Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment to Question [5th May].
That the Regulations made by His Majesty in Council under The Emergency Powers Act, 1920, by Orders dated the 30th day of April, 1926, and the 3rd day of May, 1926, shall continue in force, subject however to the provisions of Section 2 (4) of the said Act."—[Sir W. Joynson-Hicks.]
§ Which Amendment was, after the word "Regulations" to insert the words "other than Regulation 20." [Mr. Stephen.]
§ Question again proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ Sir HENRY SLESSER
I wish to call the attention of the Attorney-General to the last words of paragraph (2). These are words which seem to me to lend themselves to very considerable difficulty if they are to be applied. I am sure that hon. Members would welcome the opinion of the Attorney-General as to what he thinks is the exact scope and purpose of this paragraph. It says:—If any person approaches or is in the neighbourhood of or enters any such place as aforesaid with intent to do injury thereto he shall he guilty of an offence against these regulations.That is clear.And notwithstanding that no such act or injury is committed by him, he shall be deemed to be guilty of such an offence if by reason of his being in possession of any explosive or incendiary substance or lethal weapons or dangerous missile.That is clear. What is not clear is the concluding part of the paragraph:—Or otherwise from the circumstances of the case or his conduct or his known character as proved, it appears that his purpose was to do such injury.What is the meaning of the words:—His known character as proved.The usual provision in a case of criminal liability is that a man is found guilty or not guilty on the facts, and the question of his character is normally postponed until the determination of whether he has or has not committed the offence. If he is found in possession of firearms, then, 454 in law, in many cases you may draw the inference that from the possession of the firearms he intended to do injury. That is quite a normal provision, just as the finding of a person carrying various tools after dark justifies the assumption that the person intends to commit a felony. The words which I do not quite understand are—His known character as proved.Does that mean that evidence may be given in the court as to his general character? Do the words "as proved" mean proved on the occasion on which his case is being heard, or do they mean that earlier convictions may be proved in the course of the hearing under this regulation to prove his known character before a decision is made in his particular case? The emergency which is now, unhappily, with us will pass away, but the principle introduced into this regulation may not pass away. It seems to me that we are giving permission in this Regulation to introduce during the trial of the case evidence of previous convictions before there is a decision in the particular case in question. I have always said, and I adhere to it, that once a Proclamation is being made, the necessary Regulations must be made, but the very fact that the Act in question requires that the Regulations should be laid before Parliament shows that it was intended by the Legislature that the Regulations in detail might be criticised, otherwise the Proclamation of the Regulations would have given force to them and there would have been no necessity to bring them before Parliament.
I am sure the Attorney-General and Home Secretary will appreciate that in raising this question I am not raising any general issue as to the Regulations. I am raising what some people may think is a small point—but from the point of view of jurisprudence it is an important point—as to the meaning of the words—His known character as proved.Does that mean previous conviction or evidence of bad character given by the police, or whoever is prosecuting? We may get a case where a man is charged with intention to do this wrong, but if he is not in possession of firearms or missiles, that is not an offence. In order to get a conviction you have to add to the evidence of intention proof that the individual's known character, proved 455 character, is bad. I believe I am right in saying that even in the Defence of the Realm Regulations—I may be wrong—this particular phrase was not introduced when this country was at war with a foreign enemy.
I do not remember it, but I am open to correction on that point. Intention gathered from the possession of weapons and intention gathered from acts may in proper cases be grounds for consideration, but intention gathered from previous bad character is an extremely dangerous principle to introduce into the Regulations. I do not want to criticise the Regulation as a whole—that has been done by my hon. Friends behind me—but to get a specific answer to this question I want to ask the Attorney-General the meaning of the words—Known character as proved.The word "conduct" I can understand, but the words "known character as proved" are very dangerous. May I give an illustration. A man may be known as a bad character, as a forger. I believe it is a fact known to criminal psychologists that people who are liable to commit forgery are not the sort of people who are addicted to crimes of violence. These words are without any qualification, and under them it may be bad character in the sense that the man has committed a forgery, but he may not be a bad character for the purpose of suggesting that he intends to injure property. Surely bad character ought to be bad character of a sort which is in some way connected with the kind of offence he is charged with committing. It is utterly irrelevant in the case of a man who is charged with blowing up a bridge to consider whether he forged his grandmother's will 20 years before. I cannot see the purpose of connecting the two. These words are capable of a very dangerous extension. We must remember that public opinion may be in a highly excited state when these cases come before magistrates and courts, not very high trained in the administration of the law, although perfectly unbiased, and we do not want legislation or Regulations which arise from a scare. One wishes to protect the State and the liberty of the subject, but surely it is enough that we should protect society against a man with weapons, and against a man whose con- 456 duct is suspicious. It is going beyond the necessary limit to consider his character many years back, and in quite different circumstances. It is for that purpose I have risen, and I do not think I can be accused of taking an obstructive course in asking the right hon. Gentleman to tell the House what these words mean.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
This is the first time I have intervened in the debate on these Regulations, and I do not desire to detain the House very long. The hon. and gallant Gentleman on the Front Opposition Bench who has just spoken has raised one or two important points which require an answer from the Attorney-General. He has raised a question in regard to the words "known character," and I want some explanation as to what they mean. I do not know Scottish law very well, and I know English law still less, but I understand that in Scotland, under the Prevention of Crimes Act, the police are already empowered to arrest a person on suspicion, if he has a criminal record A man who has been convicted of burglary on a number of occasions, and is found at or near a place under circumstances under which the police consider he is likely to commit a burglary, can be arrested without actually committing a crime, merely because of his past record. That is already the Common Law of Scotland. If a person has committed violence on many occasions and is found by the police forming part of a riotous assembly, then, without having committed any definite act of violence, the police under the present law can arrest him. But in addition the police in Scotland already possess wider powers.
Yesterday the Attorney-General, in reply to a question, stated that one of the reasons why they wanted this Regulation was that a man who was arrested could he dealt with summarily; that they could go through the procedure of having the alleged criminal convicted and sentence at the police court. I am sure the Attorney-General knows that a convicted person of had character can under the Prevention of Crimes Act be dealt with summarily already. Under the normal law a magistrate in Scotland can sentence a man only up to 60 days' imprisonment, but under the Prevention of Crimes Act he has power to sentence up to the limit of six months, when a man is known to be a person of bad 457 character and is found near a locality where he is likely to commit a crime. If that be the present Common Law of Scotland, there is no need to alter it. Why, then, are these words "known character" put in? Do they mean past convictions? Is it the man's criminal record? If not, what is "known character?" I have neither hid from this House my own views on public matters. I am a republican. I would abolish the monarchy to-morrow, and if I am seen in the neighbourhood of Holyrood Palace I may be described, because I am a republican, as a man of "known character" if I am seen in that neighbourhood. But it is not a crime to be a republican. I am proud of it, and I have never concealed from, my constituents the fact that I am a republican.
What is the meaning of "known character"? I know men who have unpopular and advanced views, but whose private character may be unchallengeable. What is to be the test of "known character"? If the Home Secretary were seen at or near a Communist meeting, it might be that he should be placed in gaol, because, in those circumstances, he would be a "known character." The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon (Mr. Lloyd George), whose views on land are well known, may be a "known character" if he is seen within a considerable distance of a landlord. What is "known character"? It may be that the Attorney-General, who, when he is asleep, always seems to have a nightmare of Communists or of Irish deportees, if he were seen within a considerable distance of anything like that, might be a "known character" I want to put it to the Attorney-General that this business of "known character" ought to be clearly defined. [Interruption.] The Noble Lady the Member for the Sutton Division of Plymouth (Viscountess Astor) is constantly interrupting. I do not blame her—it may be a fault of her sex—but she is constantly interjecting. I do not say it is bad, because I am one of the worst offenders myself in that way, and I ought to take my own medicine. I ought to take it much worse than sometimes I get, but, supposing she were seen near the neighbourhood of a brewery, she might be a "known character." The one thing I have in common with her is my anti-drink activity. Take our late Home Secretary, the right hon. Member for 458 Burnley (Mr. A. Henderson), who is well known in our party for strong anti-betting views. I almost had a quarrel with him at a party meeting over that, as my views are not so narrow, but what would happen to that right hon. Gentleman if he were seen in the neighbourhood of a racecourse? What is a "known character"?
Quite seriously, I represent in this House a number of people who, unfortunately, have spent part of their life in prison. I represent a poor constituency, where criminals are not uncommon. I do not know why they should choose me as their representative, but they have done it, and, as my hon. Friend the Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen) said yesterday in regard to himself, they have done it, and they do it with consistency. Here are these poor people, and it is not fair that these folk, even with all your Poor Law procedure—and Scotland is much better placed than England in regard to poor people having some legal defence—should, if they have had a bad character, be quite easily, especially in this case, when feelings are high, landed into prison. I think these people who have been convicted in the past have every right to see that they are not flung into prison for nothing in the future. I am not ashamed to stand up for even a criminal to see that he gets a decent, fair chance, and I want to ask the Attorney-General, in all seriousness, what does "known character" mean? Does it mean the holding of political opinions? Does it mean the holding of unpopular views? Does it mean being in association with a trade union? Does it mean past criminal convictions? One of the best colleagues that ever I had—and I am sure that even hon. Members who are not of our opinions will agree—my bedmate, has been in prison. [An Hon MEMBER: "Who is that?"]. I mean the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton). Is that to be taken into account? The hon. Member on my right, the hon. Member for Silvertown (Mr. J. Jones), my bedmate in so far as this place is concerned, reminds me that he has had three convictions.
The whole issue is, what is a bad character? It is not sufficient to give the Attorney-General a blank cheque in this matter, because these Regulations 459 arise from the dispute, and while we are not entitled now to discuss the merits of the dispute, we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that the dispute is the cause of them, and I will be quite frank and open in saying that, while we may have two or three members in either party who may differ from the majority, this dispute has caused a cleavage between the parties—those for the men in the street and those against them. That is the issue, and we cannot lightly hand over to those who are against the men at the moment, namely, the Government, the decision as to whether or not they are "known characters."
I want to put this last point to the Attorney-General, and it may raise you, Mr. Speaker, to your feet to challenge me, but I want to do it without the slightest heat, because I believe it is true. The Attorney-General yesterday made the point, and in normal times I fairly well agree with him, that our Judges will decide this point and go into the whole question, and that they are the right people to do it. Let me be quite frank, and say that in normal times one of my hobbies, when I am free from here—or perhaps it is not quite a hobby, because my constituents occasionally demand it—is attending police courts and criminal courts of one kind and another. In normal times, I should say that they give you fair decency in their judging, and, if I had to choose between a judge and jury trial and a summary trial by a judge alone, ninety-nine times out of a hundred I would take the trial from the Judge himself. I say that quite frankly, with some knowledge of them, because I think there is less chance of prejudice. That is my own personal view, not shared by anything like the majority here; but that is in normal times, with normal crimes. Here, however, you have a very different state of things. Whether we like it or not, we know that nearly every Judge is appointed largely because of political views. Let there be no mistake about it. The present Chief in Scotland is Lord Alness, who was appointed for service to the Coalition Government, and I can recall Judge after Judge who has been appointed purely for political reasons. I am not saying it is wrong, and in normal times it may fit the bill fairly well, hut here we are, when passions are running 460 high, and when feeling is at its very worst.
I might be before a magistrate tomorrow. A colleague of mine in this House, from whose views I differ, has today been sentenced to two months for a speech, a mild speech. I hope in this House and on the platform possibly to deliver a much worse speech, and not be ashamed of it, but I am not going to hand over to men who have been politically appointed the interpretation of what is meant by "known character." I think my private character is as clean as that of any hon. Member, and I do not say I am any better than the men opposite in private life, or any worse, but I am prepared to lay my private life open to anyone to examine. But in my political views, in my holding of concientious views, I refuse to allow my political opponents to be the judge of what is right and what is wrong. My character, because I am a Republican, is bad to the Home Secretary, who starts with prejudice, and this handing over of the interpretation of the words "known character" to our political opponents is selling our birthright, which I hope the Labour party of this country, apart from the merits or demerits of this dispute, will take the strongest possible stand against and do everything possible to defeat.
§ Mr. BATEY
Last night when the Attorney General was speaking on this Regulation, he said that we on this side had voted against the previous Regulation, the object of which was to safeguard human life. The Attorney General was not in the House during much of the Debates on the previous Regulation. If he had been, I am certain he would not have uttered that remark. [Interruption].
§ Mr. BLUNDELL
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman who is leading the House at the moment, if it is true that 461 Major Braithwaite has been returned for the Buckrose Division?
§ Mr. NEIL MACLEAN
I suggest that the House should adjourn until hon. Members who are engaged in conversation leave the Chamber.
§ Mr. BATEY
As I was saying, had the Attorney-General been present during the discussion on the previous Regulation, he would not have made the remark to which I have drawn attention, because all the discussion on the previous Regulation arose from the fact that we objected to the police having power to search people who were in meetings or in processions. We had no intention of endangering human life. I support this Amendment on the grounds that the Government have shown indecent haste in bringing forward this Regulation. So far as we can judge of the country at present, there is no need for a Regulation like this. Hon Members ought not to be deceived by the form of these Regulations. This Regulation was not decided upon after a general strike had been declared. According to the paper which accompanies the Regulations, it was decided upon at Buckingham Palace on the 30th April—Friday last—long before the decision had been taken for a general strike, and before many of the miners had left the pits. There was no need for such haste in bringing forward a Regulation of this kind. The marginal note to this Regulation is "Injury to property," and the object of the Regulation is to safeguard property and to ensure that not the slightest injury is done to property. I wish to make my position clear. I am not in favour of the slightest injury being done to property. I believe we can win this struggle without any injury being done to property. There is no need to injure property, but I would point out the contrast between the Government's anxiety to protect pro- 462 perty from the slightest injury, and the fact that they are throwing the mantle of the State over the coalowners and assisting the coalowners to starve the miners.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
If we discuss the question, we shall get back to the main issue, which it, was agreed we should take at the end of these Amendments.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Is an hon. Member not entitled to point out that the Government intend to take certain steps for the protection of property, and—provided he does not travel too far—is he not entitled also to contrast the Regulation made in this respect, with the fact that they do not take the same steps to protect human life.
§ Mr. BATEY
That is just drawing the line at what I want to show. I have not the slightest wish to come into collision with the Chair, but I think on these Regulations I am entitled to point out the indecent haste of the Government to protect property, and their eagerness to assist the coalowners to starve the miners. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] There is no question about it. In supporting the Government you are helping to starve the miners.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
It is obvious that to pursue this matter will raise a question which is only in order on the main issue. If we are to discuss a series of Amendments to leave out particular Regulations, we must deal strictly with each one, as it arises, and wait until we have disposed of them before coming back to the general question.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
Is the hon. Member not entitled to argue on this particular Regulation that the Government have taken sides, inasmuch as the coal mines of the country will be properly protected under this Regulation, whereas the miners who are not working have no regulations made for their protection.
§ 4.0 P.M.
§ Mr. BATEY
This Regulation provides that if any miner injures in the slightest way any property in connection with a mine, he is liable to the penalties laid down. There is no question as to where we stand on this matter. We regard the lives of our miners, and those of their wives and "bairns" as of far more importance than pulley wheels. That is the difference between us and some of the hon. Members opposite. This Regulation goes much further than appears at first sight. It goes to the extent of saying that anyone who prevents the working of a mine is to be liable to penalties. Are we to infer that if any miner takes any step to prevent the working of a mine, he will be liable? To think of working a mine at the present time with blacklegs, is to think of a step which will lead to a breach of the peace, and the Government are not justified in asking the House to pass a, Regulation which will make it easier for the coalowner to fill his pit with blacklegs and thus cause a breach of the peace. I want the Attorney-General to give some consideration to that aspect of the question, because, as sure as I am here, if any coalowner attempts to work a colliery with blacklegs there will be trouble. There is no doubt about that. It seems to me that under this Regulation the only safe place for a workman, or for anyone who has any sympathy with the workmen is in bed. If a workman gets out of bed he is in danger under this Regulation. I hope that the House will not allow the Government to have this Regulation, which may simply be the means of lighting a fire which it will be extremely difficult to put out. The Home Secretary said yesterday that the country was steady at the moment. Let us try to keep it steady. We will do that better by not giving to the police the powers that are proposed here.
§ The ATTORNEY - GENERAL (Sir Douglas Hogg)
I spoke on this Amendment last night and can do so again only by leave of the House, I am anxious to say a few words in answer to the points that have been raised. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for South-East Leeds (Sir H. Slesser) suggested that the words, "conduct or his known character as proved," were an 464 innovation in our jurisprudence and he was anxious to know what they meant. I am not sure that the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan) did not answer him, when he said that, so far from this being an innovation, his objection to the Regulation was that it was so much less drastic than the existing law. If I had wanted to score a direct point I might have answered the hon. and learned Gentleman by saying that the phrase meant exactly the same as it did in the Regulations of 1921, and in the draft Regulations of 1924, which he approved.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The 1921 Regulations, on which this is based, and, so far as our information goes, the 1924 Regulations, contained it. The actual words come verbatim from the 1921 Regulations. The hon. and learned Gentleman put to me a question which I am glad to answer. He said, "Suppose a man is proved to be a forger, would that be evidence against him of such a charge as this?" My answer is the one which any lawyer would give, "Certainly not!" The object of this part of the Regulation is quite simple. The Regulation deals with people who are found on or near places which are vulnerable spots, and under circumstances which render it probable that they are there for an illegitimate purpose, namely, for the purpose of injuring a particular place. Obviously, since intention is difficult to prove, one has to lay down what constitutes admissible evidence to show that the intention was not legitimate. It would be open to anyone to prove any legitimate object. If you find a man at night on a railway bridge which is a vital means of communication and along which trains are running although the trains service has been officially stopped by the trade unions, the fact would be relevant, and the circumstances of the case would be such as to give rise to the inference that the man was not there for a legitimate purpose.
§ Sir H. SLESSER
There are words in this Regulation, "his conduct" and then "known character as proved." There is the question whether there was a previous conviction.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
Previous conviction of acts of violence you cer- 465 tainly may prove. The question might be whether the man had gone there for the purpose of destroying or setting fire to a railway or building, or whether he had gone there for some perfectly innocent purpose. The fact that he was a man who had been previously guilty of trying to wreck railway trains or setting fire to buildings would be relevant. The only object of this provision is that, inasmuch as it would not be otherwise clear whether "his known character as proved" —which means as proved in the court—was to be admissible evidence, this Regulation puts that point beyond doubt. It does not mean that if you prove a man is a known criminal, therefore he must be convicted. The Regulation does not say so. What it does make clear is that, if there is a question as to whether a person charged with being a person on a railway bridge, or near a building with intent to damage it, is there for a legitimate or illegitimate purpose, it is relevant to consider what his known character is. It is open to him still, of course, to prove that he had a legitimate reason.
Two other points have been raised. The hon. Member for Gorbals was doubtful as to the suitability of our tribunals for trying these cases, "because of their political opinions." I submit that that is a wholly unjustifiable suspicion of our judiciary. It is not a political question with which they are dealing at all. The hon. Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey) said that if any mineowner tried to run his mine after the Miners' Federation had said that it should be closed, trouble would be caused. I can only say that a suggestion of that kind, that people are not to be allowed to carry on their business in a lawful manner because any body of trade unions has forbidden them to do so, is the very best justification for a regulation of this kind.
§ Mr. MARDY JONES
The concluding words of the Attorney-General's speech are the most provocative words that have been uttered in this House since the dispute started. They are an open challenge to the Miners' Federation as such, and as such we accept them. I tell the Attorney-General and the Government that I and every other miners' member in this House will do our utmost to prevent any mine-owner working any mine with blackleg labour. These regulations are a scrap of paper so far as the miners are concerned.
466 The Attorney-General can take it from me that his words will be remembered and will be repeated throughout the country during the week-end. The right hon. Gentleman has led off with a challenge, and we accept it, and the Government will have cause to regret it.
§ Mr. J. JONES
I am not a miner and I have no desire to discuss the legal jargon that has been introduced into this Debate. I had a past character that to some extent I would like to forget, but it is as good a character as that of most hon. Members opposite who try to make jokes at our expense. What we would like to know is this: In an industrial dispute do you want more powers than those which the law already gives you? What is the meaning of these additional words? We have not been told yet. If the Attorney-General wishes to score a point against us, why does he agree with the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan), who told him that the law is already strong enough? If the law is already strong enough, why insert these words? In the East End of London we know what it means; we know what you are going to try to do. If any of our men who have taken an active part in the trade union movement are found near the docks or the level crossings or the railway bridges, they will be suspect, and any policeman who likes to take action can arrest them. That is really what the proposal means. Anything that these men say or do, and their past records as workers in the Labour movement, will be brought in as evidence against them. That is the object of these additional words, and there is no other object.
We accept that challenge. We are prepared to do the picketing ourselves—we have done it before—and we will take the consequences. The law of England, we are told, is not strong enough unless the Government introduce special provisions in an Emergency measure. Yet you have been asking for peace— "peace in our time Oh Lord!" That is not what you mean. What you mean is, "Let us have the pieces all the time, Oh Lord! We will be satisfied if we can get the gold." So far as the docks are concerned you can go on with it. Certain men are well known here in London and in the dock districts of the country. What is their past record? They have fought these battles in troublous times, 467 and if we are going to be told by the Attorney-General that the Government are going to put all this power against us we are willing to face the music. We have faced it before. The men who fought from 1914 to 1918, 40,000 of them have come back and are in the East End, are quite as ready to put their back to the wall in opposition to those who want to force wages down, as they were to fight the Germans. We are willing to fight now. Bring out all your horse, foot and artillery. Threaten us with what you like. We are going to have peace if we can get it, but we are not going to be told that we are to be starved into submission; we are not going to be told that all the power of the State is to be organised again t us.
I ask the Attorney-General to be careful, in spite of the big majority at his back. We have not entered on this quarrel because we want to fight. For five months we have done our best to
§ bring about peace. It was only at the last moment that we were compelled to throw in our cards. But we have not thrown them all in yet. You will discover before many days are over, if this kind of language is to be used by the Government, that we have bigger cards to play than the right hon. Gentleman imagines. It is not a question of what happens to us. You can have all your laws and prisons—
"Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage."
§ No, we are willing to go through anything necessary. We may be strong enough before this fight finishes. You have declared war upon us by these Regulations. If it is to be war, we are ready to face the issue. Do your damnedest; we are out to fight!
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 95; Noes, 317.471
|Division No. 210.]||AYES||[4.16 p.m.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Parkinson John Allen (Wigan)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hardie, George D.||Potts, John S.|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hayday, Arthur||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Barnes, A.||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Scurr, John|
|Barr, J.||Hirst, G. H.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Barey, Joseph||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Broad, F. A.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Bromley, J.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)|
|Buchanan, G.||Jones, J. J (West Ham, Silvertown)||Spencer, G. A. (Broxtowe)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Charleton, H. C.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Kelly, W. T.||Sullivan, J.|
|Compton, Joseph||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Connolly, M.||Kirkwood, D.||Thurtle, E.|
|Cove, W. G.||Lawrence, Susan||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lansbury, George||Viant, S. P.|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Lawson, John James||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lee, F.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Lowth, T.||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Dennison, R.||Lunn, William||Welsh, J. C.|
|Duncan, C.||Mackinder, W.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Dunnico, H.||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Whiteley, W.|
|Gillett, George M.||MacNeill-Weir, L.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Gosling, Harry||March, S.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Maxton, James||Wright, W.|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Montague, Frederick||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Murnin, H.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Groves, T.||Oliver, George Harold||Mr. T. Kennedy and Mr. Warne.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Palin, John Henry|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Astor, Viscountess||Bennett, A. J.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Balniel, Lord||Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish.|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Berry, Sir George|
|Allen, J. Sandaman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Betterton, Henry B.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Birchall, Major J. Dearman|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Beamish, Captain T. P. H.||Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)|
|Apsley, Lord||Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Bellairs, Commander Canyon W.||Blades, Sir George Rowland|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Blundell, F. N.|
|Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart||Fremantle, Lt.-Col. Francis E.||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Gadle, Lieut.-Col. Anthony||McLean, Major A.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Macmillan, Captain H.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm|
|Briant, Frank||Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||McNeill, Rt. Hon Ronald John|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Gates, Percy||MacRobert, Alexander M.|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Makins, Brigadier-General E.|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Malone, Major P. B.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Gilmour, Lt Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Goff, Sir Park||Margesson, Captain D.|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Gower, Sir Robert||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Grace, John||Meller, R. J.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Grant, J. A.||Merriman, F. B.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Meyer, Sir Frank|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Gretton, Colonel John||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Grotrian, H. Brent||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)|
|Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Burman, J. B.||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Mansell, Eyres Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Moore, Sir Newton J.|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Hammersley, S. S.||Moreing, Captain A. H.|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Hanbury, C.||Morris, R. H.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Caine, Gordon Hall||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Campbell, E. T.||Harrison, G. J. C.||Murchison, C. K.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Hartington, Marquess of||Nail, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt, R. (Prtsmth, S.)||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Neville, R. J. (Exeter)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Haslam, Henry C.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L.(Exeter)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Nicholson, Col. Rt Hon. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.)|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Chilcott, Sir Warden||Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Oakley, T.|
|Christie, J. A.||Hills, Major John Waiter||Oman, Sir Charles William C|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Pennefather, Sir John|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Penny, Frederick George|
|Clayton, G. C.||Hobler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Holland, Sir Arthur||Perring, Sir William George|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Holt, Captain H. P.||Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunet||Homan, C. W. J.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frame)|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Philipson, Mabel|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Pielou, D. P|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Hopkins. J. W. W.||Pilcher, G.|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)||Pilditch, Sir Philip|
|Couper, J. B.||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Courthope, Lieut. -Col, Sir George L.||Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.||Preston, William|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Howard, Captain Hon. Donald||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Radford, E. A.|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Huntingfield, Lord||Raine, W.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Hurd, Percy A.||Ramsden, E.|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Hurst, Gerald B.||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midl'n & P'bl's)||Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)|
|Cunliffe Sir Herbert||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Remer, J. R.|
|Curtis-Bennett, Sir Henry||Iliffe, Sir Edward M.||Remnant, Sir James|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. F. S.||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Rice, Sir Frederick|
|Dalziel, Sir Davison||Jacob, A. E.||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.||James, Lieut.-Colonel Han. Cuthbert||Roberts, E. H. G (Flint)|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Davies, David (Montgomery)||Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Ropner, Major L.|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovill)||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Kindersley, Major Guy M.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Dean, Artnur Wellesley||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Frece, Sir Walter de||Knox, Sir Alfred||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Dixey, A. C.||Lamb, J. Q.||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Drewe, C.||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Little, Dr. E. Graham||Sandon, Lord|
|Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)|
|Elliot, Captain Walter E.||Locker-Lampoon, G. (Wood Green)||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W.)|
|Elveden, Viscount||Loder, J. de V.||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset,Weston.s.-M.)||Looker, Herbert William||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Lord, Walter Greaves||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Lougher, L.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Fake, Sir Bertram G.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Skelton, A. N.|
|Fermoy, Lord||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Fielden, E. B.||Lumley, L. R.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Ford, Sir P. J.||Lynn, Sir R. J.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Forrest, W.||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Smithers, Waldron|
|Foster, Sir Harry S.||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||MacIntyre, Ian||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Storry-Deans, R.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
|Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.||Wallace, Captain D. E.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Streatfeild, Captain S. R.||Ward. Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Strickland. Sir Gerald||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.||Withers, John James|
|Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Sugden, Sir Wilfrid||Watts, Dr. T.||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Tasker, Major R. Inigo||Wells, S. R.||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Templeton, W. P.||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)||Williams, Corn. C. (Devon, Torquay)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Tinne, J. A.||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Titchfield, Major the Marquess of||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)||Mr. F. C. Thomson and Lord|
|Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)||Stanley.|
|Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough|
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I beg to move, after the word "Regulations," to insert the words "other than Regulation 21."
