§ Captain GARRO-JONES
I beg to move, in page 7, line 15, to leave out the word "person," and to insert instead thereof the words "member of the union or unions involved."
Throughout the discussions on this Bill in Committee it has been found convenient to have a general discussion on the first Amendment. I propose, with the consent of the Committee, to pursue that course on this occasion.
That does not rest with me. It rests with the Committee to make use of their time as best they can, to raise points which are germane to this Amendment and such other points on subsequent Amendments as can be raised in a general discussion.
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
I wish to express my gratitude to hon. Members above the Gangway on this side of the Committee for saving me from being precipitated into a discussion of this Clause last night, for which I was not quite prepared. I have employed the interval in collecting cases, looking up Statutes and bringing them into the House, heavily weighted, with the corners turned down, and with one of my hon. and learned Friends ready to 404 be referred to as mentor on points of law. The Clause appears to be one purely for legal opinion and, no doubt, we shall have many hon. and learned Members attempting to discuss it purely from the legal point of view, but I am not going to attempt to approach it in that way. Something more important than law is laid down in this Clause, and it is the more important factors to which I shall refer. Since you have been good enough to say that a general discussion will be allowed, I hope, Captain FitzRoy, that you will allow discussion, not only on the extent of the wording of this particular Clause but will bear in mind that it is inexplicably connected with Clauses 1, 3 and 4. Power is given to the Attorney-General to apply for an injunction not only to restrain the application of funds in the case of a general strike, but to restrain the application of funds in contravention of the provisions of this Bill. Therefore, we shall find the Attorney-General in the position, if he believes that the political fund of a trade union is being utilised for objects which are not political, to apply to the Court for an injunction equally as if he thought that an illegal strike was about to be declared. That is going to stir up all the difficulties which we found in the discussion on Clause 1.
The moment the Attorney-General applies to the Court to find whether its funds are being properly expended on political objects or whether they are being expended on industrial objects, the whole question will be opened as to what is a political object and what is an industrial object. I am not going to reopen the discussion on that point. I only want to draw the attention of the Committee to the fact that the moment the Attorney-General applies, the whole question will be opened up, and it is a question which it is impossible ever to settle. Perhaps the people who have been most concerned with trying to make a clear definition between industrial and political objects are the headquarters of the Labour party. I am informed that they have attempted in the organisation of their propaganda to segregate political objects from industrial objects. They have made the attempt more than once and they have found it impossible to draw a dividing line between what is political propaganda 405 and what is industrial propaganda, and they have been compelled to revert to the old system, under which these two activities are carried on together. What has been found impossible in the case of people who have devoted most thought to the subject, is going to be found impossible by any Division of the High Court that may be called upon to issue an interlocutory injunction at a few hours' notice.
The Clause does not make it clear who is to be entitled to apply to the High Court, and it does not say to which Division of the High Court the application is to be made. It appears to me that employers threatened by damage due to a strike may under this Clause apply to the High Court, and they may brief counsel and pay them high fees and sustain them with refreshers from day to day in an attempt to persuade the High Court that any particular strike is an illegal strike, and all this time the country will be plunged into doubt and uncertainty. Even when the interlocutory injunction has been granted—which is an injunction which decrees that matters shall remain in statu quo until the main question has been decided by that or some other Court—what will be the prospect before the Attorney-General then? He will hold in his hand an interlocutory injunction, from either the Chancery Division or the King's Bench, which does not become a perpetual injunction until a Court of summary jurisdiction, under some other proceedings, has declared the strike to be illegal. Therefore, before valid effect can be given to the interlocutory injunction of one of the Divisions of the High Court, a decision will have to be made by two magistrates in a Court of summary jurisdiction. That appears to be an almost farcical proposition, and I hope the Attorney-General will tell me how he proposes to meet such a contingency. We shall, undoubtedly, have a dose of litigation the moment the Attorney-General thinks that any strike is inconvenient to the Government. We shall have the Attorney-General applying to the Chancery Division for an injunction, and we shall have employers, no doubt, applying to the King's Bench Division for an injunction, and we shall have other people bringing up before Courts 406 of summary jurisdiction all over the land people who are alleged to have committed an offence. Perhaps you have a dozen cases before the Courts of summary jurisdiction. A case will also be considered by the Chancery Division of the High Court and the King's Bench Division. Conflicting judgments will, no doubt, be given by each of these Courts, and the whole country will be plunged into utter and complete confusion. Does the Attorney-General think he will be able to get over that difficulty in any way?
I do not complain about this Clause merely on account of the legal confusion it is going to cause, but I believe the decision as to whether or not a strike is au illegal strike is a decision at which it is impossible for any Court logically to arrive. When we are dealing with these vast bodies of trade unions, with millions of men as members, and their relation to the State, we are coming into the field of constitutional law, and it is well known that in constitutional law definitions are very hard to make. In fact, it has always been said that the mainstay and strength of the British constitution are due to the fact that it is an unwritten constitution, able to bend and give before the variable circumstances of the day. If we were called upon to define what are, say, the royal prerogatives or what the relation of the Executive is to the judiciary, or what the relation of the Cabinet is to the House of Commons, we should be in the same difficult realm of constitutional law. My submission is that, where these great questions are concerned, it is far better and far safer to leave them unwritten, so that the State will know how to meet them in its own way when the emergency occurs.
We are not standing still in this country. I do not know whether, in 50 or 100 years' time, we shall have what is called the Socialistic State, when all employés, or a tremendous proportion of them, will be employés of the Crown. Where will this Bill be then? It will be absolutely obsolete, because the constitution of the country will have been completely changed; and an attempt to deal with the constitutional law now will be shown to be futile in the varying circumstances and changes which will undoubtedly come in the next few 407 years. I wonder-if this Clause had been on the Statute Book at the time of the last general strike—whether the Attorney-General would have gone to the High Court for an injunction. Supposing he had gone to the High Court for an injunction, and had secured it, and the strike had been declared illegal by two or three magistrates sitting somewhere in South Wales—retired colonels from the Indian Army or people of that kind, who, although very estimable gentlemen, have not the vaguest idea of law or statecraft, and who certainly should not be relied upon to give, a decision in a ease like this. Is it to be supposed that the general strike would have been stopped as effectively as it was stopped? Would not the people rather have relied on the existing machinery of the law, and said, "It is not necessary for us to rise against this strike, because we have all the force of the law, and the King's Army and the King's police, will be able to tackle it"? Although it lies in the realm of the unknown, I venture to think that the general strike would not have been stopped nearly as effectively, if this Bill had been on the Statute Book at that time, as it was stopped without this Bill. The general strike was condemned by the highest fount of authority. The people thought that their constitution was being assailed, and they rose almost unanimously to protect it. If this Bill had been on the Statute Book, they would not have felt called upon to take that unanimous action, and greater trouble and delay would have resulted.
One other suggestion I wish to bring to the notice of the Committee. Supposing, at some future time, the Attorney-General considers that a strike is inconvenient to the State or illegal under Clause 1. He goes to the Court for an interlocutory injunction. Does not the whole discussion of that strike then become sub judice? To what extent can negotiators attempt to settle the strike? Supposing the employers say, "This strike is illegal; you must go back to work; we will give you this extra inducement." Would they be entitled freely to discuss the questions involved, when the matter was sub judice? The Attorney-General has displayed great cuteness in deciding which questions he is going to answer. I hope he will select that one in his discretion. There is a 408 further one that I would suggest. At times of national crisis, the House of Commons has always been the great hope of the nation. During the general strike every effort was made by right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Opposition Bench, and, to a certain extent, I believe, on the other side, to secure some settlement by the intervention of this House. On that occasion the attempts failed, but that is not to say that in future they are going to fail, and what I want to know is this. The moment the Attorney-General makes application to the High Court, or somebody is prosecuted in a Court of summary jurisdiction, is the House of Commons to be muzzled? Are we not to be allowed to discuss a general strike because some proceedings come before a remote provincial Court, or even before the High Court? What protection has the House of Commons got against discussions in this House being entirely muzzled?
I happened to be reading, the other day, a report of proceedings in another place, and I noticed that one of the Marquesses of Salisbury—I think it was the third Marquess—stigmatised some Measure then before their Lordships as being more worthy of an attorney than of a statesman. I am not in the habit of using extreme language, but I notice that the Marquess of Salisbury was so upset by the offence which that gave to many attorneys that, a few days afterwards, he was found, according to the Report, withdrawing that statement as giving great offence to the attorneys. I say this Bill is more worthy of an attorney than a statesman. It has been conceived and drafted—including Clause 7—by three attorneys, Lord Birkenhead, the Attorney-General and the hon. and learned Member for Norwood (Sir W. Greaves-Lord). These are the three attorneys, without whom this Bill would never have seen the light of day. If only they could make their statesmanship overcome their legal proclivities, I believe this Bill would even now be withdrawn. Is it too late for the Attorney-General to admit that he has made a mistake, and to attempt to secure the postponement or withdrawal of the Bill?
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
We should be grateful for whatever measure of withdrawal we could get and, if we could get the Attorney-General to withdraw Clause 7, it would be something. He has great influence with their Lordships in another place. Many objectionable features have been shown in this Bill, but, as I am restricted in my appeal to Clause 7, I would ask if he would not use his influence with their Lordships to secure its rejection in its passage through the other Chamber?
§ Sir ELLIS HUME-WILLIAMS
I want to say a few words on this Clause, and they may be from the lawyers' point of view, which seems to meet with the disapprobation of the hon. Member who has just spoken. It is a good deal better for the Committee that the lawyers' points should be taken here, than that they should be taken, much more expensively, when the Bill is passed into law. I often observe in this House that, when an hon. Member has forgotten what he is going to say, or cannot think of anything else, or wishes to rouse a little enthusiasm, he generally says, "Thank God, I am not a lawyer!" I have not heard the expression as yet during this Debate, but I confess there have been occasions when I have felt inclined to join in the thank-offering. I have some doubt as to whether or not this Clause carries out the intention of the Attorney-General, which was so often expressed when we were considering an Amendment which I had the honour to move at an earlier part of this Debate. He then pointed out, on more than one occasion, that the real advantage of Clause 7 was that it would enable him to stop a strike before it had begun, instead of afterwards. I think everybody ought to be in sympathy with that. I cannot expect that hon. Members opposite will approve of the Bill, but, if the Bill is to be passed at all, and if strikes are to be declared illegal, and all the pains and penalties which this Bill includes are to be enforced, it would surely be desirable that the conclusion that the strike is illegal should be come to before it has begun instead of after. That would be in the interests of the community, of the strikers and of the Government of the day.
I have some doubt as to whether this injunction will enable the Attorney- 410 General to make an application before the strike has begun. Whoever was the framer of this Clause, at any rate, he knew what he intended, and put it into language we can all understand. The law at present is this. If there be an apprehended wrong, it can always be stopped by injunction before the wrong has occurred. If any member of the community is threatened with some wrong that is about to be done to him, and the Court is satisfied, on the application of the person who is threatened, that he is justified in his fears, the Court will restrain the threatened wrong. Perhaps the most common example of that is the restraint of the publication of a libel. It not infrequently happens that some madman writes and says, "I shall publish so-and-so about you, and broadcast all sorts of things about your character," and if the Court thinks it is really serious, an injunction is granted before the wrong has been done, instead of leaving the person threatened to any remedy that he may have afterwards.
Clause 1 provides that when a strike is illegal, it is illegal to commence, continue, or apply any sums in furtherance of such strike. Personally, I am quite unable to solve the problem of what it means to "commence" any sums. I should have thought the word "apply" would be quite sufficient; but what is clear in the Clause is that once an illegal strike has begun, you are not at liberty to apply any sums in furtherance of it, and that to do so is an illegal offence. Without this Clause 7 at all, there would undoubtedly be power to apply to the Court to restrain this threatened wrong. If it were quite clear that the people were going to break the provisions of Clause 1 by applying any sums in furtherance of an illegal strike, the Court could be moved by an injunction without this Clause at all, and I am a little afraid that, if such an application is made under this Clause, if the Attorney-General goes to the Court before a strike has begun and says, "I want to restrain a threatened payment of funds which will he illegal under Clause 1," by close examination of this Clause the Court might say, "What you have to prove is that the payments are being made 'in contravention of the provisions of this Act.'" If you look at "the provisions of this Act," you will find that it only says it is illegal to make these 411 payments after the strike has begun, and my suggestion to the Attorney-General is that the Court might say, "You are premature in your application, because you are not exercising your general right to apply for an injunction to restrain a threatened wrong, but you are applying for a special remedy under a special Section, and if you look at the Act you will find that all that you can do is to restrain the payment of funds which Clause 1 has made illegal," and if you look closely at Clause 1 it is abundantly clear that the payments are only illegal after the strike has begun. I, therefore, suggest to the Attorney-General that it would be worth while, if he really intends Clause 7 to operate, to add a few words to meet that point.
I think the Clause is of great importance, for a reason pointed out by the hon. and gallant Member for South Hackney (Captain Garro-Jones). What will happen under this Bill is that as soon as it becomes law, you may have simultaneous legal proceedings. The Attorney-General may apply for an injunction, presumably to a Court of first instance, to the Court of Chancery, and at the same time, under Sub-section (2) of Clause 1, the decision of police magistrates may be invoked. You may have these two applications made at the same time, and it is obviously desirable that the decision which is incident to an application to the Court of Chancery should be made, if possible, before any police magistrates might give their decision. I am sorry that some of the suggestions which I ventured to outline originally have not been considered worthy of inclusion in the Bill. I suggested that the application about the legality or illegality of a strike should, in the first instance, be made on that bare question alone, and be made to a Court of the highest competence, but as that did not commend itself to the Government, it is obvious that the decision will have to be arrived at under this Clause, and the first decision will still remain with the magistrates, because the Judge of the High Court will probably take some time before giving his decision upon such an extremely important point. In the meantime, summonses may be issued, over which there would be no control and for which there would be no fiat of the 412 Attorney-General required, and, consequently, they may be issued before the application to the Court of Chancery. I think these points are worthy of the attention of the framers of the Bill.
§ Mr. SHORT
The hon. and gallant Member for South Hackney (Captain Garro-Jones), who moved the Amendment, asked a very innocent question as to where this Bill might be if we had evolved or moved into a state of Socialism. I think I might answer that very easily. We, on these benches, are hopeful that much before that time we shall have a majority and sweep this Measure, with all its cvils, off the Statute Book. Though we are reaching an end to our discussions in Committee on this Bill, we are certainly discussing this afternoon a very vital Clause, which seriously affects the future action of trade unions. We are indebted to the hon. and learned Member for Bassetlaw (Sir E. Hume-Williams) for having brought vividly before the Committee, on a previous occasion and also to-day, the difficulties that might reasonably arise in connection with the application of Clause 7 in relation to Clause 1 and illegal strikes. He has told us that it may well be that declaration of illegality may come, not as a result of the action of the Attorney-General in seeking an injunction, but as a result of an application to some ordinary Police Court Magistrates, and that view was not contradicted by the Attorney-General when the hon. and learned Member made it some days ago.
In considering this Clause, we have to remind ourselves that it has relation to Clause 1 and illegal strikes, and it would appear to me that the Attorney-General is running no risks in this matter. He has found it extremely difficult to define in clear and precise language what an illegal strike is. He has grave doubts; he knows that the vast majority of the citizens involved in strikes will also have grave doubts; and, in his Second Reading speech, he indicated that there would be legal and illegal strikes, that there would be border-line strikes, and that someone would have to decide which were legal and which were illegal. He is going to obtain a power to go into Court to seek an injunction, and the very nature of the application will 413 in itself prejudice the threatened action of the workers concerned. This Clause is a demonstration of Parliament's inability to define in clear language what illegal strikes are. The Clause, 1 understand, will leave the legal position of members of trade unions as it exists to-day, but, in addition, it will give power to the Attorney-General to seek an injunction. We have been told that Clause 1, which deals with illegal strikes, is really to obviate any future general strikes in this country. The hon. and learned Member for Swindon (Mr. Banks) the other day said he could not answer a very simple question as to what was a legal or an illegal strike, and when it would be legal for railwaymen to engage in a sympathetic strike. Consequently, I think we can assume that the language of Clause 1 will make it extremely difficult for ordinary working men to decide what is an illegal strike.
It is suggested that an illegal strike is a strike which is designed or calculated to coerce the Government or to inflict hardship upon the community, and, if that be so, the strike at which we are aiming, if we are to believe that that is the real intention of the Attorney-General, is a strike against the community. I would ask whether it ought to be left to an individual member of a trade union to exercise his existing legal rights under trade union law to go to the Courts for an injunction. Are we to leave it to the individual member of a trade union as well as to the Attorney-General? I think that is an important point. I can understand a member of a trade union exercising his legal rights if he believes that he is being robbed of some civil rights or property, but I do not think it advisable that we should give him the power or the opportunity of raising this vital issue of the legality or illegality of a general strike, a power which, if we are seriously dealing with general strikes, that is, strikes against the community, should, in my opinion, be solely confined, if we grant it at all, to the Attorney-General. It must not be understood, of course, that I am in favour of granting the power to the Attorney-General, but, if it is granted at all, it should be granted solely and entirely to the Attorney-General, rather than he permitted to remain with members of trade unions as well as with the Attorney-General.
414 If this power to seek an injunction be left to individual members of trade unions, I can see grave difficulties arising and all sorts of forms of coercion and intimidation. I can see employers of labour bringing pressure to bear upon individual members of a trade union, the employers finding the necessary money to enable the individual to go into Court and apply for an injunction. I can also see political parties using their influence and the press of the country for the purpose of gathering subscriptions to enable an individual member of a trade union to seek an injunction in the Courts, and when a trade union has been put to immense trouble and expense, the plaintiff is found to have no money and. consequently, although it wins its case, it is unable to recover its costs. This power has been used with great effect in the interests of employers and for prolonging the agony of working men in America. Of course, in this country most things come from Moscow. They are designed in Moscow, or have their origin in some remote part of Russia. This proposal is not British, and it is not Russian; obviously it is of American origin.
Let me give a few cases in which the power to seek an injunction has been used with great effect in America. As a result of obtaining an injunction the employés of a telegraph company were prevented from refusing to work with non-unionists; sheet metal workers in Ohio were prevented from striking in order to enforce an award; waitresses were forbidden to picket against a restaurant company; building workers in New York State were prevented from striking against the use of non-union material; clothing workers in New York were forbidden to picket; Kentucky painters were prohibited from striking against non-unionists; waitresses and cooks in Cleveland were enjoined from picketing, and the Cleveland Railway Company was allowed to break an agreement because it provided for the employment for union labour only. I cite these instances arising out of the operation of this power in America in order to enforce the point that its application in this country is the thin end of the wedge, and I should like to be assured as to the real intentions of the Attorney-General in connection with this matter. Let me say this of the operation in America. An 415 American journal states that in New Yorkthe Court of Equity is becoming a powerful ally of the employer in the conflict he is seeking.In other words, it is suggested that, as a result of the operation of this power in America, the impartiality of the Court has been seriously impaired. I do not suggest that the same thing will obtain in this country. I have great respect for the administration of the law and for those who sit on the Bench; but, at the same time, I think this is quite likely to jeopardise the administration of the law and the respect for its administration in this country.
I want to make another point in connection with the question of coercion. An illegal strike is one which is designed or calculated to coerce the Government, or to inflict hardship on the community, and once that is threatened the Attorney-General has to take action in the Courts. It has always been understood that the Law Officers of the Crown act without any impetus from the Executive; that they are not told to do this and the other, but that they act upon their own initiative. I would remind the Committee that this was clearly pointed out in the Debate in October, 1924, which led to the downfall of the Labour Government. The Attorney-General also used some words which I should like to quote. He said:What I intend shall happen under this Bill, is that at once it shall be possible for the Government, acting through the Attorney-General, to apply to the Court."—[OFFCIAL REPORT, 18th May, 1927; col. 1227, Vol. 206.]It is the Government that is going to be coerced, and somebody will have to consider when the Government is being coerced. The Attorney-General thinks that he himself will have to decide when the Government is being coerced, but I am going to suggest that it will be somebody else, an outside agency. It may be Members of the Cabinet, and having regard to what has happened since 1918 and the speeches which have been delivered by responsible statesmen, some of them occupying high position in the Cabinet to-day, I can quite imagine any strike taking place in this country being considered by Lord Birkenhead as having behind it the designing hand of Moscow. I can quite 416 imagine that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will think that any strike of any serious consequence, especially a strike in the mining or railway industries, is a calculated conspiracy of a person of the name of Cook, and, therefore, pressure will be brought.
We cannot get away from the fact that during last year there was a large volume of opinion in the country which believed that the Government were coerced into passing the Eight Hour Act, and there is an equally large volume of opinion to-day which believes that the power of Rothermere, the power of the Press, has compelled the Government to break with Russia. The Solicitor-General may smile, but I say that there is a large volume of opinion in the country which holds that view to-day. The pressure that is brought to bear on governments, and particularly upon the present Government, does not express itself in the same crude manner as in the case of the working men. It is done behind the scenes, in a very clever subterranean manner. We have great difficulty in putting our finger upon it, and I say that the interests which would be hit by a railway dispute or strike, and by a dispute or strike in the mining industry, will bring pressure to bear on the Government. I can then conceive some Member of the Cabinet calling attention to it and saying it is coercion, and the Attorney-General will be forced, not of his own volition, not in accordance with our constitutional practice, to take action in the Courts to secure a declaration of illegality.
Let me give another illustration of this coercion on Ministers. Take the case of the Minister of Labour. When a dispute takes place, whether it is small or large, we have seen demonstration after demonstration from all sides of the House calling upon the Minister of Labour to intervene. Pressure has been brought to bear, and Parliament has compelled the Minister of Labour, and even the Prime Minister on occasion, to interfere in great disputes. It is useless to ignore the fact that once this power is granted to the Attorney-General, it will not be public opinion which will force him into the Courts, but the vested interests and The financial interests that may be hit, possibly very heavily hit, by a great dispute. I am satisfied that the granting of this power is in order to make doubly 417 sure that strikes shall be illegal, to make it almost impossible for the workers to strike at all. When a strike is threatened, we are told that the Attorney-General will go to the Court and ask for an injunction. I think I said on the Second Reading of the Bill that this power could be used to handicap and harass and cripple the legitimate activities of trade unionists, and that, pending the time when the legality or illegality of a strike could be declared, the funds of the unions could not be used. Obviously, many who were involved and who would be likely to come out would have their minds disturbed; a division of opinion would take place and it is hoped, as a result of the doubt, engendered, to prevent the workers from pursuing a legitimate course.
