And the right hon. Gentleman goes on to say:
The Clause makes it clear that threats of any kind are illegal, whether they take the form of threats of personal violence or whether, as is too often the case, they are threats to drive the worker out of employment for the rest of his life, to terrorise his wife and children, and to make their existence intolerable.
§ There are thousands of men driven out of industry for no other reason than that they tried to do what the coalowners did. They tried to win a battle into which they were forced. The coalowners posted their notices, and because the men resisted, and resisted stubbornly, they, their wives and families for over 12 months, have been out of employment 1878 victimised by the coalowners. I ask the Attorney-General, does this Clause safeguard these people, and prohibit them from being victimised with their wives and families? If not, it shows quite clearly that it is a Clause directed exclusively against the trade unionist who is fighting to win for his men.
§ There is another point. In Nottinghamshire, in a constituency that borders mine, the only crime that some men have committed is the crime of loyalty to the Nottinghamshire Miners' Association. Because they refuse to leave the Nottinghamshire Miners' Association, and join the new non-political, or what is colloquially called the "Spencer," union, men who have given 40 years' service to build up their organisation are threatened and dismissed. Is this Clause designed to prevent intimidation of that character? Is it only to deal with intimidation against the blackleg? Is it only victimisation when the trade unionists are concerned, and is no protection to be given when the trade unionists are assailed? That seems to me precisely the position as this Clause lays it down.
§ We oppose this Clause, not because we are in favour of intimidation. The existing law, in our view, is absolutely adequate to meet the needs, as was so well stated by the Home Secretary last year. We oppose it because of its unfairness. The most fair-minded man, the man who is picketing with the best intentions in the world, under this Bill, because he approaches and creates in the mind of the blackleg an apprehension of injury may be sent to gaol for three months. How that is going to be determined, God alone knows. The Bill does not say. It is not by what the picket says; it is by anything which the blackleg likes to draw in as apprehension of injury of some kind which is likely to happen in the future, not necessarily of a physical kind, but also of a moral kind. I think the Clause as drafted is dangerous, unfair, and calculated to do injury to some of the best men that this country has yet produced.
§ Mr. TINKER
I beg to second the Amendment.
The justification for this Amendment is to be found in the Report of the Proceedings of the 24th May, when the Home Secretary attempted to define what Clause 3 meant. I have been endeavouring 1879 in my mind to find out the, connection between Clause 1 and Clause 3. To my mind Clause 1 is a sieve in the hands of the Attorney-General and Solicitor-General with which to try to sift the illegal from the legal strikes, and the particles that escape through the sieve permitting legal strikes are then dealt with by Clause 3, which puts a broom into the hands of the Home Secretary, who at once sweeps away those fine particles that have escaped Clause 1. There is not the slightest chance to carry on a legal strike now, even if it passes Clause 1, if the law of picketing in Clause 3 becomes effective. Let us see what the Home Secretary defines as intimidation, and one wants to realise the mentality of the right hon. Gentleman. He tells us what the old law did in regard to personal violence, and he goes on to say:The thing I am putting is much more subtle and unpleasant than a threat of personal violence. Suppose a man comes and says, 'Look here, you are one of those blacklegs'—I use that expression, putting in the mouth of somebody else—'you will not come out; you are sticking in and ruining the solidarity of the trade union movement. I know how I can get at you. I am not going to threaten personal violence to you, that is old-fashioned, but I know very well that you have a son working here and a daughter working there. I will go round and see if I can get them sacked.'"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24th May, 1927; cols. 1880–1, Vol. 206.]Does the Home Secretary really believe that the working man has the power at any time to do that? The pickets are the kind of men who have no connection at all with the employers. They have no interest with the employers to get anyone sacked, and to think that we have any men in our ranks who can go to a blackleg and say, "I will get your son or daughter sacked from their employment" does not understand the views of the workers. We would never think of doing it, and, in fact, have no opportunity of doing it. The Attorney-General, three days before, used the same kind of language. He was speaking at Manchester, and it seems that great minds think alike, because he used similar expressions. He said:Intimidation had been defined by law, but there were effective threats other than threats of personal violence. There was the threat that a man who continued to work would be prevented, when the strike was over, from getting work again.1880 The right hon. and learned Gentleman has certainly not understood the mentality of our movement if he thinks we have any such power. If that be the object of Clause 3, it goes to show that there is not the slightest chance of any picketing taking place at all. I want to go a little further. If this Measure dealt with employers in the same way there might be something to be said for it. This is what happened during the lock-out last year. The employers went down to our workpeople and told them that unless they went back to work their places would not be available for them afterwards. I suppose the answer of the Government will be that they will deal with the employers as they are dealing with the workmen; but the employers have a thousand ways of getting at the men and using all kinds of intimidation. He may send his representative round to tell the men what is going to happen if they do not go back to work. In the mining industry two-thirds of the workers are on piece work, and in any mine there are seams where a worker can get 2s. or 3s. a day more than in other places.
During the lock-out of last year the employers told our people that if they went back to work they would put them on the best places in the pit, but that if they did not then there was no chance of them getting back to work when the lock-out was over. These are the kind of threats and intimidation which should be dealt with. You cannot get at the employers, whereas in the case of the men the most peaceful methods of persuasion may be used, yet they can be taken before a magistrate and sentenced. On several occasions during last year's lock-out fresh policemen were drafted into a neighbourhood; why I do not know, unless it was for the purpose of sending a certain class of policemen to help the employers. Under this Bill you give this particular class of policeman certain powers when he sees two of our people interviewing a blackleg. If they say anything that can be construed as intimidation, he will be able to deal with them, and he will deal with them in such a manner as will prevent anything being done at all. It may be argued that he can only go to a certain length. Suppose two men interview a blackleg, a policeman comes along and says, "This must not take place, you 1881 are intimidating this man." He can put it to the man himself, and he can take the two men into custody if the man has a reasonable fear or apprehension of injury. If he says he is afraid of what will happen, the policeman can arrest the two men and have them tried by a Court. It means that effective picketing breaks down entirely. It means that when we come to allocate our men to the various spots, there is not one who will take up the duty. They will say that it is impossible and useless, and that they will at once get into the hands of the law.Peaceful picketing will be no longer in existence when this Measure is passed. We have always looked upon this kind of thing as our right. We have always considered it our right to interview people and put our point of view before them, and if you prevent that you are loading the scales very heavily against the workers. In addition, you will be letting loose the worst type of man in our movement. The pickets are drawn from our best men, those who can reason with their fellow members, and if you prevent that class of man interviewing the men who are breaking away you will let loose another class of person who will go outside the law altogether.
We want to be reasonable with the blackleg; we know that he is ill advised and that if the proper point of view is put before him he may not go to work. If you prevent us doing that, then you are doing an ill-service to our movement and to the public generally. Can anyone take exception to what happened last year? Millions of men were involved in a struggle and a strike and yet there were very few who were convicted. It is a wonder indeed that the workers kept so quiet. One would have expected that the Government would have been satisfied with the experience of last year. The way in which they conducted themselves during that strike was most creditable to the workmen. The Home Secretary said that he did not feel any animosity, that it was remarkable how the peace was kept and that he had sufficient powers to deal with any out-break which might occur. What is the reason for this Measure? Is it for the purpose of still further crippling the powers of the working-class movement? We think it is, and we are asking the Government to consider the position 1882 which will arise if this Clause is passed. I can only put one interpretation upon it, and it is this, that it is for the sole purpose of preventing any connection whatever between the leaders of trade unions and those people who are breaking away. If that indeed is the intention behind this Clause, I shall be glad if the Home Secretary will say so definitely. If it is not, then the Government should withdraw the Clause and allow the present law with regard to picketing to continue; it is quite effective.
