HC Deb 28 July 1927 vol 209 cc1574-601

Lords Amendment:

In page 4, line 9, after the word "works" insert "or carries on business."


I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

This is little more than a drafting Amendment, the purpose of which is to ensure that the language in Clause 3 of the Bill shall follow exactly the language in the corresponding section of the Trade Disputes Act of 1906.

8.0 p.m.


This time we can congratulate the Government on having moved an Amendment of their own. The learned Attorney-General says that this is a proposal to assimilate Clause 3 to the Act of 1906. He omits to state that the whole object of Clause 3 is to destroy the picketing section of the Act of 1906. Therefore, in that sense, why we should agree to limit such little liberty as is left to the picket under the Act of 1906, by agreeing to cover the whole area of the 1906 Act in this Bill, we do not quite see. As a matter of fact the position is this. Under the 1906 Act power is given peacefully to persuade others or to communicate information. Where there is violence, or threat of violence, that is already made illegal under the Act of 1875. This Clause says that even if you are endeavouring peacefully to persuade others, or to communicate information, if you are doing that outside a person's house, you are doing something which is calculated to intimidate—we shall discuss the whole meaning of intimidation in a moment—although that was already permitted under the Act of 1906. In this section the words "or carries on business" do not appear, and, therefore, in so far as we believe that this Clause is destroying the picketing section of the Act of 1906 we shall most certainly not agree so to assimilate the Act of 1906 that the whole of that Act will be destroyed. I agree that this is a small point, but, in so far as it exists, it is one of the safeguards still left to the picket. I believe my hon. Friends will certainly not agree with this Amendment.


I feel very grateful to the late Solicitor-General for bringing this matter before the House, although I do not agree with him, if I may respectfully say so, on one point, and that is where he says that this is merely a minor point. It seems to me that if this House agrees to this Amendment it will be a very grave decision. The Clause already says, where a person resides or works or happens to be"— and this Amendment proposes to put in the words or carries on business. I object to this Bill because, if it is worked as it is intended to be worked, it will prevent the intimidation of the blackleg at his home or at his work, but, if these particular words are carried, it means that no kind of picketing will be possible in any place where picketing is likely to be of benefit.


Hear, hear!


The hon. Member opposite says "Hear, hear!" That is an example of the total ignorance of the Conservative party. When a person, from the comfort of the Conservative benches in this House, with a comfortable home and comfortable income—as I believe is the case with most of our Conservative Members—calmly says "Hear, hear!" at the idea that picketing should be made illegal, it does really show an absence of understanding of what an industrial dispute is like.


Thank you.


I am glad the hon. Member agrees with me. Now we can get on. If you are going to stop picketing altogether you might just as well stop strikes altogether, and say that strikes as a whole are to be illegal. Instead of having all this circumlocution, why not merely say that strikes are to be illegal? If you are going to lay it down that, wherever a person carries on business, picketing is not to be allowed, that there is going to be no picketing of the employers' works, or in any place where a person happens to be, or where a person carries on business, then where on earth are you going to picket? This Amendment seems to make the Clause infinitely worse, although it was bad enough at the beginning. If it is carried, the whole industrial population will know that, although the Government does not propose to make strikes as a whole entirely illegal—it dare not do that, it dare not go to the country on that—it does say that it will make it as difficult as possible to carry on a strike in the future. The only strike which the Government considers legal is a strike where the workers cannot hope to win.

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. James Hope)

The hon. Member is basing a large argument on a very few words.


I hope I am not going beyond the confines of order, for, although the words are very few, I want to suggest that they are very important, and it is vital that, if we are going to have every type of picket in every possible place made illegal, even at this late hour most strenuous opposition should be offered to this Amendment to put these words into this Clause.

Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

The House divided: Ayes, 187. Noes, 107.

Division No. 308.] AYES. [7.39 p.m.
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Drewe, C. Lane Fox. Col. Rt. Hon. George R.
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Edmondson, Major A. J. Lister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip
Apsley, Lord Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington) Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J.(Kent, Dover) Elliot, Major Walter E. Loder, J. de V.
Atkinson, C. Ellis, R. G. Lougher, Lewis
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Everard, W. Lindsay Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Falle, Sir Bertram G. Lumley, L. R.
Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.) Ford, Sir P. J. MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Forestier-Walker, Sir L. Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Forrest, W. Macintyre, Ian
Berry, Sir George Foxcroft, Captain C. T. McLean, Major A.
Bethel, A. Fraser, Captain Ian Macmillan, Captain H.
Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.) Fremantie, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Macquisten, F. A.
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Ganzoni, Sir John MacRobert, Alexander M.
Bowyer, Capt G. E. W. Gates, Percy Makins, Brigadier-General E.
Brittain, Sir Harry Grattan-Doyle, Sir N. Malone, Major P. B.
Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks,Newb'v) Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter Margesson, Captain D.
Burman, J. B. Greene, W. P. Crawford Marriott, Sir J. A. R.
Burton, Colonel H. W. Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London) Meller, R. J.
Butler, Sir Geoffrey Grotrian, H. Brent Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.
Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)
Campbell, E. T. Hammersley, S. S. Moore, Sir Newton J.
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Hartington, Marquess of Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Murchison, Sir Kenneth
Chamberlain, Rt.Hn.Sir J. A. (Birm., W.) Haslam, Henry C. Nelson, Sir Frank
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Hawke, John Anthony Neville, Sir Reginald J.
Chapman, Sir S. Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Nuttall, Ellis
Christie, J. A. Henderson, Lt.-Col. Sir V. L. (Bootle) O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh
Clarry, Reginald George Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J. Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Clayton, G. C. Hills, Major John Waller Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William
Cobb, Sir Cyril Hogg, Ht. Hon. Sir D.(St.Marylebone) penny, Frederick George
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Hopkins, J. W. W. Perkins, Colonel E. K.
Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Colonel C. K. Perring, Sir William George
Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Pllcher, G.
Cooper, A. Duff Hudson, R. S. (Cumb'l'nd, Whiteh'n) Radford, E. A.
Cope, Major William Hurd, Percy A. Ramsden, E.
Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L. Hurst, Gerald B. Rice, Sir Frederick
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Jephcott, A. R. Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Crookshank, Cpt.H.(Lindsey,Gainsbro) Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Cunliffe, Sir Herbert Kidd, J. (Linlithgow) Rye, F. G.
Curzon, Captain Viscount Kindersley, Major G. M. Salmon, Major I.
Davidson, Major-General Sir John H. Kinioch-Cooke, Sir Clement Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset,Yeovil) Knox, Sir Alfred Sandeman, N. Stewart
Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester) Lamb. J. Q. Sanderson, Sir Frank
Sandon, Lord Thompson, Luke (Sunderland) Windsor-Clive. Lieut.-Colonel George
Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D. Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Savery, S. S. Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P. Wise, Sir Fredric
Shepperson, E. W. Wallace, Captain D. E. Withers, John James
Skelton, A. N. Warrender, Sir Victor Wolmer, Viscount
Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F. Waterhouse, Captain Charles Womersley, W. J.
Stanley, Lord (Fylde) Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley) Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich W.)
Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland) Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle) Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Steel, Major Samuel Strang Watts, Dr. T. Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Storry-Deans, R. Wells, S. R. Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (Norwich)
Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C. Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.
Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H. Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay) Major Sir Harry Barnston and Mr.
Templeton, W. P. Williams, Herbert G. (Reading) F. C. Thomson.
Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton) Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (File, West) Hore-Belisha, Leslie Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Ammon, Charles George Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose) Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bliston) Jenkins. W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Sitch, Charles H.
Baker, Walter John, William (Rhondda, West) Slesser, Sir Henry H.
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Johnston, Thomas (Dundee) Smillie, Robert
Barnes, A. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Smith, Rennie (Penistone)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Kelly, W. T. Snell, Harry
Broad, F. A. Kennedy, T. Stamford, T. W.
Bromfield, William Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M. Stephen, Campbell
Bromley. J. Kirkwood. D. Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Lansbury, George Strauss, E. A.
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Lawson, John James Sutton, J. E.
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel Lee. F. Taylor, R. A.
Charleton, H. C. Lowth, T. Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Clowes, S. Lunn, William Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Campton. Joseph MacLaren, Andrew Thurtie, Ernest
Day, Colonel Harry Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan) Townend, A. E.
Dennison, R. March. S. Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Becwellty) Mitchell, E. Rossiyn (Paisley) Viant, S. P.
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.) Montague, Frederick Wallhead. Richard C.
Gardner, J. P. Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Watson, W. M. (Dunfermilne)
Gibbins, Joseph Mosley, Oswald Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Gillett, George M. Murnin, H. Wedgwood. Rt. Hon. Josiah
Gosling, Harry Oliver, George Harold Wellock, Wilfred
Greenall, T. Palin, John Henry Westwood, J.
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Paling, W. Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Groves, T. Potts, John S. Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)
Grundy. T. W. Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton) Riley, Ben Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Ritson, J. Windsor, Walter
Hardie, George D. Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W.Bromwich)
Hayday, Arthur Scrymgeour, E. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Henderson, T. (Glasgow) Scurr, John Mr. Hayes and Mr. Whiteley.
Hirst, G. H. Sexton, James

