report that we do not like.Therefore, the only honest construction that can be placed upon the action of the Miners' Federation is this. They recognised the implication of the first recommendation. For their part, they wanted to know whether the Government were really honest and intended to give effect to the proposals for reorganising the industry. What have we seen since? Perhaps I ought to mention, in passing, that at that same day's sitting, although four members of the Coalowners' Association were present, not one word did they utter either to the Prime Minister or to the Federation officials on the question of reorganisation. They did not intend reorganisation. It could be clearly seen that, unless the Government were going to force the owners into the first recommendation, it would not be carried out. Therefore, the first duty of the Government was this. Recognising the difficutly of preparing Bills to place before the House and recognising the difficulty even of administrative action, they should have responded to the appeal of Mr. Smith, Mr. Cook, and Mr. Richardson and prepared a schedule clearly indicating what they intended to do with regard to reorganisation. What did the Prime Minister do? The first time he submitted any reorganisation proposals to the Miners' Federation Executive was on the 13th May, when he sent a memorandum which contained certain proposals for reorganisation, which I believe contained or suggested four Bills and somewhere about five committees and certain things on those lines. He said to the officials:Before I can agree or you can agree to any of these, a preliminary to all must be that you accept a 10 per cent. reduction in wages.I want the Prime Minister just for a moment to imagine the position of an Executive that had passed through these negotiations and knew all that there was to be known about them. Here was the Federation Executive, responsible for 1,200,000 men and their families, charged with taking a very delicate and difficult decision, and they wanted every assurance that the Government would give effect to their side of the question. They have never to this moment been given any assurance that, even if they did what 1539 appeared from the Prime Minister to be inevitable, that these reorganisation proposals would be introduced. Therefore, I want to suggest that the Government from the very first have failed to tell the Miners' Federation in detail exactly what they intended to do in regard to the reorganisation of this industry. It is all very well to tell the Miners' Federation that you are prepared to introduce a Bill for amalgamation. We saw the tuberculosis of the right, hon. Gentleman some ten days ago when he introduced his Bill for reorganisation, not in April, but at the end of June, and not a single Member who sits on these benches and who knows anything about the mines and their working has any sort of belief that it is going to solve the problem of reorganisation at all. If that is all the Government can offer for an instantaneous reduction in wages, it is surely something which no body of officials responsible to so many mine workers and their families could for a moment contemplate accepting.
I want to recall to the Prime Minister exactly what the Miners' Federation officials have done. Ministers and ex-Ministers have spoken very often about the "not a cent off and not a second on." I want to suggest that from the very first the Miners' Federation have been clearer in their acceptance of the Commission's Report than has the right hon. Gentleman himself, and certainly clearer than have been the mineowners. I repeat that in no single instance, so long as Recommendation No. 1 is cleared out of the way, can he find a refusal on the part of the Miners' Federation Executive to accept the Commission's findings if the other parties are prepared to accept those recommendations too. What has the Prime Minister done? He certainly sent out these proposals on the 13th April which mean nothing so far as the mine workers are concerned. He introduced a Bill that he called a Reorganisation Bill which means absolutely nothing at all, but which does provide a shield at all events for the Eight Hours Bill introduced last week. If we look even at the coal owners' side, he is not carrying out the settled convictions of the coalowners when in conference with the Miners' Federation officials. When the Miners' Executive and the mineowners' representatives were meeting together, in the 1540 middle of the discussion this statement emerged from Mr. Evan Williams:As far as the return to the eight-hour day is concerned, I think we must agree on our side that we cannot, in fact, do anything but accept, at any rate, the position which you put to us, that you are not prepared even to consider the question of the lengthening of the hours.Mr. COOK: Hear, hear!Mr. EVAN WILLIAMS: And that for the purposes of the rest of our discussions we have got to bar that, at any rate, out of all consideration.The Prime Minister ignores that. He ignores the conclusion of the coalowners themselves, and comes forward with an Eight Hours Bill; and, in extenuation of his rejection of the Commission's Report, he tells us once again that the Miners' Federation have refused to accept the Commission's findings, that, to use his own words at the conclusion of his speech:If the Miners' Federation, even now, can accept the Report, with all that that Report implies, which is what we were struggling for in April, and, I believe, which was urged upon them by many of their best friends. I believe that, even now, a settlement satisfactory to both sides can be arranged."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st July, 1926; col. 1420, Vol, 197.]I would like to ask the Prime Minister, when do he and his Government intend to implement the Report? When do they intend to satisfy the Miners' Federation officials that reorganisation proposals of a serious kind are going to be undertaken? He told us, in his speech yesterday, that he is setting up Committees now, four months after the Report of the Commission, which may or may rot, at some remote and distant period, deal with the question of selling agencies. I want to submit, from all these points of view, that in no case car he prove that he has satisfied a clear, honest and impartial individual that he did desire to give full effect to the recommendations of this latest Commission. If he would do that, instead of asking the Miners' Federation officials to do it, I am convinced than the implications of the Report could have been accepted long ago, and would be accepted to-day. Because neither of these things has been done, the responsibility and the blame rests with the Government, and not with the Miners' Federation executive officials.
I want to suggest that the whole of the proceedings from beginning to end has 1541 clearly proved that the statement made by Mr. G. L. Garvin, a very illustrious Conservative journalist, some two or three weeks ago, that the besetting thing of the Prime Minister is that it takes him too long to make up his own mind, and that he never gives anyone else long enough to make up theirs, is strictly correct, and that has proved to be the case so far as the Report of the Royal Commission is concerned. If the Prime Minister would make up his own mind, would set aside the coalowners' financial interest, would ignore for the moment even the mine workers, and remember that he is charged with the duty, on behalf of a nation of 45 or 46 millions of people, then I believe he would implement the Government side of the Report. He is too deeply enmeshed with his colleague the Chancellor of the Exchequer in private interests to emerge and do the thing that this nation needs. It is often said that it is easy to be untruthful, that it is easy to go down the broad path, but most difficult to be honest and most difficult to keep straight. I suggest to the Prime Minister that he has not been as straight to the miners' officials or the mine workers as he ought to have been. He has not been the big man to this nation that a Prime Minister is expected to be. If he would rise to the occasion, instead of telling other people what they have not done and what others ought to do, if he would face the facts with regard to wages and hours and with regard to the plain duty of the Government as laid down by the Commission, then I think he would be a Prime Minister who would find universal respect; but, unfortunately, he is going down in history as one of the weakest of Prime Ministers wherever private interests are involved, and certainly the weakest from the point of view of doing his duty and discharging the mandate that some 8½ million electors gave him in 1924.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
On a point of Order. This Bill, I understand, applies to Scotland. May I ask why no Scottish Member has been allowed to take part in the Debate, and why, during the whole time, except for a few minutes, no Scottish Minister has been present on the Front Bench? Is there no power 1542 vested in the Chair that can allow Scottish Members to put their position in relation to this Bill, and also see that some representative of Scotland is present on the Front Bench?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
There is no Bill before the House at present. It is an. Amendment to the Motion proposed that is now before the House, and the hon. Gentleman's colleague, the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen) has been heard.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
On the point of Order. I wish to submit to you that, while I was called upon to speak, it was useless for me to speak because there was no Minister present who knew anything about Scotland, and was able to deal with the points that I wished to make. I asked permission to move the Adjournment, but was refused by Mr. Deputy-Speaker, and it was useles my going on. It seems to me that we Scottish Members get no protection. I would submit to you, Sir, that I was justified in getting permission from the Chair to move the Adjournment, in order that our Scottish interests might have some protection in this matter.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I observe from my Paper that the hon. Member occupied some little time. There is no question that the matter before the House is an Amendment moved from the Front Opposition Bench to the Motion for an Address.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
Further, on the point of Order. I am quite aware that there is not a Bill before the House, but there are Emergency Regulations which are going to run in Scotland as well as in England. Those Emergency Regulations have been running in Scotland, and the policy of the Government will have a certain effect in Scotland. The policy of Government in Scotland, under these Regulations in the past, is something that surely deserves an answer from a Scottish Minister, but we do not get any consideration from the present Scottish Office—the most incompetent set of Ministers we have ever had.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The course of this temperate but discursive and diver- 1543 gent Debate has hardly been such as to favour the impression, in the minds of those who have listened to it, that the Government are called upon to meet what is tantamount to a Vote of Censure. I do not think I can better recall the House, to the question which we have been discussing in somewhat fragmentary fashion than by reading the Amendment which the Labour Opposition has placed upon the Table, and which constitutes our business this afternoon. The Amendment to the Address in answer to His Majesty's Message is to add the wordsbut regretting the policy pursued by His Majesty's Advisers, which has been an impediment to maintaining and restoring peace in the coal industry, and consequently a menace to public order.No one, no responsible person at any rate, doubts that these Regulations are necessary in the circumstances which exist. When a great stoppage has been in progress for so long, when pressure and passion of all kinds are rising in the community, it is obviously the duty of the Government to arm itself with the necessary powers, however mildly or moderately they may be used, to carry out the essential services, and to maintain public order. That, after all, is no more than was done by the Labour Administration when it was in power, for although the actual emergency did not arise, they had drafted and prepared Regulations, and were, of course, fully determined to put them in force if the need arose. If the need of such Regulations arises at the beginning of a stoppage, it is probable that the need for them will increase as the general conditions in the country aggravate themselves during the continuance of the dispute. No responsible person or party doubts that the Regulations are necessary, and it is sought to censure the Government because they have been an impediment to maintaining and restoring peace in the coal industry.
