§ [11TH ALLOTTED DAY.]
§ Considered in Committee. [Progress 1st June.]
§ [Mr. JAMES HOPE in the Chair.]
§ CLAUSE 8.—(Short title, construction, interpretation, extent and repeal.)
§ The CHAIRMAN
The Amendment standing in the name of the hon. and learned Member for the Exchange Division of Liverpool (Sir Leslie Scott) and other hon. Members—in page 7, line 31, at the end, to insert a new Sub-section:(2) The expression 'lock-out' (without limiting the nature of its meaning) means a closing of a place of employment, or a suspension of work, or a refusal by an employer to continue to employ any number of his employés in consequence of a dispute, done with a view to compelling his employés, or to aid another employer in compelling his employés to accept terms of employment"—is out of place. It should come in after Sub-section (2). In regard to the Amendment standing in the name of the right hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. A. Henderson) and other hon. Members—in page 7, line 31, at the end, to insert a new Sub-section:(2) In Section three of the Trade Union Act, 1913, and Section four of this Act, the expression 'trade union' shall include any company or association or body of employers, and the expression 'member of a trade union' shall include any person holding shares in any company or any member of an association or body of employers."—it is not in order, as it stands, because it involves an amendment of the Companies Act, and is, therefore, outside the scope of the Bill. If the references to "company" were left out, it would be in order. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman will move it in that form.
§ Mr. A. HENDERSON
I beg to move, in page 7, line 31, at the end, to insert the words:(2) In Section three of the Trade Union Act, 1913, and Section four of this Act, the expression 'trade union' shall include any association or body of employers, and the expression member of a trade union' shall include any member of an association or body of employers.682 This Amendment, in the first instance, was put on the Order Paper in the nature of an Instruction, but, when that point was submitted to Mr. Speaker, it was explained that the idea was to try to secure equality of treatment, as far as that can be secured in this Bill, between the employers' associations and the trade unions in so far as they engage in politics, and in so far as they use their funds for political purposes. We were constrained to seek to bring this about, first, because at the end of Clause 4, there is a new Sub-section which makes the position much more rigid than hitherto, as far as unregistered trade unions are concerned. We could not but feel that if the Government considered that the time had arrived when the procedure as far as unregistered trade unions are concerned should be made much more rigid over the administration of political funds, it should apply to any associations of employers engaged in political work.
There can be no doubt that there is on the part of many employers' associations much greater activity in regard to political action than many Members of this House would be prepared to admit. We very frequently come up against the activities of employers' associations when Measures dealing with the reduction in the hours of labour, or, say, Measures dealing with the Factory Laws, are under consideration, or are being promoted. We then find very considerable activity on the part of some of these associations of employers. The strange thing is that it is so difficult to get the information that ought to be at our disposal when we seek to deal with the matter.
During the earlier stages of the Debate, on Clause 4, a question was submitted to the Attorney-General on this point, and I want to quote the words that were used. The, Attorney-General said:I was asked whether two"—I want the Committee to note the number—out of the 94 registered employers' trade unions have political funds.Here is the Attorney-General's reply:I have made inquiries from the Registrar and I am told that that is accurate."—[OFEICIAL REPORT, 25th May, 1927; col. 2044, Vol. 206.]Out of 94 registered employers' trade unions two only have, or admit that 683 they have, political funds. Many hon. Members on the opposite side of the House would, I think, be prepared to agree with us in saying that that number, "two," is absolutely ridiculous. From the mere fact that two have admitted that they have funds, we have to conclude that they, and they only, are actively participating in political work, just as the trade unions are doing. In the earlier proceedings, the Government took a very important step in seeking to apply part of Clause 1 to the employers of this country. They sought to place a lockout, in so far as any Government or any House of Commons can ever do so, in exactly the same position as a trade union action. We think it is equally important that the Government should accept this Amendment, or words similar to it, and place the employers, and especially employers' trade unions, in exactly the same position as they are trying to place registered and unregistered trade unions. In Sub-section (5) of Clause 4 of this Bill we have these words:(5) Section sixteen of the Trade Union Act, 1871 (which provides for the transmission to the Registrar of annual returns by registered trade unions), shall apply to every unregistered trade union so far as respects the receipts, funds, effects, expenditure, assets and liabilities of the political fund thereof.We may be told that that is the position to-day so far as the employers are concerned, and that employers' associations which have political funds are registered in the returns of the Registrar-General. But I come back to this point, that we cannot be satisfied by being told that that is the position at present because we have to keep in mind the fact that only two out of 94 employers' associations have openly acknowledged that they are engaging in political work. We want them not only to be registered but compelled to submit their returns for audit. If the machinery is to be tightened up against trade unions, if the individual member of a trade union is supposed to be so much the concern of the Government in Clause 4, then the Bill should apply equally to individual shareholders and individual members of any employer's association. I go so far as to say that before the fund of any company can be used for political purposes the shareholding members ought to have applied 684 to them, with the same stringency as in the case of trade unions, the regulations as to voting by ballot, which are laid down under the Act of 1913, and will have to be continued under these new proposals.
Hon. Members opposite may not be aware that in the past some of the older trade unions have invested very considerable sums as shareholders in some of the gigantic trading concerns of the country. I could give the names of trade unions which, not many years ago, had considerable sums of money invested in some of the firms on the Tyneside. Is it suggested that before these firms used all their influence and participated in an agitation against some political proposal that the individual shareholders and the shareholding trade unions were consulted; is it suggested that a ballot vote was taken and that by a decision of the majority of the shareholders they were entitled to participate in that particular form of political agitation? Notwithstanding the very close interest one has taken in these matters I have never heard of a shareholding company being balloted, or the individual members of an employer's association being balloted, before a certain action was taken against some political Measure which Parliament was being asked to pass.
§ Mr. HENDERSON
I do not object to giving the name. The firm I was referring to is the old [...]n of Armstrong 'Whitworth and Company.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir Douglas Hogg)
On a point of Order. I thought you, Mr. Hope, had excluded from this discussion the question of companies. I am only asking for information, as it will be difficult for me, in reply, to know whether I may or may not embark on the question of the position of companies.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I did not feel called upon to stop the right hon. Gentleman in his argument, but under the Rules of the House the Amendment was not in order when it referred to companies.
§ Mr. HENDERSON
I am prepared to accept your ruling; I was only using them as an illustration, and was not making them part of a definite and prolonged 685 argument. I hope I have not transgressed your ruling in giving' the name of the firm in a reply to the hon. Member for Ilford (Sir F. Wise). If what I have described has existed, and will continue to exist under this Bill after it becomes law, we on this side are entitled to demand fair play; and I hope hon. Members opposite will be equally anxious to see that fair play is done. If employers' associations—I will say nothing more about companies—are to be permitted to carry on great agitations against legislation which may affect their interests, legislation affecting hours and the safety of the lives of considerable numbers of their employés, then we are entitled to ask that employers' associations which engage in political work and trade unions which engage in political work shall be placed on exactly the same footing. There should be neither preferential or deferential treatment. Unless that is done it will create the very bad impression that we are making it more stringent for unregistered trade unions and leaving the employers' associations to go their own sweet way without being compelled to make any return to the Registrar-General.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The right hon. Gentleman, in moving this Amendment, based it on the ground that he said employers' associations and trade unions, by which he meant workmen's trade unions, should be placed on exactly the same footing. I accept that view entirely. It is because they are already on the same footing and because the only effect of the Amendment would be to put them on a different footing, that the Government is unable to accept the Amendment. It is necessary to explain to the Committee what the position is. Under Clause 4 of the Bill, provision is made for what is popularly called "contracting in" instead of "contracting out" for the political fund, and provision is also made by Sub-section (6) that all trade unions, whether registered or unregistered, shall make a return of their political fund balance-sheet to the Registrar of Trade Unions. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to think that that Sub-section applied only to workmen's trade unions, for he said that the law had been made more stringent with regard to these unregistered trade unions. Of course, that is a complete misconception. Clause 4 of the Bill 686 applies to every trade union, whether it be a trade union of workmen or a trade union of employers. That is made abundantly clear by reason of the fact that this Bill, by virtue of the Clause which we are now discussing, is to be read as one with the previous Trade Union Acts, including the Act of 1913. Section 2 of the Act of 1913 defines what is a trade union. It says:The expression 'trade union' for the purpose of the Trade Union Acts, 1871 to 1906, and this Act, means any combination, whether temporary or permanent, the principal objects of which are under its constitution statutory objects.Statutory objects are defined as being those set out in Section 16 of the 1876 Act as consisting of "the regulation of the relations between workmen and masters, or between workmen and workmen, or between masters and masters, or for the imposing of restrictive conditions on the conduct of any trade or business." Therefore, it is, of course, clear beyond argument that the expression "trade unions" applies under the 1913 Act and——
§ Mr. THURTLE
Does the right hon. Gentleman not agree that the definition he has read would not bring in the Federation of British Industries?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I cannot possibly answer as to a particular body, because I do not know what its objects are. If the objects of the Federation of British Industries are "the regulation of the relations between workmen and masters or between masters and masters, or the imposition of restrictive conditions on the conduct of any trade or business," then it is a trade union. If those are not its objects it is not a trade union. Similarly, any association of workmen, unless its objects come within Section 16 of the 1876 Act, is not a trade union.
§ Mr. AUSTIN HOPKINSON
Would the learned Attorney-General inform us whether the Co-operative Congress is a trade union? That is an association of employers?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
Again I have to give the same answer, that without knowing exactly what the objects of that particular association are, I cannot reply to the question. If I did know them, I should hesitate to answer offhand 687 in the House, because my answer might be misleading. The only answer possible is that if the objects are those which are stated in Section 16 of the 1876 Act, then clearly it is a trade union, and if those are not the objects then it is not a trade union, whether it be an association of workmen or of masters. There is no difference between the two. In order to bring the association within the provisions of Clause 4 of this Bill or the provisions of the 1913 Act, or the earlier Act, it has to be an association whose objects are some at least of those set out in Section 16 of the Act of 1876.
§ Mr. A. HENDERSON
The right hon. Gentleman gave us 94 registered employers' trade unions and only two which had political funds. Will the other 92 be permitted to do political work, in view of the fact that no trade union of workmen will now be able to do political work of any kind except under the stringency of the provisions of this Bill?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The other 92 cannot now, and will not in future, be able to apply their funds to the political objects which are defined in the Act of 1913 without taking the steps which are laid down in the Act of 1913. They cannot do it now and they will not be able to do it after this Bill has become law. No registered trade union can apply its funds for political objects without complying with the statutory provisions of the Act of 1913. That has been the law since 1913 and it will remain the law after this Bill has become an Act of Parliament. The Bill makes no difference at all in that respect. Further than that, the right hon. Gentleman referred to the 94 registered employers' associations. All those 94 are within the language of the Act of 1871, and have therefore to make a full return of their expenditure on all their objects as is laid down in Section 16, I think, of the Act of 1871, and no doubt it is the fact—I have not checked it, because I did not know the question would be raised—that all these employers' trade unions make the returns which the Act calls for, and that none of them, except the two of which I have got particulars, spends any money on political objects. That is so far as registered trade unions are concerned.
688 I come now to unregistered trade unions. Whether they be trade unions of employers or of workmen, they cannot at this moment legally apply any of their funds to political objects unless they have taken the ballot which is prescribed by the Act of 1913. The only difference in the future will be this—that whereas at present the unregistered trade union, whether of workmen or of employers, need not make any return of any of its expenditure or receipts, because it is only registered trade unions which come within the Section of the Act of 1871, when this Bill becomes law all unregistered trade unions, whether of employers or of workmen, which have a political fund, will have to make a return to the Registrar of the receipts and expenditure of that fund. That will apply just as much to employers' trade unions as it does to workmen's trade unions. The only effect of the Amendment proposed would be to insist that associations of employers which were not trade unions, that is to say which had not any of the statutory objects which constitute a trade union, should be put under the obligation which applies only to trade unions. That would be just as unreasonable as it would be, for instance, to insist that associations of workmen which are not trade unions, or co-operative societies, let us say, or other bodies which are not trade unions, should be compelled to make a return of expenditure for political purposes.
That is not the law. This is a Bill which is dealing with trade unions and trade unions only, and it does not purport to extend the obligations of any body, of any kind, which is not a trade union. Any body which is a trade union, either of employers or workmen, is within the provisions of Clause 4 of this Bill without the Amendment. Any body of persons, either employers or workmen, which is not a trade union, or any single employer or workman, is not, I should have thought, within the scope of the Bill, and at any rate is not within anything with which, this Clause deals. It would be, in my view, and in the view of the Government, a wholly unreasonable and unfair proposition that one particular set of persons, namely, associations of employers should be compelled to accept this obligation when no corresponding obligation is being imposed on any other class of the community. As far as trade 689 unions are concerned, whatever they consist of and whoever they consist of, they come within the Clause already and, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment is not necessary and there can be in my submission no justification for bringing within the Clause one particular class of the community when it does not extend to any other.
§ Mr. KELLY
After listening to the Attorney-General we have now more reason than ever to suspect everything in this Measure. The right hon. and learned Gentleman speaks of not placing one section of the community, namely, employers in a worse position than the rest of the community; and yet throughout the discussions on this Bill he has been endeavouring to put the trade unions in a worse position than any other section of the community. Once or twice this afternoon the right hon. Gentleman referred to co-operative societies as though those bodies, which already take part in political work, did not make a return to their members at the present time. Certainly the societies which we know make returns periodically of the amount of money expended on the political work of the organisation and of how it has been expended. I do not wish to try to get round the ruling of the Chair, but, with regard to companies, I suggest that companies are able to contribute to the political work of many of the federations, confederations and associations of employers with which they are concerned. Is it the suggestion of the right hon. and learned Gentleman that the Confederation of Employers whose office is within a stone's throw of this building and with which many industries are concerned is not dealing with money subscribed by the shareholders to the companies and then subscribed by the companies to the confederation?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think it is in order to refer to companies if they are employers, but it is not in order to refer to companies in their relations to their own shareholders. Of course, in relation to their own employés they are employers as much as anybody else.
§ Mr. KELLY
I quite accept that ruling, but I suggest respectfully that when these companies are spending the money of their shareholders in subscribing it to various federations and confederations of employers, we are entitled to deal 690 with the matter here. In the case of the large chemical, engineering, shipbuilding and other companies, which are concerned with these confederations, it is the money of the shareholders which is subscribed to those institutions and is then expended upon political objects. I suggest that the Government are in the position of not being able to deal with those particular concerns. They can only deal with the trade unions, and it is only the trade unions which they are endeavouring to "crib, cabin and confine" by this Measure. With regard to employers' associations, all we have is the statement as to the wide definition of a trade union. Those of us who have had to deal with employers' associations already know that definition quite clearly, hut we are convinced that the Government have no intention of placing upon the employers' associations the same limitations as they are placing upon the workmen with regard to political activity.
I wonder if the Government dare tackle the brewers who have what is, I suppose, the finest political organisation to be found in this country—whose method of ticketing and docketing everybody about whom they wish to know anything is a masterpiece in the art of gaining information which they are able to use at any moment. In this Measure and under this particular definition the brewers will go scot free. There is nothing to compel them to give a return showing how they expend the many thousands of pounds devoted by them to political work. The Engineering Employers' Federation, probably, do not run a single Parliamentary candidate; the Civil Engineering Employers' Federation may not run one of its members as a candidate, but they expend considerable sums of money with regard to Measures which are being promoted, with regard to great public works and with regard to Bills which are passing through this House. Will these bodies be compelled to return the amounts which they expend upon political effort. One may also ask whether this proposal will apply to the employers in the cotton trade, who may not finance candidates for this House, but who, nevertheless, expend considerable money upon political effort in various ways—[HON. MEMBERS: "No!"]——either in the promotion or prevention of a Factories Bill, for instance. [An HON. MEMBER: "That is not politics!"] 691 Probably we may have a definition from some of the employers in this House as to what they consider to be politics. A Factories Bill is a political question to us and it is the employers who have made such Measures matters of party politics. It is the action taken by employers that has forced us to set up a party in order that we may defend the people. Last year the Prime Minister, or someone on his behalf, met the Confederation of Employers with regard to this Bill, when they urged upon him that it would not have been wise to proceed with it during the autumn, had that been the intention. There was expenditure upon political effort. The Federation of British Industries met the Government and urged the Government not to proceed with the Factories Bill. There again was political expenditure.
§ 4.0 p.m.
§ Mr. KELLY
Did it cost anything? Consider the number of meetings held. My reply to the hon. Member for the Mossley Division (Mr. Hopkinson) is that it must have cost a considerable amount of money. They had many meetings, and went through the Measure line by line and Clause by Clause. They expended a considerable amount of money, I have no doubt, upon legal expenses. They expended money on the deputations which were brought to London to meet the Government, and if they decide to tackle the work in that form rather than be at the expense of particular candidates for the House of Commons, surely that is political expenditure just as much as paying the expense of a candidate, or financing him, or finding him his salary when in the House. [An HON. MEMBER: "Much worse!"] And much worse, I have no doubt. That applies not only to those two organisations, but to many other federations. I wonder if the expenditure of employers' federations in order to obtain concessions either in this country or in some other parts of the world that are mandated to us, or held by us, is to be considered political expenditure? Yet there is nothing in this Bill that will demand from those people a return showing the amount they expend on that work.
692 The whole Bill is framed in a vicious spirit, in order to make it as difficult as possible for the trade unions to voice their opinions in this House by their direct representatives. I am not at all sorry that the Government have refused this Amendment. I am not concerned—I say it very plainly—with the Government making this into a better Measure. I am afraid it could not be made into a Measure which, at any rate, is fair to those people who are engaged in the work-a-day life of this country, and, therefore, I am not at all sorry that the Government have refused to accept this Amendment.
§ Mr. MORRIS
This Amendment arises from rather a confused issue. It raises a problem which should not be raised at this particular point. It is based upon a distinction between employers and workers. I think the right hon. Gentleman the learned Attorney-General was quite right. There is not a distinction at all. The basis of the discussion at this stage must be as to what is a trade union, and whether a trade union is to perform its function in a certain way. It is not a distinction based upon employers and workers. Does a certain body fall within the definition of the Section or does it not? That rules out the whole issue as between employers and employed, and that is the only position that can be taken up here. That is not to say there is not a point of substance in the Amendment itself, at the right moment, whether there are bodies of employers, or even of workmen, that are able to use their funds for political purposes without coming within the scope of the Section of the Act of 1876. That may be true, and the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has given an instance. The Brewers' Association certainly is able to, and it does not come within the scope of the Act of 1876. It may not have Statutory objects which constitute that body a trade union, but, still, it does influence, and seeks to influence, the political complexion of this House. It might be said that it is perfectly entitled to do it at the moment, but if this Amendment is to do any good, it should be an Amendment of the definition of the Act of 1876, and bodies such as these, which use their funds for political objects, should be brought within the scope of the Trade Union Act and make returns of their 693 funds. But at this stage it is unfortunate that this Amendment should make a distinction which is not necessary at all. It merely creates a feeling, which should not be created in this Clause, of a distinction which is unfortunate, and has not been pressed in any way, between employers and employed. Make the basis a trade union basis, but see that all those other bodies are brought within the scope of the Trade Union Act.
§ Mr. LAWSON
One of my hon. Friends last week referred to a circular issued by the Coalowners' Association of Durham and Northumberland, who have taken exception to the interpretation that the owners made a political levy upon their constituent organisations. Whatever may happen in the future, great organisations of employers certainly have been using their funds for political purposes. We would not have known of it as opponents politically except that the circular, by ways of which I know not, became public. It was sent out by the Secretary of the Coalowners' Association, saving that the Association for the two counties, or one county, at any rate, had decided that they were going to make a voluntary levy of 2s. per 1,000 tons output, taking the output of the year 1920. That levy was made, and they contributed thousands of pounds towards the political organisation for fighting the county council election. They made no bones whatever about this matter. They said, "We have got to take part in this election fight." They made the levy, as I say, and they got thousands of pounds together. The Secretary of the Coal-owners' Association, I understand, now says that that was a voluntary levy, but what the Secretary of the Association cannot say is that the individual shareholders were asked whether they would agree to that contribution or not.
Is the learned Attorney-General going to assure us that in the future, when a decision like this is taken by an employers' organisation to use money belonging to the various companies—and I think that is a challenge in the future—these organisations are to take a ballot of their members and be registered in the proper way as are the unions? I do not think that is clear at all. It has not been clear in the past. It does not seem to us on this side of the Committee that 694 there is any hope that that will be enforced in the future, but what is certain is that great organisations on the employers' side will continue to use their funds without any ballot or any reference to their individual shareholders at all. Although the Secretary of that organisation has challenged the statement that it is a levy, the fact remains that it was not a voluntary contribution made by the individual shareholders. It was simply taken out of the funds of the companies for their own particular purpose. I think hon. Members on the other side have, at the back of their minds, one standard for employers' organisations and another standard for workers' organisations. I think they resent the subjecting of employers' organisations to the same rigid rules and legal decisions as those to which the workers' organisations have to be subjected. The fact of the matter is that the whole of the legislation of the last century is based upon the assumption that a trade union is a thing which should be obliterated, that it is antagonistic to trade, instead of being as it really is, absolutely essential to every industry where a trade union is strong. On the other side, I think employers would say, if they were outside this House, that there are great commercial and industrial organisations which it would be absolutely impossible to carry on if it were not for the representative work of the trade union official. That is the fact to-day, but at the beginning of the 19th century it was not accepted. We have only to go back to some very humane people, writers like Charles Reade, Charlotte Bronte and others, to show that in the early part of the 19th Century even the most advanced and broad-minded persons treated trade unions as outcast organisations from the industrial and commercial side.
The real truth of the matter is that this Clause, like the whole Bill, is founded upon the same spirit—the spirit of destruction of the effective negotiating power of trade union organisation. That may be good, or it may be ill. I think it is very ill for industry and commerce in this country, but, if it is to be there, at any rate let the whole spirit of sport, about which we boast, manifest itself in this House, and put the employers in the same position as the workers. Therefore, I hope this Amendment will go to a 695 Division, and that we shall continue to fight this Clause from that point of view particularly, until such time as the Government have made up their minds that employers' organisations are to be treated the same as workers' organisations, not merely in theory but, in fact expressed in the Bill we are discussing.
§ Miss BONDFIELD
I think this discussion has revealed what most of us on these benches know very clearly, that a great deal of the argument in connection with this Bill is founded upon a theoretical equality which, by the very nature of the case, cannot have much substance. It is perfectly clear to everybody at least in the trade union movement, that employers have an opportunity to indulge in forms of association that are not open to the workers. It is the difference of the immense economic advantage which they enjoy, and it does not seem possible to find any words in any Act of Parliament which can entirely smooth out that immense advantage which their superior economic position gives them. I must confess that I cannot see anything in the reply of the Attorney-General to suggest any objection, or give any reasonable objection to the inclusion of these words with the idea of imposing restrictive conditions on the conduct of any trade or industry that can be indulged in by employers in a different way, by the expenditure of enormous sums of money for which, apparently, under this Bill they will not be asked to give any account at all. Some of us have a very clear recollection of the result of the White Lead Convention. I would like to know whether, to give them as a typical illustration, the White Lead Manufacturers' Association and the Zinc Manufacturers' Association will come under the terms of this Bill? That fight, it is well known, involved the expenditure of hundreds of thousands of pounds in propaganda work to try to defeat the White Lead Convention.
I was in Geneva when the fight was at its height, and I know that they spent money not only here, but abroad, to try to defeat the White Lead Convention; yet look at the difference between the point of view of the trade unions on the one side and that of the employers' associations on the other. There was the question of the degree to which white 696 lead was to be discontinued as the prevailing medium in white paint, and that involved a diminution of profits in the manufacture of white paint, but for what were the workers fighting? They were righting for the actual preservation of the lives of those who were being poisoned by the white lead. There is no question about the power of that association and other employers' associations to spend money to defeat, or to endeavour to defeat, on the floor of the House of Commons, these Measures for the safety of life and the well being of the workers, so that this theoretical equality promised by the Attorney-General under the Bill leaves us absolutely cold. We do not believe there is any practical comparison possible between the embargo that is to be placed on the trade unions and the embargo that is to be placed on the employers' organisations in regard to the disposal of their funds.
I understand from the Chairman that we are not entitled to refer to shareholders, and that is another illustration of inequality under this Bill, because what are our members but our shareholders? They stand towards our annual conferences and our governing bodies precisely in the same relation financially as shareholders stand towards their boards of directors or the annual meetings of their companies, and we believe it to be true that there is an increasing minority of shareholders in a number of these companies who would like to have a good deal more voice in deciding how money should be spent when it comes to a question of helping to develop reasonable standards of life on behalf of the workers who are their employés. Many of them would welcome the possibility of extending the scope of this Bill in order that limited liability companies might be included and that shareholders might have a chance of being balloted as to the direction in which funds should be expended by the companies to which they have handed over their capital. We are not, however, permitted to bring limited liability companies under the Bill, and if you take limited companies out, there is not much left.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I must point out that hon. Members may discuss companies in their relations as employers, but that their internal affairs are regulated under the Companies Act.
§ Miss BONDFIELD
I accept your ruling, Mr. Hope. You cannot touch a company's funds through the mere association of employers. It goes on its cheerful way spending its money on political objects entirely free from the embargoes that are placed on trade unions by this Bill. Therefore, although we cannot, in view of what the Attorney-General has stated, expect the Government to accept it, this Clause illustrates quite clearly once more the pretence of equality under this Bill, and it will become more and more apparent, as the Bill becomes better known in the country, that this profession of friendship on the part of the Conservative party for the working men and women of this country is simply a hollow sham.
