HC Deb 29 July 1926 vol 198 cc2463-500

I beg to move, in page 5, to leave out lines 13 to 16, inclusive.

I desire first to enter an emphatic protest against this method of continuing a law of this importance and character. When the Aliens Restriction Act, 1914, was introduced it was intended to deal with the state of war which then prevailed. No one could object to measures which were taken when the country was at war, for the protection of its citizens. A Clause in that Act said that His Majesty, at any time, when a state of war existed between His is Majesty and any foreign Power, or when a condition of national danger and great emergency had arisen, might by Order in Council impose restrictions on aliens and so forth. In Clause I of the Aliens Restriction Act, 1919, which it is proposed to renew in this Bill, those words are omitted. It was originally suggested that the Act of 1919 should be for a period of two years, but that was amended and a provision was inserted that the Act should only last for one year. If there is an adequate reason for legislation of this kind being placed permanently on the Statute Book, the Home Secretary ought to come down to the House with a Measure based on his experience and face the criticism of the House instead of relying on the Expiring Laws Bill to renew it from year to year. The Home Secretary may say that it is a case of necessity, but I would remind him of .the dictum of William Pitt in this House when he said: Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants and the creed of slaves. My second point is that I am opposed in principle to all this legislation. The Home Secretary last year accused me of bringing forward a hardy annual and I will plead guilty to that accusation if the right hon. Gentleman likes. I have always expressed this view and I should be cowardly not to say here what I have said outside. It is my intention on every occasion to resist the renewal of this Act until it is taken from the Statute Book. The English people have considerable common sense. Their phlegmatic character generally enables them to pass by things which would drive other peoples to frenzy. But occasionally the leaders of the English people do not have the common sense of the masses, and very often we find that the leaders are simply distracted and go off on pre- judices. Once upon a time there was a great prejudice in this country against, members of the Roman Catholic community, and we found that the leaders of this nation had the idea, that at every street corner there were Jesuits lurking who were going to destroy the peace of His Majesty's lieges. They even accused us on one occasion of having set fire to the great City of London, and they recorded it on the Monument. We remember Pope's lines: Where London's column, pointing at the skies, Like a tall bully, lifts the head and lies. The inscription against the Catholics has been wiped off, and we laugh at all this nonsense, and Roman Catholics anti Protestants can go on calmly and friendly together being citizens of this country. So far as the aliens are concerned, exactly the same thing prevails. This obsession in regard to keeping alien out has only prevailed in this country for the past 25 or 30 years, and it originated practically in my own constituency About 20 years ago there was a gentleman who desired to represent that constituency in Parliament. He was an astute politician, and he discovered that out particular section of the community, the Jewish section, who were powerful, nearly always voted Liberal. It was. therefore, impossible to get their votes for him, and in order to get the other section of the community, he started this idea against the aliens. He had apparently something to cause him to do this, because the East End at that time was in a peculiar condition, owing to the fact of the changing of the dock work and the departure of a large amount of work, that formerly used to come to the London and St. Catherine's Docks, further east to Tilbury. It caused a great deal of trouble to the dock workers there, and there was a contest, as there was also a. shortage of housing accommodation, between the alien residents and the dockers. This gentleman, therefore started the "British Brothers League." You always found a considerable number of orators for that body so long as the gentleman, who became the Member for Stepney on that occasion, was generous enough to pay for them. After the Liberal victory of 1906, an ungrateful constituency, however, defeated him and sent him elsewhere, and we no longer heard anything about the "British Brothers League." So far as the East End of London is concerned, we smile at this sort of thing. We know that every age has to produce its Lord George Gordon, and Lord George Gordon is, on this alien question, very well represented by the Home Secretary and his supporters▀× Like one, that on a lonesome road Doth walk in fear and dread, And having once turned round, walks on, And turns no more his head; Because ho knows a frightful fiend Doth close behind him tread. The aliens in this country have always been small in numbers. I find, according to the Census of 1901, that the number then was 247,758; according to the Census of 1911, it was 295,730; and according to the Home Secretary's statement to-day it is 272,862. This number has always been smaller than the number of aliens in any other comparable country, but the Home Secretary has always had a prejudice against them, or, as he has expressed it himself, he has always been interested in this question. On the 26th November, 1924, he received a deputation from a body which described itself as the National Citizens' Union. I do not know who formed the National Citizens' Union. Probably they consist of worthy old women of both sexes who look under the bed every night to see whether a burglar or an alien is there. The Home Secretary told this deputation, according to report in the "Manchester Guardian" that He thought Parliament had been able to keep out the enormous influx of aliens who would otherwise have come in order to better their position. What are the facts? According to the Home Secretary, in the same speech— In 1923, 321,573 aliens were given leave to land here, and 3,172 were refused leave to land. In that year 324,000 left the country. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say; During the first nine months of this year (1924) 321,461 aliens had been given leave to come in, 1,827 were refused, and 311,876 had left. Is it not absurd to talk about this horde of aliens when only 3,172 were refused leave to land in 1923, 2,485 in 1924 and 2,414 in 1925. Fancy those aliens marching across Europe with the intention of devastating the British Empire and only the Home. Secretary standing in the way. I will give one or two more gems from the oratory of the Home Secretary. On another occasion be said: It is rather remarkable that while our Socialist friends declaim against the conditions of working men in this country, the Socialists from Eastern Europe are pouring in here in order to obtain better conditions than in their own land. After all the Home Secretary belongs to a party which has always assured us that the working men would be better off under Protection principles than under Free Trade. All these people who are supposed to be coming here come from Protectionist countries and it is rather remarkable that if they are going to better themselves they are coming from a Protectionist into a Free Trade country The whole point is that the Home Secretary really desires these powers for political purposes. The Tory party has always been afraid of foreign influences in the political thought of this country. The Prime Minister speaking at Chippenham on 19th June this year said: I want to see our British Labour movement free from alien and foreign heresy. It might be interesting if we were to examine the origins of the names of some of those who are Members of this House. Proceeding, the Prime Minister said: I want to see it pursued and developed on English lines, laid down by Englishmen. There is nothing more absurd than to think that political thought belongs to any one nation. After all, the Chancellor of the Exchequer is modelled on Machiavelli, and Machiavelli was not an Englishman. Every one of us knows the great influence of the physiocrats of France on the doctrines of Adam Smith, the encyclopaedists' views on Jeremy Bentham, and, in our own time, the influence in this country of Mazzini. We cannot say that the contributions of these foreigners to political thought may not have been for the benefit of the world, and it is absurd to talk about aliens being persons who should not be considered when these questions are being discussed. "But really," the Home Secretary said, "I am after the Communists." They, really, are the bee in the right hon. Gentleman's bonnet, because he said: They bore in like some hideous grub into the heart of a log of oak. A number of obscure people who called themselves Communists decided to hold a Conference in Glasgow, and two equally obscure people were coming as delegates from France and Russia to take part in this conference. The Home Secretary had his eagle eye upon them; like the "Skibbereen Eagle" of old, he was watching them. Therefore, he told us what happened. Speaking at a Unionist demonstration at Chatsworth House on the 14th June, 1925, he said: While he was prepared to give fair play to all sections of the community, no matter what view they held, when he heard that they were holding a Communistic conference at which there would be delegates from foreign countries, he considered it was his duty to come to a decision, and with that object in view he consulted the Cabinet. He asked the Cabinet whether they intended to allow foreign propaganda to be carried on in this country, and with one voice, without any hesitation, the Cabinet authorised him to take the necessary steps. The "necessary steps" were to prohibit these two inoffensive, obscure people from coming into the country; but all that the Home Secretary really did was to advertise the fact in this country that there was going to be a conference in Glasgow. We knew nothing about it. No one knew anything about it; no one would have known anything about it when it was over. As the "Manchester Guardian," which cannot be accused of being a Socialist paper, said: All that the Home Secretary had done had been to constitute himself the chief bellman or publicity agent, though only a volunteer one, of the tiny Communist party in England. And yet he thinks he is out to stop revolution!

Moreover, it is not always the Communists with whom the right hon. Gentleman is concerned. Recently there was held in this city a World Emigration Conference. It was a conference of the Labour parties all over the world to consider some of the problems which I admit are connected with the question of aliens in various countries. To that conference was coming a most distinguished Continental trade unionist, Mr. Oudegeest, who cannot be accused of being a Communist. As a matter of fact, he is one of the keenest fighters of the Communist party in Europe at the present time. He actually differs from his English colleagues of the Trades Union Congress who desire to see whether it is possible to bring about a rapprochement between Continental, English and Russian trade unionists. He opposed that all the way through. He is a most moderate man. But the Home Secretary had heard that he had been connected in some way with the general strike—he had not, because, so far as the international Labour movement had any connection with the general strike, that work was carried on by the English Secretary, Mr. Brown, and Mr. Oudegeest had nothing to do with it at all. Still, the Home Secretary once more said, "We have to keep this foreign influence out." The same thing happened with regard to Mr. Fimmen, who is a distinguished leader of the transport workers on the Continent, and he was refused admission in the same way.