§ Mr. GEOFFREY PETO
On Wednesday we held a conference at Taunton of Somersetshire Conservative trade unions——
§ Mr. PETO
At the end of the meeting the first vote among many that was passed was one strongly approving of this Bill and thanking the Government for it. The Clause which was most discussed at that conference was Clause 3, dealing with intimidation, and the only doubt expressed was whether the Clause as drafted is strong enough. We were urged to see that there was no weakening whatever on the part of the Government on this matter, in fact we were asked to do what we could to strengthen the Clause. I, therefore, strongly oppose the Amendment. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment has spoken about victimisation by the employers. This Bill deals with trade union disputes, and I do not see how you can compel an employer to employ certain persons any more than you can compel workmen to work for a certain employer. In those cases where men broke their contracts last year, no doubt induced by their leaders to do so, why should not the employers take back to work the men themselves rather than the leaders who misled them? Is not that common justice? Personally I hope that everybody will be taken back at the earliest possible moment in the Somerset coalfield, but I must say that I think the followers have more claim to be taken back than the leaders after last year's strike.
The hon. Member who moved the Amendment also referred to the benefits conferred by trade unions and said that those whom he was pleased to call black 1883 legs were quite ready to take their share of the benefits but objected to pay their subscriptions or strike whenever they were told. If he could see the present state of the Somersetshire coalfield compared with what it was before last year, he would realise the benefits which have been conferred by trade unions in that area. It has produced widespread distress, the miners are in a very bad way, miserably paid, employment is bad, and they are working an extra hour. For all this they have to thank the benefits conferred by trade unions. They were called out last year in support of a dispute in other parts of the country. The hon. Member then went on to say that this Bill favoured minorities; put them in a favoured position. Surely it is the duty of this House to protect minorities and I hope we shall always do so. I have not heard that the trade unions have thrown out the so-called minority movement, which apparently exercises considerable control in the trade unions. Why should the minority in a trade union who did not approve of a certain strike be penalised by the majority?
§ Mr. OLIVER
The hon. Member may be surprised to know that many people who voted for the strike have been blacklegs. How can you say that they did not approve of the strike?
§ Mr. HARTSHORN
Is the hon. Member aware that according to the rules of the Miners' Federation no strike can be entered upon until a ballot has been taken and a two-thirds majority obtained for conducting the strike. Is he aware also that the last stoppage in the mining industry was a lock-out and not a strike at all, but the miners were consulted and their decision taken, except in one or two smaller coalfields?
§ Mr. PETO
The event of last year is a considerable blot on the leaders of trade unions. There were a few individual blots. I agree with the hon. Member, in so far as he means that it was a comparatively small proportion of the large numbers involved in the strike, but at the same time very great exception is taken all over the country to the individual cases of assault and intimidation that did occur. The objections to this Clause in previous devious Debates seem to have taken three lines. First of all it is said that there is no intimidation and that it is an insult to trade unions and to trade unionists to suggest that there may be intimidation. With regard to that, all I can say is that a Somerset trade unionist said to me, "Suppose you had a strike of a strong trade union and you had promised to work, and considered it your duty to work, and considered that you were free to work, if you had to face the pickets of that union, you would realise what intimidation means and you would try to strengthen Clause 3 of the Bill." If there is no intimidation, or very little, I cannot see why the ordinary trade unionist should regard this Bill as an insult to trade unions or trade unionists. Thank goodness, there is very little murder in this country, but the ordinary citizen does not consider the laws against murder as an insult to him. He is thankful to think that in case anyone has a homicidal tendency, all people are protected from him.
Another line of argument is that intimidation is justified, that a blackleg is a sort of social pariah, and that no treatment that could be meted out to him would be too severe. I cannot conceive that that is a fair line of argument to 1885 take in regard to any citizen. We are entitled to our freedom, we are entitled to work or not to work as we choose, and even a minority in a trade union must have its rights respected and protected against assault by the majority. Who are the trade unionists that they should condemn one man and call him a blackleg? He may be the only sane man in a particular district. I object altogether to this idea that irresponsible bodies which are not appointed to judge this nation should condemn men without trial, as is done in Russia. The man has no chance; he has no chance of appearing and being tried by this trade union body. The trade union body is not authorised by the State to try him. The Courts of the country are quite sufficient, and we do not want bodies outside them. The main line of argument against the Clause has been that intimidation is already illegal and that the present law is perfectly clear. I would like to read an extract from a speech made on 4th May last by the hon. Member for Barrow-in-Furness (Mr. Bromley) on the Second Reading of this Bill. It struck me at the time as a clear proof that not even trade union leaders—I believe the hon. Member is a member of the Trade Unions Council—realise what the ordinary man in the street means by intimidation. This is the story the hon. Member told us on the Second Reading of the Bill. He was talking about the railway strike in 1911, and he said:On that occasion I was a district officer at Manchester, and I went to Chester, where a highly respected engine man, in the first two hours of the strike, had given word to his superintendent that he would work a certain mail train. I went to see him, and he said, 'I am in a cleft stick. I want to do what my union tells me, but I have given word. What should I do?' In the first place, under this Bill my visit to that man's house would land me in gaol when this becomes law.Of course, that is not so. Obviously, it was a very proper case of peaceful persuasion. Then the hon. Member talked of other incidents, and continued his story in this way:However, going back to my story, I said to this old man, 'You have given your pledge, and you can keep it, if you feel you can pass your fellows and know that you may be betraying some man's home.' I went out, and there was a number of men waiting to see this man, and I said 1886 to them, 'He is a good fellow. Do not let him believe there is the slightest desire to obstruct him. There are only a dozen of you. Form two lines, if you like, but stand clear, and give him an open space, and let one of you who work with him step out and say to him: 'Harry, are you going to take my job when my wife and kids are in the balance?' If he passes you, I shall be deceived, but let him go."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th May, 1927; cols. 1706–7, Vol. 205.]That is the story told by a trade union leader without the slightest idea that there is any case that anyone can object to there with regard to intimidation. You get this highly-respected engineman who had given his word to his employer that he would do a certain thing. Apparently there was thought to be nothing wrong, in the first instance, in persuading the man to break his word. I should have thought it more honourable to let him drive that train and seek to persuade him afterwards. He was a highly-respected man, and it will he noticed from the story that he was an old man. Only a dozen of his fellow workers out-side his house! Apparently it takes a dozen peacefully to persuade an old man not to drive an engine.
§ Miss WILKINSON
And betray all he has ever stood for in his trade union. You do not understand what you are talking about.
§ Mr. PETO
That is not freedom to my mind. I hope that this Bill will restore freedom to individual trade unionists to work or not to work as they think right and as they consider it their duty to do. They are to stand clear. Now the man may leave his own house. When he walks down the street the men are not to shout at him at one moment, but one of them is to say: "Are you going to take my job when my wife and kids are in the balance?" That is an argument that is often used, but why should not a man have wife and kids of his own, and why should he not be entitled to think of them as well as of other people's wives and kids? It seems to me that it is distorting 1887 the question always to ask an individual man to think of other people's families when his first thought ought to be to look after his own family. That story as told in this House shows that even the leaders themselves do not realise what fair-play is in picketing. That being so, and as an hon. Member in the position of the hon. Member for Barrow in-Furness can tell such a story without any idea that there is intimidation involved in it, we have proof how very necessary this Clause is. The Clause is declaratory, inasmuch as it explains the present law, and I hope that it also strengthens it.
§ Miss WILKINSON
It is extraordinary that an hon. Member should come here and talk about trade unionism, and especially about the trade unionists in his own constituency, as the last speaker has done. I was particularly interested in his speech because I happened to address a very large demonstration of trade unionist miners a few days after the conference to which the hon. Member has referred, a conference which was treated with considerable amusement by the very large number of miners who were present at the Labour demonstration. They knew how the conference was called, and they knew who were there. If the hon. Gentleman's speech is reported in his own constituency, as I hope it will be, I do not think it is wise for him to bring before the Somersetshire miners that comic opera conference of his and to talk about having received a mandate from it. We have had the hon. Gentleman again treating us to those extraordinary ideas of his as to what a strike is and as to what trade unionism is for. If he knew what a strike was he would realise what it is that men are up against When men leave their work they do not do it lightly. There seems to be an extraordinary impression upon the benches opposite that workmen like strikes and that they strike for the fun of the thing.