Question. "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment," put. and agreed to.

Division No. 309.] AYES. [8.7 p.m.
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir Jamas T. Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London) Price, Major C. W. M.
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. (Bristol, N.) Radford, E. A.
Apsley, Lord Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Ramsden, E.
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover) Hammersley, S. S. Reid, D. D. (County Down)
Atkinson, C. Hartington, Marquess of Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Haslam, Henry C. Rye, F. G.
Barnston, Major Sir Harry Hawke, John Anthony Salmon, Major I.
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Headiam. Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Henderson, Lt.-Col. Sir V. L. (Bootle) Sandeman, N. Stewart
Berry, Sir George Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Sanderson, Sir Frank
Bethel, A. Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J. Sandon, Lord
Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.) Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Hills, Major John Waller Savery, S. S.
Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W. Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone) Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie
Briscoe, Richard George Hopkins, J. W. W. Shepperson, E. W.
Brittain, Sir Harry Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Colonel C. K. Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks, Newb'y) Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Skelton, A. N.
Burman, J. B. Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n) Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Burton, Colonel H. W. Hume, Sir G. H. Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine,C.)
Butler, Sir Geoffrey Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward Huntingfield, Lord Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.
Campbell. E. T. Hurd, Percy A. Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Hurst, Gerald B. Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Jephcott, A. R. Steel, Major Samuel Strang
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W.) Kidd, J. (Linllthgow) Starry-Deans, R.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Kindersley, Major G. M. Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.
Chapman, Sir S. Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Christie, J. A. Knox, Sir Alfred Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R. Templeton, W. P.
Clarry, Reginald George Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Clayton, G. C. Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley) Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Cobb, Sir Cyril Loder, J. de V. Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Lougher, Lewis Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman Wallace. Captain D. E.
Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips Lumley, L. R. Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Colman, N. C. D. MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen Warrender, Sir Victor
Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey,Gainsbro) Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart) Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Cunliffe, Sir Herbert Macintyre, Ian Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Curzon, Captain Viscount McLean, Major A. Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H. MacMillan, Captain H. Watts, Dr. T.
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Macquisten, F. A. Wells, S. R.
Davies, Sir Thomas (Clrencester) MacRobert, Alexander M. Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.
Drewe, C. Makins, Brigadier-General E. Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Edmondson, Major A. J. Malone. Major P. B. Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Elliot, Major Walter E. Margesson, Captain D. Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Ellis, R. G. Meller, R. J. Wilson. R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Elveden, Viscount Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Everard, W. Lindsay Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr) Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Falle, Sir Bertram G. Moore, Sir Newton J. Wise, Sir Fredric
Ford, Sir P. J. Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury) Withers, John James
Forestier-Walker, Sir L. Murchison, Sir Kenneth Wolmar, Viscount
Forrest, W. Nelson, Sir Frank Womersley, W. J.
Foster, Sir Harry S. Neville, Sir Reginald J. Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)
Foxcroft, Captain C. T. Nuttall, Ellis Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich W.)
Fraser, Captain Ian O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton) Woodcock. Colonel H. C.
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh Worthington-Evans. Rt. Hon. Sir L
Ganzoni, Sir John Oman, Sir Charles William C. Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Gates, Percy Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (Norwich)
Gower, Sir Robert Pennefather, Sir John
Grant, Sir J. A. Penny, Frederick George TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Grattan-Doyle, Sir N. Perkins, Colonel E. K. Major Cope and Mr. F. C Thomson
Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter Perring, Sir William George
Greene, W. P. Crawford Pilcher. G.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Charleton, H. C. Groves, T.
Ammon, Charles George Clowes, S. Grundy, T. W.
Attlee, Clement Richard Dalton, Hugh Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Day, Colonel Harry Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)
Baker, Walter Dennison, R. Hardle, George D.
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Duncan, C. Hayday, Arthur
Barnes, A. Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.) Hayes, John Henry
Batey, Joseph Garro-Jones, Captain G. M. Henderson. T. (Glasgow)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Gibbins, Joseph Hirst, G. H.
Broad, F. A. Gillett, George M. Hore-Belisha, Leslie
Bromfield, William Gosling, Harry Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)
Bromley, J. Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.) Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Greenall, T. Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)
John, William (Rhondda, West) Pethick, Lawrence, F. W. Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Johnston, Thomas (Dundee) Potts, John S. Thurtie, Ernest
Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Townend, A. E.
Kelly, W. T. Riley, Ben Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Kennedy, T. Ritson, J. Viant, S. P.
Kirkwood, D. Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W.Bromwich) Wallhead, Richard C
Lansbury, George Scurr, John Watson, W. M. (Dunfermilne)
Lawson, John James Sexton, James Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Lee, F. Shepherd, Arthur Lewis Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Lowth, T. Shiels, Dr. Drummond Wellock, Wilfred
Lunn, William Short, Alfred (Wednesday) Westwood, J.
Maclean, Neil (Glasgow. Govan) Smillie, Robert Wilkinson, Ellen C.
March, S. Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe) Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley) Smith, Rennie (Penistone) Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)
Montague, Frederick Snell, Harry Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Stamford, T. W. Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Mosley, Oswald Stephen, Campbell Windsor, Walter
Murnin, H. Stewart, J. (St. Rollox) Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Naylor, T. E. Strauss, E. A.
Oliver, George Harold Sutton, J. E. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Palin, John Henry Taylor, R. A. Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr.
Paling, W. Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby) Whiteley.

