§ Order for Second Beading read.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for SCOTLAND (Sir John Gilmour)
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
I can explain very briefly the terms of the Measure. The House will recollect that a Bill in almost precisely similar terms was introduced in this House in 1925 and received its Second Beading on the 17th November of that year. The chief object of the Bill is well known to Scottish Members. It is to assimilate the terms of appointment and conditions of service, and tenure of the sheriff clerks, procurators fiscal and their staffs, to those obtaining in the Civil Service. Owing to the exigencies of Parliamentary time and the objection taken to certain features of that Bill, it was impossible to proceed with it. I had, of course, to make it quite clear to the House that unless we could arrive at a general measure of agreement I could not go on with the Bill, nor could it be reintroduced until some measure of agreement was reached. In the interval, there have been a number of interviews and communications, and as a result there has been on the part of those interests mainly concerned in the Bill, a measure of agreement. I do not imply or wish to claim that in every sense and in all circumstances this is an agreed Bill. I have at the same time to make it quite plain to the House that the particular interests concerned in the Measure have accepted the position of the withdrawal of opposition to the Bill, and I desire to recognise that those who have so withdrawn their opposition have done it because they felt that the interests of the general staff in the service and the improved conditions which will arise from the passage of this Measure to the great majority of those in the service, is such as to demand their compliance.
I am a little surprised to see upon the Order Paper an Amendment against the Second Beading of the Bill which is supported by some of my right hon. Friends 406 opposite, but I take note of the fact that the right hon. Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. W. Graham), who was previously in the Treasury, is not supported in his Amendment for the rejection of the Bill by his right hon. Friend the late Chancellor of the Exchequer. I want, without any sense or feeling of dictation on my part, to make it perfectly clear to the House and to Scottish Members in particular that, if they have any intention other than hanging their speeches and arguments upon this Amendment for rejection, and that if this is an Amendment really intended for the rejection of the Bill, and that the Bill is not going to be accepted in the same spirit and terms in which those who are mainly interested have accepted it, then, undoubtedly, I shall be obliged to withdraw the Bill, much to the detriment of those who are concerned in this Service.
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
I have made it clear that I have not made this statement in any measure as a threat, but I wish hon. Members fully to understand exactly the position. This Bill is substantially the same as the one introduced on the previous occasion; but in view of certain representations which were made to the Government, we felt that it would be desirable in regard to Clause 7 that we should not expressly make a provision which, if in the future there should be any general recasting of the terms of back service, would shut out the possibility of its being applied to these services. In so far as we have been able, we have accepted that, but it must be clearly understood that the decision indicated is no departure from the intention to adhere to the date indicated, which was fixed by the last Government in 1924 as the utmost concession which can be given.
There are two other features which have been added to the Bill but which do not affect the main issue of which I have spoken. Recent experience has shown that it might be convenient to have the jurisdiction of the sheriff clerk corresponding to some area other than a county, and Clause 1 makes provision to meet that eventuality. Clause 14 is also new in the sense that it makes it possible that anyone who has to occupy an interim position can be appointed without having to receive a commission as 407 an honorary sheriff substitute, thereby avoiding some very difficult special arrangements which would have to be made for his remuneration in the event of the death or resignation of the sheriff substitute.
After these words of explanation, I would again urge that this Bill, having been before the House on a previous occasion, should be committed to the Scottish Grand Committee where, no doubt, details and certain aspects of the Bill may be considered; but I must repeat that this Measure, in so far as regards the settlements and arrangements, which are the main features of it, and which have been accepted by those who are primarily affected, must be treated as being non-controversial. I must also make it plain that the terms which the present Government have found themselves able to accept with regard to these problems are the same terms which were accepted by the previous Government, beyond which neither the last Government nor the present Government have found themselves able to go. In these circumstances, I ask the House to give a Second Beading to the Bill.
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
All the provisions of this Bill are exactly as they were in the Bill which was before the House last time, but if there are any particular points which hon. Members desire to raise I will endeavour to answer them at a later stage.
§ Mr. WILLIAM GRAHAM
I beg to move, to leave out from the word "That," to the end of the Question, and to add, instead thereof, the wordswhilst welcoming a scheme for the reorganisation of the offices of sheriff clerk and procurator fiscal in Scotland, this House is unable to agree to the Second Reading of a Measure which, as regards certain sections of the existing staffs, fails to make adequate provision for their superannuation and other rights.I desire to move this Amendment which stands in my name and that of other hon. Friends on this side of the House. Quite briefly it should be possible to make clear the reasons which justify a Motion of this kind. The House will 408 observe that in the Amendment we on this side of the House welcome the scheme of reorganisation which this Bill proposes, but we draw attention to what we believe to be one of the great faults of the Measure in that it fails to make adequate provision for recognising the back service of certain members of existing staffs, the effect or which must be to expose these men and their dependants in later years to a retiring or other allowance of an utterly inadequate character. Before we come to that part of the Bill, it is necessary to deal with other phases of the controversy which this Measure contains. The Secretary of State has argued that this must be regarded to a large extent as an agreed Measure, and he has suggested that if there is any real controversy beyond a demonstration of feeling on the Second Reading of the Bill, and presumably some discussion upstairs, the whole Measure may be withdrawn. I*think the right hon. Gentleman himself will agree that, having regard to the long period this controversy has covered and the undeniable hardships which the proposed settlement involves for certain of these men, we should be failing in our duty if we did not make the facts perfectly plain both on the Second Reading and, I trust, during the Committee stage.
The facts regarding the agreement are these. This controversy has raged for many years in Scotland,, and during the whole of that time some scheme of reorganisation of these services has been contemplated, but for one reason or another it has been delayed, and it was only a year or two ago, following the reports of the Committee over which Lord Blackburn presided, that something was definitely embodied in the Bill which was presented on a former occasion to this House, and which was? as strongly condemned by members or' the Conservative party as by Members on this side of the House. I am quoting purely a public fact when I say that one of the critics on that occasion was the present Solicitor-General for Scotland. These things are on the pages of the OFFICIAL REPORT, and it is of course no injustice to the hon. Gentleman to recall that fact, however painful, this afternoon. Now we come down to the Blackburn Committee of 1921 and their Report of 1922 and the last controversy in this House,, and, as the Secretary of State has recalled 409 the Debates which have taken place very largely behind the scenes, of course informal, during recent years. The main purport of them, all along the line, was the consideration of what many of us regard as the principal question— the position of their back service.
They rightly ask that old age, especially for an occupation which has afforded them no chance whatever of making adequate provision for it, should be unclouded so far as the allowance is concerned. While none of us minimises the difficulties which have attended this controversy, they boil down to this, that in the last resort", faced with the prospect of losing the Measure altogether, the two sections of the staffs have agreed and fallen in with very great reluctance indeed. But we must, this afternoon, recall this fact, that in both cases it was only by a majority that this decision was reached, and in the case of the procurators fiscal, I am told, it was only by a majority of one; and there are still certain of these officials who are most determined in their opposition to this Bill and urge that their case should be made plain to-day. As we come to this phase of the controversy, there are certain other things which we must clear out of the way. As the Secretary of State has indicated, this is a Bill which so far assimilates the condition of these staffs in Scotland to the ordinary Civil Service basis. Hon. Members will observe that there is a Clause which provides that all the whole-time officers under this proposal become civil servants, and there is also a reference to what I have no doubt are the usual Regulations which will be laid down by the Treasury and the Civil Service Commissioners. That so far is an inroad on the practice which has been followed in Scotland, and is, of course, still followed to a large extent in these legal appointments.
There is a school of thought which suggests that the spoils should fall to the political victors of the time, and, while it is hardly relevant to this Bill, a very large number of these appointments have gone to the supporters of one or other of the old political parties in the past. No doubt some attention has been paid. at least I hope so, to the particular legal 410 qualifications of the gentlemen who have been appointed, and I make no reflection, personally, on them. But many of us, whether we carry all our colleagues with us or not, have always held that it is very desirable to introduce into this system in Scotland the largest measure of complete impartiality you can possibly have and get rid of the elements of patronage and political preferment. Therefore, so far as this point is concerned, I am heartily with the proposal, and that part of the Measure need not detain us. We come, in the next place, to the controversy regarding the existing staffs. Let me make it perfectly plain that, in so far as this scheme provides new and better conditions for the younger men, we are whole-heartedly with it, and as a matter of fact it has been one of our great difficulties during recent times to know that in trying to plead the case of the older men we have been hindering the legitimate ease of the younger men and others who stood to benefit under these proposals. But the younger men have stood in with wonderful loyalty to the older men because they realise that these older officials have a very just case.
The whole controversy turns in a measure upon the two Reports of the Blackburn Committee. They provided for a reorganisation of these services and in particular, in the second of these Reports, or at all events in the Report issued in 1922, a specific part of the reference was directed to such increase in the fees as would cover the additional charges that were brought about by this scheme of reorganisation. Right down to the present day that controversy has never been solved, and, in point of fact, there is to-day the widest difference of opinion on essential matters in this part of the problem. The right hon. Gentleman last year, when the other Bill was presented, issued a White Paper, and he has repeated it to-day, giving certain particulars of the charges. Hon. Members will observe that, going back to about the year 1921, there was an excess of expenditure over revenue, but. since these fees were raised round about that time, there has been during the intervening period an excess of revenue over expenditure. In this White Paper we are in. 411 formed that during the first year of reorganisation, which presumably would be next year-—whether it be the strict financial year or not need not detain us— there will be certain non-recurrent charges, because of the extent to which back service is recognised in the Bill, but that after that time when you get down to a normal basis and normal current charges, it is hoped that the revenue will just balance the expenditure, on the basis of about £100,000 per annum on each side. In other words, unless I misinterpret the White Paper, I understand that this would be, so to speak, a self-supporting service. That would be the broad effect of the Bill.
The sheriff clerks and the procurators-fiscal and others are to-day contending that there are elements in this financial White Paper that are well worth consideration. For example, they draw attention to the principle adopted of making entries regarding the Sheriff Court premises themselves, which, as Scottish Members know, are under a separate Act of Parliament. They draw attention, in the second place, to the manner in which the bonus has been treated. They have, thirdly, directed a great deal of argument to the fact that fines reaped or collected in the Sheriff Courts are apparently eliminated in this calculation. But, whatever may be the precise effect of all these arguments, there is not the least doubt that the parties have never arrived at a real agreement, and I am here this afternoon to suggest that until that part of the controversy-is out of the way we are not entitled to. say, even on the basis of regarding this as an effort which is self-supporting, that we are unable to do more for these particular classes of officials who stand to be penalised if the Bill goes through in its present form. The Secretary of State for Scotland takes the perfectly fair point that this matter was before our Government in 1924, and that that was the limit to which, as I admit, high Treasury and other opinion was then prepared to go. But I want also to say to the right hon. Gentleman—and I think he will forgive the remark—that I myself have always fought for another solution, and that there is nothing new in the attitude which I have adopted this afternoon.
412 I would suggest to the Government that it might be well worth while to have some kind of round table conference in a last effort to see whether we can arrive at an agreement in this matter. That may be described by the right hon. Gentleman who replies as an unusual request. He may say that this Chancellor of the Exchequer, like others, has said the last word, and that it is idle again to discuss the financial basis of the Bill. But there is sufficient material for controversy at the present time, and I press that request for this reason. Let us suppose that the House adopts the attitude of the Secretary of State for Scotland to-day, and says that, if we do not take this Bill, we shall get nothing at all. I agree, of course, that that would be a deplorable result, and I dare say that there are very few of my hon. Friends on this side of the House who would be prepared to run such a risk, especially when the officials themselves have said, if by majority only, that the Bill must go on. But if you do pass the Bill in its present form you will have officials in Scotland who have given more than 30, 35 and 40 years' service, who during all that time have hoped that a scheme of reorganisation would be introduced, who have been disappointed over and over again, and who by common consent have never had an adequate salary in nine cases out of ten and have had no chance of making provision for the future, who will retire under the measure of back service or other recognition which this Bill affords on a pension of less than 30s. per week or on some perfectly small and quite hopelessly inadequate lump sum payment.