§ Mr. CECIL WILSON
When the Attorney-General was speaking on 25th May, he referred to the Act of 1913 and the definition there of a trade union. To-day he has laid emphasis on Section 16 of the Act of 1876, and I want to ask him whether there is some difference to be drawn between the two. I notice that in the Act of 1913, in the definition of a trade union, are included the words:Provided that any combination which is for the time being registered as a trade union shall be deemed to be a trade union as defined by this Act so long as it continues to be so registered.In reply to certain suggestions made in different parts of the House, the right hon. Gentleman stated that co-operative societies, or the Federation of British Industries, or other similar organisations, if they were trade unions, would come under this Bill. What I want to ask is whether, if they are not registered, they would come under the Bill?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
Certainly. The question of registration or non-registration makes no difference. The only question is: Are they within the definition of Section 2 of the Act of 1913? There is no difference between what I said to-day and what I said on the previous occasion. The 1913 Act defines a trade union as a combination the principal objects of which are "statutory objects." "Statutory objects" are defined as being the objects mentioned in Section 16 of the Act of 1876, which I read out.
§ Mr. R. MORRISON
On whom would fall the onus of making a decision whether or not a particular organisation came 698 under the Act? Would a case have to be decided by the Law Courts?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
If any body committed what would be thought to be a breach of the Act, it would have to be decided on a prosecution whether or not it was a trade union.
§ Mr. MORRISON
Does it not follow that those organisations that have been referred to may continue doing what they are doing until some steps are taken to bring an action against them in the Courts?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
This Bill makes no difference at all as to what, is or is not a trade union. The only difference that this Bill makes is that it insists on an unregistered trade union making a return.
§ Mr. THURTLE
I gather that the Government are not prepared to accept the principle upon which the political Clause of this Bill is really based. The argument behind the contracting-in Clause is that no man should be compelled to pay money towards a political party unless he wishes to do so. There are certain organisations in existence, like the Federation of British Industries and the Licensed Victuallers' Association, which extract money from people against their will and use it for political purposes, and the people concerned have no means of avoiding the payment of that money. Let me take the Federation of British Industries first. That is a combination of firms and employers maintained in the main by grants from limited liability companies, some of which grant them £100 and some £1,000. I might be a shareholder in a limited liability company, the board of which decides to make a grant of £1,000 to the Federation of British Industries, and does so. The Federation may and does use that money for political work entirely contrary to my political views. It is a well known fact that the Federation of British Industries is very largely an organisation which works for the interests of the Conservative party. Perhaps I ought to put it the other way about, and to say that the Conservative party works for the interests of the Federation of British Industries, but Hon. Members opposite can have it whichever way they like. The result is that money which partly belongs to me as a, shareholder in a company is being used without my consent—indeed, to my great 699 annoyance—for political purposes with which I do not agree.
§ Mr. THURTLE
I thought the object of this Amendment was to bring such a body as the Federation of British Industries within the definition of a trade union. Once we had got that organisation within that definition, all the various Clauses in this Bill would apply to that organisation, and, that being so, the one Clause dealing with a political levy would also apply to it. Therefore, if we could get this Amendment accepted, we should be doing something to protect the interests of the shareholder who, against his will, has his money applied for political purposes by the Federation of British Industries, and I submit that I am in order in that way in discussing that Federation.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member is in order in discussing the Federation of British Industries, but the individual shareholder of a company which belongs to that Federation is another matter, because his rights are defined under the Companies Act. An individual employer contributing to an employers' federation would be a member of a trade union if the federation itself were a union or were made so by this Bill.
§ Mr. THURTLE
I brought that point out, because I thought it was common knowledge that it is the only way in which the funds of the Federation of British Industries are obtained, and it seems to me to be a legitimate grievance which I am entitled to discuss on this Clause. There is another organisation which carries on very obvious political work, and that is the Licensed Victuallers' Association. No man can have been a candidate for Parliament without having had the fact brought to his notice that the Licensed Victuallers' Association does exist, because no election ever takes place without this organisation spending a great deal of money in sending round circulars and literature to Parliamentary candidates in an endeavour to exert political influence. The money obtained for work of this kind is derived mainly from the pockets of the shareholders in brewery companies.
700 I do not know whether it is an inconceivable proposition, but I would suggest that it is just conceivable that a member of the Labour party, a Socialist, might hold shares in a brewery company It seems wildly improbable, I agree, but I am taking a wild hypothesis and stating my case on it. That being so, it might be that that brewery company would make a considerable contribution to the funds of the Licensed Victuallers Association. The money so contributed would be used for political purposes entirely contrary to the wishes of the individual shareholder, who would have no redress except perhaps to sell his shares, and it might be that that would not be a convenient course to take at the moment It seems to me that if this Bill were seriously intended by the Government to give equality to all classes of the community, so far as the right to control the expenditure of money which belongs to them is concerned, they ought so to amend the Clause as to protect the rights of the individual shareholder in a company just as much——
§ Mr. THURTLE
In that case I will not pursue the point. Although something of what I have said has been out of order, I hope a good deal of it has been in order, and I think I have said enough to show that there really is a strong case in favour of the Government accepting this Amendment if they really mean to see fair play for all sections of the community; and the fact that they are not prepared to accept it is only one more proof of the partisan and class character of the Bill.
§ Mr. HOPKINSON
I was very much interested in the earlier part of the speech of the hon. Member for Shoreditch (Mr. Thurtle). He painted in sentimental terms the anguish of the wretched shareholder who found that his hard-earned money was being used for some political purpose of which he did not approve. That was a particularly interesting argument from an hon. Member on the Labour benches, because during the discussion of Clause 4 of the Bill I gathered that his party took a completely different view, and that the member of a trade union who objected to his money being used for political purposes of which he did not approve was, I think they said, a Judas, 701 a blackleg, and a most undesirable person in every way. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I will not run the risk of following the hon. Member out of order, however, because I really got up to suggest to hon. Members opposite that they might very well drop this Amendment. If it had been left in its original form, it would have been perfectly obvious that any political levy on members of a co-operative society would have been subject to all the restrictions which the Bill proposes to apply to trade unions. You, Mr. Chairman, have kindly saved the party opposite from putting forward an Amendment of that sort; but what is left is also extremely dangerous from the point of view of hon. Members opposite. Although, Mr. Chairman, you hive ruled out the question of dealing with co-operative societies as individual societies being subject to these restrictions, I very much doubt whether, if this Amendment goes through in its truncated form, it will not be necessary for the Co-operative Congress, which has just taken a very remarkable step, to ballot all the individual co-operative members and that all members must be compelled to contract in before the party opposite can use for their own selfish purposes the funds of a co-operative society.
§ Mr. J. HUDSON
After the ruling which has been given, the likelihood of the funds of co-operative societies being used for a purpose for which the hon. Member does not desire to see them used can be left for discussion on some subsequent occasion, when I am quite sure the party opposite will find means, if they have not already found means, of bringing in the co-operative movement——
§ Mr. HUDSON
We are now informed that it will be done on the Report stage. For the present, I will content myself with points that can be raised upon this particular Amendment. I want to develop a little further the argument that has been put forward respecting the Licensed Victuallers Association. I have been making a study of the influence that the trade—the trade of all trades—has recently had upon politics, particularly politics in which hon. Members opposite are most interested. I have discovered, for example, from the "Morning Advertiser," which presents the point 702 of view of the trade, that it is not only on political issues in which the trade may be thought to have an economic interest that money which this association raises is spent, but that ordinary Tory propaganda is carried on by the association. Although they may be called hypothetical exceptions, I am none the less quite sure that there are a few licensed victuallers and others interested in the liquor trade who do not accept Tory politics holus bolus, and very much object to their money being spent upon propaganda of the type that the "Morning Advertiser" is pushing at the present moment; and therefore I would claim that a case has been made out for protecting those licensed victuallers who do not desire to have their money spent upon propaganda with which they do not agree, that is, if it is thought that protection is necessary for anyone.
I am still more interested in the case of the Federation of British industries. The activities of that body have gone a great deal further in influencing Governments and political parties in ways of which individual members of the Federation would not approve. I believe it will be true to say there are many members associated with firms in the Federation who see the necessity for the development of electricity by the State, who do not think that electrical enterprise can be left to individual effort, and who have pressed the point of view which to some extent was accepted in the Bill which the Government passed last year, when the electrical industry of the country was, for all practical purposes, nationalised. Some individuals and some firms would support that point of view; but there are others who, taking the pure Tory line, object to any advance in that direction. I wonder what would be the attitude of the former firms without, regard to the action which the Federation took on the Bill which the Liverpool Corporation proposed to introduce into this House some 12 or 18 months ago? When the Bill was first drafted it contained a Clause the aim of which was to municipalise the coal supply. The Federation of British Industries objected, and sent a special deputation to the Government Departments concerned to submit the Federation's point of view, and the result was the withdrawal of the Clause. Yet there are members of the Federation who realise, as the Samuel 703 Coal Commission realised, that one of the things most required in connection with coal distribution, as has been shown to be necessary in connection with the distribution of electricity, is that there should be some advance in municipalisation and in nationalisation. I submit that a member of the Federation who disliked the attitude taken up in opposing that Liverpool Bill should be dealt with in exactly the same way as a trade unionist on this question of political funds—that is, if there is any case at all for the action which has been taken under this Bill with respect to trade unions.
During the last year or two the Federation have influenced politics very considerably in all manner of directions. They sent a deputation to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to make suggestions regarding Income Tax and Super-Tax, and it would be no exaggeration to say that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when making reductions in Super-Tax and in Income Tax, was very considerably influenced in his decision by the deputation. Yet I would say again that there are individual firms within that Federation who realise the folly of reducing Super-Tax and Income Tax when the burdens upon the working classes are so heavy that they are unable to buy commodities and through their inability to purchase are unable to set industry on its feet again. Their objections, however, would receive no attention. The Federation's policy has on the whole been a Tory policy, the money provided by the members being used for Tory purposes; and if there were any honesty with regard to this Clause the Government would be willing to accept the Amendment in order that the Clause should apply to federations of employers as well as to trade unions. In this Clause, as in every other Clause, the Government have been careful to safeguard the interests of employers, to leave untouched the political rights of employers it is only the rights of trade unionists that are to be curtailed. I hope that even at this late date the Government will be willing to reconsider their decision and to accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. J. JONES
Throughout this Debate we have been led to understand that the object of the Government was 704 to secure fair play. The freedom of the working class was represented as being the basis of the Bill, and it was said the Government had no overt intention to injure the legitimate rights of trade unionists as such. The good, kind trade unionist who believed in paying for funeral benefits, for compensation allowances and for benefits for widows and orphans is to be left untouched; but as soon as he begins to show his teeth he is to be treated as an animal who ought to be kept under control, and the Zoo is not large enough to hold him. This Amendment is put forward with the object of placing employers in exactly the same position as employés. I come from a district where, in 1898, we formed a political combination of the trade unions and the Labour party—before the present Labour party came into existence. Immediately we found ourselves face to face with an alliance upon the other side. The Riverside Manufacturers' Association came into existence, the employers in every trade and industry began to organise, and a railway company, without consulting their shareholders—the directors decided, just like the wicked trade union dictators—decided that £10,000 should be placed at the disposal of the Municipal Alliance of West Ham. In that case, there was no ballot and no consultation with the individual shareholder or the individual member, but the money was found, and as a result of that combination they were able to defeat us and they got a majority on the local authority. Of course in was claimed that that was not political action, and that it was only done for the protection of property. What happened afterwards? When the facts came out and the people realised they had been wiped off the map in that way, the result was that out of 64 members of our town council, 64 are Socialists and Labour men and women.
Now we have before us this proposition: While it is to be made illegal for us to use our funds for political activities, there is nothing in this Clause that says that employers shall be placed under the same embargo, and they can do just what they like. The employers can vote sums of money to any political party, and I challenge the legal representative of this Bill to tell us what the great capitalist concerns of this country have voted towards the funds of his 705 party. In such cases the shareholders are never asked whether they agree to vote the money; the directors have a free cheque and do as they like. [Interruption.] We understand the hon. Gentleman opposite who has interrupted me, and we know the kind of cheques he believes in. He believes in cheques on the banks of futurity. When there is an Electricity Bill before the House, we know the kind of cheques he believes in.
§ The CHAIRMAN
All this seems to me to be a long way from the proposition that every association of employers should be deemed to be a trade union.
§ Mr. JONES
But the employers are acting in the same way as trade unions, because they are endeavouring to keep up the price of their goods, and there is nothing in this Clause which says that the employers shall be treated in the same way as trade unions. Therefore, you are simply placing trade unions in a position of inferiority as compared with employers' organisations. All we are asking is that trade unions should be placed in the same position as employers. We are not afraid, whatever Clause you put in the Bill, because that will not stop us carrying on. We shall keep on keeping on, and we shall see the end of the Government before we have finished with the Bill.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The arguments which the hon. Member is using would be more appropriate on the Third Reading.
§ Mr. JONES
Seeing that I may not have an opportunity on the Third reading, I am now doing my best to improve each shining hour. I am only asking that the employer and the employed should be placed in exactly the same position. I have been reading the speeches of gentlemen who hope to be in Parliament after I am out of it. I wish them luck, and I hope it will keep fine for them. These gentlemen tell me that there is nothing in this Clause to prevent trade unions carrying on their usual work; in fact, they say that everything in the garden will be all right if we will only obey the dictates of the Government. As a matter of fact, we know where we are. If the Government will give us a square deal in regard to this Amendment, then we shall know where the employers are, because they 706 cannot play the game both ways. After all, a lock-out is a lock-out. When we decide to have a strike, everybody knows how we do it, but what about a lock-out? The employers have various ways of acting in these matters, and they can victimise people to the fullest possible extent. As a matter of fact, they can do as they like, because it is their business. Can anyone imagine hon. Members opposite saying that employers are acting illegally when they close their factories down on account of had trade? That would not be called a lock-out and it would be held to have been done through lack of orders; but, if a body of workmen say, "We are not going to work any longer under the conditions imposed upon us," then they would be acting illegally.
I am not a lawyer, and the more I listen to them the less I am impressed. All we are asking hon. Members to do is to deal fairly with us. This Amendment asks that you shall provide that bodies of employers, acting in association, shall be treated exactly in the same way as bodies of workmen acting in association. No doubt the Attorney-General will move the Closure on us, and it is quite easy to do that. Probably, we shall move the Closure on the Attorney-General before many more months are over, and, when that time arrives, I shall want to ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman whether a body of workmen are not entitled to use the same economic influence as bodies of employers are now doing. What are the employers doing all over the country? They are shutting down their works and telling their workmen that trade is bad, that they cannot afford to pay the present rate of wages, and that reductions must take place. In this way employers are taking advantage of their economic power to force the workmen down to a lower standard of life. What about combinations of capitalists?
§ Mr. JONES
I am only advancing that argument as an illustration of how bodies of employers are combining against the interests of the community. The argument used against trade unions is that they are acting against the interests of the 707 community by striking, and all we are asking by this Amendment is that the same pressure shall be brought to bear upon associations of employers to prevent them injuring the community. During the last 12 months over 20,000 men have been discharged through an international combination, and one of the principal supporters of the Government, who has gone over from these Benches to sit on the Government Benches, is the head of that combination, which is a chemical combine. The result of this has been that the services of some 20,000 men have been dispensed with, because their labour has become superfluous in view of the organisation of the new combine. Under this Bill, that is considered to be all right, because it is business, but the man who is largely responsible for that combination will not face his constituents.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I must again remind the hon. Member that the Amendment we are discussing is one providing that all associations of employers whatsoever shall be deemed to be trade unions, and I must ask the hon. Member to confine his arguments to that question.
§ Mr. JONES
But they are acting as trade unions. They meet together and decide to sell a certain commodity at a certain price, and they prescribe that it must be sold under certain conditions; therefore, they are acting as a trade union and doing simply what we do in the case of our trade unions. We say that we want a certain price for our labour, and, if we cannot get that price, then we claim the right to say that we shall not supply the labour. The employers say, "This is the price of our commodity; if you will not pay our price, you cannot have it," and then they proceed to limit production. Is that not the same thing as that which is done by our trade unions when we say that a certain wage must be paid for the work we do? I wish to point out that we are simply asking that combinations of employers shall be treated in exactly the same way as the Government propose to treat trade unions. We claim that employers' associations
§ should be placed in exactly the same position as the workers' associations. Politically, we know what the employers' associations are doing. We publish balance-sheets, and our returns are supplied to the Registrar-General; but employers' associations do not do this, and they shun the light, because their deeds are evil. This Bill was conceived by people who do not understand the psychology of the workers and who believe they can shackle the workers by such enactments as are proposed in this Bill. Past experience shows that every time a Government has tried to shackle the working classes they have failed. I see that hon. Members opposite are hiding their faces in shame, but they do not know the history of the industrial organisation of the people of this country, and they think that by coercion they can beat us. I happen to be an Irishman by birth and a Welshman by name.
§ The CHAIRMAN
It would give me great pain to have to ask the hon. Member to resume his seat for disregarding my ruling.
§ Mr. JONES
I never trouble about Standing Orders, but I admit that you, Mr. Hope, have given me more latitude than I am entitled to, and therefore I am not going to transgress your ruling any further. I only want to say that, so far as we are concerned, you can pass all your rules and Regulations about trade unions, and all we ask is that you should give us a fair and square deal. We want employers' organisations placed in the same position as trade unions, and then we shall not be afraid to face the music, and we shall heat you in the finish.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 77; Noes, 190.711
|Division No. 173.]||AYES.||[5.30 p.m.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Baker, Walter||Batey, Joseph|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Bondfield, Margaret|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Barnes, A.||Broad, F.A.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Kelly, W. T.||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Cape, Thomas||Kennedy, T.||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lansbury, George||Snell, Harry|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lawrence, Susan||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Lawson, John James||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lowth, T.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Lunn, William||Sullivan, J.|
|Duncan, C.||MacNeill-Weir, L.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Dunnico, H.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro., W.)|
|Gardner, J. P.||Murnin, H.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Naylor, T. E.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Gosling, Harry||Oliver, George Harold||Townend, A. E.|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Palin, John Henry||Viant, S. P.|
|Greenall, T.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Potts, John S.||Westwood, J.|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Purcell, A. A.||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Groves, T.||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)|
|Harney, E. A.||Rose, Frank H.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Hayes, John Henry||Saklatvala, Shapurji||Windsor, Walter|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Salter, Dr. Alfred||Wright, W.|
|Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Scurr, John|
|Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr.|
|Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Slesser, Sir Henry H.||Frederick Hall.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Forrest, W.||McLean, Major A.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Fraser, Captain Ian||Macmillan, Captain H.|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Galbraith, J. F. W.||McNeill, Rt. Han. Ronald John|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Malone, Major P. B.|
|Atkinson, C.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Goff, Sir Park||Margesson, Captain D.|
|Balniel, Lord||Grace, John||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Grant, Sir J. A.||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Grotrian, H. Brent||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Morris. R. H.|
|Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Harrison, G. J. C.||Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Nelson, Sir Frank|
|Brass, Captain W.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Haslam, Henry C.||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W.G. (Ptrsf'ld.)|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Hawke, John Anthony||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Heneage Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Penny, Frederick George|
|Buchan, John||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Hennessy, Major Sir G.R. J.||Perring, Sir William George|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Hills, Major John Waller||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Burman, J. B.||Hilton, Cecil||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles D.||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Preston, William|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Ramsden, E.|
|Caine, Gordon Hall||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley||Remer, J. R.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hume, Sir G. H.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Rice Sir Frederick|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmar||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)|
|Clayton. G. C.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Russell Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Jackson, Sir H, (Wandsworth, Cen'I)||Salmon, Major I.|
|Couper, J. B.||Jacob, A. E.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim)||Jephcott, A. R.||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Sandon, Lord|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Lister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Drewe, C.||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Stanley, Col. Rt. Hon. G. F.(Will'sd'n,E.)|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Loder, J. de V.||Stanley, Lard (Fylde)|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Looker, Herbert William||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Fanshawe, Captain G. D.||Lougher, Lewis||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Fenby, T. D.||Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.|
|Fielden, E. B.||MacAndrew Major Charles Glen||Styles, Captain H. W.|
|Finburgh, S.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Ford, Sir P. J.||Macdonald. R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Templeton, W. P.|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Waterhouse, Captain Charles||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough||Watts, Dr. T.||Withers, John James|
|Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.||Wiggins, William Martin||Womersley, W. J.|
|Waddington, R.||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)||Wilson, M. J. (York, N. R., Richm'd)||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Warrender, Sir Victor||Winby, Colonel L. P.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Major Cope and Captain Bowyer.|
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir Thomas Inskip)
I beg to move, in page 7, line 37, at the end, to insert the wordsand the expression 'lock-out' means the closing of a place of employment or the suspension of work, or the refusal by an employer to continue to employ any number of persons employed by him in consequence of a dispute, done with a view to compelling those persons, or to aid another employer in compelling persons employed by him, to accept terms or conditions of or affecting employment.This is an amendment which provides for a definition of a lock-out, and it is necessary in view of the provision which has been included in Clause 1. I hope it will be sufficient to commend this particular definition to hon. Members opposite if I say that it has been taken word for word from the Amendment which appeared on the Paper in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Platting (Mr. Clynes) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Burnley (Mr. A. Henderson) at an earlier stage of the Bill. They thought it necessary to define a lock-out, and in this Amendment, which we now propose, we have thought fit to adopt their proposal for the purpose of defining a lock-out. It will be remembered, possibly, that it is the definition which appears in the Munitions of War Act, 1915. It is, in fact, the only statutory definition of a lock-out which there is, and it appears to be sufficient for the purposes of the provision that was inserted in Clause 1 of the Bill.
§ Sir HENRY SLESSER
There is a little difficulty about this definition. It does not raise, I think, a question of principle, but it is a point which is worthy of consideration, and possibly it may be dealt with on Report. The definition of a lock-out, whoever was responsible for it, which was contained in the Munitions of War Act, 1915, had for its essence that the lock-out was done with a view to compelling persons to accept terms or conditions affecting employment. The essence of the illegal 712 strike, or the illegal lock-out in this Bill is that it is calculated to coerce the Government or intimidate the community. I am sure the Solicitor-General will appreciate, with his quick mind, what I am getting at. There seem to be two kinds of compulsion here contemplated. When you were dealing with the Munitions of War Act, it was quite obvious in those days that the object of a lock-out was to do the things which are here set out in the Amendment, but the object of the illegal lock-out under Clause 1 is not to compel persons employed to accept terms or conditions affecting employment. As I understand it, the definition of what is to be an illegal lock-out—I am not raising any question of principle or saving whether it is right or otherwise—is that the lock-out is designed to coerce the Government or intimidate the community. Therefore, the subject-matter of compulsion in the definition which is here given and the subject-matter of compulsion in Clause 1 are not the same.
Surely, if a lock-out is to be limited to the definition here contained, there is a great danger that it will not become applicable to Clause 1 at all. Let us consider how it would work out. We have our definition of a lock-out, which means closing a place of employment, the suspension of work, and on, to compel or aid another employer to force his workmen to accept terms or conditions affecting employment. Now we come to the type of lock-out which is contemplated in Clause 1, and that is to be a lock-out which is calculated to inflict hardship upon the community, or what might be called a sympathetic lock-out. Surely, therefore, some Amendment is needed in the definition of lock-out which has now been moved, whether right hon. Gentlemen on this side are responsible for it, or right hon. Gentlemen opposite, or the Munitions Act, 1915, and I submit that the definition ought to be reconsidered, in connection with the object that is mentioned in Clause 1.
§ Amendment agreed to.713
§ Colonel GRETTON
I beg to move, in page 7, line 37, at the end, to insert the words:(3) A 'political fund' is any fund or part of a fund formed for or applied towards a purpose or purposes other than promoting the benefit and interest of the members of the union in the industry, trade, business, or employment in which they are occupied, and includes a fund to provide moneys to promote the election of or pay Members of Parliament, a county council, a corporation, or other public elected body, or to finance a political party or a public newspaper or political propaganda and other like purposes.Since the Act of 1913 was passed, the activities and purposes to which political funds are applied have been very considerably extended. I am sorry to say that I have not a copy of the Act of 1913 with me; when I went to the shelf in the Library I could not find it in its usual place; but I think the definition there is very much narrower than that stated in the new Sub-section which I now propose. This is drafted on the principle of defining what a political fund is. In the first place, it is a fundformed for or applied towards a purpose or purposes other than promoting the benefit and interest of the members of the union in the industry, trade, business or employment in which they are occupied.No one, of course, wants to interfere in any way whatever with the funds of unions which are applied to purposes such as those set out in that part of the Amendment; but the political fund is here defined as:a fund to provide moneys to promote the election of or pay Members of parliament, a county council, a corporation, or other public elected body.I think that that purpose is probably covered in the Act of 1913, but it is doubtful if the Act of 1913 covers the further purpose of financing a political party, and certainly it does not cover, according to such advice as I have been able to obtain, the financing of a public newspaper or matters of that kind. There is no doubt that political funds are now used very largely indeed for purposes of financing, or even purchasing entirely, political newspapers to promote the interests of political parties, and I submit that the definition of a political fund should cover purposes of that kind as well as the financing of Members of Parliament, the promotion of Parliamentary 714 candidatures, or the promotion of subscriptions to the funds of any particular political party.