§ Mr. CLYNES
As I understand it, the right hon. Gentleman is assuming that we admit the right and the logic of the case he has just put. Can he cite an instance in industrial history where, when a stoppage has been called in the mining industry, Emergency Regulations of this sort have been called for?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I understand a stoppage was threatened in the mining industry in the days when the right hon. Gentleman occupied office and Regulations were actually prepared. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] At any rate, Regulations were put into force two months ago, and again a month ago, and it seems to me if the House, for good reasons, thought they were justified a month ago, after the General Strike had stopped, certainly they are all the more justified at the present time, when the difficulties and the general embarrassment of the nation as a whole proceed progressively and in aggravation.
But the Government is sought to be censured for having been an impedient to the maintaining and restoring of peace in the coal industry. In other words we are censured for not having succeeded in stopping the coal stoppage. Of course we can easily repulse such a vote by a large majority, but that will not answer the question, is such a censure or reproach deserved, and it is to that point that I will address myself. It is very easy, of course, to criticise the Government, or any body of men who are engaged in conducting a very large complicated business. Events are continually moving on from point to point and it is easy to criticise by simply saying at every stage, whatever the particular decision taken was, that the opposite decision is the one which would have been right, and pointing for proof that it would have been right to the fact that the evil conditions of the stoppage are still continuing. It is an extremely simple method of controversy. If the Government are firm, you say, "How stubborn!" If they are conciliatory, you say, "How weak!" If they act, you say, "How precipitate!" If they wait, you say, "How dilatory!" They refuse to prolong the subsidy and you say, "You have plunged the nation into a general strike." All this is very simple and, of course, as long as the state of affairs continues where one of the great industries in the country is laid under an interdict and one after another of the industries dependent upon it wither, shrivel and perish, you can always point for proof to the fact that the course adopted by the Government has not resulted in a successful issue I think I 1545 am the only person alive who has been in office in all the three great coal strikes in the last 20 years
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
If that were the only impediment to a complete solution, I assure the House I would gladly make the sacrifice. My right hon. Friend the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), I remember well in the coal strike of 1921, used all the prestige he had on the morrow of the Great War, and used all his skill and art and experience to endeavour to bring about the cessation of the conflict. Yet as much as 13 weeks passed away before any issue out of our difficulties was reached, and at the end, a subsidy of £10,000,000 had to he paid in addition to the cost of the stoppage. It. is very easy to criticise. I do not think anyone ought to criticise unless he is prepared to submit strongly reasoned argument, such as I admit was submitted by the hon. Member who has just spoken, and certainly they are not entitled to criticise when they themselves have participated in attempts to end a similar disturbance and have failed to do so except after a period much greater than any we have yet consumed.
No one desires a settlement more than His Majesty's Government. Obviously it is our interest to desire a settlement. We are responsible for the good government and prosperity of the country, although it is not in our power to control the prosperity of the country any more than it is in our power to control the weather. Yet Governments are judged to a very large extent by the result of their administration, and the result of the administration is measured by a diminution in the national trade, a shrinkage in the consuming power, an increase in unemployment and so forth. After a time, and when the time comes, all that is held in very severe reckoning against the Government Therefore, on the ordinary grounds of self-interest, if for no higher reason, no one has a stronger desire and a stronger interest than the Government to try to find a way out of these difficulties as speedily as possible, and I am sure no one has a more earnest desire, as every man in the House, wherever he may sit, 1546 knows in his heart, than the Prime Minister. Next to the Prime Minister would come the individual who has the duty of occupying the position of Chancellor of the Exchequer, who sees his finances year after year, and now far into the future, compromised and mortgaged by what has already taken place. We have no greater desire than to bring this to a conclusion. Our intentions are obvious, and we have approached the problem throughout in a. perfectly sincere and single-minded spirit. If, therefore, we have not succeeded up to the present, it is not because of our intention or our desire. It may, of course, be caused by errors of judgment due to the inferiority of our ability. If that be so, that our misfortune rather than our fault. There ought to be a Motion, not of censure, but of condolence.
I can assure the House that this coal business has been the main preoccupation of the Government since it took office. It was clearly seen to be coming. I remember that in one of the very first conversations I had with the Prime Minister after the Government was formed, he dwelt on the apprehension that our prospects of securing a general advance in the well-being of the country might be overturned by grave industrial trouble beginning in the coalfields. The painful character of the coal stoppage is apparent to everyone, but it is not always seen how unevenly the burden of suffering caused by the coal stoppage falls. As a matter of fact, it falls far more on some parts of the country and some classes of the population than on others. Taking our island as a whole, a great part of the island can carry on for an almost indefinite period without being conscious of any serious inroad upon their daily business or their daily life through a stoppage in the coalfield. It is just in those industrial quarters, in those great districts depending upon machinery and manufacture and the power which coal gives, in those great districts which have been called into being on the basis of the British coal trade during the nineteenth century, in those very districts which were most depressed and were suffering most before this stoppage began, that the blow falls with merciless and crushing weight.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
That is the tragic part of the dispute as it prolongs itself that just as there was, perhaps, some sign of improvement, some chance of mitigating the very harsh conditions under which all the basic industries had been languishing during recent years, that there should be this violent overthrow of the means of production and of organisation, the result of which can only be to emphasise, aggravate and prolong the difficulties under which that class of the population more than any other is suffering at the present time. All the while, the rest of the country and those industries in the country—those thousand and one industries, minor industries, subsidiary but very important and of profitable character, which are not of basic character—industries which were prospering beforehand, are able to carry on and not suffer much loss. It is industrial Britain which is engaged in mutilating itself by this conflict.