Lords Amendment:

In page 4, line 25, after the word "family," insert "or to any of his dependants."


I beg to move, "That this House doth agree, with the Lords in the said Amendment."

This is an Amendment which I think was moved by a private Member in another place, and it was received without opposition from any quarter. I think it was felt that there might be people who were dependent and still were not legally members of the family—for instance, an illegitimate child who was living with her father or mother or somebody of that kind. It was felt that it would be reasonable that there should not be allowed to be threats to injure such a person who was in tact a dependant, and, therefore, this particular dependant is to be treated as a member of his family.


If any proof were needed as to the absurd and ridiculous position in which the Government are placed under this Bill, it is to be found in this Amendment. In the first place, this well-considered, well-drafted, well-defined Bill, goes through this House and reaches another place, and no Member of the Government either in this House or in the other place thought this was necessary. Then some private Member says: "Ah! But these wicked trade unionists, there is no knowing what they will do. They are the real people. They will find out. They are so anxious that they will actually go to Somerset House, or some other place, and find out that there is an illegitimate child, and it will be the illegitimate child that they will be after in order to injure it." We will simply vote against this Amendment as another illustration of the absurd and ridiculous situation which has been brought about by the whole Bill.


The Attorney-General might have said a little more about this matter. The Lord Chancellor appeared to think that this wits a rather important Amendment because in another place he said in regard to it: I thought I should like to hear your Lordships' views about this. I cannot find any adequate answer to it, and I am disposed to accept it, but I must make the reservation that if a different view is taken in another place I must not be said to have given a pledge. That was following on the speech of Viscount Bettie of name who moved the Amendment and on a speech by the Earl of Halsbury who seemed dubious about the purport of the Amendment. The Attorney-General might have treated this House with a little more consideration and explained more fully why this Amendment has been accepted by the Government when the Lord Chancellor seems to think dial there might be a case against it.


We have had four months of wordy warfare in reference to this ridiculous Bill, and it seems to be a waste of energy and intellect to endeavour to persuade the Government of how ridiculous they are making themselves, even in the eyes of their own party. Even their own House of Lords is ashamed of the ridiculous character of this Bill. I do not think that even the House of Lords or the Attorney-General would argue that this Amendment applies only to illegitimate children. It would cover anybody who could claim relationship—the sisters and the cousins and the aunts and anyone who could in any way be described as dependent upon the man concerned. I am not so grateful as my right hon. Friend who spoke earlier, for the sop thrown to Cerberus, but, as I say, it is a waste of breath to talk about the matter, and I merely wish to enter my protest and to point out that in endeavouring to remedy the effects, of their colossal ignorance of trade union conditions, the Government are only landing themselves deeper into the mire.


These words give me the feeling that the purpose behind this Measure is being widened. Supposing a workman comes from Glasgow to Acton and starts work there. Supposing a strike takes place in Acton, and that he continues work there, while his wife and family are in Glasgow. If news of the strike reaches the district where the wife and family live, and if someone should seem to scowl at the wife or the members of the family, will these words apply? Or supposing the man's grandfather happens to be living at Rothesay or some other place like that, and the old gentleman feels that someone has scowled at him, will such a case come within the meaning of these words? Is it the intention that these words should include anyone not related to the man who may be staying with him? We have many cases of people living in the same house between whom there is no relationship at all. Under present housing conditions both in Iondon and Glasgow, we find many cases where several families occupy one house. Do these words mean that all the people in such a household would be counted as dependants—because a previous Amendment has made it quite clear that wherever a workman is to be found, and whoever are his dependants, all are to be included under this Measure?

Is it then to be understood that intimidation may take place in reference to every dependant concerned, whatever the circumstances may be? I know a man who is working in London and a strike is threatened in his trade. His wife and family live in Glasgow. He has a brother who is in a fairly good position, and who provides a house for the wife and family. Are the members of that family dependants of the man working for wages here in London or are they dependants of the more well-to-do brother who pays the rent and taxes of the house in which they live, or is the responsibility divided between the two brothers? The Government are adopting every fiendish argument that it is possible for human devilment to think out, and I hope the Attorney-General will give us some light upon the question of whether these words apply to the cases I have cited.


I wish to add my protest against the insertion of these words in the Bill. One might think that Members in another place had tremendous foresight in raising this matter and I think the original Mover of the Amendment must have been thinking about the discussion earlier to-day when the Home Secretary answered a question with regard to a man who was not satisfied with his own wife and who took another woman. Presumably it is thought in another place that a man might not be satisfied to live at home with his wife but might have another woman dependant upon him and that she might be looked at askance during a strike. The second woman might turn out to be rather contrary as in the case about which the Home Secretary answered today, where the woman went away and left the man, who was so upset about it that he destroyed himself. All this shows what those in another place know about trade unionists. I have been wondering also about the case of a man who keeps fowl or rabbits which are dependent upon his earnings. During a strike, someone might look at the rabbits of the fowl and I think the rabbits and the fowl might have been added in these words. The proposals have been made so ridiculous already that it would be no harm to continue the process a little further. He might also have a dog, and he, might look rather askance t that dog if the man was out on strike, especially if the dog came out into the roadway anywhere near where the picket was going by. Naturally he would look very carefully and not give it a pleasant look, and that would be something for them to take to Court to interpret whether he had or had not done something wrong. The statement made by the hon. Member for Leith (Mr. E. Brown) goes to show that the Lord Chancellor himself thought the Amendment was a bit ridiculous, but he came to the conclusion, apparently, that it did not matter, and that if they sent it back, the other House would accept it and swallow it as though it were good, substantial stuff to put into the Bill.