We shall all agree that it is not necessary to make the definition in the Act of 1913 any narrower. The Amendment which I now propose makes the definition wider than it is in the Act of 1913. I do not think it would be contended by anyone that moneys spent on a party newspaper, whether it be a daily newspaper or a broadsheet devoted to party purposes, is other than political expenditure.
So far as I can ascertain, the definition here proposed would not in any way interfere with expenditure on a trade newspaper, that is to say, a newspaper which gave information as to what was going on in the particular trade or industry with which it dealt. Nor would it interfere with a paper which advocated or opposed particular courses or particular measures dealing entirely with a trade or industry. Directly, however, the newspaper becomes a party paper, devoted to a party in the State, it is undoubtedly a. political newspaper, and the funds spent upon it, I submit, are funds spent for political purposes. If the new Act is to be made complete, if the political fund is to be preserved, I submit that some amendment of the Act of 1913 is necessary and should be made. The great advantage of this Amendment is that it is clear and definite, and can he understood by the man in toe street; and, in legislation of this kind, it is very desirable that those who are not skilled in the interpretation of the law should he able to understand the Clauses inserted in the Act.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL
My right hon. Friend has stated his objects with great clarity. As he says, no one could mistake the intention of the new definition which he proposed to give to the words "political fund." If the Government were for the first time setting about legislation to cover every question that might arise with regard to trade unions, I think we should, perhaps, all agree, or, at any rate, some of us would agree, that there was a great deal to be said for the definition which my right hon. Friend proposes. We should all agree that the subject was one that required a good deal of discussion, and that political objects would probably 715 require a new definition, which would vary according to the side of the House upon which we sit. I do not suppose that hon. Members opposite would be perfectly content with the existing definition contained in Section 3 of the Act of 1913, any more than my right hon. Friend, or those who think with him, are content with it, in view of the cases that have arisen or are likely to arise. But the Government are not setting about new legislation dealing with trade unions from top to bottom. The objects of this Bill, as has been stated by my right hon. Friend the Attorney-General, are limited in number and in scope. There have been many proposals to alter this or that particular Section of the existing Trade Union Acts, because many Members have thought that this is a convenient opportunity for clearing up any points in which they are interested, or improving upon existing definitions, or adding to enactments which have been found wanting; but the Government have come to the conclusion that it is better to be content with the definition which is on the Statute Book, and is to be found in Section 3 of the Act of 1913, and for that reason I am not able to ask the Committee to accept my right hon. Friend's Amendment.
That is not because there might not be a good deal to be said for forbidding the use of the moneys of trade unions for such objects as my right hon. Friend has just mentioned, but at this stage of this Bill, to contemplate extending the definition of political objects so as to cover some of the matters that he has mentioned would be to open out a new field of controversy; and I hope it will be taken by hon. Members opposite as an earnest of the Government's desire not unnecessarily to raise controversial questions in connection with trade unions, that, however sympathetic my Friends on this side might be with my right hon. Friend, we are not able to accept this Amendment. We are, as I have said, dealing with particular matters which appear to have become urgent and to require to be dealt with. This particular point has not, perhaps, been of the same importance as others that have arisen, and we prefer, therefore, to take the definition that is on the Statute Book, with whatever faults or defects it may have. My right hon. 716 Friend will not think I am unsympathetic towards him, or fail to understand his objects, but we think it better, as I have said, not to embark upon the new proposal which would be involved by his Amendment.
§ Sir H. SLESSER
We on this side of the Committee cannot make so clear a distinction between the Government, on the one hand, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Burton (Colonel Gretton) on the other, as the Solicitor-General would, perhaps, like us to make. We regard the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Burton as the Government, and we regard this Bill as the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman and his friends, and the Government, as I have said on a previous occasion, as their unwilling, or, perhaps, sometimes willing, servants. I think it is important that we should realise what this proposal means. It is an indication of the view that the right hon. Gentleman and his friends take towards this Bill. There is a good deal of confusion of thought about the general fund and the political fund in this and other Trade Union Bills. The real distinction is that the general fund of a union is a fund which is at the disposal of the members, according to the rules, to be voted in such way as they think fit. The political fund of a union, as it now exists, or will exist under this Bill, is simply a fund made up of the contributions of such members as like to contribute to it.
The expressions "contracting in" and "contracting out," which we have heard used in connection with the political fund, are entirely misconceived. No power at law is required to enable a number of people to put their shillings together if they want to do so. So long as you are dealing with the general fund, the right of the union over that arises out of the contract which the member makes with the union that the general fund can be used for any purpose under the rules. This Amendment proposes to take out of the general fund—that is to say, out of the general power of the union to spend its money as it thinks fit—a large amount of the total moneys of the Union, and, by turning them into the political fund, to put them under all the restrictions and limitations which the use of a political fund involves; and, when we look at the Amendment, we see that the political 717 fund is to be extended to cover any fund applied towards any purpose other than promoting the benefit and interest of the members of the union in the industry, trade, business or employment in which they are occupied. Therefore, quite regardless of any political consideration at all, any money of the union which was used, for example, in assisting any other union, because that would be used in an industry, trade or business in which members of the union were not occupied, would become automatically a part of the political fund, and could only be used after a ballot, and then could only be used by those members who wished especially to subscribe to that fund, although they had agreed under their rules that they would have their money used for succouring or assisting other unions or trade in which they were not employed.
Take an example—for I do not think the right hon. Gentleman can have much knowledge of the way in which trade unions function. You have a union in which, perhaps, 20, 30 or 100 industries or trades are all together in one union, and all sections are able to promote the benefit and interest of members of the union who belong to trades other than those in which they are occupied. I suppose it might be said that, immediately some portion of the funds was used by one section of the union in support of a member of another section of the union, that would become a political fund. Why "political" I do not know. The word "political" merely means that it is to be taken out of the control of the union and put under all the restrictions that apply to political funds. Nor does the matter end there, because it includes moneys provided for a public newspaper. A public newspaper need not be a political newspaper at all. There are such papers as the "Railway Review," which exist solely for promoting the trade interests of the members. They may not have a shade of political interest in them at all. There are a number of trade newspapers. The Motor Trade Association have a paper in which, among other things, they black-list their recalcitrant members. It is called the "Motor Trade Gazette," or some such name. There is nothing political about it. It is coercive and intimidatory very 718 likely, but it is not political. That might easily be something in the nature of a public newspaper, and I believe is registered at the Post Office as a public newspaper. We see behind the fair words of the Solicitor-General, although he was frank enough at the end of his speech to say he sympathised with the right hon. Gentleman, what is the real intention of the people who are promoting this sort of Bill. I wonder, if it had not been for the result of a certain by-election, when 22,000 persons pronounced against the Bill and 7,000 in its favour, whether the Solicitor-General would have accepted the Amendment. But now we know, so far as we can ascertain the opinion of the country, that people are in the ratio of at least two to one against the Bill——
§ Sir H. SLESSER
I was only trying to account for the fact that the Solicitor-General was not willing to accept the Amendment. I said I thought certain external influences, which I will not dwell upon, had made the Government a little more cautious than they might otherwise have been. But, however that may be, I submit that while, of course, we must be thankful for small mercies and welcome the decision of the, Government not to accept the Amendment, at the same time we hope the country will not only realise what is really in the mind of the right hon. Gentleman and those for whom he speaks, but will see that behind this Bill there is a good deal more than appears. We have been told by the Solicitor-General that we are not considering the total reformation of trade unions. That may be a sad thing for the Government: I do not know. But whether we are or whether we are not, the fact remains that the right hon. Gentleman has put down this Amendment, no doubt with considerable support—I see there is a number of other names of Members supporting it—and as it has for its avowed object the limitation still further of the liberties of trade unions we hope the country will take cognisance of the fact that, though the Government do not accept it, we see in the moving of it that hostility against trade unions which can only he successfully countered by a series of by-elections.
§ Colonel GRETTON
The hon. and learned Gentleman who sits on the same side of the House, but holds very different views on many matters concerning the affairs of the country from those I hold, has stated his objections. After listening to his speech, I have come to the conclusion that there is far more to justify my Amendment than I had originally intended. His epeech has been chiefly based, as far as I have been able to understand it, upon surmise and innuendo, as to which I leave the Committee to judge. The purpose of the Amendment is quite simple. I regret that the Government have not seen their way, if not to take my words, at any rate to meet the grievance that is going to be left. Political funds have hitherto been subscribed to unwillingly by a very large number of members of trade unions, and if this or some similar Amendment be not made the grievance will not be removed. For example, people will still be compelled by membership of a trade union to subscribe to a newspaper to which they are totally and in every way opposed. Why should I be compelled by the fact that I am employed in a certain trade to subscribe to the "Daily Herald," any more than hon. Members above the Gangway should be compelled to subscribe, say, to the "Morning Post"? It is a grievance, and the Amendment is intended to remove that grievance. I regret that the Government do not consider that it comes within the scope of what they are undertaking in the Bill, but I do not want to occupy time unnecessarily or put the Committee to the inconvenience of the Division on what is not a matter of important principle. On this occasion I feel obliged to accept the decision of the Government, and ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Sir H SLESSER
I beg to move, in page 7, line 37, at the end, to insert the words:() The expression 'calculated' means wilfully and maliciously intended.There is to be found in the Bill in several places the word "calculated." "designed or calculated to coerce the Government," "calculated to produce hardship," and the like. A strike only becomes illegal when it is calculated to 720 do these things. The Committee ought not to pass the Bill without some definition of the word. It is a curious misuse of language, for which I am afraid lawyers have been partly responsible, that when we say "calculated" we mean exactly the opposite. If it means anything it means calculated with intention and design, knowing the result of your act. A calculated and frigid lie is a lie carefully concocted, and not arising by inadvertence. We have arrived at the position that in many Acts of Parliament it is now to be construed as not designed, but otherwise than designed, to bring about a result. It means that the natural result of your act will be to produce what is contemplated. So, really, we do not know what it means, and the word is absolutely vital, because, unless we know what it means, how are we to say whether a particular strike is or is not calculated to produce hardship on the community? The Attorney-General and some of us have argued at several stages of the Bill whether all or which sympathetic strikes will become illegal, and he has pointed out on several occasions, quite rightly, that they only become illegal if they are calculated to produce hardship. Then we have said every sympathetic strike of any magnitude is calculated to produce hardship upon the community, and the real difficulty is that, there being no definition of the word, no one knows, when he takes part in such a strike, whether what he does is calculated or not. If my definition be accepted a person entering into a strike, whether it is right or wrong that he should be treated as a criminal, will at least know that he will not be criminally liable unless he lawfully and maliciously intends.
Consider what the position will be, if the Government insist on this going through without a definition. Ten or 20,000 men may concertedly leave their work in sympathy with some dispute in another trade, or for some dispute in their own trade which is not a trade dispute within the meaning of the Act, such, for example, as refusing to print an offensive article. Those acts will not be criminal in themselves unless they are calculated to inflict hardship upon the community. Each of these individual men will not know whether the act in which he takes part is or is not calculated to inflict hardship upon the community. That 721 will be decided subsequently by the event, or by what view the magistrates or Judges may take of the event. So that, particularly in such a dubious matter as this when you are interfering with the right of people to cease to labour, we should retain the good old principle that people should only be liable for deliberately and of intention doing a wrongful act. I do not think, in fact, the danger of the Bill is so much the question of a general strike. That is somewhat unimportant in. this sense, that I do not believe there will ever be another general strike. But what I fear is that the Bill will become an Act of Parliament and no one will know what strikes are calculated to inflict hardship on the community and what are not.
While I am not so sanguine as to expect or hope that the Attorney-General will accept my Amendment, although I think it would run on sound principles of law, the least the Committee may ask is that the Attorney-General himself will define the word "calculated." The whole liability of all the people involved in this thing—the strikers, if they take any part other than merely striking, officials, suspension of the Trade Disputes Act, the right of the Attorney to go to the Court for his injunction, all these depend on the meaning of the word "calculated." Unless it be defined we are in a state of uncertainty as to what the Bill means. I think the object of the Government is to leave the working people in a state of uncertainty. If it is not, surely they can show their good faith by telling us what this means. Over and over again it has been stated on the other side that the man-in-the-street ought to know what the position is. He ought to know whether general strikes are legal or illegal. I say the man-in-the-street ought to know by clear definition beforehand whether the act he is doing is or is not a criminal act, and that does not depend on him at all. It depends on thousands of other people over whom he has no control whatever. It may even depend on the act of an official to make all these people liable. Unless the Government are prepared to do something on the lines I suggest, the key word on which the whole principle of the Bill depends will be left entirely undefined.
The criticism has been made that no one on this side wishes to improve the Bill in any respect. We do not wish to 722 improve the Bill in this sense, that we think the whole Bill is an invasion of civic rights and is a thoroughly bad Bill. We wish to destroy it, and we say unequivocably, if we get a chance we shall repeal it. I do not think that hon. and right hon. Members on the Liberal benches after the line they have taken on this Bill can do otherwise than agree with us on that point. But to this extent we wish to improve the Bill. If we must have the Bill for a short time on the Statute Book, we say the people are entitled to know what it means. We wish to improve the Bill in this sense, that we do not wish to allow the Government to ride off on ambiguities, which is their obvious intention.
I ask the learned Attorney-General, what does the word "calculated" mean? I am a little discouraged in asking this question, because the last time I put a point to the Government I was not even thought worthy of a reply at all, and a Division was immediately taken on the point. If the Attorney-General is going to do me the courtesy to reply on this Amendment, will he tell us what the word "calculated" means? I am not so foolish as to imagine that when he has told us what the word means that will decide it. The Courts will not necessarily take the same view of this word as the Attorney-General. What I am asking the Government to do, if they will not accept my Amendment, is to say what the word "calculated" means. I believe that practically every magis trate's Court in this country would say that practically every sympathetic strike was calculated to impose hardship on the community. That, I believe, would be the effect of the Bill as it stands to-nay, and it is on that basis that I say that this Bill makes all sympathetic strikes illegal. I cannot conceive any strike or any lock-out which would deprive people of supplies of any sort which would not be said to be calculated to inflict hardship on the community.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon), who sometimes agrees with the Government and sometimes with us, though not very often, on one occasion, I remember, said he agreed with me that the word "community" in this sense did not mean the whole community but meant any portion of the community which the 723 magistrates had under consideration. He instanced the case of community singing, and said he did not think that community singing necessarily meant that the whole nation was taking part. Therefore you get a dispute, say, in the town of Stoke-on-Trent, and that dispute comes up before the magistrates and it appears that people coming out on strike in an industry other than, we will say, the industry directly concerned in the dispute, have had the effect of reducing, say, the amount of bread available at a particular moment in the town of Stoke-on-Trent. Does anyone doubt for a moment that any dispute in which the bakers were involved would not be held by every magistrate to be a dispute calculated to inflict hardship on the community? Of course it would. Therefore, I want these words inserted. There is a precedent for this action. In the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act, 1875, which is extended by this very Bill in, I think, Clause 6, the words were "Knowing or having reasonable cause to believe" that the probable consequence of his act will be a certain act. In the 1875 Act, the Conservative party, who boast so much of that Act, were certainly more liberal-minded than they are to-day. They limited the liability to persons who have knowledge that the effect of breaking their contracts would probably be to produce certain consequences. A guilty mind was necessary to establish liability. Surely the whole distinction here is, that here the subjective mind of a striker is not considered at all. It is the objective result of a number of people striking that, in effect, is calculated, in the opinion of the magistrate, to inflict hardship on the community. It is then that the illegal and criminal liabilities arise.
I apologise for length of time in developing this Amendment, but it is really very vital. On this word "calculated" depends the whole liability. Therefore, I think the Government ought seriously to consider, if they must goy on with this Bill, whether, at least, this word, on which the whole criminal liability of the subject depends, should not be clearly and unequivocably defined, so that whatever wrongs are created under this Measure, at least, the people who take part in them shall know what their liabilities are.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
May I, first of all, be allowed to congratulate my hon. and learned Friend on his return, I hope, with unabated vigour to attack our proposals under this Bill. He accused me of having failed to answer one of his questions previously. I should like to assure him that I am quite unconscious of which question it was, because, I think, I spent a great deal of my time before Whitsuntide, in answering various questions.
§ Sir H. SLESSER
I am sorry—I meant to-day, when I raised the question of the definition of a lock-out.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I am sorry I misunderstood the hon. And learned Member. I did not know he was calling for a reply on that. I thought he was asking us to consider the point.
§ Mr. HARNEY
On the question of the lock-out, I really thought there was a great deal in the points raised, and I shall——
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
At all events, I am relieved that it was not one of the numerous questions addressed to me before Whitsun which I was accused of refusing to answer. I am afraid for a moment I must refuse to answer some of them, because the hon. and learned Gentleman proceded to re-state with unabated assurance some of the fallacies which I have refuted. For instance, the consistent assertion that every sympathetic strike was rendered illegal. I am not going to provoke you, Captain Fitz-Roy, to rule me out of order by going back to Clause 1, but I should like to put on record once more that I entirely and categorically dissent from that position.
§ Sir H. SLESSER
Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman define the word "calculated" in the proper manner? I might then withdraw my observation.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I am coming to the word "calculated" in due course. The hon. and learned Gentleman suggests that we should put in a definition of the expression "calculated." He suggested that it was rather some new 725 word not well known in legal parlance. He knows perfectly well, it is a word commonly used in Acts of Parliament and has been defined by Judges right up to the House of Lords and other places. Therefore, instead of introducing some new language as far as explanation or definition is concerned, we are only using in this Bill a word used in other Statutes, and which has been the subject of consistent judicial definition. In these circumstances, it hardly seems necessary in this Measure to give a definition of a word which has already been so often defined. If I were going to insert a definition, I certainly should not accept the definition the hon. and learned Gentleman suggests, because that is not the definition which is repeatedly put upon this particular expression.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The hon. Member need not be afraid. I am quite able to answer the questions which are put to me, and I think if he reads the history of the Debate he will find that I have answered them with some effect. The definition "calculated" appears, for instance, in the Companies Act, 1862, where a company may not be registered if it has a name identical with that by which an existing company is already registered, or so nearly resembling the same as to be calculated to deceive. Similarly, in the Patents Designs and Trade Marks Act, 1883, there was the same expression "calculated to deceive." Lord Halsbury, in discussing the words "calculated to deceive," saidThe truth is, that when one comes to see what the real question is, it is, in a single sentence, 'has it a name so nearly resembling the name of another firm as to be likely to deceive?'Lord Lindley, in dealing with the expression in the Patents Act, saidA mark is within the Section calculated to deceive when that mark is so like the 726 mark on the register that the one is likely to be mistaken for the other.If I were asked to give a definition in my own language, I would be prepared to accept the definition which Lord Oxford used in defining a general strike, and I should say that "calculated" would mean "intended by its inevitable results." What is intended by these words, and what I am confident will be the meaning throughout the Courts, is that in order to come within Clause 1 the strike must be, apart from the other qualifications, one which is intended by its inevitable results to coerce the Government, if not designed to do so. That is the definition which I think, the language bears, and which, I am confident, any Court would uphold. Of course, it is not accurate to say that any strike which is calculated to inflict hardship on the community is within the definition. It has to be calculated to coerce the Government. One of the ways of coercing the Government is by inflicting hardship on the community, but the hardship inflicted must be calculated by its inevitable results to coerce the Government. There was one other observation which the hon. and learned Gentleman made. He said he had a precedent for what he was asking, and he referred to the Act of 1875. I find neither the language nor the definition which he is asking is in the Act of 1875. What he, in fact, quoted was a reference in Section 5 of that Act to certain offences being criminal offences, if people who did them had reasonable cause to believe what they were doing would be to endanger life or property. He need not go back to the 1875 Act. If he will turn back to Clause 6 of the present Bill, which he has so enthusiastically condemned, he will find exactly the same expression in a similar connection. Because when we are dealing with a similar matter, namely, the criminal penalty inflicted upon conscious wrongdoing in breaking a contract of service, we use exactly the same expression in Sub section (2) of Clause 6 of this Bill:If any person employed by a local or other public authority wilfully breaks a contract of service with that authority, knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that the probable consequence of his so doing—
§ Sir H. SLESSER
I agree that Clause 6 practically covers the same principle as the Act of 1875. My point is that as 727 Clause 6 introduces the principle, I do not see why we should not introduce it into Clause 1.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
My point is that when we are dealing with a matter similar to that dealt with in the Act of 1875, we dealt with it by exactly the same language. Here we are dealing with a totally matter. In Clause 1 we are dealing with a strike which is coercive of the community, but we are dealing with it under conditions which do not impose any criminal liability upon the people who merely take part in it and merely join in the strike. What we provide is that if people instigate or bring about a strike which is not in furtherance of a trade dispute in their own industry, and which is calculated to coerce the Government, then they are guilty of an offence, and "calculated" means in that connection, I think quite clearly, "intended by its inevitable result." It certainly does not mean wilfully and maliciously intended, because we have the word "designed" already in the Bill to cover that. For these reasons, I submit that the definition suggested by the hon. and learned Member opposite is unnecessary because, in the first place, we are using a perfectly well-known word which has been constantly construed and, secondly, if we did need a definition the definition which is suggested by the hon. and learned Member would not be the right one.
§ Mr. HARNEY
I think the late Solicitor-General has rendered a service to those who desire to understand the motives underlying the Bill, by the proposed Amendment. I should have had little doubt that the Government did intend to make strikes criminal which had the effect of creating hardship on the community and thereby coercing the Government. I should have thought so, because when we look at Clause 1 we find the words "designed or calculated." Whatever may be the etymology of the word "calculated," it means in this Bill "likely." Nothing turns upon the state of mind beforehand which is covered by the word "designed." I accept what the Attorney-General has said as the practical meaning that must be given to the word "calculated," but 728 in attempting to define what he really intends he has made it clear beyond doubt, what the late Solicitor-General has said, that practically all sympathetic strikes are hit by this Bill. We now know from the Attorney-General that "calculated" means "likely." I always took it to mean "likely," and it was because I so took it that I argued that all sympathetic strikes were made illegal by this Bill. Now, the Attorney-General says that the word "calculated" does mean "likely," and I want to know how it is possible for a body of railwaymen to come out to assist the colliers, not for the betterment of their own conditions. In a service of that kind, how could a magistrate possibly say that their conduct was not "likely" to create hardship? Of course, it must create hardship. The Attorney-General has been forced to admit that the Government mean by the word "calculated," "likely." If that is to be the meaning, the right hon. and learned Gentleman might have gone further and have said, "I also mean that in any of the big utility services if the men come out in aid of another section they are doing something illegal, because the law instead of being what it has been up to to-day has been fundamentally and drastically changed."
§ Mr. BROAD
Having heard the Attorney-General's reply, it is quite clear that by his not accepting the words proposed in the Amendment, or not being prepared to put his own alternative into the Bill, there is a danger of anyone who honestly takes part in an industrial dispute being jeopardised. When the right hon. and learned Member sought to give a definition, he said it was clear, because there have been so many definitions by the Judges of what "calculated" means. Will he make it so clear as to insert in the Bill the word "likely" instead of the word "calculated "? No; that would be too clear, I am afraid. As the Bill stands, it puts everyone in doubt as to whether the dispute in which he may be engaged or in which he contemplates being engaged for a purpose which is really legitimate within the meaning of the Bill, if the Bill is given any fair interpretation, will be interpreted as legitimate by those who have to interpret the Act. They will be in doubt, although they may have a very clear view as to the 729 conclusions that will be in the minds of the Justices or the Judges who will have to give their decisions.
The Attorney-General said that he preferred the definition of "calculated" given by Lord Oxford. That definition is very different from the word "likely." Lord Oxford said that the meaning was, "intended by its inevitable results." That is a very different thing from being "likely to do," although it was not intended. "Likely" is not "inevitable," but it is "possible." If the Attorney-General will only think over his words, he will see that he is either not quite as ingenuous as he would like us to think he is, or he is in a confused state of mind as to the meaning of the word "calculated." In a few words the Attorney-General has given us different interpretations. He has given us one interpretation by the Courts and another by a leading politician who has been transferred to another place, and we find that these interpretations do not agree. He prefers an interpretation which is not the interpretation of a Judge, but the interpretation of a politician. Will he now say why he refuses to put in the words suggested from this side, or why he will not put in the words "intended by its inevitable results"? If we consider the words "intended by its inevitable results" it would take a very clever lawyer to plead in the Court in connection with an action taken by a number of people, when at its inception no one would know how far it was going or how long it would continue, that any particular result would be "inevitable." If nothing had been said from this side, and if only the words of the Attorney-General had gone out to the general public, they would be inclined to say, "He must have been misreported. There is some boggle in this. Here is this great legal luminary, this clear-minded exponent of Bills in the House of Commons, this Heaven-sent genius discovered by Mr. Baldwin to be his Attorney-General; surely, it cannot be such a person who says, first of all, that it is absolutely clear from what the Judges have laid down that 'calculated' means 'likely,' and in the next sentence lie says that he prefers the definition given by Lord Oxford to the effect that 'calculated' means 'intended by its inevitable results.'"
730 What will be the position? Let us take a case. The coalowners last year locked out their men for a reduction of wages and the abolition of a national agreement, and they posted notices that if their pits were to be started again there would have to be an extension of hours. It was illegal to have an extension of hours. The Act of Parliament said that it was punishable for an employer or a miner to work extended hours. Was that act of the coalowners "calculated" because it was "likely," or was it "calculated" because it was "intended by its inevitable results"? We know that after months of suffering the Prime Minister, whose great responsibility it is to see that the Government of this country and Parliament are not dictated to by any section, accepted the "inevitable result" of the action of the coalowners and altered the law at their bidding, and now the Government are treading on the victims of their work of last year, and we have the cherub on the Front Bench saying that it is all so clear because the Judges have laid it down that "calculated" means "likely."