The Regulation we propose to leave out is No. 21 and, with your permission, Mr. Speaker, I will read it to the House. It says:If any person attempts or does any act calculated or likely to cause mutiny, sedition, or disaffection among any of His Majesty's Forces, or among the members of any police force, or any fire brigade—I notice it leaves out the boy scouts—or among the civilian population, or to impede, delay, or restrict any measures taken for securing and regulating the supply or distribution of food, water, fuel, light or other necessities, or for maintaining the means of transit or locomotion, or any other purposes essential to the public safety or the life of the community, he shall be guilty of an offence against these regulations:Provided that a person shall not be guilty of an offence under this regulation by reason only of his taking part in a strike or peacefully persuading any other person to take part in a strike.(2) If any person without lawful authority or excuse has in his possession or on premises in his occupation or under his control, any document containing any report or statement the publication of which would be a contravention of the foregoing provisions of this regulation, he shall be guilty of an offence against these regulations unless he proves that he did not know and had no reason to suspect that the document contained any such report or statement, or that he had no intention of transmitting or circulating the document or distributing copies thereof to or amongst other persons.In all the discussions on these Regulations, it has been taken for granted that those who support the Regulations are supporting them on behalf of the community and those who object to the Regulations are objecting to the defence of the community—that we are willing that the community should be attacked, and that hon. members on the other side are the only ones who are willing to defend the 472 community against these attacks. I want to say that if this were purely a matter of defending communal interest I certainly should not be moving to leave this Regulation out. The proof of that is the fact, that in the early part of this debate there were a large number of Regulations which dealt with the life of the community and to which we have made no objection and moved no Amendment whatsoever. The fact remains that on the major part of these Regulations we have not raised any objection, because in the main they deal with the community. But these other Regulations are rather more to do with the people who are concerned in the dispute.
I want to challenge the whole theory that in objecting to these kinds of penal regulations we are actuated by any motive against the community. The dispute is not one against the community; it is against the private owners and private capitalists and monopolists who control the services. Had the industry been carried on on proper lines, on lines of service to the community, as well as for the benefit of the working people engaged in the industry, we would not be discussing these Regulations this afternoon. It is because of the failure of the organisers of that industry, the failure of the men who control that industry to carry it on properly, that we are face to face with the present crisis, and I want to challenge altogether the theory that those of us who are taking part in this dispute are taking part in a dispute against the community. It is a dispute against men who have failed to carry out their duty. Most of these Regulations are more or less legal in their character, and I certainly do not claim any legal knowledge at all and can only read them as an ordinary layman. With regard to the first part of this particular Regulation, I would like to ask the Attorney-General a question, in view of the fact that we are allowed, even 473 under the Emergency Powers Act, to take part in a strike; we are allowed to picket, and generally to persuade people not to blackleg. [An HON. MEMBER: "Not to work."] Well, persuade people not to work. There are a good many people in this country who take a good deal of persuasion to go to work, and they manage to do extremely well on it. It is those who are usually most anxious to shove other people in. On this occasion, we are anxious to keep them out, and we are not doing anything illegal in doing so.
I want to ask the Attorney-General if he will kindly tell us whether, under the first paragraph of Regulation 21, it will be legal for any of us to persuade, for instance, a Special Constable not to act as a blackleg? We are supposed to be able to ask any civilian not to take part in work where there is a strike, and what I am anxious to get at is whether it is quite certain that in the framing of the first paragraph of Regulation 21, we are not infringing the guarantee that is on the face of the Emergency Powers, and that we shall have the same right as under the Emergency Powers Act, to persuade and do our best to prevent people carrying on the distribution of food, water, fuel, light, etc., whenever any of these are taken over by whoever acts on behalf of the Government. It is very necessary that we should have that clear. [HON MEMBERS: "Hear, hear"] I am glad to hear that hon. members opposite are so constitutional. All this legislation, of course, is really unconstitutional, because it is special, and is brought in to abrogate the ordinary law, or to supplement it—probably that is a better way to put it—and it is necessary, from the point of view of hon. members opposite, because of some conditions that have arisen. What I am anxious to do is to safeguard the men outside and those of us who go out to them and talk to them. We want to be quite sure that the right which they have at present of picketing or persuading people not to do these things, shall not be jeopardised by this particular Regulation. It is very necessary that this should be done, because already men are being interfered with for acting as pickets.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I will say "peaceful picketing" to please the hon. Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison), who, I am quite sure, would have been a picket if the Ulster revolution had really taken place. He would have shouldered a gun with the rest of them, and he would not have been a very peaceful picket, either. What I want to be quite sure about is that we may tell the men that they may peacefully picket, that they may peacefully persuade and that that will be the law when this Regulation is in operation. I raise the question now, as there are in some districts some police officers, and I rather think it is because of this Regulation, because I suppose it is known they are in operation at the present moment, that I ask the Attorney-General to give us a little more explanation as to what it really means.
Paragraph (2) of this Regulation is one which it is extremely difficult to defend in any circumstances. It ought to be read in connection with paragraph (2) of Regulation 33, which says:Any police constable may, if authorised by order of a Secretary of State or of a Chief Officer of Police, enter, if need be by force, any premises or place suspected of being used for purposes so endangering the public safety, and may search any part of such place or premises, and may seize and detain anything found therein which is suspected of being used for such purposes as aforesaid.Those purposes are set out in the rest of the Regulation, but this particular Regulation 21 says:If any person without lawful authority or excuse has in his possession, or on premises in his occupation or under his control, any document containing any report or statement the publication of which would be a contravention of the foregoing provisions of this regulation, he shall be guilty of an offence against these regulations, unless he proves that he did not know and had no reason to suspect that the document contained any such report or statement, or that be had no intention of transmitting or circulating the document or distributing copies thereof to or amongst other persons.That Regulation, taken in conjunction with the other, gives the police officer full power to enter any premises, and to find any document for which he may be searching. During the War, and since the War, on two occasions—I am not sure it was not three occasions—offices with which I have some connection have been searched, and they have never been 475 searched by people coming in and saying, "We are going to search this place. Stand by and see what we find." Nothing of the kind. It may be quite a joke to hon. and right hon. Members opposite, but I want to put it to them that if you search a person's premises or a man's clothes, you ought, I think, when you take away the things from him, to leave an inventory of what it is you have found. That is not done. You go into premises and you just search them, and take away whatever you please. You do not even show the man what you are taking away. You do not even let him know what you have found there. I say that it is an extremely dangerous power to put in the hands of anybody, and especially under the very wide powers of this Regulation. I never say in this House or outside but good things generally of the police of the Metropolis. I have always received courtesy and decency at their hands even when they are doing an unpleasant duty; but when they search the offices of which I am speaking—
§ Mr. LANSBURY
Newspaper offices on two occasions, and an office for the promotion of Home Rule for India, where they discovered a book of which each Member of this House possessed a copy. Therefore, nothing happened on either occasion. But the point I want to make is, that I have no knowledge of what they took away on either occasion, I was in charge, and I maintain that before anything should leave the premises, I ought to see them when they are discovered, and have a list in my hands at the same time. I undertake to say there is not an hon. or right hon. Member opposite who would say that is an unfair proposition. I would, therefore, ask the Attorney-General whether it is not possible to provide that, if you are going to have this Regulation as to the right of an officer to collect papers and cart them away, that the man or people there should know what it is he is taking away. I am not asking that in regard to piles of newspapers, as was the case of the Communist Party, because I understand in that case pantechnicon loads were taken away, but I am asking that when you search a man's private desk, you should let him see what it is you find there.
476 I know it will be said this afternoon, as was said on another occasion, that it is a disgraceful thing to think that anything of the kind should happen, but in these times spies and agents-provocateur are always to be found. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) made a passionate appeal yesterday for a settlement of this dispute, but everyone in this House knows that in his early days he had to go through very much worse conditions than we will be asked to go through in regard to the Regulations being moved here, and everybody knows that during those disturbed times people were continually being put into prison for various offences, and that now and then it was proved that faire documents got around, and people were charged with offences of which they were not guilty at all. It seems to me that if any member of the Fascist party, or any member of any party, or a police officer had a particular spite on a trade unionist, it would be perfectly easy to find whatever documents he wanted to find at a particular place. It is because of that I ask that something shall be done, in the deletion of this Regulation; that something shall be done to make it perfectly clear that when a man's premises are being searched that he shall he there. As I read this Regulation—and again I say I am not a lawyer—I am not sure whether a person need be present who is the occupier of the premises. I am not at all sure but that I can be searched without being on the premises at all. I say that that gives any enemy of a man whose premises are being searched power, as we say in the East End, "to put them about it." For these reasons, I move the exclusion of this Regulation.
Before sitting down I should like to repeat that whatever the learned Attorney-General may say in reply, we are not moving this Amendment because we are not in favour of the rights of the community. We are doing it because we believe these Regulations, and the whole of these Emergency Powers, are being taken—the good ones as well as the bad ones—in the defence of a system of working in industry—as in the case of the miners—which has entirely broken down. Instead of dealing with that situation in a manner and on the lines where it ought to have been dealt with, you are 477 passing this legislation. You may pass the most coercive legislation you please. As I listened to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Scotland Division yesterday, I was reminded of the time—not time but times,—when over and over again he and his friends were defeated in this House. The same arguments were used as are being used against us to-day. I remember the late Lord Salisbury's "twenty years of resolute Government." But in the end you had to give to a handful of Nationalists what might have been given peacefully 40 years before. It subsequently came after years of bloodshed and coercion. Today I am only asking, the miners are only asking, for justice, for a living standard of life. All the British Parliament can do is to take hours in passing this coercive legislation. I think it is a disgrace to the British Parliament.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
I beg to second the Amendment.
I rise to support my comrade, the Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury), who has moved the rejection of Regulation 21. I think it is because I can speak from personal experience that the Labour party selected me to second the Amendment, that is experience of teaching sedition, of being arrested and standing my trial in the High Court of Edinburgh. That occupied 11 days. I had preached sedition according to those who arrested me. At the end of the trial they had to liberate me without a stain upon my character. That, nevertheless, does not alter the fact, that powers similar to these asked for by the Government now, that are being asked on behalf of this disgraceful, rotten British Government, act in the direction that I have already indicated, of men being arrested and thrown into gaol without a trial. I claim on behalf of the British race that it is our right to have a trial before we are thrown into gaol.
These Regulations place in the hands of any insignificant creature whom this disreputable Government cares to place in charge of any particular district, and arm with executive authority power, and he may use that little bit of power to display it before the world at large, and make himself such as the Attorney- 478 General made himself a few moments ago in the eyes of this House.But man, proud man,Drest in a little brief authority.Most ignorant of what he's most assur'd,Plays such fantastic tricks before High Heaven,As make the angels weep.[Laughter.] That, Mr. Speaker, may seem to amuse individuals, but I would ask them just to think of the words which I have quoted from Shakespeare. [An Hon. MEMBER: "From Burns!"] That shows how much you know. I will not elaborate upon that. This that I have quoted embodies our inheritance; the inheritance of the British race. It is not the inheritance of the reigning class alone, but amongst other things, is our glorious inheritance, just as it is our inheritance that we are able to stand here, a minority of men, and give expression to these sentiments of millions of people who are outside, and who axe looking to us to express their sentiments, because here you have a powerful Government that think themselves all-powerful. They have reckoned without their host. They are trying by these Regulations to crush something which every power that ever reigned in any time has failed when it has attempted to do it, to crush liberty! I warn them, while there is yet time, that our people will never give way from where we stand. We are standing for something upon which the very fate of the British Empire depends. We are standing here to-day defending the British Empire. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] Standing here to-day as we have stood before, not to smash the British Empire. The ruling class of Britain at the moment are doing their utmost to smash the British Empire. It is impossible for us to continue a British Empire if our race submit willingly to conditions such as these. I know my class, and hon. Members would have no respect, and how could you respect men, if they calmly submitted to rules and regulations of this sort?
Our race will never willingly submit to rules and regulations such as these. Our forefathers fought for the rights of British subjects and died for them, and you are asking us here to-day to pass these Regulations. You have brass faces on you to think you can come down here 479 quietly with a quite contented smile on your faces to do this. But rememberOne may smile, and smile, and be a villainall the while. [Laughter.] I wish from the bottom of my heart that it was a laughing matter. I know where I may find myself within a week. [An HON. MEMBER: "Where?"] In gaol. I must tell the House now that one member wrote to me. I have the letter. I do not know what happened. He said he was going to raise the matter, this Derbyshire member, a gallant captain. I told him to raise it, and get the Home Secretary to arrest me, and deal with me if he thinks well, because of what I said at Cockfield in Durham. I will say here and say anywhere else what I wish, and bear the consequences.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I would remind the hon. Member that we are not now discussing the general law, but Regulation 21.
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
Yes, Mr. Speaker, but if you look at the Regulation you will find it is a very serious regulation, because it deals with sedition. It deals with individuals who interfere with policemen. I have interfered with policemen. I am very friendly with the police in my own locality, and I will do all I can for the Chief Constable of Glasgow. I know the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hill head (Sir R. Horne.), who is watching all that is going on, has considerable influence, and will do all he can in an opposite direction. This Regulation goes on to say:The Fire Brigade.Of course, you would interfere with the Fire Brigade! Of course, you would interfere with the conveying of food, water, etc.! This Regulation will only be applied—this is my point—to my class, the working classes.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
I can assure the hon. Member, well fed and stout as he is, that we can protect ourselves. This law is directed against the working-classes. There is no denying the fact. Had the workers continued to work under the conditions submitted to them by the em- 480 ployers, had the workers remained at work, there is no getting away from the fact that this Regulation would not have been produced. Is there anybody who can deny it? No, not one. That proves conclusively, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this is class legislation. This Government have at their head the Prime Minister, who used that phrase,Give peace in our time, O Lord.When he said that, I shouted to him, "Never mind appealing to the Lord. Appeal to the lords that are behind you. They are the lords—not the Lord God up in the sky." The Government of this country are putting out these rules and regulations in order to crush the workers, and I want to protest, as one who has come under the ban of regulations such as these, when they were called "D.O.R.A." Some of the hon. Members below the gangway know what "D.O.R.A." I was. They had something to do with "D.O.R.A." I was whipped by "D.O.R.A." I was deported and separated from my wife and family without a trial by regulations such as these. I say again, this Regulation 21 will place power in the hands of some nincompoop, for instance, the hon. Member for one of the Divisions of Woolwich—Sir Kingsley Wood, to make no mistake. He is away up in Newcastle to put Regulation 21 into operation there. [HON. MEMBERS: "He has failed."] He will miserably fail.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
What, has he been sent back? In Glasgow I came under similar regulations, and I look about as decent a man as is in this House. Not only that, but my character will stand the closest investigation. It has had to do so. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] Why? Because I was a rebel against the hellish conditions that prevailed.If I'm design'd slave,By Nature's law designed.Why was an independent wishE'er planted in my mind?If not, why am I subject toHis cruelty and scorn?Or why has man the will and pow'rTo make his fellow mourn?Ask yourselves the question why. These Regulations work out in this way. A man may be taken from his bed, taken from his wife and family in the middle 481 of the night and taken before the chief constable, or whoever this Government may appoint—a man who never committed any wrong according to the laws of this country. That was my fate. He may be taken away and it may be intimated to him that he has been tried elsewhere. In my case it was intimated to me by Colonel Levita, who is now a member of the London County Council, and was at that time in charge of the forces of Scotland. He said: "You have been tried, Kirkwood, by Court Martial in Edinburgh, and sentenced to deportation." It was a lie; but I was deported. I do not want to go over what happened to me, because hon. Members can see for themselves that with all the tyranny that was exercised upon me they did not crush me. You have never crushed the spirit that I represent, because the spirit I represent is the spirit of liberty. [An HON. MEMBER: "For whom?"] Liberty for all, not liberty for a few to dictate terms.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I should like to have these remarks addressed to me, and I think the lion. Member should confine his remarks to the Amendment.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
To come back to Regulation 21, and the point I was making when I was side tracked—not willingly, because I have a heavy weekend in front of me, and I wish to reserve my strength. The point I wish to make was to warn this House, because I still have a respect for this House, and nobody knows that better than you, Mr. Speaker, and the House I think appreciates the fact that we are anxious for the welfare of our country. I do not want the British House of Commons to repeat the mistake it made before in passing a Regulation such as this. When I was deported, and when I was away from February to August, George N. Barnes put a question to the Government inquiring if David Kirkwood and his family were being supported by the Government. The reply given by the Government was that they were, and it was a lie. It was a lie, and the lie was told by the Government. I do not want them to fall into anything like that again. I do not want anyone to be treated by his fellow countrymen as I was treated. I want the great tradition 482 of the British race to remain unimpaired, even during this terrible crisis, because it is a crisis; and all that is wanted here is what we guarantee, what this House, guarantees to the miners. Who served this country during the terrible crisis of the War better than the miners? No industry, no set of men, behaved so courageously, made more sacrifices.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
I was just finishing. If you do not want to let me do it, I will not do it. I want to appeal to the House, even at this last moment, because I will put my whole life into this to the very end, and so will my colleagues; but I do not want to do anything that I should regret. Our Front Bench have appealed for peace, done everything but sold their manhood in order to get peace. We will not sell our manhood. We will not surrender, but we appeal to you as intelligent men on behalf of one of the most useful sections of the community. It is for you to chose to-day whom ye will serve, God or Mammon.
§ Sir H. SLESSER
I want to put an important point to the Attorney-General which arises on Regulation 21. As I understand the Act under which this Regulation is made, it provides in terms that no Regulation shall make it an offence for any person or persons to take part in the strike or peacefully persuade any other person to take part in the strike. That proviso is very properly put verbatim into these Regulations. I am not going to disown a partial responsibility for some of these Regulations, but I would like to know if the Attorney-General agrees with my interpretation of a certain part of that Regulation. The earlier part of the Regulation makes it an offence to do acts that are likely to cause mutiny or sedition, and it goes on to say that it is an offence alsoto impede, delay, or restrict any measures taking for securing and regulating the supply or distribution of food water, fuel, light or other necessities.Supposing a person peacefully persuades another person to take part in a 483 strike which has its result through the other person the impeding, delaying or restricting of measures taken for maintaining the supply of necessities. Would that be an offence under this Regulation? Here, again, I want to make it quite clear that people should know exactly the view of the Government in regard to these Regulations. I read that provision to mean that a mere delay in the production of a necessity which results from a person being peacefully persuaded to strike is not an offence. The Preamble provides thatNo such Regulation shall make it an offence for any person or persons to take part in a strike, or peacefully to persuade any other person or persons to take part in a strike.My contention is that by the drafting of this Regulation we are going beyond what is laid down in the Preamble, which provides that you cannot make a regulation which interferes with the right to strike. I should be glad to know whether the Attorney-General agrees with me that where it is solely a matter of peaceful persuasion to strike, although that persuasion may impede the supply of necessities, it would not be an offence under this Regulation.
§ Sir W. DAVISON
We have just listened to an impassioned essay on liberty by the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood), He suggested that this particular paragraph of the Regulation which is now under discussion was an infringement of the liberties of the people of this country. The hon. Member rightly said that liberty was one of those things which all classes of this country prized more than anything else, and he suggested that this particular paragraph was something which interfered with the liberty of the working people of this country. There is only one section of it that I should like to refer to this afternoon as pointing out how the liberties of the working people of this country are being interfered with, and it will also deal with the point put by the late Solicitor-General with regard to the phrase "peaceful persuasion."
§ Sir H. SLESSER
I was not discussing "peaceful persuasion." I simply quoted from the regulation, and asked the opinion of the Attorney-General on that point.
§ Sir W. DAVISON
I merely said that the hon. and learned Gentleman had referred to peaceful persuasion. I wish to draw the attention of the House to something which came within my personal knowledge in regard to what happened in a certain district yesterday evening, and what happened to a certain person in my own employment. This particular person and a number of working girls were cycling, and there were also wo or three lorry loads filled with working girls going from the city to their homes. They were all held up at a certain part of London by people who were "peacefully persuading" them not to continue their journey to their homes. Very nasty words were used to these young women who were ordered out of the lorries, and the lorries were turned back and the cyclists were pushed off their bicycles.
§ Sir W. DAVISON
How am I to know that? They said they were acting on behalf of the general strike, and this kind of thing is happening all over London where people are being pulled out of tramcars and other vehicles. If the Trades Union Council have the power which they say they have to prevent this kind of thing which is in the nature of a revolution they ought to exercise their control. I am only answering the argument used by the hon. Member fur Dumbarton Burghs that this regulation is an attack on the liberty of the working people. I think this paragraph is required to secure liberty for the working people because it deals with any person who attempts to impede, delay or restrict any measures taken for maintaining the means of transport or locomotion.
The spirit of liberty which has always animated the British people will not allow the means of transport to be restricted by any section of the community. We have been told by the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs that the few should not be allowed to tyrannise over the many. A general strike of this character is really a case of some 4,000,000 trade unionists trying to dictate to some 40,000,000 other inhabitants of this country, and it is simply an attempt by the few to tyrannise over the many. I say that this Regulation is essential to secure the liberty of the working people, and it is a travesty to 485 talk of peaceful persuasion when girls and men tired after their day's work are being forced out of lorries and tramways on account of a dispute with which they have no personal concern.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
I do not think the tone of the speech to which we have just listened is likely to be helpful or conducive to harmony in this House. The point to which the hon. Member has referred is one to which we must have due regard, but the whole of the argument is not all on his side. I ask the Attorney-General to give me an assurance on the following point. Under the Regulation we are discussing, it is possible to prosecute anybody who may be deemed to be attempting or doing any act calculated to create disaffection among the civil population. We have had to-day a good deal of personal reminiscences from an hon. Member on this side and from an hon. gentleman opposite, but I look upon this Regulation with some trepidation and suspicion, and, like the hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood), I know what it is to have this power placed in the hands of the Government of the day. I do not, desire in any way to direct attention to myself, nor am I going to say what I intend to say out of any ill-feeling towards those responsible for the incident to which I am going to allude. I, myself, in my time have had to stand in a court of law, and have had a speech brought in evidence against me based simply, solely and entirely on the memory of one police officer who swore that all the evidence he was giving was evidence of the actual words which I used and he dared to say that that evidence was word for word the speech which I had delivered.
I want to ask, is there any guarantee under this Regulation that some other person, just like myself, who may make a public speech and who in times like these may be liable to become a little heated in his arguments and may perhaps use an indiscreet word here and there—may not be prosecuted, even though he may not deliberately intend to foment sedition or create disaffection, although he may perhaps, temporarily, have lost control of his feelings in stating the position of things as he sees them. Is there any guarantee that, in a political discussion, pure and simple, a speech dealing with the political 486 situation may not, under this Regulation, cause any one Member on this side, or any one of our associates outside, to be haled before a court of law on the ground that he or she is creating or fomenting sedition or disaffection among the civil population?
There is another question that I want to ask the Attorney-General. Is it not the usual thing that, when a person is charged in a court of law, the persons who charge him shall have to undertake the onus of proving the charge against him? As I understand it, however, under paragraph (2) of this Regulation, the onus of proof of innocence falls upon the defendant, the words being:Unless he proves.so-and-so. That seems to me to be an entire interference with the usually understood constitutional liberty of the citizens of this country. I daresay this Regulation will be carried this afternoon, and I would ask the Attorney-General, therefore, to give us this assurance at least, that the Regulation, when carried, shall not be used harshly or unjustly, that it shall not be used to interfere with the legitimate right of political agitation, or be allowed to interfere with our constitutional right to discuss the great crisis now before the country, and that those who do so discuss it shall be free from the danger of being haled before the courts or being deemed guilty of creating or fomenting sedition and disaffection amongst the civil population. I ask that partly because of my regard for the great principle of liberty, but my keenness on the point is, I candidly confess, intensified by my own experience in past years.
§ Mr. CONNOLLY
Before I proceed to support the deletion of this paragraph, I would like to refer to a passage in the speech of my hon. friend the Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood). He told the House where the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health is—that he is up in Newcastle supervising things under the strike regulations. I want to assure the House that everything is well in Newcastle. Besides having the honour to represent part of that city, I have about 200 relatives there, and I take an interest in it and have been keeping in touch with what has been going on. The position in Newcastle is that the O.M.S. has entirely broken down, that the authorities have approached the trade 487 unions, and asked them to take over the vital services, and that the trade unions have consented to do so on condition that all extra police, all troops, and all O.M.S. services shall be withdrawn. That has been done, and the city is going on all right.
I now come to paragraph (2) of Regulation 21, and I want to ask the Home Secretary and the Attorney-General whether I, for instance, shall come under paragraph (2). It says thatIf any person without lawful authority or excuse has in his possession, or on premises in his occupation or under his control, any document containing any report or statement the publication of which would be a contravention of the foregoing provisions of this regulation, he shall be guilty of an offence.…and the previous paragraph refers to the causing of disaffection amongst His Majesty's subjects. I have documents in my possession now, which I quoted during the last week-end, and will quote during the next week-end if God spares me, purposely to cause disaffection amongst the population. What are they? I was speaking in Northumberland on Saturday afternoon, and to my right there was a coal company, the Newbiggin Coal Company; and I told the miners who were present there what the coal company had done, and what a document in my pocket showed that it had done during the last lock-out in 1921. "When you were on the streets before, men," I told them, "in 1921, what did that coal company over there do? On the top of paying a 12½ per cent. dividend for the year, they gave a bonus of £27 6s. upon every £1 founder's share—an extra bonus of 2,730 per cent. on the founders' shares." I have that document in my pocket, and have carried it about with me ever since. I have quoted it from a hundred platforms, and, no matter what regulation may be passed here, I shall continue to quote it.
I have another document, a cutting from the "Daily News," under a date and above a name that is open to examination by everyone, from a coal shareholder, giving the amount of the dividend upon the shares and expressing the opinion that it is not necessary to lower men's wages in order to cheapen coal. That is a document which I have here in my pocket, and I have quoted it, and 488 will quote it. It will cause disaffection; it is calculated to cause disaffection. Do I come under paragraph (2) of this regulation? If I do, then let me express my intention of going on as I have started. There are other documents. I want to ask the Attorney General whether, if I go to the Library and get the Stock Exchange Year Book, and quote from the Stock Exchange Year-Book at a meeting, I come under paragraph (2) of this regulation if I tell my audience, for instance, that in the ship-building world—where wages have been hammered down even lower than in the case of the miners—on my own river, according to the Stock Exchange Year-Book, which tells no lies on these matters, the Northumberland Shipbuilding Company have given 12½ shares for one, and that they have been part of the employing class that has beaten down our wages below the subsistence level, will that be calculated to cause disaffection in the light of my past record? If I tell them I have a document in my pocket which I have carried for years, showing that Irvine's Shipbuilding Company gave 20 shares for one, am I causing disaffection? If I am, I am doing what I have been doing for the last 30 years of my life, and shall continue to do as long as God spares me. If I tell them that Graysons, of Liverpool, gave £4 worth of shares for every 1s. original share held, am I causing disaffection? I am going to go on.