One of the provisions of the Act of 1905 was that persons coming into this country should not be barred on account of means or other reasons if they were flying from political persecution. If we have the Home Secretary setting up as a judge we are taking away from this country what has always been its glory, the right of political asylum. There is one thing that ought to commend itself to hon. Members opposite. There are people who are persecuted by the present Government of Russia. They ought to be allowed to come to this country. I have never agreed and never will agree to the policy pursued by the Russian Government in persecuting its political opponents. I disagree with it here and in Russia. In exactly the same way with regard to anti-Fascists in Italy or Communists in Hungary, where they are being subjected to a trial which in every sense of the word is farcical. These men if they can escape at all ought to be able to see that there is a, chance of political asylum.

In regard also to the East End of London there is always the danger of this being used as a weapon of anti-Semitism. No one ever thinks there about Italians or Americans or the people of any other nation as aliens. In East London an alien is a Jew. The Jewish community in the East End think that, not merely the present Home Secretary, but the Home Office, all the way through, has displayed a habit of mind which is distinctly anti-Semite. I admit that as long as there are large numbers of people out of work it is natural that we do not want to get competitors against them, but in the past, when we had free entry into the country, we were not overcrowded and were not flooded with aliens in the way that is suggested. They are not coming into this country any more than they are going into any other country where there is no work to be had. Because I object entirely to this kind of legislation and because, if it is necessary, it ought to be brought into a permanent Act, and, secondly, because it is used for political purposes, I move my Amendment.

The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir William Joynson-Hicks)

I wonder whether the hon. Member really means business or not. A year ago he made much the same kind of speech but did not divide the House. I wonder whether he really means what he has said and whether he is going to divide to-night, whether he is going to try by a Division to sweep away all the restrictions which prevent aliens landing in this country as much and as fast as they like, for that is what his Amendment means. He may say the Bill ought to be made a permanent Act and I am rather inclined to agree with him. It would he a very good plan if, so long as the present position is likely to last, we established by Statute law the position in regard to the admission of aliens.


Is the 1905 Act still on the Statute Book?


No, I think it is not. I think it was repealed at the time the 1909 Act was passed. I can find out in half a minute. The point has never been put to me before. The Act of 1919 to some extent codified the law and gave power to the Home Secretary to carry it out. Ever since 1919, these Regulations have been the working force in regard to the admission of aliens into this country. We had the privilege two years ago of a Labour Government, and one would imagine that the first thing a Labour Government would do would be to repeal this monstrous Act which keeps out these useful people, these men whom we want to take to our bosoms, these people who are entitled to political freedom in Great Britain and at the expense of Great Britain. One would have thought it would have been swept away. Not a bit of it. The Labour Government brought in their Bill, here it is, in 1924, and in it is the very Act we are now discussing. They did not pass it because a slight accident took place and the Labour coach ran off the rails. It was left to us to pass their Act, and we did it again in 1925, and I am asking the House to do the same thing in 1926. The hon. Member accused me of various acts of tyranny, particularly in regard to the two Dutchmen, Fimmen and Houdegeest. It is perfectly true that I kept these two gentlemen out, and I did so because I thought they were undesirable people to have in this country. A colleague has just given me the information that by the Act of 1919 the Act of 1905 was repealed, so the hon. and gallant Member can rest assured on that point.

These two gentlemen are aliens. They are men of a certain distinction in the trade union world, and they took part, no doubt from their own point of view a very proper part, in trying to prevent British ships being loaded in Holland during the general strike. They took this action in their own country in conjunction with a trade union leader of the Transport Workers' Union of this country. They are quite entitled to do that, and I am not saying they did an illegal act there, but what I am saying is this, that they were doing an act which is prejudicial of the well being of this country, and as long as they do, as long as any other aliens commit an act which the Government of this country consider to be detrimental to the well being of the nation we do not intend to have them in here. I say this quite frankly. If any men carry out, or attempt to carry out, an act in their own country which we believe is detrimental to the well being of this country we shall still continue to use these powers and shall decline to allow them to come into this country. It is just as well we should be perfectly frank in this matter. These Regulations are not passed in the interest of these two Dutchmen. They are passed in the interests of the people of Great Britain. The hon. Member rather sneered at me because I have not kept out more aliens. That is a curious argument for him to use. Last year the number of aliens refused admission was something like 2,000.

That is quite true. Does it not occur to the hon. Member that gradually the knowledge is percolating through the East of Europe that they cannot get here, that it is no good trying to come here, and that it is only the very determined men who try to get through the Regulations, try to get a visa of some kind or another? Undoubtedly, we do give visas from time to time to foreigners to come here. The hon. Member told us that 300,000 foreigners are allowed to come in here every year. That is perfectly true. They are those whose coming here is in the interests of Great Britain, and we not only take no steps to prevent them, but we try to give them every possible facility. The man who comes on business, the man who desires to carry through some business between the manufacturers of this country and the purchasers of some other country is, of course, welcome; the tourist who comes over here—


Paying guests!


We get some good out of them. [Laughter.] Why not? To hear hon. Members talk one would think the only aliens whom it is desirable for one to admit into this country are those from whom we can get no good whatever—people who may diseased, people who may come on the rates, people who do no possible good whatever to our country. We think of our country; they apparently think of some other country. While, as I say, over 300,000 aliens come into this country every year for temporary purposes—for business purposes, for visits, for educational purposes—there have been as the hon. Member for Mile End has said, some 2,000 people—that was the number last year, I am glad to say it is a decreasing number—whom we decline to allow in this country.

I have told the House on a previous occasion that I have personally inspected alien administration at our ports. I have watched it myself, I have taken part in the examination of aliens, and I can assure the House that the greatest possible care is taken to see that those who try to come in here are those whom it is in the interests of this country to admit. There is a divergence of opinion between the two sides of the House. Hon. Members opposite desire, I suppose, as the hon. Member who moved the Amendment desires, to let them all come in here, desires that we should open our gates freely to the agitator, the Communist—I am not ashamed of mentioning that name. [Interruption.] Is it the desire of hon. Members to let them all come in here? Do they want to allow in the diseased, to allow in pauper aliens? I do not hear a very strong affirmative answer, and if they do not want all those to come in, there must be some kind of Regulations. I hope the House will once more empower the Government to carry out these Regulations in the way they have been carried out in the last two years. I believe them to be for the benefit of this country.

I would like to say one word as to the suggestion of anti-Semitism on the part of the Home Office. I can defend myself, and I have defended myself on previous occasions. The charge is a ridiculous one. Perhaps it may interest hon. Members opposite to know that the present so-called anti-Semitic Home Secretary has naturalised more Semites during his term of office than any previous Home Secretary.


Wealthy ones!


Oh, no; that is quite unfair. I am speaking now of men living in the East End of London. [Interruption.] I know, and the lion. Member does not know. I know the men for whom I sign naturalisation papers at my office every morning. Every morning there are naturalisation papers on my table. I go through them, and I rarely turn them down. They have been gone through very carefully by my Department. There is nothing on the papers to say whether they are Semite or not, but as far as the names give any indication, I am bound to say that the great majority of them are of the Jewish race.


The right hon. Gentleman has made an extraordinary statement, namely, that he has naturalised more Jews than any Other Government. But can he tell from the records in the Home Office whether these persons are Jews or not?


If the hon. Gentleman had done me the honour of listening to what I said, he would have heard me say quite definitely that there were no records in the Home Office which would enable me to say whether they were Jews or not, but I said that any man with a certain amount of experience and having friends among all religions, who sees names such as those I have naturalised during the last 18 months, may fairly assume that they are Jews. If the right hon. Gentleman thinks that these names, and I can give him a long list, are not Jews it does not alter—


This is a question of the admission of aliens.


I was led into the argument by the accusations made against me of anti-Semitism. All I can say is that I repudiate absolutely on behalf of the staff of the Home Office such an accusation. These are civil servants who cannot defend themselves and I am their chief and I say quite definitely there is no man on the staff of the Home Office who has any anti-Semitic bias whatever. It is really not fair to make such an accusation. You can make any accusation against myself, but it is not fair to make it against the staff of this great Department. In conclusion, I would ask the hon. Member if he really means to go into the Lobby to sweep away the whole of these restrictions and I must tell him if he does the result of his action would be to sweep away the restrictions and open wide the door to a greater influx of aliens.