What are sympathetic strikes? In the first place, in nearly every dispute of that sort there are a number of unions concerned in the same trade or industry. There are alternative services, alternative commodities and alternative methods of doing work, and we find that one industry overlaps into another industry and one trade into another trade, and the consequence is that, without any intention to coerce the Government, but by the overlapping of one industry into another, one trade comes out on the top of another. In the first place, there may be no such hardship as could be construed as being "likely" or "calculated by its inevitable result" to coerce the Government, but another trade in these overlapping industries may be called into the conflict because of attempts made to make one trade blackleg another trade, and that trade comes out. Then another alternative trade or method of process is called in to take the place of the men who are out, and the dispute reaches rather larger dimensions than is convenient for the Government. Then, because of the last section which comes out, the Government say, "This is an illegal strike." Some of the men in the sympathetic strike may have been out for weeks or months beforehand. Were they 731 able to foresee the sequence of events? Once it is called an illegal strike, not only the last section of men who come out, but the first section who came out are likely to be found guilty, months afterwards, of engaging in an illegal dispute, and may be subject to all the pains and penalties. A magistrate is going to decide the question. That means that it is not a question of law, but it is a question of the sweet will of a Judge or magistrate deciding whether we are within our rights in terminating contracts and leaving our employment. A workman may be told that he is committing a criminal act by leaving his employment. One thing only marks the difference between the free workman and the slave. The free workman is able to sell his labour by the hour, or day or week, and the employer is free to engage him. An employer may discharge his workman at a moment's, notice, and pay him in lieu of notice. A workman, under this Bill, may give notice, work the notice out, leave his employment, and yet be made a criminal for so doing. It is really slavery. Instead of developing towards a co-operative commonwealth, we are going down, and the workman is now to be bound to a slave-owner who may have some bowels of compassion——
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
The Attorney-General has told us, and quite correctly, that the word "calculated" appears in other Acts of Parliament, but it is strange that in every case where it has appeared in an Act of Parliament it has been the subject of subsequent litigation. Various Judges and statesmen have vied with each other in providing the most apt definition of the word. Undoubtedly it is an obscure word; its meaning is not clear. It would have been supposed that the eminent lawyers who 732 drafted the Bill would have omitted any word which is not clear, because it is a well-known principle of law that one of the first requisites of an Act of Parliament is that it should be easily understood. We have, therefore, to search for some advantage which is inherent in the word "calculated," and we do not have to search very far. The word "calculated" has this supreme advantage over the words "intended" and "designed." and "likely"; at any rate, over the words "intended" and "designed." If the word "calculated" is included in this Clause, it makes it wholly unnecessary for the prosecution to show that there was any guilty intention on the part of those they seek to convict. The word "calculated" widens the offence, makes it easy to convict. It has not been inserted with the object of making the Clause clearer, but in order to make the net wider. I think this should be stated, and re-stated. I hope the Attorney-General, even now, will agree to put a better word in its place.
§ Mr. VIANT
The word "calculated" has caused more trouble than any other word in the Bill, and one can only suggest that it is placed in this Clause for the purpose of causing trouble. Some exception has been taken in this House and in the country to charges made by Labour Members as to the designs of the Government in bringing forward this Measure. These charges to a large extent have been based on the word "calculated," because it is liable to so many different interpretations. For instance, this afternoon we have had a large number of different interpretations as to its meaning. I was very much interested in the definitions given by the Attorney-General, and it appeared to me, when he quoted the definition given by Lord Oxford and Asquith, that it would have been advisable in the interests of all parties if he had declared his intention of accepting that particular definition in place of the word "calculated." It would have removed all apprehension from the minds of hon. Members on this side, and from the minds of those who have charge of the administrative work of trade unions throughout the country. It would remove a considerable amount of legitimate suspicion in the minds of the organised workers. From his own point of view also it would be a decided advantage. At least it would make the 733 Bill clearer to those who are responsible for the administration of trade union affairs.
§ Mr. OLIVER
I support the Amendment because I believe it is of the utmost importance that in a Bill of this character the clearest possible definition should be given of the word "calculated." I listened to the Attorney-General when giving the definitions of the word from learned Judges in the Courts, but what is most important is that the people who are likely to be judged under this Bill should themselves clearly understand before a dispute takes place what the Bill purports to carry out; and that they should not find, after a dispute has been in progress for some time, that by reason of an ambiguous phrase, or some word not fully explained or defined, they come within the ambit of the criminal law. This word occurs in the first Clause of this Bill. It says:It is hereby declared that any strike having any object besides the furtherance of a trade dispute within the trade or industry in which the strikers are engaged, is an illegal strike if it is a strike designed or calculated to coerce the Government, or to intimidate.If the Attorney-General insert the words of Lord Oxford and Asquith, "intended by its inevitable result to coerce the Government," it would, I think, be precisely the same thing as "designed to coerce the Government." I cannot see any great difference between them. What is the position of the unfortunate trade unionist if the Clause be left as it is? He may have voted for a dispute; the dispute takes place. In its inception it may be perfectly clear; the worker may have no indication that it may he declared an illegal dispute. But after the strike has been in progress a day or two, or a week or two, the Attorney-General may obtain an injunction and get the dispute declared illegal, and the unfortunate men who are conducting the dispute are then brought within the ambit of the criminal law. In my view, that is Avery peculiar position. If we steal, we know beforehand that we shall suffer penalties for the theft, if we are caught. If a man commits murder he knows the penalty beforehand; but in this case, under this Clause, a man may have the most innocent intentions when he embarks on a strike, but by subsequent 734 events he may be made a criminal. That is a very dangerous position for the law of this country, and particularly in view of the fact that we are dealing with men and women who have no criminal intentions whatever. You are, in fact, dealing with some of the finest people in the country, men and women who believe they have a genuine grievance, men and women who are ready to come to the assistance of their fellows in their hour of need. By this legislation they are to be branded as criminals for an act which they do with the very best intentions. I hope the Attorney-General, if he cannot see his way to accept the Amendment, will be good enough to give the Committee his own definition of the word "calculated." We do not want the definition of Lord Oxford and Asquith, or the one he read out in connection with the Patents Act. We want his own definition of this word in relation to this particular Bill. I do not say that it would be acceptable, but we desire that he should give the Committee his own interpretation, as it would be a guidance in the Courts of Law.
§ Mr. J. BAKER
I listened with great interest to the explanation of the Attorney-General, but if he had read those definitions in conjunction with Clause 1 of his own Bill, he would have found that they do not make sense. I think he was half convinced of that, because he went on to quote the views of politicians, which are not recorded in the law books. I am one of those who will be held responsible for administering this Bill when it becomes an Act, and I look upon the Attorney-General as a most unfriendly person when he condemns me to read all the speeches of Lord Oxford and Asquith to find out what he has said about this particular Bill, in order to help me to keep out of gaol. It is only reasonable to remember those men who have not had any legal training who will be called upon to administer this Bill. We should at least give them a chance to understand it. Do not let us deliberately put in words to create a confusion. We are entitled to ask that the Bill shall be so drafted that the average trade union official will have a sporting chance of understanding it. If the Attorney-General will not accept our Amendment, we are entitled to ask him to amend this 735 particular phraseology so that it might be made clearer.
What is it that the right hon. Gentleman is doing with this particular wording? He is not establishing law; he is not laying down some Statute that can be understood and broken deliberately and intentionally. He is laying down a "flat" trap, which will make trade union officials and workmen believe that they can do a certain thing, and then when they have done it, they will find that they are brought into Court. It will not be the wording of an Act of Parliament upon which they will be tried; it will be on a matter of opinion; and in this case, as in others, there will probably be different decisions in different parts of the country for doing the same action under similar circumstances. That is not fair, and it is not sporting. It is certainly not treating the Committee in a reasonable spirit. The right hon. Gentleman can have no hope, if he frames the Bill with such "flat" traps as this, that men like myself will make any deliberate attempt to carry out the Bill. Let the right hon. Gentleman convince men of my temperament that he is playing tricks upon us, and we will defy him and the House and the police force and the Army and the Navy to make us carry it out. The right hon. Gentleman can achieve his end only by treating us fairly here and now.
The words of the Clause are not fair to me and ray tribe. If the right hon. Gentleman wants to put me into gaol, let him bring in a Bill which tells me under what conditions I can keep out of gaol, but do not let him bring in a Bill which will leave it to some biased person to say that a man "knew and intended" and his action proved that he "knew and intended" to do a certain thing, when, as a matter of fact, it is known very well that men of my type do not want strikes and have had none for 50 years. We are not the type to come out on strike for the fun of it. We are not afraid of fighting, but when we think that fighting is not in the interests of the workman we avoid it. We may be compelled to fight if this Bill goes through in its present form. I do not want the men who have advocated arbitration and conciliation and have fought for peace for 50 years to have the disgrace of being sent to gaol because 736 there is in the Bill a "flat" trap which will hold them at the mercy of some biased person, and will make it impossible for them to have a million-to-one chance of knowing that they have broken the law.
§ Mr. MOSLEY
We have had the customary complaints of the failure of the Attorney-General to answer the questions that have been addressed to him. It seems to me that these complaints do not show a proper sympathy with the sad dilemma of the right hon. Gentleman. The fact is that if he explains the Bill he gives the show away. On the other hand, if he does not explain the Bill, he is denounced as inept. Was ever an eminent lawyer in a sadder position? The Bill was deliberately so drafted as to convey no very clear meaning to anyone but the Judges, who are intended to interpret it as the Government purpose. The right hon. Gentleman's business is not to explain the issues of the Bill, but to confuse them, in order that the country may not become aware of the real meaning of the Measure until the Government are safely through the next election. Therefore. I extend my sympathy to the right hon. Gentleman. I see full well how impossible it is for him to explain this Measure without the direst consequences accruing to his party, and I shall not entertain any optimistic hopes that at any stage of the Bill he will attempt adequately to explain the Bill.
The difference between the intention of this Amendment and of the Clause as it stands is the difference between the result of an action and the intention of him who summits the action. It is clear that a very wide margin of difference here arises. I will give an illustration which will be very apposite to the memory of the right hon. Gentleman. There was a very great difference between the result of his action when be deported more than 100 innocent people to Ireland, and the original intention of his action. The result of his action was to make himself and the Government ridiculous. But that was very far from being the intention or the calculation of his action. I will give another more immediate instance. When the Government raided Arcos and introduced this class legislation, the result of their action was to deprive them of the last vestige of support in the country. But that was not the intention of the Government. So in all human affairs, as 737 well as in law, a very great difference arises between the results of our actions and the intentions of our actions. The greatest example of that difference is the record of blunders perpetrated by the present Conservative Government.
The right hon. Gentleman gave a definition of "calculated" derived from several learned Judges, and then he gave a definition derived from Lord Oxford, and he preferred the definition of the Noble Lord who has never been a Judge to that of the distinguished members of his fraternity who are Judges. There is a considerable difference between Lord Oxford's definition and the definition of the Judges. The definition of Lord Oxford was that an action had to be intended by its inevitable result to produce an effect. Clearly if by its inevitable result the action will produce a certain effect, it must be clear to the man who commits that act that the inevitable result will accrue. It is deemed to be clear in law. Therefore, from the very outset the man who commits that act knows that he is committing an illegal act. But under the definition of the Judges which the Attorney-General read out, that the action was "likely" to result in certain effects, you have not that clear knowledge in the mind of the man who commits the act that he is from the outset perpetrating an illegal act. There is there a difference in definition upon which the Attorney-General must really make up his mind.
In connection with the definition other difficulties arise which the right hon. Gentleman has not met. We were told from the outset of the passage of this Measure that it was designed to deal with general strikes, which were great revolutionary conspiracies to overturn the whole stability of the State. That was the whole thesis of the Government from the outset. "Sympathetic strikes," the right hon. Gentleman said, "will not be affected. There must be a clear design of subversive conspiracy, something really threatening the integrity of the community, before the law intervenes under the provisions of this Measure." If that be so, surely the words proposed by the late Solicitor-General are more appropriate than those in the Clause as now defined by the right hon. Gentleman? Surely the expression "wilfully and 738 maliciously intended" is more appropriate to this "great revolutionary conspiracy" of the fevered imagination of the Attorney-General than the word "calculated," which he now defines as "likely"? So far from there having to be any revolutionary or subversive intention in the mind of the striker, all that you need have is a strike which is likely to coerce the Government, a strike which may cause it some inconvenience, which may put some kind of pressure upon it, not in its initiation but in its development. That is the new definition of the right hon. Gentleman, which blows sky-high his own earlier contention that the sole purpose of this Measure was to deal with dangerous conspiracies aimed at the very heart and life of the community. We now have those grandiose words watered down to an insignificant proportion, and we find in fact that anything which causes to the Government of the day the slightest inconvenience, which puts upon them any pressure, comes within the ambit of the Bill.
How can you define what is "likely" to coerce a Government? Directly you go away from the mind of the striker or the strike leader and you begin to consider what is likely to coerce a Government, you have to consider not the intention of the striker but the character of the Government. It is very clear that some Governments are more susceptible to pressure of this nature than others. When you have a thoroughly feeble and incompetent administration like the present, it is likely to be coerced by almost anything, under the passing gust of popular passion, under pressure from the Federation of British Industries; any kick from any vested interest is likely to coerce this Government or push it in any possible direction. On the other hand, if you have a firm and resolute Government drawn from the Labour Benches, such a Government as will succeed the present Government, then it would be an exceedingly difficult task to coerce a Government of such character and ability. It is conceivable that there would be a wide margin of differences in the nature even of Conservative Governments. A Government headed by the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, I think, would he more difficult to coerce than a Government headed by the First Lord of the Admiralty.
§ Sir GERALD HOHLER
On a point of Order. Is it in order for the hon. Member to talk about what may happen under future Governments?
§ Mr. LAWSON
Do I understand that the objection of the hon. and learned Gentleman, who raised that point of Order, is that he has just been awakened?
§ Mr. MOSLEY
I suggest to the hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Sir G. Hohler) that it is extremely relevant to this consideration whether or not a Government is likely to be coerced. The hon. and learned Gentleman is one of the numerous King's Counsel who have stood up during these Debates and announced their failure to understand this Bill.
§ Mr. MOSLEY
I think that was the first time he spoke. The second time he spoke he said that he did not understand it, and I think there is reason to believe that in the interval he had read the Bill. The hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Sir G. Hohler) is a lawyer of great distinction.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The hon. Gentleman is now really dealing with the hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Sir G. Hohler).
§ Mr. MOSLEY
I was just going to point out to the hon. and learned Member that the relevant words were "calculated to coerce the Government," and the Attorney-General pointed out that under a legal definition the word "calculated" was held to be identical with "likely." I was further pointing out to the hon. and learned Member that, in view of those facts, a most relevant consideration was to what extent a Government could be coerced—but I will not pursue this matter further into the dim mysteries of the Carlton Club. It is unnecessary for us to consider in great detail who will be the next leader of the Conservative party and to what extent that party will be coerced.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
We are not discussing any question of coercing 740 a Government. The question before us is as to the meaning of the word "calculated."
§ Mr. MOSLEY
As you will see in Clause 1 the word "calculated" precedes the words "to coerce" and it is very difficult to discuss the word "calculated" without any reference of any kind to its context. But it is really immaterial to the broader issues involved in this Measure. The Government in this instance, as in every other Clause and Sub-section of the Bill, have chosen a word which leaves the widest possible discretion in the hands of the Judges and magistrates whom they believe will serve their purpose. They have also chosen a word which conveys the most confused meaning possible to the country in order that no mail may know where he stands under this Measure and in order that the Government may get this Measure through with the minimum of odium in the country. But recent events have to some extent dispelled that illusion, and the right hon. and learned Gentleman is sadly learning from a sequence of by-elections that the country is beginning to understand only too well what this Bill means and that, however confused his explanations or however nebulous the language of this Measure, the Government stock is at present being taken at its proper value.
§ Mr. KELLY
There are one or two points which I wood like to put to the Attorney-General, although I do not know if he will deign to reply to them. In view of his statement that it is possible to have a strike for an industrial purpose under this Measure, I wish to know whether or not a strike in the engineering trade, which would affect the Royal Arsenal and His Majesty's dockyards, would be regarded as one calculated to coerce the Government, even though there was no intention to bring about that result? A dispute on a matter of wages in the shipbuilding trade might affect work in the dockyards. Is that a dispute calculated to coerce the Government? A dispute in the chemical trade which would affect the Admiralty establishments at Halton Heath and Neasden—would that be regarded as calculated to coerce the Government? The hon. and learned Member for Chatham (Sir G. Hohler) said that it would be possible, in the event of a dispute in the engineering 741 trade, to bring out the whole of the men employed on engineering work in His Majesty's dockyards. I did not hear the Attorney-General agree with the hon. and learned Member. I rather think that was one of the occasions when the hon. and learned Member spoke before having read the Bill. But the Attorney-General has stated many times that it will be possible to have a dispute between employers and workmen on questions of wages and conditions.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
That has nothing to do with the Amendment. What we are discussing is the actual meaning of the word "calculated." This is a definition Clause.
§ Mr. KELLY
The word "calculated" is used in Clauses 1 and 3, and the question is whether or not an illegal act has been committed, if it is deemed by somebody that that act is "calculated to coerce the Government." I am endeavouring to find out what is intended by the word "calculated," and in view of the want of clearness in the Bill, in view of the vagueness of its language, which seems to be throwing us into the hands of the Judges and the lawyers, I am asking that the word should be defined more clearly. I have submitted as illustrations of my point three or four trades— I could enumerate others—where disputes might take place which would directly affect Government Departments, and I ask if these are to be regarded as "calculated to coerce the Government" when there is no intention on the part of the people concerned other than to secure an advance of wages or an improvement in conditions. I submit that it is the intention of the Government, by the use of this word "calculated" and by this Measure generally, to do their utmost to prohibit strikes and to deprive the people of the opportunity of improving their conditions.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
I hope the Attorney-General will give an answer to the questions which have been addressed to him from his side. I listened with great interest to his explanation and to the cases which he cited. He said that he himself preferred the definition of Lord Oxford, so, quite obviously, there is a distinction between the definitions of the Judges and the definition of Lord Oxford. A very pertinent question has been put 742 to the Attorney-General. Why, if he prefers Lord Oxford's definition, does he not include it in the Measure rather than the definition which has been given in the Courts? I think the right hon. and learned Gentleman himself has admitted that there is a difference, in saying that he prefers Lord Oxford's definition. Then why for the sake of clarity does he not put Lord Oxford's definition into the Bill? I had not intended to take part in this discussion, and I only rise to express the hope that the Attorney-General will answer this point, which means a great deal. I do not think the right hon. and learned Gentleman is showing his ordinary courtesy if he allows a weighty question like this to go past without giving us his reasons for the course he is taking. I would remind the Attorney-General, who prefers Lord Oxford's definition, that Lord Oxford's definition will not rule if members of a trade union are brought into Court under this Measure. It is these previous decisions in the Courts which will determine the action to be taken based upon this word "calculated." Therefore if he and the Government prefer the other definition, why do they not make it clear? The right hon. and learned Gentleman has behind him on those benches Members who will vote for anything he tells them, no matter what it is. It is their only hope of salvation, and with such a subservient crowd of Members at his back, why does he not make this point clear instead of leaving us to Lord Lindley and those others whom he mentioned?
§ Sir H. SLESSER
I do not know if the Attorney-General is going to accept my hon. Friend's invitation to answer that question, but I wish to make clear to the Committee what seems to be a complete fallacy in the argument of the Attorney-General when he contrasted the word "calculated" as used here in Clauses 1 and 3, with the use which has been made of that word in various Statutes, such as the Trade Marks Act and the Companies Act, where reference is made to using a name "calculated to deceive." There are lots of instances but the occasion of the use of the word is entirely different in this instance. In those other instances what was being dealt with was some definite act by a limited and defined class of persons. Thus, a company uses a phrase, or a 743 name, or a description of goods, at its peril. In this case the nearest analogy is conspiracy. You are here dealing with an uncertain number of people coming together for some object in combination. You are dealing normally in strikes with thousands of people and not with a company which has a legal control of the result of its actions. You are here dealing not with any definite person or persons but with an uncertain combination of persons and, so far as the individuals are concerned, all they do is to cease their labour. Now the question arises, what is the result of the cessation of labour going to be?
It is quite true that the Attorney-General at a late stage of these discussions exempted the individual striker from the liability which was originally in this Bill. I do not think it makes much difference to the ordinary striker, who does not take an active part in a dispute, beyond merely ceasing his labour. Be that as it may, you are dealing here with a new and difficult problem. As far as I know, it has never been sought before to make a vast mass of people liable for results which, by the very nature of the case, they cannot foresee. When you are dealing with conspiracy, which is the nearest analogy, the essence of the crime consists in the combination of a number of people with an intention, and, while listening to these Debates, I have been struck with the similarity between the discussions which we have been having and the old discussions which went on in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries as to the difference between overt and constructive treason. Just the same arguments were used then. On the one hand you had the argument that if people were to be charged with treason, there must be concrete evidence of what they intended to do. On the other hand, the argument used by the Crown lawyers at the time was that these treasonable persons must be conceived to have intended the treasonable consequences of their acts, and you could build up, therefore, a case of constructive treason without showing any overt treasonable act at all.
Now what, you are really trying to do here is to make these strikers constructively liable because of acts over which they have no control and no intention. 744 They cannot know, through the nature of the case, from day to day what the results of their cesser of labour will be. They do not know what use it will be put to by officials; they do not know how many other people are coming out in support of them. It is impossible for the individual striker to know what the results of his ceasing labour will be. How can an individual baker, who hands in his notice with a number of others, know whether that is calculated to inflict hardship upon the community or not? He does not even know whether the bakers are coming out in the next town. He may say to himself, "It is quite safe, there are only a hundred bakers coming out in this city of Manchester," yet it may be that in Liverpool, Birmingham and other places, unknown to him, other people have come out on the same matter and then it will be said that what is done by the whole of them, although he knows nothing about it, is calculated to coerce the Government.
The Attorney-General should give the matter more consideration. He seems to forget we are embarking on a new principle. To compare it with a limited liability company is trifling with the matter. We are dealing here with the criminal liability of many millions of men. Were it not for the fact that the great mass of the party opposite, with a few honourable execptions whom I will not name, because they would certainly be pilloried by the Government, would vote obediently any way on the matter, such a Clause would not be passed by a properly constituted Committee. There is not a lawyer in the House who does not realise how wrong it is to put a penalty upon people for acts over which they have no control at all. The moral sense of the country will not stand it. I am sure the by-elections will show that the country will not stand putting criminal liability upon persons who have no intention to commit crime. I ask the Attorney-General to produce some definition for the ordinary man-in-the-street of what will be an offence, instead of leaving everybody who ceases labour with other men in a state of terror.
§ Mr. LAWSON
Most of us who came here at the beginning of the proceedings on this Bill decided to sit tight and 745 listen to the legal Members and get some instruction from them. Those of us who have to deal with trade unions felt it was really necessary for us to get some idea of what the Bill would mean. Instead of that, I find myself more confused than those Members who have remained outside and not heard the Debate at all. The Attorney-General says that something in the Bill means this. Then the hon. and learned Member for Bassetlaw (Sir E. Hume-Williams) says it means that, and afterwards the right hon. and learned Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon) says they are both wrong, but he is not quite sure himself of what it means. In a year or two some of those learned gentlemen will be Judges and, if their speeches in this House in interpreting this Bill can be taken as any indication of their judgments in the future, then I believe that the law, as far as trade union law is concerned, is going to be a babel in days to come.
It may be that the Attorney-General has in his mind what he thinks should be the interpretation of "calculated to coerce." He says himself, for instance, that the miners could come out on strike against the Eight Hours Act. The Government probably wish they would in order to get them out of the mess and so do the coalowners, for the coalowners know perfectly well that the Government have got them into a mess over it. I have, however, never known a miners' strike of the simplest nature in my time which the die-hards, the men who are behind this Bill, have not said was a case of the miners coercing the Government in order to get nationalisation. Whether it is the miners, or the railway men, or any other great organisation, as soon as they refuse to sell their labour, the Government, if it be a Conservative Government or a Government of any other combination of parties associated with capital, will take steps at once against it, saying that it is calculated to coerce the Government on some particular point. I believe that what the Government really want is to break the ordinary commonplace strike altogether. What they really want to do is to have compulsory arbitration. If that is what they really want, let them have the courage to come forward with it. Members of this House who went even to the most prosperous of the mining areas would be 746 borne down with grief at the way our people are suffering at the present time. Yet if those people should rise against the wages and conditions forced upon them, it would be called a strike "calculated to coerce the Government." The right hon. and learned Gentleman says not, but would not the heart of the Conservative party and of the Government say that there was an attempt to coerce the Government in some way? Take the question of Clause 3, where, referring to gathering, there is the phrasecalculated to intimidate any person in that house or place.I have known people gather perfectly legitimately. I am sure they never intended any act of theirs to be malicious. I have known people gather to talk about ordinary matters, or about what is going to win the Gold Cup. I came across cases in the last strike where two or three men were talking in an ordinary way and yet were ordered home by the police, as though martial law were in operation. In the future it will be easy to say that this was calculated to intimidate any particular person who might be passing at that particular time.