For 10 years before I was a Member of Parliament I was a trade union official and was largely employed on strike duty. I know the terrific searchings of heart that take place before men come out on strike, because they know that they are risking their jobs and risking their wives and families' future, and it is not an easy thing to make the decision. But 1888 when that decision is made, do you think that men who are entering on a struggle like that are going very lightly to see other men—men who perhaps have taken part in all the union negotiations, who have taken part in the ballots and the votes and the meetings and very often have voted for the strike—crawling to their employers for the jobs that they have left? I do not know whether the hon. Member was in the Army or not, but if he was he will know that in the Army there was very short shrift for deserters who deserted in the line of battle. The extraordinary thing about the hon. Gentleman is that he cannot see that in an industrial struggle, to the men it is just as much a fight as is a fight on the battlefield. It is not a fight with the same weapons, but it is a fight with an even more ruthless enemy than that faced on the battlefield, an enemy that will not cease to be an enemy when the struggle is over, but will use every kind of vindictive retaliation after the dispute has been settled and an agreement has been signed. There is not one trade unionist on these benches who could not confirm that statement.
Talk about intimidation! Why, the trade unionists have not learned the first line of the creed; the employers could give them a start and leave them standing. We have not even begun to learn what intimidation is. The hon. Member talks of "twelve men outside your door." That is nothing to the knowledge that not only yourself but your wife and children and those related to you will not get a job in that area any more. That is the kind of struggle. The hon. Member talked about the freedom of the British citizen. He mentioned the conditions in his own Somersetshire constituency, and said that the conditions amongst the miners there were the result of the dispute of last year. Does he not know of the conditions that existed in those mines before the lock-out? I visited one village in his constituency two or three miles from Radstock, and I went along a whole row of miners' cottages. The miners showed me pay sheets for weeks and weeks previous to the stoppage. They were on short time and there was not one pay sheet that showed more than £1 a week for a man with wife and family.
1889 If the hon. Gentleman does not believe me, those pay sheets are still there, and we will go back to the same village and interview those people. [Laughter.] I do not regard this as a joke; I regard it as a very serious matter. If you have conditions like that and then you come along here to say that those conditions are due to the dispute, I reply that the conditions now are very little worse than they were before the dispute. The miners in that district put up a great fight in comradeship with their fellow workers. Members of the hon. Gentleman's class who are brought up with a regard for esprit de corps, whose schools and colleges teach them that they have to stand by their fellows, regard what is a point of honour for themselves as a crime when it is done by the working classes of England, and they produce Clauses like this in order to emphasise to the workers of this country that such fine sentiments are not for working people but are merely reserved for gentlemen.
Let me turn to the Attorney-General. This is quite an interesting Clause and one would like to ask the Attorney-General what are to be the qualifications of His Majesty's Judges when this Bill becomes law? It seems to me that under this Clause the Judges will have to decide what is going on in the minds of individuals in particular cases, and I suggest that, in addition to a legal training, a training in psycho-analysis should be one of the requisites of a Judge in future. The Judges will have to decide what it means to cause in the mind of a person "a reasonable apprehension of injury.'' Surely, a reasonable apprehension varies from man to man. A man who has been, let us say, a heavy-weight champion in the Navy, will have a very different view of what is a reasonable apprehension of injury from a man, for instance, who has a physique such as mine. But we are going even beyond that. The expression "injury" is to include "injury" other than physical or material injury." Presumably, that means spiritual injury and the judges will have an entertaining time deciding what is a reasonable apprehension of spiritual injury on the part of a man who is acting as a blackleg. One could ask how this gentleman is to be injured in his conscience? It is going to be extraordinarily hard lines on the strikers and it is going to be extraordinarily difficult for anybody even to wander 1890 down the street of a mining village where a dispute is in progress. You have a blackleg leaving his home in the morning. He knows that he is playing a thoroughly dirty game and he can hardly look one of his fellows in the face. He will go down back streets wherever he can, to avoid meeting them. The right hon. Gentleman the Attorney-General in this matter is showing once again his surpassing ignorance of what a mining village or any strike area is like during a dispute. I wonder if he has ever been anywhere near a strike, apart from driving through the district in his motor car and saying, "How dreadful these people are; they ought to be at work."
If he would come off the high pedestal which is erected for Attorneys-General in this country; if he would deign so far as to meet some working-class people on strike; if he would for once get out of that cloistered existence which the great dignitaries of the law so comfortably pursue and go into the rough and tumble of industrial life, then he would see the attitude of the blackleg to the striker. He would see that these men who slink down the main streets of towns and villages during a strike do so not, because they are afraid of stones being thrown at them, but because they are afraid of spiritual injury. That is to say, they cannot meet their fellows and look them in the face. They go round back streets in order to get to their work. But these are the people whose consciences must be protected. We are to protect the home of the blackleg. I have no objection to that because, Heaven knows, the wife of the blackleg has enough to put up with in being married to a blackleg, without having the fear of injury to her home. We are to protect him from personal injury and I have no objection to that either but, then, we are to go further and somehow or other we are to protect this man's conscience. It is proposed to wrap him round so that not even one frown or one look should ever suggest that there might be a dart within his conscience. We are to see to it that, when he is slinking round corners to get to his work, he is protected by armies of policemen. One look from a woman with a child in her arms as she realises that he is going to take her man's job may cause him spiritual injury; it may go into his conscience and make him realise that he is being a traitor to his class and if 1891 one woman gives him such a look presumably she can be had up under this Clause. The whole thing is so ridiculous that it would go down in a howl of laughter if it had not its serious aspect—if it were not a proof that, as far as the Members on the benches opposite are concerned, there is nothing they will not do in order to break a strike and in order to back up the employers of this country.
There is nothing more comical in this Bill than the first part of Clause 3. This is an attempt to try to bring in intimidation by employers when no employer will come in under one line or phrase of Clause 1, and the Government know it. Bat when we come to the much more serious matter—the definition—when we come to Sub-sections (2) and (4) of this Clause, then we find the Government of this country saying that they are only interested in one section concerned in any industrial dispute. I do not want to do the Attorney-General an injustice but I take it that Clause 3 refers to all strikes and not only to illegal strikes and, therefore, we find the Government saying to anybody who engages in any industrial dispute, no matter how justified, "We are going to protect in every possible way not only the home and property and person or the blackleg but we are even going to try as a Government to bolster up his self-respect. If you dare to do anything which injures him, not only personally, but which injures his self-respect; if, in fact, you cause him injury other than physical or material injury; if you injure him, for example, in his hope of Ħeaven in another world, then you are liable to be brought in under this Clause." I cannot conceive anything that this smiling Attorney-General has done to the workers of the country worse than that vile Clause and I use the word "vile" advisedly. The Home Secretary knows, and the Attorney-General himself knows, that the law of the land as it stands is perfectly adequate to deal with any kind of trouble that may arise in any possible strike such as has ever happened in this country.