I would say this to the hon. Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison), who has just quitted the House. I am a constitutionalist, and I was a constitutionalist when the hon. Member was not. Before I commenced to take part in this movement, I worked from my boyhood in another movement— I worked in the cause of freedom for our sister Isle before I became a member of this party, and I was a constitutionalist to the last, when the hon. Member was a rebel. I believe in constitutionalism right through, and I believe that this paragraph will put in the wrong men, who are just as patriotic as any on the opposite side of the House. I am a representative of Newcastle; I was born in Newcastle, and I love every blade of grass that grows on Newcastle Moor. I am second to none in my patriotism and in my love of my native country; and I consider it my duty to 489 tell the workers, to tell my class, what I know of this abominable financial and capitalistic system, which has brought about this commencement of the decay of the Parliamentary system—because that is what it means. You are at an epoch in the history of this country. A failure of the Parliamentary system means the beginning of another system. We have told each other, and have told others, that we are glad to have lived to see this day. The response has been beyond our wildest expectations. The artificial system has broken down in my city, and before the next week-end it will have broken down all over the country. Then you come back to constitutionalism, you come back to the people you have locked nut, you come back to the people about whom my hon. Friend, the Member for Dumbarton spoke, the only people that matter—the working people.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
I want to ask the Home Secretary and the Attorney-General one or two questions with regard to this Regulation. It says that anyone who is found in possession of any document calculated to create disaffection amongst either the troops or the police force, or even among the civil population, is to be considered guilty of an offence against these Regulations. I want to ask the Attorney-General whether he is aware that an individual named Stoker, of Clayhouse Farm, Ringway, Cheshire, was arrested for using a private motor car for distributing a paper called the "Workers' Bulletin," which is a strike sheet issued by a Manchester Committee, and that this Mr. Stoker was yesterday sent to prison for two months in the second division for using a private motor car to distribute a strike bulletin containing information as to the progress of the strike in the Manchester district. I want to ask the Attorney-General whether, if I happened to be in possession of a copy of this strike bulletin which Mr. Stoker circulated, or was trying to circulate, I should come under this Regulation as being in possession of a document calculated to cause disaffection amongst the civil population or the police or the military; and, if not, for what purpose and with what object has Mr. Stoker been arrested and sent to prison? Either this literature is literature calculated to create disaffection or it is not, and, if Mr. Stoker is sent to prison for it, everyone else who is in possession 490 of a similar document is liable to come under the same ban and suffer the same punishment. I want to ask the Attorney General whether, if I appeal to an audience outside this House, whom I may be addressing, in the following terms:By our own right hand it must be wrought,That we must stand unpropped or be laid low.—if I quote that to an audience outside this House—inside this House—I am privileged—supposing that I go on Saturday to Parliament Hill Fields and address an audience there, and quote to them these lines, am I appealing to the populace to use physical force? Am I creating disaffection among the civil population? Am I inciting to violence? Do I come under this Regulation, and am I liable to arrest and imprisonment for making that statement? I understand the Attorney-General will say, "if you incite people to use their right hands to strike for freedom and liberty you come under this Regulation." Then, I say, arrest the editor of the "Daily Mail," in whose paper this appears. [An HON. MEMBER: "You must not touch the 'Daily Mail.'"] I am not worrying about whom we are not to arrest. There is one law for the rich and one for the poor—one for the worker and one for the privileged class. These Regulations are being passed not to cover people like Lord Rothermere or the editor of the "Daily Mail." They are being passed to strike at working people, and even although you put what you look upon as a safeguard in this regulation that a person shall not be guilty of an offence by reason of taking part in a strike or peacefully persuading any other person, what do you mean by that?
I remember a strike taking place in which one man was a picket and a chum of his was going in to blackleg. The picket in endeavouring to peacefully persuade his chum placed his hand upon his arm and he was arrested and sentenced for obstruction—for going outside peaceful persuasion. Is that to be brought into this? What do you mean by peaceful persuasion? It is your regulation we are discussing. Your peaceful persuasion we know. Accept any conditions and any terms of wages that you put before us. That is your idea of us accepting 491 peaceful persuasion. Get down to the very mud, down into the gutter. You want to crush the people because they dare to claim manhood and life for themselves and their families and you issue these regulations and declare that there is a state of revolution. What is revolution? What are you afraid of? [An HON. MEMBER: "Nothing."] Then why are you bringing in this panicky legislation? Why print it before even the miners were out on strike? Afraid of nothing! Some of you are afraid that your little world is coming to an end. Some of you are afraid that if higher wages and better conditions are given to the miners and other low paid workers you will lose some of your privileges, and instead of fighting for yourselves to preserve your privileges you get the forces of the State to fight for you. [HON. MEMBERS: "Order!"] Mr. Deputy-Speaker will keep me in order, and not you.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
I am not finding fault with you, Sir. I am finding fault with the others, and, if I addressed it to you, it would look as though you and I were quarrelling. I have no quarrel with you. I have no quarrel with any member in the House if they will only be fair. Supposing a document is issued by a local strike committee without the printer's name, are they liable to prosecution? Is it the case that even under the common law, which will be bolstered up by these regulations, any circular which does not bear the printer's name upon it renders the person who is circulating it liable to prosecution? If so will the Attorney-General prosecute the "Daily Express" for issuing this morning a two page paper with no printer's imprint upon it? Only a month or two ago in Cornwall a labour agent was fined for issuing a circular without the printer's imprint. Is the "Daily Express" to be immune? Is the Attorney-General taking any action? He is looking very serious. His face is really a study just now. I think he is really considering that a serious problem has come before him. If he arrested the 492 editor of the "Daily Express" for this sort of thing, he will tell us that would be interfering with the liberty of the Press. It is not the Press. This is only a fly-leaf, only a three column "dodger," as the printers call it, a thing which could be given away and no one would be edified by anything printed on it. If a copy were put in your hand in the street you would crush it up and throw it away, but it is supposed to be a newspaper conveying certain information, which in the main is false.
What does the Attorney-General intend doing in the matter? Where anything is done by a worker that can be considered as cutting in the least degree across any of the Acts of Emergency passed by this Government, the working man has to pay the utmost penalty that can be exacted from him under the Emergency Act or under the law, but there are some people who evidently stand above the law, whom the law cannot reach or whom the Government are afraid to touch. I want to know who they are. I want to know if this regulation will apply impartially. If it does, since the Attorney-General or the Home Secretary took such speed in arresting a member of this House and having him sentenced to two months. [HON MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] That gets applause from the other side. The arrest of the Editor of the "Daily Express" for failing to put an imprint upon his paper would not receive the same applause. They would be questioning the Attorney-General on daring to interfere with the liberty of the Press. The hon. Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison) said what they were out for was liberty. Yes, liberty for themselves, not liberty for all. Liberty for those who are in control of this Government, liberty for those who are supporting this Government in the House to do just what they like and to impose such conditions as they choose upon the people of the country, and if the people protest, as they are protesting, as they have shown by their spirit they have manhood enough to protest against those conditions, the Government must come forward with regulations, must declare a state of emergency and must put the country into a condition that makes it look as though they were afraid of a revolution. The Governement of this country, the people who are afraid evidently of what is likely to arise from 493 this strike, can have peace—not peace on the terms that they want, crushing down the people and forcing them to come to terms on an ultimatum delivered by them. They can have an honourable peace by treating with those who are on the other side, those who are conducting this dispute, those who are behind the men and whom the men trust and have confidence in, on terms of equality. There are three parties in the dispute. The Government by taking the action it has done has taken sides with one of the parties.
This is not a case of the constitution being in the melting pot or at stake. It is not a question of a few against the constitution. The hon. Member for Kensington spoke about 4,000,000 trade unionists and 44,000,000 of population. In the 44,000,000 of population he counted children and young persons. He evidently forgot that the 4,000,000 trade unionists are all adults, and if you count their wives and families you get practically, according to the average set out by your own statiticians, roughly 16,000,000 at least of population represented by the 4,000,000 trade unionists. You do not represent the majority. If they want peace they can have it—not peace on any terms, not peace by driving the workers further down than they are, but peace upon honourable terms. If they do not want peace let it be war, but in the war that follows do not let them accuse us of breaking the traditions of this country. For any consequences that may arise, the Government is to blame and on their shoulders and no one else's will rest the responsibility for any trouble or disturbance. You could have had peace, the whole matter would have ended, but for the attitude adopted by the Government. We cannot submit to dictation, says the Prime Minister. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Hon. Members opposite applaud that. I say to them: Who dictated to your Cabinet? The editor of the "Daily Mail." Who dictated to your Cabinet and your Prime Minister? Lord Rothermere. You walk into the Lobby and vote for these Regulations, like dumb, driven cattle of Lord Rothermere. You have no heads, no minds of your own. Hon members opposite used to deride the Liberal 494 Party about being patient oxen. They themselves are dumb, driven oxen, with no minds of their own, driven by the proprietor of the "Daily Mail." I say to them, if you want trouble, if some of you are spoiling for trouble, do not accuse the Labour party in this House, and do not accuse the Trades Union Congress General Committee for any trouble that may arise. You may bring about disturbances, you may bring about regrettable conditions, but you cannot control the consequences that may come. Men and women may not submit, will not submit, too long to conditions against which they have protested. I ask the Attorney-General, if he is not so wedded to it as the Government seem to be, and if he is not asking for more trouble than has already arisen, to withdraw this particular Regulation and show, at least, that he has arrived at a state of common sense.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
We have heard a number of speeches on this Amendment, or purporting to be on the Amendment, which may be classified in different categories. I propose, first of all, to deal with those speeches which seem to me to be intended to clear up some points which were doubtful in the minds of the hon. members who raised them. I am glad and anxious to do that, because I am desirous, the Government are desirous, that every Member of this House should understand exactly what it is we are asking the House to sanction. A question was put to me in two different forms—but I think it was pretty much to the same effect—by the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) in moving the Amendment, and by the late Solicitor-General the hon. and learned Member for Leeds North East (Sir H. Slesser), when they called attention to the proviso which forms part of the Regulation.Provided that a person shall not be guilty of an offence under this Regulation by reason only of his taking part in a strike or peacefully persuading any other person to take part in a strike.The hon. and learned Member for North-East Leeds said that that proviso reproduces textually the proviso which forms part of the Act of Parliament, and he stated his understanding of it to be that if a person only took part in a strike or only peacefully persuaded some other person to take part in a strike he was, 495 not thereby guilty of an offence under the Regulation, even though the result of such action was to impede, delay, or restrict any measures taken for the supply of food and other necessities. The hon. and learned Member quite accurately stated the effect of the Regulation. I think it is quite clear. I certainly intended it to be quite clear. I think the hon. and learned Member thought it was quite clear, but he was anxious to have my view on the subject. I accept his interpretation; but I would add this word of caution, that the persuasion must be peaceful persuasion.
Suggestions have been made that pickets had been interfered with. I have not the particulars of the instances which were referred to, but I am quite sure that if any pickets have been interfered with —of which I say I have no knowledge—it must be because their ideas of peaceful persuasion differ considerably from those of the Government, and probably from those of the hon. and learned Member opposite.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I am not able to define exactly what the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley includes in the term "peaceful". Of course, anything in the nature of intimidation or Violence is not peaceful and is not permitted under these Regulations. I hope that is clear, and I hope that is a satisfactory answer to the question put to me. The hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones) asked me whether or not an offence would be committed if someone got up to make a speech, not intending to preach sedition, and was then so carried away by his feelings that he proceeded to use words which were calculated to cause sedition. He said that such a thing had happened in his own case.
§ Mr. AMMON
I think my hon. Friend said something more. He pointed out that in his own case it had been merely the word of one constable, who professed to give the exact phraseology used by my hon. Friend. We had an instance yesterday in the dispute between the Prime Minister and other right hon. Members as to what took place in a conversation.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I do not think there is much difference between 496 us. The hon. Member did refer to that point, but it is a little beyond the question with which I am now dealing. There are two questions which have been put to me, one, whether it is an offence if without intending to make a seditious speech your feelings carry you away and you use seditious language.
The other question is, what evidence ought to be sufficient to prove an offence. With regard to the first question, I would say that if any person makes a speech which is, in fact, seditious, he is guilty of an offence even though he may have been carried away by his feelings. If people are liable to be carried away by their feelings into making seditious speeches, they had better keep quiet.
The other point is as to the word of one police constable. There is no difference under this Regulation between this case and any other case which is brought before the Court. The onus of proving that the language was seditious would rest upon the prosecution who alleged it, and unless the prosecution satisfied the magistrate that the language used was seditious, the person accused would be entitled to be acquitted. I am sure the hon. Member for Leeds, North East, will agree with that view of the law.
§ Mr. HARNEY
What is intended by the wordscausing disaffection among the civilian population.Is disaffection in that case sedition?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
Disaffection is very nearly the same thing as sedition, but I do not like to say that you might not get, something which went so far as to cause disaffection and yet not to be sedition. I think that is so.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The second question I was asked was in regard to evidence, and I was pointing out that there is no question of the proviso as to the onus of proof that the language was seditious under this Regulation being different from the ordinary common law. It would require just the same evidence as in any other common law proceeding. Another question was put to me by the hon. Member for Newcastle East (Mr. Connolly), whether the possession by him of certain documents, to which he referred, would be an offence under the second part of the Regulation. My answer must be that the possession of 497 the documents, as far as I understood him, would not be an offence, but it is quite possible, if he accurately reproduced to the House the use to which he might put the documents, that he might be so using the documents as to bring himself within the first part of the Regulation.
§ Mr. CONNOLLY
I said that I had used the documents at demonstrations of miners, and that I intend to do so again this week-end. Will that bring me within the provisions of this Regulation?
§ Mr. HARDIE
Will it be against the Regulation for any gentleman, whether he be a member of this House or not, to tell the truth by quoting references from balance sheets and returns from public companies? Is it to be an offence to tell the truth?
§ Sir H. SLESSER
I suggest that the Attorney-General is not right in his interpretation on this point. I do not think that the second part of the Regulation deals with the user; it only deals with possession.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
If the hon. and learned Member will look at the OFFICIAL REPORT to-morrow, or when it is printed, he will find that he has misunderstood me. What I said was that the possession of such documents as were described would not in my opinion be an offence under Sub-section (2), but that if I rightly understood something that was said by the hon. Member for Newcastle East as to the sort of use he was likely to make of the documents, he might be committing an offence under the first part of the Regulation.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
We are getting at something now. It is well that we should know exactly what the Attorney-General means. Supposing my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle East makes use of these documents, as he proposes to 498 make use of them this week-end, in order to persuade some men who are remaining at work to join the strikers. Would he in those circumstances be liable to arrest and prosecution under this particular Regulation?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
If the hon. Member peacefully persuades anyone to take part in the strike, there is an expressed exemption, but if he or any hon. Member sought to cause disaffection —I hope the hon. Member will excuse me if I misunderstood him, but I think he said he had used the documents so as to cause disaffection—and if he did so, or if he intends to do that, he would be committing an offence.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I do not think that I should be helping the House or doing any useful public service if I were to try to answer in advance questions as to how far somebody may go without actually committing an offence.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I have said already that to tell the truth is not to preach sedition. In regard to the question about disaffection may I reassure the House upon one point. The hon. Member told us, if I did not misunderstand him, that his information was that owing to the action taken by certain people in Newcastle-on-Tyne, the police and the organisation for maintaining essential services there had been withdrawn. I am glad to be able to reassure the House, and to say that that is an entire misapprehension. Since the hon. Member spoke we have communicated with Newcastle, and I am very glad indeed to say that there is no truth whatever in the suggestion that the Government organisation has broken down in Newcastle-on-Tyne.
§ Mr. CONNOLLY
I did not say that the police had been withdrawn. I said that I had information, contained in a wire, that the Organisation for the Maintenance of Supplies had broken down in Newcastle, and that the authorities there had approached the trade unions with a request that the essential services should be run by them. The trade unions made 499 the condition that the extra police and the Organisation for the Maintenance of Supplies and the military should be withdrawn.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
Like the hon. Member, I can only give such information as I have, but in consequence of his statement, of which we had no previous information, we have actually telephoned to the Chief Constable of Newcastle, and he assures us that there is absolutely no truth at all in the statement.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
It is wonderful how quick you can get the reply you want. it is marvellous; it passeth all human understanding.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I have given the House the information I have received, and I hope it is of a reassuring character. There were one or two other points put to me with which I am anxious to deal. The hon. Member for Govan (Mr. Maclean) read a quotation from a newspaper, and asked me whether he would be committing an offence if he quoted it in one of his speeches. If he merely read out the quotation, that in itself would not be an offence. It would depend on the context of the speech. He could easily so incorporate it in his speech as to make the speech a seditious one, but a mere quotation in itself does not necessarily make it an offence. In all these cases you can take a quotation and so use it as to be most provocative and seditious, or so use it as to be law-abiding and orderly. It depends upon the use made of it by the individual, and until I know what else the hon. Member says in the course of that speech I cannot say whether it is seditious or not.
It has been said that the Government were afraid of what might be happening or coming to this country in the future. It was said almost by way of a gibe. I am not ashamed to say that I am afraid of what may be coming to this country as the result of what, in our views, seems to be the most unhappy and most misguided course which has been taken. [HON. MEMBERS: "By the Government."] I do not want to bandy words with hon. Members opposite. That is the view we take of the matter, and I am not ashamed to say it; and not to one class, but to the whole nation. The course that has been taken, whoever may be responsible for 500 it, is a course which must cause very great suffering and very great loss, and which may have very serious consequences. I hope it is not a cowardly thing to say that I am afraid of what may be coming to this country.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
For the moment we are putting before the House a Regulation which in our view is absolutely essential if we are to preserve in this country that obedience to law and order which is always necessary, and never more necessary than in a time of crisis like the present. I hope the House will realise and will accept the necessity for a Regulation of this character, which is absolutely essential if the Government are to perform their duty, not to one section of the population, but to the nation at large.
§ Mr. HARDIE
I should like to have the Attorney-General's attention for a moment or two on the subject of paragraph (2) of Regulation 21, because he occupies a very responsible position as to the application of these Regulations. In to-day's issue of the Command Paper, "The British Gazette," we have a message from the Prime Minister. This paragraph deals with the individual: it is a question whether the individual is breaking this Regulation in what he says. We are told by the Attorney-General that to do something which is going to disturb the peace against what he calls constitutional government will be a breach of the Regulations, and I want to ask him if the statement made by the Prime Minister in to-day's Command Paper, "The British Gazette" is a breach of the Regulations. Is the Government, through its Prime Minister, or perhaps we had better take the Prime Minister as an individual, going to say that the posting of notices by the coalowners, while discussions were going on, was unconstitutional; and are those responsible for such an act going to be dealt with under this Regulation as having acted unconstitutionally? Is it unconstitutional for other men to plead that that first act was wrong, and when they see their fellowmen being crushed under foot to take their stand in order to save them from being crushed further down? We shall soon make it unconstitutional to save the life of a working man in the street. And then in this 501 Command Paper, the "British Gazette," in column 5, we have a notice to the printing trade, and the last paragraph is as follows:"No man who does his duty loyally to the country in the present crisis will be left unprotected by the State.What about 1914? I was out early this morning, and I talked to several ex-service men, who said, "Yes, we were promised that during the War, but we are having no more of it." Can the Government, make this statement on the ground that it carried out its promise to the men of 1914?
§ Mr. HARDIE
I am talking about sedition, and I desire to know whether this does not come under paragraph (2)? Promises were made by Governments in the past to the men who served in the War that they would not be let down, and what is the torture to-day of every member of this House, what is the bulk of his correspondence? It is from ex-service men. There is the case in my own constituency to which I have referred more than once. An ex-service man with shrapnel in his body is told that his health is not impaired. Those who look unhealthy should take the cure and get come shrapnel in their bodies. What is behind this promise in this Command Paper, "The British Gazette"? You made promises in 1914, in 1915, in 1916 and in 1917. Did you implement those promises? Not one iota. You have got them playing barrel organs—
§ Mr. HARDIE
This Command Paper, "The British Gazette," is a Parliamentary Paper, and I want to know from the Attorney-General what is behind this statement and this promise. Is it not a bribe to say that you will stand by the men who will help you to crush the working class who are fighting for their standard of living? And are we not going to have some arrangements for dealing with this form of bribery? We have heard a great deal about the cost, the horrors and the inconvenience, but let every hon. Member think of the daily 502 inconvenience of those who are the foundation of British industry. Take the case of the miner and his family. Every day of their lives they suffer keen inconvenience. The miner when going on to the cage has to depend on the strength of the rope—
§ Mr. HARDIE
The subject has been allowed to spread out a great deal, and I am replying to some statements that have been made about the suffering which will be caused. I am contrasting that with the average suffering of the British working man. I want to put it, as one who knows the conditions of the miners, to those who do not know those conditions—
§ Mr. HARDIE
When we tell the truth are we to be brought under this Regulation, because it may be construed by the Attorney-General that I am doing it to incite? May I not tell these things to the miners to-day standing in that cage, risking their lives down the length of six football fields—I give the hon. Gentlemen opposite some idea of how to measure by saying that—the miners underground carrying picks and tools, and sweating, with foul air to breathe all the time. There is no sanitary accommodation in mines; even that has to be carried away by the air and by the same course as the men get their air supplies from. What do men in this House say as to decaying faeces which are poisoning the air in the mines? Decaying faeces in the mines foul the air supply for human beings. These men are lying on their sides picking away and becoming more dust-laden, and their lungs more full of foul air—
§ Mr. HARDIE
I am putting a question to the Attorney-General, and asking him whether a statement I made comes under paragraph (2). The miners are working under these conditions. Then comes a crash and they are crushed out of life. You get the presence of gas and you get coal dust raised. The miners have their bodies filled with small coal. 503 I would like to convert everyone of you to the miner's cage by having you down two hours, and I your boss. I want to ask the Attorney-General if in making that statement I am to be held responsible for sedition under paragraph (2). There are 101 points one might raise on this Regulation. We have not yet the power of the Press that you have. But now that the Press has been stopped there is less lying go on in Britain than ever there was before. I want to ask about this great loss—this expense. There is more money involved in this idea of force to crush the miners than would have been spent in subsidy in two years. This idea about peace is all very well while you know you have these powers behind you, but you have only one generation that you can crush. It
§ will put more power of resistance into the next generation. It only makes peace more difficult for the future. I want the Attorney-General to answer this description of the miner's life. Every day these men are risking their very lives. It would not be so bad risking their lives if they were getting a living wage. Last week I was in Lanarkshire where the average wage is 36/- a week; in telling them that, am I to be had up for sedition? Are we going to have this Regulation put on us in the same way as one muzzles a dog? It will not be done. I want to be able, without fear of being put into prison under the great British realm, to tell God Almighty's truth.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The House divided: Ayes 96; Noes 337.507
|Division No. 211.]||AYES.||[6.37 p.m.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Riley, Ben|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Hayday, Arthur||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Shaw. Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Barnes, A.||Hirst, G. H.||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Barr, J.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Batey, Joseph||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Broad, F. A.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Spencer, G. A. (Broxtowe)|
|Bromley, J.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Buchanan, G.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Kelly, W. T.||Sullivan, Joseph|
|Charleton, H. C.||Kennedy, T.||Taylor, R. A.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Kirkwood, D||Thurtle, E.|
|Compton, Joseph||Lawrence, Susan||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Connolly, M.||Lansbury, George||Valley, Frank B.|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Lawson, John James||Viant, S. P.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lee, F.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Lowth, T.||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Dennison, R.||Lunn, William||Welsh, J. C|
|Duncan, C.||Mackinder, W.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Dunnico, H.||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Whiteley, W.|
|Gillett, George M.||Mac Neill-Weir, L.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Gosling, Harry||March, S.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Maxton, James||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Montague, Frederick||Windsor, Walter|
|Grenfell, D. R (Glamorgan)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Wright, W.|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Murnin, H.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Groves, T.||Oliver, George Harold|
|Grundy, T. W.||Palin, John Henry||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Guest, L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||Paling, W.|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr.|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Potts, John S.||Warne.|
|Hardie, George D.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Blades, Sir George Rowland|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Blundell, F. N.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Beamish, Captain T. P. H.||Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.|
|Alien, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Bellaire, Commander Canyon W.||Boyd Carpenter, Major A.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Brass, Captain W.|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Bennett, A. J.||Briant, Frank|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Berry, sir George||Briggs, J. Harold|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Betterton, Henry B.||Briscoe, Richard George|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Brittain, Sir Harry|
|Balniel, Lord||Bird, E. R, (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Brocklebank, C. E. R.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Gilmour, Lt. Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Goff, Sir Park||Macintyre, Ian|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Barks, Newb'y)||Grace, John||McLean, Major A.|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Grant, J. A.||Macmillan, Captain H.|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Grattan Doyle, Sir N.||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||MacRobert, Alexander M.|
|Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan||Gretton, Colonel John||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-|
|Burman, J. B.||Grotrian, H. Brent||Makins, Brigadier-General E.|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Malone, Major P. B.|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.|
|Caine, Gordon Half||Hammersley, S. S.||Meller, R. J.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Hanbury, C.||Merriman, F. B.|
|Cassels, J. D.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Meyer, Sir Frank|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Harland, A.||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C.(Kent)||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)||Harney, E. A.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Harris, Percy A.||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Harrison, G. J. C.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hartington, Marquess of||Moore, Sir Newton J.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Moreing, Captain A. H.|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Haslam, Henry C.||Morris, R. H.|
|Charters, Brigadier-General J.||Hawks, John Anthony||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Chilcott, Sir Warden||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Christie, J. A.||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Nail, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Neville, R. J.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Clayton, G. C.||Henn Sir Sydney H.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Herbert, S. (York, N.R., Sear. & Wh'by)||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hills. Major John Waller||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hon. W.G.(Ptrsf'ld.)|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Hoare, Lt.-Col, Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marytebone)||Oakley, T.|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey(Greenock||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Holland, Sir Arthur||Pennefather, Sir John|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Holt, Capt. H. P.||Penny, Frederick George|
|Cooper, J. B.||Homan, C. W. J.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Perkins. Colonel E. K.|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col, Sir George L.||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Perring, Sir William George|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Pete, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)||Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Philipson, Mabel|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.||Pielou, D. P.|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||Pilcher, G.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Howard, Capt. Hon. D. (Cumb., N.)||Pilditch, Sir Philip|
|Crookshank, Col, C. de W. (Berwick)||Hume, Sir G. H.||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Preston, William|
|Curtis-Bennett, Sir Henry||Huntingfield, Lord||Price, Major. C. W. M.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Hurd, Percy A.||Radford, E. A.|
|Darziel, Sir Davison||Hurst, Gerald B.||Raine, W.|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.||Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midl'n & P'bl's)||Ramsden, E.|
|Davies- Dr. Vernon||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Davies, David (Montgomery)||Iliffe, Sir Edward M.||Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)|
|Davies, Ma). Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. F. S.||Remer, J. R.|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Renton, G. S.|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Jacob, A. E.||Rice, Sir Frederick|
|Dixey, A. C.||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Suey, Ch'ts'y)|
|Drove, C.||Jones, G, W. H, (Stoke Newington)||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Ropner, Major L.|
|Ellis, R. G.||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.|
|Elveden, Viscount.||Kindersley, Major Guy M.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s. M.)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Russell, Alexander Wed (Tynemouth)|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Knox, Sir Alfred||Rye, F. G.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Lamb, J. Q.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Samuel, A. M (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Fermoy, Lord||Little, Dr. E. Graham||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Fielden, E. B.||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Ford, Sir P. J.||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Forrest, W.||Loder, J. de V.||Sandon, Lord|
|Foster, Sir Harry S.||Lord, Walter Greaves||Scott. Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)|
|Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Lougher, L.||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl.(Renfrew, W)|
|Frece, Sir Waiter de||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony||Luce, Major Gen Sir Richard Harman||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Galbraith, J. F. W.||Lumley, L. R.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Lynn, Sir R. J.||Simon, Rt. Hon, Sir John|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Gates, Percy||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Skelton, A. N.|
|Gault, Lieut.-Col, Andrew Hamilton||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||MacDonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Smithers, Waldron||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Sprot, Sir Alexander||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
|Stanley, Lord (Fylde)||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Steel, Major Samuel Strang||Wallace, captain D. E.||Withers, John James|
|Storry-Deans, R.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Streatfeild, Captain S. R.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Strickland, sir Gerald||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)||Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.||Watts, Dr. T.||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Wells, S. H.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Sugden, Sir Wilfrid||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall. Northern)|
|Templeton, W. P.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)||Mr. F. C. Thomson and Capt. Margesson.|
§ Mr. THURTLE
I beg to move, after the word "regulations," to insert the words, "other than Regulation 22."