Captain BENN

I should like to clear up one point. As far as I can make out, nobody has even mentioned anyone on the staff of the Home Office.



Captain BENN

The charge, as far as any charges are arguments, are made against the right hon. Gentleman.



Captain BENN

If that be so, I dissociate myself from them. The right hon. Gentleman wanted to know about the division and I can tell him this, that I propose to press my second Amendment on the Paper to a Division, and—


That is not in order.

Captain BENN

The Home Secretary knows perfectly well what the technical difficulty is about this first Amendment. We cannot put into the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill what we consider proper powers for the Home Secretary. The only thing we can do is to amend the aliens restrictions. What is the history of this? In 1905 a Conservative Government passed what we Liberals considered a very harsh Aliens Act. It was in existence from then until the end of the War and it gave a great number of powers to the Home Secretary of the day. In the first month of the War a new Act was passed and, as would be expected, at the outbreak of this great conflict this House willingly surrendered to the Home Office every sort of special powers—personal and dictatorial powers —over aliens in this country, which was a perfectly right and proper thing to do. In 1919 the Parliament of that day, which was one of the most servile Parliaments which has ever assembled in these walls, omitted from the 1914 Act the words "In a state of war or emergency" and provided the Home Secretary with exactly the same personal and dictatorial powers as were given at the beginning of the War.

What the Home Secretary has to do is not to give us a number of interesting details of what he surmises to be the religion of the people he has naturalised; but to justify, in this so-called democratic assembly, the retention of personal dictatorial powers in this matter. That is his task, and I suggest that he has not succeeded in the least; indeed, that he has not attempted to grapple with the point. He explains that he is entirely free from any national or religious prejudice, hut he is the representative of a party, as my hon. Friend very rightly pointed out, which for many years refused the franchise to Roman Catholics and Jews, and which is saturated to-day with the anti-foreign instincts which characterise them, and which we are fighting to-night in this Amendment.


Has the hon. and gallant Gentleman ever heard of Disraeli?

Captain BENN

Certainly, but the hon. and gallant Member will not deny that his party for years resisted the enfranchisement of the Jews. I should be surprised if anyone on that side denied such a well-known historical fact. This Act provides that the Home Secretary may make an Order, and that Order, if anyone will take the trouble to examine it, will be found to be in itself a complete Act of Parliament, far longer and containing far more pages than the Aliens Registration Act of 1919, and more pages than the Aliens Act of 1905. The Order puts into categories a great number of people who are not to be admitted, and in two separate paragraphs it confers upon the Home Secretary complete personal discretion in the case of any alien. The right hon. Gentleman appears to imagine not only that he has this right to decide personally in the case of any alien, but that it is his duty to withhold from the House of Commons any information as to the reasons upon which he acts. I have never been able to understand why he takes that stand. He has the personal power to say to any individual: "You shall not come in, or you shall go out," without giving any reason to this House or to anyone else. That, in a time of peace and in a country which professes to be self-governing, is a power which requires a considerable amount of defence.

When the Act of 1905 was being considered in this House the Members of the Opposition expressed themselves pretty strongly with regard to the sort of power that was given in the Act, although that Act is a very much smaller Act. It conferred more personal power although it conferred considerable powers upon immigration officers to restrict the immigration of aliens. Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman, speaking of the Act of 1905, said it was a Measure which deprived the refugee of the right of asylum, which subjected foreign passengers arriving at our ports to the indignity of search and inquisition, and which bestowed on the executive Government powers which ought to be left carefully in the hands of the ports. That was the view of Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman in 1905. What was the opinion on the same point of the present Chancellor of the Exchequer? He said that "The whole Bill looked like an attempt on the part of the Government to gratify a small and noisy section of their own supporters, by dealing harshly with a number of aliens who have no votes. It would commend itself to those who liked their patriotism at other people's expense."

Let me quote the opinion of a nonpolitical, impartial and very experienced official, Sir Kenelm Digby, who was connected with the Home Office, and was a member of the Alien Immigration Commission. Sir Kenelm Digby said, referring to this same sort of thing: The substitution of the executive authority vested in this House calls for the judicial investigation recommended by the majority of the Commission, as it will most materially increase the dangers attending the legislation. 11.0 P.M.

These are opinion expressed by people whose opinions carry weight against legislation which the Home Secretary has made no sort of attempt to justify. Does the Home Secretary allege that we ought, as a self-governing country, to leave personal powers in the hands of one man? That is the point. We are arguing the matter of the dictatorship of the Home Secretary. He is endowed in respect of these individuals with power of personal law, and in times of stress with these emergency powers. If we pretend to be a self-governing country, it is time some protest was made against this power.

The hon. Member for Mile End (Mr. Scurr) put the case of the Communist conference in Glasgow. In spite of the prohibition of the Home Office, the person who was to be prevented from appearing at the conference actually did appear. In any case, the whole occasion merely afforded a great advertisement to an otherwise unknown assembly. The Home Secretary singled out for special prohibition the one man who, as secretary of the Federation of Trade Unions, has done more to fight red Communism than any other man. It is a. very remarkable blunder which would not have been made except by a Department completely out of touch with conditions in Europe. The Home Secretary has some contempt for the ideas in this unpopular Amendment. I am not afraid of it. The Home Secretary speaks of us with contempt for speaking for other countries while he stands for his own country. The people who maintain the ideals of their country are better than people who maintain this idea of Xenophobia. The Home Secretary says it was the policy of this country 50 years ago, for which the present Government was not responsible, to admit persons fleeing from persecution from their own country. He speaks of that with contempt.


I have a definite recollection that I went on to say that it was impossible in the present circumstances to allow them to come in.

Captain BENN

I accept that, but what I said represents in some measure what the right hon. Gentleman said. The right hon. Gentleman said: The policy which has been maintained in the past of making England a refuge was a very high ideal, but one which we cannot afford at, the present time. Yet the right hon. Gentleman does nothing to present legislation to this House which would enable him to deal with the danger—if there is any danger—of an influx of aliens, causing unemployment, and he comes to the House asking for personal powers to deal, not mainly with the question of unemployment, but with the question of opinion. That is the charge. The right hon. Gentleman will forgive me if I feel a little dubious about this enthusiasm on the part of the Government for the unemployed, when I look at their record in unemployment and listen to the debates between the Minister of Health and other hon. Members on the conduct of the guardians.


I do not find that in this Bill.

Captain BENN

If the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary will make proposals which will enable him, in the ordinary Parliamentary statutory form, to deal with a possible influx of persons which will cause greater unemployment, then, so far as I ant concerned, I will offer no opposition. But he is not doing that to-night. He is attacking ideals for which this country has stood—ideals of freedom. I ask hon. Members to look back for 50 or 60 years and see what happened in this country. In those days we had Kossuth and Garibaldi coming here as refugees, and Orsini the criminal came here and was permitted to go up and down the country and address meetings. It is a mistake to say that this hatred of every other country but our own uplifts us. Our own blood is alien, Norman, Saxon and Dane are we. as was written by one of our Poet Laureates. We have been enriched in many walks of life by alien blood. Think of men like Hallé and Joseph Conrad, the writer, and Rosetti. There are a myriad of cases. Take particu- larly the case of Panizzi, the man who catalogued the library of the British Museum, These men came here and they have added greatly to the glory and dignity and riches of the country. What the hon. Member for Mile End (Mr. Scurr) said about the East End of London and about the alien blood there was quite true. It has greatly enriched what was one of the poorest districts in London. Not only that, but I ask hon. Members to look at the position of our country in the world. We are the greatest aliens in the world; every foreign country is full of men of our blood. Wherever one goes the Briton is received well, not merely because of the strength of our arms, not merely because of the greatness of our strength, but because people look upon this country as a place where the light of freedom burns.

There was not an oppressed person who did not turn and whisper his prayer of liberty towards this country, and the Government are ruining that reputation. I was in Russia the other day and I was speaking to the President of the Russian Republic, Kalinin. I said to him, "Why do not you give liberty in Russia? Why are people oppressed with the military police, who arrest and imprison people without charge? "He said, "What about your own country? That used to be an asylum for refugees. That has changed now." The right hon. Gentle man is reducing this country to the level of the Polish Diet and the Turkish Assembly, and we are asked now to hand over to him these personal dictatorial powers to deal with this matter. Those who fight by turning out men like M. Fimmen and the unnamed person from Glasgow are endeavouring to check opinion. That is the Tory ideal—that with the Customs barriers and policemen you can check opinion. That is impossible. It overleaps barriers of this kind. The way to crush a bad idea is to crush it with a good idea. That is exactly what you never get into the heads of a Conservative Government. It is because this thing is a blow at the glorious traditions of this country and an abnegation of the self-governing rights of this House that I support the Amendment.