I do ask the House to believe that we are not trying to make any party capital out of this matter—there are very few of these men who are members of our party or who are ever likely to be—but I put it to any hon. Member whether that is a state of affairs which should exist if, however late in the day, there is a possibility of arriving at any other kind of financial understanding, such as will, if you like, preserve your Treasury basis, but such as will at any rate safeguard the interests of these men. Let us try, before we come to the Committee stage of this Bill, with Treasury representatives, representatives of the officials, and representatives of the Government, and see if we cannot arrive at an understanding or at an agreement on this point.
413 What is the real reason behind this controversy? I know exactly what it is, and the two right hon. Gentlemen opposite know. It has been mentioned in this House on previous occasions. The whole financial opposition to this part of the scheme, or at any rate a very large part of it, rests upon the feeling that if you concede more than that limited amount of back service to these officials in Scotland you will be compelled to re-open the whole of the County Courts settlement in England embodied in the Act of 1925. First of all, the legal systems of the two countries are different, and, in the second place, if I had time this afternoon, I should be able to draw a great deal of distinction between the circumstances affecting County Court officials in England and the circumstances that confront these officers. But even if you can make out a far better case than I believe you can from that point of view, it would not entitle you to perpetrate a manifest injustice upon these men, and that is what we particularly desire to bring out in connection with this Measure. I believe that on that basis we can afford these men far better treatment. It is the only point which I would make for all practical purposes in the course of this Debate. It is what we have embodied in our Amendment, and it is because we on this side believe strongly that you will inflict great hardship on deserving officials and their dependants that we have proposed that Amendment this afternoon.
§ Mr. KIDD
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. W. Graham) has given the House a broad hint that the object of his Amendment is to ventilate the grievance of these older servants with regard to the recognition of their back service. As I understand him, he accepts the principle and welcomes the system adopted in the Bill, but he is anxious, if possible, even at the eleventh hour, to do something more for these servants. I want quite frankly to say to the right hon. Gentleman— and I speak with some qualifications on this subject—that I entirely agree with him that no public servants have given better service and that in many cases no public servants have been more poorly remunerated. Therefore, if in conjunction with the Secretary of State he can discover any means whereby at this late hour who can improve the conditions of these servants he will have my support. 414 On the other hand, I want to make it quite clear that I welcome the Bill. I welcome the system, and I see a likely hood under it of getting a very efficient service in the Sheriff Courts of Scotland. Under these circumstances, I would on no account risk the Bill. I want to be perfectly frank. I have sufficient faith in the Secretary of State that if he can possibly meet us on this point he will do so, and will not take advantage of our frankness and simply assume that he will get his Bill in any case. He does not want his Bill with a grievance and, if he can: avoid the grievance, I am sure he will do so.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Edinburgh has indicated that he has some views whereby we might accommodate the position. I shall venture one suggestion. I do not see why the system should make the procurator fiscal of a county confine himself to that position. There may be something to be said for it where the county is a large and important one, but, taking it over the country, you had far better have the duties of a procurator fiscal carried out by a man who at the same time is permitted to have private practice; and, if you choose the private practitioner, you might have some remission of cost in the matter of salary fixed. If you have a private practitioner, no public interest is worse served on that account, and every public interest is better served. If you have a man who performs the duties of that office alone, he lacks the elasticity, or, shall I say, the generosity, of mind which comes from private practice which brings a man into contact with all types. I would ask Labour Members to remember the class of our population who come under the purview of procurators fiscal. They are not the class who are likely to be very helpful clients of private practitioners, and there is therefore no clash of private public interest. They belong to the class who require that the procurator fiscal be a man who is not narrow, who is not hard, but who, if he errs at all, is indulgent. Therefore, in the interests of the accused person, I think it would be desirable if we had many of these appointments part-time appointments. There would then be a restriction of expenditure which perhaps would meet the Treasury point.
I think it right to say that the procurators fiscal, while anxious in Committee 415 or otherwise to devise ways and means whereby what they believe to be the spirit of the Blackburn Report may have more favourable expression, make it quite clear that they do not wish on any account to lose this Bill, and I believe that is still more the feeling of the sheriff clerks of Scotland. There is one point in the Bill, however, to which I would ask the attention of the Secretary of State for Scotland, and that is the part dealing with workmen's compensation. At the present time in Scotland no fee is charged for the memorandum in compensation cases. Now the memorandum, instead of being recorded, has simply to be noted. Exemption from fees is to be wiped out under Clause 15 of the Bill. It may be argued, "Oh, yes, but this fee will be paid by the employer." Will it, indeed? Clearly not. Take the mining industry in particular, where you balance up the cost for the industry to discover the balance available for distribution. Obviously any extra burden put on the industry will ultimately rest upon the miners, the workers. If in the past there was no occasion to charge a fee for recording, that is for writing out the memorandum, there is less occasion to charge a fee when you simply initial it or note it.
I gather from the last speaker that the Treasury arc the villains of the piece. It is enough that they have treated in a very parsimonius fashion the procurators fiscal. There is no reason why we should encourage them still more by sanctioning a fee which will ultimately fall upon the workers. For these reasons I hope that the Secretary of State for Scotland in Committee will consider with a fair degree of favour any Amendment which seeks to get rid of this proposal of the Bill. Reverting to the treatment of fiscals and sheriff clerks I would say that I quite understand how anxious the Secretary for Scotland has been to meet all parties in this matter. If he decides, with a united effort on the part of all the Scottish Members, irrespective of party, to bring this Bill a little more into line with what I believe are his own feelings, I think Members on all sides of the House will give him the necessary support.
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
The Secretary of State for Scotland has stated that he is compelled to stand by the Bill as it is. I hope he will withdraw from that position. I did not regard his statement as a threat, because when he finds the whole House, irrespective of party, adopting the attitude which has been adopted by the two last speakers, he will probably make one more endeavour to consider the very important cases which have been presented to him. There is no doubt that this subject is a. very thorny one. There have been reports and commissions about the sheriff clerks of Scotland for many years, and in this House not long ago a Bill was introduced. I believe there was some discussion upon it. My own view is that the present Bill is not a bit better than that which was introduced two or three years ago. I am glad that my right hon. Friend the Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. W. Graham) has pointed out that the Bill does in crease the prospects of the younger men in the service. I must frankly confess that, taking the Bill as a whole, it is a. good Bill, and one of the best things in it is that it foreshadows a re-organisation which in the long run will be of enormous benefit to the service in Scotland as a whole. But a man's heart would need to be adamant if it did not melt before the appeal which has been made from all the Members for Scotland on behalf of the older officials who have been so long connected with this service.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Central Edinburgh drew attention to the fact that the Sheriff Court fees recently were increased by a very large amount, and he went on to say that there was a good deal of controversy as to the reason for that increase. Rightly or wrongly I maintain that there was a distinct understanding that when these fees were increased the salaries and position of all the officials concerned would be taken into consideration. I may be right or wrong, but that is the general view of all the Sheriff Court officials whom I have come across. There is no doubt at all that the Treasury have accumulated a very large amount of money from that source. It stands to reason that the men to whom promises of "chat kind were justly or unjustly held out should look to the Treasury and the Government now for an implementing of the promises. So 417 far as I can make out, the Clause which causes most difficulty in the minds of Members of the House is Clause 7. What is the proposal in that Clause? As my right hon. Friend the Member for Central Edinburgh and the last speaker pointed out, there is in many cases a manifest injustice done to the older servants of the Sheriff Courts of Scotland. No respectable or decent business firm of any sort would ever treat old servants who have gone grey in the service in the same way as the Government propose to treat these old men. There is no equitable pension or compensation for them on retirement. They are subject to bureaucratic treatment, and they are entirely dependent for dates and ages to be arbitrarily selected by the Government; that is to say, they will be compelled to retire at a time when they are still fit to do work, and they do not in any way get compensation for the length of service which they have performed in the past.
Let me take two cases. One is that of an officer of the age of 68. He is very well known, I am sure, to my right hon. Friend and to his colleague on the Front Bench. He is one of the most respected men in the north of Scotland. He has been 50 years in the service of the Court as an official. He has educated his family. His eldest son was killed in the War. He is compelled to retire now, when he cannot possibly have provided against old age. At one time he was, as my right hon. Friend may know, a procurator fiscal in one of the islands off the West Coast of Scotland. He received the appointment on promotion to be Sheriff Clerk of a well known county in the North. That appointment on promotion meant that he got £100 more than he had been getting as Procurator Fiscal in the outer Islands, but when he arrived at Inverness, he was told that there was ft Clause, of which he had never heard, in his agreement as follows:Provided always that in the event of any Regulation being hereafter made requiring that the office of sheriff clerk shall become vacant on the holder attaining the age of 70, this appointment shall be held to be made subject to such conditions, without claim to compensation.He is not getting compensation of any kind. He could not out of his salary make any provision for the old age which is now upon him and for the years of retirement which are imminent. Take another 418 case. There are two very able men in. one office that I know very well in the North of Scotland. Both of them have seen 27 years' service. Yet they are credited under this Bill with only eight years' service. If they retire at 65 their pension would not be sufficient to pay their insurance premiums or their rent, still less to enable them to remain in retirement in any comfortable position at all. These cases obviously require looking into, and I strongly support the appeal which has been made by the right hon. Member for Central Edinburgh and the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Kidd). It is quite clear, therefore, that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland must realise that there arc hardships under this Bill, however good the Bill may be. His best and his only duty would be to consider whether, at the eleventh hour, men of the type I have mentioned, who have served the State long and ably, should not be offered some form of equitable compensation or a sufficient pension, or a longer period of back service. The points could be met by a little administrative effort without in any way touching the Bill.
There is one other point. There are a great many men, the higher officials of the Court, who come under the Bill and are satisfied with the Bill, but I have received more than one protest from them on behalf of the subordinates of the Sheriff Court. They maintain that the same privilege should be granted to these subordinates of contracting out of the provisions of the Bill as are given to sheriff clerks and Fiscals. I do not think I can discuss those points at any greater length, but I would heartily join in the appeal which has been made and made in good faith with every desire to-assist the Secretary for Scotland. We quite realise the position in which he is placed and his anxiety to get the Bill through. He has been practically forced to produce a Bill. This is the Bill, and it fails in two or three most important particulars. I believe that the failures could be remedied, if not in the Bill, then by administrative effort, and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will make a strong and urgent appeal on behalf of those old servants of the State who in their old age have nothing to look forward to but a very miserable pittance 419 which no great and decent industrial firm would ever allow any of its older employés to exist upon.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
I concur in the statements which have just been made by my right hon. Friend. I cannot understand why it is that when we come to deal with old people who are not going to be very long alive and who may need a little comfort in their declining years, we should be so hard on them. We did the same thing with the old teachers. It is only the rising generation, those who are young and have strength, who have the benefit. All the teaching that we got was that the old bodies who were getting near their end should have a little comfort in their old age. I am not blaming the Scottish Office. This charging of fees to litigants is a monstrous business. Justice ought not to be bought or sold. It reminds one of Oriental places, where each side on going to the Judge brings presents to him, and those with the larger presents think they are most likely to get justice. It is entirely wrong. The Geddes Committee, who were responsible for the alteration of the fees, in the Courts of Scotland until they were doubled and trebled, was wrong. Fancy the Court of Session charging 10s. an hour while counsel is speaking, as if he were a taxicab.