This is, undoubtedly, an innovation in the law. It is a remarkable power for the Attorney-General to seek. Trade unions are voluntary associations and they have played an important part in our industrial development. They are part and parcel of the institutions of our country. I speak with some hesitation, but I think this is the first time that such a power has been granted to the Attorney-General or any other person to interfere with the funds of voluntary associations. We could have all the members of a trade union unanimously in favour of using their funds for a purpose which they consider to be legal, but the Attorney-General could decide in his own mind, with or without the coercion of which I have spoken, that the proposed or threatened action in his judgment, was illegal, and he could proceed to take action to secure an injunction. I am not familiar with the law of property, but I believe that if all the beneficiaries under a trust agree that the trust fund should be used for a purpose different from that set out in the trust deed, no action can be taken by any person to restrain the trustees from so acting. We are entitled to ask the Attorney-General to justify up to the hilt this innovation, this new power, which I conceive may be used by people who are actuated by hatred and malice and class feeling, of which this Bill is a product, and may be used to prevent the legitimate 418 development of the working-class institutions of the country.
§ Mr. REMER
I must confess that until the last speaker had spoken I had overlooked the fact that the Government had put on the Paper an Amendment to limit this Clause to events arising out of Clause 1. I regret very much that the Amendment has been put down, because I regard the application of this Clause to anything that may happen under Clause 4 as vitally important to the Bill. In fact, I regard this particular Clause, as it was originally drafted, as the most important Clause of the Bill. It is the view of many Members on this side of the House that there are many abuses going on in the trade unions of the country. We may be right or we may be wrong. If we are wrong, surely it is of vital importance and cannot do any harm to the trade unions to have the additional protection given in Clause 7, enabling the Attorney-General to take action when these abuses have become apparent? I suggest to my right hon. Friend the Attorney-General that as the law is now the only people who can take action when abuses become obvious are the members of a union themselves. It is very invidious for a member of a union to take action if any abuse becomes apparent under Clause 4, and it is also very expensive. Therefore the abuses would very largely continue as at present. I hold strongly that under Clause 4 the Attorney-General should be given the power that he had under the original drafting of the Bill, to take action in the Courts in order to remedy any abuse that may come to light.
I feel sure there will be very few trade unionists who would take action in the Courts without assistance from people outside, and the people outside are the last people who ought to take action or who are likely to assist a member of a union. I agree with what was said as to employers of labour helping members of trade unions. I think it would be bad if any such action had to be assisted by an employer. Action should he taken by some independent body or by a member of a trade union himself. I hope that before this Clause is finally passed, my right hon. Friend the Attorney-General will give some very good reason why he has put down the Amendment mentioned. I would ask him, to consider again whether 419 it is not possible to leave the Clause in the form in which it was, in order to make it apply to happenings under Clause 4, so that abuses, which many of us feel confident do exist, may be dealt with by an independent body or person, or whoever occupies the position of Attorney-General or Lord Advocate.
§ Mr. HARNEY
It is impossible to discuss Clause 7 without referring constantly to Clause 1. Clause 1 sets out the formula by which we can test whether a strike is legal or illegal, and Clause 7 provides a method for ascertaining in advance whether the Government consider it to be legal, and also for enforcing the decision. It is well that we should clearly understand what is the actual effect of this Clause. Let us take a strike in the coalfield, a perfectly legitimate strike. A meeting of the executive committee of the railwaymen is held. They say, "We consider that the coal miners have a just case and we intend to give them our help." That has been done many times in the past and has never been regarded as improper; indeed, it could not be regarded as improper with the law as it is. The Attorney-General learns of the resolution of the executive committee of the railwaymen, and he at once has an affidavit made and goes before a single Judge in chambers, to whom he says, "There has been a strike of the coal miners, and I have here a resolution that was passed by the executive committee of the railwaymen. That strike by the railwaymen would not be a strike against their employers. In the words of the Bill, it would be a strike that was not a dispute between employers and workmen in connection with the terms of their industry or their labour. It is, therefore, an illegal strike. Therefore, I am of opinion that, having regard to the general inconvenience that would be suffered by a railway strike, it would inflict hardship on the community." The Judge thereupon would make an order putting an embargo on all the funds of the railway union. There is not a decision given at the time. What would happen would be that a writ would be served on the union, together with notice of the injunction, and the thing would ultimately be heard, but the action to determine their rights would not come on for two months. I want to make the ground quite clear before I go further.
§ Sir E. HUME-WILLIAMS
Does the hon. and learned Gentleman say that the injunction would not come on for two months?
§ Mr. HARNEY
I would ask the hon. and learned Member to listen to my words. Every baby in the law knows that there is, first, the interim application, when only one side is heard. There is then a hearing of the summons four or five days later, when both sides are heard. There is then an injunction granted until the trial of the action, which will not come on for two or three months. It is only at the trial of the action that a conclusive decision can be given as to whether the strike is illegal or not. I want to emphasise the fact that not merely is that procedure applicable to a sympathetic strike, such as that of the railwaymen coming out to help the miners, but it is equally applicable to a strike in a primary industry, to a coalmining strike alone. Suppose that the coal miners say, "We find that the Eight Hours Act is so increasing the production that we are being thrown out of work in hundreds, and we refuse to continue work until there is a repeal of that Act, unless the law is altered, or unless there are some new Regulations under the law." Any of these things they might say, and in the next few months, undoubtedly, will say. The matter is not open to controversy. If that occurred, these men would be striking for an object other than the furtherance of a dispute between employers and workmen. They would be doing something illegal according to this Bill.
If it is something illegal, according to this Bill the Attorney-General is empowered to take the same proceedings as I have stated, and to say, "In my opinion, this strike is so extended in character that it will inflict hardship on the community," and he gets an injunction. The Attorney-General can do that without taking the slightest risks. He is robbed of all that sense of responsibility which weighs upon a man when he has to consider whether he is right or wrong.
421 It does not make any difference, as far as he or the Government are concerned, whether he is wrong or right in getting an injunction in the first instance. If he is wrong, he gives, no doubt, the usual undertaking to pay any damages which are suffered by the granting of the injunction. But supposing, two months afterwards, the real thing is decided, and it is found that the strike is not illegal, what happens then? The Attorney-General will have to carry out the undertaking as to damages? What damages? Damages for preventing a trade union from spending a million of its money? How could anybody, according to the existing legal principles, imagine that a penny of damages could be given against the Crown? Costs are never given against the Crown.
I should like to press another point. I could quite understand a Bill being framed which said, "Strikes are bad things; they reach a point where they should be stopped; let us give power to the Government by Proclamation to stop them." I object to that, but I can understand it. You would have that strike stopped on the responsibility of the Cabinet, who would have to weigh carefully and consider whether the country was behind them in doing it. But, under this procedure, you can get a strike stopped as effectively as by a Proclamation, by the Attorney-General going—if I may use the expression—by a backstairs to a single Judge in chambers. That is a cowardly way to stop it. In the other case, where you stopped it by Proclamation, you would have to justify it on the platform before the electors; but here you can say, "This was a matter for the Judge. We did not venture to stop it; it was the Judge." But is not the Judge in such cases, for all practical purposes, the Attorney-General? How could a Judge, if the Attorney-General came before him and said, "This strike is not between master and man; it is a bad thing, and it will inflict hardship"—how could a judge refuse the application? The Attorney-General is thus able to stop the strike, and hon. Members opposite could go to the platforms and say piously, "Ah, fellow-countrymen, do not you respect the judiciary of this country? It was a Judge who did it." I challenge the Attorney-General to give me another instance in the whole of legal history where 422 an Attorney-General has had power to step into what concerns other people where he had no proprietary interest?
Mark what is being done here. You have a trade union, having funds contributed by its members, in the hands of the trustees, and governed by the executive. The executive say they are going to spend that money to finance the coal-miners. Not a soul of the hundreds of thousands of men who have contributed has any objection to offer. Not one comes forward to make an objection, but the Attorney-General says, "Oh, members of the railway trade union, although you are quite content to have your money allocated in this manner, I am not content that it should be so." Is there any difference between that and the case where directors take upon themselves to spend the money of shareholders on a political purpose? Suppose they said they would give £5,000 to help a strike. If there is to be equal justice, why should not the Attorney-General say, "It is bad that strikes which are forbidden by Clause 1 should be financed. You directors are using your shareholders' money to finance it." The directors would say, "What business is that of yours? The shareholders are content. What right have you to interfere between us and the shareholders?" What right have you to come between the executive of the trade unions and their members? I know of only two classes of cases in law where the Attorney-General is permitted to intervene in these domestic matters. One is where he has a proprietary interest. Take the case of a dispute between A and B as to a will. It may be alleged that one of them is an illegitimate child, and, if so, the Crown would get the estate. Therefore, the Crown has an interest in the thing. But what interest has the Crown in the pence these men have contributed? It cannot claim any proprietary interest to justify its action.
There is another class of case in which the Attorney-General will often step in, that is if there is a public nuisance. A public nuisance is doing an unlawful act in such a way that it creates great annoyance all round. The Attorney-General says, "I ask you, being the guardian of the public interest and the public safety, to stop this disagreeable and annoying thing." But when he does 423 that, all he can do is to get an injunction stopping it. He has never yet been able to say, "Not only give me an injunction stopping this nuisance from being continued, but give me power to seize the money by which this nuisance is carried on." The very class of strike upon which you put your taint in Clause 1 is in itself a public nuisance, because you say, "The thing we condemn is a strike that, first, is unlawful, and, secondly, is so widespread that it creates hardship on the community. "If you are to condemn strikes solely as being a public nuisance, then say so fearlessly, and take the consequences. But no one opposite would have the courage to go on a platform and say, "I am against all strikes, because they are a nuisance." They go on the platform and say, "We are not against the strike. Every strike that is a decent strike can go on as before." It cannot. Although the Attorney-General spent three or four days to try to maintain that position, it was at last given up.
For these reasons, I think this Clause is a most mischievous one. It is a most unprecedented one. It follows the lead that has been given by two or three other Clauses in this Bill of being an entire departure from the course of legal principles with which everybody engaged in the law is familiar. I challenge the Attorney-General in his reply to show me a single other instance of where he in his public capacity could step in and seize the funds of a domestic concern because he and his Government choose to say that they dislike what that domestic concern is going to do. I believe this is only another illustration that the whole of this Bill is the most wanton creator of industrial discord of which any Government has been guilty.
§ The ATTORNEY - GENERAL (Sir Douglas Hogg)
The hon. and gallant Gentleman who moved this Amendment began his speech by expressing his gratitude to hon. Members above the Gangway opposite for having given him time to consider more carefully the bearings of this Clause. But, unfortunately, the time that they gave him, apparently, was not sufficient to enable him to look at the Amendments which are on the Order Paper, and which were equally there yesterday, because he began by explaining how this Bill was going to interfere 424 with the use of funds under Clause 4. But, if he had only read the Amendments, he would have seen the words which are to be moved, and which destroy his argument. He went on to say that this Bill would let loose a flood of litigation; that the question of what was and what was not an illegal strike was one which it was impossible to decide and, therefore, said he, he was against this Clause. If he really holds these views, they are the strongest possible reasons why he should support this Clause. If it be true that the effect, which I do not admit, of Clause 1 would be to cause a flood of litigation in magistrates' Courts and in various tribunals all over the country, what could be more important than that there should be the means of getting an authoritative decision in the High Courts, and so guiding the magistrates in coming to a conclusion? If it be such a difficult problem to decide whether or not a strike is illegal. how useful and valuable this power must be which enables authoritative light to be turned upon the problem by those who are most competent to decide it.
The other objection he had was that, if and when a Socialist State came into being. legislation of this kind would become obsolete and, therefore, it would be of no use to pass it. I do not know how far the maleficent activities of the party to which he belongs may assist in bringing about a Socialist State, but, as far as this Government and this party are concerned, we propose to legislate on the hypothesis that the present state of society is the right one, and that it is not likely to be upset. He asked the question whether or not the currency of proceedings in the High Court would not render it contempt of Court for employers and workmen to discuss the settlement of a strike. I can answer that question briefly. Of course they will not. Contempt of court is the publication, to persons who may be called upon to decide a judicial question, of matter of a character calculated to prejudice their minds, and it is unite obvious that bona fide discussions between employers and workmen on problems arising out of a strike could not possibly be held to come within any such doctrine. I can relieve the hon. and gallant Member's mind on that score.
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
While thanking the right hon. and learned Gentleman for answering my questions so fully, may I point out that he has omitted to deal with what I regard as the most important point. To what extent would the fact that proceedings were pending in the High Court or a Court of summary jurisdiction as to the legality of a strike. preclude this House from debating the legality of that strike, in view of frequent rulings by Mr. Speaker that matters which are sub judice should not be discussed in the House?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The hon. and gallant Gentleman is putting a question to me which might more appropriately be addressed to the Chair. I do not profess to pose as an authoritative pundit upon such questions as that which the hon. and gallant Member has propounded, but I should have thought, most certainly, that the fact that there was a prosecution of a particular person pending could not possibly affect or limit the right of the House to discuss the general question of the strike. No doubt it would affect—at least so I should think—the right of the House to discuss the particular case which was being tried. I do not think, beyond that, it would interfere, but I do not profess to be a greater authority than, if as great an authority as, the hon. and gallant Member himself on that point. It is obvious that it is a question to be determined by Mr. Speaker.
I pass from that point to the questions raised by the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. short). He said that Clause 1 was difficult to understand, and that workmen would not know whether or not a strike was illegal within its provisions. It is quite true that it is not the fault of the Socialist party if workmen have not been confused as to Clause 1, because more misleading statements as to its effects than those I have read in some of the pamphlets which they have issued, I should think have never been published within recent experience. But if, in truth, the Clause be difficult to understand; if, in truth, the workmen have either been unable to understand its provisions or have been misled by the folly of believing what the Socialists have said its provisions are, then nothing could be more valuable than that there 426 should be power, in the event of any question arising, for an immediate and prompt application to the Court, which can alone give a decision in case of dispute. The hon. Member went on to say that this legislation came from the United States, and he proceeded to give a number of precedents of what happened in the United States which conclusively show that the legislation is not copied from the United States. None of the instances which fie gave, as far as I have been able to follow them—and I do not guarantee that I followed every one of them—seems to have any relation to an illegal strike of the kind with which Clause 1 has anything to do.
§ Mr. SHORT
The right hon. and learned Gentleman will observe that it would have been quite in harmony, and these would have been appropriate examples, had he confined Clause 7 to the operation of anything within the provisions of the Bill—that would include picketing and all other phases of industrial activities.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I do not think they would. Clause 3 is not one which relates to the application of the funds of trade unions, but I do not go into that question because in fact we are not proposing to extend the provisions beyond Clause 1. Then the hen. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Remer) expresed his regret that we were proposing to limit the operations of the Clause. The reason why we have determined to ask the Committee to limit Clause 7 to cases under Clause 1, is that Clause 1 deals with offences against the State and, with regard to offences against the State, it is an established and recognised principle of law that the Attorney-General is the appropriate person to move, the Court. The provisions in Clause 4, with which he was particularly concerned, are introduced for the protection of minorities in trade unions, whether of employers or workmen. The provisions of Clause 4 having been enacted, they will be in a position to move the Court if they so desire, in the event of any infraction of the provisions for their protection; but it is not a Clause which is designed to protect the Slate and, therefore, it is not appropriate that the Attorney-General as representing the State should move the Court. Further, it would have this disadvantage—that anybody who was dissatisfied 427 with regard to any trade union either of workmen or of employers, would then apply to the Attorney-General to investigate the facts, and the Attorney-General would be called upon, either to refuse to take proceedings without having made investigation, or else he would be embarking upon a series of investigations and quasi trials concerning matters upon which he had no authentic information, with regard to which he had no real means of arriving at the truth and for dealing with which he had no staff. We think the wiser and more appropriate course is to confine the operation of the Clause to the enforcement of the provisions of Clause 1 which is designed to protect the safety of the State.
§ Mr. OLIVER
Will that preclude any other member of a trade union from taking such action under Clause 1?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
No, it is without prejudice to the right of any person having a sufficient interest to make an application.
§ Mr. OLIVER
I thought the right hon. Gentleman said that Clause 1 was designed to deal with acts against the State and that the Attorney-General, representing the State, was the right person to take action; in which case it ought to preclude other people from bringing actions.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman for calling my attention to the point, but the answer is, I think, obvious to anyone familiar with the practice on these questions. The position is that wherever a wrong is being done against the State, the Attorney-General, representing the State, is the right person to take proceedings; but if that wrong, in addition to being a wrong against the State, also interferes with the private rights of any individual, then that individual is entitled to apply for the protection of those rights. The rule is set out in a recent case from which I can quote:The plaintiff can sue, without joining the Attorney-General, in two cases. First, where the interference with a public right is such that some private right of his is at the same time interfered with. Secondly, where no private right is interfered with but the plaintiff in respect of his public right, suffers special damage peculiar to himself from the interference with the public right.428 Where those conditions exist we are not going to deprive the private individual of the right which the law has given him from time immemorial to defend his rights. It would, obviously, be wrong that, because the Attorney-General chose not to move in a particular case, a private member of a trade union, whether workmen or employers, should be precluded from taking steps to prevent his union's funds being applied to an illegal purpose to the detriment of the purpose for which they were really subscribed. Therefore, we leave the individual with the right which he already has, merely making it clear that the Attorney-General can interfere and apply to the Courts for the protection of the State.
Then there was the point raised by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bassetlaw (Sir E. Hume-Williams), who expressed some apprehension lest the Clause would prove ineffective, on the ground that on a strict construction of its language it world not be possible to apply to the Court until after a strike had begun. I am grateful to my hon. and learned Friend for drawing attention to the point, which has to be carefully considered. I pay real respect to the legal opinion which he holds, and in the light of the views which he has expressed I will look it up again. I confess I should have felt no doubt at all, apart from his opinion, that where a wrong was apprehended, then, in accordance with the principle which he himself enunciated, it would be open to the Attorney-General under the strict language of this Clause to say, "There is a threatened application of the funds of a trade union in furtherance of an illegal strike, and I ask the Court to prevent the funds being applied in furtherance of that strike, and the strike is timed to commence next week or within the next few days." However, I will consider the matter in the light of what the hon. and learned Member has said. Then I come to the very remarkable speech which has just been delivered by the hon. and learned Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney). He was good enough to rebuke my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bassetlaw—who asked what I thought was a perfectly intelligible and natural question—by telling him that any baby knew 429 that the law was as he, the hon. and learned Member for South Shields, was laying it down.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
All I can say is that the law which the hon. and learned Member has sought to lay down differs radically from what I always understood, to be the law, and I propose to enlighten the Committee as to the profundity of some of his propositions. The hon. and learned Gentleman challenged me, and I took down his exact language. He said, "I challenge the Attorney-General to give any instance in legal history where the Attorney-General can step in where he has no proprietary interest." I propose to give a certain number of statutory cases where that right has been expressly given by Act of Parliament, and a certain number of instances which are familiar to almost all lawyers from well-known text books and cases dealing with the topic. Let me begin first with the Acts of Parliament If the hon. and learned Gentleman will look at the Regulation of Railways Act, 1844, one of the earliest Acts in which railways, were given statutory rights, he will find express provision—I think it is in Section 17—that wherever it is certified by the Board of Trade to the Attorney-General that the railway is acting in breach of its statutory obligations, the Attorney-General is to bring an action for an injunction to restrain the continuance of such acts. It does nit give the Attorney-General any proprietary interest.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
It gives nobody a proprietary interest. There is a certificate to the Attorney-General that the statutory right given to the railway is not being exercised properly by the railway.
§ Mr. CONNOLLY
Under the Act of 1844 are there not proprietary rights to this extent that provision is made for the taking over of the railways by the State?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
It has nothing to do with the taking over of the railways by the State. This is an Act which gives the railways rights under certain conditions to get land and so 430 forth for the purpose of their undertakings, and the Section to which I am referring—and which is, in fact, Section 17—provides that express power can be given to the Attorney-General in the way I have described. In 1854 there was another Act regulating railways, and again express power was given to the Attorney-General to interfere if the railways were not acting in accordance with their statutory duties. If we pass from railways, we come next to gas undertakings. I am sorry to trouble the Committee with all this, but, as the hon. and learned Gentleman challenged me to give any instance, I had better give five or six. If the hon. and learned Gentleman will look at the Metropolis Gas Act, 1860, he will find, I think in Section 45, that a similar power is given there, On the certificate of a Secretary of State that there has been any breach by the gas company of the powers conferred upon them, then the Attorney-General may move for an injunction to restrain their unauthorised action.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
Because I heard similar extravagant statements made before in this Committee. The hon. and learned Gentleman, although he has repeated a good deal of his Second Reading speech, seems to have forgotten some of the things that were said on the Second Reading. Let me go on another three years, and ask the hon. and learned Gentleman to look at the Telegraphs Act, 1863. If he does so, he will find that in Section 53 provision is made that if the telegraph companies act in breach of the statutory powers conferred upon them, the Attorney-General, on a certificate from the Board of Trade, can apply for an injunction to restrain them from continuing so to do. To bring it down to modern days, if he will look at the Coal Mines Act, 1911, he will find that in any case in which the Attorney-General comes to the conclusion that mines are being worked in contravention of the provisions of the Act, in such a manner as to endanger the safety of the workers, the Attorney-General may apply for an injunction to restrain the working of the mines—as clear a case of interference with a proprietary right where the Attorney-General has no proprietary 431 interest as I think even the hon. and learned Gentleman would desire.
§ Mr. HARNEY
The Attorney-General has been very clever in making offensive remarks, but I think it might be as well for him to try to apply his mind to the point which I did make. The point which I did make was this. I challenged him to show any case where the Attorney-General, without a proprietary right, was able to come in and put an embargo on funds. That is what the Clause is about.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
It will be remembered that I read out the hon. and learned Member's challenge, which I took down. The hon. and learned Gentleman evidently did not know that I was prepared to answer it.
§ Mr. HARNEY
If the Attorney-General is disposed to take up an offensive attitude, he must be kept to his word. I say the whole of my argument was addressed to this point: Here is a power given to the Attorney-General to come in and put an embargo on funds. I challenged him to show a single case in history where that was done. I gave the illustration of how it could be done in the case of public nuisances, but it stopped short of putting an embargo on funds.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The only thing offensive in the observations that I made was that they completely met the challenge. I am sorry that the hon. and learned Gentleman takes offence at that, but if he will think for a moment—
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
If he thinks for more than a moment; if he thinks for several moments, he will arrive at the decision that an injunction to restrain the owner of a coalmine from working his mine is, at least, as great an interference with a proprietary interest as stopping somebody from using a fund for illegal purposes.