The Home Secretary said again and again in the Debates on the Emergency Powers Act that the powers in his hand under that and other Acts gave him ample opportunity for dealing with any situation that might arise, and I think he claimed credit for himself for dealing 1892 with the conditions which arose at that time. Here we get the position that those powers are not enough; that all our laws are not sufficient. Why not? Because the Attorney-General is not merely concerned with making criminals of these men. He is concerned with causing apprehension in the mind of any man who dares to vote for a strike; and so we have all these vague phrases and all these uncertainties and all this lack of knowledge as to what is going to happen. I can conceive of nothing cleverer than this attempt to get into the minds of the working people the understanding fiat they had better put up with any conditions, however unjust, because they do not know what is waiting for them if they object. We congratulate the Attorney-General because Nature gave him the face of one of the Cheeryble Brothers, but I say this quite firmly, that behind the face of Mr. Pickwick or the Cheeryble cherub who comes here and smiles upon us, he has the mind and heart of a Mephistopheles.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
I apologise to the House for rising before having quite digested the compliment which the hon. Lady has paid to my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General. But does not the speech of the hon. Lady bring home to the House the kind of thing with which the non-striker has to put up? Fancy the hon. Lady being let loose in a mining area during a strike and firing off a speech of that kind in regard to the unfortunate men whom she terms, with all the withering irony of which she is capable, "blacklegs." She tells this House, and I suppose she tells these men and their wives too, that she has riot much pity for any woman who is the wife of a blackleg because such a woman has brought on herself the worst fate that could possibly apply to a decent woman.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
If that be the view which the hon. Lady takes, then I suppose she would tell them also—I am sure she is as courageous outside the House as in it—that these men, who are only carrying out the elementary rights of Englishmen to work or not as they like, are "playing a thoroughly dirty 1893 game." If that be really the view of the working class about this Bill, we shall not be here after the next election.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
I am quite satisfied to take the risk and the party as a whole is quite satisfied to take the risk on this Clause. I say quite frankly that we have now come to the most popular Clause in the Bill. The hon. Lady has been attending meetings—carefully packed meetings of strikers—and they have cheered her to the echo. Of course they did, if she made a speech of the kind to which we have just listened, against men who will not strike and who prefer to work. I was at a meeting the other day of 5,000 people.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
But they are all Englishmen. They are all voters and they have just as much right to their opinion as anybody else.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
The real difficulty with hon. Members opposite is that they think they and their party are the whole of this country. They are not by a long way.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
I do not mind whether my meeting is said to be packed or not. It was attended by 5,000 voters who will vote with me and not with hon. Members opposite. The real difficulty in getting any kind of argument in this House is that hon. Members opposite will not realise that they are not a majority of the country. The majority of the country is in favour of this Bill.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
There is no question about it. Hon. Members opposite have been doing all they possibly can to work up steam against this Bill and the attempt has failed and they 1894 know it has failed Look at the Liberal benches here to-day.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
Our sup, porters are good enough to have confidence in their leaders, but look at the Liberal benches. Where is the furious support of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) when he is not quite certain, but nearly certain, that he is against any of the Clauses of this Bill? It is not much good trying to pretend to this House that all the speeches to which we have listened represent the considered views of the working men of this country. They represent, I agree, the views of the leaders, who think they have a right to dictate the policy of the whole of the trade unions. Hon. Members opposite know as well as I do, and that is why they are attacking it, that this Bill will he passed in its present form, and that it will curtail, very largely, the powers of the trade union leaders and will give freedom to men who, up to the present, have been the dupes of the trade union leaders. It is all nonsense to tell me that on the 1st May last year, when the general strike began, all the men came nut because they wanted to do so. The hon. Lady opposite will not think me uncomplimentary when I say that when I listen to her, I sometimes am reminded of Madame Defarge, and the tumbrils on their way to the guillotine. I think the hon. Lady would go on with her knitting if the Home Secretary rode in one of the tumbrils. I do not in the least dispute the power and authority of the hon. Lady, but it is quite clear that her mind is warped. Her mind is the mind of the trade union leaders, and they will not see any right or fairness in the minds of the men who do not go on strike, and who are called by them the opprobrious epithet of "blackleg." The blackleg the man who desires to continue his work for the sake of his wife and family. The man who is given an opprobrious epithet of that kind has a right to be protected against that sort of intimidation, and he has as much right to work as hon. Members opposite have, and as much right live as they have.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
The hon. Member has listened to the speech of the hon. Lady who has just sat down. It is quite clear that when she was a trade union official—I do not know if she was a trade union leader—she was employed on strike duty. What is strike duty except trying to stop men from working when the rest of the men who are usually at work are out on strike? She told us, quite frankly, of the horror which the trade union leader and the striker had for the men who would not, as she termed it, play the game with their colleagues, and would not be bound by a, pledge of honour to allow their wives and children to starve merely because someone else told them to strike.
The real opposition to the Clause, and the reason for the speeches that have been made this afternoon, is that hon. Members opposite cannot attack the Clause because it is so good that it cannot be successfully attacked, either here or in the country. We had a debate on the Clause a few weeks ago on the Committee stage. It was stated then, and I repeat it now, that the first part of the Clause merely lays down the law as it is at the present time. Complaints nave been made by the hon. Member for Ilkeston (Mr. Oliver) who moved the omission of the Clause, about the words "reasonable apprehension" in the minds of the men who complain. That is the law to-day. That is the thing on which a magistrate can find to-day. If a man goes to the Court, and complains that he is in fear of personal violence—[Interruplion]. What I am going on to try to prove to hon. Members opposite is that the judge to-day has to get into the mind of the complainant. That seems to me to be in the minds of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Ilkeston and the hon. Lady the Member for East Middlesbrough (Miss Wilkinson) a new thing. But that is done every day. When a man is not on strike at all he may go to the Courts and ask for a summons against so-and-so because he is in fear of personal violence. That means that there is a reasonable apprehension in his mind of personal violence, and the Judge or the magistrate has to be convinced of the reasonable apprehension to-day in the case of violence. This Clause, I admit, goes a step farther, and says that if there is reasonable apprehension 1896 either of violence or of some injury other than personal violence, that is intimidation. It is just as easy for a magistrate to decide whether a man is in reasonable apprehension of personal violence as of any ether sort of intimidation. It is quite as easy. Take the case mentioned here the other day, and the cases of intimidation that have been mentioned this afternoon. I quite frankly say that we do mean to go further than the law does to-day in regard to personal violence. We mean to stop if we can what I conceive to be a far more subtle, a far more injurious, and a far more diabolical form of intimidation than personal violence; violence other than personal of which we have heard this afternoon. There is the case of attempting to drive either a son or daughter of a man ought of work because that man has not gone on strike.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
Certainly, I will. I will give the hon. Member a case in point. Supposing the son or daughter of a man who has gone on strike is employed at the local co-operative stores, and the local co-operative stores is in the hands of trade union leaders. That is a perfectly clear case and a perfectly fair case. All I want to know is, are hon. Members opposite going to defend that or not? The hon. and learned Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney)—he is not in his place this afternoon—quite frankly defended, in the last Debate, that as a legal form of intimidation. Are hon. Members opposite going to defend it? I do not care if only one case occurs. Are they going to defend it or not?
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
There; we have got it. There is a trade union official, a miners' leader, who quite frankly says to the House that he would defend it. Surely, after that one admission by the hon. Member, the House will vote for this Clause?
§ Mr. R. RICHARDSON
Would the right hon. Gentleman defend a case where the father has been dismissed by an employer and the whole of the sons have been turned out of work, because that father has dismissed?
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
Of course, I would not defend it. The hon. Member's colleague, however, has quite frankly shown where the trade union mind is going. The trade union mind is exemplified by the hon. Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey), who would not allow the slightest rope to the man whom he terms a blackleg. I am here to protect that man, and to assure him of the ordinary rights of the civilised British subject. I will not have that man intimidated in that way. Another hon. Member cited a case in which trade unionists said to the man who would not come out on strike, "If you do not come out on strike, when the thing is over we will not work by your side; we will not have anything to do with you. You are never going back into the pit with us."
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
Thank you. Now we are getting at the truth. First we have it from the hon. Member for Spennymoor and then from the hon. Lady.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
Trade is too good. What need is there for me to speak further on this Clause? We have had now, quite frankly, the statement from two hon. Members that they are prepared quite definitely to say that they can see nothing wrong in that form of intimidation, which is far worse than the old-fashioned form of threatening to knock a man down. It is a subtle form of mental intimidation, and it is far more cruel and Far more diabolical than knocking a man down.
§ Mr. OLIVER
Can the right hon. Gentleman give us out of the seven months' stoppage last year, any evidence of that, even with promptings from the Attorney-General?
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
It is a remarkable thing that that never happens, 1898 when the hon. Lady who sits next to the hon. Gentleman says that that is the obvious thing to do. There is something wrong in trade union philosophy somewhere. I am not sure where, but there is something wrong. May I suggest that the party opposite should have a party meeting on this question, and settle, before they come to debate the matter, what really is the trade union policy on this matter?