They seemed to think that the Courts of Justice are like a bacon factory and ought to be made self-supporting. The whole conception is wrong and what is the result? The result is that those classes of the community who want justice done, and who are above the scale of poverty which gives them the right to go to the beneficent Poor Law established by James I, cannot find the money even for the Court dues or the solicitors have to find it for them. When the solicitors feel that they are going to be substantially out of pocket for Court dues—for Courts of Justice, which ought to be open and free to all His Majesty's lieges—then the insurance company, which, in most of these cases, is the real defendant goes to the solicitor for the pursuer or plaintiff and a comparatively small offer is made to the client. I know, because I have acted on both sides and such an offer, however inadequate, is quite tempting if there is also an offer 420 to pay the costs and the extra-judicial costs of the plaintiff. But the poor man is not getting justice. That is what happens as a result of these heavy dues, which are a burden and which often result in a position in which justice is not done between the parties. The idea that the Courts ought to be made self-supporting is utterly wrong. It is depriving His Majesty's lieges of free access to His Majesty's Courts and there is nothing more likely to lead to social dissatisfaction and class dissatisfaction than that His Majesty's Courts should not be open to the humblest of His Majesty's subjects at a minimum cost or no cost at all. I do not understand how the false view arose that these fees should be charged. There is no doubt, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Macpherson) said, that when these fees were raised the idea was not so much to make the Courts pay their own expenses as to provide these particular clerks with some;-amelioration of their let. They were always badly paid. I come, however, to one provision which is more important even than the question £S. d. Subsection (2) of Clause 1 contains these words:The right of appointing to and removing from the office of procurator fiscal shall be vested in the Lord Advocate.The procurator fiscal is, in his own district, just as important in the administration of justice as the Lord Advocate is in Scotland generally. There is no person who holds the lives and characters of his fellow-citizens more in the hollow of his hand than the procurator fiscal. He is in a sense a quasi-judicial person, because it is with him that complaints and informations are lodged, and he has it in his power to make or mar the reputation of every citizen in his locality. One of the features of our judicial system is that our judges are absolutely independent and are not in any way liable to be influenced by the Executive or any member of the Executive: and they can only be removed by a petition of both Houses of Parliament to His Majesty. Nobody would claim for the procurators fiscal an immunity to that extent, but they should have their present immunity. It is quite right that the appointment should be in the hands of the Lord Advocate.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
Quite right. Somebody must do it, and the Lord Advocate is quite the best man to make the appointment. But once the man is appointed, once he is in the saddle and in the execution of his duty, we should remember that he is acting in a semi-judicial fashion—administratively, of course—and he should continue to have the protection which he has at present. ft is possible to visualise a state of affairs where political or other ideas might creep into the heads of those who were discharging these grave and important functions, and there might even be the possibility of such a thing as political pressure. [HON. MEMBERS: "There has been."]
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
We do not want anything of that kind, and therefore I say the present system ought to continue. I am influenced by what the Secretary of State for Scotland has said as to the desire of all parties in this matter, even though the right hon. Gentleman may have been coerced by the Treasury into bringing in this Bill. I say, however, that the way in which this question has been treated, the pressure that has been put upon the Secretary of State for Scotland, is most unfair, and on behalf of all those citizens of Scotland who have had necessity for the services of the sheriff clerks and the other officials who may come within the purview of the Bill, I must protest against the shabby way in which these officials have been treated, and when this Bill reaches Committee there are one or two points which it will be my business to raise.
§ Mr. BARR
I cannot speak with the inside knowledge of my hon. and learned Friend who has just eat down, but there are some points which I wish to emphasise,, although they have been, in part, already stated. First, there is the case of the sheriff court clerks and the like who are to be outside the scope of the Bill. I think we shall be obliged to admit that in connection with a Measure of this kind it may not be possible to do quite so much for those men who have only now come under the consideration of the House, as it is 422 possible to do in the case of those younger men who in various ways acquire the recognised right to retiring allowances. But I must say I know some of these men who are ruled to be outside the scope of the Measure. They have given important and meritorious service; they have had multifarious duties; many of them have been poorly paid, and it is the duty of the Government, in initiating this scheme, to see that these men are not cast adrift with practically no provision whatever for old age. There is a certain provision here that the Treasury may give something,, by way of compensation, to a man who is obliged to retire on the point of age. He may be given not more than two years' salary. If he does not go out in that way,, if he resolves to continue, the Bill does not make it quite clear whether he will be entitled to anything at all or not. In certain cases he may get a compassionate gratuity, but that would be a very small sum. In such a case there is great hardship. It is quite true, as has been pointed out, that some of these men were obliged, sometimes without their own knowledge, to come in under the condition that they were to have no retiring allowance at all; but that does not alter the fact that the Government in a Bill of this kind ought to make provision for dealing with these men in a worthy way. The very fact that they have been dealt with in such an unworthy way in the past is all the more reason why they should have more favourable consideration in connection with the launching of this scheme.
The other case to which I wish to refer is the case of men who have given long service but who are still within the scope of the Bill. There are many ways of rectifying the injustice which is done to them. As I understand the scheme, there would be a certain fraction which would determine the amount to be received. It might be a fraction of 17–80ths of the former salary. I think any provision of that kind is quite inadequate and the Government ought to find ways and means of improving it either by giving them a start of a certain number of years, or by allowing men in certain cases to continue beyond the retiring limit, or by a subvention from these fees which are available and from the moneys now in the hands of the Government. It should be possible to deal more worthily with men of this class who are just near the 423 borderline, who are within the Bill but who are to receive such scant consideration. Reference has been made to this as an agreed Measure. I know some of the sheriff court clerks who are consenting parties to it and I must say that theirs is a most reluctant consent. They are more inclined to look at their grievances but they think they can get nothing better. That is their idea of the Government. They think this is the best they can possibly get and, judging the Government by that standard, they accept the inevitable and say that if the younger men get anything at all they should not stand in the way of the younger men. Some of these men have said to me that they wished a bold effort could be made to secure more worthy treatment for those who are in the Bill. On the matter of agreement, I dare say all Members of the House have received certain communications. I find, for example, that the Faculty of Procurators of Inverness have passed a unanimous resolution disapproving of the Bill and more particularly of Clause 7, and the probable effect thereof on old officials, and they point out some grievous defects and great injustices in the Measure. I do not think the fact of this being, in a forced kind of way, an agreed Measure should weigh too greatly with us. While I think there arc many good points in the Measure and that it is something to have these men recognised as civil servants, I would not be so sorry as some, if the Secretary of State for Scotland, failing to rectify its defects, were oh liged to carry out his seeming threat and hold over this Measure. I would rather see it held over and have more worthy conditions, than see it pass in its present form.
§ Mr. T. JOHNSTON
The chief argument used when the Secretary for Scotland was made Secretary of State for Scotland was that the right hon. Gentleman would have greater influence, power and standing in the Government to fight for Scottish rights, than he had previously. Previous occupants of the office attempted to justify themselves for the timidity with which they defended Scottish interests among their colleagues on the ground that they had not the status of their colleagues. For the first time we have a Secretary of State for Scotland and he comes here with a proposal which 424 nobody defends, which he does not defend himself. He proposes a financial arrangement which would snock and shame a group of Polish Jews. The right hon. Gentleman says this is an agreed Measure. Is it? As a matter of fact, the Procurators Fiscal Association decided, by a bare majority of one, under force majeure, to support the Bill. It-was a case of "You must take this or nothing," and the Procurators Fiscal Association resolution was not to support the Bill, but only not to oppose it. The Sheriff Court Officials Staffs Association had a vote on it, and certainly they had a larger majority, and the Sheriff Clerks Association approved the Bill.
What is the amount of money at stake here? A bagatelle. Surely, when we are dealing with legal officers who get salaries up to £10,000, and a chance, it is a bagatelle. These people never had a chance. I agree with the hon. and learned Member for Argyll (Mr. Macquisten). Here are old men who have served 30, 40, and even 50 years, with miserably small salaries and no chance of extras, no outside emoluments, coming along in the evening of their days and being told that they may get a gratuity or a pension which would run from 15s. to about 80s. a week. This is being done in a legal system where you have got highly paid officers who draw £7,000 and extras. where, in the higher reaches of the profession, there are any number of plums, and where we have had it suggested by the present Government that the Secretary of State for Scotland is insufficiently paid at £2,000 a year. He is afraid, he is unable, to stand up to his colleagues and tell them that Scottish interests are not going to be treated like this any longer. that his appointment as Secretary of State meant that our interests in future were going to be seriously regarded, and that a decent, honourable class, who have served the country well. are not going to be treated with contempt as this Bill treats a small number of them.
I do not object to (he Bill as a whole. There are large parts of it which, I think, can be generally agreed to. but what possesses the Secretary of State for Scotland, the Lord Advocate and the Solicitor-General? I venture to say that they would not do this in their private life. There is not one of these three hon. and 425 right hon. Gentlemen decorating that Government Bench now who, in his private capacity, would do this by a footman or a clerk. They would not do it with anybody who had ever been in personal relationships with them, and simply because the Secretary of State for Scotland has not the courage to stand up in the Cabinet and say: "Unless you do justice to Scotland, there is my job; get somebody else to do your dirty work," the House this afternoon is being asked to pass this miserable and contemptible Bill. I trust that Members on all sides of the House will go into the Division Lobby against it, and we will give them a hot time in the Scottish Standing Committee. If they can crush this thing through this House with the aid of English Members, they cannot do it with Scotsmen.
§ Mr. JAMES BROWN
I think it is right that the voice of every part of Scotland should be heard in a case of this kind. I cannot bring forward any new arguments, but there is still the argument of justice that remains, and I am hoping that every Scottish Member will go into the Lobby to emphasise the scorn that every one of them has for a Measure of this kind—not the whole Measure, but the parts of it about which my hon. Friends have been talking. It is not an agreement. Nobody can ever say that anything is an agreement when it must be accepted lest worse befall, and that is really what has happened here. The old arguments remain. We have seen nothing to controvert the letter that was written to the "Glasgow Herald" last year, giving the whole lists of the money drawn from increased fees, and the idea certainly was that that money was to go to the assistance of the procurators fiscal and sheriff clerks, but nothing has been done at all in that way. As the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Johnston) has said, not one of those Gentlemen on the Government Bench would do this in his own private capacity, and why should Scottish Law Officers of the Crown deal more stingily with their own brothers in Scotland than they would do even in their own private capacity or than the English Law Officers of the Crown would deal with any of the officials under them? For the life of me, I cannot see why this thing has been done at all. The sum of money required to give ample justice is 426 a very small sum indeed. It would not require a great deal and if the Measure is a good Measure, as I believe it is in many parts, why make it a bad Measure for this little thing? I trust that both the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Lord Advocate will try even yet to give a little measure of justice to these older servants.
The hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Kidd) thought that relief might be found by making this a part-time job, but I can fancy any of our procurators fiscal in our bigger cities and counties making this a part-time job. The result would be delegated duties. They would delegate the duties for which they are appointed, and the work would not be done properly at all. There is no relief that way, and there is no relief required. I am glad that this has been moved out of the range of political rancour to-day, and I am glad to hear every Member, whether Unionist, Labour, or Liberal, raising his voice on behalf of those men who have served our country so well, and who are now to be left, in their old age, at the mercy of whatever little pittance may come to them from this gratuity that seems to be offered. I trust that even now we shall do something, and that the Lord Advocate, when he replies, will indicate that he and his right hon. Friend are willing to do something, to alleviate the real distress into which many of these old servants will fall. The right hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Macpher-son) has cited a case of which most of us have heard, and that case might be multiplied, possibly could be, but even if it were only that one case, I think it deserves the attention of the Secretary of State for Scotland, the Lord Advocate, and the Solicitor-General, so as to get justice for these valued servants of Scotland. I wanted not to give a silent vote, but to show that Ayrshire at least is along with Ross and Cromarty, Argyllshire, Edinburgh, Dundee, and all the other towns and counties in Scotland in demanding justice for those officials.
§ Mr. J. STEWART
I, like the other Members who have spoken, and those, I think, who have not spoken, feel that an injustice is being done to the small number of people who are left out with the provisions of this Bill. When I say "left 427 Out with," I mean so far as superannuation is concerned. It would be very good indeed this afternoon, and I think would meet with the approbation of every Scots Member in this House, if the Lord Advocate, in his reply, would indicate some favourable response to the unanimous feeling expressed and, I think, still further the unanimous feeling that has not found expression, for I am bound to believe that, if there were any Members in the House who supported the Secretary of State for Scotland in his action, they would have got up and expressed it, but so far not one has done so or indicated any desire to do so. It may be that they do not like or care to add to the burden of the song that we have heard here this afternoon. The amount that must be involved beyond the amount indicated in the Memorandum cannot be very large to add to that gross sum, and it would be easy for us to find. The country is not so very poor yet; it does not require to make such infinitesimal economies as this must amount to, to give a modicum of justice to the men whose case we are considering.