I support the speeches which have been made from these benches asking that a definition should be given to this term. We should clearly understand that the person who sets out to coerce the Government or to intimidate should be a person who does it maliciously and deliberately. My experience is that there is no sympathy whatever of any kind for persons who do wrong maliciously. We Labour Members of the House of Commons—to say nothing of the great mass of the people outside—are at least entitled to be considered when an Act of Parliament is being framed. There are those of us in this House who have always stood for recognising and obeying the law of the land, and in doing so have expressed the spirit of the great mass of the British workmen. I am certain, however, that, if no greater care be given to these words and phrases, and if no better definition be provided, then one of the things we shall teach our people is to ignore the law and treat it with contempt. I saw that Brigadier-General Spears said that this Bill was misrepresented, and that the people did not understand it. One of the amazing things to me has been to find that the average person, both men and women, is everywhere 747 talking about this Bill and following every phrase in it. If the operation of this Bill results in people being punished merely for things they never intended to do and in people being put into prison when they never intended to violate any law, then this House of Commons and Parliament are not only teaching but encouraging and goading people into violating the law.
§ Sir E. HUME-WILLIAMS
I wish to point out a misapprehension that appears to have underlain a great part of the speeches that I have heard this afternoon, including that of the hon. and learned Member the late Solicitor-General. Pathetic pictures have been drawn of strikes which have begun, and then someone has had to determine, whether or not they are calculated to coerce the Government, but hon. Members overlooked the fact that those words have no application at all to any strike unless it is a strike having any object besides the furtherance of a trade dispute within the trade or industry in which it takes place. A Sub-section points out that such a dispute must be onebetween employers and workmen, or between workmen and workmen in that trade or industry, which is connected with the employment or non-employment or the terms of the employment, and with the conditions of lahour, of persons in that trade or industry,so that an ordinary strike which is taking place within an industry, having for its object the improvement of the conditions of labour in that industry, is not touched by this Clause. It has to be a strike having an ulterior object altogether—[An HON. MEMBER: "What about a sympathetic strike?"]—and it is not unreasonable to think that, if a man is engaged in a strike which is not a legitimate quarrel between employers and workmen within the ambit of the industry, but is in fact a strike with an ulterior object, he does at least realise what its object is. That destroys a great number of the arguments that have been urged upon us in favour of this Amendment.
The speech of the hon. and learned Member for Bassetlaw (Sir E. Hume-Williams) clearly indicates the confusion that must arise in the mind of the layman. If we were dealing with something that merely affected lawyers, I 748 do not think we need be disturbed, but it appears to me to be difficult to get the Committee to realise that we are dealing with the ordinary working man, which includes millions of people, and that mere legal definitions do not concern him in the least. Let the Committee try to picture what the practical experience of this Bill will be. If they assume that strikes, sympathetic or other, are determined on some legal basis, let me beg the Committee to believe that they are playing with the facts. The ordinary decent-minded working man, whether he be Liberal, Tory, or Labour, when he argues and takes part in a discussion that involves a strike, never for a moment goes into the technical question at all. He says to himself: "Are the miners getting a fair deal? Are the employers' terms fair and reasonable? Ought we to stand by and see the miner defeated, because if he is defeated we will surely be the next? "I do ask the Committee to realise that that is the practical A.B.C. of the logic, the right instinct, of the worker.
When you are arguing whether it is legal or illegal, you have only to go back to the period 1914–1918 to remember that this country was not saved by the workers arguing the strict logic, or the legal interpretations, or the international complications. There was a sort of instinct that guided and influenced them, and thank God it was that instinct that did influence them, because if they had started to be more logical, this country might not have been in the position ill which it is to-day. Therefore, when we are discussing the implications of this particular Clause, let us keep in mind that when this Bill passes this House and the next place, it has still to be operated by the people who are affected by it. I remember saying on the Second Reading—and the Attorney-General joined issue with me on that occasion—that the one thing that I dreaded about this Bill was the effect which it was likely to have upon conciliation. I remember saying that I believed that, instead of it stopping strikes, it was calculated to make more strikes.
My annual meeting takes place a month to-day, and already on the agenda is a motion, supported not by one branch, but by scores of branches, 749 which by no stretch of the imagination can be called revolutionary, or Russian, or anything of that kind, but which calmly and deliberately propose that from July it be an instruction that the rules of our own organisation shall not be altered to meet the requirements of this particular Clause. What does it mean'? What do you gain? Where do you think you are leading industry in this country, when sober-minded, decent Conservative men—Conservative politically—are deliberately prepared, from 14th July, when this Bill, presuming it passes the other place, will be the law, to say: "So far as we are concerned, we are prepared to take the risk of ignoring it"? The hon. and learned Member for Norwood (Sir W. GreavesLord), who has taken a very active part in these Debates, delivered a speech on Saturday of last week dealing with this Bill, and, speaking with all the authority of a man who has taken part in these Debates—
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I do not think I can allow the right hon. Gentleman to pursue this line of argument, which is more suitable for the Third Reading. The point at issue on this Amendment is extremely narrow and is confined to a definition of the word "calculated."
That is my difficulty, and I put it to you that that is the germ of the whole Bill. We are dealing with a Clause in which occur the words "calculate to coerce the Government." That has to be read, as the hon. and learned Member for Bassetlaw has pointed out, with a number of other conditions.
§ Sir E. HUME-WILLIAMS
I did not say that. What I said was that the interpretation of the word did not arise unless the object of the strike was something beyond a dispute in an industry. I went on to say that any man taking part in a strike must at least realise its object, and that, therefore, the legal question did not arise.
I was trying to bring to the attention of the Committee how strikes are determined, how they are influenced, how they are governed, how they are controlled, and in order to show the confusion that must arise in the mind of the ordinary layman, I was 750 bringing this forward, that the hon. and learned Member for Norwood made a speech on Saturday in which he gave authoritatively a definition of this particular Bill, which was repudiated in the very first five minutes by the learned Attorney-General this afternoon. How is the layman going to determine it? That speech was fully reported in yesterday's papers. It was a speech on the co-operative societies, made with all the authority of a legal gentleman who has taken part in these Debates, and within five minutes of the Attorney-General rising this afternoon he smashed it into smithereens. He said "No." He did not have in mind the speech of the hon. and learned Member——
Exactly. But the right hon. and learned Gentleman was dealing with the co-operative societies, and he said that if the Amendment of my right hon. Friend were accepted it would affect them.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I never said that. I was asked by an hon. Friend of my own below the Gangway whether the Co-operative Congress was a trade union, and I said I could not answer that question, because I knew nothing about their rules. I neither expressed an opinion that they were or were not, and I said I thought it was very undesirable that I should try to express an opinion.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman seems to have forgotten what he did say, and I will remind him. He said that if the Co-operative Congress came into the same category as the Federation of British Industries, it was affected.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
It is of some little importance that this should be put right. I carefully refused to answer whether or not the Federation of British Industries was a trade union, because I said I did not know, and I said the same was true in answer to the other question, as to the Co-operative Congress. I said that if either of them was a trade union, it came under the Bill, and that if either of them was not a trade union, it stayed outside the Bill.
Quite so, but the difference is that the hon. and learned Member for Norwood on Saturday dogmatically declared the reverse, and that is what I am pointing out. He declared that the action of the Co-operative Congress last week was illegal. I myself took part in some recent by-elections, when this question of what was calculated to coerce the Government, and what was the definition of a legal or an illegal strike, was the subject of controversy, not in a big union, but take Bosworth, where you have this curious situation. You have there the small employer with two, three eight, 10, 20 or 30 employés, and nothing disturbed them more than that question. Yet here are the Government going on in this matter, when every test that can be applied and has been applied clearly indicates, not only that they have no mandate, no authority, but that they are going right in the face of public opinion. We are now trying to define a particular Clause. The hon. and learned Member for Bassetlaw rightly got up, and, as a distinguished lawyer, he would not be worthy of his position if he did not miss the point which we are trying to make. That is the job of the lawyer. We are concerned with the practical application of this Bill, but he ignored the only interruption that mattered. That interruption was: "What about the sympathetic strike?" Of course, the hon. and learned Member skipped off, and he deliberately skipped off.
Of course, because the hon. and learned Member knew that it would be dangerous to deal with the interruption. We are concerned with the interruption. The interruption dealt with what is the gravamen of this particular Clause, that is, the sympathetic strike. The railwaymen may strike for seven hours a day, and, according to the argument, that will be a perfectly legal and legitimate trade union dispute. The miners may strike for seven hours a day, and that will he a perfectly legitimate object within the meaning of this Bill, because they are not coercing the Government—conditionally upon the other Clauses. The transport workers may do the same. But if the railwaymen strike 752 for a specific trade object, and the transport workers or the miners say, "We believe in that object, and we will strike sympathetically," that is illegal, as has never been denied from the Treasury Bench. Let us, therefore, be quite straight about this. Do not let us pretend that we are not interfering with the existing rights of trade unionists. The Government must not pretend that, because they know that it is not true. They must not pretend that they are not curtailing the power of the workers, because they know that it is not true to say so. Let them be quite straight and say, "We believe the sympathetic strike is wrong and we are going to legislate against it." At least, that would be a straightforward argument which everyone could understand. That is the issue, and that is the issue of which the great mass of the people are thinking.
I have seen in the Press comments on the indifference and the apathy of the people. I do not see any evidence of that whatever. On the Second Reading I hinted at what I will now say. The same comment has been made about the agreement which I signed following the General Strike.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The right hon. Member cannot develop his argument on those lines. The Amendment deals strictly with the meaning of the word "calculated."
I know, but I signed an agreement, which said that I did not want the railway men to do anything that was calculated to coerce the Government, and that is what I am coming to. I knew the danger of anything being done that was calculated to coerce the Government, and I deliberately and with malice aforethought signed that agreement, and I signed it because I never believed there would he a possibility of any circumstances arising which would be calculated to coerce the Government. I had my views as to what was meant by coercing the Government, and my views of the danger of coercing the Government, and I took the deliberate risk of signing an agreement which practically prohibited the railway men of this country from again entering into a dispute that was calculated to coerce the Government. That was a bold thing to do. I did not get applause from my 753 side for doing it, let there be no mistake about that. I took a tremendous risk in doing it. I risked my own position and authority and job, and I carried the railway men with me, but the same people who agreed ultimately to endorse my action, saying, "Very wells you have done it, we are going to stand by you," are now turning round and saying, "No, when the Government attempt to impose that restriction upon us we are not going to have it." [An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] Why? The answer is that the worker will do voluntarily a thing that is right, but he is not going to be dictated to by you or anybody else. That is the psychology of the matter. If I were to pursue that point, I am afraid I should be driven into arguments that would be calculated to be outside the scope of the Amendment, and I will not get out of order.
I will say this as my last word to the Attorney-General. The Guillotine falls at 10.30, and there are a number of further Amendments on the Order Paper. [Interruption.] The Attorney-General says, "Of substance?" What is substance to us may be shadow to him. My point is that we have reached the last day but one of this stage of the Bill, and there is on the Order Paper an Amendment in the name of the hon. and learned Member for the Exchange Division of Liverpool (Sir L. Scott)——
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The right hon. Gentleman has forgotten that that is a new Clause, and that it will come on to-morrow.
I know, and that is why I am dealing with it. The right hon. Gentleman said, "a new clause," but I think he will agree with me that when he saw it he must have thought it was a new Bill, for it occupies a whole page, and thought also that if the Government had only dealt with that instead of with this particular Clause, how much easier it would have been; but that Clause comes on to-morrow, and I will express my views then. We have had a month of trying to define this particular matter, and, seeing that no two lawyers agree about it, and that when these words "calculated to coerce the Government" get to another place all the legal people of the past, as well as those with hope of the future, will join in, and God knows what will be the 754 end of it, cannot the Government take their courage in their hands and accept the proposal that we now make, because this legislation will never be operative?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The right hon. Gentleman told the Committee that it was the job of lawyers to miss the point. When I heard him say that, I confess I thought what a wonderful ornament had been lost to my profession in the right hon. Gentleman. We are, in truth, discussing an Amendment which deals with the meaning of the ward "calculated," which some hon. Members opposite have thought was ambiguous. The one contribution to the elucidation of that point made by the right hon. Gentleman showed that he himself used the word a year ago and quite well understood what it meant. He signed an agreement well weighing and knowing the consequences in which he undertook that the railwaymen, at any rate, should not enter into a strike which was "calculated to coerce" the Government; and he did not have a definition Clause put into that agreement. I congratulate him on the fact that he made that agreement a year ago, not only because, as he truly said, it showed courage and initiative on his part, but more so because it makes it quite certain that the railwaymen, at any rate, are quite safe from the operations of Clause I of this Bill. They have already voluntarily agreed to do what this Bill says ought to be done. The other observation which the right hon. Member made was that the working men of the country do not trouble about the legal effect of the language, because they look at matters from a different angle, and therefore it was that the Bill was such a mischievous one from every point of view. Such indignation as may have been aroused in the minds of working men by any speeches about this Bill must have been aroused by presuming on the fact that they do not trouble about the legal language and grossly misrepresenting what the Bill really does. If within the limits of order I could read to the Committee some of the things which I have seen in official pamphlets published by what is called the Trade Union Defence Committee, Eccleston Square, we should have a very full explanation of why some people may be disturbed in their minds about the Bill, and we might also have a rather glaring exposure—["HON. MEMBERS: "Read it"]——
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I hope that on some later occasion I may have the opportunity of reading it, within the limits of order, and, if so, I shall be——
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
This one might be called "Misleading the Innocent." The point we are discussing is a very narrow one, dealing with the meaning of the word "calculated." It is a phrase which I think is a familiar one. The right hon. Gentleman himself had no doubt as to what it meant; the Courts have decided what it means; it is a phrase which appears in numerous Acts of Parliament, and the only criticism which I have heard passed is that the Courts have spoken of actions as "being likely to coerce." I have expressed my own preference for what I think is a difference in language, but not in meaning. Lord Oxford said it was, "something intended by its inevitable results." We do not think it necessary to put a definition of this word in the Bill, any more than it was necessary to put a definition of the same word in the numerous other Statutes in which it has been used. We think it is a word which every ordinary man may quite easily understand, just as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Mr. Thomas) was able to understand it when he used it a year ago for purposes of his own in the case of the railwaymen, and we think, therefore, that it is a word which it is better to leave unaltered than to introduce some cumbersome definition such as was proposed. We think the word as it stands is better than any alteration could be, and we think that the word adequately and correctly secures the result which we designed to achieve and which we think this word is calculated to attain.
§ Mr. HARNEY
We are entitled to have this, which is the central point of the Bill, made clear. As I understand it, the position is this. When a strike takes 756 place, you first of all see into which category it falls, whether into the legal category or into the illegal category. It is in the illegal category if its object is other than a dispute between masters and men. What is the position? Strikes under this Bill fall into two categories: one where the object is purely industrial and which are made legal, the other where the object is not industrial and which are made illegal. If a strike falls within the illegal category it becomes criminal if it is "designed or calculated" to coerce the Government either directly or by inflicting hardship on the community. The Attorney-General dealt very lightly with the word "calculated." You have two words, "designed or calculated," used in Clause 1, and you have one word, "calculated," used in Clause 3 The two words in Clause 1 are "designed" and "calculated." I understand "designed" to mean a state of mind of the person taking part in a strike in which the intention is to coerce the Government, and that is quite intelligible, and if that was made punishable something could be said for it. If the Clause said "if you set about doing something intending mischief you are a criminal," it might be defensible. It is well known by all of us lawyers that every person is presumed to intend the consequences of his act, and where the inevitable result of a strike is mischief, then it is exactly the same as if the mischief were actually designed. Therefore it would have been quite sufficient to have let the word "designed" stand alone. You would then have hit every strike designed to do the mischief whether actual or presumptive.
But the Clause does not stop there. It says, "I am going to hit a strike that is not covered by 'designed,' presumptive or actual; I am going to hit a strike covered by a new word 'calculated.'" "Calculated" must have a meaning of that kind used as it is in juxtaposition with the word "designed." If the Clause meant, "Show me a strike where the strikers intend to do mischief," everybody must support the proposal; but if it is intended to do mischief, that is designed. This Bill says, "Show me a strike though no mischief was intended either by presumption or in reality," and that becomes criminal if in the mind not of the doers but in the mind of somebody else, the magistrates, it is likely to have a coercive effect upon the Government. Is it intended 757 henceforth to make men criminals when you negative not only a criminal intent but even a constructive criminal intent? Is it intended to make men criminals by the happening of events long after they have done the act and events have supervened for which they have no responsibility? It is no use the Attorney-General trying to ride off with his simple definition of the word "calculate." In this same Bill you have these words used:Or inducing any person to work or to from working if they attend in such numbers as to be calculated to intimidate.Why do you only use in this instance the word "calculated" when dealing with intimidation under Clause 3 and when dealing with criminality under Clause 1 use in addition the word "designed." The only reason I can find why you use that word with reference to intimidation is that the guilty act there designed depends not upon the state of mind
§ in which the picketing is done, but upon the number of those who gather round, and render it of a terrorising character. In one case you make it clear that you are going to punish men not because they themselves intimidate, but simply because a crowd collects. In Clause 1 you leave it ambiguous as to whether you are confining the Act for which a person may go to gaol for two years to what was in his mind before he started, or to what occurred afterwards, I think it should be made known whether the Government desire once for all to depart from the fundamentals upon which criminality depends, and to say "We intend to make men criminals without making it necessary to prove that there was any criminal intent whatever."
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 109; Noes, 191.759
|Division No. 174.]||AYES.||[753 p.m.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Rose, Frank H.|
|Alexander, A. V (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Groves, T.||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Grundy, T. W.||Scurr, John|
|Baker, Walter||Hall, F. (York., W.R., Normanton)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hall, G.H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Barnes, A.||Harney, E. A.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Batey, Joseph||Harris, Percy A.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Bondfield, Margaret||Hayes, John Henry||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Briant, Frank||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Bromley, J.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Smillie, Robert|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Smith, H.B. Lees- (Keighley)|
|Cape, Thomas||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Snell, Harry|
|Charleton, H. C.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kelly, W. T.||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Kennedy, T.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Compton, Joseph||Lansbury, George||Sullivan, J.|
|Connolly, M.||Lawson, John James||Sutton, J. E.|
|Cove, W. G.||Lee, F.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Livingstone, A. M.||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro., W.)|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lowth, T.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton), E.)|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Lunn, William||Thorne, W. (West Ham Plaistow)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Viant, S. P.|
|Duncan, C.||Mosley, Oswald||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Dunnico, H.||Murnin, H.||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Naylor, T. E.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||Oliver, George Harold||Westwood, J.|
|Fenby, T. D.||Paling, W.||Wiggins, William Martin|
|Forrest, W.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Williams, David (Swansea, E.)|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Potts, John S.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Gillett, George M.||Purcell, A. A.||Windsor, Walter|
|Gosling, Harry||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Ritson, J.|
|Greenall, T.||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W.R., Elland)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mr. B. Smith and Mr. Whiteley.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Atkinson, C.||Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Beilairs, Commander Carlyon W.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Betterton, Henry B.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Hammersley, S. S.||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Harrison, G. J. C.||Pennefather, Sir John|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Haslam, Henry C.||Pilcher, G.|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Hawke, John Anthony||Pilditch, Sir Philip|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Preston, William|
|Burman, J. B.||Hennessy, Major Sir G.R. J.||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Ramsden, E.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Cassels, J. D.||Hills, Major John Waller||Remer, J. R.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hilton, Cecil||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St. Marylebone)||Rhys. Hon. C. A. U.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hohier, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y. Ch'ts'y)|
|Christie, J. A.||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Rye, F. G.|
|Clayton, G. C.||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Cope, Major William||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Couper, J. B.||Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Eills||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim)||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Sandon, Lord|
|Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Jacob, A. E.||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||James Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Smithers, Waldron|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Jephcott, A. R.||Stanley, Col. Rt. Hon. G. F.(Will'sd'n,E.)|
|Davidson, Major-General sir J. H.||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Dawson, Sir Phillip||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Styles, Captain H. W.|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Drewe, C.||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Tasker, R Inigo.|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Little, Dr. E. Graham||Templeton, W. P.|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||Looker, Herbert William||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M)||Lougher, Lewis||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Fanshawe, Captain G. D.||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Waddington, R.|
|Fermoy, Lord||Macdonald, R.(Glasgow, Cathcart)||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Fielden, E. B.||McLean, Major A.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Ford, Sir P. J.||Macmillan, Captain H.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Foster, Sir Harry S.||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Malone, Major P. B.||Wells, S. R.|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Williams. A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Margesson, Captain D.||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Galbraith, J. F. W.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Meyer, Sir Frank||Winby, Colonel L. p.|
|Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Withers, John James|
|Goff, Sir Park||Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph||Womersley, W. J.|
|Grace, John||Nelson, Sir Frank||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Neville, Sir Reginald J.||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Grotrian, H. Brent||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hon. W. G.(Ptrsf'ld.)|
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. F. C. Thomson and Mr. Penny.|
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ Mr. SULLIVAN
I beg to move, in page 7, line 37, at the end, to insert the words:() The expression 'coerce' means to intimidate by apprehension of violence or violence.I move this Amendment in order to get an explanation from the Attorney-General as to the meaning of the word "coerce." Supposing that the women engaged in washing the clothing of the soldiers at a barracks came out on strike, under this particular Bill I take it these women would be coercing the Government by their action. If the Attorney-General would accept the words that we 760 suggest, it would make the point much clearer. I have had a difficulty in following some, of the meanings that have been read into this Bill. I thought the Bill provided that there was no such thing as a legal strike. I may be wrong in that interpretation and the Government may be right in their clam, but I have been listening to their replies, and the more replies we get the more confusion there is in my mind. I do not think that any ordinary person in this country would think that a stoppage among some women or some men in some part of the country would coerce the present Government. In point of numbers, they are the strongest Government of modern times. 761 But in other ways they are the most miserable Government of modern times, and the drafting of this Bill shows the panic that they have got into. We are trying to get them to make matters a little more clear. The word "coerce" has a very big meaning, and, if the Government will accept this Amendment, at any rate the ordinary man or woman will understand what they mean.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL
The hon. Member can hardly expect the Government to accept his Amendment. If that be his idea of coercion, it is not the Government's idea of coercion. It is, of course, coercion, but coercion extends over a great deal more than intimidation by threats or fear of violence. I am not sure whether the hon. Member himself knows what he means, if he will allow me to say so, by his own Amendment. Does he mean that the only coercion which is intended by Clause 1 of the Bill is to be the fear of personal violence by individual Members of the Government? The word "coerce," of course, means to coerce the Government. A strike is intended to coerce the Government and the hon. Member can hardly mean that a strike is only to be illegal if individual Members of the Government are to be afraid that they are to suffer in their limbs as the result of some industrial movement.
§ Mr. SULLIVAN
Does the learned Solicitor-General suggest that we are dealing with individual Members of the Government? We are dealing with the Government as a whole.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL
That is my point. If the hon. Member means the Government as a whole, as the Bill means, then it is very difficult to see how the Government as a whole can be subjected to a fear of violence in their persons. But, of course, coercion means, in this particular connection, coercion as regards the duties of the Government; that is to say, if the Government is to be prevented by an industrial stoppage from carrying out the administration which it is the duty of the Government to carry out day by day, then most certainly that would be coercion of the Government. If the lighting and the heating of the Government offices were to be withdrawn so as to compel the Government to succumb to some particular 762 policy which was favoured by the strikers, then that would be the coercion of the Government, though there would be no intimidation and no personal violence. Coercion has a wider phase than would be covered by the definition which the hon. Member wishes to include in the Bill. I do not think that any of us would have the least difficulty in contemplating the variety of circumstances in which the Government might be coerced, unless a Government proved stronger than the strikers or the people who were carrying on the lock-out. It is because we are not thinking of intimidation in this connection, or fear of personal violence, but because we are rather thinking of interference in the duties of Government, that I am unable to accept the hon. Member's definition.
§ Sir H. SLESSER
I think, as so often happens in our discussions, that perhaps the most valuable part of the Amendment is the reply given by the Government. We have now a statement, quite clear and without any qualifications, from the learned Solicitor-General as to what it is that the Government have in mind in regard to the cases to which the definition would apply. We now know—we have known for a long time, and the country has known for a long time—that it is a fraudulent pretence to say that this is a Bill dealing with the general strike. It is not so. In fact, it is stated—and we are told almost without any limitation now by the learned Solicitor General—that the coercion of the Government would mean such an act, for example, as a strike which, among other things, would make the Government run short of coal or heating or light. Those of us who are fortunate enough to enjoy the hospitality of the Government by occupying a Government room, if we felt a little chilly, would be coerced by that particular strike.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL
The hon. and learned Member must not pile exegesis upon exegesis. If he takes my exegesis and confines himself to that, he will be right, but, if he puts his exegesis upon my exegesis he will be likely to get into trouble. I did not say what he is suggesting, but I was giving other suggestions of coercion which were not those of which the hon. Member for Bothwell (Mr. Sullivan) spoke.
§ Sir H. SLESSER
That shows the difficulties into which those of us who indulge in the higher criticism in endeavouring to unravel obscure matters are liable to fall. We are liable to be misrepre-sented——
§ The CHAIRMAN
I should not have suspected either the learned Solicitor-General or the hon. and learned Member of dabbling in the higher criticism.
§ Sir H. SLESSER
I thought, in dealing with a matter of great obscurity, that we had that in common as higher critics, but, if I have done the hon. and learned Solicitor-General an injustice, I would repeat that, if the Government, through some dispute, were limited in the amount of light or heat or whatever it might be that they required, that might mean that the Government would be coerced. That would be going beyond any question of general strikes or anything of that kind. But the question which really arises on this Amendment is not unlike the question which arose on the last Amendment. It is: If the Government do not like the definition which we seek to import into this Bill, will they produce their own definition? Here we have the second key word—"calculated to coerce the Government." The Attorney-General has already refused in terms to give a definition of the word "calculated," although he has drawn certain vague analogies.