I do not rise to delay the Committee coming to a decision, but I do want to say on behalf of those who, like myself, intend to support this Amendment in the Division Lobby if it is pressed to a Division, that if the second Amendment on the Paper were in order, we should have let this Amendment go and voted for the second one. As the second Amendment is out of order I shall support the first Amendment, not because I think there should be no powers or restrictions with regard to aliens, but because I think the present powers are too wide and that this is the only way of making our protest. The Home Secretary justifies his exclusion of the two men to whom reference has been made on the ground that they were taking an anti-British attitude. I do not think that is quite a sound position to take up. It is quite true that in the general strike the Government professed to take the view that those who supported the general strike were against the country and were acting unconstitutionally.

Technically, he had support for the Government's attitude to that position. But, practically speaking, that was not the case. The general strike was a thing that divided this country into two nearly equal halves. I do not think it is right to assume that some foreigner, who took the side of what was a very large part of the people in this country, was animated by anti-British feeling. I put this ease to hon. Members: Suppose the time comes when we- on these benches have a majority and form a Government, and suppose that certain foreign gentlemen take the side of hon. Members opposite, who would then be the Opposition, in some national question which we, on these benches, might, as the Government, regard as raising a constitutional issue. It is a dangerous doctrine to say that when anyone who takes a side, that is really a political side, from abroad is to be regarded as an anti-British alien. The attitude of the Home Secretary is wrong, and I shall, therefore, support the Amendment.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Schedule."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 211; Noes, 96.

Division No. 414.] AYES. [3.50 p.m.
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Betterton, Henry B. Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel sir Alan
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Birchall, Major J. Dearman Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby) Blundell, F. N. Campbell, E. T.
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Boothby, R. J. G. Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt.R.(Prtsmth.S.)
Apsley, Lord Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Cazalet, Captain Victor A.
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Boyd-Carpenter, Major Sir A. B. Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton
Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W. Braithwaite, A. N. Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)
Atholl, Duchess of Brass, Captain W. Charterls, Brigadier-General J.
Atkinson, C. Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Christie J. A.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Briggs, J. Harold Churchman, Sir Arthur C.
Balniel, Lord Brittain, Sir Harry Clayton. G. C,
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Brocklebank, C. E. R. Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.
Barnett, Major Sir Richard Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I. Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir G. K.
Beamish, Captain T. P. H. Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Cohen, Major J. Brunel
Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.) Buckingham, Sir H. Colfox. Major Wm. Phillips
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Conway, Sir W. Martin
Berry, Sir George Bullock, Captain M. Cooper, A. Duff
Cope, Major William Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney,N.) Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe) Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, whiteh'n) Ropner, Major L.
Craik, Fit. Hon. Sir Henry Hume, Sir G. H. Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Hutchison,G.A.Clark(Mldfn & P'bl's) Russell, Alexander west (Tynemouth)
Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend) Iliffe, Sir Edward M. Salmon, Major I.
Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick) Jackson, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. F. S. Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Crookshank, Cpt.H.(Lindsey.Gainsbro) Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l) Sanders, Sir Robert A.
Curzon, Captain Viscount Jephcott, A. B. Sanderson, Sir Frank
Dalkeith, Earl of Joynson, Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William Sandon, Lord
Davidson,J.(Hertf'd,Hemel Hempst'd) Kennedy, A. R. (Preston) Simms, Dr. John M. (Co, Down)
Davies, Dr. Vernon Kidd, J. (Linlithgow) Skelton, A. N.
Davies, sir Thomas (Cirencester) King, Captain Henry Douglas Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Dawson, Sir Philip Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C)
Eden, Captain Anthony Lamb, J. Q. Smithers, Waldron
Edmondson, Major A. J. Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Elliot, Major Walter E. Lister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Sprot, Sir Alexander
Ellis. R. G. Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green) Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)
Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.) Loder, J. de V. Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South) Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere Steel, Major Samuel Strang
Fairfax, Captain J. G. Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.
Falls, Sir Bertram G. MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen Strickland. Sir Gerald
Fanshawo, Commander G. D. Mac Donald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart) Styles, Captain H. Walter
Fermoy, Lord McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Forrest, W. Macintyre, Ian sugden. Sir Wilfrid
Foxcroft, Captain C. T. McLean, Major A. Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Fraser, Captain Ian Macmillan, Captain H. Tasker, Major R. Inigo
Frece, Sir Walter de McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John Templeton, W. P.
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Macquisten, F. A. Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Ganzoni, Sir John MacRobert, Alexander M. Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Gates, Percy Maitland, Sir Arthur D. steel Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Makins, Brigadier-General E. Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-
Gower, Sir Robert Malone, Major P. B. Tinne, J. A.
Grace, John Margesson, Captain D. Tryon. Rt. Hon. George Clement
Grant, Sir J. A. Meyer, Sir Frank Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough
Grattan-Doyle, Sir N, Milne, J. S. Wardlaw Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Greene, W. P. Crawford Moles, Thomas Wallace, Captain D. E.
Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Grotrian, H. Brent Moore, sir Newton J. Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E. Moore-Brabazon, Lieut-Col. J. T. C. Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Gunston, Captain D. W. Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisie)
Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Nelson, Sir Frank Watts, Dr. T.
Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge) Wells. S. R.
Hall,Vice-Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne) Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Hammersley, S. S. Nuttall, Ellis Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Hanbury, C. O'Neill, Major Rt, Hon. Hugh Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Hannort, Patrick Joseph Henry Oman, Sir Charles William C. Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Harland, A. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Harrison, G. J. C. pennefather, sir John Winterton. Rt. Hon. Earl
Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Perkins, Colonel E. K. Wise, Sir Fredric
Hawke, John Anthony Perring, Sir William George Womersley, W. J.
Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) Wood, E.(Chest'r. Stalyb'dge & Hyde)
Heneage, Lieut,-Col. Arthur P. Power, Sir John Cecll Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)
Henn, Sir Sydney H. Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel sir Assheton Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)
Hennessy, Major J. R. G Price, Major C. W. M. Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Herbert.S. (York, N.R.,Scar. & Wh'by) Radford, E. A. Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Hills, Major John Waller Raine, W. Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Hopkins, J. W. W. Ramsden, E.
Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities) Remnant, Sir James TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) Rhys, Hon. C. A. U. Colonel Gibbs and Major Sir Harry
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) Hardie, George D.
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Dalton, Hugh Harris, Percy A.
Ammon, Charles George Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon
Attlee, Clement Richard Davison, J. E. (Smethwick) Hayday, Arthur
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bllston) Day, Colonel Harry Hayes, John Henry
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Duncan, C. Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)
Barnes, A. Dunnico, H. Hirst, G. H.
Barr, J. Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.) Hore-Belisha, Leslie
Batey, Joseph Fenby, T. D. Hudson. J. H. (Huddersfleld)
Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith) Garro-Jones, Captain G. M. Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)
Bondfleld, Margaret Gillett, George M. Jenkins, W, (Glamorgan, Neath)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Graham, D. M. (Lanark. Hamilton) John, William (Rhondda, West)
Broad, F. A. Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)
Bromley, J. Greenall, T. Kennedy, T.
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.
Buchanan, G. Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Kenyon, Barnet
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Lawrence, Susan
Charieton, H. C. Grundy, T. W. Lawson, John James
Cluse, W. S. Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth) Lee, F.
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Hall, F. (York, W.R., Norman ton) Livingstone. A. M,
Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock) Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvll) Lowth, T.
Lunn, William Sexton, James Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
MacDonald, Rt. Hon.J. R.(Aberavon) Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston) Viant, S. P.
Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Shepherd, Arthur Lewis Wallhead, Richard C.
March, S. Short, Alfred (Wednesbury) Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Montague, Frederick Smillie, Robert Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Morris, R. H. Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe) Welsh, J. C.
Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Smith, Rennie (Penistone) Westwood, J.
Naylor, T. E. Snell, Harry Whiteley, W.
Oliver, George Harold Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe) Wiggins, William Martin
Palin, John Henry Stamtord, T. W. Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)
Paling, W. Stephen, Campbell Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Sullivan, Joseph Wilton, R. J. (Jarrow)
Ponsonby, Arthur Sutton, J. E. Windsor, Walter
Potts, John S. Taylor, R. A. Wright, W.
Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Riley, Ben Thurtle, Ernest TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Sakiatvala, Shapurji Tinker, John Joseph Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr.
Scurr, John Townend, A. E. Charles Edwards.