§ Mr. HARNEY
Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman, instead of making supercilious and patronising remarks, be good enough to do what he purported to do, and produce the authority of any case in which the Attorney-General was allowed to come in and put an embargo on the funds of a domestic institution?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The question we are considering is whether or not it is right that the Attorney-General should intervene where there is a threatened misapplication of the funds of a trade union for an illegal purpose. The hon. and learned Gentleman, it is true, several times in the course of his speech said the Attorney-General could seize the money. Of course he cannot do so. That is simply one of the hon. and learned Member's inaccuracies.
§ Mr. HARNEY
I am very sorry to intervene again, but really if the Attorney-General's memory is so bad he must be kept to what was said. What I went out of my way to say was that the Attorney-General could not touch or keep one penny of the money, but could put an embargo on the way in which it was being used.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
If the hon. and learned Gentleman will look at the OFFICIAL REPORT to-morrow he will see whether or not I am accurate in stating that he said the Attorney-General could seize the money.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I pass for the moment from the Statutes, of which I think I have given five instances, and I dare say they could be multiplied, and I will come now to the common law doctrine. So long ago as Lord Romilly's day it was laid downThe Attorney-General as parens patriae might apply to the Court to restrain the execution of an illegal act of a public nature, provided it was established that the act was an illegal act and affected the public generally.
§ Mr. HARNEY
Did I not say that? Those were my very words. I cannot sit here and allow the right hon. Gentleman 433 —[HON. MEMBERS: "Order !"] I am not called upon to sit here and allow these supercilious observations. I said there was a case in common law where it could be done where the mischief was widespread.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
That seems to bear no resemblance to what I heard the hon. and learned Gentleman say. Of the two cases which he gave, one was where the Attorney-General had a proprietary interest, and the other was where he took action to prevent a public nuisance. I am dealing with a case which is neither of those two eases, a quite separate one. It is an actual one, the Oxford railway case, when the principle was laid down by Lord Romilly. I shall give the hon. and learned Gentleman some other quotations before I have finished. In that case it was said:The Attorney-General as parens patriae might apply to the Court to restrain the execution of an illegal act of a public nature.It does not matter whether it is a nuisance.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The Attorney-General may take action provided the act is illegal, and affects the public generally. Let me give another case. This is another statement of the law, from Lord Hatherley, the well-known Lord Chancellor:The question is whether what has been done has been done in accordance with the law. If not, the Attorney-General strictly represents the whole of the public in saying that the law shall be observed strictly.There is not a word about nuisance or a proprietary interest. The test is not whether what is done amounts to a nuisance, but whether what is done is illegal.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
And whether the act is one which affects the public. If it be an act which is illegal and affects the public, then the Attorney- General 434 strictly represents the whole of the public in saying that the law shall be observed strictly.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I will give the hon. and learned Gentleman one more, and see whether these are his words tooThe Attorney-General is by law the representative of the public interest. The reason is that he is an officer of the Crown, and that, according to the principles of our law, the interest of the public is vested in the Crown. Whenever, therefore, the rights of the Sovereign as the guardian of the interests of the public are effected, they must find their protection in the presence of the Attorney-General.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The Committee will observe how exactly the words which I have quoted fit in with what we are doing in this Clause, which the hon. and learned Gentleman suggested was unprecedented. Here is an act which, under Clause 1, is declared to be illegal and offends against the State, an offence analogous to sedition; and Clause 7 provides that where there is a threat to use the money of a trade union in support of an illegal conspiracy against the State, the Attorney-General is the proper person to apply to the Court to restrain its misapplication.
Unless the Attorney-General gives way, the hon. and learned Member cannot continue on his feet.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I think I have allowed the hon. and learned Gentleman a good deal of latitude.
§ Mr. HARNEY
On a point of Order. Can it be said that a good deal of latitude is given to one hon. Member by another hon. Member? I take it that you have the giving of latitude. I assert, and you must have heard it, Captain FitzRoy, that I challenged the Attorney-General—[HON. MEMBERS: "Not a point of Order!"] I am rising to a distinct 435 point of Order. It is this. If the Attorney-General is challenged to answer a question, is he at liberty to answer questions that were not put to him, and to refuse to answer the question that was put? The question I put again and again was this—[HON. MEMBERS: "No point of Order!"]
The hon. and learned Member rose to a point of Order. He cannot continue to make a further speech on that point of Order. The only point of Order which arises is this, that during the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman I did not hear an interruption, but during the speech of the Attorney-General, I have heard a good deal of interruption, which is certainly out of order.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The Clause with which we are dealing is, almost in its language, the proposition which has been laid down in the cases which I have cited. To use Lord Hatherley's expression, which, I think, is as good as any, the question is whether what has been done has been done in accordance with the law. If not, then the Attorney-General strictly represents the whole of the public in saying that the law shall be observed strictly. This Clause gives the Attorney-General the right to apply to the Courts to ask that the law shall be observed strictly, and that the moneys of a trade union shall not be used for what the Act has declared to be an illegal purpose. That, I venture to think, is not only established by the principle which comes down through centuries of law, it has been repeatedly asserted in Statutes, and it stands not only in common law but also in commonsense.
The whole purpose of Clause 1 is to make it clear that a certain class of strikes—not all strikes—are an illegal conspiracy against the State. Clause 7 says that where a strike of that kind is threatened it is the right and the duty of the Attorney-General to apply to the Courts to see that funds are not applied to such illegal purpose. The hon. and learned Gentleman said, "Supposing all the members of a trade union wished to apply their funds for this purpose, why should not they do 436 it?" The answer is, "Because the law has declared that it is illegal to do it." You cannot have any better reason for refusing to allow people to spend their money in a particular way than the fact that that particular way is prohibited by Statute. When Parliament enacts under Clause 1 that certain kinds of strikes are illegal, and an offence against the State, logically it can do nothing less than enact that where an attempt is made to use trade union funds for such an illegal attack upon the State it is the right and duty of the representative of the State, that is, the Attorney-General of the day, to apply to the Courts to see that the funds are not so used.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I hear mutterings of further challenges. To whatever challenge make answer, the hon. and learned Gentleman will tell me that he meant something different. What we are doing here, so far from being new, has been repeatedly done in previous Statutes, it has been repeatedly done in common law and Courts of equity, and is a well-recognised principle of the law, which is laid down in any text book on the subject. That being so, I venture to think there can be no possible reason why this Clause should not be enacted. It is a protection to the public at large, and, incidentally, affords the greatest possible security for the individual trade unionist, since it enables him to know with certainty at the earliest possible moment whether or not what he is doing is regarded as a breach of the law.
§ Mr. OLIVER
I am extremely sorry that I cannot continue the very interesting performance we have had while the Attorney-General was speaking. It is not in my power to command the forensic skill of the two protagonists. But after hearing the Attorney-General's speech I feel that when this Clause becomes law, and the Attorney-General possesses the power which this Bill gives to him, it will be almost impossible for a trade union or industry engaged in a dispute to obtain assistance from any other industry. For instance, if the miners were engaged in a dispute, and the railway workers or the transport workers were proposing to come to their assistance, immediately the 437 Attorney-General was acquainted with that fact it would be possible for him to go to the Courts, or go to a Judge in Chambers, and obtain an interim injunction, and the funds of the trade unions concerned would be immediately arrested. That action would probably be challenged, and the case would go ultimately to the Court of Appeal and probably from the Court of Appeal to the House of Lords, and during the whole period of that litigation, the unions would not be able to make a move in consequence of their funds being tied up. The efforts made by other trade unions, therefore, will be rendered absolutely abortive; any effort by one industry to lend assistance to another industry will be absolutely and entirely destroyed. If the Attorney-General said quite frankly that this Clause was designed to make it impossible for one industry to lend aid to another industry, we could understand it, and it would be clear, but he does not do that.
There will be no corresponding embargo placed upon employers. If the mining industry have another dispute and the transport workers or the railway workers offer to come to their assistance, the Attorney-General can obtain an injunction. That would leave the miners absolutely at the mercy of the mineowners, and the transport workers and the railwaymen, being unable to come to their assistance, would be transporting foreign coal. Therefore, we are making it utterly impossible for the miners ever to hope to win against the coalowners. They will be crushed as completely as we crush a fly. A dispute in future between the miners and the mineowners will be fought by the one party with full larders and by the other with empty stomachs. This Bill is designed almost exclusively to load the dice against the working man and in favour of the employer. While the Attorney-General possesses this power, there can be no hope of victory in an industrial dispute.
I was very much interested in the statement made by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Bassetlaw (Sir E. Hume-Williams). As the Bill now stands, a man may be brought before a bench of magistrates and sent to prison for having taken part in an illegal strike before the Attorney-General has made any move to apply for an injunction to proclaim the strike illegal, or, what would 438 be the equivalent of it, to restrain the use of the funds of the union. If a strike is to be declared illegal, it is of the utmost importance that the highest tribunal in the land should have expressed its opinion before the Courts of summary jurisdiction can send a man to prison. I should have been glad to see only the Attorney-General given power—as much as I would have been glad to see anything under this Bill—to make application to the Courts to say whether a strike is a legal or an illegal one. If he is not the only person who can apply to a Judge in Chambers for an interim injunction, it will mean that any Tom, Dick or Harry inside a trade union may do so. It may be done by a member who has been in the union only for a week or a fort-night. Goodness knows where these members come from sometimes! Some of us have had experience of this during disputes, and particularly during the War; all kinds of trade unionists joined then, coming from all parts of the country. Many of them, I am very sorry to say, came from the Home Office to incite people to engage in disputes. If a dispute were contemplated, we should be getting these bogus people enrolled; and even if they had been a member of a union for no more than a fort night they would be entitled to ask for an injunction, because they would have a proprietary interest in the funds of the union. We do not know who might join a trade union during a time of great disturbance. It might be someone from the head offices of the unionist association, for the purpose of making a direct hit at the trade unions. For that reason I hope the rights of members of trade unions will be restrained on this important point. Let the Attorney-General, as the representative of the State, be the person to apply for an injunction against the union, and not some irresponsible person whose right, when investigated, might be of a very shadowy character.
Another point with which I wish to deal is the power which the Attorney-General will have to raid trade union funds without being made responsible for the costs which the union incur in fighting the case. Seeing that trade unions are built up on the pence of some of the poorest of our population, it is only right, 439 if the Attorney-General applies for an injunction and fails, that he should not get off scot free. Responsibility for costs ought to be placed on the shoulders of the people who lose the case. That will only put the Attorney-General in the same position as the ordinary litigant.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
Does the hon. Member mean that the costs are to follow the event, that is to say, that if a trade union loses it is to pay the costs, and vice versa? If not, the hon. Member is not following the ordinary rule; if he did mean that. I, personally, should have no objection, but I do not know whether it would be to the interests of the trade unions.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
If there was one Clause in this Bill which I should have thought would have been received with enthusiasm by hon. Members opposite it is this Clause, because it is a Clause that will prevent a general strike. We have heard a great deal from Labour leaders in denunciation of the general strike, and confident prophecies that it could never happen again. Look at the stale to which it reduced the trade unions. I have a passage here describing it in language far better than I can. It says:Fools do not always learn by their own experience. History does not always repeat itself. If it did, the notorious Mr. Cook would have followed the example of judas Iscariot and sought oblivion from the contemplation of the ruin which his ignorance and self-conceit have indicated upon his ignorant and deluded followers. He has wrecked the Miners' Federation, destroying the 30 years' work of infinitely better men than himself, given to a mineowners a power which they had never before possessed, given the Conservative Government an excuse for lengthening hours and making a general attack on trade union rights, reduced practically every trade union to a state of bankruptcy, and inflicted permanent injury on British trade. It naturally gladdens the heart of every Communist. Those fanatics are destructive maniacs without an atom of constructive capacity. When Mr. Cook had completed the ruin of the miners' cause he left his dupes, helpless through starvation, at the mercy of the mineowners, and hurried off to his spiritual home in Moscow to receive the plaudits of his fellow-disciples of Lenin.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
I was trying to show that under this Clause Mr. Cook would not be allowed to do these things again, because he would be prevented by the provisions we are now adopting. I will proceed with my quotations from the article in "Reynolds' Illustrated News":We have now the confession that, to him, the miners' struggle has not been for a decent standard of living but for the establishment of the Union of Soviet Republics throughout the world, and to lead us from the present blackness to the brightness of Communism and Bolshevism.[AN HON. MEMBER: "Is this a quotation from Mr. Baldwin's speech?"] No, I am quoting from an article written by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) which appeared in "Reynolds' Illustrated News" of 2nd January of this year. I thought hon. Members opposite would have, been familiar with that article. Surely if a Clause like that we are discussing will prevent all that happening again it should be welcomed by all trade unions, and all hon. Members opposite. If the Attorney-General had possessed last year the powers now proposed under this Clause, and could have stepped in with his injunction he would have stopped the trade unions wasting all their money and the unions instead of being financially insolvent and being obliged to impose compulsory levies as the Transport Union is doing now, would have been in a better position. If this Clause had been in existence last year it would have prevented many of those discreditable happenings which hon. Members opposite now disown and which they say will never happen again. I have not heard any responsible Labour leader who has not condemned the general strike after it came to an end, and this specially applies to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Platting (Mr. Clynes). [Interruption.] The right hon. Gentleman is one of your leaders although you do not follow him very much. I think hon. Members opposite ought to be very grateful to the Government for bringing in this Clause, which will prevent the adoption of a policy in the future which you all agreed on the last occasion was an act of incredible folly.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I do not think we can discuss these matters. It is purely 441 a legal question, and I really do not think it is in order on this Amendment to go through all these matters relating to the history of last year.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
It is recognised on the Tory Benches that they have got so used to lecturing us that they cannot get out of the habit.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
I am quoting words of wisdom from the most intellectual man on the Labour benches, and hon. Members do not even recognise them as the words of their own leader. I would advise them to get a copy of "Reynold's Illustrated News," and read it. I say that this Clause will be the greatest possible protection not only to trade union leaders but to the members of trade unions, because you will have the law on this question laid down by the very highest authority. Trade unionists will then be able to say, "We now have the law to protect us." In March, 1925, the Prime Minister gave hon. Members opposite an opportunity of putting their house in order and they did not avail themselves of it. Instead, the Labour papers attributed the Government's attitude to fear and I was described as an eminent King's Counsel slinking away with my tail between my legs.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. and learned Member seems to be going over the whole history of the last two years.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
I thought the history of the last two years would reconcile hon. Members opposite to this Clause, and that was my object in referring to it. I know history is a thing of which hon. Gentlemen opposite are not very fond. In future when an illegal strike is being proclaimed, hon. Members opposite will know that they are going into it with their eyes open, instead of in the babyish condition which the hon. and learned Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney) described a Member on this side. After this Clause has been adopted, they will at least know what is the state of the law. At present they do not know and they did not know last year. Last year, after the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for 442 Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) made his speech, they came to a new frame of mind, and these provisions will protect them and put the law and the unions in a very much healthier condition.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
We have had a very interesting discussion between the Attorney-General and the hon. and learned Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney). I think the hon. and learned Member for South Shields had a real grievance against the Attorney-General, because of his refusal to answer the specific question which he put to him. I have noticed that it is a favourite device of the right hon. and learned Gentleman to ignore the questions to which he has been asked to reply, and here we have had a very special illustration of the cleverness of the Attorney-General in doing that sort of thing. Possibly the explanation of that is clue to the figures which came from another place which show that this Clause, and this Bill certainly, are not what the people of this country desire to see placed upon the Statute Book. I do not, want to pursue the question as to whether the Attorney-General or the hon. and learned Member for South Shields is the more skilled in the law, but I would submit that in future the Attorney-General should attempt to answer the questions which are put to him. The right hon. and learned Gentleman himself has been known to make mistakes in law which have cost the country a lot of money. To-day I do not think the Attorney-General did himself justice by the nasty way in which he spoke in reply to the questions which had been put to him.
I come hack to the particular point which has been emphasised in this Debate. The Attorney-General under this Clause is taking power to go to the Courts and ask for an injunction restraining the application of the funds of a trade union. The Attorney-General was asked whether he could go into the Court and ask for an injunction restraining people from taking a certain course of action, and whether it is not a fact that if those people happen to be, members of a corporation, he may ask for an injunction restraining that corporation from certain action. If the Attorney-General gets such an injunction, does he get power over the whole 443 of the funds of the corporation? He gets a certain power in connection with trade unions and corporations who, if they act in a certain way, have become liable under the injunction. In this case the funds of the trade union are to be put under the power of the Attorney-General by means of this injunction in which he asks for the power of restraint upon their funds. If the Attorney-General goes to the Court asking for an injunction restraining the trade unions from acting in contravention of the provisions of Clause 1 of this Bill then there will be a very different position. I hope that I have been able to make it clear to the Attorney-General what my meaning is, although I am not an expert in legal matters.
This Clause raises a very important matter, as the Committee will see, because if the Attorney-General goes to the Court and asks simply for an injunction restraining the trade unions from acting in contravention of the provisions of Clause 1, the members of the trade union may determine to take the responsibility of disobeying that injunction, and if they take that responsibility upon themselves, they will be able to use the union funds to carry out their actions. They will have to face the responsibility for their action it is true, but they will he able to do those things. If the Attorney-General gets the power that he is asking under this Clause, if there is a feeling on the part of those people that the Attorney-General and the Court have been wrong, and that they are prepared to take the responsibility of breaking the law, it will be a very easy matter for the Attorney-General to follow up his action by making it impossible for them to touch the money and carry out their action. It may be argued that that is what ought to be the case, but if that were so, it was strange how the Attorney-General evaded the question put to him by the hon. and learned Member for South Shields. It is true what the Government want to do is to make it impossible for trade unions to act in this way. At the same time, let us be perfectly clear about it. The reason the Attorney-General would not answer the question is because of the consequences it might have upon other associations than trade unions.
444 Suppose the offending party were an association of employers. In that case, I wonder if the same steps would be taken. Would all the funds of the employers be held up? If this principle were admitted in this way would it be carried also into other actions such as we have had instances given us by the Attorney-General to-day? He told us about the power of the Attorney-General to go into Court and get an injunction in connection with a railway company. Would he go into Court and get an action restraining the application of the funds of the railway company, as he intends to do in connection with trade unions? No one knows better than the right hon. Gentleman himself that he would not contemplate any such thing, and it is only of a piece with the whole of the provisions of this Measure, which is an attack upon the working class and affects the working class in a way the Government would never contemplate doing in connection with employers.
The power that is being given to the Attorney-General is going to bring the Government into relationship with industrial disputes in a way that is not at all desirable. In a previous Debate, when the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Bassetlaw (Sir E. Hume-Williams) moved an Amendment, the Attorney-General said there would be much more advantage in using the machinery of this Clause, and if a general strike was apprehended, what he desired and intended to happen under the Bill was that at once it should be possible for the Government, acting through the Attorney-General, to apply to the High Court. I thought the Attorney-General was in a special position with regard to the Government—that he was not the instrument of the Government. When we had a Labour Government in office, there was a great deal of discussion about whether the Government should interfere with the Attorney-General at all in connection with his duties. Here we have the position that the Attorney-General may come to the conclusion that a certain action on the part of trade unions is illegal, and that a strike which is contemplated or has begun is illegal. What have the Government got to do with that? Is it not the Attorney-General in this sacred capacity, which was criticised by hon. Members opposite 445 when they were sitting on this side—that it was not for the Government to interfere in matters of law in this way? But the Attorney-General tells us he is going to be the instrument of the Government, and if the Government do not like an industrial situation, he will go to the High Court and ask for an injunction restraining the application of the funds of the trade union. I do not think that is a proper position at all.
The Attorney-General and hon. Members opposite have throughout this controversy taken up the position that what they are anxious to avoid is the possibility of events such as those that occurred last year. There was no disposition to put the trade unions into an inferior position to that which they have hitherto held, except in such an instance as the widespread strike of last year. May I ask their attention to the first part of the Sub-section? So far there has been very little consideration given to it. It is really putting people in a new position from what has hitherto been the case. Everything in connection with this Clause depends on the provisions of Clause 1, which states:The provisions of the Trade Disputes Act. 1906, shall not, nor shall the second proviso to Sub-section (1) of Section two of the Emergency Powers Act, 1920, apply to any act done in contemplation or furtherance of a strike or lock-out which is by this Act declared to be illegal, and any such act shall not be deemed for the purposes of any enactment to be done in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute.That creates an entirely new position in connection with the rights of an interested party to sue in a Court for an injunction. If the Attorney-General really means that he does not wish the unions to be put into an inferior position, except in so far as the kind of strike that occurred last year is concerned, he ought to take account of what is possible in connection with the raising of actions for injunctions by persons who may claim that they are interested. Suppose an employer is faced with a strike. He may come into Court and say it is an illegal strike, in contravention of the provisions of this Act, and you may have case after case, ever so many actions, which will put the unions into an impossible position. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will very carefully consider the new position thus 446 created. I do not mean to say that if the Government are making a certain kind of strike illegal, those who are damaged by it should not have the right to go to the Court, but, at the same time, when the Attorney-General himself does not apprehend that a strike is in any way illegal, unless he is going to deal a very damaging blow to the unions, he ought to see to it that other individuals will not be put into a superior position.
I do not know whether I have made that plain or not. What may be clear to oneself often is not clear to another, but my point is this. The provisions of the Bill are creating a new position in connection with trade union law. Certain strikes are declared to be illegal, while others are still legal, but there is a certain amount of dubiety as to whether a strike is legal or illegal. A person cannot come into Court to-day against a trade union for taking part in a legal strike, but he can in the future, on the assumption that the strike is an illegal strike. If the Attorney-General believes it is a legal strike, and is not taking action himself in connection with it, there should be a provision to prevent anyone else going to Court and pleading that it is an illegal strike. The rights of the trade unionists should be protected in that way, and there should be no more damage done to them than is necessary to achieve the purpose contemplated by the Government.