Now we come to the second word. We say that we have no definition of the word "calculated," nor have we any definition of the word "coerce." We still lack a definition. The hon. and learned Solicitor-General will agree with me that in regard to private individuals the Courts have held over and over again that the word "coercion" is not a word of any exact meaning. In one case, in the Court of Appeal—I think it was the case of Hodges v. Webb—in one of these trade union eases, the Master of the Rolls said that words like "coercion" were words rather to be deprecated, because they had no certain meaning and understanding. I do not believe that the learned Solicitor-General himself knows what the word "coercion" means in the sense of coercing the Government. It was quite evident from his speech and from his 764 hesitating manner that he was labouring under difficulties. I challenge him now to get up and give an exact definition of the meaning of the word "coercion" in this connection—not by an analogy or an example of cutting off the lighting or heating, but to state in plain language what this word "coercion" means in the sense of coercing the Government. I do not think that the learned Solicitor-General knows or that the Government knows.
May I take one illustration which shows the difficulty of dealing with this matter? I understand that during the last general strike the Government of this country consulted with members of the Trade Union Council on the last day before it was declared During that period apparently consultations took place. I do not know whether the Government then felt themselves in a state of coercion or not. But, in truth, the word "coercion" has no exact meaning at all. If the Government do not like the interpretation here supplied by those of us who hope to improve the Bill, I think we are entitled to ask them to give some indication to the Courts what they think the word really does mean. It is not merely a question of what may or may not take place. The rights of private individuals are affected by the suspension of the Trade Disputes Act where an illegal strike takes place under this Bill. Surely, a private person is entitled to know what the wording of this Bill means.
But it is not enough for those of us who move this Amendment merely to point out that the Government ought to give their definition. We have to defend our own definition. What is clearly meant by this definition is this. It does not mean apprehension of violence to the learned Solicitor-General or any other amiable member of the Government. It means that the form that the coercion will take is such that the Government fear that there will be violence in the country through shortage of supplies. That is clearly the intention of the words "apprehension of violence." Is that such an unreasonable definition? When dealing with intimidation ender the existing law, it has been defined in a number of cases, that intimidation means intimidation by apprehension of violence or violence. Those are exactly the words 765 that we follow here. We treat the Government as the subject of coercion in exactly the same way as the existing law treats individual private citizens. It does not mean the coercion of the Solicitor-General or the coercion of the Government as a whole, as, for example, the coercion exercised by the coalowners in inducing the Government to bring in the Eight Hours Bill. It means that the Government would fear that, owing to the cutting off of supplies, there would be something in the nature, of a state of sedition or disaffection.
The Prime Minister, I understand, wrote a letter to the Bosworth electors defining the intention of the Government in this matter. The electors of Bosworth did not believe it, if we may judge by their votes. What he said was that this Bill was to be limited to a general strike. If what is really feared is something seditious or in the nature of turmoil or tumult, such as might occur during a general strike, that would be coercing the Government by making them apprehend violence or threats of violence. Otherwise, what may also be meant by coercion, namely, merely a shortage of supplies, which is a necessary and probable consequence of every trade dispute, will in itself be construed to be coercion of the Government. We put down this Amendment to limit the Bill to dealing with the possible seditious or tumultuous consequences of what would practically be analogous to something in the nature of a revolution. We do not say that that was the intention of the last dispute, but we need not argue that point, because the Prime Minister himself said he did not think it was. However that may be, if the Government are sincere in really wishing to protect the community, and not to protect the Federation of British Industries and to protect plutocratic interests, an Amendment such as this would meet their point.
I feel that in a sense we are forcing an open door, because, beyond a, few persons who are officially or for some other reason attached to plutocratic interests, I do not think there is anyone in the country who believes the Government when they say that the Bill is limited to a general strike. Anyhow, if the Government do still think that there is anyone who still needs to be assured on this matter, then let them accept an Amendment of this sort, or, at any rate, 766 bring forward an Amendment of their own to show that they have some sincerity when they say they want to limit the Bill to a seditious general strike. Then, at any rate, we should know that the word "coercion" meant what the Prime Minister has told us he intended it to mean, but which I understand, his advisers told him could not be drafted in the form of a Bill. We should at least know where we stood. I do not appeal, because I do not think it is a question for appeal at all in a matter like this, but I assert that the Solicitor-General and his colleagues, in refusing to give a definition of coercion, have once more refused to give this Bill a certain meaning, have refused to take the ordinary working man out of a state of jeopardy, and have refused to discontinue their attack on the integrity of the whole trade union movement, and this Amendment has served a very useful purpose. I once more emphasise what I believe is now clear to the whole country, and that is that the Government, at the bidding of their plutocratic supporters, have really introduced this Bill, and particularly Clause 1 of the Bill, for the purpose of breaking the whole trade union movement.
§ Mr. MITCHELL BANKS
I think I can give the hon. and learned Member for South-East Leeds (Sir H. Slesser) one simple example of direct coercion of the Government. Examples of coercion of the Government by the infliction of hardship on the community are not in the least difficult to imagine, and, in fact, one could collect a considerable body of instances from the events of the last general strike; but, when it comes to direct coercion of the Government, it may, perhaps, be a little more difficult to select typical instances. One, however, occurs to my mind. The local branch in Swindon of the Independent Labour Party held a meeting some little time ago on the Chinese situation, and passed a resolution appealing to the Independent Labour Party, in the event of war breaking out between this country and China, to call a strike and refuse to handle munitions of war or assist in the embarkation of troops. A refusal to handle munitions of war, or the refusal of men on the railway to drive trains upon which troops were being taken to the point of 767 embarkation, would not, one would suppose, inflict hardship on the community, at all, but it would be a definite attempt directly to coerce the Government not to go further into a dispute with China, by striking against those means which the Government would have to employ in order to prosecute the war successfully. That, I think, is a typical example of what is meant by direct coercion of the Government, and I offer it to the hon. and learned Gentleman.
§ Mr. BATEY
I support the Amendment. I listened to the Solicitor-General as he attempted to explain the word "coerce," and it seemed to me that the sum total of his explanation was simply that, if a strike inconvenienced the Government, that was coercing the Government. The hon. and learned Member for Swindon (Mr. Banks) comes to the help of the Solicitor-General and says that an example of coercing the Government is a case such as he mentioned, where the Independent Labour Party in Swindon called a meeting and said that what was to be done if war broke out between this country and China was not to handle munitions of war. We are dealing at the moment with trade unions in this Bill, and, surely, the hon. and learned Member is not going to hold a trade union responsible for what a branch of the Independent Labour Party may decide.
§ Mr. BANKS
Of course, I do not hold any trade union responsible for what, the Independent Labour party might say, but, supposing the event to have occurred, and the Independent Labour party to appeal to the railway men not to handle munitions, and not to drive trains upon which troops were, that would be an example, and I offered that as an illustration of direct coercion of the Government.
§ Mr. BATEY
The hon. and learned Member is doing what so many hon. Members on the other side have been doing for some time—he is seeing red where there is no red. If a trade union in Swindon had held a meeting and had passed that resolution, the hon. and learned Member might have had some ground for complaint, but, because a branch of the Independent Labour party 768 meets and comes to a certain decision, it is not fair, I submit, to hold trade unionists and trade union organisations responsible for that. In my opinion, this Bill means far more than the Government suggest that it means. I believe, rightly or wrongly, that this Bill, as amended, deals with far more than general strikes or sympathetic strikes; I believe that it deals with primary strikes, and that, under this Bill, it will not be possible for, say, the Miners' Federation of Great Britain to conduct a primary strike without laying themselves open to the charge of coercing the Government.
The Miners' Federation, since it was organised completely by having all the districts included within its ranks, has only had one strike. There have been two lock-outs, one in 1921 and one in 1926, but they were lock-outs for which the Miners' Federation was not responsible. They have had one strikes and that was in 1912. It was a strike to coerce the Government. The miners had been wanting for some years a minimum wage. They found it impossible to obtain a minimum wage. They asked the employers for a minimum wage, and the employers refused to give it to them. Then the Federation decided upon a strike, with the deliberate intention of coercing the Government to pass a Minimum Wage Act; and they succeeded. After a six weeks' strike in 1912, the Miners' Federation succeeded in coercing the Government of that day to pass the Minimum Wage Act. It is no use a great organisation like the Miners' Federation thinking about a strike now, because the object of the strike would be to coerce the Government, and, therefore, this Bill, and the construction put upon the word "coerce," simply means that it will be impossible for the Miners' Federation to conduct a primary strike, not to mention a sympathetic strike or a general strike.
The ex-Solicitor-General has just explained what is meant by the Amendment in regard to the word "violence." He has explained that it does not mean violence to any member of the Government, but that it means that the Government should only regard the word "coerce" as meaning violence to the community. During the last dispute, which lasted for such a long period last year, the Government had to confess, at the end of seven months, that there had 769 been no real violence to the community during the whole of the dispute. In view of the experience of last year and that of 1921, when there was no real violence to the community or any substantial portion of the community, we are justified in asking the Government to accept this Amendment, and to prevent the word "coerce" from being used as it might be used in the future by the Courts, and especially by local Courts, for the purpose of sending men to prison for two years. We ask the Government to accept this Amendment and put into the Bill a thorough definition of the word "coerce," so that everyone may know what it means when a strike takes place.
§ Mr. OLIVER
The refusal of the Government to accept the last Amendment makes it most important that this one should be accepted, because there are a hundred and one things one can visualise which could be construed as being coercive, and it is essential that the Bill should lay down some principle so that the Courts may be guided as to the intentions of the Government. I can see a vast difference between coercion arising out of an industrial dispute and coercion arising out of a dispute that has a political object. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Swindon (Mr. Banks) drew attention to a branch of the Independent Labour party passing a resolution that, in the event of war with China or Russia, engineers ought not to manufacture or railwaymen to carry munitions. I can see a great difference between a strike, whether general or partial, having a political object and one having a purely industrial object. That is the whole of the controversy of last year. The origin of last year's dispute was an industrial question, and its object was purely industrial. If the hon. and learned Gentleman can see such a great difference between a strike for a political object and one for an industrial object, why in Heaven's name does he not ask the Government to draw a distinction in the definition of "coercion"? At any rate, it would be one step nearer to guide the people who will have to interpret the Act and also to guide the trade unions. But left in the bald, vague way it is now expressed in the Clause a hundred and one ways might be conceived in which trade unions could march 770 forward believing that they were doing the right thing, setting out with the best intentions in the world, with the laudable object of improving the conditions of the men and women in any industry and, by the definition of "coercion" in this Clause, they could be brought within the purview of the criminal law. It is most important that we should not permit the word to be left in such a vague way so that hundreds and probably thousands of men and women might be misled, and in consequence, commit acts which, if they were better informed or if the Bill were clearer, they would be restrained from committing.
§ Mr. NAYLOR
One hesitates to enter into a discussion of this kind because in some cases no two authorities will agree as to the meaning of a word, In this case also, if different Members of the House were consulted, we should find a great difference of opinion as to the meaning of the word "coerce." My own impression of what is intended by the Government is expressed in the Amendment. I have not consulted a dictionary but, speaking offhand, I should say "to coerce" would mean "to force" or "to bring pressure to bear," and not necessarily imply the apprehension of violence towards the Government. When I first read the Clause, it seemed to me that there were two words in it that provided a key as to action that might or might not be taken under it. One is the word "strike" and the other is the word "coerce." We know what a strike is, although the Government have found it necessary to define it, and, if they are prepared to define a "strike," why are they not also prepared to define "coerce"? The case quoted by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Swindon (Mr. Banks) might easily be a case for long legal argument without some clear definition of the meaning of the word. He said it might be possible, under a resolution passed by a certain political association, that a strike should take place for the purpose of preventing the handling of munitions of war. The word "coerce" means to bring pressure to bear upon the Government to do a certain thing, and one can easily imagine a lawyer on one side arguing that it was a contravention of Clause 1, and another lawyer on the other side arguing that the action taken was not designed or calculated 771 to coerce the Government into doing a certain thing but to prevent them from doing it. That might easily occupy learned gentlemen in the Courts for days. Again, there are many unions that might be involved in what the Bill would recognise as being a legitimate strike, and some of their members might be employed in a Government establishment, and it would be necessary for the union to withdraw them If the word "coerce" is left undefined, it means that it could easily be said by those seeking to put the Act into operation that, although the original cause of dispute was in the trade or industry, yet the mere fact that it involved the withdrawal of men from a Government establishment was an attempt to coerce the Government. Is that so or is it not?
§ Mr. NAYLOR
Oh, yes. If there were a certain industry in which there were Government employés concerned, not exclusively but in combination with private employers, and there were a dispute which eventuated in a strike on a question of hours or wages, it would be quite legal, I take it, under the Bill to withdraw those Government employés with the rest of the members, seeing that it would be a dispute within the trade or industry. Therefore, I think I am quite correct in saying that, in these circumstances, the Government might conceivably step in and say that this strike, so far as Government employés are concerned, was, by the terms of Clause 1, an attempt to coerce the Government. I do not think that is quite in agreement with the real intentions of the Government, and, therefore, it must be necessary and desirable to get a clear understanding from the Government as to what they really mean when they put that word in the Clause.
It was understood that the main reason why they introduced this Bill arose out of the circumstances of the strike which took place last year. According to the views of most of the Government supporters, that strike was calculated, if it were not actually designed, to threaten the life of the Government. The object of introducing the Bill was to make it impossible for any other strike of the same magnitude or character to be started 772 again. Supposing, for the sake of argument, that the strike of last year was of a revolutionary character or was designed to overthrow the Government, are you going to say that this word "coerce" can mean anything else but that? It will be, it seems to me, only logical to define the word "coerce" as proposed in this Amendment. Only where there is apprehension on the part of the Government of violence, or where there is violence itself, should it be understood to mean that the Government are being coerced. To bring pressure to bear upon the Government, to attempt to force the Government into a certain line of industrial action—that seems to be a case quite outside the real scope of the Bill, unless the Government are going to confess that they are out, after all, for hampering and harassing the legitimate activities of the trade unions.
The trade union movement as a whole are desirous only of being left alone in this matter. They want the right to combine, not merely the individuals in the unions, but the unions into combinations of unions, and to use those combinations in every legitimate way in the furtherance of their aims and ideals. It is only right that they should have the liberty to combine on a sufficiently large scale even if it might possibly inconvenience the community if it ever became necessary to withdraw their labour as a result of that larger combination. But now it has been left, apparently, to the party which have always prided themselves on standing up for the protection of the liberty of the individual, to prevent the exercise of that liberty to form combinations, merely because they know that the success of such combinations would be to endanger their political status in the country. I support this Amendment because I have great faith in the good, sound common sense of the trade union movement not to go beyond their legitimate sphere in any action that they might take for the betterment of working-class conditions in this country. I submit that this Amendment defining the word "coerce" as meaning intimidation by apprehension of violence or violence itself, is the only proper definition that can be applied unless we are to be involved in a long series of legal actions in the Courts. If this Amendment be not accepted, I do ask the Attorney-General to consider the 773 advisability of inserting a definition of this word, and not leaving it merely to the lawyers to debate ad nauseam in the Law Courts as to whether "coerce" means this or that, as undoubtedly will be the case if no definition be given. I hope, therefore, the Government will consider the advisability either of accepting this Amendment or producing another that we on this side of the Committee can accept.
§ Mr. CONNOLLY
I join with my hon. Friend who has just sat down in asking the Attorney-General to insert either this Amendment or a similar one to define actually what the word "coerce" shall mean. I think it is a most unfortunate word to put into an Act of Parliament. I remember the discussions in this House on the question of coercion in Ireland, and it was generally regarded then that coercion meant force. I think it is a most regrettable thing for a Government to put into an Act of Parliament that it is amenable to force. I remember, nearly 20 years ago, coming to London on the question of a lockout in my trade and interviewing, with others, a very important Government official. The general secretary of my society had used a rather unfortunate word in communicating with that Government official. He had mentioned that it was our intention to influence the Government, and I remember the castigation that we received at the interview for our audacity in presuming that we could bring influence to bear upon the Government. I well remember that high Government official rising and chastising us all, and saying that he, as an individual member of the Government, was not amenable to influence, and that the Government collectively were not amenable to influence of any kind. Yet we have here in a Bill which will shortly be an Act of Parliament words conveying the impression to the nation that the Government are amenable to coercion. In my opinion, a Government that is amenable to coercion is not a Government at all. They cease to be a Government once they become amenable to coercion. It is a most unfortunate word to put into the Bill, and I think the Attorney-General might give some consideration to the appeals that have been made to put in a definite interpretation of the word "coerce." Would 774 my society and other societies come under the definition of coercing the Government when this Bill becomes an Act, and it forces, as it will force, tens of thousands of members of societies like mine—the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, the General Workers' Union, the Boilermakers' Union, and other societies of that size—out of their union? Tens of thousands of members will be driven out. The ironworkers in the Royal dockyards, who have been raised to the status of the outside shipbuilding yards during the last 10 years, may in years to come, through the operations of this Act, be forced back to their previous status. If we in the outside shipbuilding yards and engineering shops strike to support them in maintaining their status as Government employés, are we to come under the definition in Clause 1 and in Clause 8, of coercing the Government?
The hon. Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey) mentioned the question of a coal strike for the restoration of the seven-hour day. Will the miners in such a case, who would be striking primarily to establish the seven-hour day, be regarded as coercing the Government? If seafaring men are coming out on strike on a purely industrial matter, such as the lowering of the Plimsoll line, which could not be done in any way except by Act of Parliament or Order in Council, will they come under the definition in this Clause as coercing the Government? If the railwaymen come out on strike in order to better their conditions, and some of their officials in some parts of the country say that the ultimate result will be nationalisation of the railways, are they to come under this definition of coercion? The Attorney-General might consider whether it is not necessary to adopt some such Amendment as we have on the Paper, or, if that does not appear agreeable to his sense, does he not think it advisable that a clear definition of what coercion means should be given in the Bill?
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
The hon. and learned Member for Swindon (Mr. Banks) raised on objection when one of my hon. Friends asked for a clear definition of what is meant by coercion. Earlier in the Debates the hon. and learned Member for Swindon very eloquently put the case for a more precise 775 definition of what the Government mean. He declared, and he was backed up by hon. Members on his own side of the House, that, as far as he was concerned, he could not define, nor did he know what was meant by, certain terms used in the Bill, and he urged his own party that they should clearly say what it was that they meant. I should have thought that just as there is vagueness in the first Clause, so it exists throughout the whole Bill. Now we come to Clause 8 we are confronted with the same difficulty: the difficulty of learning precisely what it is that the Government mean by the Clause and the terms they use.
The hon. and learned Member for Swindon raised a question about a branch of the Independent Labour party in his constituency passing a resolution. I hold that this Bill is not merely aimed at industrial struggles but at political parties who raise objection to the Government's policy. There is a very large force of opinion in this country, which is rapidly gathering weight, I am very glad to say, that is averse to war, who have declared that they will take all the steps they possibly can to avert another catastrophe such as we passed through in the years 1914 to 1918. The Government intend to have the next war in peace so far as interference on the part of trade unions is concerned. It is unnecessary for the hon. and learned Member for Swindon to argue the case of the Independent Labour party. The Independent Labour party is not a trade union organisation and it has no power to call men out on strike; but it is clear that if war broke out the Government would do again what they did before. They would have an Order-in-Council, and under that Order-in-Council it is fair to assume that any person advocating the cessation of work would be dealt with by the Order-in-Council as acting in a seditious and treasonable manner. It is obvious that this Bill is not necessary for dealing with a case of that description and that the illustration given by the hon. and learned Member for Swindon was of little use so far as this Bill is concerned.
I would add my word to the words of other hon. Members in urging the 776 Government clearly to define what they mean by coercion. What do they mean by coercing the Government? From what we have heard from the Solicitor-General, I understand that some hardship may be inflicted upon a large number of people, and that may cause apprehension in the mind of the Government. The whole of this Bill in its punitive Clauses seems to rest upon apprehension. The whole thing is based upon states of mentality. I can easily understand that a Government as touchy as this one could very easily be under an apprehension that they were going to be coerced, and that some vital damage was going to be done to some of their friends who back them up so sincerely. I can easily understand that in a very large strike such as the one mentioned by the hon. Member for Spennymoor, if the miners took industrial action it would be very easy for the Government to believe that there was an apprehension that they were being coerced. Representations could be made to them that they should take action to prevent such action on the ground that it was really coercion of the Government.
This Bill aims not merely at the sympathetic strike but at the primary strike. It is an attempt to prevent strikes at all. It is an intention to prevent combinations. There has been a movement amongst trade unions for a long time for what is called the formation of the single union. That is to say, there was to be a union formed which should combine in itself the working classes, no matter what their particular trade or occupation might he, and that it should be governed and controlled by a single executive. I should imagine that there was nothing illegal in that, but it becomes impossible under a Bill of this description, because it would be held to be a combination, and if members of that combination struck it would be held to be subversive of the welfare of the State and easily it could be held to be coercing the Government. There is a union already in existence, the Workers' Union, which, I believe, takes in all types of members, all kinds of people. It would be utterly impossible for that union under this legislation to call a general strike of its members. That could not be done without laying themselves open to the charge that they were coercing 777 the community or in other words, coercing the Government, which has now become a synonymous term. We ought to get from the Government some statement as to what they really mean by the terms they use. Objection has come, not only from this part of the House and from hon. Members below the Gangway on this side, but misapprehension exists in the minds of hon. and learned Members on the Government side who have confessed to their constituents that they cannot explain what this
§ precious Bill really means. Here is the last Clause, which means so much so far as construction and meaning is concerned, and it is as vague as the rest of the Bill. It is all the more imperative that we should have from the Government, a clear statement as to what they mean before the Bill is placed on the Statute Book.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 107; Noes, 164.779
|Division No. 175.]||AYES.||[8.57 p.m.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Harney, E. A.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Baker, Walter||Harris, Percy A.||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hayes, John Henry||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Barnes, A.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Smillie, Robert|
|Batey, Joseph||Hirst, G. H.||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Bondfield, Margaret||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Hudson, J. H. Huddersfield||Snell, Harry|
|Bromley, J.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles|
|Cape, Thomas||Kelly, W. T.||Stamford, T. W.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Kennedy, T.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lansbury, George||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Lawson, John James||Sullivan, J.|
|Compton, Joseph||Lee, F.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Connolly, M||Lowth, T.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Cove, W. G.||Lunn, William||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Thorne, W. (West Ham Plaistow)|
|Dalton, Hugh||March, S.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Viant, S. P.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Mosley, Oswald||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Murnin, H.||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Duncan, C.||Naylor, T. E.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Dunnico, H.||Oliver, George Harold||Westwood. J.|
|Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||Palin, John Henry||Whiteley, W.|
|England, Colonel A.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wiggins, William Martin|
|Fenby, T. D.||Potts, John S.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Purcell, A. A.||Williams, David (Swansea, E.)|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Gillett, George M.||Riley, Ben||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Ritson, J.||Windsor, Walter|
|Greenall, T.||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W.R., Elland)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Rose, Frank H|
|Grenfell, D. R, (Glamorgan)||Salter, Dr. Alfred||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Groves, T.||Scurr, John||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. Charles|
|Grundy, T. W.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Edwards.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Bullock, Captain M.||Dean, Arthur Wellesley|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Burman, J. B.||Drewe, C.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Butt, Sir Alfreo||Eden, Captain Anthony|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Elliot, Major Walter E.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Cassels, J. D||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.)|
|Atkinson, C.||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Everard, W. Lindsay|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Clarry, Reginald George||Falle, Sir Bertram G.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Clayton, G. C.||Fanshawe, Captain G. D.|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Cope, Major William||Fielden, E. B.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Couper, J. B.||Ford, Sir P. J.|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Courtauld, Major J. S.||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Forrest, W.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Fraser, Captain Ian|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||Galbraith, J. F. W.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Curzon, Capt. Viscount||Ganzonl, Sir John|
|Brass, Captain W.||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Gates, Percy|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Davies, Dr. Vernon||Goff, Sir Park|
|Brooke, Brigadler-General C. R. I.||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Grace, John|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Dawson, Sir Philip||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)|
|Grotrian, H. Brent||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Malone, Major P. B.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Harrison, G. J. C.||Margesson, Capt. D.||Staney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Merriman, F. B.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Meyer, Sir Frank||Stanley, Col. Rt. Hon. G. F. (Will'sd'n,E.)|
|Haslam, Henry C.||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Hawke, John Anthony||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Nall, Colonel Sir Joseph||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Neville, Sir Reginald J.||Styles, Captain H. W.|
|Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh||Templeton, W. P.|
|Hills, Major John Waller||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Hilton, Cecil||Pennefather, Sir John||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St. Marylebone)||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Perring, Sir William George||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Hopkins, J. W. W.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Waddington, R.|
|Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)||Pilcher, G.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Pilditch, Sir Philip||Warner, Brigadler-General W. W.|
|Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)||Pownall, Sir Assheton||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Preston, William||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Price, Major C. W. M.||Wells, S. R.|
|Jacob, A. E.||Ramsden, E.||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|James Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Rawson, Sir Cooper||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Jephcott, A. R.||Remer, J. R.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Rentoul, G. S.||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
|Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|King, Capt. Henry Douglas||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Withers, John James|
|Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Little, Dr. E. Graham||Rye, F. G.||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Lougher, Lewis||Salmon, Major I.||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich W.)|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Young, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)|
|Luce, MaJ.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Sanderson, Sir Frank||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|McLean, Major A.||Sandon, Lord||Major Sir, Harry Barnston and Mr.|
|Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A.D. Mcl.(Renfrew. W.)||Penny.|
§ Mr. B. SMITH
I beg to move, in page 7, line 37, at end, to insert the words:() The expression 'trade or industry' includes any trades or industries associated together in the production or handling of any common product.By this Amendment, we seek to give some clarity to the definition as to what is a trade or industry. The Attorney-General moved an Amendment to Clause 1, and it is now Sub-section (3) of that Clause. It endeavours thus to define a trade or industry:Without prejudice to the generality of the expression 'trade or industry,' workmen shall be deemed to be within the same trade or industry if their wages or conditions of employment are determined in accordance with the conclusions of the same joint industrial council, conciliation board, or other similar body, or in accordance with agreements made with the same employer or group of employers.We say that that definition does not go far enough, and is not very helpful to many of the very large industries. Take, for instance, the docks and waterside industry. There there is undoubtedly a national body covering the whole of the industry, but within that industry we have dock boatmen, lightermen, stevedores, shore workers, warehousemen, carters, crane men, lock-gate men, coal tippers, coal trimmers, iron-ore workers, and so 780 on ad infinitum. Every one of the agreements that come within the ambit of the trade as a whole is made separately with different employers. This Clause in no way covers any one of these men. I ask the Attorney-General to enlighten us. If a coal trimmer ceased work, could a tipper join with him, and could they in concert with the rest of the 125,000 dock and waterside workers join forces for the purpose of a legitimate trade dispute, namely, a reduction in hours or a change in working conditions or an increase in wages; and, per contra, could they resist an increase in hours or a reduction of wages collectively as a whole? Take the building trade. It is a trade which embraces men from transport, right through to the highest grade craftsmanship. You get your ordinary carter and the labourer who "loads" him, but they are not in the same union, and the carter may have nothing to do with the conciliation board. He may even be a contract carter, who is entirely excluded from the industry as a whole. If these men cease work, would the other men in the industry, the bricklayer, the plumber, the joiner and the tiler, since many of their agreements are separate from that of the national body, be within their rights in taking action under Subsection (3) of Clause 1?