The effect of this regulation is, to all intents and purposes, to take away the right of public meeting and the right of participating in a procession. This is one of the old rights of the. British people which are to be taken away by these Regulations. I should not have thought that the Government, panic-stricken, though they be, would consider it necessary to take away this long established right. I notice in the propagandist sheet of capitalism, which is masquerading under the title of a national newspaper, there is a message from the Prime Minister in the course of which he says:The Government are confident that you will co-operate in the measure they have undertaken to preserve the liberties and the privileges of the people.I wonder that a Government with that Prime Minister at its head, could have the audacity to introduce Regulations, of which this is one, having for their purpose the deliberate removal from the people of this country of long established rights and liberties. The Regulation says that if any meeting is likely to give rise to grave disorder it may be prohibited and that any procession which is likely to conduce to a breach of the peace or to promote disaffection may be prohibited. The curious thing about it is that the Government propose, as the judges of the possibilities of grave disorder or of disaffection, ordinary police officers and magistrates if an ordinary magistrate decides, in the exercise of his own judgment, that a procession is likely to promote disaffection or that a meeting is likely to cause grave disorder, he himself—this simple magistrate—will have the power to pro- 508 hibit that meeting or that procession as the case may be. We submit seriously that this Regulation is going to militate entirely against the working classes. The great majority of the magistrates of this country are drawn from political parties who are in opposition to the Labour Party. [Hon. MEMBERS: "No"] There is no question about that, It is true that within recent years, possibly within the last ten years, there has been a considerable increase in the number of Labour magistrates.
§ Mr. THURTLE
I challenge the impartiality of their judgment certainly when it conies to a matter of politics. I say that in the balk, the magistrates are drawn from political parties hostile to the Labour Party, and when they have to decide on issues of this sort, in times when feelings are excited, it is inevitable that their political prejudice or partisanship will conic into play and they will deliberately make use of the power conferred upon them by this regulation to prevent perfectly legitimate Labour and Socialist meetings and processions. I pass on to the question of disaffection. The Attorney-General was asked earlier in the Debate for a definition of "disaffection" but he declined to give one. I have been at some little trouble to get such a definition and if the Attorney-General is not disposed to give the House a definition I will do so. I got it from the most reputable dictionary in the Library, according to which "disaffection" means,want of zeal for the Government.I ask the House how many citizens of this country might be justly charged with 509 disaffection under that definition? I am certain the number is somewhere around 6,000,000 or 7,000,000. How much zeal must we have for the Government? Is it to be little or much? Who is to decide how much zeal we ought to have for this Tory Government who are standing so bravely by the rights of the rich and the capitalists and overriding so completely the rights of the working class. There is a further definition of "disaffection" by one who knew something about the tyranny of governments in the past. Dean Swift's definition of "disaffection" is very appropriate to the present day. He said:In this age everything disliked by those who think with the majority is called disaffection.We are now going to have it manifested that everything which this Government dislikes— not that this Government represent a majority, for I challenge them to say that they represent the majority of the people of the country—is to be regarded as disaffection, and all sorts of repressive measures are to be taken accordingly. The Attorney-General ought to admit that there is no case for this regulation on two grounds. First, he is confiding too much power and imposing too great great a responsibility upon ordinary people like magistrates and police officers by making them the arbiters of what is likely to be grave disorder or to cause disaffection. Secondly, you cannot possibly define in any reason able manner what "disaffection" is. Whatever other liberties the Attorney-General removes, whatever other scraps of our ancient freedom are to be taken from us, this simple elementary right of holding public meetings and processions ought to be preserved.
If the Government are to go on in this way they might as well do the thing properly. I suggest they should do something spectacular and arrange with due pomp and ceremony to make a bonfire of Magna Charta in Trafalgar Square. Everyone of the old rights for which our forefathers struggled are being filched from us to-day in this House of Commons, which in the past has been the citadel of British liberty and this is being done for no real cause whatever. The Government are in the ascendant to-day. They have the power but there must inevitably be ebb and flow. The West is in the ascendant to-day. One of these days the East 510 will be in the ascendant and I tell you that in these days you are showing the way in which to do these things. You are showing us how we shall be able to take away every one of your elementary rights and liberties and when the time comes for the people of the East End of London and the poor people all over this country to get their opportunity, when they are in the ascendant as you are today, I warn this Government that for every turn of the thumb-screw which they are giving now we will give ten.
§ Mr. D. GRENFELL
I beg to second the Amendment.
These Regulations are designed ostensibly to promote public safety but a number of them are provocative rather than deterrents to violence. This Regulation is particularly so. it refers in its opening lines to the possibility of an apprehension on the part of somebody that an assembly of persons may give rise to grave disorder and serious power is put into the hands of a few people who may apprehend danger from what is in fact a harmless assembly of persons collected together to discuss the grievances which have led to the present lockout. On such an apprehension action may be taken. I cannot imagine a more dangerous provision than one which will enable a panic-stricken magistrate or chief of police, who apprehends danger from a peaceful concourse of people, to declare that such apprehension warrants his interference. I was a boy of 13 when, for the first time, I saw a police charge. There was a strike of tin platers—a body of people who seldom have recourse to strikes—and the men were harmlessly collected in the village street awaiting news of the progress of events in neighbouring villages. There was no intention to commit violence of any kind, but a doddering old magistrate, a doddering old man bereft of his senses, influenced a timid Chief of Police, and between those two people, without any warning or without any notice of their intention, a police charge was made, and I, as a boy of 13, remember the grievous injuries sustained by the people. This same thing can happen on hundreds of occasions tinder these Regulations.
People who assemble to hear speeches may be subject to charges. There is no intention of giving warning for people to 511 disperse. The powers are to be in the hands of the police and magistrates to prevent the holding of meetings in any way they think fit. I can very well imagine the possibilities of a Regulation of this kind. I do not know of several definitions of disaffection that may be collected in dictionaries or in any book of definitions of the English language, but I know that disaffection must be rampant these days among any meeting of working people. Any magistrate may say that people engaged in this stoppage, or people idle in consequence of the strike, may be disaffected persons, and they may order an assault upon their persons because of that. Very little regard is given to the interests of the working people who must in the next few weeks resort to hundreds of thousands of meetings. Every single meeting will be subject to the possibility of disaffection brought about, not by the people themselves but by magistrates and police officials who, like the Government have lost their heads. If the Government cannot keep their heads, how can they expect a magistrate or police officer to do so?
I want to warn the Government and the House. We have been discussing this very serious and tragic event in our national life, and I have not witnessed signs of concern that should be manifested on the face s of Members opposite. They have treated the subject as a matter of humour. Very grim humour! I have heard the comment outside the House and within this Chamber, "This thing had to come. We will teach them a lesson this time, and they will not repeat their action for years to come." That is an indication of panic. It is a panic mind. Thank goodness, up to the present people have not responded to that state of mind! While this Government is imitating Italian methods the people remain British. The people are showing an example to the Government. What do strangers think of this Government? Our methods of government have been the model for the whole world. Do we stand as high to-day as we did a week ago? I will not be allowed to say that I would very much like the scrapping of all those Regulations. They are a disgrace to the country. The occasion for this dispute could have been settled quite easily at any time in the last four 512 or five weeks. It is simply the eagerness of Members opposite to try a fall with Labour. I know there are Members spoiling for a fight.
§ Mr. GRENFELL
In this Regulation you will find how keen they are to embrace any excuse for breaking up legitimate assemblies which will be called together in the next few days. You can adopt these Regulations, but you will not stop the British working people, and the British people generally, from exercising the rights won for them all along the centuries. The working people will insist upon holding their meetings and upon having their processions, and if the Government give this kind of cue to the magistrates and induce the magistrates to forget the liberties of the British people, the Government will rue the day. It will be a bad thing for us all. Breaches will be made that will not easily be healed. I appeal again to the Minister in consideration of the whole of these Regulations, to pay special attention to the very great dangers that lie in Regulation 22.
§ Mr. JAMES HUDSON
These Regulations, particularly that which we are now discussing, more or less indicate how hollow is the pretension of the Government with regard to its general attitude on the conflict now in front of us. We have been told that the main reason why there can be now no negotiations in this great issue is that toe constitutional rights of the country have been imperilled. The constitutional rights of the country, I suggest, are much more imperilled in these two Regulations than in any action that has been referred to either by the Prime Minister or by any other member of that side of the House. Modern democracy in this country, if it is successfully functioning, depends more on the unfettered right of public meeting and public demonstration than upon any other matter. I will agree, also, in reply to the interruption of an hon. Member, that it depends as well upon the rights of a free Press. It is not for any member on that side of the House to raise the issue of a free Press, as it is not within their power to raise the issue of the right of free speech when they are 513 prepared to give to a Government this right of interference as indicated in this Regulation. What actually can happen under a Regulation of this sort? A public meeting of a perfectly legitimate character may be arranged; such meetings, indeed, as have been arranged recently in the Buckrose by-election in which just now hon. Members find such satisfaction. I will give hon. Members an indication of how their spirit has been shown in that by-election, and how it will be shown when they obtain the powers that this Regulation gives to them. A speaker in one of the towns in that election recently, because he ventured to put views that were unpopular with the majority in that town, was threatened with violence; and because he was threatened with violence—I observe the hon. and gallant Member for Ripon (Major Hills) jeering at the point I am raising just now—
§ Major HILLS
I beg the hon. Member's pardon. I was not jeering; I was only rather surprised that he took so seriously an interruption at a public meeting.
§ Mr. HUDSON
The hon. Member entirely misunderstands. I am not taking seriously an interruption at a public meeting. I am taking this, that as a result of statements made by his supporters in the Buckrose Division the police on this occasion found, on representations made to them by the Conservatives, that possibly a labour meeting would become a disorderly meeting, and the police gave instructions in that town for no further outdoor meetings to be held. Hon. Members had won their victory in Buckrose on this occasion, because they had disregarded the spirit of the Constitution in the same way as they propose to disregard the spirit of the Constitution in these Regulations. If you are to pretend in this House that you arc defending the British constitution, there must be the absolute right of public meeting and free discussion. You may think that the views put forward are not your views; that they are bad views; that they are dangerous views; but democracy means in the long run that the people must have the power to judge, and in their hands must be finally vested the right as to whether certain points of view should be put forward or not. You may get these Regulations, but if the 514 Government, by their majority obtain them, they have at least given one more indication to the public that they have no regard or respect for democracy; one more encouragement to the many they have already given, not to constitutional action, but to the action of chaos and disorder. I say in connection with this as in connection with all the acts for which the present Government are now responsible, that the most unconstitutional, chaotic and disorderly body in the country is the Government that frames these Regulations.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
It must have been a satisfaction to many of my hon. Friends who succeeded at the last. Election in spite of the constant breaking up of their meetings to learn that some Members of the Socialist Party at any rate have become converts to the right of free speech. I hope that when the next election comes they will remember and practise what they preach. I am not desirous of entering into a long discussion of the rights of Magna Charta or the rights of democracy. I want if I may, to deal with this particular Amendment. I wish first of all to clear away the misconception which was in the minds, I think, of both the Mover and the Seconder of the Amendment. We heard from both of them of the dangers of some irresponsible magistrate who could not he trusted, and would in a moment of panic proceed to act hastily under this Regulation. I am not sure that hon. Members realise, what I can assure them is the fact, that the power is not given to, every magistrate or police officer to act at his volition. The power is given to the Secretary of State or to any magistrate, police officer or mayor who is authorised by the Secretary of State, to exercise powers under this Regulation. It is not a power given broadcast to every Justice of the Peace. It is a power given which the Secretary of State may delegate, and which, unless he delegates it, he must exercise himself.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
He may delegate it to anyone he chooses. Chief magistrates or mayors, magistrates, and police officers are the three mentioned. He can delegate it to any magistrate in a particular district, or to a police officer, 515 or to a mayor, or he can delegate it, as the Regulation goes on to express, to any two of them acting together, so as to ensure that it shall not be exercised without due deliberation. I mention that to clear away what may have been a misconception on the part of some hon. Members. I come now to the Regulation itself, and in my opinion it is one which is absolutely essential for the maintenance of public order at the present time. The House will realise that it is a Regulation which empowers the Secretary of State, or magistrates and so on authorised by him, to prohibit a particular meeting or procession which, in their opinion, will give rise to grave disorder and cause undue demands to be made upon the police or military forces.
Inevitably—and again I am saying it without in the least prejudging who is responsible—a crisis of the kind through which we are passing, when very large numbers of people are out of work, some by the orders of their trade unions, some by the indirect result of the strike, many of them comparatively young and irresponsible, when there are necessarily very important and difficult duties placed upon the police forces available, is a time, first of all, when it is much more likely than in ordinary times that disorder can be produced, and, secondly, is a time when the demands upon the police are already necessarily so great that it would be most unfair to increase them more than can possibly be avoided. They have, I am glad to think, discharged their duties with exemplary patience and tact, but nobody can fail to know that the tax upon their time and energies and strength is very great, and I am sure that everybody in the House would wish to lighten their labours as much as possible.
In those circumstances, the Regulation gives power to a Secretary of State, or persons authorised by him, to prohibit a particular assembly, meeting, or procession which is likely to produce grave disorder, and nobody can doubt that in times like these there very easily could be scenes of grave disorder produced by irresponsible processions from one part of the country to another, or one part even of this city to another. It is essential that the Secretary of State should be in a position, if he thinks it 516 necessary, to prohibit any particular procession or meeting, and thereby to prevent that breach of the peace which it is the duty of the Government to preserve, and which it should he the ambition of every Member of this House to achieve and to assist the Government in preserving. I hope that explanation will commend itself to the House, and that they will be good enough to pass this Regulation.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
I had not intended to enter into these debates at all, but in view of the statement of the Attorney-General it seems to me that one or two observations will not be out of place. First of all, I would like to say that neither the mover, the seconder, nor the supporter of the Amendment would be under any delusion as to the real purpose and intention of this Regulation 22, and one can readily look back to certain districts and there see two persons well known for their prejudice, who both come within the category mentioned here, and who could, on account of their political views, cause much more disaffection by their partiality in preventing legitimate demonstrations or meetings taking place than they would be permitted to do were it not for this Regulation. Then, again, I should like to remind the right hon. and learned Gentleman that there is not a small element of suspicion of almost everything that this Government does. There is justifiable reason for us protesting against the Government whittling away the time of the House and at the same time the liberties of the people, when they ought to be applying their minds to solving the great problem which, after all, is that the cause of all these subsidiary matters.
The circumstances may very well arise where extraordinary things have to be done, but I cannot conceive hut that this Government after listening to the Prime Minister's statement yesterday, could have made these regulations absolutely unnecessary and could have removed the necessity for demonstrations or meetings of a kind likely to cause disaffection, if they had exhibited that quality for which British statesmen are supposed to have been, renowned until very recently. We were told yesterday, and it was repeated by the Prime Minister himself, that this 517 great general strike was precipitated as the result of a handful of men not having done something—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I know the House is anxious to get back to a broader basis for discussion, but that will come when we have disposed of these Amendments. We must deal with them now.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
I readily respond to your appeal, Mr. Speaker, but it did seem to me that these regulations are the effect of an antecedent cause, and that it is due to the Government having failed to deal effectively with the cause that these restrictions on our liberties are called for. I want to oppose Regulation 22, not because I would deny to the Government who are in charge of all the liberties of the people, the right to see that those liberties are in no way curtailed or reduced, but because they always restrict the liberty of a certain kind of individual, even though at the same time they know that the liberty even to live of a large number of workpeople in this country is being taken away from them. The Government newspaper printed yesterday distinctly states that the mine owners have done certain things and that the miners have not done certain things, and no more partial statement could have been made, and it is because of the Government's known partiality and because of their intention to curtail the rights, liberties, and freedom of the poorer section of the community, that I oppose this Regulation. Many of them, for instance, are found in processions, at the corners of the streets because they have no homes to go to, even if they desire to be at home, because they have no places to go to, or in which to indulge in sports and other recreations which are almost the exclusive luxury of a small section in this big city, and it is because of certain other things that are well known to lion. Members opposite, because our men and women are bound to be in certain positions which would bring them within Regulation 22, which necessitates the imposition of unfair restrictions on their liberty, that I am opposing this Regulation.
§ Mr. MARCH
I desire to enter my protest against this Regulation, and I hope the Government will see that it does require some amending. The fact is that many of us have been used to holding 518 meetings practically every week-end in our Divisions. There is no difficulty in the division that I represent in getting together a gathering. As a matter of fact, the other morning we had about 5,000 men at a meeting, which we could not pass without addressing. I think it would be very difficult for any hon. Member representing a Division, whether or not there was a dispute on, and more especially if there was a dispute on, to meet a big congregation of something like 5,000 constituents without stopping to say something to them. It seems to me that a Regulation like this about an assembly of persons for the purpose of holding a meeting is liable to misconstruction. An assembly of men such as I have mentioned was not exactly there for holding a meeting. The assembly was there for the men to give in their names to report themselves as being in the dispute, and that was outside our town hall. The reason was that the town hall was not large enough for all of them, or even half of them, to get in, with the result that we were in the street, and we held a meeting and gave the men certain information as to what had been transpiring, which they are always ready and willing to receive, and indeed expect to receive, especially from a representative of the labour interests. [Laughter] I am glad you smile. Considering that I started work when I was nine years old and have been at work ever since, I think I am a labour representative. As a matter of fact, I know you say you represent labour—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member will please address the Chair, and then there will not be interruptions.
§ Mr. MARCH
Surely, Mr. Speaker, I can look somewhere. If I look at you all the time, I shall surely get the interruptions all the same, and if I get the interruptions, I cannot help looking at the interrupters in return, but if hon. Members are desirous of keeping order by listening to what I say, I am willing to talk to you, Mr. Speaker. It is very rare that I disturb the House so much with my language, and I know it is not always perfect when I do issue it. That is not my fault, but my misfortune. I was going on to say that as a Labour representative—and I have claimed to be that all my lifetime, and hope to continue as long as I have breath in my body—I know 519 hon. Members from the other side say that they represent labour, and I also know that many of them would not be here but for labour votes. I recognise that, but I recognise also that I am not here with votes from any of their class, so, therefore, I am here representing labour interests in my division, and when ever I see a congregation of workmen or women, I am going to address them if I have the opportunity.
Therefore, I claim that to have a Regulation like this against the liberty of a Member to address his constituents is out of all right. It is preventing the liberty of the subject, and I think it is quite unnecessary. We cannot get all the people in our halls. If we had them in the town hall, and made a speech to them there, and advised them to behave themselves, to go about their business and do the thing that was right, someone might probably say that I used some remarks which were not in accordance with the desires of the Government or which would bring me within this Regulation. Am I to be arrested by a policeman or any special constable? And they are enrolling some mugs as special constables, who are the type of people to cause disturbance. If they were to start causing a disturbance at that time, send up the road to the police station, which is not far away, and arrest me, I am sure that would cause more disturbance in that district than if they allowed the meeting to go on, because at any time the people in the Division I represent, knowing me for so many years, would say directly, "He has done no harm, and therefore we are going to stand by him." I hope, therefore the Government will see that by having such a Regulation as this, they are intimidating the people, and leaving the way open for things to be done which would not be done if this Regulation were left out.
§ Mr. BATEY
I want to support this Amendment. I am sorry the Attorney-General has left the House, as I wanted to put to him a question, which I will now put to the Solicitor-General. Does he believe that if the Government had told the people at the last Election that they were going to pass Regulations like these the Tory Government would have been returned to power? I do not believe they would. This is a dangerous Regulation, 520 because it does two things. It prohibits meetings, and it prohibits processions. Not content with that—and that is bad enough—it gives the power to disperse meetings and disperse processions. The Attorney-General said that the powers were given to the Secretary of State and that he could delegate them to someone else. I want to submit to the Solicitor-General that the Home Secretary is a most unsafe man to whom to give this power. He delivered a speech a very short time ago, in which he said:I believe without exaggeration that the anxiety of His Majesty's Ministers is greater to-day than the anxiety of the Ministers during the War period, and for this reason. During the War period the whole nation united as one nine behind the Ministers, whereas there is no such unanimity now. To-day there is a prospect, I would almost say, of war.This was said long before the strike commenced. [An HON. MEMBER: "When was it?"] A week or two ago. [An HON. MEMBER: "Last Saturday week."] Here is the Home Secretary, in whose hands we are going to put these enormous powers, talking in those days, when everything was calm, of war. Now the Secretary of State who talks of war under those conditions is not a safe person to be entrusted with these powers. But he may delegate these powers, as the Attorney-General told us, to the police. In the Lobby this afternoon I saw a little girl with a blue cap on top of bobbed hair, a blue coat and Russian boots. One was sorry for her; there she was representing the police, I do not know for what purpose—perhaps for the purpose of arresting some members of this House if they do not behave themselves. One was sorry for the girl. She is only representative of the class of people the Government have got to act as police. If it were the ordinary police, who have been trained and have so much experience, we would not fear so much. But you put this Regulation into the hands of the new police, with no training, with no experience. It is the most dangerous weapon to put into their hands. The Secretary of State, if he does not use the power himself, can delegate it to any mayor. I submit that all mayors are not sensible men. Very often a man is appointed as mayor because he is a wealthy man, because he is willing to spend a good deal of money during his year of mayoralty. But the very fact 521 of his being so wealthy may make him a very dangerous man to be entrusted with this Regulation. The Secretary of State may also delegate this power to a magistrate. All magistrates are not sensible men. There are certain magistrates who would be only too pleased to have this power put into their hands, and would use it to cause more trouble.
This Regulation gives power to prohibit meetings and processions. In a crisis like this, when working people are feeling so keenly, it is far from wise to prohibit meetings. If you prohibit meetings, it simply means that you drive the men underground, and they will hold hole-and-corner meetings, and be far more dangerous than they would be in open meetings. It is equally as dangerous to attempt to disperse a meeting or a procession. We are entitled to learn by experience, arid it is not more than a year or two since members of this House were shocked to read that at a meeting held in India some foolish officer told the soldiers to fire upon the people holding the meeting. It was an unfortunate thing to happen, but it is the kind of thing that will happen under a Regulation like this. Those of us who have read of the Chartist days in this country, will remember what is known as the Peterloo Massacre, when a meeting was being held in Manchester, and the troops rode through that meeting for the purpose of dispersing it. It is a foolish thing of the Government to get from the House of Commons a Regulation like this, which gives such enormous power, such dangerous power to people to disperse meetings. Besides, this Regulation dealing with meetings is an absolutely one-sided Regulation. The first two or three lines read:—Where there appears to be reason to apprehend that the assembly of any persons for the purpose of the holding of any meeting will give rise to grave disorder.It is possible to have meetings in this country attended by employers of labour to consider the starting of works or any particular colliery, to work those places by blackleg labour. Such meetings are far more dangerous and far more calculated to lead to disorder than any meetings of workmen. I venture to say the Home Secretary will not act himself, and will not give power to any mayor or magistrate to interfere with those meetings. The only meetings that will be dealt with are the meetings arranged by the working 522 classes. We have a right to expect from the Government something different than a. Regulation like this. The Mover of the Amendment referred to the "British Gazette" for to-day, and to the letter signed by the Prime Minister. I wish to draw the attention of the House again to that letter. The Prime Minister said:Let all good citizens whose livelihood and labour have thus been put in peril bear with fortitude and patience.The livelihood and labour of the miners have been put in peril. But he is not interested in the miners; his only interest is to force them down into povery.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I would ask the hon. Member not to deal with that part of the Regulations until we come to it.
§ Mr. BATEY
It was only a by-word; I was going on to show that we have a right to expect something different from the Government as far as the liberty of the working classes is concerned, and I was going to quote from this letter of the Prime Minister to that effect, because he uses these other words:The laws are in your keeping.We are satisfied with the present law; we want the present law to continue, but we certainly do object to these Regulations, which make it so very dangerous for the great bulk of the working-classes in this country. In a nation like this the Government are pursuing a most dangerous course. They may have a big majority at the present time and that big majority may help them to pass this Regulation but in 1921 there was a big majority on the opposite side which supported the then Prime Minister in certain actions that he was taking. Where is that Prime Minister to-day? He is out of power without any prospect of ever returning. Let the right hon. Gentleman use his majority to-day to pass Regulations at the proper time that will save conflict, but I warn the Government not to bring in Regulations like this.
§ Mr. BARKER
The Attorney-General is desirous of getting this particular Regulation, but I am certain that the minority in this House will protest against this infringement of their liberty. The rights of public meeting have been inalienable for centuries. I submit that the state of the country today does not demand legislation of this 523 character. Our people to-day are only exercising their trade union rights to withhold their labour, and there is no reason why the Government should commit this outrage upon our people because they have chosen simply to withhold their labour. In a paper to-day from South Wales I see that the superintendent of the Glamorganshire police has testified that there is the greatest quiet and the greatest order in the whole of the Glamorgan valleys. The same reports have come to us from all parts of the country. It is the Government that is getting into a panic, not the people, and affairs at the present time will be written in blood if the Government are not very careful.
The Government have only been in power eighteen months, and they are infringing and overriding the rights of the people of this country in a way of which we have not had an example in my lifetime. I do protest with all the power that I have against this premature action on the part of the Government. They are giving power in this paragraph to a single magistrate to suppress the public assembling of people in a whole town or a community. That magistrate may be biased and a hater of the working-classes, and he can put this Regulation into operation, and so prevent the most peaceful people in the country from exercising their elementary rights. I wish to protest against this power being given to these irresponsible magistrates, because they have not to render any account of the proceedings when they have suppressed a public meeting. They need simply state to the police that the miners or someone else are, on the morrow, going to hold a meeting, and to instruct the police to take care that that meeting does not take place. They tell those who own or let the hall of, it may be, a cinema, not to let it for the purpose of the meeting, and, when the magistrates have taken this action and robbed the British people of their rights, they are not to render any account to the Home Secretary or to anybody else for this very irresponsible exercise of authority.
It is a surprise to me that Members of this House will sit or loll about the Benches while this attempt is being made 524 to outrage the rights of the public of this country. This thing is an outrage and an insult to the working classes, for it, in effect, says that they are not able to conduct themselves properly. They have been given the right to vote, the right to organise, the right to hold public meetings, and then you come and with out any consultation or justification whatever you bring a regulation like this before the House so that in the space of less than an hour we take away these political rights of the people of the country. I ask that this regulation should not go through. I trust hon. Members will take good care that it is not passed, and that they will note that we are making a proper protest against the insult contained in the Regulation.
It is a monstrous thing to give power like this to anyone unless they have evidence that there is going to be sedition preached. This power ought not to be given to the magistrates without some prior exhibition of disloyalty. It ought not to be merely suspicion. It is tantamount to wiping out the constitution of the country. It is dangerous to give this power into the hands of any man. There is no man good enough to exercise a power like this, and I say that the greatest outrages have been committed on people by the exercise of power like the power in this Regulation. I remember that some years ago in Russia the people assembled before the palace of the Czar. They were shot down. The result was that they have wiped out the dynasty of the Czar. If you go on driving the people of this country as you are doing here, suppressing their political rights, you will give them provocation and justification for committing outrages that we shall all deplore. I stand here, and I have as much peace in me as I think any Member of this House. I have never committed a crime, so far as I know, against the laws of the country. I am opposed to violence up to the hilt. But I am also opposed to the outrageous exercise of power like this, and I hope that hon. Members in all parts of the House will see that some Amendment is made to this Regulation, that this great power is not given to any irresponsible person, that such a one is not allowed to exercise it without giving a proper report to the Home Secretary, that it is not given or 525 exercised unless you have the greatest reason to suspect that there is going to be sedition, or turmoil, or riot in a particular area.