Those who have felt anxiety that this country was over-industrialised, and have wondered how, with the changing conditions there are in the world, and the many adverse factors which begin to menace our world trade, it would be possible to maintain the great industrial population gathered into our midst; those people who have had those anxieties most feel them redoubled by the spectacle of what is taking place in the industrial areas to-day.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
At the same time, there is no need for us to exaggerate the social evils and the conditions of labour which prevail at the present time. The right hon. Member for Platting (Mr. Clynes) told us that since 1920,think he said, or since the Armistice, there had been a fall of £600,000,000 in the nominal wages of labour. He pointed out that all the sacrifices were on one side. He omitted to tell us that the fall in the rates of wages for a full week has, on the average, been almost exactly balanced by the fall in the cost of living. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!" and "Rubbish!"] At any rate, that is a material fact to set against the other. The other is very misleading fact when stated by itself. On the average, real wages for each full week are higher than in 1914. Real wages 1548 per hour—and the hours have been shortened—are appreciably higher than in 1914.
There was speech to which listened the other day by the right hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. Wheatley), in which he said that the miners are the most magnificent million men in the country, and he pointed out how it was that nowadays they were not recruited by poor people from Ireland or Scotland, because their sons went back into the industry. He said that was why they claimed special consideration and sympathy. An hon. Member opposite also spoke of the miners as the best of our race. If they are the best of our race, and if they send their sons back into the industry continuously, as we know they do, and as we know they like to go—[HON. MEMBERS: "No!" and "Would you like to earn your living that way?"] There are many worse ways of earning livelihood. If they send their sons back into the industry, and if they are the most magnificent million men in the country, it seems to me rather surprising to turn round the next moment and argue that the conditions under which they labour are so tragic and abhorrent and improper and reactionary that they are really amongst the men most deserving of the compassion of the nation. Those two principles are entirely contradictory. Everyone knows the hard conditions and the dangerous elements that there are in the miner's life, but it is idle to tell me that if they are conditions below the general standard that prevail in this country, the million most magnificent men in the country would consent to endure them, or would send their sons there.
Let me review the grounds upon which the Government could he censured do not say that they have been censured, because very few of the speeches in this Debate have sustained the actual question before the House. We could he censured, presumably, for our conduct of negotiations. [An HON. MEMBER: "Never severely enough."] Never severely enough for our conduct of negotiations. We have been frequently censured for our precipitancy at the end of April in having forced general strike and stoppage, when, as was represented at the time, all was settled. Lastly, no doubt we could be complained of because it is said that the Eight 1549 Hours Bill which passed through this House yesterday was of provocative character, and would constitute an impediment to settlement of the problem in the coalfields have stated plainly and fairly three reasons why hon. Members could complain of us. Let me endeavour to deal with them. First, as to the conduct of negotiations remember well every stage of these negotiations, of general character, although have not been brought into the Conferences which have taken place with the miners or mineowners, or only very rarely.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I have followed very closely the actual course of events remember, going back now more than year, when everyone saw the trouble was coming at the end of July, that the question arose, should the Government intervene actively or not, and we were assured from inquiries which we made that there was some reasonable chance of the industry settling its own difficulties if it was left alone. Then, when matters got nearer to the end of the month, we found that no settlement was going to be reached in the industry itself and the Government were forced to intervene. The Prime Minister gave the whole of his time in order to prevent a breakdown. Everyone knows that the Government were of the opinion that it would be unsuitable in the interests of the country and on general principles to give a settled subsidy to the coal industry. But at the last moment, when the Cabinet considered the matter, in the beginning of August, they felt that they did not know all the facts, that it would be right to give a breathing space to the industry a chance to put their own house in order, that it would be right to get the best information from impartial quarters as to the right measures to take, and, in spite of the fact that we could be accused of inconsistency on this ground, we deliberately turned round and made an offer to give a subsidy which was perhaps not conceived in the best possible way, but which nevertheless was given with the sincere and single object of procuring a breathing space for the industry in which what is now taking place might have been avoided.
1550 We were much criticised for the sub-[...], but it gave to the industry for those [...]e months £23,500,000. The right hon. Gentleman opposite said that all the miners desired was to be left alone. They were left alone for nine months, and during that period £3,000,000month was paid by the taxpayers of this country. I do not say to the miners, but it was paid to the industry. The fact remains that the industry received nearly £3,000,000 a month out of the public treasury. Meanwhile the Commission did its work and reported in March. From that moment until the breakdown occurred I contend that the efforts of the Government to bring about an accommodation were ceaseless. They were perpetually meeting one side or the other, and on one occasion they brought the two sides together. If nothing was published it did not mean that the Government had done nothing, or that nothing was going on. The Government were constantly trying to get the most possible from the one side and from the other, trying to find out by ceaseless negotiations, in which I readily recognise the trade union leaders took an honourable part, if there was any means by which the industry could be brought out of its perilous condition.
In looking back on the whole of these negotiations, while I would not say that it is not possible this or that might have been better done, or that something might have been left undone—I do say on the whole that we have tried our very best unceasingly, and if we have not succeeded it is not because we have not had good reasons for every step we have taken at each particular stage. There is the accusation of our precipitancy in breaking off negotiations and allowing the general strike to begin. The House will remember the harrowing speeches which were made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas) in those Debates. We were told that just when they were on the eve of a settlement the Government shied at some episode in the "Daily Mail" office and broke off negotiations. Here we are eight weeks later on, and six weeks after the general strike is all over, after fresh efforts have been ceaselessly made, and we have never had the slightest chance of a settlement. I must say 1551 quite frankly that I have not been able to sustain the impression that the miners' leaders in the country have in any serious matter of principle or determination altered their decision by one inch or one-eighth of an inch since this time last year.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Yes, certainly. They have consented to a great many alterations. Now we come to the question of the Eight Hours Bill. We are told that the Bill is provocative and will be an impediment, it will not help in the settlement of the struggle.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
The right hon. Gentleman has made a statement with regard to the miners not having given way one inch. Will he tell the House whether the Prime Minister or his colleagues at any time ever put forward proposals for the reorganisation of the industry which would enable the miners' leaders to talk business with them?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I think the hon. Member was very well answered on that point by the hon. Member who spoke below the Gangway, when he pointed out that a definite statement in writing was given of the proposals of the Government for reorganising the industry on the 24th March, as far as it was humanly possible to say exactly what they would mean. But we are no longer at the 24th March. I would remind the House exactly what we have done, what we are doing and what we are going to do, in regard to the reorganisation of the industry, and I shall show that it very nearly corresponds to what is recommended in the Report of the Royal Commission. Why should the principle of the maximum hours of work in coal mines, why should the principle of an eight-hour legal limit of work in coal mines, be regarded with so much censure and repulsion by hon. Members opposite? I remember 18 years ago, on Friday afternoon like this, in July, it was my duty, and I felt it a great honour, to wind up the Debate on the Second Reading of the Eight Hours Bill. I do not know whether there are any mining Members in the House now who were here then, but in those days the miners' representatives regarded that as a great achievement of a long and honourably sought objective, 1552 a great advancement, which they said would be attended by the most beneficent results throughout the industry, and I remember how warmly they supported the Government on that Bill.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
What has happened since the Eight Hours Act was passed which makes it regarded as a measure of hardship instead of a measure of liberty. I will tell you. The world has been largely impoverished. Great countries so diverse and so separated as China, Russia, Mexico and Turkey, all great areas which 18 years ago were prosperous and active trading communities, have, in one form or another, through misfortune of one kind or another, fallen into an extremely low economic condition. And, generally speaking, we are all weakened, and everything throughout the world has been checked or cast back by the unequalled and uncompensated disaster which was constituted by the four years of the Great War. Adverse factors to coal have come into existence—the use of oil and of water power, for instance—and, in addition to that, although the present demand for coal and consequently the output is down to the same level as it was 18 or 20 years ago, there are a quarter of a million more persons employed in the coal industry.