Then the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Short) said the genesis of this Clause was the American example, and the Attorney-General did not say very much about that in reply. I have the impression that he knows very much more about the instances that were given by my hon. Friend than he was willing to go into. I have the details of a case in connection with the practice in the United States of America. In 1920 the Transportation Act was passed in the United States, and afterwards a Labour Board was set up under that Act with nine members, three representing employers, three labour and three the public. This Labour Board, when a dispute took place, issued a decision somewhat similar to what may take place in this country. The decisions of this Labour Board in the United States of America did not have the force of law. They made a decision with regard to the 447 rate of wages of the craft workmen in connection with the railway service, and 90 per cent. of 500,000 men refused to accept that decision. They went on strike in July, and the struggle went on. Negotiations took place. No new facts emerged in connection with the dispute, but the United States Attorney-General, because of the power they possess in America—the power which his namesake is seeking in this country—went into Court on the 1st September in connection with the dispute in order to get an injunction against the union. The Court reviewed the history of the controversy, described the condition of the country and the railroads as a result of the strike, referred to the action of the defendants and other members of the union as a conspiracy to repudiate and upset the decisions of the Court; and, in summing up, declared:Because of the great and irreparable damage that is largely being inflicted upon the people of the United States it is, without notice to the defendants, ordered by the Court.Then follow the first, second and third orders. The last of the orders is the one to which I wish to draw attention.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
it says:Using, causing, or consenting to the use of the funds or moneys of the said Labour organisation in aid of or to promote or encourage the doing of any of the mass of things hereinbefore complained of.That may be an illustration of a principle in law, such as you might ask of the learned Attorney-General, but which he is not able to give.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
It is in America, but not in this country. I have used this illustration to show what happened in connection with this case. The injunction was given on the 1st September, when the United States Attorney-General made his application, and the hearing was set down for 11th September. On 11th September the Order was renewed for another 10 days, and all this time the funds of the union were not at the disposal of the members of the union for carrying on the dispute. I submit that the same thing would occur in connection 448 with the Courts here. The Attorney-General knows this kind of thing, and members of his Government know this sort of thing. The members of the employers' associations, when they compelled the Government to introduce this Bill and this provision in the Bill, knew perfectly well what they were doing, and the power it would give them. My hon. Friend below the Gangway made a very strong case of the way in which the Attorney-General tried to evade the point as to the money of the trade unions being held up by the action of the Court; by the action of the Attorney-General if this Clause be carried.
Another point to which I want to call attention is, that although this dispute started in July, the American Attorney-General did not go into Court until September, when he said, "It is an illegal strike." The same thing would occur here. A dispute takes place, the Attorney-General does not interfere, and allows it to go on and then, when the friends of the Government, who are the employers, feel the effects of the dispute, they come forward and say, "It is an illegal strike. We will stop the use of any funds that you have got; you are not going to do anything in connection with them." I submit that the power that the Attorney-General is seeking under this Bill will make the whole position intolerable. Right through, there is always this way of treating the working class. The working class form associations, trade unions, come into voluntary organisations, but they have got to make the Attorney-General practically an honorary member of every trade union, of every one of those voluntary associations, in order to see that they use their funds properly. He is to be the judge, and is to act on the instructions of his Government. There is a legal principle that the person concerned in an action must come into the Court with clean hands. [Interruption.] Yes, and an equity maxim. I cannot see how a Government who give instructions to their Attorney-General to take an action like this can come into the Court with clean hands; if they are a Government such as we have got at the present time, who are in power by the use of funds they have obtained from the sale of honours in this country. The Government we have got to-day would not be on the benches—
§ The CHAIRMAN (Mr. James Hope)
The hon. Member has kept most admirably to order, but he has now fallen into the same error as his predecessor.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
I am sorry. I am trying to put what I am anxious to bring to the notice of the Committee in a way that will ensure it being in order. I have no wish to get outside the rules at all. The Attorney-General is seeking power to go into Court to ask for an injunction restraining any application of the funds of a trade union in contravention of the provisions of Clause 1 of this Bill. As I understand the position, it is illegal for honours to be sold in this country, and the Attorney-General, if he is Attorney-General, if he is a Member of a Government who have come into being by such an illegal act, cannot come forward in a court of equity and seek to restrain political opponents by restraining any application of the funds of the trade unions. If we give this power to the Attorney-General we shall create a greater abuse than that which exists at the present time. You are putting the whole of the funds of the organised working-class movement at the disposal of the most bitter enemies of the working-class when you have got a Conservative Attorney-General in the House of Commons. You can make no mistake about it. It is perfectly plain. The people in the country are quite aware of it, for wherever you go there is practically not a part of the country where a single Tory Member would be returned to this House of Commons. Bosworth Shows it most plainly.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member is making exactly the same fault for which I stopped his predecessor. We really cannot go into contemporary history under this Clause.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
I am sorry, but in this Clause the Attorney-General is endeavouring to obtain certain powers for himself that are going to have the most fateful consequences to the working-classes of this country. If those powers which are to be exercised by the Attorney-General are going to do so much damage to working-class people all I want to say is, that the working-class people in the country are aware of it and deeply resent it. There is another point I want to take up in connection with this Clause. All 450 along we have gone on the assumption that the Attorney-General, when he was standing at that Box gloating over the reply that he gave to the questions which were not asked of him by my hon. and learned Friend below the Gangway, would always be right. I want the Committee to turn its attention now to the possibility of the Attorney-General being wrong.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
I do not want to rub old sores. Supposing the Attorney-General goes into Court and says there is a dispute, that it is an offence against Section 1 of the Trade Disputes and Trade Unions Act, 1927, and submits a statement in support of his contention, the Judge comes to the conclusion that there is a prima facie case. That is all that the Court demands. And remember this also, that the Judge who has to decide whether there is prima facie evidence is generally the sort of legal gentleman who has had no knowledge of industrial life, who has never passed through the workshop, who does not know what real work is—a desiccated sort of individual, dry as dust; a hopeless sort of individual who, by virtue of the fact that he has got on to the Bench, has come to regard himself as an earthly manifestation of the Lord God Almighty, and he thinks that any sort of disposition on the part of members of the working class to be not altogether grateful for small wages and long hours, is an act of high treason. The Attorney-General goes to him and says, "I think there is a prima facie case for an injunction in connection with this dispute." The Judge, one cannot doubt, will give him the injunction right away. Possibly the Judge would be wrong and possibly the Attorney-General would be wrong. There are Judges who have made mistakes and there are Attorney-Generals who have made mistakes. That is why we have a Court of Appeal. That is why in another place there are people who decide whether certain Judges have or have not made a mistake.
All the time that this mistake has been operating, it has been operating to the loss of the working classes, and it has been operating to the loss of their organisation. As a result of their not being able to use their money they may lose their position, their hours may be 451 increased or their wages may be reduced. Wages have been reduced since 1921 to the extent of £800,000,000 per annum. Suppose the dispute happens to be one which would involve a loss in wages of £50,000,000 per annum to the workers in an industry, and at the end of it when the case has been taken and decided and the Courts have decided that the Attorney-General was wrong and the Judge who gave the injunction was wrong or, at least, that a prima facie case was not made out, who is going to pay the damage? I do not mean the payments made to counsel, or other payments in connection with the case, but the loss suffered by the working-class people concerned in the struggle. They have lost their dispute as a result of the action of the Attorney-General, and there is nobody to make good their loss. It may be said that there is nothing to hinder them from going ahead and trying it over again; but you cannot do that in connection with industrial disputes. You may do it in connection with ordinary legal cases. You may have a case in Court and you may put it off by arrangement with the other side. You may be anxious, for instance, to fight out a golf match, and you put the case off, because it does not matter for another fortnight; but you cannot put off industrial disputes in that way. We are in the position that the working classes are to stake everything they have; their industrial position is to be jeopardised, and the only thing that is to prevent their rights being jeopardised is that the Attorney-General and the Judge before whom the case is brought, are wrong.
The Government have not taken into account all the consequences, or they would not come forward with this Clause. There would have been an attempt made to provide for a more definite decision in regard to the merits of the dispute. We have only to take as an illustration the events of last year. When we were discussing an Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Bassetlaw (Sir E. Hume-Williams), the Attorney-General put the Clause 7 machinery against the machinery proposed by the hon. and learned Member, but when it was made applicable to the events of last year, it was pointed out by the right hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas) that the general strike would have been at an 452 end before the case would have been decided. All this time the money of the trade unions would be held up; all this time the money of the union could not have been used for the purpose for which it was subscribed by the members. If ever there was an instance of class legislation, if ever there was an instance of the dominant possessing class using their power and their economic resources against the working class, it is shown in this Clause.
I believe this is a very bad Bill, and that this Clause is the worst Clause in a very bad Bill. I trust that we shall get some satisfaction from the Attorney-General and that he will be more reasonable than he has been hitherto. I am aware that he will have another opportunity, seeing that we are in Committee. I have put some questions to him, but whether or not I shall get an answer I do not know. I do not want to say that he will insult me or be specially offensive. The Government are equally offensive. I need not dwell upon that fact, for it is so obvious all the time. Even in Marylebone, even in districts misrepresented by hon. Members opposite, there are many trade unionists, and in the interests of those trade unionists, who are misrepresented by Conservative Members, I make the suggestion to the Attorney-General that, if he will not do it out of his love for my hon. and learned Friend, or out of love for any of us, at least out of respect for his own constituents he will reconsider this Clause and reconsider the whole position.
I hope that something will be done with regard to the new right of action that is being conferred on the employer. Something might be done in respect to this particular Clause. It is too much to ask the Attorney-General to depart from taking this power unto himself. Conscious as he has shown himself to be, rejoicing as he does while his party languishes in defeat, conscious of his own great gifts, he can see nothing objectionable in taking this power to himself to restrain the funds of trade unions, but at least in the interests of the ordinary workman and workwoman, I hope that the right hon. Gentleman, who looks so genial and benevolent, will act a little more genially and a little more benevolently towards the working classes of this country, and will not by 453 this Bill throw them on the mercy of the employers, as they are being thrown by Clause 7.
§ Mr. ELLIS
The main question at issue lies in much narrower limits than those explored by the hon. Member who has just sat down, and by other hon. Members who preceded him. It is not a question of whether the Bill as a whole and the general principle are right or wrong. It is not unfair to say that, once one has made up one's mind that a certain act is illegal, and that the law states that that act is illegal, certain consequences must follow, and in regarding those consequences one has to bear in mind one or two very simple facts with regard to the position, not only of the leaders of the trade unions, but of those who compose the membership of the trade unions. In the first Clause we have a statement of illegality in certain events. There are trade unions which have collected large sums of money into their funds and whose leaders stand in the position of trustees to the members of those unions. If certain acts have been declared illegal by the law, then, the leaders of the trade unions owe to their members a very special duty to see that the funds which have been subscribed by those members are dealt with in a perfectly legal manner. They are trustees for their fellow members, and it is their duty to see that those funds are not used in any way outside the law as known and as declared. It is quite obvious that if in the event of a dispute which is deemed to be illegal, or which may afterwards be found to be illegal, the moneys of the trade unions were spent, those moneys would have been spent against the law, and certainly not for the benefit as far as the law is concerned of the members of the trade unions.
Some means have to be found, once the law has been stated, for legally protecting the rights of people who subscribe their money for legal and not for illegal purposes. This Clause provides what is practically the only measure known to the law for this protective purpose. The Attorney-General takes action, not because he or the Government or the Tory party, or any particular section, think it to their advantage to take action. He takes action as the only protector of people who have subscribed 454 money for a legal purpose, whose trustees for the time being are endeavouring to use that money illegally. He does not decide whether the strike is illegal or whether it is legal. He simply brings the case before the Court, and says, "In my opinion, certain trustees, that is to say, the managers of certain trade unions, are dealing with the money entrusted to them as trustees in a way which I regard as illegal. These are my facts and this is my justification for putting the facts before the Court."
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Mr. ELLIS
Whatever men may do by voting in the trade unions, a trade union is always composed of a majority and a minority. Also a great many people do not vote at all. Whatever may be the result of a vote, it is not within the power even of a majority of trade unionists to deal with a fund in a way which by law has been declared to be illegal. That is the precise reason for the intervention of the Attorney-General. We are not concerned at the moment with the point whether or not it was desirable to take action. All we are concerned with is the exact state of the law at the moment, and whether trade union funds are being administered or not in such a way as to come within the law. If in the Attorney-General's opinion they are not being administered in such a way as to come within the law, then it is his duty, as the protector generally of those in the country who are entitled to have the law observed, to come forward and lay the facts before the Court, and in the long run it is always the Court which decides, with the facts in front of it, whether the law has or has not been broken.
I admit that anyone who goes to law is always in a position of some uncertainty, and, winner or loser, it is always going to cost some money, but wise people, instead of going to law, as a rule look very carefully into the facts and see, first of all, whether it is advisable to go to law, or whether it is advisable that they should take such steps as may bring them within the law. Perhaps that may be regarded as the political side. The other side is the legal side, and the legal side alone. They are quite capable of getting a great deal of very useful legal 455 information from sources in their power, and surely before they take any steps which would imperil the funds they had in their control, either as the result of an action at law, or by spending perhaps more than they ought in other ways, they would take care to take steps to see whether they were right.
May I ask the hon. Member, if he were a trade unionist, the opinion of how many counsel would he consider necessary before he knew what the position was?
§ Mr. ELLIS
That is a question which I do not think I should be called upon to answer. These matters are fairly well known to experts in various branches of the law, and I should be satisfied on the subject with one who is an expert in this case and then endeavour to work on that opinion as a basis. But I would not rely on the opinions of experts alone. I should rely on the general considerations which are as open to the hon. Member and his friends as anybody else.
I do not want to interrupt, but I should like to point out that we have had 37 lawyers speaking in this House, and all of them have given different versions of what kind of strike is legal or illegal, and how on earth are we to know what is right and legal?
§ Mr. ELLIS
I have not concerned myself with saying what is legal or not. All I said was that whether a strike is legal or not has got to be decided by the Court. The Attorney-General would be subject to the criticism of this House and would not venture to risk his reputation or that of his Cabinet, in the bringing of the facts before the Courts which have to decide the legality or illegality of a strike, if he were not pretty sure that his view of the law on the facts was right. I am perfectly well aware that the right hon. Gentleman would be the first to admit that it is impossible to be right in every action. Nobody has ever pretended that, but at any rate he would take such care as he possibly could, and that care would always be taken with the knowledge that considerable difficulties would follow if he had been wrong in his estimate of what the facts might be. But there the case rests. The whole thing is that you must have some machinery in existence which will 456 enable somebody to bring before the Courts the facts which those who have subscribed their money in a certain way are fully entitled to have put before those Courts in order to protect their interests.
You have a legal or an illegal action as the result of what somebody has done, and the Attorney-General simply comes forward and puts the facts before the Court. How that can be construed as a deliberate intention on the part of the Government, or on the part of any party, or even of individual employers or collection of employers, to oppress the working classes or any members of them, I really fail to see. Some reference has also been made to the United States, and the delay in bringing cases forward.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
Will the hon. Member deal with the question raised by another hon. Member as to the possibility, in the case of a strike, of losses to the working classes after it had been found that the decision of the Court was wrong?
§ Mr. ELLIS
The hon. Member is putting me on the Front Bench, where I am not. Of course, if the proceedings were prolonged, naturally, action would be held up for the time being, and there would be money spent, and if eventually it were decided that the strike was not illegal then the Union would be in a difficult position and one of hardship. That, I admit, but, as I said before, it is one of the chances which everybody who puts himself in a position of going to law has to face. Hon. Gentlemen are really only turning the thing round. You really go to law when having put yourself in an illegal position it becomes the duty of somebody else to bring you up and argue the point in a Court.
§ Mr. R. RICHARDSON
It is only presumption that you are in an illegality. You are probably within the law of the land.
§ Mr. MOSLEY
The hon. and learned Member who has just sat down has very neatly summarised this Clause. He says, "If you do not want to be sued in a Court of law, then do not put yourself in a position where you can be sued." In other words, do not belong to a trade union. That is precisely the message which this Bill is intended to convey to workers of this country. I think the hon. Member was absent during the main topics of this discussion.
§ Mr. MOSLEY
But not within hearing. We had a discussion which for once ruffled the habitual calm of our legal luminaries, and I must confess that, as an unbiassed layman, the first who has had the opportunity to intervene in the Debate, justice appeared to me to rest with the arguments of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney). The Attorney-General, as has already been pointed out, quoted a good many cases which had no relevance whatever to the point made by my hon. arid learned Friend. The question of my hon. and learned Friend was whether there was any parallel in English law for an injunction which gave power to place an embargo on funds, and the Attorney-General said "Yes," and that such action was permissible in the event of an offence analogous to seditious.
I would like to put to the right hon. Gentleman a concrete case, an illustration which is near to his heart, and the only case which, as far as I am aware, has occurred in modern British history. Before the War would there have been the power for the Attorney-General to secure an injunction to lay an embargo upon the funds of the Conservative party or those members of the Conservative party who were using their funds to import rifles from Germany to Ulster? That seems to me the most perfect case of an offence analogous to sedition in which such an injunction might be employed, that we can conjure up from immediate history. If such a power had rested in the hands of the Attorney-General or of the Courts, why was it not used at a time of such grave national crisis, which 458 was more dangerous to the stability of the State than any industrial disputes we have seen? There you had a position where it was not merely a question of wage disputes, or a struggle for higher conditions or against lower conditions, but where the Army was being tampered with, and sedition was being preached, and where rifles and ammunition were being imported from abroad for the purpose of shooting down British soldiers. Surely if such powers existed they would have been used at such a time, and if they were not used, surely it lends some weight to the contention that no such power does, in fact, exist in British law.
We have had a discussion upon the theoretical merits or demerits of this Clause from the legal standpoint, but so far we have not considered at all the actual practical working experience of an analogous measure in another country, namely, America, where that power already exists. The law officers of America can apply for an injunction in a Court of law, and they invoke it very frequently to prevent a strike. In the course of my argument I hope to prove two things. The first thing is that the Clayton Act in America—the Act in question—is more favourable to labour than the Clause of the Bill which we are now considering. The second thing which I hope to prove is that under that Act action has been taken and injunctions have been granted in the Courts which render impossible the effective conduct of any strike. To prove the first point, that the Clayton Act is less onerous in its provisions than the present Bill, I have only to read the governing words of that Measure:No restraining order or injunction shall prohibit any person or persons, whether singularly or in concert, from terminating any relations of employment or from ceasing to perform any work or labour or from recommending, advising, or persuading others by peaceful means, so to do.That is the American Act, and those are the governing words, and I submit that they are clearly more favourable to the trade unions than is Clause 1 of this Bill. It goes on:No restraining order or injunction shall prohibit any person … from ceasing to patronise or to employ any party to such dispute, or from recommending, advising, or persuading others by peaceful and lawful means so to do;"—If you take Clause 3 of this Bill and compare it with that provision, you will find 459 that the Clayton Act is far more favourable to Labour. It proceeds:from paying or giving to, or withholding from, any person engaged in any such dispute, any strike benefits or other moneys or things of value.Compare those words with Clause 2 of this Bill, and you find that on every point the American Act, under which these outrages have taken place, is more favourable in its drafting to Labour than is the Bill we are now discussing. How has it operated in America? I need not turn to any Labour source of information, to any biased propagandist, to consider the operation of the Clayton Act. I turn rather to the "Times," an organ which has consistently supported the present Bill. In the "Times" of 19th November last, we find a description from their special correspondent studying this question, which says:Labour leaders who have studied the question declare that this procedure has virtually revived in the United States the hated Court of Star Chamber of Henry VIII.That is this moderate and responsible organ, the "Times." It goes on:Sitting in Court of Equity, a Judge, guided not so much by the law as by his conscience, can issue injunctions against individuals or associations. For violations thereof, offenders may he brought before him and adjudged guilty of contempt of Court. Complaint is further made that recourse is had to this procedure when it is known that public opinion, being in defiance of the law, would prevent a jury from bringing in a verdict of guilty.There you have a description in the "Times" newspaper of the operation of the Clayton Act in America, and, in fact, we find innumerable instances occurring under this Act in America of injunctions being given which would, in this country render impossible, and have, in fact, in America, rendered impossible, the conduct of any legitimate strike for wage conditions.
§ Mr. MOSLEY
Then the hon. and learned Member for South-West Hull (Mr. Grotrian) believes that if you can render it impossible to strike under any conditions, a country will become prosperous.
§ Mr. GROTRIAN
No, not impossible, but the hon. Member cannot deny that the strikes of last year, at any rate, did this country great damage.
§ Mr. MOSLEY
The hon. and learned Member, despite his legal training in relevance, is riding off from the question. I said that these provisions had made impossible the conduct of an effective strike in America, and the hon. Member asked whether that accounted for America's prosperity. I deduced legitimately from that question that in his view prosperity comes when strikes are made impossible.
§ Mr. MOSLEY
Then what other meaning can there be? If we were permitted the method of cross-examination, in which he has sometimes indulged, we should very quickly arrive at the lack of meaning of that observation. On one occasion, not long ago, 66 coal companies obtained from a United States district court an injunction which enjoined the miners' union and its district officer. Some 66 coal companies combined to go to court under that Act, which is more favourable to Labour than is the Bill we are considering, and obtained an in, junction, and in another case some mine workers were enjoined fromadvising, assisting, encouraging, acting, or abetting, in any manner, or by any means whatsoever, the unionisation or attempted unionisation of the non-union mines in Mingo County, West Virginia, and Pike County, Kentucky.So, under this Act, which I think I have proved, from reading those words, is more favourable than the Bill we are considering, you actually had injunctions granted in the Courts forbidding unions to attempt to obtain members and to go into the minefields and endeavour to develop their membership, and why is this? It is because this Act in the United States has been interpreted in their Courts by the same class-conscious Judges and magistrates who will interpret this Bill in this country.
If the hon. Member is right, and an injunction in those terms was granted, the injunction must merely have been in terms which declared their law. Therefore, that injunction was declaratory of the American law, and is it suggested by the hon. Member that that is declaratory of the law as it is in this Bill?
§ Mr. MOSLEY
I do not know if the hon. and gallant Member was here when I first of all read the governing words in the Clayton Act, which were interpreted in this way, but I then showed that the actual interpretation in the Courts seemed to go far beyond, and even to be contrary to, the actual provisions of the Act. When we have, as we have, a Bill before us that is totally vague, totally ambiguous in most of its provisions, leaving the whole interpretation to the law Courts, shall we not have yet more unfavourable interpretations, or as unfavourable interpretations, of it here? The American Legislature—it was the Democratic party which passed it—did make some attempt in the Clayton Act to pin down the Judges to elementary considerations of equity, but directly you had Judges inspired by the class motive in every judgment that they gave, they found means of getting around and misinterpreting even the very clear provisions of that Act.
On a point of Order. Is it in order for the hon. Gentleman to cast imputations on American Judges?