At the present time there is more demand than ever for public meetings. The miners and others are asking or wiring to Members to go down to the constituencies and to tell what is going on as those concerned want to find out where they stand. The country is in a state of great anxiety. You are going to stop by this Regulation any Member of Parliament, going to his constituency and enlightening his constituents as to what is going on at the time when you should encourage Members of Parliament to go and inform their constituents. The men who are supporting this Regulation, I submit, dare not go and face their constituents. I hope I shall be pardoned for these strong expressions of language which I have made, but they are in harmony with my very nature, which is against this Regulation. I hope every hon. Member of this House, and every woman, that has any love for the liberty of this country will denounce this Regulation.
§ Mr. BROAD
I certainly hope that the Minister will withdraw this particular Regulation. I am going to say that nothing has occurred during the present difficulty up to now, and that nothing has happened in recent years within this country, to give any indication that such a Regulation is necessary. I believe that we can get through the present situation, if we keep sane heads, without disorder of any consequence. If the Home Secretary will listen to certain hon. Members he will find this position: that the passing of this Regulation and the attempt to apply it is going to produce all the difficulties which we have been hoping to avoid. There are meetings such as I have had to speak at in my own district where, night after night, I have urged upon those present to keep calm heads. If, I say, such meetings as those, and last night some 3,000 persons were present, are forbidden, I tremble to think what will be the consequences—what may happen in my district if one or two of these magistrates whom we know endeavour to put a stop to these meetings. I am going to say that it will mean bloodshed in many districts up and down the country. Matters would be 526 carried through with absolute calm and quiet otherwise, but if this power be put into the hands of some magistrates who are, almost without exception, of a certain political colour one does not know what will happen. In my own district we hold 21 seats out of 27 on the Borough Council. We hold 2 out of 3 seats on the County Council. We hold the whole of the seats on the Board of Guardians, and the Member of Parliament is Labour. Yet we have not been able to get one Labour representative on the Bench of Magistrates although we have applied time after time. I hope the House will realise what it is doing in this matter.
Some hon. Members are apt to be too conscious about this matter. I have in mind such an individual who has a genius for smelling out revolutions at every week-end. I should not like to see him in the position of a magistrate in my own district with the power of proscribing meetings in that area. Before we pass such a Regulation as this there ought to be some indication by Ministers that it is necessary. No evidence whatever has been brought that there is any need for it in any part of the country. It might be that in circumstances like those of the past we might have such occurrences as suggested. If we had here and there up and down the country many such meetings at which there was riot or violent action, then, I imagine, that even we on these benches would agree to such a regulation when the need had been proved, and it would be possible in a few hours to pass such a regulation. Because, however, some rumour, it may be, comes through to the Home Secretary—that he should give under this Regulation wholesale sanction to magistrates or to the chief officers of the police, or to ordinary Justices of the Peace, to prohibit meetings, leads me to say that there is going to be a very black block in the history of this country if there is to be any attempt to apply such a Regulation.
I hope, therefore, that the Minister will think of his position and only ask for those Regulations which are absolutely necessary to deal with the situation generally without attempting to interfere with meetings, and with the cherished rights and liberty of the people to meet together to get information, to discuss with one another, and to influence one another 527 in a position like this. To do otherwise is asking for grave trouble, which I hope every Member of this House is anxious to avoid. I go back in my memory to the time when we had a Chief Commissioner of Police who feared a repetition of the French Revolution, and we had a "Bloody Saturday" in Trafalgar Square. We all saw the tremendous meeting in Hyde Park last Saturday, which demonstrated to the world that we have a population which is not inflamed if it does not feel its rights are infringed, and it can conduct a public demonstration without fear of any disorder. This Regulation has been framed by those who have got in their minds that the only way to rule the country is by getting the people into subjection and keeping them there. That is a great mistake. The right of public assembly is one of the greatest safeguards you can have. If the Minister does what has been done before in this country, get the police officers who attend our meetings during this period to give reports of the speeches and of the character of the crowd, I feel certain that he will be convinced that this Regulation is not necessary at this particular time.
The Government may think it well to have these powers up their sleeve, but Ministers get panicky at times, and may then issue these powers to all sorts of untried people, who have not to justify their decision but to act simply if they have reason to apprehend that a certain course may be necessary. Even meetings in our own Labour halls—and there are large labour halls in the mining areas—may be forbidden if two magistrates or one magistrate or a chief police officer says he does not think it advisable to permit them. Ministers ought to be very careful about this, and I hope the Solicitor-General will take back this Regulation and reconsider the position. He knows full well that the Government have an immense majority in this House, and that if events demonstrate that such a Regulation is necessary it can be brought forward and passed through all-stages in this Parliament in 24 hours. To pass this Regulation tonight is to do something more than obtain powers to be held in reserve. It will be cited again whenever a Government gets into a bit of a panic; when, for instance, by manipulations of exchanges it is thought 528 necessary to have a general reduction in wages these powers will be put into force in advance.
There was a recent instance where the use of such a power as this would have plunged this country into war. In 1920, when the present Chancellor of the Exchequer was Minister of War, and when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) was Prime Minister, it was decided to plunge this country into war with Russia. We held mass meetings up and down the country and gave an indication to the Government that if they plunged this country into war there would be a revolution, and it had its effect on the Government. We know that men mutinied at Portsmouth and refused to go on board ship. That war never came, because the Government grew afraid, and it has been proved since that that war was not necessary. If this power had been in the hands of the Home Secretary at that time we might have gone through that war. I say this is the most fundamental of all the Regulations, and I appeal to the House not to destroy our liberty to meet together in our own labour halls, or in town halls, or open spaces, to talk and confer together, because that is the great safety valve for the feeling pent up in the nation at the present time.
§ Mr. PALING
I have no love for these Regulations as a whole, and think this particular one is the worst of the lot. I am not sure that it will not bring about the very state of things it purports to prevent. It is a positively dangerous regulation, and because I think so I support the Amendment and hope the Government will find it in their hearts to withdraw the Regulation. Reference has been made to-night to the fitness of magistrates to decide the very grave issues which are raised by the possession of these powers. I would be the last man in the world to suggest that as a general rule our magistrates do not try to do their best to give fair judgments, but generally speaking, those judgments are given on questions that do not raise political prejudices. When a judgment has to be given on a question in which political prejudice plays a large part, however, then it is very difficult to get a judgment which can be called absolutely impartial. It is not fair to put men in such a position. I know some magistrates 529 —I have not been before them on any occasion—and they are pretty decent fellows, but there are others whom I would not trust in an emergency of this kind where political bias is likely to play so large a part. The Secretary of State for Home Affairs is the head of this Department and is mentioned in the Regulation. There are millions of people in this country who hold the conviction today that he is the last man who ought to be entrusted with such powers; and yet we are preparing to give these powers to him and, may be, to thousands of magistrates in the country, and in the exercise of them political prejudices are bound to come in.
I was very much interested to hear the speech of the Attorney-General when he was replying to the Mover and the Seconder of this Amendment. I believe his argument was that at times like this, when men are out of work, they are liable to meet together and to become dangerous—a case of the old adage, "Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do." That is a dangerous argument from a man of his class, or from the aristocratic class. If idle hands always do mischief, perhaps that is one of the reasons why we have this mischief to-day. Perhaps, also, the idea that the more work a man has to do the less mischief he will do may be the idea behind the Government in thinking that the miners ought to have their hours of work extended from 7 to 8 a day. I suggest to the Attorney-General that that is not a good reason, or even a reason at all, and before he can convince hon. Members on this side of the House he will have to produce better, stronger and more logical arguments than he has given up to the present. If anything can be warranted to act as a safety valve at the present time, it is for the people to have the freedom of meeting together. I have had some experience of industrial disputes, and one of the worst things on the face of the earth is to keep the people from having meetings and to keep them in the dark.
§ Mr. PALING
My hon. Friend says "or the Press." I suggest to him there is a difference between this and the Press. The people have not stopped the Press in this sense. I suggest that to stop these meetings is to put into the hands of the 530 population the very weapon the Government are anxious to avoid. I have some knowledge of these disputes, and I know that we have not only used meetings to let the men know what is going on but that in many cases where the dispute had been prolonged numerous meetings have been held for educational purposes alone, apart from the question of the dispute altogether. If this dispute goes on, the probability is there will be thousands of meetings of an educational character. Do the Government think it wise to give to magistrates and other people in a panic-stricken district the power to stop meetings of that kind? The whole experience of industrial disputes proves that it is best to give the people the freest and fullest power of meeting together. To do that avoids trouble; to suppress that freedom is to ask for trouble; and because I fear that if these powers are granted we shall get the trouble we are all anxious to avoid, I hope, even at this moment, the Government will think it wise to withdraw this particular regulation.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
I think it is only right that a Scottish voice should be heard in this debate, because there is a subsection of this regulation referring to Scotland. I know that the reference to Scotland is not material to what is contained in the regulation as a whole, but as the Home Secretary said that he would make a report to the House when these powers were put into operation I would like to ask who will make a report to us in the case of Scotland? In the "British Gazette" yesterday there was a list of officials, commissars, appointed in various parts of the country, but there was no reference to the Trotsky who is operating in Scotland at present. I would like to ask who is to be responsible for giving us an account of action that may be taken under these regulations in Scotland? I hope the Solicitor-General for England will see that that is a point which is not put vexatiously in order to create obstruction. I want also to join in the general protest against the regulation, because there has been nothing in the circumstances of the time to suggest the need for it. An appeal has been made by the Prime Minister, by the General Council of the Trade Union Congress and by representative spokesmen of the Labour Party that the nation should keep calm at this time, and in order that the 531 nation should maintain that calm it is very necessary to have ever so many meetings up and down the country, to give representative people, conscious of the gravity of the crisis, the opportunity to do all they can to maintain this calm temper. It has been said by those who have protested against this Regulation that these meetings may be a great safety valve. Exception has been taken to that statement because of the fact that there is not the usual Press operating to-day, but I do not think anyone can suggest that the way in which the Press has been manipulated in the past has made for calm and peace in the country. The whole crisis has been in a large measure contributed to by the action of the Press.
It is, however, a very different matter so far as these meetings are concerned. The fact that this Regulation is agreed to by the House of Commons is not to be taken as likely to cause any prevention of disorderly meetings. Many of us have had experience with regard to the action of magistrates in connection with meetings. I have been deprived by magistrates of an opportunity of giving a simple report of what I have been doing in Parliament. We have no assurance with regard to the impartiality of the magistrates because already the action of the Government has not been such as to give use confidence in the newspaper for which the Government has made themselves responsible. I do not think hon. Members opposite, after looking through that newspaper, will say that it is the sort of fair newspaper we had a right to expect from the Government. If that is the way in which the Government interpret impartiality in the rag circulated by them I am inclined to think there will be much difficulty with regard to meetings.
Hon. Members opposite are not reasonable in this matter, and there is a good deal in to-day's issue of the Government paper to create prejudice and passion, which is even worse. It is because of our desire to impress upon the Government the need for dealing calmly with the situation that we are protesting against this Regulation. We believe that these meetings are a great safety valve. We are all desirous of maintaining quietness and calm and confidence in the nation. After all, we recognise that the 532 present crisis has to finish some time and come to an end, and we are anxious that everything that can make for peace and order may be done. I would like to point out that an irresponsible magistrate in one district may be responsible for ever so much trouble and might add to the bitterness of the struggle. I am not so simple as to suppose that the protests we have made will induce the Attorney-General to withdraw this Regulation, but perhaps our arguments will have the effect of giving the Members of the Government some idea of the apprehension with which we regard the closing down of meetings unnecessarily. I hope Scottish Members will get some information as to who is to be the responsible spokesman so far as Scotland is concerned. Will it be the English Home Secretary or the Secretary for Scotland? I hope the Attorney-General will give us an answer in this respect.
§ Mr. RILEY
I want to add my protest to the attempt which is being made to deprive this country of the opportunity of learning the facts of the case by means of public meetings. There is one practical consideration which I want to urge upon the Attorney-General to which I hope he will give some attention. I want to ask him how is anyone in this country to be in a position to decide beforehand as to whether a public meeting is going to lead to disorder or not. This is the power which this Regulation will give to magistrates and also to the Mayor or Chief Constable. They will have this power whether they know the circumstances or not, and they will have to decide whether a certain meeting shall not be held because it may possibly lead to disorder. It is impossible for any person in this country to say in advance that a meeting is going to be disorderly.
Surely if there ever was an industrial dispute in this country upon which the working classes, both the rank and file, and the leaders were agreed it is that there should be peace and no disorder on this occasion. There is not a particle of evidence to justify the Government in making this proposal because all parties are agreed that order should be preserved, and why should there be a resort to the deprivation of liberty in this way. As my hon. Friend the Member fox Doncaster (Mr. Paling) has said, every 533 body knows that if you really desire to prevent circumstances which might lead to disorder the very best way is to allow people who have a grievance to let the steam off and give them a chance of having a public discussion. This Regulation will drive people with a legitimate grievance to the adoption of underground methods, and I submit to the Attorney-General that if you want responsible statements to be made, and a sense of proportion exhibited amongst the leaders of the working classes in relation to this matter you should give them freedom of publicity, and allow them to state their points of view in the light of public criticism and in the public view. If you drive them, on the other hand, to underground methods, you are going to encourage incitement to violence and to disorder. For these reasons I hope that, even at this hour, the Government may see their way not to enforce this Regulation.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
I join with my hon. Friends behind me in urging that, above all things, the interpretation which may be placed upon this Regulation by the Government may be a sane one. After all, it is the interpretation that will be placed upon it that will matter most. It is fairly obvious that the Government can carry through the Lobby the Regulations as they stand. I hope, therefore, that the Attorney-General will pardon me if I say that those who sit on this side of the House have very strong reasons for being apprehensive, not merely of the existence of the Regulations, but of the interpretation which may be put upon them, not, if I may respectfully may so, by the Secretary of State himself, but by the chief constables in some parts of the land, and by other persons mentioned in the Regulations who will be called upon to interpret this paragraph.
We have strong reasons for apprehending a stern interpretation because a considerable number of my Friends behind me, and I myself too, have suffered from time to time from repressive measures by Governments. I do not know that any political party in the history of this country contains within its ranks more men and women who have suffered for their principles than the present Labour Party, and it is because of these facts 534 that we are urging the Government tonight, on the question of administering this Regulation, that they will take heed of what has happened in the past, and will not act in a repressive way. I was very proud to read in the Press of the City where I live that the Chief Constable of Manchester has stated in advance that he would not require the assistance of the military in the City of Manchester, so far as he could see. That was a very important statement for a Chief Constable to make; and, unless I am mistaken, that will be the position—as I sincerely hope it will be—in every town and village in the land. It is all a question of trust and attitude of mind. Some people believe the old adage that where there is smoke there is fire. Other people will interpret the proverb by saying that where there is smoke there must be a conflagration. We, as I have said, are apprehensive that the Government may be too stern in their methods and administration of these Regulations.
There is one thing of which I feel rather proud in connection with the work of the Government in which I played a very small part in 1924. We were confronted then with a very serious industrial crisis; but I feel sure I am right in saying that not one soldier nor a single constable was moved from his post for any purpose whatsoever on account of that dispute. That, I think, ought to be an indication to other Governments that there are means, whereby they can keep the people of the country calm without the use of any military methods.
The provisions of this paragraph are very wide indeed. I am not conversant with the law, but I remember, when I was a coalminer myself, living in an industrial town where the Riot Act was read, and I know the consequences that followed very well. I am sure in my own mind now, remembering the circumstances very vividly, that there was no earthly reason whatsoever for the reading of the Riot Act on that occasion. Many innocent people suffered in consequence. There are towns whose names have marked themselves indelibly on the minds of the working people of this land, because in those towns the Riot Act was read without any real justification. I might just mention two or three names 535 which have been familiar in industrial circles for a long time; they were Featherstone, Tonypandy, and Llanelly. I remember most of the details connected with the reading of the Riot Act in all those three towns, and I am convinced, looking back upon those industrial conflicts, that it was not necessary at all to take the extreme measures that the Government of the day took upon those occasions.
Having travelled a little outside the shores of this land, I am sure I am right in saying that our people are the best behaved in the wide world. We have a genius for good behaviour, but we possess that genius because we love liberty. We are a people who tolerate liberty and suffer freedom gladly. That point ought to be made clear. I believe that the open space at Hyde Park Corner, where orators of all kinds, good, bad, and indifferent, stand to deliver their message, whatever it may be, is a platform for all manner of opinions, for the expression of all creeds and gospels, doing away with the necessity of at least a thousand more policemen in London.
I can look back on a few instances where the authorities have made great mistakes in trying to prevent the onward march of the people in connection with what they regard as their rights and liberties. I have seen men suffer imprisonment for the rights of free speech. Some men who now belong to the party opposite went to gaol in the city where I live, in order to declare—and they won—the right of free speech. No Government in the world, no power on earth, can prevent the expression of opinion if that opinion is desirable. It may be put down once, it may be kept back a second time; opinions might be buried; you might crucify the truth; but, whatever you do with the truth, it will always resurrect, on the third day. Consequently, I say that Governments have to be very careful indeed in the administration of these great powers which they get from Parliament from time to time.
I said at the commencement that no party had suffered more from the oppression of the authorities, sometimes in an insane party political way, than the party to which I belong. We have always tried to inform our people and to edu- 536 cate them from the public platform, that being, in fact, the only means at our disposal. We have never been able to purchase big newspapers and journals; we have no money wherewith to do that; our platform has been the rostrum. We have expressed our views, not so much by writing in books; we have declared our opinions in the main from the public platform. I trust, therefore, that this great institution of liberty which we have used probably more than any other party in the State, will not be closed to us by the Government under the powers they are now seeking.
These powers are exceptionally wide; and I will conclude on the theme I commenced with. We have a reference to military forces. I gather the Government has already moved military forces to several parts of the country. I am hopeful, of course, as I have expressed in public myself on more than one occasion—and shall do so again—that violence will not be employed, because it does not help any cause whatever. I have always stood for that point of view; I have suffered a little because of that point of view; and I am prepared to suffer again if necessary for expressing the same opinions. But while we are doing our best, if it were necessary to do anything at all, to keep our people calm on this occasion, I trust that no one in any position whatever will provoke them to any violent activities.
This Regulation refers, I take it, not only to mayors and magistrates, but to chief constables. There is a question in that connection I wish to put to the Attorney-General. I understand the Government a good while ago—whether they apprehended this crisis then or not I do not know—sent a special Circular to local authorities. I think it was sent out over the name of an officer of the Ministry of Health—asking the local authorities to be prepared for occasions of this kind. I should very much like to know what methods the Government propose to adopt to convey these instructions to the local authorities, because after all the mayor of a town, or the chief constable, will not be able to administer these regulations unless they are conveyed to them. I do not know whether the regulations have already been sent out or whether they will only be sent when they are passed by Parliament. That is the question I de- 537 sire to put. So far as I am concerned, what is important in this matter is not the Regulations themselves that are now before the House of Commons. It is not even that they may become law by passing through this House. What is more important than all those considerations is whether a wide, generous interpretation may be put upon them by the officers of local authorities and the Government, or whether we shall be subject to what we have experienced in the past, that narrow, rigid party bias that has come from some quarters. I say again there is nothing to be gained by violence of any kind; and I trust when we are asking our own people to keep cool and calm in this struggle—because they will win very much more effectively when they do that than otherwise—the Government and those in authority in the towns and cities of the land will take no action whatever under these Regulations which as a result might provoke disorder in any part of the country.
§ Mr. COMPTON
I rise to oppose this Regulation mainly because of its opening sentence—Where there appears to be reason to apprehend that the assembly of any persons for the purpose of the holding of a meeting will give rise to grave disorder, and will thereby cause an undue demand to he made upon the police or military forces.I am alarmed at the Government asking for such a Regulation in the early stages of the present trade dispute. It is well known to the Attorney-General and to Members of the Government that it is a common practice for Members on these Benches to take part, not only in weekend meetings, but especially in time of trade disputes to utilise all their efforts in the direction of holding public meetings mainly out of doors. This Regulation, if carried, will place in the hands of the Attorney-General a power which will prevent any Member on this side of the House from addressing his constituents during the coming week end. It goes further. It really is an attack on the statement supposed to have been made by the Prime Minister on Tuesday. If we are to believe what is stated in to-day's Order Paper, which has been issued in the shape of the Official Gazette, he met the members of his own party in Room 14 on Tuesday and, after being received with enthusiastic cheers, he opened the meeting with a very brief 538 speech in which he expressed the opinion that Members who were able to visit their constituencies should do so, and replying to a question, he added that of course they would not go as partisans of one side or the other, but as men who put national considerations before everything else.
One could quite appreciate the position of Members on any side of the House, after what we have experienced during the present week in debate, going as independent members to express their particular views. We on this side have seen quite enough of that. But in so far even as Members and supporters of the Government are concerned, they are not immune from even coming under the ban of the present Regulation. There is even reason to suppose that ban can be put in operation against Members in other parts of the House as well as on these Benches. I speak without definite authority, but I am credibly informed that under the Authority of the present Home Secretary a force of police went into a certain part of this city, and, acting under instructions, they commenced a certain procedure, which was being brought to the notice of members of the Government when the House was in Session last evening. They stopped it because they discovered that these particular Regulations which we are now discussing were not passed yesterday, and therefore, the Warrant under which they acted was ultra vires, and they were not entitled to carry on in that direction. I refer to the raid carried out at the Victory House Publishing Company's office yesterday afternoon.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. James Hope)
This Regulation has to do with public meetings. There is another Regulation dealing wih search warrants.
§ Mr. COMPTON
I accept your ruling. I was only trying to explain what it means to place authority in the hands of certain parties in advance, and what we on these benches and in other parts of the House may suffer from the operations of these gentlemen in a state of panic whereby Regulations have been put into operation before even they have obtained the sanction of the House.
Reference has been made by the previous speaker to certain incidents which have happened recently in the city one Division of which I represent. The 539 Chief Constable of the City of Manchester on receiving the Regulations on Saturday last sent a message to the official headquarters that as far as he was concerned he was prepared as chief constable to look after the good Government of the city, and that aided by the good commonsense of the citizens he would be responsible for the maintenance of order in the city. I know the personal views of that gentleman, and I know that he has a feeling, rightly or wrongly, and the same feeling is shared in other quarters, that in so far as regulating the general position of citizens is concerned, and so far as good Government is concerned, the chief constable and his officers can be relied upon to a far greater extent than by military or naval forces being sent into any city or any part of the country.
The feeling, rightly or wrongly, is held that not naval or military forces, but the chief officers of the city, are, in times of stress, the best able to preserve good government and law and order within a city. The very worst order that could be issued by any Government is to take steps to the country. I agree with my hon. Friend who has just spoken, that in so far as the good government of a city is concerned, if it can be maintained by the police force alone until military or naval ratings are required, no Government, whatever their political colour, in this or in any other country, have a right to send in any other forces until they are asked to do so. We have had experience previously in Manchester where, in defiance of an order of the present chief constable, one of the present Members of the Government, who was then Home Secretary, sent the military down: an action which did not tend to good government in the city.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
This Regulation deals with public meetings and processions, and has nothing to do with the powers of the Secretary of State as to calling in the military.
§ Mr. COMPTON
I will endeavour to deal with the question of meetings and processions. I do not know, as far as this Regulation is concerned, what is actually meant by a procession. We have processions every day in the streets of London and in the streets of other cities. 540 There is a wide difference between processions being held in the streets of the city and what we on these benches call demonstrations held in the public parks or some other parts of a town or city, where we have obtained the requisite authority from the Watch Committee or those who are entitled to issue such authority. As far as these demonstrations or processions are concerned, I cannot see the necessity for the Attorney-General asking for special powers. If this Government or any other Government relies in season and out of season on the Watch Committees of the various cities and boroughs carrying out, with the assistance of the chief constables, the good government of these districts, surely they can better be relied upon in times of national crisis to carry out their duties than can be done by impoing upon them special Regulations of this kind.
I would urge the Attorney-General to make some modification of this Regulation. I can speak more especially of my own city, but I have experience of other cities, and I would appeal to him to bring about some modification of this Regulation because instead of assisting the local authorities in preserving order or in issuing their various warrants or regulations with regard to processions, this Regulation will hinder them. As far as meetings are concerned, they are a very old institution, not only in my own city but in every city throughout the country, more especially at the week-end. There are men on these benches and in the country who will carry out their usual programme of week-end meetings, irrespective of any Regulations which may be made. We will do that with the authority of the local police, which we have obtained in advance on many occasions for six-monthly or twelve-monthly periods. We are determined to continue that course. No matter what Regulations may be made, they will not prevent me in the Gorton Division of Manchester this weekend from telling my constituents the exact position as I believe it to be in the present crisis.
§ Mr. BROMLEY
I realise the difficulties of the present Government and also that there is some justification insofar as the laws of the land are concerned for putting forward these Regulations, but even to-night, late as it may be, if I can add appeal to the Attorney-General 541 I would ask him to delete Regulation 22, because I believe it might have a greater effect in the direction desired by the Government than the putting of it into operation. The time for words has gone by I feel by Sunday next the present industrial trouble will be very greatly intensified and that by this time next week there will be an appalling industrial situation in this country. I repeat, if it be necessary, that this is nothing but an industrial dispute [Hon. Members: "Oh!"] Hon. Members may disagree but I contend that I am right. If hon. Members require my point to be emphasised I would say this, that if within the next month or the next six months a position arises under which the present Government have to give up their position—I am not suggesting it, but I am only supposing it—I would be one of the first to say, "We were not out for that end. Let them go back to their places where they were placed by the suffrages of the people, and let us get down to carrying on the work of the nation again." I emphasise that. Some of us who are in the forefront of the Committee which is managing this great affair have no other desire.
Do not let right hon. Member opposite think that because I make that statement that it is an exhibition of the white feather. Do not let us misunderstand each other. I make an appeal to-night. We are not too dignified to appeal, in spite of the tremendous support which we are getting from our members, who are part of this great nation, who are part of public opinion and part of the British race. On Sunday next there are bound to be tremendous gatherings of strikers of those who would strike and who will do so shortly, with all their sympathisers and friends. There are 4,000,000 of strikers and their friends who will require to meet this week-end and to consult with their people from headquarters and to hear what they have to say. The mere recourse to power in this country cannot prevent those meetings. I do not say that as a threat, but to emphasise the appeal I am about to make. I hope to be one of those to be addressing those meetings. I shall not spare the Government, I shall not spare those with whom I attempted to negotiate under difficult circumstances. With respect to the Prime Minister himself I must say that they 542 were the most arrogant, the most inept negotiations that ever I have seen in long years of trade union life and trade union negotiations.
I will admit that politicians usually are not astute negotiators. They rather depend on the jackboot and the sledge hammer. These meetings will be somewhat different to those of Primrose Dames, and they will be somewhat different than the Cathedral City meeting or the country town meeting of the Tory party. They will not be packed with very dear old ladies who are leading useless but peaceful lives on the dividends or with choleric old Army officers. They will be a band of people, as good as those I have named without any disrespect, who in the deep and honest bitterness of their hearts are protesting against the degradation of Great Britain. Great Britain is composed of its working people, who earn all its wealth, who have made it what it is, and who will carry on in those days which some of us visualise, when it will be more glorious, more christian and more human than it is to-day. These people will assemble to protest—and they are going to protest more strongly possibly than many people yet realise—against the degradation of the British people, and the inhumanity of the present system of society. They will be full of enthusiasm, full of determination, but with some amount of bitterness I admit. If the Government, if the Attorney-General, cannot show any leniency, and I admit this is not a time fey talking, there is a fight on and I am not asking for leniency, if he could now, for the sake of that order which he and the Government so much desire, delete this clause for the time being it would do much good. The Government have plenty of power to deal with dangerous and unnecessary processions without this.