With all that burden that there is, what do you find in all these factors which will make it right to say that the eight-hours principle, which in 1908 was regarded as an enormous step to achieve, should now be regarded, not, indeed, as not ideal, but as such a shocking step of hardship and impropriety? Of course, everyone aims at a condition of steady progress. But do not let us suppose that the progress of this country can be maintained without relation to economic facts For my part, I consider that if we are able, on the morrow of a great shattering struggle, to hold the full position of labour standards which we had gained before that struggle, it is not to be said that we have incurred a great misfortune or that we have suffered—[Interruption.] There is another reason why it seems to me that we ought to consider whether it is not right to give more elasticity in regard to the 1553 hours in the different mines. I see that in the Royal Commission Report it is stated that for every 100 persons actually engaged at the coal face in 1905, there were 72 others working underground on the lines of communication between the coal face and the shaft, and 42 persons on the surface, making a total of 114 others for 100 at the face. In 1924, for every 100 at the face, there were 95 others underground, instead of 72, and 50 on the surface instead of 42, making a total of 145 others instead of 114, to deal with the output of 100 persons at the face. [Interruption.] It is no use dealing with this matter in heat, for we are all obliged to have regard to the facts.
Is it not worth while considering whether the seven hours' limit has not tended—I do not say it is responsible, but it has tended to emphasise the burden put on the ton of coal and on the man at the face, by whom all the initial production of the industry is applied? Are you quite sure that a truer economy could not be reached and a better living provided for all concerned if in some districts, at any rate, there were more elasticity? We are told that there must be unemployment. We are told that large numbers of pits have to be closed, and in some cases it is suggested that whole districts must be closed. Are you sure that whatever unemployment is inevitable in the reorganisation of the coal industry would not be better borne, would not create less suffering if it were caused by the combing of a certain proportion of men taken from the extra employment in every part and all over the country, rather than by the blotting out of whole districts or the unnecessary closing of a large number of particular pits? [An HON. MEMBER: "Does that include parasites in the industry?"] Under the social systempro rata reduction of the employment in the, coal industry in the direction of the pre-War standards, would be much less difficult than letting the whole weight of the blow of any shrinkage fall upon this or that particular district or this or that particular pit. No, Sir; I cannot feel in the least any sense of self-reproach, as a member of the Government, when we are invited to pass judgment on the actions we have taken in this matter. They have been actions taken 1554 in the face of great difficulties, but they have been sincere and loyal—[HON. MEMBERS: "To the coalowners!"]—and we do not feel in the slightest degree guilty of the charges and allegations which are so freely made. It is only when one has done something for which one is to blame, that taunts and censure really sting and bite. It is not out of any want of respect to hon. Gentlemen opposite, it is certainly not out of any want of understanding of their strong feelings, but it is because we have good consciences ourselves, that these reproaches leave us cold. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Platting invites me to reconcile the policy of the Eight Hour Bill with the remark made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister last night, in respect of the Government being ready to resume negotiations on the basis of the Coal Commission's Report. I have here the report of what my right hon. Friend actually said, and I will read the essential words:The whole object.… is to enable us to help the two parties to negotiate on the widest terms of negotiation possible, that is to say, to envisage the possibility of wages on a seven hours' basis and on the various increases of hours inside the limits of the Act.… If the Miners' Federation, even now, can accept the Report, with all that that Report implies, which is what we were struggling for in April and a believe which was urged upon them by many of their best friends, I believe that, even now, a settlement satisfactory to both sides can be arranged."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st July, 1926; col. 1420, Vol. 197.]It is asked and, I think, pertinently asked, is this not inconsistent with the introduction of the Eight Hours Bill, which was certainly not among the recommendations of the Royal Commission, although it was not entirely excluded from their outlook? I can only say, as has been said before, again and again, that we regard the Measure passed yesterday as permissive. So far as the Legislature is concerned, it leaves the issue to be decided in the industry which has always been proved to be able to settle its own matters itself.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I must make an appeal to hon. Members in all parts of the House. Do let us remember that we are, in all these discussions, dealing with a very serious national state of affairs, and 1555 it is only by listening to the arguments that we can hope to make any progress in bringing about a settlement.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
It is because we have become impatient with arguments of that description. We believe—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
This House has also a duty to the nation, and it should hear both sides of the case. Hon. Members in their own interests, in the interests of those whom they represent, would, I am certain, be doing right to listen to both sides of the case.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Certainly I am making no complaint myself. I know that there are Members who feel very strongly, and I am not at all surprised at their feelings. No doubt it is irritating to hear arguments with which you do not agree, but it really is no use, as you, Sir, have pointed out—
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
It is no use for either side to try to limit the Debate to the kind of things that they themselves agree with or like to hear, because, if we did that, we should become the most mealy-mouthed lot of people. I was going to say that the Coal Commission's Report indicates and implies that there should be reductions in wages, and it implies that there should be district variations on the minimum national percentage. It contemplates a district settlement under the structure and framework of the national organisation. All that the Eight Hours Bill does is to make it possible to express the necessary reduction in wages, if desired and where desired, if suitable and where suitable, in terms of longer hours. It merely gives a measure of elasticity in the settlement which will have to be reached, and, of course, that is in no way a question of weekly hours. That is always a matter for negotiations, perfectly freely entered into.
When this Bill is through, or before it is through, as I understand, wage offers are going to be made of a character which will at any rate for a limited period, during which further discussions can take place, enable the April rates 1556 to be paid over three quarters at least, if not more, of the whole country. When that happens, one of two courses can be followed, and a settlement can be reached by one of two ways. Either it can be reached, as some people wish it to be reached—butexpect hon. Members opposite would greatly dislike it, and perhaps it would not be the best method —by district arrangements breaking out here and there all over the country, after a certain time has passed, or it could be reached, as the Prime Minister indicated last night, and as the Government still hold firmly to, by negotiations set on foot as soon as you like when the wage scales have been published and the Bill has been passed into law, by negotiations in which the two parties will come together and try to settle this matter, not as the victory of one side over the other, but as the result of negotiations, and in these negotiations the Government are ready to help and aid by every means in their power. After all, it is not for me to look at it from the point of view of the trade union leaders on the other side, but I will say this, that a would much rather, if I were in their position, have this matter settled by a definite negotiation and a contracted peace than as it were fought out sporadically in the field to a conclusion. It is far more in the interest of collective bargaining that there should be a definite attempt to reach a national settlement, instead of allowing events ruthlessly to take their course.
We stand ready, as the Prime Minister said, to enter upon the discussion, and give any aid which is in our power. The hon. Member who spoke last said the Government had failed lamentably in deciding what they would do about the Royal Commission's Report. Who, I should like to know, accepts the Report fully? Does the hon. Gentleman accept its condemnation of nationalisation? The right hon. Gentleman on the Front Bench told us that, in his opinion, everyone knew that there would have to be a subsidy if the gap was to be bridged, or words to that effect. That is not accepting the Report, which condemns altogether the idea of a subsidy. I know it is a very common attitude—I cannot say I am innocent of it from time to time—in regard to Reports of Royal Commissions, to accept with great approval those parts with which one happens to agree. But the Government's position 1557 is perfectly clear in regard to this Report of the Royal Commission. [Interruption.] I have not been trying to shirk the issue which has been raised. When the Report was published, we said that if everybody else would do their part, and for the sake of avoiding a stoppage, we would subscribe to the whole Report, and do our share fully. We did not agree with the Report in important particulars, and we said so. But rather than it should be said that everyone else would agree, but the Government would not, we would override our own principles, and sign that Report with the others.