§ Mr. MOSLEY
I am glad the hon. and gallant Member has raised that point, because it brings me very conveniently to this. There was a point of order once raised in this House, when a right hon. Gentleman was alleged to have cast aspersions on the Judges of this country, and after a heated dispute the right hon. Gentleman stuck to his guns and was upheld by the Chair. The words he used were these:Where class issues are involved, it is impossible to pretend that the Courts corn-wand the same degree of general confidence. On the contrary, they do not, and a very large number of our population has been led to the opinion that they are, unconsciously, no doubt, biased.That was an authoritative opinion delivered some years ago by the present Chancellor of the Exchequer. In casting any reflection upon the Judges of this or any other country, I will not go beyond those words. Those words are quite sufficient. Unconsciously, it may be, but the fact remains that Judges, in class issues, are biased, and have shown bias over and over again. It was one of the last illusions that I carried from the benches 462 opposite—a pathetic belief in the impartiality of British justice. I really believed, after I had joined this party, that the rich man and the poor man were alike before the law, that you could go into Court, no matter what your party, no matter what your creed, no matter what the state of your purse, and get impartial justice. That illusion is very quickly dissipated when you have passed through any battle, fighting with the working classes. That illusion of mine was very effectively dissipated when I saw the treatment to which my friends were subjected in the general strike of a year ago and in the subsequent mining lockout.
However much you try to tie Judges down on issues such as this, you get bias, and you get partiality, but the Government have not tried to define the issue and pin the Judges down. They have not got the courage to put in black and white what they really mean. They would not have polled 7,000 votes, but would have forfeited their deposit, if they had done so. They dare not put in an Act of Parliament what they really mean. They draft Clauses so wide and so ambiguous that a Judge or a magistrate can interpret them exactly how he likes, and they are leaving the execution of the Fascist businesss to which they have now devoted themselves to the Judges and magistrates of the country. It was claimed confidently by the Attorney-General that the country stood behind the Government on this Bill and on this Clause, that the nation supported them in the action which they are now taking, and he instanced the Scottish Universities.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That is more relevant to a Second Reading Debate than to a Clause dealing with injunctions. I stopped the hon. and learned Member for Argyll (Mr. Macquisten), when he was developing an argument of that kind.
§ Mr. MOSLEY
I was unwilling to interrupt the speech of my hon. Friend by submitting to you a point of Order, which is this, that the first sentence of the Conservative candidate's Address at Bosworth stated that a vote for him was a vote for the Trade Union Bill, and that a vote against him was a vote against that Bill.
§ Mr. MOSLEY
On the same point of Order, should I be in order, in view of the fact that he issued a last moment leaflet saying, "Vote for Spears, the one and only anti-Red"?
§ The CHAIRMAN
Certainly not. The hon. Member must confine himself to the Clause, and the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen), save for a few moments, did most admirably.
§ Mr. MOSLEY
I had come nearly to the end of my observations as well as to the end of the Government. I will leave the latter end to be postponed, congratulate them upon their present position, and express the final hope that before long this inept minority will cease to legislate in the name of a nation which repudiates them.
§ Lieut.-Colonel ANGUS McDONNELL
Can the hon. Member say whether the American Judges to whom he referred were Federal Judges, who are appointed, or State Judges, who are elected?
§ Mr. MOSLEY
It is the Supreme Court which settled, I think, most of tĥese cases, but I am not an expert in American legal procedure, nor, indeed, in British legal procedure. I can only quote to the hon. and gallant Gentleman the words of the Act and the results which have followed from those words.
§ Lieut.-Colonel McDONNELL
I am perhaps one of the few Members of this House who has lived in Pike Country, Kentucky, and as I do not think this House is the right place in which to criticise the administration of justice in the United States, I would not like to compare the ordinary State or County Courts in the United States, where the county Judges are elected, with the Courts we have in this country at all. It would be a bad and unfair comparison.
§ Mr. AUSTIN HOPKINSON
Hon. Members opposite should realise that there is something in this Clause which is of quite considerable value to the trade unions themselves, and that is that circumstances might arise under which, under Clause 1 of the Bill, a certain stoppage might be declared to be an illegal strike, and if no authority, such as the Attorney-General, has moved for an injunction to arrest the funds of that union and prevent them being used for the purposes of an illegal strike, then, in default 464 of such an injunction, and the funds having been used for a strike subsequently being declared illegal, there will be ground for action on the part of any member of the trade union concerned against his own officials for a refund of the money which has been spent illegally on an illegal strike. Suppose my reading of the law be right—and on this I am open to correction—I say that this Clause does undoubtedly protect the officials of a trade union from a possible action on the part of their own members, rendering them personally liable to refund all money which, as trustees, they have spent illegally. I hope the Solicitor-General will devote one moment to that point when he comes to reply.
I am very disappointed that we have not had the privilege of a reply from the benches opposite to the admirable speech delivered by the hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Mosley). When I saw the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Cooper) come in I hoped that he would have replied, with his usual facility for showing that the Conservative party do everything in the best interests of the working men. I had hoped that he would have stepped in where the rest of his party had failed, and would have defended this Clause. However, I congratulate him on his discretion. The attendance in the Committee at the moment is a tribute to the inherent dishonesty and political sagacity of the Conservative party. Of course, hon. Members opposite will be able to rush in at half-past ten, without having heard any of the discussion on this Clause—
If they are tackled by their constituents they will be able to say, "We came in late, and we did not realise what we were doing." The hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Ellis) endeavoured to show that this Clause will render some service to trade unions, or to the officials and trustees of trade unions, by saving them from the risk of spending the money of trade unions illegally, and then being called upon to make good out of their personal possessions the expenditure. That is a perfectly accurate statement, and the Clause does enable any trade union official to save 465 his own skin and what, possessions he may have, if he is willing to let down the members of his trade union when they are in the middle of an industrial dispute. I do not claim that trade union officials are any better or worse than any other section of the community, but I think the majority of people who are in a position analagous to the position of a trade union official, whether it is a business or political combination, will be more concerned with achieving the object of the organisation than in trying to safeguard himself in any way at the expense of the members of his organisation. It has been argued by hon. Members opposite that this Clause will do no real harm to legitimate industrial disputes, because what is legal and illegal is laid down in Clause 1 and, therefore, people who want to engage in an industrial dispute will be able to know beforehand whether they are liable to have an injunction made against them.
It is quite true, as the hon. Gentleman for Wakefield said, that every trade union before it takes any action tries to get, the best legal advice. When we drafted our rules we went to the best lawyers we could get, irrespective of their political opinions, and if this Bill becomes an Act we shall go to the best lawyers we can obtain and ask whether the action we propose to take is legal or illegal. Let me give the Committee an instance. I happen to be an official of a small but very peaceful trade union. In the whole of our existence we have been engaged in only three small disputes, and in none of them have more than 100 employés been implicated. We do not want to strike, because we know how much they cost. We also know that there will be occasions when we are conducting negotiations when we shall be hopelessly handicapped if we are told that the employers on the other side of the table know that directly we go on strike the Attorney-General will come in and protect them. We should be helpless in such a position, and I do not think any hon. Member opposite will say that it is fair that a trade union official should have to negotiate under such conditions, when he knew that he could not strike in any case. This difficulty would arise when you are dealing with limited companies. When you are negotiating with a large limited company the managing director, or whoever he 466 may be, will have this thought in his mind all the time: is it going to cost the firm more to give these follows what they want or to have discontented workpeople and possibly an industrial dispute? If you take that thought away from the minds of the employers you put the men's representatīves into an almost hopeless position, as far as negotiations are concerned.
Having got general acceptance of that statement, let us see how this Clause is going to work. It may be that the officials of a particular trade union find, very reluctantly and regrettably, that the only possible thing they can do is to ask the members to ballot as to whether they will withdraw their labour or not. It goes to the ballot, and the members decide by the requisite majority that they will withhold their labour. They have then to find out whether they will be falling within the ambit of Clause 1, and whether under the Clause we are now discussing an injunction may be obtained against them. I am sure hon. Members opposite will agree that if we went to the hon. and learned Member for South-East Leeds (Sir H. Slesser), to the hon. and learned Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney) and to the hon. and learned Member for Swindon (Mr. Banks) we should have consulted three very distinguished legal gentlemen, and should have done everything in our power to ascertain whether the action we propose to take was legal or illegal. I ask any hon. Member to read the speeches of the hon. and learned Member for South-East Leeds, the hon. and learned Member for South Shields, and the hon. and learned Member for Swindon, and then tell us whether they can imagine any possible dispute, which would be efficacious in obtaining our desires, which would be a legal dispute.
Let me put a further point. The Clause starts off by talking about the rights any ordinary people have of applying for an injunction against a trade union. That is most objectionable. In every regiment and battalion there is a black sheep, and in every club in the West End, as in every trade union, you will find one or two men who are not as white as they should be. They can be bought by an unscrupulous employer for £5 or £10 to apply to the Court for an 467 injunction, on what may be untrue and incorrect evidence. I have no great faith in our British judicial system, but I do not think we have a great deal to fear from the Courts in cases like that. But, honestly, after giving the members of trade unions and the members of the general public power to apply for an injunction, why must the Attorney-General be included as a person who may also apply for an injunction? I am going to give the answer to that question. The reason the Attorney-General is put into this Clause, as a person who has power to apply for an injunction, in addition to everybody else, is that if, unfortunately, a trade dispute breaks out on a large scale and it lasts as long as that of the miners last year, long enough to do considerable harm to the prosperity of this country, then the Attorney-General is to go to the Court, with all the prestige of the Government behind him, and say, "I want an injunction against the miners' union," or against the railwaymen's union, and if hon. Members opposite will give the matter a fair and unbiased opinion, they will know that this will be putting a greater strain on the mentality and outlook of the Judges than you have a right to put upon any single unit of the community. The Judge is sitting there, and the Attorney-General goes to him in the midst of a dispute which is seriously injuring the prosperity of the country. The Judge has read the "Times," or the "Daily Mail," or the "Morning Post," and will have read how the miners and the railwaymen are this bad and that bad, and all the rest of it. Then the Attorney-General will quote from Dr. Shadwell, as he has done in this House, or from some Conservative journal, and the Judge, in the majority of cases, will grant the injunction.
I suggest that this is not the best way to stop a trade dispute which is affecting the prosperity of the country. If masters and men cannot settle their differences without imposing loss on the community, which possibly may never be made up, I agree that the Government have a right and possibly a duty to intervene and say that the dispute is ruining everybody and must be stopped, but you have no right to stop it at the expense of the underdog and do nothing whatever to the top-dog, as will be the case if this Clause 468 be passed. The employers have always got redress, but, as the hon. Member for Wakefield admitted, and as I believe any other speaker who is honest with himself must admit, in the ultimate result, if the Attorney-General does make a mistake, it is a hardship on the people who are least able, in an industrial dispute, to bear it. I would ask any representative of the party opposite to tell us what would be the position of a union which was contemplating a strike, in the necessity for which it profoundly believed as a means of remedying a grievance.
The position sometimes arises that trade union officials, not because they have any sympathy with Moscow and not because they wish to do this country any harm, but because they have reached a deadlock with the employers, have to send out ballot papers to their members and to ask them whether or not they think it wise to withhold their labour. If they go to King's Counsel for an opinion, they get different advice. There are no two lawyers in the party opposite who are agreed as to the interpretation of this Bill. Supposing a union gets differing opinions from different lawyers and then the Attorney-General begins to take action. I am not speaking of the present Attorney-General, but of Attorney-Generals in the mass. It is well known that in the majority of cases an Attorney-General is appointed to his office as much for his political acumen as for his legal distinction. An Attorney-General may not be nearly as sound a lawyer as half a dozen people outside who have never spoken on a political platform in their lives. The Attorney-General in such a case as I have outlined considers that the strike for some reasons is wrong and he is against it. What then, is the position of the trade union?
I say to hon. Members opposite, "Vote for this Clause; make the Bill law if you like; but do spare us speeches declaring that the Bill is in the interests of anyone but the employers." America has been mentioned by the hon. Member for Smethwick and an hon. Member opposite. We know how this kind of injunction has worked in America. Those of us who have read the history of the strikes and the injunctions against the strikers in the American coalmining and clothing trades know how the injunctions have worked. We know the bitterness 469 that they have created. But here is a point that ought to appeal to hon. Members opposite. I would remind them that when they are dealing With British workmen they are not dealing with 120 different nationalities, half of whom cannot understand each other's language. You cannot split up British working men into Czechs and Slavs and black and white and brown people and lower Europeans and higher Europeans. It is because of the mixture of nationalities that the authorities have been able to "get away" with the injunctions in America. The Government are not going to stop strikes or industrial struggles by this Clause, but will make those struggles much more bitter. However many benevolent speeches may be made by hon. Members opposite, whether they belong to the die-hard party or that section which is represented by the Prime Minister—the section which uses fair words and spares us no mean action—if this Bill is passed the Government cannot deceive the working classes of this country any longer, for working men will regard them as just a political party tied to the more unscrupulous employers, and they will judge them as such.
§ Mr. MARCH
I have listened very attentively to the legal arguments as to the powers of the Attorney-General under this Clause. Of course I quite understand that this is new legislation. This Clause is the finishing touch to a very bad Bill; without this Clause the Bill would not be severe enough far those who support it. All the other parts of the Bill give powers to the Government and to the men who belong to a union and who feel dissatisfied with regard to the working of their union. But this Clause goes a little further even than the statements made by the Attorney-General as to previous Acts. When the hon. and learned Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney) asked the Attorney-General a question as to the power of the Attorney-General to get an injunction against the use of trade union funds, the Attorney-General took up other Statutes and said, "The hon. and learned Member for South Shields is quite wrong when he says that there is no other Statute under which the Attorney-General has power to apply for an injunction." In those other cases, however, we find that the Statute has to be broken and that someone has to call 470 the Attorney-General's attention to the fact. The right hon. Gentleman mentioned the Telegraph Act and said that the Board of Trade would call the attention of the Crown to an infringement of that Act and then the Attorney-General would take action. This Clause is much wider than that. It would be bad enough if all the injunctions which were applied for were applied for by or through the Attorney-General, but the Clause contains the words "without prejudice to the right of any person having a sufficient interest." "Any person"—who might that be? Any person who feels that he has some interest in a society responsible for continuing a trade dispute. It might be the case of money being spent in another direction.
I know that we have to read Clause 7 in conjunction with Clause 1, which refers mainly to illegal strikes. But there is always the difficulty that those who are supposed to be learned in the law give different interpretations of the law in this House. How, then, do hon. Members think it possible for a layman like myself to be able to understand the law? I would certainly like to see the Amendment passed confining action to a member or members of a trade union who feel aggrieved. To say that "any person" can take action is vastly different. If the words" "any person" were deleted and there were substituted the words "member or members of a trade union" the Clause would be clearer, and members of trade unions would understand it. It appears to me, moreover, that the Clause is intended to tighten the chain round the trade unions, to curb their powers and authority. A difficulty will arise in the working of the Clause when the question arises how far one organisation might help another or even how far one set of men in an organisation might help another set in the organisation. In the organisation to which I belong we have about 100 different sections of men. Is it feasible, if there is a dispute between the tramway men and their employers and there is a strike, to expect the omnibus men, who are members of the same organisation, to carry the very passengers whom the tramway men have refused to carry?
There is another analogy that might he drawn. We have in our organisation men who load and unload ships and men who truck that cargo away from the ship 471 or truck cargo to the ship. If one set of men were "in dispute" and another lot came out in sympathy, that would be classed as illegal, because according to Clause 1 it would be causing an injury to the community. The whole Bill is bad, and this Clause is worse. I hope that the Government will accept some of the Amendments that appear on the Paper. One has already been moved and one is in the name of myself and other hon. Members. If those Amendments were adopted the Clause would be clearer to members of trade unions and to the officials who will have to carry out the provisions of the Bill.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ Mr. GROTRIAN
We have had a very eloquent speech from the hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. Beckett), who drew for us some pictures which, I cannot help thinking, rested, as did his arguments, upon very slender foundations. He envisaged a dispute between an employer and his workmen, and he asked what chance would these men have in negotiations if the employer knew that they were conducting an illegal strike? Of course that cannot happen. Then he drew another picture of the Attorney-General rushing to the Courts to get an injunction and quoting to the Judge the "Daily Mail" or Dr. Shadwell. That is another thing that cannot happen. No counsel would attempt to make, and no Judge would allow, any quotations either from Dr. Shadwell or the "Daily Mail" in the argument of a point of law. That picture also vanishes. I cannot help thinking that seine of the remarks made from the other side, in an attempt to compare the Judges in this country with Judges in the United States, showed considerable ignorance of what goes on in America. When I was in America last there was a sort of general election going on for Judges. They were issuing their election addresses, which were put as advertisements in the papers, giving reasons, which no doubt appeared adequate to them why they should be re-elected for another term of service. Of course I know perfectly well that that does not happen with the Supreme Court in the United States of America, but it does happen, and it is the method of electing the Judges in the States and to the lower judicial offices. So, therefore, I think if you were to get 472 a certain amount of bias and prejudice amongst American Judges who are elected in that way, it would not be surprising, but, fortunately for us, our Judges are not appointed in that manner. I do not think hon. Members opposite are really serious when they allege, against the High Court Judges of this country, bias and so forth. I do not believe that they believe that, and I do not believe that anybody outside this House believes it, and therefore I think that arguments of that sort answer themselves.
§ Mr. TINKER
Some of the speeches on both sides of the Committee have dealt with the American Judges, but I do not intend to go outside this country to-night. My objection will be based on what I have seen and heard in the House of Commons. Clause 7 is to be read in conjunction with Clause 1. Clause 7 gives power to the Attorney-General to claim an injunction when he so desires, and my observations will be based on the Attorney-General's idea of what Clause 1 means. A question was put to him from this side of the Committee as to whether a strike would be illegal in a case like the following. Suppose the miners came out for a reduction of hours and the employers agreed to a reduction and then we, as miners, said that we were not satisfied with that but we must have it on the Statute Book. If we did that, two things would apply. First of all, hardship would be caused by our coming out on strike, and, secondly, the demand to have the reduction of hours put on the Statute Book would tend to coerce the Government. That was the Attorney-General's view. If that happens, the Attorney-General has the power to apply under Clause 7 for an injunction in respect of the miners' stoppage. I claim that that is putting too great a power in the hands of a man, who, judging by what has happened in the House of Commons, has what we call class-consciousness. How can you expect to get fair play when the outlook on the other side of the House is such as has been stated by the Attorney-General? He has the power to apply for an injunction, and when a man in the position of the Attorney-General, no matter what Government may be in power, applies to the Court on an Act of Parliament that everybody admits is most ambiguous, I can see at once that an injunction will be granted 473 in response to the appeal made by the leading man of the Government. When an injunction is granted, it has killed the strike. The strike is killed straight away when the injunction comes into operation. It is no use saying that we will be tried by another Court. Our funds are stopped and we cannot carry on. However much we can stand hardship, we cannot live on nothing, and, therefore, as soon as an injunction becomes effective, the stoppage is finished.
I claim that Clause 7, at least, should be kept out of the Bill. We are fundamentally opposed to the whole of the Bill, but Clause 7 takes away whatever remaining powers we may have in the event of a strike, and I ask the Government to consider that particular Clause. There is another point. We on these benches have said that as soon as we come into power we shall remove this Measure from the Statute Book, so that it will only be on the Statute Book while hon. Members opposite are in power. Hon. Members opposite may have another turn; one does not know, but while they are in power it is their Attorney-General who represents the views on that side of the House. The views of hon. Members opposite are not sympathetic to the working man. It is that to which we object in this Clause. I am not expecting this Clause to be withdrawn, but I do wish to lodge my protest against one of the meanest parts of the whole Bill.
§ Mr. HARDIE
I should like to draw the attention of the Committee to one or two points that have not yet been touched upon. The Attorney-General, in reply to a question put by the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton), in the Second Beading Debate, said that, in the ease of a man who was an employer in the shipping trade, in the coal trade, in the iron trade and in the steel trade, if a dispute took place in the shipping trade or in either of those other trades controlled by that man, it would not be illegal for the men in the steel trade to some out in a sympathetic strike with the men who were striking for higher wages in the shipping trade. But, having admitted that, I want to know how Clause 7 is going to be applied to a condition that will very likely arise under the statement made by the Attorney-General? How can the 474 Attorney-General go into Court and seek an injunction where some men, in the employment of one man or one firm in the shipping trade, are on strike, while he said that it would not only be a legal strike in that case, but that it was quite legal for all the men in the coal, iron and steel trades of that individual or firm to come out on strike in sympathy with those who were striking in the shipping or any other section of the industry over which that one individual or that one firm had control? How is it going to be possible to apply Clause 7 and for the Attorney-General to go into Court under conditions of that nature?
When the Attorney-General gave that reply to the hon. Member for Bridgeton, he gave it on the spur of the moment. I have wondered very often since, in passing it through my mind, if the Attorney-General did not make a slip in saying that. Because these half-dozen industries are under the direction of one man or one firm, it is legal to strike, and it is also legal for those in one of these industries not on strike to come out in sympathy with those who are on strike because there is one employer or one firm controlling all those industries. If either of those industries is in a dispute, how can an injunction be obtained in the Courts for those who are not on strike, but who are in sympathy with those who on strike? It is not here a question of having a Clause which determines that certain strikes have got to be started before one can get an injunction; none of those things I am talking about will be investigated under this Clause. The Clause does not seek for any form of investigation, All that the Clause does is to give the power of discretion to the Attorney-General, but the Attorney-General has not only the political bias of his party, he is not only an official of the Government, but he is also a legal luminary. How is it, then, that under those conditions we can expect to understand the application of Clause 7 to that case which I have based on the Attorney-General's own reply to the hon. Member for Bridgeton? If you have a case arising as I have stated, how is the Attorney-General going to know before he makes his application for an injunction? There is nothing in the Clause that says that he must have a preliminary or any other form of investigation. It is 475 not incumbent upon the Attorney-General under this Clause to have that. Clause 7 makes no provision, except that if a strike takes place the Attorney-General is to have the power to go into Court and get an injunction. Would it not be in the interest of fair play—
§ Mr. HARDIE
We all know what happens when an officer of the Crown makes an application in the Courts. Taking that case, is there to be no investigation at all? Why does not this Clause give the right to both sides in a dispute at least to be informed as to the cause of the dispute? Surely, if a dispute takes place, there are sound reasons for it, and why should not these reasons be revealed by some form of investigation? All strikes are not wrong, although hon. Members opposite hold that opinion, but the fact that they do not have an investigation means that you are going to do a great wrong, because the fact of the Attorney-General having obtained an injunction puts the money power of those constrained against out of action. Their action depends upon their money power.
There is another point. When an injunction has been given, is that injunction to apply to all sections of trade union funds? Is it going to prevent the ordinary trade union carrying on under a section other than the industrial section that deals with the payment of money during strikes? It would seem to me, and to anyone who wants to be fair, that if there is a dispute anywhere, there are bound to be two sides. It would only be elementary justice to have an investigation into the cause of the trouble, and if you have that investigation, then you would have some grounds for taking future action. It seems to me to be totally outside all conceptions of justice to leave it in the hands of one individual, without notification, to say, "A strike is on somewhere, and I must have an injunction." That seems to me to be out of all proportion to what is called the British idea of justice.