781 The plainest and most simple definition is that in our Amendment, which states that the expression "trade or industry" includes any trades or industries associated together in the production or handling of any common product. That means that the railwaymen hauling the coal produced from the mines, the carters who handle the coal, the tipper or trimmer who handles the coal, come within our definition, and provided that it is for a trade dispute they would have the right to co-operate in order to bring that dispute to a successful issue. The Attorney-General said that the miner at present could strike to reduce his hours from the maximum laid down by law, provided he did not ask for statutory effect to be given to it. I understood the right hon. Gentleman said also that a railwayman can refuse to handle the coal, in so far as he designated it blackleg coal; but he went a little further by saying that if, when that strike was on, the Government imported coal, the docker and the trimmer would have to handle the coal, and if they joined forces with the strikers they would be doing an illegal thing. Our Amendment simply says that whether it be the building industry or the engineering industry or the shipbuilding industry—whatever industry it may be which embraces a number of crafts with their concomitant labourers, it should have the right to take common action in a trade dispute. We think the Amendment is a far clearer definition than the one that has been framed to meet the criticism of Members on both sides of the House and has been embodied in Sub-section (3) of Clause 1. What would be the position in a union like my own, the Transport and General Workers? If there were a strike by one section, and it was legal, and then another section joined forces with the strikers and their action was declared to be illegal, would the whole dispute become illegal? If not would my Union and the General Labourers' Union be entitled to use the common fund of all sections for the support of the strike, although the dispute was declared later to be an illegal dispute?
We have made many special appeals to the Government to give clarity to the Clause, and to-day has been taken up in asking the Attorney-General to give such 782 a definition as the ordinary common person can understand. Up to now I have not heard two lawyers agree as to what any particular Clause means. If these criticisms are genuine, how in Heaven's name can we get our people outside to understand the definition in Sub-section (3) of Clause 1? How can we expect the ordinary layman, who probably never sees an Act of Parliament, to make up his mind? Is it not rather the case that the very ambiguity of the Clauses is introduced primarily to frighten men from ever taking action within a trade union? That is the primary object—to instil fear into the hearts of men and women, so that they will go on suffering injustice within their industries rather than strike. One could go on citing illustration after illustration. Take the catering trade. If a certain section ceases work the whole of the trade would automatically be unemployed. We ask for a simple and plain definition. There is King's English and lawyers' language, and there is the ordinary limited vocabulary of the average Englishman. We think that our Amendment could be understood by Judges, lawyers, and Members of this House, and, what is far better, could be understood by the simplest-minded person in the country. I think the Attorney-General might give some consideration to this Amendment. I should like the right hon. and learned Gentleman on this occasion to say that whilst he had made every effort to obtain clarity he had failed, and that this was a better definition which he could accept.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The hon. Member, in moving this Amendment, said, I am sure sincerely, that it was moved with the intention of producing clarity, and he repeated that statement almost in his closing sentence. I am not in the least doubting that such is the purpose of the Amendment, but, in our judgment, it is not the effect. If we had this proposed definition, the question would arise, "What is a common product?" Let me give an illustration from the coal industry, which the hon. Member mentioned. In ordinary language, the term "coal industry" is quite well known, but are, for instance, lignite, brown coal, anthracite and bituminous coal all included in a common product?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The hon. Member is very confident, but they need not be things produced in this country, because there might be a strike connected with things which are not produced in this country. I do not want the hon. Member to tell me what he thinks on that point; I do not seek to embarrass him, but I take that as an illustration of the difficulty that might arise in deciding what was or was not a common product. Let me give another illustration. There are a good many trades or industries which do not produce or handle a product. Take the tubes and omnibuses. Are you going to call passengers a product? They may be described, perhaps, as a common product, but, at any rate, I doubt whether they are the product of the transport industry. They may be its raw material, but they are not its product. Let me give another illustration of the same difficulty. There are many retail shops on a large scale, which handle almost every product. Are they to belong to each particular industry represented? Take shops like Whiteley's or Harrod's. I suppose, possibly, there are concerns which handle almost every known mercantile object, and they can hardly be said to be in every trade or industry represented by what they sell. The hon. Member himself gave an illustration. He instanced the trade of house-building, which he said concerned carters, bricklayers, and plumbers, and so on. Now the common product, I suppose, of the house-building industry is houses. But a carter does not handle any houses.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
Yes, he handles bricks and cement and mortar and various other things which may ultimately go into the making of the house, but I do not think he handles the common product of the house-building industry, which is houses. I hope the hon. Member will not think that I am seeking to be captious. I am only seeking to illustrate some of the difficulties which would arise in regard to the use of such a definition as he proposes. If he will forgive me for saying so, it will not do, and if I had 784 ventured to put it forward I realise the terrible riddling I should have received from the other side before I had gone very far with it. The hon. Member has propounded certain questions—I will not say conundrums—as to how far different branches of a trade are within the same industry? It is a little dangerous for me to answer those questions too definitely, not because I am not aware of what the Bill does or what in my opinion it does, but because without having more familiarity than I can claim—without being as familiar as the hon. Member is—with the different ways in which industry is worked and its ramifications, I might very easily give a misleading answer. For instance, he referred to the dockside workers, with whose position he is intimately acquainted, and I think he said that there was a National Board, but that there were certain sub-divisions in the carrying out of the work. Obviously, it would be a very dangerous thing for me to answer offhand, and to say whether or not the fact that there was a National Board constituted all these sub-divisions for all purposes one industry. Of course, if a number of people were striking against a reduction of wages or an increase of hours, that would be a perfectly legitimate strike however many industries were involved, because all those people would be striking in the furtherance of a trade dispute of their own.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
His Majesty's dockyards have nothing to do with it. This is a point I have tried very often, though I am afraid, unsuccessfully, to explain. In order to bring a strike within Clause 1 two conditions have to be fulfilled. First, the strike must have an object other than or in addition to the furtherance of a trade dispute in the industry, and, secondly, it must be designed or calculated to coerce the Government. Unless both conditions are fulfilled the strike is not illegal. It does not matter whether it is a strike in a dockyard or anywhere else—so long as it is in furtherance of a trade dispute in the industry it is not a strike which is made illegal by the Bill.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
It does not matter. It is a point I have tried to make clear very often. I am sorry if I have not succeeded. In order to be illegal two conditions have to be satisfied. Both these conditions have to be satisfied. If one only is satisfied the strike is not illegal. The two conditions, as I have said, are, first, the strike has to have an object other than or in addition to the furtherance of a trade dispute in the industry, and, second, it has to be designed or calculated to coerce the Government.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
No, both these conditions have to be fulfilled, and even if it were expressly stated that the effect of the strike must be to coerce the Government, if the coercion is merely in furtherance of a trade dispute—as for instance to get better wages from the Government—that would not be illegal because the first condition would not have been satisfied. The strike would not be for an object other than or in addition to the furtherance of a trade dispute in the industry. These are matters in regard to which there cannot be any doubt as to the language of the Clause, and I am confident that nobody—certainly no lawyer—will challenge the statement that both those conditions have to be fulfilled. It is a statement which I have repeatedly made here, and I must almost apologise to you Mr. Chairman for having to make it again, but it is important that the point should be clear. On the question of what is a trade or industry, the hon. Member said it was important to use simple language, but "trade or industry," after all, are words which are in very common usage. The expression "trade" is a word which has repeatedly been used not only in common parlance but also in Acts of Parliament.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
We are anxious to make sure that it shall be liberally construed, and for that reason we have inserted in Clause l the provision which is at the moment Subsection (3):Without prejudice to the generality of the expression 'trade or industry,' workmen shall for the purposes of the foregoing Sub-section be deemed to be within the 786 same trade or industry if their wages or conditions of employment are determined in accordance with the conclusion of the same Joint Industrial Council, Conciliation Board, or other similar body, or in accordance with agreements made with the same employer or group of employers.Our object in doing that was to make it clear beyond doubt that wherever there are numbers of workmen employed by the same employer, however diverse the object, they come under the same trade or industry.
§ Mr. SMITH
May I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman this? The coal trimmer is employed on the quayside, but the coal tipper is employed by the railway company. These men work in concert to load the ships. Their wages agreements are made out by two separate groups of employers, one being the railway company and the other the ship-owners. What would be their position if they acted in concert?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I hesitate to give too confident an answer for fear I should be misunderstanding the exact nature of the particular employment, but it sounds to me as if the tipper and the trimmer were engaged in the same trade or industry. It is doing part of the same job although it happens that different employers are paying the wages. That is why we are careful to preface our definition with the wordsWithout prejudice to the generality of the expression,It is, in common parlance, within the same trade or industry that is being worked in. There might be doubt about that, if they were doing quite different work but employed by the same employer, but still, by virtue of the definition, they are within the language and similarly if there are men who are doing possibly quite different kind of work but whose wages and conditions of employment are regulated by the same conciliation board or joint industrial council, then they are brought within the expression "trade or industry" by virtue of Sub-section (3). It seems to us that we have succeeded in doing that which we have tried to do, namely, to make it clear in the Sub-section that the definition is to be read as widely as possible, and, for the reasons I have given in my opening remarks, I fear that the hon. Member's definition instead of making things clearer, would have the opposite effect and land us in a 787 fresh set of difficulties which I really should not like to predict. On these grounds, we cannot accept the Amendment, although I fully sympathise with its purpose.
§ Mr. MARCH
We are very much obliged to the Attorney-General for his further explanation in connection with this matter, which is more lucid than that which we had before. Those of us who are engaged principally in the transport industry feel it very necessary to have as much clarity in connection pith this matter as possible. We have a large number of transport workers who are engaged in practically every industry. Some are controlled by employers' associations known as the Commercial Road Transport Employers' Association, but many are engaged through contractors to do various work and carting to pretty well every industry. Further than that, there are some firms where they have what we call their own men and vehicles. Take, for instance, one or two jobs that I have already been engaged in—and there are a large number of men in similar industries. Take the ship repairing yards. I was in a yard for about 14 years, driving a horse and van and carting all the necessary materials for all the men engaged by that same employer. Yet I was controlled with regard to my wages, not by what the employers paid the other men whom they engaged, but by what I could obtain above the union rate which was recognised by the association. These men, one set or other of them, would have a dispute. Say, for instance, the shipwrights, who were the main body of men employed by the ship repairers, were in dispute, and I was the car man carting the material to and from the ships and to and from the yards for the men who were out. Then, my work would mainly be done, for I should have nothing to do other than to stand by. Supposing that any other set of men had come in to take the place of those men who were in dispute, what position should I be in? Should I be entitled to stand by the men with whom I had been previously working?
Then take the boiler makers and platers. If these men were in dispute and I was employed by the same employer, how would I come in in connection with those men? We could not always do the necessary quantity of work which 788 was required with one cart and horse, but we engaged contractors to come in from outside. Those men were members of the same organisation to which I belonged, namely, the transport workers, and they came in and worked for a contractor and were paid under the rate agreed upon by the Commercial Road Transport Association, and not in the same manner that I was paid. If these men came in to work, should I be justified in refusing to work with them or should I be considered to be blacklegging if I did? The position is very complicated in these cartage industries.
There is also the question of catering, as the hon. Member for Rotherhithe (Mr. B. Smith) has mentioned. It is a very important trade in which there are a larger number of transport workers. If there is a dispute with the bakers and confectioners in any firm and they are out on strike, would the men who do the carting from the main depot to the various shops, some of them employed by the same employer and others engaged by a contractor, be justified in coming out in support of those men or would they have to remain in and carry on work if the employers could get blacklegs to come in and do the work while the other men were in dispute? Or, if there was any dispute in any shop, as there has been in times past, and the waitresses came out, if these men employed by the caterers were ordered to take goods to the shops where the waitresses were all out and where others had come in, would they be justified in supporting the waitresses who had come out or would they have to go and carry goods to the shops where nonunion people had come in to take the other people's places?
There are a large number of other industries I could mention which are just as important. I have been engaged in the dairy trade. I was a milk rounds-man, distributing with a horse and van, for a very large concern. Supposing there had been anything wrong with regard to the people supplying the milk from the wholesalers to the retailers and the men were in dispute at the wholesale depot and did not bring the milk along, and supposing I was engaged, as there are hundreds of men engaged, by the retailer distributors, would I be called upon to go to the wholesalers for 789 the milk which I had to take round, and, if I did, would I not be injuring the men in dispute with the wholesalers? They are part and parcel of the distribution of milk. In the ordinary way, the wholesalers would go to the railways and fetch the milk and deliver it to the retail shops and the retailers would take it round the districts. In the ease of dispute and of the wholesale men refusing to fetch it from the railway station and the retailers requiring the milk contractors' men to go to the railway station and fetch the milk direct, would those men not be injuring that set of men who are in dispute with the wholesalers and would they not be doing an injustice to them if they did it?
The Attorney-General made a little quip in connection with passengers The omnibuses are not much good to the men unless they are looked after in the yards and garages. There are sets of men in the garages equally as important as the men who drive the omnibuses or those who collect the fares. Those omnibuses have to be overhauled and tested by certain men and washed and cleaned and swept out and so forth. There is a certain set of garage men in connection with the omnibuses and also with the trams who are equally as important as the men who drive the omnibuses. In fact, they are more important, because they do the important work of looking after the vehicles, to see whether the machinery is in order, whether the vehicles' wheels, tyres and brakes are in order. Supposing there was a dispute with the drivers and conductors, would not those men inside be concerned in that industry? It is very important that we should know exactly what will be classed as a trade or industry and whether the men working in the garages will be affected. There are painters, upholsterers, carpenters, cabinet-makers, joiners and engineers working in connection with omnibuses and trams, employed by the one employer, and if there were a dispute with drivers and conductors, and another set of men came along and did their work, we want to know whether the men who are ancillary to that trade would not be justified in supporting the drivers and conductors who were in dispute.
§ Mr. CLUSE
After the speech of the hon. Member for South Poplar (Mr. March), the Committee must find itself 790 in a terrible maze as to the meaning of this Clause. I have never had the good luck to be engaged in the transport industry, but I have been engaged in what would be regarded by some as a pernicious industry, and that is the important printing industry. It seems to me that those who have to interpret this Bill would have great difficulty to find out what trade or industry means in that connection. For instance, everybody can see that one of the basic raw materials of the printing industry is paper, but up to now the paper industry has not been regarded as the same industry as the printing industry, and most of the printing trade unions do not take as members artisans engaged in the production of paper. One of the printing trade unions, however, besides including those who work in folding and manipulating paper, takes in operatives engaged in the actual production of paper. Quite possibly a strike might break out in the paper industry as such, and that means that the particular union which organises the paper workers, paper folders and paper carriers would, of necessity, refuse to allow its members in the printing shops to handle paper produced by non-union labour. When that came into operation in a daily newspaper office, it would mean that every other operative on the premises, engaged in almost all sections of industry—because there are painters, electricians, engineers, clerks, and various other sections of industry engaged in a newspaper office—would stop work if the paper was not allowed to be used in that office, and the whole of the office would shut down.
In regard to the ordinary printing of Government publications that would be prevented, would the printing and paper workers' union which covers those working in the printing trade come under the Clause in the sense of conducting an illegal strike by refusing to allow paper to enter the Government printing shops? That is merely a narrow point of view in the printing industry, because although the other sections of the printing trade are not in what might be called a compulsory federation with all sections of the printing trade, in fact, it generally happens that, if there is a dispute in one section of the printing trade, all the other sections, the compositors, the machine minders, the machine tenders, and so on, join in, and in the end it 791 would mean that if an embargo were placed upon paper produced in nonunion shops by one section of the printing trade, that embargo would become general, and we should have a general strike of the printing and paper producing trades of Great Britain. I should like to know from a representative of the Government whether that would be an illegal strike. Is the paper-making trade the same industry as the printing trade? In the event of a general strike which might jeopardise the production of Government printing and Government documents of value, and also the production of Government organs of the Press, upon which the Government depend so much—for, if they were stopped, the country would be faced with having none of the daily organs to apologise for the Government—it is legitimate for us to contend that that dispute would first be held to be outside the trade or industry, and, secondly, to be jeopardising the Government, and in the end it would be declared to be illegal.
§ Mr. KELLY
The Government speak of a trade or industry as though it can be defined by the use of those words, and yet we had the Attorney-General saying, in answer to interjections, that it was too dangerous for him to attempt to reply to those interjections. The Government, with all their advisers, have not been able to find a definition of a trade or industry to place in the Bill, and when one is placed before them that may not be all that they could accept as satisfactory, we have a play on words by the Attorney-General, who stated, with regard to the building trade, that those who carted the material to the site where the building was erected did not handle the product. I suggest that they were engaged in the production of a product, which term is used in the Amendment, and I think the Attorney-General might well have looked at the Amendment before replying to it in the way that he did. He asked us whether we considered Whiteley's or Harrod's as following a trade or industry. We asked him if he would define what he meant, because it is his Bill, but instead of telling us he turns round and asks us if we will tell him what is a trade and what is an industry. Hon. Members on this side have put to him a few questions, and I would like to put a few more. He may 792 well play upon the position of the carter engaged in the transport of materials in the building trade, but the carter is well covered by the Amendment, because the words there are:Includes any trades or industries associated together in the production or handling of any common product.I assume, therefore, the Attorney-General might be able to tell us whether or not those engaged in transporting the material in the early stages will be regarded as engaged in the production of the common product. I wonder what is in the minds of the Government and of the Attorney-General as to the term "engineering trade." Is that intended to cover every branch of it—the electrical engineering side, the agricultural engineering side, and the production of machine tools, with some other branches which I could mention? Are they to be regarded as one industry? And are what are termed the "allied trades" of Birmingham and the neighbourhood to be taken to be part of the engineering industry for the purposes of this Bill?
Then there is the founding side of the engineering trade. Some four or five years ago there was a sectional dispute in that industry which caused great hardship to the community, and even caused the Government a great deal of difficulty. I am wondering whether a dispute which caused such hardship, plus the fact that some people might say that the dispute was for other than trade purposes, would be regarded as an illegal dispute. But the point at the moment is whether the moulding side, the founding side, would be regarded as part of the engineering trade. Have the Government made up their minds that every time there is a dispute we are to be forced into the Law Courts, in order that there may be plenty of work for the lawyers and that the Judges may be occupied in defining for us what is a trade and what is an industry? Seeing that the same body of employers are engaged in the manufacture of cables, world the right hon. Gentleman regard the manufacture of cables as part of the engineering industry, or is that to be looked upon as a separate industry, or will the Judges be asked to say whether it is a separate industry?
Has the right hon. and learned Gentleman given any consideration to the chemical trade? I know it has been laid 793 down that where their wages and conditions are dealt with by the same joint industrial council workers will be held to be in one industry, but in the heavy chemical trade and the light chemical trade there is more than one method of dealing with wages and conditions. If there were a dispute in the light chemical trade, would those engaged on the heavy chemical side be regarded as outside the industry if they proposed to join that particular dispute? Explosives are akin to chemicals. Do the Government look upon the manufacture of explosives as an industry separate and apart, or as a trade separate and apart? I do not know how they define a trade and an industry. Would the Government say whether they intend those engaged in the manufacture of explosives to be regarded as separate and apart from the chemical trade, with whom they work so closely, and with whom they keep step as regards conditions?
The paper trade was referred to by the hon. Member who spoke last. China clay is used in the process of paper making. Those engaged in the paper mills have their wages and conditions dealt with by one industrial body, and those in the china clay industry by another body. Are they to be regarded as separate trades orindustries, or do the Government intend that all processes that go to the manufacture of a particular article are to be regarded as coming under one trade? Then there is the question of the breweries. I am sorry the right hon. and gallant Member for Burton (Colonel Gretton) is not present. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of coopers employed in the breweries of this country. If there is a difficulty amongst the coopers, will those engaged in the brewing industry be regarded as engaged in a separate industry for the purposes of this Act? I could go through a number of other industries in the same way. The action of the Government in this case reminds one of their stupidity during the War, when the present Chancellor of the Exchequer introduced the 12½ per cent. system, thinking he could well define the particular trades or industries to which it was to apply, though he found as he went along that he had to extend the system right round the country. The use of the terms "trade" and "industry" in this way shows a want of knowledge, if 794 not something worse, with respect to the matter with which we are dealing. The Government and the Attorney-General have spoken of trade and industry as though they were something which could be clearly and easily defined, but I can recall what went on in the munitions' tribunals in the days of the War, and I can imagine our High Court judges and our lawyers, King's counsel in particular, occupying much time in endeavouring to explain what is a trade and what is an industry. Some of those cases went on for many, many days, and tens of thousands were spent in fees in order to find out whether or not some particular works was engaged upon the production of some particular article. I can quite see that the intention is to keep the trade unions in litigation with the employers with regard to this so-called trade and industry because the Government which has promoted this Bill has no knowledge of industry and they seem to be lacking in the capacity for finding out the real term to use. I am amazed at the Government refusing to accept this Amendment, and at the same time asking us to accept two words which neither they nor any employers' federation has been able to define clearly in a way that it might be understanded of the people. The hon. Member for Hampstead (Mr. G. Balfour) tried in an earlier discussion to define civil engineering. The hon. Member is the head of a large firm, and even he was unable to define what was that particular trade; and that particular industry, and yet the Government presses forward this Measure in this way.
§ 10.00 p.m.
§ Mr. J. BAKER
I am one of those who will have some responsibility for administering this Bill if it be passed, and I have been trying to find out the meaning of the term "trade and industry." I asked a solicitor friend of mine what was the meaning of Sub-section (3) of Clause 1, and he replied "God knows; go and ask the Solicitor-General." I do not know whether he had mistaken the identity of the Solicitor-General, but I ask him to help us out of this difficult situation. I have already expressed the opinion that we are likely to have fights in our industry in consequence of this Bill after it has passed. We have always looked upon the iron and steel trade as commencing with the men who get the ores. The trade includes 795 the blast furnace men and those employed in steel foundries, and these men are looked upon as part of the steel trade. We have to include those engaged on the bar loading banks for goods passing out of the works to be used up by the engineers. That is all our work. We are only amateurs at definitions, but I would point out that the Board of Trade, when dealing with our statistics, divide them up into different groups, and for some purposes we are classed, if you read the headings of the statistics, as metal engineering and shipbuilding trades. I want to know: Are we going to be permitted under this Bill to include the ore miners, the blast furnace men, the puddlers, and the rolling mill men, and everybody employed between ore getting and bar banking, and are we to go outside that grouping which the Board of Trade have accepted for statistical purposes, a grouping which has been accepted also by the Minister of Labour for Statistical purposes, and say that these are the iron and steel trades, and include, not 250,000 men, but nearly 2,000,000 working people who are employed in the iron trade, the metal engineering trade, and the shipbuilding industry? Are we at liberty to withdraw our labour to help any other section if they are in trouble? We have blast furnace men who are members of our organisation. We have also been negotiating with two unions connected with ore miners with a view to amalgamation. Supposing there happens to be a dispute in regard to the ore miners' wages, which are not regulated by the same sliding scale as that adopted by our men, although they may be employed by the same employers. If those ore miners have a dispute, have we a right to refuse to handle blackleg ore? Are we entitled to refuse to handle that ore, and would our stoppage be a legitimate trade dispute? It is all very well just to put down general phrases, but I want to assure the Committee that trade union officials are very busy men, and they have not time to run to the Attorney-General with a fee in one hand and a question in the other whenever it is contemplated that resistance should be offered to an attack by the employers. We might desire to use force to persuade an employer to come to a resonable conclusion. It would be much better for us if we could get 796 some of those points cleared up before this Bill is passed, because we are the men who will have to administer it.