I think I am expressing the opinion of all the Glasgow Members when I say that we would rather that justice should be done in this particular matter. In Glasgow, up to some time ago, we gave grants to our people who left our service without having any form of superannuation. We decided some few years ago that we would do away with that unsatisfactory state of affairs and make a superannuation allowance to all of those who were then in our employment. There were something like 22,000 people altogether involved. In this case, I dare say you will not have many more than twice 22 at the outside. We decided to give all the men who were 50 years of age and over half of what they would otherwise have got at the retiring age of 65. They would, instead of getting 40/60ths, get 30/60ths, a half of their pay on the average for the last three years. If the Corporation of Glasgow was able to do that, surely to goodness the Scottish Office is in a position to do something similar. The amount of money that is involved cannot be a very great one, and such action would meet with the approbation of all our citizens, without regard to politics.
428 I have not heard a single hon. Member or a single citizen, in private conversation, who has not denounced the idea that underlies this Bill, and I should be very glad indeed, and so would every Scots Member of this House, if the Lord Advocate, when making his reply, would indicate that he will consider this matter more fully when the matter goes upstairs and the Government hear, as I believe they will, from ail sides of the Committee, an expression in favour of a more developed policy than that now before us. I will not repeat the arguments that have been used by all my hon. Friends. There is the admitted fact that the Constable Committee or the Black Committee did indicate that these extra charges were to be used to pay allowances to these men. Let us do it. I would beg the Lord Advocate, on behalf of all Scots feeling, to give way in this matter and allow the thing to be done in a way that will excite the admiration of our people, and not their contempt.
§ Sir HARRY HOPE
I desire, in a very few words, to appeal to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland to make one other attempt with the Treasury to get a little better treatment. for our Scottish folk. The feature of this Debate has been the general and perhaps unanimous expression of opinion in favour of a rather better and more just treatment to be given to these officials of our judicial system. I think that, unless some heed is given to that general expression of opinion, this legislation will get a very bad start, and, without saying another word, I would appeal to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland to go to the Treasury and say that the Scottish Members, irrespective of party, have asked him to make an earnest appeal for better treatment for the men who are engaged in the administration of the legal system in Scotland.
§ Mr. SCRYMGEOUR
When we hear hon. Members on the other side making these representations to the Secretary of State for Scotland, we may say that hope is beginning to dawn. I feel strongly the case that has been made out for those old men who have done good service, and I feel that those men who have been engaged in meting out justice, in the way that justice is meted out in the 429 sphere of the Courts, will naturally expect to get their share of justice when their time comes. On the former occasion when we had this matter before us, representations were made to me on the score that something better ought to be done before the adjustment is made. Now, however, I have no representations on that score, but rather a statement which I have received from the sheriff clerk of Dundee. He says that the Bill is a result of negotiations which have taken place between the interests concerned and the representatives of the Government, and that, although the former do not secure by any means all they are asking, yet the terms now embodied in the Bill represent an agreed settlement which is approved by the Sheriff Clerks Association, with one dissentient, by the Sheriff Court Officials Association on a vote of 86 to 5"and the Procurators Fiscal Association have decided by a bare majority not to oppose the Bill. He says the great majority of the interests concerned throughout Scotland will benefit substantially by the passing of the Bill, and they are very anxious that nothing should be done to impede its progress. Its effects, he says, are well illustrated by the fact that nine-tenths of the staff of the sheriff clerk's office for Dundee, Forfarshire and Arbroath will benefit substantially by the Bill.
It has been said that those who have cast a vote in favour of the Bill have been compelled by a sort of force majeure by those who are superior to them in office. I should be sorry to think that Scotsmen have sunk so low as to be capable of doing so, and I would be very sorry to think that any such men would be found in the constituency the representation of which I share. If the bargain in the Bill is something like that of the Polish Jew, we would expect a Dundee man to stand up against it very emphatically, and I would express myself as disappointed in not having had representations on the score of a Polish Jew agreement. The statement which was made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. W. Graham) gave a very clear idea of what is likely to happen in regard to the settlement which is made in favour of the younger men. It may be out of proportion to what we would reasonably expect should be given to men of 430 advanced years and of substantial service; but I do not want,, on the other hand, to be identified with the possibility of endangering the Bill. 1 did not like the Secretary of State making that announcement at the very outset, but it would be a very great pity, after all these negotiations and the substantial benefits that are to be derived, if the Bill were endangered. In this case, I think half a loaf is better than no bread. But we are going to ask that the representations which have been made to the Front Bench will be favourably considered; that, even at this late stage, some business-like proposition may be fairly considered between all parties, and that if at all possible we will secure some further advantages to those people whom I have mentioned.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I rise to associate myself with my colleagues who are opposing this Bill, and I would like to dissociate myself from those who have said that it would be a bad thing for the procurators-fiscal and the sheriff clerks if the Bill were defeated altogether. We have waited six years for this legislation; the men concerned have existed during that period, and I do not think they would be very much worse by a further delay while the Secretary of State and the Lord Advocate were endeavouring to frame legislation that would meet the necessities of the case. I want to dissociate myself also from those of my colleagues who have expressed high admiration for the men concerned in this Bill and the work they do. I know any number of more valuable-servants to the community who do just as important work and who have no security even for their weekly wage, let alone for their annual salary or their pension. I have been in the Courts, and I have seen some of these men at work. I have seen their attitude towards some of their less fortunate brethren who came before them to answer to rent eviction summonses or small debt summonses, and I could have wished that there had been a more humane and kindly attitude displayed. Therefore, I do not want to give a lot of praise to people whom I think could carry on their work more efficiently and at the same time in a much more humane way towards people who come within their jurisdiction. But, all these things having been said, I agree that it is grossly unfair that those lower-paid 431 servants of the judicial service in Scotland should be treated in such a grossly unfair fashion as compared with those who occupy the higher and more decorative positions in the Scottish judicial service.
Everyone knows that there are no harder working officials in the Courts than the sheriff clerks and the Court criers. The sheriff, the decorative person, comes in when some very knotty legal point has to be weighed in the balance, but normally, when it is 10s. and costs, the Court crier can usually manage without the sheriff at all. One has stood with amazement in sheriff Court, watching how the sheriff clerk and the crier between them run the whole show, calling the witnesses, hearing the plaintiff and the defendant, hearing counsel or solicitors on both sides, and giving judgment, and the sheriff never emerges from his easy-chair in his private room. I find in "Whit-taker's Almanack," which I presume is a fairly reliable publication, that the whole of the Scottish Law Courts, from the sheriff Courts up to the Court of Session, are dominated almost entirely by the Scottish Faculty of Advocates, a very close corporation to which admission is secured after passing a very trivial intellectual test, but after surmounting a very high financial barrier. Once you can surmount this financial barrier, and enter the inner circle, you find some three or four hundred men distributing practically among themselves, with the approval of the Lord Advocate, who, of course, is a member of the trade union, some 200 or 300 posts of greater or lesser value, and they have been doing this for many centuries.
Since the Union of the Parliaments in 1707, some six of them sit round a table in Edinburgh and divide among themselves posts ranging in value from £700 or £800 a year to £5,000 a year. The most honourable post of all is that of Lord President of the Court of Session, who gets £5,000 a year. The next on the list is Lord Blackburn, with, I find, £3,600 a year. He was Chairman of the Committee which issued the Report upon which this legislation that we are asked to consider is based. I do not know what the salary of the Lord Advocate is, but I assume it is not on a lower level than those of his professional brethren and 432 fellowtrade unionists whom I have quoted, and yet to-day he comes forward with his colleague, the Secretary of State for Scotland, to ask us to agree to a Measure which neither provides adequate salaries nor decent pensions nor retiring allowances. Yet the men who are being discussed under this Bill are doing the genuine, hard routine work of the Courts. The Courts could not go on without them. The Lord President of the Court of Session could not issue his pontifical judgments. The Sheriff could not sit in his private room, if these men were not there to handle all the preliminary work, and in some cases they carry the whole thing right through to the finish.
As my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee (Mr. Johnston) stated, the position solely arises through the fact that the Secretary of State for Scotland—and I am not merely applying this to the present holder of the office—seems so absolutely terrorised by the imposing English personality of the Cabinet, that he dare not go into that august body and ask for a small sum of money to pay public servants in Scotland. We have four representatives on the Front Bench —when there is room for them. They are usually pushed off. It is always the Scottish representatives who have to lean against the barrier at the end. There is no place on the Front Bench for them if their English colleagues want to be seated. That is exaetly what takes place in the Cabinet. The right hon. Gentleman will sit behind the others, and will say, "Please Mr. Prime Minister, may I have this small Bill? It will not cost any money. It is an agreed Measure; all the Members from the Clyde say they will not oppose it. Give us two hours on the day of the Derby, or the Lincolnshire, or the opening of the flat season—any day will do for Scottish business, but please let us have this little bit of miserable legislation." That describes it accurately.
A few months ago the right hon. Gentleman asked us to raise him from Secretary for Scotland to the dignified position of Secretary of State for Scotland, because that would give him more weight in the Cabinet. He would not ask for any increase in salary just now, but said, "Just raise our status and we will get some- 433 thing for Scotland in the Cabinet." And this is what he has got! The Lord Advocate must not scowl at me, because, as far as I know, he is not in a position to initiate a prosecution in this matter. Does he not see—do not we all see how very degrading this is to our country, and how it places us all in a most invidious position in this House? There is throughout the length and breadth of Scotland a very considerable demand for Scottish independence, for Scottish Home Rule. It is passive; it is quiet; it does not find an outlet in any rebellious way. It seems to me that the more loyal a nation is inside the Union of the British Commonwealth, the more passive it is, the more law-abiding, the more regularly it pays its taxes, the less consideration it receives in the British Imperial Parliament. I am disgusted at this Bill, and the one which follows it. Five solid years to get this subject brought forward at all, and when it is brought forward, such a miserable, poor thing! Not only do they bring forward this miserable Bill, but if there be any serious objection whatever to the Bill, it will be withdrawn altogether, and we shall get no Bill at all. Where is the tyranny which says we are to get nothing at all in that case? Where is this tremendous power about which we all tremble? It was the same in the last Parliamentary Session. A Bill came on late one night, and the Prime Minister himself started running about behind the Speaker's Chair, making arrangements to shut up the Opposition; otherwise the Bill would be withdrawn altogether. It is positively sickening, and I, for one, am not prepared to lie down under it. I can stand a certain amount of chaff, but sheer blackmail of this description I am prepared to protest against to the strongest possible way, particularly when it is not merely directed against myself, but against the city I represent in this House, and the country of which I am proud to be a citizen, and which, incidentally, I may say, is quite proud to have me as a citizen.