I also want to enter my protest against the insertion of these words. The Bill originally was bad enough, and this Clause was bad enough when it left this House, but it is only what we might have expected that when it came back from the other place it would be worse still, because there is no question that these Amendments stamp the other place as being merely the saloon bar of the Conservative club. Whatever the Conservative club says has to be, the other place is willing to carry out. The Attorney-General says that these words were inserted as moved by a private Member in the other place. It is no use trying to put the blame on a private Member, because it is the Government representatives in the other House who are to blame. I wonder what is the object of the Government in accepting these Amendments? In the Committee stage in the other House one Amendment was accepted, and the Government made them reject it on the Report stage, which shows that in the other place they just have to do what the Government tell them to do. What was the object of putting in these words? Was it to make this Clause more ridiculous than it was, or was it to make it more vicious? My own opinion is that the intention was to make this Clause Lore vicious and more bitter towards the trade unionists of this country than it was before.

This Clause makes picketing absolutely impossible, and in that sense the Attorney-General strikes a blow at the primary strike. He makes the primary strike impossible because he makes picketing impossible. But it is not merely with pickets that this Clause deals. It deals with any member of a trade union acting on behalf of a trade union, and if any member of a man's family or any of his dependants have an apprehension of injury from any member of a trade union, they can take action, and that trade union member can be sent to prison for three months. I had a case put one day at one of the public meetings which I was addressing, when it was said, "Suppose an official of a trade union was going down a street, and he was cross-eyed, and suppose he met one of these individuals coming along the street and did not look straight at that individual? Could this particular individual complain of an apprehension of injury because he had met a trade union official who had not looked him straight in the face?"


The observations of the hon. Member would seem appropriate to the next Amendment.


I was saying that this Amendment, in my opinion, makes this Clause more vicious and shows the bitter Tory mind towards trade unionists. The words "any member of his family," that were in before, were bad enough, but the Government are now adding the words "or any of his dependants," and the Attorney-General says that that means if a man has illegitimate children. That simply makes it far more ridiculous than it was before. It might be said of a lot of trade unionists that their dog was dependent upon them, and I wonder whether the Attorney-General would go a little further than he has gone and try to define what, after all, is the real meaning of this word "dependant." Does it include a man and his dog? That is just as sensible a the meaning which the Attorney-General has already given. We condemn this Bib altogether. We consider that this was a bitter, bad, vicious Clause before, but that the inclusion of these words just shows how far the Tories are prepared to go in order to push the working classes further down into poverty.


There is a further reason why this Amendment ought not to be accepted. In the Bill there is a definition of a strike and of a lock-out, and, of course, we all know what a man's family is, but there is no one here who can properly define what is meant by a dependant. There will be no definition in this Bill of a dependant, and I submit that what the hon. Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey) has already pointed out must be accepted. It could be proved quite well that a horse was a dependant of an individual. We have recently read of the death of a man who owned a number of horses, which had to be sold, as they were dependent on him. There is no doubt that pet animals kept by individuals very often have to be sold when their owners die, and, therefore, they may be said to have been dependants. It might improve this Amendment if the Government had gone to the Old Testament, where you get the Ten Commandments, one of which lays down certain definite instructions, to this effect: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, not his manservant, not his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's, and it seems to me that what they should have suggested here is simply to have put in the word "picket." It would have been a vast improvement, for it would then have read: Thou shalt not 'picket' thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not 'picket' thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's. I submit that this would have made the Bill more understandable than it will be by putting in such a stupid thing as "dependants" without defining what dependants are.


I suggest to the Attorney-General that probably he has not considered what might be the effect on a perfectly inoffensive private individual of the insertion of this word "dependants." We all know how many private things may happen through the passing of any Act of Parliament, however carefully drawn, but when you are dealing with a Bill like this, drawn up so hastily, conceived in such malice, and then patched up equally hastily by a House of Lords to whom it was committed at the end of a Session, you may find, and with regard to this particular Amendment you will find, that it has very far-reaching effects on the perfectly inoffensive public. The Bill made it clear that its provisions related to people actually concerned in a dispute, the workers on strike, or locked out, the pickets, the employers, and the Government. They were made clear as the people actually concerned. Of course, the strikers or the pickets would be the only persons who could be proceeded against. We have had it very definitely from the Attorney-General that anything that may bring a man into ridicule or contempt may be regarded as evidence under this Bill. I presume that when the Attorney-General framed the Measure he did definitely intend that it would only be a striker or a picket who was committing an offence. I ask the Attorney-General to consider what would be the effect of inserting this word "dependants." Let us suppose that two persons are having a hot argument about a strike in a neighbouring public-house, one man defending the strike and the other man defending the employer. As far as the man who is defending the employer is concerned, he is merely having an argument with an ordinary member of the public and nothing that he says is any offence under this Act. Then suppose that the other man turns round and uses abusive language. The man who is defending the employer may then call in a policeman and may say: "I want to give this man in charge because I am the dependant of a striker and because he is using words against me" That clearly would be a case under this Trade Disputes Bill.

I want the Attorney-General to imagine the point. You cannot put a man in gaol so long as he keeps within the bounds of decent language for anything he says to an ordinary citizen during a dispute. At least you cannot do so at present, though I have no doubt that if the Mussolini-like propensities of the Attorney-General are allowed full play, it will not he long before we get to that stage. But as the law stands at present you cannot prosecute a man because in the heat of an argument with another ordinary citizen he says bitter and abusive things or even threatening things—well, there are fairly wide limits under the common law as to what a man may say. Under this Bill, however, there are few things indeed that you may say at a time of a strike to anyone who is remotely connected with it. You will be able to prosecute a man who uses what we should call "firm language"—I am not saying improper language. You cannot proceed against him if he is using that language to an ordinary citizen, but you can immediately proceed against him and put him into gaol for three months if he uses that language to anybody remotely connected with the strike, if the latter man can say, "Ah, but this man did know I was connected with the strike; I am a member of the family of a striker"—a son, a brother or a father, and so on. It could be said that the man was not innocent because although he might not know all the ramifications of the relationship it could be assumed that the relationship was known; but now that we are introducing "dependants" the Attorney-General must see how enormously the field is widened. So long as the man making the complaint can show any kind of dependency, the other man becomes liable to three months in gaol.

Earlier this afternoon we discussed a very sordid matter, which makes one realise in what danger the ordinary citizen is placed by our present Home Office. Despite the Home Secretary's refusal to give us any information with regard to his use of spies over certain sections of the workers' movement, his very hesitancy, his very words, made it clear that the unfortunate man did act as a spy upon a certain section of the workers' movement.


I must ask the hon. Lady to establish the connection between these remarks and the insertion of the word "dependants."