These people will assemble, four millions and more of them, in various parts of the country and myself and thousands of others who are the leaders of the movement will go to address them. This Regulation gives power to any mayor or magistrate or chief officer of police, if they feel there is any danger, to suppress the meetings. The mayors of our towns and cities are not always chosen for their high degree of intelligence or legal knowledge. Many of them, in fact all of them, have never seen such a thing as we are 543 seeing to-day and which we shall see in a more intense form by Sunday next. They are generally useful for footing a subscription list or presiding at a banquet, but they have never had to tackle such a great problem as we are confronted with at the moment, and it is easy for any one of them to be led away when seeing these great masses of people assemble and to be thrown off their balance for a moment and then to issue some instruction to stop it. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] But they cannot stop the meetings. It is the attempt that I fear. The feelings of intense enthusiasm which are being shown by the organised workers of this country will bring about the very danger which the Government desire to avoid. If someone precipitates trouble there is no knowing where it will end.
The Cabinet knows things which are known to us but which may not be known to all members of this House. They will know what I am suggesting, but if they consider it wise at this moment not to throw powder into the fire and say "We, the Government, will allow these meetings to be held; we will not allow any little potentate to stop them; we will let them go on," then we who will have to address them will control the situation—and there is no-one else who can. I see an hon. Member shakes his head, but in a week or two you will realise that I am not saying this in any spirit of challenge or to flout the opinions of gentlemen opposite, but with a sincere desire to avoid that trouble which I am afraid some hon. Members appear to think is inevitable. I emphasize this—we who will address these meetings will be able to control the situation, although we shall not be able to wipe out all the indignation and feelings of bitterness or prevent their enthusiastic cheering at the strength and stamina of the gallant fellows we are leading, gallant as those who went to the battlefields of France and Flanders. I appeal to the Prime Minister and to those who differ from us not to allow those who caused Gallipoli to cause something worse in this country. This is not a time for talking; it is a time for reasoning. It is not a time for suppressing the people. These meetings will allow steam to be blown off. Enthusiasm will be shown, bitterness to some extent will 544 evaporate, and the workers will settle down for the next weeks' struggle, and so from Sunday to Sunday there will be encouragement for the next week. That I admit, but to suppress these meetings would be a very dangerous policy. The Attorney-General has sufficient influence with the Government, and I, not only as a leader in this strike but as a Member of this House with its honourable traditions, appeal to him as a Member of the Cabinet to consider if it would not be not only an act of grace but an act of wisdom to remove this Regulation 22 and let the meetings go on. Then you will have peace. I appeal for the deletion of the Regulation.
§ Mr. MARDY JONES
On a point of Order I understood that this Debate was to go on in order to give Members from all parts of the country an opportunity to express their views. I want to speak on behalf of the people I represent in South Wales.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
That is not a point of Order. The Attorney-General has made an appeal, and if it is not acceded to the Debate can go on.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The only reason why I rose was to suggest that we should conclude this Debate by eleven o'clock, because there was an arrangement come to on that point. We have four Amendments still to discuss, and I hope hon. Members opposite will have an added opportunity on those Amendments that are still left.
§ Mr. MARDY JONES
I believe we can continue the Debate on this Regulation without departing from the understanding to conclude by eleven o'clock. We attach the utmost importance to this Regulation in the present crisis. I want to draw the attention of the House to the fact that this Government does not seem to learn the lesson of history in industrial strife in this country. This is not the first occasion on which there has been a great crisis to discuss in this country. Historians all agree that we have learned one great lesson from strikes. The trouble in Manchester in 1819 should have taught a lesson to every Government. It is now realised by every historian that the great massacre would not 545 have taken place if the civil authorities of Manchester district had been allowed to regulate the demonstration at that time. It was the bringing in of the military that led to riot and bloodshed.
In Bristol, at the time of the first Reform Act of 1832, there were great riots simply because the military were called in. Within my own experience in South Wales, during the great Cambrian strike or lock-out in 1911, great disturbances took place at Tonypandy. Had that crisis been left to be regulated by the civil authorities there would have been no disturbance of any sort. It was the bringing in of the military that led to the disturbances. One would have thought that in this year of grace this Tory Government, stupid as it is, would have realised these lessons that history had taught. I think that before this dispute is over the taxpayers of the country will also say the same when they have to foot the bill for the tremendous disaster and the loss to the State on account of the lack of statesmanship shown by the Government in allowing negotiations to break off as they did. In the Cambrian dispute there was a very good feeling between the miners and the coal owners.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
This Regulation is not as to whether the military should be called in, but whether people shall or shall not have the right to hold meetings.
§ Mr. MARDY JONES
There is a statement with regard to military forces. As I read this Regulation it gives the Government the power to call in the military as well as the police with regard to meetings and processions. The point I wish to make is that we are to-day faced with the greatest conflict between capital and labour that has ever occurred in the history of our country. Already over 5,000,000 trade unionists are out of work in sympathy with the miners. With their dependants the figure reaches 15,000,000, or one-third of the population of the country. I agree with what my hon. Friend the Member for Barrow (Mr. Bromley) said, that by Sunday next there will be millions more out. A week from now it will have spread over the whole country, and no industries will be working except those which the trade unions have decided shall work for the country. [HON. 546 MEMBERS: "That is a threat."] It is not a threat, it is a fact; and with all the dignity that this Government commands it will remain so.
The Labour Members should have every possible facility, together with the trade union leaders who have been negotiating with the Government, to place all the facts before the people and influence them to maintain their solid loyalty to the miners through think and thin, whether it be a long time or a short time, and to influence the people during that time to maintain peace at all costs. During the coming week-end there will be thousands of meetings and public demonstrations, indoors and outdoors, throughout Great Britain, and we want to place the facts before the people in our own way. I have had some experience in South Wales and we have found from past experience that, without the extra power of the emerggency powers given to them, many magistrates will use all their influence to prevent public buildings being used for the purpose of stating our case to the general public. That has happened during normal times and will happen much more during this crisis. That means that we shall be forced more and more to hold our meetings in the open air. Everyone who has had experience knows that it is not so easy to control an outdoor meeting as it is to control an indoor meeting. Neither are the people in the audience able to appreciate the case so well.
But whether the meetings are indoors or out of doors we claim the right of free speech. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about the Press?"] The Press is another matter, and I will give the House the distinction, in my opinion, from bitter experience, of freedom of the Press and freedom of speech. There is no such thing as freedom of the Press. The majority of the newspapers in this country are owned by a few millionaires, who not only appeal to public opinion, but also make public opinion. They make and unmake Governments, and this Government, powerful as it seems to-day, could be overthrown by the Rothermere Press. There is no such thing as freedom of the Press. There are very few independent journals in this country which are free from capitalist influence. The only safety valve we have to public expression and public opinion is public meeting. We claim that right, 547 a right which we have exercised in this country for generations past, and we are not going to give it up at this time of day for any Government. If the Government really believe that they are now protecting the State against an oligarchy, as they say in the "British Gazette," I invite them to join us on the same platform this week-end and to put their case alongside ours before the public of Great Britain. There is not a Labour platform in this country that would not welcome the local Member of Parliament and give him full opportunity to state his case, and to be the mouthpiece, if he likes, of his Government. I would leave it to the audience to decide for themselves which has the stronger case. We profoundly believe that the miners have a just claim to a living wage, and that it is the duty of the Government to make the necessary arrangements whereby they should get it. If certain collieries cannot provide a living wage, let them be closed down. We know that the country must get a certain annual minimum output to meet our requirements in the home market, and we know that we must also get, beyond that, a large volume of output for export purposes.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
That has really nothing to do with the question of prohibiting public meetings.
§ Mr. JONES
I expected you, Sir, to call me to order long ago, and it is thanks to your good graces that I have been allowed to go on so far. I want the Government to appreciate our position in this dispute. However long it goes on we have to get together and come to some agreement. Therefore, we want to put
§ the position before our people this weekend and every day and every night, if necessary, until a settlement is arrived at. We claim this right of speech without the magistrates having power to interfere. It will be soon enough to put such regulations as this into force when there is any riot or any disturbance of the peace. If the Government leave the matter in the ordinary way to the discretion of the civil authorities, there will be no disturbance of any kind. My experience in South Wales is that we have always been in close touch with the local police. We have always made arrangements with them, and we have always consulted them and held our demonstrations and processions with the minimum amount of inconvenience to the public. Where you leave these matters to the local police there is always confidence and respect on the part of the local inhabitants. Hon. Members may think it is an exaggeration, but it is the case that 100 police will keep more order and will better prevent the danger of an outbreak than 10,000 soldiers in the same district. That is absolutely true at the present time. [interruption.] I think I hear an hon. Member remark that it may not be true in a fortnight. That may be so, but we have not reached that point yet, and we do not want the danger to be precipitated. The Government by these emergency Regulations are really inviting trouble. I ask them to suspend this particular Regulation for the time being and to rely on the good sense and the spirit of fair play of the British people, and the years of experience of our civil authorities in maintaining peace.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 89; Noes, 299.551
|Division No. 212.]||AYES.||[9.20 p.m.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Day, Colonel Harry||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Dennison, R.||Hirst, G. H.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Duncan, C.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)|
|Barr, J.||Dunnico, H.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)|
|Batey, Joseph||Gillett, George M.||John, William (Rhondda, West)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Gosling, Harry||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)|
|Broad, F. A.||Graham. D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)|
|Bromley, J.||Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)|
|Buchanan, G.||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Kelly, W. T.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Kirkwood, D.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Groves, T.||Lawrence, Susan|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Grundy, T. W.||Lansbury, George|
|Compton, Joseph||Guest, L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||Lawson, John James|
|Connolly, M.||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Lowth, T.|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Hardie, George D.||Lunn, William|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Mackinder, W.|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Hayday, Arthur||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)|
|MacNeill-Weir, L.||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|March, S.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Maxton, James||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Welsh, J. C.|
|Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Murnin, H.||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)||Whiteley, W.|
|Naylor, T. E.||Spencer, G. A. (Broxtowe)||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Oliver, George Harol||Stephen, Campbell||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Palin, John Henry||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Paling, W.||Sullivan, Joseph||Windsor, Walter|
|Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Taylor, R. A.||Wright, W.|
|Potts, John S.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Varley, Frank B.|
|Riley, Ben||Viant, S. P.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Warne, G. H.||Mr. T. Kennedy and Mr. Allen Parkinson.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Crawford, H. E.||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool,W. Derby)||Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||Holland, Sir Arthur|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Curtis-Bennett, Sir Henry||Holt, Capt. H. P.|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Homan, C. W. J.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Dalkeith, Earl of||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun)|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Davies, Dr. Vernon||Hopkins, J. W. W.|
|Balniel, Lord||Davies, David (Montgomery)||Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset,Yeovil)||Hore-Belisha, Leslie|
|Barclay-Harvey C. M.||Dawson, Sir Philip||Holick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Howard, Captain Hon. Donald|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Dixey, A. C.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N)|
|Beamish, Captain T. P. H||Drewe, C.||Hume, Sir G. H.|
|Bellairs, Commander Canyon W.||Eden, Captain Anthony||Huntingfield, Lord|
|Been, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Hurd, Percy A.|
|Berry, Sir George||Ellis, R. G.||Hutchison,G.A.Clark(Mldl'n & P'bl's)|
|Betterton, Henry B||Elveden, Viscount||Illffe, Sir Edward M.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Erskine, Lord (SomerSet,Weston-s,M.)||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Everard, W. Lindsay||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. F. S.|
|Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Jacob, A. E.|
|Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart||Fermoy, Lord||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert|
|Brass, Captain W.||Fielden, E. B.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Ford, Sir P. J.||Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Forrest, W.||Kennedy, A, R. (Preston)|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Foster, Sir Hairy S.||Kindersley, Major G. M.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Fraser, Captain Ian||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Frece, Sir Walter de||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham)||Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks,Newb'y)||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Little, Dr. E. Graham|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Gates, Percy||Locker, Herbert William|
|Burman, J. B.||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Lord, Walter Greaves-|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Laugher, L.|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Goff, Sir Park||Lace, Major-Gen.Sir Richard Harman|
|Caine, Gordon Hall||Gower, Sir Robert||Lumley, L. H.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Grace, John||Lynn, Sir R. J.|
|Cassels, J. D.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||MacAndrew, Charles Glen|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Gretton, Colonel John||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth.S)||Grotrian, H. Brent||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. (Bristol, N.)||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Macintyre, Ian|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||McLean, Major A.|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Hanbury, C.||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John|
|Chilcott, Sir Warden||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||MacRobert, Alexander M.|
|Christie, J. A.||Harland, A.||Makins, Brigadier-General E.|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Harney, E. A.||Margesson, Captain D.|
|Clayton, G. C.||Harrison, G. J. C.||Meller, R. J.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hartington, Marquess of||Merriman, F. B.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Meyer, Sir Frank|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Haslam, Henry C.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Hawke, John Anthony||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Monsell, Eyres, Com, Rt. Hon. B. M.|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Henderson, Lieut.-Col, V. L. (Bootle)||Moore, Sir Newton J.|
|Couper, J B.||Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Moreing, Captain A. H.|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. Sir George L.||Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Morris, R. H.|
|Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)||Hills, Major John Waller||Morrison H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Murchison, C. K.||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Neville, R. J.||Ropner, Major L.||Tasker, Major R. Inigo|
|Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.||Templeton, W. P.|
|Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Rye, F. G.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Nuttall, Ellis||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Oakley, T.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Sandeman, A. Stewart||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Sanders, Sir Robert A.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Pennefather, Sir John||Sanderson, Sir Frank||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Penny, Frederick George||Sandon, Lord||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W)||Wells, S. R.|
|Perring, Sir William George||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple|
|Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Fete, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Shepperson, E. W.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Philipson, Mabel||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Pleiou, D. P.||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Pilcher, G.||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Power, Sir John Cecil||Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
|Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Preston, William||Smithers, Waldron||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Price, Major C. W. M||Sprot, Sir Alexander||Withers, John James|
|Radford, E. A.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Raine, W.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)||Womersley, W J.|
|Ramsden, E.||Steel, Major Samuel Strang||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Rees, Sir Beddoe||Storry-Deans, R.||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Reid, D. D. (County Down)||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Remer, J. R.||Strickland, Sir Gerald||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Rentoul, G. S.||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.||Mr. F. C. Thomson and Captain Bowyer.|
|Rice, Sir Frederick||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
§ Mr. JAMES STEWART
I beg to move, after the word "Regulations," to insert the words "other than Regulation 24."
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 86; Noes, 291.555
|Division No. 213.]||AYES.||[9.32 p.m.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Potts, John S.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hayday, Arthur||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring).|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Riley, Ben|
|Barnes, A.||Hirst, G. H.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Barr, J.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Batey, Joseph||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Broad, F. A.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Smith. H. B, Lees- (Keighley)|
|Bromley, J.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Spencer, G. A. (Broxtowe)|
|Buchanan, G.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Stewart, J (St. Rollox)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kelly, W. T.||Sullivan, J.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Kirkwood, D.||Taylor, R. A.|
|Compton, Joseph||Lawrence, Susan||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Connolly, M.||Lansbury, George||Varley, Frank B.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lawson, John James||Viant, S. P.|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Lowth, T.||Warne, G. H.|
|Duncan, C.||Lunn, William||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Dunnico, H.||Mackinder, W.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Gillett, George M.||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Gosling, Harry||MacNeill-Weir, L.||Whiteley, W.|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||March, S.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Maxton, James||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Murnin, H.||Wright, W.|
|Groves, T.||Naylor, T. E.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Grundy, T. W||Oliver, George Harold|
|Guest, L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||Palin, John Henry||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Paling, W.||Mr. T. Kennedy and Mr. Allen Parkinson.|
|Hardie, George D.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Barclay-Harvey, C. M.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Barnett, Major Sir Richard|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Barnston, Major Sir Harry|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Balniel, Lord||Beamish, Captain T. P. H.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)|
|Bellairs, Commander Canyon W.||Ganzoni, Sir John||MacRobert, Alexander M.|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-|
|Berry, Sir George||Gates, Percy||Makins, Brigadier-General E.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Margesson, Captain D.|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Gaff, Sir Park||Merriman, F. B.|
|Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Gower, Sir Robert||Meyer, Sir Frank|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Grace, John||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-|
|Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Brass, Captain W.||Gretton, Colonel John||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Grotrian, H. Brent||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. (Bristol,N.)||Moore, Sir Newton J.|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Moreing, Captain A. H.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Morris, R. H.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Morrison H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. J.||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Murchison, C. K.|
|Braun-Lindsay, Major H.||Hanbury, C.||Nail, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph|
|Brown, Maj. D. C. (N'th'I'd, Hexham)||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Neville, R. J.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Harland, A.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Harney, E. A.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Burman, J. B.||Harrison, G. J. C.||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Hartington, Marquess of||Oakley, T.|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Haslam, Henry C.||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Caine, Gordon Hall||Hawke, John Anthony||Pennefather, Sir John|
|Campbell, E. T.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Penny, Frederick George|
|Cassels, J. D.||Henderson,Capt. R.R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Perring, Sir William George|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R.(Prtsmth.S.)||Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Herbert, S.(York, N.R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Phillpson, Mabel|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Plelou, D. P.|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Hogg, Rt.Hon. Sir D.(St. Marylebone)||Pilcher, G.|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Chilcott, Sir Warden||Holland, Sir Arthur||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Christie, J. A.||Holt, Capt. H. P.||Preston, William|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Homan, C. W. J.||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Radford, E. A.|
|Clayton, G. C.||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Raine, W.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Ramsden, E.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Hare-Belisha, Leslie||Reid, Captain A. S. C. (Warrington)|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Colfax, Major Wm. Phillips||Howard, Captain Hon. Donald||Ramer, J. R.|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Rice, Sir Frederick|
|Couper, J. B.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Huntingfield, Lord||Roberts, E, H. G. (Filet)|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. Sir George L.||Hurd, Percy A.||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Hutchison,G.A.Clark(Midl'n & P'bl's)||Ropner, Major L.|
|Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)||Illffe, Sir Edward M.||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. F. S.||Rye, F. G|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'll||Salmon, Major I.|
|Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||Jacob, A. E.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Curtis-Bennett, Sir Henry||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Jones, Henry Haydn (Marionette)||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)||Sandon, Lord|
|Davies, David (Montgomery)||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset,Yeovil)||Knox, Sir Alfred||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl.(Renfrew,W.)|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Lamb, J. Q.||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Frece, Sir Waller de||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Dixey, A. C.||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Drewe, C.||Little, Dr. E. Graham||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Ellis, R. G.||Looker, Herbert William||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Elveden, Viscount||Lord Waiter Greave-||Smithers, Waldron|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset,Weston-s.-M.)||Laugher, L.||Sprat, Sir Alexander|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vera||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Fairfax, Captain J G.||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Lumley, L. R.||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Fermoy, Lord||Lynn, Sir R. J.||Starry-Deans, R.|
|Ford, Sir P. J.||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Forrest, W.||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Foster, Sir Harry S.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Strickland, Sir Gerald|
|Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||MacIntyre, Ian||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony||McLean, Major A.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Galbraith, J. F. W.||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Templeton, W. P.|
|Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)||Wells, S. R.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple||Womersley, W. J.|
|Tichfield, Major the Marquess of||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Wallace, Captain D. E.||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Ward, Lt.-Col.A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.||Winby, Colonel L. P.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Waterhouse, Captain Charles||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George||Mr. F. C. Thomson and Captain Bowyer.|
|Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Watts, Dr T.||Withers, John James|
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
I beg to move, after the word "Regulations," to insert the words "other than Regulation 33."
There are Regulations in the list which we have been discussing to which I, personally, not only take no objection, but which I trust some day will be of considerable use to a Socialist Government in this country, and I am very grateful indeed to the Attorney-General and His Majesty's Government for giving us very valuable precedents as to how we may deal with recalcitrant profiteers and capitalists when we come to acquire land for the nation. But the Regulation which we are now discussing—and this is the first one on which I have spoken—in my opinion goes far beyond anything that is required, even in the present emergency, for the safety of the State or for the preservation of law and order, and I should like to direct attention particularly to paragraph (2a), which reads in part as follows:Any Police Constable may, if authorised by an Order of a Secretary of State, enter if need be by force any premises or place suspected of being used for the purposes of printing, producing, publishing or dispersing any document calculated or likely to cause mutiny, sedition, or disaffection among any of His Majesty's forces or any Police Force or any Fire Brigade, or among the civilian population.The part to which I take particular objection is the giving of power to any police constable, with authority from a Secretary of State, to raid any printing press which may be suspected of printing or being about to print anything likely to cause disaffection among the civilian population. What exactly does that cover? When in the last debate the hon. Member for Pontypridd (Mr. Mardy Jones) was speaking, he was interrupted by an hon. Member opposite who shouted: "What about the freedom of the press? What about the Daily Mail'?" Well, what about the freedom of the press? I personally, was a witness last night to an invasion of the liberty of the press to which I would beg to draw the attention of this House.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
If the hon. Member will keep patient for a moment, I will describe the circumstances to which I am referring. Last night, at about 8 o'clock, a force of police about 60 strong, armed with a warrant, raided the premises where the "Daily Herald" is printed.—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear"].— Listen to the friends of the freedom of the Press! It is not as to whether or not the "Daily Herald" should be printed. As a matter of fact the "Daily Herald" is not being printed, and if the hon. Member will wait a moment he may find that he is in agreement with me on this point. This force of police raided the premises where the "Dairy Herald' is usually printed. There was no edition of the "Daily Herald" being printed, but there was about to be printed the official bulletin to be issued by the General Council of the Trades Union Congress as a reply to the official bulletin issued by His Majesty's Government yesterday morning.
The police had a search warrant. This "British Worker," as it is called, the official Strike News Bulletin, No. 1, had not then been printed. The police were too early, but they asked for copies of the previous day's "Daily Herald," and copies were supplied to them. I have in my hand copies of the first edition and of the last edition, and I would ask the Attorney-General, or any Member on the other side who knows the facts, to indicate anything whatsoever that has the slightest tendency for which the editor or proprietors could be taken into a Law Court.
There is nothing seditious in it, and yet, under the pretext of looking for something that had appeared in the previous day's "Daily Herald," a force of police, estimated to be about 60 strong, sat upon the machinery of the "Daily Herald" for almost two hours, perhaps, until a police commissioner 557 somewhere or other, I do not know where, had gone over this copy of the "British Worker," and had passed on the word that there was nothing wrong with it, and that the printing machine could then get busy. I was present when the news came over the telephone to the detective-sergeant in charge—he was very polite about it, and I do not blame him—"You can go ahead printing." I submit to hon. Members who have any concern either for civil liberty or any concern at all, as they pretend they have, for the liberty and freedom of the Press, that action of that kind cannot be justified. If the "Daily Herald" is printing anything wrong and breaking the law let it be prosecuted. If it has offended against Regulations not yet through this House, or broken the law, then, I submit, it ought to be prosecuted in the, ordinary legal way, and that it is not good enough for any Secretary of State to use his powers for political or partisan purposes, as they were used, or attempted to be used, towards the "Daily Herald" printers last night in the way I have just narrated. This is what is going on in black type; this is the seditious stuff for which they have been guilty—MESSAGE TO ALL WORKERS." The General Council of the Trade Union Congress wishes to emphasise the fact that this is an industrial dispute.Whether you agree with that or not, we are now dealing with the question of sedition. I do not expect hon. Members opposite will see eye to eye with everything in this paper. I am merely dealing with the question of whether it is sedition, whether it breaks the laws of the country and ought not to be public. It goes on:It expects every member taking part to be exemplary in his conduct, and not to give any opportunity for police interference. The outbreak of any disturbances would be very damaging to the prospects of a successful termination of the dispute. The Council asks pickets especially to avoid obstruction and to confine themselves strictly to their legitimate duties.That is the big tpye message sent out by the General Council of the Trade Union Congress in the bulletin which His Majesty's Government, through the Home Secretary, and through the police, held up for two hours last night, and there is no pretence of a prosecution. 558 It is a clear interference with the liberty of the Press. [Laughter.] You will observe, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, the cat-call. It is an interference with the liberty of the Press. [Interruption.]
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
I am not complaining. I like to hear them squeal, because I know when they squeal I am hitting them. Hon Members opposite in this House and elsewhere for the past two or three days, and the Prime Minister particularly—I heard him at that box—have made a pretence that the real reason why negotiations were broken off was because there was an interference with the liberty of the Press, and now, when I prove that His Majesty s Government are doing the very thing that they pretended to be so desperately angry about that they broke off all negotiations, I can get no answer but a series of cat-calls and yells of derision from Members opposite.
I have had some personal experience of this sort of thing. I remember during the War the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), who was then Prime Minister, coming to Glasgow to address a meeting of engineers in St. Andrew's Hall on New Year's Day. The hall was packed, and the Prime Minister was asking the engineers to make certain changes with which they did not agree. He was making a purely industrial speech. It was a rowdy meeting. He had a rough time of it. His meeting was, as a matter of fact, broken up, not by violence, but by interruptions, and he gave up the attempt to convert the majority of the engineers to his point of view, and went back to Edinburgh. He issued instructions to the Press, or somebody did it for him, that no paper was to publish an account of that meeting unless it first of all had been visa-ed by his private secretary. I happened to be editing a paper which did not get this instruction. Our reporters came in with a report of the meeting, and we published it. The report was in violent contradistinction to the visa-ed report, which was a bogus report, published by the other papers, and the editors and sub-editors of the other papers told me it was a bogus report, and that our report was an honest 559 one. We printed the report, with what result? The right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs, using exactly these powers which are now being asked for again by His Majesty's Government, sent a force of military and police three days afterwards. They sent their representatives round to the newsagents in the country asking for copies of the paper. An endeavour was made to call in all the copies. They kept the machinery tied up for six weeks and we were unable to go on with our ordinary business. Very well. We had broken no law. If we had broken any law we ought to have been prosecuted. We challenged the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs to prosecute us if we had broken any law. I do submit that no executive in this country, no Secretary of State ought to be armed with the powers which enables him to stop criticism of himself, of his Parliament, or his Government; no Executive should be armed with powers against their political opponents such as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs used during the War, and such as the Attorney-General is asking for to-night.
If any newspaper breaks the law; if any editor breaks the law, let there be a prosecution. Why should you give anybody power to use it against political opponents? Why should you give any power to anyone to stop public criticism? [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I did not hear those cheers before. I think we understand now that hon. Members opposite are only concerned for the liberty of the Press when it is the Press that supports them. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] What else are we to understand from the exhibition of the last 10 minutes? When I give an instance of raiding for sheerly political purposes, hon. Members opposite—and this was a non-military, a non-naval question altogether, a question purely of trade regulation,—hon. Members opposite say "Quite right." [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] Then they do not believe in the liberty of the Press. They can only believe in the liberty of their side of the Press. They only believe in the liberty of the Press that supports their point of view in their newspaper. Any printing organisation which criticises their point 560 of view is to be ruthlessly suppressed. That, I take it, is what is meant by giving power to the Secretary of State to raid any printing establishment "which may cause disaffection among the civil population." I cannot imagine any form of criticism of the Government of the day, which would not be likely to cause disaffection among the civil population. If it were not really to cause disaffection amongst the civilian population, the criticism would not be worth while. [Laughter.] In fact, the sole purpose—I will wait till the laughter from hon. Members who are anxious for the liberty of the Press, has subsided! I take it that the purpose of public criticism of the Administration of the day is to promote dissatisfaction against the activities of the Government, and in favour of a change. [An HON. MEMBER: "For the benefit of everybody."] Of the nation. I have never said a word of criticism of the naval or military forces.