476 The next point I would like to take is that a Court's decision as to whether a strike is illegal or legal is to be taken simply on the application of the Attorney-General. That is unfair to the Courts. I had thought as a layman that when you went into a Court and you had not a case, you were told to come back when you had got one, but this means that the Attorney-General is to be looked upon as having a case when he goes into the Court. I always thought that with English justice the two sides would be heard before any Judge came to a decision. Here only one statement is to be submitted, and that by the Attorney-General. No other side is to be represented in Court. There will be only those representing the Government of the day, with whatever bias it has. The side of the strikers will not be heard. They are not asked to attend. [Interruption.] It is not wrong. It is no use quoting what some other Clause of the Bill does. I am taking this Clause as it stands, because I regard it as the governing Clause. The whole working of the Act begins with an application for an injunction. That is how we start the operation of the other Clauses. Why should there not be some arrangement whereby, before the Attorney-General makes this application, there should be a proper investigation? It would save a great deal of money to the country and much of the time of the Court.
I am not going to refer to the bias of Judges, as that has already been dealt with, nor am I going to refer to what was said about America. I was in America in 1920 when that business took place which was described by the hon. Member for Smethwiek (Mr. Mosley). I watched that whole business for three weeks, and saw some most cruel things being done to working-class people who were making a sincere effort to retain a standard of living which was not at all too high. I hope this country will keep itself above that kind of thing, but it cannot do so if this Bill passes. We shall be far below America's standard of a sense of justice. In 1906 Lord Coleridge said in the House of Lords during a Debate on the Trade Disputes Bill that in 1898 the Courts told the employers they might combine to fight their rivals, to injure them, and even to ruin them, provided their object was to benefit 477 themselves, and that in 1901 the Courts told the employés that they might not combine against their employers if the employers were thereby injured. Lord Coleridge said this could not be defended; but it is exactly what will happen if the employers obtain the weapon of the injunction.
If the people engaged in drawing up these Bills had a little more knowledge of working-class life, and could realise what people who are always within a week of need have to take into account before they go on strike, they would better understand what legislation was required, if any. Right through this Bill, but especially in this Clause, there is an absolute lack of understanding of what it is that makes a working man go on strike. At any time when I have been on strike I have always understood what I was on strike for. It was to get better clothes and better food for the work I was doing, and that is the natural, yes, the Divine right of every human being. He is endowed with a spark of divinity in order that he may fight to raise his standard to a higher and yet higher level—that is the object of the Divine intuition in the human mind; and it is only the reverse quality in the human mind that would seek to crush the development of that spark. I remember being in a strike where an employer sought an injunction—
I do not see that this has anything to do with this Sub-section of this particular Clause.
§ Mr. HARDIE
I was just going to give an illustration of an employer who did not know the laws of Scotland but thought he had a perfect right to go to the Courts for an injunction. Of course, there was no such right, but the employer thought because his men were on strike he ought to have some weapon with which to crush them back to his conditions. That was his idea, and that is the whole idea behind this Clause—to take away the only weapons the people have. The only weapons they possess are provided by their pennies and their shillings. When the big giant comes along, the other fellow will be bound hand and foot by an injunction. That is not fair. There is no sportsman-ship in that. You would not do that with dogs; you do not do that with 478 pheasants; you do not do that with hens in a hen-run. I have never had any hope of justice from the Government since first I saw this Bill. I repeat that they do not understand working-class conditions, nor what makes men go on strike. If the Attorney-General had ever been a working man with a wife and six in the family to keep, and had known that an injunction might be obtained to prevent him from raising his standard of living, he would have been one of the first in the works to go on strike.
§ Mr. MARDY JONES
I apologise to the Committee beforehand it I should say anything which has been said before to-day, as I have not been here to listen to the Debate. I have not been to the Derby. As a matter of fact I have been totting up the figures of the Bosworth Election and trying to find out how many Conservatives voted for the Liberal candidate. I have only looked at this Clause very casually, but, as I understand it, during a dispute any person, not necessarily a workman, can apply for an injunction. That may mean an employer, or a political agent of a party opposed to the union concerned in the dispute; and if no workman or any other person interested in the dispute can be got hold of to apply for an injunction, the Attorney-General himself can apply for one, and so hold up the dispute. That, of course, is the object of the Government. In Clause 1 they have hedged about the definition of a trade dispute with many restrictions, but the fact that Clause 7 has been inserted is a confession that they are not quite satisfied that they have sufficient powers to make any and every dispute illegal.
No matter what dispute may break out in the future between employers and employed, the moment the Government take it into their heads to regard the dispute as sufficiently large to affect the industrial interests of a large number of the community, they can very easily give the impression, when applying for an injunction, that it has run a stage beyond a legal dispute and that the community will be menaced. It would be an easy matter for the Attorney-General, with his large powers of imagination, to picture to a Judge that the dispute would develop into a much more serious affair and become more menacing even 479 that the last general strike or than the miners' lock-out, which continued for seven months and involved over 1,000,000 men. Clauses 1 and 7, taken together, will mean that no really big dispute, involving a large body of men, in any important industry, can take place in future without the Government stepping in and, by means of an injunction, tying up the funds of the union. I understand it goes even further—that they can do that even when a trade dispute is only looming ahead, when a strike is only threatened.
All this means that trade unionism in this country is a past force, and will have no power at all. I understand that the trade union movement of Great Britain is the oldest trade union movement in the world, the best established and the best disciplined. Trade unionism started in this country long before it appeared in any other country. For the first 50 years out of the past 100 years, the trade union movement grew slowly. Only on the repeal of the Combination Laws was it possible for workmen to band themselves together and defend their working conditions, but even after those laws were repealed the common law, the power of employers, the prejudice of magistrates, and the judgments of Judges hampered and hindered trade unionism for a very long time. On countless occasions there were serious riots in which property was destroyed and lives were lost, and the country was on several occasions in civil war.
A survey of the history of trade unionism in this country is not in order on this Clause.
§ Mr. JONES
I am using it as an illustration to show that in those times no injunctions of this character were sought against the workers in their struggles to improve their standard of life by trade union action. Therefore this Clause is a precedent. It is a new feature and it places it in the power of any individual, even though he is not personally concerned in this dispute, to step in and make a superficial case before a Court that he is vitally interested in that dispute and seek an injunction. It will be quite easy for any outsider to make out a case of that kind in the event of a dispute in any of the big industries. He may be a shareholder or he may be a 480 paid agent of the Federation of British Industries, for instance, and he may be used as a means of putting this Clause into operation. There are all kinds of possibilities in this proposal. A workman might feel that the policy of his union was not in accord with his own views and he might take it into his head to apply for an injunction. But he would have the common sense to realise that it is expensive to put the machinery of the law into motion, as the workers have found to their cost. Some other person or some other organisation, an employers' association or a political association, might finance such a man. That is the way in which trade union law has been challenged at various times in the last 50 years. The Taff Vale judgment is a case in point. The case of the Glamorgan Colliery Company in 1901 is a striking example, where the colliery company got hold of workmen and tried by means of an injunction to tie up the funds of the South Wales Federation. The Osborne judgment is a classic case of men being used in this way, and enormous funds have been found at various times by various people and interests outside industry to cripple the growing power of trade unionism.
As a Member of Parliament returned to this House by a large body of trade union electors. I lodge my protest against this Clause which trade unionists regard as a menace to the rights of trade unions in this country. I ask the Attorney-General to make it clear whether any individual who is a workman or an employer concerned in a dispute can apply for an injunction and also whether a person altogether outside the industry can apply for an injunction. This Bill will pass the House of Commons with large majorities and will probably go through in the other place with very little opposition apart from that of the few Labour representatives there. We may expect that it will become the law of the land before July. I assume that the Government are banking on the fact that, however obnoxious and vicious and unjust it is, and however much the trade union movement is up in arms against its passage as a Bill. yet directly it becomes law they will be able to rely upon the law-abiding instincts of the great mass of the working class and particularly the trade union population. That is their calculation and had the Cabinet not calculated upon that, 481 they would never be so stupid as to introduce a Bill of this kind—stupid as the Tory party is known to be in big issues Involving the life of the nation for generations ahead.
Under normal conditions that judgment would be quite sane. The mass of the workers would be law-abiding and would obey a law even if they disliked it; but I ask the Committee to remember that Clause 7 proposes something which is being introduced for the first time into British legislation. This is a legal operation which has been practised in the United States for many years. It has resulted there in the locking up of the funds of the trade unions and in the reduction of their bargaining powers, but it has fomented violence, disturbance and the destruction of property and life as has been shown on numerous occasions in the last 20 or 30 years. If this kind of American innovation is to be established here we may have the same experience. In our own country in the old days prior to the first trade union charter there were disturbances and the country was brought to the verge of revolution on several occasions because of the feeling among the workers that Parliament and the employers and the ruling classes were dead against their aspirations. Whether the Attorney-General agrees with me or not, my considered opinion is that this Clause will create tremendous distress in the minds of the 6,000,000 trade unionists in this country. I may be told that there are 17,000,000 industrial workers in the country and that trade unionists are only a small proportion of that number, but trade union membership fluctuates with varying conditions in industry and the 6,000,000 who are normally members of trade unions represent the cream of the working-class. They have skill, experience and knowledge of affairs. The trade union movement is the great university—
The hon. Member must recollect that merely to refer now and then to Clause 7 will not put him in order if he is not dealing with the Clause itself.
§ Mr. JONES
I submit that my argument is relevant to the Clause. Let me read it:Without prejudice to the right of any person having a sufficient interest in the 482 relief sought to sue or apply for an injunction to restrain any application of the funds of a trade union in contravention of the provisions of this Act, such an injunction may be granted at the suit or upon the application of the Attorney-General.The object is to tie up the funds of the trade union—even in cases where a dispute is only threatened. This principle is being introduced for the first time and therefore it is relevant that we should appreciate the kind of people who will be asked to obey this Clause. They are the 6,000,000 trade unionists, who are the most skilled and experienced workers in every industry. Many of them are educated and all of them are exceedingly intelligent. Many of them hold positions of trust in trade unions and thousands of them are well known as members of public authorities. They will interpret this Clause as I do; they will regard it as the introduction of an American method of breaking up the machinery of trade unionism in this country. They will argue: If the power which it gives is to be utilised by any individual then what is the use of having trade unions at all? The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in a speech in the country recently, said the workers must have the right to work as well as the right to strike. I quite agree, but I have yet to learn that any worker has the right to work.
That is absolutely outside the Clause, which deals only with the right of Attorney-General to apply for an injunction.
§ Mr. JONES
If anyone reads the countless Amendments which have been placed on the Order Paper against this Clause, it will be seen that many hon. Members of this House are as much in doubt as other people as to what this Measure means. I am sure the Attorney-General's answers have left us in as bad a position as we were before. In fact his explanations have been as clear as mud. I hope in this particular case he will be a little more clear. I wish to point out that the power which is being given to the Attorney-General in this Clause is unique. No instance can be quoted in the whole of our trade union law where the Attorney-General has such power. To ask for such power now is to destroy the basis of trade unionism. Once you put it into the minds of trade unionists 483 that they are not having fair play under the law of the land and that their power to bargain with employers is being menaced and taken away, as it is by having this injunction hanging over their heads, then trade unionism becomes powerless, and the workers will have to turn their minds to one of two things. One is revolution, with all its destructive forces; and the other is to concentrate upon political action and use their political power constitutionally to get rid of this Measure. I am in favour of the second method, and I shall advocate it up to the hilt. I ask the Government why are they putting the Labour movement into this position, because that is what they are doing by Clause 7 and by the very strong language against industrial disputes in Clause 1. This Bill is really forcing the Labour movement into the position of having to concentrate either upon revolutionary action in the future or upon political action. Those of us who have advocated political action for years may find that the Government are digging their own grave by this Clause. 1 enter my most emphatic protest against this Clause because it is a departure from British methods of legislation, and it introduces the American method of attacking Labour.
§ Mr. JONES
The policy of the high wages is a sound one; high wages and high production go together. There is nothing in this Clause to secure high production and high wages. I can understand the Government putting in this Clause, because they calculate that Clause 1 may not give them all the power they want, and they wish to make sure by having this last weapon in store. Therefore, the worker who is anxious to maintain harmony in industry is forced, as a last resort, to have recourse to the strike weapon. The Government say that, if Clause 1 is not strong enough to prevent disputes, then they are going to put this proposal across the workers, but like a boomerang it will fall back 484 upon the Government and it will force the workers to concentrate either on revolutionary methods or political action. I hope the latter course will be adopted, and I trust that the day will soon come when the Labour party will sit on the opposite side of the House and then our first task will be to repeal this Bill.
§ Mr. ERNEST EVANS
The opinion has been expressed that under this Clause an it stands it will be open to any person to sue or apply to the Courts for an injunction in the case of an illegal strike taking place. I take it that in the event of an illegal strike taking place or being threatened, apart from any special powers given by this Clause, the only persons who would be entitled to apply for an injunction would be the members of one or other of the unions affected by the illegal strike. If that is not the case, then I agree that the Clause is enlarging what we deem to be the scope of this Bill to a very large extent. The only thing which gives me some doubt as to the accuracy of my opinion is the uncertainty of the words in the Clause:Any person having a sufficient interest in the relief sought.I think those words are of a very uncertain meaning, and for that reason it is very unwise for the Government to introduce them. It is to clear up that doubt that some of my hon. Friends have put down an Amendment to make it quite clear that the only persons, apart from the Attorney-General, who would be entitled to approach the Court would be a member of the union or the unions involved. I am surprised that the Attorney-General does not support that view of the Clause, but that is the position at the moment. If the Clause has a wider application than that, it is drafted in an unwise way, and is too wide. The case against the Clause does not end there. In my view it would be much wiser to leave an application of this character to the, members of the union concerned. I suppose that we shall be told that that would be an impracticable policy by reason of intimidation and various other forms of pressure which might be exercised by unions upon individual members which would prevent them from taking any action in the Courts. If that be the defence of this Clause, then it is one of the greatest 485 condemnations of this Bill it is possible to imagine. The whole point of this part of the Bill is that it gives members of unions freedom from unfair pressure and intimidation and freedom of action. If these words do not achieve that object when the Bill is on the Statute Book, it will be open to any member of any union who feels that he is aggrieved by the action of his union in participating in an illegal strike to go to the Court and apply for an injunction. I think it would be wiser to leave such action to the members of the union themselves.
We have heard in the course of the Debate the phrases, "The Government taking part," and "The Government stepping in." There could be no more mischievous thing in the industrial world than to have the impression created among millions of trade unionists that the Government is stepping in with regard to the matter which, after all, is a question of internal policy, because when this Bill is passed an illegal strike is illegal without any doubt at all. [Interruption.] The whole point of the Bill is that there is no longer to be any doubt whether a particular strike is illegal or not, and that being so, it is not necessary for the Government to intervene, but it is open to every member of the union, and it is up to every member of the union, to see that, in accordance with the law as embodied in this Bill, not a penny of the funds of the union to which he belongs shall be improperly applied. Therefore I do not think it is necessary, and I certainly think it is unwise, that the Government should take any action which will interfere with giving every member of the union the right, and indeed encouraging him to exercise the right, of seeing that the funds are not improperly dealt with.
But apart from that, if it were necessary for the Government to intervene, I think the office of Attorney-General is the very last office upon which the responsibility should be imposed. I agree, of course, that when the case actually comes to the Court the Attorney-General will be the proper person to appear in applying for an injunction, hut this Clause does more than that. It is introducing the office of Attorney-General into the life of this country in quite a new way, because hitherto that office has been regarded as being held by a man who is there to advise the 486 Government on legal matters and to represent them when legal matters have to be taken to the Courts. But this Clause means more than that. If there is any point at all in introducing the Attorney-General into it, it means that upon him is to be imposed the responsibility as to whether an application shall be made to the Courts for an injunction in any particular case. The Attorney-General May say, "If the, Government decide to make an application, I shall have to make it," but that is a very different thing from imposing upon him the responsibility of deciding, and unless that responsibility is imposed upon him by this Clause there is no means in the last words of the Clause. Making that decision may involve a question of policy. The Attorney-General is not going to decide, when this Clause is passed, merely from a legal point of view as to whether he is going to apply to the Court for an injunction against any particular union. He has to take other questions into consideration. There is an old saying that "All things are lawful, but all things are not expedient." I know the Attorney-General does not like the word "expediency," having used it with very ill effects on the Second Reading, but any Government, in the event of an illegal strike taking place after the Bill is passed, before making an application to the Court will have to decide two things. The first is whether the circumstances are such on legal grounds as to justify an application. It will also have to decide this. "Assuming we are on perfectly strong ground so far as the legal case is concerned, is it expedient at this moment in regard to any particular union to go to the Courts and apply for an injunction?" If this Clause had been in operation when the general strike took place last year, the Government would probably have hesitated a good deal before applying for an injunction against any particular union, not on legal grounds—they could have done this on legal grounds last year if they had wanted to—but on grounds of expediency, and whenever a general strike takes place again, if it ever does, under this Clause the Attorney-General will have to consider whether it is expedient at any particular moment, apart from the legality of the thing, to apply for an injunction, 487 and it is very unwise to place the responsibility of coming to s decision on a question of policy of that character upon a man whose office is primarily and peculiarly that of legal adviser and legal representative of the Government.
The other point is this. I imagine, in the event of a threatened illegal strike, the Government will have to come to these two conclusions and they will go to the Court, if they so decide, and apply for an interim injunction. That would create a very bad impression in the country. After all, it a general strike takes place again we can be certain there will be a good deal of excitement among a large number of people. Those particularly concerned in it will be watching the progress of events and examining everything that takes place with meticulous attention and there will take place on a large scale something that took place on a small scale even last year. The Government will be accused of meddling in the affairs of the unions themselves and the judiciary will come under suspicion, because those people who are excited and keen on their position taking part in the strike will say, "Your Courts are no better than your Government. They are already coming to a decision on an interim application which practically declares, without any proper argument or any legnthy consideration, that we are taking part in an illegal strike." The answer the Attorney-General will probably make to that is, that when the interim injunction is granted there will be a speedy hearing of the trial. I know the influence of the Attorney-General in the Courts is very great but he may be mistaken. The Courts may be equally busily engaged on equally important business, and apart from that, the Government themselves may deem it inexpedient to proceed with the matter, and the interim injunction will stand, and a sense of uneasiness and suspicion will be created in the minds of those who are taking part in the strike which is sought to be declared illegal. For these reasons I think the Government are not improving their position to any practical extent by this Clause, and I think its insertion is very unwise.
§ Mr. J. BAKER
I am one of those who believe the Bill generally, and this Clause in particular, are designed either to 488 cripple or smash trade unions. I might be charged with looking at the matter from a biased standpoint, but I rise to make a comment on two speeches which have been made from the other side, one of them by the hon. and learned Member for South-West Hull (Mr. Grotrian), who thinks we on this side cannot believe some of the arguments that we are adducing against the Bill. He has difficulty in thinking that we believe the Courts to be biased. But we have had experience of the Courts. We believe the Government is biased. We believe the hon. Member who made that statement is biased against the workers. We believe the whole Bill is not in the interests of the community at all but in the interests of the employing class as against those of the workers. Quite recently, there was a night watchman who was told, if I may give the illustration, that he was receiving four times as much as he ought to receive. He was told that by a magistrate. Gentlemen on the Bench giving expression to opinions like that are simply bringing the law into contempt. If we share that contempt, I do not see how we can be blamed. Varying readings have been given of this Clause, and it occurs to me—and I have read it over several times—that other people may take action, but if they do not, the Attorney-General may. I really think that it should be read in this way, that if they do not the Attorney-General will. Pressure will be brought to bear upon the occupant of the office of Attorney-General in every big strike that takes place in the future. We are going to have big strikes in the future. We have witnessed the mental attitude of hon. Gentlemen opposite. Their attitude is a reflex of the attitude of the employing class in this country, and that attitude is anything but favourable towards trade unionists or workmen in general. They are going to create trouble, and when that trouble is created pressure will be brought to bear through the Press and employers' associations upon any occupant of the office of Attorney-General. If he is a man with a sense of fair-play and very strong, he will resist, but if he values his office more than he values his own sense of propriety he will give way and ask for an injunction.
This Clause makes the Attorney-General the one person in this country who is to decide, in the first instance, 489 what is, or is not, an illegal strike. It is quite possible for a perfectly legal strike to take place under the provisions of this Bill, and for it to be in operation for a short time, when, through the action of people outside the organisation concerned, it may be brought close to the borderline which separates the legal from the illegal strike. At that point the Attorney-General can step in and have the strike declared illegal. I should like to give an illustration of the case I have in mind. Railwaymen may be thoroughly good. They may vote for their employers, whether they be Liberals or Tories. But they have a grievance. Their employers want to reduce wages, and the men strike. Immediately somebody—not from amongst the railwaymen themselves who are on strike, but from outside bodies, it may be the Fabian Society, the Independent Labour party, the Communist party, or the Socialist party, or somebody else—says, "What you really want to do is to secure the nationalisation of the railways; that is the one remedy for all your troubles." At that stage the press gets hold of these speeches and declares this to be a strike to coerce the Government and brings pressure to bear on the Attorney-General to ask for an injunction to stop the strike, which started perfectly legally, and, as far as the men directly involved in the first case are concerned, is still legal. Because outside politicians have involved this dispute in a political issue, the Attorney-General has the right to step in.
Personally, I think that is not reasonable. It is not fair. I do not think it is in the interests of the good government of the country, and I think it will turn out to be very disadvantageous as far as industrial peace is concerned. If this Clause has been designed, among others in this Bill, to bring about industrial peace, I think the designers will find that they have created industrial unrest. Employers are going to take advantage of the presence of a Clause like this to be more oppressive in regard to their work-men in the future than they have been in the past. If I understand the work-man of this country, particularly the Northerner, he is going to resent that oppression. This will result in disputes, and not in industrial peace. Another Member said that he saw in this Clause some protection for trade union officers, 490 and that trade union officers ought to welcome it. I happen to be a trade union officer, and I do not want the protection afforded in this Clause. That expression reminds me of a dispute that we had many years ago. The law was changed immediately after that dispute, and the employer met me on a railway station and said, "I wish this Bill had been passed a few months ago; I would have had you in gaol." That type of employer is going to try to use Clauses like this one to put a trade union officer into gaol. That might be good for the community. It might be good for the trade union officer according to the opinion of the Gentleman who sat on the Front Bench on the opposite side of the House about an hour ago, but I do not believe it can be good. That feeling of greater strength, that feeling of greater power, that feeling that they have got the workingmen in the hollow of their hands, is going to make tyrants of many employers who up to now have been fairly reasonable people to deal with.