I think I can establish the relationship. Those of us who have had any part in strikes of any importance know, as a matter of fact, that agents-provocateurs are used by this Government during a strike. Everybody knows that during the recent miners' dispute, in certain areas, notably in South Wales, the strikers' organisations did have police spies amongst them. The point I want to make is that a Government anxious to trap certain individuals who were regarded as of some importance hut were not making public speeches might take steps to involve them in an argument. A police spy obviously cannot claim relationship with a man, because that is a matter of evidence and

he would have to produce evidence of relationship—a birth certificate perhaps—but when it is a question of dependency there would be nothing so easy as for the police spy to produce in Court evidence that he was receiving an allowance from one of the strikers or one of the men locked out—one of the parties to the dispute. That would establish dependency, and then this man, who had thought he was discussing the dispute with an ordinary member of the public, might find himself liable to be put into gaol because, in fact, he had been discussing it with someone who had an undisclosed private relationship with someone connected with the strike. The Attorney-General smiles.

While that may not happen if the police do not want it to happen, it would be the easiest thing in the world for the police to arrange for if they did want it to happen. If the Attorney-General wants evidence of that may I remind him of a case discussed in this House which is exactly parallel with what I am putting forward. That was a case in which Mr. Bolton, chairman of the urban district council in the Chopwell area, and Mr. Will Lansher, a member of the executive of the Labour party, were in a public-house and a man who for all they knew was a private citizen, but was in fact a plain clothes policeman, entrapped them into making statements, and they got two months in gaol. By bringing in this word "dependant" it is possible not only to bring strikers within the law but also private citizens, because the question of dependency is very vague. By inserting this Amendment the House of Lords have vitiated any claim they may have to be a revising Chamber in the public interest; what they have shown is that where the Conservative party is as bad as it can be the Lords are prepared to go even one worse.

Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

The House divided: Ayes, 198: Noes, 119.

Division No. 310] Ayes. 8.47 p.m.
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Atkinson, C Bellairs, Commander Cariyen W.
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Balfour, George (Hampstead) Bean, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)
Apsley, Lord Barclay-Harvay, C. M. Berry, Sir George
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover) Barnston, Major Sir Harry Bathel, A.
Betterton, Henry B. Hawks, John Anthony Reid, D. D. (County Down)
Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.) Headlam, Lieut. -Colonel C. M. Rentoul, G. S.
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Henderson, Lt.-Col. Sir V. L. (Bootle) Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Briscoe, Richard George Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J. Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth).
Brittain, Sir Harry Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Rye, F. G.
Brown, Brig. -Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y) Hills, Major John Walter Salmon, Major I.
Burman, J. B. Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone) Sandeman, N. Stewart
Burton, Colonel H W. Hopkins, J. W. W. Sanderson, Sir Frank
Butler, Sir Geoffrey Howard-Bury, Lieut. -Colonel C. K. Sandon, Lord
Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward Hudson. Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.
Campbell, E. T. Hudson, R. S. (Cumberland, Whiteh'n) Savery, S, S.
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Hume, Sir G. H. Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis Sheffield, Sir Berkeley
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Hunter-Weston, Lt. -Gen. Sir Aylmer shepperson, E. W.
Chapman, Sir S. Huntingfield, Lord Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Charteris, Brigadier-General J. Hurd, Percy A. Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belf'st.)
Christie, J. A. Hurst, Gerald B. Skeiton, A. N.
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Jephcott, A. R. Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Clarry, Reginald George Kidd, J. (Linlithgow) Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Clayton, G. C. Kindersley, Major G. M. Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Cobb, Sir Cyril Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A D. Knox, Sir Alfred Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Cockerill, Brig. -General Sir George Lamb, J. Q. Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)
Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R. Steel, Major Samuel Strang
Colman, N. C. D. Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon, Sir Philip Storry-Deans, R.
Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick) Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley) Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.
Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro) Loder, J. de V. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Cunliffe, Sir Herbert Lougher, Lewis Sykes, Major-Gen, Sir Frederick H.
Curzon, Captain Viscount Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman Templeton, W. P.
Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H. Lumley, L. R Thom, Lt. -Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovli) MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester) Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart) Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Drewe, C. Macintyre, Ian Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-
Edmondson, Major A. J. McLean, Major A. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington) Macmillan, Captain H, Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Elliot, Major Walter E. Macquisten, F. A. Wallace, Captain D. E.
Ellis, R. G. MacRobert, Alexander M. Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Elveden, Viscount Makins, Brigadier-General E. Warrender, Sir Victor
Everard, W. Lindsay Malone, Major P. B. Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Falle, Sir Bertram G. Margesson, Captain D. Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otiey)
Fermoy, Lord Meller, R. J. Watson. Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Fleiden, E. B. Merriman, F. B. Watts, Dr. T.
Ford, Sir P. J. Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M. Wells, S. R.
Forestier-Walker, Sir L. Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr) Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.
Forrest, W. Moore, Sir Newton J. Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Foster, Sir Harry S. Morrison H. (Wilts, Salisbury) Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Foxcroft, Captain C. T. Murchison, Sir Kenneth Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Nelson, Sir Frank Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Ganzonl, Sir John Neville, Sir Reginald J. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Gates, Percy Nuttall, Ellis Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Gower, Sir Robert O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton) Wise, Sir Fredric
Grant, Sir J. A. O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh Withers, John James
Grattan-Doyle, Sir N. Oman, Sir Charles William C. Wolmer, Viscount
Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William Womersley, W. J.
Greene, W. P. Crawford Pennefather, Sir John Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)
Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London) Perkins, Colonel E. K. Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich W.)
Grotrian, H. Brent Perring, Sir William George Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Hacking, Captain Douglas N. Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Hammersley, S. S. Pilcher, G. Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Hartington, Marquess of Price, Major C. W. M. Young, Ht. Hon. Sir Hilton (Norwich)
Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington) Radtord, E. A.
Haslam, Henry C. Ramsden, E. TELLERS FOR THE AYES. —
Major Cope and Mr. Penny.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Charleton, H. C. Greenail, T.
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Clowes, S. Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)
Ammon, Charles George Cluse, W. S Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)
Attlee, Clement Richard Compton, Joseph Groves, T.
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bliston) Dalton, Hugh Grundy, T. W.
Baker, Walter Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Day, Colonel Harry Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)
Barnes, A. Dennison, R. Hardie, George D.
Batey, Joseph Duncan, C. Hayday, Arthur
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Dunnico, H. Hayes, John Henry
Broad, F. A. Evans, Capt. Ernest (Weish Univer.) Hirst, G. H.
Bromfield, William Gardner. J. P. Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)
Bromley, J Garro-Jones, Captain G. M. Hore-Belisha, Leslie
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Gibbins, Joseph Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Gillett, George M. Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)
Buchanan, G. Gosling, Harry Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)
John, William (Rhondda, West) Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Johnston, Thomas (Dundee) Potts, John S. Thurtle, Ernest
Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Richardson, R. (Haughton-le-Spring) Townend, A. E.
Kelly, W. T. Riley, Ben Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Kennedy, T. Ritson, J. Viant, S. P.
Kirkwood, D. Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich) Wallhead, Richard C.
Lansbury, George Rose, Frank H. Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Lawson, John James Scurr, John Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Lee, F. Sexton, James Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Lindley, F. W. Shepherd, Arthur Lewis Wellock, Wilfred
Lowth, T. Shiels, Dr. Drummond Westwood, J.
Lunn, William Short, Alfred (Wednesbury) Whiteley, W.
MacLaren, Andrew Sitch, Charles H. Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan) Smillie, Robert Williams, David (Swansea, East)
March, S. Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe) Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)
Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley) Smith, Rennie (Penistone) Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Montague, Frederick Snell, Harry Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Stamford, T. W. Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Mosley, Oswald Stephen, Campbell Windsor, Walter
Murnin, H. Stewart, J. (St. Rollox) Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Naylor, T. E. Strauss, E. A.
Oliver, George Harold Sutton, J. E. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Palin, John Henry Taylor, R A. Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. T.
Paling, W. Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby) Henderson.