Question "That the Bill be now read a Second time," put, and agreed to.

Division No. 415.] AYES. [11.16 p.m.
Agg-Gardner. Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Glyn, Major R. G. C. Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby) Gower, Sir Robert Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Grace, John Pennefather, Sir John
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Grant, Sir J. A. Perkins, Colonel E. K.
Apsley, Lord Greene, W. P. Crawford Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Astbury. Lieut.-Commander P. W. Guest, Capt. Rt.Hon. F. C. (Bristol,N.) Phillipson, Mabel
Atholl, Duchess of Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E. Pilcher, G.
Atkinson, C. Gunston, Captain D. W. Power, Sir John Cecil
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Price, Major C. W. M.
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne) Radford, E. A.
Balniel, Lord Hanbury, C. Raine, W.
Banks, Reginald Mitchell Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Ramsden, E.
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Harland, A. Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Barnett, Major Sir Richard Harrison, G. J. C. Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y. Ch'ts'y)
Beamish, Captain T. P. H. Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Ropner, Major L.
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Hawke, John Anthony Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Bennett, A. J. Headlam, Lieut.-Cotonel C. M. Rye, F. G.
Berry, Sir George Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley) Salmon, Major I.
Blundell, F. N. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Boothby, R. J. G. Hennessy, Major J. R. G. Sandeman, A. Stewart
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Hills, Major John Waller Sanders, Sir Robert A.
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard Sanderson, Sir Frank
Briggs, J. Harold Hopkins, J. W. W. Sandon, Lord
Brittain, Sir Harry Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Hudson, R. S. (Cumberland, Whlteh'n) Sheffield, sir Berkeley
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I. Hume, Sir G. H. Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Huntingfleld, Lord Skelton, A. N.
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Hutchison, G.A.Clark (Midl'n & P'bl's) Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Burman, J. B. Illffe, Sir Edward M. Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dlne, C.)
Burton, Colonel H. W. Inskip, sir Thomas Walker H. Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Butt, Sir Alfred Jacob, A. E. Smithers, Waldron
Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward Jephcott, A. R. somerville, A A. (Windsor)
Campbell, E. T. Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William Sprot, Sir Alexander
Cazalet, Captain Victor A. Kidd, J. (Linlithgow) Stanley, Col. Hon.G.F. (Will'sden, E.)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Kindersley, Major G. M. Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton King, Captain Henry Douglas Steel, Major Samuel Strang
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Storry-Deans, R.
Charteris, Brigadier-General J. Lamb, J. Q. Stott, Lieut-Colonel W. H.
Christie, J. A. Little, Dr. E. Graham Styles, Captain H. Walter
Churchman, sir Arthur C. Loder, J. do V. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Clayton, G. C. Lord, Walter Greaves- Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Lougher, L. Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir G. K. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Cope, Major William Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.)
Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe) MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus Tinne, J. A.
Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend) Macintyre, Ian Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick) McLean, Major A. Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Crookshank,Cpt.H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro) Macmillan, Captain H. Wallace, Captain D. E.
Curzon, Captain Viscount McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John Warrender, Sir Victor
Davidson,J.(Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd) MacRobert, Alexander M. Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Davidson, Major-General Sir John H. Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel- Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Davies, Dr. Vernon Makins, Brigadier-General E. Watts, Dr. T.
Dawson, Sir Philip Margesson, Captain D. Wells. S R.
Eden, Captain Anthony Marriott, Sir J. A. R. Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.
Edmondson, Major A. J Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K. White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple
Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington) Merriman, F. B. Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Elliot, Major Walter E. Meyer, Sir Frank Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.) Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark) Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Fairfax, Captain J. G. Moles, Thomas Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Falle, Sir Bertram G Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt- Hon. B. M. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Fanshawe, Commander G. D. Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr) Winterton. Rt. Hon. Earl
Fielden. E. B. Moore, Sir Newton J. Wise, Sir Fredric
Ford, Sir P. J. Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C. Womersley, W. J.
Forrest, W. Morden, Colonel Walter Grant Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)
Foxcroft, Captain C. T. Nelson, Sir Frank Wood, Sir Klngsley (Woolwich, W.)
Fraser, Captain Ian Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Newton, Sir O. G. C. (Cambridge)
Ganzoni, Sir John Nuttall. Ellis TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Gates, Percy Oakley, T. Major Sir Harry Barnston and
Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton) Captain Bowyer.
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, Wast) Beckett, John (Gateshead) Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hlllsbro') Benn. Captain Wedgwood (Leith) Buchanan, G.
Ammon, Charles George Bondfleld, Margaret Charleton, H, C.
Attlee, Clement Richard Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Cluse. W. S.
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Briant, Frank Compton, Joseph
Barr. J. Broad, F. A. Connolly, M.
Batey, Joseph Bromley, J. Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)
Crawfurd, H. E. Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Smillie, Robert
Daltcn, Hugh John, William (Rhondda, West) Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Davison, J. E. (Smethwick) Johnston, Thomas (Dundee) Smith, Rennie (Penistone)
Day, Colonel Harry Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Snell, Harry
Dennison, R. Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Spencer, G. A. (Broxtowe)
Duncan, C. Kennedy, T. Stamford, T. W.
Dunnico, H. Lawrence, Susan Stephen, Campbell
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedweilty) Lee, F. Sullivan, Joseph
Fenby, T. D. Mac Donald, Rt. Hon. J. R.(Aberavon) Sutton, J. E.
Gillett, George M. Morris, R. H. Tinker, John Joseph
Gosling, Harry Naylor, T. E. Townend, A. E.
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Palin, John Henry Varley, Frank B.
Greenall, T. Paling, W. Viant, S. P.
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) . Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Welsh, J. C.
Grundy, T. W. Ponsonby, Arthur Westwood, J
Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton) Potts, John S. Whiteley, W.
Hall, a. H. (Merthyr Tydvll) Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Hardle, George D. Riley, Ben Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)
Harris, Percy A. Saklatvala, Shapurji Williams, T (York, Don Valley)
Hartshorn, Rt. Hon.Vernon Salter, Dr. Alfred Windsor, Walter
Hayday, Arthur Sexton, James Wright, W.
Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley) Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston) Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Hirst, G. H. Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Hore-Belisha, Leslie Shiels. Or. Drummona TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Sitch, Charles H. Mr. Scurr and Mr. Kelly.

Mr. Basil Peto.

Captain BENN

On a point of Order. May I ask why the Amendment standing in my name—on page 5, line 14, col.3, after the word "one," to insert the words except in so far as it confers powers to make an order directed against the holding of political opinion or the lawful expression thereof— is out of order?


It is out of order because it seeks to amend the law. On the Schedule of the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill, it is in order either to continue an Act or to continue part of it, leaving out some definite and distinct provision. But it is not in order to seek-to amend the law. I might add that, as a matter of fact, this point should have been taken when I put the last Amendment, because I put it in such a way that the hon. and gallant Member's Amendment was not protected.

Captain BENN

That I would leave naturally to the Chair. I assume then that it is out of our power to move any Amendment dealing, for instance, with employment, and that the only course open to those who wished for an Amendment of the law was to have voted for the last Amendment.


As far as this Bill and Parliamentary opportunity were concerned, that is so.


I beg to move, in page 5, to leave out lines 45 to 47, inclusive. Some hon. Members may ask why I should seek to move this Amendment, seeing that I was a Member of the Select Committee which considered each of these items. A representative of the Home Office who appeared before the Committee was asked by the hon. Member for Guildford (Sir H. Buckingham), in reference to the Shops Act: Is it not time that some of these war restrictions were removed? The answer was: I think it is the intention to deal with the whole question of shops by another Bill. Then the Chairman, the hon. baronet the Member for Cardiff East (Sir C. KinlochCooke) said: Is there not another Bill in contemplation at the present time? And the answer was: I think so. The Home Secretary has, however, recently said that the Government are fully alive to the importance of this question and the interests of shop-keepers and shop assistants in this question, but as it is highly controversial they cannot hold out any hope of legislation this Session. That seems to refer the matter to the Greek Kalends. The Shops (Early Closing) Act, 1920, is not an Act in the ordinary sense but a perpetuation of a D.O.R.A. regulation. The main provision of the Regulation is the universal closing daily of shops at eight o'clock with no power to the Home Secretary to give any exceptions to any localities such as seaside resorts or anywhere else. Another Regulation expressly lays down that refreshments shall not include sweets or chocolates. Those Regulations were perfectly reasonable in war time because we were very short of man and woman power, then everybody was wanted for war purposes and we had to economise in the retail trade to the utmost. Another fact was that we were short of sugar and it was necessary to say that refreshments did not include articles mainly composed of sugar. I find that the Act of 1920 says: Provided that the Secretary of State for the Home Department may, for such days as he thinks fit, suspend the operation of the said Order during the Christmas season or in connection with any other special occasion. There however, no power to deal with the question from the point of view of any particular locality and the Order must apply to the whole country, or a season like Christmas or some other seasonal occasion. The Act of 1912 was not passed by a Conservative but by a Liberal Government, and I find in the Act there is practically in every Section power given to the local authority to ascertain local opinion. There is in Section 4 of that Act the following provision: Where a local authority have reason to believe that a majority of the ratepayers in the area are in favour of being exempted. In Section 5, dealing with Closing Orders, it is provided That, an Order under this Act and referred to as a Closing Order made by a local authority and confirmed by the Secretary of State may fix the hours on several days of the week. There is a provision in Section 11 relating to holiday resorts which lays down that during certain seasons of the year the local authority may by an Order suspend for such period as may be specified in the Order not exceeding four months in any year the obligations imposed by the Act to close shops on a weekly half-holiday.