But the stoppage has come. Everybody did not do their part. We have now been plunged into a situation where the position is very different from what it was, and where the financial situation in which the country finds itself has immensely deteriorated. That particularly affects the question of the purchase of the mining royalties. Personally, I did not agree with the proposal in the Report about the purchase of the mining royalties. I will tell the House why. First of all, I think it would hamper very much the finances of the country, at a time when we have immense conversion operations impending, out of which the taxpayer might get a very great relief—a much larger relief than would be involved in the actual purchase of these royalties. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why not cut the royalties?"] That is not the recommendation of the Report, which was that the royalties should be purchased at full market value. I am told the purchase of the royalties would have a great psychological effect on the miners, but I fail to see that the spectacle of the royalty owners going off with hard cash sufficient to yield £6,000,000 a year would have a very beneficial psychological effect.
Lastly, we know perfectly well, that once these. royalties were nationalised by being paid for by the State, and once the Chancellor of the Exchequer became the recipient of £6,000,000 a year, an agitation would arise from one end of the coalfields to the other, in which the employers would work hand-in-hand with the miners, and say, "How can you expect us to carry on our industry when the Government are drawing £6,000,000 a year from it?" That would be nationalisation in the first instance, and 1558 syndicalisation in its second stage. As everyone knows, there is the question of mining royalties, but whether the rents are collected by the Chancellor of the Exchequer or by the present owners, does not make the slightest difference to the miners. In so far, however, as it can be asserted that the present royalty owners are an impediment to harmonious and economic amalgamation, our Measure upstairs provides fully and effectively for sweeping away all impediments of that character. There is another class of recommendations, which in order to carry out we should have to get both sides together with the Government round a table. They are not, perhaps, the most important recommendations, but they are recommendations which cannot be carried out as long as both sides are at war, and while they cannot meet except with great precaution against making matters worse. There is the third class of recommendation which we are actually carrying out. In the Bill upstairs, as I have said, we are endeavouring to give full effect to the Commission's proposals about amalgamation. It provides for a levy on royalties for welfare purposes. The Bill will make pit committees compulsory, unless they are set up voluntarily within a limited time. We shall very shortly announce the, personnel and terms of a strong Committee on the question of selling syndicates. We shall set up a standing Committee on the railway transport of coal, and a. fuel and power council is being shaped. We have allotted a considerable sum of money actually from the £3,000,000 to which reference has been made to meet the expenses. We have already allocated a sum of money for scientific investigation into the various problems connected with low-temperature carbonisation and the obtaining of liquid fuel from coal. All these things are being done at this moment—with the exception of acquiring the mining royalties which our finances at the present time do not allow us to take over and purchase, and with the exception of the municipal trading in coal, which is still a matter for consideration.
With these two exceptions, we have implemented, and we are actually carrying out every part of the Royal Commission's Report with regard to reorganisation. We have put legislation before the 1559 House for all these matters that can be done, and apart from those that require the hearty co-operation of both sides. As to the co-operation of both sides, if there is anything that can be done in the next few days or weeks to bring about that co-operation, let the House be assured that we will not neglect it. The right hon. Member for Ogmore (Mr. Hartshorn), who is not now present, but to whose excellent speeches we have listened with pleasure, asked the other day why should we not get together in a round-table conference, and so forth. It was not from any want of sympathy with that appeal that the Government declined; it is because they did not feel that he and his Friends had the power to deliver the goods. It is no use discussing unless you have the power of settlement. The moment those who have the power of settlement on both sides come forward and are willing to meet and to try to arrive at what is the best solution in all the circumstances, the Government will come forward and do their part. That is the meaning and intention of the declaration the Prime Minister made last night.
§ Mr. HARDIE
We have just had another speech of the type that is characteristic of those from the Tory Front Bench speech whenever an industrial dispute takes place—more evidence of someone being informed of what he has to say. That is always an unfortunate, position for a Front Bench Minister to be in. To speak about what the Government are going to do is simply to repeat the past. May I direct the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to some of the things promised not so many months ago? Promises were made that there would be an Electricity Bill to help the coal trade; but that Bill has not a single reference to coal in it. We were promised a Smoke Abatement Bill which was to do something for the miners, but the Bill itself is simply a joke to those who understand the subject, just as big a joke as the references by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Horne) and the 1560 Chancellor of the Exchequer to oil and water being in competition with coal. If either of those two right hon. Gentlemen knew anything about the subject they would know that neither oil nor water is in competition with coal. I know that the right hon. Gentleman for Hillhead contradicted himself in a statement he made recently, but that only shows what people tell him when he comes into this House to speak. Spoon-fed politicians! [Interruption.]
§ Mr. HARDIE
I would reach you with my voice if I could, Mr. Speaker, but the noise is so great. We have been told we are spending a certain sum of money on investigation of low-temperature carbonisation. Why are the Government spending it now? If they had spent a, tithe of what they have spent on investigations into useless things like the Air Force—work that does not matter. because it is for something for taking life: they are ready to spend millions on that—we would not have been starting to investigate things now.
The examination of the coal trade is supposed to have been undertaken. Did you sit down and say, "Here is the basic industry of Britain, upon which all other trades depend. Let us see what is wrong with this trade. Let us do as we are doing in our private businesses and see whether money is going where no service is rendered. Let us see where we are paying useless directors who need not be paid." You did not do anything like that. There has never been the slightest investigation into this coal gamble—it has never been organised as an industry, it has always been a gamble —and the question of efficient and inefficient mines is thrown about the House by people who talk as though they understood the subject. The efficient mine of to-day is the potentially inefficient, mine of to-morrow. We have had references to what are called first, second and third-class mines. The second and third-class mines of to-day were the first-class mines of the past; but the industry was not organised as it should have been, or 1561 it would have kept a portion of the huge profits gained when coal was near the bottom of the shaft to meet the growing expenses as the coal face got further and further away from the shaft. Now that the coal near the bottom of the shaft has all been lifted out, all the talk is about colliery owners having more and more expenses, and it is said the only way in which these expenses can be met is by reducing the miners' wages. This question has not been dealt with in this House from either side. The so-called depleted third-class uneconomic mines are not uneconomic. In every pit where a shaft has been smile if you take the whole area of the mine and the thickness of the coal seams which have been reached you will find that at one time profits have been made in getting the coal, and it has always been an economic proposition. What you really mean is that you have allowed people to take out all the thick seams, and then they have sold the mine to somebody else and the new owner says: "I cannot run this mine at a profit because I have had to pay so much for it," while the other man who has sold the mine runs away with the money he has made out of it. That is what is meant by the working of coal mines in this country at a loss.
We have heard of the difficulties arising of working mines in a big coal field where there are one or two royalty owners. Here you have a Government with a majority of 200, and they are unable to deal with a handful of royalty owners who create every kind of difficulty in regard to getting the nation's natural wealth. Talk about your sympathy for the miners when you allow a handful of landlords the right to say when a hole shall be put into the ground in order to get out something which is essential for the life of the nation! Have they a right to say what should be done with God's wealth? Any Government that acts in such a way as that belongs to the Stone Age.
When the Government are dealing with the royalty owners they are prepared to guarantee them £100,000,000, while on the other hand all they can do for the miners is to offer them a reduction of wages. That is what the miners tell you is the meaning of the Government proposals. [An HON. MEMBER: "Who tells them that?"] The Report tells them that. In 1562 Scotland, if you only wish to pass your coal through another man's ground from the colliery you have to have a wayleave. We hear a lot of talk about competing with other countries, but I would like to point out that in the past hours have never been a basis of competition, and efficiency is the only basis. It does not matter so much how many hours you work because there is only a maximum amount of physical endurance in a miner, and it has already been reached. I would like hon. Members opposite who are supporting this Measure to be put down a pit for one week, and then I am sure they would have quite a different opinion in regard to this problem.