Not only do they come forward with this miserable Bill in this way to deal with this specific problem of the remuneration of sheriff clerks, procurators 434 fiscal, and other Court employés, but they insult us by coming forward, in Part II of the Bill, with "Miscellaneous Provisions," which have absolutely no organic connection with Part I. Imagine this sort of thing in a Bill for the remuneration of sheriff clerks and procurators fiscal:On an application to the sheriff or sheriff substitute under Section five of the Dogs Act, 1906, for consent to the grant of a certificate of exemption from duty in respect of a dog, there shall be chargeable such fee not exceeding one shilling, as may be prescribed by Act of Sederunt under the said Section, and the words in Sub-section (2) of the said Section from 'No fee' to the end of the Sub-section are hereby repealed.What is the answer to that point? Fancy any body of intelligent citizens — and there are three of the great minds of Scotland sitting on the Front Bench opposite—asking us to pass this Bill dealing with the salaries of sheriff clerks and procurators fiscal, and telling us that if we are to get it, we must also swallow this business about exemption from dog licences under the Dogs Act, 1906. Is it not too ridiculous? I have lived in Scotland for 41 years, and I have never heard of any trouble about this Dogs Act. There is another paragraph in these Miscellaneous Provisions:Paragraph 13 of the First Schedule to the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1925, in so far as it excludes from application to Scotland paragraph 12 of the said Schedule shall cease to have effect and accordingly in the said paragraph 13 the words from 'and in its application' to the end of the paragraph shall be repealed.Imagine any Englishman having to deal with that! The hon. Member opposite told us that the purpose of this was to impose a charge under Workmen's Compensation proceedings that does not at present exist. Is it fair to start tampering with this most important bit of workmen's compensation in Miscellaneous Provisions of this description? In the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1925, I find it is specifically laid down that no fees are to be charged. Paragraph 12 of the First Schedule says:No Court fee shall be payable by a workman in respect of any proceedings in a Court under this Act.Paragraph 13 says: —Paragraphs 3, 4, 6 (b) and 8 of this Schedule shall not apply to Scotland, and 435 in its application to Scotland this Schedule shall have effect as if for paragraph 12 the following paragraph were substituted:No Court fee shall be payable by any party in respect of any proceedings by or against a workman under this Act in the Court prior to the award, or for recording a memorandum of agreement under this Act.Imagine how very wrong it is for the right hon. Gentleman to come before this House and create the impression that this Bill is a matter of minor importance, that it is only of interest to a few Scottish Members; and yet he makes provision in it for upsetting the whole basis of workmen's compensation legislation not merely in Scotland, hut in England as well, because these provisions at once have repercussions in England. The only excuse brought forward is that if we treat these officers of the Sheriff Courts in Scotland in a half-reasonable way, it will upset all the arrangements made for County Court officials in England. And yet there is introduced under the heading "Miscellaneous Provisions," a scheme which is going to upset the whole balance of the Workmen's Compensation Act between England and Scotland.
There is another Clause which abolishes the necessity to record a memorandum in the special register under the Workmen's Compensation Act. Under these Miscellaneous Provisions, one now has merely to deposit a copy of the memorandum in the Sheriff Court. Presumably, under the Workmen's Compensation Act, the necessity for recording the memorandum in the books of the Court was regarded as a most important provision, and I want to know very definitely from the Lord Advocate how he proposes to keep a record of all the memoranda under the Workmen's Compensation Act which are deposited at the sheriff courts in the various parts of the country, if no entry is to be made in the records of the court. I do not know whether the right hon. and learned Gentleman has read a very able work produced by one of the most eminent members of the legal profession in Glasgow, namely, Dr. David Murray, dealing with the question of sheriff courts' records, in which he describes the report of a Committee which was set up to inquire into the printing of such records. It shows that in a number of sheriff courts there is no proper accommodation in which to keep important 436 documents of this kind. It shows that in some cases they have been moth-eaten and destroyed by damp and so on, and yet, under a Miscellaneous Provision, there is to be no record kept in the special register of a memorandum covering compensation for the workman, or, if he has been killed, for his widow and children. Their whole life and education may depend upon that one document. For some reason, so far not disclosed, the right hon. Gentleman seems to think there is no necessity to keep any record of those things. Even in a library a catalogue is necessary to find a particular book, and I should think that a catalogue would also be necessary in the case of important legal documents. I presume some argument can be made out for Clause 17, but frankly I am quite unable to see what it can possibly be. I would like to go back to Clause 16. among the Miscellaneous Provisions. That Clause seems to raise an important constitutional issue. It says:The Court of Session may from time to time by Act of Sederunt prescribe any form of procedure in the sheriff's ordinary or small debt Court or in proceedings for the confirmation of executors. or any other form required in connection with any duty devolving on a sheriff clerk, or the form of any register required to be kept by a sheriff clerk and the particulars to be entered therein, and where any such form as aforesaid is prescribed by any Act of Parliament the Court may, notwithstanding anything in such Act contained, in the exercise of the power hereinbefore conferred. alter or amend any such form or cancel the same and substitute another form there for. The foregoing provisions shall not extend to forms of procedure under the Summary Jurisdiction (Scotland) Acts.I want any English Members who happen accidentally to have strayed into the House to pay particular attention to this Clause. "Act of Sederunt" is a very imposing title. It creates the impression of an Act of Parliament—of responsible people representing the nation conferring together, of a First Heading, a Second Reading, a Committee stage, Report stage, Third Reading. then the proceedings in the House of Lords, the Royal Assent, and all the rest of it: but an Act of Sederunt, if my memory serves me rightly, is merely the act of half-a-dozen of the Judges of the Court of Session sitting round a table and deciding that they are going to do so and so. If the Lord Advocate would nod his head in assent to that description—
§ Mr. MAXTON
I shall be delighted to give way to the Lord Advocate if he will elucidate that somewhat cryptic shake of his head the wrong way.
§ Mr. MAXTON
Am I right in believing that an Act of Sederunt is the un-criticised, unreviewable decision of the Law Lords of Scotland, the Lords of Session, the Judges of the Court of Session? I have no doubt the right hon. and learned Gentleman holds the members of his own profession in much higher regard than I hold them, but is not an Act of Sederunt the work of a group of men, with no responsibility to Parliament, sitting down and making rules and regulations to govern judicial procedure in Scotland. That is all right as long as they are making a few minor regulations about the running of their own profession; but the right hon. and learned Gentleman asks this House to give to these relatively irresponsible persons the right not merely to pass Acts of Sederunt but to prescribe procedure in the Sheriff Court. It says:where any such form as aforesaid is prescribed by any Act of Parliament.they may, that is the Court of Session, by Act of Sederuntnotwithstanding anything in such Act contained …alter or amend any such form or cancel the same and substitute another form there for.Let us try to imagine where we are going. Here are this little bunch, sitting in Edinburgh, with the power to pass Acts which swept out of the road anything said in an Act of Parliament passed by the British Parliament. I do not know whether the right hon. and learned Gentleman has considered all the implications of that. [Interruption.] If it were Scottish Home Rule, as an hon. Member suggests, it would be all right; but it is not. It is syndicalism. The whole judicial system of Scotland is going to be directed and controlled by the workers in the industry. Moscow—crossed with Mussolini! The fact that it is the right hon. and learned Gentleman's own organisation does not make it any better in the eyes of the House, nor does it improve the position so far as Scotland is concerned.
438 I hope I have not tried your patience, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, or the patience of the House, in going into this Measure in some detail, and now that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury is on the Treasury Bench I would suggest, if the Scottish officers in the Government are not strong enough to hold their end up with the British Cabinet, that he, as one not in any way unfriendly to the Scottish nation, might try to strengthen their hands. Would he try to put a little fighting force into them; would he try to persuade the Secretary of State for Scotland that he is a Secretary of State, and that he does not need to walk apologetically into the Cabinet, but can stand there in a strong minded, independent way for a strong minded, independent country; and not ask us, the elected representatives of the Scottish people, to pass under threat, under a species of political blackmail, this olla podrida described as a Government Measure. I hope the Secretary of State will behave in common decency to the men who are primarily concerned in this Bill, the under-paid sheriff clerks of Scotland. It is shocking to think that the Sheriffs, the Judges of the Court of Session, have sat for all these years drawing handsome salaries; secured in every way against criticism, against dismissal, against possible poverty; secure in ill-health or in good health—that they have sat there drawing salaries ranging from £800 a year to £5,000 a year and have allowed their hardworking associates to be underpaid, to have practically no security of tenure, to have no provision for their old age. The Bill now brought forward makes a provision for the older people which means absolutely nothing but poor house conditions. That is what is being done by the Scottish Members of the British Government, and the House of Commons is expected to pass the Bill and agree that these men, who have served the country in a way that has been approved by all, should pass in old age to penury and want. The fact that it merely applies to Scotland would not justify any Members of the House in giving assent to any such miserable Measure.
§ Sir PATRICK FORD
I do not want to delay the Second Reading of this Bill but I confess to feeling some doubt over Clause 7. I am always rather alarmed 439 when I see a Financial Resolution on the Order Paper, because I am not quite sure how it will affect the Bill in Committee. I join entirely with those who have protested against the inadequate provisions made for the older members of the profession associated with the sheriff courts; but if I had an assurance that we could discuss that point in Committee, and have some adjustment made after the Financial Resolution had been passed, I would have no difficulty in agreeing to the Second Reading. Men experienced in the working of the sheriff courts, which are scattered over the country, have written to me time and again to say that the remuneration of these people is none too good, and that this suggestion about superannuation is really verging on a scandal. Certain classes of these men, who are men of experience and skill and trust, are going to be fobbed off with a sum that would bring them, if invested at 5 per cent., £60 a year as a pension. That is how I am. told it will work out. That state of things would not be tolerated in England, and I do not see why we should put up with it in Scotland. If that difficulty could be removed I would have no hesitation in voting for the Second Reading of the Bill; but unless some assurance of that kind is given, loath as I am to lose the rest of the Bill, I feel it would be hardly fair to sacrifice these people on the altar of the emoluments of others.
§ Sir JOHN GILMOUR
I think that at this stage it might be well to make it perfectly plain—-[HON. MEMBERS: "Order!"]
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I called on the hon. Member for the Springburn Division (Mr. Hardie) before the right hon. Gentleman rose. I do not know whether the hon. Member will give way.
§ Mr. HARDIE
I will not keep the House very long, but I have been waiting to make one point. When a Measure is passed in this House, a definite claim is always made about the sense of justice shown by the House. Where is the sense of justice in this Bill? The Secretary of State for Scotland has made a 440 threat to-day that he would withdraw this Bill if further opposition was offered to it, although we have pointed out that there is still a sense of injustice in it. What is the use of passing anything which contains an injustice? Is there any justice in threatening to withdraw the Bill instead of making some effort to remove the injustice? It has been hinted that the public are not interested in the sheriff clerks, but that is not true. I know that the poor people who have to consult these officials find that the sheriff clerks are their best friends, and they get all kinds of guidance and information from them free of charge. Were it not for these officials I do not knew where these poor people would be; therefore, the statement which has been made that these sheriff clerks are not liked is absolutely untrue.
The next point I want to make is that the Secretary of State for Scotland says that he is not opposing this suggestion, and the excuse he makes is that he cannot get the necessary money out of the Treasury. I am not asking him to do that to meet the claims we are making. I am simply asking the right hon. Gentleman to use some of the grants which have been made for this purpose in past years. Has that money gone back to the Treasury, and is it a case of more money going from Scotland to help to make good the deficit in the present Budget? We are not asking anything from England, but we do want some of our own money back, I hope: the Lord Advocate will say where all that money which was granted for this purpose has gone. There is always a tendency to rush Bills dealing with Scotland, but. I shall always oppose any Bills which are put forward by any Ministers who use threats of this description, because no Minister has any right to use threats in the House of Commons.
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
I beg to move, "That the Debate be now adjourned."