If that was good peace-time legislation, as I hold it was, then, considering local requirements, considering the promotion of local trade, I say it is monstrous that, year after year, long after the War is over, we should perpetuate in an Act of Parliament cast iron rules which might be perfectly applicable to a time of war but which are wholly inapplicable to the ordinary everyday conditions. I have asked the Home Secretary repeatedly, regarding seaside resorts in my own constituency, whether he cannot do anything, and a large number of other Members of the House represent places which depend for their living, for a very short season of the year, on doing what trade comes in their way in that season. It is not reasonable that we should have an Act of Parliament which gives the Home Secretary no power whatever, and does not provide for consulting the local authority in any way as to the special difficulties or needs of a special locality or a special season of the year. In view of the fact that we were led to suppose that the Home Secretary had in mind early legislation, we put this into the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill, and I think I am entitled to raise this question to-night by moving to omit the Shops Act, 1920. It is simply a perpetuation of a Defence of the Realm regulation which has no application whatever to a time of peace.


I rise to oppose this Amendment. I happen to be one of those somewhat eccentric Members of Parliament who, when this House is not sitting, go back to work, and my work is to serve behind a shop counter. I should like to take my hon. Friend the Member for Barnstaple (Mr. B. Peto) back with me for a fortnight of his holiday to serve behind a shop counter, after which I do not think he would be inclined to propose this Amendment. I hope the Government will resist the Amendment, although I agree with my hon. Friend that it would be better if a permanent Act were placed on the Statute Book following exactly the Act of 1920. The shopkeepers of this country are in favour of this Act remaining, at any rate for another 12 months, in the hope that before that time has passed we shall have a permanent Act. So far as the shop assistants are concerned, it will be found that they are unanimously in favour of it. My hon. Friend talked about the old Act of 1912, under which local authorities had the power to make an Order if a sufficient majority of the shopkeepers in the district in certain trades asked for it. I can assure my hon. Friend, however, that there are many difficulties in connection with that old Act. You might have two local authorities whose territories ran parallel with shops on one side of the street which had to close at eight o'clock because there was a local Order, while on the other side they need not close until 10. If it were left to the shopkeepers themselves to close voluntarily, we should be back in the old days, which I remember very well when we used to start at eight in the morning and finish at 12 midnight, and then there was always some dear old lady who had forgotten to buy something she wanted, and came in at a minute past We tried voluntary effort in those days— that was before we had the half-day closing. We tried peaceful picketing, too. We even tried sending round a brass band to play "Work, for the night is coming," but it had no effect. We who have to earn our own living as retailers hope that the Home Secretary will resist this Amendment, and that, before another Session is over, we shall have a permanent Act on the same lines as the Act of 1920 placed on the Statute Book.


I hope the Home Secretary will resist the Amendment, because it is almost the only protection that shop workers enjoy against excessive hours of labour. It is not very often that the employers and employes are agreed upon issues that come before Parliament, but in this case if you took a referendum you would have a very large majority indeed for maintaining the Early Closing Order applicable to all parts of the country. The Act not only enables shop assistants to enjoy a certain amount leisure, but it also enables the proprietors to participate in a certain amount of social life which was formerly closed to them. There are shopkeepers who think they can get temporary advantages over their neighbours by keeping open a little longer. It is always the avaricious individual who breaks down the general agreement for earlier closing. Anyone who has had experience of voluntary closing orders or voluntary arrangements for closing outside the Shops Act of 1912 finds invariably that one avaricious person, thinking he can get a temporary advantage, keeps open half an hour longer, a night or two afterwards his competitors begin to follow suit, and the voluntary agreement for 99 per cent. of the people in the trade is broken down by one individual, and unless you get some protection of this kind that will continue to be the case. No occupation employs more women and young people than shop life, and if it is only for that reason I hope the Home Secretary will resist this attack because it will undermine the protection that exists in the 1912 Act. It is still possible, in spite of existing shop hours legislation, to work people under 18 years of age for 74 hours a week exclusive of meal times, and in the catering trades it is legal to work people 65 hours a week exclusive of meal times. I came across cases this last week-end of people working 56 hours for 35s. a week who were so afraid of intimidation that they dare not complain to their employer or join a trade union in order to attempt to remedy it, so I hope this attempt to undermine the existing protection of shop assistants and shopkeepers will be resisted by the Government.


I hope the Committee will not expect me to make a long speech at this time of night. I equally hope they will not attempt to take this Act out of the Bill. I know the trouble mentioned by the hon. Member below the Gangway, but I should very much favour the suggestion that the Home Secretary should be given further autocratic powers. This is a matter the House of Commons must decide. If this Act of 1920 were not carried on to-night, the whole of the law relating to shops would be swept on one side. All shops could keep open as long as they liked. That, of course, is a point the Government could not possibly accept, and I hope my learned Friend will not think it necessary to press his Amendment.


Having put my name to this Amendment, I am entitled to say why I did so. It was for quite a different reason to that which I actuated the hon. Member in moving it. We have heard a good deal about the shopkeeper; I want to put the point of view of the consumer. Under this Act there are certain exceptions under which shops are allowed to remain open for the purpose of supplying certain goods and materials. I will not give the list, and they mainly consist of refreshments, newspapers, and so on. I want to call the attention to the Home Secretary to the ridiculous way in which the Schedules are drawn. This has nothing to do with the hours of shop assistants. It is laid down that shops can keep open for the purpose of selling strawberries, raspberries, bilberries, apricots, but not for the sale of bananas, oranges or even a lemon. What is the reason for that? [An HON. MEMBER: "Perishable."] If shops are allowed to remain open why should they not be able to supply apples and oranges. Certain shops are also allowed to supply fresh fish. They can sell a piece of cod but not a bloater or a kipper; and that is a great injustice to my constituency. You can buy a newspaper at a railway station or in a shop, but you cannot buy a book or a periodical at the shop. If you go to the railway bookstall you can. You can buy a sandwich or a drink at a railway refreshment bar, but not a packet of cigarettes. All this pettifogging legislation, which is not in the interest of the shop assistant, is a protection to the shopkeeper who does not want competition. This kind of finnicky legislation is futile and quite unnecessary and that is why I want the Home Secretary to deal with the question in a proper way, by a proper Shops Act, and not by means of a mere continuance year after year of an Act passed years ago.


May I support the appeal on behalf of the shopkeeper? In my own constituency there were 11 ex-Service men who sunk the whole of their capital in opening a shop. They were not allowed to keep open beyond a certain hour, and lost the trade of the chars-à-banc which came to their town on the half holiday of another town. And on the half-day closing with their own town other vendors were allowed to come in and sell their goods. I want to see the Shops Act amended in this particular, and hope the Home Secretary will give the matter his careful attention.


After the Home Secretary's statement, I ask leave to withdraw the Amendment. I should like to point out that his statement that if the Amendment were carried there would be no Shops Act legislation at all is not correct. The Act of 1912 would still remain in force.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


I beg to move, in page 6, to leave out lines 4 to 9 inclusive.