Lords Amendment:

In page 4, line 26, leave out from the second word "injury" to the end of the Sub-section, and insert to a person in respect of his business, occupation, employment or other source of income, and includes any actionable wrong.


I beg to move, as an Amendment to the Lords Amendment, to leave out the words "and includes any actionable wrong."

This Amendment was inserted at the last stage of the Debate in the Lords, and I can foresee the gravest difficulties arising from the insertion of the words "actionable wrong." The House will remember that we are dealing here with an apprehension of injury; that is to say, if you cause in the mind of a person a reasonable apprehension of injury—and a person now includes his family and his dependants—that is intimidation within the meaning of this Bill, and is also intimidation within the meaning of the Act of 1870. "Injury" is now defined to include any actionable wrong. What does that mean? Obviously, it is not limited to the loss of any of his property, of his business, occupation or employment, or other source of income, but must include the fear of defamation. If it can be shown that a picket has caused, in the mind of the dependant of a person who wishes to work or whom he pickets, a reasonable apprehension that that dependant is going to be called something in the future which at some time or other will give him a right of action for slander, that is criminal intimidation within the meaning of this Clause. In other words, this Amendment restores the words "hatred, ridicule or contempt," which we discussed at such length at an early stage of this Bill. I am sure the Attorney-General will agree with me that "actionable wrong," including, as it does, a libel or a slander, would include any words tending to hatred, ridicule or contempt; so that all that this Amendment does is to put into one word the one thing which we understood was going to be taken out of the Bill. It is merely calling it by another name.

Who is to decide whether it is an actionable wrong or not? The picket is brought into Court, and it is said against him, "You have caused a reasonable apprehension that somebody is going to have inflicted upon him an actionable wrong. You have caused a reasonable apprehension that this person to whom you have spoken will at some future date bring an action for libel against you." Whether that wrong, if it be a wrong, is actionable or not, cannot be decided until the action is actually brought in Court. The man may raise the question of justification. He might say, "What I said about you was true"; or "What I said about you was privileged"; or, "What I said about you was not defamatory" or, "It did not refer to you"—all very interesting points to be decided in a law-suit for libel. But all this is to be decided in advance when a man is brought up on an accusation of intimidation under this Clause. And, of course, it does not end there. Any other kind of wrong, and there are thousands of them, might be the subject of a reasonable apprehension of an actionable wrong. I discover that in another place it was definitely admitted by the Government that these words "actionable wrong" were not limited to physical or proprietary loss, because Lord Halsbury took this very point, and said that the words were unnecessary. I do not want to quote what happened in another place, but it was quite clearly admitted there, and it will be admitted here, that the words "actionable wrong" here are not limited to any loss of property, goods, employment, or anything of the kind, and that a man's fear of being called an unpleasant name would be sufficient to bring it within the definition.

What does that mean? It means that if in a trade dispute a man has a reasonable apprehension that someone at some future time will call him a blackleg—not that he has been called a blackleg, but that he has an apprehension that he will be called a blackleg at some future time—if that apprehension is reasonable, it is intimidation. Whatever justification may be urged against extending the present law, which, I think rightly, limits the protection of the person picketed to acts of violence or threats of violence, there is no justification for extending it to libel. I want the House to realise that, at any rate in my opinion, we are restoring the words "hatred, ridicule and contempt." I believe that the hatred, ridicule and contempt which will result from this Bill will fall on the Government, and not on the pickets, but let us be quite clear. Although we are using another form of words, we are back exactly where we started at the Second Reading of this Bill. Therefore, in order that the Government may clear up what otherwise can be fairly said to be something not quite consistent with what I understood to be their policy at that time—namely, to exclude the words "hatred, ridicule and contempt" from the Bill—I submit that the words "actionable wrong" should be left out, and the protection definitely limited to fear of physical or proprietary wrong, without going into the obscure and uncharted regions of all actionable wrongs whatever.

9.0. p.m.


If I had known that the ex-Solicitor-General was going to move this Amendment, I should have suggested that it might be made considerably wider than he has made it. I should have suggested the deletion of further words, namely, the words "other sources of income." We are indebted to the other House for one thing, and that is that by their Amendment they have removed, at any rate, the ambiguous Clause on which there was so much controversy in this House during the Committee and Report stages; but, while they have removed the ambiguous Clause which contained the words "other than physical and material injury," they have done so at a price which has extended the scope of the old Clause, by adding the new words contained in their present Amendment. Let the position be envisaged of a picket approaching a man. In many industrial areas we have men who, while following their occupation, keep and maintain small businesses. I know of one case where the man follows his employment and he and his wife keep a public house; and we know of men who follow their daily occupation and also sell the produce from their allotments. If one of these men happened to be working during a dispute, and were approached by a picket, and the picket said, "Never again will I deal with you," then, under this provision which has been introduced by the Lords, because the threat if carried out would be interfering with one of the sources of the man's income, it would be competent for him to bring a prosecution against the unfortunate picket. We are all entitled to refuse to trade with anyone we choose, but in this case, if a picket makes that suggestion to a man who is at work during a dispute, and carries it out, he has a right to bring the picket to the Police Court, and the picket may on summary conviction be sent to prison for three months. I do hope that the Attorney-General will look at this matter from that point of view.

The other point that was raised by the ex-Solicitor-General was in connection with the phrase "any actionable wrong." This Clause sets out with great precision many things that a man must not do. He must not threaten, he must not strike or use bad language. These are phrases which are well understood by the average man who may be picketing; but, when you tell a picket that he is liable for any actionable wrong, it will be most difficult to convey exactly to his mind the limits of actionable wrongs. When this Clause was being discussed in this House, the Home Secretary laid it down time and again that the principal reason of the Government for inserting this Clause was to make the law clear to the average man. But I defy anyone to say you can convey to a picket adequately what an actionable wrong would be. I notice that in another place this matter of actionable wrong was dealt with by the Lord Chancellor on an Amendment bringing it all down to material, as distinct from moral injury, and the Lord Chancellor said: There are many actionable wrongs which are neither physical nor material injury, and they will come within this Clause. Would it be a fair assumption that if "actionable wrong" includes other than physical and material injury, we come back to the old words which the Lords have left out, namely, "other than physical and material injury," and include what the ex-Solicitor-General stated, namely, slanderous statements. I should be very much obliged if the Attorney-General would deal with that point.