§ Mr. OLIVER
I have asked the right hon. Gentleman a question, but he has not yet given me an answer. Can he, from the seven months' experience last year, quote one single instance?
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
Yes, I quoted one in a Debate a month ago. I gave the case of the Wigan Irish Labour Club, and the Bolton Irish Labour Club. They issued a circular which said:If it so happens that you have been misled, make good. Come out now! This is our first and last appeal. A list of those who ignore this appeal will be sent to the Irish Transport Workers' Union at Dublin and published in the Irish maid American Press. Records will also be kept in the Irish organisation and Labour clubs in Great Britain and Ireland for further reference.What does that mean?
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
I think it is perfectly clear that there are dozens of cases in the Courts, of men who have been threatened in that way.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
I beg the hon. Gentleman's pardon. I was dealing with a suggestion of the hon. Lady the Member for Fast Middlesbrough that the most obvious thing was that they were not to get work again.
§ Miss WILKINSON
On a point of explanation, may I say that what the right hon. Gentleman was doing was to say that it was a form of intimidation to say that a person should be dismissed from a union and that the members of the union should have nothing farther to do with him, and they would not allow him to work with him again. I said that it was a most obvious thing to do, but that was rather different from what the right hon. Gentleman said. It is a fact 1899 that very large numbers of trade unionists, as a matter of fact do not do that. There is no real intimidation. My point is that, in a dispute when every thing is at stake, I cannot see what the right hon. Gentleman has to complain of.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
I am very much obliged to the hon. Lady. She and the hon. Member for Ilkeston may make it up outside. It is enough for me that she said that that was the most obvious thing to do. I am here on behalf of the Government to say that we will, to the utmost of our power, protect the man who wants to work from intimidation of that kind. That is the view of the Government in regard to this particular Clause, and it is because of that view, because we believe that view to be held by the vast majority of the people of this country, because we believe that if hon. Members go down to the country and try to put any other view before the country they will receive a very rude awakening at the hands of the working men and at the hands of the trade unionists as well that we ask the House to pass this Clause. It is for those reasons that we believe that this Clause is a good Clause a sound Clause, and a useful Clause. I ask the House to pass it.
§ Mr. BATEY
I wish to protest against the manner in which the Home Secretary has treated this Clause. This Clause is a serious Clause, and neither the Home Secretary nor anyone else should treat it as a joke. This Clause means driving the working classes back and grinding them down, and we make our protest against the Home Secretary treating this Clause as a joke. When he speaks as he does he shows the vicious, bitter, mind of the Tory, so far as the working classes of this country are concerned. He says that because trade unionists are in the minority they should not attempt to rule the country. Trade unionists are in the minority, but although they are in the minority they have the right to live. It is because we believe that, that we claim that we are entitled to say to all cur members, wherever they may be employed, that they ought not to be prepared to accept either wages or conditions that will lower their standard of living or that will destroy the conditions that the trade unions have established.
1900 We believe that the Tories in this House and in the country have the impression that they are the only people who have a right to live in this country. They believe that the working classes should do what they say they ought to do, and they think that the working classes have no right to live except upon their conditions. The Home Secretary says that there has been nothing said against this Clause in the Debate to-day, but I want to remind the right hon. Gentleman that we believe this Clause to be a vicious Clause and a Clause that we, as trade unionists, cannot too strongly condemn. The Home Secretary can talk about his meetings consisting of 5,000 and of other meetings in which trade unionists have given them a mandate for this Clause, but we believe that, when the time comes for the country to give its verdict on this Clause and on this Bill, that verdict will be in keeping with the verdicts given at the various by-elections, which have shown this Government to be in a hopeless minority, receiving very few votes to justify them in going forward with this Bill.
This is such a vicious Clause that it is driving the trade unionists back right to the beginning of 1800. The statesmen in 1799 were much more straight and much more honest than are the members of the present Government, because they passed Acts of Parliament to prevent combination among the workmen. They said, "We will not allow the working classes to combine," but the members of this present Government say, "Oh, yes, we will give you the right to combine and to have your trade unions, but, when you have got your trade unions and the right to combine, we will do all that we can to cripple those unions and to make it impossible for them to function." The members of the Government to-day are not as advanced as were the statesmen of 1859, because the statesmen of that day did allow peaceful picketing in an Act which they passed in that year, but the statesmen of to-day are so much more reactionary than were those of 1859 that to-day they say, "We will not allow you to engage in peaceful picketing, and we will make it as impossible as we can for your trade unions to function."
I think it might have been wise on the part of both the Home Secretary 1901 and the Attorney-General if, before they had brought in this Bill, they had read trade union history. If they had done so, they would have learned this lesson from it, that while the Government in 1871 repealed not only the 1825 Act, but also the 1859 Act, and while they passed the Criminal Law Amendment Act, they suffered for it. They passed the Criminal Law Amendment Act, repealing the right of peaceful picketing granted in 1859, but when that Government went to the country in 1874, the country expressed its decision upon the action of the Government and swept that Government out of office. When Disraeli came into power in 1874, he acted very differently from the way in which the present Government have acted, for in 1875 he passed an Act that gave to the trade unions the right to picket and to combine, and peace followed for at least 25 years.
The present Home Secretary, if he had read trade union history, would have learned from it that the Home Secretary in Disraeli's Government, in 1875, in assisting to pass that Act, acted so differently from the way in which he himself has acted that he is the only Home Secretary who has ever had a vote of thanks passed to him by the Trade Union Congress. The present Trade Union Congress will not attempt to pass a vote of thanks to the present Home Secretary.
§ Mr. BATEY
No, because his actions are such that they would not be warranted in doing it. The present Home Secretary, I say, might have been wise in reading trade union history and in following the example of Mr. Cross, the Home Secretary of that day. The Attorney-General has argued all along that Clause 1 would not affect in the least the primary strike, but while he makes that claim, this Clause 3 destroys the benefits of the primary strike, because where a trade union decides to have a strike, which may be a perfectly legal strike, this Clause makes it impossible for the trade union to carry on peaceful picketing and for anyone to attend near either the house or any place wherever a blackleg may be, and, therefore, this Clause is one of the Clauses 1902 that destroys the usefulness of the primary strike.
The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary and other members of the party opposite complain that trade unions intimidate blacklegs. I have no hesitation in saying that I would not grant any right to any man to blackleg his fellows where a trade union is fighting either for wages or to maintain conditions, and where they may have spent a lot of money in order to obtain a decent standard of wages and fair conditions. In those circumstances, I would not give the right to any man to come in to pull down those wages or destroy those conditions, and what I would not do as a member of a trade union, neither the Home Secretary nor the Attorney-General would do as members of their own unions. If anyone in their profession attempted to do anything that would injure their union, they would say to those men, "You have no right to do it, and as far as we can we are going to prevent you from doing it." In this Bill the Government aim only at the trade unions engaged in industry, and they keep clear of dealing with the trade unions among the professions. As a matter of fact, they dare not attempt to interfere with those unions, but they think they can use their power to suppress or cripple the trade unions in which the industrial classes are organised.
While the Government complain that trade unionists abuse their powers for the purpose of intimidating blacklegs, they should remember that there is other intimidation than that practised by trade unionists. Since the end of the coal dispute we have seen intimidation used ruthlessly by the employers of this country. The Home Secretary was rather keen to give a case where trade unionists had used intimidation, and I want to give him a case and to ask him whether it would not have warranted the Government in trying to prevent intimidation by employers of labour. I have in my Division a miners' secretary, who, simply because he was the local secretary of the miners' lodge, went out during the dispute last year and on a certain occasion was out with the rest of the members of that union having a march. It so happened that they were having it at the time that some blacklegs were coming from the pit. I submit 1903 that they were entitled to have their march and to time it just when it pleased them. They had their march just at the time when the blacklegs were coming from the pit, and all that happened was this, that some of the women in the march booed at the blacklegs.