The effect of passing this Amendment would be to take out of the Schedule of the Bill the Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act, 1920. Other Amendments moved this evening have had for their object the securing of a promise from the Government that legislation which is now continued from year to year by means of this Bill should be made permanent. There will be no appeal of that kind in connection with this Amendment, because I feel this Act ought to be removed from the Statute Book altogether. It is an Act which allows women and young persons to be employed on the two-shift system. Prior to the war their employment on this system was prevented, for all practical purposes, by the Factory and Workshops Act, and, so far as I know, no employer found any difficulty in running his factory on the one-shift system. The two-shift system was introduced under the Defence of the Realm Act, and the reason given then was that in the transition stage from war to peace it was necessary to absorb in other industries the large number of unemployed women munition workers. Parliament authorised the Home Secretary to issue an Order allowing employers to introduce the new system, and since then several hundred Orders have been issued. Even now, in fact, a substantial number of women are employed under this system. I claim that there is no longer any reason for the existence of these Orders, and I hope to prove, by a few sentences from a report which I will quote, the hardships which girls undergo who are compelled to enter a factory very early in the morning under this system. Lever Brothers, for instance, have worked this system at Port Sunlight for some years past. This is part of the evidence given by a deputation to the Home Office against the firm: The majority of the girls employed at Lever's come from Birkenhead; and as there are no trams running in the early morning they have to get rip at 4 o'clock and leave the house by 4.30 to catch the 4.45 special train, arriving at the works at 5.10. Some of the girls live in Garston, Liverpool, and have to rise at 3.30 in the morning, and many have been stopped by policemen and asked what they were doing out at that time. I feel sure that no Member of this House would desire this system to continue unless satisfied that it was absolutely necessary. Some of the best employers of this country, who have tried this system, say that although it was imperative to adopt it for a year or so following the war the need for it has now disappeared. A De- partmental Committee was appointed to inquire into this question, and I cannot do better than quote their recommendations. The Committee reported of course, prior to the introduction of the system, but it is well to remember what their recommendations were. They said "That the power to make Orders for the two-shift system should be given for a limited period of five years in the first instance, and that at the end of four years an inquiry should be made in the light of the experience gained." The Act was passed in 1920. It is now 1926. Six years have passed; and I think the Home Secretary will agree that, whatever view he has held as to the desirability of continuing these Orders, the time has come at least for an inquiry. I just want to mention one other point and that is in connection with the taking of a ballot under Orders issued by the Home Secretary. I will give a case in point to prove that an Order can be grossly unfair to the work-people themselves. A ballot may be taken to find out whether the employees are agreeable or not to the shift system. There may be a majority of two out of six girls in favour; but lo and behold in two years' time, the business grows, and 360 women and girls may be employed in the factory and the decision of the six extended to the lot. The Home Secretary will see the reasonableness of what I have said, and I hope he will therefore be inclined to wipe this Act entirely off the Statute book. I will just sum up the situation. Time has proved that the Act is not necessary; the system of taking a ballot is unfair to the workpeople; we have gone far beyond the transition period following the War, and the time has now come when the Home Secretary should remove these provisions once and for all.


Perhaps the Home Secretary may remember that, when we were debating this Act last year under the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill, and when a similar Amendment was moved at a very late hour a strong case was put by various Members on this side of the House and the Under-Secretary who was replying at that time for the Government so that while it had not been possible to consider the matter at that late hour yet if the House would give the Government the Bill that night they would go into the matter very thoroughly and consider whether they should as a matter of fact, put this particular Act in the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill. I would like to ask the Home Secretary whether he has been able to consider the question and whether he feels that, after such consideration, it is really necessary to continue this particular Act. I want to remind the Home Secretary that it is not merely a question of employment among women as the hon. Gentleman from this Front Bench said but it has also to deal with the emergency under which many employers found themselves at a time when trade was gradually expanding. It was impossible to get machinery and renewals of machinery that had been scrapped during the War and unless they had this opportunity of using their machinery twice over they simply could not carry on. Whether that was so or not it was an arguable case. I am sure anybody who reads the evidence given before the Home Office Committee would agree that it was that side of the question that weighed most strongly in the minds of the Committee which finally recommended the two-shift system. But I would ask the Home Secretary to consider that this emergency has passed some years ago. There is no question whatever now that any employer who wants any kind of machinery at any particular time can get it and therefore the very emergency on which the Committee based its recommendations has passed. I would like to remind the Home Secretary that we have had nearly six years' experience of this Act. It is not the case that only a few women and girls are as a matter of fact working under it. Well over 200 orders have been issued covering numbers of workpeople and the experience has been for the girls I am concerned about that it is detrimental to health and allows girls to work any time between the hours of six and ten instead of the period under the Factory Acts: What does that mean? That means that the second shift girls are working in artificial light to a late hour, in very vitiated air. Girls on the early shifts are leaving their homes very early, and those on the late shifts are arriving home very late at night. The transport in many of these cases is very bad, and we have found in some of the cases in Manchester and Liverpool which I have personally investigated, that owing to the difficulty of getting meals when they have finished work, girls have been without a meal for seven hours when they arrive home. Whatever may be the effect upon grown-up people, I think the Home Secretary will agree that that state of things is very bad for girls of 16 to 18 years of age. We find that the sickness rate is very high. This is a very important matter and is being debated at a late hour, when hon. Members are very tired, but however tired hon. Members may be, these girls who work these shifts are a jolly sight more tired, and they have a right to demand from their legislators some consideration of their case; they have to work every night and have no prospect of a three months' recess. Cannot the right hon. Gentleman recommend that this Act should be dropped out of the Expiring Laws (Continuance) Bill?


The two-shift system came into operation in substitution for overtime. It has been in force amongst men workers for a good many years, and in times of great pressure it is used in order that overtime may not be worked by young women and young people. No one can put the system into operation without an Order from the Home Secretary. I never make an Order without having first sent a factory inspector down, and generally a welfare inspector, to see the factory, to see what the arrangements are, and to find out the views of the employers and the employed in regard to the matter. Since the Act has been in operation, in five years, 557 Orders have been made. I have made 45 Orders during the current year. Roughly, the Orders have averaged 100 per year. It is a very curious fact—I am speaking from information supplied to me by the factory inspectors—that in the factories where Orders have been made we frequently find applications from the ordinary day worker to go into one of the shifts, but never an application from a shift working woman to go back again to ordinary day work. If the hon. Member for East Middlesbrough (Miss Wilkinson) will look at the report of the Chief Inspector of Factories in the year 1924, where the whole matter was very fully discussed, she will find, on page 53, this statement: Where the workers reside close to the works, and have been employed long enough on the shift system to become accustomed to it, they are in general well satisfied.


Does that quotation refer to a particular industry?


No; it refers, generally speaking, to the industries where these Orders are made.

12 M.

Where there has been a fire, for instance, and they want to get on with the work, an Order is made, or if they cannot get machinery. I have a case here where an order was received for no less than 6,000,000 tins for tinned fruit. An Order was made to enable two shifts to be worked so that the order might not be lost. Further, if hon. Members will look at page 55 of the Report they will see this statement: There is no evidence medical or general that the system has had an injurious effect on health. Factory inspectors are men and women of unimpeachable character who are not the kind of official who would write a report to please the political views of whoever happens to be the Home Secretary. The report continues: The shortened hours of work, allowing longer periods of leisure, probably more than compensate for the early start and late finish of shifts in alternate weeks, and no complaints of physical disturbance due to changing habits for the day's routine have been made. The Welfare Supervisors, who have kept careful watch over shift workers, report that no undue fatigue or any adverse effect has been observed. My hon. Friend the Member for Wood Green (Mr. G. Locker-Lampson), who was Under Secretary last year, did say that he invited representations from the trade unions to have full inquiry made. Curiously enough, there have been no representations made from trade unions in reference to any injuries received. I do not want the women of this country to be permitted to work the two-shift system if it is in any way detrimental to their health.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there was a deputation from the trade unions to the Home Office in 1922, and that the case was stated in full in a memorandum submitted by them to the Home Office?


I am dealing with the offer made in 1925. I do not think I am very inaccessible to deputations on any essential matters relating to industrial affairs. My information is that it is not prejudicial to health.


I want to make this point with regard to the factory inspectors and welfare workers that they cannot realise the amount of intimidation which has taken place. In one or two works a large number of girls were threatened with dismissal if they went against it.


That almost sounds like a trade union ballot.


If the right hon. Gentleman is advocating secret ballots in the one case, why does he not do so in the other?


How does the hon. Lady know that I have advocated secret ballots?