If this Clause is going to give protection to trade union officers and is a good thing, why not extend that protection to the employer? There has been no suggestion, as far as I know, that the Attorney-General, when he reads his "Daily Mail" in the morning, should rush out and go to the Courts and get an injunction to stop employers financing illegal strikes or to stop them from contributing towards illegal strikes, or to prevent them from extending the shareholders' money in financing or furthering illegal disputes. In other Clauses the employer has been brought in. Here is a Clause which the Government believe is to be a protective Clause. Why do they not extend that protection to the employer?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
If the hon. Gentleman will permit me, this applies just as much to the illegal lock-out as it does to the illegal strike; to the employer as much as to the employé.
§ Mr. BAKER
I cannot read it that way. I should be greatly interested in the Attorney-General's explanation of the Clause. I am not thinking only of employers' associations like the Federation of British Industries, which says it never, by any chance, interfers with industrial disputes. If you had read their report 491 which appeared in the "Iron and Coal Trades Review" as to how the federation believes that the law should be altered, you would say this Bill had been prepared because of the expressed wish of the Federation of British Industries. But I do not mean an organisation of that kind. Here is a firm using its shareholders' money in furthering a dispute which, if the workmen were to blame, some Attorney-General might think was a legal dispute and would step in. Why is there a provision dealing with trade union funds and not one dealing with shareholders' money? This Government, of all Governments, ought to protect the poor shareholder from having his funds wasted in furthering illegal disputes. We do not see any such provision in the Bill. An hon. Member opposite said that this Clause will bring some protection to trade union officers. Trade union officers try to avoid Law Courts as much as possible. They have had no reason for loving the Law Courts up to now. Those who are acquainted with the history of trade unions have no reason to believe that things were any better in times past. The mental attitude of hon. Members opposite is exactly the same as that which prompted this House in 1879 to make organisations of workmen illegal, only they have not gone as far as that. I do not say that they have not dared to go so far, but certainly they seem to have done a very stupid thing in going so far, if they desire industrial peace. I hope the Attorney-General will accept the Amendment, and make it perfectly plain that it is only members of trade unions who can take this action under this particular Clause in addition to himself, if the present occupant of his office thinks that he ought to have that particular power.
§ Mr. CONNOLLY
There are two points in regard to the application of the Clause on the restriction of funds in regard to which I desire an explanation from the Attorney-General. The Clause refers to the funds of trade unions. In my society we have had two fairly lengthy lock-outs, and I wish to draw the attention of the Attorney-General to the difference in regard to funds for a lock-out and a strike in my society. I do not know whether there are many great societies which make the same difference as we 492 do in the case of a strike and a lock-out. We provide for our members during a lock-out from a separate fund. The strike fund is a separate fund. I would like the Attorney-General to apply himself to the difference in the definition given of a trade dispute. Last year when the mining dispute took place, there were several controversies in this House as to whether it was a strike or a lock-out. In a case of that kind, had my society been dealing with it there would have been no question as to the fund from which the payments would come. It would have been the fund which is applied for lock-out purposes, which in some instances is a little more and in some instances a little less.
The second point concerns employers' funds. The Attorney-General said in reply to the hon. Member for Bilston (Mr. J. Baker) that under the 1875 Act the term "trade union" covers employers' associations, and that equally the provision in this Clause would cover employers' associations. I think that is what he meant when he intervened in the speech of my hon. Friend. If the Government intend to apply Clause 7 rigidly to the funds of employers, what are they going to do? It is well known, that employers have large accumulated funds to cover the losses of their constituent members in times of dispute, whether of lock-out or strike. Do the Attorney-General or the Government know in what way payments are made in cases of that kind? If the Government intend to apply this Clause rigidly, how does the Attorney-General propose to find out these things in regard to the employers, and apply the Bill? Sufficient thought has not been given to that particular side of the question.
We passed the lock-out Sub-section in Clause 1 without a single word of discussion. The Guillotine came down, and the lock-out part was included without the Committee knowing what the Government would regard as an illegal lock-out. It appears that this reference to employers' funds will go into the Bill, or if not in the Bill it will be implied that this Clause will cover employers' funds, without any discussion as to the ways and means whereby the Government will ascertain the amount of those funds and how they are going to be applied. We ought to have something from the 493 Attorney-General to indicate that he and the Government are alive to the fact that an illegal lock-out may take place, despite what members of the Government are saying in the country. The Secretary of State for War and the Minister of Health are saying that they cannot visualise an illegal lock-out. That appears to be the attitude of the Government upon this question although, as a sort of sop to the feeling in the country and to meet criticism in this House, a lock-out has been included, and by inference, and inference only, Clause 7 is to cover unions of employers. Very little thought has been given to the possibility or the probability of an illegal lock-out.
§ Mr. HOPKINSON
The hon. Member spoke of employers' associations financing an illegal lock-out. Does he know of any specific instance of any association of employers that has any funds available for financing a lock-out of its constituent members?
§ Mr. CONNOLLY
I think the hon. Member for Mossley (Mr. Hopkinson) will concede that we have little opportunity, if any opportunity at all, of ascertaining the exact proof on a point like that.
§ Mr. HOPKINSON
I do not know of any case and I do not think there is any case where in a federation of employers there are any funds available for financing a lock-out by any of its constituent members.
§ Mr. CONNOLLY
I do not know whether the hon. Member for Mossley, who is a large employer himself, means to say definitely that, in his judgment, there are no such funds. If there are not, then I am sadly mistaken. I know that before the great lock-out in our society in 1910, I had an intimation that the employers with whom we were then directly dealing had merely £1,250,000 of accumulated funds. I do not say for that purpose; but I was told that they were absolutely spoiling for a fight, and we had the fight. Despite that long lock-out, the dividends never went down, not even in the smallest firm connected with that industry and that federation. The hon. Member for Mossley knows that it is impossible for me to stand here and say that I know that there are such funds, 494 but I do not think that he will say definitely that there are no such funds. The challenge that was put forward to-night by the hon. and learned Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney) was that putting into an Act of Parliament the power by an injunction to restrain funds was in reality a new thing in our law. The Attorney-General, in defence of his position, said he could quote not one but half a dozen Acts of Parliament in which the power to apply for an injunction was incorporated He quoted the Railway Act, 1844. To my mind there is an important and vital difference here. In the Act of 1844 and in similar Acts, under which concessions are given to different bodies, there is some right for the Government to exercise a restraining influence where breaches of the Acts are committed. Every one will concede that, where valuable concessions under an Act are given, and where the provisions of that Act are deliberately violated, the Government, through the Attorney-General, ought to have some right to apply for an injunction restraining certain activities of the bodies who enjoy the concessions under those Acts. I maintain with the hon. and learned Member for South Shields that we have an entirely different thing under this Bill. This is an injunction to restrain funds of trade unions where the trade unions have not had anything by way of concession. In this Act we are about to incorporate a punishment never incorporated in any Act of Parliament at all.
I do not think that the Government quite realise what is going to be the outcome of the operation of this particular Clause. I heard the Attorney-General explaining to the Committee what was to take place when an injunction was applied for. He was replying to my hon. Friend the Member for one of the Glasgow Divisions, who said that there was to be no evidence taken from the workman's side when an injunction was applied for. I believe there is, and that my hon. and learned Friend was wrong. What I want to put to the Attorney-General is this: An application is made for an injunction. Certain things will have to be said to the Judge by the Attorney-General, who is applying for the injunction, and I understand that what is termed an interlocutory judgment will be the result, that is a judgment in law on facts that have to be ascertained. A 495 prima facie case having been made out, a decision is given. My point is that, when this decision is given, it goes a long way to establishing the fact that the men are wrong, with all the implications that brings. Supposing, for instance, that I apply for an injunction against my neighbour who plays the piano too late at night, or has a dog that keeps me awake, and I get my injunction, and afterwards there is a row between us, in which I am the aggressor, and the case comes to the Court. The fact that I have applied for an injunction will stand in my favour and influence the Court. In the same way, in a trade dispute where an interlocutory judgment has been obtained, it is bound to have an influence and be a factor, though not a determining factor, in the case. I consider that the Attorney-General has been brought into the affairs of our country in a way that no Government official has ever been brought in before. He is the legal adviser of the Government, but we are now going to have him intervening in trade disputes, with consequences of the most far-reaching character, because the final decision in these matters will not only affect trade union funds but will be the means of imposing penalties, both corporal and financial. The Government, even at this late hour, ought to consider whether this new principle in law is going to work out to the benefit of the nation.
§ Captain BOURNE
I am a strong supporter of this Clause for rather different seasons than those put forward by the hon. Member who argued against them. In the course of his speech the hon. and learned Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney) said that the Attorney-General was not entitled to intervene, and did not intervene, in the case where the directors of a company use the funds of that company contrary to the articles of association. I venture to remind him that any shareholder has a right of action against the directors whereas a member of a trade union by the Act of 1871 is specifically precluded from bringing any action against the trade union over any funds.
§ Mr. HARNEY
The hon. and gallant Member is not quite right there. Under the Act of 1871 a member of a trade union cannot bring an action directly 496 against the trade union itself, but the Courts have always allowed a member of a trade union to bring an action for misappropriation of his money. The Courts can do so, and have been doing so for years.
§ Captain BOURNE
I am not an expert in law and am perfectly willing to accept the correction of the hon. and learned Member, but I submit it is not very easy for a member of a trade union to bring an action in relation to the benefit fund to which he has subscribed. The Act of 1871 lays down that the Court shall not entertain an action against the trade union. I quite agree that in one or two exceptional cases the Courts have permitted a member of a trade union to bring an action, but, speaking generally, a member of a trade union has not got a legal right against the executive of the union. In that case it is only fair to the ordinary member of a trade union that there should be somebody able to prevent the union from spending the funds to which he has subscribed for the purposes of benefit. After all, a good many members of trade unions join them partly for peace in their work and partly to secure the benefits which many of the trade unions have done extraordinarily good work in arranging. They join them very largely for those reasons and not necessarily because they are in sympathy with the political or the industrial policy of the executive. It will be within the recollection of many hon. Members opposite that there have been strikes to compel men in a particular shop to join a trade union. Not infrequently those strikes have succeeded and the men have joined, not because they were in sympathy with the policy of the trade union or its political views, but for the sake of peace and in order to carry on their trade peacefully and undisturbed. Those men have subscribed to the friendly society benefits if I may so describe them of the trade unions.
In a case where the trade union or its executive decides on an illegal strike, somebody should be able to protect the benefit funds of that union for the benefit of the men. They may disagree, and we know from the general strike that many of them did disagree entirely with the policy of their leaders. I cannot vouch for it as I was abroad at the time, but we are told that many men then on strike in one union took up national work in 497 another trade, thereby showing that, though they were loyal to their union and did not work at their own trade, in their hearts they thoroughly disapproved of its policy. The benefits of those men should not be used in support of an illegal strike. It is not so long ago that the hon. Member for Barrow-in-Furness (Mr. Bromley) admitted that the superannuation fund and the widows' and orphans' fund had been, if not spent, at least pledged by his union. The right hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas) admitted that he had pledged a certain amount of the funds of his union for bank overdrafts. I am quoting from memory and am open to correction, but surely that gives a right to the Attorney-General to prevent those funds being spent in support of an illegal strike. The only point about which I was personally doubtful was whether the Attorney-General was the right person to undertake that particular duty or whether it would not be better to put it on the State. Afer the various cases quoted, I thoroughly realise that there are many precedents for the Attorney-General undertaking this duty and I fully support the Clause.
§ Mr. BARKER
This Clause is a fitting climax to the Anti-Trade Union Bill. The other Clauses in the Bill dealt with penalties to the leaders in the way of fines and imprisonment, but when the leaders are imprisoned a dispute may still go on, so to make assurance doubly sure the Government are going to tie up the funds. The miners of this country have had some experience of legislation of this character before, and on one occasion the miners of South Wales had an action brought against them and funds to the amount of £80,000 confiscated. This Clause is designed specially to discredit and to destroy the trade union movement. The Attorney-General said two minutes ago that it will apply to a lock-out by employers as well as to strikes by workmen. I say that is an entire delusion. Employers, in the first place, have no funds and never subscribe to the funds of their association. They simply commit themselves to pay the working expenses of the association, and they never accumulate any funds, so that the pretext that it applies equally to the employers as to the workmen is altogether an illusion, and the 498 Attorney-General is very well aware of that fact.
This Clause reveals without any doubt the animus of the Government against the trade union movement. It is most improper that a Law Officer of the Crown should become involved in industrial disputes, because as time goes on these disputes will become more and more political. The line of cleavage in this country now is between the Labour party and the Capitalist party, and the Attorney-General in a Capitalist Government will obviously be taking sides, in a trade dispute, with the employers. With the hon. Member for the University of Wales (Mr. E. Evans), I think it is very improper to involve the Law Officers in work of this description, and I think this Clause is a very malicious Clause and has been drawn up with a malicious purpose. It is putting the House of Commons and the industrial movement of this country in the position of one political party persecuting another. It is making the Members on this side the victims of the persecution of the Conservatives in this House. It is one of the most outrageous attacks which has ever been made by one party against its opponents in a free assembly like the House of Commons, and I cannot too strongly condemn this Clause. I think it is very badly conceived, and that it will be very injurious and partial in its operation. If this House were a free assembly and were exercising its rights in the interests of the citizens of this country, it would never pass this Clause.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
As some hon. Members may remember, I have already answered a good many questions at an earlier stage of this Debate, and I apologise for speaking again, but there have been fresh questions put to me with which I am anxious to deal. There is first the question which has been raised in the last two or three speeches, in which, for various reasons, it has been stated that this Clause does not apply to the employers. As a fact, of course, that is a mistake. The Clause does apply to employers in exactly the same way as it applies to workmen. The funds of any trade union which are threatened to be used in contravention of the provisions of Clause 1 may equally be in support of an illegal lockout and of an illegal 499 strike. Then it was said by the hon. Member for East Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. Connolly) that that really was illusory, because it was almost impossible to find out if the funds of the employers were being so employed. That, of course, is a difficulty of evidence, and whether it be a trade union of workmen or of employers, unless the Attorney-General can get evidence that a breach of the law is being threatened or committed, obviously he cannot move.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
That does not really meet the point, because published accounts show what has happened to the money after it has been spent. They do not show in advance how they are proposing to spend it, which is what the injunction has to deal with. The accounts of either body will show what funds they have in hand, but they do not show how the funds are proposed to be applied, and what it is necessary to prove is that any trade union proposes to apply its funds in contravention of the provisions of Clause 1. The hon. Member also said that the Clause would not apply to the employers because they never have any funds in their particular union. If the employers' trade union has no funds, and does not intend, therefore, to apply any funds in support of an illegal lockout, the Attorney-General will not apply to restrain them from doing so. The fact is that if the employers do not intend to break the law—
§ Mr. MARDY JONES
This is really very important. If an employers' trade union has no funds there will be no point in getting an injunction against them, but our quarrel with the employers' trade unions is that they have so many ways of concealing what funds they have, and they do not have to show in their annual statement the state of their funds as the workers' unions have to do.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
There are two different points here which it is necessary to keep separate. There is, first, the point that it is difficult to ascertain and prove an intention to break the law, and I agree that neither in the case of the employers nor that of the workmen can the Attorney-General apply to the 500 Court unless he has evidence to prove that there is a threat to apply the money in breach of the provisions of Clause 1. If there was any case of an illegal lockout, in which a large combination of a number of employers sought to coerce the Government, probably enough evidence would be obtainable to make out a prima facie case. The other point is that the employers' trade unions will not, in fact, apply funds in support of an illegal lock-out, because they have no funds available for that purpose. If they are not going to apply funds in this way, then I agree that the Attorney-General, obviously, will not apply to the Court to stop them. It may be said, and I think an hon. Member has suggested it, that there are other ways of doing it, by which I suppose he means that the individual employer may apply funds in this way. If an individual employer did anything so foolish then, under Sub-section (2) of Clause 1, he is liable to go to prison for three months.
§ Mr. MARDY JONES
How does this Clause meet this case? The employers obviously do not need to have funds in the same way as trade unions. They simply give notice to terminate contracts. Then it is a lock-out, and all the employers have to do is to allow time to work and they starve the workers into subjection.
§ The ATTORNEY - GENERAL
Obviously, if the employers are not going to apply funds in support of an illegal lock-out, the Clause will not be operative, because it only applies in cases where any trade union, either of employers or workmen, is going to apply funds in support of an illegal purpose.
§ Mr. HARNEY
?: Suppose an employer, out of a number of employers, says that he is not going to have the funds of his union applied in support of an employers' lock-out, but that he himmself is going to give £50,000 in support of the lock-out; you cannot touch that man.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The answer to that question is, first, that at common law, under a series of cases which I have cited already, the Attorney-General could apply to restrain that illegal act and, secondly, that if the unhappy employer ever ventured to do it, months' imprisonment, or two years on indictment.
§ Mr. HARNEY
Will the Attorney-General kindly answer the question? You have power to restrain the application of the funds of a trade union. The employer is a member of an employers' trade union. If the trade union uses his £50,000, as a trade union fund, you cannot restrain its application. If he says I pay that £50,000 in this way, I ask you, have you any power to restrain?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
Under the Clause, no; because it deals with the misapplication of the funds of any trade union. At common law, yes.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The Clause is intended to make it perfectly clear and plain, to let everybody know that there is express power given by Statute to the Attorney-General to intervene in cases in which there is a threat against the State, either by the employers or workmen acting in combination in contravention of Clause 1.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
It defines them and makes them clearer. I have been asked by the hon. Member for the University of Wales (Mr. E. Evans) and by the hon. Member for Pontypridd (Mr. Mardy Jones), who can apply for the injunction? The only person to whom this Clause gives power to apply is the Attorney-General. The earlier words in the Clause do not give power to anybody at all to apply. What they do is merely to leave those other persons, whoever they may be, in the same position as they would be if the Clause were not passed at all. When I am asked whether or not this is limited to persons who are members of trade unions, those hon. Members who were present at previous sittings of the Committee will remember that I quoted from a Judgment by Lord Wrenbury the exact definition as to what persons may apply in cases of this kind; that is, people who have private interests or who are particularly affected by a public wrong. If it were the trustee of a trade union, and the trustee was not a member of the trade union, obviously, he would have sufficient private interest to apply to the Court to restrain the misapplication by 502 his co-trustees of the funds of the trade union. But the Clause confers no right upon anybody at all except the Attorney-General.
§ Mr. MARDY JONES
If any person concerned in a dispute makes a point of grievance to the Attorney-General, can the right hon. Gentleman act upon that application?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The Attorney-General can apply to the Court whether he has information from anybody else or whether he gets it for himself. He can apply whenever he has information.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
Fortunately, I was coming to the question put by the hon. Member for Springburn (Mr. Hardie). He suggested that the Attorney-General should have a preliminary hearing, in which he should investigate the facts and give everybody an opportunity of putting their point of view before he applied to the Court. He based that on the theory that for the Attorney-General to go to the Court was almost equivalent to the Attorney-General getting an injunction as a matter of course. Any Member of the Committee who has had experience of the Law Courts—I hope that all are not in that category—will know that in fact that is not how the Courts work. As a matter of fact the Attorney-General would go to the Courts to get an injunction. All that he can do, after issuing his writ and giving his notice, is to apply to the Judge and to file before the Judge such legal evidence as he has. If he has no evidence the case is dismissed at once. If he has evidence it has to be evidence which will make out some sort of case, and the other side's case will be equally put in by the trade union.
§ Mr. HARDIE
I am taking the line of the Clause which contains the words, "or upon an application of the Attorney-General." That word "or" cuts out what precedes? On the question of information, my statement was that you had in this Clause nothing which compelled you to take information from both sides, and there cannot be a dispute unless there are two sides. You can go to the Court with information from one side 503 only and that information is second-hand. Can you give us some reason why you do not have a provision that both sides are to go to the Court?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I do not think that the hon. Member appreciates that the Attorney-General goes to the Court as necessarily representing one side, that is the public at large. He is their representative, and he says, "I am able to satisfy the Court, on evidence which I here produce, that either the employers—or the workmen—are threatening to start an illegal strike or to spend money on an illegal strike or lock-out, as the case may be." Then the trade unionists, the employers or the workmen as the case may be, file their evidence explaining to the Judge why it is that the strike is not illegal or why it is that it is wrong to suggest that their money is to be spent in support of the strike, and the Judge, not the Attorney-General, gives an order if he is satisfied, after hearing both sides and reading the evidence, that there is a case made out. Unless a case is made out of course the Judge cannot give the order.
§ Mr. HARNEY
Cannot the Attorney-General go to the Court a few days beforehand and make an ex-parte application?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The hon. and learned Member knows perfectly well that if one applies for an ex-parte judgment, first of all it can only be in cases where irreparable harm would be done by not granting it at once, and if you do get it you get it only on the terms that the other side are given notice at once of the application, and that the injunction is only until such time as they can be brought before the Court, which is generally between one and two or a maximum of five days.
§ Mr. HARNEY
I said a few days. Will the right hon. Gentleman pardon me in asking a further question? Is it not possible, and would it not be the usual practice, when a strike is threatened, for the Attorney-General to go before a Judge in Chambers, ex-parte, and to say, "This is a very serious thing if it comes off. Give me an ex-parte injunction, a stay upon the use of the funds, until such time as both parties can come before you," which would be four or five days later?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
That, I think, would be impossible, and certainly it is not the usual practice, because the first thing that the Judge would say is, "Why did you not come before?' You have to go the first time you know of it. Does the hon. and learned Gentleman or any other Member of the Committee seriously think that an illegal strike of such a scale outside an industry as to coerce the Government or the community at large, is going to happen at a moment's notice? Everybody knows it would not. Such a strike requires a great deal of organising and publicity.
§ 10 p.m.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
No. I was not dealing with that, but with the question of an ex parte application. A question was put to me as to whether or not, if the trustees or officials of a trade union were to spend money in support of an illegal strike, they would nōt be guilty of such a misfeasance as to render themselves liable at the suit of any dissatisfied member of the union? Of course, the answer is that they certainly would be liable. The fact that this injunction can he obtained is going to be a great protection to the officials as well as to the funds of the trade unions, which will be preserved for their legitimate purposes. A question was asked with regard to the Attorney-General being the right person to bring such an action as this, and it was said by hon. Members that my previous answer did not meet the point which they wanted met, namely, whether or not it was not unprecedented for the Attorney-General to apply to restrain the employment of funds supposed to be devoted to the doing of a wrongful act. My answer is, No; it is very far from unprecedented. I will give a few reasons for saying so.