The hon. Gentleman's definition of the liberty of the Press is that it should be operative only by being at liberty to publish that which is critical of the Government of the day.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
No, sir, it is not. But it is my view that the owners of the Press, should not publish, at critical moments in the history of the people of this country, fallacious and lying misrepresentations about great sections of the people who have little or no opportunity of replying. [HON. MEMBER: "Oh!"] It is the duty, I take it, of the loyal members of the working classes engaged in these offices to see to it that their class get fair-play from unscrupulous people such as those in the "Daily Mail." Many hon. Members opposite owe their seats to the "Daily Mail," and to the Zinovieff letter. They probably have some feeling of paying back the debt to the "Daily Mail," and are little cautions is seeing similar fair-play extended to the "Daily Herald." Certainly I for one would have more faith in their protestations in the liberty of the Press if I could be got to believe that they favoured liberty of the Press for all sections of the Press, and not only for that section of the Press they like to be in with.
The only Press that you are allowing at the present time is the publication of the views that you favour.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
That is absolutely not true. The hon. Member knows; surely, must know, that the only publication that has been issued, the "British Worker," is a reply to the publication which was issued the morning before by His Majesty's Government. It is absolutely not true to say that the only publication that is being issued is a publication on behalf of the workers.
That is the only publication that you are permitting to be issued. Others are published in spite of you. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"]
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
I am not surprised at the hon. Gentleman, who has shifted his ground twice, but I am surprised at hon. Members' cheers. Surely it is obvious that the "Daily Herald" has not attempted publication either. Surely the hon. Member does not know anything about the subject at all.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
After this Debate I think we ought to get back to the Regulations giving a police constable power to enter premises.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
I will try not to be turned aside by red herrings again, but I do ask the House to observe that Paragraph (2a) does give power to a police constable, by order of a Secretary of State, to raid ally printing press which is suspected of being used for the promotion of dissatisfaction amongst the civilian population. As I read that power, it simply means that the Government shall have power to raid any printing press in the country which ventures in any way whatever to criticise their activities. If that be so all the talk about the freedom of the Press and the liberty of the subject which hon. Members pretend to stand up for, goes by the board.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
On that point of order, may I explain, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that I was asked by the hon. Gentleman opposite whether there was anything objectionable in the "Daily Herald." In order to answer 562 that question it is necessary for me to read the paper.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
Mr. Speaker has laid it down that, under present circumstances, a newspaper might be read for the purpose of debate, but I trust that that may not be regarded as a precedent in future Debates when the present emergency has passed.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
In Scottish industrial history we have had considerable experience of the lengths to which these Regulations can be carried. There is one very dark page in our history, the Radical Rising of 1820, and I trust that some hon. Members of the Liberal benches will, on this occasion, vote with us in the Lobby against the Government. I see that the hon. Member for Greenock (Sir G. Collins) is well conversant with the situation I am about to describe. It was a time when Castlereagh had powers similar to those which the Attorney-General is asking for to-night. He flooded a perfectly legitimate middle-class agitation for the franchise—it was not even a working-class movement—with his spies and his provocative agents. These things were proved in open court afterwards—the things were written for all men to see—the amount of the bribes and other things. These spies incited to insurrection, incited to the manufacture of pikes, took 80 poor people out from Glasgow, led by a man called Barton Hardy, to Bonnymuir, outside Falkirk, on the extraordinary escapade of seizing the cannon on Carron Island. There they marched straight into a trap prepared by the Government, and were surrounded by the 10th Hussars, who were waiting for them. Some of them were hanged, drawn and quartered and some were sent to Botany Bay. Nobody disputes that. It was powers similar to these which hanged Hardy in Glasgow anti despatched 40 men to Van Diemen's land—poor men who did not know they were being incited by Government agents, some of whom had been paid £40 for the purpose. If these powers are granted to the Government tonight, then what is presently a grave industrial dispute may leave marks on the life, thought and minds of the people of this country that generations will not wipe out, and I do beg the House of Commons and the Attorney-General to pause before claiming these powers, how- 563 ever well intentioned the Attorney-General may be as to their use. I do not for a moment imagine that the present Attorney-General or the Home Secretary [Interruption]—Yes, Castlereagh is dead—
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
But while Castlereagh is dead, I have heard sentiments expressed from the benches opposite which are exactly the sentiments that Castlereagh would have expressed 100 years ago. Before he takes these powers I beg the Attorney-General to pause well in considering the use to which they may be put under the pressure of excitement, under, perhaps, the honest belief that the people who are acting are doing the best they can and the best they ought to do for the safety of the Realm. That best may be a dishonest best, and we propose to pass powers which ought not to be placed in any one man's hand. I protest all I can against giving any Government the power to raid the printing presses of their political opponents, and without trial by jury, to close the printing presses and prevent criticism of the Government of the day.
§ Mr. BARR
I beg to second the Amendment.
As my hon. Friend has worked on the Press aspect of this subject, I would like to call attention to more general aspects. This regulation gives very wide powers of arrest without warrant, power to search the person and power of entry into any place if there is the remotest suspicion of anything illegal under these regulations. They may arrest without warrant any person who is endangering the public safety, or who is guilty, or suspected of being guilty, of an offence against these regulations. I object to these wide powers being given either to a Secretary of State or to a chief officer of police. The person authorised may enter a private dwelling or any premises or place where he has any suspicion at all that there is any article—including a statement or report, as has been made clear by a previous regulation—that has been used for any purpose which is made illegal under these regulations, and may detain and destroy, may deal with as he pleases, any such article, if it is on the person, or on the premises, 564 in such manner as the Secretary of State may determine.
At a time like this there are countless suspicions abroad, and many who are entirely innocent will be held suspect. The most innocent persons have been suspected at such times in the past. James Montgomery, the poet, was not only suspected but was fined £20 and detained for three months in York Castle because of the poems he wrote on the fall of the Bastille. When normal times returned and the poem was examined, it was found there was no reference in it to public events whatsoever. In the course of a year we are going to celebrate the death of the poet Blake. He also was accused of treason—it is true he was acquitted—with respect to his "Jerusalem," which is now being chanted throughout the land, and the composition of which is to be celebrated at his centenary. The Secretary of State and an officer of police are to have the utmost liberty to destroy any writings of anyone whom they suspect, although wrongly, to be guilty of devising anything against the safety of the State. In such times of suspicion I think it is very dangerous to give such wide powers, because we find these acts of repression fall equally upon the innocent and upon those who may be guilty. That applies to public meetings. I was very curious to look up some of the past times of repression, and I found it was very often those who were entirely innocent who suffered most. At the mass-acre of Peterloo it was not the guilty who suffered because, of the eleven persons who suffered, the greater number were women and children who had nothing to do with the offence.
Another act of repression was that which took place at Featherstone and a Committee of inquiry afterwards most definitely decided that there had been an abuse of power, and they also said that the two men killed in that episode were in no way connected with the affair. One of them had been attracted there by the sight of a fire, and the other had taken no part in the disturbance. I believe that these Regulations will fall most heavily of all upon people who have nothing to do with the dispute, and not a single mine owner will suffer. I know that many of my hon. Friends have been very closely associated with industrial disputes, and I have been a close observer 565 of them all my life. I have always found that these acts of repression recoil on the heads of those who use them, and in this as in other matters force is no remedy.[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] But we are not using force. We are simply using a constitutional right to withhold our labour. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] The way my statement has been received by hon. Gentlemen opposite shows that they do not appreciate that we are only withdrawing labour and not using force.
§ Mr. BARR
The result of the application of these rules and regulations will be that you will only make the iron enter more deeply into the souls of the working people. You are not protecting their liberties and they will regard you as riveting their chains as they have never been riveted before. I would say to them that, notwithstanding these regulations and repressions, whatsoever provocation and suffering they may have to undergo, let them conduct themselves, as I am sure they will, with patience and restraint, without retaliation and without violence. In quietness and in confidence will be their strength. I would say to them, "Your liberties are being repressed, you are in a contest for a living wage for the miner. Stand firm as a rock, and, by your loyalty and stead-fastness, by your unity and determination, win, not only for the miners but for all the working classes of this country, a worthy and a living and a standard wage, and a wage that has something of outlook and of hope in it for the working classes of this country."
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The two speeches to which we have just listened dealt with rather different points of view, and quite naturally, because the Regulation is a composite one. The hon. Member for Motherwell (Mr. Barr) dealt more with the general aspect of the power of arrest and the power of search. He concluded with an eloquent peroration about quietness and peace—
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
—and he was anxious to disassociate himself from any use of force. I accept at once his 566 assurance that that is his desire. I can only say that it is, perhaps, unfortunate that hon. Members opposite have not been more successful in causing those precepts to be universally observed by those who support them. I am anxious to avoid passing away from the actual regulations, and I only refer to these matters in view of what has been said.
The hon. Member protested against giving the police any power of arrest. The House will observe that the Regulation—which, again, follows the previous form of 1921—gives a police constable power to arrest without warrant only in the case of people who have acted so as to endanger the public safety, or who are suspected of offences against these Regulations, and the House will know that, in the case of such an arrest it does not mean that the unfortunate person arrested is indefinitely confined without trial. It is, of course, necessary to bring him at the earliest possible, moment before a magistrate, before whom the charge of any offence is laid. The power of arrest is no new matter. It is conferred by Statute in a large number of cases, and it is conferred by the common law in a large number of cases. We are only extending in a time of emergency, in respect of offences against the Regulations, this power which a constable already possesses in a very great number of instances, both by the common law and by Statute.
So far as the other objection of the hon. Member is concerned, against any power of seizure and detention, the power of search is confined to premises suspected of being used for purposes of endangering the public safety, and the power of seizure is limited, under paragraph (2), to articles which are being used, or are suspected of being used, fur such purposes. I should have thought the House would have welcomed the opportunity of preventing the use of things which are calculated to endanger the public safety, whether they agree with the Conservative or with the Socialist point of view. There remains the question of the power to stop seditious literature—the power to enter on premises where it is suspected that literature is being produced which is either seditious or intended to impede and delay and restrict the essential services which the Government are carrying on.
567 The hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Johnston), in moving the Amendment, objected to this power because, in his view, it was impossible to carry on a political controversy without preaching disaffection. I hope that is not a view which is largely shared even by Members on his own side. At any rate, it is not the view of the Government that it is necessary, in order to carry on political controversy, to use language which is likely to encourage sedition or to cause disaffection. We have already passed, in Regulation 21, a regulation which prohibits the doing of any act which is likely to cause sedition or arouse disaffection or impede, delay or restrict the maintenance of essential services, and this Regulation with which we are now dealing follows the language of Regulation 21 and only allows us to seize and detain plant which is being used, or is suspected of being used, for these purposes which the regulations have already, with the approval of the House, declared to be illegal. The hon. Member reinforced his argument by a reference to something of which he told us as having taken place yesterday on the premises of the "Daily Herald" when he was present. He told us that police officers, acting under Regulation 33 (2, A), entered the premises of the "Daily Herald" and for two hours delayed the printing of something that was then being produced and that after it had been ascertained that what was being produced, which he described as the "Workers' Bulletin" or something of that kind, was not seditious or calculated to cause disaffection the work was permitted to proceed. A better answer to the suggestion that this power was intended to prevent political opposition no-one could well conceive.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
I think I said—I ought to have done if I did not—that the police gave as an excuse for raiding, not the "British Worker," which was not yet printed, but the "Daily Herald," which I understood from the right hon. Gentleman when he was being chastised from the Chair for that reason, he had been studying to see what was the excuse for raiding Tuesday's issue. Could he tell us?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
Except that the word is "reason" and not "excuse," I will tell the hon. Member. I will come to it in a moment. The hon. 568 Member suggested that this power was designed to enable the Government to prevent publication of political views opposed to their own, and I was pointing out the fact that there was actually in process of being printed a bulletin which was certainly not designed to support the Government's case and which, nevertheless, after it had been ascertained that it contained no seditious matter, was allowed to be printed and published and that that is the best possible proof that that suspicion was unfounded. The hon. Member asks me what there was wrong in the "Daily Herald" of Tuesday, which was the reason apparently—I take it from him—for the entry and seizure of last night.
§ Mr. J. JONES
On a point of Order. May I ask what right had the right hon. Gentleman to take advantage of the opportunity before the Bill became law?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The Regulations were in force, though they have to be sanctioned within seven days after their appearance on the Table.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
Under the Act of Parliament the Regulations are effective from the moment of their promulgation, but they have to be submitted to the House as soon as may be, and passed within seven days.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I do not want to be led away from the discussion as to whether this Regulation is justified, into a discussion as to whether or not the Government, which is charged with the administration of law and order, is or is not bound to enforce regulations which, have the effect of law. The question which the hon. Member for Dundee asked was in regard to the "Daily Herald." I have not bad an opportunity of making an exhaustive study of the newspaper, and I cannot guarantee to say that the particular passages to which I direct attention are the only ones which might 569 occasion offence or give rise to the belief that the publication of this document was calculated to delay the measures of the Government for securing public safety and the life of the community. I observe on page 3 this headline:Beware of Wireless. The Government controls it.[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"]
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I observe in the statement in print, the following:Too much emphasis cannot be placed upon the warning issued by the General Council that trade unions and the Labour movement should take no notice of any statemen that may be broadcast by wireless or circulated in any other form. In short, no reliance can be placed upon any reports or statements unless they bear the imprint or are specifically made with the authority and cognisance of the General Council.Pausing there for a moment, the House knows that in these times, when the publication of the ordinary Press has been largely put an end to—I am not discussing by whose fault—when all sorts of dangers and mischievous rumours seem to spring up like mushrooms and are calculated to cause alarm and spread panic throughout the people—we have heard some of them in tins House even this evening—there could be no more mischievous thing than to try to prevent the one way in which the Government can reassure the people of this country and tell them the true facts by warning the public that they are not to believe anything that does not come from the General Council. The House will remember that not only is it broadcasting which nobody is to believe, but nobody is to take notice of any statement that may be circulated either by wireless or in any other form. The Regulations themselves, the orders as to the movement of food and announcements which may vitally concern the public safety and the general welfare of the community, are branded in advance as untrustworthy. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"]
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
This is a document which, therefore, is obviously not only calculated, but intended to impede, delay, restrict and hamper the 570 measures which the Government have taken for the safety of the public. A little lower on the same page I find in big letters the headlines:Fear of Oscillation. Government anxious lest its broadcasting be spoiled.Then comes an elaborate explanation how people can safely spoil the broadcasting, without being found out.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
On a point of fairness as well as a point of Order. Will the Attorney-General do himself the honour and the House the credit of reading that passage, and he will see whether it bears the construction which he has just put upon it?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I have read the headlines. I am quite anxious and willing to lend the document to any Member of the House. [HON. MEMBERS: "Read it."] I do not intend to oblige hon. Members who may desire to give further publicity to it, by reading it.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
On a point of Order. The statement in the paper is a statement by an official of the Broadcasting Association, and the "Daily Herald" is simply drawing attention to it. The Attorney-General has perverted the whole meaning.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
There is an old saying that a man does not incite to disorder if he exhorts his audience when a man is being attacked "Don't nail his ears to the door."
§ Mr. MACLEAN
When a statement is made in this House and it is challenged by an hon. Member, is not the hon. Member entitled to read the statement itself in its complete form, and is not the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Johnston) entitled to read that particular part to the House in order to correct the erroneous statement that has been made.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
That is not my point. The Attorney-General, in replying to the debate, takes advantage of that reply to make a statement which is challenged as being false by the hon. Member for Dundee. I am asking whether the hon.
571 Member for Dundee, having raised this matter, is not entitled to read the statement to the House in order to correct the erroneous statement made by the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member for Dundee is entitled, if he makes a personal explanation, to read further words.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
On a point of Order. I ask you whether in a speech in which I have quoted textually the headlines and explained that it is undesirable in the public interest to read publicly information which is certainly calculated to impede or delay or interfere with measures taken for public safety, it is possible under the guise of a personal explanation to read that passage?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The right of personal explanation is distinct, and whatever the possible consequences may be, the hon. Member has a right to make a personal explanation as to why he claims to have been misunderstood.
§ Commander BELLAIRS
Is the hon. Member entitled to interrupt the speech of a Minister in possession of the House for the purpose of making a personal explanation?
§ Sir GERALD HOHLER
On a point of Order. I want to meet what is suggested as a personal explanation. The facts, as I understood them, were that the Attorney-General was challenged as to the paper, the "Daily Herald," which was handed to him, and as to whether any passages it contained might be said to be seditious or improper. As a matter of courtesy, he read it, and you know what happened. In his reply, he read the three headlines which were words to the 572 effect to destroy wireless. Then he went on to say that below there was a prescription for it. Now the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Johnston) challenges that. That is not a personal explanation at all.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I am a little at a disadvantage in that I did not hear the original speech of the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Johnston), but, having given my ruling, I feel compelled to allow him to proceed.
§ Sir G. HOHLER
On a point of Order. You are satisfied that you have been misled or did not know the facts. I submit, therefore, that your ruling should be withdrawn. I submit that this is very unfair.
Further to that point of order. If the Attorney-General, on the responsibility of a Minister of the Crown, has expressed the opinion that the publication of this document would be injurious to the safety of the Crown, is it in order for the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Johnston) to give information to the public Press in the desire to disseminate it?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I have already said that in the House of Commons that does not override the right of Members.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
I can relieve you, Mr. Speaker, of any anxiety you may have on the matter of my reading out anything that may embarrass the Administration, because I can keep out the specific methods of dealing with oscillation. The point was made by the Attorney-General about the headlines and what followed. They were:Fear of Oscillation. Government anxious lest its broadcasting be spoiled.With reference to the broadcasting arrangements described above the "Daily Herald" was informed yesterday that fears are entertained in Government circles lest the broadcasting be interfered with by oscillation on a large scale. It is possible by means of" —so and so—direction of finders—[HON. MEMBERS "Read it out."] I have no objection. I understood it was — [Interruption.]
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I ask hon. Members on both sides to let me conduct the debate. The hon. Member (Mr. Johnston), I trust, will confine himself to what is essential for the purposes of his explanation.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
That was what I was endeavouring to do, but if I am to be taunted with suppressing part of the statement then I must act in self-defence. My point was that the passage does not bear the interpretation which the Attorney-General sought to place on the headlines.
§ The ATTORNEY - GENERAL
The House has now heard the hon. Member state that the headings were "Fear of oscillation" and Government anxious lest its broadcasting be spoiled." Then the "Daily Herald" states it has information that the Government is alarmed lest this can be done, and then it proceeds to state the way in which it can be done. Whether or not that is calculated to impede, delay or restrict the use of broadcasting by the Government, the House can judge.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
Will the Attorney- General do the House the favour to say that the statement is not the statement of the "Daily Herald," but the statement of an official of the Government? Why not be honest and say that to the House?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The hon. Member does not seem to realise that that strengthens the gravity of my complaint. The point is not whether or not the "Daily Herald" discovered this method by information from an official
§ of the Government or by its own researches. The point is that, having discovered it, the "Daily Herald" proceeds to give it to the public. I should like to express my indebtedness to the hon. Member who has most carefully refrained from reading that passage.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I am glad in any case the hon. Member has done so, because I think it is in the national interest., and to whoever I am indebted for it, I am glad that the hon. Member refrained. There is no attack on the hon. Member. The question which was raised was whether or not there was any reason for the Government thinking that this issue of the "Daily Herald" was likely to publish matter which was calculated to impede, delay or restrict the Government in its measures for the national safety. I hope, without turning beyond page 3, from which I have quoted, that I have read enough to satisfy the House that there were very good grounds for the Government's action. I have dealt with the particular criticism of the "Daily Herald"; I have dealt, I hope, with the more general observations of the hon. Member for Motherwell (Mr. Barr), and I hope that the House, having heard these explanations, will realise that these powers are desirable in the national interest, and will not hesitate to give them to the Government.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 75; Noes, 316.577
|Division No. 214.]||AYES.||[10.50 p. m.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Grundy, T. W.||Mac Neill-Weir, L.|
|Barr, J.||Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Maxton, James|
|Batey, Joseph||Hardie, George D.||Murnin, H.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Oliver, George. Harold|
|Bromley, J.||Hayday, Arthur||Palin, John Henry|
|Buchanan, G.||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Paling, W.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Hirst, G. H.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Potts, John S.|
|Compton, Joseph||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Connolly, M.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Riley, Ben|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Duncan, C.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Dunnico, H.||Kirkwood, D.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Gosling, Harry||Lansbury, George||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Lawson, John James||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Lowth, T.||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Lunn, William||Stephen, Campbell|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Mackinder, W.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Groves, T.||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Sullivan, Joseph|
|Taylor, R. A.||Welsh, J. C||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Troveyen, Rt. Hon. C. P.||Whiteley, W.|
|Varley, Frank B.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)||Mr. T. Kennedy and Mr. Warne.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Homan, C. W. J.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Curtis-Bennett, Sir Henry||Hope. Sir Harry (Forfar)|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent')||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Hopkins, J. W. W.|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Dalkeith, Earl of||Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.||Hore-Belisha, Leslie|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Davies, Dr. Vernon||Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Davies, David (Montgomery)||Howard, Captain Hon. Donald|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Davies, Maj. Gen. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Hume, Sir G. H.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Dawson, Sir Philip||Huntingfield, Lord|
|Balniel, Lord||Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Hurd, Percy A.|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Frece, Sir Walter de||Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midl'n & P'bl's)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Dixey, A. C.||Iliffe, Sir Edward M.|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Drewe, C.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.|
|Beamish, Captain T. P. H.||Eden, Captain Anthony||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. F. S|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Elliot, Captain Walter E.||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)|
|Bellairs, Commander Canyon W.||Ellis, R. G.||Jacob, A. E.|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Elveden, Viscount||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Berry, Sir George||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Everard, W. Lindsay||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Kindersley, Major G. M.|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Fermoy, Lord||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Blundell, F. N.||Fielden, E. B.||Lane-Fox, Colonel George R|
|Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart||Ford, Sir P. J.||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Forrest, W.||Little, Dr. E. Graham|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Foster, Sir Harry S.||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)|
|Brass, Captain W.||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Looker, Herbert William|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Fraser, Captain Ian||Lord, Walter Greaves-|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Lougher, L.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Lumley, L. R.|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Lynn, Sir R. J.|
|Brown Maj. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Gates, Percy||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen|
|Brown, Brig. Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Bullock. Captain M.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart.)|
|Burman, J. B.||Goft, Sir Park||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Gower, Sir Robert||MacIntyre, Ian|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Grace, John||McLean, Major A.|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Macmillan, Captain H.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm|
|Caine, Gordon Hall||Gretton, Colonel John||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John|
|Campbell, E. T||Grotrian, H. Brent||MacRobert, Alexander M.|
|Cassels, J. D.||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. (Bristol, N.)||Makins, Brigadier-General E.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Manningham-Buller. Sir Mervyn|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R.(Prtsmth. S.)||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Hall, Lieut. Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Merriman, F. B.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (OX. Univ.)||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Meyer, Sir Frank|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Hammersley, S. S.||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Hanbury, C.||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Chilcott, Sir Warden||Harland, A.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M|
|Christie, J. A.||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Moore, Sir Newton J.|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Harris, Percy A.||Moore-Brabacon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C|
|Clary, Reginald George||Harrison, G. J. C.||Moreing, Captain A. H.|
|Clayton, G. C.||Hartington, Marquess of||Morris, R. H.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Harvey. Major S. E. (Devon. Totnes)||Morrison. H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Haslam, Henry C.||Morrison-Bell. Sir Arthur Clive|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Hawke, John Anthony||Murchison C. K.|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Nail Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Neville, R. J.|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Couper, J. B.||Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.)|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Hills, Major John Wailer||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. Sir George L.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G||Oakley, T.|
|Cowan, Sir Win. Henry (Islington, N)||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Crawford, H. E.||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Pennefather, Sir John|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Holland, Sir Arthur||Penny, Frederick George|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Holt, Captain H. P.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Sanderson, Sir Frank||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Perring, Sir William George||Sandon, Lord||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Philipson, Mabel||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew W)||Turton, Sir Edmond Russborough|
|Pielou, D. P.||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Pilcher, G.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Power, Sir John Cecil||Shepperson, E. W.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Preston, William||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Price, Major C. W. M.||Sinclair. Major Sir A. (Caithness)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Radford, E. A.||Skelton, A. N.||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Raine, W.||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Ramsden, E.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Wells, S. C.|
|Rees, Sir Beddoe||Smith-Carington, Neville W||White, Lieut.-Colonel C. Dairymple|
|Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)||Smithers, Waldron||Williams, Corn. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Reid, D. D. (County Down)||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh. Wrexham)|
|Remer, J. R.||Sprot, Sir Alexander||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Rentoul, G. S.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Rice, Sir Frederick||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G (Westm'eland)||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
|Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Steel, Major Samuel Strang||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Roberts, E. H, G. (Flint)||Storry-Deans, R.||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W H.||Withers, John James|
|Ropner, Major L.||Streatfeild, Captain S. R,||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.||Strickland, Sir Gerald||Womersley, W. J.|
|Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Stuart, Crichton-. Lord C.||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Russell, Alexander West (Tynamouth)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Rye, F. G.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Sandeman A. Stewart||Templeton, W. P.||Major Sir Harry Barnston and|
|Sanders, Sir Robert A.||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)||Captain Margesson.|
§ Mr. MAXTON
I beg to move, after the word "Regulations," to insert the words "other than Regulation 34."
I am asked by my friends not to detain he House long over this Amendment, but I think it would be desirable that, in being asked to reject this Regulation, the House should know what it proposes to regulate. Therefore, I venture to read it. This is perhaps the most wholesale demand for unlimited power against the liberty of any individual that is contained in the whole of these Regulations:Any person who attempts to commit, or solicits or incites or endeavours to persuade another person to commit, or procures, aids, or abets, or does any act preparatory to the commission of, any act prohibited by these regulations or any order, directions, rules, or other instrument made there under, shall he guilty of an offence against these regulations.11.0 P.M.
If this House is prepared to accept a Regulation such as this, it places absolutely every single one of us at the disposal of whoever happens to be in charge, who has only got to allege that we intended to commit, or solicit, or incite, and we are within the scope of this Regulation. The merest suspicion against any person is sufficient to make him guilty under this Regulation 34. I am assuming that whenever a man is brought before any magistrate, he is going to he found guilty. I speak from what I know, and what I have seen. I have had 12 months' imprisonment, under a similar 578 Regulation, imposed upon me by a man who was regarded as being the most judicial-minded person in the whole of Scotland. That was after an alleged fair trial by an alleged fair-minded man. I ask whether I am the type of criminal to be shut up in a prison cell? I am as good a citizen as anyone in this House. I think I have done as good duty as a citizen as anybody here, both educationally and in local administration, and yet, under a similar Regulation to this, I have been put in a prison cell and branded as a felon. I know perfectly well, that under these Regulations, particularly this one, other people who are equally good citizens will probably, in a very short time, be shut up within prison walls. It is a poor plight to which Great Britain has come if this House of Commons, which has been now for 800 years regarded as the custodian of the liberties of the people, is going to pass a Regulation like this. [An HON. MEMBER: "1264."] It is unfortunate that our expert on constitutional history should be out of the House just now, but in a matter of this sort 200 or 300 years does not matter. There is one gratifying consideration which conies into my mind in moving the rejection of this Regulation, and that is that in upheavals of this description, the persons who put the Regulations into operation are not always the persons who have the administration of them in the latter days of their operation. There are a number 579 of these Regulations which hon. and right hon. Members opposite think would be very useful for the handling of their political opponents here, but which their political opponents might find useful before the end of this dispute, in handling hon. Members opposite. An instrument of this sort is a double-edged weapon. It may he used to-day against the spokesmen and leaders of the Labour party, and it may be used to-morrow against the spokesmen and leaders who to-day are looking after the capitalist interest. I ask the House to reject Regulation 34 as being an abomination in the eyes of anyone who had any regard for British freedom.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
I beg to second the Amendment.
I oppose this Regulation, and do so for several reasons including the fact that I do not think these regulations are necessary. After the deliberate misrepresentations that we have had from the Attorney-General to-night I do not think the Government are fit to be entrusted with the power that they already have, to say nothing of increasing it.