I think I may be perfectly clear to the House, and I hope sufficiently clear when I introduce this Bill, and undoubtedly to those who are concerned with this particular Measure, that unless it was accepted in the main as an agreed Measure I would not proceed with the 441 Bill. Let me remind the House arising out of the discussion last year that I received a communication from the right hon. Gertleman the Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. W. Graham) just a year ago. I replied to the right hon. Gentleman's letter in the plainest and most explicit terms, and I made it abundantly clear that I could not proceed with this Measure or take any further steps unless there was a large measure of agreement. Here is the; letter which is dated the 10th March, 1926:As there is absolutely no prospect of any further concessions on the main point of controversy, namely, the pension terms for existing officers, I cannot entertain any proposal far further discussion on that aspect of the question, nor do I think. having regard to the previous history of the negotiations, that there is any further kind of concessions which would be open to the officers concerned to press or to the Government to accept. In all these circumstances it is not easy to see that another deputation would serve any useful purpose.Following upon that letter the matter was remitted to all the responsible people who were concerned with this problem, and it was quite plain that there could be no dubiety on this subject. In reply I have the assurance that the Procurators Fiscal Association on the 9th October last passed a resolution at a meeting by a majority of one vote to discontinue Parliamentary opposition on certain conditions, which have been the subject of further correspondence. I have another letter dated 21st March intimating that the Committee of the Association have considered the Bill, and stating thatin their opinion it implements the various assurances given to us by the Secretary for Scotland. and therefore the decision of the Association to discontinue Parliamentary opposition remains in force.The Sheriff Clerks' Association through their Secretary wrote on the 21st February last as follows:On behalf of the Sheriff Clerks' Association I now beg to state that if the Bill is reintroduced, no Amendments will be moved on their behalf.Then the Sheriffs Courts Officials' Association through their president wrote on the 17th February as follows:I can therefore give the assurance required that the Bill will be treated in all its stages as an unopposed Measure, and that no Amendments will be moved on behalf of the Sheriff Courts Officials Association.442 The Civil Service Confederation (for Commissary Office Staff) through their secretary wrote:You may take it that no opposition to the new Bill, as presented, will be forthcoming from this Confederation.In view of these plain facts, and in view of the fact that I made it clear to the House on the last occasion we discussed this question that I would not reintroduce this Measure unless I received that assurance, I am constrained to say that I am surprised to find, in view of the knowledge which all hon. Members have of the difficulties and intricacies of this controversy proceeding over a period of years from more than one quarter of the House, a desire to get an assurance from me that this matter will be reopened or that it will be reconsidered in Committee. For these reasons, I must make it abundantly plain that that is not the case.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
On a point of Order. I would like to ask if it is in order for a right hon. Member of this House to move the adjournment of the Debate on his own Motion.
§ Mr. GRAHAM
There is now a new Motion before the House, and I think I am in order in speaking again. I will deal with this question very briefly in view of the facts which the Secretary of State for Scotland has submitted. It is perfectly true that the letter to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred was addressed to me on the date stated, and that after that time further negotiations took place with the representatives of certain organisations in Scotland. It is also not disputed from this side of the House that the letters sent on their behalf which the Secretary of State for Scotland has read were sent by those organisations, and that they represent a majority in favour of withdrawing opposition to this Bill. All that is perfectly true. I also acknowledge that it is important that the facts should be placed on record, and that on a previous occasion the Secretary of State for Scotland has made it plain that unless there is substantial agreement he would wash his hands of the whole 443 proposal, and we should get no Bill at all. We have already indicated that we should consider that a most deplorable result.
I want to make our position perfectly clear. I have no desire to embarrass the right hon. Gentleman because I want to help him, and so do my colleagues, but up to the present it is a remarkable fact that no hon. Member, who has spoken from any part of the House, has had a good work to say for this Measure, so far as the hardship inflicted upon the older officials is concerned. We have no desire to wreck the Bill, but we do appeal to the Government, even at the eleventh hour, to meet us at a round-table conference to discuss the financial effects of the White Paper, which I do not think the right hon. Gentleman will deny is an important matter for which we believe the Government can make provision without any injury to the main structure of the scheme. If there is the slightest chance at the eleventh hour of accomplishing this object I think it is worth while for us to make an effort in that direction rather than allow these men to retire on a pension—in some cases of about 30s. a week—which is quite inadequate. Under these circumstances, I am surprised that the Secretary of State for Scotland should move the adjournment of the Debate. If I may make a suggestion, it is that the right hon. Gentleman should rise in his place, and in order to remove all possible doubt, say, "We will meet you in this matter. Let us come to terms on this question and that will be the end of the matter." I do not want to be put in the position when I go before these men of having to say, "There was one last effort which might be tried, but we did not do our best to make that effort."
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
Is it quite clear that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. W. Graham) is putting to me exactly the same question which he put to me a year ago, when I made it abundantly clear that there was nothing to be gained by having a conference or receiving a deputation. It was in recognition of that fundamental fact that those meetings, to which I have referred, took place with 444 those concerned. A year has elapsed and there are no new faces. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Edinburgh seems to indicate that this is a question, more or less, of money, but it is really a fundamental principle of the whole machinery of the Civil Service and the conditions of the Civil Service, and the right hon. Gentleman is well aware of those conditions. Under these circumstances, I do not think it is fair to the House or to myself not to make it clear that the fundamental position laid down a year ago, and the circumstances under which these people have accepted that arrangement on behalf of their associations, should not be interfered with Under these conditions, I feel constrained to say that I think the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends must realise that they cannot have it both ways, and that, if they desire to have this Bill, the only way in which they can have it is by accepting the position of those who have spoken on behalf of these associations.
I hesitate to intervene once again in this Debate, but I am not quite sure whether my right hon. Friend proposes to withdraw the Bill now or not.
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
He does. From the nod of his head, I understand that he proposes to withdraw this Bill. I have listened to this Debate with very great care, and I think my right hon. Friend will remember the attitude that I took on the Bill. I endorsed the appeal that was made. I said, first of all, that this was a Bill in the nature of a compromise. forced upon the Secretary of State for Scotland and upon the poor officials who are now demanding, at the eleventh hour, a mere semblance of justice in regard to their claim. I mace it plain, speaking as representing my party, that I reinforced the appeal made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. W. Graham). I understood from his speech—naturally, I had nothing to do with the Amendment that is on the Paper—that, although the Bill was a bad Bill, he was prepared to support it, and that he hoped the appeal which he was making at the eleventh hour to the Secretary of State and his col- 445 leagues would be listened to. I have no knowledge at all of the letters which have passed between my two right hon. Friends. They are news to me; I never heard of them before; and in all the letters which I have got dealing with this Bill there has been no mention of any arrangement of any sort or kind. It is just another instance of how difficult it is when the Front Benches on both sides of the House make arrangements of that kind, of which the ordinary back bencher has no knowledge.
§ Mr. W. GRAHAM
May I make it plain to my right hon. Friend that there was no arrangement of the character he suggests? There was an interchange of correspondence, as the Secretary of State for Scotland has indicated, but only a few days ago the right hon. Gentleman had had no decision from these associations. That is an entirely new matter for the purposes of this Debate.
§ Me. MACPHERSON
I apologise to my two right hon. Friends. I did not quite realise that it was purely a matter of correspondence; I thought, from the nature of the case, that an arrangement had been made between the two Front Benches. In any case, I would appeal to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to remember that this was a Second Beading Debate, and that on such occasions men very often vote against the Second Reading of a Bill who intend to improve it in Committee; and at this stage, after only two hours of discussion, my right hon. Friend now gets up and practically, as he told me just now by nodding his head, withdraws the Bill. I do not think that that is—I was going to say quite fair, but my right hon. Friend will understand the meaning—I do not think it is quite fair to the House or to the officials concerned. I believe, myself, that the reorganisation of the service would be an immense advantage to the rising men in that service, and that in the future it will be a great service under the provisions of this Bill.
What I stood up to assert—I went no further—was the right of men who had been 50 years in a service to be considered by His Majesty's Government in the same way in which any decent, respectable firm would consider old workmen in their service. I adduced two or three cases of extreme hardship, and they were 446 mentioned several times by succeeding speakers; and what I got up to do, and what I do now at the eleventh hour again, is to ask my right hon. Friend, in the interests of these men, in the interests of the service as a whole, to reconsider the position, and to remember that it is not quite fair, either to these men or to the House, to withdraw a Bill on the Second Reading stage before the discussion has been completed. [Interruption.] I did not quite catch the remark of my right hon. Friend the Patronage Secretary. [Interruption.] If that be the attitude of the Government, with all its force behind it, it is no use my making any further appeal, but I regret that that should be the attitude of the Government, for my right hon. Friend on the Front Bench knows perfectly well that it is the right of Members above the Gangway, or in any other part of the House, to protest against a Bill, to protest against particular Glauses of the Bill, and to vote against the Bill because of those Clauses, reserving to themselves, however, the right in Committee to try to amend the Bill. I feel sure that that was the attitude of Members in all sections and parties of the House in discussing this Bill, and I am assured by hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway that in the course of their speeches they said so.
I, therefore, think that the Government would be well advised, in view of the situation which has arisen, not to withdraw the Bill at this juncture. Let them try the Bill in Committee. Let the House in Committee seriously settle down to attempt to solve the very difficult and abstruse problems that are involved. When my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State says that he cannot depart from a certain arrangement made in that correspondence, I did not understand from his speech that he meant, nor did I understand from the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Central Edinburgh that he meant that there would be no opportunity for the Government to administer some of the reforms for which I was pressing. I am perfectly certain that it is within the scope of Government administration to look after the rights of these old men for whom we have been pleading. I do not mean in any way— and I am speaking for many other Members of this House—to interfere with the passage of the Bill as it stands, but I im- 447 plore my right hon. Friend, and I am joined in my appeal by a great many Members, at the eleventh hour to try to do something for these old servants of the State. Servants who had been in the employ of private individuals, who had been in the employ of my right hon. Friend himself, would have had in the evening of their days a competence, and not a miserable pittance such as this Bill affords them.
§ Mr. JAMES BROWN
I would like also to explain my position in regard to this matter. I am surprised at the extreme sensitiveness of the Secretary of State for Scotland in a matter of this kind. What is the use of bringing a Bill here if we are not going to discuss it? I think every one of us made it absolutely clear that we welcomed the greater part of the Bill, but wanted to make it a little better, and because, forsooth, we wanted to make the Bill a little better, the Bill is to be withdrawn altogether, and I expect the whole blame is to be thrown upon those who were trying to make it a little easier for the older men in this profession. I do not think that that is a right attitude to take at all. If we are told that nothing is to be done in Committee, then for the life of me I do not understand why the Bill should go to Committee at all. I trust that any little good that may come to the law officers in Scotland will not be thrown away because of the super-sensitiveness to criticism of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Scotland.
§ Mr. WESTWOOD
I feel sure that the Secretary of State for Scotland, in the last statement that he made, was trying to place the blame upon the Opposition for the withdrawal of this Bill. It seems to me that it is impossible now for anything else to happen but the withdrawal of the Bill. A Motion for the Adjournment of the Debate has been moved, and we have also had the nod of the head indicating that the Bill is to be withdrawn altogether. I am not sorry. I say that quite frankly, because I think it would be a tragedy for this House to do the same by the men for whom we are fighting as has been done in connection with old teachers. old ex-policemen, and so on. Time and asain we have had Bills introduced into this House for the purpose of remedying grievances that you yourselves have created by passing 448 Acts of Parliament which did not take into consideration the services of men who had given years of service in connection with these different services to which I have referred. I am not sorry that the Bill is going to be withdrawn, because Clause 15 is going to create a very serious injustice so far as miners are concerned, and enough injustice has been done to them already,. apart from inserting, in a Bill which seeks to deal with the salaries, emoluments and method of appointment of sheriff clerks, something that is going to create a very great hardship so far as miners are concerned. Clause 16 was very ably dealt with by my hon. Friend the Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton), and we have had no reply to the definite charge that we are going to allow Acts of Parliament to be interpreted—
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
On a Motion for the Adjournment of the Debate, it is net permissible for hon. Members to discuss the merits of the Bill. The only thing that it is in order to discuss is the withdrawing or not withdrawing of the particular Motion under discussion. The merits of the Bill cannot be discussed.
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
On a point of Order. If the Secretary of State for Scotland gives, as a reason for moving this second Motion, the attitude of hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway on this Bill, am I not right in assuming that they can reply and state that he has no justification for moving that Motion on account of their attitude?
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
So long as they confine their remarks to the reasons why the Motion for the Adjournment should not be proceeded with, they would, of course, be in order, but that does not justify a discussion on the merits of the Bill.
§ Mr. WESTWOOD
Further on the point of Order. I am not opposing the Motion for the adjournment of the Debate; I am supporting it. Am I not in order in giving reasons why this Motion should be agreed to?
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
It does not matter whether the hon. Member is in favour of the Motion or not; the same rule would apply as; to what can be discussed.