From the right hon. Gentleman's speeches


I do not think the hon. Lady can have read my speeches. I shall state my views to the House later, in the Autumn Session. I do not think the hon. Lady would like to misrepresent me, but I will leave it there. If she wants to make any suggestion that these ballots of the workers have been unfair, anti that there has been intimidation, if she will come and see me and give me the facts of any case she has in mind, I will send a factory inspector and a welfare worker down, and if she cares to go with them, I will give her the fullest possible protection. Quite seriously, if there is really any intimidation of this kind going on, I do not want it either in a factory or anywhere else. I am bound to take the advice of those officers who have advised me on these matters. They have advised me that the system is working well, and that it will do no harm. If this Act is taken out of the Bill, it will mean that a good many women will be thrown out of employment. I am introducing a Factory Bill next week, and that will be the time for the hon. Lady to bring this matter up.


Do I understand that the right hon. Gentleman is introducing that Bill next week?


Yes. I appear to be much better informed than the hon. Lady. I promised my hon. Friends opposite that I would introduce a Bill this Session, and I hope to do so next week and have it printed, so that it can be studied during the vacation. I hope therefore that the Committee will not consider it necessary to debate the matter further now.


There is another side to this question than that which was put forward by my hon. Friends above the Gangway. They are no doubt quite right in showing that the ballot has not been taken on the lines on which it should be taken. A ballot where only a very few women are employed should undoubtedly not affect the rest of the women. The principle underlying the ballot is that women, by their own votes, should be allowed to decide whether they should work in this way or not. I am loth to think that it is wise to differentiate between men and women in this matter when women choose to work on the same lines as men. A committee in 1920 went very carefully into the whole question. There seems very little doubt that the majority of the women are anxious for the two-shift system. Many of them are able to earn a considerable amount of money. I think my hon. Friends above the Gangway will join with me in saying that women should not be prevented from being put in a separate class and working their own way if they wish to. Personally, I object to any alteration which makes the position of women something different from the position of men. I think it is a bad principle to adopt and I am a little surprised that my hon. Friends above the gangway should sanction it. I hope the Committee will not accept the Amendment, although I hope the Home Secretary will give a little more time for consideration of conditions in the future.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Schedule."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 167; Noes, 59.

Division No. 416.] AYES. [12. 12a.m.
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Grace, John Pennefather, Sir John
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool,W. Derby) Greene, W. P. Crawford Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Gunston, Captain D. W. Philipson, Mabel
Atkinson, C. Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Pilcher, G.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne) Power, Sir John Cecil
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Hanbury, C. Price, Major C. W. M.
Balniel, Lord Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Radford, E. A.
Banks, Reginald Mitchell Harland, A. Raine, W.
Barclay-Harvey C. M. Harrison, G. J. C. Ramsden, E.
Barnett, Major Sir Richard Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Barnston, Major Sir Harry Hawke, John Anthony Ropner, Major L.
Beamish, Captain T. P. H. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Blundell, F. N. Hennessy, Major J. R. G. Salmon, Major I.
Boothby, R. J. G. Hills, Major John Walter Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard Sandeman, A. Stewart
Briant, Frank Hopkins, J. W. W. Sanders, Sir Robert A.
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley) Sanderson, Sir Frank
Briggs, J. Harold Hudson, R. S. (Cumberland, Whiteh'n) Sandon, Lord
Brittain, Sir Harry Huntingfield, Lord Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Hutchison,G.A.Clark (Midl'n & P'bl's) Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I. Iliffe, Sir Edward M. Skelton, A. N.
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H. Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Burman, J. B. Jacob, A. E. Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kine'dine, C.)
Burton, Colonel H. W. Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William Smithers, Waldron
Campbell, E. T. Kidd, J. (Linlithgow) Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Cazalet, Captain Victor A. King, Captain Henry Douglas Sprot, Sir Alexander
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Charteris, Brigadier-General J. Lamb, J. Q. Stanley, Col. Hon. G.F. (Will'sden, E.)
Christle, J. A. Little, Dr. E. Graham Steel, Major Samuel Strang
Clayton, G. C. Loder, J. de V. Storry-Deans, R.
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Lord, Walter Greaves- Strickland, Sir Gerald
Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir G. K. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere Styles, Captain H. Walter
Cope, Major William Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman Sykes, Major-Gen, Sir Frederick H.
Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe) MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. MacIntyre, Ian Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-
Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick) McLean, Major A. Tlnne, J. A.
Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro) Macmillan, Captain H. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Curzon, Captain Viscount McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Davidson, J.(Hertf'd, Hemet Hempst'd) MacRobert, Alexander M. Wallace, Captain D. E.
Dawson, Sir Philip Maitland, Sir Arthur D. steel- Warrender, Sir victor
Edmondson, Major A. J. Makins, Brigadier-General E. Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington) Margesson, Captain D. Watts, Dr. T.
Elliot, Major Walter E. Merriman, F. B. Wells, S. R.
Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.) Meyer, Sir Frank Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Fairfax, Captain J. G. Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark) Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Falle, Sir Bertram G. Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M. Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Fanshawe, Commander G. D. Moore, Sir Newton J. Wilson, R. R. (Stafffford, Lichfield)
Fielden, E. B. Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr) Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Finburgh, S. Moon-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C. Wise, Sir Fredric
Ford, Sir P. J. Morden, Col. W. Grant Womersley, W. J.
Forrest, W. Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Wood. E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)
Foxcroft, Captain C. T. Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge) Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)
Fraser, Captain Ian Nuttall, Ellis Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Fremantle, Lt.-Col. Francis E. O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)
Gates, Percy O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham Oakley, T. Mr. Frederick Thomson and Captain Bowyer.
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Hardle, George D. Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Barr, J. Hayday, Arthur Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)
Bromley, J. Hayes, John Henry Stephen, Campbell
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Hirst, G. H. Sullivan, J.
Buchanan, G. Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Sutton, J. E.
Charleton, H. C. Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Taylor, R. A.
Comoton, Joseph John, William (Rhondda, West) Tinker, John Joseph
Dalton, Hugh Johnston, Thomas (Dundee) Townend, A. E.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Varley, Frank B.
Day, Colonel Harry Kelly, W. T. Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Dunnico, H. Kennedy, T. Welsh, J. C.
Fenby, T. D. Lawrence, Susan Westwood, J.
Gosling, Harry Paling, W. Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Pethick- Lawrence, F. W. Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Potts, John S. Windsor, Walter
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Saklatvala, Shapurji Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Grundy, T. W. Scrymgeour, E.
Guest, Haden (Southwark, N.) Scurr, John TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston) Mr. Parkinson and Mr. Charles Edwards.
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Shepherd, Arthur Lewis

I beg to move, in page 6, to leave out lines 16 to 20, inclusive.

This Amendment proposes to omit the Canals (Continuance of Charging Powers) October, 1922, and I move it was the object of securing a statement from the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport. In the last few years the revenue of the canals of this country has been falling. That is due to two factors. First, the railway companies have been securing control; secondly, Government departments have been interferring in a half-hearted inefficient way. There are 5,000 miles of canals in this country and whereas the revenue in 1905 was in the region of £2,500,000, it has fallen to an almost negligible amount since the War. I wish the Parliamentary Secretary to tell us what object he has in continuing these powers Secondly, will he emphasise them in a more efficient way, and is he prepared to discourage the further control of the canals by the railway companies? Our anxiety on the matter is made all the more profound owing to several speeches which have been made by the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Health who holds what might be described as a waiting mandate from the Ladywood Division. He has been a most vehement complainant against the increasing disuse of the canals, and I do feel that that is a form of transport which ought to be encouraged rather than discouraged.


This is not a question of great controversy, but the position is somewhat obscure. The power to charge extra on canals was given by the House when it started the Ministry of Transport under the Ministry of Transport Act, 1919. That gave the Ministry power to increase the charges for a certain period, and when that period was lapsing a special Act was passed through this House called the Canals (Continuance of Charging Powers) Act, 1922, Which took the position up to 1925, but the Act was so framed that it could not be included in the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill, so that the position at that time was that no extra charges could have been imposed. An amending Act was introduced in 1924, and it is because of that Act that the whole position with regard to canal charges did not come within the purview of the Committee that was set up to investigate the Expiring Laws Continuance Act. The 1924 Act, amending the 1922 Act, put the thing in order from the point of view of the possibility of including it in the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill, and that is why it now reappears in the Schedule. I do not think the canals are in such a healthy state that they can go back to their pre-War charges, and I must, therefore, resist this Amendment.


I cannot say that the remarks of the hon. and gallant Gentleman have satisfied me in regard to the canals, but, in view of the lateness of the hour, I ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave withdrawn.

Schedule agreed to.

Bill reported, without Amendment; read the Third time, and passed.

The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.

It being after half-past Eleven of the Clock upon Thursday evening, Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER adjourned the House, without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.

Adjourned at Twenty-six Minutes after Twelve o'Clock.