That is a very serious offence. Because those women booed at the blacklegs, the local miners' secretary was taken to Court, together with the local president and some other members belonging to the committee. The local miners' secretary was sent to prison or two months, but he ought never to have been imprisoned, and, if he had had a fair trial, he would not have been imprisoned. If there had not been a coal-owner sitting on the bench he would not, but a coalowner was sitting in the chair, with some colliery managers on the bench, and they sent him to prison for two months. He served his two 'months, and, because he went to prison, that man, who was a good workman, a steady workman, has never been allowed a day's work at that colliery since. He cannot get re-started, and he was punished also in this way, that he was a member of the local board of guardians, but because he had been sent to prison, he had to retire from that board. That was not all. For 20 Years he had been a Wesleyan local preacher, but, because he had been sent to prison, they put him off the "plan," and would not let him preach any longer. I submit that there is a case of intimidation where a trade union official has really suffered, yet there is no sign of the Government in this Bill taking any steps to protect trade unionists who have suffered merely because they have stood by their fellows. I ask the Home Secretary, Why this Clause? Last year's events did not justify this Clause. On Second Reading, I think, the Attorney-General said there were some 7,000 or 8,000 prosecutions during the trouble last year. Some people were glad to get prosecutions last year; they were started on very slight pretence; but while there may have been 7,000 or 8,000 prosecutions, the Home Secretary has admitted, in answer to a question by myself, that there were only 653 convictions.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
I do not think I ever said any such thing. The hon. Member may be referring to the 1904 number sent to prison. I cannot carry all the figures in my head, but of the 7,000 cases mentioned by the Attorney-General nearly all were convictions.
§ Mr. BATEY
There is a serious difference there between the Home Secretary and myself. I will look the point up and will send the Home Secretary a copy both of my question and of his answer. I am almost certain that the word was "convictions." I know 653 was the number. If there was only that small number, there is no need for this Clause. The Home Secretary himself has said that the conduct of the working class during the dispute could not be complained of, and that the peaceable behaviour of the people showed that things were getting much better than they used to be in the past. The miners never behaved better than they did during the dispute lest year. In one of the Debates on this Measure someone said this Clause had been asked for by people who had suffered at the hands of the trade unions. I do not believe the people who suffered are really the people who asked for this Clause or who are responsible for it. This Clause is introduced by members of the Government, who want to cripple the trade unions and to make it easy for employers reduce wages and alter conditions for the worse. After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 we had a boom for two or three ears. When in 1874 trade began to go down employers wanted reductions of wages and did everything they could in order to bring them about. The trade unions were not so strong then as they are to-day, and between 1874 and 1880 the employers succeeded in enforcing their wills upon the unions and reduced wages. Now, after the short boom which followed the Great War, employers want to reduce wages again, and the Prime Minister has come to the help of the employers. When the dispute first started last year he said that wages must come down, not only the wages of the miners, but the wages of everybody else.
§ Mr. HANNON
The hon. Member knows that that statement was repeatedly denied both in this House and outside.
§ Mr. HANNON
Is it in order for an hon. Member to repeat in this House a statement which a Minister has positively denied that he ever made?
§ Mr. BATEY
If I have to accept the word of Cook or the Prime Minister, I accept the word of Cook. I believe that Cook is actuated by a desire to try to better the conditions of the working class, and that cannot be said of the Prime Minister, nor can it be said of the Attorney-General or the Home Secretary. I believe the Home Secretary is not trying to better, and is not desirous of bettering, the conditions of the working class. I believe that both the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister want to pull down the conditions of the working class, want to push them right down into the grip of poverty. In order to do that the Government are introducing this Bill. They will succeed in passing it through this House, but when the country has to give a verdict upon the Bill there mill be no question of what the verdict will be.
§ Mr. RILEY
There are certain potentialities under this Clause which have not so far been referred to. It has been said that whilst it imposes certain restrictions upon members of trade unions during an industrial dispute it also imposes the same restrictions upon employers. I suggest that is a mere pretext, 1906 and that in reality trade unionists only are subjected to restraint. Suppose a trade dispute breaks out and a workman visits the house of a fellow workman who is working and is opposed to the policy of the union, in order to engage in ordinary peaceful persuasion, using no threat of violence to compel the man to cease work but simply using the ordinary means of peaceful persuasion by conveying information to him or seeking information from him as to what is his view on the matter. If the man so visited has reasonable ground to apprehend that as a result of that conversation he may in the future suffer some kind of injury, not a material injury or a pecuniary injury, but something other than a visible injury—if he has some idea that there may be a social boycott against him—he will be entitled to commence proceedings against the man who visited him. Indeed, the man visited may not have to risk the expense of taking action himself. He can report to his employer what has taken place, and his employer may say, "Very well, I will attend to that and I will see that all the money is found." I understand there is nothing to prevent that being done. That is the position in which the trade unionist is placed. It is suggested that an employer is placed in the same position. There is a claim that this is even-handed justice and that what applies to the workman is going to apply to the employer. Nothing of the kind. What the Clause says is that if one or more persons attendat or near a house or place where a person resides or works or happens to he, for the purpose of obtaining or communicating information or of persuading or inducing any person to work or to abstain from working, if they so attend in such numbers or otherwise in such manner as to be calculated to intimidate any person in that house or place, or to obstruct the approach thereto or egress therefrom, or to lead to a breach of the peace.they will be subject to penalties.
Take the case of an employer where there is a lock-out, Suppose certain employers who are not in favour of that policy keep their factories open. There is no need for the employers who are taking part in the lock-out to approach them in their houses, to beset them in the street or to visit their works. They can get into touch with the recalcitrant employers on the telephone without subjecting themselves to the penalties of 1907 this Clause at all. On the telephone they can say to an employer who keeps his works open, "It is going to be detrimental to you, and if you continue to keep your place working you will suffer in consequence." They could do that without bringing themselves within this Clause at all. There is no besetting, there is no visiting, there is simply a telephone conversation. In the textile industry in the West Riding of Yorkshire employers in the same industry get work done by one another. Certain factories engage only in the weaving of cloth and others do the spinning, and certain employers put out work to other factories. If there is a lock-out and certain spinners are not joining in, what is there to prevent the threat being made over the telephone to those who go on working that in future no orders will come to them? What applies to the workmen will not apply to the employers at all. The Bill is weighted against the workmen and it is inviting workmen who have been concerned in building up unions and who have been prominent in trade union organisation to be dishonourable under a majority rule, and to violate all the pledges they have given. On these grounds I strongly oppose the Clause.
§ Mr. TOWNEND
I would like to ask the Attorney-General before the Division is taken to endeavour to give us a definition of the phrase in Sub-section (2) of this Clause which reads:and the expression injury includes injury other than physical or material injury.We ought to have a clear definition as to what kind of injury other than violence is included in those words. It will be remembered that the original Bill referred to injury that mighty be caused by apprehension, ridicule, or contempt. There have been various criticisms as to what is meant by ridicule or contempt and in consequence of those criticisms we find that the Attorney-General has thought better, and has submitted what he really meant in the phrase I have just quoted. I would like to know from the Attorney-General what the limitation of this term really is, and exactly under what category or categories it is possible to apprehend a member of a trade union who has been, in the opinion of a policeman or someone representing the authority, 1908 guilty of intimidation under Clause 3. I ask this because of what was said by the hon. Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey), who reminded us of the case of the secretary of one of his lodges who was haled before a bench of magistrates on which sat a colliery owner, and he had to submit to a term of imprisonment which not only acted on his economic life but also extended to his spiritual life. He was cut off from his circuit, being a lay preacher, and he was dropped down from that high position and placed on the same level as a criminal who had been compelled to submit to the unfortunate experience which he had to undergo.
We are entitled from the Attorney-General to a clearer definition on this point than has yet been given to us. I want further to emphasise this point, because of the experience of my own union. It has been pointed out that we object to Clause 3 for another reason, namely, that through prosecutions wrongly instituted the funds of the trade unions will be seriously depleted, and, if we are going to do justice to our members who might under this Clause he haled before the bench, we shall have to take the same kind of action that my own union had to take following the events of 12 months ago. We know that the seats on the local magisterial benches are occupied by local people whose personal equation does not fall our way. The prejudice in their minds had to be met in a particular way which cost us very heavily. We have to submit the case or. behalf of our members to a solicitor, because we knew the terrible price that would have to be paid if in such cases the men lose their jobs after being convicted. Therefore, we have to protect them not only against the possible sentence of two months or a lighter sentence as the case may be, but also against losing their jobs.