I come now to the question of district wages, and here again hon. Members do not seem to understand what is meant. God, in his infinite wisdom, hits laid down the coal in different ways. It costs more and requires harder work to get coal in some places than it does in others, and what happens is that the low wages in a defective area become the standard wages of that area. It is stupid of a nation that knows that coal is the basis of its trade to go on like that. In cities that run their tramways, they run them in streets that do not pay, because they know that all over the city they are going to pay. In Glasgow we run them for service and not for profit, and we get good results. Here you have the whole business in the hands of a few people, and, if you were sane and wanted to stand by the nation and secure its basis of industry, you would pool all the coal you get and you would pay just according to the coal at the surface, and the natural conditions below ground would not then matter at all. What can be the mind of a Prime Minister who, with the nation facing the continued daily closing of works, has to admit that it is not the million odd miners he is up against, hut a. handful of landowners and colliery owners, and who allows the whole business of the nation to be brought to a standstill instead of having the courage and the ability with his majority of 200 to say, "I am Premier; I am in charge of the trade and business of this country, and I am not going to allow any handful of men to stand in my way."
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his speech, used sonic curious arguments in support of the case 1563 he was putting forward. He dealt with the Bill that was passed yesterday, and he dilated upon what he called its permissive character. He was rather astonished that on this side of the House its permissive character was contradicted and denied. We regard that Bill as based upon compulsion. It is the compulsion of hunger that is behind that Bill. A very curious test was introduced a day or two ago. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, who professed to have made some investigation with regard to the condition of children in the mining areas, denied that there was any real distress felt so far from the point of view of want. The day following, in response to some denials or questions put, it was admitted that the object of the report of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children was to prevent contributions being made for the aid of the miners' wives and children. There is the permissive character of the Bill—starvation. It is expected that the miners may be driven by sheer want to accept or to ask for conditions of return, and, when they do that, the Eight Hours Bill is waiting for them. That is what constitutes the denial of the permissive character of the Bill. It is because we know that that we on this side sometimes express our feelings heatedly.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer raised another question with regard to the condition of the coal trade. A week or two ago I listened to a speech by my hon. Friend the Member for Gower (Mr. D. Grenfell), who used an illustration in support of an argument he was using that I confess startled me. He said that at some time recently—I forget the exact year, but it does not matter—he met a man who had told him he was exceedingly pleased with some business he had been doing, and he said to my hon. Friend, "Yesterday I was offered 200 trucks of coal of 12 tons each. I snapped them up, and at once got on the telephone. At the second call I found my man, and sold my 200 trucks of coal at an average profit of per ton." He, therefore, made £2,400 profit on two telephone calls. My hon. Friend went on to say that he had worked in the pit for 23 years, that he supported in his early years his old father and mother, and he supported his wife 1564 and child. He had given 23 years' hard work in the pits, and, keeping a record of the amount of wages he had drawn in the 23 years, he found that he had drawn £1,800. £1,800 for 23 years' work, and another man makes £2,400 on two telephone calls!
That is part of the difficulty that confronts the coal industry. That is one of the reasons why the miners cannot receive a decent wage. They cannot receive a decent wage because the consumer does not pay sufficient for the coal he gets. The miner is robbed at the coal face, because of the number of parasites investigating the industry between the pit's mouth and the consumer's fire grate. It was stated in evidence before the Royal Commission, and, I believe, not contradicted, that the price of coal at the pit's mouth in 1913 was about 11s. per ton. It was being delivered at a certain works at 11s. 7d. per ton, showing an average profit of 7d. per ton. In 1924, coal was being sold to this same works at a loss of 3s. 9d. per ton—it was sold below cost price, and the reason given was the interlocking directorates. Based upon the fact, that, under the 1921 Agreement, the ascertainments for the colliers divided the surplus, after wages and costs of administration had been met, in certain proportions, the wangle was worked, through interlocking directorates, and coal at the pit-head was sold at a loss—it was sold cheaply to steel works and electricity works, which made big profits. Chemical works also made big profits, while the mine showed a loss, but the people who controlled the pit made a huge profit. The whole thing is sincerely believed by the miners to be based upon an absolutely dishonest system, to the advantage of people who profit by their labour in various ways.
Take another illustration that was placed before the Commission. It is said the average loss of profit was equal to 3d. per ton. 3d. a ton upon what? I suppose upon the capital. The Consett Coal and Iron Company in 1924 issued bonus shares to the extent of £2,000,000, or 200 per cent. of the original capital, and there is a whole list given showing that the issues between 1921 and 1924 of bonus shares to various companies ranged from 200 per cent. down to 10 per cent. It may be that in some cases they 1565 represented something that was added to the industrial capital of the companies, but in a great number of instances it represented mere inflation, and a return was demanded upon this grossly inflated capital for which the recipients had done nothing whatever in the way of enlarging the industrial facilities and the capacity of their work. There, again, the miners rightly believe they are being swindled by the Government. The Government knows these things and refuses to act upon them, because, after all, the Chancellor of the Exchequer says we shall become mealy-mouthed here if we do not say what we think. I do not object to hon. Members opposite saying what they think. It was because the right hon. Gentleman was mealy-mouthed in his arguments—it was the callousness of the whole thing behind it that stirred me a moment ago when I interjected. But the whole thing comes back to this. I say the Government is a Government of mineowners and rich men, and they are imposing the will of their rich supporters upon the miners, who are helpless. I believe the plot will fail. One man can take a horse to the water but a whole regiment cannot make him drink, and I do not believe the Government will find the Bill they are passing will be accepted by the miners. It will be opposed by all possible means and although in the past you have made the charge that the miners have used their power to restrict production, when there was no ground whatever for the charge —your own Commission declares that fact —six months hence you will bring the charge of ca'canny, and you will do it rightly, because the miners will not work your Bill if they have this thing imposed upon them.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer talked of the Eight Hours Bill and Wanted to know what there was wrong about going back to that, and why they were satisfied !lien. The answer is very simple. When the Eight. Hours Bill was passed it was hailed as an achievement because it represented the limit of what would be obtained at that time. But there is no such thing as a term being placed to human advancement, and the remarkable thing about the whole business is that we are now embarked upon retrogression and not progression at all. I have asked before why it is that, as coal progressively 1566 becomes more and more important in the industrial life of the nation, the men who get it cannot be guaranteed a decent wage. I had in my possession a short time ago the report of a committee inquiring into the coal trade in one or two of the states of the United States of America, and it was pointed out that there were at the present time 247 derivatives from coal, passing through tar, pitch, gas, down to picric acid, saccharine, perfumes, medicines, phenol, aspirin—all of exceedingly great value, derived from coal. More and more science discovers what is inherent, in coal. There is a vast reservoir of wealth in coal that can be tapped for the welfare of our common humanity, and yet we are told that the men who get this incalculable wealth from the bowels of the earth cannot receive a decent wage for their labour. The whole thing intolerable.