We have some other little difficulties. We speak of the sheet trade not as part of the iron and steel trade. The sheet trade is the technical term for a particular branch of the industry which manufactures plates for motor cars and other purposes. I once heard it described as "corroborated iron," but of course its proper name is corrugated iron. I want to know if the tinplate trade is part of the iron and steel trade in the opinion of the Attorney-General, and, if so, will he say so, because I have been assured here to-night ten times that whatever he says now the Judges will not listen to for a moment in Court, and they will say that what we are referring to was a mere expression of opinion. The Judges will say that they must be guided by the Act as it leaves the House of Lords. I want the Attorney-General to say if the tinplate trade, the getting of pig iron, the manufacture of engines and boilers, are included in the iron and steel trade as well as the engineering and shipbuilding trades, and will all these trades be considered as one unit under this Bill.
If he says they will come in as one unit, then I ask him will he put that into the Bill, so that when we do go into Court to have these things defined we shall be able to say that not only was the Attorney-General able to assure us on this point, but that he was good enough to put it into the Bill. These are going to be real difficulties in the immediate future. By passing this Bill we seem to be going in for a lot of trouble. I know a case which happened the other day in which an employer said that four men were getting too much money. He did not discuss the matter with the men or the union, and he did not go to a Board of Arbitration, but he just reduced the men's wages by 20 per cent. These men were members of our union, and our local official reasoned with him, and he restored the 20 per cent.; but, supposing he had not restored the 20 per cent., were we then in a position not only to fight him in these works but to fight in every similar works in this country, if need be, so as, I nearly said to coerce, but I will say so as to help this gentleman to reach a more reasonable frame of mind? In another firm, since this legislation has been before the House—the name of the 797 firm is very familiar to this House—the manager took the view that the notice in his works should be 24 hours, while the practice in the trade is one month. He said he did not care what was happening in the trade; he was managing the works, and he dismissed two men, who had worked for 20 years and 15 years for the firm. Our men expostulated, and he said, "I am manager here. I am to employ any man I like, when I like and where I like."
That is the frame of mind the Bill is building up in the employing classes. [HON. MEMBERS: "What is the name of the firm?"] It is Baldwin and Company. I have met that manager in years past, time and time again; and he has always been ready and willing to argue. He argued well. He was one of the most difficult men to meet, not because be was a bully, but because he got up his case well and gave you argument for argument. He was a devil to meet, but he was most reasonable. But this Bill is making a bully of that man. There is to be no more reasoning, and he is to dictate what is to take place. We want to know what are our fighting possibilities with a man of that description. I am looking upon the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General as friends until this Bill goes through. They are public servants, and we expect their guidance as much as the employers expect their guidance. When they get their rotten Bill through, and we start squabbling and fighting, we will probably alter our views about them. I would be very grateful, however, if, meantime, some of those points were cleared up.
§ Mr. BATEY
Before we go to the vote, I would like to put one question to the Attorney-General. There are some words in the Bill which we will not be able to explain to the people who ask us what they mean. We asked him to explain the meaning of the word "calculated" and we failed to get a definition; then we wanted the word "coerce" defined, and again we failed. I would like the Attorney-General or the Solicitor-General to explain the meaning of "trade or industry." In my own Division, in connection with the mining trade, there are collieries that have got coking works and byproduct works belonging to the same 798 colliery company. They employ the men in those by-product works and also the men in the mines. For years, the wages were regulated by one Conciliation Board, but in 1921 that was altered and the men in the coking trade and the byproduct works are in what is known as the Coke-men's Association, not the Mining Association. Supposing a dispute occurs in one of these by-product works, or in the coking works, and the miners in the coal mines come out on strike in sympathy with those men, will the miners be held to be on a sympathetic strike and be open to be regarded as criminals? It is not only hon. Members on this side who are in difficulties in regard to these words, and who find it difficult to explain them. In the early part of the Debates on this Bill, an hon. Member on the other side of the House said he had been addressing a public meeting, and he was at a loss to explain certain words in the Bill. We believe that the Government is going far beyond what the Attorney-General said they meant to go in this Bill. He said in the early part of the Debate that what the Government wanted to do was to deal with the general strike. When we come to examine words such as "trade and industry," we believe we are justified in telling the people that the Government are going far further than they said at the beginning they meant to go.
We believe we are justified in telling the people that the Government's intention is to bind trade unionists hand and foot. After this Bill becomes law, the local Courts will have to define the words of it. We know the experience we had last year with the local Courts. Under the Emergency Powers Regulations, we had one local Court saying one thing and another saying another thing. One Court dismissed men, and another sent them to prison for lesser offences than the other men were tried and dismissed for. We want to know what the Government mean by putting into the Bill these words "trade or industry." I am not going to say that even this Amendment would make the matter perfectly clear, but, if the Attorney-General thinks that something of the kind would make it clear, perhaps, if he cannot accept these words to-night, he will, when we reach the Report stage, submit other words that will make the expression "trade or 799 industry" absolutely clear, so that trade unionists will understand it, so that Members on the other side will understand it, and so that the local Courts will understand it.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I certainly do not propose to go through, as I have been invited to do, a number of trades with the details of which I cannot pretend to be personally acquainted, and to give off-hand a definition as to whether or not their various ramifications fall within the same trade or industry. As has been quite truly said by the hon. Member for Bilston (Mr. J. Baker), these matters are not matters upon which my statement would carry weight with the Courts; the question would be one of construction of the language used, and it would only be misleading the Committee, and hon. Members themselves, if I were, without further knowledge than I have been able to glean from such statements as they have made, to proceed to pronounce as to whether any two particular workmen are within the same employment or not. I can, however, answer, I do not think it is an exaggeration to say, about 80 per cent. Of the questions put to me, by pointing out that it is expressly provided, in the Subsection which we introduced into Clause 1, in order to make quite clear what the meaning of the expression was, and to make it quite plain that it was intended to be widely construed, that workmen shall be deemed to be within the same trade or industry if, among other things, their wages are determined in accordance with agreements made with the same employer or group of employers. A whole series of questions have been put to me in which it was stated that such-and-such a man was employed by an employer, and someone else, doing a somewhat different kind of work, was also employed by the same employer. One instance was given by the hon. Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey) who said that in the colliery trade there were often colliery companies who also owned coke works, and he asked whether, if the colliery company had a dispute with the people employed in the coke works, the miners could safely come out in support of the coke workers' demands. Quite obviously, if hon. Members will look at the definition, they could, because the 800 miners and the coke workers, in the case which the hon. Member has put, are people whose wages are determined in accordance with agreements made with the same employer; they work for the same company.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
That does not matter; the word is not "and," but "or." The Committee will see how very careful we have been to make it clear that these words might be widely construed. We begin by saying that the definition is without prejudice to the generality of the expression, so that we do not limit in any way the actual meaning naturally attaching to the expression "trade or industry"; we make it clear by express definition that, if the wages or conditions of employment are determined in accordance with the conclusions, say, of a joint industrial council, they are deemed to be within the same trade or industry; and, if they are determined in accordance with agreements made with the same employer or group of employers, then, in that case equally, they are to be deemed within the same trade or industry. It is not necessary here to satisfy both conditions; it is sufficient to satisfy either one of those two conditions. The hon. Member for South Poplar (Mr. March) gave a number of cases in which carters were employed by people who did shipbuilding or boiler-making, or carters were employed by caterers employing waitresses, and the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Kelly) stated that cable companies were often also employed on engineering works: while the hon. Member for Spennymoor mentioned, as I have already said, the case of colliery companies who also have coke works and by-product works. In each of those cases I can give a quite definite answer, because there has been given to me by the hon. Member who has put the question a statement of fact which determines the question put, namely, that these people are employed by the same employer. Wherever that is the case, it is obvious that they are within this expression. When I am asked other questions, such as whether light chemicals and heavy chemicals are the same trade, quite honestly I should have to know a great deal more—almost as much as the hon. Member who put the 801 question—about these two trades before I could give any opinion which might not be misleading and which would be worth while.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I am not sure the hon. Member would accept the facts as stated by the employers behind me. I do not know whether the heavy and light chemical trades are so entirely separate that the employers are different—that is to say, that the same firms are not engaged in both branches of the chemical industry.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
Then obviously the question is answered. I do not know whether their wages are determined by the same conciliation board. It is not because I do not desire to answer the questions put to me, but because I cannot usefully do it. [An HON. MEMBER: "You do not understand the Bill."] I understand the Bill so well that I am very careful not to give an inaccurate statement without knowing the facts. The Bill I regard as plain, but the facts as to a particular industry are in most cases complicated, and one has to apply the words of the Bill to the proved facts of the industry before one can give a competent answer. In such cases as I have been given the facts with regard to an industry, I am able to answer, but in others I should have to know a good deal more about the industry.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
Do not these complications indicate the gravity of the question so far as my friends are concerned in the trade union movement?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
Of course, a general strike is a very grave question. We regard it as not only a grave but a vital question. It is so grave a question it might even overthrow the State. It is because we regard it as so grave a question that we consider it necessary to legislate about it. We have been very careful, so far as we can, to make it clear by the language we use that the only strike with which the Clause in any way interferes is one which, first of all, is not merely in furtherance of a trade dispute in the industry, and, secondly, is one which is designed or calculated to 802 coerce the Government, and it is only when you have a strike that is designed or calculated to coerce the Government that you need even begin to think whether or not it is within the same industry as that in which the trade dispute has arisen. Whereas we regard the use of the strike weapon as a means of bringing pressure on the employer as a perfectly legitimate although regrettable necessity, we regard the use of the strike weapon as a means of bringing pressure upon the State as illegitimate. We only refrain from dealing with it in this Bill in the cases in which it is plain that its use is primarily for the purpose of furthering a trade dispute, and in that case, although, it may be, pressure inevitably results on the community, we have not thought right to forbid its use, But outside those limits, where a strike is not merely in furtherance of a trade dispute but is designed or calculated to, coerce the Government, we regard it as a strike which is an abuse of the power which unions legitimately have and which the State ought to make illegal.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
The Attorney-General must really forgive us if we find it quite impossible to accept all the statements he has just presented to the Committee. We must be forgiven, I think, in spite of what the Attorney-General tells us, if we judge the mind of the party opposite through their Press. It is all very well for the Attorney-General to stand there and tell us that the one thing in the mind of the Government and the party opposite is to prevent a general strike, and to take no action whatever against, what they call in this Committee, a legitimate strike. At any rate, we do know that throughout the whole of their Press for the last three or four years there has been nothing but a constant attack upon trade unions, because they have said it is due to trade union action, to strike action that the industrial state of the country is what it is at the present moment. There has been sufficient in their Press and in the statements made by Members of the party opposite to lead us to believe that they are opposed entirely to the whole theory of strikes on the part of workmen because it upsets business arrangements. As far as we can judge their utterances, one would believe that they are to be the 803 judges of what is right or what is wrong as far as wages and conditions are concerned. As a matter of fact, judging by their statements on the platform even during the progress of the Bill in Committee, and also during the Second Reading, and judging by their utterances in the Press that backs them, we are justified in coming to the conclusion that there is at the bottom of this Bill a class bias which is directed against the right of the working-man to defend his interests if the gentlemen on the opposite side think those interests are such that he ought to be satisfied. Too much dominance is attached to the ideas they hold with regard to the conditions that ought to be established as far as workmen are concerned.
I think we are justified in asking that Clause after Clause shall be clarified in order that we may know exactly what the Government intend. We do not accept the very suave statements made by the Attorney-General and spokesmen of the Government in this House. It is not what they say here; it is their intentions outside. It is the assistance they are deliberately putting into the hands of the employer. It is the weapon they are placing in the hands of ill-disposed persons who can take advantage of a Measure of this description, vague and indeterminate as it is.
§ They can cause unlimited trouble by attacks upon trade union funds, upon their organisations, and upon all the attempts that are made to preserve the standards of life and conditions of the workers. I believe, and I speak the mind of my friends on this side of the Committee, that this Bill is based upon an unfettered detestation of working-class organisations. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] It is part of the class war which you are generally waging, and we read your utterances and know that behind your suavity in this House there is an utter disregard and an abhorent hatred and detestation of every organisation of the working class in this country. [Interruption.] The fact that hon. Gentlemen are attempting to stop me making these statements is proof that they do not like statements of this description. [Interruption.] At least, this fact emerges from the minds of the organised workers, that they can find their bitterest enemies——
§ It being half-past Ten of the Clock, the CHAIRMAN proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of the 16th May, to put forthwith the Question on the Amendment already proposed from the Chair.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 122; Noes, 226.807
|Division No. 176.]||AYES.||[10.30 p.m.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Gibbins, Joseph||March, S.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Gillett, George M.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Gosling, Harry||Mosley, Oswald|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Greenall, T.||Murnin, H.|
|Baker, Walter||Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Naylor, T. E.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Oliver, George Harold|
|Batey, Joseph||Groves, T.||Palin, John Henry|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Grundy, T. W.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Bondfield, Margaret||Hall, F. (York., W.R., Normanton)||Potts, John S.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Purcell, A. A.|
|Briant, Frank||Harney, E. A.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)|
|Bromley, J.||Harris, Percy A.||Riley, Ben|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Hayes, John Henry||Ritson, J.|
|Cape, Thomas||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Robinson W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Hirst, G. H.||Rose, Frank H.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Saklatvala, Shapurji|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Compton, Joseph||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Scurr, John|
|Connolly, M.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Cove, W. G.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Dalton, Hugh||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Kelly, W. T.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Kennedy, T.||Sinclair, Major Sir A, (Caithness)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Lansbury, George||Smillie, Robert|
|Duncan, C.||Lawrence, Susan||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Dunnico, H.||Lawson. John James||Smith, H. B. Lees-(Keighley)|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Lee, F.||Snell, Harry|
|Fenby, T. D.||Lowth, T.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Gardner, J. P.||Lunn, William||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Stamford, T. W.|
|Stephen, Campbell||Thurtle, Ernest||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)||Tinker, John Joseph||Williams, David (Swansea, E.)|
|Strauss, E. A.||Viant, S. P.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Sullivan, J.||Wallhead, Richard C.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Sutton, J. E.||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Taylor, R. A.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)||Windsor, Walter|
|Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W.)||Westwood, J.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)||Whiteley, W.||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. A.|
|Thorne, W. (West Ham Plaistow)||Wiggins, William Martin||Barnes.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Elveden, Viscount||McLean, Major A.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||England, Colonel A.||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Everard, W. Lindsay||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Malone, Major P. B.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Fanshawe, Captain G. D.||Margesson, Captain D.|
|Atkinson, C.||Fermoy, Lord||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Fielden, E. B.||Merriman, F. B.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Ford, Sir P. J.||Meyer, Sir Frank|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Forrest, W.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Fraser, Captain Ian||Nall, Colonel Sir Joseph|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Nelson, Sir Frank|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony||Neville, Sir Reginald J.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Ganzonl, Sir John||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Gates, Percy||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.)|
|Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon George Abraham||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Blundell, F. N.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Grace, John||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Pennefather, Sir John|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Grotrian, H. Brent||Penny, Frederick George|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Perring, Sir William George|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hammersley, S. S.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Pilcher, G.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Harrison, G. J. C.||Pilditch, Sir Philip|
|Buchan, John||Hartington, Marquess of||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Preston, William|
|Burman, J. B.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Haslam, Henry C.||Ramsden, E.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Hawke, John Anthony||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Caine, Gordon Hall||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Remer, J. R.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Cassels, J. D.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Rice, Sir Frederick|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S)||Hills, Major John Waller||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Hilton, Cecil||Rye, F. G.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St. Marylebone)||Salmon, Major I.|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Clayton, G. C.||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Sandon, Lord|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. McI. (Renfrew, W)|
|Cope, Major William||Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Couper, J. B.||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Skelton, A. N.|
|Cowan. Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)||Huntingfield, Lord||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim)||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Jacob, A. E.||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||James Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Stanley, Col. Rt. Hon. G. F. (WiII'sd'n,E.)|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Jephcott, A. R.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Styles, Captain H. Walter|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Sykes, Major-Gen, Sir Frederick H.|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.)|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Lister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Little, Dr. E. Graham||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Waddington, R.|
|Drewe, C.||Looker, Herbert William||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Duckworth, John||Lougher, Lewis||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Elliot. Major Walter E.||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)||Worthington-Evans. Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Watts, Dr. T.||Winby, Colonel L. P.||Young, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)|
|Wells, S. R.||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.||Withers, John James||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)||Womersley, W. J.||Major Sir George Hennessy and|
|Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)||Captain Lord Stanley|
|Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich W.)|
§ The Chairman then proceeded to put forthwith the Question necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded at Half-past Ten of the Clock at this day's sitting.
§ Mr. ERNEST BROWN
On a point of Order. Are we not to have a Debate on the Amendment of the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton)—in page 7, line 38, after the word "to," to insert the words "Scotland or"?
§ Question put, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 233; Noes, 122.809
|Division No. 177.]||AYES.||[10.41 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||Hills, Major John Waller|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Hilton, Cecil|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St. Marylebone)|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Davies, Dr. Vernon||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)|
|Atholi, Duchess of||Dawson, Sir Philip||Hopkins, J. W. W.|
|Atkinson, C.||Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Drewe, C.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Duckworth, John||Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Eden, Captain Anthony||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Elliott, Major Walter E.||Huntingfield, Lord|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Eiveden, Viscount||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||England, Colonel A.||Jacob, A. E.|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||James Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Everard, W. Lindsay||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)|
|Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)|
|Blurdell, F. N.||Fanshawe, Captain G. D.||King, Captain Henry Douglas|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Fermoy, Lord||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Fielden, E. B.||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Ford, Sir P. J.||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Lister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Forrest, W.||Little, Dr. E. Graham|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Foster, Sir Harry S.||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Loder, J. de V.|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Fraser, Captain Ian||Looker, Herbert William|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham)||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Lougher, Lewis|
|Buchan, John||Gadle, Lieut.-Col. Anthony||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Ganzonl, Sir John||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman|
|Burman, J. B.||Gates, Percy||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||McLean, Major A.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Macmillan, Captain H.|
|Caine, Gordon Hall||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Goff, Sir Park||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John|
|Cassels, J. D.||Grace, John||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Malone, Major P. B.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S)||Grotrian, H. Brent||Margesson, Captain D.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Merriman, F. B.|
|Charterls, Brigadier-General J.||Hammersley, S. S.||Meyer, Sir Frank|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Clayton, G. C.||Harrison, G. J. C.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hartington, Marquess of||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Nelson, Sir Frank|
|Couper, J. B.||Haslam, Henry C.||Neville, Sir Reginald J.|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Hawke, John Anthony||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.)|
|Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim)||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William|
|Pennefather, Sir John||Sanderson, Sir Frank||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Penny, Frederick George||Sandon, Lord||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. McI.(Renfrew, W.)||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Perring, Sir William George||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Shepperson, E. W.||Wells, S. R.|
|Pitcher, G.||Skelton, A. N.||Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.|
|Pilditch, Sir Philip||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Pownall, Sir Assheton||Smithers, Waldron||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Preston, William||Sprot, Sir Alexander||Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)|
|Price, Major C. W. M.||Stanley, Col. Rt. Hon. G. F.(Will'sd'n, E.)||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Ramsden, E.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)||Winby, Colonel L. p.|
|Rawson, Sir Cooper||Steel, Major Samuel Strang||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Remer, J. R.||Styles, Captain H. Walter||Withers, John James|
|Rentoul, G. S.||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Rice, Sir Frederick||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)||Wood Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Tichfield, Major the Marquess of||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Rye, F. G.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.||Young, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)|
|Salmon, Major I.||Waddington, R.|
|Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L.(Kingston-on-Hull)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Sandeman, N. Stewart||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.||Major Cope and Captain Lord|
|Sanders, Sir Robert A.||Warrender, Sir Victor||Stanley|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Harris, Percy A.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hayes, John Henry||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Hirst, G. H.||Smillie, Robert|
|Baker, Walter||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Batey, Joseph||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Snell, Harry|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Bondfield, Margaret||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Stamford, T. W.|
|Briant, Frank||Kelly, W. T.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Bromley, J.||Kennedy, T.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Strauss, E. A.|
|Cape, Thomas||Lansbury, George||Sullivan, Joseph|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lawrence, Susan||Sutton, J. E.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lawson, John James||Taylor, R. A.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Lee, F.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Compton, Joseph||Lowth, T.||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)|
|Connolly, M.||Lunn, William||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middiesbro, W.)|
|Cove, W. G.||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Dalton, Hugh||March, S.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Mosley, Oswald||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Murnin, H.||Viant, S. P.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Naylor, T. E.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Duncan, C.||Oliver, George Harold||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Dunnico, H.||Palin, John Henry||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Fenby, T. D.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Gardner, J. P.||Potts, John S.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Purcell, A. A.||Wiggins, William Martin|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Gillett, George M.||Riley, Ben||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Gosling, Harry||Ritson, J.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)|
|Greenall, T.||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Rose, Frank H.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Saklatvala, Shapurji||Windsor, Walter|
|Groves, T.||Salter, Dr. Alfred||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Scurr, John|
|Hall, F. (York., W.R., Normanton)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis||Mr. A. Barnes and Mr. Whiteley.|
|Harney, E. A.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
§ Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—[The Attorney-General.]
§ Mr. NAYLOR
On a point of Order. Some of us are in a difficulty. The Motion now before the Committee is to report Progress and ask leave to sit again. Some of us are in favour of reporting Progress, but not in favour of 810 asking leave to sit again. I wish to know if it is in order at this stage to move, as an Amendment, the omission of the last part of the Motion?
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
On a point of Order. I would like to submit that the House has decided by Motion that a 811 certain length of time shall be allotted to the consideration of the Bill. I wish to ask whether it rests in the power of the Government further to diminish the time by proposing that the Committee should report Progress at any time during the Debate and ask leave to sit again.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
It was by Resolution of the House that the Debate on this particular Clause was to be brought to an end this evening.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
I wish to ask whether, on a Motion to report Progress, it would be possible for us to express our indignation at the Government not giving us an opportunity with regard to the Amendment leaving out Scotland from the Clause. I have always thought on the Committee stage, when we have been dealing with Motions to report Progress, that the Motion itself is debatable, and just now I would like to take this opportunity to say how much I feel that the Government——
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member is finding fault with the action of the House in passing the Resolution that the Debate on this particular Clause, Clause 8, should come to a close at 10.30. That was the action of the House itself, and the hon. Member would not be in order in discussing that at any time, and certainly not on a Motion to report Progress.
§ Mr. MARDY JONES
May I ask for guidance with regard to the Amendment in my name, Clause 8, page 7, line 38?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The same ruling applies to that as to the other Amendments on the Order Paper.
§ Lieut.-Commender KENWORTHY
On that point of Order. Without in any way questioning the decision of the House as to the Guillotine, I would point out to the Attorney-General that on previous evenings when the proceedings on Bill have finished before Eleven o'clock, the opposition to the Motion to report Progress has been acceded to by the Government, and they have permitted the commencement of the next Clause. That 812 has meant a few extra minutes of discussion and, without in any way questioning the decision of the House, I think that a few minutes' discussion may possibly elucidate some very intricate points. I notice a number of very learned lawyers in the House, including one from Northern Ireland. Perhaps we might have from him an altogether non-partisan point of view, for his party is never partisan except on the question of territorial bounds, and on legal matters we might have a neutral opinion. Therefore, I think it is a great pity if every minute is not taken up on this very important Bill, and I should think it is really going beyond the intention of the House, for the object of the Guillotine falling at 10.30 was in order to avoid late sittings. We are rising earlier than the usual time set down. I do not know what support I shall have, but I propose to resist the Motion. I think the Bill can be still further discussed, and many important points could be gone into. My hon. Friend raised the important question of Scotland, and another hon. Member has raised the question of Wales, and in the short time left before the Standing Orders put, an end to the discussion. I think we should have been able to put our points. I, therefore, respectfully protest against this Motion to report Progress.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
I wish to associate myself with the protest that has been made by the, hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy). I thick it is as well that at this stage of the proceedings we should take stock as to how this Motion has been working itself out, with a view to the future guidance of the House in connection with such Motions. It was very unfortunate that our great country of Scotland did not get the opportunity of having arguments given in this connection, and I wonder whether, in the stages that are still before us, it will not be possible for a new Clause to be inserted to exclude Scotland from the purview of the Bill.
§ Mr. MARDY JONES
I wish to associate myself also with the protest, and to draw attention to the fact that a large number of Members have attached their names to the Amendments excluding Scotland and Wales, which are in the Celtic fringe of the Empire.
§ Captain GARRO-JONES
I desire to make a suggestion which might facilitate the discussion of this Bill in the future. It has been found on almost every Clause that the Committee has been hampered in its consideration by difficulty in understanding the meanings of words which have been incorporated in each Clause. I was going to suggest to the Government that they should produce, before we resume the sittings on the Bill, a glossary of terms contained in the Bill, beginning with Clause 1 and going on with each Clause to the very end. We might begin with a glossary of nouns, go on with a glossary of adjectives, and complete with a glossary of verbs. We could begin by defining what is meant by a trade or industry, and——
§ It being Eleven, of the Clock, the Motion to report Progress lapsed, without Question put, and the CHAIRMAN left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.
§ The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.