We have to impress en the local bench in the event of the magistrates allowing their personal prejudice to weigh against the men in the way indicated by the hon. Member for Spennymoor, that we are prepared to take such cases to the highest Court in the land where we can rely upon our case being considered without bias being manifested to the detriment of cur members. Inasmuch as this Clause leaves the position of those men to whom I have referred subject to the prejudice of local magistrates, and in the 1909 light of the experience which we have had to undergo in the past, I think we are entitled to a clearer definition of the term,other than physical or material injury.We know the experience we had some 12 months ago, and, because of our desire to save the funds of our unions, I think
§ before a decision is taken on this Clause the Attorney-General should give us the definition for which I have asked.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out, to the word 'and' in page. 4, line 3, stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 226; Noes, 114.1911
|Division No. 195.]||AYES.||[5. 54 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Macmillan, Captain H.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Fanshawe, Captain G. D.||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm|
|Albery, Irving James||Fermoy, Lord||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Fielden, E. B.||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.|
|Apsley, Lord||Finburgh, S.||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. w.||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Malone, Major P. B.|
|Astor, Maj. Hon. John J.(Kent, Dover)||Fraser, Captain Ian||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Atkinson, C.||Frece, Sir Walter de||Margesson, Captain D.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Meyer, Sir Frank|
|Balniel, Lord||Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Gates, Percy||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Nelson, Sir Frank|
|Berry, Sir George||Goff. Sir Park||Neville, Sir Reginald J.|
|Bethel, A.||Gower, Sir Robert||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Blundell, F. N.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.)|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Oakley, T.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (W'th's'w,E)||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Pennefather, Sir John|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Brass, Captain W.||Grotrian, H. Brent||Perring, Sir William George|
|Brooke. Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Hacking. Captain Douglas H.||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Hanbury, C||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Buchan, John||Harland, A.||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Burman, J. B.||Hartington, Marquess of||Radford, E. A.|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Raine, Sir Walter|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Ramsden, E.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Haslam, Henry C.||Reid, Capt. Cunningham (Warrington)|
|Caine, Gordon Hall||Hawke, John Anthony||Remnant, Sir James|
|Campbell, E. T.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Rentoul, G S.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Henderson, Lt.-Col. Sir V. L. (Bootle)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Ropner, Major L.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G||Salmon, Major I.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Hope, Sir Harry (Fortar)||Sandon, Lord|
|Clayton, G. C.||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Savery, S. S.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W.)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Hume, Sir G. H.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Cope, Major William||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Skelton, A. N.|
|Couper, J. B.||Jacob, A. E.||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim)||Jephcott, A. R.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Kidd, J. (Linllthgow)||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||King, Commodore Henry Douglas||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Davidson, J. (Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Lamb, J. Q.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Loder, J. de V.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Long, Major Eric||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Dixon, Captain Rt. Hon. Herbert||Lougher, Lewis||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Drewe, C.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Duckworth, John||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Lumley, L. R.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.)|
|Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||Lynn, Sir R. J.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Ellis, R. G.||MacDonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough|
|Elveden, Viscount||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||McLean. Major A.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Watson, Rt. Hon W. (Carlisle)||Winby, Colonel L. P.||Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Watts, Dr. T.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut-Colonel George||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Wells, S. R.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl||Wragg Herbert|
|White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple-||Wise. Sir Fredric|
|Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)||Withers, John James||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)||Womersley, W. J.||Major Sir George Hennessy and|
|Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)||Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)||Mr. Penny.|
|Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, central)||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hayes, John. Henry||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Smith, H. S. Lees (Keighley)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hirst, G. H.||Smith, Ronnie (Penistone)|
|Baker, Walter||Jenkins. W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Snell, Harry|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Batey, Joseph||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles|
|Bondfield, Margaret||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Stamford. T. W.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Kelly, W. T.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Briant, Frank||Kennedy, T.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Broad, F. A.||Kirkwood, D||Sutton, J. E.|
|Bromley, J.||Lansbury, George||Taylor, R. A.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Lawrence, Susan||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Lee, F.||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro.W.)|
|Buchanan, G.||Lowth, T.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton E.)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lunn, William||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Clowes, S.||MacLaren, Andrew||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||March, S.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Connolly, M.||Maxton, James||Townend, A. E.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Mosley, Oswald||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Murnin, H.||Varley, Frank B.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Naylor, T. E.||Viant, S. P.|
|Duncan, C.||Oliver, George Harold||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Dunnico, H.||Palin, John Henry||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Fenby, T. D.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Gardner, J. P.||Potts, John S.||Watts-Morgan. Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Purcell, A. A.||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Gillett, George M.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Riley, Ben||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Ritson, J.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Greenall, T.||Roberts, Rt-Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)||Westwood. J.|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)||Whiteley, W.|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Rose, Frank H.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Groves, T.||Salter, Dr. Alfred||Williams, David (Swansea, E.)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Scrymgeour. E.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Shepherd. Arthur Lewis||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond||Windsor, Walter|
|Hardie, George D.||Short, Alfred (Wednesday)|
|Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Sitch, Charles H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hayday, Arthur||Smillie, Robert||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. T.|
I beg to move, in page 4, line 3, to leave out from the word "peace" to the end of Sob-section (1), and to insert instead thereof the words:and any person acting in contravention of the foregoing provisions shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding twenty pounds or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, or on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months with or without hard labour.This Amendment does not raise any question of principle; it is merely an endeavour to introduce into the Clause what the existing words of the Clause mean. The last part of the Clause says thatattending at or near any house or place in such numbers or in such manner as is by this Sub-section declared to be unlawful shall be deemed to be a watching or besetting of that house or place within the meaning of Section seven of the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act, 1875.1912 What we have attempted to do, in the words which we are proposing, is merely to take from the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act the penalties that attach to watching and besetting, the only object of the Amendment being that any person who offends against this Clause shall know, by looking at the Clause, what is the exact penalty to which he is rendering himself liable. To say that anyone, if he commits an offence under this Clause, commits an offence against the Act of 1875, and is liable to the penalties provided by that Act, is to put an obligation on the unfortunate picket to go back to 1875 in order to find what his offence and its penalty may be. The Amendment, as I have said, raises no question of principle, but, nevertheless, raises a matter which is not entirely without importance. In a previous speech—I do not want to repeat myself—I told the House that Lord Halsbury, 1913 when prosecuting people for offences of intimidation in South Wales, had stated that in numerous cases the men were well acquainted with the Act of 1906, but knew nothing whatsoever about the Act of 1875. It seemed to us that they did take some pains to find out what the law was, and that it was unfair to drive them back to 1875 to discover what their punishment was to be. I move this Amendment merely for the sake of clarity.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
I think my hon. Friend is not quite right in regard to this Amendment. The Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act, 1875, provides that a person who is guilty of the offences set out in that Act shall be liable to a fine of £20 or to three months' imprisonment. Although there may be some reason for putting the penalty into this Clause, 1 do not think that the way of doing it which my hon. Friend suggests is a satisfactory one. If my hon. Friend will look at Section 7 of the Conspiracy and Law of Property Act, 1875, he will see that an offence under that Act is only committed if the action in question is taken:with a view to compel any other person to abstain from doing or to do any act which suck other person has a legal right to do or abstain from doing, wrongfully and without legal authority.I am advised that, if this Amendment were accented, attending at or near a house in such numbers or in such manner as to be calculated to intimidate would be made an offence, even though it was not done wrongfully or without legal authority, as under the Act of 1875. It is because I want to include the words "wrongfully or without legal authority" that I refer to the Act of 1875, and I think that, if my hon. Friend will further consider the matter, he will find that so far from improving the Clause from the point of view of the picket, he will go a step further and create a further offence on the part of pickets which the Government, at all events, did not intend to create. I am informed that, under my hon. Friend's Amendment, anyone attending, not wrongfully, at a place, would be guilty of an offence. Take, for instance, the case which occurred not long ago, where a large number of police attended outside the premises of Arcos, 1914 Ltd. They certainly attended for the purpose of obtaining information, and, undoubtedly, they attended in such numbers as would be calculated to intimidate people in the building; but they were there legally and rightfully, and the essence of the offence is that they should attend in such manner as to intimidate wrongfully and illegally. It is those words in the Act of 1875 that we desire to preserve. I hope my hon. Friend will not press his Amendment, because it is one that the Government could not possibly accept, since they are strongly advised that it would he detrimental to the pickets rather than improving their position.