§ Question put, "That those words he there inserted."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 67; Noes, 307.581
|Division No. 215.]||AYES.||[11.7 p.m.|
|Barr, J.||Hirst, G. H.||Richardson, R. (Houghton.-le-Spring)|
|Batey, Joseph||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Riley, Ben|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Jenkins. W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Bromley, J.||John, William (Rhondda, west)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Buchanan, G.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Charleton, H. C.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Clime, W. S.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Compton, Joseph||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Connolly, M.||Kelly, W, T.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Kennedy, T.||Sullivan, J.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Kirkwood. D.||Taylor, R. A.|
|Duncan, C.||Lawson, John James||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Dunnico, H.||Lowth, T.||Varley, Frank B.|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Lunn, William||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermilne)|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Mackinder, W.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Greaten, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Groves, T.||MacNeill-Weir, L.||Whiteley, W.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Maxton, James||Williams. T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Oliver, George Harold||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Hardie, George D.||Palin, John Henry||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Paling, W.|
|Hayday, Arthur||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Potts, John S.||Mr. Parkinson and Mr. Warne.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Briscoe, Richard George||Clarry, Reginald George|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Brittain, Sir Harry||Clayton, G. C.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Brocklebank, C. B. R.||Cobb, Sir Cyril|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool. W. Derby)||Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Brown, Brig. Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Cooper, A. Duff|
|Ashley. Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Buckingham, Sir H.||Casper, J. B.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Bullock, Captain M.||Courtauld, Major J. S.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Burman, J. B.||Courthope, Lieut.-Col. Sir George L.|
|Balniel, Lord||Burton, Colonel H. W.||Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islingtn, N.)|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Butt, Sir Alfred||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Cadogan, Major Han. Edward||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)|
|Beamish, Captain T. P. H.||Caine, Gordon Hall||Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Campbell, E. T.||Cunliffe, Sir Herbert|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Cassels, J. D.||Curtis-Bennett, Sir Henry|
|Bonn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drains)||Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Curzon, Captain Viscount|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish||Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt, R. (Prtsmth, S.)||Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Berry, Sir George||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Davies, Dr. Vernon|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Davies, David (Montgomery)|
|Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Chamberlain. Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)|
|Blundell, F. N.||Chapman, Sir S.||Dawson, Sir Philip|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Dean, Arthur Wellesley|
|Boyd Carpenter, Major A.||Chilcott, Sir Warden||Dixey, A. C.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Christie, J. A.||Drewe, C.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Eden, Captain Anthony|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Elliot, Captain Walter E.|
|Ellis, R. G.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Elveden, Viscount||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Rice, Sir Fredrick|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Chls'y)|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Knox, Sir Alfred||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Lamb, J. Q.||Ropner, Major L.|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.|
|Fermoy, Lord||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Fielden, E. B.||Little, Dr. E. Graham||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Ford, Sir P. J.||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Rye, F. G.|
|Forrest, W.||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Foster, Sir Harry S.||Loder, J. de V.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Looker, Herbert William||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Lord, Walter Greaves||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Frece, Sir Walter de||Lougher, L.||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Sandon, Lord|
|Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)|
|Galbraith, J. F. W.||Lumley, L. R.||Shaw, R. G. (York, W. R., Sowerby)|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Lynn, Sir R. J.||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W.)|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|George, Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Goff, Sir Park||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Gower, Sir Robert||MacIntyre, Ian||Skelton, A. N.|
|Grace, John||McLean, Major A.||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Macmillan, Captain H.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Gretton, Colonel John||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Smithers, Waldron|
|Grotrian, H. Brent||MacRobert, Alexander M.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. (Bristol, N.)||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G.(Westm'eland)|
|Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Merriman, F. B.||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Meyer, Sir Frank||Story Deans, R.|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Milne, J, S. Wardlaw||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Hammersley, S. S.||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Hanbury, C.||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Strickland, Sir Gerald|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Harland, A,||Mansell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Moore, Sir Newton J.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Harrison, G. J. C.||Moreing, Captain A. H.||Sykes, Major Gen. Sir Fredrick H.|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Templeton, W. P.|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Haslam, Henry C.||Murchison, C. K.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Hawke, John Anthony||Nail, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Neville, R. J.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough|
|Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Boostle)||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.)||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Herbert, S. (York, H.R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Nuttall, Ellis||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Hills, Major John Waller||Oakley, T.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Pennefather, Sir John||Wells, S. R.|
|Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Penny, Frederick George||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple|
|Holland, Sir Arthur||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Holt, Capt H. P.||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||William, C.P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Homan, C. W. I.||Perring, Sir William George||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frame)||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
|Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Philipson, Mabel||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.||Pielou, D. P.||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Howard, Captain Hon. Donald||Pilcher, G.||Withers, John James|
|Hume, Sir G. H.||Power, Sir John Cecil||Wolner, Viscount|
|Huntingfield, Lord||Preston, William||Womersley, W. J.|
|Hurd, Percy A.||Price, Major C. W. M.||Wood, E. (Chest'r, stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midl'n & P'bl's)||Radford, E. A.||Woodcock, Colonel H. c.|
|Iliffe, Sir Edward M.||Raine, W.||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T,|
|Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Ramsden, E.|
|Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. F. S.||Rees, Sir Beddoe||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)||Mr. Fredrick Thomson and Captain|
|Jacob, A. E.||Reid, D. D. (County Down)||Margesson.|
|James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Remer, J. R.|
Bill read the Third time, and passed.
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ Sir JOHN SIMON
Although the hour is late—we have now reached the final stage, and we are invited to pass this resolution dealing with the regulations as a whole—I desire to ask the attention of 582 the House for a few minutes to one feature of the present situation which I think has received insufficient attention. We have all of us been so much concerned with the gravity of the crisis that one novel feature of it has not, I think, been appreciated 583 as widely as it ought to have been. We speak of the present disaster as a "general strike", and this general cessation of work is regarded by a great many people in the country as though it were merely a variety—no doubt more serious, widespread and threatening—of the strikes we have usually known. By referring to it as a "general strike", there has grown up in some quarters a belief that this situation is the same in character as previous strikes, though of course on a vastly greater scale.
If I may give an illustration which will appeal to everybody in the House, we speak of this situation as a "general strike" much in the same way as we speak of the last war as the "great war", because it is something of exceptional gravity and importance and suffering. But I wish to address this consideration to the House. When this disturbance is over, and when Parliament resumes its normal function, it will be very necessary to appreciate that this general strike is not a strike at all. It is something very different. I am not apportioning blame or praise; I am merely pointing out a most important fact. A strike, properly understood, is perfectly lawful. The right to strike is the right of workmen in combination, by pre-arrangement, to give due notice to their employers to terminate their engagements, and to withhold their labour when these notices have expired. That is what the right to strike is. When that happens, as it has sometimes happened—as it has often happened in the history of this country—neither the workmen nor the trade union leaders are breaking any law; and I hold, and I hope that at this time of day most people bold, that it is an essential part of the rights of the British wage-earner that he should have the right to strike, and that it never ought to be taken away from him. I am sure that those who really appreciate the character of British institutions will never wish to take it away from him. I cannot imagine a state of society in which it might be taken away from him, unless we reach a Socialist state. If that ever happened, as I pointed out in the Debate a year or two ago, nothing is more certain than that the right to strike would be Impossible, because, in a completely Socialist State, the right to strike 584 would be a claim to mutiny. But in society as we have it, and as it is likely to remain, the right to strike is a very precious one, which everybody who values British institutions should acknowledge and defend.
What I wish, however, to point out to the House, and if my voice can reach outside, I desire to point it out wherever I can, is that the Resolution which was arrived at at the Memorial Hall last week, or, at any rate, the decision of the Council of the Trade. Union Executive, to call out everybody, regardless of the contracts which those workmen had made, was not a lawful act at all. Every workman who was bound by a contract to give notice. before he left work, and who, in view of that decision, has either chosen of his own free will or has felt compelled to come out by leaving his employment without proper notice, has broken the law. He has broken the law just as much as the coal-owners would have broken the law if they had failed to give due notice to terminate the existing engagements of their men, and had attempted to turn them off on the 1st May without any warning. There. is no difference whatever, in this matter, between the law as it applies to the workman and the law as it applies to the employer.
As I have said, I am not saying this with the slightest desire to blame or praise, but it would be lamentable if the working classes of this country go on with this business without understanding that they are taking part in a novel and an utterly illegal proceeding. It is this feature of the general strike that constitutes its novelty. There may have been sporadic cases before, but this time it is part of a system. We have had serious strikes before, as we all know, hut a general strike proclaimed by leaders of organised labour which disregards all contracts of employment is a wholly different matter.
I am speaking not in the least in the language of threat, but purely for the purpose of being plain, but let this be observed. Take the case of the railwaymen. Most of the railway servants of this country serve under contracts which require that a notice should be given on either side. Every railwayman in that position who is now out in disregard of the contract of his employment is himself 585 personally liable to be sued in the County Court for damages. Let me point out another serious thing. Every trade union leader who has advised and promoted that course of action is liable his damages to the uttermost farthing of his personal possessions. I am not saying these things with the least desire to secure a cheer from one side or a protest on the other, but I feel it to be my duty, so far as I possess any power of exposition and explanation, not to fail, whatever the cost may be, to make this as plain as I can. I am not saying for a moment that action of that sort will be taken; I know nothing about it. But I point it out, because the fact that it might be taken is the plainest possible proof to any honest citizen that what we are faced with now is something quite different in character from any lawful strike. The fact that these proceedings could be taken against these tens of thousands of decent workmen, and against trade union leaders of great authority and position in the House and out of it, shows at any rate what a world of difference there is between a strike as hitherto understood and the general strike which is now proclaimed.
Let me give two illustrations to point the meaning and effect of this. It is a very common thing to find in the rules of a trade union—in the course of my professional life I have had to consider those rules on behalf of trade unions—a rule to say that if a trade unionist does not obey the orders of the executive of his union he forfeits his benefits. I am going to take the opportunity of making a perfectly dogmatic statement, on such responsibility as attaches to my experience and knowledge. Any such rule, laying down that a trade unionist forfeits his benefit if he does not obey the orders of his executive, means, and only means, that he may so forfeit those benefits if the order is lawful. It would be an intolerable position if any man forfeited his benefit because he declined to obey an unlawful order, and I think it cannot be too widely known, because many men are at this time deeply concerned to think that this demand has been made upon them, and that they have to choose between obeying it and losing their benefit. It cannot be too widely and plainly known that there is no Court in this country which would ever construe such a rule as meaning that the man would 586 forfeit his benefits if he is asked to do that which is wrong and illegal.
Let me take a second point. People talk about the Trade Disputes Act. It so happens that it was discussed in the House of Commons in the very first year in which I was a Member. That Act passed its Third Reading without a dissentient voice. Lord Balfour, then Mr. Balfour, who was leading the Opposition, made a speech which will be found in Volume 164 of the Parliamentary Debates of 1906. He stated his own view, end invited his followers to adopt and follow his view, that there was no ground upon which it would be proper for the Conservative party to resist the carriage of that Measure. Not a single Conservative Member of Parliament opposed it, not even Sir Frederick Banbury. What is the significance of that? It is this, that when Parliament passed the Trade Disputes Act and restored to trade unions the immunity of their funds which for 30 years had been assumed on all hands to belong to them, the situation with which we are now faced was not contemplated. That Act was carried through this House unanimously, on grounds which Mr. Balfour, as he then was, admitted to be grounds of argument that could not he resisted, that argument being that workmen had the right to combine, and had a right to strike, and that they are breaking no law, they are inflicting no wrong if they do so, and on that assumption it was a reasonable thing that funds which they had gathered and organised, largely for the purpose of benefit and relief, should not be exposed to the hazards of the Courts by mere accidental, unintended lapse, perhaps of a subordinate. I only have to state that to point out the distinction. I venture to say that it is quite certain that what Parliament had in mind when it spoke of a "trade dispute"—I am not discussing the legal technicalities; I am talking about the substance of the thing—what Parliament had in mind in 1906 when it spoke of a "trade dispute" and guaranteed immunity for trade union funds, was a strike of a. lawful character.
I apologise for keeping the House at this hour. I have said this because I am deeply interested in the protection, in the development and in the securing of trade union rights; I firmly believe that the free, fair use by organised Labour 587 of all its proper powers of combination is essential to the fair working of modern industry. I cannot conceal from anyone who is good enough to pay the smallest attention to my views that this proclamation of a general strike, from the point of view of the future of trade unionism, is a tragic blunder. What is the first thing it has done? At a blow, it has deprived the miners of this country— decent men, faced with a dreadful difficulty, in which they are entitled to receive, and did receive, the widespread sympathy of ordinary citizens—of a great deal of the sympathy that they thoroughly deserve. It has thrown the claim, the appeal, the case which they had, into the background, because we are faced with a perfectly new and most dangerous attack upon the community itself. It has put in jeopardy rights of organised Labour which for my part I want to do my utmost to protect and defend. The day will come when this struggle is ended in the only way in which it can be ended, when opinion—irritated, resentful, suffering opinion—will be proclaiming that we ought to make an immense invasion and reduction of the legitimate rights of organised Labour; and the people who are responsible for creating that situation are the very people whose duty it was at all costs to have told organised Labour in this country that a general strike was a very different thing from the trade dispute contemplated by Parliament.
I heard my honourable Friend, the Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) this afternoon in a most powerful and eloquent, though perhaps somewhat discursive, speech, make a quotation from a famous passage in a play of Shakespeare. An hon. Gentleman below me thought it came from the poet Burns. That was because he mistook the Doric accent in which the passage was declaimed for the well of English undefiled from which the orator drew his inspiration. It was the famous speech of Isabella in "Measure for Measure" about "Man, proud Man, drest in a little brief authority." I wonder whether the hon. Member for Dumbarton (Mr. Kirkwood) remembers the lines which immediately precede the passage he quoted. They are very apposite to this situation. They convey a warning which should be 588 heard. Immediately before Isabella deplores the conduct that "makes the angels weep," she exclaimsO, it is excellentTo have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannousTo use it like a giant.The real question here, which all of us who are honestly sympathetic with British labour are bound in good faith to put to all who control it, is this. Do you not realise that, what you are doing with your immense organised power is this—you are abusing the power which the community gave you, and unless you are careful there may be a terrible reaction.
It is the duty of every Liberal, of every fair-minded man, to remember that when that reaction comes we must protect and secure and preserve the legitimate rights of organised labour.
I saw in the issue of the "British Gazette" this morning a telegram from Rome which announces that the Italian people, living under the dispensation which we know, are watching events in this country, and this view is attributed to them that these events are "accepted in Italy as a proof that the old Parliamentary regime has passed in the march of modern historical conditions." I think that is a mistake. I think it will appear that at any rate in his country the old Parliamentary regime has not passed, for it is Parliament. which will settle this business in the end. It is with no desire to utter threats or reproaches, or any want of sympathy with underpaid wage-earners, but because I have the deepest conviction that it is the duty of Liberals like myself to speak like this, that I beg those who have authority in the ranks of organised Labour to-day to realise that they are putting in jeopardy the most sacred possession of the wage-earners of this land, and that they are making it more difficult to preserve in the future those rights to which labour is legitimately entitled. Negotiations must be resumed: who would not wish them to be promoted and to succeed? But, whatever the cause or the excuse, those who have called the general strike have this responsibility—that they have committed hundreds and thousands of decent labouring men to a crusade which must end in failure, and which is in danger of setting back the useful peaceful progress of the working classes of this country, it may be for a generation.
§ Sir PATRICK FORD
It is rather difficult to intervene at this hour, especially after such a speech as we have just listened to, but I get up because I have one point of view I want strongly to put. We are all perfectly satisfied in this House that if this emergency goes on the. Government must be equipped with the powers sought for in these Regulations. But I would suggest that perhaps this emergency would not have arisen if a certain course of action had been taken. I know the people of this country, and I know the people of Scotland even better, and I am perfectly satisfied that as has been pointed out by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon), and as we all know, the Government is bound by the sheer weight of its forces and the opinion behind it to crush a general strike of this kind. But anyone who knows the psychology of our people knows that a mere victory by force like that, is not going to be a lasting settlement. Our people are such that no power will break them. It was our people, after all, who won the war because of that spirit. Any people in this country who think that they can break the workers of this country are entirely mistaken. The use of warlike terms on either side of the House is a menace to the permanent settlement of this question.
I would suggest, and I would really ask the House, as I am making a serious suggestion, that I should be listened to—I may be wrong, but I would suggest—that the Government, strong as it is, and supported by the people as it is, has gone so far in the suggestion for a settlement, but has not gone quite to the full length. As I take it, the Government has said: "If you will call off the general strike, we will resume negotiations." That is very fair so far, but I think that it is interpreted in the minds of hon. Members opposite as meaning: "Yes, if we call off a general strike and thereby appear to admit certain defeat, you will resume negotiations, but they will not be so liberal as they were before." I do not believe the Government would make that mistake. If the general strike were called off and the unconstitutional threat removed, the Government would be just as liberal in the negotiations. I only put this point of view on my own responsibility and 590 speaking with no authority, but for myself only—that if the Government would say: "Call off your general strike and we will resume the negotiations on the understanding that the Coal Commission's report is accepted by each side and that, in addition, in the transition period we may make up to the miners the loss of wages for, say, six months." I do not care who says "No." I believe that hon. Members opposite will be only too willing to accept that settlement. I put that forward in all earnestness because, at least, if it be not accepted we will have the country with us and the opposition is entirely unreasonable. If it be accepted, it means peace. It is no derogation from the Government's prestige, if they make the offer; it is no derogation from the other side's prestige if they accept it. It is not a question of saving the face of the Government or saving the face of the Opposition. The thing is to come to a decision now which we are bound to come to later, after the industry of the country has been ruined —and the only people who can rejoice at that eventuality are our enemies abroad. I make this appeal—that the proposition I have put forward should have consideration because I believe that in it is the germ of a solution.
§ Mr. DUNCAN GRAHAM
I do not propose to take up the suggestion of the hon. Member who has just spoken, because nothing which I could say would be likely to influence the Government to change their attitude and I want to make it plain that I am not begging anything from the Government. I have been brought to my feet by more or less hypocritical pretences of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley (Sir Simon), who flung his challenge to the Members of the party with which I am associated and then left the House.
§ Mr. GRAHAM
I did not see the right hon. and learned Gentleman in his place. The party with which I am associated have had a fairly long experience of professions of sympathy from both the 591 historic parties in the State and if I were called upon to give my opinion as to the merits of the cases that have been put by the two previous speakers, then although I abominate the name of a Tory, I would prefer to east in my lot with my countryman the hon. Member for North Edinburgh (Sir P. Ford) rather than adopt the hypocritical pretences of the Liberal party.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I do not think that is an expression which may be used in regard to a Member of the House. I suppose such things may be said of parties, but they are not to be applied to an hon. Member.
§ Mr. GRAHAM
I am applying the phrase to the party. If I have used the term in an individual sense I withdraw it. I refer to the party as a whole. I can carry my memory back sufficiently far to be able to trace the descent of the Liberal Party from the position of the greatest party in the State to that of the miserable remnant which it is today. I have been a member of the Liberal Party and have worked for the Liberal Party. I remember when the mining divisions were largely represented by Liberal Members. I merely want to put in my protest against the unreasonably prejudiced statement made by the right hon. and learned Gentleman who knows a great deal about the law, but does not know as much about certain other things in life as some of the Members on these benches. A great deal has been said about willingness to make reasonable concessions if the general strike is called off. I would point out that this is not yet a general strike. There is a very considerable number of workmen being allowed to work. I have been long enough a Member of this House to take part in the last debate on a mining crisis, and I remember that the same expressions of sympathy were given. Everyone was bubbling over with sympathy. At that time the great demand was made that the safety men should be allowed to return to the pits. You will remember that in 1921 the safety men were withdrawn. You cannot say that any such action has been taken by the miners or the trade union movement generally this time. The safety men are still working, so that it is not a general strike. There are any number of occupations 592 working with the concurrence and the support of the Trades Union General Council. As to the benefits that some of the Members of the trades union are likely to lose if the law is carried out as laid down and which has been stated by the right hon. and learned Gentleman, the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) speaking for the Liberal party they will settle that for themselves. The main question to which I wish to draw attention is that the right hon. and learned Gentleman may know a great deal about law, but I profess to know a great deal more of the working of the collieries, and the conditions under which the miners are working and living than he does. I do not want any sympathy from him or anyone else. What I am asking for is fair play, and I want to drive it home that we have not got it.
A Commission was appointed in 1919, and they made recommendations. You have since had two Committees dealing with the question of the organisation. Then you have had this Commission appointed last year. Who were the members of this Commission? Liberal members boasted of the fact, that three of the members of the Commission were members of the Liberal party and the other one was a Tory—he certainly was not a member of the Labour party. I want to protest against the constitution of your Commission which was prejudiced from the very beginning. Anyone who cares to read the report must come to the conclusion that neither the employers nor the workmen know where they are. The Commission merely makes suggestions. I want to draw attention to one fact or at least to one statement that appeared in a daily newspaper—when the Commission's report was first submitted —owned by a colliery owner. The London "Sunday Times" had a statement from its political correspondent. I did not intend to speak here to-night, and consequently I have left the quotation from the "Sunday Times" in my bag in the maproom. But the statement is there made that when the Commission gave its report, and the original report of the Commission, the subsidy was to be continued: attention is drawn to the fact that there was considerable coming and going between the Commissioners and the Prime Minister and the other members of the Cabinet; and the statement is 593 definitely made that the Prime Minister influenced the Committee to change their Report, so that he might have—[An HON. MEMBER: "No."] You go to the "Sunday Times." The owner of that paper is Sir William Berry, and the Lord Chancellor is, or was, a writer in it. It. is a Tory newspaper, and the statement is made by its political correspondent, and if it is wrong, then the Tory party or the Government ought to see that it is contradicted. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] If the statement is correct, I think my right hon. Friend will agree with me that it impugns the whole character of the Government. The statement says that the Prime Minister—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I really cannot see what a statement by a Sunday newspaper has to do with the matter that we have now in hand.
§ Mr. GRAHAM
We are dealing with these Regulations, and the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Seen Valley was devoted largely to an attack on the Labour movement for having called a general strike, as he called it. He was not dealing with the Regulations at all. He was dealing in a general way, pretty much as I am, but if you say that I am transgressing the rules of the House I shall certainly abandon that line entirely, but I thought I was following much along similar lines to those taken by the right hon. Gentleman. It is a point that has not been raised in this Debate, and it has troubled my mind considerably since I read it. I would like to believe that, though the whole of the party opposite differ from us, they do so in an honourable and an honest way, and I can scarcely believe that they are honourable in their protestations if that statement be true. If the statement be not true, then, surely, it is the business of the Government to see that it is repudiated, or to see that some action is taken by the people who circulate statements of that sort coming from the Government's own side.
I only intended to enter my protest against the whole line of reasoning adopted by the right hon. Gentleman who introduced this part of the discussion. I do not agree with him at all. I do not agree that there is a general strike in the sense that he means. I do not believe there is a single man belonging to the 594 Labour movement, who is definitely connected with the Labour movement, who has the slightest desire to do any injury to the country of his birth, and I am one who knows something of the conditions under which the miners have been living. I have three men going out of my house to the pits every day, and I do not require to get the more or less superficial knowledge of the right hon. Member for Hillhead (Sr R. Horne) as to what are the facts in the mining industry, and when men get up and tell you what the wages are, they talk largely from statements that appear in the press, which are very considerably wrong, to say the least of it. I have a son working at the coal face, having to go six days a week to the pit, and six days down the pit, and only getting four days' work. Last week his wage for 4½ shifts amounted to 34s.—a full-time miner. I do not say that is the average wage. I would not be such a fool as to say anything of the sort, but I do say that the wage which the vast majority of the Members of this House and the middle classes generally outside have been led to believe is the wage is a manufactured wage by the Press of the country, largely owing to the employers and propoganda used purposely to create a feeling of dissatisfaction between different members of the community. The miners have the right to strike; that is admitted by the right hon. and learned Member for Spen Valley. But the railwaymen have the right to strike, too. In the Commission's report, there is the statement of the colliery-owners that they do not only ask for reductions in the miners' wages, but also for reductions in the railwaymen's wages. They couple the railwayman with the miner. So that surely, if the miners are entitled to strike to prevent worse conditions being imposed upon them than they have now, the railwaymen are equally entitled to strike. The other workers have been threatened in the same way. Au hon. Member opposite may shake his head as much as he likes, but the evidences are too complete, and have been too often stated. I have listened time and again in debates in this House where Members on the other side have been particularly anxious to get at the building trade. There is no general strike in the building trade or in 595 the engineering industry. There is no general strike in the mining industry, because all that the miners have asked is that the conditions should remain as they were, until the industry is reorganised.
I submit that it would be far more to the interest of the country if hon. and right hon. Gentlemen would apply their minds to the consideration of this problem more in the spirit of my hon. Friend than in the manner in which they have been conducting the discussion up to the present. There is no power in the House of Commons that can bring about peace in the mining industry under the conditions which obtain in the industry now, and there can be no prosperity in the country until the mining industry is put on a sound footing. We are not the people who object to economic re-adjustment of the industry. We have been demanding for years that the industry should be put on a proper and sound footing, and we know that if our industry were conducted, as it can and ought to be conducted, there would have been no need to waste the time of Parliament on these never-ending discussions of the mining business. In 1921 you settled the matter! You had not! But supposing you compel the men to go back to work you can only do so by sheer exhaustion. You can starve them into submission. That does not bring either prosperity to the country or victory to any section of the community. That is a long road to go. I want to put with all the power in my possession to the right hon. and learned Gentleman the points that the miner is as willing to render up his life in defence of this country as any hon. Member of this House. There is no man officially connected with the Labour Movement that would for a moment support any policy having for its object the destruction of any of the institutions that have been built up as they have by our forefathers. We love our country. We love her Parliamentary institutions as much as anyone here. We deplore these never-ending troubles arising in this industry. But do not look upon them as evidence on our part of unwillingness to face the facts, or to deal with the problem in the manner in which it should be dealt with.
596 I appeal to hon. Members not to allow passion and prejudice to creep in. That way we make no progress at all. I want to put it further to you that you cannot by a vote of this House send the miners back to work. Suppose you could? What would it mean? Prosperity? Will that ever be secured if the men are compelled to go hack to work with the feeling that notwithstanding the amount of sympathy that is supposed to be felt by everybody they were compelled to go back to live under exactly the same conditions, or probably worse, than those obtaining before 1st May. Is it to the interest of the country for the miners to see men in other industries contented and as happy as it is possible for men to be, and they not? We are not foolish enough to imagine that all men are gifted alike or are going to get equal returns for their labour. All we are asking, as an organisation, industrially and collectively, is that our men should be assured that after having worked, if they work or are willing to do so, they shall have sufficient earnings to enable them to maintain their wives and children, and those dependent upon them for seven days each week. My God, Mr. Speaker, that is not an unreasonable claim to put forward. If you meet, the miners' claim I can assure you that the General Council will be prepared to consider—I do not speak for the General Council—but I do know—if you deal fairly with the original cause of the trouble I believe I am correct in saying that you will find that the General Council and the men belonging to the great Labour Movement are not unwilling to render up the necessary sacrifices that will put this country on a sounder and more stable footing than it is to-day. But sacrifices will have to be made by others as well as by ourselves. Sacrifices will have to be mutual. And that means that on a question of this sort that there ought not to be partizan politics at all, that we should look upon this matter as one affecting the interests of the Nation as a whole. We have not done so; but I am glad that even at this late hour I have the opportunity of entering my emphatic protest against, the policy that has animated this House this week, particularly because it has been more actuated by partizanship than by a desire to find a solution of the difficulty.
That the Regulations made by His Majesty in Council under The Emergency Powers Act, 1920, by Orders dated the 30th day of April, 1926, and the 3rd day of May. 1926, shall continue in force, subject however to the provisions of Section 2 (4) of the said Act.