As the Clause is at present drafted, the law is extremely unfair. If a man's income is assailed, the power to bring his assailant into the Police Court is certainly in favour of a man who is at work as against the man who is not at work. To give a simple illustration. Let us take two persons where a dispute is in progress, one at work and the other not. If the man at work is approached by a picket, who says, "I will have nothing to do with you. I will not trade at your shop when the dispute is over," he has a right to bring a prosecution against the picket because he fears loss of a source of income. But the Government say nothing of the blackleg interfering with the source of income of a man who is out in the dispute.


The hon. Member is now going beyond the immediate point before us. The only point before us is whether these last words of the Lords Amendment" and includes any actionable wrong," should or should not stand part of the Lords Amendment. We are not entitled at present to go back either to the other part of the Lords Amendment or to the original Clause.


I was trying to connect the actionable wrong and the loss of income and to show that it makes the Clause extremely unfair as it stands at present. If these words "actionable wrong" are voted upon and moved out of the way and I have an opportunity to speak at another stage, I shall be very pleased to do so.


If the hon. Member is connecting the two together, he can take them now.


These words, so far as Scotland is concerned, take us back some hundreds of years. We are now going to bring back the old days of the evil eye. Anyone casting an evil eye or suspected of witchcraft is going to be included. In many working-class districts there are working men who own small shops. Suppose a strike takes place, and the owner of a shop is a blackleg and gets in some rather bad ham and butter to sell. Is apprehension going to give the basis of an actionable wrong if people cease to buy his goods because they are not up to the standard? The position is quite clear when you take it in another phase. I know working men who own small motor cars which are used, especially on Saturday evenings, for going between certain villages. The owner of one of these cars may be working during a strike. If the people in the village who are on strike refuse to patronise these cars, will that be an actionable wrong? It seems to me, as in the last Amendment, that every element of evil in the legal mind, and the illegal mind, has been brought into play to try to make everything as humiliating as possible for the people who are fighting for a higher standard of living. An actionable wrong, as understood in Scots law, is something tangible. Apprehension is not tangible. If apprehension had been tangible, there would be no need for the words in the Bill. Here again is the whole of that evil mind expressed in trying to use words which make it possible for anyone sitting on the Bench to have full scope in order to wreak his vengeance. While most magistrates are unprejudiced, we have to face the fact that in industrial areas we have partisans on the bench everywhere, and these words are going to give them the power to wreak whatever vengeance they have in their minds towards those who are brought before them.

The Attorney-General has never yet dealt clearly with what is meant by "reasonable apprehension." Are we to include or to exclude the passing of one another on the road? One man may not look at the other. The other man will say, "He used to look at me as we passed. Now he looks away from me." Is it to become an actionable wrong? Are we to interfere with the thoughts of the individual? Are the Government going to establish a magistrate as a thought-reader to say what one man was thinking of the other when he passed him on the road. Are we not now going back 400 years, or perhaps more, in giving power to people acting in the name of justice to carry out every form of injustice that can be conceived by the Conservative mind?


I ask the House to reject the proposal of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for South-East Leeds (Sir H. Slesser) to omit these words. The hon. and learned Member began his speech by telling us he foresaw the gravest difficulties in these words "actionable wrong." Those who have followed these Debates through the various stages in this House will remember that the hon. and learned Gentleman has been full of the gloomiest forebodings throughout the passage of this Bill, and that he has gloomy apprehensions as to the effect on the Government. I can assure him that his apprehensions in the one regard are as unfounded as they are in the other. The hon. and learned Gentleman in discussing this Amendment referred to its history in another place. If he had studied that attentively he would have found, as I am sure most of the House will realise, that the Amendment which he is now seeking to alter was an Amendment which was introduced and accepted as a concession in order to meet the point which the Opposition raised that the original words were too vague in their language. The original definition was "'injury' includes injury other than physical or material injury." As that was too vague a definition, it was suggested, on behalf of the Government, on the Report stage, that the words which we are presently going to discuss should be substituted in order that that apprehension should be met. The hon. and learned Gentleman now wishes still further to limit the words by leaving out the expression that injury "includes any actionable wrong."

The illustration which the hon. and learned Gentleman chose, I think, was a singularly unfortunate one from his point of view. He took the case of a man who was threatened with libel and slander, and he said what, a scandalous thing that it should be possible for man to object to threats of being libelled and pilloried up and down the country. In his view, it is a fair thing to try to stop a man from conducting a lawful occupation by threats that if he continues with it, lies will be told about him up and down the country. Because the House will remember, that if you tell the truth about him, that is neither libel nor slander. I can think of few better illustrations of the sort of mischief which ought to be stopped than the coercion of some unfortunate man who wants to work by threats that he will have lies told about him wherever he is if he dares to go to work.

The hon. Member for Springburn (Mr. Hardie) gave us his somewhat gloomy forebodings as to the effect in Scotland, and he said that the evil eye of witchcraft might be threatened. He told us that by the law of Scotland only something tangible was an actionable wrong. I do not profess to be an authority on the law in Scotland. Fortunately, I have sitting near me someone upon whose opinion I can rely. (An HON. MEMBER: "He goes as far as Carlisle.") At any rate, he knows more Scottish law than the hon. Member who was talking about the evil eye.


The right hon. and learned Gentleman has misunderstood what I said. I said the whole of this was going to bring back what used to he known in Scotland as the evil eye. The right hon. and learned Gentleman misunderstood me, and I can vouch for the statements I made on facts related in evidence in the Courts of Scotland.


My right hon. and learned Friend the Lord Advocate assures me quite definitely that the evil eye is not and was not an actionable wrong by the law of Scotland, and, therefore, the threat of the evil eye in Scotland would not he covered by the words of the Amendment, because it would not be threatening an actionable wrong. The hon. Member was not much more fortunate when he said that an actionable wrong meant something tangible. A threat of violence is an actionable wrong.


May I point out that the right hon. and learned Gentleman in dealing with my hon. and learned Friend the Member for South-east Leeds (Sir H. Slesser) has just been pointing out the very reverse? What about your position now with regard to the meaning of the word "tangible"?


By "tangible," I mean something that can be touched.