§ Sir JOHN SIMON
It seems most unfortunate that a suggestion made by the hon. Member who moved this Amendment, simply for the purpose of getting on the face of the Statute what is the scale of punishment that might be inflicted, should have to be dropped because it may be, as the Home Secretary has explained that he has been advised, not in the right form. I venture to think that in this matter we must clearly distinguish between the substantial object which we should all like to see secured, and the precise change in the language of the Clause by which the object is to be effected. The object is this—and it is a thing which all of us in our different occupations have constantly had occasion to observe. It is a misfortune, when Parliament enacts a Clause declaring that something is unlawful and is punishable, that, if you were to buy the Act of Parliament when it had been passed, thinking that you would learn what the punishment was, you should only find the Act of Parliament saying: "Go and look up another Statute, and there you will see what the punishment is." Legislation by reference may sometimes, of course, be inevitable, but it is certainly unfortunate when you want, as far as possible, to deal with people plainly on the face of your Bill. It is claimed that this Bill is to be a declaratory Bill, and it is, naturally, at present attracting a good deal of attention, not only inside the House of Commons but throughout the country. If I understand the suggestion of the hon. Member for Luton (Captain O'Connor), it practically amounts to nothing more than this, that, when the Bill is finally passed and printed, and can be bought for a penny or twopence, anyone who buys 1915 it believing that he will be able to learn from it what Parliament has said, shall not find that he cannot ascertain from its pages what, in fact, is the punishment for an offence under this Clause. That is an object which no one can possibly resist, and, therefore, I was not surprised when the hon. Member for Moseley (Mr. Hannon) seconded the Amendment as he did.
What does the Home Secretary say in answer to that? He speaks, as we know, with every desire to serve the House by putting before it the advice which is given by those who have to assist him professionally in the matter—advice which, of course, is bound to be very well founded: but it is not a good answer. The proper answer to such a proposal is that the Home Secretary or those responsible for the Bill should show how the punishment could be put on the face of the Bill, without, of course, doing what no one intends to do, namely, increasing the area of the offence. If I understand the Home Secretary rightly, his point does not, if he will excuse me for saying so, deal so much with the substance as with the form. He says that, if he were simply to say that in page 4, line 3, of this Bill, he would strike out the reference to the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act, 1875, and put in instead something about a fine or imprisonment, that really would not do what the Mover of the Amendment wants to do, but it would do something which he does not want to do, and which no one wants to do—that it would, absurdly enough, create offences which no one imagines to be offences at all that, for example, it would make it an offence for the police to go to an address where it was their duty to watch or get information.
The answer, surely, is very simple, and I hope the Home Secretary will consult his advisers to see whether it cannot be carried out. It is to make the Clause run in this sort of way, that this shall be deemed to be watching and besetting within the meaning of Section 7 of the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act, 1875, and then to add:and accordingly, if done wrongfully and without legal authority, shall be punished in such-and-such a way.It does not pass the wit of man to state that. I see that the Attorney-General is 1916 now present. I do not think he was here at the moment when the difficulty was raised, and, perhaps, I may be allowed to repeat very briefly what I have just said. I understand that the suggestion of the hon. Member for Luton, to get upon the face of this Bill what is the maximum punishment for breaches of Clause 3, cannot be accepted, because, as the Home Secretary says, he is advised that, if the punishment were substituted for the reference to the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act., 1875, the result would be to make it a criminal offence, for example, for a let of policemen to go and watch at a house where some suspected person is believed to be. The Home Secretary has explained very clearly to the House that the difficulty is that the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act, 1875, only makes that an offence if it be done wrongfully and without legal authority. I am suggesting most respectfully to the Attorney-General that that might be got over by slightly varying the Amendment, striking out the reference to the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act, letting the whole thing rim as it does now to the end of the first Sub-section, and adding:and accordingly if done wrongfully and without legal authority is punishable.The Bill contains points of some difficulty and what many people regard as points of obscurity, but do not let us have unnecessary obscurity. As far as possible, write the thing clown in plain English on the face of the statute. I hope the Attorney-General will see whether something of that sort cannot be done.
§ Mr. CLYNES
I can speak only as a layman on this question, but I have listened to the speeches of three lawyers. Accepting as accurate everything that the Home Secretary has said, and having to come down on the side of one of the three utterances, I think this is one of the very rare occasions when we find ourselves more in agreement with the Government than with the other two hon. Gentlemen who have spoken. I have followed as well as I could what has been said by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon), but I see in the 'terms of the Clause something more than a mere presentation of words, giving information. I see in these words a wider area of punishment and the bringing in 1917 of offences which are not now expressed in the Clause. On the whole, therefore, I think we ought to agree with the Government and seek the withdrawal of the Amendment.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
May I say one further word? I have consulted my legal adviser, and I am fortified by his opinion that it is undesirable to make this change, because the Act of 1875 is the controlling Act in regard to the questions of boycotting and intimidation, and I think any prosecutions would take place under the provisions of that Act as interpreted by the particular Clause. I am still advised that it is desirable to leave the penalty exactly as it is in that Act rather than attempt to import a new penalty of fine or imprisonment here, because it is very important not to do anything that alters the exact legal signification of the offence under the Act of 1875.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
We want to be very careful not to enlarge the crime under that Act. While I am willing, of course, to consider any statement made by my hon. Friend the Member for Luton (Captain O'Connor) or by the right hon. Gentleman, at present my view is that it is wiser to leave the Bill as it stands.
In the absence of any assurance from the Government that they will attempt so to amend the Clause as to give any indication of what the punishment is to be, I do not feel prepared to withdraw.
§ Amendment negatived.
I beg to move, in page 4, line 9, after the word "Section," to insert the wordsand in Section seven of the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act, 1875.This and the next Amendment stand together. It would appear that Sub-section (3) is entirely unnecessary if you insert my words in Sub-section (2). Although nothing very important is done 1918 if the Amendment is carried out, it compresses the Clause, and I am perhaps sanguine enough to hope that some day trade unionists will turn to this Clause to find out what they can do when they are picketing, and, if so, it would be very handy that they should have it in as compressed a form as possible. You could put Sub-section (3) into Sub-section (2) in the interests of conciseness without altering the principle of the Clause.
§ Sir W. JOYNSON-HICKS
I am obliged to my hon. Friend for his endeavour to improve the drafting of the Bill. Again, the proposal is not only not better than that of the Government, but is not so good. What he asks is that we should make the Bill shorter and put into Sub-section (2) an intimation altering the meaning of "intimidation" in the Act of 1875. Sub-section (2) declares what the expression "to intimidate" means under this Bill. Sub-section (3) declares the meaning of "intimidation" in the Act of 1875 to be the same as in this Bill. I quite agree that it would be possible to put those two into one Sub-section, but, when we are dealing with an important alteration in the meaning of a word in the Act of 1875, it is desirable that there should be a distinct and separate Subsection. The only difference between my hon. and learned Friend and the Government is that we put these two meanings of intimidation in separate Sub-sections while my hon. and learned Friend desires to combine them. There is something to be said far his view, but I still think the better course, when von are going to alter the meaning of an Act passed as lone ago as 1875, is not to slip it into a Sub-section dealing with another point but put it in a completely separate Subsection. I hope my hon. and learned Friend will see that the drafting is not quite so bad as he thought.
§ Amendment negatived.