§ Mr. WESTWOOD
I accept your ruling, but I would again repeat something that I said when I was in order. I am pleased that the Adjournment of the Debate has been moved, because I believe that the Bill is so wretched in its application to some of those who deserve better treatment.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
I resent very much the attitude taken up by the Secretary of State for Scotland right from the very beginning. I thought the day was past when a man holding such a responsible position as he holds would take up such an attitude before a body of men like the British House of Commons. To think that he should come down here to-day and tell us deliberately that, unless we were prepared to swallow this Bill holus bolus, no matter what it was, he would withdraw the Bill! What is the House of Commons for if it is not to discuss? Is not that the idea of Parliamentary government, of party government, so that we may improve a Measure if possible? But the right hon. Gentleman comes down and tells us that, unless we do this, or unless we do the next thing, he will withdraw the Bill. It is simply what the Government that the right hon. Gentleman represents to-day have done all along since they came into power. They have used the big club every time. It has become stronger since the Chief Whip arrived, and then, when the Prime Minister came in and sat between the Lord Advocate and the Secretary of State, the right hon. Gentleman became, he thought a man. He said, "I withdraw the Bill." He has got to remember that we are not going to be treated in that fashion by him. That is not, as my hon. Friend the Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) pointed out, why we agreed to his being strengthened in his position and made a Secretary of State. We do not expect treatment of that kind. We told him that greater honours brought greater responsibility and that he would have to learn to behave himself like an intelligent human being and not dictate terms to us, because we are not going to be dictated to either by the Prime Minister or by the Secretary of State. We are going to conduct our affairs as long as we conform to the uses of the House, and we have been doing that, 450 The idea is, come let us reason together. Because our reason does not happen to coincide with that of the great high priest of Scotland, he says, "We will not discuss any longer, we will move the Adjournment," and I am astonished that you, Sir. readily accepted it. So much so that we had to draw your attention to the fact that the hon. Member for Springburn (Mr. Hardie) had the House when you called on the Secretary for Scotland.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
For the moment the Question is not whether I should have accepted the Motion, but whether the Debate should be adjourned.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
I do not care whether it is adjourned or not, and I am satisfied that the men who are most implicated in this Bill do not care either. It is true the Lord Advocate and the Secretary of State can produce a letter showing that they are quite agreeable to the Bill, but who is agreeable? The bread and butter of these men is at stake. They are not so free even as engineers or miners. They have no organisation to back them up, and they dare not do anything else. They are tied down by the Lord Advocate and his company who rule (he roost in Edinburgh. I have every respect for the men who are implicated here. I had a good deal of dealings with the men in the sheriff Court. The Court crier and the clerk of the Court often conduct the affairs of the Court without the sheriff being present. I stood in the Kent Court in Glasgow for two years when there were hundreds of cases passing through, and the business was presented by your humble servant to the Court crier and the sheriff clerk, and not to the sheriff at all. He had to go on with something else that was considered more important than rent cases. Those men transacted the whole business and did it correctly and very humanely in a. great many instances. They have been a long time in the service. An arrangement has been made and they have accepted it, but not because the conditions laid before them are the correct conditions that they should get. They know they are not. They have protested time and time against them. I am glad to see Mr. Speaker has arrived. These Court officials that we are discussing have, 451 been treated most unfairly by the Government. The Labour Government, when in office, had the idea of trying to deal fairly and squarely with them, and they drafted a Bill, but time did not permit, because the Tories of the country forced a General Election which we term the forgery election. In their desire to get into power they forged a letter.
The Secretary for Scotland—I wish you, Sir, had been in the Chair at the time— laid down a law that I resent very much, that if we would not accept a certain position, he would do certain things. He would end the whole of constitutionalism as we understand it in the House of Commons. It was stated that we would not be allowed to discuss this Bill, and if we did discuss it he would throw it out, and not allow it to be discussed. Every Bill that comes before the House has a right to stand on its merits and no man, not even the Secretary of State, has the right to bring a Bill in unless he is capable of defending it. It is evident, from the part the right hon. Gentleman has played, that he has not the capability to defend the provisions of the Bill. He now says he is going to withdraw. I hope you, Sir, will tell him he has not the power to withdraw it and that we are going to discuss it whether he wants us to or not. The Bill has got to leave here and go to Committee, and such a Committee—the Scottish Grand Committee. He knows we would tear it from Dan unto Beersheba. The right hon. Gentleman has no right to withdraw the Bill although he is the representative of a very powerful Government, but only in this House, because their power is gradually wearing away, as the bye-elections demonstrate, I have never yet seen on the floor of the House such arrogance as the Secretary for Scotland has displayed in the most blatant fashion. There has never been a man yet in all my experience who has stood up at that Box and threatened the House in the manner he threatened us to-day. He has to learn not to treat us in that fashion. We would not take that treatment from anyone. We expect something different from the Secretary for Scotland. This is part and parcel of the part the Scottish Office play when we go on a deputation. They mete out the same treatment to those who will tolerate it. The right hon. Gentleman received a 452 deputation from the Glasgow Corporation on housing, because all the world knows that Glasgow has a terrible housing problem.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The Question is "That the Debate be now adjourned" and the hon. Member must keep to that Question—whether or not the Debate on this subject should be adjourned.
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
I am trying to show that the right hon. Gentleman has no right to put that forward. Personally I am neither for nor against. The deputation was not a Socialist deputation. The right hon Gentleman meted out to the opponents of the Socialist programme on the Glasgow Corporation exactly the same treatment that he is meting out to the House to-day, so much so that a resolution was moved in the Corporation deprecating the treatment they had received. He treated them with contempt. Three months ago I was on a deputation along with the education, authority for Dumbartonshire regarding 700 childrer who had to go to school in the winter without boots. Again the very same thing happened and I had to rise and give him a right telling off for treating the deputation in the same way he had treated the Glasgow Corpoation. I hope the House will rally behind us against the Secretary for Scotland and not let him get his own way on this occasion.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
I think it will be only right that I should remind the House that what my right hon. Friend said is not properly described as a threat at all. I know hon. Members opposite are very fond of trying to discover a threat in everything.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
I think I might be allowed to start and develop a little what I have to say. As our predecessors in office found, so we have found, on consideration of the matter, and lengthy consideration, the difficulty of fitting this system, which is not at present established, into our Civil Service system and it has been clear for a long time, and it has been made absolutely clear, that we cannot go beyond the terms that are contained mainly in Clause 7 of the Bill. That being the situation, it has been made quite clear to the associations of the services con- 453 cerned that that is so, and they have accepted it, although I quite agree, very naturally, they would like to have better terms. The difficulty is not the absence of money, but fitting this into the general Civil Service system. The right hon. Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. W. Graham) is fully aware of the difficulty of re-opening the County Courts Bill for England.
§ Mr. W. GRAHAM
It will be most unfortunate if that is put on record. I said the reply that had always been offered was that it would involve the reopening of the County Courts settlement, but I made it clear that there was in our view a complete reply to that contention.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
That is the very point that was debated again and again. It was debated at the time the right hon. Gentleman himself was in office. After all, we have not too much time for discussing Bills in this House. There is a very large amount of legislation, and we have to leave as much time as possible for the discussion of controversial Measures. If this were a controversial Measure in the true sense of the term, and if it is going to be made one, then, of course, we have not time for it. If, on the other hand, it is recognised that it can be treated in the main as a non-controversial Measure, and that is the desire now of the associations concerned, we would perhaps be able to get it through. That is our position. To say that it is a threat on the part of my right hon. Friend to point out the circumstances of the Government in regard to Clause 7, which is the main Clause, and that that cannot be altered to increase any benefits, is unfair. He is merely pointing out that discussion on that Clause to that effect is really making it controversial, and is making it controversial on the very point on which the Government cannot give way. Surely, it was only fair to the House to point that out.
It is not quite fair to my right hon. Friend to describe that as a threat. He was merely stating in unambiguous terms the position of the Government in regard to the Bill. That is not an uncommon thing in regard to Bills. The Mover of 454 a Bill very often points out that they cannot give way either in the House or in Committee on certain points, but that on other points they will be ready to consider alterations. It does so happen that this is one of the most important points in the Bill. Therefore, it was all the more incumbent upon the Government to make it absolutely clear that they could not give way on that point, and it would have been unfair to the House not to make that point clear. Knowing, as the House knows, the position of the associations representing these various officers and employes concerned, it is a little—I do not want to use any strong language— surprising, to put it mildly, to find a Motion tabled for the rejection of the Bill. That was the Motion we were discussing before we got to the question of the Adjournment. So long as that Motion is there, it is a Motion which will prevent us going to Committee. When it became clear in the course of discussion that this was being treated, not merely as a peg on which to hang protests, but as a peg on which to secure stronger controversial terms, my right hon. Friend had to consider what the position was going to be. There was no need for such a Motion in order to protest and say you dislike the Bill and to discuss it on Second Reading. Therefore, I wish to point out that, what is made quite clear as far as it stands at this moment, that that could be secured by the withdrawal of the Motion.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE
Now we have it perfectly clear what is the attitude of the Opposition. Accordingly, we must persist in this Motion for the Adjournment.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MacDONALD
Whatever the justification of the Government may be, or whatever justification they may allege to exist, it is perfectly clear to the House now that the Government propose to do a most unusual thing. The Lord Advocate is quite wrong regarding what he says is the effect of an Amendment such as is now on the Paper, during the Second Reading of a Bill. He knows perfectly well that when a Bill is up for Second Reading, an Amendment to the 455 Second Heading drawing attention to points which the Opposition or any Member of the House regards as being unsatisfactory in the Bill, is always in Order, and in nine cases out of 10 that is embodied in the Resolution or Amendment such as this. The action that my hon. Friends have taken is the ordinary and usual action on Second Beading. What is quite unusual, so unusual that I do not remember in all the course of my service in this House to have seen or to have known of a similar thing having been done, is that when the Government are faced with an Amendment of this kind they say, "If you do not withdraw the Amendment, we shall have to withdraw the Bill." That is what it amounts to.
Some distinction has been drawn between what is a non-controversial or an agreed Bill, and an ordinary controversial Bill. I would not like to be charged with the task of drawing the line between those two classes of Bills, but whether a Bill is regarded as controversial or non-controversial it is perfectly in order for anybody to put down such an Amendment as we have on the Paper. It is not only in order in a-technical sense, but it is a good habit and a good custom of this House that it should be done, and it is the Government's duty to get its Bills through. If the Government always withdrew their Bills when such Amendments were put down on Second Reading, they would do a great service to the country. I wish such a policy were often followed by the present Government in that regard. So far as this particular matter is concerned, we want to know why a special case of exception has been made now.
There is something more, and we need not hold it back. The Secretary of State for Scotland knows perfectly well that if he gets the Financial Resolution which is down on the Paper in regard to this Bill he is protected in Committee from the discussion which he says is going to take up so much time. He knows that if he gets paragraph B of the Financial Resolution that the time that will be consumed in Committee upstairs on the point to which we have drawn attention in our Amendment will be very small if, as a matter of fact, it exists at all. He also knows that the only time that 456 this point can be discussed is now and that it can be repeated when he moves his Financial Resolution. He knows that it cannot be repeated in Committee, and he knows that it cannot be repeated on Report stage of the Bill when it comes before this House. He knows that once he gets his Division on the Second Reading of this Bill and he gets his Financial Resolution in the Committee stage and on Report, he is clear of all trouble. Therefore the whole of his arguments in that respect fall to the ground. People outside who are concerned with this Bill ought to know that. The Associations for whom he speaks, and which have come to a very unwilling agreement, ought to know the circumstances, and if any attempt is to be made, as the Lord Advocate made just now, to put responsibility upon us in that respect, I would advise the Lord Advocate to consider the position in which he stands before he ventures to make such statements outside this House.
As far as this Bill is concerned in its main purpose it is a non-controversial Bill, that is, the reorganisation of the service in Scotland. There may be Amendments, and there will be Amendments in Committee, and I think the Government would welcome some of them. At any rate, they will recognise that they are perfectly legitimate Amendments that ought to be discussed and settled in Committee. As far as the agreement with the associations are concerned on Clause 7, in so far they are to be in order in Committee—there will not be very much in order, I am afraid—it is to the Committee that the statement.1; ought to be made that have been hinted at here. I would urge upon the Government in the interests of the great service of justice in Scotland the necessity of reorganising the whole of that servies. There has been no Government in office for a good many years that has not recognised that somebody ought to put their hands to the plough and to see that it goes right through the furrow.