The Government are not pursuing the right lines. They are pursuing a line which was deprecated by their own Royal Commission. They have proved themselves incapable of grasping this matter from a statesmanlike point of view, and because they have taken this line we continue to oppose them, and we shall do so on this, on the Eight Hours Bill, and on other Bills. The Eight Hours Bill will not be worked by the miners, and the Mining Industry Bill, which is now upstairs, will not be worked by the owners. The hon. Member for Mossley (Mr. Hopkinson), as the spokesman of the mineowners in a recent Debate, told us that the mineowners regarded all this talk of reorganisation as sheer, sloppy eyewash. The miners will not have the Eight Hours Bill imposed upon them, and the owners will not put into operation the sloppy eyewash described by the hon. Member for Mossley. Here we see the Government statesmanship failing at both ends. Consequently, we believe that the country will pass its verdict upon them as being incapable of controlling this vast country and its industries.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 254; Noes, 98.1567
|Division No. 315.]||AYES.||[4.0 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Finburgh, S.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Ford, Sir P. J.||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Albery, Irving James||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Forrest, W||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool,W.Derby)||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Fraser, Captain Ian||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Apsley, Lord||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Morden, Col. W, Grant|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Ganzoni. Sir John||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Gates, Percy||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Neville, R. J.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Balniel, Lord||Goff, Sir Park||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn.W.G.(Ptrsf'ld.)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Gower, Sir Robert||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Beamish, Captain T. P. H.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Greene, W. P. Crawford||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Greenwood, Rt. Hn.Sir H. (W'th's'w, E)||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Orsmby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Bennett, A. J.||Gretton, Colonel John||Perring, Sir William George|
|Berry, Sir George||Grotrlan, H. Brent||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Ramsden, E.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Rawson, Sir Alfred Cooper|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Hall, Lleut.- Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Remnant. Sir James|
|Blundell, F. N.||Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R.(Eastbourne)||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Harrison, G. J. C.||Rice, Sir Frederick|
|Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart||Hartington, Marquess of||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)|
|Brass, Captain W.||Hawke, John Anthony||Salmon, Major I.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Henderson, Capt. R. R.(Oxf'd, Henley)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Sandon, Lord|
|Brown, Maj. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Hilton, Cecil||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Savery, S. S.|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Shaw. R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Holland, Sir Arthur||Sheffield. Sir Berkeley|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Holt, Captain H. P.||Shepperson. E. W.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Caine, Gordon Hall||Hopkinson, A. (Lancester, Mossley)||Sinclair,Col. T. (Queen's Univ.,Belf'st.)|
|Cassels, J. D.||Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Howard, Captain Hon. Donald||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dine.C.)|
|Cayzer,Maj.Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)||Hume, Sir G. H.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Smithers. Waldron|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Huntingfield, Lord||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hurd, Percy A.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midl'n & P'bl's)||Stanley, Col. Hon. G.F.(Will'sden, E.)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Jackson, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. F. S.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Clayton, G. C.||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Storry-Deans, R.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Strickland, Sir Gerald|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.|
|Cope, Major William||Knox, Sir Alfred||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Couper, J. B.||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Styles, Captain H. Walter|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Leigh, sir John (Clapham)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Cralk, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Locker-Lampson, Com. O.(Handsw'th)||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Loder, J. de V.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Lord, Walter Greaves-||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey,Gainsbro)||Lougher, L.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Lucas Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Ward Lt.-Col.A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Davidson, J.(Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Lumley, L. R.||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Wells, S. R.|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Wheler. Major Sir Granville C. H.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple|
|Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Macintyre, Ian||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Eilis. R. G.||McLean, Major A.||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Elveden, Viscount||Macquisten, F. A.||Wilson, M. J. (York, N. R., Richm'd)|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset,Weston-s, M.)||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford. Lichfield)|
|Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South)||Malone, Major P. B.||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Marriott. Sir J. A. R.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Fanshawe, Commander G. D.||Meller, R, J.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Wise, Sir Fredric||Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Withers, John James||Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)||Major Sir Harry Barnston and Mr.|
|Wolmer,- Viscount||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.||F. C. Thomson.|
|Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvll)||Sexton, James|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hardle, George D.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bliston)||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillary)||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Barnes, A.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Barr, J.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Batey, Joseph||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Slivertown)||Snell, Harry|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Jones, T. I. Mardy Pontyprldd)||(Snowden), Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Kelly, W. T.||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Kennedy, T.||Stamford, T. W.|
|Broad, F. A.||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Buchanan, G.||Lawrence, Susan||Sutton. J. E.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Lindley, F. W.||Taylor, R. A.|
|Cape, Thomas||Livingstone, A. M.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lowth, T.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Cluse, W. S.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J,R.(Aberavon)||Thurtle, E.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R||Mackinder, W.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cove, W. G.||March, S.||Viant, S. P.|
|Cowan, D. V. (Scottish Universities)||Montague, Frederick||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Murnin, H.||Webb, Rt. Hon Sidney|
|Dennison, H.||Naylor, T. E.||Westwood, J.|
|Dunnico. H.||Oliver, George Harold||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Palin, John Henry||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Pallng, W.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Gardner, J. P.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Windsor, Walter|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Ponsonby, Arthur||Wright, W.|
|Gosling, Harry||Potts, John S.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Sakiatvala, Shapurji||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Salter, Dr. Alfred||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr.|
|Groves, T.||Scurr, John||Hayes.|
§ Question put accordingly, "That those words be there added."1570
§ The House divided: Ayes, 95; Noes, 256.1573
|Division No. 316.]||AYES.||[4.7 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt, Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvll)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Ammon. Charles George||Hardle, George D.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Hirst. W. (Bradford, South)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Barnes, A.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Barr, J.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Slivertown)||Snell, Harry|
|Batey, Joseph||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Kelly, W. T.||Spencer, G. A. (Broxtowe)|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Kennedy, T.||Stamford, T. W.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Broad, F. A.||Lawrence, Susan||Sutton, J. E.|
|Buchanan, G.||Lindley, F. W.||Taylor, R. A.|
|Boxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Lowth. T.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Cape, Thomas||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R.(Aberavon)||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Mackinder, W.||Thurtle, E.|
|Cluse. W. S.||March, S.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Montague, Frederick||Viant, S. P.|
|Cove, W. G.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Murnln, H.||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Naylor, T. E.||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Dennison, H.||Oliver, George Harold||Westwood, J.|
|Dunnico, H,||Palin, John Henry||Williams, David (Swansea, E.)|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Paling, W.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Gardner, J. P.||Ponsonby, Arthur||Windsor, Walter|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Potts, John S||Wright, W.|
|Gosling, Harry||Richardson, R. (Haughton-le-Spring)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm, (Edin., Cent.)||Sakiatvala, Shapurji|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Salter, Dr. Alfred||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Grenfell. D. R. (Glamorgan)||Scurr, John||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr|
|Groves, T.||Sexton, James||Hayes.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Fanshawe, Commander G. D.||Meller, R. J.|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Finburgh, S.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-|
|Albery, Irving James||Ford, Sir P. J.||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Forrest, W.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Foxcroit, Captain C. T.||Monsell, Eyres Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Fraser, Captain Ian||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)|
|Applin, Colonel R V. K.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Apsley, Lord||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Morden, Colonel Walter Grant|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Ganzonl, Sir John||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Sallsbury)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Gates, Percy||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Neville, R. J.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Balniel, Lord||Goff, Sir Park||Nicholson,Col.Rt.Hn.W.G. (Ptrsf'ld.)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Gower, Sir Robert||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Beamish, Captain T. P. H.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Greene, W. P. Crawford||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Greenwood, Rt.Hn.Sir H.(W'th's'w,E)||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Bennett, A. J.||Gretton, Colonel John||Perring, Sir William George|
|Berry, Sir George||Grotrian, H. Brent||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Philipson, Mabel|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Ramsden, E.|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Rawson, Sir Alfred Cooper|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Blundell, F. N.||Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R.(Eastbourne)||Remnant, Sir James|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Rentoul. G. S.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Harrison, G. J. C.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart||Hartington, Marquess of||Rice, Sir Frederick|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)|
|Brass, Captain W.||Hawke, John Anthony||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Henderson,Capt. R. R.(Oxf'd, Henley)||Salmon, Major I.|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Hilton, Cecil||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Sandon, Lord|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Savery, S. S.|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Holland, Sir Arthur||Scott, Sir Leslie (Llverp'l, Exchange)|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Holt, Captain H. P.||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Calne, Gordon Hall||Hopkinson, Sir A, (Eng. Universities)||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Cassels. J. D.||Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||Slmms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Howard, Captain Hon. Donald||Sinclair,Col.T.(Queen's Univ., Belist.)|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Skelton, A. N.|
|Cayzer, Maj.Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)||Hume, Sir G. H.||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmor||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dlne, C.)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Huntingfield, Lord||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hurd, Percy A.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Hutchison,G.A.Clark (Mldl'n & P'bl's)||Somerville. A. A. (Windsor)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Jackson, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. F. S.||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden,E.)|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Clayton, G. C.||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Kindersley, Major Guy M.||Storry-Deans, R.|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Streatfeild. Captain S. R.|
|Cope, Major William||Knox, Sir Alfred||Strickland, Sir Gerald|
|Couper, J. B.||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Stuart. Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Styles, Captain H. Walter|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Sugden. Sir Wilfrid|
|Cralk, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th)||Sykes. Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Croll, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Loder, J. de V.||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Lord, Walter Greaves-||Thomson. Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Crookshank, Cpt.H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Lougher, L.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Davidson, J.(Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Lumley, L. R.||Ward, Lt.-Col.A.L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Wells, S. R.|
|Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||Macintyre, I.||Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.|
|Ellis, R. G.||McLean, Major A.||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple|
|Elveden, Viscount||Macquisten, F. A.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Williams. Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South)||Malone, Major P. B.||Wilson, M. J. (York, N. R., Richm'd)|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfleid)|
|Winby, Colonel L. P.||Wolmer, Viscount||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.).||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Wise, Sir Fredric||Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)||Major Sir Harry Barnston and Mr.|
|Withers, John James||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir. L.||F. C. Thomson.|
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Commander Eyres Monsell)
claimed "That the Main Question be now put."