Then the hon. Member will realise how entirely mistaken he is in supposing that by the law of Scotland or by the law of England only something tangible is actionable wrong. There are lots of intangible things which are actionable wrongs. I will give an illustration—a threat of violence: another one—a libel or a slander. This Amendment as it stands will not make anything an actionable

wrong which is not an actionable wrong to-day. The hon. Member can go on thinking what he likes of me, and he will not do me an actionable wrong. But all that this Lords Amendment provides is that if people threaten to commit actionable wrongs against other persons in order to coerce them, it shall be a penal offence. It is very much what was said by a famous Lord Justice some years ago that it visits certain classes of acts which were previously wrongs, that is to say, were at law civil torts, with penal consequences capable of being summarily inflicted. That is the purpose of the Clause, and I venture to think that in making the concession which the Government agreed to make in another place we went to the extreme limit of concession, and that people ought not to be allowed to try to coerce others not to exercise their legal rights by threatening actionable wrongs against them if they dare to undertake what they are legally entitled to do.

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

The House divided: Ayes, 206; Noes, 114.

Division No. 311.] AYES. [9.25 p.m.
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Cope, Major William Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick) Haslam, Henry C.
Apsley, Lord Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey,Gainsbro) Hawke, John Anthony
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J.(Kent, Dover) Cunliffe, Sir Herbert Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.
Atkinson, C. Davidson, Major-General Sir John H. Henderson, Lt.-Col. Sir V. L. (Bootle)
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester) Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Drewe, C. Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Edmondson, Major A. J. Hogs, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)
Berry, Sir George Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington) Hopkins, J. W W
Bethel, A. Elliot, Major Walter E. Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Colonel C. K.
Betterton, Henry B. Ellis, R. G. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)
Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.) Elveden, Viscount Hume, Sir G. H.
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft. Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.) Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis
Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W. Everard, W. Lindsay Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer
Briscoe, Richard George Falle, Sir Bertram G. Huntingfield, Lord
Brittain, Sir Harry Fermoy, Lord Hurd, Percy A.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y) Fielden, E. B. Hurst, Gerald B.
Burman, J. B. Ford, Sir P. J. Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)
Burton, Colonel H. W. Forestier-Walker, Sir L. Jephcott, A. R.
Butler, Sir Geoffrey Forrest, W. Kennedy A. R. (Preston)
Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward Foster, Sir Harry S. Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)
Campbell, E. T. Foxcroft, Captain C. T. Kindersley, Major Guy M.
Cassels, J. D Fraser, Captain Ian Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Knox, Sir Alfred
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood) Ganzoni, Sir John Lamb, J. Q.
Chapman, Sir S. Gates, Percy Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.
Charteris, Brigadier-General J. Gower, Sir Robert Lister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip
Christie, J. A. Grant, Sir J. A. Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Grattan-Doyle, Sir N. Loder, J. de V.
Clarry, Reginald George Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter Lougher, Lewis
Clayton, G. C. Greene, W. P. Crawford Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman
Cobb, Sir Cyril Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London) Lumley, L R.
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Hacking, Captain Douglas H. MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen
Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George Hammersley, S. S. MacDonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)
Colfox, Major William Phillips Harrison, G. J. C. MacIntyre, Ian
Colman, N. C. D. Hartington, Marquess of McLean, Major A.
Macmillan, Captain H. Rentoul, G. S. Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Macquisten, F. A. Rice, Sip Frederick Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
MacRobert, Alexander M. Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y) Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-
Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel- Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Makins, Brigadier-General E. Rye, F. G. Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Malone, Major P. B. Salmon, Major I. Wallace, Captain D. E.
Margesson, Captain D. Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham) Warrender, Sir Victor
Marriott, Sir J. A. R. Sandeman, N. Stewart Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Meller, R. J. Sanderson, Sir Frank Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Merriman, F. B. Sandon, Lord Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Monseil, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M. Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D. Watts, Dr. T.
Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr) Savery, S. S. Wells, S. R.
Moore, Sir Newton J. Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.
Morrison. H. (Wilts, Salisbury) Sheffield, Sir Berkeley Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Murchison, Sir Kenneth Shepperson, E. W. Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Nelson, Sir Frank Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down) Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Neville, Sir Reginald J. Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Univ., Belf'st.) Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Nuttall, Ellis Slaney, Major P. Kenyon Windsor-Cilve, Lieut.-Colonel George
O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton) Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.) Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh Smith-Carington, Neville W. Wise, Sir Fredric
Oman, Sir Charles William C. Smithers, Waldron Withers, John James
Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William Somerville, A. A. (Windsor) Wolmer, Viscount
Pennefather, Sir John Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F. Womersley, W. J.
Penny, Frederick George Stanley, Lord (Fylde) Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)
Perkins, Colonel E. K. Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland) Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)
Perring, Sir William George Steel, Major Samuel Strang Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) Storry-Deans, R. Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Philipson, Mabel Strauss, E. A. Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Pilcher, G. Sruart, Crichton-, Lord C. Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (Norwich)
Price, Major C. W. M. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Radford, E. A. Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Ramsden, E. Templeton, W. P. Major Sir Harry Barnston and
Reid, D. D. (County Down) Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton) Captain Viscount Curzon.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Hall, F. (York., W. R., Normanton) Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Rose, Frank H.
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Hardie, George D. Scurr, John
Ammon, Charles George Mayday, Arthur Sexton, James
Attlee, Clement Richard Hayes, John Henry Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Hirst, G. H. Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Baker, Walter Hirst, W. (Bradford, South) Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Hore-Belisha, Leslie Sitch, Charles H.
Batey, Joseph Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Smillie, Robert
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Board, F. A. John, William (Rhondda, West) Smith, Rennie (Penistone)
Bromfield, William Johnston, Thomas (Dundee) Snell, Harry
Bromley, J. Jones, J. J. (West Ham. Silvertown) Stamford, T. W.
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Stephen, Campbell
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Kelly, W. T. Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Buchanan, G. Kennedy, T. Sutton, J. E.
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel Kirkwood, D. Taylor, R. A.
Charleton, H. C. Lansbury George Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Clowes, S. Lawson, John James Thurtle, Ernest
Cluse, W. S. Lee, F. Townend, A. E.
Compton, Joseph Lindley, F. W. Viant, S. P.
Dalton, Hugh Lowth, T. Wallhead, Richard C.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Lunn, William Watson, W. M. (Dunfermilne)
Day, Colonel Harry Maclean Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Dennison, R. March, S Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Duncan, C. Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley) Wellock, Wilfred
Dunnico, H. Montague, Frederick Westwodd, J.
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Whiteley, W.
Gardner, J. P. Mosley, Oswald Wilkinson Ellen C.
Garro-Jones, Captain G. M. Murnin, H. Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Gibbins, Joseph Naylor, T. E. Williams Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)
Gillett, George M. Oliver, George Harold Williams, T. (York, Den Valley)
Gosling, Harry Palin, John Henry Wilson C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Greenall, T. Paling, W. Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Windsor, Walter
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Potts, John S. Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Groves, T. Riley, Ben TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Grundy, T. W. Ritson, J. Mr. T. Henderson and Mr. A. Barnes

Question, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment," put, and agreed to.

Subsequent Lords Amendment agreed to.