In the first place, it is obvious that if you get an injunction to restrain a person or an association from doing an illegal act, it would be a breach of that injunction for the members of the association or the association itself to apply the funds in doing the thing which the Court has refused to allow it to do. That would be just as much a breach of the injunction as if it did the thing with its own hands. The greater includes 505 the less, and any injunction to restrain the doing of a wrongful act by an association necessarily involves that the association is restrained from applying its funds in doing it. Further, there are many cases, with which most lawyers are familiar, in which the Attorney-General applies directly for an injunction to restrain illegal expenditure. I can give a few instances which I happen to have got from my own index, where local authorities have been restrained from an illegal expenditure of moneys collected in rates. Injunctions have been granted for restraining public authorities, local authorities, from applying rates for supplying illuminated addresses to their own members, for the promotion of Bills in Parliament, for supporting able-bodied workmen on strike, for making illegal payments to employés. I could give a whole score of instances. There are cases going on now in which such applications are being made.
I am very anxious this time to stop every possible loophole. It may be said that this refers to local authorities and that hon. Members do not mean local authorities. Let me take another case which I have here, in which a railway company was doing business as a dealer in coal. It is an old case dating from 1860. The Great Northern Railway started dealing in coal. Accordingly, the Attorney-General applied for an injunction to restrain the company from doing that, and I notice that the injunction prayed for contained the words, "That the company might be restrained from so dealing and from employing their funds in such business." I hope I have given enough examples—
§ Mr. HARNEY
Would the right hon. Gentleman allow me? The point that I addressed to him to-day was that this was the first time we had a Statute to give power to the Attorney-General to butt in on the affairs of a domestic concern and put an embargo on their funds when he was not in a position to show that he had any proprietary duties in connection with those funds. He now says that there is an inherent jurisdiction in the Court when you apply for an injunction to restrain people from doing a thing, to restrain them from using their funds for doing it. If that be so, then is it necessary to put express words in this 506 Clause that power should be given to the Attorney-General to restrain any application of the funds for such purposes? Power already has been given to him to restrain them from using funds for an illegal strike, and, if his present argument be sound, these words are unnecessary.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The hon. and learned Gentleman seems to be an adept at changing his ground. He challenged me this afternoon to produce instances of any such powers as he has quoted. I gave him a whole series of instances. He then said that what he meant was that this was an unprecedented power, because there never had been an instance of the Attorney-General being able to restrain the misuse of funds except where there was a proprietary interest. I have now quoted a case where an Attorney-General obtained an injunction to restrain the employment of funds for illegal purposes by the Great Northern Railway. Now he says: "I do not complain of this new power, but I believe it to be unnecessary, because the Attorney-General already has it."
§ Mr. MARDY JONES
May I point out that the cases which the Attorney-General has cited are not analogous to the cases in dispute? Could he give the House a single instance of a case where the Attorney-General has secured an injunction against employers using funds in a trade dispute?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I am now asked if I can give a case in which the Attorney-General has obtained an injunction to restrain employers from using funds in a dispute against workmen. My reply is, most certainly not, and this Clause does not give that power. This is not a Clause which gives the Attorney-General power to intervene in a trade dispute. This is a Clause which only applies where there is plain proof that the strike is not in furtherance of a trade dispute, but is an illegal strike. The Attorney-General is given the right to intervene because it is not a domestic dispute between employer and workman, but because it is an organised conspiracy against the State. I hope that I have dealt with the questions this time satisfactorily, and for the reasons I have given I venture to submit that the Committee 507 might well reject this Amendment and proceed to pass the Clause.
§ Mr. R. YOUNG
There is one question which I should like to put to the Attorney-General. Supposing, in the event of an illegal lock-out, there were one or two firms who were not willing to lock-out their men, and there were no funds in the employers trade union, and yet one or more employers agreed among themselves to make a loan to another firm to induce them to come out. Has the Attorney-General any power to deal with that case, and to prevent such funds being used in that way?
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
I may be extremely dull, but there are one or two points about this Clause that are not quite clear even yet. I understand that this Bill lays it down that the question of the legality or otherwise of a strike amongst other things is determined by the question of the motive of this strike. The Attorney-General has told us that if he seeks for an injunction he must produce certain evidence. I would like to know what is the evidence that he can produce in regard to motive? Motive, if I understand it aright, exists in the mind of people. It is a sort of thing that must be proved, and I would like to know how the Attorney-General proposes to prove motive by evidence, and how he expects trade unions to produce contradictory evidence otherwise than by saying that there is no motive behind it. How does the Attorney-General propose to deal with a case like that?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
In answer to the last question, motive would be proved in exactly the same way as it is proved in every criminal case in which motive is relevant. In the bulk, or in a very large proportion, of the criminal eases before the Court, it is proved very largely by what the accused person has said or done, and by what the Courts may deduce from that. In a case of murder, motive is constantly a most relevant fact in bringing guilt home. Motive is a relevant fact in a great many criminal cases in which, without a wrong motive, a man may not have committed any crime. You have to prove motive by proving what the accused person has said, or the things he has done.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
That may be. The hon. Member for Newton (Mr. R. Young) has put to me a question which I want to answer. He said—I want to get it quite right—supposing there were two or three members of an employers' trade union who wanted to get one of their number to join in a lock-out, which he was unwilling to do, and they promised him a sum of money if he would do it. That, I think quite obviously, would not come within Clause 7 of this Bill, because it does not involve the employment of the funds of a trade union, but it would come within Subsection (2) of Clause 1, because it would be an attempt to apply sums in furtherance of an illegal lock-out, and anybody who does that is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £10 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years. Anybody who makes a promise of that kind would, obviously, be within that Clause, and would render himself amenable to criminal law.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
It is all very well for the Attorney-General to fob me off with legal terms, but we are laymen trying to understand the intricacies of a Bill which the lawyers do not seem to be able to explain satisfactorily to themselves. The Attorney-General has told us that he can produce concrete evidence of motive but there is something else in this Bill of which concrete evidence cannot be produced. A blackleg has only to say that something exists in his mind in order to get a conviction again a picket. On the one hand something concrete has to be proved; on the other hand a man has only to say that he has a certain belief. No evidence can be produced that he has not that belief. His own statement has to stand. That is one of the curious contradictions which this Bill contains, among many others.
§ Question put, "That the word 'person' stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 212; Noes, 123.
|Division No. 169.]||AYES,||[10.17 p.m.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Fielden, E. B.||Moreing, Captain A. H.|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Finburgh, S.||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Murchison, Sir Kenneth|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Foster, sir Harry S.||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W.G.(Ptrsf'ld.)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert|
|Atkinson, C.||Fraser, Captain Ian||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Oakley, T.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Galbraith, J. F. W.||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Balniel, Lord||Ganzonl, Sir John||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Gates, Percy||Pennefather, Sir John|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Perring, Sir William George|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Bennett, A. J.||Gower, Sir Robert||Philipson, Mabel|
|Berry, Sir George||Grace, John||pilditch, Sir Philip|
|Bethel, A.||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Blundell, F. N.||Grant, Sir J. A.||Raine, W.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Ramsden, E.|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Remer, J. R.|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Grotrian, H. Brent||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Guest, Capt. Ht. Hon. F. E. (Bristol,N.)||Ropner, Major L.|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Rye, F. G.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham)||Harland, A||Salmon, Major I.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Harrison, G. J. C.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. sir William James||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Burman, J. B.||Haslam, Henry C.||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Henderson, Capt. R.R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Sandon, Lord|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Savery, S. S.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Cassels, J. D.||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R.(Prtsmth. S.)||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Hilton, Cecil||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Cacil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Holt, Captain H. P.||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Christie, J. A.||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Streatfelld, Captain S. R.|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Templeton, W. P.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hume, Sir G. H.||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Clayton, G. C.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Thomson, Rt. Hon. sir W. Mitchell-|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Jacob, A. E.||Tinne, J. A.|
|Colfox, Major William Phillips||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Kindersley, Major Guy M.||Waddington, R.|
|Cope, Major William||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on- Hull)|
|Couper, J. B.||Lamb, J. Q.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)||Lister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim)||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Looker, Herbert William||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Wells, S. R.|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Lynn, Sir R. J.||Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Galnsbro)||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||McLean, Major A.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. Herbert||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Malone, Major P. B.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||Margesson, Captain D.||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Ellis, R. G.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Elveden, Viscount||Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.||Wragg, Herbert|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Merriman. F. B.||Young, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)|
|Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M||aCaptain Bowyer and Mr. Penny.|
|Fanshawe, Captain G. D.||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Batey, Joseph||Buchanan, G.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Cape, Thomas|
|Ammon, Charles George||Briant, Frank||Charleton, H. C.|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Bromley, J.||Clowes, S.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Cluse, W. S.|
|Barnes, A.||Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.|
|Connolly, M.||Kennedy, T.||Snell, Harry|
|Cove, W. G.||Kirkwood, D.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Lansbury, George||Stephen, Campbell|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lawrence, Susan||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Lawson, John James||Strauss, E. A.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lee, F.||Sullivan, J.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Lowth, T.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Dennison, R.||Lunn, William||Taylor, R. A.|
|Duncan, C.||March, S.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Maxton, James||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglessy)|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W.)|
|Forrest, W.||Mosley, Oswald||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Ptalstow)|
|Gardner, J. P.||Murnin, H.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Naylor, T. E.||Varley, Frank B.|
|Gillett, George M.||Oliver, George Harold||Viant, S. P.|
|Gosling, Harry||Palln, John Henry||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Graham, D. M, (Lanark, Hamilton)||Parkinson, John Alien (Wigan)||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Grentell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Watson, w. M. (Dumfermllne)|
|Groves, T.||Ponsonby, Arthur||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Potts, John S.||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Hall, F. (York., W.R., Normanton)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvll)||Riley, Ben||Welsh, J. C.|
|Hardie, George D.||Ritson, J.||Westwood, J.|
|Harney, E. A.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W.Bromwich)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Hayes, John Henry||Rose, Frank H.||Whiteley, W.|
|Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Sakiatvala, Shapurji||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Salter, Dr. Alfred||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Hirst, G. H.||Scrymgeour, E.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Sexton, James||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Windsor, Walter|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Sitch, Charles H.||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Smillie, Robert|
|Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Smith, H. B. Lees (Kelghley)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Kelly, W. T.||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)||Mr. Fenby and Sir Robert Hutchison.|
§ Mr. BARNES
I beg to move, in page 7, line 18, to leave out the second word "the," and to insert instead thereof the words "any other."
The discussion on the previous Amendment emphasises the importance of the proposal I am now submitting. My Amendment is designed to restrict to the Attorney-General the right of making any application for an injunction to restrain the funds of a trade union. The Attorney-General has indicated that under the terms of the Clause in its present form the right to apply for an injunction is given only to those who have a private interest in the union or those who suffer from a public wrong. It is obvious that whereas the first part of this Bill represents a direct attack on trade unionism this Clause is more insidious in its action. I can see no limit to the number of persons who may trump up some imaginary public wrong if a dispute takes place. Employers, and associations promoted for various political and other objects, are always seeking
|Division No. 170.]||AYES.||[10.31 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Atholl, Duchess of||Barnston, Major Sir Harry|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Atkinson, C.||Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Bennett, A. J.|
|Apsley, Lord||Balniel, Lord||Berry, Sir George|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Bethel, A.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-commander F. W.||Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Blundell, F. N.|
§ an opportunity to interfere at law with the rights and responsibilities of trade unions. It was admitted, too, by the Attorney-General That the Clause does not apply with equal incidence to employers' organisations; that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to apply the Clause to employers organised in federations which, I understand, are classified as trade unions. We understand why that is so. It is not necessary for employers to combine in a trade union in order to perform an illegal act. As compared with the employés in an industry, the number of employers is small, and in private conversations they can come to private understandings to perform certain actions without affording any definite evidence, either in writing or in public statements, upon which an application could be made for art injunction.
§ Question put, "That the word 'the' stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 233; Noes, 125.
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Grace, John||Oakley, T.|
|Braithwalte, Major A. N.||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Grant, Sir J. A.||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Grattan-Doyle. Sir N.||Pennefather, Sir John|
|Brittaln, Sir Harry||Greaves-Lord. Sir Walter||Percy Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Perring, Sir William George|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Grotrian, H. Brent||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Brown, Col. D. c. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. (Bristol.N.)||Philipson, Mabel|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks,Newb'y)||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Pilditch, Sir Philip|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. sir William James||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Burman, J. B.||Hall. Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Raine, W.|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Harland, A.||Ramsden, E.|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Harrison, G. J. C.||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Remer, J. R.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Hasiam, Henry C.||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y. Ch'ts'y)|
|Cassels, J. D.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R.(Prtsmth.S.)||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Ropner, Major L.|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Russell, Alexander West (Tyntmouth)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Rye, F. G.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Christie, J. A.||Hilton, Cecil||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St.Marylebone)||Sanderson. Sir Frank|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Sandon, Lord|
|Clayton, G. C.||Holt, Captain H. P.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Savery, S. S.|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Sheffield. Sir Berkeley|
|Coltox, Major Wm. Phillips||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N).||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Hume, Sir G. H.||Staney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Cope. Major William||Jackson. Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Couper, J. B.||Jacob, A. E.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)||Jones. G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim)||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Kindersley, Major Guy M.||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.|
|Crooke, J. Smediey (Derltend)||Kinioch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Lamb, J. Q.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey,Gainsbro)||Lister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Templeton, W. P.|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Dawson, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Thomson. F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Looker, Herbert William||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell.|
|Dlxon, Captain Rt. Hon. Herbert||Luce, Maj.-Gen. sir Richard Harman||Tinne, J. A.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Lynn, Sir Robert J.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough|
|Ellis, R. G.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Elveden, viscount||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Waddington, R.|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||McLean, Major A.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Erskine, James Malcolm Montelth||Macmillan, Captain H.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Maitland. Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Fanshawe, Captain G. D.||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Fermoy, Lord||Malone, Major P. B.||Wells, S. R.|
|Fielden, E. B.||Margesson, Captain D.||Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.|
|Finburgh, S.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir||Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Forrest, W.||Merriman, F. B.||Wilson, M. J. (York, N. R., Richm'd)|
|Foster, Sir Harry S.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon B. M.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Galbraith, J. F. W.||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Ganzonl, Sir John||Moreing, Captain A. H.||Wood, E.(Chest'r. Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Gates, Percy||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W)|
|Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Morrison-Bell. Sir Arthur Clive||Wragg, Herbert|
|Gibbs. Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Murchison, Sir Kenneth||Young. Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Nicholson, Col.Rt.Hn.W.G.(Ptrsf'ld.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Goff, Sir Park||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert||Captain Bowyer and Mr. Penny.|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Briant, Frank||Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Bromley, J.||Connolly, M.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Cove. W. G.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Crawfurd, H. E.|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bllston)||Buchanan, G||Dalton, Hugh|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)|
|Barnes, A.||Cape, Thomas||Davies Rhys John (Westhoughton)|
|Batey, Joseph||Charleton, H. C.||Day, Colonel Harry|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Clowes, S.||Dennison, R.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Cluse, W. S.||Duncan, C.|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Lawson, John James||Stephen, Campbell|
|Fenby, T. D.||Lee, F.||Stewart, J. St. Rollox)|
|Gardner, J. P.||Lowth, T.||Strauss, E. A.|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Lunn, William||Sullivan, Joseph|
|Gillett, George M.||March, S.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Gosling, Harry||Maxton, James||Taylor, R. A.|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Mosley, Oswald||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)|
|Grenfcll, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Murnin, H.||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W.)|
|Groves, T.||Naylor, T. E.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Oliver, George Harold||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Hall, F. (York., W.R., Normanton)||Palln, John Henry||Varley, Frank B.|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wlgan)||Vlant, S. P.|
|Hardle, George D.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Harney, E. A.||Ponsonby, Arthur||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Harris, Percy A.||Potts, John S.||Watson, W. M. (Dumfermllne)|
|Hayes, John Henry||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Rlley, Ben||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Ritson, J.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Hirst, G. H.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W.Brom'wich)||Welsh, J. C.|
|Hirst, W. (Bradtord, South)||Rose, Frank H.||Westwood, J.|
|Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Saklatvala, Shapurji||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Salter, Dr. Alfred||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Scrymgeour, E.||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Sexton, James||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercllffe)|
|Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Kelly, W. T.||Sitch, Charles H.||Windsor, Walter|
|Kennedy, T.||Smillie, Robert||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Kelghiey)|
|Kirkwood, D.||Smith, Rennie (Penlstone)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Lansbury, George||Snell, Harry||Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Charles|
|Lawrence, Susan||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip||Edwards.|
§ It being after half-past Ten of the Clock, the CHAIRMAN proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of the 16th May, successively, to put forthwith the Questions on any Amendments moved by the Government of which, notice had been given, and the Question necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded at half-past Ten of the Clock at this day's sitting.
§ Amendments made: In page 7, line 19, leave out the word "such."
|Division No. 171.]||AYES.||[10.41 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Brown, Brig.-Gen.H.C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Croft. Brigadier-General Sir. H.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Burman, J. B.||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Burton, Colonel H. W.||Crookshank, Cpt.H.(Lindsey,Gainsbro)|
|Apsley, Lord||Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Curzon, Captain Viscount|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Campbell, E. T.||Dawson, Sir Philip|
|Atkinson, C.||casseis, J. D.||Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. Herbert|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R.(Prtsmth,S.)||Eden, Captain Anthony|
|Baltour, George (Hampstead)||Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Edmondson, Major A. J.|
|Balniel, Lord||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Elliot, Major Walter E.|
|Barclay-Harvey C. M.||Chamberlain, Rt.Hn.Sir J. A.(Birm.,W.)||Ellis, R. G.|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Elveden, viscount|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Chapman, Sir S.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Charterls, Brigadier-General J.||Erskine, James Malcolm Montelth|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Christie, J. A.||Everard, W. Lindsay|
|Bennett, A. J.||Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Falle, Sir Bertram G.|
|Berry, Sir George||Clarry, Reginald George||Fanshawe, Captain G. D.|
|Bethel, A.||Clayton, G. C.||Fermoy, Lord|
|Blundell, F. N.||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Fielden, E. B.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Finburgh, S.|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Conway, Sir W. Martin||Forrest, W.|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Cooper, A. Duff||Foster, Sir Harry S.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Cope, Major William||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Couper, J. B.||Fraser, Captain Ian|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)||Fremnntle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim)||Galbraith, J. F. W.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexfiam)||Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Ganzonl, Sir John|
In page 7, line 19, after the word "injunction," insert the words
restraining any application of the funds of a trade union in contravention of the provisions of Section one of this Act."—[The Attorney-General.]
§ Question put, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 235; Noes, 125.
|Gates, Percy||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Salmon, Major I.|
|Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Looker, Herbert William||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Gllmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Lynn, Sir R. J.||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Glyn, Major R. G. C.||MacAndrew Major Charles Glen||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Golf, Sir Park||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Sandon, Lord|
|Gower, Sir Robert||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Grace, John||McLean, Major A.||Savery, S. S.|
|Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Macmillan Captain H.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Grant, Sir J. A.||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Maitland, sir Arthur D. Steel-||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Malone, Major P. B.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Margesson, Captain D.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Grotrian, H. Brent||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. (Bristol, N.)||Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Merriman, F. B.||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.|
|Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Hammersley, S. S.||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Harland, A.||Monseli, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Templeton, W. P.|
|Harrison, G. J. C.||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Moreing, Captain A. H.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Haslam, Henry C.||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Tinne, J. A.|
|Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Murchison, Sir Kenneth||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Nicholson, Col. Rt.Hn.W.G.(Ptrsf'ld.)||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Heno, Sir Sydney H.||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert||Waddington, R.|
|Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Nuttall, Ellis||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Oakley, T.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Hilton, Cecil||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St.Marylebone)||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Pennefather, Sir John||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Holt, Capt. H. P.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Wells, S. R.|
|Hopkins, J. W. W.||Perring, Sir William George||Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.|
|Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Hume, Sir G. H.||Philipson, Mabel||Wilson, M J. (York, N. R., Richm'd)|
|Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Pllditch, Sir Philip||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||price, Major C. W. M.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Jacob, A. E.||Raine, W.||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newlngton)||Ramsden, E.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Rees, Sir Beddoe||Womersley, W. J.|
|Kidd, J. (Linllthgow)||Remer, J. R.||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Statyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Kindersley, Major G. M.||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)||Wragg, Herbert|
|Lamb, J. Q.||Ropner, Major L.||Young, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)|
|Lister, cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. sir Phillip||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Rye, F. G.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Captain Bowyer and Mr. Penny.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Fenby, T. D.||Lawrence, Susan|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Gardner, J. P.||Lawson, John James|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Lee, F.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Gillett, George M.||Lowth, T.|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Biltston)||Gosling, Harry||Lunn, William|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||March, S.|
|Barnes, A.||Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Maxton, James|
|Batey, Joseph||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Groves, T.||Mosley, Oswald|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Grundy, T. W.||Murnin, H.|
|Briant, Frank||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Naylor, T. E.|
|Bromley, J.||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvll)||Oliver, George Harold|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Hardie, George D.||Palin, John Henry|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Harney, E. A.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Buchanan, G.||Harris, Percy A.||Ponsonby, Arthur|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Hayes, John Henry||Potts, John S.|
|Cape, Thomas||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Henderson, T, (Glasgow)||Riley, Ben|
|Clowes, S.||Hirst, G. H.||Ritson. J.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F.O.(W.Bromwich)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Rose, Frank H.|
|Connolly, M.||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Saklatvala, Shapurji|
|Cove, W. G.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Sexton, James|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Kelly, W. T.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Kennedy, T.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Dennison, R.||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Duncan, C.||Kirkwood, D.||Smillie, Robert|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Lansbury, George||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keiqhley)|
|Smith, Rennie (Penistone)||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plalstow)||Whiteley, W.|
|Snell, Harry||Tinker, John Joseph||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip||Varity, Frank B.||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Stephen, Campbell||Viant, S. P.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)|
|Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)||Wallhead, Richard C.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Strauss, E. A.||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Sullivan, J.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)||Windsor, Walter|
|Sutton, J. E.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Taylor, R. A.||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)||Wellock, Wilfred||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)||Welsh, J. C.||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. Allen|
|Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W.)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.||Parkinson.|
§ Motion made, and Question, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again," put, and agreed to.—[The Attorney-General.]
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Monday, 13th June.
§ The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.