Question put accordingly,
That an humble Address he presented to His Majesty thanking His Majesty for His Most Gracious Message, communicating to this House that His Majesty has deemed it proper by Proclamation, made in pursuance of the Emergency Powers Act, 1920, and dated the 28th day of June. 1926, to declare that a state of emergency exists.
§ The House divided: Ayes, 244; Noes, 82.1575
|Division No. 317.]||AYES.||[4.20 p.m.|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Courtauld, Major J. S.||Hore-Belisha, Leslie|
|Albery, Irving James||Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)||Howard, Captain Hon. Donald|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Hume, Sir G. H.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer|
|Applln. Colonel R. V. K.||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Huntingfield, Lord|
|Apsley, Lord||Crookshank, Col. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Hurd, Percy A.|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Hutchison,G.A.Clark (Midl'n & P'bl's)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Davidson, J.(Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Davies, Dr. Vernon||Jackson, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. F. S.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)|
|Balniel, Lord||Eden, Captain Anthony||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||Joynson-Hicks, Rt, Hon. Sir William|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Ellis, R. G.||Kindersley, Major Guy M.|
|Beamish, Captain T. P. H.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||King, Captain Henry Douglas|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Bennett, A. J.||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.|
|Berry, Sir George||Fanshawe, Commander G. D.||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Finburgh, S.||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Ford, Sir P. J.||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Locker-Lampson, Com.O. (Handsw'th)|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Forrest, W.||Loder, J. de V.|
|Blundell, F. N.||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Lord, Walter Greaves-|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Fraser, Captain Ian||Lougher, L.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere|
|Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Luce, Major-Gen, Sir Richard Harman|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Ganzonl, Sir John||Lumley, L. R.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Gates, Percy||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Brass, Captain W.||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Goff, Sir Park||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Gower, Sir Robert||Macintyre, I.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Greene, W. P. Crawford||McLean, Major A.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Sir H.(W'th's'w, E.)||Macquisten, F. A.|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Makins, Brigadier-General E.|
|Brown, Maj. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham)||Gretton, Colonel John||Malone, Major P. B.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Grotrian, H. Brent||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Meller, R. J.|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R.(Eastbourne)||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Caine, Gordon Hall||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.|
|Cassels, J. D.||Harrison, G. J. C.||Moore. Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hartington, Marquess of||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Morden, Colonel Walter Grant|
|Cayzer, Maj.Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Hawke, John Anthony||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Henderson, Capt R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Neville, R. J.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Henderson, Lieut-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Charterls, Brigadier-General J.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Nicholson, Col. Rt.Hn.W.G.(Ptrsf'ld.)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watlord)||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hilton, Cecil||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh|
|Clayton, G. C.||Hogg. Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St.Marylebone)||Oman, Sir Charles William C|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Holland, Sir Arthur||Perring, Sir William George|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Holt, Capt. H. P.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Phllipson, Mabel|
|Cope, Major William||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Ramsden, E.|
|Couper. J. B.|
|Rawson, Sir Alfred Cooper||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Rees, Sir Beddoe||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dlne, C.)||Ward, Lt.-Col.A.L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Remnant, Sir James||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Rentoul, G. S.||Smithers, Waldron||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.||Wells, S. R.|
|Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Stanley, Col. Hon. G.F.(Will'sden,E.)||Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.|
|Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple|
|Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)||Stanley, Hon O. F. G. (Westm'eland)||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Salmon, Major I.||Steel, Major Samuel Strang||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Storry-Deans, R.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Stott, Liout.Colonel W. H.||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
|Sandeman, A. Stewart||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Sanders, Sir Robert A.||Strickland, Sir Gerald||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Sanderson, Sir Frank||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Sandon Lord||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Withers, John James|
|Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Styles, Captain H. Walter||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Savery, S. S.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid||Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell|
|Sinclair,Col.T.(Queen's Univ.,Belf'st.)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Skelton, A. N.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Colonel Glbbs and Mr, F. C. Thomson.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hardie, George D.||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsoy, Rotherhithe)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Snell, Harry|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Barnes, A.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Spencer, George A. (Broxtow[...])|
|Barr, J.||Kelly, W. T.||Stamford, T. W.|
|Batey, Joseph||Kennedy, T.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Lawrence, Susan||Sutton, J. E.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Lindley, F. W.||Taylor, R. A.|
|Broad, F. A.||MacDonald, Rt.Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Buchanan, G.||Mackinder, W.||Thurtle, E.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||March, S.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cape, Thomas||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Viant, S. P.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Murnin, H.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Naylor, T. E.||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Cove, W. G.||Oliver, George Harold||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Palin, John Henry||Westwood. J|
|Dennison, R.||Paling, W.||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Dunnico, H.||Ponsonby, Arthur||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)|
|Gardner, J. P.||Potts, John S.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Windsor, Walter|
|Gosling, Harry||Saklatvala, Shapurji||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Scurr, John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr.|
|Groves, T.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond||Hayes|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty thanking His Majesty for His Most. Gracious Message, communicating to this House that His Majesty has deemed it proper by Proclamation, made in pursuance of the Emergency Powers Act, 1920, and dated the 28th day of June, 1926, to declare that a state of emergency exists.
§ To be presented by Privy Councillors or Members of His Majesty's Household.1576
§ The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.
§ Whereupon Mr. SPEAKER adjourned the House, without Question put, pursuant to Standing Order No. 3.
§ Adjourned at Twenty-eight Minutes after Four o'clock until Monday next (5th July).