I ask the Government whether it is really worth while to go on with this Motion that the Debate be adjourned. It is not merely a Motion that the Debate be adjourned; I understand the effect of the Motion is that the Bill should be withdrawn. The Government are taking 3 very heavy responsibility upon their 457 shoulders in acting in that way. The precedents are all against them. If they wish to withdraw it, well, that is their responsibility; but I would like to see some reorganisation of the Scottish system, and if anybody is responsible for its not being done now, it is the Government and the Government alone. If the Government have come to an arrangement with the associations regarding Clause 7, it is the duty of the Government to explain that arrangement to the Committee or to this House, when we come to the Financial Resolution. They cannot come to this House and say, "Because we have come to an arrangement with an outside authority therefore it anybody questions that arrangement we will withdraw our Bill." That is not business. That is not the way that business should be conducted in this House.
Even at this late moment, I would ask the Secretary of State for Scotland to recognise the point that I have raised about the effect of his Financial Resolution, and to let us express our opinion about the position of these old men who are affected. Let the Government go on with the Bill, and do with his Bill what is done with regard to other Bills. Let them trust to their own majority and trust to their own arguments and let the matter stand. I hope the Secretary of State for Scotland will not persist in the Motion that he has made.
§ Sir ROBERT HORNE
I would not have intervened in this Debate had I not been impressed by the possibility that while we are contending nothing would be done to set right a grievance in Scotland which we all deplore. Every one of us on both sides of the House is convinced that a great injustice has been suffered for many generations by the officers and employés of the Sheriff Courts in Scotland. The matter came before me when I was Chancellor of the Exchequer. It is a grievance which all of us recognise and which all Scottish Members are eager to set right.
In this Debate both sides have been to a certain extent right. I recognise, and everyone will recognise, that the Leader of the Opposition is right when he says that there is an absolute right on the part of the Opposition to debate the main features of a Bill on Second Reading, and that no one was exercising more than his ordinary right in carrying 458 on that Debate. I am sure also that we all appreciate the fact that with so much argumentative power which Scotland can produce in its various Members, it was only natural that the Debate upon a question of this kind, upon which we all feel very deeply, should be perhaps a little prolonged. On the other hand, one has to recognise the history of this question. We cannot forget that this question was debated previously on a Bill of a similar character in this House, and that all the arguments which can be asserted against this particular Bill were then stated from both sides of the House.
In fact, it was due to the mere or less unanimous opinion of the Scottish constituencies that the previous Bill was withdrawn, and I think the Secretary of State, who is anxious to get this Measure passed and little time in which to do it, was naturally disturbed at the chance of losing a Bill which we all desire because of the prolonged character of the discussion. We know the difficulties which have previously prevented this injustice being redressed, and I am quite sure we are all agreed to get to grips with the position and pass the Bill through. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition hoped that somebody would plough a straight furrow in this matter. I am quite sure he was expressing himself with great sincerity, and if hon. Members behind him are of the. same view and willing to give the Secretary of State for Scotland the Bill now is there any reason why he should not have it? We are all practical men who desire a solution of this problem, and I put it to both Front Benches that if we can be assured that the House will now divide on the Second Reading that the Secretary of Scotland would be willing to withdraw his Motion. I appeal to my colleagues from Scotland that we should not reveal ourselves as unreasonable and unthinking people by taking a course of conduct which is approved by none of us, but that we should rather settle the matter at once.
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
I should like just to answer what has been said by the Leader of the Opposition and also by the right hon. Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Home). I realise the feeling of many Members on this question, but I want to make it quite clear that the Government must be adamant on the one fundamental 459 point in this Bill. If the House is prepared to accept the suggestion that it should proceed at once to a Division then I should be prepared to withdraw the Motion. If that is the understanding I am prepared to do so.
§ Mr. SCRYMGEOUR
The Secretary of State has made some observations concerning the correspondence which he has had on this subject, and I could see that he laid great stress upon the understanding which has been arrived at. The line the right hon. Gentleman took was to say that as there was this arrangement with the organisations concerned no hon. Member should intervene and create difficulties upon what seemed to be an agreed Measure. I quoted a statement from the Sheriff's clerk in Dundee giving; the actual figures of the division. I want to express my strong dissatisfaction with the method and to repudiate the attitude which the Secretary of State for Scotland has taken up at the beginning of the Debate this afternoon, and since, which is the attitude of a sergeant-major trying to dragoon the forces of Scotland. I protest most vigorously at the idea that we are to be driven into accepting any arrangement with regard to this Bill.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
I think we have been treated in a most unfortunate way by the Secretary of State. Since the dove of peace was flown from IIillhead the right hon. Gentleman has taken the position that if he gets a decision of the House now all will be well. He might have got his Division by this time and allowed the Opposition to put their point of view on the contentions matter in the Bill. But it is becoming the practice of the representatives of the Scottish Office in this House to take up this position. We had trouble last Session in connection with the Scottish Prisons Act. Whenever we start a discussion the Secretary of State gets into a pet. begins to cry, and says: "I am not going to play any longer!" I think it is intolerable that the House should be treated in this way. He only became reasonable when one of the Members of his own party showed the position of the Scottish Members in regard to the Measure. Evidently he was afraid that the revolt would spread, and he has taken this position in order to keep us from discussing the matter. I protest against the 460 way in which we have been treated by the Secretary of State. The Lord Advocate made it no better for the right hon. Gentleman. He simply showed up the mean tactics that have been employed, an attempt not only to stifle opinion on this side of the House but to stifle the opinion of Tory hon. Members who feel that the Government is acting in a brutal and callous fashion in regard to these older men.
§ Mr. MAXTON
I desire to raise a point of Order. Here in the presence of hon. Members in this House we are being asked by the right hon. Member for Hill-head (Sir R. Home), and the Secretary of State for Scotland assents, to withdraw all opposition to this Measure at this stage.
§ Sir R. HORNE
To bring the discussion to an end and divide on the Second Reading now. That is the suggestion I make in the interests of the people who are to be benefited under this Bill.
§ Mr. MAXTON
Do I understand that this is a correct procedure for this House; that hon. Members, myself among them, are to subject themselves to bargains of this description which over-ride their rights of free discussion, and that you, Mr. Speaker, are prepared to approve of these bargains being entered into?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
It is not a matter for my approval or disapproval. I simply put the question to the House. If there be a Motion made "Thai the House do adjourn," it is my duty to put it to the House to decide.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
As I understand it, the suggestion is that if the Division on the Second Reading can be taken now the Motion for the Adjournment of the Debate will be withdrawn, and after the Bill has been given a Second Reading the House will be able to go on in due time to discuss the Financial Resolution. In that event I do not see why we should not go on to the Division.
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
If that be agreed and we can divide now, I am quite prepared to withdraw my Motion.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.461
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."462
§ The House divided: Ayes, 266; Noes, 107.463
|Division No. 56.]||AYES.||[6.57 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Macmillan, Captain H.|
|Agg-Gardner, Bt. Hon. Sir James T.||Forrest, W.||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Fraser, Captain Ian||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Gadle, Lieut.-Col. Anthony||Macquisten, F. A.|
|Apsley, Lord||Galbraith, J. F. W.||MacRobert, Alexander M.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Ganzonl, Sir John||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Gates, Percy||Makins, Brigadler-General E.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Gauit, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Malone, Major P. B.|
|Atkinson, C.||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Manning ham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Glimour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Margesson, Captain D.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Goff, Sir Park||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Balniel, Lord||Grace, John||Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Merriman, F. B.|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Grant, Sir J. A.||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.|
|Berry, Sir George||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)|
|Bethel, A.||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Moore, Sir Newton J.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Grotrlan, H. Brent||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R. Skipton)||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Murchison, Sir Kenneth|
|Biundell, F. N.||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Nelson, Sir Frank|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Hammersley, S. S.||Neville, R. J.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Hanbury, C.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Harland, A.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Harris, Percy A.||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W.G. (Ptrsf'ld.)|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Harrison, G. J. C.||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Brown, Maj. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Hawke, John Anthony||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Owen, Major G.|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Penny, Frederick George|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Perring, Sir William George|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Caine, Gordon Hall||Herbert, S. (York, N. R, Scar, & Wh'by)||Phillpson, Mabel|
|Campbell, E. T.||Hilton, Cecil||Pilcher, G.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt, R. (Prtsmth, S.)||Holland, Sir Arthur||Radford, E. A.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. sir Evelyn (Aston)||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Raine, W.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord H. (Ox. Univ.)||Hope, Sir Harry (Forlar)||Ramsden, E.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J.A. (Birm., W.)||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Remer, J. R.|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Clayton, G. C.||Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||Rice, Sir Frederick|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Colonel C. K.||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir G. K.||Hudson, R. S. (Cmuberl'nd, Whiteh'n)||Ropner, Major L.|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Hume, Sir G. H.||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Cope, Major William||Hurd, Percy A.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Couper, J. B.||Hutchison, G.A. Clark (Midl'n & P'bl's)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Jacob, A. E.||Sandon, Lord|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Jephcott, A. R.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Savery, S. S.|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)||Shaw. R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)|
|Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||King, Captain Henry Douglas||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D.Mcl. (Renfrew, W)|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Knox, Sir Alfred||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Lamb, J. O.||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Duckworth, John||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R||Skelton, A. N.|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Little, Dr. E. Graham||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Edmondsan, Major A. J.||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Ellis, R. G.||Loder, J. de V.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Looker, Herbert William||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Lumley, L. R||Storry-Deans, R.|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Lynn, Sir R. J.||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Fermoy, Lord||MacAndrew Major Charles Glen||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Fielden, E. B.||McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.|
|Finburgh, S.||Macintyre, Ian||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Ford, Sir P. J.||McLean, Major A.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Sugden, Sir Wilfrid||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L. (Kingston-on-Hull)||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
|Sykes, Major-Gen, Sir Frederick H.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.||Windsor-Cllve, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Tasker, R. Inigo.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Templeton, W. P.||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)||Wise, Sir Fredrie|
|Thorn, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)||Watts, Dr. T.||Withers, John James|
|Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)||Wells, S. R.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)||Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Tinne, J. A.||White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrvmple-||Young, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)|
|Titchfield, Major the Marquess of||Wiggins, William Martin|
|Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.||Williams. Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)||Mr. F. C. Thomson and Major Sir|
|Waddington, R.||Wilson, M. J. (York, N. R., Richm'd)||Harry Barnston.|
|Wallace, Captain D. E.||Wilson, R, R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hirst, W. (Bradford. South)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield).||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan Neath)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Ammon, Charles George||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Smillie, Robert|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Barf, J.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Smith, Rennle (Penistone)|
|Bondfield, Margaret||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Snell, Harry|
|Bromfield, William||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Kelly, W. T.||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles|
|Buchanan, G.||Kennedy, T.||Stamford, T. W.|
|Cape, Thomas||Kirkwood, D.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lansbury, George||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lawrence, Susan||Sullivan, J.|
|Cove, W. G.||Lawson, John James||Sutton, J. E.|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Lowth, T.||Taylor, R. A.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Lunn, William||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)|
|Davies, Rhys John (Weethoughton)||Mackinder, W.||Thorne, W. (west Ham, plaistow)|
|Day, Colonel Harry||March, S.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Dennison, R.||Maxton, James||Townend, A. E.|
|Duncan, C.||Mitchell, E. Rossiyn (Paisley)||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Dunnico, H.||Montague, Frederick||Viant, S. P.|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Gardner, J. P.||Murnin, H.||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Gillett, George M.||Palin, John Henry||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Gosling, Harry||Paling, W.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Westwood, J|
|Greenall, T.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Potts, John S.||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Purcell, A. A.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Groves, T.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Williams, T (York, Don Valley)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Riley, Ben||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Ritson, J.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)||Wright, W.|
|Hardie, George D.||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Hayday, Arthur||Scrymgeour, E.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Scurr, John||Mr. Whiteley and Mr. A. Barnes,|
Question put, and agreed to.